Hatch’s Hill, Governor’s Hill aka Holly Hill Part 2.

After you have read part one of this great hill, we are ready to explore the perimeter.  Starting at the intersection of Summer, Elm, and Church Streets, heading south, there were no homes on the steep western side. The only residence was the Tilden Ames Farm at 44 Church St., built in 1855.

                                                      OAK HILL FARM

                Artist unknown. Compliments of Robert Davis to Marshfield’s Town of Villages.
Tilden came from a long line of Eame’s/ Ames’, from as far back as 1650-ish. Tilden’s Dad resided in Sea View.  Tilly and his wife, Willena, ran this farm ( Oak Hill Farm)  until their deaths.  Willena died in 1952 & Tilly in 1954 at age 84.
Their grazing land ran from Church St. to the Railroad tracks on the western side

     Left:  #520 Ferry St.  (1850).  Right:   Centre Marshfield Railroad Station.

Their farm consisted of a roomy farm-house, a three-story barn and a number of outbuildings. They raised cattle, pigs, and chickens, which were sold fresh off the farm.  In their latter years their son Robert Ames, and their daughter, Bessie Bell,  helped run the farm.  Robert left the farm to start a business that was once known as Marshfield Sand and Gravel.  Bessie married Robert Davis and downsized the farm.  Bessie became well known as a cook in Marshfield High’s Cafe.

The former (Oak Hill Farm )….44 Church St. today.


We leave Church St. at Ferry St. and head east with Holly Hill on our left, north- side.  Then another long stretch being void of houses or farms.  However, the right side was a different story.  That was/is Telegraph Hill…..another story.
The intersection of Ferry St. and South River St., on the south side of Ferry St, & east side of South River St.,  was the Ferry School , serving mostly Centre Marshfield’s children. It closed in 1917 due to a small attendance. The building was moved to Ocean St. and finally razed.

Traveling over the hill on the left was the R. Lewis farm, (the Sojberg’s Antique Shop)  # 891.  I have found little information of this operation.

Looking north,    WILLIAMSON’S BARN in center.

Next, was the Walnut Grove Farm. which had a huge barn, along with a large farm house.  The Williamson name goes back to 1642 when Timothy Williamson settled on the South River near the Otter Bridge (the Willow St. Bridge), and built the Ordinary at 2000 Ocean St. consisting of an Inn and store.  Charles Williamson ran the Walnut Grove Farm and it’s 120 acres of crop land, mostly on the river-side of Ferry St.  He grew strawberries and raspberries, along with many other fruit trees.

Williamsons Farm House,    Ferry St.   next to #891.

The farm commanded the southeast side of Holly Hill.  Much of the Williamson land was bought up by Gov. Emery and followed by Edwin Dwight.  A great deal of spring water ran off this side of the hill providing  water for cattle and to irrigate the crops. The Bayberry Shore consisted of cultivated crops to the now Ridge Rd.  Salt hay was  harvested throughout the area also.
                          A pencil sketch of the Williamson Barn, c. 1912.
After over one hundred and fifty years, two of the original farm residences still stand on Holly Hill in spite of the bulldozer.
In Gov. Emery’s time, there were no formal roads through the hill.  Cart paths were established to serve the needs of farming. The driveway to the Governor’s farm remains today as Christmas Tree Lane.  Another early driveway, now the east-leg of Holly Rd.,  served an 1852 farm house… possibly one of the four residences noted as being part of the Emery Estate.

No doubt the oldest house on the hill is 165 Elm St.,  just north of Holly Rd….. a Cape Cod style home built in 1728.  There was another old home up the hill and behind #165, but I find no record of it.    Across from Ferry Hill Rd, on the northeast corner, was  Littletown’s Town Pound…a stone-walled impoundment for wayward farm animals.

Painting by W. R. Freden
The north and northwest side of the hill was void of structures due to it’s steepness and lack of a long-day of sunlight.  Most of the early homes were built with their front bedrooms toward the long eastern and southeastern sunlight to warm those rooms.
After the ownership of Dr. Edwin Dwight and his residential building quest, access roads were needed. The first  through roads were Upland, on the north side from Elm to Elm….Dwight, from Upland , over the hill to Elm & Sea Sts… Emery, from Upland south to Dwight.  The two oldest homes on Upland Rd. were built in 1922 and 1929 during the Dwight era. These two hold a view of the South River marshes, Islands, Fourth Cliff, the Lawson Tower in Scituate and, on a good day,  Boston’s City outline. Two houses on Dwight were built in 1930, and on Emery in 1931, 1940 & 1941.
Other observations are during the Emery holdings.  He built a large barn   directly behind the mansion about 1/4 mile, where 151 Dwight Rd. is today.

One has to look close to see the barn as well as the mansion.  Just right of top center is the Gov. Emery mansion….to the far right is his barn for cattle. This was located at the now 151 Dwight Rd.    Other information in this photo, bottom left, is the original Littletown/Sea View Railroad Station The new 1883-84 Station is behind the trees on the right.  Station & Summer Sts. run through the center.

The owner of 151 Dwight Rd. reports that he continues to unveil rusty nails, spikes and other hardware while digging in his garden.
There was a rumor that a hotel was once built on the Hill, but no evidence of that has ever been found.
Between the mansion and barn, there was a wide-open grazing field, and on occasion a small plane would land there.
The Boston Globe published a news report that a small craft crash-landed without serious injuries or serious damage.
On the northeast corner of the hill was a pond where Elm St. meets Ferry St. This was a spring-fed low corner of land that collected water from springs in the upland.  It was only two or three feet deep, but provided wintertime ice skating. In my time we called it Polly’s Pond.
I did skate there with my school friend who lived across Elm St.

                                    Photo, compliments of Lisa Allen

Holly Hill did it’s part serving in WW ll.  A water tower was built on about #151 Dwight Rd. The Tower was contained by a chain-link fence ten feet high.  A personal building and a large generator was also within the enclosure.  During the war, Dwight Rd. was barricaded to traffic at Upland & Dwight on the north side. On the south side at Emery & Dwight, there were no residences within that close-off.  This made the “water” tower a very important structure.

Fire Tower, Radar, Dwight Rd. Holly Hill.

Well, that was no water tower!  It contained radar equipment that sent information to the heavy gun emplacement on Fourth Cliff.  A multi-wired cable was used to send that information. The cable ran across Dwight to the upper Holly Rd., down to Elm St, over to Ireland Rd. and then north along the river to the Military Base.  On occasion, during road-work, a section of cable will be found  causing amazement and wonderment.
Oh yes, what 12 year-old country boy would not climb that tower?  My Holly Hill friend and I made three trips to the top!  A bit scary because it was a long way up, but the view was something I had never seen in my young life.   Fourth Cliff’s Military History: <https://fourthcliff.co/fourth%20cliff%20history.html>

Holly Hill, Seaview, Marshfield, Massachusetts.  A special place in the Village of Seaview’s history.
W Ray Freden, Seaview, Marshfield, Ma. 70 years.

11 Replies to “Hatch’s Hill, Governor’s Hill aka Holly Hill Part 2.”

  1. This is a great article, Ray. I’m still in the same house and I still enjoy having your Great Blue Heron carving that you exchanged for jewelry created by Paul . Elaine Bryant Stephansky

  2. Thanks for sharing this information. Really enjoyed reading it. First visited Marshfield in 1942 and spent many summers there where parents owned home at Blue Fish Cove until we sold it in 1990s. Loved Marshfield. Paul

  3. Always a fantastic read, Ray. I live at the bottom of Napier Rd now and was always fascinated about the history of where I grew up. Would that be apart of what the walnut grove farm was? Do you have any more stories of that specific area? Also, do you have any information on the story of the “pirate house” at the intersection of Ferry St and South River St. Thank you so much Ray.

  4. Thank you so much for this piece of history!! My family has lived here for generations and I thoroughly enjoy reading the history!!!

  5. The picture of Polly’s Pond is of our three daughters and myself sometime in the late 1960’s. Such an incredible memory!

  6. I grew up on Ruthven Farm off Pleasant St which was located on the highest point in Marshfield Hills. A radio tower was built on some property that my Dad sold to some telephone co. and all the guys that constructed the tower were from the Carolinas so it was known as Carolina Hill. This was in the late 40s I think. I loved that farm but never could find much history about it. It was a homestead in early 1800s.
    I loved that place and the house. Many memories. EHR

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