Monday, March 18, 2013


When I was much much younger and  my family was living in Malden, Ma., we'd
often go over to the nearby town of Saugus. Sometimes it was to go to Adventure
Car Hop (Adventure Car Hop is the place to go, for food that's always right, woo-
woo!"), other times it was to go to a VERY small amusement park that had a mini-
roller coaster. What none of us knew at the time was that Saugus was the site
of the first iron works in the British colonies, and that two of my Dad's ancestors
had a somewhat adversarial relationship with that mine. Back then Saugus was
part of the town of Lynn, so much of my information for this post comes from
Alonzo Lewis' History of Lynn and its year by year chronicle.

The story begins in the year 1643:

"An Iron Mine having been discovered on the land of Mr. Adam Hawkes, in
Saugus, information was sent to England; where a company was formed,
called the Company of Undertakers for the Iron Works. It consisted of the
following gentlemen.

Lionel Copley, Esquire, of York County, England.
Nicholas Bond, Esquire, of Westminster.
Thomas Pury, Esquire, of Westminster.
John Becx, London, Merchant.
William Beauchamp, London, Merchant.
Thomas Foley, London, Gentleman.
William Greenhill, Stepney, Middlesex County.
Thomas Weld, Minister, Gateshead, Durham County.
John Pococke, Merchant Tailor, London.
William Becke, Merchant Tailor, London.
William Hicocke, London, Citizen.2

Mr. John Winthrop, junior, came from England with work men, and stock to
the amount of one thousand pounds, for commencing the work. A Foundry
was erected on the western bank of Saugus river, upon land now owned by
Mr. Thomas Mansfield, where large heaps of scoria are still to he seen. The
iron ore. was very plenty, about one mile north of the Foundry ; and according
to several accounts, some lead was discovered, which the people at first
imagined to be silver. The village at the Foundry was called Hammersmith,
by some of the workmen who came from a place of that name in England.
Mr. Endecott, in a letter to Governor Winthrop, December 1, says, "1 want
much to hear from your son's Iron and Steel." Mr. William Wood says that Iron
was discovered as early as 1633."
pp 81-82 Alonzo Lewis The history of Lynn
 (Google eBook) Press of J. H. Eastburn, 1829 - Lynn (Mass.)

Adam Hawkes who owned the land where the iron was discovered was my
10x great grandfather through my Dad's maternal Barker line.  

Things seem to have gone well for a few years, but then in 1646 the first
hint of possible trouble occurs: the proprietors of the Iron  Works purchased
some land "for opening a new watercourse, and enlarging the pond." But,
"This extension of the pond caused it to overflow three acres of land belonging
to Mr Adam Hawkes."

The water level of the dam became the center of Adam's problems with the
Iron Works. Five years later  in 1651  there was a change in the management and
an accompanying change in the water level:

"On taking on the management of the Iron Works, Mr. Gifford raised the dam,
which caused the water to overflow six acres of " plowland" belonging to Mr.
Adam Hawkes. For this, on the twentieth of June, an agreement was made, in
which Mr.Hawkes was allowed L8 for damages."

That agreement didn't last very long:
"Mr. Gifford this year increased the height of the dam at the Iron Works, by which
ten acres of Mr. Hawkes's land were flowed ; for which he agreed to give 16 loads
of hay yearly, and 200 cords of wood. Afterward he agreed to give him £7, "which
ends all, except that 10s. is to be given him yearly." By this agreement the water
was to be so kept "that it may not ascend the top of the upper floodgates in the
pond, or pier then within foot and a halfe of the top of the great Rock that lies
in the middle of the pond before the gates."

But this didn't end all. Adam Hawkes' frustration was rising along with water rising
behind the dam.

To be continued...

1 comment:

Heather Rojo said...

I'm enjoying your series on Adam Hawkes. Sorry I didn't comment sooner, but I was a little busy at RootsTech. Adam Hawkes had a daughter named Sarah, who was the daughter-in-law of one of my Dane relations. There are other Hawkes marriages with Newhall, Hitchings, and Cogswell cousins in my family tree. No direct relationship here, but lots of cousin connections with the Hawkes family of Saugus!