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could endure it no longer. And hearing no noise in the chamber, only as he thought, a faint groan or two, he was forced to jump out, and, the window being small, head foremost; though he supposes, by God's good providence, he turned before he came to the ground.
“ As Mr. Bragg was just got up again, Capt. Keyes, being awaked in the old house, was coming to this side of the new, and met him. But the flame immediately burst out of the windows, and the house was quickly all on a light flame. No noise was heard of the other five who perished; and it is very questionable, whether more than one of them moved out of their beds. The old house was also burnt, and almost every thing in it; but the people were saved through the great goodness of God. But a most dreadful sight it was, in the morning, to see the five bodies frying in the fire, among the timbers fallen down in the cellar, till towards the evening; when the few almost consumed fragments, without heads or limbs, were gathered, put into one coffin and buried. Psalm, lxvi. 3. Say unto God, how terrible art thou in thy works! James, iv. 15. Ye know not what shall be on the morrow! Luke, xii. 40. Be ye therefore ready!”—Thus far the Newspaper.
The Capt. Keyes abovenamed was afterwards the well known and much esteemed Major John Keyes, Esq. who died in this town, March 3, 1768, at the advanced age of 94. He left a widow, who lived to be 96 years old, and they lived in the married state 72 years. The houses which were burnt, stood on the north side of the old Post road, a little more than half a mile east of where the Congregational Meeting House now stands. On these spots, and Dear them, several large and handsome buildings have been erected.
About the year 1750, Jonathan Morse's house was burnt. It was a large two story house, and stood a little south of where the Worcester Turnpike now passes ; on the same spot a house was erected by Mr. Southgate a few years since. The next was Joseph Sherman's house ; it was burnt about the year 1771, and stood where Capt. Martin Newton's house now is. In August, 1774, George Brown's house was burnt, in the night time-another, still standing, but much decayed, was soon erected upon the same spot. In 1776, the two-story dwelling house of Capt. Thomas Knowlton was burnt: he built another on the same ground, and is the same in which he now lives. A large two-story house, belonging to Deacon Benjamin Goddard, was burnt in Feb. 1799, in the day time, with most of its contents, another was very soon after built on the same spot, in wbich he now lives, at an advanced age. A two-sto
ry house, belonging to Thomas W. Ward, Esq. and in the occupation of John Sherman, was burnt in the night time, Jan. 1816, and stood where Mr. Daniel Stone now lives.
In 1797, a school house, standing in the fork of the roads, opposite the house of Mr. Calvin R. Stone, was burnt, with many school books therein. A barn, many years since, belonging to Alpheus Pratt, and, two or three years ago, one belonging to Amasa Knowlton, were destroyed by fire; as was a saw mill, in February last, belonging to Samuel Goddard.
In no one of these calamities were any lives lost, except at the burning of Capt. Keyes' houses. The number of barns burnt bave been few, compared with the number of houses; and what is remarkable, no building has ever been burnt by lightning in this town since its settlement.
A small house, near the foot of the hill, west of Rocky plain, on the Post road, suddenly disappeared in the night time, about three years since. Report says, it was not a house of the best fame' ; and, as it was occupied by witches, and frequented by wizzards, it occasioned but little surprise ; though it was followed by an explosion that was heard at a considerable distance. From the best accounts, it is supposed, that, some how or other, in the absence of the occupants, fire and powder came in contact--the natural consequence followed-report immediately proclaimed the consequences —from curiosity, as well as a due regard to the observance of the laws, an attempt was made to search out the person or persons, who had, to say the least, been so careless as to leave a quantity of powder there : it was at last concluded that it belonged to nobody, and, as is generally the case, whatever else of a mischievous nature was done, nobody did it!
In 1818, a subscription paper was circulated in this town, for the purpose of procuring means to purchase two fire Engines; they were built here, and procured, one at the expense of $120, the other at $130, and placed in houses provided for them at $31 each. Through the favor of Providence there has been no necessity of using them.
The laudable zeal manifested by the proprietors in guarding against fire, exceeded their judgment in purchasing these engines : the amount of money extinguished in this concern was $315.
REVOLUTION.--This town early manifested a determination to oppose the measures of the British Parliament, relative to taxation in America--the first public expression of its opinion was at a town
meeting held in May, 1770 ; when a vote of thanks was passed “to the merchants and other inhabitants of the town of Boston, for the noble and generous stand they had made in the defence of the people's rights;" and in May, 1772, it instructed its Representative " by no means, directly or indirectly, to give up any constitutional right, nor to ask for a removal of the General Assembly, to its ancient and legal seat, in such manner, as to give up the claim the House of Representatives have heretofore so justly set up." In January, 1773, the town voted, “ that, viewing themselves as subjects, they had an undeniable right to life, liberty, and property; and that the several acts of Parliament and Administration are subversive of those rights."
January, 1774, the town "voted, that we will totally lay aside the use of all Teas on which a duty is payable, or hath been paid by virtue of any Act of the British Parliament--that we will be ever ready to do all in our power to preserve our just rights and privileges—and will view, as an enemy to the continent, any one, who shall appear to be instrumental in carrying said Act of Parliament into execution" -and that the town of Boston be furnished with a copy of the proceedings of this meeting.
In August, 1774, they voted, “that, if the Courts to be holden at Worcester, for the County of Worcester, for the future, be, in consequence of the late Parliamentary Acts, or any new appointments by our Governor, authorized by said Acts, that the town would resist, and not suffer said Courts to do business. In September after, the town directed its Constables not to serve the venires issued by the Court to be holden at Worcester; and “voted to indemnify them for neglecting to serve the illegal and unprecedented venire lately sent to the town.? They also “voted to procure an iron Field piece, and ammunition for the same, at the expense, and for the use of the town,” which was soon after done-two Delegates were at the same time chosen to represent the town in a General Provincial Congress, to be holden at Concord, the October following. In December after, they chose a Delegate to attend a like Congress, “to be holden at Watertown, or elsewhere, in February or sooner, if need be, and to continue to the Tuesday proceeding the last Wednesday in May succeeding, and no longer”-at the same time, the town adopted unanimously the association of the Continental Congress, and the addition thereto of the Provincial Congress; and " voted to carry them into execution with the utmost vigor”--they also probibited the Collectors from paying any
money in their hands to Harrison Gray, Esq. the Province Treasur-
In May, 1775, “voted that each parish raise as many men, as
* Lewis Allen was at this time a young man ; he came here with his father, Lewis Allen, from Boston, when a child ; his father, an old sea Captain, had many of those peculiarities observable in those, who have long followed the seas--he lived where Col. Joseph Henshaw afterwards lived and died many anecdotes are related of him ; of which the following is onebe went down to the then Baldwin tavern, where Mr. Bullard now lives, taking with him his little son Lewis, and his black man, Boston. Caleb, an older brother of Lewis, was left at home : Lewis, while at Baldwin's, clambered up upon a pair of “cheese tongg" that stood by the well curb, and fell into the well: Captain Allen and others were standing by and the boy was taken out unhurt-Captain Allen had no sooner recovered from his fright, than he exclaimed, “Boston ! run--run home-and see if Caleb is not in our well!! for I never knew Lewis do a d-d trick, but whát Caleb immediately did another just like it !" Boston ran, as commanded--but, on reaching home,
inimical to the United States, and dangerous persons to reside with-
The resolute and daring spirit manifested by the town, thus
In 1778, a frame of government, adopted by the General Court of this State and submitted to the people for acceptance, was laid before the town, and disapproved of; four being for, and one hundred against it.
MISCELLANEOUS.—There is in the sonth west part of the town, near Mr. Elijah Rice's, a large meadow of about sevenly acres, owned by several individuals, which has lately been found to contain excellent peat; it has been examined in various parts of the meadow, and taken out in some places to the depth of several feet, and in all, proves to be of a superior quality : so great is the quantity, it may be said to be inexhaustable.
A majority of this town, in 1786, sided with Sbays in his opposition to government-many of its inhabitants took arms and repaired to the field-they aided in stopping the Courts, &c. and, for a time, the peace of the town was greatly disturbed and fears were entertained, that it would be followed with bloodshed-happily quiet and order were restored—it seems now to be as generally found his master's sears were groundless. The son, Lewis Allen, having arrived to man's estate, afterwards removed to Leicester, owned the Mount Pleasant farm, and died there. He was buried in the garden of the Mount Pleasant farm, and near the road, at his own request; that he might, as he said, learn the news, when the stage came from Boston !