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Subject: [GM-L] An Old Groton House & Its Many Occupants Part 3 of 3
Date: Wed, 24 Jul 2002 20:36:57 EDT

Subject: An Old House and Its Many Occupants - with Biographies Part 3 of 3
Source: Groton Historical Series by Dr. Samuel A. Green Vol I - Chapter
XVII 1887

p.7 - 9

Dr. Bancroft had a large practice and at various times a considerable number
of medical
students under his charge. He was frequently called in consultation,
sometimes at a long
distance from home. In those days there were no railroads, and travelling
was attended
with many difficulties. During the winter, when the roads were blocked up
with snow, some-
times he was obliged to travel on snow-shoes; and often, his patients living
many miles
apart, he would be absent from home several days at a time. To add to his
discomfort on
such occasions, it was difficult to obtain proper food, though there were at
that period
but few dwellings where he could procure some New England rum or other spirit
to help restore exhausted nature.

His intimacy with some of the physicians of Boston and its neighborhood and
his punctual
attendance at the meetings of the Mass. Medical Society, of which association
he was a
Councillor, obliged him to make frequent journeys to that city, which were
always taken with
his own horse and chaise or sulky.

A story is told of him that he stopped late one evening at the Ridge Hill
tavern, in order
to see a patient. Passing through the bar room he noticed two evil looking
men, who eyed him suspiciously and when going out, after his visit was made,
he looked for them but they were gone.


The road from the tavern was lonely, and the village three miles away. As he
had considerable money about him, he felt some misgivings, which proved not
to be ground-
less, for he had no sooner reached a particularly secluded spot, when these
very men
stepped out of the undergrowth by the roadside and tried to stop his horse.
One of them
snatched at the bridle, but missed it, as the horse threw his head up at the
time; and Dr.
Bancroft, whipping the animal, left the men far behind, but not before a
bullet had pierced
the back of the sulky and whizzed close by his ear.

Dr. Bancroft rarely left home for pleasure, but in the year 1829, his health
demanded a
change and in company with a brother he went West in order to visit a
half-sister, Mrs.
Mary (Bancroft) Dana, then living in Marietta, Ohio. It was a long and
tedious journey
but the trip benefited him.

Dr. Bancroft was a member of the First Parish Church (Unitarian) in Groton
and one of the
eight mentioned in Mr. Butler's History (p.197) who received a note of
pretended ex-
communication from the seceders. He was a constant attendant on the Sunday
excercises until
his hearing became much impaired. His health was never strong; but the
severe attacks of
illness to which he was subject decreased in frequency as his years advanced.
On July 12,
1848, while walking down State Street in Boston he stepped from the sidewalk
in order to
cross the way when a wagon coming rapidly knocked him down and injured him so
severely that
he died a few hours later. He was 77 years of age.


The homestead passed next into the hands of Dr. Bancroft's eldest son,
Charles, who lived
there until his death, which took place on July 22, 1873. Charles Bancroft
was the father
of Colonel William Amos Bancroft, a graduate of Harvard College in the class
of 1878, who
a few years ago was somewhat noted in college circles as an oarsman, and who
at the present
time (1887) is the Superintendent of the Cambridge Railroad Company.

Amos Bigelow Bancroft was another son of Dr. Amos Bancroft; he was born at
Groton on April
3, 1811 and graduated at Harvard College in the class of 1831. He studied
medicine with Dr.
George Cheyne Shattuck of Boston, and in the year 1834 began practice of his
profession at
Groton. Here he remained until the spring of 1853, when he removed to
Charlestown and be-
came associated with Dr. Jonathan Wheeler Bemis. While living in Charlestown
he was physician to the State Prison during more than ten years. Under the
administration of General Grant he was appointed Superintendent and Surgeon
in charge of the Marine Hospital
at Chelsea, which position he held from August 1, 1869 to June 30, 1877 when
he took up his
residence in Boston. While traveling abroad with his family, he died in
Florence, Italy on
Nov 8, 1879, much lamented by a wide circle of friends and patients at home,
leaving a widow
and two daughters to mourn his loss.

The estate was then bought by the Hon. George S. Boutwell, in whose
possession it now (1887)
remains, though the house was moved away, as before stated, during the summer
of 1875. The
large barn on the place was burned in the afternoon of May 8, 1876 and thus
disappeared the
last vestige of an interesting old landmark of Groton.

Transcribed by Janice Farnsworth

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