You may have noticed on the front page of this site, a very cool photo of two blue doors. The photo is taken of the front of the Quaker Friends Meetinghouse in Pembroke, Massachusetts. This house of worship is one of the oldest Quaker Meetinghouses in the United States.
The Meetinghouse was built by Robert Barker, Jr. son of an original settler of Duxbury in Plymouth Colony, Massachusetts. Duxbury Quakers were traveling a distance to Scituate to gather and pressed for a Meetinghouse closer to their home. Lore has it that the house was built in Scituate and moved “over the ice” to it’s present day location.
The structure sits on a triangular piece of land where routes 139 and 53 intersect in Pembroke. Ensconced in brush atop a stone wall, there appears not formal (or informal) entrance for even a pedestrian to walk through. The house is in beautifully restored condition.
The muted seafoam blue/green paint imbues the front and east facing sides while an opposite side is naturally shingled. The first floor has undergone updated and it is said that the second floor remains nearly untouched. Originally, the first floor was divided into two sections; the rights side for the men, the left for the women and they also had separate entrances, note the two front doors. There is no plumbing and therefore no bathroom inside. A second small storage shack is positioned next to the house.
Most intriguing is the burial ground in back. Many proper graves and some makeshift still remain. It is difficult to discern whether there was an original pattern or intention to the burials. Some families appear at rest together and others are strewn randomly along the property. The name of the humble resting place is “Friends Burying Ground”.
Interred in Friends Burying Ground
John Bailey (1751-1823) , Quaker preacher, inventor, clock maker
According to the Bayley Family Genealogy published by descendants in 1899, three Bayley’s came from England to Massachusetts: James settled in Rowley, John settled in Salisbury and Thomas in Weymouth. The John Bailey of 1751 buried in Friends Burying Ground is a 7th generation descendant of Thomas of Weymouth.
John Bailey (1751-1823) son of Revolutionary War Colonel John and wife Ruth Randall. Bailey’s father was second in command at Dorchester Heights and was a reliable favorite of General Washington and was known to be a “brave and attentive officer”. Col. Bailey, along with his brother, served as selectman of Hanover for several years. His father’s will bequeathed him 1700 dollars, part of his land and required him to comfortably support “my old Negro’s for the rest of their natural lives”.
In the year 1770 John Bailey’s residence is listed as Hanover and Lynn, Massachusetts. According to The Book of American Clocks, Bailey was a mechanic, crafts person and clock maker, making his first clock at age 12.
John Bailey was a Quaker preacher. He is said have been a conscientious man yet would have “spiritualized a broomstick”. He repaired guns, muskets, compasses and clocks. Bailey was an accomplished inventor and engineer as well. In use at his old home in Hanover was an iron sink of which Bailey designed the first pattern for. He also created the first pattern for a crooked nose tea-kettle cast at the foundry in nearby Middleboro. Bailey was said to be “steam mad” and predicted that within 50 years the most common method of travel would be via steam and had the forethought that a “different kind of road would be required”. At the time of his steam tinkering, Bailey developed a roasting jack for cooking meats over an open fire. In 1895 on of these jacks was still in existence, the patent for which was signed by George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and Edmund Rudolph, attorney general.
Bailey was married three times. Mary Hill, who is said to be his second wife, is buried in Friends. His third wife, Tabitha Olney, was a descendant of Thomas Olney, one of the original settlers of Rhode Island. Thomas Olney landed in Salem, Massachusetts on the ship Planter in 1635 and was asked to leave the colony due to religious differences. Thomas Olney followed Roger Williams into Providence and was integral to the formation of government in 1640 serving as Treasurer, tax collector and a member of the court. He was one of the original 12 persons to be deeded land by Williams.
Bailey’s three marriages produced five children. Most notably is son John Bailey, Jr. (1787-1883), also known as Bailey, III, who inherited the watch and clock making mind and grew his talents into a thriving and profitable business. The eight-day, tall clocks made by Bailey and Bailey, III were well-known and sought after fixtures in Plymouth Colony. Only families of affluent economic superiority were wealthy enough to afford tall clocks and it is very rare to find one today. Bailey III relocated to New Bedford, Massachusetts, one of the most active whaling communities in the country, where he imported astronomical instruments. Bailey’s business was making over $5,000.00 per year when in 1824 things began to turn. Bailey, III was an abolitionist and vice president of both the Bristol County Anti-Salvery Society and the Massachusetts Anti-Slavery Society. In the 1850s Bailey launched two anti-slavery newspapers; Pathfinder and the People’s Press, Lib. Known to be a man committed to the rights of and welfare of others, Bailey would not commit to a political party. He was a trusted confidante amongst the black community of New Bedford. An active lecturer and organizer, Bailey at his home, a stop on the Underground Railroad, held anti-slavery meetings. Always seeking his advice on whom to vote for, the black community were encouraged by Bailey to
“vote for the man who would do justice to their race”. These principles, however, cost him his business. The Whig party encouraged Bailey, Jr. to influence the black community to vote their ticket. They threatened his business if he refused. George Howland, local and successful shipbuilder and Quaker preacher of New Bedford expressed to Bailey, III. that he had better yield or he would be ruined. The Bayley Family Genealogy, documents Bailey, III response as: “George, as long as fish live in the sea and clams live in the sand, I’ll not sell my principles”. Surreptitiously, the Whig party hired a man to take over Bailey’s work and the next week every chronometer was taken from Bailey’s store. He indeed was ruined. Politics… they haven’t changed. Bailey passed in 1883.
Father John Bailey died in 1823 in Hanover. Tabitha in 1827 also buried in Friends.
Ann Barker (1750-1789)
Ann was born in Tiverton, Rhode Island, daughter of Abraham and Susanna Anthony. On 27 January 1785 she married Benjamin Barker (1757) son of Prince Barker and Abigail Keen, grandson of Isaac Barker & Elizabeth Slocum, great-grandson of Isaac and Judith Prence, great-great grandson of Robert Barker, Sr. original settler of Duxbury. He is the great nephew of Robert Barker, Jr. builder of the Friends Meetinghouse. Ann and Benjamin produced two children together; Abraham (1786-1855) married Margaret Buffum and Susan (Sarah) Ann (1788 – 1861) who married David Buffum of Newport.
After Ann’s untimely death at the age of 38, Benjamin Barker married Rebecca Partridge of Boston in 1791. They had one child, Samuel born in 1792 who married Catherine Gooch of Boston. Both his Barker family name and his marriage to Ann left Benjamin a wealthy man.
Nathan Thomas Shepherd, Jr. (1843-1912)
Nathan Shepherd came from a family of box manufacturers. His grandfather,
Calvin Cleveland Shepherd (1786-1876), a farmer, came to Bridgewater, Mass from Canterbury, Connecticut. Calvin operated a cotton factory at Pudding Brook in Pembroke before converting it to a sawmill where he produced boxes. The box operation remained in the family for generations. He married Mary Byram of Bridgewater, daughter of Joseph and Sarah Hall. Their marriage produced 9 children. Nathan Thomas Shepard, Sr. (1811-1885) was the third born. Nathan is listed as a box manufacturer and printer on the 1810 census. He died from complications due to an accidental fall leading to the amputation of his arm.
Following the shoe worker’s strike of 1860, Nathan relocated to Lynn, Massachusetts with brother George and entered the shoe cutting trade. In 1871, Nathan T., Jr. married Susan Ann Burleigh of Lynn, Massachusetts. Susan came from a family of twelve children born to William of Ossipee, NH and Nancy Hodsdon of Tuftonboro, NH. Both her parents having been dead by the time of her marriage to Shepherd and sometime before 1871, Burleigh relocated to Lynn, Massachusetts. In 1874, their son William Burleigh Shepherd was born in Lynn. By 1880, the lumber industry was booming in Minnesota and the Shepherds relocated where Nathan was a “door sash manufacturer”. By 1900 Susan was still married to Nathan and owned the home where she lived on 1103 1st Avenue, North in Minneapolis. There she boarded two women. Somewhere thereafter, Susan moved in with son William and family at 2640 Dupont Avenue, S in Minneapolis and Nathan relocated to Spencer, Massachusetts where perhaps had an opportunity to return to shoe cutting as that area was fast developing mills to produce such items. In 1912, Nathan died from cancer of the intestines. In 1915, Susan is still noted as living with William on Dupont Ave., however she is not listed on the 1920 census. I have yet to discover her death record.
Susan LeFurgey (1831-1931)
Searching for Susan proposed some challenges at first. Le Furgey is not a local name and therefore results of other relatives that might lead to information about Susan were few. She was found however, with a name spelled differently. The headstone originally had me thinking that her name was Le Furcey; the “C” was in fact a “G” with an inferior mark. She was born in 1831 to Mary Byram and Calvin Shepherd. In 1920, Susan Le Furgue is present on the US Census as an 88 year old woman living with her son John Calvin and daughter in law, Nellie Howland. Susan’s husband, Lemuel Le Furgy (1837-1909) came from a well-to-do shipbuiding family of Loyalists in Tyrone, Prince Edward Island, Canada and operated the Le Furgy Mill and became a prominent business man in Pembroke. Likely because of his shipbuilding past and mill operation, his ties to the foresting industry allowed the extended family to capitalize on wood products and manufacturing. He eventually became a figure in the box and packing industry founded by his father in law.
Sarah L. West (1858-1912)
The L. is for Lucinda! She was born in Watashaw, Minnesota in 1858 as Sarah Calkins, (or Corkins) born to Daniel P. (1811-1869) , a farmer from Connecticut family origin, and Hannah Chandler Ford of Pembroke, Mass, daughter of James and Mercy Lewis. When she was just 16, Sarah married Calvin Shepherd West (1853-1928), son of James and Mary Green Shepherd, in 1874. Mary Green Shepherd is the sister of Susan Shepherd Le Furgey. On the 1880 census, Calvin is noted as being a box manufacturer. The box business, that his grandfather Calvin Shepherd began, was inherited by his father James. Sarah and Calvin had one child, Lester D. born in 1880. Lester married Ethel Loring Jacobs of Hingham in 1902. In her will, dated 1905, Sarah leaves her estate to her husband and the remainder to pass onto her son upon his decease. Her inventory includes a deposit to Scituate Savings Bank for 1349.02 and another to Rockland Savings Bank for 770.93 which is today’s equivalent of about 50,000.00 USD. Sarah died of breast cancer in 1912. Calvin, two years later, remarried Abbie Curtis in Brockton. They resided in Norwell until Calvin’s death in 1928 where he was a proprietor of a grocery store.