The Powderhouse

Hello Harwich,

1831 Map of Harwich

The next known map of Harwich after the 1795 map. Notice the houses and

roads shown. (Photo Source)

“Perseverance and spirit have done wonders in all ages.” - George Washington

Camp at Cambridge August 20th 1775, To Major General Philip Schuyler 

Message From The Editor

In August of 1775 the American Revolution was well underway. Harwich, like every other town in Massachusetts, had sent many of its citizens to war. The quote is from a letter from George Washington to Major General Philip Schuyler. Without the colonists persevering in their desire to rule themselves, we would not be what we are today. This December, Boston will celebrate the 250th anniversary of the Boston Tea Party which was one of the first acts of rebellion in the colonies. This will be the first edition with a new segment about Harwich’s involvement in the American Revolution. Enjoy! 

A Message from Our President

The Harwich Historical Society hosted several Ghost Tours at the Pine Grove Cemetery in West Harwich this past fall. I would like to take this opportunity to thank Bobby Parr, Lynne Zalesak, Mike Revereruzzi and Robbin Kelley who were the Ghost for these events. I would also like to thank Terrry Warner and Laurie Moore for being the guides to each Ghost, and finally Linda Cebula and Sarah Murphy for their help in these events. A special thank you to Lynne who researched and wrote the scripts for these ghost tours.

I would like to acknowledge and thank Paul Doane for his commitment and volunteer hours beautifying the grounds at the Crowell Barn. We have also welcomed new members to the Board; Terry Warner, Connie Betters and Herb Bell. They are a wonderful addition, and we look forward to working with each of them. As you can see, the Harwich Historical Society Board is going through new changes which includes many new members. I would once again like to encourage anyone who would be interested in joining our Board or volunteering for any programs to please contact the Harwich Historical Society.

-Anita Doucette

What's New?

Duck Decoy Carving and Feather Painting Classes 

Our very successful Duck Decoy Classes have ended for this year. 

Our Master Carver, Paul Phillips, will continue his classes in the spring. Stay tuned for sign-up information! 

The Academy is the cover of the Chamber of 

Congress Magazine! 

We are very proud to be selected for the cover of the magazine. The magazine is complimentary, so pick up a copy! 

Annual Appeal 

Its that time again! You should have received our annual appeal in the mailast week. If for some reason you didn't, please email us and let us know your best address. There is much we need to do to the interior of the building that is not covered by the funds granted to fix the foundation and the exterior. All interior work has to be funded by the Historical Society. We need your help! Please don’t forget to support the Society! CLICK HERE to donate now!

HHS Donates a Totebag to the Toast of Harwich

Someone got a bag of goodies and surprises at the Toast of Harwich Auction! If you weren’t the lucky winner, try again next year! 

Building Update 

The first phase of work on the Academy is almost over! If you have driven by it lately you have seen that the fence is gone, the steps are back, and there is a new foundation to the original part of the building and a new handicap ramp. There is still much work to be done in the next phase; a new roof, win-dow repair, and repairs and paint to the siding. We are now working on the interior of the building. We still have a long way to go before we can open. Stay tuned for more news in the next edition and watch for updates on our website and Facebook page.   

The Chase Family of West Harwich

By J. Duncan Berry, PhD 

It has been a big year for the Chase family in Harwich! And long overdue, I might add. 

First was the ceremony honoring Job Chase, Sr. and three other Harwich veterans from the Revolutionary War. The Cape Cod Chapter of the Sons of the American Revolution coordinated with the town to erect a handsome bronze plaque marking their graves in North Harwich, the original site of the Harwich Baptist Church.  

Second, the first two parts of a trilogy dedicated to the Chase family dwellings on Captains’ Row in West Harwich were published in the Journal of the Cape Cod Genealogical Society. Written by yours truly, the opening piece discusses the origins of the family on the banks of the Herring River as far back as 1638 and focuses on the two colonial-era homes erected by Job Chase, Sr. We drive by his first home without even a thought, though it has anchored this road for 260 years! His next home, built right after the Revolution, is known to most as the former Bishop’s Terrace. It is a gorgeous Georgian villa that, we hope, will be saved very soon. It’s never too late for some of these old structures, and I have been inside it and the oldest part of the building, paradoxically, is in the best shape! 

The second installment of the trilogy focuses on the life and career of Job Chase, Jr. whose home on Captains’ Row is also known by another name: the Irish Pub. We look at the remarkable changes wrought during his life (1776-1865) and the enormous impact he had on commerce and quality of life in Harwich. Mention is made of his last child, Caleb, who inherited the home and who is well known in these parts as the genius behind the stupendous fortune he amassed by creating a global beverage brand that is still on the shelves to this day some 150 years later, Chase and Sanborn Coffee.  

The final installment of the trilogy will discuss Caleb’s half-brother’s home, the magnificent Erastus Chase dwelling that is today recognized as “Whimsy,” directly across from the old Irish Pub. Erastus was an important Harwich character in his gown right, and his youngest son, Herbert, was groomed to become the heir to his uncle Caleb’s commercial empire. It promises to discuss a glorious piece of history and more fascinating material from this prolific and accomplished Harwich family.   

Central to this final piece of the Chase trilogy will be the material that was just donated to The Harwich Historical Society by Regina and George Berry of Clifton Park, New York. Mr. Berry — no relation to the Harwich Berrys! — is a descendant of one of Caleb Chase’s nieces. She ultimately inherited the Job, Jr./Caleb home and kept intact an incredible collection of family memorabilia. These artifacts and images will doubtless add to the specificity and tone of the resulting essay, and we hope to see more of this kind of civic spirit. If you have unique, 19th or 18th century documents and images pertaining to your family in Harwich, please contact us. They may offer a solution to a puzzle that you’re not aware of!  

Bringing families together from across the centuries and regions is how we begin to piece together the marvelous, rich history of our town in all its splendor and granularity.  

Harwich In The Revolution 

Nathaniel Downes was present at the rebellion in Sandwich 26 September, 1774 where approximately 1500 colonists prevented the Inferior Court of Common Pleas to sit at Barnstable and was one of those who spoke out against the actions of the Justices. Kenelm Winslow, Esq. of Harwich was one of the Justices who did sign a proclamation in support of the rebellion and against the actions of Governor Gage in Boston. At the 8 Nov 1774 Town Meeting, there was a movement to prohibit voting. “Then ye town voted all all persons from ye age of 21 years and upwards should have liberty to vote in said meeting; it was then voted that it was the minds of the town that a committee of three persons be chosen for ye purpose aforesaid the town then made choice of Deacon Edward Hall Mr. Solomon Freeman & Mr. Joseph Snow to join ye several committees that shall be chosen in ye other towns in ye county of Barnstable to meet at a County Congress at ye Court House in Barnstable.”  

News From The Harwich Independent 

So you want to know what’s going on with your neighbors? All you had to do was go to the newspaper! Like all other local newspapers of the time, the Harwich Independent reported any and all activities of the townspeople. Above is an example from June 6, 1872. 

Ads From The Past

My how times change! Check out the prices from this Dec 10, 1895 ad from the Harwich Independent! 

From Past To Present 

The Caleb Chase Fund goes back to 1909 when a gift of $10,000 was made to the town by Caleb Chase in his will. The fund is still used today and you can see details on its use in every year’s Town Report. This is the first reporting of it from the 1909 Annual Town Report. 

News From The Harwich Independent

Like everywhere else in the nation, in 1908 Women were demanding the vote and there was much discussion and articles written about it. Below is a cartoon that was published in the Harwich Independent March 18, 1908. 

Books Currently Available at the Museum Gift Shop 

Because of the ongoing construction, the Gift Shop is currently closed. However, if there is something you know we have that you would like to purchase as a possible Christmas gift, please email the office or leave a voicemail. We will see what we can do to help you! 

A Huge Thank You! 

Thank you to Herb Bell and the Masonic Pilgrim Lodge in Harwich Center for our lit Christmas Tree on the front entryway. We wish everyone a wonderful Christmas!

President: Anita Ducette 

Vice President : J. Duncan Berry 

Administrative Asst: Sarah Murphy

Newsletter Editor: Lynne Zalesak

Secretary: Cindy Eldredge 

Treasurer: Linda Cebula 

Other Board Members: Carole

DeChristopher, Ellen Ellis, Bobby

Parr, Lynne Zalesak

80 Parallel Street, Harwich, MA 02645

Phone: 508-432-8089

Contact: [email protected]

Research Questions: [email protected]