Frank was born in Dedham, but grew up in East Walpole. It was his home, and a place that he never left. His business was here and so was his family and home. Frank married a few years after he graduated from Brown University. He had met his first wife, Rebecca Hill Cooke, while in Providence. Her mother was Amey Brown, a descendent of the prestigious family that founded Brown University. The couple married in January of 1834, but Rebecca would die just a year later from complications of “a long illness” and their baby would die five months later. Devastated, Frank threw himself into his business. It would be almost ten years later before he married again. In 1843 he married Abby Newell, they spent the next 50 years happily married, and became the parents of six children.
The centerpiece of the Bird family was their home, Endean. It sat on top of the highest point of the property and over looking the village of East Walpole, in fact the name Endean is Gaelic for “house on a hill.” It appears this house was built on property originally owned by George Bird, whose house was near by. It is said Frank Bird built the original house in 1839. Over the years it was altered and added to, until it contained about 40 rooms. The society pages of Boston newspapers were filled with events that occurred at Endean through out the 1900s. Although the family had moved out by the early 1980s, the Women’s Junior League of Boston held its annual Decorator Show House there in 1987. The property was sold to Toll Brothers, a large home development company. They had planned to keep Endean standing as they submitted plans for their multi-home development. Sadly on the evening November 28, 2000, a vandal set fire to the house, and being far from a water source, the fire department had a difficult time extinguishing the flames, and the house was a total loss. From Google Earth, the outlines (foundation) of the estate can be seen, and it appears the area where the house was located is kept mowed.
Francis William Bird, born 22 Oct 1809 in Dedham, baptized 15 April 1810 First Church of Dedham and died 23 May 1894 in East Walpole, MA. He married (#1) 1 Jan 1834 Rebecca Hill Cooke in Providence, RI. She was born 26 Feb 1811 in Providence, RI and died 5 Feb 1835 in South Walpole. She was the daughter Benoni Cooke and Amey Brown. He married (#2) 20 Jun 1843 Abby Frances Newell in Boston, MA. She was born 19 Dec 1818 and died 29 Nov 1892 in East Walpole. She was the daughter of Joseph Newell and Mary Reynolds.
Child of Francis W. Bird and Rebecca Hill is:
I. Rebecca Bird, born Feb 1835 in South Dedham; died 23 Jul 1836 in South Dedham.
Children of Francis W. Bird and Abby Newell are:
II. Frances Newell Bird, born 22 Jul 1844 in Walpole; died 30 Sept 1901 Newton, MA. She married 3 Sept 1873 to Horace Dutton in Walpole. He was born 16 Jul 1840 in Boston and died 4 Aug 1920 in Boston. He was the son of George D. Dutton and Mary Pomeroy. Horace attended Yale College, graduating in 1862, and became a Congregational minister. He ministered in Northboro (MA), West Newbury (MA) and Wareham (MA). His marriage to Frances Bird was his second marriage. His first wife was Martha G. Sweet, they married in 1870, and she died in 1871, two weeks after giving birth to their daughter, Martha. The family eventually settled in Auburndale (Newton), MA.
Children of Horace Dutton and Frances Bird are:
- Francis Bird Dutton, born 16 Apr 1875 Northboro; died 27 Oct 1956 Lebanon, PA. Married 1903 to Nancy Heister in PA. (no children)
- George Damon Dutton, born 30 Jun 1878 in Boston; died 26 Jul 1953 Walpole. He married Marjorie Schenck in 1922 (his first cousin). (two daughters: Frances & Marjorie)
III. Mary Reynolds Bird, born 5 Jul 1845 in Walpole; died 17 May 1894 East Walpole. (never married). It is not known where Mary attended school, she most certainly would have gone to a prestigious private high school, and possible on to college. As a woman of her social stature, she would not have held a paying job. Instead she became very involved in local issues. It is said she spoke out against slavery, although no documentary evidence has been found. In 1872 she established a lending library in East Walpole. In 1879 she became the first female to serve on Walpole’s School Committee. In 1884 she built a clock tower addition on to Bird Hall. The hall burned in 1994 and all that remains is Mary’s clock tower. In 1885 Mary formed the Children’s Sewing Circle. Here young girls, ages 14 and up, could learn many proper sewing techniques, which would be of benefit to them as they entered adulthood. In 1888 she served as treasure of the (East Walpole) Village Improvement Committee. When her father died, he willed $3000 to Walpole to establish a public library in honor of his daughter. A year after her death, members of the Children’s Sewing Circle established a small park across the street from Bird Hall in honor of Mary.
VI. Francis William Bird, born 25 Feb 1850 in Walpole; died 11 Jul 1874 East Walpole. (never married). Attended Brown University then went into business with his father. At just four years into his 24th year Francis died of rheumatic heart disease. This is a condition where the heart is damaged from rheumatic fever. Newspapers reported he had struggled with this heart problem for several years, and that when he went to bed on Friday night he seemed fine, but he was found dead in bed the next morning.
V. Caroline Augusta Bird, born 9 Jun 1852 in Walpole; died 14 Jul 1922 Liverpool, ENG. She married 2 Jun 1881 to John Calvin Plimpton in Walpole. He was born 10 May 1850 in Walpole and died 5 Mar 1937 in St. Petersburg, FL. He was the son of Calvin Gay Plimpton and Priscilla Lewis. John moved to England in 1878 and was an importer of American made goods.
Children of John C. Plimpton and Caroline A. Bird are:
- John Calvin Plimpton, born 8 Jun 1885 Egremont, ENG; died 24 Nov 1969 Wrexham, ENG. He married Gladys Freda Richardson 1914 in ENG (one dau: Freda J.)
- Ethel Bird Plimpton, born 25 Feb 1889 Egremont, ENG; died Feb 1990 Birkenhead, ENG. She married Herbert B. H. Pidgeon in 1915 in ENG (two children: John M and Elizabeth H)
- Charles Bird Plimpton, born 31 Oct 1894 Peckham, London, ENG; died 29 Dec 1948 ENG. He married in 1922 to Margaret Audrey Hall. (two dau: Alice and Mabel)
VI. Charles Sumner Bird, born 15 Aug 1855 in East Walpole; died 9 Oct 1927 in East Walpole. Married 19 Oct 1880 to Anna Julia Child in Dorchester (MA). She was born 13 Jan 1856 in Worcester (MA) and died 20 Nov 1942 in Walpole. She was the daughter of Elisha N. Child and Elizabeth H. Martin. Charles attended Phillips-Andover Academy and graduated from Harvard College in 1877, and went to work for his father. He is said to have spent half his workday in overalls working on the floor of the mill. The other half of the day he wore a suit and worked in the offices. Charles appears to be one of those people who could think outside of the box. After back-to-back disasters in 1880, he invented three new products, which became instant successes. He grew the family business from a local company to an international company. He unsuccessfully ran for governor twice in the 1910s. He, like his father, had a strong ethic to help others and to improve society. He and his wife are responsible for Bird Park, which is only one of the many things he did for Norwood and Walpole. When he died he left an estate of twelve million dollars.
Children of Charles S. Bird and Anna J. Child are:
- Francis William Bird, born 4 Jul 1881 Walpole; died 9 Aug 1918 Boston. He married 1913 to Margery W. Phelps in Boston. (three children: Mary R, Anna C, and Francis W)
- Charles Sumner Bird, born 29 Sept 1884 Walpole; died 1980. He married Julia Appleton (four children: Diana, Charles, David and Christopher)
- Edith Harlan Bird, born 27 May 1887 Walpole; died 23 Mar 1950 Aiken, NC. She married 1912 to Robert Perkins Bass. (five children: Perkins, Edith, Joan, Robert and Jeremy)
- Joan Child Bird, born 15 Aug 1899 Walpole; died 6 Aug 1929 in Peterborough, NH. She married in 1910 to (#1) Louis Agassiz Shaw, Jr in Boston. They divorced. (two daughters: Joanne and Pauline). Joan married (#2) Arthur L. Johnson (no issue)
VII. Rebecca Hill Bird, born 5 Oct 1857 in Walpole; died 19 Dec 1899 in Santa Barbara, CA. She married 1 Nov 1887 to Harrison Hayford Child in Walpole. He was born 30 Dec 1858 in Worcester (MA) and died 8 Feb 1930 in Medfield. He was the son of Elisha N. Child and Elizabeth H. Martin.
Child of Harrison H. Child and Rebecca H. Bird is:
- Harrison Bird Child, born 26 Feb 1889 in Walpole; died 20 Aug 1944 in Medfield. He married 5 May 1938 to Muriel T Holmes. (This couple does not to appear to have had children) When Harrison was born, he was named Harrison Hayford Child (jr). In 1896, when he was 7 years old it was changed to Harrison Bird Child.
Parsons, Henry. Parsons Family: Descendants of Cornet Joseph Parsons, Springfield 1636 – Northampton 1655. (New Haven CT: The Tuttle, Morehouse, and Taylor Co., 1920).
Francis William Bird: A Biographical Sketch. Norwood, MA: The Norwood Press, 1897.
Hill, Don Gleason (ed.),“First Church Records” The Record of Baptisms, Marriages and Deaths Transcribed from Church Records in the Town of Dedham, Massachusetts, 1638-1845. Dedham, MA: The Press of the Dedham Transcript, 1888.
Find A Grave, database with images, findagrave.com citing the Charles Sumner Bird Memorial Cemetery, East Walpole, Norfolk Co., Massachusetts
Greaves, Maude R. A History of Walpole. Walpole: Walpole Public Library.
Obar, Sam. “Trailblazer Wilkins: Still an Inspiration.” Hometown Weekly. Medfield: Hometown Publications,
Hamlett, Veronica. “Bird Hall in East Walpole Set for Revival.” Wicked Local: Walpole. April 16, 2012.
Lewis, Isaac N. A History of Walpole From its Earliest Times. Walpole: Walpole Historical Society, 1905.
Rinaldi, Deborah et.al. Walpole: Images of America. Charleston (NC): Arcadia Publishing, 1998.