GenMassachusetts-L ArchivesArchiver > GenMassachusetts > 2006-03 > 1142796859
Subject: Peter Tarbell, Sr. & Jr - of Ayer, Mass. (once a part of Groton)
Date: Sun, 19 Mar 2006 14:34:19 EST
Subj: TARBELL, Peter, Jr. of Ayer, Mass.
Source: Biographical Review Life Sketches of Leading Citizens of Middlesex
County, Massachusetts 1898 Biographical Review Publishing Company - Boston
"Who among men art thou, and thy years how many, good friend?" - Xenophanes.
Peter Tarbell, of Ayer, an insurance agent, has for many years been
prominently connected with some of the leading financial interests of this town. He
was born Nov. 8, 1823, in the neighboring town of Shirley.
A son of Peter Tarbell, Sr., he comes of English ancestry, and is a
descendant of an early settler of Middlesex County. His grandparents, John Tarbell
and wife, Hannah (Farnsworth) Tarbell, were residents of Groton, Mass., during
the larger part of their lives. Peter Tarbell, Sr. was born and reared in
Groton, where he learned the trade of a carpenter and also worked at farming.
After his marriage he moved to Shirley, Mass., in this county and was
there industriously engaged in agriculture, carpentry and building-moving, until
his demise in the sixty-fourth year of his age.
The maiden name of his wife was Relief Hartwell. She was born in Shirley,
daughter of Reuben Hartwell, who, born in Lunenburg, Worcester County, passed
the most of his years in Shirley. Of their nine children four reached maturity
namely: Relief Tarbell, the wife of John H. Stearns of Cavendish VT; Peter
Tarbell, Jr., the subject of this sketch, Walter Tarbell, who manufactured
lumber in Lunenburg and West Groton, Mass., and died at the latter place, aged
forty-one years, leaving a family; and Edmund Tarbell, who resided successively
at Shirley and Ayer, and died unmarried at the age of forty-two years. The
mother, who survived her husband, lived to the age of seventy- eight years,
spending her entire life in Shirley.
The old homestead has since been sold. Peter Tarbell, the subject of this
sketch, passed his boyhood and early manhood on the old home farm, remaining
there until after the death of both his parents. Beginn- ing some time before
his father's death, he managed the farm until April 1868, when he disposed of
Then he came to Ayer, Mass., which has since been his place of residence. He
has carried on a considerable business in insurance and real estate, and
owned several valuable pieces of local property, although not engaged in active
pursuits to any extent. He served for three terms of three years each as
Deputy Sheriff, and he was for several years a Selectman, Assessor, and Overseer
of the Poor. He was serving in the latter capacity when arose the noted
contest between Ayer and the Fitchburg Railroad Co. regarding a railroad crossing
in the village, and in which, as he thought, the town was most unjustly
He was for some years a director in the Ayer National Bank. Then a trustee
and a member of the Investment Committee of the savings bank, with which he was
connect- ed for several years. In 1855 he held the commission of justice of
the peace. In politics he was a long-time Democrat and attended various
district, county and State conventions. On November 30, 1847,
Mr. Tarbell married Mary Stiles Putnam, a daughter of Isaiah Putnam and his
wife, Hannah (Cowdin) Putnam. Mr. Putnam was for several years the landlord of
a hotel in Fitchburg. Afterward he manufact- ured cotton goods and for eight
successive years he represented the town in the State Legislature.
Subsequently he retired to the old Putnam farm in Fitchburg where he passed his last
days, dying at the age of eighty-five years. Mrs. Tarbell was educated in
Fitchburg and taught school in that city and vicinity for ten years before her
marriage. Of her five children three had passed to the higher life. The latter
were: a child that live but two months; John Richard Tarbell, who died at the
age of seventeen years, of typhoid fever; and Mary Abbie Tarbell who died of
consumption at the age of twenty-five.
Those children that lived were Peter Putnam Tarbell a resident of New
Bedford, Mass., formerly a buyer of woollen goods for a house in New Haven, Conn.,
who lost his left hand by a gunshot wound. Harriet Adams Tarbell resided on
Moultrie Street, Dorchester, Mass., the wife of George H. Greenwood, who sold
tobacco and smokers' articles at his store on the corner of Washington and
Boylston Streets in Boston. Mr. Tarbell was made an Odd Fellow in 1845 at the
Groton Lodge. He was the last surviving charter member of the Fredonian Lodge,
I. O. O. F. of Ayer, of which lodge he was treasurer for upward of twenty
years. Both he and Mrs. Tarbell were charter members of the Vesta Rebekah Lodge,
which was organized in Ayer in 1887, and of which she had been treasurer.
She was also quite active in the local W. C. T. U., and was a member of the
Orthodox Church which Mr. Tarbell attended and helped support.
Transcribed by Janice Farnsworth
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