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1314 Main Street, Haverhill, Massachusetts

Wilbur M. Comeau Post 4

Our Post History

History of the Clement Farm

 

     The land on which our Post is located has been in the Clement family since a grant in 1721 to Lt. John Clement, a great grandson of Robert Clement, one of the first settlers of Haverhill, who had come to America in 1642. Tradition states that Robert Clement was a ship owner, and crossed the ocean in one of his own vessels. After landing in Salisbury, at the mouth of the Merrimack River, he along with Tristram Coffin, traveled upriver to Pentucket, where the Rev. John Ward, and others, had preceeded them. These men purchased from the Indians, Passaquo and Saggahew, with the consent of their Sachem Passaconoway tribe, the land on which the City of Haverhill now stands. This original deed of the property, with the Indians marks, is in the Haverhill Historical Society.

 

     Seventy-nine years later, his great grandson, Lt. John Clement recieved the following grant:

"We, the subscribers, being appointed by the Proprietors of Haverhill, a committee to lay out to John Clement, a parcel of land granted by the Proprietors to the said John Clement. We have accordingly attended that service and laid out to John Clement twenty acres, bounded beginning at a white oak tree standing by the sawmill river, (Fishing River), which is also the bounds laid out to Thomas Duston Sr. thence easterly to said Duston's land to another white oak mark, and, standing by the road, thence northerly as the fence runs to a pine brush mark. Thence westerly to a hemlock standing by the sawmill river, - and thence as the river runs to the bounds first mentioned. The above said land was laid out by us the 19th day of Jany. 1721".  Joseph Peaslee and James Parker.

 

     John Clement built the first house on this land the same year. The building faced south, was forty-two feet long, thirty-two feet wide, and two stories high, the roof slanting at the back to within eight feet of the ground. In 1813 that house was replaced by a brick house which occupied the original site, but was larger, in either 1823 or 1824, the present house was built by Col. Jesse Clement, who manufactured the bricks for it. From the days of Lt. John, six generations of Clements have occupied the place. The present, (or last), owner is seventh in descent from him, and tenth from Robert, the first settler. Records show that in 1730, school was held in the first, original house. Lt. John Clement was one of the founders of the North Parish Church, and for some years the services were held at his house, he being a deacon of the church. It was in 1732 that he received his commission as Lt. in the Foot Company in the town of Haverhill from Jonathan Belcher, then Captain General and Governor in Chief of his Majesty's Province of Massachusetts Bay. He was one of the few slave-owners of Haverhill. In 1729 he was granted additional land, adjoining the first lot. He died in 1762 and is buried in the old North Parish Graveyard.

 

     Lt. John's son, Benjamin Clement, was the next to possess Clement Farm. At the time of his marriage, his father gave him "a lower room in the westerly end of my house, to him and his heirs forever, for parental love and affection", with one half the homestead lands. He afterward, received it all. Benjamin Clement served in the French War. He filled various town offices. On January 3rd 1775, when the town voted one hundred pounds for the relief of Boston, then suffering from the "Port Bill", he was one of the three men appointed from the North Parish, "to show each man of the town his proportion of the gift". He was on the "alarm list" in 1775, and a member of the Haverhill Company. He fought at Bunker Hill. Later, he served on a committee appointed to consider a new Constitution for Massachusetts, and was all his life, active in church affairs, having been made a Deacon before 1757. He also lies in the North Parish Burying Ground.

 

     In 1784, two years before his death, Benjamin Clement gave Clement Farm, with the pew in the meeting-house in Plaistow, to his son, John Clement. This John was known as Deacon John, to disctinguish him from his grandfather, Lt. John. He was born in Haverhill in 1755 and died in 1823. He was a member of Haverhill Company, which under CPT Joseph Eaton, of COL Johnson's Regiment, marched on the Alarm of the 19th of April in 1775, to Cambridge. He was a yoeman farmer, and a Deacon of the church. At his death, he left Clement Farm to his son Jesse.

 

     COL Jesse Clement built the house that now stands, soon after the farm came into his possession, manufacturing his own bricks. He also planted the fine old elm and ash trees near the house, and maples across the road. He was commissioned Colonel of the Fifth Regiment, Massachusetts State Militia, in 1816, and was a prominent member of the old North Parish Church. He died in 1871, his body lies in the old Burying Ground.

 

     James Hazen Clement, son of COL Jesse Clement, next inherited the Farm. He was born in Haverhill in 1822 and died in 1881. He was a member of the firm of Clement, Colburn & Co., manufacturers of boot and shoes. He was one of the founders of the Commonwealth National Bank of Boston, serving after its incorpororation as one of the directors. He was also a trustee of the Five Cents Savings Bank of Boston and a director in the Milford National Bank. He was very much interested in farming, and greatly improved the old place, where he and his family spent a great deal of their time. He married Clara Erskine, their early married life was spent at Clement Farm. Clara Erskine Clement became a well known writer, and in her home in Boston, gathered together many of the noted people of that time. Their son, Erskine Clement, was born in 1857. He was a member of the class of 1877 Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Because of sunstroke, he was obligated to leave college, and on the advice of his doctors went to Texas to lead an outdoor life on the ranch of his father's old friend, David T. Beals. Although he was so young, he proved himself so trustworthy, that Mr. Beals soon made him superintendent of the famous L X Ranch, which covered many miles of land in the panhandle. Of these early experiences in the west, Mr. Clement always had many interesting stories to tell. Later the ranch was sold, and he went into business in Kansas, MO, but after a few years he returned to Boston, and became a member of the firm of Clement, Parker & Company, of which, he was a senior member at the time of his death. Besides his interests in the west, Mr Clement had a great fondness for the sea - perhaps inherited from his ancestor, Robert. he built, and owned with several others, a number of whaling ships, but when the industry died out, the last whaler, in which he kept an interest, the CHARLES W. MORGAN, was sold to COL Greene, and is now fitted up as a museum at his place, Round Hills, near New Bedford. Mr. Clement was trustee and director of various organizations. He lived in Newburyport and one of his great interests was Anna Jaques Hospital of that city. He was President of the board of trustees, and spared no effort to keep the hospital in the first rank. Several years of Mr Clement's childhood were spent at Clement Farm, and it was in his memory that the grounds were given - with the hope that it would be of benefit to many other children.

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