Posts Tagged ‘Civil War’

Old Sporting Equipment Week 13

Wednesday, October 2nd, 2013


This  ski, and its identical counterpart, are one of two pairs of skis in the West Loft of the Andover Historical Society Barn. These skis are long with a length of 180 centimeters and are pointed in the front. The leather toe strap is 2.5 cm by 45 cm and is centered at the middle of the ski. The toe strap has a metal buckle as well. DSC_0209

This is one of the other pair of skis in the barn. Unlike its predecessor, this ski is shorter and in poorer condition. There is either no toe strap in the middle of the ski, or the toe strap has been torn off. Both skis have their own set of ski poles, and were donated by the same individual. Burton Jenkins donated these skis in the memory of Andover residents John Jenkins and Alice Holt. Both the Jenkins and Holt families were prominent in Andover history, John Jenkins being a farmer who fought in the Civil War. These skis, although in poor condition are interesting objects donated in the memories of prominent individuals.


Old Sporting Equipment Week 12

Wednesday, September 25th, 2013


These skates above might look familiar, as they were produced by Barney and Barry in the late 1800s, the same company that produced the skates I wrote about several weeks ago. These skates are almost identical to those, except for the heel plate, which is more oval-shaped than the previous model. The heel plate is also smaller, despite the the runners being the same size. Aside from this however, the toe plates are exactly the same, and there are clamps underneath the toe plates in both skates. However, these skates, unlike the previous ones, are not attached together with leather straps.

These came to be known as Barney and Barry’s second model of skates, which were meant to be more advanced than the first model. Recall that Barney and Barry was formed by Everett H. Barney during the Civil War and revolutionized ice skating. These skates were just another example of the improvements that took place with skates in the late 19th century.


Old Sporting Equipment Week 5

Wednesday, August 7th, 2013


Above is another pair of antique ice skates in the West Loft of the Andover Historical Society Barn. These unique skates were created by a company called Barney and Berry, abbreviated B&B. This company was formed during the Civil War in the 1860’s by Everett Barney, who was the superintendent of small arms manufacturing for military purposes in Massachusetts. Barney was the first to create an all metal skate that could clamp on to the shoes without problem. By the end of the war, he set up a factory that produced up to 600,000 units per year. This style of skates was patented in the early 1870’s, and were produced until the early 20th century. These skates helped promote enthusiasm for recreational ice skating within America.

These specific skates are most likely from the 1910’s, made of steel that has now rusted. Identical B&B skates are being auctioned online, with bids around twenty dollars. These antique skates were some of the oldest made and were instrumental in changing ice skating.


Photo of the Week

Wednesday, June 27th, 2012


Hi! I am an incoming sophmore at Andover High School, and I am taking over  for the Photo of the Week! Throughout  this upcoming year, I will be exploring some photos that stand out to me at the Andover Historical Society. For my first weekly update, I am writing about a photo of a Civil War veteran from Andover.

E.Kendall Jenkins is pictured to the right.  He was born on October 14th, 1831.  Jenkins enlisted when he was just 30 years old. He fought as a Private, a Corporal, and a Quartermaster Sergeant. He even fought under General Grant as well, who was the victorious commander of the Union.

Jenkins returned Andover after the war in the 1865.  Between 1866-1878, he served in four positions, including Town Clerk, Treasurer, Tax Collector, and was elected as the Deputy Sheriff. He gave up these four positions to become the Treasurer of Essex County, a position he remained in for 26 years. During this time period, he was also the Justice of Peace,  Clerk of the Old South Parish, and trustee of the newly built Memorial Hall Library. In his personal life, Jenkins was married to Nancy Jenkins, with whom he celebrated a fifty year anniversary in November, 1914. Jenkins played a huge role in the town life of Andover, and his contributions to the Civil War cannot will not be forgotten.  He exemplifies Andover’s role in the Civil War, and must be respected as any veteran for his service to our country. Jenkins is not just another veteran, but a symbol of service and devotion to the Union.


Photo of the Week

Sunday, December 25th, 2011

MERRY CHRISTMAS!!! Hope you’re having a great holiday. I’m on holiday too, so I’ll keep this post short and sweet after last week’s novel.

150 years ago today, our country was at war. The Civil War was just starting up, and men from all over the country were being recruited. This is a picture of the 14th Massachusetts Regiment. Here they are marching up Pennsylvania Ave in Washington during a storm. How was our town involved in the Civil War?

716 men from Andover gathered at Town Hall in June, 1861. Named the 1st Massachusetts Heavy Artillery, they mostly guarded Washington to the disappointment of eager soldiers. 92 men died, mostly due to disease. Andover got the spotlight when Harriet Beacher Stowe, a town resident, reported the death of Walter Raymond. Raymond enlisted in the army in 1862 at age 16. Two years later he was captured on Malvern Hill, VA and died on Christmas Day.

To end this article on a high note, 3 Andover men recieve the Medal of Honor. As quoted from the Andover Townsman: “William Marland safely rescued his men who were surrounded by the enemy’s cavalry. Frank S. Giles’s actions enabled the U.S.S. Lehigh to be freed from a helpless position while under enemy fire. Though seriously wounded, Henry F. Chandler remained with his regiment and helped to carry the breastworks at Petersburg.” I hope you get lots of gifts today!

Happy holidays. Here’s that Townsman article:


Henry Robinson’s Odyssey: The Diary of a Civil War Soldier (4)

Wednesday, August 31st, 2011

After a successful weeklong boiler installation in Lawrence, Henry continued his diary from Boston, where he had arrived the night before.

15th June Boston—Sunday

Attended church A.M & P.M. at Springfield St. Chapel.

S[unday].S[chool]. concert in evening at 7 ¼. Mr. Mellen spoke to children—a poor sailor who questions doing good.


Went to So. Boston to all the building lots—also to old entrenchments at the extreme end—Old Harbor wharf best.

Sent an application for money of 2500 dollars life insurance.

Saw Hibbard who wants me to apply an Indicator to a Carlip Engine for him.

Paid fare to Berlin 1.00

17th June Clinton

Hoed Garden & put down parler[sic] carpet


Put down sitting room carpet—got 2 bundles straw 16


Finished sitting room.

Paid for 3 yds. backing 3.75

“         “   little chain 1.10

“        for horse to N. Berlin 1.50


Worked in garden & on my Navy papers


Paid for fencing stuff 13

“         “   [smudged] 12

“         “   tooth brush 15

“         “   card & tassel 15

22nd June Clinton

Rev. Mr. [blank] of Princeton preached A.M. on the Rebellion & the hopes of good on its act. S.S. in Vestry & on Green St. at Rll.


Left Clinton 3 ½ A.M. with Whitcomb fare to Boston $1.20 & 20 cts. for last Monday.

By 1862, Henry had been married for nine years and had three children. He married Mary Muzzy in 1853, Joseph Muzzy was born on May 4, 1857, Rosa Belle was born October 29, 1859 and Mattie Francis was born on January 27, 1861. Yet thus far in his diary, there has been no mention of any of his family members besides his brother James. This notable omission notwithstanding, Henry was probably happy to return to domesticity after being away for so long in the Navy and on business for his brother.

Henry's wife and potential insurance beneficiary.

Henry threw himself into household tasks that had been put on hold while he was away. He “hoed the garden,” “put down parler[sic] carpet,” and “put down sitting room carpet.” He also bought straw, backing, chain, fencing material and a toothbrush. With all his purchases, Henry appeared poised to spend a few more weeks tending to his home, but it was only six days until the transient Henry left home again.

Henry's oldest child and only son, born 1857.

Before returning to Clinton on the 16th, Henry chose to “[send] an application for money of 2500 dollars life insurance.” By taking out a life insurance policy, it seems that Henry was cognizant of the high death toll of the war and perhaps already contemplating enlistment. $2500 was a significant amount of money in 1862, depending on how you convert it, it would be somewhere in the vicinity of half a million dollars in today’s money.

One of Henry's daughters.

Life insurance with a wife and children as beneficiaries was just becoming a viable option in the 1860s. Life insurance had been around in America since the mid-18th century, but until the 1840s it was nearly impossible for women and children dependants to benefit from a life insurance policy. For one, women in most states could not enter contracts and therefore could not take out a policy on their husband. Secondly, someone wishing to take out a policy on someone else had to prove their economic interest in that persons continued life. Love between a husband and wife was not considered a qualifying economic interest. One way around these problems was for a man to take out a policy himself and name his wife and children as beneficiaries. In doing so, however, the policy became an asset and could therefore be claimed by any creditors the man might have.

In the 1840s most states rectified these problems by allowing women to enter contracts. Life insurance still was not widespread in Massachusetts until the state established an oversight committee in 1856, which boosted public confidence in the industry.

Most policies included a clause that voided them if the holder died in battle. In all likelihood, the policy Henry is trying to take out would only cover him if he were killed while not in the line of duty.

I learned much of the information on life insurance from “Life Insurance in the United States through World War I” by Sharon Ann Murphy. If you’d like to learn more, here’s a link.


Henry Robinson’s Odyssey: The Diary of a Civil War Soldier (3)

Wednesday, August 24th, 2011

After a week hiatus, Henry Robinson resumed his journaling on June 7th.

7th June 1862—Clinton

Paid fare to Lawrence on business for J.R.R. $1.40.

Arrd. at L. 11 ½ A.M. boarded with V.G. Baleon 94 Essex St.

Mill is below the Spricket

2 boilers—loaned J.R. $3.00

Munroe has been burning 2000 lb. coal to day 3000 lb. paper.

8th Sunday

Heard Rev. [blank] of Lawrence St. Church in A.M., Dea. [blank] in Sabbath school.

Rev. Mr. Fenny at Central chch. In P.M. & at concert. New American Cyclopedia purchased by the S. School.


3 masons at work on the setting—several tenders worked all day.

10th June 1862—Lawrence Mass

3 masons at work on setting also several tenders worked all day.


Tested Munroe’s boiler to 85 lbs.—leaked a little on top—in two seams. Went into boilers & found it sealed badly—old sints remained from the paneling several years ago.

Masons finished.

Got the grates in.

Worked 1 ½ days


Started fire about 8 P.M. Had to build wood fire in flue to start smoke up chimney.

Worked 1 day 2 hours

13th June Lawrence

Ran Munroe’s boiler enough to dry the clay on top.

Packed lower head of heater & commenced attaching pipes to it—worked all day.


Got heater connected & got steam into it. Got Wildus grates in & water running in—Her’s boiler was not so dirty as Munroe’s.

Left mill for home at 3 ¼ P.M. got started from Lawrence about 3-35” and in Lowell 5 minutes too late for train. Paid fare to Boston .45

Went to Old Harbor Wharf So. Boston

After meandering his ways through the shipyards of the Union, Henry is finally home and back at his civilian occupation: being a mill engineer. Nowadays, becoming an engineer requires four years of college and a bachelor’s degree. Henry’s engineering education did not conform to modern requirements.

Henry was born and reared on the shores of Lake Winnipesaukee in what is now Laconia, New Hampshire. He attended the local schoolhouse and then Gilford Academy before leaving home in 1847 at the age of 16 to become an assistant engineer at Hamilton Manufacturing Co. in Lowell, a company known for their bright calico fabric. 158 years before the Hamilton mill was turned into 65 loft-style apartments, Henry learned the intricacies of steam engines here.

A label that was attached to every bolt of cloth sold by the Hamilton Manufacturing Company of Lowell, where Henry was Assistant Engineer from 1847-1849.

It didn’t take long for Henry to move up the ranks; in 1849 he became the head engineer at York Mills in Saco, Maine, one of the largest cotton milling complexes in the country at that time. He stayed employed in Maine until 1855, when he moved 100 miles south to Clinton, Massachusetts to join his brother as a consultant engineer.

His brother was James Ramsey Robinson, the J.R.R. who Henry loaned three dollars to and went “on business for”. Henry worked for James, apart from his stints in the military, until 1864. It was during this fraternal partnership, in June of 1862, that Henry went to this mill “below the Spicket” to examine and fix two boilers—Munroe’s and Her’s. The job took Henry nearly a week’s work to complete.

Boiler’s were necessary to a mill’s operation because they created the steam needed to power the steam engine and in turn the cloth-making machines. It is worth noting that steam engine technology and application was rapidly changing during Henry’s time.  In the 1700s, most mills were powered by water wheels, forcing them to be built on rivers. Steam engines began to be used in the late 1700s to pump water back over the water wheel.

A Corliss Steam Engine, not unlike the kind Henry might have been repairing the boiler for in Lawrence in 1862.

In 1849 George Corliss patented an engine with variable timing valves that had 30% better thermal efficiency than any existing steam engine. This increased efficiency made it economically viable to do away with the water wheel and power the equipment directly with the engine. Much in the same way steam power was making sail power obsolete in the Navy, steam power was finally making water power obsolete in mills after working together complimentarily for decades.

Henry’s work with boilers foreshadowed his later success: Henry would go on to found Robinson Boiler Works after the war, a very profitable company which made boilers for many of New England’s mills.


Henry Robinson’s Odyssey: The Diary of a Civil War Soldier (2)

Saturday, July 30th, 2011

Henry Robinson continued his diary on May 28, 1862 as he traveled up the eastern seaboard:

28th Wilmington Del.

Paid hotel 1.00 fare to Chester .30

R[eaney], Son & Archbold, Chester have a good wharf—several hundred fs. front—are building two of the batteries minus the mach.

Paid fare to Phila. & to Camden .40

Stoped [sic] at 6. Morgans

29th Philadelphia

Saw Mor. Bag mach. (constant draft) run about 100 a minute. Saw the mach. Make about 250 a minute—paster on top saw stationary heater like this [sketch]

Saw the ironsides—plates screwed to woodwork—Engines in—a few plates on. Str. Powhatan in dock.

New Boston Str. On the way.

Went into J.P. Morris & Sons—saw Engs. for two batteries at Chester.

Saw 2 cyl. cast together, about 40” dia. x 48”

Saw steam plough—2 sets of ploughs—4 in each

Saw Engines of Str. America (tug) 40 1/2” cyl. 36” stroke—2 cyls. Luik motion vertical—direct actg., formerly trunk screw 10 ft. dia 21 ft. pitch 35 lbs. steam—Eng. knows Walker.

Penn Works—Neafie & Levy are making mach for new Boston str. One cyl. 60” x 48” stroke—like Flag except Luik motion—pour castg. boiler—long tubes, very high story chrnning.

An Iron Str. Making for same sort.

Saw sheet iron rolled—Imitation of Russia made of Ch. blooms.


Started for N.Y. via Amboy

6 AM. fare & trunk cost 2.75

-Train killed a man on track

-Paid in Phila. & N.Y. about 1.00

-Went into N. Yard—saw the 3rd plate put on to Roanoke—3” thick under water line, butt joint, bolted through ½ feet taken off the keel—so the drft. will be about that by than formerly—say 20ft. 3 towers.

Left N.Y. for Boston via Fall River. In Bay State at 5 PM. Fare 3.00.

Bay State has a peculiar cutoff, rifle marked R.P.P 16 588lbs. No. 1. 8 in.—200 lbs.


At Fall River saw the Iron Works—use puddle iron for cut nails—double marked—Glendon.

Saw the Frigate “Constitution” at Newport.

An 1863 sketch of a Union shipyard from Harper's Weekly, similar to the shipyards Henry Robinson visited.

At the outbreak of the Civil War, the Union Navy was underequipped. They had 90 ships, only 42 of which were battle ready, and only 24 of which were steamers. The Confederate Navy was even worse off, starting the war with zero warships. The Union’s advantage was meretricious, however.

Shipbuilding technology was at a crossroads. Sail-power was giving way to steam-power, and wood-hulled ships would soon give way to iron-hulled ships. The Union Navy was not yet modernized, and even though the Confederate Navy had no ships to its name, if they would have been able to procure even a modest fleet of ironclad warships, they could have gained the upper hand on the seas.

President Lincoln ordered a blockade of the entire South to strangle their economy and prevent them from obtaining foreign war resources. To enforce this blockade, the Union Navy ordered a major shipbuilding campaign. By April of 1862, the Navy had 226 blockading ships and by the end of the war, over 600.

The region that bore the grunt of this massive shipbuilding boom was exactly the corridor Henry was traveling through—the coastline from Baltimore to Boston. In his travels, Henry was stopping and examining many of the major shipyards and producers. In Baltimore he went to Abbott’s Rolling Mill, which produced the iron plating for the U.S.S Monitor, the first ironclad ship in the Union Navy.  In Chester he went to Reaney, Son & Archbold, which built dozens of Navy ships and was an early producer of ironclads.  In Philadelphia he went to Neafie & Levy, which had just finished building the first U.S. Navy submarine. In New York he saw the Roanoke being converted to an ironclad at Novelty Iron Works.

The U.S.S. Flag, the ship Henry Robinson served on during his time in the Navy.

The question is, why was a consulting engineer from Clinton, MA on a trip examining naval facilities? It turns out that Henry Robinson was actually in the Navy for a brief amount of time. In light of this, his interest in shipbuilding and naval engines comes as no surprise. Henry enlisted as an Acting Third Engineer on September 17, 1861. Third Engineers were the most junior of engineers aboard and therefore were given the most menial tasks. He served aboard the U.S.S. Flag while patrolling the coasts of South Carolina. He resigned from the Navy on May 12, 1862 and his appointment was revoked on May 22.  Baltimore was most likely the port in which Henry resigned, which explains the reason for this trip.

An envelope addressed to Henry S. Robinson during his time serving on the U.S.S. Flag.

With his enlistment in the Army three months later, Henry would become one of the few Civil War soldiers to have served in both the Army and the Navy during the war.


Henry Robinson’s Odyssey: The Diary of a Civil War Soldier (1)

Wednesday, July 20th, 2011

This is the first entry in the diary of Henry S. Robinson, a Civil War soldier and future resident of Blanchard House. He was born in 1831 in New Hampshire and spent much of his antebellum life in Maine, where he was married in 1855. He worked as an engineer both before and after his time as a Lieutenant in the Massachusetts’ 36th Regiment Infantry. In 1885, he moved to Andover and lived here until his death in 1912.

The diary begins three months prior to his enlistment, with Henry ostensibly on some sort of business trip in Baltimore:

Baltimore 24th May 1862

News reached here of Gen. Bank’s retreat towards the Potomac. General reg. started for his whip.

Reed of purser $50.55 which closes up my account with the Navy.

Saw a Euesson H.A. engine that could not drive 2-10” cu. saw driving in boards

25th Sunday

While on my way to church saw some of the rebel sympathizers filed for manifesting joy at Col. Kenly’s reported death. Attended Pres. church on Fayette St. in A.M. and Dr. Fuller’s Baptist church in the evening. Went into Green Mount cemetery in afternoon with young Heywood.

Took dinner and supper with him.

26 May Baltimore

Went to Abbots Rolling Mill & to A & E. Denmead & Sons shop where saw a Gerund valve.

Secessionist on N. Calvert St.


Paid moving trunk & fare to Wlgtn. 2.75

Paid board at Mrs. Wheeler’s 12.30

Started for Wlgtn 4 P.M. and 8 P.M.

Stopped at United States H.


Pusey & Jones—builders of the Engine & boilers of Sloop Juniata—have a very good shop & wharf. Martin boilers smoke—one on 1 side is a donkey—but smoke has to pass through the main boiler making mach. for tug Boston.

Harlan Hollinsworth and 6 o[thers]. are building 2-Ea. batteries complete.

Brandywine—Old flour mill of Tatnal and Lee (Marg) was grinding during the battle.

City Mill of Wlgt. has a pirr Engine cyl. 18”x48”

Seventh Baptist Church in 1910, as Henry Robinson might have seen Dr. Fuller preach in during his 1862 trip to Baltimore. MDGenWeb

It is fitting that the first entry in the diary is a report of a battle because, even though it would be another three months before Henry would be actively involved, the Civil War was omnipresent. In early 1862, the war was going poorly for the Union. The Union had yet to have a decisive victory and General McClellan’s Peninsula Campaign, the first major Union offensive, was about to collapse. The troops in the Shenandoah Valley, under General Nathaniel Banks, former Governor of Massachusetts, played a complimentary role in McClellan’s campaign.

It was General Banks’ loss to Stonewall Jackson at the Battle of Front Royal that Henry was referring to when he talked about “Gen. Bank’s retreat towards the Potomac.” During the course of the battle, the Union forces were overrun. During their chaotic retreat, Colonel John Kenly, a prominent citizen and lawyer from Baltimore, attempted to make a stand. He was severely wounded and captured, but soon repatriated. The erroneous report of his death apparently gave some of his Southern-leaning fellow Baltimore residents ”manifesting joy”.

Baltimore was a hotbed of Civil War tensions. In 1861, President Lincoln had declared martial law in Maryland to ensure the fervor would not lead to secession. In everything Henry did and everywhere he went in Baltimore and the surrounding areas, nothing was untouched by war. The Abbott Rolling Mill was one of the foremost producers of iron in the Union. Most famously, they made the armor for the Monitor, the first ironclad ship in the U.S. Navy. As Henry notes, Pusey and Jones helped build the USS Juniata, which helped enforce the Union’s naval blockade of the Confederacy.

Henry attended two different churches on the 25th, a Presbyterian one and Dr. Fuller’s Seventh Baptist church. Dr. Fuller was a Harvard-educated South Carolinian living in Baltimore. His allegiance in the civil was complicated, to say the least, as was his congregation’s. During the course of the war, Fuller’s bipartisan preaching grew so popular that his congregation actually expanded tenfold over the course of the war. Green Mount Cemetery, where Henry spent the afternoon, is now a popular sight for Civil War buffs to visit. It is the final resting place of both Union and Confederate generals, and John Wilkes Booth.

On the 27th, Henry escaped some of the turmoil and took the first step in his journey back to New England. The next time he would cross the Mason-Dixon Line, his trip would have a very different purpose.


Abby Locke’s Splendid Days: A Teenager’s Diary in 1860s Andover (#26)

Monday, July 4th, 2011

These are Abby’s entries  from July 3 and 4, 1867.

Wednesday July 3:  I went up to Mary Morton’s this morning.  She went to ride with Seth Williams last night.  He wants to know me.  Willie Donald came up in the evening.

Thursday  4Went to a picnic at Haggetts Pond.  Had a glorious time.  Danced all the time.  Went out in a boat once with Amasa Clarke.  He invited me to ride home with him and of course I accepted.  It rained while we were there a little and then after I got home walked down to Aunt Abbie’s.  I should have thought I would have been too tired but my feet were as light when I got home as when I started.  Coming home met a large cart of A. boys going over for a bath I suppose

Regular readers of Abby’s diary excerpts know that it is not unusual for her to write enthusiastically about boyfriends and dance partners.  But capturing the attention of Amasa Clarke, even for an afternoon, seems to be an especially significant social coup.  Clarke was 23 years old, an Army veteran and a member of one of the richest and most influential families in town. 

Amasa Clarke was one of 6 grandsons of Andover industrialist Abraham Marland to serve in the Civil War.

Amasa Clarke was born in Andover in 1844, the son of Francis Clarke, a physician and Sarah Fisher Marland, a daughter of Andover industrialist Abraham Marland.  The boy was orphaned at the age of 8 years old, and afterwards made his home with his maternal aunt Mrs. Martha Punchard who was the wealthy widow of Benjamin Punchard.  Amasa attended Phillips Academy and was one of the first graduates of St. Paul’s School in Concord, NH.  Shortly after his graduation in 1862, he enlisted at the age of 18 in Andover’s Civil War company, the Massachusetts 44th, and served nearly a year before mustering out in June 1863.  Four years later, in the summer of 1867, he was just embarking on his own career in manufacturing.  The Andover Advertiser reported on June 14 that the young man “connected to the well known Marland family” had been engaged to supervise the reorganization of a Boston business whose principal George W. Ryley had been killed in an accident. 

Clarke would go on to a long and successful career in the wool industry.  He and his wife Frances Sturtevant would leave no children, but one of the items they bequeathed to a nephew was the handsome portrait of his grandfather Abraham Marland that he had inherited from his aunt Martha Punchard.  The 1847 portrait, by the artist Edward D. Marchant  is now in the collection of the Andover Historical Society.