October 4, 1737

1737 October 4 (Tuesday).  Mr. Jarvis, Sister Lydia[1] and I rode to Cambridge.  Mrs. Susé Champney[2] there.  Mr. Jarvis lodged with me at Father Champney’s.[3]  N.B. I rode down to Mr. Dana’s Tavern[4] about my Wife’s Trunk.

[1]Walett: Lydia Champney.

[2]Walett: Susanna Champney, cousin of the first Mrs. Parkman.

[3]Walett: Samuel Champney, Sr., father of Parkman’s first wife.

[4]Forbes: Dana’s Tavern stood near the centre of the town of Brookline and was a famous hostelry for many years.  It was a large gambrel-roofed house and stood until 1816, when it was destroyed by fire.

A story of the old tavern is given in Historic Sketches of Brookline, by Harriet F. Woods, in which Tom Cook (see Journal, Aug. 27, 1779) figures as chief actor.

She writes: “There was a notorious thief, well known in Brookline and the adjoining towns by the name of Tom Cook.  He had many eccentricities, among which was a habit of stealing from the rich to give to the poor.  In horse-stealing he was especially expert.  He was frequently arrested, convicted and sentenced to short terms of imprisonment at the ‘Castle’ (now Fort Independence), that being then the common prison for all offenders in Boston and vicinity.

“On one occasion Tom stole a goose from a countryman’s wagon, which was under the shed at Dana’s Tavern; not, however, with generous designs for any of his poor protegés, but for the satisfying of his own appetite.  But as an uncooked goose would be about as unsatisfactory as no goose at all, Tom resorted to the old schoolhouse, — school not being in session, to cook and devour it.”

Squire Sharpe’s house was nearest to the schoolhouse, and Squire Sharpe was a grandson of Capt. Robert, and a nephew of Mistress Susanna.

“The Squire, with his sharp eye on the interests of the town, discovered a smoke arising from the schoolhouse chimney, and as ‘where there is smoke, there must be fire,’ he proceeded to reconnoitre and caught Tom in the very act of roasting the goose.  Laying the strong hand of the law upon him, he made him confess where he got the fowl and march back with it under his own escort to the Tavern, and, before the assembled inmates of the bar-room, gave him his choice to take then and there a public whipping, or be tried and sent to the Castle.  Tom considered briefly and decided to take the whipping.

“The countrymen agreed, and flourished their long whips upon him with such vigor, that Tom’s appetite for roast goose was abated in a summary manner, and the punishment proved more effectual than his various sojourns at the Castle.”

Walett: Jonathan Dana kept a tavern near the center of Brookline.