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Quite a big boat, for such a relatively small pond.

      Further evidence of the pond being a very popular recreation spot is an 1888 Wenham Selectmen’s report, which states James T. Smith, of Salem, was licensed to run his steamboat, the Gail Hamilton, on Pleasant Pond. The boat could carry up to 45 passengers, at one time. Quite a big boat, for such a relatively small pond...
      Why the name Gail Hamilton?
      This was the pen name for Mary Abigail Dodge, a writer and essayist from Hamilton, who championed equality of education and occupation, for women. She was born March 31, 1833, in Hamilton...
      With the Gail Hamilton no longer puttering about the Pleasant Pond, Perkins began operating a small passenger motorboat: it took up to 12 passengers.

ex Jack E. Hauck, “A History of Pleasant Pond, from 1637 to 2013” — link — being Chapter 3 of his ongoing Treasures of Wenham History : link

Gail Hamilton (1833-1896) — wikipedia — her book Wool-Gathering (1867) might be expected to contain the word “puttering,” but does not. No matter. Wool-gathering is sufficient justification for including Gail Hamilton in this project; the eponymous puttering steamboat is additional corroboration. I am grateful to Margaret and Catherine for the suggestion, of this writer unknown to me until now.

Wool-Gathering relates a trip through Minnesota and southern states immediately following the Civil War, in 1866 (source). It concludes thus —

      About the sheep-money, do you care to know? In truth I had little to count in solid coin, for all my wool-gathering; but I brought home a Golden Fleece.
      And yet, O Reader, gentle but just, if you should whisper that there is great cry and little wool, — alas! I cannot gainsay you.
page 335 : link

wool-gathering (gleaning) — to indulge in aimless thoughts and daydreams — see etymonline

21 November 2022