James J. H.
A Timeline of his life.
Shari Kelley Worrell & Norma
Lovett Gregory Kelley Flude
November 7: James John Howard Gregory was born in Marblehead,
Massachusetts to James Adams and Ruth (Roundey) Gregory. His father was
Justice of the Peace and a Custom’s Officer.
Prepared at the Marblehead Academy, Middlebury.
Taught at the Farm School in Marblehead, Massachusetts.
Graduated from Amherst College.
Principal at Derby Academy in Hingham, Massachusetts.
Farmer and seedsman in Marblehead, Massachusetts. JJH did not pay his
employees. Each employee kept his/her own hourly count on the "honor
system" and on payday paid themselves from the cash drawer.
the 'Hubbard Squash'
to the seed trade. Originally brought to New
England from South America or the West Indies, the variety had been grown
in Marblehead as early as the 1830s.
A neighbor to the Gregory's, Elizabeth
Hubbard (also known as "Marm Hubbard"), recognized the properties of the
squash and brought them seeds saying, "it was the best squash she had ever
tasted in her life." JJH later bred and released 'Blue
developed the first Cherry Tomato and was instrumental in the widespread
distribution of the Danvers Onion and saw that the seed of the onion
quality remained high.
1856 ~ The
Squash House (originally a fish house) was moved to 59 Elm Street from
Gerry's Island, where it was built in the early 1700s. In the 1890s it served as a
playhouse and home to the "Squash Players," who performed
there for a number of years.
Selectman in Marblehead, Massachusetts.
December 30: Married Eliza Candler Bubier in Marblehead, Massachusetts.
Winningstadt Cabbage was first listed in America by James J. H. Gregory &
Sons of Marblehead, Massachusetts in 1866. Plants are quite upright and
compact with a spread of 28"-30". Thick firm leaves are dark bluish-green
and distinctively waved. Extremely hard, pointed heads are 7-9" tall and
6-7" in diameter. Nice mild flavor, excellent keeper. 80-90 days from
Selectman in Marblehead, Massachusetts.
1873 ~ October
7: James Bryant (renamed James Howard Gregory) was adopted by JJH and his
first wife, Eliza.
1875 ~ JJH
purchased the rights to the "best white potato" for $150 from
Mr. Gregory allowed
Burbank to keep 10 tubers for his own use and did the honor of naming
the new potato the "Burbank."
Burbank used the money
to finance his move to California, where he spent the rest of his life and
developed his international fame.
1876 ~ May 1:
William Edgar Gammell (renamed Edgar Gregory) and Sarah Anna Sophia
Bonnell (renamed Annie Bubier Gregory) were adopted from the Church Home
for Orphans and Destitute Children in South Boston, by JJH and his first
1876 ~ August
15: First wife (Eliza) died in Marblehead, Massachusetts.
November 6: Laura Anna Harwood (renamed Laura Harwood Gregory) was adopted
from the same orphanage in South Boston, by JJH, following the death of
his first wife, Eliza.
1876 ~ Built a
fine seaside home off of Cloutman’s Lane on Peach’s Point. He beautifully
landscaped it with flowered walks and unusual shrubbery. JJH once offered
it to President Garfield to use in the summer of 1881, but President
Garfield reluctantly declined his generous offer.
1876 -1877 ~
December 14: Formal dedication of Abbot Hall. Designed by Lord & Fuller
and built on Training Field Hill. Donated to the town by Benjamin Abbot, a
cooper, the structure was the tallest in town, 164 feet to the top of the
weathervane. During the 1930s the interior walls were adorned with
local-history murals. The bell and clock of Abbot Hall was donated by
James J. H. Gregory.
1878 ~ June
17: Married Harriet R. Roundey in Marblehead, Massachusetts.
1879 ~ June:
Purchased the painting "William the Silent" and loaned it to the reading
room at Abbot Public Library in Marblehead, Massachusetts; then located in
Abbot Hall. He had previously donated a painting by W. Norton called
"Crossing the Banks."
1888 ~ JJH’s
first grandchild born.
1888 ~ July
22: Donated Bailey’s Head, off Orne Street, now known as Fountain Park. He
donated the property so "all could see a panoramic view of the town he
loved so much."
1889 ~ Warren
Squash copyrighted by JJH Gregory.
November 30: Second wife (Harriet) died in Middleton, Massachusetts.
September 30: Married Sarah Lydia Caswell in Marblehead, Massachusetts.
1899 ~ Wrote
the poem "I Will be Rich in Another Country."
~ Wrote an article published in the The Essex Antiquarian on Indian
Relics. JJH was a collector of Indian relics, having over 2,000 pieces in
his private collection; all of which were collected by him in Marblehead,
1901 ~ His
poem "Lost at Sea" was published in The Essex Antiquarian.
1910 ~ James
H. Gregory of Marblehead, Massachusetts, funded a traveling library
extension service for southern African Americans. The service was known as
the Marblehead Libraries and the extension service for African Americans
was administered by Atlanta University.
Louisville Free Public Library, an apprentice class for African Americans
was organized, the first example for any attempt in the South to provide
library training for the prospective African American librarian. The last
classes were held in 1928-29.
February 20: James J. H. Gregory, seedsman and town philanthroper, died in
February 23: He was buried in the Waterside Cemetery (Gregory
Mausoleum—Lots 227 & 228) in Marblehead, Massachusetts.
1922 ~ January
15: Third wife (Sarah) died in Marblehead, Massachusetts.
Gregory was also vice-president of the Essex County Agricultural Society
for several years. He published many pamphlets concerning vegetable
2. Out of
concern with the education for young people, he donated innumerable
books to over fifty southern black colleges. In all, he donated over
served as a Library Trustee and on the Building Committee for Abbot
4. JJH was a
personally picked all the books he donated and supervised their
shipping; calling the whole project Marblehead Libraries. He organized
the entire project himself and in just over two years, shipped books to
130 Negro schools, 30 mountain schools, some jails and some missions.
Gregory donated to the town of Marblehead, Massachusetts:
and bell in the tower of Abbot Hall
a new library
will, he established an ongoing "Gregory Fund", wherein every family
who gives birth to twins will receive a new carriage.
Gregory donated to the schools and churches of Marblehead,
Street, running along the Townside Harbor Front in Marblehead, was named
in his honor.
9. JJH was
an accomplished poet, having some of his poems published in the Essex
Antiquarian. One of the poems, "Ode to Evelyn", was written in memory of
his granddaughter, Evelyn Burroughs.
Kelley Worrell is the Great-great-granddaughter of James J. H. Gregory.
Lovett Gregory Kelley Flude, Shari's mother, is James J. H. Gregory's
Marblehead Magazine's "Selectmen's
Roster: 1648 to Present"
1877 Seed Annual
Letter by James J. H. Gregory
written in December, 1857 for The Magazine of Horticulture
- 1899 Catalog Back Cover Image - Smithsonian Institution Library,
Cat. No. 10023
Cabbages and Cauliflowers: How to Grow Them, by James J. H.