On this day in 1832, in the off-Cape village of Middleboro, Abel Denison Makepeace was born, the son of Alvin and Drusilla Makepeace.
Twenty-two years later, "in the little village of Hyannis," A.D. Makepeace "hung out a sign offering, among strangers, his services as a harness-maker and saddler," according to "History of Barnstable County, Massachusetts," 1890, edited by Simeon L. Deyo. "The only place a poor mechanic could expect in a conservative New England town was such a place as his own inherent ability could create for himself, and so, under stern limitations, Abel Denison Makepeace began his career."
Makepeace soon discovered his affinity for agriculture and purchased a farm in Hyannis. The first year's produce included 1,000 bushels of potatoes and 200 bushels of strawberries. "Not all his farming was at once successful," Deyo noted, "for he was among the experimenters who, before 1860, lost most of their investments in attempting to produce cranberries."
Experimentation propelled Makepeace to formidable success.
That spirit of experimentation soon propelled Makepeace to formidable success. In 1867 he produced 16,000 barrels of cranberries and his business holdings in Barnstable and Plymouth counties expanded rapidly in the years to come. By the time the 1890 county history was published, Makepeace was "recognized by all New England as the foremost man in the cranberry business, being now the head of a combination of owners, cultivating more acres and producing, by far, larger results than any other firm or combination in the world."
Makepeace was also an officer in the county's agricultural society and served as director of the Hyannis National Bank. In politics he was "an independent democrat since 1872 - a position well known to be far from popular on Cape Cod - yet in the canvas for state senator in 1883, and for representative in 1885, he received a very flattering vote," the county history indicates.
Not surprising given his success on the bogs, Makepeace came to be known as "the cranberry king" and the family business he created continues to prosper today.
Old tourist map of Cape Cod sells for $364 at auction
On this day in 2006 a pocket map, produced for the tourist trade around 1910 and carrying a price tag of 10 cents, sold for $364.
The attractively colored map folded into paper covers and extended from South Bay all the way to Cape Cod and Provincetown.
The edition named 35 landmarks and lighthouses, all keyed to the map. Numerous ferry and ship routes were also shown.
See similar map on right and auction report (page 2) here.
Map courtesy of Old Maps of Cape Cod.
Now don't you wish you'd saved all those old Best Read Guides?