In Salem, Mrs. Mary Hemenway inherited Batchelder’s Point, which is now called Forest River Park in Salem and began to build a Native American ethnological museum called the Hemenway Pueblo Museum. She had married Augustus Hemenway Sr. who was born in 1805 in Salem. He had owned several ships and was a dry goods dealer. Mary Hemenway was not a stranger to controversy and came from a family of abolitionists. She once invited Booker T. Washington to stay in her home, when Boston hotels refused to give him a room.
She built an iron fireproof building that held her Native American pottery, chipped stonework, and artwork from the Southwest and hired Olmsted to design the grounds. The museum focused on artwork from the Southwest, brought back from the archaeological explorations of New Mexico and Arizona she had sponsored. She partnered with Frank Hamilton Cushing of the National Museum in Washington, D.C. to study the Zunis between 1879-1886. It was known as the Hemenway Southwestern Hemenway Southwestern Archaeological Expedition.
The Hemenway Southwestern Archaeological Expedition, was the first major scientific archaeological expedition undertaken in the American southwest. The prehistoric Hohokam were discovered during the expedition. The expedition was terminated in 1894 with the death of Hemenway. She died in a diabetic coma at her home on Beacon Hill. The museum was dismantled after her death and significant pieces were later given to the Peabody Museum at Harvard University. One of the foundations chartered by George Peabody.
Her son Augustus Hemenway Jr. marries Harriet Lawrence a Boston socialite who founded the Massachusetts Audubon Society.
During the Gilded Age, it became fashionable for women to wear plumes in their hats. Thousands of birds were killed a year for the hat industry. Plumes came from woodpeckers, bluebirds, owls, herons and warblers and the industry was threatening the birds with extinction. In 1896, Hemenway and her cousin Minna B. Hall held tea parties for the wealthy women in Boston and urged them not to wear feathered hats and invited them to join a society for the protection of birds. Hemenway and Hall organized 900 women to form the Massachusetts Audubon Society. She planned to utilize her mother-in-law’s property to make a bird museum that did not see completion. I have read that her or her mother-in-law’s museum had a complete dinosaur. Which is interesting that now we know birds are closer relatives to dinosaurs than lizards.
Forest River was owned by the Ingalls originally. Col. Isaac Wyman married Henry Ingalls daughter Elizabeth. His father Hezekiah fought at the Battle of Concord. Wyman was a Colonel in George Washington’s Army. Col. Isaac Wyman played a significant role in the January 1777 Battle of Princeton, N.J. which resulted in an early and important American victory. He might of even served with Israel Putnam who was at the Crossing of the Delaware. After Wyman was once a commander of the frigate Constitution. After the war the Colonel became a merchant in Federal Period Boston before deciding to engage in diverse business enterprises, including a wholesale re-making of the Forest River tide mill in Salem.
He tore down the old mill and houses and built new ones processing flour, grain, and dye stuff from logs from the East Indies. He got into the business of black lead and then sold it to Col. Francis Peabody who was a Freemason who served during the Civil War. It then became Forest River Mills and provided black lead or graphite to Joseph Dixon. Forest River Park would be then in the Hemenway’s possession.
Wyman’s son Isaac Chauncy Wyman was the last lawyer to try a case of piracy. He worked with US Attorney General Benjamin F. Hallett who was the Democratic National Party chairman. Oakes Smith went to prison for engaging in the slave trade, but escaped. Wyman acted as a detective and went on the hunt for him, but never found him. He also was engaged with the Sioux uprisings.
For more tales like this and how Salem MA has shaped American History read Sub Rosa which is available at Barnes & Noble, Amazon.com, and you local independent Book Seller!
Ask for it by name!