page, 19th Century Mass. literature,
genealogy, Deyo intro
History of Barnstable County, Massachusetts
edited by Simeon L. Deyo.
1890. New York: H. W. Blake & Co
AN important part of the history of any people is the resources upon which their sustenance has depended and from which their wealth may be derived. The reader already understands that it was by hardy, practical Englishmen that this county was, for the most part, first settled. Whatever may have been their taste, or their training, the insular position of the place they adopted as their home in the New World, rendered maritime pursuits both natural and necessary. They knew before coming here that the Cape possessed great fertility, and that agriculture might be successfully undertaken; but when the home, the garden, and the meadow had been provided, they naturally turned their attention to those vast and exhaustless food supplies with which the surrounding waters so richly abounded. Thus we find them in the first generations, daring the perils of the ocean which lay so invitingly around them, and which promised so rich a reward to any who would undertake its conquest. The building of vessels must needs receive their early attention, and to this the forests were in a large measure sacrificed; and almost in proportion as the forests disappeared the productiveness of much of the lands decreased.
As their intercourse with the Dutch along the Hudson and Long Island sound became more thoroughly established, the tendency was to give more of their attention here to the various branches of fishing; and by an exchange of products they found it less necessary to cultivate the unfriendly soil. Thus the trend of affairs in the county was steadily toward those maritime pursuits which for more than two centuries since have been the characteristic and the pride of Cape Cod. The love of adventure is hereditary, and if the fathers caught codfish at the Grand banks, the sons were satisfied with nothing less than taking whales in the Pacific. And as generation succeeded generation their energy and enterprise increased until a portion of the life of nearly every able-bodied man was passed upon the sea.
There were probably then no people in the New World whose employments were more varied, or whose resources were more widely diversified than were those of the people who for the first century occupied this Cape. Their fields gave liberal reward for their toil, and on every hand were the still more productive waters of the sea. Thus all those pursuits, which may be generally classed as fishing, have been a perpetual, although a varying, fountain of wealth. The superior advantages for fishing, which Provincetown offered in 1620, were observed by the Pilgrims, and the practical whalemen among them expressed their belief that with proper facilities they, from the taking of whales alone, could have made a most profitable return for the whole voyage. As early as 1666 the Plymouth court imposed upon the Cape Cod fisheries a duty, for revenue only, with which a public school was to be established, and with the proceeds of stranded whales they oiled the machinery of church and state.
The codfishing on North American coasts received the attention of Europe almost immediately after the Cabots' explorations. The abundance of this fish in the immediate vicinity of the Cape has been noticed, and is forever recorded in the name which the peninsula bears. In 1622 the Plymouth Company complained to the king, of thirty-seven English ships which had made successful fishing voyages to the New England coast, whereupon all fishing, or Indian trading, was prohibited on these shores except by license from the council of Plymouth. The right to control this industry gave to the colony, first, franchises for which they received £1,800 from the merchant adventurers, and later those royalties and revenues, the collection of which in the various towns the reader will hereafter notice.
For a century and a half this branch of fishing grew in importance and the extent of waters visited by the Cape fishermen included the Bay of Fundy, the banks of Newfoundland, and the surrounding straits. An idea of the extent to which the people of this country depended upon this resource may appear from the following figures, showing the,annual average of five towns for the ten years preceding the revolution. These figures are from Macgregor's tables, a standard English authority: Chatham had thirty vessels of thirty tons each engaged in the business and employed 240 men, taking 12,000 quintals. Provincetown had four vessels of forty tons each, employing thirty-two men, who took 16,000 quintals. Eighty men with ten vessels of forty tons each, sailing from Truro, took 4,000 quintals. Wellfleet had three vessels operated by twenty-one men who secured 900 quintals. Yarmouth had thirty vessels of thirty tons each, in which 180 men secured 9,000 quintals.
When the colonists in 1776 appealed to the uncertain arbitrament of War, these maritime interests suffered most, but so promptly did they
resume their peaceable pursuits after the declaration of peace that the averages of the four years, including and preceding 1790, are equal to the yearly average for the decade preceding the war. Provincetown had greatly increased her vessels and tonnage, sending out eleven, with an average of fifty tons, in which eighty-eight men secured 8,200 quintals of cod annually.
The business of the cod fishermen has been a permanent and generally a profitable one, and their product has long been one of the staple food-supplies of the world. Off every shore of the Cape more or less are caught, but the greater supply is to the north and east. The records of the Bureau of Labor Statistics show that in the census year 1837 there were taken 134,658 quintals of cod by the fishermen of Barnstable county. Of these Provincetown caught 51,400 quintals; Orleans, 20,000; Truro, 16,520; Chatham, 15,500; Harwich, 10,000; Dennis, 9,141; Yarmouth, 4,300; Wellfleet, 3,100; Sandwich, 2,100; Eastham, 1,200; Brewster, 800; and Barnstable, the least, 267 quintals.
In 1845 Provincetown secured 20,000 quintals; Harwich, 14,200; Dennis, 11,150; Chatham, 7,600; Truro, 6,250; Yarmouth, 6,195; Orleans, 3,500; Brewster, 2,400; Eastham and Wellfleet, each 2,000; and Falmouth, 800 quintals.
The next decade showed Provincetown catching 79,000 quintals annually; with Chatham next in order, taking 15,000; Wellfleet, 8,528; Barnstable, 8,225; Harwich, 6,300; Yarmouth, 4,400; Orleans, 4,265; Dennis, 1,200; Eastham, 300; and Falmouth, 250 quintals.
In the census year 1865 Provincetown reported a catch of 65,411 quintals, followed by Chatham, with 25,361; Harwich, 20,938; Dennis, 7,769; Barnstable, 1,938; Orleans, 1,350; Wellfleet, 1,200; Truro, 670; Yarmouth, 500; and Eastham, 130 quintals.
In 1875 the Provincetown fleet reported for the census year 29,936 quintals; Chatham, 16,773; and Yarmouth, 62 quintals.
While other branches of fishing are common to all the towns of the county, the cod fishing is more extensively carried on from Provincetown. In 1887 the Provincetown fleet took 120,000 quintals; in 1888 fifty-seven vessels, employing nine hundred men, secured 90,000 quintals; and the season of 1889 yielded but 50,000 quintals to the forty-nine vessels and the eight hundred men employed. These latter figures indicate the least prosperous season which the fleet has had in twenty years. In the early days of the business a crew consisted of six or eight men, but larger vessels were found to be better, and during the recent years schooners with twenty-five men each are more generally in use. Their season at the Grand banks is usually from April to September, and it has been expected that during this period the fleet would secure two hundred quintals of fish for each man employed.
According to the state census of 1885, the cod fleets from Barnstable county took 18,134,539 pounds of fish. Provincetown took 16,801,060; Chatham, 755,009; Harwich, 415,160; Truro, 112,050; Orleans, 38,560; Dennis, 20,700; and Barnstable, 2,000 pounds.
The first people who pursued the whale fishery as a regular business were the Biscayans, who carried it on with success from the twelfth to the fourteenth century; although the Norwegians had taken whales cast on the Shetland and Orkney coasts at a much earlier period. The northern whale fishery was opened up by the Dutch and English after their voyages of discovery and as early as 1680 the Dutch whale fishery reached its most prosperous state, employing then 260 ships and fourteen thousand sailors. Prior to this, houses provided with tanks and boilers for reducing the blubber and preparing the bone, were established on the northern coast of Spitzbergen.
The American whale fishery was commenced at Nantucket, where in 1672, James Lopar and John Savage were given a subsidy of land and a third interest with the town in the business of securing the whales which came to their shores. The people of Cape Cod had become proficient in securing and utilizing the whale, and in 1690 Ichabod Padduck of Provincetown was considered an expert in methods of capturing the whale and extracting the oil. He went to Nantucket, where his instructive descriptions of his successful methods were dignified with the name lectures.
The more enterprising white settlers, assisted by the more venturesome Indians, made trips in open boats beyond the sight of land, and when a whale was killed, with such rude weapons as his size had suggested, he was towed ashore, where the tedious process of securing the oil was carried on. The blubber was conveyed on carts to "try-houses," where in kettles the oil was extracted. Fifty years before the revolution, Boston was exporting large quantities of whale products; and the towns of the Cape, and the court of Plymouth were collecting revenues from the stranded whales found on their shores. The introduction of larger vessels equipped With apparatus for cutting up the blubber, marked a new era in the industry, although a single whale, producing 250 barrels of oil and 3,000 pounds of bone, made a cargo for what was then called a good sized vessel, and the practice of bringing the blubber to the "try-houses " on shore still prevailed.
The equipping of larger ships, with furnaces for rendering and casks for storing the oil, marked a third epoch in the history of the great whaling industry, and with facilities thus increased the fields of operation were enlarged. In July; 1730, the North American whalemen sent 9,200 tuns of oil and 154 tons of bone to England.
The whaling grounds at Davis' straits were first visited by whalers in 1746; Baffin's bay in 1751; Gulf of St. Lawrence, 1761; eastern banks
of Newfoundland, 1765; Brazilian coasts in 1774. The introduction of the New England product into the markets of England furnished a motive to that government for granting its own seamen a large bounty to stimulate the whale industry, and under that impulse the production increased more rapidly than the demand, and thus the profits to American whalemen were greatly diminished.
In 1771 Barnstable county had thirty-six vessels engaged in the whale fishery. Of these, two were from Barnstable, employing thirteen seamen each, and for the four years preceding the revolution they secured 240 barrels of oil each year; Falmouth equipped four vessels of seventy-five tons each, and brought in 400 barrels annually; while Wellfleet had thirty vessels, with a total tonnage of 2,600, employing 420 men, taking annually 4,500 barrels.
The war here interrupts the chain of statistics, which would certainly show that the industry was neglected during the struggle. It was, however, soon revived, and in 1787-1789 this county had sixteen whale vessels engaged, whose total tonnage was 1,120, and whose 212 seamen secured 1,920 barrels of oil annually.
Captain Jesse Holbrook of Wellfleet, who flourished in revolutionary days, was a skillful whaler, and in one voyage killed fifty-two sperm whales. His great success obtained for him employment by a London company for twelve years, teaching their employees his art. After a checkered career he returned to Wellfleet in 1795, where he subsequently died, aged seventy years.
The whalers' voyages, at first, scarcely taking them beyond sight of their own ports, came later to be passages of thousands of miles, requiring ten to fifty months, and sometimes longer, to complete. The men who gained wealth or renown in this hazardous vocation were the grave, persevering, sober men, who represented the best blood of the Cape; and those venerable retired captains who, in their advancing years, still remain in almost every Cape town, constitute one of the most substantial elements of the population. In the histories of the towns in. which they reside the reader may find record of some thrilling adventures in the experience of Captains Nathaniel Burgess, Silas Jones, Caleb O. Hamblin, N. P. Baker, Edward Penni-man and others, which are illustrative of the life that whaleship masters were obliged to lead.
Falmouth early became an important town in this business, and from Woods Holl several ships were equipped and sent to the Pacific and Arctic whaling grounds. The details of their voyages more fully appear in the history of the town of Falmouth in this volume. The business from the other whaling ports of the lower Cape was still more extensive, but the details as given of the voyages from the port of Woods Holl furnish a general idea of the whalemen's experiences,
and the decline of the industry there, may be a fair indication of when and how rapidly the attention of the Cape people was turned to other pursuits.
In 1834 Falmouth had six whale ships at sea, and in 1837 had nine, the total tonnage of which was 2,823; in 1845 her vessels numbered five, with an average tonnage of 315; in 1855 three whalers were reported as securing $55,000 worth of oil. Provincetown, in 1837, had only two whale ships out; in 1841 six vessels returned, bringing 1,065 barrels of oil; in 1843 sixteen vessels from here were on whaling voyages; in 1845 twenty-six vessels, with a tonnage of 3,255, secured during the census year $102,984 worth of oil; in 1855 seventeen vessels were in the business, reporting $118,833 earnings for the year; in 1865 twenty-eight vessels reported oil worth $312,017; and in 1885 the town had only three vessels thus engaged. For the census year 1855 Orleans reported four vessels of 155 tons each, employing 125 men, and securing oil to the amount of $19,250. Thus as the vocation became less profitable, and its prosecution imposed greater hardships upon those who followed it, the Cape people gradually dropped out of it or went in those ships which later on still sailed from New Bedford.
Soon after the development of the cod fisheries, the taking of mackerel became a very important and lucrative vocation, and from the first until the present moment it has, after the cod fishery, furnished regular employment and a source of revenue to more of the people than has any other branch of fishing. In the taking of these fish the most scientific methods are employed, and the habits of the fish have been most thoroughly and systematically investigated. Fishing for mackerel with hook and line was for many years a regular employment, and the aged fishermen now maintain that a workman's share was then worth more than one has averaged since the introduction of methods requiring expensive outfits, in which, of course, capital has come in for a larger relative share.
The most sweeping change made in the method of capture was the introduction of the purse seine, by which whole schools of them may be surrounded off shore, in any depth of water, and speedily transferred to the boats. Before this a similar seine had been used only in shoal water, where the seine would sweep the bottom. These sweep seines were usually two hundred fathoms long and three or four deep, but since the deep-water seining has been found practicable, the seines in use have been made somewhat longer and five or six times as wide, and hundreds of barrels of mackerel are taken at a single draught. This was a new idea in 1853, at which date it is said that Isaiah Baker first practiced it successfully off the south shores west of Monomoy. This wholesale taking of mackerel, although highly profitable to those engaged in it, is now the generally assigned reason of the disastrous
decline of the business. Other causes have surely contributed to, and possibly may have predominated introducing this result. The fish, not less than the men who pursue them, are creatures with habits and tastes which are continually changing, and coincident in time with their decrease on the Atlantic coasts, is their, appearance in unusual numbers in other and distant waters.
Until within the last few years the annual migrations of the mackerel from south to north and return have been computed with certainty and relied upon by the fleets pursuing them. Chiefly from Wellfleet, but more or less from Dennis, Harwich and other towns, the boats went south to meet the great schools of this erratic fish at Chesapeake bay in March or April, and followed them in their season's course as they skirted their feeding grounds along the Atlantic coast as far northeast as the Bay of Fundy, and as late as September. Then the fish began their return and were followed by the fleet until, off Block island in November, the men usually began their own homeward journey. For the last two or three seasons the movements of the mackerel have been less regular, and several vessels have made the entire season in the vicinity of Block island. The belief that the immense catches by the purse seiners were hazarding the future of the business, has taken form as a law, now prohibiting their capture by this method before the first of June in any year.
The people of every town have, been more or less interested in the mackerel fisheries. A regular inspection of all that is brought to port is provided for by law, and the reports of the inspectors are filed as public records. Some figures may indicate how widely and yet how unequally the business is distributed:
In 1838 there were inspected at Barnstable, 1,843 barrels; at Chatham, 84 barrels; at Dennis, 2,674; at Provincetown, 2,686; at Truro, 8,852; and at Yarmouth, 655 barrels.
At this time the Wellfleet men were taking quantities of this fish, but the absence of the name from the statistics quoted is accounted for by the fact that the fish were packed at Boston.
The industry, although permanent, is fluctuating. In 1840 there were inspected at Barnstable, 1,914 barrels; at Chatham, 240; at Dennis, 3,009; at Harwich, 60; at Provincetown, 2,086; at Truro, 2,790; at Wellfleet, 3,912; and at Yarmouth, 1,387 barrels were inspected. In 1844 Wellfleet secured 9,700 barrels; Truro, 6,740; Dennis, 3,605; Yarmouth, 3,412; Barnstable, 2,400; Orleans and Provincetown, 1,000 each; Harwich, 650; Eastham, 550; and Chatham, 400. In 1854 the catch for Wellfleet was 12,600 barrels; for Dennis, 11,036; Provincetown, 6,000; Harwich, 5,700; Chatham, 3,000; Brewster, 1,500; Yarmouth, 1,217; Orleans, 800; Eastham, 750; and Barnstable, 465. In 1864 Wellfleet reported 26,900 barrels; Provincetown, 19,395; Dennis, 8,799; Harwich,
8,343; Truro, 7,055; Chatham, 6,746; Orleans, 2,000; and Yarmouth, 250. The census of 1875 shows that the total catch of the preceding year was 98,774 barrels, of which Provincetown received 46,173; Wellfleet, 35,817; Chatham, 8,342; Dennis, 6,000; Eastham, 1,082; Barnstable, 850; and Orleans, 511 barrels. In 1884 Wellfleet received 38,735 barrels; Provincetown, 32,065; Chatham, 10,765; Truro, 9,527: Dennis, 9,422; Harwich, 6,050; Brewster, 3,444; Sandwich, 2,178; Eastham, 1,762; Orleans, 166; Falmouth, 94; Yarmouth, 2; and Barnstable, 1 barrel. The price has generally varied inversely and somewhat proportionately with the supply, so that the fluctuations in quantity are greater than in the current value of the catch.
For several years Wellfleet has been most extensively engaged in the mackerel business, sending out in 1879 twenty-four vessels, which brought in 9,348 barrels; in 1880, thirty vessels took 33,627 barrels; in 1881, thirty-one took 35,627; in 1882, twenty-nine, 32,850; in 1883, thirty-four, 15,725; in 1884, thirty, 36,784; 1885, twenty-nine, 23,144; 1886, twenty-nine, 3,566; 1887, twenty-eight, 9,203; 1888, thirty, 4,832; and in 1889 thirteen seiners and eight hookers took 1,690. The other Cape ports making returns for 1889 are Provincetown, 1,697 barrels; Dennis, 469; Harwich, 224; and Chatham, 17. The rapid decline during the last four years has brought the business to its lowest point within the past seventy-five years.
An interesting topic of thought and investigation is suggested by the changes constantly going on in the demand for as well as the supply of the various food products. This change through which one generation comes to subsist upon foods which their ancestors did not regard as wholesome, is continually tending to modify the industries and the resources of the producing classes, and here in the various branches of fishing this tendency has been manifested. Scores of kinds of fish once unknown are now sought for.
The facts concerning the bluefish furnish the most striking illustration of this tendency. Middle-aged men well remember when this fish was so little valued that those which were caught simply for amusement became a drug on the market. In Wellfleet bay, for instance, it was no unusual occurrence for a fisherman with only a hook and line to take in a few hours a hundred bluefish of ten or fifteen pounds each. Then such a fish would hardly bring ten cents in the market; but people's tastes, continually changing, have within thirty years put them among the favorite sea fish. They are taken in greater or less quantities off every shore of the county, and while their capture has been the source of royal revenues to the fishermen, it has also long been a standard sport with pleasure seekers. The waters of the sound are dotted, every season, with the sails of bluefishers. Considering the subject as the Yankee is prone to consider every subject,
it must be classed with the most profitable branches of the Cape fisheries, the principal quantity being taken in the fish weirs and with gill seines in deep water. The people of Eastham have regarded it as their chief source of income. Their weirs, now for a short time less profitable, have, formerly yielded very handsome returns.
In 1884 nearly 587 tons of bluefish were landed in the town of Barnstable, largely at Hyannis, for shipment by rail, and in every town some were taken. In Eastham, 367,938 pounds; in Provincetown, 152,784 pounds; Dennis, 91,870; Bourne, 69,818; Wellfleet, 33,700; Chatham, 31,065; Yarmouth, 30,806; Falmouth, 24,435; Truro, 23,002; Harwich, 18,827; Brewster, 17,820; Orleans, 7,406; Sandwich, 6,000; and Mashpee, 294 pounds. The market value then of the whole bluefish Catch for the county was more than two hundred thousand dollars.
The invention of the modern fish weir marked an important period in the whole business of shore fishing, and began that controversy between the line and seine fishermen which, with more or less vigor, has continued to the present; Individuals and corporations are engaged on neatly every shore in the weir on trap fishing. The fish weir, or trap, now modified to various plans and purposes, was first used by its inventors on the shores of Long Island sound. At Monomoy Point in Chatham, where, about 1848, the first weir on these shores was set, at Woods Holl where a very large business is still carried on, and off the shores almost around the entire Cape, especially the lower towns, this branch of enterprise has furnished a channel of investment for large amounts of capital and employment to considerable numbers of people, whereby both capital and labor have for the most part been fairly rewarded.
Statistics have not been kept to show the methods by which fish have been taken, but the trap fishing is relatively important. Prince M. Stewart, of Woods Holl, says that he caught 80,000 scup in one trap within one hundred days preceding August 15th, and in one month following caught thirty-two barrels with hook and line. These traps sometimes serve a purpose for which they were not intended, as did one off South Harwich in 1889, in which Cyrus Nickerson found entangled a turtle reported as weighing half a ton.
In 1840 Massachusetts produced half of all the fish products of the United States. At that date Provincetown had a thousand people engaged in cod and mackerel fishing. Barnstable had $57,000 invested in the fish business, and Dennis had $36,300. In 1850 Provincetown led all the other Cape towns in the extent and value of its fish industries.
The fishing business as developed in this county has rendered combinations of men and capital necessary, and from 1815 many such combinations were incorporated by the state, with authority to improve
streams, wharves and harbors. One company, incorporated in 1817, had authority to open a canal from Nauset cove to Boat-meadow creek. The Duck Harbor and Beach Company of Wellfleet; the Union Wharf Company of Truro; the Skinnequits Fishing Company of Harwich; the Central Wharf Company of Yarmouth; the Eastham Fishing Company; the Union Wharf Company of Provincetown; Rock Harbor Fishing Company of Orleans; the Andrews Fishing Company of Har-wich; the Herring River Company of Harwich; the Brewster Harbor Company; the Orleans Fishing Company; the North Falmouth Fishing Company; the Fish Weir Company of Orleans; the Boat-meadow River Company of Eastham; and the North Wharf Company of Truro, were incorporated prior to 1838, with special privileges.
The species of fish and the fish products which enter into the totals. of this great industry include items not even mentioned by name thus far in this chapter. For the first nine months of 1889 the Provincetown fishermen, not including the Grand bank cod-fishing fleet, brought in fresh cod, 6,159,850 pounds; haddock, 5,268,759 pounds; halibut, 766,300 pounds; hake, 1,270,600 pounds; salt cod, 336,700 pounds; salt herring, 2,700 pounds; frozen herring, 257,000 herring; cod oil, 19,845 gallons; dog liver oil, 5,670 gallons; fresh mackerel, 1,541 barrels; salt mackerel, 1,743 barrels; fresh herring, 11,528 barrels; fresh porgies, 2,000 barrels; fresh flounders, 417 barrels; fresh butter fish, 75 barrels: fresh albocaas, 310 barrels; fresh pollock, 15,400 pounds; total value, $352,137.
The fishermen's resources are by no means limited to the food fish. The waters abound in species not considered suitable for the table, and these are made to serve some humbler purpose, and minister, through other channels, to the wealth and comfort of mankind.
The blackfish, a specie of whale, occasionally visits the shores of Cape Cod bay. For a century past we find the record of their frequent visitations at Provincetown, Truro and Wellfleet, where they are secured for their oil. They go in schools of old and young, numbering hundreds, and are easily driven upon the beach at high tide, where they are killed after the water recedes. Refineries for extracting their oil still exist at Wellfleet and Provincetown. The males are sometimes thirty-five feet long, and the young are from five feet upwards. An average of a barrel of oil is obtained from each. The remarkable school of 1885, captured at Wellfleet, is further mentioned in the chapter on that town.
The blackfish yields a valuable lubricating oil, and from porgies or menhaden an oil is obtained which is available for adulterating paint oils, while the bones and flesh fibre appear in the market as a valuable fertilizer. With various additions the fish refuse becomes the basis of fertilizers known in the markets by a great variety of
names. The fertilizer works at Woods Holl, about 1863, were intended to utilize menhaden scrap, but were used for other purposes after the supply of menhaden in the adjacent waters had diminished. The use of fish as a fertilizer was well understood and largely practiced by the farmers in the old days. Food fish were so abundant that their fields were kept fertile by the use of the surplus. Placing one or more herrings in each hill of corn was a practice so general that it was thought to hazard the food supply, and was accordingly at one time prohibited by law. Other fish applied to the lands just as they are taken from the waters are found to be of great utility.
Almost every stream on the Cape swarms with herring in the spawning season. The right to take them was reserved by the original proprietors as a common privilege when they reduced their common lands to individual ownership, and to-day the right to participate in this branch of fishery in any stream belongs equally to every freeholder in the respective towns. Some of the towns lease this privilege from year to year for a stipulated sum, thus realizing a revenue for the general uses of the town. This, by reducing the taxes of the town, spreads the benefit among the people in proportion to the valuation of their property, and to protect the rights of those who have but little taxable estate, most of the towns, in leasing, the herring rights, fix a minimum price at which each family may be entitled to a supply for domestic uses from those who lease the privilege.
The supply of the various kinds of shell-fish has always been a resource of considerable importance. Oysters, clams, quahaugs, scallops, shrimps, and lobsters are the more abundant. The oyster, so long a popular food, was found here by the first settlers, who made them a staple article of diet. The great use which the Indians made of shell-fish is evinced by the immense heaps of shells which now, partially covered, are the best existing records of the location of their principal settlements. The latter part of last century marked an epoch in the oyster industry. Implements and methods employed in taking them from the natural beds destroyed large quantities of the small ones, and the legislation aimed at this reckless destruction came too late. During this century the oyster business has consisted in transplanting to grounds favorable to their development, oyster seed from other localities. They have been common in Wellfleet bay, where the once famous Wellfleet oysters were taken, in the coves of Eastham, Orleans and Chatham, and on the shores of all the towns of the upper Cape. In the palmy days of the Wellfleet oyster business, forty or fifty sail of vessels were engaged each winter in transferring the product to the Boston market.
The last state census shows that Barnstable, county has 562 1/2 acres of oyster beds, which is more than two-thirds of all the grounds in
the state. Bourne, on its Buzzards bay front, has 168 1/4 acres, which is nearly all the native beds of the county, and has also 124 acres of planted beds. Barnstable has two acres of native and 249 of planted; Chatham has ten acres of planted; Dennis three of planted; Mashpee 3 1/4 of planted; and Harwich has three acres of native beds. These beds of native oysters are the only ones in Massachusetts, excepting 250 acres at Somerset, in Bristol county. This census report does not notice the beds on the west of Waquoit bay, planted in 1877, where F. C. Davis now has the only oyster beds in Falmouth, and has done an increasing business during the last year. In the town histories of Bourne, Barnstable, Mashpee, Chatham and Wellfleet, their cultivation by the various planters is noticed.
By that inexorable law of change and succession, the oyster and the oysterman are, so far as these shores are concerned, slowly, but surely, passing away. Their doom is the shifting sand, and the business as a source of gain or general employment must be now regarded as among the things that have been. The man who followed this vocation has been made immortal in literature by Thoreau, in his inimitable description of the Wellfleet oysterman, and the oyster himself has made a pleasant and lasting impression, very near, if not quite, upon the hearts of all who knew him.
The perennial clam, the abundance of which the Pilgrims made the subject of thanksgiving, still abides as a blessing to their posterity. He figures in all the affairs here except politics—at the church fair, at the picnic dinner, in the menu of every well-regulated hotel, at the rich man's feast, and at the poor man's board, he appears in various guises. He and his hard-shelled cousin, the quahaug, are indigenous to the sands of every shore. Here are 150 miles of shore line, greatly increased by indentations of coves and bays, and almost throughout this entire stretch of tide-water margins, these nutritious shell-fish are in greater or less abundance.
The business of clam-digging calls for the minimum investment of capital and the maximum employment of labor, hence it has ever furnished employment and profit to many whose tastes or finances deterred them from embarking in other fishing enterprises. The old saying that there is no royal road to learning is equally true of clam digging. Any man or boy not necessarily well-dressed, and equipped with a short-handled hoe and a pair of long-handled boots, is fully prepared to make the business remunerative.
The various branches of the fishing business which accustomed the boys to the sea was the great school whose graduates became the master marines. Every product of the sea and of the soil made cargo for the coasters, whose prosperity began so early in the Cape history, and continued so late. Before the modern railway, this coasting busi-
ness was of immense importance as an employment for capital and labor. Almost every port had its craft of various tonnage engaged in the carrying business. From the first the building of their vessels was one of their staple industries, and long after the local supply of material had been exhausted, ship timber was brought here, and the brain and muscle of the Cape people converted it into cash through the construction of staunch ships of no mean proportions. Since yachting has been popular small craft have been built at several ports in the county; but these enterprises, as well as the building of larger vessels earlier, have been regarded as business enterprises of the towns or villages in which they were carried on.
The records of the state bureau of labor statistics show that during the five years preceding 1837 the total value of all craft built in the county was $316,790. The census of the state since then gives the following figures: In 1845 Barnstable built fifteen vessels; Chatham, six; Falmouth, eight; Orleans, six; Provincetown, 150, all small craft, and Sandwich one vessel of four hundred tons, worth $15,000. The census year 1855 gives Barnstable, fifteen; Chatham, fifteen; Harwich, forty; and Provincetown seventy small craft. Dennis at this time had fifty people employed, and built two vessels of 630 tons each, and Falmouth one of 260 tons. In 1865 Barnstable reported four; Harwich fourteen; and Provincetown nineteen small boats, built within the census year. At the close of the next decade it appeared that Barnstable was building ten small boats each year, and that Provincetown had built one worth $11,420. The census of 1885 showed that Barnstable had built in the preceding year seventeen vessels, worth $6,377; Bourne, three, worth $4,000; Harwich, eight, worth $2,000, and Provincetown, thirty-nine, worth $6,800.
Unless the building of boats be regarded as such, manufacturing has received comparatively little attention in this county. Prior to the revolution, however, the Cape people were largely engaged in the manufacture of cloth. The families not only generally made their own, but the Marston's and Winslow's were prominent in its manufacture for commerce. In 1768 the best ladies of the county, as well as gentlemen, were dressed in homespun, even to their gloves. Barn-stable and Falmouth were the principal towns engaged in making woolen goods. The glass factories at Sandwich, the brick works at West Barnstable, and the pants factory at Orleans and Wellfleet, the shoe factory at West Dennis, the guano works at Woods Holl and the oil and fertilizer works at Wellfleet and Provincetown, are or have been local enterprises, and will receive attention in the several village histories.
In yet another way has the sea contributed to the wealth of Barnstable county. Here 350 gallons of its waters are found to contain
one bushel of salt. It was during the revolution that the first practical use was made of this fact. A bushel of salt in 1783 was worth eight dollars, and its extraction by boiling was the child of their necessity. The general court, six years before, saw fit to encourage its manufacture by a bounty of three shillings per bushel. As the the diplomatic relations which led to the war of 1812 were unsettling values, and salt was rising rapidly in price, works were erected in various parts of the Cape, where salt was obtained by solar evaporation. One company was incorporated in 1809, and in 1821 a Wellfleet company was incorporated, with a capital of fifty thousand dollars. Before the gradual decline of the business began, two million dollars were at one time invested in salt works.
Many crude methods were employed, but at last a regular Cape Cod salt works consisted of one or more wind mills for pumping the water, and a series of pine-plank vats to receive it. These vats, usually nine inches deep and from twelve to twenty feet square, were furnished with movable covers that their contents might be exposed to the sun or shielded from the rain. Several plans of vats and covers were in use, each serving this, general purpose. First, the covers-were made to slide to and fro on suitable ways; next, they were so made as to be swung to and from their places; and finally this idea was elaborated and the double revolving covers came into use. In 1803, John Sears, of East Dennis, proposed an improvement in vats
and covers, which for years bore the name of Sears' Folly. As the process of evaporation progressed, which required weeks to complete, the brine was conducted from the first vats, called water-rooms, into a second range called pickle-rooms, where the lime was removed and the crystals commenced forming. Then the brine was run into other vats, called salt-rooms, where the crystalization went on until salt could be raked out and placed in warehouses to dry.
The first public record regarding this industry, in details by towns, is the state census of 1837; and since that time the number of people employed, capital invested, bushels produced, number of establishments engaged in its manufacture, and the value of the product, have been ascertained for each state census.
Barnstable in 1837 had thirty-four establishments, producing annually 27,125 bushels; in 1845, twenty-four, producing 21,000; in 1855, eleven, producing 10,550; and in 1865, three, producing 3,382 bushels.
Brewster in 1837 had sixty different works, producing 34,500 bushels; in 1845, thirty-nine, producing 20,500; in 1855, seventeen, producing 5,000; and in 1865, twelve, producing 5,000 bushels.
Chatham had eighty plants in 1837, which produced 27,400 bushels; in 1845, fifty-four, producing 18,000; and in 1855, fourteen, producing 3,300 bushels.
Dennis in 1837 produced from 114 establishments, 52,200 bushels; in 1845, from eighty-five establishments, 34,600; in 1855, the town produced 19,800 bushels; in 1865, twenty-three plants produced 15, 275; and in 1885, one person made 300 bushels.
Eastham in 1837 had fifty-four establishments, that produced 22, 370 bushels; in 1845, thirty-five produced. 17,320; in 1855, twenty-eight produced 13,722, and in 1865, the nine works made 4,575 bushels.
Falmouth in 1845 had forty-two salt-works, producing 24,500 bush-els; in 1855, fifteen works made 9,000 bushels; and in 1865 the four remaining plants produced 2,800 bushels.
Harwich had eight different salt works in 1837, and produced 4,000 bushels; half as many, in 1845, made 450, and in 1855 one individual made 140 bushels.
Orleans had fifty plants in 1837, which turned out 21,780 bushels; in 1845, forty-six establishments made 17,072; in 1855, nineteen plants made 10,125; and in 1865, fifteen plants produced 4,740 bushels.
Provincetown had seventy-eight salt works in 1837, employing an average of two men to each, and producing 48,960 bushels; in 1845, seventy plants made 26,000 bushels of salt; in 1855, five plants made 2,304; and in 1865 the only remaining plant produced 200 bushels.
Sandwich, in 1837, had eight plants, producing 2,670 bushels; and in 1845 the number and their product had diminished one half.
Truro made 17,490 bushels of salt in 1837 at thirty-nine establishments; in 1845 its twenty-five salt makers produced 11,515; and in 1855, fifteen works produced 5,078 bushels.
Wellfleet had thirty-nine of these works in 1837, which produced 10,000 bushels; in 1845 the twenty-eight works produced 6,000; in 1855, thirteen plants turned out 40,000; and in 1865, five plants produced 7,000 bushels.
Yarmouth, which was long prominent in this industry, had fifty-two plants in 1837, from which 365,200 bushels were produced; in 1845, sixty-five plants made 74,065 bushels; in 1855, forty-two plants produced 27,650 bushels; in 1865, nineteen made 13,780; in 1875, three plants only remained in operation in the town; and in 1885 the remaining one, operated by one man, produced but 1,200 bushels.
Glauber salts were at one time marketed, but the low price of that article made its manufacture unprofitable, and it was thereafter allowed to dissolve and pass into the bittern. This bittern or residuum began to be utilized in the manufacture of carbonate and calcined magnesia about the year 1850. The manufacture of Epsom was continued at South Yarmouth until the year 1888 when, for the first time in seventy-six years, the salt-mills along the shore of Bass River ceased to revolve and the business of salt making was discontinued. A view of these ruins is at page 143.
So generally have the villagers in the many hamlets of the county made salt-making a part of their business that we have classed it as a local enterprise, and in the several town histories have given detailed accounts of the hundreds of these plants. The increase in value of the pine for making the vats was a check upon the business. The supply was largely from Maine, when most of the works were built, and since the decline of the industry much of the lumber in these salt works has been used in the construction of dwelling-houses and other buildings. Between Hyannis and West Dennis, some of the vats, with their dilapidated covers, yet stand, seemingly in memory of a departed industry which gave employment to many and proved a blessing to the localities in which it flourished.
The most ancient branch of industry, and one not subject to the dangers of the waves, is that of agriculture, in which the first settlers engaged, and which is largely carried on at the present time. The alluvial deposits of the north shore from Buzzards bay to Eastham, where the first settlements of the Cape were made, were highly productive; and history has recorded that Nauset was the granary of the Pilgrims, years before the white man disturbed the virgin soil. The cultivation of these lands, as soon as a spot could be cleared or the fields of the natives obtained, was the natural labor of the pioneer.
Wheat and corn were the principal productions for many years, but the production of the former declined prior to 1700, because mildew injured the crop for several successive years. The wheat product was again increased during the first half of last century, but during this it has ceased to be one of the productions of the county. Corn, rye, oats, potatoes, and roots, in some towns, have long been and still are the staple crops, but as the major part of the people now pursue more lucrative avocations on the sea, the quantity of vegetable food required by the inhabitants is not grown within the county limits.
The hay of the salt meadows early induced the settlers to remove here, and it has since been a staple, spontaneous product. English hay was early sought as a product of the soil, and in its steady increase has become one of the largest and most profitable of the field. Sheep husbandry was an early industry of the county. The sheep were allowed to run at large, ranging through the brush and woods of the central portions of the Cape, and not until the commencement of the present century did this branch of industry cease to be remunerative; and even later small flocks were kept, the product of which found a place in the round of domestic economy. In the commencement of the growth of sheep husbandry laws were enacted that no sheep should be sold out of the colony, for the violation of which law a heavy penalty was prescribed. Cattle raising has kept pace with other branches of the business of the farm, and has always proved remunerative. The increase in the number of cattle and horses has been more rapid during the present century than previously, amounting in 1879 to quite a quarter of a million of dollars. The average area of the individual farms in this county is small, but in various towns and during all the past generations records and tradition point to the growing of profitable crops. Fertilizers of various kinds are used, but in the use of the refuse of the salt marshes and the fish, this county possesses advantages over those inland; still, phosphates and fertilizers are imported, the cost in 1880 being $4,523.
Fruit growing has received much attention, and not only have many farms well-set, thrifty orchards of varied fruits, but nearly every home spot has its variety. The many orchards of one hundred years ago still exist here and there over the county, and there are cases of still greater longevity. The pear tree planted by Governor Prince in Eastham, where he settled in 1644, lived two centuries, and has passed away within the remembrance of middle-aged residents.
The last government statistics placed the number of Barnstable county farms at 979, of which some are small and some are dairy farms; but in the general products of field culture, when relatively considered with other New England counties, this is far from the bottom of the column. The interest in the industry is evinced by the annual
fairs, and the important society for the advancement of agriculture in its various branches, of which particulars may be found in Chapter V. The branch of this industry now receiving the most attention and from which the largest revenue is derived, is cranberry culture. To the product of this berry a vast number of bogs and lowlands have been transformed from a condition of seeming worthlessness to the most valuable land of the county. These bogs for generations have quietly rested on every farm of the Cape, there receiving the richness of the surrounding higher lands, while in themselves they were accumulations of the most fertile vegetable mould—but useless to the owner. The cranberry grew in these in a wild state, and until half a century ago the fruit was carelessly passed as of no utility. Its present appreciation by the civilized nations of both hemispheres is another attesting circumstance of the change in tastes and customs which so revolutionizes the industries of a people.
Much speculation and many conflicting statements are at hand regarding the time, place, and circumstance in which this great industry had its beginning on the Cape. At North Dennis, about 1816, one Henry Hall owned a piece of low land on which wild cranberries grew. Adjoining this were beach knolls, from which, after the cutting of some small timber, the sand was blown upon the vines. This, instead of injuring the berries of which he had made some use, was found to greatly improve them as they sprang up through the lighter parts of the sand covering; and thus is believed to have originated the idea so fundamental in their successful cultivation. So little was this fruit prized, even at its best, that it was many years before any considerable use was made of this accidental discovery. In the meantime William Sears, now living, and his father Elkanah, set, at East Dennis, some vines for their own use, and others in those vicinities soon after followed the example; but no one thought of making any commercial use of the berry. Benjamin F. Bee, of Harwich, says that Isaiah Baker set a few square rods to cranberries, at West Harwich, before 1840; but this experiment, whatever its date, shared the fate of all that were made prior to 1847. In 1844 and 1845 Alvan Cahoon, then sailing a vessel from North Dennis, saw the Henry Hall vines and how they were improved by the sand covering, and in 1846 he set eight rods to berries at Pleasant lake, in Harwich; and in 1847, the now venerable Cyrus Cahoon prepared and set, at Pleasant lake, one-fourth of an acre. These dates are fully authenticated, and mark the period from which may be dated cranberry culture in Barnstable county.
Several years elapsed before the business yielded anything like profit to anyone. About the time the experiments were being made at Pleasant lake, Zebina H. Small set a little plot at Grassy pond,
where he lost the four hundred dollars which he invested. Later, he adopted a different system from any then in use, and became a successful grower, probably among the very first, in point of time, to make the business profitable. In his biography, in the chapter on Harwich, his early beginning in the culture of cranberries is noticed, and diligent search among his accounts and records has not revealed a more definite date than is there given. During his lifetime Mr. Small was regarded by some as the original cranberry man of his town, and unquestionably, was among the very first to experiment. We have noticed with exact dates those early experiments at Pleasant lake. A work on cranberry culture, written by Joseph J. White, published in 1870 by Orange Judd & Co., contains a letter over Mr. Small's name, under date of February, 1870, in which he says that his first experiments were made in Harwich "twenty-five years ago." On the site of these first experiments in the rear of Benjamin F. Bee's factory, near Harwich Center, his son Emulous Small, now a prominent grower, has a productive bog.
In 1852 or 1853, Nathaniel Robbins set a few, and afterward became an extensive grower. His bogs in Harwich were not especially profitable, but he made a fair property as owner in other bogs. Jonathan Small sanded a bog quite early at South Harwich near the shore, where now is Deep Hole bog. Deacon Braley Jenkins of West Barnstable was the first to cultivate the berry in that part of the Cape, having his bog on Sandy Neck outside the ancient Cummaquid harbor.
While these primitive experiments were proving the wisdom of some theories and the folly of others, the supply of berries was upon the whole rapidly increasing, for in almost every portion of the Cape were swamps available for no other known purpose.
Probably the men who brought the berry to the attention of the public outside of the districts to which it was indigenous and created a demand for it, were potent factors in the development of this industry. That change of taste which we have noticed as continually going on, has brought this little waif of the swamp lands into notice, and made it a favorite with the epicures of every country. Writers who called attention to it also promoted the general interest. Rev. Eastwood, of North Dennis, published a book on the cranberry and its cultivation, which attracted the attention of the New Jersey men, where the conditions for raising them were similar. In the book the author informed his readers that William Crowell, now of North Dennis, then of Baker & Crowell, at 23 South street, New York, would answer inquiries from any who intended to start in this enterprise. From this and other causes their firm handled large quantities of the cuttings of the vines which were sent to New Jersey to start the industry there.
The preparation of the bogs is in most instances a tedious and expensive process, costing, by the time the vines are started, from two hundred to five hundred dollars per acre, and in some instances even more. The usual method is to clear the land of bushes and stumps, make the surface as level as practicable, and then cover with a layer of sand to the depth of from three to eight inches. The vines are then set out in rows, and soon cover the whole acreage uniformly. As with all other crops, cranberries require constant care and attention to keep out undesirable growth. Ivy must be pulled out as soon as it makes its appearance, as it spreads very rapidly when once started. The same is true of grass and fern. After a few years the vines become thick, making the berries ripen too slowly and difficult to pick; this is remedied by putting on a layer of sand an inch or two thick every few years. One method of resanding is to sand on the ice when the bog is flowed in winter.
Every known variety is indigenous to the soil of the Cape, from which the fruit receives an excellence so peculiarly marked as to render the Cape Cod berries the most valuable in market. This native fruit has been cultivated to its present perfection by transplanting and carefully cultivating the best-producing vines. No new varieties, other than existed in their native beds, have been added to the list; but the selection of the most perfect vines and their development under more favorable circumstances, has improved the pleasing and profitable varieties which bear the names of those who prosecuted the work. The Early Blacks, a standard variety, originated on lands in Harwich belonging to Nathaniel Robbins, from whom all the men who are said to have developed it obtained, directly or indirectly, their first plants. The Howes vine originated in Dennis and was first propagated by James Howes, who has sold hundreds of barrels of cuttings. The Sears vine, and the Smalley are other well-known varieties. There are kinds that ripen sufficiently to pick during the last week in August, but not until the first week of the following month is the picking general, and this work gives lucrative employment to men, women and children during a period of several weeks. To hasten the tedious work of picking has been the study of inventive minds and several hand machines have been introduced; but the perfection of the device and its introduction to general use has not yet been accomplished.
The success of this industrial pursuit was scarcely assured when natural enemies of the crop began to appear. The fire worm is the most dangerous of the insect foes, and various means have been applied for his extermination. Flowing the bogs at the proper time was first found to be a remedy, but this retarded the growth of the berries and left them more liable to injury by early frosts in autumn.
Again, some bogs could not be quickly submerged and a delay of eighteen hours in checking the work of the worm at a critical time decides the fate of the crop. Tobacco decoctions as a spray on the vines have been used with good results. In 1889, Eleazer K. Crowell of Dennis Port, an extensive grower, made experiments covering several acres to which he applied as much as eighteen barrels of tobacco decoction in a single day with a satisfactory result.
The distinguishing feature of this business is the large percentage of the gross market price which comes to the people whose labor produces them, From the laborers who prepare the bogs to the many men, women and children who pick the berries, all classes find profitable employment and, except the freights and selling commissions, the whole price of the fruit in market finds its way into the pockets of the Cape people. The screening, sorting and cleaning the berries for the market is no small amount of labor. Making the barrels and boxes necessary for their shipment to market is another considerable industry. Many growers make their own shipping cases, purchasing the material from factories where it is prepared ready to put up, and there are several shops in the county where these barrels and boxes are prepared ready for sale.
Very handsome returns have generally been realized from investments here in the cranberry business. Several verified statements are at hand showing a profit of over a hundred per cent. on the investment in a single year, and some of these reach 134 per cent. Cyrus Cahoon of Pleasant Lake, whose age and observation fit him to judge, fairly expresses the belief that the total investments in this industry in Barnstable county since 1850 have yielded an average annual return of thirty per cent., although this average includes some recent years wherein some growers have made total failures.
In the census year 1855 there were 197 acres in the county, of which Dennis had 50; Barnstable, 33; Falmouth, 26; Provincetown, 25; Brewster, 21; Harwich, 17; Orleans, 8; Eastham, Sandwich and Yarmouth, 5 acres each, and Wellfleet, 2 acres. The next census by the state, in 1865, showed the total acreage for the county to be 1,074. Harwich had become the leading town, having 209 acres; Dennis, 194; Brewster, 136; Barnstable, 126; Provincetown, 110; Sandwich, 70; Falmouth, 68; Yarmouth, 40; Orleans, 38; Chatham, 27; Wellfleet and Eastham, each 22; and Truro, 12 acres.
The state bureau of labor statistics records the production of cranberries in the county for the census year 1865 at 13,324 bushels, the value of which was $35,815. The same authority places the crop of 1874 for the county at 44,031 bushels, of which Barnstable produced 10,019 bushels; Dennis, 8,637; Brewster, 6,198; Harwich, 5,600; Sandwich, 4,673; Falmouth, 4,438; Orleans, 1,128; Yarmouth, 845; Province-
town, 750; Eastham, 533; Wellfleet, 375; Chatham, 322; and Truro, 114 bushels. Since then the amount of the production has been stated in barrels. The totals for the county, as determined from the shipment records of the Old Colony Railroad Company, were 34,733 barrels for 1877, and 37,883 barrels for 1879. In 1880 they shipped 39,625 barrels, and 26,500 barrels in 1883. In 1884 the crop was 27,245 barrels. For 1885 the bureau of labor statistics furnishes the details by towns, showing that each town in the county was producing this fruit, of which Harwich, in the lead, marketed 12,180 barrels, and Wellfleet, at the foot of the list, produced 143 barrels. The other towns in order were: Barnstable, producing 8,509 barrels; Bourne, 8,094 barrels; Dennis, 6,030 barrels; Yarmouth, 5,000; Falmouth, 3,234; Brewster, 3,000; Mashpee, 2,740; Sandwich, 2,389; Provincetown, 1,472; Orleans, 1,067; Chatham, 1,000; Truro, 479; and Eastham, 471 barrels—a total for the county of 55,898 barrels. These figures are from the producers' statements, while the shipment records of the railroad company make the total for the county 991 barrels less, a difference of less than two per cent. The Old Colony figures for 1886 show the crop to have been 60,803 barrels; for 1887 to have been 63,476 barrels; for 1888 the crop was 54,316, and for 1889 the gross shipments—the largest ever made —reached 66,750 barrels.
The table shows the number of barrels or their equivalents shipped in 1889 from the several stations, and gives an approximate idea of the amount produced in the several towns. The West Barnstable and Sandwich shipments include chiefly the crop of Mashpee.
Buzzards Bay 201
South Dennis 5,993 Monument Beach 141
North Harwich 3,930 Wenaumet 95
Harwich 9,479 Cataumet 558
South Harwich 405 North Falmouth 735
South Chatham 186 West Falmouth 52
Chatham 580 Falmouth 4,420
Pleasant Lake 491 Woods Holl 170
Brewster 5,285 Bourne 773
Orleans 1,224 Bournedale 1,681
Eastham 189 Sagamore 3,371
North Eastham 33 Sandwich 5,800
South Wellfleet 55 West Barnstable 9,585
Wellfleet 132 Barnstable 353
South Truro 58 Yarmouth 4,735
Truro 13 Hyannis 3,349
North Truro 10 South Yarmouth 2,968
The area devoted to their culture in the several towns as recorded by the local assessors for 1889, shows a total of 3,006 1/4 acres in the county, valued at $589,639.00 as the basis of taxation. This area is doubtless very nearly correct, but this valuation is not more than
two-fifths of the commercial value of these lands. The detail by towns are:
198 1/10 acres in Bourne, valued at $35,684 00 131 1/4 "
37,097 00 203 1/2 "
66,160 00 135 5/6 "
32,400 00 549 3/4 "
116,550 00 165 1/4 "
25,680 00 359 17/24 "
71,870 00 500 1/2 "
114,810 00 93 3/8 "
12,144 00 204 1/4 "
47,990 00 123 1/8 "
10,008 00 56 "
4,979 00 13 5/6 "
995 00 59 5/8 "
3,754 00 212 1/4 "
9,518 00This total for the county does not include the larger areas in course of preparation, but not yet set with vines. Several individuals and companies in the lower Cape are preparing to increase the acreage in those towns where, thus far, less of the fruit has been grown.
The biographical sketches of Abel D. Makepeace, of West Barnstable, generally known as the cranberry king; of Cyrus Cahoon and Zebnia H. Small, of Harwich, and of E. K. Crowell, William Crowell and Capt. Howes Baker, of Dennis, as they appear in the subsequent chapters of this volume, and the personal mention of the other growers in the several towns, will throw more light upon their relation to the origin and progress of this great industrial resource of South Eastham, Mass.
The terms in which this county is generally referred to, and the distinctive titles applied to the residents of it, have gradually given those who have not known the territory or its inhabitants, the idea that Cape Codders, the Cape and Cape Cod people were terms referring to a community different from the rest of New England, and especially distinguished from the rest of the world. This idea is not correct, even in general respects, because the residents of the county have always, by land and sea, maintained business and social relations as extensive with others as have any people. If, however, there be one trait which, more than another, distinguish these families from others of the East, it is that love of home which more or less characterizes the dwellers of all islands and insular localities. This love of their native place, and that reverence and respect for the character that has been developed in it, seems to increase the longer they remain
away from it; and now that communication is so easy between the East and West, each season witnesses the return to the Cape of those who from it have gone to make their home in almost every state of the Union. They find here something which, somehow, they forgot, or failed to take with them when they went West; and so year after year they come back to the scenes and circumstances of the old home, "which father's grandfather built in 17— and something."
That sensible practice, happily increasing among city people, of checking themselves each year in the rush and hurry of business, to take a vacation at the seaside, has already modified, to a great extent, the resources and prospects of Cape Cod. Available building sites for summer cottages are rapidly being occupied by those who build more or less elaborately and spend the larger portion of the year here. This is especially true of Falmouth, where several people of large means claim their residence. More than one-half of all the taxes of this town are paid by four such families. These elegant residences have been erected by the summer people almost throughout the Buzzards bay side of the county, and down the Cape on either shore; and on the higher lands as well, handsome residences beautify the landscape. The most elaborate and expensive of all residences in Barnstable county is Tawasentha, the new residence of Albert Crosby, in Brewster, which is the subject of an illustration in the history of that town.
The salubrity of the climate, the remarkably even temperature, and the opportunities for pleasure bring hundreds of strangers to the Cape each season. Here are all the conditions to be looked or hoped for at any seaside resort, and then here is that other element— the hospitable good cheer of the New England home. The hotels are good, but a large class of summer comers are those who choose the farm house or the village home, where a view of the Cape life, as it is, and the broad hospitality of the people are a stimulus to the moral fibre of a man—not less to be desired, perhaps, than the brac-ing, appetizing breezes which come to him from the ocean.
The visitors who choose hotel life find less accommodations than the Cape should be able to furnish, and along this line the greatest development in the immediate future is to be looked for and expected. The tourist who hurriedly visits the Cape by rail gets the worst possible impression of it, for the railway was located to best accommodate the villages on either side, passing through the most barren and uninviting lands between them. The traveler of the old stage-coach days understood the country better. One can hardly find elsewhere in the state so beautiful a drive as the south side coaches covered in their trips from Sandwich through the pretty villages of Cotuit, Osterville, Centerville, Hyannis, West and South Yarmouth, and over the
Bass river lower bridge on through West Dennis, Dennis Port, West Harwich, Harwich Port, South Harwich, West and South Chatham to the flourishing village of Chatham.
Liberal sums are annually expended by the several towns to improve the roads, and almost in proportion as the roads have been made better has the summer business been increased. Falmouth has thus far taken the lead in this respect, but each of the towns, especially in the central and upper portions of the Cape, have charming drives, where the impression is as though one were riding through some well-kept park.
A Cape Cod man, now president of the largest bank in America, is interested in a new hotel being erected on an elegant plan in Chatham. At Monument Beach, on the site of the old Stearns House, a new five-story hotel is nearly completed, and entirely around the point on which it stands has been built a sea wall, having a circular sweep, which bounds and protects the north and west sides of the grounds. The house is of wood, with brown stone for veranda column foundations, chimney caps and fireplaces. It contains eighty-nine guest chambers, besides parlors, dining-rooms, kitchens, store-rooms, bathrooms, etc.
The Santuit House, at Cotuit, was built in 1860 by Braddock Coleman and run by him and his son James H. After being leased, the Barnstable Savings bank sold it on a mortgage to Samuel Nickerson, whose son-in-law, Charles N. Scudder, managed it two years, when it passed in 1880 to its present owner, Abbie A. Webb. Mr. Webb remodeled it, bought the old Captain Alpheus Adams house, with other adjoining property, and remodeled the whole, furnishing accommodations for one hundred guests. The Monument Club, at head of the bay, has suitable buildings for comfort and recreation.
The Bay View House, the Redbrook House, and the Jachin are beautifully located at Cataumet, on Buzzards bay. The locality has many advantages as a healthful resort, and is easily accessible by the Woods Holl branch of the railroad. Still further southward on the bay, is Quisset harbor, a romantic spot in the southwest portion of Falmouth. Ample accommodations are provided for guests. The house is pleasantly situated on the high bank that encloses the harbor, which affords safe sailing and successful fishing. George W. Fish has been the popular proprietor for several years. On the sound, at Falmouth Heights, Tower's Hotel was erected in 1871, and was enlarged in 1875. Here also is the Goodwin House, a well-patronized house, by Mrs. C. H. Goodwin. Menauhant, easterly of the Heights, is also on the sound shore of Falmouth. This house is near the water, is well protected on the land side by forests, and is a well-chosen locality. It was built in 1874 by Gideon Horton and Benjamin Angell
who organized the Menauhant land company and built also some cottages. In May, 1888, Floyd Travis, of Taunton, bought the hotel property on which he has made many internal improvements. A highway was laid out in 1889 connecting by the shore route with East Falmouth,—reducing the distance from the railway station to 6 1/4 miles.
The Hotel Falmouth, of Falmouth village, and the Dexter House, at Woods Holl, are open during the entire year, but have a large summer patronage. The Hotel Attaquin, of Mashpee, and the Iyanough House, of Hyannis, also make a specialty of entertaining summer boarders.
The Cotocheset House, at Wianno Beach, near Osterville, was built by Harvey Scudder prior to 1869, and was owned by J. C. Stevens, from 1877 until its destruction by fire in 1887. The real estate at this beach was largely owned by the Osterville Land Company. After the fire the Cotocheset Company, a stock company, erected the present fine hotel—still known as the Cotocheset House—which was leased by the popular hostess, Mrs. Ames, who had managed the former hotel eight years with remarkable success.
The Sea-View is beautifully located at Harwich Port, accommodating many summer boarders; and at Chatham the Travelers' Home has-been fitted up, giving a commanding view of the ocean and sound. The hotels of the towns down the Cape are more or less patronized by pleasure seekers, and to be added to these is the Gifford House of Provincetown, open only during the summer. This house is pleasantly situated on an eminence overlooking the harbor.
Prominent on the north or bay side of the Cape stands the Nobscussett House, at Dennis. Situated on a bluff sixty feet above the sea, the eye, from its cupola, sweeps a marine half circle of a twenty mile radius, and a stretch almost as distant of picturesque landscape, with meadow, hill, forest and crystal ponds. From every direction it catches the ocean breeze, bringing with it "the breath of a new life— the healing of the seas." There is, perhaps, no place on the Atlantic coast that offers so many advantages for a summer's rest by the sea as this spot. The hotel grounds cover one hundred and twenty-five acres, with nearly three-quarters of a mile of sea front, furnishing excellent facilities for bathing, boating, fishing, and ample room for rambling, croquet, lawn tennis and swings. Forty acres of these grounds were set apart for whaling purposes in the early history of the town, and for more than two hundred years the old "Whale House" occupied the site on which the pavilion now stands.
An attractive feature is the pier extending into the sea eight hundred feet, with a pavilion at the end, where it widens to fifty feet, in a depth of twenty feet of water at high tide. With clams, lobsters,
fish in great variety, fresh from the sea, and all the vegetables of the season, with rich cream and milk furnished daily from the adjacent Tobey farm, the appetite, whetted by the sea air, is readily appeased.
The house is supplied with pure water from a never-failing spring, while the drainage and sanitary arrangements are the best that modern science can suggest.
In 1885, the late Charles Tobey of Chicago, a native of Dennis, purchased this property and greatly enlarged and beautified its appearance by adding to the hotel a front of four and a half stories, building two cottages with twelve rooms each, a billiard room and bowling alley with hall above, a pavilion, ice house and stable. The grounds were improved by walks, driveways and flower beds. Recently the present owner, Frank B. Tobey, of Chicago, also a native of Dennis, has made extensive additions to the hotel, so that it now furnishes accommodation for two hundred guests. Luther Hall, of Dennis, has charge of this property, assisted in the management of the hotel by F. H. Pratt.
Generally, the several hotels mentioned in the histories of the villages through the county make special preparations to entertain the summer people.
Not the least of the attractions of the Cape are the excellent facilities for yachting. The retired shipmasters, as well as the pleasure-seekers, own handsome yachts and engage in the sport. Regattas are sailed each season at various points around the shore, under the auspices of the Cape Cod Yacht Club, in which nearly every town is represented. The past summer has been marked by the several yacht races at Buzzards Bay, Nobscussett, and along the sound, many of the visitors having large and beautiful yachts for their private use.