The Fletcher Family

By, Krista Flinkstrom

A microcosm of small town New England life through their numerous properties, important connections, and current generations

It all started with Peter Fletcher and his ill fated death which led his widow to move to Stow. From then on, Fletcher family members may have dispersed, but they have left an indelible mark on Stow. They are related to seven current local farms, a former box shop and tannery, and a trucking company ("The Fletcher Saga 1794").

Quick History

The Fletcher family relocates to Stow around 1810 when Mrs. Lucy Fletcher, a widow, brings her ten children to a home across from the Warren farm (located north of Pilot Grove) (Childs 56, 57). The floods of 1850 destroys the Fletcher's tannery with the only option of returning to Stow. In 1850, Peter purchases the Gleasondale Road land on both sides of Elizabeth Brook. He builds a tannery on the brook’s north side. Unluckily, he is sued and has unexpected mortgages to pay. This causes pieces of the property to be sold off. His grandson, C.D. will repurchase all the land he lost.
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Carver Hill Orchard

This orchard is owned by C.D. Fletcher's great grandson, William Lord. The Fletcher Family Farm turned into Carver Hill (Lord).

Derby Orchard

C.D. Fletcher's daughter, Eleanor Newhall, wed Robert Derby thereby connecting the Fletchers to Derby Orchard (Lord).

Pilot Grove Farm

Now, a sheep farm this is where the Newall tannery used to operate. The Warren and Fletcher became partners and eventually the two families intermarried ("The Fletcher Saga 1794").

Honey Pot Hill Orchard

Fruit Acres, currently Birch Hill Development, used to occupy this area. The small chunk remaining is Honey Pot Hill Orchard. C.D. Fletcher's daughter, Evelyn Louise, married into the Priest family who owned this swath of land (Childs 138; Lord).

Box Mill Farm

This is currently a cider mill where any unused apples from Carver Hill are pressed into a tasty drink. The business is run by William Lord's nephew (Lord).

Davis Farmland

This fun, kid discovery center used to be farm. It was owned by the Davis' of Sterling. C.D.'s daughter Mary weds George Davis (Lord).

Bolton Orchards

This orchard used to be Davis Farm. The Fletchers are connected through Mary Davis, C.D.'s daughter. Today, it is a market and bakery (Lord).

The Name: Carver Hill

The Fletcher's home farm became Carver Hill Orchard. During World War II, the blue laws limited Sunday driving only to farms. So, their trucking company needed an official farm name to be able to drive and deliver (Lord).

Hurricane of '38

On September 21st at 3:00 hard rain poured down and by 4:00 it was gale. The storm left utter destruction; trees fell down, shingles and chimneys broke and there was about 16,000 bushels of apples lying on the ground (“The Fletcher Saga 1794”). The only trees that survived were the hemlocks after every tree was destroyed on the meadow strip. This huge trees can still be seen in the Town Forest (Lord). Massachusetts recorded a wind speed of 186 mph at Blue Hill Observatory. Two inches of rain per hour sloshed down and the wind knocked steeples over. The hurricane caused about $6,721,000,000 today’s dollars of damage. Already hurting from the Great Depression, it was an enormous calamity for New England (“The Path of the Hurricane of ‘38”).

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Local Influences

John Sibley Fletcher, son of Peter Fletcher, was Stow’s Postmaster from 1867 to 1900. Also, he was the Stow correspondent for the Hudson Enterprise (Childs 97). His brother, Isaac, served in the Civil War from 1862-1863 (“The Fletcher Saga 1794”). He served in the 53rd Regiment in New Orleans under General Banks (Lord). An 1864 bill identifies Robert Derby, Eleanor’s husband, as the Treasurer of Stow: “One Thousand Dollars on Demand with interest R. W. Derby Treas. Of Stow” (R. W. Derby; Fletcher). Additionally, Fletcher family has contributed to Stow’s recreational land. C.D. Fletcher donated a ballfield to the town. In 1972, the Gardner Hill property (the Town Forest) was bought from C.D. Fletcher’s estate to be Stow’s first conservation land (Childs 129). Fieldstone, conservation land, was sold by Charles Lord in 1980 ("Stow Conservation Trust"). The West Concord Cold Storage Plant Trucking Company, saw mill, and box mill were all related to the farm, but they also were separate enterprises (Lord). Through town leadership, conservation land, and business, the Fletcher family has significantly impacted Stow.