it. Eighty-five poor widows of the Revolutionary War
, resident in Manchester
, with one hundred and thirtyfive fatherless children, wanted it as a highway to Salem
, where they carried their manufactured cloth.
and a part of Salem
opposed it. After a strenuous fight the project materialized, 17 November, 1787, with George Cabot
, John Cabot
, John Fisk
, Israel Thorndike
, and Joseph White
Before i March, 1788, they had contracted for pine and oak timber, made terms with Lemuel Cox
to build the bridge, and settled other details.
was to be paid nine shillings a day and his board (including punch) for superintending the work.
25 April they added to Cox
's pay a gratuity of $55, to be drawn when the bridge was done.
About this time they contracted for ten gallons of New England
rum, but it is probable that it was not all to be consumed by Cox
From the first some trouble had grown up between Cox
and the directors, and this culminated, 19 July, by a vote to dismiss him, ‘it appearing improper that Mr. Lemuel Cox
should be continued in their service for any longer time,’ it was therefore voted unanimously that he be discharged and that the sum of $55, being the whole of the gratuity promised to him, and his wages to this time, be paid to him in full.
With the advent of September the bridge was near completion.
The first pier was raised 3 May, 1788, the last pier 6 September, 1788.
It was opened for public travel 24 September, 1788; its cost was $16,000. The bridge measured 1,484 feet without the abutments, which added thirty-six feet more.
It had ninety-three piers, and a draw thirty feet wide, ‘which played with such ease that two boys of ten years old may raise it.’
Here is one item of interest: the tolls were farmed, and when George Washington
, as President
, crossed the bridge, shortly after the opening, the proprietors had to pay $7.80 tolls on Washington
and his escort and suite to the lessee, Capt. Asa Leach
, with whom Lemuel Cox
had boarded while the bridge was building.