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ter removed to Weston and occasionally preached in that and the neighboring towns. He purchased the estate about the same time upon which he resided till his death. He took an active part during the Revolution, as one of ihe committee of the town to enlist and provide for the soldiers. He was a member of the Convention that formed the Constitution of Massachusetts, and among his papers, after his death, was found a draught,in his own band writing, of a frame of Government, many of the principles of which are incorporated into our present Constitution, and he is believed to have taken an active and efficient part in forming and adopting this constitution. He was often afterwards a representative from Weston.
He became connected with a cunning and shrewd speculator in business, and, in consequence, became involved in land suits and lost a considerable part of his property. His temper thus became sour, and in the latter part of his life he became extremely avaricious. He died like a beggar and after his death there were found in his chambers several bags of money which had been boarded up for years; as, on removing them, the bottoms of the bags were too much decayed to hold their contents. He denied himself, for many years before his death, the conveniences and even the necessaries of life.
All the clothing he possessed at his deaih, would have disgraced the meanest beggar in the streets. Such was his love of money that he suffered himself to be committed to jail on a judgment growing out of his connexion with the speculator before mentioned, and remained in jail two or three years, till he compelled his creditor, in this way, to relinquish a part of the debt for the sake of recovering the remainder. Mr. Roberts possessed more than ordipary natural powers of mind, but they became debased by tbe sordidness of his disposition. He died a bachelor, at the advanced age of 91, in April, 1811.
Note to the Reader. An apology is due for presenting the foregoing sketches in so many parts imperfect. We had become pledged to furnish them within a given period, not suspecting at the time the labor of preparing them. A multiplicity of engagements, in addition to the shortness of the time for preparation, has compelled us to present these in a form less perfect than we had hoped, when we assumed the task. This apology, while it is due to the reader will, we hope, in some measure, screen from the severity of criticism.
THE EDITORS ARE INDEBTED TO THE REV. JOSEPH ALLEN, OF NORTH
BOROUGH, FOR THE FOLLOWING SKETCHES.
NORTHBOROUGH, though one of the youngest and smallest incorporated towns in the County of Worcester, was, for nearly 50 years, prior to the date of its incorporation, a part of Westborough ; first as part of an undivided whole, and then as a separate precinct or parish. This carries us back to the year 1717, before which time, Westborough itself, including Northborough, belonged to the large and ancient town of Marlborough. Northborough then, as being included in Marlborough, may lay claim to considerable antiquity. Marlborough was incorporated in 1660, only about 30 years after the commencement of the Massachusetts Colony. The stream of emigration may easily be traced back from this, which was for many years a frontier settlement, bordering upon the unexplored wil. derness, to the fountain head. The settlement in Marlborough was commenced four years before the date of its incorporation, by emia grants from Sudbury, which was older by about 20 years than Marlborough, having been incorporated in 1638. The next step carries us back to Concord, which was purchased of the natives and incorporated in 1635.*
The next step brings us to Watertown, where a settlement was made in 1630, the same year that Boston began to be built. It was in this year that a large number of emigrants arrived from England, which served greatly to enlarge and strengthen the Colony, then in its infancy. The oldest town in the Massachusetts Colony is Salem, where a settlement was commenced in 1628, eight years after the landing of our fathers at Plymouth.
* 1. Mass. Hist. Col. Vol. I.
Thus we see that within the short space of 30 years from the first planting of this Colony, the wilderness had been explored, and a permanent settlement effected, by our enterprising forefathers, in the ancient town of Marlborough, wbich then included Westborough, Southborough, and Northborough, now within the limits of Worcester County..
It will not therefore be improper to prefix to the history of this town some account of the first settlement and early history of the Plantation at Marlborough.
The following petition was presented to the General Court in May, 1656.
To the Hon. Governor, Dep. Governor, Magistrates and Deputies of the General Court now assembled in Boston."
“ The humble petition of several of the Inhabitants of Sudbury, whose names are hereunder written, humbly sheweth ; that whereas your petitioners have lived divers years in Sudbury, and God hath beene pleased to increase our children, which are now divers of them grown to man's estate, and wee, many of us, grown into years, so as that wee should bee glad to see them settled before the Lord take us away from hence, as also God having given us some considerable quantity of cattle, so that wee are so streightened that wee cannot so comfortably subsist as could bee desired; and some of us having taken some pains to view the country; wee have found a place which lyeth westward, about eight miles from Sudbury, which wee conceive might bee comfortable for our subsistence :
“It is therefore the humble request of your Petitioners to this Hon’d Court, that you would bee pleased to grant unto us ( ) eight miles square, or so much land as may containe to eight miles square, for to make a plantation.
"If it shall please this Hon’d Court to grant our petition, it is farther than the request of your petitioners to this Hon'd Court, that you will bee pleased to appoint Mr. Thomas Danforth or Liestepal Fisher to lay out the bounds of the Plantation; and wee shall satisfy those whom this Hop'd Court shall please to employ in it. So apprehending this weighty occasion, wee shall no farther trouble this Hon'd Court, but shall erer pray for your happinesse." Edmond Rice,
Thomas King, William Ward,
According to a tradition handed down in the family, the first English person that came to reside in Marlborough, was John How, son of a How, of Watertown, supposed to be Jobn How, Esq. who came from Warwickshire, in
John Woods, Edward Rice, John Ruddocke,
Thomas Goodenow. “That this is a true copy of the original petition presented to the General Court, May, 1656, left on file and thereto compared, is
Attested, per EDWARD Rawson, Secry."
“In answer to the petition of the aforesaid inhabitants of Sudbury, the Court judgeth it meete to grant them a proportion of land of six miles, or otherwise, in some convenient form equivalent thereunto, at the discretion of the committee in the place desired, provided it hinder no former grant, that there bee a Towne settled with twenty or more families within three years, so as an able ministry may bee there maintained. And it is ordered that Mr. Edward Jackson, Capt. Eleazer Lusher, Ephraim Child, 'with Mr. Thomas Danforth, or Liestenal Fisher, shall bee, and hereby are appointed as a committee to lay out the bounds thereof, and make return to the next Court of Election, or else the grant to bee void.
“This is a true copy taken out of the Court's Books of Records, as Attests
EDWARD Rawson, Secr!y." England, and who, as appears from a record in the possession of Mr. Adam How, of Sudbury, also a descendant of John, was himself the son of John How, of Hodinhull, and connected with the family of Lord Charles How, Earl of Lancaster, in the reign of Charles I.
Mr. How came from Watertown to Marlborough, built a cabin a little to, the east of the Indian Planting field, where his descendants lived for many generations. By his prudence and kindness, he gained the good will and confidence of his savage neighbors, who accordingly made him the um. pire in all their differences.
The following is related as one of the verdicts of this second Solomon, Two Indians, whose corn fields were contiguous, disputed about the possess sion of a pumpkin, which grew on a vine, that had transgressed the limits of the field in which it was planted. The vine was planted in one field; the pumpkin grew in the other. The dispute grew warm, and might have led to serious consequences, had it not occurred to them to refer the matter in dé. bate to the arbitration of the white man, their neighbor. Mr. How is accordingly sent for, who after having given a patient hearing to both parties, directs them to bring him a knife, with which be divides the pumpkin into two equal parts, giving half to each. Both parties extol the equity of the judge, and" readily acquiesce in the decision, pleased, no doubt, quite as much with the manner in which the thing was done, as in admiration of the justice of the deed.
The descendants of John How are very numerous in Marlborough, and in the towns in the vicinity. There are 28 of the name of How on the list of voters, in Marlborough, for the present year.
Col. Thomas How was a son of the above, who, for many years, was one of the leading men in the town. John How died sometime before 1686, as appears by a deed of his son Josiah to Thomas, of that date. Rev. Perley How, of Surry, N. H. was a descendant of John, and of Col. Thomas How.
The Plantation was accordingly soon commenced in the neighborhood of Ockoocangansett, (the Indian name of the hill back of the old Meeting House in Marlborough,) and thence extending to Whipsuppenicke, (a hill about a mile southeasterly of the former, and the neighboring parts. By this name, Whipsuppenicke, or Whipsufferadge, as it was sometimes written, the English Plantation of Marlborough was known, till its incorporation, in 1660.
Of the Indian Plantation at Marlborough, called, from the hill abovenamed, Ockoocangansett, some account will be given hereafter.
A plan of the English plantation was made in May, 1667, by Samuel Andrews, surveyor, which was approved by the Deputies, 17th 3mo. 1667.
WM. TORREY, Clerk.
EDWARD Rawson, Sccy. This plan was made on parchment on a scale of two inches to a mile, and is now in the hands of Mr. Silas Gates of Marlborough.
The plantation contained by admeasurement 29,419 acres, which, with the 6000 acres reserved for the Indians, of which we shall presently speak, amounted to 35,419 acres. The Indian planting field, on Ockoocangansett, the hill back of where the old meeting house stood, was included within the bounds of the English plantation, and formed a square containing about two hundred acreş. From the northwestern angle of this field the boundary line between the Indian plantation on the east, and the English plantation on the west, extends three miles north, seven degrees west; to a point a little beyond the river Assabett*. From this point the boundary line runs seven miles west, twenty five degrees' south, (cutting off what is now the northwest angle of Northborough, and which forms what are called the New Grants.) Thence five miles south-southeast, to the south west extremity of the plantation; thence two miles and three-fourths of a mile east, nine degrees north, leading into Cedar swamp; thence southeast, two hundred and fifty six rods on Sudbury River; thence two miles and three quarters, due east; thence two miles and one hundred and twenty rods northeast, thirteen degrees north; thence three
* This name is written and spoken variously by different persons. In the report of the Canal Commissioners presented at the recent session of the Legislature of this State, it is written Elzebeth, and is supposed to be a corruption of Elisabeth. By some aged persons, it is called Elsebeth; in Whitney's Hist. Assabet. In the earliest records of Marlborough, however, it is almost uniformly written with a final h, Asabeth or Assabeth. If either of the two last letters are omitted, it should probably be the t. In which case the name would be Assabeh.