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hundred and forty eight rods north, seventeen degrees east; thence one mile and three fourths of a mile due north, which reaches to the Indian line ; then three miles, due west, on this line, which completes the boundaries of the English plantation.
It would seem, from the above account, that the proprietors exceeded the limits of their grant by more than 6000 acres. not to conclude, however, that they acted fraudulently in this business; since it appears that the draft of the plantation was presented to the General Court for their acceptance, and approved by the Deputies and Magistrates.
The form of the plantation was evidently regulated by a regard to the surface and soil. Thus the boundary lines on the north and west included all the meadows on the Assabeth, west of the lodian plantation, and the extensive intervale, including several large meadows and cedar swamps, which runs through nearly the whole extent of Northborough and Westborough. The boundaries on the south and east were also fixed with the same sagacity and foresight.
It is said that the meadows, at the first settlement of our country, produced much larger crops of grass, of a much better quality, than at the present day. This circumstance, together with the difficulty of subduing the uplands, will account for the eagerness manifested by the first settlers to possess a good supply of mcadow grounds.*
The first meeting of the proprietors of the English plantation, was holden 25th of the VIIth month (September) 1656.1
In 1657, the following eight names are found among the proprietors, in addition to the thirteen original petitioners above mentioned, making up the number of twenty one.
* It appears from the early records of Marlborough, that for many years after its incorporation, the town was greatly infested by wolves and rattlesnakes.
lo a single year, (1683) the town paid a bounty for no fewer than twenty Ihree wolves. In 1680, the following record was made. “ Voted, to raise thirteen men to go out to cil raitelsnakes, eight to Cold Harbour-ward, and so to the other place they cal boston, (now the northwestern corner of Westborough) and five to Stoney Brook-ward, to the places thereabout. John Brigham to cal out seven with him to the first, and Joseph Newton four with him, to the latter, and they were to have two shillings apiece per day, paid out of a town rates."
t" Sept. 25th, 1656. Upon amitinge of the petitioners apoynted to take sum course to lay out the plantation granted to several inhabitants of Sudbu. ry, it was ordered that all that doe take up lottes in that plantation shall pay all publique charges that shali arise upon that plantation, according to their house lottes and to be resident there in two years or set in a man that the town shall aprove one, or else too loose their lotts; but if God shall take away any man by death, he have liberty to give his lott to wbom he will."
Peter King, John Rediat,
John Johnson, Christopher Banister. Solomon Johnson, Thomas Kice,
“At a meeting of the proprietors of this plantation the 26th of Xber, (December) 1659.
" It is ordered that all such as lay clayme to any interest in this new plantation at Whipsufferadge, (by the Indians called Whipsuppenicke) are to perfect their house lots by the 25th of March next insueing, or else to loose all their interest in the aforesaid plantation."
Agreeably to this order, thirty eight house lots, including one for a minister, and one for a smith, were set off, and granted to the proprietors, the 26th of Nov. 1660.
Besides the persons already mentioned, the following bad house
John Rutter, These thirty eight house lots, amounting in all to 9927 acres consisted of some of the best and most commodious tracts of land in Marlborough. They contained from fifty to fifteen acres each, according to the interest of the several proprietors in the plantationThe principal part of the land, which was not taken up for house lots, with the exception of Chauncey, (now Westborough and Northborough,) was left common (called Cow Commons) to be disposed of by subsequent grants.
The following boundaries were assigned to the Cow Commons in 1662.
“ From John Alcocks line (now known by the name of the Farm) to Stoney Brook; thence up the brook to Crane Meadow, and so along to Stirrup Meadow Brook, and to be extended as the Brooke runs to Assibathe River, and down the said river till it comes to the Indian line. This is, and shall remain a perpetual Cow Common for the use of this town, never to bee altered with out the consent of all the inhabitants and proprietors thereof al a full meeting ; excepting four score acres of upland this town hath reserved within the aforesaid tract of land to accommodate some such desirable persons withall as need may require, opportunity present, and the town accept."
A vote was passed at a meeting of the proprietors in 1705, to divide the Cow Commons among the original proprietors and such as had acquired rights in the plantation, in proportion to the first grants.
So early as 1660, it appears that measures had been adopted by the proprietors of Marlborough, for the maintenance of public worship; and that Mr. William Brimsmead, afterwards ordained as their pastor, was employed as a preacher.
In the following year, they voted to build a house for their minister; and, in 1662, the frame of a house, with the house lo: on which it stood, were granted to Wm. Brimsmead, Minister.*
In 1662, a rate was made of 12 pence per acre upon all house lots for building a Meeting House; and again, in 1664, of 34 pence per acre for finishing the house. This house, which was afterwards burnt by the Indians, stood on the old common, within the limits of the Indian planting field, which, Hutchinson says, 'caused great disputes and discouragements."
It appears from the following record, that the land on which the Meeting House was erected was afterwards purchased of an Indian, whose title to the land was probably disputed by his brethren of the lodian Plantation.
" 1663, April 4. Anamaks, an Indian of Whipsuppenicke, for divers reasons and considerations, sold to John Ruddock and John How, for the use of the town of Marlborough, the land that the Meeting House now stands on-also the land for the highway on the fore side of said Meeting House, and so upon a square of ten feet, round about the said Meeting House." This land, with the addition of balf an acre purchased in 1688, of Daniel, Samuel, and Nathaniel Gookin, sons of Maj. Gen. Daniel Gookin, of Cambridge, constitutes what is now the old common, the whole of which did
* The house built for Mr. Brimsmead stood on the lot of land west of Ockoocangansett, not far from the spot on which the old Meeting House was afterwards erected. There is a tradition that Mr. Brimsmead's house was set on fire by the Indians in King Philip's war, and that the flames communicated with the Meeting House, which was the occasion of its being burnt.
It may be interesting to the antiquary to learn the form and dimensions of a dwelling house erected more than 160 years since. It was 36 ft. by 18 ft. and 12) ft. high between the joints. It had four windows in front, and two at the west end. It had besides two gables in front, 10 ft. wide and 8 ft. square, (projecting 8 ft.) with two small windows on the front side of the gables. It was built by contract for £15, to be paid in corn ; one third wheat, ope third rye, and one third Indian corn. Wheat at 4s. 6d. rye at 4s. and Indian corn at 3s. per bushel. For the payment of this sum, a rate was made of 74 pence per acre upon all house lots in the Plantation.
t Hist. Col. I. p. 167.
not come into the possession of the town till 1706, when the half acre above mentioned was purchased by Abraham Williams and Joseph Rice, "for the use of the town, to set a Meeting House on."
Till 1675, nothing serious appears to have occurred to interrupt the prosperity of the inhabitants of this flourishing settlement. But their prosperity received a severe check in the war which now ensued. After the destruction of Lancaster, (Feb. 10, 1676, 0. S.) a party of the enemy directed their course through Marlborough, where they committed some depredations, on their way to Sudbury and Medfield, in the latter of which places nearly 50 dwelling houses were burnt, and 15 persons lost their lives.
A second attack was made upon the English settlement at Marlborough, on the 20th of the following mooth, which, though no lives were lost, was attended with more disastrous consequences. It was Lord's day; and the inhabitants were assembled for public worship, when the preacher, the Rev. Mr. Brimsmead, was interrupted in the midst of his discourse by the appalling cry, that the Indians were advancing upon them. The Assembly instantly dispersed ; and, with a single exception,* succeeded in reaching the neighboring garrison house in safety before the enemy came up. But though they defended themselves, they could afford no protection to their property, much of which was wasted or destroyed. Their Meeting House and many of their dwelling houses were burned to the ground; their fruit trees hacked and pilled; their cattle killed or maimed, so that marks of their ravages were visible for many years.
The alarm occasioned by this attack, and the defenceless state to which the inhabitants were reduced, led them to retire from the place, and to seek shelter in a more populous neighborhood. Shortly after the close of the war, which lasted little more than a year, they returned to their farms, and were permitted for many years to cultivate them in peace.t
* The person to whom allusion is here made was Moses Newton, grandfather of the late Deac. Paul Newton, of this town. Being detained behind the rest in the benevolent attempt to rescue an aged and infirm female, who would otherwise have been exposed to certain destruction, he received a ball in his elbow, which deprived him in a measure of the use of his arm ever after. Solomon Newton, a grandson of the above, is now living, (1826) aged 92 years, with his son, Willard Newton, Esq. in Southborough, on the farm taken up by his great-grand-father, Richard Newton, nearly 170 years ago. Richard came from England, and was one of the 13 original proprietors of Marlborough. Richard had three sons, Moses, Ezekiel and John. Moses was the father of eight sons and two daughters, viz. Moses, Jonathan, James, Josiah, David, Edward, Hannah, Mercy, Jacob, and Ebenezer.
$ There are no records in the Proprietors' Books of what took place be
Soon after their return, they proceeded to the erection of a new Meeting House, which, like the former, was thatched with straw, or rather a species of tall grass, taken from the meadow since called, from that circumstance, Thatch Meadow. This building, which was left in an unfinished state, lasted but a few years. In 1680, an unsuccessful attempt was made to enlarge and repair it; and at length, in 1688, a larger and more commodious house was erected, near the site of the former, which lasted more than one hundred and twenty years, having stood till the new Meeting House in the east Parish was erected, in 1809.*
Prior to the year 1684, it appears that nothing effectual had been done towards purchasing a title to the land “ cleare of the Indians, who were continually making demands upon the towne.” The Plantation was commenced under the auspices of the Gen. Court; and, as 6000 acres, bordering upon this Plantation, had been reserved by order of the Court, for the use of the Indians, nothing further seems to have been thought necessary for many years, eitber by the English or the Indians, to give the former a perfect title to their lands. It was not indeed till the lodian Plantation was broken up, and most of the inhabitants dispersed, that the Indians of Natick and Wamesit, (now a part of Tewksbury,) who belonged to the same tribe with the Marlborough Indians, put in their 'claims to a right in the soil which had been cultivated by the English now for nearly 30 years.
At length, in the winter of 1684, a Committee of three persons tween May, 1675, and July, 1677. It appears that the inhabitants had returned some time before the latter date. It appears from the Records of the General Court, that preparations for defence against the Indians had been made as early as 1670. “ Ordered, that the Surveyor General shall forthwith deliver unto Maj. Hathorn, or to Lieut. Samuel Ward, 60 great shot, fit for the guns in the Fort at Marlborough. A Fort was maintained there through the war.
* The old Meeting House was valued, in 1689, at £10; the pulpit at £4, "which were improved in the new Meeting House for carrying on the finishing of that."-It would appear, srom the following vote, which passed with great unanimity at a meeting of the proprietors, May 21, 1688, that there had been some controversy respecting the location of the new Mieeting House, and that it was even then in contemplation to divide the town into two parishes.
“ Voted, That if the westerly part of the town shall see cause afterwards to build another Meeting House, and find themselves able so to do, and maintain a minister; then the division to be made by a line at the cart-way at Stirrup Brook, where Conecticot way now goeth over, (uow within the limits of Northborough,) and so to run a parallel line with the west line of the bounds of the town.” It would seem highly probable, from this vote, that there were inhabitants then living west of the line thus defined, and which was afterwards (1717) made the boundary line between Marlborough and Westborough. VOL. II.