Bentville

From an 1883 newspaper article quoted by Helen Emery:

 “Forty (1843) years ago...Cochituate Village...consisted of less than half a dozen weather-stained houses, no church, no school, no post office, no business ...Today substantial residences, also churches and schools abound, the factory of Bent and Sons is daily turning out (shoes), thrift and enterprise are everywhere apparent and the hand whose work is seen in it all is that of James Madison Bent.”

 

The Bent Shoe Factory was on the SW corner of this intersection.  The factory made use of sewing machines which were invented in 1856, power being generated at first by horses walking in a circle.  The factory was later powered by steam engines.  James Madison Bent and brother William Bent began the factory.  Their father’s house was on the SE corner of this intersection.

 

When the Bents had the only factory in the area and the Bents' country store located at the establishment, was the most popular place in this part of town, the area was called Bentville.  At the store, town meeting notices were posted.  Wages were paid in money or under a barter system by which workers received clothing, food and household items instead of money.

 

During the Civil War, James Madison Bent was the mill owner. Helen Emery reports that his house was “built perhaps in the late 1850s or early 1860s diagonally across from the factory on the NE corner (of this intersection).  ...(It) became more and more of a showplace.  By 1880 there was a fountain in front of the house.  ...A newspaper item tells us that a pair of rare Peking ducks had been acquired for the fountain pool.  (In) December small spruce trees were placed in the fountain, and their frozen shapes glistening with ice were described as being ‘like fairyland’.  ..(It) was torn down in 1954.

 

From Wayland Town Crier, March 1954:

“Back in 1863, according to the best available deductions, Myron Bent (James Madison Bent’s son), then 14 ran away to join the Union Army.  As 14 was somewhat below military age,...the family had him discharged...after he’d reached the South. 

 

He arrived home,...about the dirtiest boy in Massachusetts, and his mother plunked the returned veteran into a washtub and gave him the scrubbing of the century.”