Pond History

I am looking for some accurate historical accounts regarding the damming of the Cold Spring Brook to form what we know as Flannagan Pond.  If anyone has any information from Library archives, Historical Associations or Ralph Richardson’s notes, please let me know.  Photos and maps would be great too.

If you have anything, please notify me by e-mail at saveourpond@gmail.com.




Source: Public Spirit, Ayer, Massachusetts – April 27, 1950

Completes 100 Years Continuous Ownership

On Tuesday, April 25, there occurred an event which has happened only a very few times in the history of Ayer, the completion of 100 years of continuous ownership by one family of a piece of land.  On that date in 1850, Calvin Fletcher acquired about 39 acres of woodland and meadow west of Snake Hill Road, along the west shore of Sandy Pond. The purpose of his purchase was probably to flood permanently the south part to furnish water power for his saw mill which stood on the site of the pumping station. The mill pond formed by the dam at this spot is still properly called Fletcher’s Pond.  In 1896, Mr. Fletcher conveyed the 39 acre lot to his son, Calvin, Jr., who later lived in Nelson, N.H.  In 1906, Calvin, Jr.’s daughter Helen B. Fletcher, deeded it to Daniel W. Fletcher, a grandson of Calvin, Sr., who laid out Calvin Street and other street thereon and sold many small lots for summer cottages or permanent homes.  In 1948 Howard P. Fletcher, son of Daniel and great grandson of the original Fletcher owners, became the owner of the landed by deed to him of his brother and sisters.

(John Canney provided this; he got it from Ruth Rhonemus)


  • The Pumping Station was destroyed in the 1960’s.  It was on East Main Street, just past the rotary, about a hundred feet downstream of the dam.
  • This article suggests that the “mill pond” which was formed by the dam is Fletcher’s Pond, though that is in fact often known as Balch Pond (the pond off East Main Street, across from the dam, near the entrance to Cain’s Foods).

This info was found online from the Genealogical and Personal Memoirs of Worcester County published in 1907:

Calvin Fletcher, seventh child of Pelatiah Fletcher, born in Groton, Massachusetts, February 20, 1797. He was a farmer in Groton and dealt also extensively in lumber. He served the town as selectman, representative to general court, and in other positions of trust and honor. He was one of the prominent men of his day. At the time of his death he owned a large amount of land at Ayer Junction. He was well educated, and in his younger days was a school teacher. He married, October 10, 1819, Nancy Reed, daughter of Samuel Reed. Their children : 1. Nancy E., born at Westford, 1820; married William Sawtelle, of Shirley. 2. Calvin J., born at Westford, 1822, died December 24, 1905; married Elizabeth Whitney, of Stowe, 1848, who died December 24, 1905; three children: Emma C, born 1849; Mary F., 1851; Helen B., 1861. 3. Rufus R., mentioned below. 4. Samuel W., born 1826, died 1845, unmarried. 5. Pelatiah, born 1827, died 1833. 6. Mary F., born 1829; married Frederick W. Pope, 1853; three children: Nellie F., born 1854; Frank F., 1859; William F., Pope, died October 21, 1906. 7. Martha P., born 1833, married Jacob W. Cooper, 1853; had Ida S. Cooper, born 1854. 8. Pelatiah, born 1836, died. 9. Joseph, born 1837, died; married, 1862. Sarah J. Stone, and had: Calvin, born 1863; Charles S., born 1867. 10. Albert Francis, born 1840, died March 14, 1906; married. 1889; two children—Robert and Edwin. Sarah J. Stone died August 6, 1905.



5 Responses to Pond History

  1. Cindy Plunkett says:

    My family (Millson) is the fourth generation living on the pond. I have never seen the pond so low and expressed my concern to Chief Pedrazzi in April (after the March rains) about the flow of water in the “narrows” and that it appeared that water was being drained from the culvert near the rotary where the flood gates are located. Water levels of ponds apparently are under the jurisdiction of the Fire Department. I asked if anyone had checked to see if the flood gates had been checked and if they could be closed. There wasn’t a follow up to my request, so I’m not sure that this even happened and subsequently we’ve had the summer drought. In the 54 years I’ve lived on the pond, this is the first time I’ve seen it returning it to it’s natural state as a brook and swamp.

  2. Melissa Steeves says:

    Have you checked masslandrecords.com? Choose South Middlesex county, click on the Property Search tab, select to search Plans, select the town of Ayer (of course!) and type the pond name in for Street Name. The search result for “Flannagan Pond” looks like a dam. The first plan under “Fletcher Pond” also looks like it could be important. There are a lot of matches for “Fletchers Pond” that I have not had time to go through. To do a thorough search you have to try every permutation like Flanagan, Flannagan, Flanagans, Flannagans, Fletcher, and Fletchers. And if it was ever called anything else, you’d have to search that too!

    • saveourpond says:

      Melissa; I have Googled til I’m blue, but I never thought to check the Registry of Deeds. When I get home I’ll pour a cup of coffee and start searching. Thanks for the tip. If you uncover anything exciting, drop us a note.


      • Melissa Steeves says:

        I’m not so sure now that this will be a helpful source. I had more time to look more closely and what I thought was a dam was actually a plan for a gravity sewer system under the ponds. Most of the other plans were for residential development. Sorry, thought I was close!

  3. warren says:

    I too am working on the history of the ponds in Ayer. What I can not yet determine is whether or not Flannagans became a pond before or after Ayer was founded. Historical maps for Ayer are post 1873 and and South Groton 1840. I did find some maps that refer to Bach pond as Ball pond. Sounds like something my grandfather would have pulled in his youth.
    Erskins pond AKA pine meadow now was also know as upper flannagans.
    I did find some great history on the are with the 1980 recon report going back to the 1600’s Very COOL. If you find a 1893 birds eye view of the town–you would almost think Ayer was a seaport. I think I have googled all I can–time to hit the Libraries and town archives and find it the old fashion way.

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