68 Mordecai Lincoln Road, Scituate, MA, USA
Owned By: Town of Scituate, private owner
Thanks to the Scituate Historical Society, a roadside marker indicates the property where Mordecai Lincoln erected a mill and homestead c. 1691-1692. He was the great-great-great grandfather of President Abraham Lincoln.
A few steps away is Amelang Bridge, on Bound Brook. In 2017, the Hunter’s Pond Dam was removed from this spot, opening up 5 miles of river habitat, restoring 2.5 acres of wetland, and providing access to 200 acres of spawning habitat for river herring in Lily Pond and Aaron River Reservoir.
This is a historic site only. No public access.
The Hunter’s Pond Dam stood at this location on Bound Brook from the late 1600s until 2017. According to Samuel Deane’s History of Scituate, Bound Brook earned its name because it served as a boundary — straddling the line between the Plymouth and Massachusetts Bay colonies. According to a history provided by Charles Ladd, no dam or road existed at this spot prior to 1695, but there was a fording spot just downstream. (Additional details below were also gleaned from Ladd’s history.)
Mordecai Lincoln, a blacksmith, built a house on this property before 1695, as well as a series of mills — a sawmill and grist mill at the mouth of Bound Brook, another mill farther upstream, and another even farther up, near Cohasset’s Lily Pond. Water flow was insufficient for powering any of the mills for more than two days at a time, so Lincoln staged his operations, employing vertical water wheels and a series of dams. He’d work for two days at one dam, until the water ran out, then move downstream to the next. The dam at today’s Mordecai Lincoln Road (formerly Blossom Street) quickly became a roadway, and a much more convenient way to cross the stream.
After 1810, Caleb Lincoln, a descendent of Mordecai, sold the mill properties out of the family. The mills were renovated or reconstructed in the mid-1800s, with turbines replacing the water wheels. Ownership shifted again in 1882. The final milling operation on this site — Lincoln Mill Grain and Feed Company — existed from about 1905 to 1922. After it failed, John Cornett took over the site, with the Ladd family to follow in 1957.
Fish ladders were constructed at the dam on Mordecai Lincoln Road after 1936, likely with funding from the Works Progress Administration. Occasional flooding at Hunter’s Pond became an issue in the 1950s, and when the Massachusetts Office of Dam Safety discovered critical damage to the dam’s spillway, culvert and beam — features that would be cost-prohibitive to repair — the Town of Scituate opted to remove the dam. Working with the Massachusetts Division of Ecological Restoration and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, as well as NSRWA, the town obtained state and federal grants. The dam was removed in 2017.
The Lincoln Homestead property was acquired by the Town of Scituate in 2022. It is within the region of the Massachuseuk (or Massachusett) Native American tribe.
Habitats and Wildlife
Since the 2017 removal of the Hunter’s Pond Dam, this spot has been undergoing a major transformation, as Bound Brook reclaims its natural course. The dam removal opened up 5 miles of river habitat, restored 2.5 acres of wetland, and provided access to 200 acres of spawning habitat for river herring in Lily Pond and Aaron River Reservoir. It’s likely that water quality will improve in Bound Brook, now that it is flowing once again through a wetland instead of a warm, shallow pond.
Watch for herring and smelt swimming upstream in the springtime, and let us know if you see any! We monitor this spot every spring as part of our annual river herring counts.
Upstream in Cohasset near Lily Pond, the Aaron River, Brass Kettle Brook and Herring River flow together to form Bound Brook. Bound Brook flows eastward through Cohasset and North Scituate, and then takes a sharp turn north between Booth Hill and Henry Turner Bailey Roads. Just downstream of the Amelang Bridge on Mordecai Lincoln Road, it empties into the Gulf River.
The Gulf River originates in North Scituate. Joined by Musquashcut Brook and Bound Brook, it empties into the Atlantic Ocean at Cohasset Harbor.
Historic Site: Yes
Boat Launch: No
Hours: No public access.
Parking: No public parking.
Boat Ramp: No
ADA Access: No
Scenic Views: Yes
Waterbody/Watershed: Bound Brook (Gulf River watershed)