- Cabot family
The Cabot family is one of the
Boston Brahmins, also called the "First Families of Boston".
Despite the Cabots' reign as the supreme family of Boston's
social elite, the Cabots arrived in America without the prestige that many first families enjoyed. The Cabots did not arrive on the Mayflower, but arrived later than most of Boston's first families. While nearly all of Boston's first families arrived in Boston from England, the Cabot brothers came from the Channel Island of Jersey, which lies off the northwest coast of Normandy, France.
Upon arriving in Massachusetts, the Cabot family landed in Salem, where they stayed for some time before eventually moving to the famous Beacon Hill section of Boston (the address for all Boston Brahmins).
The Cabots' Rise to Prominence
The Cabot family's rise to prominence in Boston's social circles was very much like the rise of the other
Boston Brahmins, in that it was facilitated by wealth gained through marriage and merchants. Shipping during the eighteenth century was the lifeblood of most of Boston’s first families, who usually got their start with the help of "The King of Shipping" Colonel Thomas Perkins. The first great merchant of the Cabot family was George Cabot, who left Harvardto become a cabin boyon a shipping vessel. George Cabot worked his way through shipping to become extraordinarily wealthy, reportedly making profits of $130,000 on a single ship. Cabot made his fortune like many first families through the triangle tradewith Africafor slaves and also rum, sake, and wine. George Cabot also was involved in smuggling during the American Revolution, along with many other first families. Samuel Cabotprovided the next influx of money into the Cabot family by combining the first family staples of marrying money and working in shipping. He moved from Salem to Boston, and in 1812 married the daughter of merchant king Colonel Perkins. Seeing the opportunities in shipping that followed the War of 1812, Cabot became partners in Perkin’s firm and died a millionaire.
The Cabots, like all surviving first families, continued their legacy as Boston elite through the money of various businessmen with fortuitious timing. Eventually the Cabots moved their interests from
shippingto textilesand chemicals. John Cabot, son of the founding Cabots, established America’s first cotton millin 1787 in Beverly, Massachusetts. [ [http://www.globalindex.com/nsbol/1municip/beverly/his_cott.htm Beverly Community History Cotton Mill] , www.globalindex.com. URL accessed January 14, 2007.] Godfrey Lowell Cabotwas founder of the worlds largest carbon blackproducer (Cabot Corporation [http://www.cabot-corp.com/] NYSE:CBT ) in the country, which was used for inks and paints.
The Choicest Cut of Cold Roast Boston
In Boston, the
Forbes familyis the symbol of inherited wealth; the arts belong to the Lowells; and political history belongs to the Adams family. The Cabots, however, are the kings of Boston’s elite social scene. The Cabots have succeeded in dominating Boston’s social world since their rise to prominence. This is probably partly due to their membership in many of Boston’s first families through marriage. Like all Boston Brahmin families, the Cabots only marry within their social circle, which serves to maintain exclusivity and to keep money within a small pool. Cabots have been known to marry mostly Lees, Jacksons, Higginsons and Lowells. In one Cabot family of seven children, four of them married Higginsons. A Jackson family of five was reported to have married three Cabots.
Another tradition of the Cabot family that is also held by many other first families is the repetition of their sons' names, professions, and their education at
Harvard. Francis Cabot Lowell was a founding member of the Porcellian Club, Harvard’s oldest and most exclusive finals club. Godfrey Lowell Cabot donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to Harvard. Harvard has several buildings named after the Cabot family, including Cabot Houseand the Godfrey Lowell Cabot Science Library.
Many of the first families of Boston have quirks. The Cabots, in particular, are known as shockingly frank. The people of Boston have embraced the Cabots for their straightforwardness. Dr. Richard Cabot was once asked to dinner and replied "Really I have so many people I should like to dine with but never get around to, I should not pretend that I ever would do it." (Amory p.230). Cabot women are especially known for their frank language, despite living in what is almost considered America’s manners capital, behind
Charleston, South Carolina.
One of the characteristics of Boston’s social elite that distinguishes it from the social elite from other U.S. cities is its insistence upon conservative clothing, homes, and
manners. The Cabots are no exception. Rarely do the Cabot women wear their fine jewels. Like most of Boston’s first families, the Cabots have a familial summering spot in North Haven, Maine. Modesty is apparent in " Cabotville," the Cabots' summering home. The compound consists of a number of small, spartan buildings along the coast. The compound lacks many amenities, including telephones. The boats that are moored off the compound are the only sign of wealth, even though "Cabotville" lacks docks (what about the boat house that connects to the dock?), and has created a strange use of ropes, known as a haul off, to board the boats from the shore.
Though the Cabots have maintained a very exclusive social standing, they have long been known for their incredible generosity and charity. It is said in Boston that "where there is a cause, there is a Cabot." The family has donated much of its money within the city, and often specifically to Harvard University, with multiple buildings named in their honor. The Cabot family is well-known as a family of philanthropy, but only at their own will. When asked to donate money, Cabots have reportedly replied angrily and bluntly.
The Cabots are also known for being snobbish and cheap, caring not for the charity they lead, but for the salary it pays.
John Moors Cabot- American diplomat
Francis Higginson Cabot Jr.- businessman
Francis Cabot- noted gardener
Charles Codman Cabot- American jurist
George Cabot- U.S. Senator, and first Secretary of the Navy(Colonel Perkins had been offered the position by Washington, yet turned it down because his own private fleet of ships was larger than the U.S. Navy’s)
* John Cabot - established the first
cotton millin the United States outside of Boston in Beverly, Massachusettsin 1787
* Francis Cabot Lowell - founder of Harvard's
Porcellian Club. Helped to introduce the power loomin the United States.
Godfrey Lowell Cabot- founder of Godfrey Lowell Cabot Corp, eventually called the Cabot Corporation. Philanthropist
Charles George Cabot
George Cabot Lodge- poet, son of Henry Cabot Lodge, father of Henry Cabot Lodge Jr.
George C. Lodge- professor at Harvard Business School, 1962 U.S. Senate candidate
Henry Cabot Lodge- U.S. Senator from Massachusetts and ardent opponent of Woodrow Wilson’s League of Nations
Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr.- U.S. Senator from Massachusetts, diplomat, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, and vice presidential candidate
Lilla Cabot Perry- one of the first American impressionist artists. Early collector of French Impressionist art and contributor to the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
* Linda Cabot Black - strong supporter of the arts, especially the
Boston Lyric Opera
Sophie Cabot Black- poet
* Walter M Cabot - founding president of the
Harvard Management Company
Thomas Dudley Cabot- business executive and yachtsman
Edward Clarke Cabot- architect and artist
List of political families
*Amory, Cleveland; "The Proper Bostonians", E.P. Dutton,
*Briggs, L. Vernon; "History and Genealogy of the Cabot Family 1475-1927"; C.E. Goodspeed & Company, Boston 1927
*Cabot, Ellsworth S.; "Mostly about the Cabots",
*Cooke, Carolyn; "The Bostons", Houghton Mifflin, Boston 2001
*Greene, Richard Henry; "When the Mayflower Sailed Away", T.A. Wright, New York 1897
*Li- Marcus, Moying; "Beacon Hill: The life and times of a neighborhood",
Northeastern University Press, Boston 2002
* [http://www.britannica.com/eb/article-9018455/Cabot-Family Encyclopaedia Britannica Cabot family]
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