Not much has been added since the pioneering
article on Connecticut Valley planemakers by Sayward and Streeter (Chronicle
July 1975, p.21); but in 1996 I believe I came across a possible addition
to the list.
In a lot of old planes found in Greenfield,
Massachusetts one name stamp was unknown to me or to any of the usual
publications that I consulted. That was H. L. Hart, whose stamp
appeared twice on a Yankee plow (see illustrations). The two name
stamps are not identical. One looks like a makers stamp, having a border and
larger letters, the other more like the owners stamp. Since the other planes
in the lot were all of local origin, I guessed that H. L. Hart might also be
from the Greenfield area.
Consultation of local history documents turned
up Holloway Long Hart, born in Shelburne, MA, 4 October 1804, the son of
Ebenezer Hart, a farmer, and his wife Esther. Holloway later moved
across the town line to Greenfield, where he is listed in the U. S. Censuses
from 1840 to 1870 with his occupation given, variously over that period, as
cutlery, knife factory, table cutter, or mechanic.
His brother, Ebenezer Jr., remained all his
life in Shelburne and is described in the Census data as joiner or
carpenter. I have not been able to locate Holloway in any records
between his birth in 1804 and the 1840 census; and from the style of his
plow plane, I guess that it would have been made during this early period of
his life. He had a son born in Shelburne in 1831, and his first wife,
Mary, died and was buried in Shelburne in 1835; but the 1830 U. S. Census
does not show Holloway living in Shelburne or in any of the surrounding
towns of Franklin county. Where was he then? Since the 1830 Census
does not list occupations, even if he turns up somewhere on it, it could not
help in establishing him as a planemaker.
H. L. Hart died in Greenfield "of consumption" 12
June 1870 and was buried in Shelburne. His estate inventory filed in
Franklin County Probate records shows nothing to identify him surely as a
planemaker, but it does list a chest of joiners tools valued at $7.00 and a
workbench. His real estate in Greenfield was located on the north side
of Main Street and east of Federal Street. It was valued at $3800.,
and his personal belongings at $3131.52 sizable sums in 1870.
sure that I once saw his stamp on another plane in an auction lot and would
welcome reports of any other sightings.