Research Trip Danvers, MA

February 20-24, 2006

By Gordon Harmon

The primary purpose of the research trip was to continue the research on John Endecott, The Puritan First Governor in the Massachusetts Bay Colony – Colonial History Revisited – [A continued study to conduct a critical and objective historical review of the literature (primary/secondary evidence) on the Colonial Revisionists (“Myth/Fiction”) vs. Contemporary (1628-1665) accounts (“Historical Truth”) on John Endecott].

A couple of “new” discoveries were found in the New England Historic Genealogical Society (NEHGS), Boston.

1. Bible of Joseph Endicott (1711-1749) and Anne Gillam

In the New England Historic Genealogical Society Archives are the Mary Lovering Holman “Endicott Papers” [1]. Excellent quality photographs (5”x7”) of the cover and one page of this Bible were discovered in these “Endicott Papers”. This Bible is the Bible referred to in Some Descendants of John Endecott, Governor, Mass Bay Colony by Mabel McFatridge McCloskey [2] The notation of this Bible as shown by Mabel is as follows:

“Bible of Joseph Endecott, published in 1735 Edinburg, Scotland. (In 1942 in possession of Charles F. Endicott, Indianapolis, IN formerly of Danville, IL). Quote: …it records also the names of Joseph, Samuel, Barzillai and Sarah”. [3]

2. Burial of Governor John Endecott (See attached research notes)

3. Trip to Danvers – 23 February

I was met at the Danvers Train Station by Endicott Cousin Rich Short.

a. Endicott Cemetery

The cemetery has recently undergone a major clean up and some repair of the stones and fence (painted) by Alex Swift of Danvers who undertook this project as a community service project for his Boy Scout Troop 16 Eagle Award. Also, the trees and overgrowth were trimmed in the Russells Cemetery immediately next to the Endicott Cemetery. It looked really good. It the direct words of Alex “I like history. I like to visit historical sites. I wanted to treat the cemetery as a sacred place. It should be respected”. [4] However, there are no signs marking the Endicott Cemetery and the approach to it has a lot of trash. There is a homeless person living right next to the cemetery. The overall responsibility for the Endicott Cemetery is with the Danvers Historical Preservation Committee.

b. Endicott Pear Tree

At first, Rick Short and I had some difficulty in find the Pear Tree. Eventually, we spotted it as we were looking for the chain link fence. A new fence has been put up (metal-black aluminum). It looks much more appropriate and vintage. Some photos were taken. The Pear Tree is in its winter dormant stage. There was no signage. We learned from Richard Trask, Danvers Archivist that the cuttings from the Pear Tree supposedly undertaken by the Danvers Historical Preservation Committee have not gotten off the ground. This needs to be confirmed. Rick plans to look into the possibility of seed plantings in the Fall, 2006. Cheryl Taylor (Beaverton, OR) is also interested in helping with this project.

c. Endicott College

The Endicott College was founded in 1939 and named in honor of Governor John Endecott. A visit was made to the College Bookstore and the Store Manager. We briefly discussed the possible option of the Endicott College hosting the 4th Endicott Cousin Reunion, 2008. She indicated that there was an office at the College that coordinates all requirements for such a gathering.

d. Rebecca Nurse Homestead

We met the caretaker of the Homestead who lives on the site. He is an older gentlemen and extremely knowledge about the history of the Homestead. We enjoyed a great conversation with him and learned a lot. The original Dr. Zerubbabel Endecott home was removed from the site of the Danvers Shopping Plaza to this location in 1983. The caretaker told us it was some 85% of the original house ca. 1691.

e. Glen Magna

During the War of 1812, Joseph Peabody, the wealthiest Salem shipping merchant of his day, bought a twenty acre Danvers property with a dwelling house described as “in every respect well calculated for a gentleman’s seat.” From this initial twenty acre purchase the property grew to over three hundred and thirty acres, enduring as the summer retreat for the family for one hundred and forty-four years. By 1892 the property belonged to Ellen Peabody Endicott, Joseph Peabody’ granddaughter, who further enlarged and embellished the house and grounds. In 1893, she hired the Boston architectural firm of Little, Browne and Moore to design the expansion of the Mansion to its classic colonial revival form. In 1926, the year before Ellen Endicott died, she was awarded the Hunnewell Gold Medal from the Massachusetts Horticultural Society. This award was given to the owner of an estate of not less that three acres, planted with rare and desirable ornamental trees and shrubs in a tasteful and effective manner so as to present successful examples of science, skill and good judgment as applied to the embellishment of the country residence.

Her son, William Crowinshield Endicott, Jr., continued to lavish attention on the Farms, upgrading and enhancing the estate until his death in 1936. He was instrumental in bringing the Derby Summer House (built in 1794) to the property in 1901. The two story Adamesque building has been listed as a National Historic Landmark since 1968. In 1963, The Danvers Historical Society purchased the central eleven acres of the property and has worked to restore the gardens and grounds to its early 20th century appearance. [5]

f. Endicott Park/Endicott Gardens
Danvers area families and residents of all generations enjoy Endicott Park, a preserved gentleman's farm of the early 20th century. Endicott Park offers a rich and diversified educational resource. Among its more interesting historical elements are the Frederick Law Olmsted site design, the Glen Magna mansion and the Derby Summer House (aka - Tea House) designed by Samuel McIntire. Some of the historical sites include the formal gardens that have been linked to the Chamberlain family of England and the mansion's collection of art pieces is products of the China Trade era. A combination of developed and natural landscapes comprised of woodlands, orchards, wetlands and fields conserved for their beauty and as a habitat for plant and creature life. There are buildings and structures that embody an interpretation of a working farm. Open space that affords informal recreational opportunities compatible with the setting and requiring no lasting changes to the site. For your convenience, play, recreational, and public safety facilities are available that enhance the park without detracting from the natural and historic character of the site. [6]
g.Danvers Archival Center –Peabody Institute Library - Richard Trask, Archivist

A visit was made to the Peabody Institute Library in Danvers. Richard showed us around the facility of the Archival Center located in the library. It contains a wonderful collection of important artifacts and historical information for Danvers (Salem Village) and the surrounding area. This is an important facility to research on the Endecotts. He showed us a portrait of Governor John Endecott that had recently been donated to the Center. It will be hung in the main facility of the Center. This portrait is one of 8 known portraits of the Governor.


  • 1 Holman, Mary Lovering “Endicott Papers”. New England Historic Genealogical Society, Boston, MA.
  • 2 McCloskey, Mabel McFatridge. Some Descendants of John Endecott, Governor, Mass Bay Colony. Reprinted (Salem, MA: Higginson Book Company, 2002).16.
  • 3 Ibid.
  • 4 Kerans, Sally. “Burial Ground Benefits from Scout Dedication”. Salem News 12 January, 2006.
  • 5 Glen Magna. downloaded 3 March 2006.
  • 6 Endicott Park