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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, Sec'ry.”
“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 fron 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 umpire 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 possession 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 debate 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. Jobn 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 bill 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 bill 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. Consented to by the Magistrates. EDWARD Rawson, Sec'y.
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 Marlborongh.
The plantation contained by admeasurement 29,419 acres, which, with the 6000 acres reserved for the lodians, 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 acres. 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 pame 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 Elsebeth, 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 Marlbộrough, however, it is almost uniformly written with a final h, Asabeth or Assabeih. If either of the two last letters are omitted, it should probably be the t. B which case the name would be Assabeh,
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, wbich 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. We are 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 ncarly 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 settlemeot 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.
In a single year, (1683) the town paid a bounty for no fewer than twenty three wolves. In 1680, the following record was made. " Voted, to raise thirteen men to go out to cil rattelsnakes, 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."
" Sept. 25th. 1656. Upon amitinge of the petitioners apoynted to take sum course to lay out the plantation granted to several inhabitants of Sudbury, it was ordered that all that doe take up lottes in that plantation shall pay all publique charges that shall 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 whom he will."
William Kerly, Samuel Rice, Peter King,
John Johnson, Christopher Banister. Solomon Johnson, Thomas Kice,
“At a meeting of the proprietors of this plantation the 26th of Xter, (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 had bouse lots assigned to them, at this date. Joseph Rice, Richard Ward,
John Barrett, Jobo How, Jr. Benjamin Rice,
Jos. Holmes, Henry Kerley, John Bellows,
Samuel How, Richard Barns, Abraham How,
Henry Axtell, Andrew Belcher, Tho. Goodenow, Jr. John Newton. Obediah Ward, Jobn Rutter,
These thirty eight house lots, amounting in all to 992} 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 plantation The principal part of the land, which was not taken up for house lots, with the exception of Chauncey, (now Westborough and North: borough,) 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 without the consent of all the inhabitants and proprietors thereof at a full meetiog ; excepting four score acres of upland this town bath 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 Marlhorough, 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 hous, 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 half 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 100 years since. It was 36 ft. by 18 st. and 12h 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 st. equare, (projecting 8 st.) 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, one 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 7pence per acre upon all house lots in the Plantation.
+ Hist. Col. I. p. 167.