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From 1069 to 1859. 




•• Your fathers, where are they : " - Zkch. i. 5. 
** Of these things put them in remembrance.** — 2 Tim. ii. 14. 


117, WASHnrGTON Strest; 




IS li ?''(!. jr. 

fltLLEG C 

Entered, according to Act of Oongress, in the year 1859, by 


In the Clerk- s OfiSce of the District Court of the District of Massachusetts 



22, School Street. 


^U t^t Sons anb ^ans^ttrs of |lorion, 





SfpCs ^Cstors 





On the 12th of November, 1854, the Sunday following the one 
hundred and fortieth anniversary of the organization of the Con- 
gregational Church in Norton, the author commenced, and continued 
on the succeeding Sunday, a series of four sermons upon the History 
of the town, and especially of the church of which he was the 
pastor. Dec. 16 of the same year, he received a written request 
from some of his leading parishioners, who had listened to the 
discourses, that he should publish them, together with such other 
historical facts as might be collected, in the form and manner he 
thought proper. He was also urged to do so by others, not mem- 
bers of his parish ; and the result, after many delays and discourage- 
ments, is the book now before the reader. At one time, the town 
voted to subscribe for one hundred copies, but, at an adjourned 
meeting, reconsidered the vote. In the spring of 1858, a proposi- 
tion was made to the citizens of Mansfield to give a history of that 
town in connection with Norton, without increasing the subscription ■ 
price, provided they would take five himdred copies. The proposi- 
tion was rejected by the town. Those who have cheered us on by 
the material aid promised, coming generations will thank as heartily 
as do we. For valuable assistance and suggestions, the author is 
indebted to Rev. J. B. Felt, and S. G. Drake, Esq., of Boston, and, 
above all, to his esteemed friend John L. Sibley, Librarian of . 
Harvard College. A true history of any town or country should 
exhibit " the cloud " as well as the " silver lining ; " but it is better 
perhaps, to let the mantle of charity and oblivion cover the errors 
and faults of the weak and misguided. The town-records contain 
but little material for a good history ; and, for four years after the 
incorporation of Norton, the records are supposed to be lost. Hence 


we have been obHged to search far and wide for many of the most 
interesting facts recorded in these pages. We have trusted but little 
to what was merely traditionary. What is stated without qualifica- 
tion has been done on what was deemed good authority, and may 
generally be relied upon. In cases of doubt, a question-mark (?) 
immediately foUows the statement. Great pains have been taken 
to have accuracy in dates, &c. ; yet frequent errors will no doubt be 
found. As they peruse these pages, and their eye falls upoQ an 
error or misstatement, some will perhaps say, " We could have told 
the writer better than that." Our only reply is, Then you alone are 
responsible for the error, by withholding the intelligence you pos- 
sessed; for we have, privately and publicly, called upon all to 
furnish what interesting facts and incidents were in their possession. 
No doubt, if all had been as ready to communicate as some will be 
to find fault, a more reliable book would have been made. Before 
a work of this kind is given to the public, proof-sheets should be 
placed in every family for them to mark tdl inaccuracies of state- 
ment, and errors in date : then something like a reliable history 
could be published. This is not, however, practicable in most 
cases, on accoimt of expense. It may be thought we have been 
too minute in many respects, — that we have introduced too many 
documents entire, instead of giving an epitome of their contents. 
We have introduced these documents because they have been col- 
lected from a wide field, and only a single copy of them exists ; 
which, of course, is liable to be destroyed. We have wished to 
preserve them for the benefit of the future historian ; andy above all, 
we have desired to let them tell their own story in their own way. 
All are not interested in the same class of facts : we have, therefore, 
introduced quite a variety of topics ; for we think whatever throws 
light upon the manners and customs of our ancestors is worthy of 
record. We have written for the future as well as the present. 
Hence, upon some topics, what may be called prolixity now may be 
considered paucity hereafter. Except in two or three instances, we 
have given the dates as we found them on the records. The names 
in extracts are spelled as there found, because we could not always 
obtain the correct orthography, and members of the same family fre- 
quently spell their names differently. We have also, in extracts, till 
within quite a recent date, followed the spelling in other particu- 
lars. This will explain to some what will seem typographical errors. 


That part of a lady's name in parentheses indicates her surname 
before marriage. When we issued our subscription-paper, May 1, 
18^, we supposed the book would go to press in about fifteen 
months. But, in the attempt to carry out that plan, our eyes 
(which had been weak for years) became so affected in the autumn 
of 1856, that all labor upon the book was suspended for several 
months ; and, since it was resumed, we have been able to work but 
a small portion of the time upon it. Our readers will, however, 
find that ** patient waiting is no loss ; '' for, since 1856, we have 
collected many interesting facts which we could not have given had 
we gone to press as originally intended. The biographical notices 
have been confined to those who have in some way been prominent 
before the public, in church, state, or profession. There were 
others, we presume, whose talents and moral worth furnish as great 
a claim upon our attention ; but we could not go beyond certain 
limits in this department. The same remarks will apply to the 
portraits, all but two of which were engraved expressly for us ; 
and they were furnished, with the exceptions hereafter named, by 
the individuals they represent, or their friends. Those of George 
Leonard, and George Leonard, jun. (except ten dollars given by 
Hon. William Baylies,* of West Bridgewater), were paid for, at 
our request, by the proceeds of a dramatic exhibition, given by the 
children of our common schools, in the Town Hall, May 13 and 14, 
1857. The plate of Dr. Wilmarth, made for his " Memoirs," has 
been kindly loaned me to take impressions from by his only son, 
Jerome Wilmarth, of Hopedale. That of Edwin Barrows was 
made for another purpose, and, at our earnest solicitation, was fur- 
nished. For his own engraving, the author is indebted to the ladies 
of his parish, who also paid for the picture of the church. During 
our labors, we have been repeatedly urged by antiquarian friends 
to make a register of the families in town. We could not do this 
without doubling the size of the book, or making two volumes. 
For various reasons, we have not attempted it ; but such a register 
can be made at any future day, for there is abundant material. It 
would be an invaluable record. Should circumstances be favor- 

* No other person, of those who inherited the vast estate of the Leonard 
Family from Mrs. Bowen, could be induced to give any thing towards these 


able, and sufficient inducement be given, the author might undertake 
the task. But, like this, it would be a labor of love ; yea, a loss 
out of his pocket, which he is not anxious to incur. Without fur- 
ther preliminaries, we present to our readers the fruits of our toil, 
with the hope that they will deem a sufficient excuse for all imper- 
fections the fact that the work has been written amidst a multitude 
of professional and other duties, and almost without eyes. 


Norton, June 17, 1869. 



I. Introductiox 1 

II. The First Settlemknts 6 

III. Precinct Controyersy, and Incorporation of thb 

Town 16 

IV. Topography and Natural Hihtoby 37 

v. Indians 49 

VI. Settlement of a Minister, Organization op thb 

Church, &c 56 

VII. Early Settlers 74 

VIII. The Ministry op Rev. Joseph Avery 93 

IX. The Dismission, Death, &c., of Kev. Mr. Avery .111 

X. Attempts to Settle a Minister 132 

XI. The Settlement, Ministry, and Death of Rev. 

Joseph Palmer 142 

XII. Admissions to the Church from 1714 to 1791 . .164 

XIII. The Settlement, Ministry, and Death of Rev. 

Pitt Clarke 172 

XIV. Autobiography and Obituary Notices of Rev. Pitt 

Clarke 185 

XV. Recent Ministry of the Congregational Parish . 193 
XVI. Deacons of the Congregational Church . . . .214 
XVII. Meeting-Houses of the Congregational Parish . 220 
XVIII. Ministerial Fund, and Incorporation op the Con- 
gregational Parish 245 



XIX. Common Schools 265 


XXI. Taxes and otheb Financial History . . . . 312 
XXII. Watbb-Pbivileoes, Mantjpactubes, and Statis- 
tics of Industbt 325 

XXIII. Population and Census of 1855 343 

XXIV. Paupeb Histoby 363 

XXV. Physicians 367 

XXVI. Bubyino-Places, &c 375 

XXVII. The Old Fbench and the Fbench and Indian 

Wab 384 

XXVni. Revolutionaby Wab 390 

XXIX. MiLiTABY Histoby 414 

XXX. Fedebal and State Constitutions 422 

XXXI. East and Nobth Pbecincts 434 

XXXn. The Dissentino Chubch 443 

XXXIII. The Old Baptist Chubch 452 

XXXIV. Baptist Chubch at Winneconnet 462 

XXXV. Tbinitabian Conobeoational Chubch .... 465 

XXXVI. Wesleyan-Methodist Society 475 

XXXVII. Collboiate Histoby 477 

XXXVIII. Pbofessional Emigbants 501 

XXXIX. Slaveby 508 

XL. Tempebancb Movement 513 

XLI. Miscellaneous Histoby 518 




Col. Gboroe Leonabd Titlepage, 

Map of Taunton North Pubchasb, &c 5 

Ayert House 65 

Leonard Mansion House . . . , 86 

Rev. Pitt Clarke 172 

Rev. G. F. Clark 207 

Beacon Daniel Lane 218 

Congregational MEETora-HousE 243 

Hon. John Crane 286 

Hon. Cromwell Leonard 304 

Dr. R. F. Sweet 373 

Hon. George Leonard, Jun 478 

Hon. Laban Wheaton 483 

Rev. Gardner B. Perry, D.D 492 

Dr. William Perry 494 

Rev. Thomas Shepard, D.D 496 

Hon. L. M. Wheaton 496 

Edwin Barrows 501 

Dr. Butler Wilmarth 605 



It was very common between Jan. 1 and March 25, for many years 
previous to 1752, to make double dates, as it is called (as, for 
instance, on p. 3, " March 8, 1681-2 " ) ; and we have followed the 
records in this respect. Before 1752, when New Style was intro- 
duced, March 25 was considered the commencement of the civil 
year, and it was called the first month, April the second month, &c. ; 
and dates were sometimes written in this manner: viz., 15 — 10 — 
1668-9 ; which would mean the 15th of 10th month, 1668-9, or 
Jan. 25, 1669, New Style. In order to change Old into New Style, 
the first month must be called the third, and so on, and ten days be 
added to all dates between 1582 and 1699, and eleven days added 
to all dates between 1699 and 1752. Hence the landing of the 
Pilgrims at Plymouth was really on the 21st of December; and 
not on the 22d, as most of us were taught in our childhood. 


Page 86, line 8 from top, 







for " Tawnton " 
" Excercise " 



Barrow's " 

bottom, „ " Greenward " 

top, „ "1760" 

„ „ "Rounds" 

„ „ "Messenger" 

read "Taunton." 
" Barrows's." 
" Greenwood." 

The author would thank any one who may notice any other errors to make them 
known to him, as he will keep an interleaved copy of the book in which to note all 
inaccuracies for the benefit of coming generations. 


We had intended to have given an index to every name on 
every page in the book ; but some names — viz., Leonard, Lincohi, 
Lane, Briggs, Hodges, Smith, White, Williams, Wetherell, and 
others — occur so frequently, that it would encumber the Lidex too 
much. Some names that have occurred only incidentally, and 
having no particular connection with the town, we have omitted 

Atwood, Lewis P., 476. 

Austin, 8, 166, 461, 462. 468, 416. 
Jolin, notice of, 76. Solomon, Otis 
C, and fkmilies, 844. 

Autographs, 11, 72, 76, 77, 81, 88, 87, 
98, 116, 144, 175, 216-218. 

Avery, Joseph, Rev., first preaches 
at Norton, 60; is called, 61; no- 
tice of, 61 ; taught school at Re- 
hoboth, preaches at Freetown, 
project to build a house for, 62; 
tax to build house for, and names 
of persons taxed, 68 ; picture of 
his house, 65 ; answer to call. 66 ; 
ordination of, 70; marriage or, 74; 
doctrines of, those of Rome, 108; 
vote to dismiss, 112; objections 
against, 112; reply of, to objec- 
tions, and autograph, 115; answer 
of, read in church-meeting, 117: 
handsome consideration promised 
to, and his reply, 118; votes on 
objections to, 119 ; council called 
b^, and letter-missive. 122 ; coun- 
cil meet at house or, 124; asks 
time to consider the result of ea»- 
parU council, 125; date of dis- 
mission of, 126; real objections 
against, 127 ; protest of, and others, 
against revival of 1740, 127 ; doubts 
relating to death of, 129; death 
of, 130; thought to be undig- 
nified, 158. Mrs. Sarah, will of, 

Academy, page 640. 

Adams, pages 166, 867. Joseph S., 
Warren, and families, 844. Asa 
If., Dr., notice of, 878 ; in steeple 
of meeting-house, 548. 

Alden, 476, 616. Jason F., William 
H., and families, 844. 

Aldrich, 164, 862. Peter, notice of, 

Allen, 5, 166, 167, 862, 451, 627, 681. 
Ephraim, James, and families; 
Cyrus W., Rev., installation of, 
478; notice of, 473. George E., 
Rev., notice or, 500. 

Alms-house bought, 861; superin- 
tendents of, 866. 

Andrews, 1, 8, 165, 862, 525. John, 
Deacon, notice of, 76. 

An^er. Samuel, notice of, 142. 

Animals, wild, 44; upon the Com- 
mon, 521. 

Arnold, 278, 416, 616, 625-529. 
Lemuel, Asa, John, David, 
George H., David A., and fami- 
lies, 844. 

Artillery company, when formed, 
416 ; name of, changed, 416 ; cap- 
tains of, 416. 

Assessors, 292; list of, 293-296. 

Attleborough, purchase of, 2. 

Atherton, 166, 468. 




Babbit, 8, 169, 461, 615, 625. John, 
and family, 844. Dr. Nathan, 
notice of 871. Hon. Nathan 6., 
notice of, 494. 

Backus, 445. 

Bailey, Sarah M., and family, 844. 

Bayley, Samuel, notice of, 76. 

Balcom, 849; 461, 615, 516. 526. 

Ballou, William, and family, 845. 

Bank, fifty-thousand-pound, 816 ; 
sixty-thousand-pound, 818; land, 

Baptisms of children, number of, 
168, 171. 

Barney, 170. 

Barrows, 279. Carlos, Harriet, and 
families, 845. Dr. Ira, notice of, 
874. Rev. William, ordination, 
notice of, &c., 478. Rev. Homer, 
878. Edwin, notice of, 501. 

Barry, 847. 

Baskets, manufacture of, 889. 

Bass, Rev. Edward, notice of, 140. 

Basset^ 167, 171, 526. Mary, and 
family, 844. 

Bates, 516, 526. Horatio, and family, 
845. Dr. Leavit, notice of, 878. 

Bear killed in sawmill, 44. 

Beard, Rev. Spencer F., 472. 

Beecher, 472. 

Bellows, 204. Alfred, and family, 845. 

Berry, 528. 

Bicknell, 417. 

Bigelow, Rev. A., 184. 

Bills of other governments, 821. 

Birds, 46 ; premiums for heads of, 47 ; 
hunts, 48. 

Bishop, 516. 

Blake, Hannah H^ and family, 845. 

Blanchard, 451. Sylvia, andVamily, 

BIandin,271,278,858,416,616. Ben- 
jamin, Simeon, Jesse H., Isaac S., 
Sumner, and families, 845. 

Bloss, Rev. Abraham, called to settle, 

Blucklin, 846. 

Board, sounding, 284. 

Boland, John, and family, 845. 

Bolan, Michael, and family, 845. 

Bolton, 844. Wm. S., and family, 845. 

Books, hymn, used, 218. 

Boltwood, 88. 

Bowen, 525. Mrs. Peddy, present of, 
to church, 178; letter of thanks 
to, 179 ; gives land and timber for 
meeting-house, 248. Rev. J. 6., 
ordination of, 464. 

Brady, Patrick, and family, 845. 
Bragg, Lucinda, and famifv, 845. 
Braman, 165-170, 278, 852, 415, 417, 
516, 526>528. Thomas, Thomas, 

i'un., and Daniel, notices of, 76. 
saao T., Washburn, Lydia, and 
families, 846. Rev. Isaac, notice 
of, 490. Benjamin, notice ofl 
501. Don £. £., Esq., notice of, 

Brewster, 4. 

Bridgewater, purchase of, 2. 

Bridge, Ann Cobb^s, 42. 

Bridge, 278. Rev. A. M., chosen pas- 
tor, and letter of acceptance, 194; 
ordination of, 195; pastoral rela- 
tion of, dissolved, notice and mar- 
riage of, 196. 

Brigham, 85. 

Briggs, 8, 164-171, 259, 260, 850, 416. 
451, 452, 625, e< a^ Thomas, land 
of, 4. John, Deacon, notice and 
autograph of, 77 ; chosen deacon, 
214. Joseph and Richard, notices 
of, 77. Deacon John, jun., and 
Samuel, notices of. 78. Deacon 
John, 2d, disguised with strong 
drink, 105; cnosen deacon, 216. 
John, 2d, letter to church, 158. 
George, grievances of, 154. Emer- 
son, and familv, 845. Benjamin 
S., Edmund, Charles H., Simeon, 
and families, 846. Deacon James, 
notice of, 449. Deacon Phineas, 
notice of, 450. Deacon Jabez, no- 
tice of, 453. Joel, chosen deacon, 
459; notice of, 502. Deacon Ti- 
motiiy, notice of, 459. Rev. Eph- 
raim, notice of, 482. Rev. James, 
notice of. 485. Rev. John, notice 
of, 489. Timothy, notice of, 491. 

BrintnelL 414. Thomas, settlement 
by, 11; notice of, 12. Samuel, 
and Samuel, jun., notices of, 78. 

Britton, 851. Zachariah and family, 

Bronson, Rev. J. J., ordination and 
notice of, 464. 

Brook, Mulberry-Meadow, 89; Burt*8, 
89; Goose, 89; Stony, 89; Log, 
40; Swab-tailed, 40; Dora's, 40; 
Drinkwater, 40; Great, 40. 

Bro¥m, 1, 498. Wesley, and famUy, 

Bruce, Alanson, and family, 846. 

Bryant, 1, 8, 860. 

Buckingham, 194. 

Buildings burned, 580, 681. 

Bundy, John, notice of, 4. 

Burt, 1, 8, 166, 171, 848, 857, 526, 


527. Bartholomew, letter of, 164. 
Polly, Melzar, and families, 846. 
Deacon Ebenezer, notice of, 459. 
Bev. Ebenezer, notice of, 508. 

Bnrton, 206. 

Bnrying-Place, Common, land laid 
out for, &c., 875 ; William Hodges 
encroaches upon, 876; nsed for 
masters, 379; walled in, 870. 
Central, 879; land for given, by 
whom. 880; portion o^old, 881. 
Timothy-Plain, 881. Winoecon- 
net, 882. In District No. 5, 882. 
Private, 882. 

Bush, 206. 

Butler, 864. 


Caffiney, Daniel, and family, 846. 

Gaboon, 526. 

Calahan, 847, 855, 861. 

GambeU, 165-168, 451, 462. Sylya- 
nns, notice of, 79. Deacon Ger- 
sh<mi, notice o^ 458. 

Capen, 525. William, jun., and 
family, 846. 

Carpenter, 415, 625. Daniel, Tho- 
mas, Caroline, and families, 846. 
Bev. William, called to settle, and 
ordination of, 447; rebaptism of, 
452; re-ordination of, 458; trou- 
bles with First Parish, 454 ; death 
and notice of, 455. Bev. George, 
notice of, 508. 

Games, 206. 

Garr, 278. Bev. S. J., ordination of, 

Carver, 858, 525, 530. 

Case, 1. 

Casety, 362. 

Casualties, fatal, 526. 

Caswell, 3, 165, 515. John, John, 
Jan., Benjamin, James, notices of, 
79. Alvaris, and family, 846. Dr. 
Samuel, notice of, 367. 

Cattle, ear-marks of, 519. 

Cave, Philip's, 43, 51. 

Caveler, 347. 

Census of 1865, 344. 

Cents, manufacture of, 835. 

Chace, Leander, and family, 846. 

Chaise and chairs, 538. 

Chapman, 278. Bev. Nathan, 464. 

Chartley, name of, variously applied, 

Chenev, 170. 

Church, Congregational, gathering 
of, 67, 70; covenant of, 68; origi- 
nal members of, 69; officers of. 

101; read platform, 108; meeting 
of, call for, to read platform, 106; 
meeting of, to discnarge daty to 
members, 108 ; suspension of mem- 
bers from, 108, 109 ; request of. for 
meeting to consider objectionf 
against Mr. Avery, 115; meetioc, 
Mr. Avery's answer read in, 117 ; 
vote to call a council, 120; letter- 
missive of, 121 ; choose a commit- 
tee to demand covenant, &c., 182, 
138; members of, sign covenant, 
146; petition for meeting of, 162; 
vote of, relative to written expe- 
riences, 176; vote of, to admit 
Baptists, 176; thanks of, to Mrs. 
Bowen, 179; address of, to peti- 
tioners for a dismission, 466; final 
action of, relative to seceders, 469. 

Church, formed Tn North Precinct, 
and members of it, 440. 

Church, the Dissenting, 448 ; reasons 
for forming it, 444; articles of 
faith of, 444; covenant of, 447; 
deacons of. 449-; members of, 451. 

Church, Old Baptist, organization of, 
choose minister, and members of, 
452; invited to worship at Taun- 
ton, 456; withdraws fellowship 
from forty-^wo members, 460; 
vote of, to dissolve, 461 ; deacons 
of, 453, 454, 459. 

Church, Baptist, organization of, 462; 
meeting-nouse of, 463; Sunday 
school of, 464; deacons of, 464. 

Church, Trinitarian-Congregational, 
465 ; movement to form, 465 ; or- 
ganization of, 470; confession of 
faith of, 470; covenant of, 471; 
original members of, 472; meet- 
ing-bouse of, erected, 472 ; Sunday 
school of, 474 ; deacons of, 474. 

Church, Wesleyan-Methodist, orga- 
nization and members of, 475; 
Sunday school of, 476. 

Clapp, 166-170, 348, 416, 463, 525. 
Deacon Noah, notice of, 459. 

Clark, 279, 363, 361. Bev. G. F., 
chosen teacher and pastor, 206; 
letter of acceptance, and installa- 
tion of, 207; notice of, 210; mar- 
riage of, 213 ; family of, 346. 

Clarke, 240, 278, 514. Rev. Pitt, 
Historical Sermon of, 34 ei ah; 
chosen pastor, and encourage- 
ment to settle, 173; explanation 
relative to salary of, 174 ; letter of 
acceptance,l74 ; autograph of, 175 ; 
ordination of, 175, 189; event in 
ministry of, 179; legacy of, to 



people, 180; creed of, 181; ex- 
tracts from legacy of, 182; from 
diary of, 188; death and funeral 
of, 184; publications of, 186; birth 
and parentage of, 186; why called 
Pitt, 187 ; goes to war, 187 ; pre- 
pares for college, 188; teaches 
school after graduating, 188; 
preaches at Norton, 188 ; marriage 
of, 189, 190; children of, 190; rea- 
son for writine autobiography, 191, 
192. Hon. J. J., notice of, 497. 
Manlius S., Esq., notice of, 499. 
Dr. £. H., notice of, 600. 

Clarkson, John, and family, 846. 

Clegg, James, and family,* 846. 

Clement, Sylvester, and family, 846. 

Cobb, 166-169, 802, 808, 417, 616, 626. 
John, notice of, 79. William, no- 
tice of^ 80. Silas, Esq., notice of, 
604. Daniel S. and Guilford M. 
and families, 847. 

Cobbler*s Comer, 2, 6. 

Codding, Isaac B., George, William 
H., and families, 846. 

Codington, 167, 168, 228. 

College, graduates of, 477. 

Collins, Michael, and family, 847. 

Commons, 626. 

Comstock, 279. Christopher, and 
family, 846. 

Conant, 858. 

Conatv, James, James, 2d, Charles, 
ana families, 847. 

Confederation of Congress, 422. 

Constitution, keel of, 48; of United 
States formed, and ratification of, 
428. State, 424; rejected by the 
people, 426; convention to form, 

428, 431; votes relative to, 428; 
amendments to, and votes thereon, 

429, 481, 432. 
Constitutional propositions, and vote 

thereon, 432. 

Converse, 166. 

Cook, 1, 461, 462. Dr. Nathaniel, 
notice of, 871. 

Coombs, Rev. Henry C, ordination 
and notice of, 468. 

Cooye, 167. 

Copland, 167, 171, 278, 416, 626. 
Benjamin, chosen deacon, notice 
and autograph of, 218. Asa, 
chosen deacon, and notice of, 
218. Benjamin, Esq., notice of, 
496. Thomas, Thomas H., Jo- 
seph, and families, 847. 

Copper-works, 886. 

Cormody, 868. 

Coroners, 802. 

Corwithy, 1. 

Gosgrove, James, Daniel, Patrick 
and families, 847. 

Cotton, whipping of, 838; factoriei 
827-829, 880, 883. 

Coy, 1. 

Coyle, 844, 347, 849. James and 
family, 847. 

Council to consider John Skinner's 
case, 96; decision of, 96 ; exparttf 
128; result of, 126. 

Councillors, 804. 

Covenant of First Church, 68; owned 
without a vote of church, 104; re- 
newed and signed in 1762, 146; 
number who owned or renewed, 
168, 171; changed, 177; for those 
not admitted to full membership, 
178; new, or declaration of faitn, 
adopted, 196 ; again revised, 201 ; 
declaration of principles substi- 
tuted for, 208. 

Covenant of Dissenting Church, 447 ; 
of Trinitarian Church, 471. 

Cranch, 194. 

Crane, 171, 278, 279, 808, 416, 481, 
626. Hon. John, notice of, 804. 
Bev. John, notice of, 486. Calvin, 
notice of, 486. John, John H., 
George B., Daniel, J. Calvin, 
George C, and families, 347. 

Crossman, 1, 3, 169, 469, 626. Ze- 
pheniah S., Harrison, and families, 

Crowan, 850. 

Cummings, 476. 


Daily, 30. 

Dane, Marv, and family, 347. 

Danforth, 25, 166, 170, 616, 625. 

Daggett, Naphtali, notice of, 141. 

Darby, 169. 

Darey, 350. 

Dassance, 386. 

Davis, William H., and family, 348. 

Deacons, petition to have ordained, 

108, 100 ; of Congregational 

Church, 214-220; seat, 214, 224; 

choice of, 214, 216, 216, 217, 218, 

219, 220, 449, 453, 464, 459, 476. 
Dean, 1, 3, 166-170, 345-370, 615, 

628. Samuel, chosen deacon, and 

notice of, 216 ; autograph of, 217. 

Deacon Daniel, notice of, 217. 

Bev. Dr. Samuel, notice of, 480. 

Bethiah, Bradford, Otis, Simeon 

A., and families, 848. 
Deer, preservation of, 46; parks of, 

46; thrilling event with, 46. 



Deny, 465, 616. Betsey B., Clarissa, 
and families, 848. 

DevoU, Pardon B., and family, 848. 

Dew, 368. 

Dexter, Christopher, and family, 848. 

Dixon, 347. Rev. James, 476. 

Dolan, 357. 

Donald, 857. 

Donnelly, Patrick, and family, 848. 

Donohue^ 862. James, Thomas, 
Francis, and families, 848. 

Dorby, Jonathan, notice of, 141. 

Dorgan, Abbie, and family, 848. 

Dorman, 166. Seth, notice of, 80. 

Doty, 1. 

Dow, Lorenzo, preaches at Norton, 
trouble with rum-sellers, &c., 

Drake, 1, 847. Charles A., and fa- 
mily, 848. 

Draper, Joseph, and family, 848. 

Drown, Sally, and family, 848. 

Dudley, 20. 

Dunham, 164-171, 858. Joseph, no- 
tice of, 80. 

Dunn, 1. 

Dwelling-houses burned, 680. 

Dyer, Polly, and fieunily, 848. 


Ear-marks of cattle, 619. 

Eason, 451. 

Easton, town of, incorporated, 485. 

Eddy, 165-169, 854, 416, 526. Ebe- 

nezer, notice of, 80 ; autograph of, 

81. Eleazer, notice of, 81. Mary, 

Hodges, John, Elijah, and families, 

Elders, ruling, 102 ; meeting to 

choose, 110. 
Elliot, Joseph, notice of, 81. John 

S., and family, 848. 
Ellis, 160. 

Elms, Lydia, and family, 349. 
Emery, 211. 
Experience, Christian, declaration of, 

71; vote not to require written, 



Factory, cotton, 827-329, 330, 338; 

molasses, 839. 
Faden, Nathaniel, and family, 349. 
Fane, 852. 
Fairbanks, 166. 

Farrar, Rev. George, notice of, 370. 
Farwell, 1. 

Fast before choice of elders, 110; be- 
fore choice of minister, 184. 

Field, 844, 869, 466, 472. Darid, 
David, jun., Emma, Eari W., Ra- 
chel, Darius, Dennis, and fSunilies, 

FiUebrown, 167. 

Finn, Michael, and family, 869. 

Finney, Finny, 166, 167, 461, 462, 

Fish, W. H., 200. 

Fish, various kinds of, 40; a flnee pas- 
sage for, 41. 

Fisher, 166-170, 866, 867. 626. Sa- 
muel, notice of, 81. Eleazer, no- 
tice and autop[raph of, 81. Israel 
and Nathaniel, notices of, 82. 
Eleazer, accusation of, against 
Mrs. Morton, 460. Marcus M., 
and family, 849. 

Fitzgerald, David, and family, 849. 

Fobes, 417, 616. WUliam R., and 
family, 849. 

Forge, iron, 12, 826, 828, 880. 

Foster, 640. Perez, Alexander, and 
families, 849. 

Francis, 626. Ephraim, and family, 

Franklin. 169. 

Frarey, Owen, and family, 849. 

Freeman, 853. 859, 416, 416, 626, 628. 
Sanforth, Abigail, Schuyler, Ma- 
son, Nathaniel, and families, 349. 

Freemasons, 534. 

Freetown, inhabitants of, ask aid for 
Mr. Avery, 62. 

Fruits, native, 48. 

Fuller, 347. 

Fund, ministerial, how created, 249 ; 
amount of, 255. 

Furnace, 331. 


Gaffnev, Owen, and family, 350. 

Gale, 279. Rev. Amory, supplies the 
pulpit, 201; vote of thanks to, 
notice, and marriage of, 202. 

GaUegan, 348, 350, 858. Philip, and 
family, 349. Patrick, Edward, 
Charles, Daniel, and families, 

Garev, Gary, 170, 515, 527. 


Gengill, 1. 

Gibson, 279, 358. Rev. John A., 476. 

GUbert, 1, 167, 169, 416, 515, 526, 
527. David, notice of, 492. 

Gilburt, 3. 

Gillet, 527. 



Oillroy, Hajtb, and bmil j, 860. 

Gilniore. Everett O., and familv, 

GodfVey, le6, 1«S, 348, 851, 4I«, 

SIG, G26, S2T. David, Jones, 

funlUes, 3G0. 
Goff, SilBi B., and familv, 850. 
Qoocb, Thomae, and fsinily, SEO. 
Goodwin, tT2, G28. Rev. D. Le B., 

noliofl of, *»«. Ber. H. B., notice 
' of, 407. Rev. J. B., notice of, 4gB. 

Bev. T. S., notica of, 600. Eev. 

F. D., notice of, 607. Polly, imd 

bmily, SCO. 
GoTemmcnt, form of, vote relative 

to, 134, 42G. 
Governments, other, bilU of, 831. 

Governor, votes for, 808. 
Gould, 346. 

Gnid;, Dennis, and family, 860. 
Grain, &c., prices of, 822, 824. 
Gravestones, roanafactuTS of, 888. 
Grey, 1B6, 166. 
Green, Joseph, 

. BolBud 

e of, 142. ! 
niniBter of 

Grover, 186 166. 'thomas, Andrew, 

Deacon Ephiaim, notices of, 83. 
Gnild, 827. Nancy E., and family. 

Hsgertj, Charles, and family, 861. 

Hailstone, 1. 

Ball, I, 8, 166-170, 306, 278, 279, 802, 
808, S46, SG9, 861, 417, 616, 626. 
John, notice of, B2; autoftraph of, 
88, Ebenezer.noUceof, 88. Isaac, 
Esq., notice of, 464. Benjamin S., 
Blchard H., Eben, and famiiies, 

Hammond, 857. 

Harding, Achaah C, and family, 861. 

fiaradon, 169, 170. 

Hardey, 366. 

Eordon, Isaac, JDD., and Aimily, SGI. 

Harlow, Reuben, and fkmllv, SGI. 

Hairldon, 166, 626. 

Harris, John, and hmily, 861. 

Hart, 587. 

Harvej, 1, 3, 166, 616, E36. Jobn, 
and family, 851. 

Haskina, 451. 

Hathway, S. 

Hailebunt, Gsorga W., and ftmily, 

I Hazleton, Georgs M., and familj', 

R«Braea, 888. 
I Bebbard, 206. 

Hector, 168. 

Hewitt, Hewit, 866, 461. 
' Hews, 168. 

Hicks. Gilbert, ajid family, 861. 

High, Timothy, end family. 861. 

Hill, 167, 866. Harbee, Nahom W., 
and families, 351. 

Hill, Great Roc^y, location of, 41. 

Hinckley, 279. Hov. f., ohoaen 
minister, 204; letter of accept- 
ance, installation, and reeignation 
of, 205; marriage of, 306. 


Uodi^, 166-171, 279, SOS, S4fl, 367, 
S8G, 41G, 417, 515 516, 525, 638, 
628, 630, el aL Jonathan, aato- 
gmpb ot\ 73. John, notice and 
antograph o^ SS. natbaniel, no- 
tice of, SB. Samuel and Wilbam, 
noticee of, 84. Joseph, chosen 
deacon, notice and autograpb of, 

215. Benjamin, chosen deacon, 
and notice of, 315; antograph of, 

216. Hannah, 851. Leonard, 
Earl, Royal P., Hiram, and hmi- 
lies, 361. Williams, Jarvis Sam- 
uel, Newton S., Solomon S,, and 
families, 852. Dr. Gailford, no- 
tice of, 3T3. Capt. Joseph, killed 
by Indians, 887. Dr. Tisdals, 
noljce of, 4BS. Bnliis, Esq., do- 
tice of, 497. Rev. Joseph, notice 
of, 488. Dr. Silas, notice of, 501 
Dr. Jerry, noUce of, 604. 

Hogs Dpon the Common, 631, 632; 
ringed and yoked, 523. 

Holbrook, Rev. John, 464. 

Holloway, 1. 

Holmes, 166, 279, S6S. Bev. Frank- 
lin, ordination and notice of, 4T4. 
Asa P., and family, 361. 

Homee, 170, 303. 

Hortin,' 344, 360, 618, 625. Abigail, 
351. Allen M., and family, 851. 

Howard, 440. 

Hoy, 363. 

Hn<uon, Wilham, c«eidsace and land 
of, 60, 51. 

Hunt, 169, ITO, 416, 460, 46G, 516, 
636. Adolphns D., chosen deacon , 

Peddy, Moaea, Borden, Henry, 
and families, 852. 



Indians, Wampanoags, Narragansetts, 
Massachasetts, territoiy of, 49; 
culture of the land by, 61; im- 
plements of, and battle with, at 
Lockety Neck, 62; kill colt, eat 
turtles, 56. Canonicus, 49. Chick- 
atanbut, 49, 51; residence of, 50; 
dispute between, and Philip, how 
settled. 51. Dick, 56. Jeremy, 
50. Joeiah, 5, 50. Josias, 50. 
Massasoit, 49; residence of, 50. 
Metaoomet, 50. Onsamequin, 

49. Philip, 7, 9, 43, 50; sum- 
mer residence of, 51; kindness 
of, 54, 55. Quock, 56. Squamaug, 

50, 51. Wamsutta, 50. Wam- 
patuck, 50. 

Inhabitants, occupation of, in 1855, 

Installations, 205, 207, 478. 
Irish, 854. 

Isherwood, Balph, and family, 852. 
Island, Beech, 42. 


Jennings, 171. 

Johnson^ James, Charles H., and 

families, 852. 
Johnstone, 515. Dr. Adam, notice 

of, 370. 
Jones, 200, 461, 452, 475. Thomas, 

notice of, 141. Elnathan, William 

D., William, and families, 352. 
Judges, 306, 307. 
Justices of the peace, list of, 302. 


Eeefe, 358, 529. Edward, and fami- 
ly, 352. 

Keith, 463. Ansel, Amos, Williams, 
and families, 352. 

Kelly, 303, 359, 862. Zeno, 352. 

Kenan, 346. 

Kent, 206. 

Kimball, Rispath, and family, 353. 

King, 166, 171. 346, 350, 358, 472, 
516, 525. Cfapt. Dauphin, notice 
of, 493. Rhoda, and family, 353. 

Kingsley. 1. 

Kirkpatnck, 348. 

Knap, Knapp, 168-178, 206, 416, 526. 
Rev. William H., notice of, 507. 
Nancy, Sumner, and famili^, 353. 

Know-Nothings, original, of Norton, 

Enowles, 416, 525. William, and 
fomily, 853. 


Lakeman, 198. 

Land, for public use, set apart, 876- 

Lane, 166-169, 279, 844, 851, 405, 416, 
417, 515, 525, 528. John, notice 
of, 84. Daniel, chosen deacon, 
and notice of, 218. Daniel, Cal- 
vin, George, William, Gardner, 
Allen, Allen D., Samuel H., Au- 
gustus, David C, Don F., Charles 
D., Oliver H., and families, 868. 
Mary H., 858. 

Larcher, 526. 

Lathrop, 846, 861. Elijah, chosen 
pastor, and notice of, 139. 

Lawrence, 167, 515. 

Lazell, 515. 

Leach, 257, 270. 

Leddy, Barney, Peter, and families, 

Lee, 157, 847, 538. Alvin D., and 
family, 854. 

Leedham, John, and lamily, 864. 

Leland, 88. 

Leopard killed, 45. 

Leonard, 8, 124, 164-169, 190, 211, 
278, 802, 808, 807, 353, 856, 891, 
451, 516, 516, 526, 530, 532, 586. 
Thomas and James, deed of laud 
to, 12. Thomas f^ves land to first 
minister, 60. Major George, set- 
tlement by, and forge of, 13; no- 
tice of, 85 ; house, picture of, 86 ; 
autograph of, 87. Mrs. Anna, and 
son, difficulty between, and asses- 
sors, 93, 94. Hon. Cromwell, no- 
tice of, 304. Col. George, notice of, 
804. Col. Ephraim, notice of, 306 ; 
will of, 481. Rev. Nathaniel, no- 
tice of, 477. Judge George, notice 
of, 478. Rev. Dr. Abiel, notice of, 
478. Hon. Daniel, notice of, 481. 
Dr. Thomas, notice of, 482. Oli- 
ver, Esq., notice of, 488. Crom- 
well, Luen C, Hathaway, Otis R., 
and families, 353. Gilford, Gil- 
bert B., Ezekiel, George R., Re- 
becca, George £., James, and 
families, 354. 

Leprilete, Dr. Lewis, notice of, 372. 

Leroy, 353. 

Lewis, 344. 

Libraries, 464, 474, 476, 535. 

Licenses to sell spirituous liquors, 

Linard, 860. 

Lincoln, 8, 168, 169, 278, 279, 303, 
I 348, 355, 362, 416, 451, 463, 516, 


GIB, G26, saa, esB. Addcb a., 

Senecs, Lsban, Calvin, Silas W., 
and families, aS4. Snmner W., 
Calvin C. Eddj', Aaron, JUD., 
Elijah, Eiijsh D., Simeon, inn., 
Junee, Samael R., Harnson T., 
BeniamiD, John, Oriu F., and 
'-"viliBB, 856. 

Lonog, S£ 

Lynch, SGI. 
Lyon, 88. 

Macomber, 8, 1A8, 538. Zacoheua, 
and Ihmlly, SHI. 

Uacj, 1, 8. 

Hagro, SM. 

UacroTren, S6S. 

MaiineoD, 8C1. 

Makepeace, lS5-iri, S03, 38S, 413, 
4Ta, GlE, G26, Gas. Lyaani' 
obosen deacon, 218; cammi 
cation of 468; Qotice of, i 

Uann, SSG. 
ManaQeld, district of, &a., incorpo- 
rated, 443. 
Hap of town, G86. 
Marley, 34S, 630. 
Hiu}iD, G26. 
Uetches, friction, majiufBOtnre of, 

Hatha wson, John, and famil;, SGS. 
UcCaffrey, 629. Thomas, and fami- 
ly, S66. 
HcClarenoe, Archibald, and Aunily, 

He Downey, John, aod family, 866. 

HcGinley, John, and family, SGS. 


HeNamara, Michael, Dennis, and 

families, 856. 
HeNsmea, S48. 
McUnban, Thomas, and bmily, S66. 

MecBonah, 8GS. 

Meeting-house, Congregational, first, 
locaUd by committee, S2, 330; 
tax-bill for erection of, 331 ; when 
erected, 323; seating of, 22S, 324; 
sweeping and locking of, UG ; re- 
pain OD, 236 ; second ollerj to, 
326; new, project and vote to 
bnild, 237; votes relative to 
bnildmg, 238; receipts to get 
timber for, 32S; old, vote to saU, 
381; new, pewB and seats in, 383; 
pews reserved for the minister 
and Mr. Avery, 2S3, 2S3; dedi- 
cation of, 333; cost of, 1S4; 
gnmnd-plan of, 236; balcony to, 
236; pew-f(round sold in, 388, 
286; vote to bnild a bellVey to, 
238; bell for, purohased, aSS; 
cost of, 240; yoke for, 241; meet- 
ing-bouse, wanning of, 341, 343; 
said for town-honae, 248; new, 
vote to bnild, 343; land and tim- 
ber ^vBn for, and when built, 348; 
dedication of, sale of pews in, tod 

fence around, 244. 

. ataked out for, 
, dedicatiim of, 
Methodist, dedi- 

MeeUnga, town, where held, 37B; 
first warrant for, 379 1 annual, 

Mellen, Rev. John, extract from ser- 
mon of, 148. 

Meny, 887. 

Messinger, 802. James 0., Atistin, 
and families, 366. 

Metcalf, 84T. 

Methodism, first preaching of, in 
Norton, 644. 

Methodist, Wesieyan, society, 475; 
first, camp- meeting, 544. 

Military, first company, and offiosra 
of, 414. 

Military ofGceis, 415-417, 805, 866, 
4TS, 8T; parades, 421. 

Miller, 361, 4B4. Rer. Henry F. H., 
464. ElbridgeG., and family, 866. 

Mills, grist, 33G, S26, 838, 330, 233, 
838, 886; saw, 826, 836. 83S, 839, 
33U, 331, 332,834,336; nail, S2S; 
Bhiogle, 328, 329, 331, 33S; bat- 
ting, 32B, 331, 333; slitting, 323, 
336, 336; fnlJng, 331, 333, 336; 

.-arH^vin^ •iit^ • ^utti.^r^ QQJ 44t aUR 

carding, 331 ; cattiiig, 334, 385, 886. 
iuiater, CoDgregationai, land given 
s of donors of, 69, 


Ministerial land, 246; divided be- 
tween Norton and Easton, 246; 
moiety of^ divided between the 
two precincts, 246; for support 
of Congregational ministers, 247 ; 
authority given to sell, 248 ; sold, 
249 ; fund created from sale of, 

Mingo, 510. 

Moderators, list of, 281-286. 

Moody, 360. 

Moon-struck, persons, 6d8. 

Moran, 854. 

Morey, 170, 171, 257, 802, 845, 415, 
417. 515, 526, 527. Dr. Samuel, 
notice of, 872, 486. Nathan, no- 
tice of, 488. Kev. George, notice 
of, 485. 

Morse, 211. Willard, and family, 856. 

Morton, Edmund, and family, 857. 

Mountegue, 4. 

Munroe, 516, 526. John L., and 
femfly. 856. 

Muntz, William H., and family, 857. 

Murder, suspicions of, &c., 587. 

Murry, 859. Catherine, and family, 


Nason, 851. 

Natural curiosities, 48. 

Neck, Lockety, 41. 

Negroes' pew, 234, 236, 288. 

Nelson, Rev. William, called to set- 
tle, and ordination of, 458. Rev. 
Ebenezer, ordination of, 458, 

Newcomb, 166-170, 808, 361, 416, 
417, 516, 616, 626, 627, 630. Hon. 
Daniel, notice of, 482. Sylvester, 
Asa, Charlotte S.. Josiah, Natha- 
niel, John B., ana families, 357. 

Newland, 166-170, 626. Benjamin, 
and John, notices of, 87. 

New lights, 128, 129, 443. 

Newman, 610. 

Nichols, 344. 

Niles, 461, 462. 

Norton, territory of, 5; first settle- 
ment of, 6; why so named, 84; 
incorporation of, 36; bounds of, 
85-37 ; present bounds, area, lati- 
tude and longitude of, distance 
from Boston, &c., 37; villages of, 
87, 38 ; geological formation of, 42 ; 
divided into eight school quarters, 
263; population of, 344; commit- 
tee of, send letter to Boston, 393 ; 
freeholders of, vote to support 
Congress in a declaration of inde- 
pendence, 398 ; first military com- 

pany in, 414. South Precinct of, 
movement to divide, 186; em- 
powered to sell ministerial land, 
248; sell ministerial land, 249; 
school quarters, division of, into, 
Noyes, 147. 


0*Brien, 855. Andrew, and ikmily, 

Officers, town, 281-801; military, 

OUiey, 844. 

Ordination of Rev. Mr. Aver^, 70. 
Rev. Mr. Palmer, 147; dinner, 
cost of, 150. Rev. Pitt Clarke, 
175, 189. Rev. A. M. Bridge, 195. 
Rev. W. P. Tilden, 198. Rev. WU- 
liam Carpenter, 449, 458. Rev. 
William Nelson, 458. Rev. Ebene- 
zer Nelson, 458. Rev.H.C.Coombs, 
468. Rev. S. J. Carr, 464. Rev. J. 
G. Bowen, 464. Rev. Wm. Read, 
467. Rev. J. J. Bronson, 464. Rev. 
Wm. Barrows, 473. Rev. Frank- 
lin Holmes, 474. 

Organ, how bouji^ht, 218. 

Ortiiodox, meaning of the word, 69. 

Osgood, 206. 


Pain, 167. 

Palmer, 169, 171, 417, 515. Rev. Jo- 
seph, chosen minister, 143; his 
letter and autograph, 144; note 
accepting the call, 146; ordina- 
tion of, 147; leaders of factions 
go to, 161; liberal in his religious 
views, 161 ; petition to, for church- 
meeting, 162; character of, 166; 
trials of, 166, 167 ; anecdote of,tin 
pulpit, 158; dignified demeanor, 
168, 169 ; bought land, and notice 
of, 169 ; marriage, and children of, 
160; last illness of, 161; death, 
and cause of, 162; anecdote o^ 
163. Mrs. Palmer, last illness of, 
163; death of, 164. Rev. Stephen, 
notice of, 489. Clara E., ana 
family, 367. 

Panny, 167. 

Parish, Congregational, incorporation 
of, 260 ; trustees of, chosen, 251 ; 
additional Act of Incorporation, 
and amendment to, 264 ; Sunday 
school of, 642. 

Parker, 1, 3, 303, 367, 474, 516. Dr. 
Daniel, notice of, 370. 


Patten, 169, 472. John, and family, 

Panle, 8. 

Panll, 1. 

Paupers, first. 868; overseers of, 864; 
division or, between Norton and 
Mansfield, 864; vendue of, 865; 
house for, 366; farm for, bought, 
366; well provided for, 867. 

Pearson, 169, 170. Deacon Benja^ 
min, notice of, 217. 

Peck, 362. 

Penno, 680. 

Perago, 357. 

Pero, 168, 510. 

Perry, 170, 803, 416, 416, 472, 626. 
Bev. G. B., notice of, 492. Dr. 
William, notice of, 494. Dr. Na- 
than, notice of, 504. Ichabod, 
Lemuel, H. C, and families, 857. 

Phenomena, singular, 683. 

Phillips, 1, 8, 171, 462. Rev. Samuel, 
attempt to settle, 67 ; notice of, 58. 

Physicians, 867. 

Pidge, 858. 

Pike, 461. 

Pitts, 8,862. 

I'lain, Timothy, situation of, 41. 

Pledge, total-abstinence, adopted, 
516 ; number of names attached, 
to, 617. 

Ploughs, manufacture of, 339. 

Plunket, Patrick, and family, 857. 

Poick, 463. 

Pollard, 167. 

Pomeroy, 167. 

Pond, 347, 616. Horace A., and 
familv* 867. 

Pond, Winneconnet, situation of, and 
meaning of word, 88. 

Pool, 1. 

Population, 344, 362. 

Pest-office and postmasters, 638. 

Potash, 826, 384. 

Pound, 522. 

Powder, stock of, and ammunition, 
419, 420; house, and where built, 

Prat, 166. 

Pratt, 166, 347, 616. Jabez, notice 
and autograph of, 88. William, 
notice of, 88. Dr. Jonathan, no- 
tice of, 369. Augustus L., and 
family, 367. 

Precinct, Taunton North, petition for, 
16, 19 ; remonstrances against, 27, 
29, 80; General Court appoints a 
committee relative to, 28 ; reasons 
why petitions for, should be 
granted, 81 ; report of committee 

relative to, 82; action of General 
Court upon, 381 created a town, 
84; petition of, 645, 646. 

Precinct, North, of Norton, division 
of, into school quarters, 261, 262; 
movements to form, 436-487; vote 
to set ofi^, 487; protests against 
setting ofi", 438; prayer for, 
granted, and bounds of, 438; or- 
^nization of, 439; erect a meet- 
ing-house, 439 ; call several mini- 
sters, 439, 440; Rev. Ebenezer 
White, ordained minister of, 440; 
church formed in, 440; choose 
Rev. Roland Greene minister, and 
ordination of, 441 ; erected into a 
district, 442. 

Precinct, East, of Norton, created, 
434; erected into a tovm, 485. 

Prentice, 129. 

Priest, Rev. Zadok, 644. 

Probate, judges, and re^ster of, 807. 

Produce, &c., prices 0^822-824. 

Puffer, 361, 417, 626. 

Pullen, 858. 


Quashee, 510. 
Quinley, 847. 
Quock, orchard, and death of, 66. 


Railroad, 539. 
Rainford, 351. 

Randall, 1, 851. Dr. George H., no- 
tice of, 375. 
Raymond, 278, 302, 417, 515, 527. 
Read, 279. Rev. William, ordination 

of, 464. 
Records, loss of, 280. 
Redding, Lewis, and family, 368. 
Reed, 270. Stephen D., Irena, Lydia, 

and families, 357. 
Rehoboth, purchase of, 2. 
Representatives to General Court, 

281-286; instruction to, 891, 427; 

in Congress, 807, 808. 
Rew, 3. 

Richardson, 168, 193, 361, 416. 
Richmond, 1, 8, 534. Benjamin, 

Benjamin H., and families, 857. 

Ward, David H., and families, 

Riley, 848, 859. Edward, and family, 

867. Catherine, and family, 858. 
River, Ruraford, 88; Wading and 

Canoe, 39. 
Robbins, 451. 
Roberts, Joseph, chosen pastor, and 

note of, 137 ; notice of, 188. 



Bobinson, 8, 206. Buel, Maiy A., 
Edward 0., and families, 868. 

Bockwood, 279, 803. Thomas T., 
and fainilv, 868. 

Rogers, Charles, and family^ 868. 

Bogerson, John B., and family, 868. 

Boot, Clarinda, and family, 868. 

Boss, 867. 

Bossiter, 1. 

Bonnch, 848. 

Bound, 279. Dr. Bezyamin M., no- 
tice of, 874; family of, 868. 

Bue, 166. 


Scadding, 1. 

School, master, choice of, 266, 266, 
268, 269; mistress, first, 267; 
quarters, or districts, division of 
riorth and South Precincts, into,^ 
261; division of town into 268,' 
266; trustees, 264; conmiittee, 
towns required to choosei. 276; 
chosen, 276; first report or, 277; 
report of, printed, 278; school 
committee, list of. 278; houses, 
vote to build, and reconsidered, 
266; struggles and failures rela- 
tive to, 267; when built in differ- 
ent districts, 268-278: house dedi- 
cated in District No. 4, 270; 
school-money, division of, 278- 
276; Sunday, of Congregational 
Parish, 662. 

Schools, common, 266-279; where 
kept, 256, 268, 269; to be moving. 

Schoolcraft, 88. 

Selectmen, list of, 287-292. 

Seminary, Wheaton Female, 640; 
trustees of, 540, 641; principals 
of, 641. 

Senators, 803, 804. 

Settiement, first, 6. 

Settlers, the first, attend meeting at 
Taunton, 14; meeting of, to esta- 
blish public worship, 15 ; petition 
of, for a precinct, 16 ; committee 
of, ask for a precinct, 18 ; petition 
of, to Governor and Genenil Court, 
19; committee of, make a state- 
ment to General Court, 22; dis- 
tances they lived from Taunton, 
22, 23; a portion of, remonstrate 
against a precinct, 27 ; notices of, 

Shackleford, 616. 

Shakers, 633. 

Shaw, 171, 616, 626. John, and 
- family, 868. 

Sharky, 866. 

Shelley, Libbeus, and family, 868. 

Shepard, 808, 416, 417, 472, 680. 
Isaac, notice of, 88. Bev. Mase, 
notice of, 487. Bev. Dr. Thomas, 
notice of, 496. Jacob, and family, 

Shepardson, 846. 

Shepherd, 166, 167. 

Sheridan, John, and family, 868. 

Sheriffs, deputy, 802. 

Shoes, manufacture of, 889. 

Shove, 8. 

Sibley, 186, 140, 142. 

Skinner, 166, 167, 266, 862, 616. 
Thomas, notice of, 88 ; autograph 
of, 89. John, notice and auto- 
graph of, 89. John, suspended 
from church, 95 ; oonmiittee called 
to consider his case, 96; confes- 
sion of, 100. Albert, Josephus, 
and families, 868. 

Sillev, 167. 

Sinclair, Amos S., and family, 858. 

Slade, 864. 

Slavery, 608; not congenial to Mas- 
sachusetts, and movement apiinst, 
611; vote of church relative to, 

Slaves, number of, in 1735, 609; 
owners of, and bills of sale of, 

Slocum, 1. 

Smith, 1, 3, 168-171, 302, 803, 844- 
862, 417, 451, 515^ 516, 526, 627, 
630. Nicholas, notice of, 89. John, 
notice of, 90. Deacon Seth, notice 
of, 217 ; autograph of, 218. Still- 
man, chosen deacon, and notice 
of, 219. Seth, jun., notice of, 803. 
Dr. Timothy, notice of, 371. Bev. 
Jonathan, notice of^ 502. Dr. Ira, 
notice o^ 504. Timothy, Noah« 
Charles U., James, 2d, Slatthew, 
and families, 858. Patrick, James, 
James, jun., Seth, Stillman, Still- 
man L. B., Henry. Peter, George 
W., Lucinda, Nathan, and fami- 
lies, 359. 

Snow, 206, 279, 846, 468. Bev. S. P., 
475. Joseph, and family, 359. 

Soap, manufacture of, 339. 

Society, temperance, formed, 514; 
presidents of, 518. 

Soulard, 451, 452. 

Southworth, 8. 

Spinning, weaving, &c., 887. 

Sprague, Charles, jun., and family, 

Squirrels* heads, money raised for, 47. 



Standish, 1. 

Stanle;^, 476, 526, 529. Phebe, Ben- 
jamin D., and families, 359. 

Statistics, table of, 840; of industry, 
841-843; of births, marriages, 
deaths, &c., 587. 

Stedman, Patrick, and family, 859. 

Stephens, 165. Thomas, notice and 
autograph of, 90. Benjamin M., 
and family, 859. 

Stevens, 206. 

Stockbridge, 861. 

Stocks, 518. 

Stoddard, 850. 

Stone, 165, 166, 849, 858, 415, 417, 
515, 526. Bev. Nathaniel, notice 
of, 504. Laniard, and family, 

Story, 451, 526, 581. George W., 
Inomas, and families, 859. 

Straw, manufacture of, &c., 837. 

Street, 1. 

Strong, 1. 

Stnrtevant, 516. 

Subscribers, list of, 549. 

Sumner, 259, 526. Seth, and family, 

Swamp, Cedar, and Invincible, 42. 

Sweet, 278, 361, 516, 526, 528, 529. 
Dr. B. F., notice of, 873, 497. Bev. 
J. D., notice of, 497. William, 
and family, 359. Cyril S., Betsy 
S., Alanson, Benjamin B., George 
M., Hezekiah, Eliza, Benjamin, 
Joseph D., James M., and fami- 
lies, 860. Oliver, 360. 

Sweeting, 515. Dr. Lewis, notice of, 

Sweetland, Bufus, Edwin, and fami- 
lies, 859. 


Taber, 848. 

Tanneries, 388. 

Taunton, proprietors, and bounds of, 
1. North Purchase, proprietors 
of, 8; bounds of, 8, 5; line of, 5, 
6. South Purchase of, ask for a 
precinct, 21; selectmen of, make 
answer to General Court, 21; 
choose a committee to oppose the 
petitions for precincts, 23; com- 
mittee, remonstrance of, 24. 

Taxes, 312-816. 

Taylor, 845. 

Temperance movement, 513; societVi 
formation of, 514 ; celebration, 517 ; 
Sons of, 518. 

Tenney, 200. 

Tenny, 847. 

Thayer, 848, 468, 475. 

Thayre, 8. 

Thrasher, 8. 

Tiffanv, 180, 167. Dr. Gideon, notice 
of, 869. Dr. Oliver, notice of, 487. 
Hon. George, notice of, 488. 

TUden, 278. Bev. William P., chosen 
pastor, and letter of acceptance, 
197 ; ordination of, 198 ; dismission 
of, 199; notice and marriage of, 
200; reinvited to settle, but de- 
clines, 204. 

Timmings, 361. 

Tinkham, Ebenezer, and family, 860. 

Tisdale, 8, 855, 416, 515. 

Tithing-men, 296, 297; list of, 298- 

Titus, 802, 846, 415, 526. OUver S., 
and family, 860. 

Tiump, 258. 

Todd, 855. 

Tories, 401. 

Town, officers, list of, 281-801 ; clerks, 
list of, 281-286; treasurers, list of, 
281-286 ; warnings out of, 868, 864 ; 
house, 542. 

Townsend, 128, 845. 

Training-field, 879. 

Trees, names of, 48. 

Tripp, 516. Thompson, and family, 

Trow, 169, 170, 515, 626. 

Tucker, 168-170, 278, 279, 846, 415, 
461, 472, 475, 515, 516, 526. Ro- 
bert, notice of, 90. Almond, 
chosen deacon, and notice of, 
. 219. Polly, Allen B., Almond, 
Albert S., George W., and fami- 
lies, 860. 

Turner, 8. 

Twitchel, 210. 

Uxley, 1. 



Vallett, 858. 

Verry, 170, 802, 626, 580. 

Vesey, Veazie, 167, 259, 260. Bev. 

Samuel, notice of, 417. 
Vigilantibus, the standard, 888. 
Vining, 170. 


Waite, 206. 

Wales, 166. 

Walker, 3, 360, 416, 516, 516. 

Wallace, 844. 

Walsh, 854. 


War, old French, 884; names of men 
who serred in, 886. French and 
Indian, 885; names of men who 
served in, 886-890. Reyolation> 
ary, 890; names of men who 
served in, 896-411; committees 
of correspondence daring, 894, 
898, 400, 406, 407, 412; demoral- 
izing ii^nence of, 418. Of 1812, 
417; names of men who served 
in, 418. 

Wardens, 297, 298; list of, in italics, 
299 800 

Ware,'l66,'l67, 516. Dr. William, 
notice of, 868. 

Warnings out of town, 868. 

Washburn, 169, 515, 526. James S., 
and family, 860. 

Watson, 3, 861, 584. 

Way. Grossman's, 42. 

Wayland, 856. 

West, 885, 862, 472. WiUiam A., and 
fomily, 860. Hiram, and family, 

WethereU, 164-170, 278, 802, 844, 
847, 415, 516, 516, 627, 580. Wil- 
Ham, first settlement by, 6; a 
cabin boy, 7; enrolled for mili- 
tary duty, 8; admitted a fireeman, 
8; notice of, 8-11; autograph of, 
11 ; where buried, 882. William, 
notice of, 90; autograph of, 91. 
William, jun., notice or, 91. Je- 
remiah and John, notices and au- 
tographs ofl 91. John, jun., notice 
ofj 91. William, William, jun., 
Hiram H., Caleb S., Benjamin C, 
Stillman A., William D., and fa- 
milies, 361. 

Wheaton, 169, 278, 302, 307, 516, 526. 
Dr. George, notice of, 869. Rev. 
George, notice of, 482. Hon. La- 
ban, notice of, 483. Daniel, Esq., 
notice of, 490. Hon. L. M., notice 
of, 496. Female Seminary, 540. 
Laban M., and family, 361. 

Wheeler. 417, 526. Elkanah, William 
B., Wheaton, and families, 861. 

Wheelwrights* shop, 829, 381, 882, 

White, 8, 166-167, 278, 361, 417, 451, 
468, 615, 516, 626, 628. Deacon 

Nicholas, autograph of, 92; notice 
of, 92,214. Matthew and Edward, 
notices of. 92. Abraham, notice 
of, 808. Dr. Nicholas, notice of, 
868. Ebenezer, ordained minister 
of North Precinct, 440; death of, 
441. Jacob, notice ofl 486. E.P., 
Esq., notice of, 496. Howe, Gyms, 
Jason, Georffe, jun., George A., 
John H., Earl C., Isaac, and fami- 
lies, 861. 

Whipping-post, 519. 

Whitman, 198, 206. 

Wilbor, 8. 

Wilbur, 844, 854. Oren, Oren, jun., 
Oliver K., Benjamin, and families, 

Wife, runaway, 581. 

Wild, 166, 170, 868, 626. Dr. John, 
jun., notice of, 868. George W., 
and family, 862. 

WUd-cats, 44, 46. 

WiUiams, 1, 8, 166-170, 278, 279, 802, 
851j 858, 526. Deacon Benjamin, 
notice of 92; autograph of, 98. 
Lyman D., Greenleaif, Betsy, and 
families, 861. 

Willis, 168, 169. Rev. Eliakim, cho- 
sen pastor, 184; protest affainst 
choice of, 185 ; note of, decuning 
to settie. 135 ; notice of, 186. Cal- 
vin, ana familj^. 361. Ichabod, 
Loren, and fiEunilies, 862. 

Wilmartb, Dr. Butler, notice of, 

Wilson, 1. 

Winchel, 168. 

Winslow, 8. 

WiswaU, 169, 526. 

Witchcraft, 532. 

Whitney, 206. 

Wolves, 44. 

Wood, 11, 384, 389. Elkanah, El- 
kanah, jun., Eli, and families, 

Woodburv, 847. 

Woods, Neck, 41 ; Great, 42. 

Woodward, 166-171. 451, 516, 626, 
528, 530. Isaac, Bradford N., Ann 
M., David, Joseph, Josiah, jun., 
and families, 862. 

Wrigley, James L., and family, 862. 



" When wild in woods the noble saTage ran.*' — Dbtdht. 

About the year 1637, Henry Uxley, Richard Williams, 
Joseph Wilson, Benjamin Wilson, William Coy, George 
Hall, David Corwithy, Mr. William Pool, (Jeorge 
Macy, William Harvey, Hezekiah Hoar, Walter Dean, 
John Dean, John Strong, Henry Andrews, Thomas 
Cooke, John Smith, Mr. Thomas Farwell, Edward 
Case, John Kingsley, Richard PauU, Richard Smith, 
Mr. John Gilbert, William Phillips, William Hail- 
stone, William Parker, John Parker, John Richmond, 
William HoUoway, the Widow Randall, Francis Doty, 
William Dunn, William Scadding, John Bryant, An- 
thony Slocum, John Gengille, Francis Street, Hugh 
Rossiter, John Gilbert, Thomas Gilbert, Robert Hobell, 
Richard Burt, John Grossman, John Luther, John 
Drake, and Mr. John Brown,^ purchased of the Ply- 
mouth Colony a tract of land, at a place called 
Cohannett, which soon after took the name of 

By order of the court, the bounds around this first 
purchase (sometimes called the Tetiquet Purchase, 
to distinguish it from subsequent purchases) were 
made on the 19th of June, 1640, by Miles Standish 

1 Baylies's Memoir of Plymouth Colony, part i. p. 286. 



and John Browne. This tract of land was laid out in 
" a long square," ^ measuring eight miles on a side. 
It was doubtless in the form of a diamond, or rhombus, 
the northerly angle of which extended to within about 
two miles of the line between the Plymouth and Mas- 
sachusetts Colonies, now the line between Bristol and 
Plymouth Counties, and is known to this day as 
" Cobblerjs Corner." ^ it included within its limits 
portions of the present towns of Mansfield, Norton, 
Raynham, Berkley, and Taunton. 

In 1641, the township of Rehoboth, westerly of 
Taunton, was purchased by Walter Palmer and 

In 1649, Bridgewater, easterly of Taunton, and ex- 
tending northerly to the line between the two Colonies, 
was bought by Miles Standish and others. 

In 1666, the territory north of Rehoboth (now Attle- 
borough), and extending to the line between the two 
Colonies, was sold to the town of Rehoboth, and was 
called Rehoboth North Purchase. There was then 
between Attleborough and Bridgewater, and between 
Taunton and the line of the two Colonies, an irregular- 
shaped tract of land, about twelve miles long on the 
northerly side, seven and a half miles wide on the west- 
erly end, and a little less than that on the easterly end. 
Into this the northerly angle of Taunton projected 
some five miles. This as yet nameless tract of land 
contained an area of about fifty square miles. 

After additions had been made to the original pur- 
chases of Rehoboth and Bridgewater, Taunton people, 
no doubt, thought it proper that their town should be 
enlarged. Accordingly, a company was formed, and 
this irregular-shaped piece of land on the north was 
purchased the sixth day of June,^ 1668, of Thomas 

1 For bounds, see Plymouth-Colony Records, vol. ii. pp. 99, 100. 

2 It is said to have been so called from the fact, that in making the 
bounds, when Miles Standish and his men came to this corner, one of them 
mended or " cobbled" his shoes. 

* See Records of Deeds in Plymouth County, vol. iii. p. 118; also 
North-Purchase Records, p. 1. 


Prence, Josias Winslow, Thomas Southworth, and 
Constant Southworth ("the country's agents"), by 
Bichard Williams, Walter Dean, George Macey, James 
Walker, Joseph Wilbor, William Harvey, Thomas 
Leonard, John Turner, Henry Andrews, John Cob, 
George Hall, John Hall, Samuell Hall, James Leonard, 
sen., Nathaniell Williams, Thomas Williams, Nicolas 
White, sen., Nicholas White, jun., Hezekiah Hofe, 
AlUce Dean, Israeli Dean, Robert Grossman, Shadrack 
Wilbor, Thomas Caswell, John Macomber, John Smith, 
Edward Rew, John Parker, Samuell Paule, Thomas 
Lincoln, sen., Thomas Harvey, sen., Nathaniell Thay re, 
Thomas Lincoln, jun., Peter Pits, Jonah Austin, sen., 
John Richmond, Samuell Williams, Christopher Thrash- 
er, Mrs. Jane Gilburt, George Watson, Samuell Smith, 
James Burt, Richard Burt, John Tisdell, sen., John 
Tisdell, jun., James Phillips, Edward Bobbot, John 
Hathway, Jonathan Brigs, Increase Robinson, John 
Briant, Thomas Harvey, jun. ; and was called " Taun- 
ton North Purchase." 

" March 8, 1681-2. — By order of ye Court, Mr. 
George Shove his name was afixed to the sd. deed as 
a proprietor.'' ^ 

The bounds of this purchase, as given in the deed, 
are these: '* Begining on the north-west, att the bounds 
of the lands formerly sold by us unto the Town of Re- 
hobo th, and to be bounded on tlie northerly syde by 
the Massachusetts line, untill it cometh to beare with 
the Western bounds of the Town of Bridgewater ; and 
soe from the said Massachusetts line by a soutli line 
home to the bounds of Taunton, and thence by a West- 
erly line untill it meets with the bounds of Rehoboth 
aforesaid ; and so to follow the said bounds of Rehoboth 
untill it comes unto the bounds first mentioned upon 
the Massachusetts line ; all the lands within this com- 
pas, excepting onely a small parcel granted unto John 
Bundey, and alsoe a grant made unto Thomas Briggs, 
the son of Clement Briggs, together with the meddows, 

1 North-Purchase Records, p. 1. 


woods, waters, and other benefitts, privileges, emolu- 
ments, proffitts, and emunities thereto appertaining and 
belonging." * 

The price paid for this tract of land was " the full 
sume of one hundred pounds." The northerly line 
of this territory, bordering upon the ancient limits of 
Dorchester, was the scene of many vexatious disputes. 

Both the Plymouth and Massachusetts Colonies laid 
claim to a gore of land, extending from Accord Pond 
(on the borders of Hingham, Abington, and Scituate), 
some twenty-five miles, to Rhode-Island line, and con- 
taining more than "fourteen thousand acres," as it 
appears from a plan of this disputed territory which I 
have found, and which bears evident marks of age. 
This line was not definitely settled till 1773.2 Dec. 3, 
1717, the North-Purchase proprietors raised a com- 
mittee " to see into that matter concerning the runing 

1 The land of John Bundy was in what is now Easton, and is supposed 
to have been granted to him by the government, in consequence of his being 
one of the first children born in the Colony. It is very probable that he was 
the first settler within the limits of that town. Of him not much is known. 
He is supposed to be the same person who, on the 14th of March, 1635, was 
apprenticed to " Griffin Mountegue, carpenter, in New England," for eight 
years ; and who, after the lapse of two years, ^reed to serve out the residue 
of his time with Elder William Brewster.* While with Mr. Brewster, he 
was " found guilty of lude behavior and vnciuill carriage towards Elizabeth 
Haybell," and was " seuerly whiped " for so doing.f in 1638, Bundy was 
transferred from the service of tlder Brewster to his son Jonathan, for the 
remaining time of five years. In 1645, he was one of a squad of soldiers 
sent from Plymouth against the Narragansett Indians, &c.| His first wife's 

name was Martha . She died May 1, 1674. By her he had four, and 

perhaps more, children: viz., James, b. 29th of September, 1664; Sarah, b. 
4th March, 1668; Samuel, b. 4th October, 1670; and Patience, who died 27th 
March, 1665. He m., for second wife, Ruth Gurney ( V ), of Mendon, Jan. 9, 
1676 ; and by her had John, b. 6th October, 1677 ; Joseph, b. 1st January, 
1679; and Edward, b. 13th August, 1681. This is all that is known of him; 
except, it is stated in Baylies's Memoir, part ii. p. 274, that he " removed to 
Point Judith, Narragansett." 

Of Thomas Briggs, we know but little aside from his parentage. His 
land, consisting of a hundred and fifty acres, and twenty acres of meadow, 
was granted to him in 1659, "in the way to Deadum from Taunton, betwixt 
a pond and the mill-riuver which comes to Taunton betwixt Taunton and 
Massapauge Pond." § This was probably in the north-easterly part of 
Mansfield, or the north-westerly part of Easton. 

2 For more particulars relative to the line between the Colonies, see 
Hobart's Sketch of Abington, p. 95, &c. 

* Plymoath-Colony Records, vol. i. p. 51. t Plymoath-Colony Records, vol. ii. p. 90. 
t Ibid. vol. i. p. 65. » Ibid. vol. iU. p. 164. 

























-> ^ 


























nj%M,nH^ of NopOl Purchase, 

'Bounds of Towns. 

1 /2zzz^ Tapisih CJmrcTi of Norton, 



of the line by Dorchester men, and how much there is 
taken out of any man's particular propriety ; " and a 
former committee were empowered " to make satisfac- 
tion to those that are damnified by the running of the 
line by Dorchester men." ^ The Punkapoag Indians, 
who lived in the neighborhood of Blue Hill, also 
claimed a portion of the territory ; and hence, Feb. 24, 
1686 or 7, the North-Purchase proprietorsT'' voted to 
levy and raise sixteen pence in money on 6ach share 
in said Purchase, to pay Josiah, the Indian sachem,^ 
for a deed they have procured of him.".' 

The town of Norton, whose history we are to record 
in tlie following pages, as originally constituted, com- 
prised the whole of the North Purchase, together with 
the northerly angle of the original or Tetiquet Pur- 
chase of Taunton. 

On the opposite page we give a diminutive map of 
Taunton North Purchase, and the town of Norton as 
originally constituted, with its subdivisions, Easton and 

The dark, heavy lines show the boundaries of the 
North Purchase. It will be seen that Norton, as now 
bounded, comprises only a portion of the westerly end 
of the North Purchase, with a little triangular tract of 
land at the north-easterly corner of the town. Most 
of Mansfield is included in the North Purchase, and 
all of Easton. 

The two bounds of North Purchase that meet at 0, 
near the centre of Mansfield, form Cobbler's Corner, 
which is west of Rumford River, and a short distance 
below the road leading from the four corners by M. 
Allen's, in Mansfield, to Isaac Skinner's. The angle 
within the lines meeting at C (Cobbler's Corner) is a 
portion of the old town, or the original purchase of 
Taunton. The North-Purchase line, running from A 
C which is a corner of Taunton, Rehoboth, and Norton, 

^ North-Purchase Repords, p. 48. 

3 This was probably Charles Josias. See chapter on Indians. 

* North-Purchase KecordSi p. 10. 


and known on the old records as Abel's Corner) 
to Cobbler's Corner, passes along directly in front of 
Allen D. Lane's house and the school-house in No. 4, 
across the upper end of Barrowsville Factory Pond, 
easterly of the common burying-ground, and within a 
few feet of the westerly end of Austin Messinger's old 
house. The line from Cobbler's Cornef to the south- 
eastern corner of Easton passes between Nathaniel 
Newcomb's house and factory. 

It will be seen by the map, that Easton is bounded on 
three sides by the North-Purchase bounds, Mansfield 
on two sides, and Norton wholly on only one side by 
the same. 

Other portions of the map will be explained in sub- 
sequent chapters. 



** Across the flood the Pilgriins fled, 
And Heayen their trusting Ibotsteps led, 
Till on these sayage shores they txt>d, 
And won the wilderness for God." 

H. Wars, Jon. 

The first settlement within the present limits of Norton 
is believed to have been made by William Wetherell 
in 1669, on the easterly side of Winneconnet Pond, 
about twenty rods northerly from the bridge, over the 
outlet of this pond, which marks the bounds between 
the present towns of Taunton and Norton.^ 

1 From his will, made just before his death in 1691, it appears that Mr. 
Wetherell's dwelling-honse then stood " on the south side of the pond ; '* 
and it is possible that there was where his first habitation was "pitched," 
though we think the weight of evidence is decidedly in favor or the east 
side of the pond. In 1690, he deeded to his son William a portion of his 
land on the easterly side of the pond, including what we supposed to have 
been the site of the first house; and it is presumed that this deed was 
given about the time he moved to the spot where he died. Possibly, during 


By an examination of the Proprietors' Records of 
the Old Town of Taunton (p. 50), I find that, on the 
29th of April, 1669, William Wetherell sold several 
parcels of land situated on and near Mill River 
(which is the stream that runs out of Winneconnet 
Pond) ; and included in this sale were '' five accres, 
more or less, which was granted to him by the town for 
a home-lotte." And on the same day was laid out to 
him, in four lots, about sixty acres of land on the 
easterly and northerly side of the pond ; and the bounds 
of these lots can be pretty generally identified at the 
present time. Hence we think, in the absence of all 
testimony to the contrary, that in the spring of 1669, 
and on the east side of the pond, only a few rods from 
the meadow, was erected the first habitation in our 

Tradition says that this William Wetherell — whose 
name will ever be a household word to the people of 
Norton — came from England, in the capacity of a 
cabin-boy, with William Dunn, the master of the vessel, 
and one of the original proprietors of Taunton, who is 
said to have soon returned to England, leaving his 
cabin-boy in charge of his proprietary, with the under- 
standing, that, if he (Dunn) did not return to claim it, 
the right should escheat to young Wetherell ; and such 
was the result. Of the exact time Capt. Dunn arrived 
in America, we have no reliable account : ^ it might 

King Philip's war in 1675 and 6^ Mr. Wetherell left his dwelling unoccu- 
pied, on account of its exposed situation, and placed his family in one of 
the garrisoned houses for safety ; and when the war was ended, his house 
having probably been destroyed by the Indians, he might have gone to tlie 
southerly side of the pond, or. more properly, to the south-westerljr side, 
and erected his house there. It is well known that Mr. Wetherell himself 
was engaged in Philip's war. From his will, it appears that another house 
stood near where he lived. Our oldest men remember that two houses 
once stood on the south-westerly side of the pond ; and traces of both can be 
seen at the present day. Yet from the fact, that, in 1685^ he was licensed to 
keep a sort of public-house, we are strongly of the opinion that he then 
lived on the east side of the pond, and lefl; in 1690, when he deeded the 
homestead to his son William. 

1 On the gravestone of James Wetherell, who died in 1837, it is stated 
that he was the " great-grandson of Mr. William Wetherell, -the first of the 
name that came to America." This, we think, is an error. Bev. William 


have been just before the settlement of Taunton, and 
he might have brought over m his vessel many of the 
first settlers of the town ; and, as most of these were 
from the vicinity of Taunton in England, it is possible 
that the birthplace of Wetherell was in that neighbor- 
hood. All this is, however, mere conjecture. The 
first reliable evidence we have of William Wetherell 
being in Taunton is in 1643, when his name appears 
on a list of males, between the ages of sixteen and 
sixty, subject to military duty.^ He was one of the 
inhabitants of Taunton, who, on the 28th of December, 
1659, had a division of land made in the proportion of 
two acres on each shilling of the rate paid by the indi- 
vidual, two acres on each head in the family, and two 
acres to the lot. Mr. Wetherell's rate was seven shil- 
lings and tenpence ; and there were five heads in his 
family (supposed to be himself, wife, and three chil- 
dren) ; and twenty-eight acres of land were assigned 

him. His wife's name was Dorothy . When they 

were married is uncertain : but it is supposed to have 
been about 1650 ; for, in 1672, William Wetherell, and 
William Wetherell, jun. (supposed to be his son), 
were among the proprietors of the South Purchase of 
Taunton, including what is now Dighton and a por- 
tion of Berkley. 

He was admitted a freeman at the Plymouth Court 
in June, 1658.2 June 6, 1664, William Wetherell and 
three others, of Taunton, were fined " twenty shil- 

Wetherell, of Duxburv, and afterwards the minister of Scituate, arrived in 
America in 1634.* There was also a John Wetherell at Cambridge in 1636, 
who was afterwards a proprietor of Watertown : f he was, probably, tiie 
brother of Rev. William Wetherell. What connection, if any, our William 
Wetherell was to Rev. William, of Scituate, we know not : he might have 
been a nephew. The ortho^aphy of the name is various : the first settler 
here wrote it Wetherel, his son William wrote, it Wetherell, and his son 
Jeremiah had it Wetherel. On old records it is spelled Witherel, Witherell, 
Wetherel, Wetherell, Wethrell, Witherly, Wetherly, &c. The name is now 
generally spelled Wetherell ; and we shall so write it. 

1 Baylies*s Memoir, part ii. p. 267. 

2 Plymouth- Colony Records, vol. iii. p. 137. 

* Winsor's History of Duxbury. See also Dean's History of Scituate. 
t See Farmer's Register of First Settlers in New England. 


lings for an abuse done to a sawmill att Taunton, 
belonging to James Walker and others, by coming in 
the night and breaking downe some parte of the said 
mill, and for takeing away sevuerall thinges from the 
same." ^ It is presumed that this diflSculty grew out 
of the fact, that the dam to tliis mill was so built as to 
prevent " the alewiues from goeing vp " the river, and 
hence was not legally built ; for, on the same day that 
Wetherell and others were fined, the owners of the mill 
were required, before " the next season of the fishes 
goeing vp," to make " a free, full, and sufficient pas- 
sage for the said fish." ^ 

Just before the commencement of Philip's war in 
1675, a list of the proprietors of Taunton was made ; 
and on this list is the name of William Wetherell, who 
owned " on his own rights and that which was Mr. 
Dunn's."^ His name appears several times on the 
Grand Inquest between 1650 and 1690. He was a con- 
stable in Taunton for the years 1662 and 1676. In 
1671 and 1685, he was a " deputy," or representative, 
from Taunton to the Plymouth-Colony Court. He was 
also a deputy at a special court held on the last day of 
October and first of November, 1676. In 1685, he was 
one of the selectmen. In 1671, he was one of a commit- 
tee " appointed in each town to see to the gathering-in 
of the Minister's Maintainance," &c.* In 1679-80, he 
was one of the court's committee " to bound the med- 
dowes on Assonett Necke." ^ June 2, 1685, he was 
licensed " to retaile cider, beeir, and strong liquors." ^ 
It is presumed, as he lived at this time on the road 
leading from Taunton to Boston, and known then and 
now as the " Bay Road," that he kept a sort of " ordi- 
nary," or victualling-house, for travellers; and hence he 
no doubt kept the first public-house within the limits 

1 Plvmouth-Colony Records, vol. iv. p. 66. 

2 Ibid. vol. iv. p. 66. 

* Baylies' s Memoir, part ii. p. 278. 

* Plymouth- Colony Records, vol. y. p. 68. 
6 Ibid. vol. vi. p. 31. 

* Ibid. vol. vi. p. 170. 


of Norton. May 25, 1680, he was appointed one of 
a committee of the town '' to revise the town-orders, 
records of land," &c} 

Thus it will be seen that he was a man of some con- 
sequence, and possessed a good reputation among the 
early settlers of Taunton. Prom an old deed now 
in possession of our townsman (descendant of the 
first settler), William D. Wetherell, given by John 
Wetherell, son of William, to his son Jonathan, it 
appears that William Wetherell was an " Eldest Ser-. 
geant in Capt. Gorrom's (Gorham's) Company in the 
great Narragansett-Swamp fitt," which took place Dec. 
19 (?), 1675, in the present town of South Kingston, 
R.I. ; and that a grant of land was made by the court 
to the soldiers who were wounded in that ever-memo- 
rable battle. From the Plymouth-Colony Records, 
vol. vi. p. 119, it appears that " Sergt. Witherly " and 
" other Taunton men " came wounded to the house of 
Peleg Sanford, Dec. 24, 1675 ; and that he remained 
till Oct. 17, 1676. His wound must, therefore, have 
been of a pretty severe character, to have confined him 
almost a year before he was able to return home. It 
was in consequence of his wounds received in the bat- 
tle of Narragansett Swamp, we presume, that the court 
granted Mr. Wetherell ten pounds in 1685, and five 
pounds in 1686.^ 

Prom all the facts that we can gather relating to 
Mr. Wetherell, he seems to have been a man blessed 
with a good share of worldly goods ; holding two rights 
in the original purchase of Taunton (his own and Mr. 
Dunn's), one right in the South Purchase of Taunton, 
and, at the time of his death, half a right in the North 
Purchase. In the year 1690, he deeded most of his 
property to his children and grandchildren ; and in 
his will, dated Aug. 15, 1691, and probated Nov. 18 
of same year, he makes some little legacies to his 
children, and confirms the deeds he had previously 

1 Baylies*8 Memoir, part iv. p. 76. 

2 Plymouth- Colony Records, vol. vl. pp. 189 and 201. 


given of bis lands. He mentions in his will his sons 
William, John, and Ephraim (who was dead at the 
date of the will), and his daughter Dorothy Wood, 
who was the wife of William Wood (her second hus- 
band), to whom she was married April 1, 1686. Her 
first husband was Elias Irish ; and they were married 
Aug. 26, 1674. He lived only about three years ; for, 
in October, 1677, William Wetherell was appointed 
administrator of his estate.^ Of the sons William and 
John we shall say something in connection with the 
early settlers. These few meagre items are all we 
have been able to gather relative to the first settler ; 
but they are full of interest, and furnish abundant 
food for the imaginative mind. 

We here give the only autograph known to be in 
existence of the first settler, written in 1690, the year 
before he died. 

In the course of a few years, a number of other 
settlers had made their " pitch " in the immediate 
neighborhood of the pond ; doubtless from the fact 
that the land was of easy cultivation, and particularly 
adapted to the growth of Indian corn and other 

About the year 1685, Thomas Brintnell, with his 
family, made a settlement in the north-west part of 
what is now Mansfield, a few rods easterly of Wading 
River, and but a short distance from the line between 
the two Colonies, near to what is now Poxborough, 
at the place where Obadiah Brintnell lived a few years 

Mr. Brintnell built him a house, or rather a sort of 
fort, partly of stone and part of wood, and fortified, 
to some extent, against the attacks of the Indians ; 
keeping two loaded muskets constantly by his bedside, 
in case of an alarm during the night. The old house 
stood for about a hundred years. 
-^—^— — \ — ^— — — — 

2 Plymouth-Colony Records, vol. v. pp. 247 and 252. 


Mr. Brintnell was at Boston previous to his removal 
to the North Purchase.^ His wife's name was Esther, 
married previous to 1665 (?). His sons were Samuel ^ 
(who came with his father to the North Purchase), 
Thomas, Nathaniel, John, Joseph, and a daughter 
Mehitable. An inventory of his property was taken 
Oct. 14, 1692 ; and he probably died not long previous 
to that date.^ His wife is supposed to have married a 
Smith after his death ; for, in 1701, she is called " Mrs. 
Esther Smith." * 

Other settlers soon found their way into the westerly 
part of the North Purchase, which, for many years, 
was a part of Norton. 

On the 6th of December, 1695, Thomas Leonard, sen., 
and James Leonard, sen., received a deed,^ from the 
proprietors of the North Purchase, of two hundred 
acres of land at Stony Brook, " on the westward side 
of Coweesset River," as an '' Licouragement ". " to set 
up and build a forge to make iron at said place ; " and 
it was " to be built, and in some considerable forward- 
ness," before Dec. 1, 1696, or the grant of land was to 
be null and void. I have in my possession the aflSda- 
vits of two persons, taken in 1717, who declare that 

1 Barry's History of Framingham, pp. 194 and 195. 

2 See Early Settlers. 

8 Probate Kecords, vol. i. pp. 67 and 225. 

* Since writing the foregoing account, I have seen Mrs. Brintnell, an old 
lady of ninety years, the widow of Obadiah Brintnell, who died in 1814. 
She is very positive that the settlement by Thomas Brintnell was made 
previous to his marriage, which must have been as early as 1664. She says, 
" He first built his house about forty rods north of where he afterwards 
lived, which would be within the present limits of Foxborough, in what 
was then called Boston County, and there resided till after the Indian war; 
he supposing himself all the time within the limits of Taunton North 
Purchase." But, when the line was run through, it left him in what was 
then Dorchester; and therefore he moved (about 1685) his habitation into 
tlie North Purchase, to the spot where she (Mrs. Brintnell) now resides, 
whose husband was the fifth, and the daughters (who now occupy the house 
with theur mother) the sixth, generation of Brintnells who have lived upon 
the same spot. Mrs. Brintnell says that '^ Thomas Brintnell had eight sons 
and two daughters." It is possible, that, living for a time within Suffolk 
County, the births of his children were recorded at Boston ; and hence the 
historian of Framingham supposed he lived there. 

6 This deed, with the autographs attached, of thirty of the proprietors of 
the North Purchase, — where the land was situated, — is now in my pos- 
session ; and a copy of it is to be seen on the North-Purchase Records, First 
Book of Lands, p. 80. 



the iron-works, or forge, near the dwelling-house of 
Major George Leonard, deceased, was begun in 1695, 
and in some considerable forwardness in 1696. To these 
Leonards was also given the liberty to take their next 
division of one share in the North-Purchase lands " in 
the best of iron-oare that they can find." They were 
also allowed the privilege of digging ore on any other 
man's land, for the use and benefit of said works, by 
" paying the owner of such land one shilling a tun 
for every tun of iron-oare they shall dig." George 
Leonard, the son of Thomas and the nephew of 
James Leonard, to whom this grant was made (proba- 
bly as their agent), set up a forge, or " bloomery," as 
it was called, at the place designated, which was 
nearly in front of the spot where the old Leonard 
mansion-house now stands ; and the establishment of 
this iron-forge, together with the energy and business 
tact of young George Leonard, soon gave new life and 
vitality to this neighborhood. The lands in the vicinity 
were speedily taken up; the population rapidly in- 
creased ; and every thing seemed to prosper beyond 
the most ardent expectations of the proprietors of this 

The Pilgrim Fathers, and most of those who peopled 
this region, had fled, or were the descendants of those 
who had fled, from the Old World, in order that they 
might worship God according to the dictates of their 
own consciences, without any one to molest or make 
them afraid. Hence they were generally men of prin- 
ciple, and of sincere and devoted piety. It was a 
pleasure to them to go to the house of God, and 
mingle their songs of praise and their prayers in uni- 
son to the great Creator and sovereign Ruler of 
heaven and earth. Yes, they were church-going and 
church-loving men, who willingly sacrificed their all 

1 If the reader will turn to the map of Taunton North Purchase, &c., 
in the introductory chapter, he will find the site of the first settlement by 
Wetherell marked with a square dot, with the letter W near it, close by the 
outlet of the pond; that of Brintnell marked in the same manner, with 
the letter B near it ; and that of Leonard also indicated with a similar dot, 
with the letter L near it. 


upon the altar of " freedom to worship God : " there- 
fore it does not surprise us that the house of God was 
peculiarly dear to them, and that they were willing 
to endure great fatigue and inconvenience in order to 
attend public worship on each returning Lord's day. 
Having " a will," they of course found " a way," to 
go up weekly to the temple of the Most High. So 
devoted, indeed, were the early settlers of this town to 
their spiritual welfare, that, for several years, many of 
them — in their poverty, possessing no other means 
of locomotion — were accustomed to go on foot to 
Taunton, six, eight, ten, and twelve miles, to attend 
upon the ministrations of the gospel, returning the 
same day. 

This would certainly have been a great effort for 
them, if they had been as fearful of using their limbs 
as their descendants have become ai the present day. 
But they possessed strong constitutions ; their very 
habits of life made them so ; and hence a walk of fif- 
teen or twenty miles per day through the woods, 
guided only by marked trees, and over not a very well- 
beaten path, — frequently crossing the rivers on the 
trunk of a single tree fallen across the stream, — was 
not so terrible a thing as it seems to some now, who 
can hardly walk a mile over a well-beaten road. 

There was, however, one inconvenience connected 
with living thus remotely from meeting, which was a 
severe trial to our worthy ancestors, and which they 
determined to remedy at the earliest possible moment. 
It was this, — they could not take their children with 
them to the sanctuary ; at least, their smaller children 
could not go. This difficulty they determined • to 
remedy ; for they knew the importance of early reli- 
gious instruction. They knew that the spring-time 
of life was the time to cast the good seed of Christia- 
nity into the minds of the young. They knew, that, 
unless the heavenly principles of the gospel of Jesus 
were instilled into the youthful hearts of those who 
were " bone of their bone and flesh of their flesh," 
the pure fruits of righteousness would not come to 


maturity. Next to their own, the salvation of their 
children from sin was deemed of the highest impor- 
tance. Accordingly, some' of the leading men of the 
settlement (urged on, no doubt, by some of the leading 
women ; for they are always foremost in any good 
cause) met together to take counsel as to what should 
be done under the circumstances. It is a little uncer- 
tain whether they met in a lower or an " upper room ; " 
but it is beyond controversy, that Eldad Earnest was 
called to the chair, and Hosea Hope was appointed 
secretary. Samuel Slow came into the meeting a little 
after the organization was effected, and gave it as his 
opinion, it was not best to be in a hurry. Isaac Indif- 
ference did not believe it was of much use to preach 
to, or to catechize, children. Charles Content thought 
it was best to let well enough alone. David Delay sug- 
gested it might, perhaps, be better to wait till there 
was a fuller meeting, before they took any decided 
measures. Daniel Decision then took the floor, and 
made an earnest speech, portraying in glowing colors 
the vast importance of early religious training to the 
pliant and susceptible heart of childhood, and urged 
immediate action ; and closed by saying, " Now is the 
accepted time, now is the day of salvation." He was 
followed by Peter Perseverance, who most clearly 
showed that all obstacles could be surmounted, and 
the great object they had in view could, at no distant 
day, be attained. '' I have," says he, " but one little 
child ; and yet, rather than that child should grow up 
an infidelj I will sacrifice every dollar I possess, and 
every foot of land I own. God helps those who try to 
help themselves. We must sow the seed, if we would 
reap the fruit. Mr. Chairman, I move the previous 
question." All felt that the crisis had come. The 
chairman, with characteristic promptness, with his 
firm and deep-toned voice, stated the question to be, 
" Shall immediate measures be taken to establish the 
gospel ministry in our midst, so that our children can 
enjoy the means of grace ? " The decision was over- 
whelmingly in favor of action. Men, who, as we shall 


soon see, " knew no such word as fail," were enlisted 
in this cause ; men who never put their hand to the 
plough, and looked back, had taken hold of the enter- 
prise; and hence success, though it might be rather 
tardy, was sure. Immediately the initiatory steps 
were taken to have their portion of the town erected 
into a precinct, which would enable them to establish 
a religious society of their own. What they did we 
shall record in the next chapter. 




** At least I'll try. There never yet 
Was any thing lost by trying." 

M188 G. A. Bbiggs. 

The following document, a copy of the original, drawn 
up and signed by forty-three of the male inhabitants, 
is the first direct movement towards the formation of 
a precinct, of which we have any authentic account. I 
found it, with many other documents relating to the 
civil and ecclesiastical history of Norton, among some 
old papers at the " old Judge Leonard House." The ori- 
ginal draught, with the rude autographs and " marks " 
of the petitioners, may be seen in the archives of the 
State, at the State House, Boston.^ It reads as fol; 
lows : — 

"We whose names are underwritten, being part of the 
Inhabitants of Taunton old Town, and part of Taunton north 
purchase, being all very sensible of the great difficulty that 
we ai*e under in Hveing so remote from the publick worship of 
God, and great need of haveing it settled amongst us, that so 
our children and those under our care & charge, as well as 

1 State Papers, vol. cxiii. p. 512. 


ourselves, may injoj the meens of grace, and in order theirto, 
we have this 27th day of novem., 1707, met together, and 
made choice of George Leonard and Nicholas White, whome 
we chuse as our agents to act in our behalf in makeing Re- 
quest to the town to bound us out a presink for the main- 
tainnence of a minister ; and that, when we have procured a 
minister to dispence the word of God amongst [us,] we might 
be freed from paying to the minister & Schoolmaster at town, 
and we do also give our sd. agents full power to do any fur- 
ther act or acts, thing or things, that they shall see needfull 
to be dun for ye bounding of sd. precink, and procureing an 
able orthodox minister to be orderly Settled amongnst us, 
whether it be by petitioning to the General court to Settle 
the bounds of sd. precink, or by any other way or meens 
whatsoever ; as witness our hands, the day and year above 
writen. we further pomise, that in case a minister be pro- 
curde as abovesd., that we' will each of us pay our proportion 
by way of rate for his maintainance. witness our hands, 
George Leonard, Nicholas White, John Lane, Thomas Bra- 
man, sen., Thomas ''Stevehs, 'Selvanis Gamble, John Briggs, 
John Hodges, Nathaniell Hodges, Samuell Hodges, Jabez 
Pratt, Thomas Braman, jun., William Hodges, Robert Tucker, 
Ephraim Grover, Mathew White, Seth Dorman, Ebenezer 
Hall, John Caswell, jun., Benjamin Caswell, John Wetherell, 
Ebenezer Edy, Samuell Brintnell, John Caswell, sen., Eliezer 
Fisher, Richard Briggs, William Wetherell, sen., Eliezer Edy, 
John Cob, Andrew Grover, Peter Aldrich, Israel Fisher, 
Thomas Grover, Nathaniel Fisher, Joseph Briggs, Benjamin 
Williams, Nathaniell Harvey, John Briggs, jun., Nicholas 
Smith, John Newland, William Cob, Benjamin Newland, 
John Skinner." 

On the original document, I find written the follow- 
ing memoranda : — 

" March 22, 1708. — At a meeting of a part of the sub- 
scribers,, they made choice of John wetherel, whom they aded 
to the committee abovesd." 

" June 18, 1708. — At a meeting of some of the subscribers, 
they gave thare agents Liberty to pertition to the Genl. 
court for a township." 

This last vote was passed, as we shall soon see, in 
order to conciliate some who were opposed to the set* 



ting-ofF of a precinct. The next day after John Weth- 
erell was added to the committee, the following peti- 
tion to the town of Taunton was prepared and duly 
signed : — 

" March ye 23d, 1708. — Wliereas divers Inhabitants of 
Taunton north purchase, together with divers of the Inhabi- 
tants of Taunton old township, bordering on the north pur- 
chase, made choice of we, the subscribers, whome they chose 
as thare Agents to make request to the town to bound us out a 
precinct for the maintanance of a minister ; we, whose names 
are underwritten, do therefore, in the behalf of our friends 
and neighbours, humbly & earnestly desire the town seriously 
to consider of the vary difficult circumstances that we are 
under in liveing so remote from the publique worship of God, 
that great part of the year we cannot come to meeting ; and 
that we can at no time of the year, without very great difi- 
culty, bring allmost any of our children to meeting : so that, 
if we continue long after this manner, the sowls of our children, 
and those under our care and charge, will be in danger of 
perishing for lack of knowledge, for it is Evident from scriptre 
that faith comes by heering, and heering by the word preacht- 
Tho we are not insencable of our poverty, and great dificulty 
that we shall thereby meet with in carrying on such desire, yet, 
on the other hand, we have cans to be thankful! that our neigh- 
bours are generally very forward to promote so good a work ; 
and our povertye can be no Argument to have our precink 
lesened, but rather Enlarged, wharefore we Earnestly desire 
and hope that the town will forward and incorage so good a 
design, and grant that the military line may be the bounds 
of the precint, which is hurt's brook, and from the mouth of 
sd. brook to the bridge neer william wetherell, and from sd. 
bridge north-Estardly to the north-purchase line ; that so we 
may not have one line for the military, and another for the 
minister, and, in hopes you will grant us this our request, we 
subscribe ourselves your humble petioners, 

"George Leonard. 
John Wetherell. 
Nicholas White." ^ 

1 State Papers, voL cxiii. p. 618. 


The town of Taunton, it seems, did not accede to 
the request of these petitioners. They therefore turned 
their steps towards the Great and General Court at 
Boston ; and, on arriving, presented themselves in this 
form : — 

" To his Excellency Joseph Dudley, Esquire, Capt.-Generall 
and Govemor-in-chief in and over her majestie's province 
of the Massachusetts bay in New England; And to the 
Honored councill and Representatives now convened in 
Generall court this 20 day of October, 1708. 

**The humble petition of Diverse of the Inhabitants of 
Taunton North purchase, and Diverse of the Inhabitants 
of Taunton old Township bordering on said north purchase, 
humbly sheweth, that sd. Inhabitants being vary sensible of 
the great dificulty they are now under in hveing so remote 
from the pubUck worship of Grod, and the great need of have- 
ing it settled amongst them, that so their children, and those 
under their care and charge, as well as themselves, may Injoy 
the meens of Grace, They made choice of us, the subscribers, 
to be their agents, to make known their desire to the town of 
Taunton to have a precint bounded out to them for their 
maintenance of a minister to dispence the word of God among 
them ; and also to petition the Generall Court to settle the 
bounds of sd. precint ; and also to procure an able orthodox 
minister to be orderly settled among them, as may appear by 
a writeing under their hands, dated November the 27th, 1707, 
and also on the 23d of march, 1 708 ; by which writing they 
also promise to pay their proportion by way of rate for the 
maintanance of sd. minister provided as abovesd. In per- 
sueance of sd. power and trust commited to us, we have com- 
municated this matter to the town of Taunton, at a town 
meeting; and although we have Great Incorragement that 
the most considerable Leading men will be and are for it, yet 
there is some few that do hesitate about the bounds That we 
desire for sd. precint ; so that hetherto nothing of that nature 
is finished, and seeing our young ones increase and grow up 
apace, and that the Lord hath in marcy (as we hope it is in 
marcy) so Inclined the hearts of our neighbours so earnestly 
to desire and seek after this thing, we therefore, the sub- 
scribers, as agents for and in the behalf of sd. Inhabitants, do 
humbly pray this Generell Court to grant this our humble 
petition, and the bounds of sd. precint which we desire is, 


the line or bounds of the military company called the North- 
purchase company may be the bounds of the said precinct, 
which is a brook called hurt's brook, and from the mouth of 
8d. brook to wennaconnit bridge, and from sd. bridge north- 
easterd to the North-purchase line, but leaveing out of sd. 
precinct all the inhabitants in the North purchase that com- 
monly go to Bridgewater meeting, who live on the Estardly 
side of the rhode that Leeadeth from winnacunnit to the bay, 
— for they in time hope to be a precinct with part of Bridge- 
water, which we shall not oppose, — but takeing into sd. pre- 
cinct all belonging to Taunton old Township within the 
bounds above mentioned, but, if all the North purchase ware 
Enexed to Taunton for the present, we think it woald be best 
for the manag^ing of public concerns ; only that the lands 
within the bounds settled and agreed on between the propria- 
tors of Taunton North purchase and thair neighbours, on all 
parts, be confirmed to said proprietors, and the abovesaid pre- 
cinct settled for the maintainance of the ministry in said 
precinct, and we farther pray that this honored court woald 
'also apoint a committee to order where the meeting-house 
shoald be sett, all which, if this honoured court please to 
grant, your humble petitioners shall, as in duty they are bound, 
ever pray. 

" George Leonard, \ Agents for and in the behalf 

Nicholas White, j of said Inhabitants." i 

The following action was taken by the General Court 
upon this petition : — 

" 22 Octo., 1708. — Read in Council ; and Ordered, that 
the Selectmen of Taunton be served with a copy of this 
Peton., and heard thereupon before this Court upon the 
Second Tuesday of the next Session of ye sd. Court, if any 
thing they have to say why the prayer of the within Petition 
should not be granted. * 

" Is A. Addington, Secry. 

" Sent down for concurrence." 

** In the House of Representatives, Oct. 25, 1708. — Read 
and Passed a concurrence. And that the Hearing be upon the 
Second Tuesday of the next Session of this Court. 

" Agreed : Thomas Oliver, Speaker. 

" Consented to : J. Dudley." * 

^ State Papers, vol. cxiii. p. 610. 

* General-Court Records, vol. viii. p. 891. 


It appears that what was called Taunton South Pur- 
chase made a move simultaneously with the North 
Purchase to be set off as a precinct. How the order 
of the General Court on these petitions was received 
at Taunton will be manifest by the following papers : — 

"Taunton, Feb. ye first day, 1708-9. — Whereas ye 
selectmen of our town was served with a coppy of ye North 
porches and South purches petitions, and they caused ye 
town to meet together this day, and Read thayr petitions in 
ye town-meating, where matters were fairly debated; and 
there being many men of many minds, so that nothing was 
concluded on, only some persons would have ye selectmen to 
take thayr time, and write ye Court an answer. 

^ So the assembly ware dismised. 

" John Wilbore, Town Clerk." * 

Three weeks go by, and another town-meeting is 
held in reference to the matter. Here is the evi- 
dence : — 

** At a Legall Town-meeting, warned and held at Taunton 
publick meeting-house, the 22 day of February, 1708-9, It 
was voted that the town do Impower the present selectmen to 
make return to the Generall Court in answer. 

" A true coppy ; transcribed by me, 

" John Wilbore, Town Clerk." ^ 

In obedience to this vote, the selectmen, the next 
May, at the opening of the General Court, make an 
answer as follows : — 

" To his Excellency Joseph Dudley, Esquire, Captain- Gene- 
rall, Governor-in-chief in and over her majestie's Provence 
of the Massachusetts bay, and the rest of the honerable 
Councill and Representatives Convened in Generall Court, 
May the 25, 1709, humbly Sheweth: — 

" That whereas the Honoured Court sent to the Selectmen 
of Taunton to show their reasons (if any they have) why 
Taunton North purchase and South Purchase should not have 
their prayer granted, — 

1 State Papers, vol. xi. pp. 297 and 298. 


"In answer whereunto, we say, that although it hath 
pleased God to Increase our numbers, — which, we hope, is 
in mercy, — yet must say, that, through the providence of 
God, a great many are so extream poor, and rates and taxes 
80 high, that we find it hard and dificult to rub along ; and 
the Generality of the North purchase are so poor, that we 
ffear they will not be able to build a meeting-house and to 
maintain a minister." . • • 

Here follows what the selectmen have to say about 
the South Purchase, which we omit. The document 
concludes thus: — 

" But as for the North purchase, we think it bettier ffor 
them to be a Township than a precinct. 

" This is our last and finall answer, uppon mature con- 

" Israel Thrasher, "> 
John Spur, >• Selectmen. 

Ezra Dean, ) 

" We whose names are underwritten are of the same mind 
with those above, — 

" Thomas Leonard, Henry Hodges, Samuel Deane, Seth 
Williams, Joseph Williams."^ 

On the same date as the above, the Precinct Com- 
mittee present the following statement to the General 
Court : — 

" To his Excellency Joseph Dudley, Esquire, &c., 25 day of 

May, 1709.2 

" Whereas we, the subscribers, ageints for and in the behalff 
of divers of the Inhabitants of Taunton north purchase, 
and divers of the inhabitants of Taunton old Township, 
belonging to the north purchase millatary company, have 
petitioned this Honoured Court to bound said Inhabitants 
a precinct for the maintainance of a minister; and, in said 
petition, we have not informed the Honoured Court how far 
said inhabitants dwell from Taunton meeting-house; these 
are, tharefore, to Inform this Honoured Court, that Benjamin 
Newland, Elezer Edy, and Ebenezer Edy, who dwell the 

1 State Papers, vol. cxiii. p. 614. 

3 We omit a portion of the formula in this and following documents. 


nearest to Taunton meeting-hoase of anj of sd. InhabitantSy 
dwell at least five miles and a half from Taunton meeting- 
house, as neer as can be computed; and william wetherell, 
Sen., John wetherell, Elezer Fisher, Israel ffisher, Nathaniel 
fisher, dwell about six miles from sd. meeting-house; and 
John Austin, John Briggs, junior, william Cob, Nicholas 
Smith, John Newland, Thomas Stevens, John Hodges, and 
Richard Briggs, dwell about seven miles from sd. meeting- 
house; as also Thomas Braman, Robert Tucker, and Na- 
thaniel Hodges, and Samuel Hodges. Selvanis Cambell, 
William hodges, George Leonard, John Briggs, and Joseph 
Briggs, DweU about eight miles from sd. meeting-house ; and 
John Lane and John Cob dwell near 9 mile from sd. meeting- 
house; and petter Aldrich, nicholas white, mathew white, 
Seth Dorman, John Hall, John Caswell, Benjamin Caswell, 
and Joseph Elliot, dwell about ten miles from sd. meeting- 
house. Benjamin williams dwelleth about Eleven mile and 
a half from sd. meeting-house, all these abovenamed go to 
Taunton meeting : but Isaac Shepherd, Thomas Grover, An- 
drew Grover, Ephraim Grover, Ephraim Sheldon, John 
Skinner, Samuel Brintnell, dwell farther from Taunton meet- 
ing than these abovenamed, [so] that they commonly go to 
wrentham meeting; and they dwell six^ seven, and eight 
miles from wrentham meeting. This account is as neer 
as can be computed without mesuring; as witness our 

" George Leonard. 
Nicholas White." ^ 

Taunton people now bestir themselves again in oppo- 
sition to the petitioners, and take more decisive steps 
than heretofore. We have this document for proof: — 

"June the first, 1709. — At a Legall Towu meeting, 
warned and held at Taunton publick meeting-house, . . . 

" 2. It was put to vote, whether the town would chuse a 
committee of five men to give Reasons, in behalf of the Town, 
to the General Court, why the petitions of the North and 
South purchases should not be granted. 

"3. It was voted,, that the town shall chuse five men to 
make Return to the Generall Court, and give their reasons 
why the prayers of the North and South purchasers should 

1 State Papers, vol. cxiii. p. 616. 


not be granted ; and the persons then chosen for the commit- 
tee were Lieut. James Leonard, Thomas Harvey, Ensighn 
Phillip King, Ensign Thomas Gilbert, and Jonathan Padle- 

" Taunton, June the 6th, 1709. 

" A true copy ; transcribed by me, 

" John Wilbore, Town Clerk.*' * 

Pour days after the town-meeting, when the above- 
named committee were chosen, they knock at the doors 
of the General Court in behalf of the town, and present 
the following remonstrance against the prayer of the 
petitioners : — 

" To his Excly. Joseph Dudley, Esquire, &c . . . 

" Whereas George Leonard and Nicholas White, as they 
call themselves, agents for and in behalf of divers of the In- 
habitants of Taunton North purchase, and divers of the 
Inhabitants of Taunton old Township, prefered a petition to 
this honred. Court on ye 20th day of October, 1708, for the 
settling a precinct according to certain bounds sett forth in sd. 
petition ; and in Reading sd. petition, in Octo. 22, 1708, this 
great and Generall Court ordered That the selectmen of 
Taunton be served with a coppy of sd. petition, and to be 
heard thereuppon, &c., upon ye second Tuesday of the next 
Session of this Court, If any thing they have- to say why the 
prayer of the petitioners should not be granted ; and, that 
the matter may stand In a true Light, we the subscribers, a 
committe chosen in Taunton, would humbly offer to this 
honrd. Court, that, when the tract of land was bought (called 
the North purchase) by the Inhabitants of Taunton, It was 
designed for a Township by it Self,^ and not any ways to 

1 State Papers, vol. xi. p. 299. 

3 There is some evidence to show that this statement is correct, as 
will be seen from the following extract from the North-Purchase Records, 
p. 12: — 

" May the 13th, 1696. — At a meeting of the proprietors of the north 
purchase, being legally warned, the said proprietors voted and agreed that 
the Representatives now chosen by Taunton to Represent them in the 
Great and General Court, are, by said proprietors, desired and Impowered 
to Inform the General Court of their circumstances, and to Indeavour that 
no part of said North Purchase be put under Attleborough ; hoping that said 
North Purchase may be capable to be a Township itseliin some short time, 
and whereas diverse of Bridgewater men have bought Land in said North 
Purchase, the Representative for Bridgewater is desired also to be helpful! 
in the premises." 


Damnific the old township bj taking anj of the Inhabitants 
thereof then settled, or to be settled, to make the purchase a 
Township or precinct: for. If* that may be, our forefathers 
and some of us layed out our own money miserably to our 
own wrong, and to the wronging of our poor old town, and 
the petitioners well knew all these sircumstances before they 
settled, and their iiaprudent settling sd. north purchase pro- 
cares these difficulties ; for, had they settled in or about the 
middle of sd. purchase, the people that are now there would 
have been capable of being a Township, and so to maintain 
A minister without breaking or harming the old town, and 
whereas it is Insinuated in sd. petition, that, when they had 
communicated to the town, They had Incoridgement that the 
most considerable Leading men would be for it, and as If 
there were but some few that did hessitate about the bounds ; 
which must needs be some great mistake, or something else: 
for the town being warned together by the selectmen, upon 
their being served with a coppy of their petition, to consider 
that matter (and the south-purchase petition), there was such 
A contention and tumult betwixt the town, — that is, the 
whole body almost of the town and leading men and petition- 
ers, — that the meeting was dismised, and nothing done but 
confusion, and now we come to some few objections against 
granting the payer of sd. petition (we humbly hope and fear 
will doo),^upon a due consideration. First, as has been hinted, 
it is very grievous to and contrary to the minds of the body 
of the people of the old township, — Excepting some few that 
are Related and some ways Interrested, as things plainly ap- 
pear to us, — and. If granted, we very much fear will unsettell 
us in our present settled state. 21y, we know no part of the 
old-township Inhabitants but are Equally concerned and 
obliged to pay to the Reverend Mr. Saml. Danforth, our 
settled minister. Though some may pretend that it is butt 
an Inconsiderable thing that is Desired, we must say it is a 
great thing ; for our charges are almost Intolerable already, 
and growing Every day. and the line the petitioners speak 
of would Incompass almost all our meadows, for they lye 
cheifly in that part of the town ; and will seperate some new 
houses from their lands, which must needs be a great confu- 
sion. 3dly, Sundry of our neighbours of the old Township, 
which will be Incomposed within sd. line, If Granted, — 
considerable men, — have been with our selectmen, and mani- 
fested their great unwillingness to be joyned with the north 


purchase as a precinct, and offered to us sundry papers sig- 
nifiing that they had been persuaded and imposed upon by 
some of ye north purchase to joyn with them to petition for a 
precinct, but they wholly Refused ; but, upon some other 
considerations, did sighn some of their papers, and so when 
they had got their hands and by these tricks the poor sub- 
scribers are quite contrary to their tiainds and Intents. 
Improve them, as it were deceiptfully, to make them part of 
the Intended precinct; which actions cannot be consistent 
with the truth and their good promises, but must needs be 
Displeasing to almighty God. the selectmen not agreeing to 
make answer to this honord. Court, the selectmen warn a 
Town-meeting, June 1st, 1709 ; and the Town and petitioners 
mett together ; and the town chose a commite, which are the 
subscribers, to act and make answers to this honord. Court, 
now, for which reasons we have layed down, and what may 
be farther offered, we do Desire and humbly hope that this 
honard. Court will so far in their wisdom consider the mater 
as not to grant the precinct Desired, Least it should be the 
begining of trouble with us. we would farther offer this 
honrd. Court, as the mind of the whole town, that they are 
very willing and Desirous that the north purchase should 
have all previlidges proper and needfuU for them, both 
civil and Ecliasticall ; and, therefore, have not the least to say 
against their being a township of themselves, according as was 
Intended from ye foundation of it (as above was hinted), and 
not any way to Joyn to, or Entermeddle with, the old town- 
ship, or that with sd. purchase, craving pardon for our 
boldness, and a charatable construction of what we have writ, 
we pray the allmighty God to Direct you in all the affairs 
before you, and subscribe your honar's most humble ser- 

" Dated Taunton, June 4th, 1709. 

" Jams. Leonard, 
Phillp King, 
Thomas Gilbert, 
Thomas Harvey, 
Jonathan Padleford, 

By this time, the opposers of setting off a precinct 
had succeeded in creating a division among the peti- 
tioners. Hence some of them, with others who lived 

y Commity." 

1 State Papers, vol. cxiii. p. 609. 


in the neighborhood of Winneconnet Pond, send to the 
General Court a remonstrance against being set off as 
a precinct. There is no date upon it ; but I think it 
must be the next document in course. 

" To his Excellency Joseph Dudley, Elsqr., &c. . . . 

** We whose names are underwritten, being inhabitants of 
ye town of Taunton, humbly sheweth, That wee being very 
sensible of ye great daingur we are in of being Impoverished 
and brought to great distress for y t, to witt, Som of our neigh- 
bours, Inhabitance of sd. Taunton, and som of ye west part 
of Taunton North purchase, being ofton very importanat with 
ns to agine with them to pertition ye General Court to grant 
them a precints ; but we, knowing ye inability of ourselves 
and our neighbors, cold not comply with them ; but they, afler 
pleading there want of a precints to be granted to them, and 
their inability to maintain ye sam without our help, we, will- 
ing to doe them a cindness, did, som of us, signified to ym, yt 
if they wold pertition ye General Court to grant a township 
to the whole north purchase, and so much of Taunton as was 
agined to them in ye military, that we would agine with them, 
som of us whose names are underwritten, and ye rest of us, did 
wholly refuse to sett our hands to any writ ting Either for a 
township or precincts neither : But tliey, having pertitioned ye 
honored Court for to grant them a precints, contrary to our 
minds and intent, and hath sett forth ye limets of sd. precints 
to make us a part thereof, which will be no benifit to us, but so 
great a charg yt will soon bring us to poverty ; for we are not 
able to pay our parts to a precints charg, and to pay ratts to 
ye town also. And, as ye petitioners do preten to ye want of 
a minister to dispence ye word of God to them, we say we are 
in no such want ; for we have ye benifitt of hearing ye word 
preacht by ye Reverant Mr. Danforth, under whose ministry 
we desire to continue. Therefore we pray ye honored Cort 
to consider our condition, yt we may not be consarned with 
any precints, but yt we may injoy our privilidges as for- 
merlly. And whereas som of us (namely, John wetherel, John 
Nulan, Benjamin Nulan, Nicholas Smith, John Briggs, junior) 
did sett our hands to som of there papers, but we understood 
ourselves only conserned with them for a township ; but we 
understand they have made a wrong improvement of our 
names : we did not think they wold have taken such advan- 
tage as to improve our names as pertitioners with them for a 


precints. But our comfort is, yt ye honored Cort will not 
suffur us to wrong one another, we subscribe ourselves jour 
most humble petitioners, 

" William Wetherell, sen. John Briggs, junp- 

John Austin. John Nulan. 

Edward Whit. Ben. Nulan. 

Jeremiah Wetherell. Nicholas Smith. 

Jeremiah Newland. Willlam Cob.*'* 
John Wethell. 

All parties, as it seems, having now said what they 
desired in reference to the matter, the General Court 
take the following action relating thereto : — 

"June 8, 1709. In Council. — Upon the hearing of the 
several petitions of the inhabitants of the No. and So. Pur- 
chases, in Taunton, to be made seperate Precints for the 
settling and support of the ministry in the respective 
places, — 

" Resolved, that Nathaniel Thomas, Nathaniel Byfield, 
and James Warren, Esqrs., be a committee to repair to 
Taunton, and view the said several Purchases, and, upon 
consideration of all circumstances, to set off proper Precints 
to encourage the good Ends desired by the Petitioners, and to 
advise and Direct to the most suitable places for tlie rais- 
ing of their meeting-houses, and to make their report to the 
next Session of this Court for conformation, — Nathaniel 
Thomas, Esqr., to appoint the Time. The charges of the 
said Committee to be borne by the said Precints. 

" Wch Resolve, being sent down to the Representves, 
waS'Concur'd in by that House. 

" And is consented to. " J. Dudley." ^ 

Tlio committee attend to their duty, and prepare 
their report at Taunton. It is probably known in tho 
vicinity, that the committee are favorable to the pre- 
cinct petitioners : hence the opposition make another 
demonstration to influence the General Court in their 
favor. The following remonstrances against a precinct, 
and in favor of a township, — the first from that part 
of the North Purchase which is now Easton, and the 

1 State Papers, vol. cxiii. p. 611. 

3 Becords of Ueneral Court, vol. viii. pp. 441-2. 


other from individuals in the vicinity of Winneconnet 
Pond, — were probably presented after the committee 
made their report, possibly before : — 

" September », 1709. 
« To his Excellency Joseph Dudley, Esqr., &c. . . . 

"Wee ye subscribers, Inhabitance and propriators of 
Taunton North purcheis (so called), humbly sheweth, that 
whereas we understand that som of our neighbours, with som 
of ye inhabitants of Taunton, have obtained incoragement 
from this General Cort to be a Precints ; but, forasmuch as 
our neighbours have not acquainted us therewith as they 
ought to do, we, being major part of sd. purceis inhabitance, 
and ye first Setiers, do, in all humble submition, ofer to your 
honors ye unhapy effects yt may happen, not only to our- 
selves, but to ye whole tract of Land which was, from ye 
foundation, intended for a township, which now it is capable 
of; theire being many inhabitance already settled, and 
many more going to settel, on said tract of Land. But if 
there be so great a part of sd. Land taken of as we under- 
stand is set forth for a precints by those honorable gentell- 
men ye committy, who have doon according to their plesure ; 
and if ye meeting-hous be bult whare sd. committy hath 
appynted, — which is neare ye west End of sd. purchies, which 
will be servicable but to very few ; wh. will be a means to 
spyle ye sd. tract of Land, and caus it to be wholly unfitt for 
a township, and frusterate ye intention of us, ye proprietors 
thereof, and will discorage many from setling on their Lands 
in sd. purcheis. And whareas they have left about one-third 
part of sd. purchies of ye East part, supposing Bridgewater will 
add part of their town to it, to make ye part a precints, it is 
a great mistake, ye inhabitance of Bridgewater give us no 
such incoragement. Therefore we pray this honered Cort, 
that there may be no pertition-lines between ye one end of our 
sd. purcheis and ye other ; but yt, if ye Honered Court 
thinks it convenient, wee pray yt ye Honered Cort would 
grant us a township, with all the privilidges belonging to a 
town, to ye whole north purcheis, and so much of Taunton 
old township as belongs to our military Company, which is 
from ye mouth of a Broock called Burt's Brook, and from 
thence to wenaconett bridge, and from thence north-East to 
ye sd. north purchies line ; and yt ye meeting-hous may be set 
in ye most conveniant place in ye senter, between the East 
and ye west End, which we concive will be most convenient 



for ye whole town, both for ye worship of God on Sabbath 
dayes and for militery trainings, and all other publick meet- 
ings. And wee would humbly say, yt wee are very sensable 
yt we are in a great nesessity of an able orthedox minister 
to be setled amongst us, to dispence ye word of God amongst 
us ; which, when we are a town, we hope we shall be able to 
procure and settel amongst us ; which wee hoop we shall soon 
indevor for, that tharein we may be happy. And whareas 
some have objected, and said yt ye north purcheis is to long 
to com to one mitteng, we think it a great mistack : for we can 
come to ye senter; and why cannot those who do object 
against it com as well as we ? And, furder, we pray this 
Cort to give a name unto our town ; but, if this Cort thinks it 
not proper to grant us our petition, we pray the precints 
may not be confirmed to those who have pertitioned for ye 
8am, but it may be suspended untell ye Cort can be beter 

informed. We do appynt and impower to be 9ur adiants 

to prefare this our pertition to ye Honered Cort. we Sub- 
scribe ourselves your most humble pertitioners, — 

" William Manley, Sener, .Thomas Drake, John Phillips, 
Benjamin Drake, William Manley, jun., John Daily, Cle- 
mant Briggs, Ephraim Howell, Isaac Leonard, John Drake, 
George Hall, John Howard, Nathaniel Ames, Samuel Leach, 
Ephraim Howard, William Ames, James Keith, Samuel 
Lathrop, Sener, Samuel Lathrop, Juner, Nathaniel Packard, 
Joseph Hayward, Jame. (?) Haris."* 

" To ye Honered Generall Cort held at Boston. 
"We ye subscribers, Inhabitance of Taunton, liveing 
within ye precints Line of ye North purcheis, on ye Easterly 
part thereof, in all humble submition doe offer to this Cort, yt 
whereas our naighbors have obtained a precints to be set 
forth by a Committy appynted for ye same, and they have 
taken us into said precints, which was contrary to our minds, 
altho' we signified our minds to sd. Commity yt we ware not 
willing to be cut of from our minister and mitting-hous in 
Taunton; and sd. Committy, as wee are informed, hath 
appynted ye place for ye bulding sd. mitting-hous so near ye 
west End of sd. North purcheis yt we shall have no benifitt 
thereby, so yt we are like to be in wors condition than we 
ware in before; it being so remote from us, and a more 
uneasy way to travill on : Tharfore, if it be ye pleasure of 

1 State Papers, vol. xi. p. 802. 


this Cort jt wee must be drawn of from our minister and mit- 
ting-hous, unto which we have heatherto belonged, and have 
lajed out part of jt littel Estate yt we have towards ye su- 
porting of, and help with others to buld another mitting-hous, 
and settell another minister, we pray yt ye whole north pur« 
chies, and je part of Taunton which belongs to ye miletary 
Company, may be made a township, and ye mitting-hous may 
be sett whare it may be servisable for the whole town; which^ 
we conseive, will be a great benefitt to all ye inhabitance 
within ye tract of Land : for it is a great pity but so good a 
work should be prophitable to all ye inhabitance abovesaid ; 
whereas, if ye mitting-house be bult in ye place whare it is 
tppynted, it will be prophitable to but a very few. We sub- 
scribe ourselves your most humble pertiti oners, 

" Dated in Taunton, " JOHN BriGGS, Junior. 

September 13, Ana Domini 1709. JoHN AUSTIN. 

Jeremiah Wetherel. 

William Cob. 
" We desire yt Mr. Robert Edward Whit. 

Crosman may deliver these John Wbtherell. 

lines into ye Cort Benjamin Newxand. 

Nicholas Smith. 

Walter Mert. 

John Newland. 

Jeremiah Newland."* 

In accordance, it is presumed, with the desire of 
these parties, a "bill" for a township ^ was intro- 
duced, but did not meet with the approbation of the 

The friends of a precinct, probably through fear that 
they might lose the boon desired, send the following 
paper to the court, giving " Some Reasons for the 
speedy granting Taunton North and South purchase 
their petitions : " — 

" 1st, Because now is the time that the spirit of God seems 
to move the hearts of those people So earnestly to desire it. 

" 2dly, Because, if it be now granted, it is to be hoped that 
some most considerable persons will be Incouraged to come 
and settle there, when they know that an orthodox minister is 
settled there. 

1 State Papers, vol. xi. p. 302. * Ibid. vol. cxiii. p. 616. 


" 3dly, Because it is to be feared, if there be no settlement 
of the ministry among them till some of those leading men 
among them are taken away, and others grown up in their 
room that will be brot up in an ungospellised way, many of 
them will be so far from desiring a minister, that, if some 
among them should Invite a minister among them, some others 
would warn him away. 

" 41y, Because, if the court do not grant what is desired to 
settle a minister in these places, when the report thereof is 
spread abroad that these people desired such a Grant, bat 
the Court would not grant it, It is to be feared that it will be 
an Incouragement to some Envious persons to come and set* 
tie there, to the undoing of the places, and creating trouble to 
the Government; whereas it is to be hoped that a timely 
settlement of the ministry there will be a means to make 
those places useful in the Government, and happy to the 

" These petitioners do not act through any dislike to their 
present pastor, nor to the church in Taunton, but have as 
great a love for, and esteem of, said pastor and church, as to 
render them well satisfied and contented, if their habitations 
were near enough to the meeting, 

*' And the pastor hath as great a love and respect for 
them, both in the north and south purchase. 

"Therefore it is not any discontent or Animosity that 
causeth the petitioners to stir as they do, but only that they 
and their children may Injoy the means of grace nearer to 
them." 1 

In due time, the committee sent to Taunton to view 
the territory, &c., report as follows (what relates to the 
South Precinct is omitted) : — 

" Taunton, Augt. 81, 1709. 

" Pursuant to an order of the Great and General Court, 
dated June ye 8th, 1709, to us Directed to Repaire to Taun- 
ton, and view the several tracts of land which the Inhabitants 
of the North and South purchases in Taunton have Peti- 
tioned to be made separate precints, for the settling and 
support of the ministry in said Respective places ; — 

" And we, the subscribers, having viewed the said several 
Tracts, and heard the allegations of the opposite Parties 

- ■ - — ■ — ■ - - ■ - , ^ 

1 There is no name attached to the foregoing ** reasons.'* — See State 
Papers, vol. cxiii. p. 617. 


tliereto, upon consideratioo of all circumstances, hare sett the 
Bounds of the several Precints as follows : That is to saj. 
That the Bounds of the North Precint (according to their 
petition) shall begin at the Line between the two late Colo- 
nies of the Massachusetts and Plymouth, in the line of the 
bounds between Taunton North Purchase and Attleboro', and 
from thence southward to Rehoboth North-Elast comer; 
ind from thence Eastward, on the said North-Purchase Line, 
to Taunton Bounds ; and from thence Eastward to the mouth 
of the Brook called Burt's Brook, Leaving out Capt. Hodge's 
Land at Burt's Brook, and extending from the mouth of 
Burt's Brook to the Bridge made over the mill River, near 
WiUiam Wetherell's ; and from thence North-Eastward to the 
North-Purchase line; and, from the North-Purchase line, 
the road that leads from said Bridge towards Boston to be 
the bounds till it come to the Line between the said late Colo- 
nies ; wch Line to be the Bounds to Attleborough Bounds 
aforesaid. . . « 

*^ And that the meeting-house for the said North Precint 

be sett on the Northward side of the waj that leads over 

' Rnmford river at Crossman's waj, at the place where the 

way crosseth it that leads from John Hodge's to the Beech 

Island. . 

^ Li testimony whereof, we have hereunto set our hands, 

"Nathaniel Thomas. 
Nathaniel Byfield. 
James Warren."* 

•« 16th Sept., 1709. 

** In Council. — Bead and accepted. 

"Isa. Addington, Seciry. 
" Sent down for concurrence. 

"In the House of Representatives, Septr. 19, 1709. — 
Read and concur'd, with the proviso annexed. 

"John Clark, Speaker. 

"Provided that the East End of the North Purchase 
shall have half the sa'd Purchase as their Precint when they 
are able to maintain a minister, and this Court shall judge 
them so. 

" Agreed to the Proviso in Council. 

" IsA. Addington, Secty. 
" Consented to. " J. Dudley." ^ 

1 State Papers, vol. zi. p. 296. > Court Records, vol. viii. p. 470. 


And thus this long and exciting controversy is 
brought to a close by the action of the General Court 
granting the prayer of the petitioners for a precinct. 
George Leonard and Nicholas White, after more than 
two years of struggle, have most signally triumphed 
over their opposers. But they do not stop here. They 
are men of energy and influence ; and they do not, in 
the joy of success, forget the purpose for which they 
have labored so faithfully. Hence, almost with the zeal 
of the prophets of old, they move onward, as we shall 
hereafter see, towards the goal of their efforts, — the 
establishing of the gospel ministry in the newly cre- 
ated precinct, which at this time, as it appears from 
the township-bill already alluded to, contained more 
than forty families. 

We may as well record here as anywhere the fact, 
that, before a minister was settled to dispense the gos- 
pel truths to the friends of the precinct and their 
children, the territory erected into a precinct, as above 
recorded, was incorporated into a town. 

"March 17th, 1710-11. — The following Order passed by 
the Council and Assembly respectively, upon the Petition 
of the North Precinct in Taunton, Praying to be made a 
Town, having the consent of Taunton therefor ; viz. : — 

"Ordered, That the North Precinct in Taunton be, and 
hereby is, granted to be a Town, distinct from the Town of 
Taunton, by the name of Norton, and have and enjoy the 
Powers, Immunities, and Privileges by law granted to Town- 
ships; and that a bill be projected, and brought in at the next 
Session of this Court, fully to perfect the sd. Grant. Pro- 
vided that the East End of the North Purchase shall have 
half the said Purchase as their Precinct when they are able 
to maintain a minister, and this Court judge them so. 

" Consented to. " J. Dudley." ^ 

Rev. Pitt Clarke, in his " Historical Discourse," 
preached July 3, 1825, says it was " named Norton in 
conformity to a corporate town of this name in Oxford- 
shire, seventy-four miles north-west of London ; " and 

1 Geueral-Court Records, vol. ix. p. 100. 


his statement is undoubtedly correct. Many of the 
first settlers in America gave the name of their birth- 
place or some neighboring locality to the towns where 
they settled in New England. Most of the settlers of 
Taunton were from Taunton and its vicinity in Eng- 
lancl, and hence gave their settlement a name that 
wouMcall up old, associations of the home they had 
left, ^he town of Norton in England lies northerly, 
and boft|ers upoji Taunton ; and therefore, very natu- 
rally, wh<^ o^r jown received its " baptismal name," 
it was caliecf M)rton, because it and Taunton were 
situated relatUrely as Norton and Taunton in Old 
England w^o/ Rev. Charles H. Brigham, of Taun- 
ton, in a l|^t^ he wrote while on a visit to Taunton, 
England, Jnd published in the "Taunton Whig" of 
Aug. 4, 1^^, speaking of the points of resemblance 
between/the two towns of Taunton, says, " Bridge- 
water li^$ on the north-east of both, and Norton on 
the nora-west." He says, also, "There is a queer 
disticl^which runs, — 

* Taunton was a furzy down 
When Norton was a market-town.* " 

We here present to our readers the Act of Incofpo- 
ration, and with it close this chapter : — 

** An Act for raising a new Town by the name of Norton, 

within the County of Bristol. 

" Whereas the tract of Land commonly called and known 
by the name of the North Purchase, Lying situate within the 
Township of Taunton, in the county of Bristol, circumscribed 
within the Lines and Bounder ies prescribed by a committee 
some time since appointed by the General Assembly, as fol- 
lows; viz.: Beginning at the Line between the two late 
Colonies of the 5lassachusetts and Plymouth, in the line of 
the said North purchase and Attleborough ; from thence Run- 
ning Southward to Rehoboth North-East Corner; and from 
thence Eastward, on the North-purchase Line, to Taunton 
bounds ; thence eastward to the Mouth of the Brook calld 
Burt's Brook, and extending from the mouth of Burt's 
Brook to the Bridge over the Mill River, near Wm. Wither- 
el's ; and from thence North-eastward to the North-Purchase 


Line ; and, from the North-purchase Line, the Road that leads 
from the said Bridge towards Boston to be the Bounds till it 
come to the Line betwixt the two Late Colonies aforesaid ; 
which Line to be the bounds to Attleborough aforesaid was 
set off from Taunton by and with the consent of that Town, 
and by an order of the General Assembly, passed at their 
Session in March, 1710, made a distinct and separate Town 
from Tawnton, containing a sufficient quantity of Lands and 
a competent number of Inhabitants for that pui*pose, and 
named Norton ; the full perfecting of the said Grant being 
adjourned and refered to the present Courts. 

**In pursuance, therefore, of the afore-recited Order and 
Grant, and for the completing and perfecting of the same. Be 
it enacted by his Excellency the Governor, Council, and 
Representatives in General Court assembled, and by the 
authority of the same, That the aforesaid Tract of Land com- 
monly called the North Purchase, circumscribed and bounded 
as above expressed. Be and is Granted to be a Township 
Distinct and separate from Taunton ; the Town to be named 
Norton, and the Inhabitants thereof to have. Use, Excercise, 
and enjoy all such Immunities, Powers, and Privileges as 
other Towns within this Province have and do by Law excer- 
cise and enjoy, so that the said Inhabitants settle an able. 
Learned, Orthodox Minister in the said Town, and from time 
to time allow him a Comfortable support. 

" Provided Nevertheless, That the Inhabitants in the east 
end of the said North Purchase shall have one-half of the 
said Purchase as their Precinct, when they are able to main- 
tain a minister, and this Court judge them so. 

"June 12th, iril. 

" This Bill, having been read three several times in the 
House of Representatives, passed to be enacted. 

"John Burrill, Speaker. 

" Read three several times in Council, Concured, and 
passed to be enacted. 

" Isaac Addington, Sectry. 
" By his Excellency. 

" I consent to the enacting of this Bill. 

« J. Dudley." 




" Nature is but a name for an eflTeet, 
Whose cause is Qod." — Cowpuu 

The town of Norton, as originally constituted, was 
bounded northerly by Dorchester (now Foxborough, 
Sharon, and Stoughton), easterly by Bridgewater, 
southerly by Taunton and Rehoboth, and westerly 
by Attleborough. It is now bounded northerly by 
Mansfield, easterly by Easton, and southerly and west- 
erly as when first incorporated. 

Its length, on the north, is about five and a half 
miles ; on the south, about seven miles. Its breadth 
is about five miles at the westerly end, and a little 
more than three and a half at the easterly end : and it 
embraces an area of eighteen thousand two hundred and 
sixty-four acres ; of which the roads occupy about two 
hundred and eighty-four acres, and about two hundred 
and sixty-six acres are covered with water. 

Ji is situated in the northerly part of Bristol County ; 
and the old meeting-house which stood on the Com- 
mon, nearly in front of the present Congregational 
church, was in latitude 41° 58^ 0V^90 north, and in 
longitude 71° 11^ 35^^73 west, from Greenwich.' 

Norton is about twenty-eight miles south of Boston ; 
nearly the same distance northerly from New Bedford ; 
and eighteen miles north-easterly from Providence, 

It has four villages. The Centre is the largest ; 
consisting of about sixty houses, two churches, one 
public-house, two stores, and the Wheaton Female 

^ American Statistical Collections, vol. 1. p. 107. 



Barrowsville is two miles to the south-west, and 
consists of about twenty-five houses, a store, a Wes- 
leyan-Methodist chapel, and a large cotton factory; 
half of the population at least being foreigners. 

The Copper-works Village is about two miles south- 
erly, and consists of about twenty-five houses, the 
copper establishments of Crocker Brothers and Com- 
pany, and a store. A large portion of the population 
is Irish. 

Winneconnet Village is three miles east from the 
centre, near where the first settlement was made ; and 
contains some twenty houses, a Calvinist-Baptist church, 
a store, &c. Its inhabitants are principally native-born, 
and industrious farmers.* 

The only natural pond is the Winneconnet,^ in the 
south-eastern part of the town, on the shores of which 
was erected the first civilized habitation within our 
limits. It is a beautiful sheet of water, embracing an 
area of about a hundred and twenty-five acres, and 
abounding in fine pickerel and other fish. 

Rumford River, occasionally on the old records called 
" Ten-mile " River, rises in the westerly part of Sha- 
ron, runs through a corner of Foxborough, and cen- 
trally through the entire breadth of Mansfield; thence 

1 I have spent some time, and called in the assistance of others, in tryine 
to ascertain the meaning of the Indian word " Win-ne-con-net." Accord- 
ing to three different writers in 'the Historical Magazine (vol. i. No. 8), 
" Winne" is shown to mean beantiful, pleasant, good, fine, or kindred 
significations. Hon. P. W. Leiand, of Fall River, in a paper recently read 
before the Old-Colony Historical Society, at Taunton, upon Indian names 
and terms, derives the word " Se-con-net " from the two words seki. black, 
and Ax)nib, a goose ; and explained that the termini "et" meant place, or 
localitv, and that the word signified " the place of black geese.*' Ir he, and 
the other writers we have quoted, are correct, the word " Win-ne-con-net" 
means " a good place for geese." I am inclined to believe that the meadows 
bordering upon the pond where Canoe River and Mulberry-Meadow Brook 
empty in would have been a good or excellent place for the wild geese 
to have made their nests and reared their young: and from this circum- 
stance, doubtless, the name comes. Mr. H. R. Schoolcraft thinks per- 
haps the syllable **con" mav- be. derived from pecoriy which means a 
" nut'* If this is so, we think the word would mean *' the place of fine 
nuts,'* or " a beautiful nut place." Whether, in ancient times, the nuts 
were plentv around the pond, we do not know ; but on Great Rocky Hill, near 
by, the walnut now ^ws most abundantly of anv tree. But, aiter all, w* 
think the first definition is the more accurate. We will allude to the matter 
again if we get any new light 



through the central part of Norton, m a southerly di- 
rection, till it unites with the Coweset or Wading River, 
and forms the Three-mile River, which passes on 
tlirough the westerly part of Taunton, and falls into 
Taunton River, on the borders of Dighton. 

Coweset (Indian name) or Wading River, so called 
because a man could wade it its entire length, rises 
in Shepard's Pond,^on the borders of Wrentham and 
Foxborough, flows southerly and easterly through 
the westerly part of Mansfield and Norton, and unites 
with the Rumford, about half a mile below the Copper- 
works. The name " Ciiartley " is also applied to some 
parts of this stream. 

Canoe River (anciently called Gooseberry-Meadow 
Brook) rises in the soutiierly part of Sharon, flows 
southerly through the easterly part of Mansfield and 
Norton, and empties into the north-westerly side of 
Winneconnet Pond. 

Mulberry-Meadow Brook, called on the map " Leach's 
Stream," rises in the south-easterly part of Sharon, 
flows southerly through the westerly part of Easton 
and the easterly part of Norton, and empties into Win- 
neconnet Pond, a few rods easterly of where Canoe 
River empties in. The only outlet of this pond is Mill 
River, close .by the line of Taunton, into which town it 
immediately passes. 

Burt's Brook, designated on the map by BB, rises 
in two localities in Cedar Swamp, near the south- 
westerly corner of the town, runs easterly between 
Lemuel and Asa Arnold's, and empties into Three-mile 
River, a short distance below Lincoln's Furnace. 

Goose Brook rises also in the westerly part of the 
Cedar Swamp, flows northerly, passing between the 
Asa Hodge's House and No. 4 Schoolliouse, and emp- 
ties into Wading River, a short distance above where 
Allen and Augustus Lane live. 

Stony Brook, marked SB on the map, — sometimes 
also, on old records, called " Chartley," — rises in Attle- 
borough, flows nearly east in Norton, passing in front 
of the old Judge Leonard Mansion House, and empties 


into Wading River, a little below the bridge, near the 
Leonard estate. 

Log Brook, marked LB on the map, rises easterly 
of the house of Jason F. Alden, and, running south 
between the house of Austin Messinger and the Com- 
mon, empties into the Barrowsville-Factory Pond. : 

Dora's Brook (not on the map) rises westerly of No. 
7 Schoolhouse, flows westerly on .the southerly side 
of the house of Aaron Lincoln, jun., and, soon after, 
empties into Three-mile River, just below the junction 
of Rumford and Wading Rivers. It took its name 
from Dora (Theodora?) Leonard (supposed to be a 
witch), who lived in a hut on its banks. 

Swab-tailed Brook (not on the map) rises easterly of 
the railroad, and, flowing north-easterly between Amos 
Keitli's house and the Asahel Tucker House, empties 
into Canoe River, about half a mile below Eddy Lin- 
coln's grist and saw mill. 

Drink-water Brook, marked DB on the map, rises 
in the south part of Mansfield, and, flowing southerly, 
empties into Rumford River, a short distance to the 
south-west of Norton Alms-house. 

Great Brook rises in Mansfield, flows south, and then 
east, between Luen C. Leonard's house and that of 
Thomas Gooch, emptying itself into Rumford River. 

There are other brooks by which the town is watered: 
but they are nameless ; at least, to the writer. 

In all these rivers and brooks of any considerable 
size are found pickerel, perch, hornpouts, and, in the 
spring, suckers. 

Anciently they abounded in the spring with herring; 
or " alewives," as they were once called. 

I am informed by Seneca Lincoln, that, many yeara 
ago, one of his ancestors dipped up with a scoop-net 
out of Burt's Brook, just below where the furnace now 
stands, a wagon-load of them in a few minutes. But 
the construction of numerous dams has entirely shut 
out from our waters these fish, which formed an im- 
portant article of diet and trade for the early settlers 
of the town. So fearful were they that some obstruc- 


tions would be placed in the streams to prevent the 
progress of these fish in their annual visit, that men 
were chosen at town-meeting (as, for instance, in 
1722-3, when the town chose '' Thomas Stephens and 
Eleazer Fisher) to Keep Coweset or Wading River, so 
called, clear from all wares or any other Encumbrances 
whatsoever that shall stop the fish from Going up sd. 
River." And also, in 1745, "They made choice of 
Josiah Harvey, Israel Woodward, and Timothy Briggs, 
to take care that ye fish have a free Passage up the 
rivers," by removing all wears, &c., designed to stop 
them in their journey ; and the dams tliat were built 
across the streams were, by law, obliged to be so con- 
structed as to allow " sufficient passage-way through or 
round such dams " for the fish to go up and down in 
the spring and fall, under penalty of fifty pounds.^ 

Great Rocky Hill is situated a short distance north- 
erly of Winneconnet Pond, and easterly of Mulberry- 
Meadow Brook. For the information of strangers, we 
will say, that not the " hill," but the rocks, are " great." 

Timothy Plain is situated westerly of Winneconnet 
Pond and Canoe River, and is traversed by the road 
leading from Amos Keith's to Hathaway Leonard's. 
It derived its name from Timothy Halloway, one of 
the early settlers of Taunton, who once owned a por- 
tion of it. 

" Chartley " was a name given to the iron-works esta- 
blished at Stony Brook by the Leonards ; but the name 
is indiscriminately applied to streams and other loca- 
lities in that neighborhood. The name, probably, had 
some connection with the working of iron. 

Lockety Neck is the point of land between Rumford 
and Wading Rivers, just above their junction. 

On some of the old deeds, the farm now owned by 
Allen and Augustus Lane was said to be on Lockety 
Neck ; and no doubt the " Neck Woods," so called, 
between the Centre Village and Calvin Lane's, took 
that name from their proximity to Lockety Neck. 

1 See law of 1741. 


Ann Cobb's Bridge is over Wading River, southerly 
of the Common, at the upper end of the Barrowsville- 
Factory Pond. It took its name from Ann Cobb, who 
once lived near it, and was reputed a witch. A loca- 
lity anciently known as " Scotlin,'' or " Scotland," is 
supposed to have been in the neighborhood of No. 3 

The Seekonk Cedar Swamp is in the south-westerly 
part of the town. 

The Invincible Swamp is north-easterly of Winne- 
connet Pond, on the borders of Norton and Easton. 

The Great Woods are in the northerly part' of the 
town, between Wading and Rumford Rivers. 

Beech Island is situated north-easterly of Hon. 
Cromwell Leonard's house, near the junction of Great 
Brook with RumTord River. 

Crossman's Way was where the road crossed Rum- 
ford River by Loren Willis's sawmill. 

The town of Norton is one of the flattest of its size 
in the State. There are several little swells of land, 
but almost nothing that can be dignified by the name 
of " hill." The land generally slopes to the south, as 
will be noticed by the course of the streams. 

The soil is not of the first quality. In the easterly 
part, around Winneconnet Pond, it is quite sandy, yet, 
on the whole, is capable of being made quite produc- 
tive by proper cultivation, being well adapted to the 
raising of most kinds of grain. The geological for- 
mation is what Dr. Hitchcock terms " gray wacke ; " 
the rocks of the town being for the most part of a 
slaty character : but, in some localities, the conglome- 
rate, or plum-pudding stone, is quite prominent. Iron 
ore was formerly dug in large quantities in various 

{)arts of the town, and " there is more of the same sort 
eft." In the northerly part of the town, bordering 
upon Mansfield, anthracite coal has been dug up ; but 
it exists in such small quantities, and is of so poor a 
quality, that it will not pay for digging. Clay is to be 
found between Rumford River and the Depot, and 
bricks were once made there. 


On Great Rocky Hill is a cave, formed by the pro- 
jection of one very large rock over another, with a 
perpendicular side, producing at the top an acute 
angle, about five feet from the ground, with an area 
at the base of about fifteen feet by nine, and open at 
both ends ; though the northerly end could very easily 
be barricaded, as a large rock stands within two or 
three feet of it. This cave, of itself, is a great curio- 
sity ; but it has become famous from the tradition, 
which is probably true, that it was once a noted retreat 
of King Philip, when on fishing excursions to Winne- 
connet Pond. It could readily have been turned into 
an almost invincible fortress. It is known to this day 
as " Philip's Cave." 

Between the house of Williams Keith and the rail- 
road there is a large bowlder, that will weigh six or 
eight tons, which rests upon another somewhat shelv- 
ing rock ; and it is so exactly poised, that it is believed, 
if a little stone, by which it seems to be blocked up, 
was pushed out, it would immediately, of its own 
accord, roll off. We hope, however, that the experi- 
ment will not be tried. For the gratification of all 
lovers of Nature's freaks, it should be allowed to 
remain. Occasionally, small holes have been found in 
the rocks, which have given rise to some very whimsi- 
cal notions. One of these holes is back of the old 
Leonard House, and we may allude to it again. 

The natural forest-trees are the white, red, and yel- 
low oak ; the white, black, and yellow birch ; cedar, 
elm, hornbeam, pignut hickory, white and pitch pine, 
white maple, sassafras, holly, hemlock and beech, savin, 
chestnut, and other trees and shrubs. From the land 
of Judge Leonard, near where Samuel G. Hicks now 
lives, the keel of the frigate " Constitution " was cut ; 
and from that neighborhood, since the death of Mrs. 
Bowen, in 1850, immense quantities of first-growth 
white oak have been carried off to New Bedford and 
elsewhere for ship-timber, &c. 

The native fruits are the high and vining blackberry, 
the thimbleberry, the low and swamp blueberry, the 


black whortleberry (huckleberry), the dangleberry, 
strawberry, checkerberry, cranberry, grape, &c. 

The wild animals are, or rather were (for nearly all 
have now become extinct), bears and wolves, to some 
extent ; wild-cats, deer, foxes, raccoons, beavers, musk- 
rats, minks, woodchucks, squirrels, weasels, &c. 

Tradition (rather an unreliable personage) says, 
that, in the early history of the town, a bear entered a 
sawmill when the saw was going, and, seating him- 
self on the log, was carried along by the carriage till 
the saw began to scratch some part of his body. This 
so enraged poor Bruin, that he immediately grasped the 
saw with his fore-legs to give him a hug for his impu- 
dence ; and he was, of course, literally sawed in pieces 
for his temerity. A wolf is said to have attacked and 
killed a colt belonging to Eleazer (?) Eddy, a short 
distance westerly from where George B. Crane now 
lives. Wolves and wild-cats were formerly so nume- 
rous and troublesome in the State, that laws were early 
enacted, oflFering a bounty to any person who killed 
them. I can find no record of any wolves being 
killed in Norton ; but wild-cats were not so- fortunate. 
At a meeting of the town and North Purchase held 
for that purpose, March 30, 1724, it was — 

" Voted, that they would Pay out of the treasury of Nor- 
ton five shillings a head to any Person or Persons that shall 
Bring any wild-cat's head to the towne Clerk : and if the 
said clerk any ways scruples whether they ware cilled in 
the sd. towne or Present, that then they shall make oath that 
they ware before the towne Clerk ; and then the said derk 
shall Give an order to the towne treasurer for sd. sum or 
sums, who shall Pay it accordingly. And there shall be a rate 
made upon the Poles and estates of sd. towne and Present to 
supply the treasury for that Purpose." 

Sept. 14, 1724, the town and East Precinct " Voted 
to pay Benjamin Drake for killing one wild-cat, £00. 
055. Orf." He probably was of the East Precinct. 

"March ye 1st, 1724-5. — Joseph Godfrey, John Cas- 
well, and Ebenezer White, Brought Each of them a wild-cat's 


Head to me, and I cut the Ears of from them ; and the towne 
of Norton was to Fay five shillings a head for each of them. 

" Per me, George Leonabd, 'Clerk.* 

Oct. 6,1725. — "Voted to Raise five shillings more in 
said Rate to Fay to Thomas Skinner, Sen., for a wild-cat's 
head which he ciled." 

March 28, 1726. — "Voted, that they would not Pay for 
Killing of wild-cats the year ensueing, nor for the wild-cats 
which have heen Killed sence ye act about said cats was 

In 1731, another " Act for Encourageing the Killing 
of wild-cats " was passed, oflFering a bounty of twenty 
shillings for any wild-cat one year old, and ten shil- 
lings for every one under that age, to be paid by the 
town, and subsequently to be refunded by the State ; 
but it does not appear from the records that any 
bounty was claimed after the passage of this act. 

The last wild-cat that was killed in town was some 
thirty years ago, on the farm now owned hy Mr. 
George Barker.^ 

On the other hand, a law was enacted as early as 
1698, forbidding any person to kill wild deer between 
the last day of December and the first day of August 
following, under a penalty of two pounds for the first 
offence, three pounds for the second, five pounds for 
the third ; and so on in that ratio for every succeeding 
offence. A similar law was probably re-enacted about 
1738 ; for, on the 25th of October of that year, " The 
Inhabitance made Choice of Eleazer Eddy, the first, 
and Thomas Skinner, the Second, according to the 
Late act Relating [to] the Preservation of the Deare : '* 
and for several years thereafter, at the annual March 
meeting, two persons were chosen for that purpose. 

1 In 1801, a showman was passing through town with a leopard in a 
cage. By some means, the animal escaped from confinement, and, near 
the old house between William Lane's and the old Leonard estate, attacked 
and severely lacerated the face of Michael Sweet, a lad about fourteen 
Tears old; and would probably have killed him, had not a pig fortunately 
been near, which the leopard preferred to the boy. The furious beast was 
finally shot before doing further damage. It was the only leopard ever 
killed here, and created quite a sensation among the inhabitants. 


Several of the early residents of Norton bad parks 
of deer, wbich they kept for their own private use ; 
and among these were the three Judges George Leo- 
nard, the last of whom continued to have his park 
down to about the commencement of the present cen- 
tury. Previous to the death of his father, he had a 
park back of his then dwelling-house, on the rise of 
ground beyond the Leonard Mansion House ; and some 
of the posts to the fence are still remaining. After 
the death of his father, he continued to keep deer 
in the park back of the old homestead, where many of 
the posts of the fence, six or eight rails high, yet 
remain as monuments of the pristine nobility of our 

The following " thrilling event " connected with 
Judge Leonard's deer-park will doubtless be read 
with interest: About the year 1792, Nathan Perry, 
afterwards Dr. Perry of North Bridgewater, then a 
youth some sixteen years old, was one day passing by 
the pj£rk, when he playfully reached his hand through 
the fence, and took hold of one of the old buck's horns, 
and for some time annoyed him in that way. At 
length the deer got out of patience, broke away from 
his hold, and, quite unexpectedly, leaped over the 
fence, seven or eight feet high, and made a furious 
attack upon young Perry, throwing him upon the 
ground; but, very fortunately, the horns of the en- 
raged deer, instead of striking his body, passed down 
on each of it. While in this position, Nathan grasped 
the horns of the buck, and succeeded in preventing 
him from doing any injury, till his brothers Gardiner 
and Alvin, with one of Judge Leonard's workmen, 
came and rescued him from his perilous position. 

It is probable that Rev. Mr. Avery had his park of 
deer; but nothing is certainly known about it. 

The feathered tribe are similar to those found in 
most towns in New England. In early times, the wild 
geese and ducks were quite abundant in the pond and 
streams. Partridges, quails, woodcocks, &c., were also 
more plenty than now. 


Crows, blackbirds, blue jays, and woodpeckers were 
Tery numerous, and did much injury to "the grain- 
crops of the first settlers, so that a price was put upon 
their heads. May 23, 1715, the town " Voted to pay 
three half-pence a head for every flying blackbird or 
Jaw's head that shoald be kild in this town, and the 
heads brought to the selectmen, or John Smith, or 
Eliezer fisher, between this time and next March." 

It may be interesting to some of our readers to know 
who were the hunters in those days ; and we therefore 
make the following extract from the town-records : — 

« Sept the 19th, 1715, voted to pay -^ 

To Robert Tucker, for killing birds 02 09 

To Benjamin Williams, for killing 19 birds . . . 02 02 

To Tho. Stephens, for killing 11 birds 01 03 

To John Hall, for killing six birds 00 09 

To Ensign Wetherell, for killing 7 birds .... 00 10 

To Simeon Wetherell, for killing 6 birds .... 00 09 

To John Newland, Senior, for killing 10 bii-ds . . 01 03 

To Seth Babit, for killing four birds ..... 00 06 

To Benjamin Newland, for killing 5 birds . . . 00 07 

To John Hodges, for killing 20 birds 02 06 

To Nicolas Smith, for killing four birds .... 00 06 

To Lt. Brintnall, for killing 38 birds ..... 04 09 

To John Austin, for 3 birds 00 04." 

March 20, 1717^ " Voted three ha'pence for black- 
birds' heads, and Jayes and Woodpeckers." 

March 19, 1718, by a vote of the town, " The act 
Revifed Conserning the kiling of birds ; " and it is 
supposed, that, for several years, a premium was thus 
paid for the destruction of these birds. 

In September, 1741, the town " Voted to raise X40 
for the Suport of the Scoole, and for the birds' and 
Squrils' heads, and tlie poor." We suppose this was 
for the support of " the poor," and not a bounty oflFered 
for cutting oflF their " heads." 

April 4, 1803, " Voted to give 25 cents for every old 
crow that should be killed in the town of Norton and 
carried to the Town Treasurer." 


April 2, 1804, " Voted to give 10 cents for old crows' 
heads the year ensuing." Whether the crows had be- 
come so diminished by the bounty of twenty-five cents 
the year previous, or whether it was found to draw too 
largely upon the treasury to pay that bounty, was the 
reason for diminishing the reward for killing them, we 
do not know ; but certain we are, that the destruction 
of these birds was a very unwise measure, and has 
now come to be so regarded. For all these birds, not 
even excepting the crow, do more good to the farmers, 
by destroying grubs, bugs, &c., than they do evil by 
eating a little corn ; for any of them will leave an ear 
of corn, to go and pick up a worm or insect that comes 

But the most wanton destruction of birds and some 
wild animals was by means of '* hunts " at " old elec- 
tion," or some other specified time, when the young men 
(and oftentimes the older ones) of town met together, 
and chose sides to see which party would kill the 
largest amount of game ; the party beaten paying for 
the supper and drink of nearly half of the town en- 
gaged in the affair. 

I am told by Mr. Daniel Carpenter, that, when he 
was a boy, his associates sometimes chose sides to hunt 
birds' eggs; and the captain of the side that was 
beaten was required to stand upon a stone, and be pelted 
with the eggs found, as the grand finale of these bird- 
nesting depredations. 

We are thankful that these " hunts " are now out 
of date, and trust they may never be revived ; but hope 
that young and old will spare the birds, and thus cul- 
tivate their society ; for they are the sweetest singers of 
earth, and the farmer's best friend. 




" The hunter leaning on his bow undrawn, 
** The fisher lounging on the pebbled shores, 

Squaws in the clea^ng dropping the seed-corn, 
Young children peering through the wigwam-doors/' 


A FEW years previous to the landing of the Pilgrims at 
Plymouth, some very malignant, and probably conta- 
gious, disease is supposed to have swept from the earth 
a large portion of the Indian tribes who peopled this 
part of Massachusetts. This seems almost to have 
been providential, to prepare the way for the more suc- 
cessful occupation of the territory by the Puritans and 
their descendants. The principal Indian nations in 
the vicinity of Norton were, — 1. The Wampanoags, 
numbering some three thousand warriors, of whom 
Ousamequin, better known as Massasoit, was the chief 
sachem, whose territory extended from Cape Cod to 
Narragansett Bay. 2. The Narragansetts, with five 
thousand warriors, of whom Canonicus was chief, who 
occupied the territory of Rhode Island west of Narra- 
gansett Bay. 3. The Massachusetts, mustering three 
thousand warriors, with Chickataubut for their king, 
occupying territory to the south of Boston, extending 
'^From Nishamagoquanett, near Duxbery Mill, to 
Teglitacutt, neare Taunton, and to Nunckatatesett [a 
pond in the westerly part of Bridgewater, now called 
Nippenicket] ; and from thence in a straight linne to 
Wanamampuke [Whiting's Pond,in Wren tham], which 
is the head of Charles River." ^ 

" A straight linne " from Nippenicket to Whiting's 
Pond would pass through the north-easterly part of 
Norton ; so that our town was probably the resort 

1 Plymouth-Colony Recofds, vol. ii. p. 167. 



of both the Massachusetts and Wampanoag ludians, 
who were subdivided into some thirty different tribes, 
tinder the rule of a petty sachem. Massasoit had one 
of his residences at Sowamset, in Swansea, or perhaps 
in Barrington, R.I. ; and was the early and constant 
friend of the Plymouth settlers, till his death in the 
autumn of 1661. He was succeeded by his son Wam- 
sutta, or Alexander, who died in 1662, and was suc- 
ceeded by his brother Metacomet, or Philip, the most 
renowned Indian sachem of all New England. 

Chickataubut, the chief ruler of the Massachusetts 
Indians, seems to have been uniformly friendly to the 
settlers of the Plymouth Colony. His principal resi- 
dence was in the neighborhood of Blue Hill, in Milton, 
" upon the River of Naponset, near the Massachusetts 
Fields, three miles to the north of Wessaguscus." ^ 
He died of the small-pox, as did many of his people, in 
the fall of 1633. He was succeeded by his son Wam- 
patuck, or Josiah, who was also sometimes called 

In 1669, he was " the chiefest general " of the New- 
Dngland Indians in the expedition against the Mo- 
hawks ; and was killed the same year, with many of 
his men, in an encounter with the enemy in the 
Mohawk country. After his death, his brother Squar 
maug acted as sachem for a year or two during the 
minority of Jeremy, the son of Wampatuck; and 
Charles Josias, the son of Jeremy and great-grandson 
of Chickataubut, ^' is said to have been the last of his 
race." * 

There seems to have been some dispute between 
Philip and [Josiah ?] Chickataubut about the bounds 
of their respective territories ; and, in the year 1670, 
Philip and Squamaug — then the acting chief of the 
Massachusetts Indians — met at the house of William 
Hudson,^ on Wading River, to settle the matter. It 

^ New-England Genealogical Register, yol. iii. p. 888. 
3 Genealogical Register, vol. iii. p. 841. 

s William Hudson probably lived within the present limits of Fox- 
borough; for, in October, 1669, three hundred acres of land were laid out 


was finally adjusted by an agreement that the bounds 
between the Plymouth and Massachusetts Colonies 
should be the dividing-line between the Wampanoags 
and Massachusetts. This agreement, with the auto- 
graph of King Philip attached, is in the possession of 
S. O. Drake, Esq., of Boston, and has been read by 
the writer of these pages. 

Squamaug's name- is not attached ; but why, is not 
known. Perhaps Philip's assent was deemed sufficient. 
Yet, as the bounds thus agreed upon gave up to Philip 
a large tract of land that formerly was claimed by 
Chickataubut, it would seem proper that Squamaug 
should have signed the compact. It is, however, use- 
less to speculate relative to the matter. 

Tlius it will be seen that Philip's jurisdiction 
eventually covered the whole of the ancient and 
present limits of Norton. His summer residence was 
but a few miles from Norton, near what was called 
Fowling Pond, in Baynham. He frequently visited 
Norton, especially the* neighborhood of Winneconnet 
Pond, near which is situated Philip's Cave, where he 
no doubt had his head-quarters when on hunting and 
fishing expeditions to this vicinity. The soil around 
the pond, being light, was particularly adapted to the cul- 
tivation of corn, beans, and a few other vegetables, which 
the Indian women raised. The fields were prepared 
for culture by burning the underbrush and small trees 
in the autumn. The chief instruments for planting 
and hoeing were large clam-shells, or the shoulder- 
bone of some animal, — the deer or moose, for instance, 
— attached to a sort of handle. 

There is every reason to believe that these only real 
native Americans roamed over all our plains and fished 

for him " at Wayding Ryver," on the easterly side of " a great pond that 
Wading Kyver comes nut of." * This " Capt." Hudson, as he was some- 
times called, seems to have been quite a man in the Massachusetts Colony; 
in the records of which, frequent allusions are made to him. 

* For bounds, see Records of Massacbnsetts Colony, toI. It. part ii. pp. 489-40. 
It was probably the same place bought by Jacob Shepard in 1704. -^ See Genea- 
logical Krister, Tol. tI. p. 12SB. 


in all our streams, as well as planted and sported on 
the shores of our pond. 

Various Indian implements have been found in dif- 
ferent localities in town. Stone hatchets, gouges, 
pestles, spear and arrow points, have been picked up 
from time to time, and some of them quite recently.^ 
On the old Leonard estate, several Indian encamp- 
ments were discovered and demolished by cultivating 
the land.2 Another similar encampment is believed 
to have been near the house of Melzar Burt, on the 
borders of Canoe River. 

The point of land between the Rumford and Coweset 
or Wading Rivers, near their junction, and about a mile 
and a half from the centre of the town, was once the 
scene of a battle between tlie Whites and Indians. 

I have searched diligently for some authentic ac- 
count of this engagement; but I can find none. Seve- 
ral persons have informed me, that, in some history of 
the Indian wars, they had seen an account of it ; but I 
think they must be mistaken, and have confounded 
tradition with history. Yet it is possible that some 
accoimt has been printed ; but, if so, it is very strange 
that no one can point it out to us. 

There is, however, no doubt that a battle ac- 
tually took place on this neck or point of land. In 
the records of the proprietors of Taunton Old Town ^ 
is to be found an agreement about land, made March 
11, 1715-16, between John Hodges and Thomas 
Stephens. This land was situated " in Norton,* on the 
south-west side of Rumford River, near where the two 
rivers (namely, Rumford and Coweset) do meet ; " and 
the place is called '' Lockety Neck.'' In 1T12, land 
was laid out to Tliomas Stephens near tlie place of 
" Lockety Fight," on "Lockety Neck."* Thus there 

1 We would suggest, as these things are becoming rare, that all that can 
be found be collected together, and deposited in some place of safety, as in- 
teresting memorials of the once noble race of men who peopled this region 
previous to its occupation by white men. 

« Rev. Pitt Clarke's Historical Sermon. 

s First Book of Lauds, p. 60. « Ibid. p. 184. 


can be no questioning the actualitj of the battle, and 
the locality of it. 

Some years ago, the plain, which extends to within 
three or four rods of the junction of these rivers, was 
ploughed up, and large quantities of spear-points were 
found, with the appearance of having been thrown 
from the extreme point of the land, wliich is low 
ground, up to the plain, some twelve or fifteen feet 
higher; and this falct seems to agree with the tradi- 
tional account of the conflict. 

The traditional accounts are somewhat conflicting, 
but amount to this : The Indians had either attacked, 
or were known to be planning an attack, upon Taun- 
ton. A party of the Tauntonians went out in pursuit 
of them ; and, leavuig a portion of their number on 
each side of Three-mile River, where Rumford and 
Wading meet, the remainder divided their forces, 
and a part went up one river, and the rest the other, 
and crossed over on to the neck, just above a swamp — 
in which the Indians were secreted — that extended 
across from one river to the other, and drove the 
savages down to the junction of the rivers, where they 
were prevented from crossing by the men left to guard 
that point ; and thus, after a severe conflict, they suc- 
ceeded in killing or capturing the whole party of the 

This swamp is supposed to have been the wet land 
extending from river to river between Elbridge G. 
Hunt's and the Copper-works. It might have been 
the wet land commencing a short distance below Mr. 
Robinson's wheelwright-sliop, and extending through 
the Neck Woods to the Factory Pond at Barrowsville ; 
but I think it must have been the former locality. It 
must be remembered, that great changes have taken 
place within two hundred years in the physical ap- 
pearance of the country. By clearing up the forests, 
many places that were called swamps have become so 
dry as not now to be known by that appellation. 

A remarkable instance of this kind is at what, two 
hundred years ago, was called Fowling Pond, in Rayn- 


Lara, where no vestige of a pond now remains. So 
this swamp where the Indians were concealed would 
hardly he known by that name at the present day. 

The exact time of " Lockety Fight " is not known. 
It is supposed, however, to have been during Philip's 
war in 1675 and 76. In Baylies's " Memoir of Ply- 
mouth Colony," part iv. p. 165, he mentions a skirmish 
with the Indians, which might have been at this place. 
The reader will bear in mind that Norton was then a 
part of Taunton. Baylies says, — 

" On the 6th of August [1676], an Indian fled to Taunton, 
and, seeking to make terms for himself, ofiTered to conduct the 
English to a party of the enemy, representing that they might 
be taken with little difficulty or danger. Twenty of the 
Tauntonians ventured out, and surprised and captured the 
whole; being twenty-six." 

It is with great reluctance that I am compelled to 
leave this matter in some doubt. We hope, however, 
that what has been said will stimulate inquiry till the 
doubts are resolved. 

It is well known that Taunton suffered less than 
almost any town from the Indians during Philip's war. 
Near Philip's summer residence, in what is now Rayu- 
ham, then Taunton, the Leonard family had established 
their iron-works. From them Philip had received 
many favors, and been on terms of great intimacy; 
and this fact is supposed by Mr. Baylies to have been 
the reason wliy Taunton was so little molested. Mr. 
Baylies * says, — 

"In his [Philip's] excursions, he had made himself ac- 
quainted with the Leonards. They repaired his guns, and 
supplied him with iron, and with such tools as are most 
prized by savages ; and uniformly treated him with kindness 
and attention. He had become more attached to this family 
than to any of the English ; and he gave his Indians, at the 
commencement of the war, the strictest orders that they 
should never injure a Leonard. As he knew, that, in a gene- 
ral attack on the town, this favorite family might be exposed 

1 Part iii. p. 120. 


to dangers equal to those of the other inhabitants, it becomes, 
therefore, extremely probable that his attachment to the Leo- 
nards prevented the destruction of Taunton." 

Another example serves also to illustrate Philip's 
humanity. A Mr. Cole had settled near to Philip, and 
lived in great friendship with him. 

"In June, 1675, Philip informed him that his young men 
were very eager to go to war against the English ; but, when 
he could no longer restrain them, he would let him know. 
Accordingly, on an evening previous to the fatal 24th, 
canoes arrived from Mount Hope with advice from Philip, 
that Mr. Cole and family must go over to Rhode Island, 
as his people would begin the war. They embarked ; and, 
the next morning, their dwellings were burned." ^ 

In these instances, we have exemplified one of the 
noblest traits of character belonging to civilized life ; 
which clearly indicates that Philip was not so terrible 
a monster as many supposed he was. In fact, we do 
not believe he was ; but we regard him as one of the 
most patriotic and truly noble men that ever lived in 
any country. Had he been an Englishman, and mani- 
fested the same firm resolve and unfaltering devotion 
to the interests of his country, he would have been 
raised almost to the rank of a demigod. 

It is" said, that, a few years after the first settlement 
by Mr. Wetherell, a party of Indians, who were on a 
hunting expedition, came to his barn in the night, 
and killed a two-year-old colt, and roasted and ate 
him, and then raked up the coals, and left without 
disturbing the family. They are supposed to have 
been impelled to this act by necessity, game being 
rather scarce. 

In the early history of the town, a party of Indians 
called at the house of one of Mr. Annes A. Lincoln's 
ancestors, and borrowed a kettle, and filled it with lit- 
tle mud-turtles, and then boiled and ate them. This 
was probably near where Seneca Lincoln now lives. 

1 Church's History of Philip's War, p. 340. 


Many years ago, there lived about half a mile from, 
and directly in front of, the present residence of 
George Lane, an Indian by the name of Quock ; pro- 
bably the last of that noble and vigorous yet much- 
abused race who had a habitation within our borders. 
An orchard near where his wigwam stood is to this day 
known as " Quock's Orchard/' This Indian is sup- 
posed to have been a slave the latter part of his life, 
first of Major George Leonard, and then of his son 
Ephraim. On our town-records we find this entry: 
" Dick, an Indian man. Major George Leonard, De- 
ceased, Gave to his son Ephraim; deyed the 4th of 
December, 1727." Tiiis is entered in the handwrit- 
ing of Col. George Leonard, then town-clerk, and a 
son of Major George. 

In the index to the volume of births, deaths, &c., 
made by Col. Leonard, the death of " Dick " is entered 
under the letter Q ; which seems to indicate that his 
surname began with tliat letter. Hence it is inferred 
that his whole name was Dick Quock, 

To such a miserable end came many of those — 
the once proud owners of the soil on which we 
dwell — who were most cruelly deprived of their 
possessions, and crushed to the dust beneath the 
avarice of those calling themselves Christians. 



CHURCH, &c. 

** Before the loftier throne of Heaven 
The hand is raised, the pledge is giren, — 
One monarch to obey, one creed to own : 
That monarch, God; that creed, his word alone." 


Having secured an answer to their prayer for a pro- 
cinct, the early settlers at once turn their attention to 
the great object they had in view during the precinct 


struggles, — viz., the establishment of the gospel mini- 
stry among them. 

Who. preached the first sermon, or when it was 
preached, is, by the loss of the earliest records, left 
a blank. 

But, of course, a candidate for the ministry was to 
be procured. " Whom shall we get ? Where shall 
we send ? Who knows of the man that will come, and 
build us up in holy things ? " were questions frequently 
asked and discussed at tlie meetings of the early 
settlers. It is supposed, that, within a few weeks 
after the establishment of the precinct, a candidate 
was found ; for the men engaged in this enterprise 
would not be slothful in their endeavors to establish 
the ministry of Christ in the newly created parish. 
Rev. Pitt Clarke, in his " Historical Sermon," already 
alluded to, says, " Several attempts were made to 
settle a gospel minister ; but the influence of Rev. Mr. 
Danforth, of Taunton, was so great, that they found it 
impracticable to ordain any one without his approba- 
tion. A Mr. Phillips, of Andover, received a unani- 
mous call, and gave an affirmative answer; but, for 
the above reason, was not ordained." This was un- 
doubtedly Rev. Samuel Phillips, who was born at 
Salem, Feb. 17, 1689-90, and was the son of Samuel 
and Mary (Emerson) Phillips. He graduated at 
Harvard, 1708 ; and, no doubt, commenced preaching 
here about the 1st of January, 1710, and probably 
was here several months. The early settlers were 
men of intelligence, and hence were aware that mini- 
sters could not live by faith alone ; and therefore, 
" April 7th, 1710, a Rate was made of 401b. to Paye 
ye minister." ^ 

Undoubtedly Rev. Mr. Clarke is right in saying that 
Mr. Danforth's influence did not allow of Mr. Pliillips's 
ordination. Those who were wishing to settle a mini- 

1 This vote, and several others reln^g to the settlement of a minister, 
I found on a slip of paper; and tiiey appear to have been copied from the 
old records that are uow lust. 


ster in the new precinct were members of Mr. Dan- 
forth's church at Taunton, and naturally would con- 
sult his wishes relative to the man they should settle. 
Finding that Mr. Danforth's influence was against 
him, Mr. Phillips took a final leave of this neighbor- 
hood ; and, in the latter part of the year 1710, turned 
his steps to Andover, and commenced preaching in the 
south parish of that town, where he was ordained Oct. 
17, 1711. He married Hannah White, of Haverhill, 
Jan. 17, 1711-12 ; and was the father of Hon. Samuel 
Phillips of Andover, and Hon. John Phillips of Exeter, 
N.H., — the founders of Phillips Academy at Ando- 
ver, and of Phillips Exeter Academy at Exeter, N.H. 
Mr. Phillips is said to have been an excellent man, but 
so economical as to blow out his candle when he began 
the evening prayer. Yet he was very punctilious in 
distributing among the poor a full tenth of his income, 
of which he' kept an account.^ 

As a portion of the old township of Taunton was in- 
corporated into the North Precinct, and as many of 
the settlers of the said precinct were either proprietors, 
or intimately connected with the proprietors, of the 
old town, the latter naturally felt some interest in 
the prosperity of the precinct, and especially in the 
settlement and support of a minister. Hence divers 
of them made each a small contribution of land for 
whatever minister should be settled in the new parish. 
Here is the proof: — 

" We, the subscribers for the Encouragement of a Learned, 
orthodox, pious minister to settle in the Sacred employ of the 
ministry in Taunton North precinct, Do hereby Give and 
Grant the severall quantities of land annexed to our names, 
hereunder written, unto the first minister who shall settle in 
said North precinct ; Desiring of the proprietors of Taunton 
old Township that it may be layed out on the next Division 
of land in said Township, Either in one Entire tract or more, 
in such place or places where it may be most convenient and 

1 For further particulars of him and his portrait, see Bond's History of 
WatertowD, p. 877, &c. 



pleasing to the first minister that shall there settle, on an j 
kndsy as yet common or undivided, in that part of the old 
Township lands which now ffall to he within the line of the 
North precinct ; and particularly on land, now common, which 
lyes near the place appointed by Authority for the meeting- 
house to be sett upon, on the north and south side of the way, 
as shall be most convanient. 

No. of Acrw. 

John Pool 12 

RdbertGodfree 1 

Joseph HaU 1 

James Hall 1 

Isaac Ifarrick 1 

Increase Bobinson 2 

PhiUipKing 1 

James Walker, Senior .... 2 

Abram Jones 1 

James Phillips 1 

8hadrack Wilbore 1 

Benjamin Wilbinre 3 

James Bnrt 1 

Samnel Blake 2 

Joseph Willis 2 

Nicholas Stephens 1 

Benjamin Hall ....... 1 

Samnel Knap 1 

John Mason 1 

Nathaniel Williams 1 

James Tisdale 1 

John Grossman 1 

Thomas Willis 4 

Ebenezer Robinson 1 

Joseph Tisdale 2 

Ifr. Giles Gilbert 1 

No. of Acrrt« 

Samnel Danforth If 

Henry Hodges 1 

Thomas Harvey, Grand Senior . 1 

Nicholas White 1 

J<^n Andrews 1 

John Tisdale 1 

John Hodges 1 

Thomas Leonard S 

John Smith, Grand Senior . . 1 

James Leonard, Jnn 1 

Thomas Lincoln, Grand Senior | 

John'Macomber 1 

Thomas Dean 1 

Seth Williams .1 

John Smith, Junior . . . ' . ' . | 

Joseph Wilbore 1 

John White . . • | 

John Leonard 1 

Ezra Dean, Senior 1 

Jonathan Williams 1 

William Haskins 2 ' 

William Wetherell, Sen. . . 
Edward Leonard .... 
John Richmond, Senior . . 
Ens. Thomas Gilbert . . . 
Joseph Williams 


" All these severall parcells of land mentioned in this paper 
is Granted to the first minister that shall settle in the work 
of the ministry in the north precinct, on both sides of the way 
that goeth from Nathaniel Hodges' to the meeting-house in 
said precinct, and on both sides of the way that leadeth from the 
meeting-house in said precinct to Samuel Hodges' house, and 
partly on the northerly side of said meeting-house, runing up 
towards the land of Major Leonard; to be Laid out as may be 
most convenient for the first minister that shall settle in said 
precinct, the whole sum granted is seventy-three acres and 
three-quarters, on the sixty-four-acre division. 

" Granted January the fifth, 1710, by the Committee for 
the sixty-four-acre division. 

•* Attest : " Thomas Leonard, Clerk.'* * 

1 Proprietors* Records (Sixty-four-acre Division), p. 127. 


This land included all the farm now owned by Alva- 
ris Caswell ; a portion of the Rev. Pitt Clarke estate ; 
also the lot back of Mrs. Harriet Barrow's new house ; 
the lot back and southerly of the Town House ; and 
probably the lots occupied by the Mansion House and 
Mr. Rogerson's store, &c. 

Judge Thomas Leonard, one of the proprietors of the 
iron-works, and tlie father of George, who took so con- 
spicuous a part in securing the grant of a precinct, in 
his will, dated Jan. 29, 1711-12, and probated Feb. 5, 
1713-14, gave to the first minister that should be 
" orderly settled " in the western part of Taunton 
North Precinct, and continue there in the ministry 
seven years, twenty acres of land ; and, in case he con- 
tinued fourteen years in the ministry, twenty acres 
more : but if he did not remain fourteen years, then 
the second settled minister who should remain seven 
years was to have the last tweiity acres. This land 
was situated* northerly of the road between Schuyler 
Freeman's and the Holman Place. Possibly Mr. Free- 
man's house stands on a part of tlie lot. 

The departure of Mr. Phillips compelled the precinct 
to look about for a new candidate. Mr. Danforth has 
a particular friend whom he wishes to have settle as 
his near neighbor, and strongly urges the people to 
hear him.^ He was at that time preaching at Freetown. 
But things did not look so promising to him there as 
at Taunton North Precinct ; and hence he wished to 
preacli here. This man was Joseph Avery. With the 
advice and at tlie urgent solicitations of their old pas- 
tor, Mr. Danforth, the North-Precinct people consent 
to have Mr. Avery preach to them a few times. On 
what all-important Sunday he appeared before the 
assembled wisdom and gravity of our Puritan Fathers, 
as a candidate for the holy office to which he wished to 
consecrate himself, we do not know ; but it was proba- 
bly in September or October, 1710, soon after Mr. Phil- 
lips left, — possibly the next Sunday. His services are 
acceptable to the people. Mr. Danforth urges them to 
give him a call. We are therefore prepared to find the 
following record : — 


^December the 23rd, 1710. — At a meeting of the Inhabi- 
tants of Taunton North Purchase, [thej,] 2Iy, made choice 
of Mr Joseph Avery to settle with them in the work of the 
ministree, and to be their minister, if he see Cause to Exceept. 

^ 31j, thej made choice of George Leonard and Nicholas 
White to go and acquaint Mr. Averj that they have chose 
him for their minister, and also to treet with him about his 
settleing with them in the work of the ministree. 

^ 4, the meeting was adjourned to the third day of January 

' "Jan. 3rd, 1710-11, they voted to Give Mr. Avery 15s. a 
sabath, for the time that he shall trantiently Preach among 
them, before they have come to any certin Bargaine with 
him ; and also 15s. for ye Last Sabath." 

" feb. 2nd, 1710-11, ye comitee ware ordered to make their 
Proposals to Mr. Avery." 

But he is in no hurry to return an answer to the 
" call " he had received. While he is debating in his 
own mind whether he shall accept or not accept the 
invitation thus proffered, and asking the guidance of 
Heaven in the matter, we will take occasion to look 
somewhat into his private history. Rev. Joseph Avery, 
the fourth and youngest child of William and Elizabeth 
(White) Avery, was born in Dedham, April 9, 1687. 
His mother was his father's second wife. By his first 
wife, William Avery had four children ; so that Joseph 
was the eighth child on the father's side.^ Joseph's 
father (probably born in England), who came over, 
when quite young, with his father William, was a man 
of some consequence, being deacon of the church, and 
holding at different times the oflSces of town-clerk 
and selectman of Dedham. Of Joseph's boyhood and 
early life we can gather nothing. His father holding, 
however, an important office in the church, and the 
fact that the son selected the holy work of the mini- 
stry as his profession, furnishes some evidence that he 
was " brought up in the nurture and admonition of 
the Lord." Mr. Avery graduated at Harvard College 
in 1706, at the early age of nineteen. His brother John, 
two years older, graduated at the same time, and was 
subsequently settled in the ministry at Truro. The 


j62 settlement op a minister, 

same year that Joseph left college, he was employed 
at Rehoboth "to keep school within the Ring of the 
Green, for a quarter of a year, for seven pounds ten 
shillings, silver money." ^ 

Previous to Oct. 30, 1710, he had preached at 
Freetown ; for, on that day, John Hathaway and 
twenty-three others, of Freetown, petition the Gfeneral 
Court 2 to grant aid to Mr. Avery for his encourage- 
ment to preach still among them. They ask the court 
to give as much " as they were pleased to give last 
year." March 17, 1710-11, the court passed the fol- 
lowing resolution : — 

" Resolved, that there be allowed and paid out of the Pub- 
lic Treasury to Mr. Joseph Avery, after the Rate of Twenty 
Pounds per annum, for each Sabbath he hath or shall preach 
at Freetown, from the time he was last paid to the session of 
the Court in May next. 

" Consented to : " J. Dudley." ■ 

We presume this movement at Freetown was made 
because Mr. Avery had left them to preach as a candi- 
date here, and they were anxious to retain his services. 
It is supposed, however, that he did not return to Free- 
town to preach for any length of time, but continued to 
minister to the people here ; for " at a meeting of the 
town of Norton, Sept. 19th, 1711, voted to Mr. Avery 
his salary^ ^40. Os. Od." This was for his first year's 
service. A year went by after he was called to settle, 
and no response is received from Mr. Avery ; yet the 
general understanding in the town is, that he will 
finally accept the call, if sufficient encouragement is 
given. At any rate, his hearers mean, if it is in their 
power, to win him from any other love he may have. 
Accordingly, the project of building him a house was 
started. '* Yes," says one (and we have no doubt who 
he was), " let us build a parsonage. Let us give him 
a place to live in, and he will be the more likely to 
remain." That man was George Leonard. " I second 

1 Bliss's History of Rehoboth, p. 183. 

3 State Papers, vol. xi. p. 369. 

s General-Court Records, vol. ix. p. 100. 



the motion,'' sajs another. ^^ It is a capital idea : for, 
as things now are, the foxes have holes, and the birds 
have nests ; but our minister has not where to laj his 
head." That man was Nicholas White. And, wlien 
Gteorge Leonard and Nicholas Wliite combine to do 
any thing, it must be done. Certainly, as we shall see, 
they were more successful than the parish have been 
in later times about building a parsonage. 

A tax was levied upon the town to assist the mini- 
ster in providing a habitation. We here present the 
tax-list to our readers : — 






t. d. 


£ t. di ; £ t. J. 

Greorge Leonard .... 

13 04 

00 15 06 

00 14 01 

Lt. Samuel BrintneU 

20 00 

00 04 04 

00 05 05 

Samuel Hodges . . . 

13 04 

00 02 09 

00 05 02 

John Cob. . . 

06 08 

00 00 03 

00 01 09 

Selvanis Cambell . 

06 08 

00 01 08 

00 01 10 

Nathaniel fisher 

06 08 

00 00 03 

00 02 09 

Andrew Grovier , 

06 08 

00 01 04 

00 02 01 

Ephreim Grovier 

06 08 

00 01 04 ' 00 04 00 

Thomas Grovier , 

06 08 

00 01 07 ' 00 03 10 

John Hodges . . 

06 08 

00 03 03 00 06 00 

Nathaniell hodgea . 

06 08 

00 02 01.00 03 10 

Thomas Stevens 

06 08 

00 03 03 

00 04 00 

Eliezer Edye . 

06 08 

00 02 02 

00 03 03 

Benjamin Newland 

06 08 

00 01 04 

00 00 09 

Robert Tucker . , 

06 08 

00 01 05 

00 01 10 

Nicolas White , 

06 08 

00 02 05 

00 06 05 

John Skiner. . 

06 08 

00 02 07 

00 03 10 

John hall. . . 

06 08 

00 01 04 

00 04 07 

Petter Aid rich , 

06 08 

00 00 09 

00 03 04 

Joseph Briggs . 

06 08 

00 01 04 

00 00 07 

Richard Briggs 

06 08 

00 01 05 

00 01 04 

Eliezer fisher , 

t * K 

06 08 

00 01 04 

00 02 08 

Israeli fisher 

06 08 

00 00 00 

00 01 04 

Benjamin Williams 

06 08 

00 01 05 

00 04 08 

John Wetherell, Sen. 

13 04 

00 03 04 

00 07 02 

William Wethai 


. s 


13 04 

00 01 09 

00 05 00 


KtU-BOl, cenliiaud. 



Rai EitiM. 


,. d. 

£ .. d. 

£ i. d. 

John Ansdn 

06 08 

00 01 07 

00 02 04 

NicolM Smith . 

06 08 

00 03 04 

00 06 08 

John Brigs. Jun. 

06 08 

00 01 09 

00 02 08 

John Caswell, Sen 

06 08 

00 01 04 

00 07 10 

Benjamin Caawell 

06 08 

00 01 04 

00 02 05 

John Newland . 

06 08 

00 03 04 

00 05 00 

Seth Dorman . 

06 08 

00 00 03 

00 00 00 

Joseph Eliot . 

06 08 

00 00 00 

00 01 04 

William Hodges 

06 08 

00 01 05 

00 03 06 

Mathew White . 

06 08 

00 01 04 

00 02 11 

TsaEo Sheapard. 

06 08 

00 00 00 

00 01 4 

Siimuell fisher . 

06 08 

00 00 00 

00 03 4 

John Smith . . 

06 08 

00 02 05 

00 03 10 

John Lane . . 

13 04 

00 00 00 

00 00 

Ebenezr lulye, . 

06 08 

00 01 04 

00 01 10 

Daniell Braman 

06 08 

00 02 09 

00 02 05 

William Wetharell, Jun 

06 08 

00 00 00 

00 01 06 

William Cobb . . . 

06 08 

00 00 00 

00 00 00 

Natbaniell Hervey . 

06 08 

00 00 00 

00 01 10 

John Wetharell, Jun. 

06 08 

00 00 00 

00 01 4 

Samuell Brintnell, Jun. 

6 08 

00 00 00 

00 00 9 

Saipuell Bayley . . 

06 08 

00 00 06 

00 01 4 

John Brigs, Sen. . 

06 08 

00 01 10 

00 02 05 

James Caswell . . 

06 08 

00 00 00 

00 00 9 

Edward White . . 

06 08 

00 00 00 

00 00 

Samuell Blake, Sen. 

00 00 

00 02 06 

00 00 

Widow Smith . . 

00 00 

00 00 00 

00 02 1 

Benjamin Willis . 

00 00 

00 01 00 

00 00 

Samuell Alltne . . 

00 00 

00 01 00 

00 00 00 

Robert Woodward 

00 00 

00 01 08 

00 00 

Thomas Hervey, Sen 

00 00 

00 00 10 

00 00 

William Hervey, Jun 

00 00 

00 00 10 

00 00 

Moi^an Cobb . . 

00 00 

00 00 08 

00 00 

Jonathan Lincoln . 

00 00 

00 00 10 

00 00 

Jeremiah JJewland 

00 00 

00 00 10 

00 00 

Hftjiiili t)een . , 

00 00 

00 00 10 

00 00 

William pratt . . 

06 08 

00 00 00 

00 00 

Jonathan Williams 

00 00 

00 01 01 

00 00 

James Leonard, Jun. 

00 00 

00 02 03 

00 00 

George Hodges . 

00 00 

00 00 09 

00 00 



"This rate, being to pay Mr. Avery 32 pounds towards 
building liis honee, was made by as, the subscribers, this first 
day of January, 1711-12. it contains 32. 8. 0., Besides 0. 
16. 6. put in for the constable, the eight shillings is for 
makein the rate. 

" George Leoitabd, J 
John Wethebel, vAssesors." 
Thouas Stepqens, J 

Those vhose heads are aot rated were, no doubt, non- 
residents. The house was, we presume, erected soon 
after the rate was made, though not entirely finished 
for some years. This house, thus early built for Mr. 
Avery stood on the laud already given to and laid out 
for the first minister and a portion of it is still (1858) 
standing It is owned by Mr Caswell and occupied 
by the present pastor of the Congregational parish. 
We here give a picture of it as it now appears 

It now fronts to the east. The end we see ia the 
{HCture is to the south, and was originally a portion of 
the front-side of the house. A large room, nearly 
twenty feet square, was, some years since, taken off 
from the west end ; and an addition from what is now 


the front-door, towards the north, was put on, many 
years ago, as an L. The roof was originally four- 
sided, the south and north sides being longer than the 
east and west; the house being about forty-six feet 
long and twenty wide. There were two large rooms 
on the ground-floor, and two large chambers above. 
The space between the two rooms — about twelve feet 
wide — was occupied by a huge stone chimney, topped 
out with brick, which was taken down some twenty 
years ago, when a portion of the house was torn down, 
and the rest repaired, and the roof put on^ as it now 
appears, by Capt. D. King. 

While preparations for building him a house are 
going on, no response to the call came from the 
minister, who is still preaching to the people. The 
town, " Sept. 17th, 1712, voted to Mr. Avery, for his 
salary, 45—0 — 0." This was five pounds more than 
the year previous ; a further evidence that the town 
are anxious to hear a favorable answer to their invita- 
tion. Another year passes away, and still Mr. Avery 
gives no answer. He certainly was a very deliberate 
man. The town, however, " let patience have its per- 
fect work ; " and, " Oct. 6th, 1713, voted to Mr. Avery, 
for his salary for this year, 45—0 — 0." 

Almost another entire year passed away before we 
find the following record : — 

"On the 13th of September, 1714, Mr. Avery Gave his 
answer, which was Excepted by ye town ; and, on that day, 
thay voted to Mr. Joseph Avery his salary, 50 — — 0." ^ 

Whether Mr. Avery's " answer " was written or 
verbal, we are not informed ; nor are we told whether 
it was an acceptance or declination of the call extended 
to him " to settle with them in the work of the mini- 
stree," nearly four years before. Yet we have abun- 

1 From his settlement to 1720, his salary was j£50; from 1721 to 1784, it 
was £60; in 1785 and 1786, it was £80; in 1787, £100: in 1788, £160. 
From 1789 to 1742, he had £120; then, for three years, he had £180. From 
1746 to his dismission, his salary was £140. 


dant evidence that it was favorable to the wishes of the 

And now, again, the town is all life and animatioii . 
A great and all-important event is soon to take place ; 
or rather, we may say, two events, — the gathering of 
a church, and the ordination of the candidate who has 
consented to become their teacher and spiritual adviser. 
Tlie laying of the foundation of a new church of Christ 
in the wilderness was attended with many difficulties 
and inconveniences. Yet the men who peopled the 
wilderness, and were making it blossom like the rose, 
were not discouraged at trifles. The hand of God was 
leading them ; and hence they were sure to come out 
right in the end. The day of ordination is fixed upon. 
The pastor and messengers of some of the neighboring 
churches are invited to form a council, and assist in 
the work of consecration. In the mean time, measures 
were in progress for the gathering of a church ; a sort 
of nucleus, around which, it was hoped, a whole 
galaxy of saints would soon cluster. A covenant — 
which, in those days, was never very strictly construed, 
but was considered more as a bond of union among the 
members than as a creed — was prepared. 

It is brought forward for the acceptance of those 
who had signified to the pastor elect their desire to 
become members of the proposed church. 

The little band met ; not in an " upper room," for 
the houses in those days were principally of one story. 
Perhaps it was in the house of God, already erected, 
and so far completed as to be occupied. The pastor 
elect, in solemn tones and measured voice, read it over, 
sentence by sentence, for their acceptance. With a 
few additions and expurgations, it is made satisfactory 
to all. The vote of acceptance being taken, the pastor 
elect affixes his signature ; and, after him, walk up to 
the table, one by one, and pen their rude autograph or 
make their still ruder " mark," those whose names the 
reader will find attached- to the document which we 
now present to the reader : — 



" We, who are, by the holy and Gracious Providance of 
onr most Gracious and mercifull God, Brought unto this 
Blessed oppertunetey, unto this Extreordinary duty, of Joyning 
ourselves togeather according to the Instituted Church visi- 
ble, Being deeply sencible of our own utter Insufficiancy (of 
ourselves) unto so high and holy a worke, as also a Privi- 
lidge ; and having desired and • Laboured solemnly and 
sinsarely to sarch our own hearts and ways, and to humble 
our souls deeply and Thoroughly before God, and to obtaine 
Pardon from Ilim, and Peace with him, tlirough the Blood 
of Jesus Christ ; and being also awfully apprehensive of the 
dreadfuU Presance of God, — before whome we stand, — and 
of the appearance of our Lord Jesus Christ in the Exercise of 
[his] Kingly and Prophetical oflBce in his church, — we do 
(in dependance upon his Grace, and the Conduct and assist- 
ance of his holy spent, and in hope of his Graeious accept- 
ance), in his holy Presance, name, and fear, Solamnly, 
sincearly, visibly, and Profesedly, by our owne free act, 
Joyntly Give up ourselves and our seed to almighty God, 
as our only God, acording to the termes of his own everlasting 
Covenant ; and unto our Lord Jesus Christ, as our only and 
absolute Saviour; engaging ourselves with all our Hearts 
and with all our soules unto him, in a way of obedience unto 
his Great Gospell ordinance of Church fellowship, to Live 
and walk together in a way of free and full subjection unto 
the only Power and authorety of him, our dear and Blesed 
Lord Jesus, the Great and only Shepard and Bishop of our 
souls, as his Power is visably and ministerially Exercised in 
the Reguler and orderly administration of all Gospel ordi- 
nances. Both of doctrine, discipline, and worship, in his* 
Church, by such officers whome he has Gifted and Given 
unto his Church unto that end ; and also as his Power is exer- 
cised in and over our souls by his holy Sperit, unto whome 
also we Give up ourselves to be an holy tempel in the Lord. 
And we do further Covenant with our Lord Jesus Christ, 

1 The original draught of the covenant, with the autographs of the first 
members, is not to be found. It was undoubtedly the composition of Mr. 
Avery. The oldest copy we have found, the one before the reader, is mostly 
in the handwriting of Col. George Leonard ; a few blank spaces being filled in 
the handwriting of Mr. Avery. The reader will perceive that there is very 
little theological doctrine in it. It was probably intended to be truly a 
covenant, and not a creed; for Mr. Avery was not a man who wished to en- 
slave the human mind. 


through the Graces of his holj Sperit, to Keep ourselves 
dear and free from all Profaine Communion witli the Profaine 
world, and firom all prophane communion with anej societies 
of men not walking acording to the Rules and command 
of Jesus Christ ; and to Keep unto him, according to this our 
Holy covenant, with this Perticuler Instituted Church visbelL 
and further, we do, in the presence of God, and in his holj 
name and fear, Give up ourselves, one unto another, by the 
will of Grod, Covenanting to walk & Live togeather as mem- 
bers of a Church of Christ, Profesing and Practising that one 
only true Religion which is Revealed to us in the word of 
God, bj the doctrine both of faith and obedience, according 
to that Ejiowledge which God has Given us of it; and also 
in the exercise of Brotherly Love and Christian Charety, in 
the Constant Performance of all duties of Church Commu- 
nion, under the Regular administration of word, prayers, 
seals, and censures, even all Church administration, and that 
as Grod shall help us, inoffensively and unblumebly, in order 
unto our mutual! edefycation and consolation. Finally, we do 
Covenant (by God's Grace) to Keep our Communion Pure 
and Intire within ourselves, and to maintaine orderly Com- 
munion with all other orthodox^ and Rightly Constituted 
Churches of Christ ; endevering to Presarve the unity of the 
sperit in the Bond of Peace. 

" This Holy Covenant we Humbly undertake in the name 
and fear of God, with Humble Confidence in and dependance 
upon him for the assistance of his Grace unto the faithfuU 
Performance of all these our holy Covenant duties unto him- 
selfe, and one unto another, with Patience and Perseverance 
to the end with all; Hurabelly and most hartely Praying 
that God would Pardon all our sins, both Past and Present, 
& accept of us as his Covenant People, and become our God. 
to him be Glory in the Church by Jesus Christ throughout 
all ages, world with [out] end. Amen. 

" Dated ye 4th Oct., 1714. 

" George Leonard, John Briggs, John Wetherell, Thomas 
Skinner, Peter Aldrich, Ephraim Grover, Joseph Donham, 
John Skinner, Israel Fisher, Thomas Grover, Nicholas White, 
Seth Dorman, John Hall." 

1 The term " orthodox," as used among the early Puritans, we think, 
meant simply what we mean by the word " congregational" at the present 
time. It was used to designate Ihose who held to a particular torra of 
church governmeut and ordinances from those who dififered from them iu 


The signing of the document is to be regarded only 
as a preliminary step to the full and complete organi- 
zation of the church about three weeks later. The 
day of ordination, and of regularly constituting the 
church,, at length arrived. On the morning of a day 
late in autumn were seen emerging from the woods, 
and coming through the by-paths, in every direction, 
men, women, and children, all seemingly centring to 
one point. Some, the more wealthy and aristocratic 
of the town, are on horseback, with their wives, and 
perhaps one or two children, on the pillion behind 
them. Others are on foot, carrying in one arm an 
infant, and leading with the other hand its older bro- 
ther or sister. The whole town is astir, and strangers 
from the neighboring settlements are also moving 
towards the same central point. That point is the new 
meeting-house, not yet completely finished. The occa- 
sion of this unusually large gathering, and the precise 
date of it, we find by turning to the church-records.. 
The first entry made therein, in the handwriting of 
the first minister, explains the whole matter. It is in 
these words, viz. : " A church was gathered in Nor- 
ton on the 28th of October, in the year of our Lord one 
thousand seven hundred and fourteen."^ The names 
of "those who covenanted as members" are there 
given. They are the same as those who signed the 
covenant, Oct. 4; "and," says the record, "on the 
same day, Oct. 28, 1714, was ordained Mr. Joseph 
Avery as pastor of the church of Christ in Norton. 
He was the first minister in Norton. At his ordination, 
Rev. Samuel Danforth, of Taunton, gave the charge ; 
and the Rev. Thomas Greenward, of Rehoboth, gave the 

this respect. It was used by the Puritans to distinguish themselves from 
the Baptist, Presbyterian, and Quaker sects. &c. There certainly, in times 
past, was as much difiference of theological opinion between those styling 
themselves " Orthodox," as we now find amon^ those denominated " Con- 
gregationalists." In the former term were mcluded Calvinists and Ar- 
minians; as, in the latter, are included Trinitarians and Unitarians. K 
the word " orthodox " was used in its legitimate sense, — ^meaning " sound 
in doctrine,'* — one sect had as much right to claim it as another; for all 
sects honestly believe that their doctrines are sound. 

1 This was in Old Style. In New Style, the date would be Nov. 8, 1714. 


right hand of fellowship." No mention is made of 
any other ministers; yet probably some others were 

The above is every scrap of authentic history that 
has come down to us of the proceedings relative to the 
organization of the church and the settlement of a mini- 
ster. Other persons, several of them the wives of the 
original members of the church, soon united with it ; 
a deacon was chosen, &c. ; of which we shall say more 

At quite an early period of our colonial existence, at 
the gathering of a church, those who proposed to join 
in covenant were required to make a declaration of 
their Christian experience. So also, for many years, 
for admission to a church already organized, a similar 
prerequisite was expected of candidates. The subse- 
quent as well as the original members were required to 
express their assent to the covenant, and to give satis- 
faction concerning their faith. We give below one of 
these confessions, or " experiences " as they were some- 
times called. The date of it is probably about 1743. 

" I desire to bless God for that he hath cast my lot in a 
Gospel Land, whare I have the Glad tidings of a Saviour 
proclaimed in mine ears ; and for that I haue the holy Scrip- 
tures to Read, & to direct me in the ways of God's comands. 
And I allso desiar to bless God for his Goodness to me, that I 
desended of such parents, who taught and instructed me, and 
gaue me up to God in mine infency in baptisem ; which is an 
ordinance apinted by Christ to beleiuers and their infant 
seed. &, notwithstanding God's goodness to me, I haue 
sined against him. I therefore acknowledge, I deserues no- 
thing from the hand of God but his wrath and indgnattion to 
be poured out upon me. But I would bless his most holy 
name that he hath put it into my heart to be making my peace 
with him. I have had a desire for som time to come to the 
Lord's table ; but, being in som measure sensable of my own 
unworthness, I daust not, least, by coming unworthily, I eat 
and drink iudgment to myself. But I haue taken incourige- 
ment from the word of God to come up to this holy ordi- 
nance ; as in marthew xi. 28, ' Come unto me, all ye that 
Labour and are heavy-Laden, & I will giue you rest ;' John vi. 


37, * And he that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.' 
I desire to come hungering and thirsting after Christ, & to 
be putting my trust in him. I allso desire to forsake all sin, 
as it is a braaking of God's holy & ius law. I also desire the 
prayers of this Church to God for me, that so I may become 
a worthy communicant at the Lord's table." 

We have now told our readers all the facts we have 
gathered relative to the establishment of the gospel 
ministry in our town, with the exception of the erec- 
tion of a house of worship, which we shall record in its 
proper place. 

We have seen that a farm had been given the mini- 
ster ; that he had been assisted in the building of a 
dwelling-house, &c. : but we have said nothing relative 
to the occupation of his house by the pastor. Perhaps 
he kept a " bachelor's hall " for a time. Possibly he 
hired a housekeeper for a few years, till he could clear 
up his land, and lay by a little patrimony towards the 
support of a helpmeet and companion. There is no 
record or tradition that he had more than one wife; 
and hence we conclude that he waited till he was 
almost entitled to the first twenty acres willed him by 
Thomas Leonard, before he entered into the family 
relation. The minister's house, as we have said, was 
not finished for some years. But suddenly the people 
wake up to the importance of completing it. A town- 
meeting was held Aug. 4, 1719 ; and from the records 
of it we take the following extracts : — 

" 31y, According to the warant for sd. meating for to Rayse 
monis for to finish the ministr's hous, acordingly Proseded to 
give twenty pounds by way of rate, & Sum by way of free- 
will ofring or. Gift at sd. meeting. 

" 41y, Voted to give ye minister twenty pounds for the finish- 
ing of his hous, to be raised on ye inhabitanc by way of rate, 
nicolas Smith, and Benjamin Williams, and Ebenezer Eddy, 
having given already, are to be Excepted in sd. act ; and John 


Briggs, gran. Sen., on his promis to Give Bricks, is Excepted 

" Nicolas Smith promised to Give Mr. Avery ten shilinds 
in two months, in money or grain, at money-price. 

" Ebenezer Eddy has given — 5 — already. 

" Benjamin Williams has given — 10 — already. 

" John briggs, Grand Sen., promis to give five shilinds' worth 
of good wether brick at the kill at John Gilbard's at taunton. 

^ Nathaniel fisher promis to give ten shilinds in two months 
in worck. 

" John Newland, Sen., promis to give ten shilinds, — five in 
money, & five in worck. 

" John Austen promis to give ten shilinds, — five in money, 
& five in worck. 

" Thomas Skinner and his suns gives twenty shilinds, — ten 
in money, & ten in worck. 

" Uriah Leonard gives ^\e shilinds by promis. 

** John briggs, Sen., promis to give twenty shilinds in worck 
in two months. Jeremiah Newland promis to give three shi- 
linds in two months. John Harvey promis to give twenty 
shilinds (ten in money, & ten in worck) in two months. Jo- 
seph Hodges gave five shilinds money, & two pare of Hocks 
& hinges, at six shilinds' price, in two months. John New- 
land, sen., or benianin Newland, promis to give five shilinds 
in worck in two months. Jonathan Linkoln promis to lath 
the west Chamber. John Andrus promis to lath the East 
Chamber. John Hodges, sen., gives twenty shilinds in money 
Mr. avery oes said Hodges. Left. Nicolas White promis to 
give twenty shilinds money in two months." 

But what roused the people to take hold of this mat- 
ter so earnestly ? No doubt they have heard of the 
minister's frequent visits to Rehoboth, and they suspect 
it is not all out of pure friendship for Rev. Mr. Green- 
wood. Perhaps he had let drop a few words, that " it 
was not good for man to be alone ; " or some '' busy- 
body " from Rehoboth, if they had such folks in those 
days, might have reported that there was a little matri- 
monial speculation going on between the Norton mini- 
ster and the great-grand-daughter of the first minister 
of Rehoboth. These are simply surmises on our part, 
and the reader must take them for what they are 
worth. On the town-books of Rehoboth is the follow- 


ing entry, which certainly gives some foundation for 
the surmises just entertained : — 

" Mr. Joseph Avery, of Norton, and Miss Sarah Newman, 
of Rehoboth, Published the 13th of August, 1720." 

It is evident now why the minister's house should be 
finished. The date of the marriage of Mr. Avery and 
Miss Newman I have not found. It probably took 
place, according to the usual course of things, about 
the 1st of September of the same year ; but whether at 
Rehoboth or elsewhere, is unknown. 

Mrs. Avery was the daughter of Deacon Samuel and 
Hannah Newman ; grand-daughter of Samuel and Ba- 
sheba (Chickering) Newman ; and, without doubt, the 
great-grand-daughter of Rev. Samuel Newman, one of 
the first settlers and the first minister of Rehoboth. 
She was born the 20th of November, 1700 ; and was 
consequently about thirteen years younger than her 
husband, and might have been one of his pupils when 
he kept school at Rehoboth. 


** AH, all are gone, the old &inlliar foees.** — C. Laxb. 

In this chapter we shall give some account of the first 
settlers; all of whom, with but one exception, are 
known to have been here previous to or in 1711, — the 
year the town was incorporated. It is very diiBScult to 
ascertain where some of them lived ; for the town was 
not laid out in regular lots ; but the first proprietors 
took up land where it suited them best, — a piece of 
upland here, and a plat of meadow there : and, in sub- 
sequent divisions, their lots were not always bordering 
upon those previously occupied; so that, when we 


ascertain where any particular man's lot lay, it is not 
certain that his house was on that lot. So far as we 
have been able to ascertain the location of the first 
houses, they were invariably built near to a stream or 
spring of water. Probably the old homesteads of some 
of the pioneer settlers are now covered with a growth of 
wood. The names of the settlers given in this chapter 
we find on the petition for a precinct; or the tax-bill to 
build Mr. Avery's house, already given ; of on a tax- 
bill to build the first meeting-house, which we shall 
give in a subsequent chapter relating to meeting- 
houses. We can find but few gravestones to designate 
the spot where these men are buried, or to tell the 
exact dates of their death. This fact serves to cor- 
roborate the saying of Pope, — 

" Who builds a church to God, and not to fame, 
Will never mark the marble with his name." 

But few of the deaths of the early settlers are even 
recorded on our town-books. From the probate-books, 
however, at Taunton, we can approximate to the time 
of their departure. In most cases the will was proved, 
or an administrator appointed, within a few weeks 
succeeding the demise of the individual. For the 
sake of convenient reference, we have arranged, in 
alphabetical order, the names of the settlers, relative 
to whom we shall now give what few facts we have 

Peter Aldrich settled at the place where Isaac T. 
Braman now lives. He was one of the original mem- 
bers of the church. His wife was Experience , 

married before 1702 ; and they had three children. 
Of his ancestry we know nothing. He was dead pre- 
vious to March 16, 1724-5 ; for his wife was appointed 
administratrix of his estate on that day. 

Deacon John Andrews might have been the son of 
Henry and Mary (Deane) Andrews, who were married 
Feb. 17, 1685-6 ; and was born about 1686. He is 
supposed to have been a grandson of Henry Andrews, 
one of the first settlers of Taunton. He lived a short 
distance easterly of No. 3 Schoolhouse, where Mrs. 


David Woodward now lives (?) ; and was, for several 
years, a deacon of the Congregational church of this 
town. He married Hannah , and had five chil- 
dren. He died Jan. 28, 1763, in his seventy-seventh 
year. We here give his autograph, written in 1752. 

John Austin was the son of Jonah Austin, jun., of 
Taunton ; and was born 1st July, 1671. He lived at 
the east part of the town, near the sawmill above 

Capt. T. Copeland's. His wife's name was Sarah , 

and they had three or more children. When he died 
is unknown. 

Samuel Bayley lived at the east part of Mansfield. 
He married, Aug. 28, 1711, Elizabeth Caswell, and 
had eight or nine children. He died previous to 
March 5, 1754. 

Thomas Braman, Sen., might have been the son of 
Thomas, who, with his wife, were at Taunton, June, 
1653.^ But of his ancestry we are uncertain. He is 
supposed to have lived at the place now occupied by 
Allen D. Lane ; but at what time he settled there is 
unknown. He married Hannah Fisher, Jan. 20, 
1685-6 ; and had nine, perhaps ten, children. He 
died June 7, 1709. His widow died Sept. 18, 1714. 

Thomas Braman, Jun., is supposed to have been the 
son of Tliomas, sen., just mentioned, and to have been 
born about 1686 ; but his name is not recorded with 
the other children of Thomas, sen. He was dead 
previous to May 1, 1725. We do not know in what 
part of the town he lived. 

Daniel Braman was the son of Thomas, sen,, and 
Hannah (Fisher) Braman ; and was born Oct. 11, 
1688. He lived at the place where his father settled. 
He married, Nov. 25, 1714, Rachel Cambell (probably 
the first couple married in town by Rev. Mr. Avery), 

1 See Plymouth- Colony Records, vol. iii. pp. 87 and 88. 


and had six (?) children. He died between May 22 
and 28, 1753. His wife is supposed to have died in 
1756, as her will was probated Nov. 29 of that year. 

Deacon John Briggs was the son of Richard and 
Bebecca (Haskins) Briggs, of Taunton, and was born 
Feb. 26, 1669 (70 ?). He is presumed to have lived 
near the Centre, as he used to sweep the meeting-house, 
and was several times chosen " Clark of ye Market." 
He is supposed to have been the man who was the first 
town-clerk of Norton. On the records he is sometimes 
called John Briggs the eldest, and sometimes grand 
senior. He married (probably second wife) Mary 
Burt, May 29, 1727. He was one of the original 
members of the church, and, for several years, deacon 
of the same ; and died June 29, 1750, in his eighty- 
first year. We here give his autograph ; at any rate, 
that of the first town-clerk. 


Joseph Briggs (brother of Deacon John, last named) 
was born 15th June, 1674. He settled near where 
Laban Lincoln now lives. He married (perhaps liis 
second wife), Oct. 20, 1718, Mehitable Hall; and had 
three children. He died previous to Dec. 18, 1751. 

Richard Briggs was the brother of Deacon John and 
Joseph, just mentioned, and was born 12th January, 
1679. He settled at the place recently owned by Dr. 
Leavet Bates, deceased ; and his house is supposed to have 
stood where the Dr. Bates House now stands, directly 
in front of the Trinitarian meeting-house. His wife 
was Mercy, married about 1706 or 8 ; and they had 
four sons. He died about the 1st of January, 1733 ; 
as his will was proved Jan. 10, 1732-3.^ 

1 In the Centre Burying-ground we find the gravestones of Richard Briggs, 
and Mercy his wife, which say that he died October, 1741, in his fifty-fourth 
year; and that she died September, 1749, in her fifty-sixth year. We think the 
dates on these stones are erroneous. We can find traces of only one Richard 
Briggs, of Norton, so early, except the son of the one whose will was proved 


Deacon John Briggs, Jim., is supposed to have been 
the son of William and Sarah (Macomber) Briggs, of 
Taunton ; and was born 19th March, 1680. He was 
doubtless the same person who was sometimes called 
John Briggs, second and senior. He probably lived 
in the easterly part of the town, and married, previous 
to 1713, Hannah Rocket. He may have been the man 
who married (for second wife ?) Hannah Wetherell in 
1721. His will was probated Aug. 26, 1756; and, 
in it, he mentions eight children. We presume he 
was the John Briggs, second, who was deacon of the 

Samuel Briggs lived at the place now owned by 
Benjamin Sweet. Of his ancestry we know nothing. 
He married, July 27, 1692, Mary Hall, and had several 
children. He died about 1705 (?), and his widow 
married Benjamin Caswell. 

Capt. Samuel Brintnell was the son of Thomas and 
Esther Brintnell (the first settlers of what is now Mans- 
field), and was born Dec. 2 (?), 1665. He lived at 
the homestead of his father, and was a very influential 
man in the early history of the town, — much employed 
in public affairs as selectman, and representative to the 
General Court. I am told by Mrs. Lucilda Brintnell, 
now ninety years old, that his first wife was Margaret 
Carpenter. When she died we know not. He had, 
before 1701, a second wife, Esther. She died Dec. 20, 
1730. May 23, 1734, he married Mrs. Elizabeth Blake, 
of Wrentham. He died between Nov. 19, 1735 (date 
of will), and Jan. 14, 1735-6, when his will was pro- 
bated. In his will, he names six children. 

Samuel Brintnell, Jun., was the son of Samuel, 
just mentioned, and was probably born about 1690, 
and lived near the old homestead. His first wife was 

in 1732-3 ; and he had no wife Mercy, and is known to have been alive many 
years subsequent to 1741. It will be noticed, that, on the gravestones of 
Richard and Mercy, the day of the month they died is not given. The date 
of Richard's death, as given on the gravestone, corresponds exactly with 
that of Richard whose will was proved 1732-8. No doubt Richard and wife 
had been dead so long before the stones were put up, that the dates of their 
deaths were forgotten, and thus the mistake was made. 


Hannah . She died March 20, 1712-13. Dec. 

22, 1726, he married Lydia Briggs, and had three 
children. His wife Lydia was appointed administratrix 
of his estate, Dec. 16, 1740. 

Sylvanus Cambell settled at the place now owned 
by Sanford Freeman, probably before 1700. His house 
is supposed to have stood between Mr. Freeman's and 
Benjamin C. Wetherell's. Of his ancestry we have 

learned nothing. His wife's name was ]^ary , 

and he had fourteen children. His will was probated 
Sept. 1, 1718. 

John Caswell, Sen., was the son of Thomas Caswell, 
of Taunton, and was born July 1, 1656. He settled 
at the east part of what is now Mansfield. He is sup- 
posed to have been the John Caswell who married 
Elizabeth Hall, Nov. 26, 1689. He had six children. 
His estate was appraised March 20, 1713-14. 

John Caswell, Jun., was the son of John, just 
named, and was bom July 19, 1690. He settled at 
the easterly part of Mansfield. He was a lieutenant 
in the expedition to Cape Breton in 1744-5 ; and 
was, no doubt, the Ensign Caswell mentioned in Major 
Joseph Hodges' company ; and was soon promoted to 
the office of lieutenant. In the " Genealogical Regis- 
ter," vol. iv. p. 27, may be seen a letter from his wife to 
him while absent " in the king's service." Her name 
was Hannah, married before 1713 ; and they had ten 
children. He died 18th December, 1773. She died 
6th July, 1769, in her eighty-first year. 

Benjamin Caswell was probably the son of Thomas, 
and the grandson of Thomas, sen., of Taunton, and 
was born Nov. 16, 1675. He probably lived some- 
where in the east part of Mansfield. He married, 
March 17, 1706-7, Mary, widow of Samuel Briggs, 
and had five children by her. The date of his death 
is unknown. 

James Caswell is supposed to have been the brother 
of Benjamin, and was born May 17, 1681. We know 
nothing more of him. 

John Cobb might have been the son of John and 


Jane (Woodward) Cobb, of Taunton, and was born 
March 31, 1678. He is supposed to have lived near 
where Albert Skinner now lives. His wife's name was 
Susannah. The leaf on which the births of his chil- 
dren were recorded in the town-records is lost. His 
son John was appointed administrator of his estate, 
Sept. 15, 1724. 

William Cobb was, perhaps, a brother of John. He 
lived in the easterly part of the town. His wife was 
Mary Newland, married Feb. 11, 1694-5, and is sup- 
posed to have been a daughter of Jeremiah and Kathe- 
rine Newland, of Taunton ; for, Jan. 10, 1700-1, John 
Wetherell, William Wetherell, Jeremiah Newland, Wil- 
liam Cobb, John Newland, Benjamin Newland, Anthony 
Newland, and Nicholas Smith, enter into an agreement 
relative to tlie property of said Jeremiah and Kathe- 
rine, whom they call their father and mother.^ I can 
find no account of children. 

Seth Dorman settled in the east part of what is now 
Mansfield. Of his birth and parentage we can learn 
nothing. He was probably from some town in Essex 
County, as there were Dormaus in that vicinity. He 
was one of the original members of the church. He 
married Sarah Thayer, of Braintree, Aug. 13, 1715 ; 
and had six children. He died Dec. 21, 1741. 

Joseph Dunham lived on Lockety Neck, easterly of 
the road leading from Elbridge G. Hunt's to the Cop- 
per-works. It is uncertain whether he was here as 
early as 1711 or not ; but, as he was one of the origi- 
nal members of the churcli, we have honored him with 
a place in this chapter. He married Bethiah Chase, 
June 19, 1706 ; but no record of children has been 

Ebenezer Eddy was the son of John and Deliverance 
(Owin) Eddy, of Taunton, grandson of Samuel and 
Elizabeth Eddy, of Plymoutli, great-grandson of Rev. 
William Eddy, a nonconformist minister of Cranbrook, 
Kent County, England, and was born 16th May, 

1 Probate Records, vol. ii. p. 67, &c. 


1676 (?). He settled near Crane's Depot ; perhaps 
where John or Elijah Eddy live. He married proba- 
bly, 1702, Mary Fisher (?) ; and had eight children. 
An administrator of his estate was appointed Dec. 4, 
1756. His autograph was written in 1723. 


Elbazer Eddy was a brother of Ebenezer, and was 
born 16th October, 1681. He lived on the place now 
owned by George B. Crane ; and his house stood west- 
erly of Mr. Crane's, near the road that leads to Daniel 
Gallegan's. He married, Feb. 6, 1722-3, Elizabeth 
Cobb, of Taunton; and had ten children. He was 
a carpenter. He died Dec. 8, 1739. There was an 
Eleazer Eddy who married Elizabeth Randall, March 27, 
1701. It is possible that he was the man, and that 
Miss Cobb was his second wife. 

Joseph Elliot lived at the east part of Mansfield. 
Of his ancestry we are ignorant. His wife was Han- 
nah , married before 1711; and they had seven 

children. He died in March or April, 1752. 

Samuel Fisher was the son of Daniel and Hannah 
Fisher, of Taunton, and was born 3d December, 1669. 
He is supposed to have lived in the neighborhood of 
where Albert S. Tucker now (1858) lives. His wife 
Lydia was appointed administratrix of his estate, Oct. 
20, 1724. 

Eleazer Fisher was the brother of Samuel ; and was 
born 12th May, 1673. He lived near where Deacon Al- 
mond Tucker lived in 1855. He married Hannah 
Eddy, 24th December, 1696 ; and had ten children. He 
died between Nov. 16 and Dec. 3, 1750, when his will 
was probated. His autograph was written in 1727. 

^^Jij.<H^ }iU, 



Israel Fisher was born 27th March, 1680 ; and is 
supposed to have settled near his brothers, Samuel and 
Eleazer. He was one of the original members of the 
church* His wife's name was Susannah , mar- 
ried before 1710 ; and they had five children. 

Nathaniel Fisher was a brother of those just men- 
tioned, and was born 9th February, 1681. He proba- 
bly lived near Barrowsville. He married Deborah , 

about 1705 ; and had eight children. His will was 
dated March 27, and probated April 11, 1761. 

Thomas Grover was the son of Thomas and Sarah 
(^Chadwick) Grover, of Maiden, and was born, ac- 
cording to records, March, 1668 (1669 ?). He settled 
near what is now West Mansfield. He and his bro- 
thers, Andrew and Ephraim, bought land in company, 
Nov. 14, 1702 ; and built their houses some forty or 
fifty rods apart, forming a sort of equilateral triangle. 
Thomas's house was where John T. Tobit now lives, on 
the road leading to the Christian Chapel. Andrew's 
house was where Rev. N. S. Chadwick now lives, on 
the road leading to Mansfield Centre ; and Ephraim's 
house was on the road now leading to the Depot, at 
West Mansfield. Thomas married, July 29, 1697, 
Mary Cox ; and had three children born at Maiden, 
and three others at Norton. 

Andrew Grover, the brother of Thomas, was born 

October, 1673. His wife's name was Mary , married 

about 1697 ; and they had three children born at Mai- 
den, before removing to Norton, and seven afterwards. 
He is supposed to have died about 1751. 

Deacon Ephraim Grover, a brother of those pre- 
viously mentioned, was born about 1675. He married 
in 1700, at Maiden, Mary Pratt ; and they had four (?) 
children. He was for some years deacon of the 
church in the North Precinct of Norton (Mansfield). 
He died Feb. 25, 1766. 

John Hall is supposed to have been the son of Sa- 
muel Hall, of Taunton, and born 19th October, 1666. 
He lived in the Mansfield part of Norton, near to Cob- 
bler's Corner, probably on the east side of Rumford 


River ; and was, at one time, one of the owners of a 
gristmill njear Cobbler's Corner. He married Elizabeth 
King, Dec. 17, 1696. He is supposed to have been the 
person who had a wife Esther in 1711, and a wife Ruth 
in 1720 ; and who married Sarah Welman, March 7, 
1726-7. He was one of the original members of the 
church. He is supposed to have been dead previous to 
1738. We here give his autograph, written in 1716. 


Ebenezeb Hall was the brother of John, born 
19th March, 1677. In what part of the town he settled, 
or what became of him, we are not informed. He (?) 
married Jane Bumpus, June 22, 1704. 

Nathaniel Harvey has left behind him but very few 
traces. His wife's name was Susannah ; and she was 
one of the first persons who called for aid from the 
town. There was some controversy between Norton 
and Taunton relative to her legal residence ; but in 
April, 1713, the Court of Sessions decided that Mr. 
Harvey and his wife were inhabitants of Norton, and 
their relations were ordered to give assistance to Su- 

John Hodges was the son of John and Elizabeth 
(Macy) Hodges, of Taunton (grandson of William 
Hodges, who was at Taunton in 1643), and was born 
5th April, 1673. He settled at the place where Noah 
Smith now lives; but his house was farther down 
towards the river. He was town-clerk for several 
years, and was much employed in transacting business 

for the town. He married Mary , and had six 

children. He died Jan. 20, 1743-4. The autograph 
we give was written in 1739. 

Nathaniel Hodges was the brother of John, and 
was born 2d April, 1675. He settled at the place now 


owned by Thomson Tripp ; and his house stood back 
from the road, about midway from Mr. Tripp's to L. 
0. Makepeace's. He kept the first public-house (1712) 
in town of which we have any account. He married 
Hannah Dean, and had nine children. He died (?) 
8d March, 1760. His wife died Jan. 3, 1768, in her 
eighty-fifth year. 

Samuel Hodges was a brother of the above, and was 
born 20th May, 1678. He settled at the place easterly 
of J. 0. Messenger's, now owned by D. and S. Holman, 
of Attleborough. He was much employed in town- 
affairs. He kept tavern, from 1713, seven or eight years. 
His first wife was Experience Leonard, married Dec. 31, 
1700. She died Aug. 24, 1716. March 7, 1717, he 
married Mary Allen, of Taunton. She died 21st August, 
1723. He had, by both wives, seven children ; and 
died probably in April, 1725. 

William Hodges was also a brother of those just 
mentioned, and was born 6th June, 1682. He settled 
near the common graveyard, just beyond Austin Mes- 
senger's, where Rev. Joseph Palmer afterwards lived. 
His wife's name was Hannah Tisdale, married Feb. 8, 
1710 ; and he had two children by her. She died 
7th March, 1715, aged twenty-six. His second wife was 

Clapp, and they had four children. He did not 

remain in town many years ; but probably, on the death 
of his father in 1719, or soon after, removed to the 
old homestead in Taunton, where he is believed to 
have died June 23, 1766. 

John Lane was the son of Andrew and Tryphena 
Lane, of Hingham, and grandson of William Lane, 
who came to Dorchester from England (?) in 1635-6, 
and died about 1654. John Lane was a shoemaker ; 
and married, June 18, 1674, Mehitable Hobart. She 
died at Hingham, Feb. 15, 1690. His second wife was 
Sarah . About 1694, he came to Norton, and set- 
tled on the farm now owned by his descendant, George 
Lane, near the line of Attleborough, a part of his farm 
being in the latter town ; and possibly he lived for a 
short time in Attleborough, as the birth of several of his 


children are recorded in that town. He had twelve 
children ; and from him, through his son Ephraim, are 
descended all the Lanes now of Norton: but it is 
uncertain whether Ephraim was by the first or second 
wife; but we think the former. He died Nov. 23, 
1712. His gravestone says his age was sixty-two; 
which would make him bom in 1650. The Hingham 
record says he was born Jan. 20, 1648. Doubtless the 
gravestone is incorrect. 

Hon. George Leonard, the son of Judge Thomas 
and Mary (Watson) Leonard, of Taunton, grandson of 
James and Margaret Leonard, who came to Taunton in 
1652, and great-grandson of Thomas Leonard, of Pon- 
typool, Wales, was born 18th April, 1671. This family 
of Leonards claimed descent from Lennard Lord Dacre, 
one of the most distinguished families of the nobility of 
the United Ejngdom ; and descended in two lines from 
Edward IH., through two of his sons, John of Gaunt, 
Duke of Lancaster, and Thomas Plantaganet, Duke of 
Gloucester. There appears to be some ground for this 
claim, from the fact that the arms of the Lennard and 
Leonard families were the same. Near the close of the 
last century, the last Lord Dacre, bearing the name of 
Lennard, died ; and it is supposed that the late Judge 
Leonard — who was a grandson of George, who first 
settled in Norton — could have claimed the title. At 
any rate, there was some consultation among the 
Leonards in this vicinity upon the propriety of claim- 
ing it ; but I am told the matter ended by the Judge 
saying that "he preferred to be lord of acres in 
America, rather than Lord Dacre in England." ^ 
Whether descended from Lord Dacre or not, the 
subject of this sketch, and his descendants, lived 
very much in the style of the English nobility ; being 
the owners of an immense tract- of land, and sur- 
rounded by their tenantry. Probably no family in 
New England were lords of more acres than the 

Norton Leonards. The ancestors of George Leonard 

• ■ — . — — — 

1 For more particulars of the Leonard family than are given here, see 
Genealogical Register, yoI. v. p. 403 and onward. 



were interested in the iron-works, both in England 
and America ; and, as we have already stated, he acted 
as the agent of his father, and uncle James, in setting 
up, in 1695, the first hloomery, or iron-forge, within 
the limits of our town. The house (built before 1700) 
in which George Leonard lived is still standing, and is 
said to have been the first framed house erected in 
town. We here give a picture of it as it now (1858) 

The L, on the right, is the original structure. The 
m^n body of the house is supposed to have been built, 
aifer the death of the first Geoi^, by his son Geor^. 
The house is now owned by William, Don F., Charles 
D., and Oliver H. Lane, and others. Many of the 
venerable trees, which have surrounded the house and 
adorned the grounds for ages, have recently been 
despoiled by the woodman's axe ; and thus the place 
has been shorn of much of its ancient grandeur. In 
1707, the subject of this notice bought his uncle 
James's half of the iron-works and land ; and in 
1713, on the death of his father, came into the 
possession of the other half. He was the leading 


man among the first settlers of Norton; one of the 
first board of selectmen; the first representative to 
the General Court ; the first justice of the peace ; and 
his name was first attached to the church-covenant. 
At the time of his death (Sept. 5, 1716), he held 
the office of major in the militia, and judge of the 
Court of Common Pleas. He married, 4th July, 1695, 
Anna Tisdale, daughter of John and Hannah (Rogers) 
Tisdale, of Taunton, and had eleven children, the 
last of whom was born after his death. His widow 
subsequently married Nathaniel Thomas, of Plymouth, 
and died September, 1733, aged sixty-one. 

In a poem, published on the occasion of his death, 
he was styled " The prudent, pious, worthy, and wor- 
shipful Major George Leonard, Esquire." ^ We here 
give his autograph, written in 1713.2 

Benjamin Newland, the son of Jeremiah and Kathe- 
rine Newland, of Taunton, was born about 1670 (?). 
He settled at the place now owned by Deacon A. D. 
Hunt. He married Sarah Leonard, July 23, 1702, 
and had two children. He married (second wife) 
Elizabeth Caswell, Nov. 29, 1716. He died in 1754. 
She died Nov. 4, 1739. 

John Newland was a brother of Benjamin, and 
lived on the opposite side of the brook from where 
Thomas Copeland now lives. The leaf where a por- 
tion, at least, of his children's births were recorded, is 
lost. There were a John and Hannah Newland, who 
had five children, born between 1722 and 34. It is 
possible that he was the same individual ; and Hannah 
might have been his second wife. 

1 See Judicial History of Massachusetts, by Hon. Emory Washburn, 
p. 868. 

3 As he had a son and a grandson bearing the same name as himself, who 
were leading men in the town and state, the three have been distinguished 
respectively as "Major" George, "Colonel" George, and "Judge" George 


Jabez Pratt was, perhaps, the son of Jonathan, of 
Plymouth ; born Nov. 1, 1673. He owned land near 
where Deacon Jason F. Alden lives, and was here as 
early as 1695. He married Elizabeth Cobb, Feb. 23, 
1697-8, and probably died, or removed from town, 
soon after its incorporation. We here insert his auto- 
graph, written in 1695. 

Ja ^c^ 

William. Pratt has left few materials for a biogra- 
phy. The leaf where the births of his children were 
recorded is missing from the town-records. His wife 
Experience was admitted to Mr. Avery's church, Nov. 7, 
1714 ; dismissed from the church at Weymouth. 

Ephraim Sheldon settled in the westerly part of 
Mansfield. Of his pedigree we are ignorant. He had 

a wife, Jane , married before 1709 ; and four or 

more children, a portion of whom were born in Nor- 
ton. He early removed to Attleborough ; and there 
we lose all traces of him. 

Isaac Shepard was the son of Thomas and Hannah 
(Ensign) Shepard, and was born at Charlestown in 
April or May, 1682. His father was first in Maiden, 
then in Medford, Charlestown, and Brookline, and 
died at Milton. Isaac lived at the place now owned 
by Elkanah Wheeler, and came to Norton about 1707. 
He married Elizabeth Fuller, of Cambridge (?), Dec. 31, 
1702 ; and had nine children. He died June 24, 
1724 ; and from him, through his son Isaac, was de- 
scended the celebrated Miss Mary Lyon, the founder 
of the Mount-Holyoke Female Seminary at South 

Thomas Skinner, the son of Thomas and Mary (?) 
Skinner, and grandson of Thomas, who came from 

1 For this fact, and for most of the items relating to Isaac Shepard, I am 
indebted to Lucius M. Boltwood, Esq., of Amherst; who has a very com- 
plete history of the Norton branch of the Shepard family. He is the grand- 
son of Rev. Mase Shepard, of whom we shall speak in another place. 


Chichester, England, about 1650, and settled in Mai- 
den, was born November, 1668. He settled in the 
westerly part of the North Purchase, now Mansfield, 
as early as 1695 ; for his name appears as one of the 
proprietors of the North Purchase on a deed of land 
to Thomas and James Leonard, already mentioned. 
He is believed by some to have settled fu:st in Wren- 
tham, because some of his children's births are re- 
corded there. He doubtless attended meeting at 
Wrentham, because it was much nearer than Taunton ; 
but I am confident that he did not reside there. He 
was one of the original members of our church, and 
the first schoolmaster of Norton. He married Hannah 
Carpenter (?) about 1694, and had eight children. 
His will was made June 9, 1757, in his eighty-ninth 
year ; and was probated May 19, 1750 : so that he was 
in the ninetieth year of his age when he died. We here 
give his autograph, written in 1722. 

John Skinner was a brother, or perhaps only half- 
brother, of Thomas : for Mary, the wife of Thomas 
Skinner, died at Maiden, April 9, 1671 ; and John was 
born April, 1673. He settled in the west part of the 
North Purchase about the time Thomas did; was a 
proprietor, and his name is attached to the deed of the 
proprietors to the Leonards. He was a member of 
our church at its organization. His wife's name was 

Sarah , married about 1696 ; and they had seven 

children. He was living in 1738 ; but when he died 
is uncertain. There was a John Skinner who died at 
Wrentham, April 8, 1754 ; and he might have been 
the man. His autograph was written in 1695. 

Nicholas Smith was the " step-child ** of F^mer 
Smith, of Taunton, and was born 21st February, 
1672. He is supposed to have lived near where 



Hathaway Leonard now lives. Before 1762, he moved 
to Taunton, and died there about the beginning of the 
year 1759. His first wife was Mercy Newland (?), 
married before 1713. She died Oct. 10, 1723. His 
second wife was Jerusha Leonard, married Jan. 21, 
1724-6. By both wives, he had twelve children. 

John Sbhth is supposed to have been the son of 
John and Jael (?) (Parker) Smith, of Taunton, and 
to have been bom 6th December, 1680 ; but there is 
much doubt as to his paternity. There was a John 
Smith, jun., and Mary Briggs, of Norton, married 
Nov. 9, 1714. 

Thomas Stephens was the son of Richard Stephens, 
of Taunton, and was born 3d February, 1674. He 
is supposed to have lived near the centre of the town. 
In 1712, he had land laid out to him on Lockety 
Neck, near the junction of Rumford and Wading 
Rivers. He was one of the first board of selectmen. 
He married Mary Caswell, Sept. 28, 1699. I find no 
record of his children on the town-books ; but three are 
buried in the Centre Burying-ground. He is supposed 
to have died soon after 1762. His autograph was 
written in 1716. ^ 

Robert Tucker lived between Barrowsville and 
John Harvey's, and is believed to have been there as 
early as 1698. We have learned nothing of his an- 
cestry. His will was probated Feb. 16, 1724-5. His 
wife's name was Mehitable , and they had six chil- 

William Wetherell was the son of the first settler 
of Norton, and was bom about 1650 (?). He lived 
at the place where his father is supposed to have first 
" pitched " his habitation within the limits of Norton, 
near the outlet of Winneconnet Pond. From the first 
settler, through him, are descended the present Wil- 
liam Wetherell, and William Wetherell, jun. ; who are 
believed to be the seventh and eighth of this name 
in regular succession. He married, 1681, Elizabeth 


Newland ; and had four, and probably more, children. 
He died about 1729. His autograph was written in 

William Wetherell, Jun., was the son of William, 
last named, and grandson of the first settler. The date 
of birth is unknown. His wife Hannah, and child, 
late of Freetown, were warned out of Norton, July 20, 
1729. He is believed to have had a son William and 
other children, probably by a .wife previous to Han- 
nah ; but no records of his family can be found. 

Jeremiah Wetherell was the son of William and 
Elizabeth (Newland) Wetherell; but when born is 
unknown. He lived at the east part of the town, and 
afterwards moved into Taunton. He married Rachel 
Basset, March 26, 1713. He subsequently had a wife 
Sarah. His will was probated July 7, 1752, and he 
names three children in it. We give his autograph, 
written in 1724. 

John Wetherell was the son of William, the first 
settler, and was born in 1664. He settled at tlie 
place now owned by Thomas Copeland ; and his house 
stood a few feet southerly, on the opposite side of the 
road from Mr. Copeland's house. He was an original 
member of the church, one of the first board of select- 
men, and one of the leading men in the town. His 
wife*s name was Susannah Newland (?), married about 
1687, and they had eight children. His autograph 
was written hi 1747 ; and he is supposed to have died 
soon afterwards » 

John Wetherell, Jun., the son of John, already 
mentioned, was born Oct. 8, 1688, and is said to 


have been the first child born within the limits of Nor- 
ton. He lived at the east part of the town, upon the 
old homestead. He married Hannah Brintnell (?) 
before 1715, and had five or more children. 

Deacon Nicholas White was the son of Nicholas 
and Ursilla (Macomber) White, of Taunton, and 
grandson of Nicholas, of Taunton,^ and was born 
Feb. 3, 1675. He settled within the limits of Mans- 
field, close to the line between the old town of Taimton 
and the North Purchase, at the place where Charles 
N. Hall now lives, and is supposed to have built the 
house now occupied by Mr. Hall. He was one of the 
most influential men in the town ; being the first town- 
treasurer; for eleven years, one of the selectmen; a rep- 
resentative to the General Court, and the first deacon 
of the church, &c. His wife was Experience King, 
married June 2, 1703 ; and they had nine (?) children. 
He died Sept. 2, 1743, and was buried on his own 
farm, a few feet northerly from the front-door of Nehe- 
miah Hall's house ; but no stone marks the spot, and 
the ploughshare has again and again disturbed the 
soil beneath which his body rests. Ought this to be 
so? We give his autograph, written in 1727. 

Matthew White was a brother of Deacon Nicholas, 
and was born Oct. 25, 1676. He lived not far distant 
from his brother, in Mansfield. He married Susannah 
Hall, July 10, 1710. For second wife, he married 
Damaris Deane (about 1716), and had four children. 
The date of his death we have not found. 

Edward White lived at the east part of the town ; 
but we can learn nothing of him, except that he mar- 
ried Rebecca Wetherell, May 3, 1710. 

Deacon Benjamin Williams was the son of Joseph 
and Elizabeth Williams, of Taunton, grandson of 

1 He is supposed to have been the same person, made a freeman in 1642, 
who married Susannah, daughter of Jonas and Frances Humphrey, and was 
at Dorchester in 1662. 


Richard and Francis (Dighton) Williams, and was 
bom 15th October, 1681. He settled, about the time 
of his marriage, at the northerly part of Mansfield, 
near where Benjamin Williams (his descendant) now 
lives, close by the Providence Railroad. He was much 
employed in town-affairs ; and, for some years, was 
deacon of the North-Precinct (Mansfield) church. He 
married Elizabeth Deane, Dec. 4, 1707, and they had 
nine children. He died Jan. 10, 1757. His wife died 
March 18, 1758. His autograph was written in 1723. 



*^ Alas ! how light a cause may moye 
BissensioD between hearts that love ! " 


Mr. Avery's ministry was far from a peaceful one, as 
will be seen in the pages that follow. We give what 
facts we have been able to gather from a few scattered 
papers collected from various sources. 

For about four years after his settlement, we hear of 
no schisms or difficulties in the church to create ill 
feelings among its members, or to impair the usefulness 
of the pastor. But the serpent was not idle : he was 
creeping stealthily around the fold ; ready, upon a 
favorable moment, to spit forth his venom. The op- 
portunity soon came, — probably in the latter part of 
the year 1718. Some difficulty arose between Mrs. 
Anna Leonard (widow of the late Major George 
Leonard, deceased) and her son George on the one 
side, and the assessors of Norton on the other, about 
the rates. 


Prom the town-records, it appears that Mrs. Leonard 
and her son considered themselves overrated. They 
and. the assessors could not agree about the matter. 
The diflSculty was carried to court for adjustment. 
The court made an abatement of £1. 10s. 8d. of Mrs. 
Leonard's tax. The town refused to pay the assessors' 
charges for contesting the matter at the court, &c.^^ 

In all such diflSculties, each party generally has its 
friends and adherents, who make common cause with 
them. Such was, no doubt, the fact in this instance. 
The contest seems to have waxed warm, and spread 
quite extensively. It soon found its way into the 
church. Accusations and insinuations, and many 
other unchristian imputations, were, no doubt, the 

1 Since writing the above, I have found the decree of the Supreme Judi- 
cial Court relative to the matter, made at Boston, Sept. 12, 1721 ; and we 
lay it before the reader: — 

" John Hodges, John Wetherell, and John Skinner, assessors of the town 
of Norton in the year 1719, appellants, vs, Anna Leonard, Samuel Brint- 
nell, and George Leonard, all or said Town, Appellees from the Order or 
sentance of a Court of General Sessions of the Peace, held at Bristol, for the 
County of Bristol, by adjournment, on the first Wednesday of August, 1720. 
Whereas, at a Court of General Sessions of the Peace, held at Bristol on the 
second Tuesdav of January last, the said Assessors of Norton were com- 
plained of by the now Appellees for not Easing them in their Rates, made 
for defraying the charges of the sd. Town in the year 1719, in which said rates 
was Included twenty Pounds for finishing the Minister's house, and also his 
salary; and, upon hearing the matter, the Court Ordered the aforesaid Rates 
to be set aside ; and the said Assessors were ordered to new-make sd. Rates, 
and commit them to the constable, as by the copy of the Court's Order on 
file appears, and, complaint having been made to the sd. Court of Sessions 
tiiat tne order of Court hath not been complied with, sundry orders were issued 
out to cite the said Assessors to appear to answer for their non-compliance 
with the aforesaid order; and, they not being to be found, the said Court or- 
dered that the Clerk issue out a warrant to apprehend the said assessors, in 
order to their becoming bound by Recognizance to appear at the said ad- 
journment of Court, in August, 1720, to answer as well for their contempt 
as for not complying with the Court's order: when they appeared, and 

gave reason why they had not complyed therewith; viz.: Because they 
eard the Parties, that had Complained of said Rates, said they would com- 
Slain again. But, for their oflence, the Court then ordered them to pay a 
ne of forty shillings, and cost of Court; who then moved for an appeal from 
the said Court's order, but were denied. And the said appeal is now 
brought forward by order of the Great and General Court; and, after a full 
bearing of both parties, It is considered by the court, that the said Court's 
order, or Sentence, be, and hereby is. Reversed; and that the app'lts. go 
without day; and that all Bills of cost taxed against the town of Norton 
be, and hereby are. Declared void, and of no Eflect." * 

* Supreme-Coort Records, from 1721-25, p. 19. 


cause of many lamentations on the part of those who 
wished to greet every one they met with the gospel 
salutations of "Peace be unto you;" "Let brotherly 
love continue." To use a common yet expressive 
phrase, the church was soon " up in arms/' and had 
each other "by the ears." 

It was, no doubt, the trouble growing out of this 
affair, that induced the church to pass the following 
vote: — 

" July 27th, 1719. — At a Church-meeting, the church did 
then approve of the Platforme of Church Discipline; and 
did agree, by vote, to Practise according to the Rule of it." 

John Skinner, one of the assessors making the rate 
objected to, seems to have been the " bellweather " 
of the opposition to Mrs. Leonard and son. He accused 
them of lying, and gave wings to other slanderous 

The church did not probably approve of the course 
he pursued. This inflicted a wound upon his pride, 
and he absented himself from the holy ordinances of 
Christianity ; or perhaps he did this because he could 
not in conscience commune with those he deemed 
guilty of falsehood and other unchristian practices. 
But, whatever might have been the cause of his non- 
attendance upon the ordinances, the church, in order 
to bring him to repentance, suspended him from their 
fellowship. But, as is generally the case, this suspen- 
sion did not send the arrow of sorrow and repentance 
to his heart. Instead of allaying, it rather increased, 
the flame. 

The pastor at length became implicated in the crimi- 
nations. Something decisive must now be done, or 
the church will be broken up. The advice of a coun- 
cil of five churches is invoked ; and all parties agreed 
to abide by their decision. The churches, convened 
by their pastors and messengers, were Rev. Peter 
Thatcher's, of Middleborough, who was moderator of 
the council; Rev. John Danforth's, of Dorchester; 
Rev. Joseph Baxter's, of Medfield ; Rev. John Swift's, 


of Pramingham ; and Rev. Richard Billings's, of Little 
Gompton, R.I. • 

The result or decision of the council, I have been 
fortunate enough to find. It is a long document ; but, 
as it throws more light upon the whole matter than 
can be obtained from any other source, we give it 
entire : — 

" After solemn Invocation of the Divine name, &c, — 

" A Publick hearing of all Parties, the Council of 5 Churches 
convened at Norton, novem. 13, 1722. 

" I. That by the Letters, that required us to assemble in 
Council at Norton, we were notified that mr. John Skinner, a 
Brother in full Communion, had a Complaint to offer to Con- 
sideration, & that some questions might be proposed for Reso- 
lution, and all in the Chh. had agreed & resolved to be deter- 
mined by the Judgment & Advice yt should be offered them 
by the Council ; and that we take notice with great Thankful- 
ness to God and our Lord Jesus Christ, & look upon it as a 
Token for good, and would hope yt ye Lord hath graciously 
began to prepare them for ye great blessings of Peace and 
union, which, we pray to God, may be restored unto them. 

^^ II. That an occasion of the great altercations was an 
exception taken att some apply cations made to the Court; 
and that, in one of ym, madm. Leonard and her son made an 
averment to the Court, In the Complaint of over-ratement, yt 
an abatement of the Rates had been refused by ye Assessors, 
now, wee find that the assessors did not refuse to make an 
abatement, if it could be demonstrated to them to be their duty 
to make it ; but, their delay of making it till the court came to 
sit being by Legal construction and denomination a refusal, 
they used it [as] the Legal term of Refusal in the said com- 
plaint to the court, now, brother Skinner, not So thurly con- 
sidering the Leagle Sence of the word Refusal, but under- 
standing it according to the acceptation and use of it in Com- 
mon talk, apprehended to import a scandlus falshod. Charging 
the Said mad. Leonard & her son with lying, & procuring 
some delays to the admission of young nu*. L. to ye Lord's 
Table ; & on yt account absenting himself also, perhaps about 
2 years, from ye L. T., because ye chh. did not see cause of 
chh. Dealing with md. L. & her Son for sd. apprehended 
lying. In all which we Judge our Br. Skinner to have been 


in the wrong, and je chb. to have been in ye right ; nor can 
we find anj weight at all in his pleas, either for forcing the 
matter into debate in ye chh., then ready for ye eruption of 
the fiame of strife, or for ye extenuating of, much less for the 
absolving him from, ye Fault condemned by our Synod (Plat- 
form, Chap. 14, Sec. 9), of ye absenting himself from ye com- 
munion of ye chh. at the L. S. 

" III. That, our B. Skinner having declared unto some his 
resolution not to return to the Communion untill the chh. 
would deal with madm. Leonard & her son for lying, wee 
find the Revd. Pastor proposed to the chh., whether the chh. 
should not bear testimony against his fault by suspending him 
from the Lord's Supper, in hopes, by divine blessing, to be a 
means to recover him to a better frame ; and the chh., all that 
were then present of the fraternity, excepting two persons, 
consented and agreed to the proposal, and that the suspension 
was pased in ye chh., not by lifting of the hands, but by a 
silential vote. The usual method amongst us hath been, that 
altho' offences have been open and long continued, & altho' it 
[is] known yt most of the chh. are greatly' offended at the 
same, yet, before the suspension has been voted, the offender 
hath been cited to appear before ye chh. (the chh. being in 
peace) to show Cause & Reason (if any there be) why he 
should not have been suspended from ye Ld's. Supr. for big 
open fault, wherein he obstinately continued ; and we beleve 
yt our Practice therein is according to ye rule, and ye con- 
terary is Irregler. and we understand yt ye Reson why ye 
Like method was not taken with brother Skiner was, yt it 
was supposed by ye Reverend Pastor and some others, yt if 
ye sd. Brother Skiner had been Solemly Gted to appear 
before ye church, having strong adherants, it twould have 
Produced uncomfortable clamor, violent Eritations, Exacerba- 
tions, unworthy Reflections, and a terable increase of ye 
fiames of Strife, to ye high disoner of God and mischef of 
soles, which ye Pastor was unwilling to open ye dore unto ; 
and ye Rather Becase Grevios Reflections mad upon him, an4 
at a Certain fast had asked ye sd. Brother Skiner ye Reson 
of his withdrawment, and sd. Brother Skiner Gave him two 
Resons : one of ym was ye Churche's way of Baptising ; and 
ye other was ye chh's. Refusing to deel with madam Leonard 
and her Sone for leying, in a petition to ye Court, before men- 
tioned, however, if such a case should hapen againe, so dain- 
geres to sett a church on fire, our advice would be yt ye chh* 



should not Proceed without ye Presance and advice of a 
council of chhs. 

" However, we are of ye opinion yt ye chh. hath not dis- 
pencd no grater sencer to Brother Skiner than his fait 
deserved, if yt ye vote for it, tho' a silential vote, was a firm 
and Grood vote ; and we, in Some cases in our chhs., do make 
silenciall votes : and, in Sundry cases, we judge it to be ye best 
way of voting, conducing most to ye Glory of God, ye Peace 
and Good of ye chh. 

" IV. As to ye Revd. Pastor, his redress to ye revd. & aged 
Pastor of taunton for advice, or at any time to ye revd. asso- 
ciation, wee juge that therein he acted prudently and accord- 
ing to the rules of the holy word of god, and agreeabl enough 
to our Platform of chh. desipline. 

" V. It apears not to us yt ye revd. mr. Avery, the Pastor, 
hath been guilty of any Criminal partiality in his conduct in 
this affair, but he hath been unreasonably charged with it, & 
reproached for it, & unworthyly treated and put to greif on 
that account ; nor can we find any one of the sundry allega- 
tions, exhibited against him as criminal, sufficiently evi- 
denced; nor can wee judge him or believe him criminal 

*' VI. It is our judgment, that baptizing according to the 
advice of ye synod that met at Boston anno Dom. 1662 is 
according to the word of God, & we believe is pleasing in 
his Sight, and yt Br. Thomas Skinner ought to attend ye rules 
in ye synod for the Baptism of his children. 

" VII. As we have been informed, there hath been an ordi- 
nance of parliament, that no confession of any party, made to 
or before any presbitery, Consistory of chh., shall be excepted 
or Improved in any Court of civil Justice against any person 
whatsoever : so we judge it unreasonable and unchristian yt 
any Person or Persons Shall Prosecute in ye Law or other 
ways any singell evedence, or any Singell Person, who hath 
Given testimony before ys councell ; as singell evedence, in- 
trogated by sivell authority, and swome, is not Liabell to be 
cast in any action of Defamation, meerely because he is 
a singell evidence, for Singel evedences, Interogated by a 
solemn Councell of churches, and called upon to speak to any 
particular, we think ought not to be Prosecuted in ye law, 
because they are singell evedences : and such Prosecuting of 
any witneses whomesoever, who have testified before ys coun- 
cill, we believe will tend to continew or Revive ye fiames of 


Strife, and be a means of Preventing ye speedy and steddy 
peace which is greatly desired; and therefore we declare 
against it. 

" VIII. Our judgment is, yt ye Teaching Elders, together 
with ye Ruling Elders, if ye chh. have any, ought to Inquire 
into ye Knoledg and experence of such as desire to joyne in 
fall conamunion with ye chh., and of such as desire to lay hold 
on ye covenant, before they be Propounded to ye church. 

'^ IX. It's most eligabell that complaints, evedences, and con* 
fesions be given in unto ye Pastor in writing, and by him 
communicated (If he judg fit) to ye church, to be further 
sifted by Proper Interogatories if need be. 

" X. We think ye Pastor and other Elders, or, in want of El- 
ders, ye Decons or other Princeple members, may have ye 
first cognicence of cases, and yt they should Issue such as 
they find Isuabell by them acording to Scripture Rule; and 
yt they are not bound to give ye chh. ye first hearing of every 
case, or of any case ; yea, of many cases, not to give them ye 
Publick hearing of them at all. 

" XI. As for Brother John Skiner, we Judg yt he ought to 
humble himselfe before God and our Lord Jesus Christ for 
his hard words against and charges upon his Revd. Pastor 
and ye chh., and for his long and disorderly withdrawment 
from ye communion of ye chh. at ye Lord's table ; and confes 
his fait to them, and promise Reformation and an harty union 
with them for time to come, and thareupon we, in the 
Bowells of Christ, advise and intreat ye Rev. Pastor and 
chh. to forgive him, and restore him to their Intire Kindness, 
Charity, and communion ; and yt ye whole chh. be sensibell of 
& sorowfuU for ye many sins and failings which, upon a 
strict Review of ye offentious words and actions, they may 
severally find ymselves chargabell withall, and make fresh 
applications of ye blod of yr and our Glorious Redeemer, by 
faith, for ye Purifying of their consciences ; that unto ye God 
of Peace, through ye Lord Jesus, they offer up their incessant 
supplications for Pardone, and for ye Restoration and Perpe- 
tuation of ye mutual Peace and Love and edefication. and in 
ye dredfull name of ye etarnal Sone of God, and Head of ye 
chh., we solemnly Charge all ye Good People and yr children 
and sarvants in ys Place, yt they love and honour ye worthey 
Pastor of ye chh., ye Revd. mr. avery, and earnestly pray for 
him, and do theyr utmost endever for his Peace, comfort, and 
good subsistance among them ; and labour to ye utmost that 


tbey may all be Profetable Hearers of ye word of ye Lord, 
dispenced by him. and we pray God yt our advice may be 
acceptable to ye saints and Pe6ple of God in Norton, and 
Profetable to them ; and that he will graciously bless them 
all with Peace and holiness, and with his Grate salvations. 

** Samll. How (?). Pbter Thacher, Moderator. 

IsAC Clark. John Danforth. 

George Barber. Joseph Baxter. 

Jonathan Clap. John Swift. 

William Peabodie. Richabd Bilings. 
Daniell Preston. 

Manassah Tucker. Jonathan Gullever. 

John Wodsworth. Elezer Whelogk." 

In obedience to the decision of the council, Mr. Skin- 
ner makes confession in these words : — 

** I, John Skiner, have had a Strong opinion, that ye charge 
upon ye Assessors, yt they had Refused an abatement of ma- 
dam Leonard and her son's rates, was a false charge ; but, ye 
Councill of Churches haveing otherwise determined, I do Sub- 
mit to and aquies in their determinations, and ye sd. holy 
Council of chhs. haveing Judged yt I ought to humble my- 
selfe before God and ye Lord Jesus Christ for my hard words 
against and charges upon my Reverend Pastor and ye chh., 
for my long disorderly withdrawment from ye Communion of 
ye chh. at ye Lord's table, and Confes my fault to them, and 
Promice Reformation and Harty union with them for time to 
come; besids what I, in comon with other good people in 
Norton, am exhorted to, and charged to love and Honour my 
worthy Pastor, ye Revrd. Avery, and earnestly Pray for him, 
and to do my utmost endevour for his Peace, Comfort, and 
good subsistance in Norton ; and that I will labour to ye ut- 
most yt I may be a Profitable hearer of ye word of ye Lord 
dispensed by him, — I do acordingly humbell myself for my 
hard words against and charges against my Revrd. Pastor 
and ye chh., and for my long and disorderly withdrawment 
from ye communion of ye chh. in norton ; and I do Pene- 
tently confes I have ben very falty tharein ; and I ernistly 
beg Pardon thereof at ye hand of Grod and of ye Lord Jesus 
Christ, and ask forgivenes also at ye hand of my. Revd. Pas- 
tor, mr. avery, and of ye chh. in norton ; and Promise, by ye 
Grace and Help of ye Etemall Sperit, to Reforme to ye time 


to come, and to Perfonne my doty to ye Revrd. Pastor and 
chh., to God, and to my own soul, yt ye Councell of chhs. at 
Norton has advised in yr Result, Dated November 13, 1722 ; 
nor will I be an Incendiary of strife in norton ; nor will I 
Bring my Pastor or others to an uneasenes by complaining 
of and finding fait with any words spoken in ye sd. Counsel!, 
or Bringing in of any charges or testemonies against me or 
any others ; and Pray to be Relesed from ye eclesasticell sus- 

"John Skiner." 

Thus the breach was apparently healed; the out- 
ward flame was quenched. But we fear there are yet 
some smouldering embers of discord, that will ere long 
burst forth, to the injury of the pastor, if not the 
church. We shall see further on. 

In order that all may have a full understanding of 
subsequent events for a few years in the church his- 
tory, it is necessary that the different grades of church 
officers should be explained. 

There were early, in many of the New-England 
churches, four sets of officers, who exerted not a little 
influence in the community. These were, first, pas- 
tors ; second, teachers ; third, elders ; fourth, deacons. 
Prom an article in the " American Quarterly Register '' 
for 1840 (p. 37), it appears that — 

" Pastors and teachers were formerly two distinct oflScers, 
but, in some of the New-England churches, were quite early 
united in one. The distinction was founded upon Eph. iv. 11; 
Rom. xii. 7, 8 ; &c. According to the Platform, * The pas- 
tor's special work is to attend to exhortation^ and therein 
to administer a word of wisdom : the teacher is to attend 
to doctrine^ and therein to administer a word of knowledge.^ 
Thomas Hooker declares the scope of the pastor's office to 
be to work upon the will and affections ; that of the teacher, 
* to inform the judgment, and to help forward the work of 
illumination in the mind and understanding, and thereby to 
make way for the truth, that it may be settled and fastened 
upon the heart.' " 

It seems from this that the pastor's duty was to 
preach ; the teacher's, to catechize. 



" Many of the first settlers of New England regarded the 
office of rvUng elders as of divine institution ; and appealed 
to 1 Tim. y. 17, and other passages, as warranting this per- 
suasion. They were dder, in common with the pastor and 
teacher ; and as it was their duty to assist the teaching offi- 
cers or officer in ruling, or conducting the spiritual affairs of 
the church (in admitting, for instance, or excluding memhers, 
inspecting their liyes and conversations, preventing or healing 
offences, visiting the sick, and administering occasionally a 
word of admonition or exhortation to the congregation), they 
obtained the name of ruling elders. Ruling elders were 
anciently ordained, and were sometimes addressed by the 
Appellation of reverend. The place of the ruling elders in 
the congregation was an elevated seat between the deacons' 
seat and the pulpit" ^ 

The practice of having ruling elders was not uni- 
form in the New-England churches. Some had them ; 
others did not. They were longer retained in the 
churches than teachers, as distinct from pastors. When 
chosen, they were usually taken from among the dea- 
cons ; selecting that one who, for his gravity, eminent 
piety, and other special gifts, was deemed worthy to 
be advanced to a higher position. When a vacancy 
was thus caused in the deacons' seat, it was filled by 
choosing some one from the body of the church. It 
was also a practice in some churches, and continued 
till about the commencement of the present century, to 
ordain deacons. I cannot learn that their ordination 
conferred upon them any powers they did not possess 
before. I am informed by a gentleman of great anti- 
quarian knowledge,^ that it was also " allowable for 
churches to have widows, or deaconesses, particularly 
to visit the sick." We will also state, that it was a cus- 
tom to allow some persons to own or renew the cove- 
nant, who were not admitted to full church member- 
ship. The owning or renewing of the covenant gave 
them the privilege of having their children baptized, 
but did not admit them to the communion-table. 

1 American Quarterlv Register, 1840, pp. 40, 41. 
a Rev. J. B. felt, of Boston. 


Hence some who renewed or owned the covenant were 
never communicants. Keeping these facts in mind, 
we will pass over some ten or twelve years of church 
history, and then lift the curtain again. 

Rumors are in motion, that Mr. Avery does not rule 
the church after the manner of the Church Discipline ; 
and by way, no doubt, of refreshing his memory, some 
of the members contrive to have a church-meeting 
called for the reading and re-adoption of the Platform 
as their guide in church discipline. 

The record says, — 

'^The Church thought it necessary (inasmuch as thare 
ware more members belonging to the church then formerly, 
and many of them never had read, or heard the said Plat- 
forme Read) that it shold be Read at the Church-meeting on 
the 5th of Sept, 1734, and that the Church shold Renew 
their vote to Practice according to the Rule of it ; and, acord- 
ingly, sd. Platforme of Church discipline, agreed upon by the 
synod assembled at Cambridge, 1648, was Read, and thay did 
by vote manifest it, that thay did unanemosly approve of said 
Platforme, or the substance of it, and agree to Practice acord- 
ing to the Rule of it." 

This clause, " or the substance of it," shows that it 
was not, even by themselves, very strictly construed at 
this time. 

There are some restless spirits who are not satisfied 
with the state of things in the church, and think some- 
thing must be done, — they hardly know what. It 
occurs to them that the deacons of the church have 
never been ordained ; and forthwith they get up the 
following petition : — 

" To the Revd. Mr. Joseph Avery, &c. 

" We, the subscribers, do thus say, that threw the Goodness 
and Mercy of Grod to us of this town of Norton, yt there hath 
ben a Congregational church gethered, and yourself ordained 
the pastor; and we have hitherunto Injoyed ye means of 
Grace and ye ordinances of Christ, according to his own insti- 
tution, peaceably unto this day ; which call for the thankfuU- 
ness from us of this church, but, notwithstanding the mar- 
ceys we have Injoyed, we have hetherto lived Either in the 


neglect or a willful! omition of the emprovement of one spe- 
ciall priviledge, which our Lord Jesus Christ hath purchast 
for us, perticular ye ordination of Deacons: for although 
ye Church hath Chose Deacons first, second, or third, yet 
they only stand on probation ; and so ye church do still Re- 
main not yet com pleated with officers acording to scripture 
and platform, therefore we do desire yt one or more of ye 
Deacons, such as yourselfe and ye Church shall think fitt, may 
be ordained ; and yt another Deacon may be chosen, which we 
understand is of necessaty. all which we desire might be ac- 
complished before the next sacrament and, to say no more, 
we hope you will grant our desires, we remain your loveing 

" Dated in Norton, September 25th, 1786. 

"George Leonard. John Wild. 

John Wetherell. John Brioos, 2nd. 

Joshua Pomrot. Ephraim Lane. 

Samll. Clap. Willm. Stone." 
John Austin. 

I should judge from this that they wished the 
deacons to be ordained to the position of ruling el- 

Mr. Avery is opposed to this measure, and hence 
takes no efficient means to forward their desire. 

A year went by, and they find another source of 
dissatisfaction. The minister is guilty of admitting 
persons to own the covenant without a vote of the 
church, and they address him as follows : — 

" To the Revd. mr. Joseph Avery, Pastor of ye 1st Church 

of Christ in Norton, Greeting. 

" We the subscribers, being members in full communion in 
sd. Church, are humbly of ye opinion, that there ought not to be 
taken into ye Church any members without their owning ye 
covenant in Publick: therefore we do protest and declare 
against it, and desire that practise may not be any longer fol- 
lowed in this Church, we also are of ye opinion, that persons 
ought not to be taken into, or under ye watch and care of, the 
Church, without a clear vote of ye church for it ; and there- 
fore think that takeing into, or under ye watch or Care of, ye 
Church, without the vote of ye Church for ye Same, cannot 


be Justified bj je word of God, nor tbe platform of Charcb 
discipliDe; which, you may Remember, we of this Church 
have voted for our rule of discipline : therefore we do pro- 
test against any further proceeding in that affair, without a 
plain vote of the Church for it. and your oomplyance herein 
will very much oblige us. 
" Dated Norton, May 80th, 1787. 

''John Briggs, 2nd, George Leonard, Ephraim Lane, 
WiUm. Makepeace, Jonathan Newcombe, 2nd, Joshua Pom- 
roy, John Wild, Willm. Ware, Ephraim Dunham, John 
Austin, John Wetherell, Benjamin Cobb." 

What was the result of this petition, I have no means 
of determining. For a few years, I find nothing to 
indicate the course of events that transpired. The 
confession and votes that follow may throw some light 
upon the state of aSairs at that time, and perhaps ex- 
plain one cause of strife in the church; for, when 
persons are guilty of such practices as are here con- 
fessed, they are apt to get into difficulty. It shows, 
however, that there was a noble heart within the weak 
flesh : — 

" Upon ye 24 day of October last past, in ye county of Suf- 
folk, I do own and acknoledg yt I did drink to much strong 
drink, so yt I was disgised thareby, to ye dishonnor of God 
and my holy profession ; for which I am hartyly sorry for my 
dishonouring of Grod and my holy profession : and if I have 
at aijy time given offence to any by word or action, or by 
being disguised with drink at any time wtsoever, I am sorir 
for it. and I do hartily and willingly take shame to myself 
for my drinking to excess ; for I know it is sin. I pray ye 
church to receiv this my confession, and forgive me my of- 
fence to them, and pray to God for me that he would pardon 
this and all my other sins ; and I pray the Chh. to extend 
their charity towards me so far as not to think I allow myself 
in any one known scandalous sin. also my earnest desire is 
yt ye chh. would dismiss me from ye office and service of a 
Deacon of ye chh. for ye future. 

" Dated Nobtok, november 2, 1746. 

« Jn. Briggs, 2nd." 

"December 18th, 1745. — Att a chh.-meeling, Regularly 
appointed by the Pastor of the chh., according to the Desire 


of Deacon John Briggs, the second, ye chh. voted his dismis- 
sion from ye office and service of a Deacon of ye chh. for ye 

"December 22nd, 1745. — The above-written confession 
of Deacon John Briggs, the second, was read to the chh. ; and 
the chh. voted their 'acceptance of the same." 

How much " strong drink " had to do with the un- 
happy state of affairs about to distract the church, we 
can, of course, only conjecture ; but sure we are, that, 
after the lapse of a little more than a year, the pastor 
is served with the following document, which intimates 
that the church was (spiritually considered) in a bad 
condition : — 

"To the Reverend Pastor of ye first Church of Christ in 


" We, being under apprehension of ye frowns of God's 
providence on this church in permitting such Divisions and 
seperation amongst us as have hapned to us of late, — which 
we think to be the tokens of God's Displeasure towards us, — 
wherefore we, your Brethren and humble pertitioners. Re- 
quest that you appoint a Church- Meeting forthwith, where 
the Church may come together, in order to read ye Platform 
of Church Discipline, and vote it again if they think it proper ; 
and, further, to consult what measures are best to be taken in 
order to Regulate those disorders that are amongst us at the 
present Day. — Dated norton, febuary 6, 1747. 

"John Briggs, 2nd, Benjamin Cobb, Benjamin Ilews, 
Gideon Basset, Willm. Codington, John Guilbert, Ephrm. 
Lane, John Briggs, Jacob Newland, Josiah Newland, Seth 
Smith, John Austin, Jeremiah CambeL" 

We can find no record of the proposed church- 
meeting; but it is presumed that even the reading 
of the Platform of Church Discipline did not heal the 
divisions and ill feelings then raging in the bosom of 
the church. Strange that it never occurred to these 
men, that the best church discipline is the humble and 
forgiving spirit of Jesus ! 

Frequent church-meetings for the discipline of mem- 
bers are always ominous of evil, and show that the 


first great requisite of a Christian life — viz., love — is 
wanting somewhere. Even chnrch-members are sub- 
ject to passions and prejudices like other men ; and, 
when once they become embroiled in local strifes and 
feuds, they are very apt to lose the spirit and temper 
of their divine Master, and thereby increase instead of 
diminishing the flames of dissension. The following 
record shows a most lamentable state of affairs in the 
church; shows that criminations and recriminations 
are rife ; shows, to some extent, the dissatisfaction of 
a portion of the church with the pastor ; and also the 
means used — not adequate, however, to the end de- 
sired — to heal the fast-widening breach : — 

" A chh.-meeting was appointed by ye Pastor of ye chh., 
to be on ye 17th of June, 1747, at ye publick meeting-house, 
at one a'clock in ye afternoon, for ye following reasons ; viz. : 
Ist, yt ye chh. might consider what their duty is, and dis- 
cbarge their duty, with respect to Sarah Campbel, ye wife of 
Gershom Campbel, for her offence in withdrawing from com- 
munion with ye chh. ; and yt ye chh. might Inquire into ye 
report, and be rightly Informed concerning a report, of her 
denying what she had said concerning her going to hear Mr. 
Avery preach ; viz., yt she would sooner burn at ye stake 
than go to hear mr. avery preach, &c. 

" 2. To lay before ye chh. John Finney's, sen., Reasons of 
dissatisfaction with ye Pastor and chh., and what can be 
proved yt he said at ye time when he desired ye pastor to 
appoint a chh.-meeting ; and y t the chh. may consider what 
their duty is, and discharge their duty, with respect to said 
John Finney, sen. 

" 3. That ye chh. might Inquire and be rightly Informed 
with respect to what James Briggs had said concerning Mr. 
White's preaching, and Consider what yr duty is, & discharge 
their duty, with respect to sd. James Briggs ; and also that ye 
chh. might consider what their duty is, & discharge their duty, 
with respect to those persons that have kept a meeting at ye 
house of James Briggs upon ye sabbath, & held communion 
with persons of a neighbouring town In ye performing Divine 
worship and service ; namely, prayer, &c. Concerning whom 
it is reported yt they have disorderly seperated from com- 
munion with ye chh. y. y. belong to." 


" Att the chb.-meeting on ye 17th of June, 1747, — 
*' 1. The chh. voted that sister Sarah Campbel should be 
suspended from Communion with ym at ye ordinance of ye 
Lord's Supper, for her refusing to acknowledge she was guilty 
of offence in withdrawing from communion with ye chh. with- 
out sufficient reasons, and before she had laid before ye chh. 
ye Reasons of her dissatisfaction. 

" 2. The chh. voted that Brother John ffiney, sen., should 
be suspended from communion with ym at ye ordinance of ye 
Lord's Supper, for his refusing to acknowledge he was to 
blame for saying ye chh. was not settled according to Gospel 
Bule, and yt he did not like recieving members into ye chh. 
without certainly knowing y. y. were not hypocrites, and yt 
ye chh. was settled on ye same principles as ye chh. of Room, 
& that ye chh. worshipped God falsly and by Images^ and 
all ye difference was they- did not set up Images before their 
eyes ; and that he would as soon join with the chh. of Room 
as with this chh. The chh.-meeting on ye 17th of June, 1747, 
was adjourned to be on ye 14th of July, 1747, to be at ye 
publick meeting-house." 

** Att the chh.-meeting on ye 14th of July, 1747, — 
" Several members, yt were dissatisfied with ye Pastor and 
chh., gave in yr. Reasons of dissatisfaction with ye pastor 
and chh. in writeing ; and it was proposed to ye dissatisfied 
members, whether y. y. desired, as well as Gershom Campbel, 
the chh. to joine with them in calling a counsel, & to take it 
into consideration, and to Inform ye chh. whether y. y. did or 
no, on ye next chh.-meeting, which was adjourned to be on ye 
first monday in august next, to be at ye publick meeting- 
house, at one o'Clock in ye afternoon. 

'^ James Briggs said, at sd. chh.-meeting, he was afraid the 
chh. would still joine & hold with ye chh. of Rome." 

" Att a chh.-meeting on ye 1st of January, 1747-8, the chh. 
did, by a vote, suspend Gershom Campbel from communion 
with them at ye ordinance of the lord's supper, for saying it 
did appear to him that Mr. avery and the chh. have suckt at 
ye breast of the chh. of Rome, else they could not have swal- 
lowed down & digested such Doctrine as Mr. Avery was ac- 
cused with, which is the foundation ye chh. of Rome was 
built upon, and ye prop yt keeps it up ; and also for his un- 
just seperation from this chh. 

" At the same chh.-meeting abovesd., the chh. did, by i^ 
vote, suspend James Briggs from communion with them at ye 


Lord's Supper, for his unjust seperation from communion with 
ym, & his setting up a seperate meeting at ye house in which 
he dwells, in opposition to ye meeting and worship of God 
in this chh. and precint. also, att ye same chh.-meeting 
ahovesd^ ye chh. did, by a vote, suspend Phinebas Briggs, and 
also Ester Briggs, ye wife of Phinebas Briggs ; also Joshuah 
Campbel, and abigal his wife ; also Mary ffiney, ye wife of 
John ffiney, senior; also John ffiney, ye 2nd; also Lydia 
Campbel, ye wife of william Campbel, — for their unjust 
seperation from communion with ys chh., and their Joyning 
with yose yt have set up and held a seperate meeting, in op- 
position to ye meeting and worship of Grod in this chh. and 

**Att the chh.-meeting aboyesd., The chh. were desired, 
by ye Pastor, to inform the other members of the chh. who 
did seperate from communion with* the chh. in ye Publick 
worship of God in his house and sanctuary upon the sabbath, 
and from communion with ye chh. at ye ordinance of the 
Lord's Supper, that the chh. did think it to be their duty to 
bear a testimony against their unjust seperation, without y. y. 
should make satisfaction to ye chh. for their offence in with- 
drawing from communion with ym in ye publick worship, and 
at ye ordinance of ye Lord's Supper. 

'* Whereas there were several of the chh. did think it their 
duty to bear testimony against those members of ye chh. yt 
did seperate from communion with ye chh. in ye Publick 
worship of God in bis house & sanctuary, and at ye ordinance 
of ye Lord's Supper, without y. y. should make satisfaction 
to ye chh. for their offence, ye Pastor did desire ye chh. to 
meet Immediately after the publick lecture preceeding the 
sacrament to be on ye first Sabbath in March (sd. lecture was 
to be on ye 2nd day of march, 1747-8), that ye chh. might 
bear a testimony against yr. unjust seperation, without y. y. 
should make satisfaction to ye chh. for their offence in sepe- 
rating from communion with ym. 

" Att a chh.-meeting, after ye Publick lecture was ended, 
on ye 2nd day of march, 1747-8, the chh., by a vote, sus- 
pended Eliezer ffisher, ye 2nd ; also william Campbel ; also 
Solomon ffiney ; also Mary, ye Daughter of John ffiney, sen., — 
from communion with ym at ye ordinance of ye Lord's Sup- 
per, for their unjust seperation and joyning with yose yt set 
up and hold a seperate meeting on ye Lord's day, in opposition 
to ye meeting and worship of God in this chh. and precinct." 



It seems, from what we have just transcribed, that 
John Finney, sen., James Briggs, and Gershom Camp- 
bell, are clearly entitled to the honor of being the 
original "Know-Nothings" of Norton. Their party 
seems at first to have been a small minority ; but pro- 
bably increased, in a year or two, to a majority of the 
church. At any rate, the suspension of members at 
these several church-meetings did not entirely heal the 
unhappy difiiculties that distracted the church. 

The desire for the ordination of deacons and the 
choosing of elders became again, in a short time, the 
bone of contention, and kept alive the spirit of discord. 
Here is the evidence : — 

" Att the Request or desire of several of the Brethren of 
the chh. att the chh.-meeting, upon the ninth of sept., 1748, 
the Pastor appointed a church-meeting on the 7th of October 
next, to see whether the chh. would vote to have the Deacons 
ordained, and would make choice of Lay Elders." 

" Att the chh.-meeting on ye 7th of October, 1748, the chh. 
voted to have ye deacons ordained, and also voted to chuse 
Elders, att ye chh.-meeting abovesd., it was desired there 
should be a fast, before the choice of Elders, by John Briggs, 
the 2nd ; and it was Proposed to have a fast preceeding ye 
next sacrament, and agreed upon to have but one exercise in 
Publick, and that sd. Publick exercise should begin at Eleven 
o'clock in the forenoon ; and the church-meeting to chuse 
Elders to be Immediately after Publick exercise should be 
ended. "Joseph Avert." 

The fast came and went ; but it was not instrumental 
in bringing the olive-branch of peace to the contending 
parties, or of pouring the oil of brotherly love upon the 
troubled sea of church difficulties. A true spiritual 
fast would alone accomplish such a result. To such 
an extent had these men given way to their feelings 
and prejudices, that we fear they held " the fast for 
strife and debate," rather than " to loose the bonds of 
wickedness." We are the more inclined to this belief 
from the fact, — which will be more fully established 
in the next chapter, — that no elders were chosen after 
the fast-services were concluded. 


Mr. Avery evidently did not intend they should be 
chosen. A portion of the church are, however, de- 
termined to carry their point, or "crush out" their 
minister in the attempt. This last might have been : 
at any rate, it did subsequently become the paramount 
purpose they had in view. It is evident, from what 
we have recorded, that the true spirit of Christian love 
and forbearance was fast losing its power over both 
parties, in their zeal to circumvent one another. 



** A man 
More sinned against than sinning." — Shaupbau. 

It is evident, from what we have recorded in the last 
chapter, that events are fast hastening to a crisis. The 
sore is about to break. No one can predict what will 
be the actual result. There is a hesitancy about pro- 
ceeding to extreme measures ; yet all feel that they can- 
not long be delayed. Hope and fear filled the breast of 
the one party and the other. The annual meeting for 
voting the minister's salary and other parish charges 
is at hand. It is no doubt expected that the impend- 
ing storm will burst forth at that time. But the gath- 
ering clouds are not yet sufficiently condensed for that 
purpose. The meeting was held Nov. 3, 1748 ; and 
the parish vote " to Mr. Joseph Avery, for his salary 
this present year, in old tenor, £140 — — 0." 

In two days from this time, " In answer to a Peti- 
tion of John Wetherell, 1st, the Hon'ble George 
Leonard, Esqr., John Briggs, ye 2nd, Deacon Benja- 
min Hodges, and others, inhabitants of the South Pre- 
cinct in ye town of Norton," a warrant for a parish 
meeting is posted up, the first article of which was 
" To vote that the Reverend Mr. Joseph Avery be dis- 
missed from being the minister of sd. Precent, for 
reasons given in sd. Petition." The meeting 'w^a Vks\^ 


Nov. 21, 1748 ; and Simeon Wetherell is chosen mode- 

" 21y, There was a vote caled for, to Know whether there 
should be a vote caled for to dismis the Revd. mr. Joseph Avery 
from his being the sd. Precint's minister ; and it pased in the 

" 3dly, They voted, that whereas the Reverand mr. Joseph 
avery, the minister of this Frecent, hath not Ruled and 
Gk>vemed the Church of Christ, in this South Precint of 
the town of Norton, acording to the Platforme of church 
Discepline (which said church had voted to be their Rule of 
disepHne), nor acording to the Plaine votes of that church, 
which he himselfe had caled for, but still Refuses to Govern 
acording to it ; and said Precint also Looking upon sd. mr. 
avery as a person not able nor Capebell to sustaine the office of 
a minester, he not being qualefyed for it (as we think) ; there- 
fore it is voted, that he be dismist from being the minister 
in this Precint for the futer. and the sd. Precint desire the 
church in this Part of said towne to meet as soone as may 
be, and dismis him from his said trust, so that sd. Precint 
may be clear from any further Charge in maintaining of him 
any Longer ; and also that the Church and Precint in this 
part of the towne may do their duty, and be in their way to 
obtaine a sutabell Person to settel with us in the ministry. 

" 41y, They voted that the vote which was Past in the Last 
Precint meeting to vote mr. avery a Salery for this Present 
year Shall be null and void, and that the assesers shall not 
make any Rate for it ; and John Gilbert entered his Protest 
against ye above votes." 

The war against the pastor is now openly declared. 
Nov. 25, the opposing brethren make and sign their 
allegations, and act as follows. We copy from the ori- 
ginal document : — 

" Objections against the Revd. mr. Joseph Avery are as 
foUoweth : — 

" 1st, That he has Taken Persons to owne the Covenant, 
in order to have their Children Baptised, or to be Baptised 
themselves, without any vote of the Church ; and that he has 
made a Practice of doing so for many years, notwithstanding 
it hath Been conteray to the minds of the Bigest Part of his 
church (if not all), and many of them hath done what they 
could against it. 


'<21y, That he hath Refused or neglected to appoint 
church-meetings when he has Been desired to appoint church- 
meeting, not only by Persons speaking to him about it, but 
also when they have Petitioned for Church-meeting in writ- 
ing under their hands. 

*'31y, That he has Refused to Grovem and Rule this 
Church acording to the Platforme of church discipline, not- 
withstanding the church voted sd. Platforme to be their Rule 
of discepline, & notwithstanding he himselfe was consenting 
to it, and Caled for those Church votes himselfe. 

^ 41y, That he has not done His duty in visiting his People, 
and catecising the children in his Parish, nor yett done his 
duty in Preaching to them ; for a Great number of them 
have absented from the Publick worship, so that they are but 
sildom there : and we don't Know that he takes any notice of 
it, either in his Preaching or any other ways. 

" 51y, That he hath Refused or neglected to ordaine dea- 
cons in this Church, notwithstanding the Church hath been 
very uneasy about it, and applyed to him about it, by times, 
for this many years ; but he has still evaded it to this day. 

" 61y, That he has Refused to joyne with the Church in 
Chusing Ruling elders, agreeabell to the sd. Church Plat- 
forme, which this Church had voted for their Rule of disce- 
pline, & when this Church had voted to chuse Ruling elders, 
and he himselfe was Consenting thareto, and Caled for the 
vote of sd. Church himselfe : and at that meeting he said he 
did not Like the Chusing of Ruling elders, but, Sence the 
Church was so much for haveing Ruling elders, he would joyne 
with them in Chusing of them ; for it was not against his chon- 
chanc^ (or in words to that effect) ; and then appointed a day 
for a fast, and to Chuse the elders and deacons to be ordained, 
acording to the vote of sd. Church, and, when the day 
Came, the Church and some others of the People meet, when 
he did not in either of his Prayers, or in his Sermon he 
Preached, mention one word about elders and deacons, and 
then Refused to Joyne with ye Church in Chusing elders, but 
declared that thare was no Rule in the scripturs for Chusing 
lay elders (as he caled them), but said they ware officers of 
men's appointing, and he Could not in conchance Joyne with 
the Church in Chusing Ruling elders ; for it had been always 
against his conshance (or in words to that Import), so that 
we look upon this a false saying; and so he has always 
evaded the Chusing Ruling elders, or governing this church 



acording to the sd. church Platforme and the votes of this 
church, which he was Consenting to, and caled for himselfe. 

"71y, That we of this church Look upon the said Mr. 
Avery as a Person not sutahell nor any ways Qualefyed for a 
Gospell minister. But Looking upon his settling and Remain- 
ing the minister of this Place to be a Great Hurt to Religion, 
and has almost Brought it into contempt, and such a coldness 
that it Seems almost Lost and decayed amongst us. 

" The above and before objections are what we, the mem- 
bers of the first Church of Christ in norton, hath against the 
Revend mr. Joseph avery, his Ruling and Governing this 
church ; for which Reasons, and what further may be oSered, 
we desire the Brethren, Dea. Benjamin Hodges, George 
Leonard, John Briggs, 2nd, Benja. Cobb, to appley to the said 
Rev. Mr. Joseph Avery, and to See if he will ask a dismi- 
sion, that he may be dismist from his Pastorall offis over us ; 
and, in Cace he will not ask a dismision, that they send for a 
counsell, consisting of three or five churches, to advise this 
church in dismising of ye sd. Rev. Mr. Joseph Avery from 
his Pastorell office over this church, dated in Norton, 
November 25, 1748. 

"John Austin, Ebenezer Eddy, Ephraim Lane, Seth 
Smith, Jonathan Knap, Philep Cooye, Benja. Newcomb, Je- 
remiah Cambell, Jonathan Hodges, Silvanus Braman, Jona- 
than Clap, Ephraim Wetherell, Benja. Copeland,^ John 
Briggs, 3d, John Wetherel, Daniel Braman, Joshua Pomery, 
Eliezer Fisher, 2d, John Briggs, George Briggs." 

On the back of this paper is written, — 

" A trew copey of the objections on ye other side, with this 
that is here underwritten, was delivered to ye Revd. Mr. Jo- 
seph avery. 

" The before-written objections are what we, the members 
of the first church of christ in Norton, hath against the Revd. 
Mr. Joseph Avery, his Ruling and Govening of this church ; 
as witness our hands. 

** Dated December Ist, 1748. 

" George Leonard, ' 
John Briggs, 2nd, 
Benja. Cobb, 
Benja. Hodges, 

In behalf of 
V and the ma- 
jor Part of 
ye chh.' 


1 " To ye Ist, 6th, and 7th articles." 


Mr. AYery replies to these objections against him in 
a note, which we here introduce : — 

^ To Coll. George Leonard, Esq., John Briggs, 2ndy Benjamin 
Cobb, Benjm. Hodges, for themselves and sundry others. 

** Gentelman and Dear Brethren, — I recev'd at your hand 
a paper dated Decemb. ye 1st, 1748, containing sundry ob- 
jections, as your are pleased to stile ym, Against myself; 
which articles I have taken into ye most Carefull and Serious 
Consideration, and they appear to me both unreasonable and 
unjust, and by no means sufficient to induce me to think I am 
Call'd of God to surcease my Ministerial labors among you. 
Dear Brethren, I have heard that some say I am dismised 
already, and some that I am not qualified to sustan the mini- 
sterial office. I am ready to Join with you in Calling an 
Ecclesiastical Councel (equal number of Regular consti- 
tuted chhs. chosen by me and you) to Judge and council in 
the important affi&ir. If you are desireous of a Council, I 
pray you to let me Know it this day week, and that day week 
(God willing) I will meet you at ye meeting-house to deter- 
mine what chhs. to send to, and prepare letters-missive. If 
you desire a council, I expect to have it in writing under 
your hands, and what you desire it for. 

" Your friend and pastor, 

Q>o^>-^K^ tjkuro-r\M 

" Norton, December 12th, 1748." 

The committee return the following answer : — 

" To the Revd. Mr. Joseph Avery, Pastor of the first Church 

of Christ in Norton. 

" Revd. Sr., — we Recev'd your letter Dated 1 2th of 
this Instant december, wherein you informe us that you 
have Considered our Paper which we delivered to you (which 
we Caird our Objections against you). You also inform us 
that you have Considered sd. objections, and that they appear 
to you both unreasonable and unjust, &c. ; and you further 
informe us, that, if we desire a Councill, you will meet at the 
meeting-house the monday after next, and Joyn with us in 
CaUing an Ecclesiastical Council (of Equall numbers of Re- 
gerly Constituted Churches Chosen by you and us) to Judge 
and Council in the important affair, &c. to this we answer. 


that we are by no means Readdj to Joyn in sending for a 
Council yet ; for all our objections which we have against 
you ought to be aledged against you in a regular Church-meet- 
ing, and there tryed to be made up, before we send for a 
Council to hear them. Therefore, Revend Sr., we pray 
you to appoint a church-meeting, to be at ye meeting-house, 
on monday, the second day of January next, that the church 
may have timely notice of it ; that they generally meet toge- 
ther, and hear and determine on the Objections which we 
have already given in against you, and what we shall say to 
them ; and do what they shall think most for the glory of God, 
and interest of Religion, these are what you are desired to 
do before we can by any ways joyn in sending for an Eclesi- 
astical council ; and, Revernd Sr., you will very much oblige 
your Grieved Brethren. 

"The reason of George Leonard, 1 ^i behalf of them- 
our desire to have it John Briggs, 2d, I selves and several 
put of so long is, that Benjamin Hodges, f °S,®" °^ ^^ ^^' 
two of us are obliged Benjm. Cobb, J ' 

to go to the General 
Court at Boston, and 
do not Expect to be 
at home much soon- 

" Dated at Norton, December 19th, 1748." 

According to the desire of the committee, a church- 
meeting is called. 

I have found, on a detached sheet of paper, a record 
of what was done at the meeting. It is, no doubt, in 
the handwriting of the moderator. Let us examine 
this record, and ascertain what action the church take 
in reference to their pastor : — 

"A church-meeting, duly notified by the Rev. Pastor of 
the first chh. of christ in Norton to be on ye 2d of Jany., 
1748, at the Publick meeting-house. The sd. chh. being as- 
sembled according to Notification, Rev. Mr. Avery, their 
Pastor, opened sd. Meeting with Prayer; withdrew, and told 
the chh. they might choose one of themselves Modr. for sd. 
Meeting. But the sd. Chh. made choice of Solomon Prentice, 
Pastor of the chh. in Easton, for yr Modr. 

" It was then voted, that a Comtee be chosen to wait on 
Rev. Mr. Avery, enforming of him who the chh. had made 


choice of for their Modr. ; and to desire Rev. Mr. Avery to 
come into ed. Meeting (if he pleas'd), and make answer to je 
objections the chh. have Exhibited against him. 

^ Br. Ebenr. Edj, Danll. Braman, Samll. Dean, and John 
"Wild, [were] chosen sd. Comtee, who caryed the preceeding 
vote to the Rev. Mr. Avery, who came into the meeting. Read 
his answer, Lefl itt with the chh., and then withdrew." 

Mr. Avery's answer reads thus : — 

" Brethren, — as to ye Objections Laid before you against 
myself, I now make answer, the first objection is, yt I take 
persons to own ye Covenant in order to have yr children bap- 
tised, or to be Baptised themselves, without any vote of ye 
chh. to this I answer, yt I have, in the fear of Grod, in this 
affair. Conducted, I think, according to Scriptur and ye General 
Practice of ye churches of christ in ye land, the 2nd objec- 
tion is, that I have refused or neglected to appoint chh.- 
meetings, when I have ben desired by persons by word of 
mouth and also under handwriting. I answer, yt I have not 
refused or neglected to Call and appoint cbh.-meetings, when 
I could think yt the Glory of God and ye interest of Religion 
Caird for it ; and, when ye case was doubtf uU and of Con- 
sequence, I always took council and advise. The 4th objon 
is, that I have not done my duty in visiting ye People of my 
Charge, and Catechiseing the Children, as to Catachising ye 
Children, I think I have faithfully Endeavor'd to do my duty, 
as to visiting the people, I don't Know that any under my 
charge have Sent to me in time of Distres, by night or by 
day, but I have visited them, when my Circumstances would 
Possibly allow of it. as to the 3rd, 5th, and 6th, I refar you 
for an answer to the paper I gave in to the precintt-meeting, 
wherein I Answer you, that I am fully disposed to practise 
according to platform in chh. discipline, and propose to Keep 
close to it. 

" As to the 7th objection, that my settling in the ministry 
at Norton was a frown of providence, and a great hurt to re- 
ligion, I answer, that since so Great, wise, and Good a man 
as major Leonard, ye father of Coll. George Leonard, with 
the advise of the venerable Mr. Danforth, was the Chief 
hands in en vi ting and settling of me, If coronel Leonard 
and others don't think this objection both unreasonable and 
unjust, I must and Can't but think there is in it a great want of 
Reverence and Good manners, speaking in the softest terms. 


" Brethren, if 1117 answer to your objections is not satisfac- 
tory, I am readdy to Join with you in Calling an Eclesiastical 
Council of Regularly Constituted chhs. (Equal numbers 
Chosen by me and you) to Judge in this affair. 

" Dated Norton, January 2iid, 1748-9. 

** Joseph Avert." 

After the pastor had withdrawn, it was "Proposed a 
Comtee be chosen to wait on ye Revd. Mr. Avery, In- 
forming him ye chh. Desires their Rev. Pastor to ask a 
Dismission from his pastoral office in this place; upon his 
doing of which, ye chh. are willing to withdraw all their ob- 
jections against him, and, with the Consent of the precint, 
to make him a hansome consideration. An answer is ex- 
pected now. 

" Voted affermat. 

** And Dr. Ware, bro. Samll. Dean, chosen sd. Comtee ; 
who carey'd the sd. vote to ye Rev. Pastor. Then ye 
meeting was adjom'd, by vote of ye chh., to ye house of 
Capt. Jonathan Lawrence in sd. Town, there to meet forth- 

" Accordingly, the chh. mett at sd. place, and waited the 
Return of their Comtee ; who. Returning, brought a few lines 
from Rev. Mr. Avery, which satisfied not ye chh." 

The prospect of the " hansome consideration" prom- 
ised seems not to have had much influence upon the 
mind of their minister ; for the few lines he sent back 
to the church are in these words : — 

" In answer to a Request sent to myself by ye hands of 
Docter willm. Ware and Samuel Dean, a Committee Chosen 
by the Brethren of the chh., — Dear Brethren, I inform you 
now, as I informed Coll. George Leonard, Esq., John Briggs, 
2nd, and Benjamin Hodges and Benjamin Ck)bb, upon my 
receiving ye objections Exhibited against myself, which arti- 
cles I informed you, after I had taken into ye most careful 
and serious consideration ; and they did appear to me to be 
both unreasonable and unjust, and no way sufficient to induce 
me to surceas my ministeriel Labours among you. 

" From your friend and Pastor, 

"Joseph Avert. 

" Dated Norton, Jauuary 2nd, 1748-9." 


This commtinication, as we have seen, '^ satisfied not 
ye chh.^* 

" Wherefore they proceeded to ye Consra. of ye Several 
Art. of Objection against ye Rev. Pastor ; and considr*d and 
debated upon ye articles one by one, and passed ye following 
votes thereon ; viz. : — 

" 1. Propos'd, wr. the chh. are Satisfied with ye Rev. Mr. 
Avery's ans'r jrto wc pased in? . . . Negt. Then it was 
proposed, whethr ye chh. are still dissatisfied and uneasy with 
yr Rev. past, on account of yr first Article ? . . . Votd. af- 

** 2 Art. proposed, wr. ye chh. are satisfied with ye Rev. 
Mr. Avery's answer thereunto? pass'd. . . . Negat. then 
Proposed, wr. ye chh. are still dissatisfied and aggrieved with 
yr Rev. Pastr's Conduct, as Expres'd in yr 2d objection ? . . . 
Votd. afiirmat. 

'* Then it was moved that ye form of ye vote might be 
altered yrfore as to . . . 

" 3 Art. Proposed, wr. ye chh. are still dissatisfied with 
Rev. Mr. Avery on acct. of yr 3d objection? Votd. affirmat. 

"Then propos'd, wr. ye chh. are satis6ed with Rev. Mr. 
Avery's answer to ye 3d objection? pass'd Negative. 

" 4 Art. Propos'd, wr. ye chh. are still uneasy and Dis- 
satisfied with ye Rev. Pastr with Relation to yr 4th Objec- 
tion? . . . Votd. afiirmat. 

" Then prppos'd, wr. ye chh. are satisfied with Rev. Mr. 
Avery's answer to ye 4th objection ? pass'd Negative. 

" 5 Art. Propos'd, wr. ye chh. are still Dissatisfied with 
their Revd. pastor on account of ye 5th objection ? . . . Votd. 

"Then propos'd, whethr ye chh. are satisfied with yr 
Revd. pastor's answer to ye 5th objection? Votd. Nega- 

" 6 Art. propos'd, whethr ye chh. are still very much ag- 
grieved with their Revd. pastor on account of their 6th ob- 
jection? . . . Votd. affirmat. 

" Then propos'd, wr. ye chh. are satisfied with ye Revd. 
pastor answer to their objection? . . . pass'd Negative. 

" 7 Art. proposed, whether ye chh. are still very unEasy 
with ye Rev. Mr. Avery with Relation to their 7th objection ? 
Votd. affirmat. 



"Then proposed, wher. ye chh. are satisfied with Revd. 
Mr. Avery's Reply to their 7th objection ? pas'd Negat. 

"Then propos'd, that inasmuch as this chh. have Mani- 
fested yr Dissatisfaction with yr Rev. pasr. for sundry rea- 
sons alledged and consider'd of by this chh., whether it dos 
not appear to this chh. Necessary now to proceed to call in 
ye help of an Eclesiastieal council to advise and council them 
undr. yr presant Difficulties ? . . . Yotd. affirmat. 

" Proposed to send to 5 chhs. to (institute this our pro- 
posed council. 

" 1. Ye chh. of Ct. in Easton proposed. . . . Votd. affir- 

" 2. The chh. of Ct. in Raynham proposed. . . . Yotd. af- 

" 3. Ye chh. of Ct. in Rochester (Rev. Mr. Ruggles) pro- 
pos'd. . . . Yotd. affirmat. 

" 4. Ye 2d chh. of Ct. in Wrentham proposed. . . . Yotd. 

"5. The 2d chh. in Attleboro' proposed. . . . Yotd. af- 

"Then proposed, Col. George Leonard, Dea. Hodges, and 
Lieut. Benja. Cobb, be appointed to sighn ye Letters-Miss, 
in the chh.'s name. . . . Yotd. affirmat. 

" Then proposed, Tuesday, Jany. 24 currant, be ye time 
for the meeting of ye council ; & ye place of yr meeting be 
Col. George Leonard's, in sd. Norton, at 10 o'clock, a.m. . . . 
Yotd. affirmat. 

"Then propos'd Dea. Benjn. Hodges be occasional Modr. 
in ye chh. untill further order. . . . Vot. affirmative. 

" Then proposed, this meeting be adjourned to Wensday, 
25 currant, 1 'clock, p.m., then to meet at the house of Col. 
George Leonard in sd. Norton. . . . Yot. affirmat. 

" Accordingly, sd. Meeting was declared to be adjourned 
to ye Last-mentioned time & place. 

" Solomon Prentice, Modr." 

The committee appointed for that purpose, no doubt, 
immediately prepared a letter-missive (a blank form 
of which I have found), and sent it to the several 
churches above named. We record the letter as we 
find it: — 


" The 1st cbh. of Ct in Norton to the chh. of Christ in 

Sends greeting. 
, " Rev., Hond., and Belov'd, — 

^ Inasmuch as it has pleased God in his Sovereighn plea> 
sure to permitt a great Number of this chh. to be uneasy with 
the Rev. Mr. Avery, our Pastor, for sundry things that we 
have taken Exception att in his Doctrine, Discipline, & con- 
duct, which we are justly disquieted at (as we apprehend), yt 
we cannot judge it any Longer for ye hour of God & Interest 
of Religion that the Rev. Mr. Avery should sustain ye Mini- 
sterial office in this place ; neither can we be easy he should, 
unless, our grievances being abated, we are advised yrunto by 
an Ecclesiastical Council. We therefore earnestly Entreat 
yr assistance in Council, with several other chhs., by yr Rev. 
elder & such Messengers you may think proper, to meet at 
the house of Col. George Lieonard, in Norton, on Tuesday, 
Jany. 24 current, at 10 'clock, forenoon. In the Mean time, 
we Intreat a Costant Remembrance with you in yr prayrs for 
as, that all things may Issue for ye gloiy of God. . 

" While we rest yr brothrs 

in the faith and order of ye 

" NoRTOir. 

" Chhs. sent to are Rev. " In ye name and by ap- 

Mr. Rujygles, of Rochester; pointraent of sd. 1st chh. in 

Easton, Raynhara, 2 in Wren- Norton." 
tham, 2 in Attleboro'. 

Mr. Avery now felt called upon to do something to 
sustain himself against the disaflFected party. His pro- 
position, once and again made to his opposers, for a 
mutual council, was perfectly proper and just; and 
every principle of honor and fair dealing seems to de- 
mand that it should have been complied with : yet the 
malecontents saw fit to reject it, and call an ex-parte 
council ; thus leaving the impression, that they were 
not actuated by the purest motives in their warfare 
against their venerable pastor. Had they been as 
zealous " for ye hour of God & Interest of Religion '* 
as they seem to intimate, we cannot but think they 
would have been ready to grant the very reasonable 
desire of their ?piritual adviser. 



Being denied the boon craved, Mr. Avery took the 
only course he consistently could ; and forthwith sum- 
moned a council of ministers and messengers at his 
house, on the same day fixed for the meeting of the 
church's council. His letter-missive we have fortu- 
nately found, and insert it here. Read it atten- 
tively : — 

« To the cbh. of Christ, &c. 

** Joseph Avery, Pastor of the first chh. of Christ in Norton, 
sendeth Greeting. 

" Revd., Hond., and Belov'd, — 

" It hath pleased ye holy and sovereign Lord to suffer a 
considerable number of ys chh. to take up (as I apprehend) 
an unreasonable prejudice against myself, yr pastor, the cir- 
cumstances of this chh. are at present very unhappy, dis- 
tressing, and threatening, such as calleth for the compassion 
of sister chhs. ; wc. 1 hope God in his great mercy will grant 
us, and bless for ye promoting of peace and truth among us. 

" Some time since, a number of ys chh. presented me with 
a paper containing sundry objections against me, as they were 
pleased to stile them ; and <then subjoined a verbal request yt 
I would ask a Dismission. A few days after, I sent ym ys 
answer, — yt, having taken yr objections and propositions into 
ye most serious and careful! consideration, they appeared to 
me to be both unreasonable & unjust, by no means sufficient 
ito induce me to think I was called of God to surcease my 
ministerial labors among them ; and, if y. y. thought other- 
ways, I was ready to joine with ym in calling a council. 
Some time after ys, they brought me another paper, signify- 
ing y. y. were not yet ripe for council, desiring me to appoint 
a chh.-meeting to hear yr objections, and wt y. y. had to say 
Upon ym. accordingly, I did appoint a chh.-meeting ; at wc. 
meeting I gave my answer in writing, and subjoined, that, if 
my answer was not satisfactory, I was ready to join with ym 
in calling an Ecclesiastical council (equal numbers chosen by 
ym and myself) to hear, determine, and advise in ye great 
and important affair. They refused to accept my answer as 
satisfactory ; they also refused to join with me in calling a 
council, and have ymselves sent for a seperate council of 5 
chhs. to meet at ye house of Coll. George Leonard, in Norton, 
on tuesday, ye 24th of ys Instant January, at 10 ante M. I 
hunibly & Earnestly begg your compassion, and yt you would 
send with your Elder one Messenger, to set in council with 


several other chhs. att my house in Norton, on tuesdaj, ye 
24th of 78 Instant January, at 10 in ye morning, to hear our 
melancholy case, to give such advise as ye great dc good Grod 
shall direct, wishing grace, mercy, & peace to you from 
Grod yr Father & our Lord Jesus Christ, begging an In- 
terest in your prayers always, 

" I subscribe your unworthy bro. in ye faith & fellowship 
of the Gospel, 

"Joseph Avert, 
" Pastor of ye first chh. in Norton. 

** NoBTOir, January 4th, 1748-9." 

Appended to this letter is this note : — 

"To Coronel George Leonard, Deacon Benjamin Hodges, 
Lieut Benjamin Cobb, Gentleman. 

" This is a coppy of the letters I have sent to ye 2nd chh. 
in Scituate, ye Revd. Mr. Ellis, Pastor ; to ye two chhs. in 
Rehoboth ; ye 3d chh. in Bridgewater ; ye chh. in Midway ; 
ye chh. in Warren. 

" Joseph Avert" 

The council of the church met at the time and place 
specified. They probably wished for a little explana- 
tion in reference to one or two of the objections ; and 
what is written below was furnished : — 

" Whereas in the 7th article of our objections against the 
Reverend Mr. Joseph Avery, as a person not suitable or any 
ways qualifed for a Gospel minister, &c., — first, he hath not 
understanding enough, as we think, to Regulate church-meet- 
ings, but they are generally, when had, managed in great 
confusion and disorder ; so that we think it not for the Glory 
of Grod to have such a minister that Regulates those meetings 
in such a way and manner, and, when he pleaseth, to adjourn 
sd. meetings without the vote or consent of the church, not- 
withstanding they stand up and oppose it. . . . 

" Secondly, that we don't look on him as a man sound in 
his principles ; for, when he was Preaching concerning the 
Binding and Loosing of sins (or sinner), in his prayer afler 
sermon he used these Expressions, — that none might set light 
by ministers, since or seeing that they had power to Loose 
and bind souls, even to the forgiveness of sins. 

" Thirdly, at another time, in his preaching* that santifica- 
tion was Rought by the agency of the holy Gost, when he 


came to the application, he sd., What cause have we, then, 
to pray to the holy Gost to send us his holy spirit ? 

^ Fourthly, that he hath not acted agreeable to scripture 
Rule, as we think, in taking members in the church ; that he 
hath very much neglected to Examine them (which makes 
us think that he does not Know what to say to them at such 
times ; or, at Least, that he neglects his duty therein). To- 
gether with what further may be offered, we think we shall 
make out that objection very fully. 

" George Leonard, 

" In Behalf of ye Best.*' 

While this council was in session at Mr. Leonard's, 
the other, called by the pastor and his friends (for he 
had some friends yet left), was convened at his house ; 
and he (Mr. Avery) sent this note to Mr. Leonard : — 

**To the Honble. George Leonard, Esq., one of ye comittee 

of this chh., as it is called. 

" These are to signify yt ye venerable cx)uncil called by 
myself and adhering brethren purpose to proceed to a pub- 
lick hearing of our unhappy case to-morrow, at 10 in ye 
morning ; and to request you to attend the said council at my 
house, unless the council shall meet at your store (?), and 
then at your own house ; and yt you notify ye other gentle- 
man of sd. committee that y. y. attend with you. 

" JosEPU Avert, Pastor. 
"January 26th, 1748-9." 

In reply, Mr. Leonard sends this note : — 

" Revd. sir, — yours of last night I just now received ; & 
in answer, say, that as to the case in which our committee are 
concerned, they not being present, I cannot answer for them : 
but, in my private capacity, with relation to the venerable 
council by you invited, their meeting at my house, I say to 
yourself, and inviting you to do it also to them, that they shall 
be welcome to my house to hear the case as we shall open it 
to the council called by us ; it being the needfuU at this time. 
I rest, Revd. sir, your 

" Humble servant, " 6. L. 

»* Norton, 26 Jan., 1748." 

Whether the two councils met together, and a full 
hearing of the whole matter was entered into or not, 
is among the secrets not yet revealed. 


Probably, however, they did not thus meet; as it 
appears from Mr. Prentice's record, which we give 
below, that the result of the council was made known 
to, and accepted by, the church the next day after the 
date of Mr. Leonard's note. Most likely, Mr. Avery 
saw that the current was setting against him, and con- 
cluded to let it take its course. How matters eventu- 
ated we shall soon see. 

"The Ist chb. of Ct. in Norton, in a Regular chh.-meeting 
by adjournment at ye house of ye Honble. George Leonard, 
Esq., unanimously Votd. to accept of ye Result of ye Venble. 
council by ym called, & this Day published ; And Dea. Benja. 
Hodges & Lieut. Benja. Cobb wr Votd. by sd. chh. to wait 
on ye Rev. Mr. Avery, yr Pastr, with ye council's Result, to 
know of him, in writing, whether he will ask a Dismission 
from his Pastoral office in this place, sd. chh. also Votd. to 
adjourn the chh.-meeting two hours; then to meet at this 
place in order to proceed further. 

" Attst : " S. Prentice, Modr. 

"Norton, Jany. 27, 1748." 

Deacon Hodges and Lieut. Cobb immediately post 
oflF down to Mr. Avery's with the result of the ex-parte 
council. We know nothing of its character, except 
what we gather from Mr. Prentice's record and subse- 
quent events. The substance of it, no doubt, was, 
that Mr. Avery is advised to ask a dismission from his 
pastoral relations with the church and society, to 
whose spiritual welfare he had devoted the best years 
of his life and the noblest energies of his mind. 

We are not permitted to look in and witness the 
presentation of the "result" to the gray-headed ser- 
vant of God, and therefore we can give no account 
of the meeting ; but imagination can easily complete 
the picture. 

Sad and desponding, though not altogether taken by 
surprise at the turn of events, the pastor, in a note ad- , 
dressed to the church, asks for a little delay before he 
gives his final answer. Let us read it : — 

"To the first chh. of Christ in Norton, convened at ye 
house of Coll. George Leonard, Esq. these are to signify, I 


have received by your Messengers ye Result of your council, 
and shall take ye great and Important affair into ye most 
serious consideration; and ye chh. may Expect my answer 
ye next week, att ye time and place y. y. shall appoint. 

" Your Pastor in ye Lord, 

" Joseph Avert. 

" Norton, Jan. 27, 1748-9. 

" P. S. — My Earnest request and desire is, that ye Revd. 
Mr. Ruggles would please to preach in my pulpit ye next 

We now go back to the church-meeting at Mr. 
Leonard's, whose members are anxiously awaiting the 
return of their committee. They are in no mood to 
' deny the reasonable desire of their grief-stricken pas- 
tor ; for we find, — 

" Upon the Receipt of the Rev. Mr. Avery's Answer to ye 
Desire of the first chh. of christ in Norton this day signified 
to him, the chh. Vod. to adjourn this Meeting to Monday 
Next, 9 'clock forenoon ; then to Meet at ye meeting-house 
in this place to Receive their Pastor's answer to their Re- 
quest of this day, and to act thereon. 

" Attst : " S. Prentice, Modr. 

" NoBTON, Jany. 27, 1748." 

It was now Friday. In tears, and with constant 
prayer to God for guidance and direction in this im- 
portant matter, he spends the short period allotted 
him for deliberation ; and on the Monday following, 
Jan. 30, 1748-9, O.S., or Feb. 10, 1749, N.S., it is 
morally certain that Rev. Joseph Avery acceded to 
the decision of the council ; sent in his resignation ; 
and, from that day, ceased to be the pastor of the 
church with which he had labored from his ordination, 
— tWrty-four years, three months, and two days. 

From the report of a committee appointed by the 
precinct in relation to his salary, the fact is clearly 
•established, that his ministerial labors ended Jan. 80, 
1748-9, O.S. In concluding their report, the com- 
mittee say, — 

" Therefore [we] are of the opinion that it will be Best for 
this precint to pay Mr. Joseph Avery's salary from the first 


of March, 1747-8, untill the 30th of January, 1748-9; being 
about eleven months to the time when he was dismist from 
his ministerial office amongst us. 

** Dated in Kobton, March 1st, 1748-9. 

'* George Leonard. 
William Ware." 

The reader will have observed that the objections 
brought against Mr. Avery are of tiie most trivial 
nature, and not in the least affecting his moral charac- 
ter; nor do they give a sufficient warrant for the 
rending asunder so abruptly the ties of pastor and 
people. We think his opposers must have been slow 
of understanding, if it took them almost forty years to 
find out that their minister was not qualified for the 
pastoral ofiBce. We believe, if any one will read the 
pages of this chapter attentively, and with an unbiased 
mind, he will be convinced that the paramount objec- 
tion to Mr. Avery was not brought to tiie surface. The 
real objections to the pastor were, witiiout doubt, 1st, 
his anti-Galvinistic notions; and, 2d, his strong and 
manly opposition to the great revival of 1740, in which 
the celebrated Whitefield was the leader. Rev. Eleazer 
Wheelock, of Lebanon, Conn., among others, preached 
here Oct. 3, 1741. In his journal, he says he was 
" kindly received by Mr. Avery. Preached to a full 
assembly: much affection and sobbing through the 
assembly." Although, at first, Mr. Avery might have 
been favorably disposed towards the movement of 
Whitefield, he and others soon became convinced it 
would result in no permanent good to the country ; 
and therefore they signed an earnest protest against it, 
which concludes in these words : ^ — 

1 We copy this closing portion of the protest from the Great Awaken 
ing, p. 363, but have been unable to find the document entire. Bev. Joseph 
Tracy, the author of the book referred to, cannot say where he found the 
.document, but thinks it was either in the Athenaeum, or the Old South 
Church Library, at Boston. I cannot find it in either place; but a volume 
of tracts relating to Whitefield, belonging to the Old South Church Library, 
was missing from the librnry when i examined it in the autumn of 1858. 
The author of the Great Awakening says the protest is remarkable for no 
thing but the extract ho gave. We would have given our readers the beuo 
fit 01 the whole document, if we could have found it. 


" When Mr. Whitefield first came among us, he used his ut- 
most crafl and cunning to strike the passions and engage the 
affections of the people ; and when he had wrought them into 
a fond opinion of his excellences, and they began to look upon 
him as one endowed with an uncommon measure of the Spirit, 
he continued to insinuate that unconverted ministers could 
do little or no good to souls ; that dead men might as well be- 
get living children. Having thus prepared the way, he leaves 
the country with this most vile insinuation, — ' That many, 
nay most, that preach, I fear, do not experimentally know 
Christ ; and the universities are become dark, — darkness in 
the abstract.' Well, what is the language of all this ? He that 
runs may read. Dead men may as well beget living children, 
as an unconverted minister do good to souls. The most of 
your ministers are unconverted : you must, then, if you have 
any regard to your souls, separate from them, and seek better 
help. But what will you do ? You can't have any help from 
the colleges : there is nothing but darkness, — darkness that 
may be felt. You must, then, content yourselves with some 
illiterate exhorters, until you can have a supply from the 
Shepherd's Tent, the Orphan House, or elsewhere. It appear- 
eth to us, that the Devil, with all his cunning, could not take 
a more direct step to overthrow these churches, hurt religion 
and the souls of men. 

" Joseph Avery, of Norton ; John Greenwood and David 
Turner, of Rehoboth ; Ebenezer White, of Norton ; Solomon 
Townsend, of Barrington ; and John Burt, of Bristol." 

We are decidedly of the opinion, that, if Mr. Avery 
had supported the Whitefield movement, he would never 
have been dismissed. Rev. Mr. Clarke, in his " Histo- 
rical Sermon," speaking of Mr. Avery, says, — 

*^ He was not a popular preacher, but a good character ; 
pacific in his temper, and an agreeable companion. In the 
course of his ministry, he was met with a violent opposition 
from many who were called new lights. They, in their en- 
thusiastic zeal, condemned him as incapable of preaching the 
gospel. By their influence, they increased the opposition to 
such a degree that the society voted him a dismission." 

The followers of Whitefield were very zealous reli- 
gionists, and were called " new lights." There were 
many of Mr. Avery's church who became " new 


lights;'' and not being able to carry their minister 
with them, or to turn him in the least from his convic- 
tions of duty, they seceded from his church, and esta- 
blished a dissenting church and society, of which we 
shall give an account hereafter. The fact that an op- 
position church had. been organized and a minister set- 
tled, and the fear that the old church would be broken 
up or very much weakened, no doubt brought the 
opposition to decisive action, and perhaps had much 
influence in determining the " result " of the council. 
The opposition were also, no doubt, encouraged to the 
course they took by Rev. Mr. Prentice, of Easton, — a 
zealous " new light," who was finally rff^fellowshipped 
by the neighboring ministers, and dismissed from his 
pastoral office. Tiie reader will take notice that he was 
very officious, as moderator of the church, while they 
were seeking to dismiss their minister ; and probably 
did more than any other person to " crush out " Mr. 

In all my investigations, I have not found any thing 
that casts a reflection upon the name or character of 
the first minister of our town. His only fault, if fault 
it can be called, was his unwillingness to submit to the 
dictation of otiiers. We are perfectly satisfied that he 
was sacrificed because he dared to think and act in oppo- 
sition to public opinion. But this only serves to enhance 
our estimation of the man. And certainly his deter- 
mination to be true to the convictions of his conscience, 
let what would befall him, must have found favor at 
the bar of God, the great and impartial Judge of the 
world ; and no doubt, as he entered the spirit-world, 
he heard the welcome plaudit, " Well done, good and 
faithful servant: enter thou into the joy of thy Lord." 
Of Mr. Avery, subsequent to his dismission, there is 
little to record, because little is known. He con- 
tinued to reside in town, but, it is supposed, never 
preached after he was deposed from the ministry. 
There have been some doubts expressed about the place 
of his death. Hon. Cromwell Leonard says he was 
told by his father that Mr. Avery did not die in town, 


and was not buried here ; but we are satisfied that he 
did die and was buried in Norton. In his " Historical 
Sermon," in allusion to Mr. Avery's dismission, Rey. 
Pitt Clarke says, " He lived nearly twenty-two yean 
after this, and exemplified the religion he taught to a 
good old age. He died April 23, 1770." He was con- 
sequently eightv-three years old at his death. The 
date of his death is* also recorded on the church-books, 
in the handwriting of Rev. Mr. Clarke. We think Mr, 
Clarke must have known the place of his death, or he 
could not well have given us the date of it ; and, if 
Mr. Avery had not died in town, we are confident Mr. 
Clarke would have so stated. Again: Mrs. Sarah 
Morey, recently deceased, who was a daughter of Rev. 
Joseph Palmer, the successor of Mr. Avery, most posi- 
tively affirmed to me, before her death, that Mr, Avery 
did die in town ; that he died in the house where he 
had always lived in Norton ; and that she distinctly 
remembered seeing the funeral procession pass by her 
father's house, and go to the graveyard in front of the 
house with the corpse. She was then some six or seven 
years of age. We know that Mr. Avery was here within 
five or six years of his death ; because, on the 8th of 
September, 1763, the parish " voted to Mr. Joseph Ave- 
ry, for the taking care of the meating-house and Sweap- 
ing it, O-S-O-O : " and on the 7th of March, 1764, Mr. 
Avery deeded his farm to Dr. Gideon Tiffany, no doubt 
with the understanding that Dr. Tiffany should take 
care of him in his old age. Tiffany remained in town 
till the death of Mr. Avery ; and then sold his farm, and 
went to Keene, N.H. But all doubts are resolved by 
the following reference to Mr. Avery, copied from the 
" Massachusetts Gazette and News-Letter " of Aug. 30, 
1773. The writer, over the signature of " G. H.," 
after alluding to the fact that Mr. Avery's name was 
not starred (*) in the last Triennial Catalogue, 
says, — 

" The said gentleman was formerly minister at Norton, and 
died there three or four years ago. He was esteemed, when 
living, by the clergy in that part of the country, as a very 


honest, good man ; and if he did not meet with candor and 
hir treatinent in his old age from some, who of all men had 
the greatest reason to love and honor him, I doubt not he 
has met with ample compensation in the approbation of his 

There is, theh, no longer any question relative to the 
place of his death. The writer of the above article 
seemed to entertain the same opinion that we had 
formed ; viz., that Mr. Avery was very unjustly treated 
and abused in his old age. The testimony of Rev. Pitt 
Clarke (whose authority was those who had personally 
known Mr. Avery) and that of the writer just quoted 
both concur in the idea, that he was an exemplary Chris- 
tian and an honest man. His communications and 
letters show him to have been a man of respectable lite- 
rary attainments for the time in which he lived ; and 
there is abundant proof that he was a man of energy and 
decision of character, — willing, if need be, to stand 
alone in what he believed to be a righteous cause ; in 
fine, that he was possessed of that manly independence, 
without which every person is a slave. He never had 
any children. His wife died Oct. 4, 1763, and was 
buried in the common graveyard. Mr. Avery, without 
a shadow of doubt in our mind, was buried beside her ; 
for there are indications of a grave in close proximity 
to hers. But no stone marks the spot where his body, 
long ere this, has moulded to dust.^ Citizens of Norton, 

1 Mrs. Sarah Morev, already alluded to, told me that the reason why no 
grayestone was erected at Mr. Avery's grave was because the property went 
principaUy to Mrs. Avery's heirs, and they cared more for the money than 
they did for the memory of the aged anS broken-down minister. I have 
since searched the probate-records at Taunton ; and find, that on the 18th of 
July, 1768, a few weeks previous to her death, Mrs. Averjr, with her hus- 
band's consent, made her will, and gave the property which she had re- 
ceived from her father to Sarah Tiffany, wife or Gideon Tiffany, and to the 
three children of Sarah Stone, deceased, the wife of Nathaniel* Stone. Mr. 
Avery was to have the use of the property as long as he lived. Gideon Tif- 
fany was appointed executor of the will. The estate was appraised Nov. 10, 
1768, at ^77. Is. 7d. May 4, 1770, — less than two weeks after the death of 
Mr. Avery, — Dr. Tiffany, the executor of Mrs. Avery's will, made a return 
df the inventory of the property. He also brought in a bill of charges 
tigainst the estate; which, with the legacy bequeathed his wife, Sarah Tif- 
Tany, amounted to more than the estate was worth. In his account, the ex- 
ecutor pays for an allowance of £1. 10s. for a pair of gravestones for Mrs. 
Avery, which he says were " spoken for, and to be brought and put up." 
Her gravestone says she " died in Sept. or Oct., 1763; ** which indicates that 


ought this so to be ? Will you not cause a suitable mon- 
ximeut to be erected over his remains, as a token of re- 
spect to the memory and virtues of the first minister of 
your town ? Certainly we of the present day ought to 
do him justice, by removing, so far as we can, the dis- 
grace and obloquy that clustered around his last days 
on earth. Wo trust that a word to those who would 
vindicate the character and reputation of an earnest, 
faithful, though much misrepresented man, will bo suf- 
ficient. If the town, in its corporate capacity, shall 
decline to aid in perpetuating his memory by erecting 
a monument at his grave, we hope the church and par- 
ish of which he was the first pastor will discharge their 
duty in this matter. 


** Many are called." -^ Christ. 

The church is now without a minister, and means 
must be taken to provide one to supply the pulpit: 
but the church-records and papers are still in the 
hands of their late pastor. Rev. Mr. Avery ; and it is 
deemed important that the church obtain possession 
of them. Accordingly, at a church-meeting held 
March 28, 1749,— 

" 21y, The sd. church voted that Deacon John Briggs, the 
first, and Deacon Benjamin Hodges, shall be a committee to 
waight on Mr. Joseph Avery, and desire him, in the name of 

i^ . 

she had been dead so long before it was erected, that the exact date of her 
death was forgotten. These facts, together with the fact that Mr. Avery, 
soon after the death of his wife, deeded his farm, worth over JC400, to Dr. 
Tiftany, go strongly to corroborate the statement of Mrs. Morey ; and I have 
110 doubt that she wjis correct. For further notice of Dr. Tiffany, see chap- 
ter relative to physicians. 


this (march, to deliver them the Church-oovenant and the 
Ghorch-Records ; and thaj to Keep them till the further 
order of this Church." 

Mr. Avery, still smarting under the wounds he had 
received by, as he thought, and as we think, his unjust 
dismissal from the pastoreil office, probably declined 
to deliver up the covenant and records thus demanded. 
Hence, after some months' waiting, on the second day 
of October, 1749, at a church-meeting, — 

*^ 21y, The Church voted that Dea. Benjamin Hodges and 
Benja. Cobb be a committee to go to Mr. Joseph Avery, 
and demand the Church-Covenant that this Church entered 
into when thay were first settled; as also all the Church- 
records: and, in case he delivers them up to sd. Commit- 
tee, thay to give a proper receipt for them. And, in case 
sd. Mr. Avery refuse or delay to deliver sd. Covenant and 
records, that the sd. Committee are impowred, in the name 
and behalf of the Church, to Commence an action, or as many 
actions as they shall think needful, for the recovering sd. 
Covenant and records out of his hands; and to Prosecute 
sd. action or actions in the law, from Court to Court, untill 
they have got them ; and to appeal, in the name and stead of 
this Church, in any Court or Courts ; to carry on sd. action, 
and to appeal! from any Judgment that shall be made up 
against this church in that afifayre." 

How the matter was adjusted we have no informa- 
tion. All we know is, that, at an earlier or later day, 
the church came into the possession of the documents 
alluded to. The supply of the pulpit now became a 
matter of importance to both church and parish. 
Hence the church — which was always expected, I 
believe, to take the lead in these matters — met 
April 17, 1749 ; and, " Sly, They voted that Coll. 
George Leonard, Samuel Deane, Benjamin Cope- 
land, shall be a committee, to join with a committee 
that shall be chose by the precint, to provide mini- 
sters to supply the pulpit." 

On the same day, the parish add Capt. William Stone, 
John Wild, and Deacon Benjamin Hodges, to this com- 
mittee of the church. A candidate is procured. He 




came and preached a few Sundays ; was acceptable to 
a portion of the parish and church. 

They are now about to choose a gospel teacher. It 
is with them a momentous affair, a solemn event ; and 
they would not undertake such a work without due 
preparation. The special interposition of the Almighty 
must be invoked; and hence, June 12, 1749, the 
church " voted that thirsday, the twenti-second of this 
instant June, should be held as a day of fasting and 
praier to God for his direction in the settling a pastor 
over them." 

On the same day, June 12, Joshua Pomroy, Ebene- 
zer Eddy, John Briggs, 2d, Benjamin Cobb, Josiah 
Newland, Benjamin Copeland, Benjamin Newcomb, 
Bartholemew Burt, John Briggs, 3d, Daniel Braman, 
Jonathan Knap, Samuel Dean, Sylvanus Braman, Seth 
Smith, and Benjamin Hodges, petition the Precinct 
Committee to call a precinct-meeting " To make choice 
of some man that is a Learned ortherdox man to settel 
in ye worke of ye Gospell minestry amongst us of sd. 

The fast is, no doubt, observed with becoming so- 
lemnities. They are now ready to take action. July 3, 
1749, at a church-meeting, — 

" Sly, The church voted, whereas this church was setled a 
congregational church, and have voted the church-platfonne 
for their Rule of discipline, they do now make choice of Mr. 
Eliakim Willis to setell with them in the minestry, and to be 
their paster-; and this church to be governed acording to the 
rule of discipline as sett fourth in sd. Church- platforme." 

On the same day, the parish concurred in the choice 
of Mr. Willis as their minister, and — 

"Made choice of Greorge Leonard, Esqr., Capt. Simeon 
Wetherell, and Mr. Benjamin Cobb, to be a Committee to 
Present a copy of the sd. church and precint's votes in makeing 
choice of him for theyr minister, and do theyr Endeavor to 
obtain him to come and Preach with us ; and also to treet 
with sd. Mr. Willis about his settling with us, and make Re- 
port at the next Precint-meeting; and to obtain some minister 
to supply the Pulpit untill Mr. Willis can come." 


There is a minority who are opposed. 

"Capt. Wm. Stone appeared, and protested against the 
chusing Mr. Willis to be our minister. John Wild, Natha- 
niell Dmham, Ebenezer Burt, Eliphalet Hodges, Edmund 
Hodges, Nehemiah Fisher, and James Grodfrey, protested 
against chusing Mr. Willis or any other minister at this time. 
Samuell Clapp, Junior, protests against chusing Mr. Willis, 
or any other, without further tryall. Thomas morey protests 
against chusing any that we have heard already." 

But the majority, having chosen a minister, seem 
determined to settle him, if possible. They call a 
parish-meeting, Aug. 21, 1749, and " Voted that they 
would give to Mr. Eliakim Willis 400 pounds, old 
Tenner, for a settlement." They voted to give him 
three hundred pounds, in bills of credit of the old 
tenor or other money, a year for his salary, to be 
as good as bills of credit of this Province of the old 
tenor now are, in proportion to silver at fifty-five 
shillings an ounce, provided he settled with them in 
the work of the ministry. 

They also voted that George Leonard, Esq., Capt. 
William Stone, and Mr. Benjamin Cobb, should be a 
committee to present these votes to Mr. Eliakim Willis 
for his acceptance. 

Mr. Willis declined settling in the following note: — 

** To the first chh. of christ in norton, and the society usually 
meeting with them : grace, mercy, and Peace. 

" Honr'd and Beloved, — 

" Whereas you gave me an Invitation (some time since) 
to settle with you in the work of the gospel ministry, with 
proposals inconsiderable and insufficient for a subsistance 
therein, — These, therefore, are to inform you, that I am 
convinced it is not my duty to comply with your Invitation, 
that the great Head of the church would, in due time, be 
pleased to Favour you with a wise and faithful Pastor, is 
the desire and Prayer of your Friend and Brother in the 
Faith and Fellowship of the gospel, 

" Eliakim Willis. 

" Dabtmouth, Sepr. 16th, 1749. 

"To Deacon Brigfljs, to be communicated to ye chh. and 
society of ye South Precinct in Norton." 


Of Mr. Willis I have been able to obtain but little in- 
formation. He is supposed to have been born in Dart- 
mouth, in this county, Jan. 9, 1714. He came from 
there when he entered college ; and that plaee seems 
to have been his home when he preached at Norton. 
He entered Harvard College at the age of eighteen, 
and graduated from that institution in 1735. He was 
ordained pastor over the second parish in Maiden 
(which has since been united with the first), Oct. 25, 
1752 ; and died March 14, 1801, aged eighty-seven. ^ 

Prom receipts now in my possession, — one dated 
May 22, the other Dec. 28, 1849, — it appears that 
Mr. Willis preached seventeen sabbaths in Norton 
during that year. 

The declination of the call to settle by Mr. Willis, 
no doubt, was a source of gratification to one party, 
and a disappointment to the other. A new candidate 
must now be procured to run the gauntlet between the 
opposing factions of church and parish. 

The curtain of oblivion happily hides from our view 
most of their private bickerings; and we have no 
desire to uplift it. It withdraws itself, however, suf- 
ficiently often to enable us to understand the actual 
state of aflfairs. 

Though without a minister, the parish are deter- 
mined to maintain the stated worship of God. 

Feb. 5, 1749-50, it was "voted to raise four hundred 
pounds, old tenor, to Pay for supplying ye pulpit in 
sd. Precint ; " and, at the same time, Lieut. Benjamin 
Cobb, John Briggs, 2d, and Jonathan Lincoln, were 
chosen a committee to join with a committee of 
the church in supplying the pulpit. But, still, bitter- 
ness and discord reign in the parish. A movement 
was made by the disaffected ones to divide the precinct. 
Li the mean time, a candidate had been preaching, 
and his friends desired to settle Thim. On the 5th of 
March, 1749-50, the church chose Joseph Roberts for 
their minister. A parish-meeting is warned to meet 

1 Interleaved Triennial Catalogues of John L. Sibley, and Rev. J. 
Pierce, D.D. 


March 20, to act upon the above vote of the church ; 
and also to act upon the petition of the east part of the 
south precinct, that said precinct be divided into two 
precincts, or parishes. 

At the meeting, March 20, ^ after a long debate on the 
Petition of some of the inhabitants of je Easterly Part of 
this Precint, there yras a vote called for to know whether 
thej would act any further on sd. Petition ; and it Passed in 
the negative." 

At this meeting, the parish concur with the church 
in inviting Mr. Roberts to be their minister. They 
offer him as a settlement one hundred pounds, lawful 
money ; half to be paid the first, and half the second 
year after his ordination. 

^ And also the sum of sixty-six pounds, thirteen shillings, 
and fourpence. Lawful silver money, or other money or Bills 
of Credit, Equal in value thareto, that Pass current in Pay- 
ments between man and man, at the Respective times of 
Payments; which he shall have each and every year, so 
long as he Continues with us in the work and office of the 

George Leonard, Esq., Capt. Simeon Wetherell, and 
Deacon Benjamin Hodges, were appointed a committee 
" to waight on Mr. Joseph Roberts, and Present him 
a copy of the abovesd. Precint's vote, and to treet with 
him about his settling," &c. 

Mr. Roberts takes time to consider upon the matter ; 
and, in a letter, declines in these words : — 

**To the Church of Christ here in Norton; wishing grace, 

mercy, and Peace. 

" As you, the first Church of Christ, and the Congregation 
appertaining unto you, Some time since gave me, the sub- 
scriber, an Invitation to settle with you in the work of the 
Gospell ministry, as your Pastor and minister, — these may 
signify unto you, that I nave deliberated upon this Important 
affayer, and advised both with Relations and others ; and 
from some things in this Place, as well as a disinclination to 
settle here, under some circumstances, among you, I am in- 
clined, and think it best, to determine in the Negative. And 



although I have not been able to let you know this before now, 
is becau^ I have been Greatly Perplexed in my mind about 
you and the other place, where I have a call to settle, whereby 
I liave been at the greatest nonplus what to do. I hope 
none of the People of this Place will either be offended or 
Grieved with me in not giving my answer sooner, since 
Providence prevented by sickness, and my being perplexed 
with two calls at one and the same time. I conclude this 
Reply to your Invitation in the words of the apostle : 
* Finally, brethren, farewell ! be perfect ; be of Good com- 
fort ; be of one mind ; live in Peace ; and the GM of love 
and Peace shall be with you.' 

" I am yours, &c., 

" Joseph Roberts. 

" NoRTOK, September 29th, 1760." 

The internal dissensious to which he alluded had, 
no doabt, a great influence in causing him to give 
a negative answer. We hope the people profited by 
his apostolic exhortation at the close of his letter. 

Mr. Roberts was from Boston, where he was born 
Jan. 8, 1718. He graduated at Harvard, 1741 ; and 
was ordained at Leicester, Oct. 23, 1764; being the 
third minister settled in that place. But, ere eight 
years had elapsed, diflBculties arose between him and 
his people, " which were referred to an Eccl. Council, 
who recommended a dissolution of the Pastoral Con- 
nection." He was accordingly dismissed Dec. 16, 
1762. After his dismissal, he removed to Weston ; 
and died there April 30, 1811, aged ninety-three (?). 
" His mental powers were of a high order ; and, for 
many years, he was a useful man in civil life." — " He 
took an active part in the American Revolution, as one 
of the 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, 
after his death, there was found among his papers a 
draught, in his own handwriting, of a form of govern- 
ment, many of the provisions of which have been 
incorporated into our present State Constitution. He 
represented the town of Weston several years in the 
General Court. He lived and died a bachelor. His 



usefamess and respectability were mach diminished 
hj being connected with a speculation in business, hj 
which he became involved in lawsuits, and lost much 
of his property. His temper was soured, and he bo- 
came disgusted with the world; so tliat he retired, 
and spent the remainder of his days, as a hermit, in 
obscurity." ^ 

From a receipt given March 21, 1749-50, it is in- 
ferred that he had then preached in Norton thirteen 
Sundays. From the parish-records, we conclude that 
he preached more than tliirteen sabbaths. 

Again the parish must go forth in quest of a candi- 

Aug. 15, 1751, the parish "Voted that no person 
shall preach in the meeting-house in sd. Precint but 
such as shall be procured by the Committee of sd. Pre- 
cint and Church, till the further order of this Precint;" 
and, to make the matter doubly sure, they vote " that 
the key shall be delivered to sd. Comtee." This shows 
that harmony was not yet restored to the parish. 

On the 30th of August, 1751, the church gave a call 
to Mr. Elijah Lathrop to settle as their minister; and, 
on the 30th of September following, the parish concur 
in the choice, and oflFer Mr. Lathrop, as a settlement, 
£133. 65j. 8d. lawful money, and j666. 13^. 4cf. yearly 
salary. George Leonard, Esq., Mr. Benjamin Cobb, 
and Deacon Benjamin Hodges, were " chosen a com- 
mittee to present a coppy of ye above-written votes to 
ye abovesaid Mr. Lathrop, and to treet with him about 
settling with them as abovesd." Mr. Lathrop did not 
accept the call. No written answer to the invitation 
has been found. He was born in Windham, Conn., 
about the year 1724. He was educated at Yale Col- 
lege, and graduated from that institution in 1749. In 
1752, he was settled over the " Gilead Society " in 
Hebron, Conn., as a Congregational minister. 

** He performed the duties of a priest, to the acceptance of 
his people, until 1797; when he died, aged seventy-three. 

1 American Quarterly Begister, vol. z. pp. 60, 61. 


His moral character was good; his talents, an average of 
country clergymen, whose services were purchased for life 
for a small farm, a house, $250, and twenty cords of wood, 
per year, during life." ^ 

Other candidates now entered the field : none, how- 
ever, are invited till the willing candidate is found of 
whom we shall speak in the succeeding chapter. 

From receipts by them signed for services rendered, 
it is certain that six other individuals preached in 
Norton during the time the church was destitute of a 
pastor. Whether all preached as candidates is un- 
certain: probably all did not. I have been able to 
ascertain a few items, in the history of these indi- 
viduals, which may not be altogether uninteresting to 
the reader ; and therefore take the liberty to record 
them in this connection. Mr. Edward Bass preached 
at Norton " four sabbaths and one Past Day " previous 
to July 8, 1749. He was born in Dorchester, Nov. 23, 
1726. He entered Harvard College before he was 
fourteen years old, and graduated from that college 
in 1744. After graduating, he taught school till he 
took the degree of A.M. In 1752, by invitation of the 
Episcopal society of Newburyport, he went to England ; 
and, on the 24th of May of that year, " was ordained 
by the excellent Dr. Thomas Sherlock, then Bishop of 
London." He returned, and took charge of the society 
in Newbury, the same year. In 1796, he was unani- 
mously elected, by the Episcopal churches of Massa- 
chusetts, to the office of bishop ; and was consecrated 
in Christ's Church, May 7, 1797. He was afterwards 
elected Bishop of Rhode Island ; and the churches in 
New Hampshire put themselves under his jurisdiction. 
He died September, 1803, after an illness of two days, 
aged almost seventy-seven. " He was a sound divine, 
a critical scholar, an accomplished gentleman, and an 
exemplary Christian." ^ 

1 Letter of Hon. John S. Peters, M.D. 

* See Sibley's Interleaved Triennial; Mas.sachusett8 Historical Collec- 
tions, vol. is. ; and Rev. James Morss's Sermon at Newburyport, Jan. 6, 



PreTious to Oct. 8, 1749, Mr. Thomas Jones preached 
in Norton "three sabbaths and the Thanksgiving." 
He was from Dorchester, and was born April 20, 1721 ; 
graduated at Harvard, 1741. He was invited by the 
church to settle in Stoughton ; but " the precinct, being 
equally divided, were unable to obtain a vote of con- 
currence.^ He was ordained at Woburn, Jan. 2, 1751 ; 
and died suddenly, on sabbath-day, March 13, 1774, of 
apoplexy, with which he was seized in the pulpit, at 
the close of the prayer in the morning service." ^ 

Mr. Naphtali Daggett preached four Sundays before 
Oct. 29, 1760. He was born in Attleborough, Sept. 8, 
1727 ; and was the second of eight children. His 
father died when he was quite young. In 1748, he 
graduated from Yale College; and, in 1751, was 
ordained at Smithton, L.I. In September, 1755, he 
was chosen Professor of Divinity at Yale ; and from 
Sept. 10, 1766, to April 1, 1777, he was the acting 
president of the college. When the British attacked 
New Haven, in July, 1779, he took an active part in 
the defence of the town ; and died (in consequence of 
wounds received on that occasion) Nov. 25, 1780, aged 
fifty-three. He is reported to have been " a good clas- 
sical scholar, well versed in moral philosophy, and a 
learned divine." ^ 

Jonathan Derby preached at Norton, "April 14th 
and 21st," 1761. He was the son of Capt. Eleazer 
and Mary (Gushing) Dorby, of Boston ; and was born 
Sept. 13, 1726; graduated at Harvard, 1747; was 
settled over the Second Church in Scituate, Nov. 13, 
1751. He went to Hingham to exchange with Rev. 
Mr. Gay, and was there taken with a fever at the 
house of Gen. Benjamin Lincoln's father; and died 
after an illness of five days, April 22, 1754, aged 
twenty-eight. He is described as " a man of moderate 
stature, fair complexion, round features, and blue eyes ; 

1 E. Richmond's Sermon on leaving the Old Church in Stoughton, 
May 22, 1808. 

» See Interleaved Triennials at Harvard-College Librarj^; and American 
Quarterly Beglster, vol. xi. 

• See Daggett's History of Attleborough. 


in his manners, graceful and winning; using much 
familiarity in his intercourse with his people, without 
disgusting ; and entering their dwellings like a son 
and a brother. As a preacher, he was lively and in- 
teresting/' ^ 

Joseph Green, jun., supplied the pulpit in Norton 
"nine days, in the year 1751." He was born in 
Barnstable, Sept. 12, 1727 ; and was the son of Rev. 
Joseph Green, of that town. He graduated at Har- 
vard, 1746; was ordained at Marshfield, Feb. 21, 
1753 ; and resigned his pastoral oflSce, Jan. 9, 1759. 
He was subsequently installed over the First Church in 
Yarmouth, Sept. 15, 1762 ; and died Nov. 5, 1768.2 

Mr. Samuel Angier preached at Norton before 
Feb. 8, 1762, — probably not as a candidate. He 
was born at Cambridge, July 15, 1722; and was 
the son of Edmund Angier. He graduated at Har- 
vard, 1748; and was probably never ordained as a 
minister. He taught school for a time at Medford ; 
and died Aug. 23, 1775.^ Whether other unsuccess- 
ful candidates preached during the vacancy of the 
pulpit is unknown. 




*< He tried each art, reproyed each dull delay ; 
Allured to brighter worlds, and led the way." 


Thus far, in their attempts to settle a pastor, disappoint- 
ments have met the church and parish at every turn. 
But, though defeated in their laudable and repeated 
efforts to establish a permanent ministry among them, 

1 See Interleaved Triennials at Harvard- College Library, and Deane's 
History of Scituate. 

2 Sibley's and Winthrop's Interleaved Triennials. 


they were by no means discouraged. With praiseworthy 
zeal and energy, they pressed on towards the goal of 
their desire ; and, as a reward of their faithfulness, suc- 
cess is about to crown with rejoicing the unwearied 
endeavors to secure a shepherd for the flock. 

A candidate has been preaching to them for some 
weeks. He is acceptable to a large part of the church 
and parish. The church, agreeably to a long-esta- 
blished custom, take the initiatory steps to secure his 
permanent services as a teacher of righteousness. A 
meeting is duly warned and held. Deacon Benjamin 
Hodges, who seems, after the dismission of Mr. Avery, 
to have been a sort of standing moderator of all the 
church-meetings, was called to preside over the solemn 
deliberations of the assembled church ; and, no doubt, 
offered an earnest prayer to God for direction in the 
important business immediately before them, and for 
the spirit of union and harmony in the selection of a 
gospel teacher about to be made. We now quote the 
record : — 

"At a meeting of the first church of Christ in Norton, held 
at Norton South precint meeting-house on ye 20 th day of 
Aprill, 1752, the said church made choice of Mr. Joseph 
Palmer to be their minister, and to settle with them in the work 
of the ministry (this church being a Congregational church) ; 
And they made choice of Capt. William Stone, John Briggs, 
and Jonathan Hodges, 2d, a committee to present the above- 
sd. vote to the first precint or parish in sd. Norton for their 

On the 11th of May following, at a meeting held for 
that purpose, the parish — 

" Voted and concurred [in] the before-written vote of sd. 
church in chuseing Mr. Joseph Palmer for their minister, 
Provided he settle with them for one hundred and thirty-three 
pounds, six shillings, and eightpence, Lawful money, as a set- 
tlement ; one-half thereof to be paid in a year after he shall 
settle with them, and the other half in two years. 

" 3dly, Voted to give the sd. Mr. Palmer the sum of sixty- 
six pounds, thirteen shillings, and fourpence, Lawful money, 


for a salary, yearly and every year, so long as he shall con- 
tinue and remain their Minister, provided he settle with them 
as aforesd. 

" 4thly, They made choice of George Leonard, Esq., Capts. 
William Stone, and Simeon Wetherell, and Mr. Benjamin 
Hodges & Samuel Dean, a committee to present ye abovesd. 
vote to the Mr. Palmer, and to use their interest with him to 
settle with them as aforesd." 

Mr. Palmer returned the following answer : — 

^ To the First chh. of Christ in, and Inhabitants of, the first 

Parish of Norton. 

" Dearly Beloved in the Lord, — Inasmuch as it has 
pleased almighty God, the wise govenour of the world, to per- 
mit a seperation between you and your late Rev. Pastor ; and, 
since this seperation, to incline you so far to pursue your own 
best interest as to be desirous of resettling the Gospel Mini- 
stry amongst you ; and since he from whom every man's Judg- 
ment proceeds, who has the Hearts of all men in his Hands, 
has inclined you to choose me for your minister (unworthy as 
I am), as appears by a Copy of your Votes some Time since 
presented to me ; and having, as I trust, with a serious Con- 
cern to promote God's glory & holy kingdom, both in my- 
self and you, taken into consideration your Invitation of me 
to settle among you in the work of the gospel ministry, and 
have been importunate with God for Direction, and asked 
advice of men, — [I] am determined to accept of your Invita- 
tion, with only asking that you would please to make an ad- 
dition to the offers you made me for my support: and that is, 
viz., to supply me with a sufficiency of firewood ; It being no 
more than what is of late common with Towns and Parishes 
to do. and, by your granting this, I do accept of your Invita- 
tion ; Trusting in the great Head of the church for assistance 
in the important service, and in your Goodness for a comfort- 
able support, if what you have already proposed, and may 
now farther add for that Purpose, should prove insufficient. 
Desiring your earnest prayers to God for me, 

** Cah BRIDGE, Sept. ye 15th, 1752.** 


This letter was read at a parish-meeting held Sept. 
27 ; and then — 

^ The sd. Frecint voted, that they Look upon what they 
have already voted to Mr. Joseph Palmer for his support 
amongst us, in case he should settle with us in the work of a 
Grospell minister, to he sufficient for his support ; and as much, 
as we cannot think it our duty at present to give any more : 
therefore vote not to add any more to it towards Providing of 
firewood for him ; and desire him to accept of what we have 
already offered." 

It is uncertain how the matter was settled : but Mr. 
Palmer undoubtedly withdrew his request about fire- 
wood ; for, a few days subsequent to the vote of the 
precinct, he communicated his final answer. As he was 
then at Norton, possibly some verbal arrangement rela- 
tive to firewood might have been made ; but probably 

^ To the first church of christ in, and Inhabitants of, the first 

precinct in Norton. 

** Dearly Beloved in the Lord, — whereas you have once 
and again (by your votes) manifested a desire of my settling 
with you in the work of the gospell ministry, I would now 
Inform you that I am determined and do accept of your Invi- 
tation, upon the offer you made me for my support ; Trusting 
in your goodness for a comfortable maintenance, if what you 
have ofered should not be sufficient ; and desire your prayers 
to almighty Gk)d that I may be a faithfuU Pastor. 

"Joseph Palheb. 

" NoBTOH, October ye 25th, 1762." . 

Preparations were then vigorously made for the ordi- 
nation. A church-meeting was held Nov. 10, 1762, 
Benjamin Hodges, moderator ; and it was — 

^ Voted, they would ordain Mr. Joseph Palmer as sune as 
they could conveniently. 

" Sly, The church voted that the church-covenant should be 
red ; and it was red : and they gave their assent to it by the 
sine of lifting the hand." 

Benjamin Hodges and William Stone were chosen a 
committee to invite Mr. Palmer to meet with the 



church at an adjourned meeting, Nov. 17. At the ad- 
journed meeting, " the church voted that they would 
ordayen Mr. Joseph Palmer upon the first wendsday 
of Jenuary insuing the vote hearof." They also voted 
to send " to 10 churches to assist in the ordaining Mr. 
Palmer ; '* and Col. George Leonard, John Andrews, 
Benjamin Hodges, and William Stone, were appointed a 
committee to sign the letters-missive to the churches. 
On the same day (Nov. 17, 1762), a copy of the origi- 
nal covenant (see page 68) of the church was brought 
forward, with the names of the original members 
attached to it. This covenant had been read and 
accepted, as we have seen, the week previous : and they 
now renew it, and deliberately and solemnly affix their 
names to the sacred instrument ; for underneath the 
covenant is the following record, and the autographs of 
those who repledged themselves to the duties of their 
Christian profession : — 

" We the subscribers, members of the first church of Christ 
in Norton, Having Head the Church-Covenant which our 
Fathers entered into when this church was first Greathred in 
this place, and voted our consent thereto (it Being a Congre- 
gationell Church), do now, in the Presance of God, Renew the 
same by subscribing our names thareto, this 17th day of No- 
vember, 1752. John Andrews, Benja. Hodges, George Leo- 
nard, John Austin, Samuel Clap, Ebenezer Eddy, Daniel 
Braman, John Wild, William Stone, Nathaniel Dunham, 
Samll Dean, William Coddington, Benja. Cobb, Seth Smith, 
Thomas Shepard, Jonathan Knap, Israel Fisher, 2d, Ephraim 
Lane, 2d, Benja. Copeland, Bartholomew Burt, William Hara- 
don, Silvanus Braman, Philep Cooye, Benja. Newcomb, Jona- 
than Hodges.^' 

" Dec. 8th, 15thly, sd. Precint made choice of Capt. Wil- 
liam Stone, Capt. Simeon wetherel, and Benjamin Cobb, for 
a committee to treet with and agree with some person or 
persons to provide Provisions and things necessary, and enter- 
tainment, for the ordination of Mr. Joseph Palmer ; and then 
they made choice of Joseph Hodges and Jonathan Hodges to 
take [care] that on ye ordination-day there be sets in ye 
meeting-house Kept for ye council and ye church." 


The cliurch-records simply state the date of Mr. 
Palmer's ordination. On the parish-records, all I 
find is the following memorandum : — 

"That, on the 3d day of January, A Domini 1753, the 
before-named Mr. Joseph Palmer was ordained the Pastor 
of the church of Christ in this Precint, by a council of twelve 

" Attest : " George Leonard, Jr., 

« Precint-Clerk." 

The record of the church-meeting, Nov. 10, 1752, 
says, as we have seen, that ten churches were invited ; 
and the names of those churches are given as fol- 
lows : — 

" The first church in Rochester [Rev. Timothy Ruggles] ; 
the church in Cambridge [Rev. Nathaniel Appleton] ; the 
first and 2d churches in Stotun [Rev. Samuel Dunbar, now 
Canton, and Rev. Philip Curtis, now Sharon] ; the church 
in Raynham [Rev. John Wales] ; the first and 2d churches in 
Lankister [Riev. Timothy Harrington and Rev. J. Mellen] ; 
the 2d church in Attleborough [Rev. Peter Thatcher] ; the 
church at Miltun [Rev. Nathaniel Robbins] ; the first church 
of Wrentham [Rev. Joseph Bean]." 

The following extract from Rev. Mr. Dunbar's 
records has been kindly furnished me by S. B. Noyes, 
Esq., of Canton, which throws some light upon the or- 
dination services. Mr. Dunbar's record reads thus : — 

"Jan. 3d, 1753. — Myself and the chhs.' messengers at- 
tended and assisted in the ordination of Rev. Mr. Joseph 
Palmer over the 1st chh. in Norton. The Rev. Mr. Wales, 
of Raynham, began with prayer ; Mr. Mellen, of Lancaster 
[now Sterling], preached ; Mr. Leonard, of Plymouth, gave 
the charge ; and I gave the right hand of fellowship." 

The parish-records say, as we have seen, that twelve 
churches composed the '' council." The church-records 
name only ten churches. Mr. Dunbar's record shows 
that " Mr. Leonard, of Plymouth,", took part in the 
services. His church would make the eleventh. Most 
likely, the church in the North Precinct (Rev. Ebene- 
zer White's) was the twelfth church represented. 


The sermon of Mr. Mellen was printed ; and a copy 
of it may be found in the Athenaeum Library, at Bos- 
ton, " B. 228," p. 286. The text was 1 Tim. vi. 3. 
The subject of the sermon was the Duty of Ministers 
to preach Doctrines of Practice ; and it was well cal- 
culated to heal the dissensions which had been rife in 
the church and society for some years ; for it breathed 
a truly Christian spirit. The tenor of the discourse 
may be inferred from the following extracts from the 
" Improvement : " — 

" Freedom of Enquiry in Matters of Religion, with Pru- 
dence and Virtue, ought not only to be tolerated, but incou- 
rag'd and urg'd, especially by the Ministers of Righteousness ; 
and party Distinctions and hard names, as much as possible, 
laid aside ; according to the wholesome Advise of our pious 
Fore- Fathers, whose words are these : ' Let the Nick-Names 
of Zwinglians and Calvinists then cease, — the Marks rather 
of Faction than brotherly Union, What should we have to 
do with Luther ? What should we have to do with Calvin ? 
We profess the Gospel ; we beleive the Gospel.' 

" Lastly^ Forasmuch as it is Matter of Fact that Mankind 
do, and always must, think differently from each other with 
Regard to Things of little or no Importance in Religion, — that 
is, which have no considerable Influence upon Practice one 
way or the other, — a catholic Spirit among all Parties aught 
by all Means to be promoted toward each other in different 
Opinions and Practices. 

" Nothing is so much wanted to set the Christian world 
right as a Spirit of universal lave and Charity. A blind, un- 
charitable Zeal about uncertain Opinions and circumstantial 
Things, like the * Worm at the Root of Jonah^s Gourd, tends 
to eat out the Vitals of true Religion.' And, about these pre- 
carious & controversial Things, some pious, peevish Men think 
they do well to be angry, and are ready (with Pope Paul the 
fourth, upon his Death-Bed) to recommend (if not the Inqui- 
sition, as he did, yet) very severe and unchristian Methods 
for the Cure of these ICvils. But did our meek Lord teach 
such a Doctrine as this ? Does the Gospel countenance 
Persecution for Conscience' Sake ? or could any Thing but 
Matter of Fact be sufficient to prove the Cruelties that have 
been exercised by Christians one upon another ? One of the 
most pernicious Errors in the World seems to be this, — that 



Men are to be ill treated for their harmless Opinions. Charity 
is the most perfect Bond of Union among Christians, and is 
greater than Faith itself; and, where there are the greatest 
Measures of this, on that Side there is doubtless most Truth 
and most Religion." 

In his address to the pastor elect, he says, — 

"Your OflBce is to build up the Redeemer's Kingdom 
among Men, in Opposition to the Powers of Darkness; to 
preach the Doctrines of Godliness, and reform a vicious 
World; and thereby promote the glorious Design of that 
Gospel of which jou are made a Minister. Let, therefore, 
the Height of your Ambition be to serve the Interests of 
Truth and Virtue. . . . 

" Be an honest Inquirer after Truth — seek not the Ap- 
plause of Men, of any Party or Character ; but the Appro- 
bation of God and your own Conscience. If you have the 
Happiness to keep up the Reputation of your Orthodoxy^ you 
will find a mighty Advantage in it : like Charity^ it will cover 
a Multitude of Sins. But this you may lose among some, 
and yet be a Friend to Truth. • . . 

" There will be always some iynoranty presumptotis, and 
superstitious Men that will set themselves to oppose the 
Truth which is after Godliness, and the Preachers of it. In 
Meekness these must be instructed; for the Servant of the 
Lord must not strive, but be gentle to all Men, apt to teach, 

" From such as vapour about Questions and needless Con- 
troversies tending to Schism and Ungodliness, turn away: 
But Speak thou the Things which become sound Doctrine 
(Tit ii. 1) ; namely, that Men of all Ages and Relations be- 
have suitably to their Characters, old and young, bond and 
free ; for in this way, both of Preaching and Practising^ are 
Christians to look for the blessed Hope, and glorious Appear- 
ing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ." 

In his address to the members of the society, he 
says, — 

^^ Bretheren, You are all one Body, and you should en- 
deavour to be all one Soul ; that is, you should be all of the 
same Mind toward each other's Persons, tho' differing from 
each other in Sentiments : hereby endeavoring to preserve 
the Unity, ' not of Opinion in the Bond of Ignorance, not of 



Practise in the Bond of Hypocricy, but the Unity of a Catho- 
Kc Christian Spirit in the Bond of Peace & Love.' " . 

In a note to this last sentence, he says, — 

" Unity of Opinion there cannot possibly be, or seem to be, 
unless men are equally wise and in the same Circumstance of 
Light, or equally wicked or Hypocritical, in making the same 
Profession. In no Principles, therefore, can there be Unity 
among Men, but in the one uniform Principle of the Love of 
Truth, This I take to be the true unity of Spirit ; which, 
when joined to the Bond of Peace and Righteousness of Life, 
makes a really yirtuous and good Man." 

Quite an account was made, in those days, of the 
ordination occasions. They were not such every-day 
affairs as they have become in these later times ; and 
hence quite a parade was made in getting up the ordi- 
nation dinner, which was really one of the most im- 
portant features of the day. We have already seen 
that a committee was appointed to attend to this 
matter. Jan. 23, 1763, they made report that they 
had " agreed with George Leonard, Esq., to provide 
for sd. ordination ; and he has done it : and we have 
exam'd. sd. Leonard's accounts, and agreed that he shall 
have twenty-one pounds, six shillings, and Eightpence, 
Lawful money, for his providing as aforesd." 

The records do not show that there was any particu- 
lar opposition to the call and settlement of Mr. Palmer ; 
yet it is very probable there was a minority op- 
posed to him. Subsequent events will show that the 
y^ames of strife were not entirely extinguished. It 
^ ^ evident there were two parties, and that one was 
.«*ther disposed to dislike what the other liked. Rev. 
Isaac Braman, of Georgetown, a native of Norton, and 
son-in-law of Rev. Mr. Palmer, in a letter to me, 
says, — 

" When Father Palmer preached as a candidate for settle- 
ment, there were two men, either of whom loved to have- 
the pre-eminence; and were always, in regard to public 
matters, somewhat jealous of each other. Judge Leonard 
said to Mr. Palmer, ' I want you to settle here ; but don't yau 


tell Capt Stone.' Capt. Stone said, ' I want you to be our 
minister; but don't you let judge Leonard know it.' Not 
knowing each other's minds in the matter, they were good 
friends to the minister during their lives." 

Judge Leonard was one of the leading opponents of 
Mr. Avery: and Mr. Stone was probably one of Mr. 
Avery's friends ; for I cannot find that he ever took part 
in the war against Mr. Avery. And, besides, Capt. 
Stone's, son Nathaniel married a connection of Mrs. 
Avery, as it is presumed, she being one of the legatees 
named in Mrs. Avery's will. These f^ts will, no doubt, 
enable us to understand why the two men should ap- 
proach Mr. Palmer as they did. It will be seen, by 
reference, that Messrs. Leonard and Stone were first 
named on the committee to inform Mr. Palmer that he 
had been invited to settle. This was done, no doubt, 
in order to secure the good-will of both parties. At 
any rate, it may be regarded as fortunate that both 
these men were favorably disposed towards Mr. Pal- 

There is little to record during the ministry of Mr. 
Palmer. He entered, it is true, upon his duties 
under very peculiar and embarrassing circumstances. 
The late minister had been dismissed and deposed from 
the holy office. He was still an inhabitant of the 
town, and had some strong adherents, who felt that 
he had been misused, — unjustly compelled to vacate 
the pulpit he had occupied so long. They would 
naturally be jealous of whoever should assume the 
sacerdotal robes. There is sufficient evidence to show 
that the spirit of strife and ill-feeling was not entirely 
subdued at the time Mr. Palmer was inducted into the 
pastoral office. There were still some who seemed to re- 
gard the Platform of Church Discipline of more import- 
ance than a truly devout and holy life. Mr. Palmer was 
liberal in his religious views, — certainly as liberal as 
was Mr. Avery ; and hence the opposers of Mr. Avery 
gained nothing by the change. He was no more in 
favor of ruling elders or of ordaining deacons than the 
former pastor ; and probably no serious attempt was 


made for such a purpose. S6on after the settlement 
of Mr. Palmer, Rev. Mr. Prentice, of Easton, — whom 
we regard as an intermeddler in the aflFairs of this 
church, and probably one of the chief instigators to 
the dismissal of Mr. Avery, as we have already stated, 
— was himself obliged to leave his parish ; and, shortly 
after, moved from this vicinity. This circumstance 
had, no doubt, a tendency to allay somewhat the spirit 
of discord that had reigned in the church and precinct 
so long. The church was in a distracted state, as we 
have said, at the settlement of Mr. Palmer. Within a 
year from his ordination, the following petition was put 
into his hands : — 

"To the Reverend Pastor of ye first Church of Christ in 


" We your Bretheren and humble petitioners' Request is 
that you appoint a Church-meeting, to be as soon as may be 
Coveanint for the church to Com together, to Consult what 
is Best to be done in order to Reclame some of our Bretheren 
that hath withdrawn from our Communion ; and also to act 
and doo what they Shall think Best to be done in the method 
of admiting ye members to communion. 

" Dated in Norton, Nov., A.D. 1753. 

" Thomas Shepard. Samll. Deane. 
Seth Smith. Joseph Newland. 

Jonathan Knap. Benja. Cobb. 

Bartholomew Burt." 

Probably several church-meetings were held to con- 
sider this and other kindred matters, but without 
arriving at any definite result. On the back of the 
above petition of Samuel Deane and others is re- 
corded the following memorandum, in the handwrit- 
ing of Mr. Palmer : — 

" A chh.-meeting [was held] immediately after the Lecture, 
on ye 5th day of June, 1754, at wh. all those Things wh. 
were proposed to be then considered were refered to another 
Time ; viz., on Wednesday, at three of the clock in ye after- 
noon, — a Fortnight from y t day." 


Probably, as we shall soon see, other matters took 
up the time at the meeting, June 19; but another 
record, on the back of the same petition, tells us what 
action was finally taken : — 

^ At a chh.-meettiDg on je 5 Day of Augast, 1754, [it] was 
voted by ye chh., yt ye within article (viz., to act and do 
what they shall think best to be done of admitting members 
to conununion) be dismissed." 

Other troubles had in the mean time sprung up, 
and were now engrossing the attention, of the church. 
John Briggs, 2d,* sends the church this letter : — 

" To the first church of Christ in Norton. 

" In answer to your request by your committy, dear bre- 
thren : My soul's desire is, yould consider the sollom covenant 
you Have made to God & with me, — to watch over me, & 
I you. Now, bretheren, in answer to a Good conseance, I 
must Tell you wharein I think you have gone conterarey to 
our Covenant. First, in Church-meetings, the church not 
being Willing to here a greaved brother, but, with hashness 
And anger. Give the agreaved brother the lie : & not deling 
In love and meekness as Christ Comanded ; for, if we love 
Not our brother whome we have scene, how shall we Love 
God, whome we have not seen ? Secondly, in not setteling 
mr. parmer, a Congregatinal minister, acording To platform, 
which the Church voted not to take any Into the church with- 
out the vote of the church ; wich Was one Cause the church 
dissmised mr. a very, brethren, I wold have you seresly con- 
sider wether you deal one With another as members of christ 

" The Request of John Briggs, 2d, of Norton. 

»* Norton, May th 5, 1764." 

On the back of this letter is written, — 

"In a church-meeting, June 19th, 1754, I, the subscriber, 
desire to withdraw the whole of ye first Reason, as mentioned 

1 This was not the John Briggs, 2d, who was dismissed from the deacon's 
office, during Mr. Avery's ministry, for being " disguised with strong drink ; '* 
but he who, about that time, was called J^hn Briggs. 8d : for John Briggs, 
Ist, or the eldest, or grand senior, died in 1750 ; and hence the two living 
would be respectively known as John Briggs, 1st and 2d. 


in the within-exhibited Reasons of my withdrawing, by Rea- 
son that it is Rong, and I was mistaken tharein. 

"John Bbiggs, 2d. 

" The chh. then gave him Liberty to withdraw ye same. 

" Jos. Palmer, Pastor." 

"At a chh.-meeting on October ye 2d, 1754, It was pro- 
posed to consider and act upon ye within-mentioned reasons ; 
But ye chh., by a vote, deferred ye same to ye next chh.- 
meeting, By Reason of ye Information yt ye subscriber could 
not conveniently attend this meeting." 

We have found no record of the proceedings at " ye 
next chh.-meeting." 

We now learn that George Briggs does not like the 
way things are managed, and neglects to meet with the 
church. Let us read his statement of grievances : — 

" Bretheren, — I have not for some time met With you, by 
Reason of defucultyes & Stumbeling-BIocks in the way: 
first, in not haveing officers according to our Covenant; 
secondly, in takeing in half-waye members ; thirdly, in The 
way you Called & setteled a minister. 

" George Briggs. 

*' July ye 30, the yeare 1754." 

On the back of this note is written, — 

" On August ye 5th, 1754, the within-written Reasons 
were exhibited to ye chh. then met, by George Briggs, & 
were considered by ye chh., and by them were voted to be 
insufficient for his Seperating from them. 

" Jos. Palmer, Moderator." 

"At a chh.-meeting on ye 2d Day of October, 1754, It 
was voted by ye chh., yt George Briggs be suspended from 
ye communion at ye Lord's Table for his unjust withdrawing 
& seperating from ym. 

" Jos. Palmer, Moderator." 

Probably about the same time, Bartholomew Burt 
became disaffected, and absented himself from the com- 
munion, as his letter will show : — 

" To ye first church of christ in norton. honnored & be- 
loved, — I have not for some time communed with you ; for I 
think you have gone contarey to ye church-covenant, if not 


to ye scriptures; that in ye first of coriDthians, seventh 
chapter, in suffering brother to go [to] Law with brother, 
and Look upon it only a privat offence ; altho* the accuser 
shall, from time to time, declare that ye accused was, he be- 
lieved, Innosent of the charge he laid against him. and now, 
brethren, if this way be according to scripture, I must ac- 
knoledge my Ignorance, and pray that you may be enabled 
to Lead, gide, and direct me in the right way. and now, may 
Grod enable you and I to keep this solam covenant that we 
have entered into ; that the sure mercyes of that covenant, 
which is well ordered and sure, may be our unfailing portion, 
so I desir to subscribe myself your brother in ye faith and 
order of ye gospel, 

" Bartholomew Burt.'* 

These documents, and the action of the church in 
reference to them, enable us to understand somewhat 
the state of affairs at the commencement of Mr. Pal- 
mer's ministry. 

It required a man of sound mind, great prudence, 
and sagacity, to harmonize all these conflicting ele- 
ments, and pour out the soothing oil of the spirit of 
Jesus upon the troubled waters that had been casting 
up mire and dirt in the church for years. Happily, 
such a man was found in the person of the chosen 
minister. Rev. Mr. Prentiss, in his sermon at the 
ordination of Rev. Pitt Clarke, the successor of Mr. 
Palmer, in speaking to the society, refers to Mr. Pal- 
mer as their " late prudent, skillful, and faithful Pas- 
tor." Tradition universally ascribes to him the same 
character. There are some yet among us who remem- 
ber him well. They say he was not what is termed a 
" great preacher," but testify that he had the reputation 
of being a good and .faithful minister ; which is far 
more important than splendid talents and fine oratori- 
cal powers, with few of the graces that made the 
character of Christ resplendent with heavenly light. 
Although there were no serious outbreaks in the 
church ; although there are no records of ecclesiasti- 
cal councils to assist in returning to the Christian 
fold some unruly members who had gone astray, or 
to dismiss the pastor ; and but few church-meetings to 


discipline the refractory or suspend the perverse,, — 
yet Mr. Palmer was called to endure some trials and 
petty annoyances. Our revolutionary struggle took 
place during his ministry ; and it would not be at all 
surprising, if he sometimes, at the end of the year, was 
minus a part or the whole of his salary. Provisions 
were high ; money was scarce ; a large family was 
growing up around him, with open mouths asking for 
bread, with shivering bodies calling for something 
wherewith to be clothed, — dependent principally, if 
not entirely, upon his salary for support. All these 
were, indeed, discouraging circumstances. But he 
trusted in Him who does not forsake the righteous, 
nor permit his seed to beg bread. In a letter to me, 
Rev. Isaac Braman says of him, — 

" He gave himself wholly to the ministry ; not laboring 
with bis hands, as some have done, in order to eke out a 
scanty support. He was generally to be found in his study, 
when nothing special called him abpoad in the parish. He 
probably felt more keenly than most clergymen the responsi- 
bility of his position. Mrs. Palmer has been heard to say, 
that in the early part of his ministry, when he drew near 
his church, he was so much agitated as to cause sickness at 
the stomach, and sometimes vomiting. His wife freed him, 
in an unusual degree, from family cares. She at one time 
took wool from one of the parish (Judge G. Leonard), and, 
with the help of her daughters, converted it into cloth, and re- 
turned the owner half of it. This must have cost them much 
labor, as there was no machinery in that day for carding, 
spinning, or weaving." 

Rev. Pitt Clarke, in his " Historical Sermon," speak- 
ing of Mr. Palmer, says, — 

" He suffered much from the depreciation of paper cur- 
rency. Several attempts were made to make up the depre- 
ciation ; but what little was added alienated the affections of 
some towards their worthy pastor, and diminished his society. 
Several became Baptists; some, Methodists. But, by his 
uncommon prudence and Christian deportment, he kept the 
greater part of the church and society together, and continued 
an able minister of the New Testament till his death." 


We here give a few extracts from the parish-records, 
which serve to corroborate the statement of Bev. Mr. 

At a society-meeting, Aug. 30, 1779, " 3dly, voted 
to the Bev. Joseph Palmer four hundred pounds, as a 
gratuity for this present year." The currency was at 
this time very much depreciated. There was an arti- 
cle in the warrant for a parish, Feb. 28, 1780, " To 
take under consideration the Bequest of the Bevd. Mr. 
Joseph Palmer for a further grant of money or produce 
to make up the great deficiency in his last year's salary, 
occasioned, in some measure, by Beason of the great 
depreciation of the currency since the last grant." 
At the meeting, there was voted to Mr. Palmer, ^' as a 
gratuity, in addition to his last year's sallary for the 
year 1779, £1,000." This vote was inmiediately re- 
considered, and £864 voted. 

It was,' no doubt, during this period of which we 
speak, that he addressed the following note " To the 
Honble. G. Leonard, Esqr." It shows the cheerful- 
ness, the Christian spirit, in which he endured all the 
privations growing out of the distracted state of public 
affairs. It reads thus : — 

**Hon'd Sir, — Please to sell (without present Pay, for 
money I have not), or lend me, two Bushels of Rye. if 
either, that which bests suits you. 

" Your Friend & Servant. 

" Jos. Palmer." 

Mr. Palmer had, however, trials of a different cha- 
racter from these just enumerated. In addition to the 
withdrawment of some of his parish, who became Bap- 
tists and Methodists (which the good pastor took very 
seriously to heart), Ann Lee and the Shakers gave him 
much trouble. It is believed that some of those who 
embraced the Shaker notions were members of Mr. 
Palmer's church; and it must have been painful to 
him to have witnessed their apostasy, as he thought, 
from the church and parish their fathers had esta- 
blished. Of these Shakers, I hope to give some farther 
account in another place. 



With the exceptions mentioned, so far as we can 
learn, Mr. Palmer's ministry was, in the main, peaceful 
and happy. 

I am told, that, in the pulpit, he usually wore a very 
grave and serious countenance ; but on one occasion, 
on rising up to offer a prayer, he was seen to smile. 
Some of his parishioners called him to an account for 
80 heinous a sin, just as he was to address the throne 
of grace. The pastor declared it was from no feelings 
of levity or irreverence that he was betrayed into such 
a scandalous act, but it proceeded from the impulse of 
the moment, under the following circumstance; and 
we presume few who witnessed the affair were able to 
suppress a smile, if they did not do more than smile. 
It was customary in those days to wear wigs ; and 
some of these wigs had a long " cue," or sort of tail, 
attached to them. Two men were seated in a pew, 
their long cues hanging over into the pew back of 
them, in which sat a roguish boy. He managed by 
some means to tie their cues together; so that, when 
the men rose up at the prayer, not moving exactly to- 
gether, their wigs were pulled from their heads, and 
each one began to claw with all his might to save his 
wig. Mr. Palmer saw the predicament they were in, 
and was unable to repress the smile that immediately 
rushed across his face. This was the severest charge, 
so far as I can learn, that was ever brought against the 
second minister of Norton. 

Mr. Palmer himself usually wore " a great white 
wig, [which,] on the head of a large, portly, and sober 
man, struck a dreadful awe on many, if not most, be- 
holders." Rev. Mr. Braman, to whom I am indebted 
for many facts relative to Mr. Palmer, describes him 
out of the pulpit as " a gentleman of very grave and 
dignified deportment." 

The people, during Mr. Avery's ministry, were ac- 
customed to assemble themselves around the meeting- 
house door on Sunday, waiting to shake hands with 
their pastor as he passed into the house ; and he en- 
deavored to gratify them: hence, by some, he was 
thought to be an undignified man. 


^ When Mr. Palmer first preached at Norton, the people 
bad not forgotten Mr. Avery, and collected around the door 
of the church, and opened to the right and left, — every one 
ready to take him hy the hand as he passed through, as they 
were wont to do with their former minister. But, instead of 
gratifying them, he [Mr. P.] took off his hat, and walked, in 
a dignified manner, into the house. This taught them not to 
be too familiar; and they acted accordingly. It was formerly 
the custom, for those who wished to present notes requesting 
prayers, to give them to the minister before he entered the 
church ; and no one offered a note to Mr. Palmer without 
first doffing his hat, and holding it until he had said what he 
wished, and was ready to leave." 

About a year after his settlement, or Jan. 8, 1754, 
Mr. Palmer bought of William Hodges seventy acres 
of land, bounded easterly by the North-Purchase line, 
south-easterly by Mr. Nathaniel Leonard's land and the 
river; all other parts bounded by William Stone's 
land and the Town Common. This land was on both 
sides of the road leading from the burying-ground, 
southerly to the river. A house and barn on it were 
occupied by George Hodges. 

Whether Mr. Palmer built a new house or not, we do 
not know. Doubtless he did. He occupied this place 
after his marriage, during his life. His house stood 
easterly of the common burying-ground, a short dis- 
tance southerly from Austin Messinger's house, just 
back of the two large elms. It was taken down some 
years ago ; but the wall of the cellar is still in a 
tolerably good condition. The house-lot is now (1858) 
owned by the Braman heirs. 

Rev. Joseph Palmer was descended from Stephen 
Palmer, who came from England to this country. It 
is, however, uncertain whether Stephen was the grand- 
father or great-grandfather of Rev. Joseph ; nor are 
we informed at what time he came to America. Rev. 
Joseph Palmer was the sixth and youngest child of 
Stephen and Sarah (Grant) Palmer, of Cambridge. 
They lived in close proximity to the college buildings 
and grounds ; and there, on the second day of Sep- 
tember, 1729, was born Joseph, the second minister of 


Norton.^ He was educated in his native town, and 
graduated from Harvard College in 1747. He re- 
ceived the degree of A.M. from Harvard and Yale 
in 1753. March 10, 1757, he married Miss Sarah 
Eames, daughter of William Eames, of that part of 
Hopkinton which is now HoUiston. 
Their children were as follows : — 

1. Anna, born March 19, 1758. She married, 
June 22, 1784, Rev. George Morey, of Walpole, a 
native of Norton (see Collegiate History). Mrs. Mo- 
rey died Dec. 10, 1809. 

2. WiLUAM, born Jan. 24, 1760 ; and died April 5, 

3. Joseph, born Nov. 5, 1762. He was generally, 
in after-life, known as " Capt. Palmer." He married 
Miss Jerusha Johnson, of HoUiston. They had four 
children. He died in Roxbury, Aug. 5, 1824. 

4. Sarah, born Dec. 2, 1764. She married, April 19, 
1787, Dr. Samuel Morey, of Norton, a graduate of Yale 
College (see Collegiate History). Mrs. Morey died 
(aged nearly eighty-nine) July 10, 1853, while on a 
visit at the house of Dr. Rounds, of Norton ; whose 
second wife is her grand-daughter. 

5. Stephen, born Oct. 8, 1766. He graduated at 
Harvard, and was settled in the ministry at Needham. 
(See Collegiate History.) 

6. Lucy, born Feb. 8, 1769. She married, Oct. 2, 
1793, Rev. Edward Richmond, D.D., of Stoughton, a 
native of Middleborough, and a graduate of Brown 
University in 1789 ; who was ordained at Stoughton, 
Dec. 5, 1792. He was afterwards settled in the third 
parish of Dorchester, now Rev. Mr. Pike's society. 
They had but two children. Mrs. Richmond died 
June 8, 1810. 

7. George, born April 27, 1771. He married, 
Oct. 1, 1794, Miss Nancy Danforth, of Norton ; and 

1 His sister Bethiah married Rev. John Ellis, for some time minister at 
Norwich, Conn., and afterwards at Rehoboth ; who was the grandfather of 
James P. Ellis, Esq., now of Taunton. 


they had one child. He died at SunkhaySy Me., 
Dec. 26, 1809. 

8. Hannah, born June 12, 1773. She married, 
August, 1797, Rev. Isaac Braman, of New Rowley, 
now Georgetown. He was a native of Norton, and a 
graduate of Harvard (see Collegiate History). Mrs. 
Braman died Aug. 14, 1835. 

Only three male descendants of the ancestor Stephen, 
bearing the name of Palmer, were living in 1834. Two 
of them were grandsons of Rev. Joseph Palmer, of 
Norton : the other was a grandson of Stephen, brother 
of Rev. Joseph. For these items of the descendants of 
Rev. Joseph Palmer, and for some account of the pos- 
terity of his brothers and sisters, I am indebted to 
Hon. George Morey, of Boston, son of Rev. Mr. Morey, 
of Walpole. 

None of the writings of Rev. Joseph Palmer were 
ever published. Before his death, he ordered all his 
sermons to be destroyed ; and his request was so faith- 
fully executed, that not a single sermon of his is now 
known to be in existence. What should prompt such 
a request, it is difficult to determine. 

Mr. Palmer continued to preach, and to perform 
other pastoral duties, probably, till within about a year 
of his death. 

May 5, 1790, the parish chose Deacon Daniel Dean, 
Lieut. S. Smith, and Deacon Benjamin Pearson, a com- 
mittee "to converse with the Rev. Mr. Palmer, and 
see if he is able to preach ; and, if he is not able, to hire 
some candidate to supply the pulpit in the illness of 
Mr. Palmer." 

March 28, 1791, the parish chose Deacon Benjamin 
Pearson, Deacon Seth Smith, Deacon Daniel Dean, 
Capt. Ephraim Lane, and Mr. Eleazer Clap, a commit- 
tee to supply the pulpit in the time of the Rev. Mr. 
Palmer's sickness : and "voted, that the abovesaid com- 
mittee apply to Mr. Palmer, and consult him respect- 
ing a candidate to supply the pulpit; and take his 
advice, and have him nominate some person, if he 



This committee's duties were of short duration ; for 
in just one week, or on the 4th of April, 1791, Mr. 
Palmer left the cares and duties of earth behind, and 
entered upon the brighter scenes and nobler duties ap- 
pertaining to the spirit-world. 

The length of his ministry, from his ordination, was 
thirty-eight years, three months, and one day. His 
body was interred in the burying-ground on the Com- 
mon. On his tombstone, we are told that — 

'^ His character was an assemblage of those eminent and 
endearing virtues which constitute the faithful pastor and ex- 
emplary Christian, the kind husband, the tender parent, the 
generous friend, and the good man." 

" He taught us how to live ; and, oh ! too high 
A price for knowledge, tanght us how to die." 

Rev. Pitt Clarke says, " He was a pious and exem- 
plary Christian ; a sound divine ; a very prudent, faith- 
ful pastor." 

Rev. Stephen Palmer, of Needham, in his autobio- 
graphy, speaks of his father thus : — 

" His complaint was of the paralytic kind. He had before 
received repeated attacks from this disorder ; and his health 
had been, for some years, much impared. His constitution 
was always of a slender nature. He had to use much caution 
and prudence in regard to his health. A small degree of 
bodily exercise sensibly affected him. He was never able to 
labor; but was, however, habitually studious: and divinity 
was his principal study. He was justly reputed for his pro- 
fessional knowledge; and, in every view, was a thorough 
divine. I do not remember of ever asking him for the expo- 
sition of any passage of Scripture, but what he was ready to 
give an answer. He was remarkable for the regularity of his 
deportment. In his diet, and all his conduct, the rules of 
method were observed. In his habits he was neat as well as 
exact. He was naturally a man of strong and warm passions, 
but had them all under perfect government. He was habi- 
tually a person of the most consummate prudence. What 
he promised, he always endeavored punctually to perform. 

*' Both my parents were very large ; and their children are 
inclined to be gross." 


Eev. Ebenezer Burt, of Athol, a native of this town, 
now nearly ninety-three years old, a few months since 
wrote me as follows : — 

^ I will relate one anecdote concerning him, which I think 
ought to be recorded for the honor of Mr. Palmer, and for an 
example for others to ' go and do likewise.' 

^' He one year had two large, fat hogs ; while his neighbor, 
Mr. James French, had but one (this Mr. French was a 
butcher). A mad dog passed by Mr. Palmer's, leaving his 
property unharmed ; but stopped at the yard of Mr. French, 
and bit his hog, so that it died. Mr. Palmer called on Mr. 
French to butcher his hogs. He asked him to come in the 
evening, and cut them up and salt them. Mr. Palmer asked 
him which was the best. Mr. French replied, they were both 
very nice, though one was a little the best. Mr. Palmer said, 
^ God has spared mine, while you have lost yours : take the 
best for your family, and cut up the other for mine.' 

" This shows that though he was * not rich,' yet he was 
* generous.' " 

At a parish-meeting, Jan. 30, 1792, it was, — 

" 2dly, Voted, that the standing committee of the parish go 
on, and settle with the heirs of the late Revd. Mr. Palmer 
respecting his salary. 

" 3dly, Voted, that in the settlement with sd. heirs, the 
salary be continued to the end of the time of the bearers of 
sd. deceased preaching to sd. parish." 

In explanation of this last vote, it may be stated, 
that it was customary in those times for the neighbor- 
ing ministers to act as the pall-bearers of the deceased 
brother-clergyman ; and then, each in turn, to preach 
gratuitously one Sunday in the pulpit made vacant by 
his death. Hence it was perfectly proper that the 
salary should be continued till the bearers had all 

We have only to add, that Mrs. Palmer continued to 
reside at Norton till after the marriage of her young- 
est daughter ; when she bade adieu to this place as her 
home, and passed the remainder of her days among her 
children, — dividing her time in their respective fami- 
lies. " Her last illness was paralysis. She was taken 


very suddenly on the 24th of April, which was her 
birthday, being seventy-two years old. She rode that 
morning from her daughter Richmond's at Stoughton 
to her daughter Morey's at Walpole; but, in about 
thirty minutes after she went into the house, she 
became speechless and senseless, and remained so till 
she died, — May 20, 1806." Her body was brought to 
Norton, and buried beside that of her husband. 




** By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye hare loTe one to another.*' 


In this chapter we shall give the names of those 
" admitted to full communion " in the church during 
the ministry of Rev. Mr. Avery and of Rev. Mr. Pal- 
mer. When they were admitted by letter from other 
churches, the name of the town from which they 
came is given in parentheses. Mr. Avery, at first, 
kept his records on small sheets of paper ; and a por- 
tion of these became mutilated before he copied them 
into a book. For some entire -years the records are 
gone, and other years are only partially complete. In 
copying into a book, Mr. Avery recorded every letter 
or figure that was left on his original minutes. This 
will explain why, in some cases, the year is alone re- 
corded without any names ; or the names, wholly or 
in part, without any dates. The names of the original 
members of the church will be found on page 69. We 
here give the subsequent admissious, so far as they can 
be ascertained from the mutilated records : — 

Anna, wife of George Leonard ; Susannah, wife of John 
Wetherell, sen. ; Bethiah, wife of Joseph Dunham ; Expe- 
rience, wife of Peter Aldrich; Widow Rebecca Briggs; 


Mercj, wife of John Hodges ; "Widow Sarah Lane ; Hannah, 
wife of Eleazer Fisher; Marj, wife of Thomas Grover; 
Mercy, wife of Richard Briggs (all by letter, from Taunton 
Church); Experience, wife of William Pratt (from Wey- 
mouth) ; Josiah White ; and Susannah, wife of Israel Fisher 
(from Taunton). 

Widow Esther Dunham; Mary, wife of Ephndm Grover; 
Andrew Grover, and Mary his wife ; Widow Esther Gray ; 
Widow Esther Newland (from Taunton) ; John Austin, and 
Sarah his wife; Joseph Hodges, and Bethiah his wife; 
Ephraim Lane; William Wetherell, sen. 

Sarah, wife of Seth Dorman ; Bethiah, wife of John Hall. 

Mary, wife of Benjamin Caswell; Deborah CambelL 

John Briggs, 2d, and Hannah his wife (from Taunton) ; 
Buth, wife of Ephraim Lane ; Sarah Lane ; Mary, wife of 
Samuel Hodges ; Mary, wife of Ebenezer Eddy ; John Fin- 
ney, and wife Mary ; Mary, wife of Samuel Converse, of At- 
tleborough; Abiah Cambell. 

Damaris, wife of Matthew White ; Widow Mary Cambell ; 
John Fisher ; Elizabeth, wife of Samuel Clap ; Daniel Bra- 

Richard Stephens (frorii Taunton) ; and probably four or 
five others, whose names are lost. 

1721, 1722, and 1723 (names lost). 

William Stone ; Sarah, wife of Joseph Avery ; Widow 
Experience Rue ; John Andrews ; Joshua Atherton ; Samuel 
Hodges (from Taunton) ; Benjamin Williams ; William Pratt, 
sen.; Benjamin Lane; Mary, wife of John Fisher (from 

Joseph Gray, sen.; Rachel, wife of George Leonard; 
Abigail Leonard; Joshua Shepherd; Elizabeth Shepherd; 
Lazarus Grover ; Richard Briggs ; Widow Sarah King ; 
William Makepeace, and wife Experience. 


Susannah, wife of Joseph Godfrey; Patience, wife of 
William White; Benjamin Cobb. 

Widow Mary Burt ; Elizabeth, wife of William Wether- 
ell, sen. ; Joannah, wife of Ichabod Eddy ; Joshua Williams ; 
Samuel Dean. 

William Prat, jun. ; Elizabeth, wife of Samuel Holmes ; 
Buth Allen; Tabatha, wife of Josiah Prat; Bethiah Dan- 
forth, of Taunton ; Josiah Prat ; Bethiah Adams. 

John Lane, and wife Sarah ; John Harvey, of Taunton, 
and wife ; John Wales ; ^ Ezra Skinner. 

Jonathan Prat, and wife Abigail ; John Wild, and wife 
Abigail (from South Church in Braintree) ; Hannah, wife of 
Israel Woodward (from Dedham). 

Hannah, wife of John Hodges, jun. (from Middleborough) ; 
William Dean ; Joan, wife of Joseph Gray, jun. 

Eleazar Fisher, 2d, and wife Elizabeth ; Nehemiah Fisher, 
and wife Sarah ; William Harridon (from Taunton) ; Obadiah 
Eddy, and wife Susannah; Joseph Gray, jun.; Jonathan 

Samuel Clap, sen., and wife Bethiah ; Experience, wife of 
Nathan Hodges ; Habitable, wife of William Stone. 

Abigail, wife of William Harridon ; Mary, wife of Samuel 
Clap, jun. (from Stoughton); Ephraim Dunham, and wife 
Elizabeth (from Plympton) ; William Ware (from Wren- 
tham) ; Elizabeth, wife of Andrew Grover ; Hephzibah Lane 
(from Attleborough) ; Mildred Harridon (from Taunton) ; 
Anna, wife of Benjamin Fairbanks (from Sherborn) ; Debo- 
rah Newcomb (from Braintree) ; Elizabeth, wife of Nathaniel 
Dunham (from Taunton) ; Esther, wife of Ebenezer Hodges 
(from Boston). 

^ He was subsequently the first minister of Baynham. 


George Hill, and wife Susannah (from Behoboth) ; Debo- 
rah, wife of Samael Yesej (from Braintree) ; Job Gilbert, 
and wife Mary (from Taanton) ; Thankful Briggs. 

Joshua Pomeroy, and wife Mary (from Stouc;hton) ; Wil- 
liam Fain and wife (from Maiden) ; Sarah, wife of Samuel 
Eddy (from Behoboth); Thomas Fillebrown (from Cam- 
bridge) ; Mary, wife of Joseph Tiffany (from Attleboroagh). 

Benjamin Newcomb; George Allen and wife, and their 
sister Gay (from Stoughton). 

Mercy Newcomb (formerly Everet, from Dedham); Pa- 
tience Briggs (formerly Gay, from Stoughton). 

Gershom Cambell; Widow Sarah Hill; Susannah, wife 
of George Hodges. 

Widow Elizabeth Silley ; Sarah, wife of Jonathan Law- 
rence ; Bartholomew Burt ; Gideon Basset ; Benjamin Cope- 
land and wife (from Second Church in Braintree) ; Israel 
Newland ; Ephraim Andrews ; Elizabeth Fanny ; Lydia, 
wife of William Cambell ; Bethsheba, wife of Gideon Basset ; 
Thomas Skinner, jun., and wife Abigail; John Hodges, sen.; 
Fhineas Briggs, and wife Esther. * 

George Briggs ; Margaret, wife of John Ejng ; Widow 
Jerusha King; John Briggs, 3d, and wife Lydia; Josiah 
Newland, and wife Abigail ; Samuel Hodges ; William Cam- 
bell ; Naomi, wife of Ebenezer Burt ; Mary Pollard ; Hannah 
Silley ; Damans White. 

Nathaniel Dunham, and wife Mercy ; Sylvanus Braman ; 
James Hill, of Attleborough ; Jacob Newland ; Thomas Shep- 
herd; Jonathan Clap, and wife Sarah; Judith Newcomb; 
William Codington ; Josiah White, jun., and wife Elizabeth ; 
Anna, wife of Dr. William Ware ; Phillip Cooye, and wife 
Abigail ; Abigail Leonard ; Solomon Finney ; Mary Finney ; 
John Finney ; Anna, wife of William Cobb ; Abigail Cobb ; 


Buth, wife of Benjamin Willis ; Seth Smith ; Pricilla Briggs ; 
Rachel Braman; Abiah Braman; Widow Mahitabel Tucker ; 
Mary, wife of Nathaniel Wetherell, sen. ; Francis Richard- 
son, and wife Sarah ; Mary Dunham ; Ebenezer Eddj, sen. ; 
Widow Mary Cobb; Bethiah, wife of William Codington 
(from Bridgewater) ; Ephraim Lane, jun. ; Abigail, wife of 
William Leonard ; Ichabod Eddy ; Joshua Cambell, and wife 
Abigail (from Raynham). 

Elizabeth, wife of Eliphalet Hodges; Mehitabel Briggs 
(from Dedham) ; Ephraim Wetherell, and wife Bathsheba ; 
Widow Mary Leonard ; John Hector (a negro). 

Lydia, wife of Thomas Winchel. 

Israel Fisher, jun.; Hannah, wife of Jonathan Lincoln, 
sen.; Jonathan Hodges (from Berkley). 

' 1746. 
Ithamar, wife of Israel Fisher, jun. (from Mansfield^); 
Mary, wife of Benjamin Newcomb (from Dedham). 

Jonathan Knap; Benjamin Hews (from Second Church, 
Norton) ; Samuel Dean, and wife Rachel (from Dedham). 

Pero (a negro, from Rehoboth) ; John Gilbert, jun. ; Nao- 
mi, wife of Joseph Hodges. 

During Mr. Avery's ministry, there were one hun- 
dred and fifty-one who " owned " or " renewed the 
covenant," very few of whom were admitted to " full 
communion." Between the dismission of Mr. Avery 
and the settlement of Mr. Palmer, there were probably 
some admissions to the church ; but no records are to 
be found. There were also, so far as can be ascer- 
tained from the records, three hundred and seventy- 
five baptisms of children during the pastorate of Mr. 

1 This was doubtless Mansfield, Conn. 


Admissions during Mr. Palmer's ministry : — 

Ichabod Washburn, and Bethiah his wife (from Kingston) ; 
David Braman; Rebecca, wife of Joseph Lincoln, jun.; Seth 

Margaret, wife of Benjamin Trow (from Windham) ; Mi- 
riam, wife of Joseph Hodges (from Weymouth). 

Joseph Lincoln (from Taunton) ; John Fisher, and wife 
Mary (from Attleborough) ; Theodora Leonard ; Mary, wife 
of James Godfrey ; Mary, wife of Samuel Tucker ; Martha, 
wife of Ebenezer Eddy. 

Nathan Babbit ; Abigail, wife of Nathan Babbit, jun. ; 
Mary Woodward ; William Cobb ; Anna Woodward ; David 

^ 1757. 

Ruth Hunt ; Jonathan Lincoln ; Mehitable, wife of Jona- 
than Knapp; Phebe Clap; Noah Wiswall; Sarah Dean; 
John Braman ; Lydia, wife of Elkanah Lincoln (from Taun- 

David Darby (from Weymouth) ; Ichabod Franklin, and 
wife Hannah ; Joseph Newcomb, and wife Judah ; the wife 
of Elkanah Willis. 

Abigail Haradon ; Sarah, wife of Benjamin Pearson. 

Mary, wife of Eliphalet Briggs ; Elizabeth, wife of Dr. 
Wheaton; Rev. Nathaniel Leonard (from Plymouth). 

John Newland; Widow Mary Briggs; Abigail, wife of 
Capt. Jonathan Hodges. 

Hannah, wife of Philip Hoar ; Peter Makepeace, and wife 
Abigail ; Abigail, wife of John Patten ; Phebe, wife of El- 
kanah Grossman ; Elizabeth, wife of Samuel Lane ; Eliza- 
beth, wife of John Hall. 



Charitj, wife of John Haradon. 

Widow Hannah Andrews ; Josiah Yining. 

Abigail, wife of David Smith. 

David Smith ; Elizabeth Woodward ; Ruth Cheney ; 
Sarah, wife of Nathaniel Dunham ; Mary, wife of Samuel 
Newcomb ; Elijah Danforth, and wife Susannah ; Noah 
Woodward, and wife Mary; Simeon Williams. 

Mary, wife of Samuel Morey. 

Benjamin Pearson. 

Sarah, wife of Solomon Dunham. 

John Hall; Samuel Clap, jun.; Mary, wife of Israel 

Samuel Hunt, and Abigail his wife. 

Susannah, wife of Jeremiah Newland (from Attleborough) ; 
Job Garey ; Lydia Burt ; Bethiah Braman ; Abner Tucker. 

Abigail Verry; Martha, wife of Nathaniel Briggs; Na- 
thaniel Briggs ; Eunice, wife of Joseph Hunt. 

William Homes (from Boston) ; Experience, wife of Icha- 
bod Perry ; Lois, wife of Isaac Fisher ; Simeon Wetherell. 

Phebe, wife of Nathan Perry; Daniel Dean; David 

James Briggs, jun. ; Sarah, wife of Benjamin Wild. 

Widow Barney. 


Stephen Jennings ; Widow Mary Makepeace. 

Israel Woodward ; Seth Smith ; Ruth, wife of William 
Makepeace ; Wealthy, wife of Josiah Hodges ; John Crane, 
jun. ; Seth Smith, jun., and wife Rachel ; Widow Lydia Bas- 
set ; Samuel Lincoln, jun. 

Jacob Shaw; Sarah Dunham; Asa Copeland; Esther, 
wife of Capt. Seth Smith ; Rachel, wife of John King ; Nao- 
mi, wife of Tisdale Hodges. 


Rachel Burt. 

Anna Palmer. 


Isaac Basset. 


Joseph Phillips. 
Calvin Crane. 



Rachel, wife of Asa Copeland ; Elizabeth, wife of Jona 
than Briggs (from Sharon). 

Stephen Palmer ; Sarah, wife of Dr. Samuel Morey. 

There were ninety-four persons who "owned" or 
"renewed the covenant" during Mr. Palmer's mini- 
stry, and six hundred and twenty-six baptisms of chil- 


. • • 






- o' 


^^ c* xur. urny^ 

■7 • v« , bon of Rev. Joseph Palmer, of this 

iF>D¥Tr (BtaiiaEit. 





" Think what the Christtan minister nhonld be : 
You'ye then his eliaracter : for such was he." 

• UmurowK. 

For the third time, the duty of selecting a minister 
devolves upon the church and society. One entire 
generation had passed away since Mr. Palmer was 
settled. The duty falls into new hands, some of 
whom were not born when the late pastor was or- 
dained; but, by their pious parents, they had been 
brought up " in the nurture and admonition of the 

They had been taught, and they believed, that the 
preaching of the gospel truths was all-important for 
their spiritual prosperity ; and hence, before all the 
bearers at the funeral of the late pastor had preached 
in their turn in his pulpit, the church and society are 
preparing to maintain the preached word among them. 
We find, therefore, tliat in just one month from the 
death of Mr. Palmer, or May 4, 1791, the parish chose 
a committee of three, as an addition to a committee of 
like number already chosen by the church, " to supply 
the pulpit for the future." 

Some candidates preach,^ but none are chosen, till 

1 The names of those who are known to have preached as candidates 
are a Mr. Allen; Mr, Hooper ^ supposed to have been Hezekiah, a native of 
Bridgewater, who graduated at Harvard, 1789, and was settled at Boylston. 
He died of consumption when twenty-six years old. In Davenport's His- 
tory of Boylston, he is said to have been •' a young man of good talents and 
attainments, a gentleman in his manners, and a pattern of meekness and 
humility." Mr. Thomas^ supposed to have been Nehemiah, of Marshfield, 
who graduated at Harvard, 1789. and was settled at Scituate ; a Mr. Gray, 
"an old man;" and Stephen Palmer^ sou of Rev. Joseph Palmer, of this 
town. (See graduates.) 

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flTT' eiABaKi. 



the 12th of October, 1792. On that day, the church, 
by a vote, "invite Mr. Pitt Clark to settle in this 
place, over this Church and congregation, in the work 
of the Gospel Ministry." Nov. 19, the parish concur 
with the church in extending the invitation, and 
^^ choose a committee of thirteen to take into con- 
sideration what to give Mr. Clark as a Settlement 
and Salary ; " then adjourned to the 7th of January, 
1793 ; then " voted to give Mr. Pitt Clark one hundred 
and fifty pounds, as an encouragement to settle with 
us in the Gospel Ministry as a settlement."^ — "Voted 
to give said Mr. Clark 80 pounds salary Pr. year, so 
long as he remains our minister and supplies the pul- 

There seems to have been some misunderstanding 
as to the meaning of this last vote. On the 25th of 
February following, the parish change it so as to read 
thus : " Voted to give Mr. Pitt Clark Eighty pounds as 

1 As a further encouragement for him to settle with them, a subscription- 
paper was drawn up April 1, 1793, and jS79. 8«. was pledged " in addition 
to the Encouragement ** above mentioned, " provided he settle as the minister 
of sd. Parish.'* As a matter of interest, we copy the names of the donors, 
with the sums given: — 

£ a. 

George Leonard 20 

Daniel Dean 4 10 

Joseph Hodges 1 10 

Silas Cobb 1 10 

Jonathan Leonard .... 2 10 

Ebenezer Titus 1 10 

Daniel Knap 10 

Samuel Morey 8 

Josiah Hodges 1 10 

John HaU 4 10 

William Cobb 10 

Ephraim Lane 1 10 

Noah Wiswall 1 10 

Seth Smith, jun 2 

Ephraim Raymond. ... 80 

Samuel Morey, jun. ... 1 10 

Joshua Pond 10 

Elijah Cobb 10 

Elijah Danforth 12 

Thomas Braman .... 20 

William Lane 6 

Elijah Lane 6 

Asa Copeland 1 10 

Laban Smith. ..... 06 


£ «. 

Benjamin Pearson .... 06 

Eleazer Clapp 1 10 

Ephraim Lane, jun. ... 1 10 

David Clapp 1 10 

Daniel Parker 1 10 

Isaac Basset 10 

Isaac Stone 6 

William Martin ..... 06 

Jonathan Briggs ..... 06 

Thomas Danforth .... 06 

Daniel Lane 6 

Isaac Lane ...... 09 

George Palmer ..... 1| 

Samuel Hunt 12 

Stephen Jennings .... 80 

Isaac Hodges, jun. . . » . 12 

Abel Franklin 6 

Samuel Copeland . • . • 14 

John King. ...... 10 

Brian Hall 12 

Michael Sweet 12 

Laban Wheaton 10 

Joseph Phillips 6 

Isaac Braman 1 10 



a salary annually, as long as he shall continue with us 
in the work of the Gospel Ministry." This, however, 
did not satisfy all parties. Another meeting is called, 
and a committee chosen to consider the matter ; and 
finally, March 25, 1793, the following vote of explana- 
tion is carried at a meeting of the parish : — 

" That the true intent and meaning of the sd. parish is, 
that the sum of not less than 80 pounds be granted annually, 
and paid to the said Mr. Pitt Clark, as a salary for his sup- 
port during the time, or so long as, he should be Resident and 
officiate in the work of the ministry in sd. parish, by preach- 
ing and performing other duties and services, agreeably to 
the form and Customs adopted and practised upon by mini- 
sters of the Congregational Churches and Parishes in this 
Commonwealth. Provided, nevertheless, that, if it shall be 
more agreeable to Mr. Clark, it is voted that this Parish will 
grant a salary to him of not less than eighty pounds for four 
years, and not less than 100 pounds annually, after that time, 
on the principles and limitations aforesaid." 

This was, no doubt, satisfactory to Mr. Clarke ; and, 
in a few weeks, his letter of acceptance of the call was 
received. It is in these words : — 

" To the Congregation, Chh., & Parish in Norton. 

" Having maturely considered your invatation and propo- 
sals to settle with you as a Gospel Minister, consulted my 
friends on the subject, and frequently addressed the throne of 
grace for special direction, I have determined to accept of your 
call, and to settle upon the last proposal and offer made by 
sd. Parish on the 25th of March last ; viz.. That sd. Parish 
pay me annually, as a salary, not less than eighty pounds per 
year for the four years immediately succeeding my ordina- 
tion, and not less than one hundred pounds annually from the 
expiration of said four years, so long as I shall be resident 
and officiate in the work of the ministry in sd. Parish : ex- 
pecting to be treated, in all respects, according to the general 
forms and customs adopted and practised upon by the mini- 
sters of the congregational chhs. and parishes in this common- 
wealth. Imploring the grace of God to assist me in the 


faithful discbarge of my duty, and thereby to promote ye 
glory of God and our spiritual improvement, 

"Norton, April 27, 1793." 

May 7, 1793, it was " voted that the ordination of 
Mr. Pitt Clark be on the first Wednesday of Sept. 
next ; " and a " committee of five, to agree with some 
person to provide for and entertain the Council that 
shall be called to the ordination of Mr. Clark,'' was 
chosen. At an adjourned meeting, May 20, it was de- 
cided to have the ordination on the first Wednesday 
of July. 

On the same day, Lieut. William Morey, Silas Cobb, 
and Lieut. Tisdale Hodges, were chosen a committee 
" to superintend the business of the ordination." 
, Letters-missive were sent to nineteen churches, in- 
viting them to meet and form a council, and assist 
in the interesting services, — thirteen of which were 
present. According to previous arrangement, he was 
ordained July 3, 1793. The exercises were as fol- 
lows : Rev. Jason Haven, of Dedham, made the first 
prayer ; Rev. Thomas Prentiss, of Medfield, preached 
the sermon;^ Rev. Jonas Clark, of Lexington, made 
the ordaining prayer; Rev. Jacob Cushing, of Wal- 
tham, gave the charge ; Rev. Roland Green, of Mans- 
field, the right hand ; and Rev. Abiel Holmes, of 
Cambridge, concluded with prayer ; and the church- 
records, in the handwriting of Mr. Clarke, say, " The 
whole was conducted harmoniously. Decency and or- 
der were observed through a crowded assembly. Thus 
one generation passeth away, and another cometh." 

1 During the first years of his ministry, he wrote his name Clark ; to- 
wards the close of life, he wrote it Clarke. We regard the *' e " as super- 
fluous ; but we write his name as he chose to write it towards the close of 
life. The autograph we give was not the one attached to the letter above, 
but was written a few years before his death. 

3 This Sermon, and also the Charge and Right Hand of Fellowship, were 
published. The text was 1 Cor. ii. 2 : " For I determined not to know any 
thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified." 


" Few were the incidents which checkered, and 
fewer which marred, his long and faithful ministry. 
In the main (with one prominent exception), it seems 
to have been singularly happy and serene, and fraught 
with manifold sources of satisfaction to his virtuous 
bosom." ^ Mr. Clarke was always very liberal in his 
religious opinions. The Christian spirit of toleration 
and respect for believers in a different faith from his 
own is traceable through his whole ministry. He 
wished not in any way to shackle the human mind ; 
and the church, to some extent, soon caught the spirit 
that controlled their pastor. At a church-meeting held 
April 1, 1803, after the choice of two deacons, — one of 
whom was Deacoa Lysander Makepeace, who has just 
passed on from earth, — " the Church considered the 
propriety of requiring written relations from those who 
wished to be admitted, as has been the practice ; and, 
considering them as an unscriptural bar, they voted 
unanimously to lay them aside, and to give encourage- 
ment, that every believer who gives the church satis- 
factory evidence of his belief, in any other way most 
agreeable, should be admitted." In passing this vote, 
the church showed much wisdom and good sense. 
The latter part of the year 1805, the question came up, 
" whether those who held to Baptist peculiarities shall 
be admitted into full communion and regular standing 
with this Church ? " The matter was considered at 
several church-meetings; and finally, on the 31st of 
January, 1806, "after freely discussing and duly 
weighing the project, they unanimously agreed in 
the following vote, and passed it without a dissenting 
voice : " — 

" Whereas some persons have manifested a desire of join- 
ing our church, who hold to baptism by immersion and deny 
infant-baptism, — voted, that such persons, by giving evidence 
of their faith and sincerity, may be admitted into full com- 
munion, and to all the rights and privileges with us ; provided, 

1 Bev. A. Bigelow*s Faneral Sermon, p. 19. 


nevertheless, they shall not vote in any matters against the 
CTongregational platform and interest." 

This is additional evidence that the spirit of Jesus 
possessed both pastor and church. It sliows that they 
were liberally-minded, and willing to accept all who 
came clad in the livery of Christ, whatever might be 
their belief. 

July 31, 1793, a few days after the settlement of 
Mr. Clarke, the original church-covenant was changed 
so as to read thus : — 


"You do now sincerely and very solemnly give up your- 
self to God, in the name of the Father, Sen, and Holy Ghost ; 
and you receive him as your God and portion, designing to 
live unto him. You give up yourself to the Lord Jesus 
Christ, thro' whom God is manifest in the flesh, and who is 
the great head of his chosen people ; and you receive him, as 
made of God, unto you, wisdom and righteousness, sanctifica- 
tion and redemption. You likewise join yourself to this chh. 
of Chr. ; engaging, in the communion hereof, by his help, to 
attend upon the ordinances of the Gospel, while your oppor- 
tunities hereby to be edified in your most holy faith shall be 
continued to you. This you declare ? 

" We, then, the chh. of Christ in this place, receive you 
into our sacred fellowship, and promise, that, by God*s assist- 
ance, we will treat you with such affection and watchfulness 
as your sacred relation to us now calls for. This we do, im- 
ploring of our Lord that both we and you may obtain mercy 
to be faithful in his covenant, and to glorify him in that holi- 
ness which becometh his house for ever. Amen." 

This covenant was not recorded on the church-books, 
but was recently found, with the date affixed, among 
the papers and in the handwriting of Mr. Clarke ; and 
I am assured that it is the one used during his mini- 
stry. To this the candidates assented when they were 
admitted to the church. 

Below we give ' another, which is supposed to have 
been read to the candidate for admission to the church, 
and received his or her assent previous to being pro- 


po\inded for admission. It is believed to have gone 
into disuse soon after Mr. Clarke's settlement : — 


" You believe the word of God, contained in the Scriptures 
of the O. and N. T., to be the truth, with all the great points 
of doctrine contained in them, and professed by this chh. 

" You take, avouch, and profess the Lord Jehovah to be 
your God ; and promise, as God shall help you, to fear him, 
and seek him, and love him, and obey him, with your heart 
and soul and mind and strength. You take God the Father 
to be your Father, and give yourself (and yours) to him as 
your Father for ever, hoping for all fatherly mercies from 

" You take the son of God, who is the Lord Jesus Christ, 
to be the Mediator of your peace, and your great high Priest, 
prophet, and king ; and you rely on his grace, mediation, and 
sacrifice, obedience, intercession, and powerful influence, for 
your salvation. You take the Holy Ghost to be your great 
Influencer, sanctifier, and Comforter. You give up yourself 
and offspring to be regenerated, pardoned, restrained from 
sin, defended from temptation, rescued from evil, sanctified, 
supplied, comforted, and brought to Christ, by the power and 
mercy of the Lord your God. 

" You submit yourself and yours to the care and watch, 
discipline and government, of this chh., and of Christ in his 
chh. ; and faithfully promise to endeavor to abstain from all 
sin, to lead a Godly and virtuous life, to promote reformation, 
to walk in a consciencious and constant observance of all the 
ordinances of Chr. Jesus our Lord, — wereof you are at 
present capable, and hereafter as you shall be further quali- 
fied and capable ; looking for the mercy of God in our Lord 
Jesus Christ unto eternal life." 

During the latter part of Mr. Clarke's ministry, Mrs. 
Peddy Bowen,^ daughter of Judge George Leonard, 
made a present of church-furniture to the church, 

— - - - _ — 

1 She was the widow of the late Hon. Jabez Bowen, of Rhode Island ; 
who, at one time, was Lieutenant-Governor of the State. She died at the 
paternal mansion-house in Norton, where she had resided for some years 
after the death of her husband, on the 13th of September, 1850, aged eighty- 
nine years, eleven months, and four days. She was a woman of rare beauty 
and accomplishments. (See further notice of her in Genealogical Register, 
vol. V. p. 101, &c.) 


"consisting of 2 Plaggons, 6 cups, and 2 plates, — all 
of best quality silver plated ; together with a durable 
basket to contain them, and rouge for keeping them 
clean and bright, prime cost, $61.42." 

June 3, 1829, the church " voted to accept this 
present of Church-plate, to be consecrated to the ser- 
vice of the Communion ; and also to present their unit- 
ed thanks to the worthy Donor, for her elegant and 
valuable donation." A committee was also chosen 
for that purpose, who presented to Mrs. Bowen the 
following communication: — 

" Norton, Jnne 3, 1829. 

" Dear Madam, — We, the undersigned, have the honor 
to be a Committee from the chh. of Christ' in Norton to ex- 
press their sincere thanks for the elegant and valuable present 
of Church -Vessels you have presented; which they thankfully 
accept, and will consecrate to the sacred use of commemorating 
the dying love of our blessed Redeemer. 

** May you, Madam, long live to partake of the elements 
which will be presented in these sacred vessels ; and, when it 
shall please the Great Head of the church to call us home, 
may you share largely in that blessed eulogy, *Well done, 
good and faithful servant: enter thou into the joys of thy 

" We are, Madam, with consideration of great Respect, 

" Your humble servants, 

"P. Clarke, > ^ ..^ „ 
E. Raymond, | Committee." 


The most important event (already alluded to) 
which occurred during the ministry of Mr. Clarke 
was the division of his church and parish, and the 
formation of a new society. Probably the time has 
not come when an impartial history of all the causes 
that led to the separation can or should be written. 
Although Mr. Clarke acted the only part that an 
honest man could have acted under the circumstances, 
yet he felt grieved, not at his own conduct, but at the 
conduct of others, and especially at the treatment he 
received from those he had ever regarded as his 
friends. For many years before his death, he kept 


a sort of diary, wherein he recorded some of the prin- 
cipal events that transpired, and expressed his feelings, 
at certain epochs in his life. In the last entry he 
ever made in his journal, and only a few weeks before 
his death, — and which may therefore be considered 
as his dying testimony, — in alluding to the events of 
the last two or three years, he says, — 

" No part of my whole life has been so trying to my feel- 
ings as this portion of it. Before this period, I had lived in 
great harmony with my people for about 40 years ; and they 
appeared as much united as any religious society of my 
acquaintance. But, unexpectedly, a rich and respectable 
family in my parish took an affront, and rose in hostile array 
against me. Soon after this hostility commenced, others, 
who styled themselves Orthodox, joined the opposition, and 
charged me with changing my sentiments, and not preaching 
the Gospel. I thought myself preaching the same Grospel I 
ever did, and felt more and more interested in preaching the 
true Gospel. The unexpected charge led me to examine 
more fully the ground of my faith ; to search the scriptures 
more closely ; and to declare more plainly, tho' prudently, 
what I conceived to be the whole revealed counsel of God." 

As the result of his inquiries, he prepared a docu- 
ment, seting forth, in a lucid and forcible manner, his 
theological views, which he intended to present as a 
New-Year's gift to his people ; but his sudden sickness 
and demise prevented him from doing it. It was soon 
after given to the world under the title of a " Pastor's 
Legacy to his People." We have read it with mingled 
feelings of admiration and love. 

The spirit of Jesus is traceable on every page. If 
his head was astray, his heart was certainly in the 
right place. Whether his head was wrong, it is not 
for the historian to say. We think, however, no one, 
who reads his legacy attentively, can rise from its 
perusal without having his heart touched with coals 
from off the altar of God ; for those pages could have 
been penned under no other influence than that of the 
Holy Spirit. I have found, in his own handwriting, 
what purports to be the " Creed [of] Pitt Clarke, 


1794," the year after his settlement. As he was ac- 
cused of changing his opinions after he was settled, 
we will here introduce his " Creed of 1794" entire, and 
then make a few extracts from his " Legacy," and let 
the reader judge whether his views had essentially 
changed or not : — 


" 1st, I believe in one God, the Father of ye whole human 
race, — ye Lord, God, and Judge of ye world ; in his uni- 
versal and particular providence, that he is omniscient and 
omnipresent ; perfectly holy, pure, gentle, good, and merciful ; 
ye only object of worship ; ye source of all our earthly bless- 
ings ; ye Father of our immortal spirits ; ye Author of our 
immortal hopes ; and ye righteous jurlge of quick and dead. 

" 2nd, I believe in ye Lord Jesus Christ, ye only begotten 
son, whom ye Father hath sent into ye world to save man- 
kind from sin and sorrow ; in his ministry of love and benevo- 
lence ; in ye divine authority of his mission and doctrines ; 
in his miracles, which proved him to be ye son of God with 
power, and a messenger sent from heaven to reclaim and save 
sinners ; in his perfect example ; in his sufferings, &c., on 
ye cross ; in his triumphant resurrection, and ascension into 
heaven, where he ever liveth. 

" 3rd, I believe in ye holy spirit ; that it was shed forth 
abundantly on ye first disciples of our Saviour, imparting unto 
them all necessary wisdom and knowledge, and ye power of 
working miracles in ye first state. 

" 4th, In ye resurrection from ye dead, and in ye future 
judgment ; In a state of just and equal retribution, according 
to ye deeds ; In ye paternal character of God, and ye forgive- 
ness of sins ; that God is in himself merciful, and ready to 
forgive ; that he has appointed, as a condition of salvation, 
repentance towards God ; that of his own free grace, and ac- 
cording to his promises, he will pardon and accept ye penitent 
and reformed sinner, and render to ye impenitent indigna- 
tion to every soul that continues to do evil. I believe in ye 
eternal and unalterable obligations of virtue ; that this is ye 
first law of heaven, and that, without it, heaven cannot be en- 
joyed ; that this is ye great object of revelation, ye chief duty 
and greatest glory of man ; that nothing will |)e accepted in 
substitution for it ; that it secures ye best happiness of [man] 
in this world ; is ye only preparation for death, and our only 



ground of hope in Christ, in ye favor of God and happiness 
of eteiTiity." 

We now quote a few extracts from his legacy : — 

" In all human creeds, I find some good things, and some 
not supported in scripture. The good, I treasure up ; the 
bad, throw away. I profess to be a follower of Christ; and 
glory in being called a Christian, as his followers were first 
called Christians at Antioch. I have the example of my 
Master and his immediate followers, not to assume any name 
but Christian, — not to call any one master but Christ. Our 
Saviour was not a sectarian or an exclusionist, in the modern 
sense of these terms. 

*' I believe that there is one only living and true God, the 
Father, of whom are all things, and we in Him ; and one 
Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him. 
I believe God to be an infinite Spirit, spreading the emina- 
tions of his Being throughout the Universe ; possessing every 
adorable attribute and perfection ; the only proper object of 
supreme love, adoration, and praise. 

" I believe Jesus Christ to be the Son of God, and Saviour 
of the world ; the brightness and the image of the invisible 
Jehovah ; and that in him dwells the fullness of the Godhead 
bodily ; and that, through him, we have access by one spirit 
unto the Father. Him hath God exalted to give repentance 
and remission of sin. By him we receive the atonement, — 
even reconciliation with God ; for in him, through him, or by 
him, God is reconciling the world unto Himself, not imputing 
unto men their tresspases. I believe and baptise in the name 
of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost ; in devout 
acknowledgement of God, the Father of all ; of Jesus Christ, 
the Son of God ; and of the Holy Spirit, the inward com- 
forter and support of his people. I believe in the necessity 
of a new birth, or a change of heart ; for the natural birth 
gives no idea of God or of eternity. That which is born of 
the flesh is flesh, and sees and enjoys only fleshly gratifica- 
tions. Children, though born innocent, are destitute of holi- 
ness till they are capable of right affections. When the eyes 
of their mind are opened to see God and eternity, and the 
affections of their heart are placed on things above, then the 
new birth takes place ; a new and spiritual world is opened 
to the view ; the affections are raised from earthly to heavenly 
objects ; and the whole man is brought into new and higher 


relations. I believe that this change of heart consists in a 
change of affections from sensual to spiritual enjoyments; 
from sin to holiness ; from things seen and temporal to things 
unseen and eternal. 

" I believe that this happy change is to be brought about 
through the instrumentality of Gk)d's word, blessed and sanc- 
tified by His holy spirit. I believe that this change is to be 
known by the fruits of it, which are good works. He who 
does righteousness is born of God. By this shall all men 
know that ye are my disciples, says Christ, if ye have love 
one to another; for love is the best evidence of a good 
heart. Grenuine conversions make better hearts, tempers, 
and lives; better parents, children, neighbors, and citizens. 
Such conversions cause their subjects to become more up- 
right, humble, and peaceable ; more charitable towards those 
who differ in oppinion ; more willing to co-operate with all 
good people in promoting practical piety. I believe that 
sudden conversions are not so much to be relied on as those 
more gradual, which have been brought about by deliberate 
reflection and consideration ; for the subjects of sudden con- 
versions may not know what spirit they are of, till they 
have time to try the spirits whether they be of God. The 
fruits of a good spirit are love, joy, peace, gentleness, hu- 
mility, meekness, goodness, faith, hope, temperance, &c. ; the 
greatest of all, charity. I believe that there are some good 
people in all denominations of Christians ; and that, at the 
last day, a great multitude, which no man can number, — of 
all nations and kindreds and people and tongues, — will 
stand before the throne of God, clothed with white robes, and 
palms of victory in their hands. I believe that the final 
judgment will be in perfect accordance with this grand prin- 
cipal of the Gospel, — that God is no respecter of persons ; 
but that, in every nation, he that feareth Him, and worketh 
righteousness, will be accepted of Him. I am willing to be 
judged by the Bible ; for I make this sacred volume the sole 
rule of my faith, preaching, and practice. By this standard 
we must all be judged in the great day of accounts ; and we 
must receive according to the sentence which it shall then 

In his diary he goes on to say, — 

" But my keeping closely to the doctrines revealed did 
not satisfy the leaders of the opposition. They chose to 


separate, and form themselves into a new society. Five male 
members of my chh., and six females, asked a dismission ; 
and, tho' the chh. did not grant it, they formed themselves 
into another chh., and attended public worship with a new 
society which they and others organized. This drew me into 
a critical situation, and very much increased my trials and 
burdens. But, under all these trials, I endeavored to keep a 
conscience void of offence toward God and man. Having 
this witness, I can go down "the hill of life with satisfaction, 
and fear not to meet my opposers at the bar of my Maker. 
Were they now perfectly acquainted with my motives of action 
towards them, and my earnest desire to promote the cause of 
righteousness and truth, I am sure they would acquit me of 
any designed fault. My heart's desire and prayer to God is, 
that they may all come to the knowledge of the truth, and be 
saved. The days of my years teach me that the solemn test 
of my character is near at hand ; that eternity is at my door ; 
that there is but a step between me and death." 

And that step was shorter even than he expected. 
Though then apparently hale and hearty for a man of 
his years, yet, in about six weeks, all that was mortal 
of him was consigned to the tomb. He was " born of 
the spirit," Feb. 13, 1835, at the age of threescore 
and twelve years, after a ministry of forty-one years, 
seven months, and ten days. 

On Sunday, Feb. 15, the funeral services took place 
at the meeting-house, where, for so many years, he 
had ministered at the altar of God. The sermon was 
preached by Rev. Andrew Bigclow, of Taunton ; which 
was printed, together with some extracts from the 
diary of the deceased. Dr. Bigelow, who was with 
him in his last sickness, in his "Funeral Sermon," 
p. 15, says, — 

" Never have I beheld a death-bed scene more sublimely 
edifying — more Christianly serene, sustained, and consoling 
— than that of the aged servant of Christ who sleeps in death 
before us. Truly his latter end was peace. He knew in 
whom he believed, and ' endured as seeing Him who is in- 
visible.* The Being whom he served shed down into his soul 
the gladsome tokens of his presence. Supports he expe- 
rienced which the world could not give; which flesh and 


sense were incapable of administering ; but which death itself 
could not take away. * Mj heart is fixed,' he exultingly ex- 
claimed, ^ m J heart is fixed, — trusting, O Lord ! in thee. I 
am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is 
at hand. Father, into thy hands I commit my spirit.' And 
he sunk from life, to rest in peace and sleep in the ' blessed 
hope.' " 

It is pleasant to linger in the atmosphere of so Chris- 
tian a man. With much reluctance does our pen cease 
to do homage to his virtue, his unaffected, Christ-like 
character. We can well understand why his name is 
so fondly cherished and revered by those whose envia- 
ble privilege it was to partake of the heavenly manna 
that fell from his lips. It remains for us, in this 
chapter, to say that the number of admissions into the 
church during his ministry was one hundred and fifty- 
four : the number of children baptized was two hun- 
dred and eighty-four.^ 




** I Tenerate the man whose heart ia warm ; 
Whose hands are pure ; whose doctrines and whose life, 
Coincident, exhibit lucid proof 
That he is honest in the sacred cause.** — CowPia. 

We shall in this chapter introduce the autobiography 
of Mr. Clarke, written about three years before his 

1 During his lifetime, seyeral of his sermons were printed. Amon^ his 
publications, we will name a Tbanksgiying Sermon, preached in 1796; a 
Sermon at the ordination of Sylvester F. Bucklin at Marlborough, Nov. 2, 
1808; a Discourse before the Norton Female Christian Association, June 8, 
1818; a Sermon at Mansfield^ on the Sunday following the interment of 
Mr. Ebenezer Warren, who died Jan. 1, 1824 ; a Sermon on the formation 
of a new heart, printed in L. C. Bowles's Monthly Publications of Sermons, 
May, 1830; a Sermon in Exposition of John i. 1, in 1832; and the Right 
Hand of Fellowship at the ordination of Be v. Mr. Pipon at Taunton, in 




death ; also some obituary notices of him, Ac. ; which 
will serve to illustrate his character, and show the es- 
timation in which he was held by the community where 
he was best known. 


" I was bom in Medfield, Jan. 15, 1763.^ My father's 
name was Jacob. He had nMhing to recommend him beyond 
the reputation of being an honest man, an industrious farmer, 
and practical Christian. He was one of threfe brothers, whose 
grandfather came from England, and settled in the north of 
Wrentham, which was then comparatively a wilderness. My 
grandfather came to Medfield, and purchased a farm in the 
south part of that town by his own industry. 

" He had three sons and three daughters. He gave his 
sons the names of Nathan, Jacob, and David, from a kind of 
veneration for those scriptural characters. They all bore the 
name of being honest, industrious, and devout. There ever 
appeared to me to be a perfect harmony and endearing inter- 
course between them. My mother's name was originally 
Meletiah Hammant; which, rightly spelt, is Hammond. Her 
predecessors bore the same reputation with my father's. She 
was my father's second wife. 

" My mother was of a different texture from my father. 
He was naturally cheerful and social. She was of a feeble, 
gloomy, nervous make, and pious almost to superstition. At 
times, she was so fearful of not living up to that profession of 
religion which she early made, as to sink almost into despair. 
This was owing to a great diffidence of herself, united with 
her nervous affections. She was not only pious in mind, but 
devout in practice. 

" She always set a good example before her children, who 
were three sons and four daughters. She instilled into their 
minds, when very young, the first principles of religion ; and 
expressed the greatest concern in giving them pious feelings. 
I feel much indebted to my parents for my early dedication to 
God in baptism, and my early habits of attention to religious 
institutions. Especially I feel many obligations to my mother 
for the many early religious impressions I received from her 

1 On his gravestone, it is stated that he was born Jan. 6. This is doubt- 
less an error; for, in his diary, he always speaks of Jan. 15 as his birth- 


pious example. I often witnessed, when a small child, her 
secret prayers; and, when unobserved by her, would sink 
[down] in the spirit of mental and private devotion. This 
led me into early habits of calling upon God, morning and 
evening ; and of committing to memory a variety of prayers 
to assist my devotions. This habit of secret prayer never 
entirely forsook me ; tho', I acknowledge with shame, I have 
not always practised it so constantly and fervently as I 

^ My grandfather had an exalted opinion of the great Pitt 
in his mother country, on account of his distinguished pleas 
for American liberty. Out of regard to this eloquent friend 
of America, my grandfather would tell me he gave me my 
name, and flatter me with the idea of going to college. How 
far this operated to raise my ambition for study, when a child, 
I cannot say. I early felt a desire to learn, and was am- 
bitious to excel my classmates. When very young, my 
master told me I must study the Latin, and go to college. I 
obtained the consent of my father to begin the first book in 
Latin when between ten and eleven years old. But I did 
not continue the study of the language longer than the town- 
school continued. This was owing to two causes. One was 
the deranged state of the academies and colleges, on account 
of the Revolutionary war: the other was the embarrassed 
condition of my father. In the first of the Revolution, Bos- 
ton was besieged, and the college entirely broken up. Then 
there was not the least encouragement of obtaining a public 
education. I gave up my studies, went to work on the farm 
at home, and occasionally abroad on wages; laying aside 
what I could against a time of need for an education. When 
old enough to be enrolled in the Militia Bill, I was called to 
go as a soldier on a sudden expedition to Rhode Island. The 
British had taken possession of the island, and were directing 
their devastations towards Massachusetts. The alarm came, 
and the militia were called upon to meet their attacks, and 
drive them from the island. In this expedition, I was every 
day expecting to meet the enemy in the hottest battle ; but, 
just before it came to our turn to fight, the British were 
driven from their stronghold, and evacuated the island. I 
returned home to my father's farm. As soon as the war ter- 
minated, and the college was restored to its regular state, I 
again entertained the hope of resuming my studies. But 
another circumstance occurred to disappoint me. My father's 
house unfortunately took fire, and was consumed, together 


with nearly all the furniture and fall provisions. It was in 
November, 1779, 

^ All the little that I had laid aside was destroyed. I felt 
myself stript and naked. But from the calamity I learned 
some of the best lessons. My father, however, was thrown 
into such immediate embarrassment, that I dismissed all 
thoughts of pursuing my studies, and was under the necessity 
of returning to hard labor for a few years. When I arrived 
at the age of twenty-one, and felt the liberty of acting for 
myself, I resumed the courage of setting out for an education. 
I had procured a little to begin with by working at common 
wages, which my father gave me : and he promised to assist 
me some more, if he should be able ; tho' it could be but 
little. I studied partly at home, and partly with Miss Hannah 
Adams, who lived near by, and to whom I recited my lessons. 
Under her tuition principally, I fitted for college, and was ad- 
mitted into Cambridge University about a year after I com- 
menced my studies, — July 22, 1786. 

" I had the good fortune of being a member of a large 
and respectable class, many of whom were of the first talent, 
and much the greater part of good characters. Another cir- 
cumstance was much in my favor. The most distinguished 
scholars in my class were, like myself, in limited circum- 
stances, and the most popular. On this account, the best 
part of the class set the example of prudence in expenses ; 
and there was no disparagement in it. By receiving help 
from the charitable funds, and teaching schools, I made my 
way thro' college without much assistance from my father. 
I received the honors of the University, July 21, 1790. 

" Being in debt for my college expenses, I engaged the 
town-school in Cambridge, and continued in it two years ; at 
the same time, pursuing my theological studies. These studies 
had been my predilection before I entered college, and were 
a leading object of attention through my college-life. Be- 
fore I left the school, I was examined by the Cambridge 
Association of Ministers, and approbated to preach April 17, 
1792. I preached occasionally in neighboring towns while I 
continued in the school ; and, before I closed it, received an 
application to supply the vacant parish in Norton. I com- 
menced preaching in this place as soon as I left the school, — 
the following August. It was the first place of my preaching 
on probation. 

" Having preached here only four sabbaths, the church in 
Norton gave me an invitation to settle among them as their 


gospel minister. The invitation • was so sudden and unex- 
pected, that I at first felt ready to reject it. It being, how- 
ever, of such a serious nature, I took it into consideration ; 
and consented to supply the pulpit myself, or by proxy, till I 
gave my answer. I found the people much divided. They 
had heard many candidates, and could not unite on any one. 
The opposition to me, at first, was formidable. I could not 
satisfy the minds of those called orthodox. On this account, 
the society postponed their meeting, to concur with the church, 
for sever^ months, on condition I would continue to preach 
with them longer. It being winter, and bad moving about, I 
consented to tarry with them till spring. This gave us an 
opportunity to become acquainted with each other : and, upon 
this farther acquaintance, the opposition in a great measure 
subsided ; and there was nearly a unanimous invitation from 
church and society for me to become their pastor.^ The 
union was so grea^ I 'could not feel it my duty to give a 
negative answer; altho' the pecuniary encouragement ap- 
peared too small. I was ordained July 3, 1793, — a solemn 
day to me. My deepest impression was, that I was insuffi- 
cient for these things. I felt the force of that passage, 
1 Kings iii. 7, * I know not how to go out or come in before 
the people.' This was the subject of my fii-st discourse after 

'* Having been ordained about two years, I found the cur- 
rency so much depreciated, that my salary was inadequate to 
my support. This was intimated to individuals, who circu- 
lated the report, that I could not continue with them much 
longer, unless some more pecuniary encouragement should be 
given. In consequence of this alarm, a universal disposition 
was shown to afford me voluntary assistance. From this en- 
couragement I purchased a building spot, and about twenty 
acres of land entirely uncleared and unfenced. By the 
assistance of my parishioners, part of it was cleared up, and 
a house built, tho' unfinished.^ On Feb. 1, 1798, 1 was mar- 
ried to Rebecca Jones, the youngest daughter of John Jones, 

1 This was not probably formally, but rather informally, expressed ; for 
I can find no allusion to any invitation to settle, after the one given Oct. 12, 
1792, by the church, and concurred in by the parish on the 19th of Novem- 
ber following, as mentioned in a preceding chapter. 

2 From memoranda which he kept in Larkin*s Pocket Register and Al- 
manack for 1796, it appears that he " made a purchase of some land for a 
settlement," on the 6th of September of that year; and, in the " p.m., 34 
persons came to clear it up." Sept. 22, " 82 of my parishioners voluntarily 


£3q., of Hopkinton. . . . Aflter a long and distressing pul- 
monic consumption, she died March 2, 1811. She continued 
in the full exercise of her strong mental powers to the very 
last moment of life. I was married the second time, Nov. 12, 
1812 [to Mary Jones Stimson]. She was the daughter of 
Doctor Jeremy Stimson [of Hopkinton], who married an 
elder sister of my former wife."^ 

This autobiography was written in 1832, under the 
date of Jan. 15, — the day he entered upon his seven- 
tieth year. Mr. Clarke gives the following as the 
reason for writing it: — 

" As I have arrived so near threescore years and ten, — 
the common age of man fixed by my Maker, — I am moved 

worked on my land to prepare it for ploughing." Sept. 29, it appears that 
twenty-two persons, with twenty-four cattle, were engjaged in *' ploughing 
part of what they had before cleared,'* and in " digging stone." Oct. 6, 
" 26 oxen and 11 hands ploughing, and drawing stone." Oct. 12, " 40 oxen 
and 18 hands" at work; "only two yoke and three hands at my expense." 
Oct. 17, " 13 men, with 30 oxen, ploughed again for me, and harrowed in 
two acres of rye." Nov. 8, " 4 of my parish laid up wall for me, and two 
cut up brush." Nov. 10, " commenced the digging of my well." Dec. 16, 
" A number of hands cut down a greater part of ye timber for my house, 
and brought some of it to a place for building." Dec. 24, " Concluded ye 
digging of my well." Dec. 22, " moved to Judge Leonard's." In December 
of 1796, Mr. Clarke bought more land, bordering upon what he purchased in 
September; for which he paid $627.60. His house was built about a fourth 
of a mile from the meeting-house, on the Mansfield road, during the year 
1797. It is now owned by Nathaniel Freeman. The amount he received in 
1796, " from individuals, towards clearing up land, plowing, &c.," was 
$131.82. In 1797, it appears that he received, " in materials for building, 
labor, team-work, provisions, &c.," S255.61; and, in nine subsequent years, 
he received, "in provisions, labor, wood, &c.," $196.37. I am told, that, at 
one time during the ministry of Mr. Clarke, Judge Leonard agreed to give 
him as much wood as the people of his parish would cut and draw in one 
day. The people entered into the matter with great earnestness ; and, as 
soon as the day dawned, Mr. Leonard's wood-lot was filled with men and 
teams; and, before night, wood enough was drawn to Mr. Clarke's door to 
last him some three or four years. Mr. Clarke, after purchasing his farm, 
and up to the time of his death, labored personally upon it with untiring dili- 
gence (thus keeping his health good and his constitution vigorous); and, 
by his industry and frugality, saved quite a little property for a country 
minister. It was valued, at his death, at $10,000. During his whole mi- 
nistry, he was seldom absent from his pulpit on Sunday ^om any cause. 
He was also very punctual in the fulfilment of any engagements, — never 
being behind the appointed hour. 

1 By his first wire, Mr. Clarke had five children : viz., Abigail Morton^ 
now the wife of J. J. Stimson, Esq., of Providence, R.I. ; \Villiam Pitt^ who 
resides at Ashland ; John Jones^ who resides at Roxbury ; Caroline^ who died 
in infancy; George Leonard^ who died in infancy. By his second wife, he 
had four: viz., George Leonard^ who resides at Providence, R.I.; Harriet^ 
who died, agecl one day ; Manliits Stimson^ who resided in Boston, wnere he 
died a few years since; Edward Hammond, who resides at Boston. 



to leave behind me a short memoir of ray life. I dare not 
neglect it any longer, for fear of death, — I am so near the 
boundary of human existence. I am not led to do this from 
the impression that any thing in my life will be worthy of 
notice, but from a desire to bequeathe to my children a brief \ 
memorial of their humble origin." I 

It would be an excellent idea for all parents to leave 
a similar legacy to their children. What child would 
not prize such an autobiography of a father ? 

We will now introduce extracts from one or two 
obituary notices published soon after his death: — 

" He has, besides his faithful labors as a minister of the - 
gospel, fitted many young men for college; and had the 
charge and instruction of a number of students of the Uni- - 
versity, who have at different times been suspended from 
that institution, and directed to pursue their studies under his 
care. Mr. Clarke was remarkable for his habits of industry 
and order. He was uniformly an early riser ; and thus ac- 
complished much which many others leave undone, or but 
poorly performed. He was greatly respected for his sound 
judgment and wise counsel in all affairs of importance, and 
particularly in such as related to ecclesiastical affairs, and to 
the interests of literature, morals, and religion. His whole 
character as a minister was not only entirely without re- 
proach, but in all respects most exemplary. His preaching 
was always serious, impressive, and evangelical. It is worthy 
of remark, that though there were, from the beginning of his 
ministry, some of his parishioners who did not fully approve 
of his doctrinal views, yet by the seriousness and earnestness 
of his ministrations, together with his attentive, affectionate, 
and truly Christian deportment as a minister, he commanded 
their esteem and confidence, and preserved uniform har- 
mony among his people till near the close of his ministry ; 
when the spirit of division, so generally prevalent through 
the country, seizing on some unfortunate local occurrences 
(but in no respect touching his character as a man or a mini- 
ster), caused a schism in his parish, such as had before 
taken place in almost all of the parishes in the Common- 
wealth. The large body of his people, however, remained 
with him, and rallied the more earnestly around him. By 
witnessing the meek and truly Christian temper with which 
he endured the trial, and his untiring activity and zeal in the 


discharge of all his duties, they felt the obligation to give 
renewed tokens of their attachment and confidence. Among 
these, one of great importance, and which was in a high 
degree gratifying to him, was the preparations that were in 
forwardness at the time of his decease for the erection of a 
new and more commodious place of worship, 

" Mr. Clarke's last illness, which was a lung fever, was of 
short duration. But one Sunday intervened between his last 
public ministrations and the day of his burial. 

" He retained his faculties to the last, and was fully aware 
of his approaching end. Though he had much to attach him 
to life, he was still resigned, calm, and happy in the view of 
his approaching death. 

" The principles of the religion he preached, and so fully 
exemplified in his life, sustained him, and filled him with 
joyful hope in the hour of death." ^ 

" This excellent man, whose . loss will be long and sin- 
cerely mourned, continued in the active discharge of his 
pastoral duties till the week previous to his decease. He 
preached to his congregation on the first sabbath of the present 
month ; and ofiiciated, on the day following, at the interment 
of a parishioner. In the evening subsequently, he was seized 
with the symptoms of his fatal malady. His illness he bore 
with exemplary fortitude. He early foresaw its inevitable 
issue, yet calmly resigned himself to the will of his Maker. 
Relying upon the promises of the gospel, his hope of im- 
mortality was bright. 

" Having lived the life of the righteous, his 'latter end* 
was peace. The usefulness of this good man was felt and 
appreciated beyond the bounds of his parish. He has left a 
large circle of friends, who loved and honored him while 
living, and who will embalm in fond remembrance the many 
estimable traits of his character and life." ^ 

" He was tenderly interested in the welfare of the young. 
The cause of education could not fail to be an object dear to 
his heart. At the time of his demise, he was enrolled with 
various associations, — literary and philanthropic, as well as 
religious, — in several of which he was a prominent officer, 
and in all of them a diligent and valued co-adjutor. 

1 Christian Register of Feb. 21, 1835. 

2 Taunton Whig and Reporter of Feb. 18, 1885. 


" As Vice-President of the County Bible Society, he lent 
it an efficient and cordial support. Filling the same relation 
to the Board of Trustees at Bristol Academy, — at whose de- 
liberations he ofiened assisted, — he contributed essentially to 
the prosperity of the institution, and anxiously watched the 
progress and improvement of the minds and morals of its 
pupils. In ecclesiastical councils, at which he frequently 
presided, his opinions were regarded with uncommon defer- 
ence, as the counsels of a sound, sage, candid, and discrimi- 
nating mind." ^ 

Here we must take leave of him who was — 

^ Bound to no sect, to no one party tied ; 
To sons of Grod in every clime allied.'* 



" For modes of &ith, let graceless zealots fight : 
His can't be wrong whose life is in the right." 


By the death of Mr. Clarke, the pulpit, for the third 
time in more than a hundred and twenty years, is 
made vacant; and the maintenance of the Christian 
ministry and ordinances becomes a question of anxious 
solicitude to the parish. At the annual meeting, 
March 30, 1835, — a little more than a month after the 
death of their late revered pastor, — the society voted 
that the Standing Committee should supply the pulpit. 
Prom receipts and other papers in my possession, it 
appears that A. Davis preached two Sundays ; Daniel 
C. Sanders, three ; Nathaniel Whitman, four ; Mr. 
Lakeman, two ; and Mr. Richardson, one, — up to the 
close of the following July. 

1 Dr. Bigelow^s Funeral Sermon. 



On the 2d of August, 1835, Asarelah Morse Bridge 
commenced preaching as a candidate. His services 
were acceptable to the congregation; and, on the 28th^ 
of December following, he was unanimously invited 
by the society " to settle with them as their Pastor in 
the Gospel Ministry," and a yearly salary of five hun- 
dred dollars was voted to him ; and, when either party 
wished to dissolve the connection, three months' notice 
was to be given, 

A committee of three was chosen to inform Mr. 
Bridge of the doings of the parish. They performed 
their duty ; and he forthwith returned the following 
answer : — 

" Norton, Dec. 28th, 1835. 

« To Dr. Richard F. Sweet, Dea. Stillman Smith, Mr. Thomas 
Braman, Committee of the Congregational Parish in Nor- 

" Gentlemen, — I have the honor to acknowledge the 
receipt of a letter from you, containing an invitation extended 
to me, by the society of which you are a committee, to be- 
come their Pastor and Teacher. It is highly gratifying to me 
that I have been chosen to fill so high and responsible a situa- 
tion. The unanimity with which this invitation has been 
given increases my satisfaction. I accept it on the teiins 
specified in your letter. I hope that nothing may occur which 
shall darken, in the least degree, the pleasing prospect which 
is before us. 

" I remain yours respectfully, 

"Asarelah M. Bridge." 

The parish then " voted to have the ordination of 
Rev. Mr. Bridge in four or five weeks from this date;" 
and the Standing Committee were appointed a " Com- 
mittee of arrangement at the ordination." 

The services of ordination took place Jan. 2t, 1836. 
Sixteen churches were invited to form a coimcil by 

1 It appears that Mr. Bridge had not supplied the ptilpit all the time 
from Aug. 2 to the date above. G. P. Crancn preached two Sundays in 
October; George A. Williams, four, up to Nov. 8; and Mr. Buckingham 
and Mr. Stone, one each, the fore part of December, — probably not as 


their pastors and delegates. The following was the 
order of services : — 

Introductoiy Prayer by Rev. G. W, Briggs, of Fall 
River ; Reading of Scriptures by Rev. J. D. "Sweet, of Kings- 
ton; Sermon by Rev. George Putnam, of Roxbury, — text, 
Jer. iii. 15 ; Ordaining Prayer by Rev. F. Parkman, D.D., 
of Boston ; Right Hand by Rev. H. G. O. Phipps, of Co- 
hasset; Charge by Rev. A. Harding, of New Salem; Address 
to Society by Rev. B. Huntoon, of Milton; Concluding 
Prayer by Rev. R. Stone, of West Bridgewater. 

During his ministry, Mr. Bridge labored earnestly 
and faithfully in the work to which he had devoted 
himself. Probably, on entering upon his pastoral 
duties, Mr. Bridge could not find the church-covenant 
(there being no copy of it on the church-records) ; and 
therefore he prepared, and the church (Feb. 5, 1836) 
accepted, the following — 

"declaration of faith. 

" You do solemnly declare your belief in the Being, Per- 
fections, and Government of God ; your faith in Jesus Christ 
as the Son of God and Savior of the world ; and your ac- 
ceptance of the Holy Scriptures as the word of God, and a 
perfect rule of faith and obedience. 

" You express your desire thankfully to receive salvation 
in the way prescribed in the gospel ; humbly resolving, by 
the help of divine grace, to live in obedience to his holy com- 
mandments, and to look for the mercy of God unto eternal 

" You promise to walk with this church, while you have 
opportunity, in the regular observance of Christian ordi- 
nances, in the exercise of Christian affection, and in a sub- 
mission to the regulations of the Church. 

" You are now a member of this church. We have received 
you ; we trust God has received you. 

** We engage, and are bound, to pray for you ; and, as we 
have opportunity, to watch over you, and, if need be, to ad- 
monish you. We expect the same kind offices from you ; in 
the mutual discharge of which, may we all be built up in the 
faith and practice of our holy religion, and become prepared 
for admission hereafter into the Church of the Redeemer in 
Heaven ! Amen." 


At a meeting of the parish, Aug. 81, 1840, it was 
voted, that their connection between Mr. Bridge, ^< as 
Pastor and People," be, by mutual consent of parties, 
dissolved after the first day of November next. And 
accordingly, on Nov. 1, 1840, Mr. Bridge preached 
his valedictory sermon, and retired from the office of 

At a meeting of the church, Sept. 30, 1842, it was — 

^ Resolved^ That we have full confidence in the Rev. A. M. 
Bridge as a pious, faithful, and devoted Christian minister ^ 
and that we cordially recommend him as such to those with 
whom he may be called to labor." 

Rev. Mr. Bridge was the son of Josiah and Eirene 
Bridge; and was bom in Lancaster, Mass., Jan. 21, 
1810. His early education was acquired in the com- 
mon schools of that town and at the Lancaster Acade- 
my. At the age of fourteen, he entered a store in 
Boston, where he remained six years. He then studied 
two years and a half at the New-Salem Academy; 
teaching school one winter at Hubbardston, and 
another at Petersham. In 1832, he entered the 
Divinity School at Cambridge ; and graduated from 
that institution, July, 1835, a few days previous to his 
preaching his first sermon in Norton. 

Since leaving Norton, he has been settled as pastor 
at Standish, Me., and Bernardston, Mass. For several 
years past, he has been the minister at Hampton 
Falls, N.H. 

He married, July 31, 1838, Miss Martha S. Harding, 
daughter of Rev. A. Harding, of New Salem ; by whom 
he had one child, — Frederick Harding, born at Norton, 
Sept. 1, 1839. His wife died at her father's house. 
May, 1841. She was a woman of very superior at- 

He married, June 4, 1844, for second wife, Mary 
Ann FuUam, of Boston; and, by her, has had three 

On Sunday, Nov. 8, 1840, — just one week from the 
time Mr. Bridge preached his farewell sermon, — Mr. 


William Phillips Tilden occupied the pulpit. After 
preaching four Sundays, he was engaged to supply 
till the 1st of April following. Before the expiration 
of this engagement, or on March 15, 1840, the parish, 
by a vote of fifty-nine yeas to two nays, invited him 
" to settle with them in the Gospel Ministry, if the 
salary can be made satisfactory ; " and chose Leonard 
Hodges, jun., Jarvis Smith, Earl Hodges, Stillman 
Smith, and Almond Tucker, a committee to report the 
doings of the parish to the candidate. 

His salary was fixed at six himdred dollars per year, 
and the time of his settlement limited to two years ; 
three months' notice to be given if either party wished 
to dissolve the connection sooner. Mr. Tilden ac- 
cepted the call in the following note: — 

*' March 15th, 1841. 
•* To the CoDgregational Parish in Norton. 

" I have received by your committee a copy of the vote 
passed at your meeting, inviting me to become your Pastor. 

" Would that I were more worthy of the confidence you 
have seen fit to repose in me ! I have had, as you are all 
doubtless aware, but little experience in my profession. I 
could not, therefore, think for a moment of being settled as 
a minister to the spiritual wants of any people where I could 
not depend upon their sympathy and co-operation. But you 
have given me the assurance, by the unanimity with which 
you have given me the call, that I shall find here hearts that 
will sympathize with me in my labors, and be ready to make 
all reasonable allowance for my want of experience. 

"Trusting, therefore, that I shall find in each of you a 
brother's heart, and that you will receive my imperfect 
services with that feeling of charity which covereth a mul- 
titude of faults, I accept of the invitation you have given me 
to become your Pastor, upon the condition named in the note 
which I have received. 

" Yours in brotherly Love, 

" William P. Tilden." 

The Standing Committee of the parish were author- 
ized " to make the necessary preparations for the or- 
dination.'' It was decided that the ordination should 



take place Wednesday, April 14 ; and thirteen churches 
were invited to meet in council, and assist in the ser- 
vices. But, a violent snow-storm occurring on that 
day, none of the council appeared ; and, consequently, 
the services were postponed one week. April 21, 1841, 
tiie council met at the house of Earl Hodges. After 
organization, &c., it was '' voted, that the Council Bxe 
satisfied with the proceedings of the Society and the 
Pastor elect, and are ready to proceed to his ordination 
at 11 O'clock, A.M." 
The order of exercises was as follows : — 

lntax)ductory Prayer by Rev. J. D. Sweet, of Elingston ; 
Reading of the Scriptures by Rev. M. Allen, of Pembroke ; 
Sermon by Rev. S. J. May, of South Scituate; Ordaining 
Prayer by Rev. A. Bigelow, of Taunton ; Charge by Rev. E. 
Q. Sewall, of Scituate ; Right Hand by Rev. J. L. Stone, of 
Mansfield ; Address to the People by Rev. R. Stone, of West 
Bridgewater ; Closing Prayer by Rev. A. Gushee, of Dighton. 

The ministry of Mr. Tilden proved so acceptable to 
the parish, that, just before the close of the two years 
for which he was settled, — viz., March 13, 1843, — it 
was " voted unanimously to request the Rev. William 
P. Tilden to continue with said Parish in the ministry ; " 
the conditions being the same as before. A committee 
of three was chosen to inform the pastor of the doings 
of the parish. The committee attended to the duty 
assigned them, and soon returned with the following 
answer : — 

" To the First Congregational Church and Society in Norton. 

** I have received, by the hands of your Committee, a copy 
of the vote you have this ^iay passed, by which you have 
unanimously invited me to continue with you as your pastor. 
I feel deeply grateful to you for this fresh proof of your kind 
regards for me, and shall accept of your invitation ; hoping 
and praying that our union, so long as it continues, may be 
blessed to the upbuilding of the Redeemer's Kingdom. 
** Yours in the bonds of the Gospel, 

^ William P. Tilden. 

" Norton, March 18th, 1848." 



After continuing with them a little more than a year 
from the date of the above note, Mr. Tilden signified 
to the parish his desire to be dismissed from his pas- 
toral relations, on account of failing health. The 
parish met to consider the matter on the 15th of June, 
1844, and voted that they *' are desirous of retaining 
Rev. Mr. Tilden (in case he does now wish to be re- 
tained) as their minister, upon the same conditions 
that he was first settled;'' and appointed a committee 
of three to confer with him relative to remaining. At 
an adjourned meeting, June 22, the committee received 
his answer. We here record it : — 

" To the Congregational So. in Norton. 

" Deab Fbiends, — The Com. chosen by you at your last 
meeting, for the purpose of conferring with me in relation to 
my still remaining with you as your Pastor, have attended 
to their duties. Truly grateful am I for the very kind wish, 
which, through that Com., you have expressed, that I should 
still sustain to you the relation of Pastor. It rejoices my 
heart to know, that, afler spending near four years among 
you as your minister, you still deem me worthy of confidence, 
and regard me with unfeigned kindness and good-vnU. Be 
assured, the kind feeling is most cordially reciprocated. 

^ But as I have decided that it will be best for me to leave 
this field of labor, at least for one year, I still think that it 
will be better fcg you and for myself that the connection 
should be dissolved. 

"I have not come to this decision without a. struggle; for 
my heart still clings with sincere affection to the many tried 
friends whose sympathy and aid have cheered me on in my 
work among you : and my sincere and earnest prayer for you 
is, that you may be blessed with the services of one who shall 
break to you the * True and living hread^ and help you on- 
ward in the divine life. 

" Yours in Gospel Love, 

" William P. Tilden." 

The parish then voted to accept the answer: and, 
accordingly, the connection was dissolved; and the 
pastor preached his farewell sermon, June 30, 1844.^ 

^ A portion of it was printed in the Christian World, Ang. 24, 1844. 


Rev. William P. Tilden was the son of Luther and 
Philenda (Brooks) Tilden ; and was born in Scituate, 
May 9, 1811. He received most of his education in 
the common schools of his native State, having received 
only "one term of academical instruction." After 
leaving school, he spent his summers in the mackerel- 
fishery, and his winters in learning the trade of a car- 
penter ; so that, without any figure of speech, it can 
be truly said, that he had an evangelical preparation 
for the ministry. His theological studies were pursued 
with Rev. Samuel J. May, of South Scituate. 

May 15, 1834, he married, at Scituate, Miss Mary J. 
Poster; and has had four children. While residing 
in Norton, one of them " became an angel," Sept. 9, 

Since leaving Norton, Mr. Tilden has been settled 
as pastor of the Unitarian societies of Concord and 
Walpole, N.H. ; and is now the minister of the First 
Congregational Church in Fitchburg, Mass. 

The pulpit made vacant by the resignation of Mr. 
Tilden was supplied a few Sundays by Rev. William 
H. Fish : and, on the 3d of August, a parish-meeting 
was held to see about hiring him for six months ; but 
it was dissolved, without taking any action relative to 
the supply of the pulpit. 

Who preached from that time to Nov. 17, we are 
not informed: but, on that day, Rev. William C. 
Tenney commenced a stated supply of the pulpit ; and 
continued to do so till April 27, 1845. Rev. T. H. 
Dorr preached during the month of May ; and Rev. A. 
D. Jones, during the month of June. 

Rev. Amory Gale, M.D., commenced supplying the 
pulpit, July 6, 1845 : and, with the exception of the 
month of August, — when the desk was occupied by 
clergymen from the " Hopedale Community " in Mil- 
ford, — he preached regularly till the 1st of January, 

1 In the easterly part of the " Common " Graveyard, surrounded by a 
small circular wooden fence, may be seen a diminutive monument of white 
marble, with the inscription, " Little Joseph/' It marks the grave of 
"this dear boy." 


1848; and supplied a few Sundays after that date. 
Nov. 29, 1845, by a vote of fifteen to ten, he was in- 
vited to settle ; but, on account of the small majority 
by which the vote was carried, it was reconsidered. 
At an adjourned meeting, two weeks later, the Stand- 
ing Committee were instructed to hire Mr. Gale for 
one year. Before the expiration of this engagement, 
he was reengaged for another year; which term of 
service expired, as we have already stated, at the com- 
mencement of the year 1848. 

During his ministry, the church-covenant was again 
revised. By a unanimous vote of the church, April 2, 
1846, they adopted the following ^ — 


" You acknowledge your Faith in One only wise and true 
Grod, who is the God and Father of all men ; you believe 
Jesus Christ to be the Son of God, the Redeemer and Savior; 
and you regard the Holy Spirit as your Enlightener, your 
Sanctifier, your Comforter. 

** You accept the Gospel of Jesus Christ as the only infal- 
lible rule of life ; and you propose, by the help of Divine 
Grace, to regulate your conduct by its spirit and precepts ; 
to observe its rites and ordinances ; and to live in the unity 
of the Spirit, and in the bonds of peace with your brethren. 
This you acknowledge ? 

"We, then, — the Church of Christ in this place, — do 
receive and welcome you into our sacred fellowship and com- 
munion ; promising that we will regard and treat you with 
that Christian tenderness and aifection which your rellition to 
us, as a member of Christ's Church, requires. 

"May the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ bless 
you with all spiritual blessings in His Son ; may your days 
on earth be useful and happy ; and may we all be finally ad- 
mitted into glorious mansions on High, to participate in the 
joys of the Just made perfect through Faith I " 

1 The Declaration of Faith adopted during the ministry of Mr. Bridge 
was not recorded oo the church-books ; and Mr. Gale, not finding a copj. 
probably prepared this covenant, to use in the absence of any other: and 
it is the first covenant entered in due form upon the records since the or^ 
ganization of the church in 1714. 


Also, during his ministry, Mr. Gale performed the 
laborious work of copying all the church-records on 
the old book into a new one. The faithfulness with 
which he performed the task was well worthy of the 
preamble and resolution we here record : — 

** Whereas the Rev. Amory Gale has this day presented 
to the Church connected with the Congregational Parish in 
Norton a durable book for the records of said Church ; and 
has, with much labor, copied the doings and records of said 
Church from their old book [which was much obliterated] for 
the last one hundred and thirty years, and from its commence- 
ment, into the same ; and whereas said Church are desirous, 
as a body, of expressing their acknowledgments, not only for 
the book, but also for the labor bestowed thereon : — 

" Therefore resolved^ That the thanks of this church be 
presented to the Rev. Dr. Gale for the handsome and durable 
book of Records ; and also for the neat and chaste manner 
in which he has copied the Records from their old Church- 

" Norton, April 2d, 1848. 

" Per order of the Church, 

"Cromwell Leonard, 
" Chairman of a committee of said Church." 

Dr. Gale was born in Warwick, Oct. 15, 1800 ; and 
was the son of Amory and Lucinda (Rich) Gale. 

Besides attending the common schools of his native 
town, he spent some time at the academy in Chester- 
field, N.H., and also at New Salem, Mass. For two or 
three years before attaining his majority, he labored on 
a farm in summer, and taught school in winter. In the 
spring of 1821, he commenced the study of medicine. 
He attended medical lectures at Dartmouth College, 
N.H., in 1822 ; and subsequently at the medical school 
of Brown University, R.I., where he received the de- 
gree of M.D. in 1824. 

He commenced practice in Petersham ; but soon left, 
and entered into partnership with Dr..Batcheller, of 
Royalston, — his old medical preceptor; and subse- 
quently removed to Barre, where he remained about 


six years, and then lefl on account of ill health. 
When his health was somewhat restored, he entered 
into practice at Amherst, N.H., and was there a num- 
ber of years ; but sickness again compelled him to give 
up the active duties of his profession. He was sub- 
sequently at Canton and South Scituate, Mass. 

In his earlier years, he had desired to be a clergyman ; 
but, on account of some bronchial dijBiculty, he relin- 
quished the thought of the ministry. But, as years 
wore away, the cherished desire of his youth revived. 

While at Amherst, N.H., he wrote some sermons, 
and preached occasionally in the neighboring towns ; 
his first effort being at Brookline, N.H., in 1837. 
While at Canton, he preached there and elsewhere; 
and, when he removed to South Scituate, it was with 
the view of studying theology with Bev. Samuel J. 

In the years 1843 and 1844, he preached about six 
months each at Wayland, East Bridgewater, and Pem- 
broke ; being also engaged, at the same time, in the 
active duties of a physician. He was ordained, as an 
evangelist, at Kingston, Nov. 19, 1844 ; ^ and, at the 
time he accepted the invitation to preach at Norton, 
was supplying the pulpit at Southington, Conn. 

After leaving Norton, he preached for several months, 
during the summer and autumn, at Barnstable ; but a 
return of his bronchial disease obliged him to give up 
public speaking. In 1849, he settled in the practice 
of medicine at Woonsocket, R.I. ; where he remained 
till the autumn of 1853, when he bought a farm 
at East Medway, and removed thither; and is now 
there, attending to the duties of physician and far- 

He was originally of the allopathic school of medi- 
cine ; but, while in Norton, became a convert to homoeo- 
pathy, and has since been of that school. He married, 
Nov. 3, 1825, Miss Martha Leland, of Warwick ; and 
has had five children. 

1 Christian Register, Nov. 80, 1844. 


After Mr. Gale closed his labors, Rev. John N. Bel- 
lows preached a short time as a candidate. The parish 
took action relative to his settlement, May 31, 1848, 
and decided not to invite him. July 8, 1848, a meet- 
ing was called to consider the petition of Thomas 
Copeland and forty-six others, which was to see if the 
parish would invite Rev. William P. Tilden again to 
become their pastor ; and, by a vote of twenty-one to 
two, he was re-called to assume the duties of that 
oiSice, and was offered six hundred and fifty dollars 
yearly salary. Deacon Almond Tucker was authorized 
to communicate the vote to Mr. Tilden. 

Under the date of July 21, Mr. Tilden, in a long 
letter, after expressing his grateful acknowledgments 
for this fresh proof of their confidence in and kind 
regards for him, says, " I do not think, under the cir- 
cumstances, that it will be best for me to take again 
the office of pastor among you. I feel, therefore, that 
I must respectfully decline your kind invitation." 

This decision was a sad announcement to many of 
his old friends ; but they were not disheartened. No 
doubt his appeal to them, in the letter referred to, not 
to let " the disappointment " resulting from his decli- 
nation " render them in any way indifferent to the 
settlement of a true Christian minister," did much 
good. They again looked about for a candidate ; and 
in a few days, or on Sunday, Aug. 6, Rev. Frederic 
Hinckley preached his first sermon from their pulpit. 
His services were acceptable to most of the people ; 
and, on the 11th of September, the parish voted, 
eighteen to six, " to invite Rev. Frederic Hinckley to 
settle in said society as a Gospel minister," and offered 
him six hundred dollars yearly salary. Three months' 
notice was to be given if either party wished to dissolve 
the relation. The Parish Committee were charged 
with the duty of informing the candidate of these 

At an adjourned meeting, Sept. 25, Mr. Hinck- 
ley's letter of acceptance was read. It was in these 
words : — 


'* Norton, Sunday Eye, Sept 24th, 1848. 

Gents,—- In reply to your letter of the 11th inst., en- 
closing a copy of the vote of your society inviting me to 
settle with you, I return my acceptance of said invitation. 

^ If agreeable to your Society, I will commence my duties 
on the Ist of October. The vote offering me $600 salary 
[says] nothing of the time of payment. If that could be 
semi-annually, in Jan. and July, it would be very acceptable 
to myself. 

" Yours in Christian sincerity, 

"Frederic Hincklet. 
" To Dauphin King, 1 

Stillman Smith, > Parish Committee." 

James O. Messenger, ) 

It was then " voted to comply with Mr. Hinckley's 
request to commence on the first of Oct." — " Voted, 
that the installation be performed on the sabbath ; the 
parish reading the invitation of the society, and the ac- 
ceptance of said invitation by Mr. Hinckley." The 
following we take from the church-records : — 

" Oct. Ist. — Rev. Frederic Hinckley, recently of Leicester, 
was this day installed as minister of this church and society. 
Dea. Stillman Smith read a statement of the engagement that 
had been entered into by the society and Mr. Hinckley ; and, 
in the name of the former, welcomed their new Pastor to his 
new sphere of duty. In response, Mr. Hinckley accepted 
his trust, and continued the services by a discourse on the 
ministerial relation." 

After a pastorate of about two years, Mr. Hinckley 
resigned ; and preached his farewell sermon, Oct. 27, 

Rev. Frederic Hinckley was born in Boston, Nov. 3, 
1820 ; and was the son of Allen and Hannah Hinck- 
ley. He attended the Adams Grammar School in his 
native city till nearly thirteen years of age, when he 
took the " Franklin Medal ; " after which, he spent 
three years in a city store ; then he was two years in 
the Public Latin School, and one year with a private 
tutor. He subsequently spent three years at the 
Divinity School, Cambridge ; and graduated therefrom 



July, 1848. He was ordained at Windsor, Vt., 
Dec. 13, 1843. He also preached for a time at Leices- 
ter, after leaving Windsor. Since leaving Norton, 
he has been settled at Haverhill; Hartford, Conn.; 
and is now pastor of a Unitarian church in Lowell. 

He married, Jan. 2, 1844, Miss Sarah A. Hews, 
daughter of Abraham Hews, Esq., of Boston ; and has 
had several children. 

The Parish Committee were authorized, Dec. 30, 
1850, to invite Mr. George A. Carnes to preach till 
the annual meeting in March ; and he did so. 

Prom the 1st of April, 1851, to the middle, of No- 
vember of the same year, the following persons 
preached, — probably not all of them as candidates : 
Charles Robinson, Francis B. Knapp, Benjamin Kent, 
Gteorge W. Lippitt, Charles Briggs, William W. Heb- 
bard, Herman Snow, P. A. Whitney, D. W. Stevens, 
and J. K. Waite. George Osgood supplied from 
Nov. 16, 1851, to Jan. 26, 1852. Prom that time 
to the middle of April, Josiah K. Waite, Warren Bur- 
ton, Samuel P. Clark, Solon W. Bush, and Charles 
Briggs, supplied the pulpit. 

Rev. George Paber Clark — after the society had 
heard some twenty candidates, more or less — com- 
menced preaching April 18, 1852. He remained four 
Sundays. Rev. N. Whitman, in accordance with a 
previous arrangement, preached the last three Sun- 
days of May. 

Mr. Clark returned, on the 1st of June, to fulfil an 
engagement of four weeks more. On the 26th of June, 
1852, — having preached here seven Sundays, — the 
parish " voted unanimously to invite the Rev. George 
P. Clark to settle with said Society as their teacher 
and Pastor," with a yearly salary of six hundred dol- 

Hon. Cromwell Leonard, Hon. John Crane, and Ben- 
jamin S. Hall, were chosen a committee to inform the 
candidate of the votes just passed. They forthwith 
attended to their duty; and, through them, Mr. Clark 
returned an affirmative answer in these words : — 

yi^a CONGHfiCA'M(>> AL t»AHri«lf, 


K'T»9--N. *Ui-.*- W*b. lC6i. 
. ■■ r? V" V.--L- S !ifi« •Jti.r l^rti-v J. iJ, ■ i« :::,- u-. .■• 

■ - 

>*.x'^ *i;.wjr«ly and trul; >>**i^'S *> • - 

-• I 

' ■ '. L(jr;^^df Uiat all tht .1 :- 
- .; iJi.i) *' Ivo rcforrod ii\ .''. 
M?. Clark colUu^i^^' 
r*;o iustallation tixA r'^^- - 

*■ i' iJti'ilod by their j»:.-.«.^; ^i^ ti»cist in the iiisf:t»>ili..i' 


A.- ■* 

'^^ ..••mi A. V'litrvvijli. .: <'.■•.>•. 


.'■"f. : ii .-t «v •• 'r .. ■ . ..-'. r:. ? 

.■,i*il J«?!'v<^r;jii. e •... 'iiH slave;-*- 
\ iji** ^.t(ni i.r I'caJ; ■ ■■, *HJc' ; 

-^ . ... :, l.'»rArs iie»\; -i:»-l*;il, 

■• ■■■:).-.'{ ^har thci; -.^.'.i.s :-. ..u.-i .-^if.' 

'r i.':** Spirit -^m tny son-ar/ 
AM*, ci» <)rsL ife was uu Him; 
Then his lips shall be as feryent 
Ai axe those of seraphim; -» 


*' NoRTOW, June 26th, 1862. 

^ To the. members of the Congregational Parish. 

" Gentlemen, — I have, through your Committee, re- 
ceived a copy of the votes this day passed, inviting me to 
settle with you as your Pastor, and offering me a salary of 
six hundred dollars per year. 

" The unanimity with which the invitation has been ex- 
tended is very grateful to me ; and I do not feel in my heart 
to decline it. I therefore cordially accept it, and will enter 
upon the discharge of the duties as Pastor at such time as we 
may be able hereafter to determine upon. 

" Most sincerely and truly yours, &c., 

" G. F. Clark." 

It was then voted, that all the arrangements relating 
to the installation " be referred to the standing Parish 
Committee." Mr. Clark continued the supply of 
the pulpit. The installation took place Wednesday, 
Aug. 11, 1852. No " council '' was called ; but eight 
churches were invited by their pastor and delegates 
to be present, atid assist in the installation services, 
which were in the order given below: — 

Anthem. Introductory Prayer, and Reading of the Scrip- 
tures, by Rev. William A. Whitwell, of Easton. Hymn, by 
Rev. J. Pierpont: — 

Thon who pitiest the heart-broken, 
And dost save their souls from de^Jth; 

Who hast words of comfort spoken 
By the Man of Nazareth ; — 

Hath thy Spirit clean departed, 

That of old, by Jesus, gave 
Healing to the broken-hearted. 

And deliverance to the slave; — 

Brought to life a sleeping maiden 

By the hand of death oppressed ; 
And, to laborers heavy-laden. 

Promised that their souls should rest? 

Let that Spirit on thy servant 

Be, as erst it was on Him ; 
Then his lips shall be as fervent 

As are those of seraphim; —« 


And the gospel that he preacheth 

Shall his Master*s gospel be ; 
And the doctrine that he teacheth 

With the Saviour's shall agree ; — 

And the hearer that, believeth 

That old gospel shall be blest: 
He that doeth it receiveth 

" Peace on earth," and heavenly rest. 

Sennon by Rev. S. F. Clark, of Athol, — brother of the Pas- 
tor elect; Prayer of Installation by Rev. L. W. Leonard, 
D.D., of Dublin, N.H. ; Charge by Rev. William P. Tilden, 
of Walpole, N.H.; Right Hand by Rev. D. W. Stevens, of 
Mansfield; Hymn 764th of " Christian Hymns ;"^ Address 
to the Society, and Concluding Prayer, by Rev. C. H. Brig- 
ham^ of Taunton ; Anthem ; Benediction by the Pastor. 

The connection between the pastor and people, com- 
menced under such favorable auspices, still continues. . 

On the first Sunday of November, 1857, and at the 
morning services of six successive Sundays, the pas- 
tor set forth some of his views in relation to " the 
Church," and the need of making it a more simple, 
democratic, and evangelical institution than it has 
been for centuries past ; and closed with the presenta- 
tion of a Declaration of Principles that should form 
the basis of a true, broad, liberal Christian church ; 
which should unite in its embrace all the moral and 
religious life of the community, in opposition to the 
shocking inhumanities, monstrous wrongs, and un- 
christian practices, that are perpetrated by the strong 
upon the weak and defenceless sons and daughters of 
earth. After having been discussed at several public 
meetings, and considered by the church on two separate 
occasions, they were unanimously adopted as a substi- 
tute for the covenant which we have recorded on page 
201. We here give them to our readers, with the hope 
that this little lump of leaven will lead to a wide- 
spread movement of raising' all true and sincere fol- 
lowers of Jesus to the broad platform of thinking 
differently in love, — to the unity of the spirit in the 

1 The Collection of Hymns used by the society. 


bonds of peace. And may Ood hasten the day ! Un- 
til it comes, may all — 

** Learn to labor and to wait*' 


Unanimautly adopted by the First Congregational Church in Norton, 

Feb. 6, 1858. 

Wishing to be no longer strangers, and feeling ourselyeS 
heirs of the covenant confirmed before of God to the fathers, 
we the undersigned, pastor and people, parents and children, 
constituting the First Church in Norton, of the liberal church 
of Massachusetts, of the church universal, — of which Grod 
is the founder, and Christ the head, — hereby express our 
faith in God, the Father; in the religion taught and exemplified 
by his Son, Jesus Christ ; and in the truths of the Bible. 

We recognize the church, co-ordinately with the hmHj and 
the state, as a divine and permanent form of human society* 

Believing that it is the sacred privilege of all to judge 
for themselves what is right, we leave all our members per- 
fectly free to go directly to the Scriptures, and all other 
sources of divine truth, to learn of God and Christ and duty. 

Our object is to labor together for the promotion of Chris- 
tian righteousness in our hearts and the world. Hence, as 
members of the church universal, we extend our fellowship 
to all Christian believers, invite their sympathy and aid, and 
will joyfully co-operate with them in the work of the gospel. 

We aim at the highest Christian culture, spiritual birth 
and growth, and the perfection of our natures ; 

To seek a true knowledge, and the pure practice of Chris- 
tianity ; 

To make our homes the abodes of Christian virtue and 

To bring up our children in the nurture and admonition of* 
the Lord ; 

To cultivate an affectionate and Christian interest in each 
other's welfare ; 

To be temperate in all things ; 

To do good as we have opportunity ; 

To break the yoke of civil and religious tyranny, and let 
the oppressed everywhere go free; 

To do justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with God ; 

And, as far as in us lies, to live peaceably with all men. 



To aid in the work for which we are associated, there shall 
be chosen annually, on the first Tuesday of January, — 

1. A Pastoral Committee, consisting of the minister, 
and five brothers and five sisters, whose duty it shall be to 
consult together for the general religious interests of the 
church ; the lay-members aiding the minister in his pastoral 
intercourse with the people, in becoming acquainted with 
their spiritual wants, in promoting a Christian spirit of bro- 
therly love, and in building up a true church of Christ. 

2. A Philanthropic Committee, consisting of the mini- 
ster, and three brothers and three sisters, whose duty it shall 
be to devise plans of philanthropic action, and superintend 
the execution of them. 

3. A Committee on the Sunday School, consisting of 
the minister, the superintendent, and two brothers and three 
sisters, whose duty it shall be to look after the interests of 
the children and youth ; to encourage their attendance at the 
church and the Sunday school ; and consult together for their 
moral and religious interests. 

Any person wishing to unite with us in this purpose of re- 
ligious worship, education, fellowship, and philanthropy, can 
do so by affixing his or her name to this Declaration of Prin- 

Rev. George Faber Clark was the twelfth child and 
eighth son of Jonas and Mary (Twitchel) Clark, of 
Dublin, N.H. ; and was born Feb. 24, 1817. He was 
the grandson of William and Sarah (Locke) Clark, of 
Townsend, Mass. ; great-grandson of William and 
Eunice (Taylor) Clark, of Townsend ; and the great- 
great-grandson of Samuel Clark (whose wife was Re- 
becca Nichols ?), who settled at Concord, Mass., about 
the year 1680, and who was probably born in Lon- 
'don, and came to America, with his father, about 
1660, when a small boy. 

Tlie mother of Rev. G. P. Clark was the daughter 
of Abel Twitchel, of Dublin, N.H. ; who was the son 
of Joseph and Deborah (Fairbanks) Twitchel, of Slier- 
born, Mass. ; grandson of Joseph and Elizabeth (Hol- 
brook) Twitchel, of Sherborn ; great-grandson of 
Joseph and Lydia Twitchel, of Sherborn ; great-great- 
grandson of Benjamin and Mary Twitchel, of Sherborn 


and Lancaster ; and great-great-great-grandson of Jo- 
seph Twitchel, who probably came from Dorsetshire, 
England, about 1633, and settled at Dorchester, Mass., 
and was admitted to the freeman's oath, May 14, 

Jonas Clark, the father of the subject of this sketch, 
was a clothier by trade ; and built the first clothier's 
shop or fulling-mill in Dublin, N.H. 

In the excellent and somewhat celebrated common 
schools of that town. Rev. Mr. Clark was educated 
till his fifteenth year. He was also, for some years, a 
constant member of the Sunday school connected with 
the Congregational society under the pastoral care of 
Rev. Levi W. Leonard ; who, by his untiring zeal and 
labors in the cause of popular education and sound 
morality, has won for himself the enviable appellation 
of " the Oberlin of Cheshire County." 

On the 17th of October, 1831, Mr. Clark was ap- 
prenticed to Andrews Emery, of JaflFrey, N.H., to learn 
the art and mystery of shoemaking. His term of ser- 
vice was to extend till he was twenty-one years old, 
with the privilege of attending the short school of two 
months in the winter of each year. 

Having served about half his term of apprenticeship, 
he became interested in religion, and was impressed 
with an ardent desire to labor for the cause of truth 
and humanity; and, therefore, determined that he 
would "quit the bench for the pulpit J*^ 

Accordingly, having matured his plans, when nine- 
teen years of age, with the consent of his father, and 
not without some misgivings on his part, he pur- 
chased his time of his employer ; and in September, 
1836, with only fifteen dollars in his pocket, and en- 
tirely dependent upon his own resources, he entered 
Melville Academy, at JaflFrey, N.H., and commenced 
preparing for college. 

The coming winter, he taught a school of six weeks' 
duration ; and in February, 1837, entered Phillips 

1 For more particulars of the Twitchels, see history of the family, by 
Bev. Abner Morse, of Sherborn. 


Exeter Academy, at Exeter, N.H., with the hope of 
obtaining assistance from the beneficiary fond of that 

He failed, however, to receive any aid. But still 
he pursued his studies ; teaching school in winter, and 
sometimes returning for a few months to his trade of 
shoemaking, in order to acquire the " material aid " 
necessary to prosecute his plans. In the spring of 
1840, — a few weeks before he was to leave the acade- 
my for the college, — his health gave away ; and, for 
about eighteen months, he was unable to study; during 
which time, he relinquished the idea of a collegiate 
education, but afterwards pursued his studies, at 
Exeter and elsewhere, till August, 1843, when he en- 
tered the Theological School connected with Harvard 
College, Cambridge ; from which, having completed 
the course of study prescribed, he graduated in July, 
1846 ; being about two hundred dollars in debt for his 
education. He immediately went to Leverett, Mass., 
where he preached about three months. In February, 

1847, he preached a few Sundays at Charlemont, 
Mass. ; and, in March following, he was invited to 
take the charge of the remnant of a society there. 
His eyes having become very weak before completing 
his theological studies, so as to disallow their con- 
tinuous use, and some encouragement having been 
given him that his services would be acceptable, a part 
of the time, in the neighboring town of Shelburne, — 
where there was a small band of liberal Christians, 
— he decided to labor in that "hill country'' for a 
season ; and went thither the 1st of April, and preached 
for thirteen months to the two societies of Charlemont 
and Shelburne, — about one-third of the time at the 
latter place. Aug. 11, 1847, he was ordained at Charle- 
mont as an evangelist. 

On the 23d of April, 1848, he was invited to take 
charge of the society at Warwick. He accepted the in- 
vitation, and was installed there Sunday, p.m.. May 14, 

1848. After a ministry of four years, he dissolved his 
connection with that society on the first Sunday of 


April, 1852 ; and, in two weeks from that day, preached 
his first sermon at Norton. 

He married, April 1, 184T, Miss Harriet Emery, 
born Dec. 28, 1817. She was the daughter of Daniel, 
jun., and Polly (Felt) Emery, of Jaflfrey, N.H. 

For many years after the organization of the religious 
society in this town, there were no hymn-books for the 
choir or the worshippers generally. It was customary 
for one of the deacons, in his oflBcial seat, to read two 
lines of a hymn, which the choir would sing ; he would 
then repeat two more, which were sung ; and so on to 
the close of the hymn. An edition of Watts's " Psalms 
and Hymns " was used till after the death of Rev. P. 
Clarke. When this book was introduced is unknown. 
On the erection of a new house, and the settlement of 
Rev. Mr. Bridge, Hon. Samuel Crocker, George A. 
Crocker, and S. 0. Dunbar, of Taunton, presented a 
sufficient number of hymn-books for their use to the 
society; for which a vote of thanks was returned 
March 28, 1836. These books were generally known 
as the "New- York Collection;" first published, we 
believe, in 1820. In 1850, the parish, by a vote, agreed 
to change their hymn-books ; and adopted the book 
entitled " Christian Hymns,'' known as the " Cheshire 
Collection," compiled, by a committee of the Cheshire 
Pastoral Association of New Hampshire, in 1844. A 
sufficient number were purchased by the parish for the 
choir, and one for each pew in the meeting-house. 

On the 1st of May, 1850, the ladies of the parish 
held a tea-party and fair, the proceeds of which were 
to be used to purchase an organ for the meeting-house. 
They were successful in their effi)rts : and the organ 
was bought, Aug. 28, 1850, of George Stevens, of Cam- 
bridge, at a cost of five hundred dollars; and was 
immediately placed in the gallery, back of the singing- 
seats. By good judges, it is said to be a very fine in- 
strument for the price at which it was bought. 




**The deacons must be graye; not double-tongaed| not giyen to muoh wim, not 
greedy of filthy Inore." — Paul. 

The exact number of deacons that have oflSciated in 
the Congregational church, and the time when all of 
them were chosen, &c., I have been unable to ascer- 

During Mr. Palmer's ministry, with the exception 
of baptisms and admissions, the church-records are 
quite incomplete. We believe, however, that the list of 
deacons we give below comprises about all who have 
been chosen to that office by the Congregational church 
since its organization. Probably, for about sixteen 
years after the church was established, there was but one 
deacon. Between the pulpit and the congregation, in 
the first and second meeting-house, was what was called 
the " deacons' seat ; " because it was always occupied 
by them on Sunday during divine service, if present at 
meeting. There are those living who well recollect 
when the deacons' seat was occupied by Deacon Seth 
Smith and Deacon Daniel Dean ; and, still later, by 
Deacon Asa Copeland and Deacon Lysander Make- 

Dec. 9, 1714, Nicholas White was chosen the first 
deacon; and he officiated, without doubt, till 1737, 
when he was dismissed, with others, for the purpose of 
forming a new church in the North Precinct. He took 
a conspicuous part in establishing the North Precinct 
of Norton, and the formation of the church there ; of 
which he was also the first deacon. (See early settlers, 
p. 92.) 

July 6, 1730, John Briggs, " the eldest," was chosen 
deacon; and probably held the office till he died, 
June 29, 1750. (See early settlers, p. 77.) 


Sept. 5, 1T34, John Briggs, 2d, was chosen. He 
was dismissed Dec. 18, 1745, at his own request, for 
being " disguised with strong drink." .He was select- 
man two years, and assessor five. (See early settlers.) 

Dec. 9. 1736, Joseph Hodges was elected deacon. 
He was born about the year 1689, and was the son 
of Elder Henry and Esther (Gallup) Hodges, of 
Taunton, and grandson of William Hodges, the 
common ancestor of all the Hodges' families in this 
vicinity ; who " probably came to America " as early 
as 1633, .and was at Taunton in 1643. Deacon 
Joseph Hodges married, March 11, 1712, Bethiah 
Williams; and soon afterwards settled in the south- 
erly part of this town, at what was called the " Crooked 
Meadow," on the farm now owned and occupied by 
Ezra Perry. He had eight children.^ He was the 
" Major Joseph Hodges " who went on an expedition 
to Cape Breton in 1745 ; and is supposed to have died 
while absent on that expedition, aged about fifty-seven. 
In civil as well as in military affairs, he was a man of 
some note ; having been six years one of the selectmen,, 
and four years an assessor, and one year a representa- 
tive to the General Court. We here give his auto- 
graph, written in 1729. 

May 1, 1746, John Andrews and Benjamin Hodges 
were chosen deacons. Mr. Andrews was eight years 
one of the assessors, one year a selectman, and two 
years town-treasurer (see early settlers, p. 75). Mr. 
Hodges was the son of Elder Henry Hodges ; and, of 
course, brother of Deacon Joseph Hodges, already 
mentioned. He lived at the southerly part of the 
town, near " Crooked Meadow," where Ephraim Allen 
now (1858) resides. His wife's name was Abiah. 
He had seven (?) children, and probably died in the 

1 See Hodges' Family Beoord, by Almond D. Hodges, Esq., p. 14. 


autumn of 1754 ; for, on the 9th of December of that 
year, William Stone is chosen " a precent Comittee- 
man, in the Room of Benjamin Hodges, deceased." 
He was frequently moderator of the church-meetings 
between the ministry of Mr. Avery and that of Mr. 
Palmer. His autograph was written in 1749. 



Benjamin Copeland and Samuel Dean were chosen 
deacons, Oct. 2, 1754. Mr. Copeland was the seventh 
child of William and Mary (Bass) (Webb) Copeland, 
of Braintree, and the grandson of Lawrence and Lydia 
Copeland, of Braintree ; and was born in that town, 
Oct. 5, 1708.1 He married, Nov. 21, 1734, Sarah 
Allen ; and removed to Norton with his family abjout 
1739, where he carried on the business of a tanner and 
currier, at the place now (1858) owned by his grand- 
son, Capt. Thomas Copeland. He had eight or nine 
children ; and died at the good old age of eighty-two, 
Oct. 20, 1790. His autograph was written in 1752. 

Mr. Dean — the son of Deacon Samuel Dean, of 
Taunton, grandson of John, and great-grandson of 
John who settled at Taunton about 1638 — was born 
Oct. 17, 1700. He married, first, Mary Avery ; second, 
Rachel Dwight; third. Widow Margaret King.^ He 
settled in Norton as early as 1727, and lived hg:e for 
a few years; and then removed to Dedham, where 
he kept a public-house for a time. He returned to 
Norton in 1747 (?), and lived at the place owned, and 
probably built the house now (1858) occupied, by 

1 See Family Memorial. 

3 See Dean Family, Genealogical Register, vol. iii. p. 885. 


Elkanah Wood, sen. He died March 30, 1775. We 
give his autograph, written in 1752. 



" Deacon Benjamin Pearson's" name appears on the 
valuation-list of 1777; but when he was chosen is un- 
known. He married Sarah Stone, Aug. 19, 1741 ; and 
he was then said to be " of Mortlone," but probablv 
soon afterwards settled in Norton. His second wife 
was Abiah Shaw; married May 26, 1784. He died 
March 2, 1799, supposed to be " more than 80 years 

In March, 1779, " Dea. Daniel Dean" was chosen 
one of the selectmen. When he was chosen deacon is 
unknown ; but probably it was either in 1778 or the 
winter of 1779. He was the son of Deacon Samuel 
Dean, already mentioned; and was born about 1745, 
probably at Dedham. He married, Sept. 27, 1770, 
Lydia Whitman, of Bridgewater, and had two chil- 
dren. He was selectman seven years, assessor two, 
and representative one ; lived on the homestead of his 
father ; and died Feb. 7, 1805, in the sixtieth year of 
his age. 

March 15, 1784, I find the name of " Dea. Seth 
Smith " on the parish-records ; but when he was 
chosen deacon is unknown. He was the son of Seth 
and Elizabeth (Allen) Smith, who were married at 
Weston, Sept. 30, 1725 ; and might have been the 
grandson of Nicholas Smith, one of the first settlers 
of the town ; for he had a son Seth. Deacon Smith 
was born Sept. 13, 1734. He had four wives. First, 
Sarah Cobb, 2d, married Oct. 10, 1754 ; by whom 
he had six children. She died May 13, 1768. Se- 
cond, Esther Dean, 2d ; married Sept. 19, 1769. 
Had by her two children. She died Dec. 8, 1787. 
Third, Lois Fisher, of Taunton ; married 1788 (?). 
She died Aug. 18, 1794. Fourth, Mrs. (?) Anna 
Hodges, of Taunton. He died Sept. 9, 1813. He 



was selectman four years, and assessor one. His auto- 
graph was written in 1752. 


April 1, 1803, Asa Copeland and Lysander Make- 
peace were chosen deacons. Deacon Copeland was 
the son of Deacon Benjamin Copeland, already men- 
tioned ; was born May 8, 1752, and lived on the 
old homestead of his father. He married Rachel 
Briggs, about 1781, and had eight children. For 
second wife, he married, Sept. 3, 1801, Abigail New- 
comb. He probably resigned Dec. 2, 1824 ; for, at 
that time, " It was voted that the thanks of the church 
be presented to Dea. Asa Copeland, for the long and 
useful services he has afforded the church in • his 
office." He died Dec. 14, 1829. Deacon Makepeace 
remained in ofBce till the spring of 1832 ; when he and 
others withdrew from the church, and organized the 
Trinitarian society. For further account of him, see 
history of that society. 

Dec. 2, 1824, Daniel Lane was elected deacon in 
the place of Asa Copeland, resigned. He was born 
April 22, 1771 ; and was the fourth son of Ephraim 
and Elizabeth (Copeland) Lane, the grandson of 
Ephraim and Mehitable (Stone) Lane, great-grandson 
of Ephraim and Ruth (" Shepperson ") Lane, and the 
great-great-grandson of John Lane, one of the first 
settlers of this town. Like most of the young of his 
time, Deacon Lane enjoyed but few advantages for 
obtaining an education ; yet, by observation and ex- 
perience, he succeeded in storing his mind with much 
practical wisdom and good sense ; so that his counsel 
was often sought for, and valued by his friends and 
townsmen. He served the town four years as select- 
man ; and was also chosen once or twice more to that 
office, but declined to accept it. Subsequently, he 
was four years one of the assessors of the town. He 
was more than thirty-eight years a member of the 

,fy.-r.-.,-/ ->;„,,, 

'■^: i 


■■: :j I :.■ ... 

was mure man tliirtj-^ight years a member of the 


^^,T-.-c!t-/ ^^^^^vt^y 


church; and held the office of deacon about twelve 
years, when he resigned. On the 30th of September, 
1836, when his successor was cliosen, it was " voted 
that the thanks of the church be presented to Dea. 
Daniel Lane, for the long and useful services lie has 
afforded the church in his office." As an officer of 
the church, his many virtues, his practical good sense, 
his love of peace, his unostentatious life, rendered his 
advice of great value ; and especially was it so to his 
venerable pastor in the trying scene through which he 
passed two or three years before his death. In all the 
positions of life he occupied, he was faithful and re- 
liable. He married, Nov. 12, 1794, Eunice Danforth ; 
and they had ten children. He died Nov. 1, 1857, 
aged eighty-six years, six months, and nine days ; and 
all feel that a " good old man " has gone from us. 
He retained his faculties, in a remarkable degree, to 
the last. Seldom was he absent from church on Sun- 
day. He was able to labor, and did labor, up to 
within forty-eight hours of his death ; which was 
caused by taking a sudden cold. 

April 4, 1833, Stillman Smith was chosen in place 
of Deacon Makepeace, who had previously withdrawn 
from the church. He was the son of Araunah and 
Eleanor (Leonard) Smith, grandson of David and 
Abigail (Gilbert) Smith, and great-grandson of Seth 
and Elizabeth (Allen) Smith ; and was born Oct. 27, 
1793. He married Eunice Wetherell, 2d, Nov. 28, 
1816, by whom he had six children. His wife died 
Oct. 21, 1856. 

Sept. 30, 1836, Almond Tucker was elected deacon.. 
He was born June 15, 1804 ; and is the son of Benajah 
and Lydia (Hunt) Tucker, grandson of Benajah and 
Mehitable (Allen) Tucker, great-grandson of Cornelius 
and Waitstill (Eddy) Tucker, and great-great-grandsoifc 
of Robert Tucker, one of the first settlers of the town. 
Deacon Tucker married Betsy Hathaway, of Dighton, 
in 1829, and had eight children by her. She died 
July 27, 1843. In 1845, he married, for second wife, 
Nancy C. White, and has had one child by her. He 


resigned his office, Jan« 29, 1854 ; and, in 1856, 
removed to Attleborough, where he now (1858) re- 

Dec. 3, 1854, Adolphus Day Hunt was chosen tlie 
successor of Deacon Tucker. He was born July 13, 
1808. He is the son of Josiah and Fanny (Lincoln) 
Hunt, and the grandson of Samuel and Abigail (Day) 
Hunt. He married, in 1835, Emily J. Drown, of 
Attleborough ; and has had by her two children. 

Deacon Smith and Deacon Hunt are now (1858) the 
officiating deacons of the church. 


" The groves were God's first temples." — Brtamt. 

We have already seen, on page 33, that the site for a 
meeting-house was designated by a committee of the 
General Court, during the precinct controversy.* It 
was to be located on the northward side of the road 
leading to Grossman's Way, where that road was in- 
tersected by the one leading from John Hodges' to 
Beech Island. This would bring the location at the 
lower part of the Common between the Mansion 
House and the house occupied by George W. Wilde, 
a few feet southerly from the Hayscales. As soon as 
the precinct-bill had passed the General Court, and re- 
ceived the signature of the governor, the inhabitants 
made active preparations for the speedy erection of a 
house of public worship, where they and their children 
could enjoy " the meens of Grace." They had strug- 
gled too long and earnestly in this matter to be easily 
turned aside from their purpose. They knew what 
they wanted, and what they could do. Hence they 



went to work with the zeal almost of the prophets of 
old ; and in three months and two days after the 
court established the precinct, or Jan. 18, 1709-10, a 
tax-bill of £42 was made for the erection of a meeting- 
house, and placed in the hands of Constable Samuel 
Hodges for collection. 

We here give it to our readers : — 




Real Estate. 





£ s. d. 

£ s. d. 

George Leonard .... 



01 07 03 

01 02 08 

Samuell Brintnell . . 



00 05 09 

00 15 04 

Samuell Hodges . . 



00 02 06 

00 07 02 

John Cob . . • . 



00 00 00 

00 03 06 

John Smith .... 



00 01 00 

00 06 07 

Selvanis Cambell . . 



00 01 08 

00 05 04 

Nathaniell Fisher . . 



00 00 08 

00 02 04 

Andrew Grovier . , 

00 10 

00 00 09 

00 03 11 

Ephreiin Grovier . . 



00 00 09 

00 04 06 

Thomas Grovier . . 



00 00 09 

00 07 06 

Nathaniell Hodges . 



00 01 09 

00 06 03 

John Hodges . . . 



00 09 07 

00 09 06 

Thomas Stevens . . 



00 09 07 

00 06 09 

EliezerEdy . . . 



00 00 07 

00 05 00 

Ebenezer Edy . . . 



00 00 08 

00 05 10 

Benjamin Newland . 



00 00 09 

00 01 06 

Robert Tucker . . . 



00 00 09 

00 02 04 

Nicholas White . . 



00 03 01 

00 10 04 

John Andrews . . . 



00 00 09 

00 00 00 

John Skiner • . . 



00 01 08 

00 03 07 

John Hall .... 



00 00 09 

00 06 02 

Joseph Brigs . . . 



00 00 10 

00 03 03 

Richard Brigs . . . 



00 01 03 

00 01 00 

Eliezer Fisher . . . 



00 01 05 

00 03 06 

Israeli Fisher . . . 



00 00 00 

00 01 06 

Benjamin Williams , 



00 01 07 

00 05 06 

John Wetharell . . 



00 08 00 

00 09 10 

William Wetharell . 



00 02 02 

00 07 00 

John Austin . . . 



00 02 03 

00 07 03 

Nicolas Smith . . 



00 08 10 

00 05 02 




RaU-BiUf egmtinned. 



Real Estate. 


John Brigs, Jun. . . . 

John Caswell . . . . 

Benjamin Caswell . . . 

John Newland . . . . 

Seth Dorman . . . . 

Jeremiah Wetherell . . 

Joseph Eliot . . . . 

William Hodges . . . 

Mathew White . . . 

Ephreim Sheldon . . . 

Isaac Sbapard . . • , 
William Wetharell, Jun. 

John Brigs, Sen. . . . 

Daniel Braman . . . 

John Lane 

Peter Aldrich . . . . 

Nathaniell Hervey . . 

£ *. 

00 10 

01 00 
00 10 
00 10 
00 10 
00 10 
00 10 
00 10 
00 10 
00 10 
00 10 
00 10 
00 10 
00 10 
00 10 
00 10 
00 10 

£ $. d, 

00 01 00 
00 01 01 
00 04 03 
00 05 10 
00 00 00 
00 00 00 
00 00 00 
00 02 08 
00 00 09 
00 01 05 
00 00 00 
00 00 00 
00 00 08 
00 01 05 
00 00 06 
00 00 09 
00 00 00 

£ s. tL 

00 03 09 
00 08 08 
00 04 07 
00 08 10 
00 01 06 
00 01 06 
00 01 06 
00 01 06 
00 05 04 
00 05 00 
00 02 06 
00 01 06 
00 01 06 
00 03 06 
00 01 06 
00 06 11 
00 01 06 

"This Bate, being for the building a meeting-house in Taun- 
ton north precinct, was made by us, the subscribers, this 18 
day of Jen., 1709-10, being 42 pounds and 21 shillings put 
in for the constable. 

"George Leonard,) . „ 

John Skinnek, I Assesors. 

Without a doubt, the house was erected early in the 
spring of 1710, on the site designated by the court's 
committee. Rev. Pitt Clarke says it stood " about ten 
feet" to the east of the second meeting-house. The 
site of the second house is marked on the map, in the 
introductory chapter ; and it will be seen at a glance, 
that there was good ground for the complaints wo 
have recorded in the third chapter (pp. 30 and 31), 
on account of the first meeting-house not being located 
near the centre of the precinct. 

Of the dimensions of this house we can learn 
nothing. It, no doubt, fronted directly to the south ; 
and was a respectable house for those times. Yet, we 


presume, it was not much better than many of the 
barns at the present day. When built, it had a gallery 
on three sides. The house was not completely finished 
for some years after its erection. In 1714, — the year 
that Mr. Avery was ordained, — a rate of twenty 
pounds was made towards finishing the meeting- 
house. There were probably no pews, or at least but 
one or two, for several years after its occupancy 
for public worship. In the early history of New 
England, as soon as convenient after Iha erection of 
a house of worship, a pew was made for the minister. 
Some of the richest and most aristocratic citizens of 
the town sometimes also indulged in such a luxury; 
but, if they did so, it was at their own expense. The 
people generally, in their poverty, were obliged to put 
up with such accommodations as could be procured 
without much trouble or expense. Rude boards, or 
plank seats without any backs, — perhaps laid upon 
blocks or stones, thus giving them a proper elevation 
above the floor in front and at the sides of the pulpit, 
— were, in those times, considered amply sufficient for 
the physical comfort of those who went to the house 
of God for the sole purpose of worship. Yet, even on 
these poor apologies for seats, the people were not al- 
lowed to arrange themselves promiscuously at pleasure 
or convenience. The men were usually seated on one 
side of the broad aisle or the passage leading from the 
front-door to the pulpit, and the women on the other. 
The wealth and rank or the standing of the individual 
in society also determined whether he should have a 
front or a back seat. 

At a meeting held May 23, 1715, the matter of 
seating the meeting-house was considered, and acted 
upon. The record says, — 

" Whereas they Voted at a Town -meeting, may the 2 day, 
1715, to have the Inhabitants of the Town seeted in the 
meeting-House according to order, they now Voted to choose 
a Committee to Seet the people as abovesaid: and yt the 
said Committee Shall have power to Sect the people in all 
^e Seets in the meeting- Ho use, Except the pews and the pew 


Bound the Table ; which place the Town Reseryes to them- 
selves to Seet, When they Se cause, or to take down, and 
the Rules they Gave to the Committee To act by ware as 
followeth : — 

** That they have Respect, in the first place, to What Every 
one hath pajd to the building of the meeting- House; Secondly, 
to what Every one doth now pay to the mantaining of the 
minister, and other Town- Charges ; thirdly, that they have 
Respect to Age; and that Tliere famalyes are Seeted ac- 

*' They made Clioice of George Leonard, Samuel Brint- 
nall, Nicholas White, Thomas Stevens, and John Brigs, to be 
a committee to Seet the meeting-house as abovesaid.'' 

"October the 24th, 1715, the committee that ware Ap- 
pointed to Seet the meeting-house made their Report to the 
Town, by a writeing under their hands, how they had Seeted 
the Inhabitants of the Town in the meeting-house; Which 
writing was then Read to the Town by George Leonard, 
Town Clerk." 

As soon as the people are seated " according to 
order " in the meeting-house, the town undertake to 
regulate other matters, as the vote we here give 
shows : — 

"Nov. 29th, 1715, It was put to vote. Wether the pew 
Round the Table where the Deacon Sets shoold be Taken 
down, or whether it shoold stand and not be Took down ; and 
the Vote past that it shoold stand, and not be Took down, — 
it being a very clear vote. 

" Nicholas Smith Entered his protest against it." 

Sept. 18, 1716, the town voted " To Samuel Hodges, 
for Timber about the meeating-Hous, 01 — 01 — 06." 

In a short time, the pew near the deacon's seat be- 
came again a source of trouble. We here present the 
reader with the proof: — 

"At a Town-meeting in July 24th, 1717, The town did 
voat that ye act that ye town passed the 29 th day of novem- 
ber, 1715, that the pew agining to the Decon's seat shuld 
stand, — the town do at this time Repeall said act, and make 
it null, void, and of no Effect, as tho' it had never been ; and 
the said pew be taken down and Removed ; and that thar be 


a Baill Sett up before the decon's seatt, and faced with bords, 
as it was bult at first, and a Communion-table bult on the 
toape thereof; and the Raills, befor the fore seats that wa9 
Cutt, to be bult out to their former Lingth again. 

**It being a very clear voat, & not one negative to the 
Contrarj'. Emediatlej Leftenant Brintinal, George Leonard, 
Thomas Stephens, Joseph Briggs, Beniamin newland, Eliazer 
fisher, Se., Thomas Grover, Se., Jolm Hall, Thomas Skiner, 
Se., Ephraem Grover, Enteread thare protest against it. 

'* Jeremiah basit Entred his protest in the Evning of sd. 

"Norton, July ye 27, 1717, & beniamin williams protests 
against the town Repeling aney former act made by the towne 
of norton, that the pue or Seat Round tlie tabl before ye 
pulpit in the meeting-hous, in sd. norton, should stand, & be 
Seated ; allso against town's, or ane Comity chosen the last 
town-meeating, taking down or altring said pew or seat, or the 
too fore seats belo, in sd. meeting-hous." 

How the matter was settled the record saith not: 
probably the pew was '' took down." 

Nov. 2, 1719, there was voted by the town "To John 
Briggs, grand Se., for Sweeping the meating-house, 
01 — 00 — 00 ; To Richard Briggs, for Locking and 
unlocking the meeating-hous, 01 — 02 — 09." For 
8ome years subsequent, similar votes were passed, — 
John Briggs receiving, for sweeping, one pound ; and 
Richard Briggs, for unlocking the house, thirteen 
shillings and sixpence. 

In 17S8, there was " voted to the Rev. Mr. Joseph 
Avery, for his negro's sweeping the meeting-House, 
and Locking and unlocking tlie same, X2 — — 0." 

In later years, after his dismission, Mr. Avery was 

Eaid for "sweeping and Looking after the meating- 
Oct. 16, 1721, " voted to pay Ebenczer Burt, for mend- 
ing the ketch of ye meeting-house dore, — 1 — 0." 

Dec. 31, 1722, it was "voted yt ye interest of 
ye towne of norton's Part of ye Last fifty thousand 
Pounds Bank Shall Go towards ye finishing of Norton 


June 20, 1723, it was "voted that the Selectmen 
that are now shall Lay out our town's Part of the 
Interest money that was Granted towards ye finishing 
ye meeting-house ; that they shall Lay it out towards 
ye Lathing and Plastering ye sd. meeting-house, and in 
mending ye Glass, some time this fall coming; and 
Give a acount of theyr doings tharein to ye towne." 

Sept. 14, 1724, voted " to Elezer fisher, for worke 
about ye meeting-house, — 18 — 1." 

Sept. 26, 1732, '• Voted to John Wetherel, Sen., for 
ye comunion-table, & nails and bords & work dun 
apon that akounte, the sum of 01 — — 0." 

At a precincts-meeting held Nov. 24, 1737, they 
" Voted -for Reparing the meeting-house, and for 
makeing the Precint-Rate, and to Git a Lock for sd. 
meethig-House, the sum of XIO — 00 — 00." 

« Sept. 25th, 1739, the Precint Voted for to Raise another 
Gallery above the other Gallery ; that ye meeting-house be 
Borded below, aad claborded above, where it is wanting; 
that John Andrews, Benjamin Hodges, and Ephraim Lane, 
shall be a Comitee to Buld a Galery [and] too [make] Seeta 
all over the other Galerys, and Bord and Clabord the meet- 
ing-house, whare it is wanting Round the outside,' at the 
charge of the sd. Precent. [They also] voted the sum of 
30 — 00 — 00 for the Raising the Galery, and Bording and 
Clabordins: the same." 

It is somewhat doubtful whether these votes were 
ever carried into effect. If so, it is evident that the 
house was graced or cZi6graced with the two galleries, 
one above the other. If the second gallery was added, 
it must have been done — we judge from the record — 
by raising the roof up, so as to give more height to 
the house. We think the upper gallery would have 

1 We will here state that the town mannged all the pecuniary affiiirs re- 
lating to the minister and meeting-house till 1731, when the North-Precinct 
religious society was established. From that time till the North Precinct 
ceased to bo a part of Norton, in 1770, the ministerial affairs were managed 
by the parish or South Precinct. From 1770 to 1783, when the parish was 
incorporated, the town again assumed the control of the ministerial matters. 
Since the parish was incorporated, the town has had no voice in parochial 


been rather an awkward place to be seated in. Per- 
haps it was designed more especially for the negroes. 

The project of building a new meeting-house was 
mooted in 1740, but not much progress made in that 
direction : for at a precinct-meeting on the 6th of 
January, 1740-41, " Thare was a vote Caled for, to 
Know whether they would Buld a new meeting-house 
where the old meeting-house Stands, or near thare- 
abouts ; and it passed in the negative." Immediately 
after the dismission of Mr. Avery, the question relar 
tive to a new meeting-house was revived ; but at the 
annual meeting of the precinct, March 1, 1748-9, they 
" voted that they would do nothing about Bulding of 
a meeting-house at Presant." 

Nearly two years go by before the project is again 
seriously revived. Two or three ministers had been 
invited to settle in the precinct, but had declined. 
Perhaps it was thought, if a new house of worship 
was built, a minister would be more likely to accept a 
call. No doubt, there were a variety of considerations 
that induced some individuals to present the following 
petition to their Prudential Committee : — 

" Norton, January ye 15th, 1760-51. 
" To the Honble Comittee of the south Precint in Norton. 

" This is to desire you to warne a south-Preqint meeting 
to be at the meeting- House in sd. Precint, on the 21st day of 
this Instant January, or as soone as may be by Law, to see 
what the Inhabitants of sd. Precint will do in Repayering 
the old meeting-house, or Bulding a new House in ye same 
Place, or as near to the old House as may be Convenant ; 
and to do what sd. Precint shall think Propper to be done, in 
order to Carey on sd. Busines. 

" Benj. Cobb, Seth Smith, Timothy Briggs, John King, 
William Basset, Samuel Mory, Ebenezer Burt, William 
Cobb, Nathan Babbit, James Boldery, Juner, Seth Gilbert, 
Ephraim Lane, 2nd, Samuell Dean, Thomas Shepard." 

At the meeting held, agreeably to the wishes of the 
above petitioners, on the twenty-first day of January, 
" they voted that they would Buld a sutabell meeting- 
house on the town's Land, whare the old meeting-house 


stands now." Then adjourned for one week, no doubt 
in order to consult together about the details. On the 
28th of January, at the adjournment, — 

" Voted to Buld the sd. meeting-house forty feett wide and 
fifty feett Long, and to be twenty feet hey Between Joynts. 

" Voted to Raise one hundred and sixty Pounds, Lawfull 
money, to buld the abovesd. meeting-house. 

"Made choice of George Leonard, Sen., Capt. Simeon 
Wetherell, and William Codington, to be a Committee to 
agree with Persons for the timber, Plank, and Bords, and 
other things necesary for the Bulding sd. meeting-house; 
and for sd. meteriels to be Ready on sd. town's Land, by ye 
old meeting-hous, by the first day of March, 1751-2." 

Nearly a year passed away without much progress 
being made. On the 27tli of November, 1751, the 
parish voted that the meeting-house should be " twen- 
ty-five [feet] stud," " sixty feet in length," and 
*' planked and shingled on ye sides." 

At an adjourned meeting, Dec. 16, the vote " re- 
specting the Planking and shingling " the house was 
reconsidered ; and it was decided " to stud and Board 
sd. Meeting-house," and that it should " be but fifty- 
five feet in Length." 

At anotlier adjourned meeting, Dec. 30, the decision 
was to have the house " sixty feet in Length." 

March 17, 1752, the parish — 

" Made choice of William Coddington to be Carpenter to 
fraime sd. meeting-house. 

" Voted, that George Leonard, Esqr., Capt. William Stone, 
& Capt. Simeon Witherell, Thomas Morey, and William 
Coddington, be a Committee to take the Care and oversight 
of frairaing the sd. New Meeting-house, and to appoint who 
shall work about it, and to notify them of the times or days 
they shall work ; and to sett the Price of Each Man's work in 
ye same Proportion, as near as they can, to ye Prices of the 
timber & stuff there is already Gott and Getting for sd. 
house ; and also to Provide stones, and Git it under-Pind 
before it is Raised ; and also to Provide for the Raising 
thereof as soon as may be, & to Git it Raised as soon as 


" Voted, that notwithstanding what they have before voted 
Respecting the Length of sd. meeting-house, that sd. meeting- 
bouse be but fifty-five feett in Length ; and that sd. Commitee 
to order the fraiming thereof but fifty-five feet in Length." 

We presume the prospect of having a minister 
settled did much to stimulate them to push forward 
with vigor the building of* the house. In building 
this house, the members of the parish agreed in writ- 
ing, under their respective signatures, to give a certain 
amount of lumber and other materials needed. The 
value of the lumber, &c., thus contributed, was to be 
taken from the tax assessed upon each individual for 
building the house. 

I have found a large number of these ^^ Recepts 
Given to Gitt Timber," a few of which we transcribe 
for the benefit of the curious. The first one is given 
entire. We omit from the others the date, and what 
relates to the delivering of the articles to the Building 

" I, the subscriber, Promise to Gitt 4 lock-tenant Posts, 26 
feet Long, Eleven inches square, and Good white-oak timber 
well Hewed, and deliver them to George Leonard, Simeon 
Wetherell, & William Codington, Committee of ye south pre- 
cint at ye old meeting-house, by ye first of March next, at 
Eleven Pound, old tenner Price, out of my Rates and my 
Mother's, dated Dec. 5th, 1751. 

"Jonathan Hodges." 

"I promise to gitt 60 Jice, 14 feet Long, 4 and 2 J inches 
square, at 18 shillings a hundred feet in length ; and 25 Jice, 
15 feet long, 5 J and 4 inches square, at 30 shillings, old ten- 
ner, for a hundred feet in Length ; to be paid out of my and 
son John's Rates. 

"Benja. Cobb." 

"I Promise to Gitt five thousand of Good seeder Laths, 
full four feet and a halfe Long all of them, and to be full half 
Inch thick, and to be clear stuff, and no Knots nor hart 
Lathes, and to be Got out of Good stuff, noways twisting ; 
at the Price of three Pound, old tenner, a thousand. 

"John King." 


^I promise to gitt 2111)., old tenner, worth of Grood Large 
tugh. shingell nails, at twenty-five shillings, old tenner, a thon- 
. sand ; to be allowed out of mj Rates, mj father's, and Timo- 
thy Smith's Precent Rates. 

"David Smith." 

" I promise to Gitt 2 sills, forty feet long, 9 and 8 Inches 
square, to be good white oak and well Hewed ; to be at 41b., 
old tenner, each. 

"Samll. Moret." 

" I Promise to Git 5,000 of good shingell nails, at twenty- 
eight shillings, old tenner, a thousand. 

"William Cobb." 

"I Promise to Git 1,250 Good Ceder sliingells, 14 Inches 
Long, well shaved, and sawed square at ye But End, and no- 
ways winding, at ye Rate of 41b. 1 Os., old tenner, a thousand, 
& be alowed out of my Precent Rate. 

"Joseph Andrews.** 

" I promise to Git one thousand of Good seeder shingels, 
18 Inches long, at 5£, old tenner ; to be paid out of mine and 
my mother's Rates. 

"Elizabeth Gilbert." 

"Wee Promise to geet eleven good planck, 17 feet long 
and 14 inches wide, all square-edged, two inches and one- 
quarter of an inch thick, att the price of five pound, old 

"Benjamin Cobb, Jr. 
Nathan Babbit, Jr." 

" I Promise to get 13 good Raills for the sects for the new 
meeting-house, 17 feet long, three inches and half thick, and 
five inches deep; and five sills, 16 feet long; & inches deep, 
5^ ; all to be att the same price yt the planck are goot for 
the sects. 

"Jonathan Eddy." 

" I promise to Gitt 2 Beems, forty-two feet Long, twelve 
and teen Inches square ; and four lock-tenant's Posts, to be . 
26 feet Long, 10 inches square ; to be Good white-oake tim- 
ber, well Hewed; at 191b. 10s., old tenner, to be Paid out of 
my Rates, John Hodges' and Timothy Hodges' Rates. 

"Joseph Hodges.** 


'' I promise to Gitt 900 hundred feet of Grood Oak Boards, 
Inch thick, Square-edged, 14^ feet long, at ye Rate 101b., old 
tenner, a thousand. 

"Thomas Shepard." 

" I promise to Gitt two thousand and a quarter of good 
ceder shingells, at 51b., old tenner, a 1,000, towards my Fre- 
cint Rates ; and one thousand and a quarter more for Joseph 
Coles ; all to be 18 Inches long. 

"James Godpree." 

"I promise to Gitt seven Hundred of Good Pitch-Pine 
Boards, at ye Rate of fifteen Pound a thousand ; to be to- 
wards mine and my father's Rates. 

"Ephraim Wetherell." 

Sept. 27, 1752, it was voted — 

"That the Committee that were appointed for building 
the New Meeting-house Get the Glass, Build the Pulpit, the 
front of ye Galarys, and Get the stuff for ye sects, and Get 
the Lower flooer Laid, and the Galery fiooers Laid, and the 
flooer Laid suitable for ye pews to be Bult on, and window- 
shetters for the Lower windows on ye outside." 

The approaching ordination of Mr. Palmer served to 
stimulate all parties in the work of erecting the house, 
as they were anxious to have the ordination take place 
in the new building. As the year 1752 drew towards 
a close, the meeting-house approached towards com- 
pletion. Accordingly, Dec. 8, the parish — 

" Voted to sell ye old meeting-house in sd. precinct, pro- 
vided any person will appear to Give any thing for it that ye 
sd. precinct, or a Committee of sd. precinct Chosen for that 
purpose, shall think proper to sell it for ; or to sell it at a van- 
due, as they shall think proper, either ye whole at once, or 
any part thereof a time, as shall be Best ; and that whoever 
shall purchase ye sd. Meeting-house shall move it from ye 
place where it now stands, in three months next after he shall 
purchase the same." 

Capt. Simeon Wetherell, Deacon Benjamin Hodges, 
and Lieut. Thomas Morey, were appointed a committee 
to sell the house. 


At an adjourned meeting, Dec. 11, it was — 

" Voted, that the pew on the East side of the Pulpit, and 
next to the Pulpit, be a pew for ye use and Improvement of 
the ministry in ye sd. Precinct ; and that the Minister of sd. 
Precinct shall have ye use and Improvement of ye same, so 
Long as he shall be their Minister, and no Longer. 
• " Voted, that ye pews in ye new meeting-house be sold, at 
a publick vandue, to ye highest Bidder. 

" Voted, that a pew be Left, and not Sold, which Mr. Avery 
& his wife shall have ye use and Improvement of dureing the 
Pleasure of the Precinct, and no Longer ; and that, when ye 
sd. Precinct shall see cause, may dispose of ye same. 

" Then voted, that ye pew Left for ye use and Improve- 
ment of Mr. Avery and his wife, as aforesd., be ye third pew 
from ye East end of the pulpit. 

" That the money that shall be Raised by the Sale of the 
sd. meeting-house shall be disposed of towards ye Building 
ye New Meeting-house. 

" Voted, that three Seats be made in each Galery by ye 
Committee before appointed for ye Building sd. meeting- 
house ; and that the sects Below, in ye old meeting-house, be 
Removed to ye New meeting-house by ye sd. committee, and 
pews made all around ye Inside of ye meeting-house, and Six 
Pews Behind ye Body-seets Below, and no more. 

" Voted, that notwithstanding what was before voted Re- 
specting a pew being Left for Mr. Avery and his wife, that 
the said pew shall be sold also to ye highest Bider with ye 
Rest ; but that the purchaser shall not have ye Use and Im- 
provement of ye same, so long as the sd. Precinct shall see 
cause to Let Mr. Avery and his wife have it as aforesd., but 
shall have the same when ye sd. precinct shall see cause to 
take ye use and Improvement thereof from the sd. Mr. Avery 
and wife. 

"Voted, that no person that shall By a pew shall sell ye 
same again, without a vote of sd. Precinct for it, unless he 
sell his farm, & Remove out of sd. precinct." 

" Dec. 28th, 1752. 

" Voted Not to have any Pews Built on ye west End of 
the men's sects Below, and on the East End of the woman's 
sects Below, in ye New meeting-house. 

"Voted Not to have pews in the Galery of the new 


"Voted, that the Honor. George Leonard, Esqr., shall 
have the Pew Joyning to the Pulpit-stairs, in ye new meet- 
ing-house, he allowing Eighty pounds, old tener (which is 
equall to ten pounds, thirteen shillings, and fourpenee), for it, 
out of what he has don towards Building sd. meeting-housei 
more than his rates." 

Rev. Pitt Clarke, speaking of the meeting-house, 
says that " the solemnities on the occasion [the ordi- 
nation of Rev. Mr. Palmer, Jan. 3, 1763] were the 
first religious exercises in it, — the only formal dedica- 
tion of the sanctuary." 

"Jan. 26th, 1768. 

"Voted, that Each Person that has Bought a place for 
a pew in ye sd. meeting shall have Liberty to Build their 
Pews themselves, provided they Build them according to the 
direction of the Commitee appointed for Building sd. meet- 
ing-house ; and that they shall be allowed forty shillings for 
Each pew they so build ; they to Provide all things needM 
for the Building their Respective pews. 

" Voted, that the Committee aforesd. shall Lett those Per- 
sons, that shall so Build their Respective Pews, have what 
Boards and pieces of Boards they can spare for them, to 
Build sd. Pews with ; Reserving only what Boards they shall 
want for ye Building the Minister's pew, and ye pew the said 
precinct have voted the use of to Mr. Avery and his wife 
during ye sd. Precinct Pleasure. 

" Voted, that the Committee for Building sd. Meeting-house 
shall provide meterialls suiteable for the finishing of said 
Meeting-house, and Build all the seets in ye Galery, as soon 
as Conveniently may be." 

Then adjourned to Jan. 29. Then — 

" Voted, that the Committee that were appointed for build- 
ing the New Meeting-house Go on to Build ye Pew that 
was voted for ye use of ye minister, and ye Pew that Mr. 
Avery and his wife was to have ye use of dureing ye Pre- 
cinct's pleasure, and the stairs up into ye Galery." 

The committee appointed to sell the pews made a 
report at this meeting that they had sold, to the 
highest bidder, " Places for the Pews in ye New Meet- 



On the opposite page, we give a plan of the lower 
floor of the meeting-house, with the places for the 
pews marked out ; together with the names of the pur- 
chasers, and the price that was paid for the privilege 
of building a pew. There was a large sounding-board 
over the pulpit. It was of an hexagonal form, very 
tastefully made of panel-work, and supported by an 
iron rod. A portion of this old sounding-board is 
.still in existence, though in a somewhat decayed 

The galleries were arranged on three sides of the 
house ; and the seats gradually rose higher, one above 
tlie other. The cost of this house, when raised, was 
estimated at £101. 3^. 7\d. The expense of finishing 
the house after it was raised, till first occupied, was 
X218. 17*. lid. ; for work subsequently done upon the 
house, £85. Is. 8d. The whole cost, £406. 8s. ^d. 
It was, for many years, surrounded by large trees ; 
but Vandalism long ago destroyed them. 

May 14, 1753, " It was put to vote, whether their 
should be pews built in the Gallery, behind the Seats ; 
and it passed in the negative." 

A meeting was called to be on the 18th of June, 
1753, "To vote what they think proper to be done 
with the places that are convenient to build Pews in 
over Each pair of the gallery-stairs, in the new meat- 
ing-house in said precinct ; and also to vote whether 
the wiming shall have any part of the front Gallerey, 
and what part they shall have to sit in." 

At the meeting " It was put to vote, whether the 
places over the gallerey-Stairs in ye new meating-house 
Should be for the negroes to Set in dureing the pre- 
cinct's pleasure; and it passed in the aflBrmitive." 
Then the meeting was rather ungallantly dismissed, 
without any action relative to having " wiming " in 
the "front Gallerey." 

Some of the elderly people who liad no pew found 
it rather hard sitting upon the seats; and therefore 
were accustomed to carry chairs into the house, and 
occupy ihem. 




WEST. Forty feet. 



H* O 

o > 

•« a 

£2 n » 





49 J 
























































^ s 
3o vs 



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s« ! 







^ E s 









s ^ 

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* This is the pew reserved for Rev. Mr. Avskt and. ml* ^xxtol^ ^'^ ^<sA(> 
sure of the parish. 


Nov. 28, 1753, the parish " Voted that the standing 
Gomitte Shall take care of the meating-house, and 
keep it lokt ; and also that theire be no chares sect in 
the alleys of sd. meating-house when the new seats are 
made Below." 

A balcony, or sort of open porch, was erected over 
the front-door in 1765 ; for, on Oct. 2 of that year, 
the committee for finishing the meeting-house were 
directed " to go on, and finish the bellconey." There 
are those living who well remember this appendage to 
the house. 

On the 16th of October, 1780, the parish " voted 
to mend the meeting-house ; " and at an adjourned 
meeting, Jan. 1, 1781, a committee were chosen " to 
procure shingles and other materials for reparing the 

Dec. 11, 1780, it was « Voted to Sell so much of the 
floor in the meeting-house as to make Six pews Back 
of the men's and women's Body of Seats, and a roe of 
pews in the Back of the front galery ; " and it was 
subsequently voted, that the six pews to be built below 
should conform, as near as possible, to those adjoining 
them ; and it was ordered that this pew-ground should 
be sold for silver money. 

March 15, 1784, it was " Voted that one-third part 
of the front Galery be devoted for the wimen to set in, 
and be divided off." 

Thus it will be seen that the old plan of keeping 
the women separate from the men was still adhered 
to. When the men and women learned to behave 
themselves, so as to be allowed to sit together, we are 
not informed. 

Jan. 5, 178&, '} Voted to sell the Ground for pews 
on the back-side of side-galarys, except about six or 
seven feet at the back-corner for negroes ; and also the 
Ground where the negroes' Seats now are." 

This pew-ground was sold, Feb. 11, 1789, at " Pub- 
lick vendue," as follows, — " begining in the East 
Gallery, at the Northerly side : " — 


£ S. 

No. 1. Mr. Samuel Hunt 18 

„ 2. Mr. Isaac Hodges, jun 1 10 

„ 3. Mr. Nathaniel Stone 3 15 

„ 4. Mr. Jonathan Newland 2 12 

„ 5. Mr. Samuel Copeland 4 1 

„ 6. Mr. Nathaniel Freeman 1 18 

„ 7. Mr. Ebenezer Wetherell 4 8 

„ 8. Capt. Ephraim Lane 4 18 

„ 9. Mr. Plyna Dean 1 18 

„ 10. Lt. Seth Smith 4 5 

„ 11. Mr. Solomon Wetherell 3 1 

„ 12. Mr. William Wetherell 5 

„ 13. Mr. Ebenezer Wetherell 2 13 

„ 14. Lt. Daniel Knap 2 6 

March 23, 1789, " Voted to sell so much of [the] 
floor of the meeting- [house] as to Make two pews at 
the north end of the men's body of seats, and two . 
pews at the East end of the women's body of seats." 

This vote was subsequently changed, so as to have 
only one pew built at the east and west end of the 

May 14, 1792, as the parish were having candidates 
for settlement in the vacant pulpit, they thought it 
best to brush up the house a little; and therefore 
voted " to paint the window-frames at present, and no 
more." But, as the time of ordaining the pastor elect 
drew near, it was whispered round that the inside of 
the house needed a little attention. Accordingly, 
May 20, 1793, the parish " Voted to paint the inside 
of the meeting-house, and whitewash the same ; " and 
the committee chosen for this purpose were admonished 
to look after the " sills," " the bottom-board and cor- 
ner-boards, and window-frames and doors : " all of 
which, we presume, was attended to in due form. At 
the same meeting, it was voted to sell " Ground for 
two pews on the lower floor ; " and it was also decided 
to sell four feet in breadth, at each end of the front 
gallery, for two pews ; and the remainder of the front 
gallery was to be built, at the parish's expense, into a 


pew for the use of the singers during the pleasure of 
the parish. 

Sept. 5, 1803, it was voted to sell pew-ground on the 
lower floor, on both sides of the " front alley," "where 
the two front-seats are ; " also to sell ground for three 
pews on each side-gallery, at the northerly end ; and 
likewise the ground for pews " below and above where 
each pare of stairs are." 

Jan. 15, 1804, it was voted to make the two seats 
behind the new pews on the lower floor into long pews ; 
and also to sell the ground in the side-galleries for two 
pews, where the seats were left for the negroes, leaving 
the back seats for said negroes. 

Nov. 26, 1804, it was voted to sell " the alley-ways 
at the east and west doors for pews." 

As we shall soon see, these last votes were passed in 
consequence of a previous vote to build a belfry at one 
end of the meeting-house, and a porch at the other, 
in which stairs were to be built leading to the gal- 

At the meeting, Nov. 26, it was ordered that the 
" ground where the blacks set, at the east end of the 
meeting-house," should be sold for pews. Thus it 
will be seen how the seats, both above and below, gave 
way to the more aristocratic pews. 

At a meeting of the parish, Sept. 5, 1803, — 

" Voted to build a belfry with a staple at one end of the 
meeting-house, and a porch at the other end of sd. meeting- 

" Voted, that all the work of Building the sd. Belfery & 
porch, and repairing the meeting-house, be Compleated and 
finished in fourteen months from this Date. 

" Voted, that the meeting-house be Claboarded on the front 
and both ends." 

Previously, it had been shingled on the outside. 

Jan. 15, 1804, five hundred dollars were raised, in 
addition to that which was expected from the sale of 
pew-ground, for building the belfry, steeple, porch, 


In the warrant for a parish-meeting on the 25th of 
March, 1805, there was an article " to see if said 
parish will vote to purchase a bell for the meeting- 
house." At the meeting, they raised two hundred and 
thirty dollars to complete the repairs on the house, 
and "Voted to pass the article about the bell." 

The vote to raise two hundred and thirty dollars 
was annulled March 31, 1806 ; and it was then de- 
cided to take a hundred and fifty dollars out of the 
fund, to pay for repairs on the meeting-house. 

We find nothing more relating to a bell, on the 
parish-records, till March 26, 1810, when it was — 

" Voted to accept of the present made to the Parish, of a 
bell, and give leave that said bell be hung on the meeting- 
house in said Parish ; and that the first ringing of the beU, on 
Sunday mornings,' be at nine O'clock." 

I have been told that this bell was purchased by J 
subscription ; and I have found papers which substan- 
tiate this statement. Very soon after the vote "to 
pass the article about the bell," on the 25th of March, 
1805, a movement was made to secure a bell by 
voluntary contributions, as the annexed document 
will show : — 

" The Subscribers, takeing into Consideration the advan- 
tages that would arise in haveing a good Bell, of about 800 
wt., in the meeting-house of the Congregational Parish in 
Norton, do, for the Purpose of Purchaseing sd. Bell, agree 
& Promise to pay the sum we set to our names. Provided a 
sum> sufficient shall be subscribed for that Purpose. 

" The money to be paid to a Committee appointed by the 
majority of the subscribers to receive the same and to pur- 
chase sd. Bell. 

"JuNB 7th, 1805. 

" George Leonard, Fifty Dollars ; Laban Wheaton, twenty 
Dollars ; Lysander Makepeace, Seven Dollars ; Jacob Shep- 
herd, ten Dollars." 

The project did not meet the favor of the people 
generally ; and hence, for a time, was abandoned. But, 
in a few years, it was revived. Here is the proof : — 


** Jaiojary, 1810. 

" As the above subscription did not obtain, we who have 
subscribed this agree to pay the sum affixed to our names for 
the purpose above mentioned; viz., to procure a meeting- 
house Bell for the Congregational Society in Norton, over 
which the Rev. Mr. Clarke is now a settled minister." 

As an inducement for people to subscribe towards 
the bell, the following obligation was entered into by 
the pastor of the parish : — 

" As some persons are willing to subscribe for a Bell only on 
the condition they can be. free from the expense of ringing it, 
I hereby obligate myself, for my part, to be at the expense of 
ringing it on Sabbath & Lecture days, so long as I am allowed 
the surplus of the Parish Fund, as I have been some time 
past. Tho* this may be more than my equal proportion, I 
am willing to do it to encourage what would contribute so 
much to the honor of the Parish, & to the convenience & 
utility of those who are the united members of it. 

"Jan., 1810. 

"Pitt Clarke." 

To this paper are attached the names of twenty- 
seven persons, whose subscriptions ranged from one to 
twenty dollars ; the whole amount being sixty-six dol- 
lars and fifty cents. But, as we have been unable to 
find the names of the other subscribers, we shall not 
publish the above twenty-seven. 

We have found the bill of purchase ; from which it 
appears that the bell was bought at Boston, March 30, 
1810, of Paul Revere and Son; that its "nett weight" 
was eight hundred and seventy-five pounds ; and that 
it cost forty-two cents per pound, or three hundred 
and sixty-seven dollars and fifty cents. For some 
needed fixtures, there were paid six dollars and thirty 
cents; making the whole cost three hundred and 
seventy-three dollars and eighty cents. 

The makers of the bell entered into the following 
agreement with the purchasers : " If it Breaks within 
one year, and judges say the cause was in the manu- 
facture, we agree to make it good." 


I am told that " a yoke," on which to hang the boll, 
was procured : but, not being very suitable, an attempt 
was made to purchase another of the Misses Woodward, 
who lived in the southerly part of the town ; but they 
would not sell it. Some persons, however, determined 
to have it at any rate ; and therefore went and cut the 
tree, and carried off what was needed, leaving the other 
yoke Instead ; and justified themselves for the act on 
the ground that " exchange was no robbery." No one 
can doubt, however, that it was a rather questionable 

We have found a bill of articles furnished "the 
Committee for Purchasing the Bell," by George Gil- 
bert; and among the items were a quarter-gallon of 
West-India rum, a quarter-gallon of cherry, and ono- 
eighth gallon of brandy. We presume these articles 
were needed as help to raise the bell into the belfry. 

This was the same bell that now belongs to the Con- 
gregational parish. 

It was the practice of the early settlers of the country 
to build their meetiyg-houses without means of warm- 
ing them, either by fireplaces or stoves. Why they 
did so, we are unable to say ; but it will be obvious 
to every one, that it must have been a pretty severe 
penance for the sins committed during the week, to 
be obliged to sit on a cold winter's day, in an un- 
warmed house, and listen to the long sermons of those 
times. Many of the gentler sex, who could not so 
well endure the icy atmosphere of the house as their 
more hardy lords, obviated the difiiculty somewhat by 
carrying with them to the house of God little " foot- 
stoves," filled with coals. Even with these helps to 
keep the temperature of the body above the freezing- 
point, there was, no doubt, much suffering from the 
piercing cold. Few, we fear, would be the worship- 
pers of either sex at the present day in an un warmed 
house of prayer. 

When the proposition came, as it did at last, to in- 
troduce some warming apparatus into the sanctuary, 
it met with a strong opposition from some who, for 



years, had shivered through the sermons of many a 
freezing Sunday. But the car of progress is ever 
onward, and finally triumphant. The year 1818 is 
memorable in the annals of Norton as the year when 
the people submitted to the monstrous innovation of 
warming the meeting-house. In January of that year, 
a subscription-paper was started, headed by the vene- 
rable Judge Leonard, — then verging upon his ninetieth 
year, — to purchase stoves for the meeting-house. The 
subscriptions varied from five dollars to twenty-five 
cents. The number of subscribers was sixty-seven, and 
the amount raised was eighty-four dollars and twenty- 
five cents. On the 5th of February, 1818, two stoves 
were bought of Joseph Howe for twenty-seven dollars. 
He was also paid, for two hundred and forty-three feet 
of funnel, and other articles needed about the stoves, 
forty-five dollars and forty-seven cents ; making the 
whole amount for stoves and fixtures, seventy-two dol- 
lars and forty-seven cents. The remainder of the money 
was used to purchase wood, and to pay for making the 
fires, &c. 

After having enjoyed the luxury of a warm house 
one Sunday, no one has since been anxious to go back 
to the good old time when the penitential tears would 
freeze in their journey down the repentant's cheek 
before the altar of God. 

Having made the inside of the house comfortable, 
the parish think it best to have the outside respectable ; 
and therefore, on the 21st of June, 1819, three hun- 
dred dollars were raised to paint and repair the meeting- 
house and belfry. This proved to be the last brushing- 
up the house received from the hands of the parish. 

After the lapse of a few years, various causes con- 
spired to make a new house desirable. The venerable 
{)astor, who for forty years had broken the bread of 
ife, and taught, by precept and example, the living 
truths that fell from the lips of Jesus, took a deep 
interest in this movement. On the thirty-first day of 
March, 1834, a committee was appointed to ascertain 
what repairs the old house needed, and what would be 


■•». I*. ■ 


^ ♦ 

'J-: ■ ' 

J # 

. ■ ■■ I . 

Dec. 23, 1835. 




the cost of a new one. The committee made a report 
on the 28th of May following : and, on that day, the 
parish " voted to remove to a new Meeting-house to 
worship, provided there should be one built in the 
manner proposed ; that is, put into shares." A com- 
mittee was also chosen to see how many shares could 
be disposed of. 

At an adjourned meeting, Sept. 27, 1834, these 
votes, and several others subsequently passed relating 
to a new house, were rescinded. It was then — 

" Moved and Voted, that this Parish build a new Meeting- 
house by the sale of the Pews and individual donation, & 
set it on the ground gi'atuitously offered by Mrs. Peddy 
Bowen, according to her direction, near the front of this 
bouse ; and said house shall be for the use of the Congrega- 
tional Incorporated society of which the Rev. Pitt Clarke is 
the present Minister, or his successor in office. 28 for, 6 

Mrs. Bowen not only gave the land wliereon to set 
the new house, but also gave " all the timber for it, on 
the condition that it should be cut and carried from 
her land according to her particular direction." At 
the meeting, Sept. 27, 1834, the parish voted that the 
cost of the house should " not exceed four thousand 
dollars." They also chose John Sweet, Daniel LanOj 
Cromwell Leonard, Leonard Hodges, jun., and Elisha 
Grossman, a Building Committee. It was subsequently^ 
directed that the house should be sixty-two feet long 
and forty-two wide ; and Oliver Clapp and Earl 
Hodges were added to the Building Committee. 

During the summer of 1835, the hoVise was built, 
in part, after the plan of a house at Ipswich. The 
pulpit is at the entrance-end of the house ; the singing- 
seats at the opposite end; and a narrow gallery on 
each side, originally with one row of seats in the front 
of it (which were taken down in 1847), and a walk 
in the back part, leading from the entrance-end of the 
house to the singing-seats. The house was dedicated 
to the worship of the one living and only true God, 
Dec. 23, 1836. 


The following account of the dedicatory services 
we copy from the " Christian Register '* of Jan. 9, 
1836 : — 

" On Wednesday, Dec. 23rd, the new and beautiful Church 
erected for the use of the First Congregational Society in 
Norton was solemnly dedicated to the public worship of Al- 
mighty Gk)d. The services on this occasion were as follows : 
Introductory prayer by Rev. Mr. Sweet, of Kingston ; Read- 
ing of the Scriptures by Rev. Mr. Bridge, of Cambridge ; 
Dedicatory prayer by Rev. Mr. Bigelow, of Taunton ; Ser- 
mon by Rev. Mr. Hall, of Providence ; concluding prayer by 
Rev. Mr. Sayward, of Mansfield." 

The number of pews in the house was sixty. Fifty- 
six of these were sold at auction on the 24th of De- 
cember, 1835, for three thousand seven hundred and 
two dollars and fifty cents. As the house drew near 
its completion, the disposal of the old house became a 
matter of interest. 

Nov. 16, 1835, the parish voted to have the old 
meeting-house appraised by a disinterested committee, 
and to sell it at public vendue. Samuel Crocker of 
Taunton, Zeba Bliss of Attleboroiigh, and Simeon 
Green of Mansfield, were chosen to appraise the old 
house ; and it was subsequently sold to the town for 
a town-house. 

In the year 1836, a chain-fence was erected around 
the meeting-house, and remained for some years. la 
1850, the present fence, with iron rails and stone posts, 
was erected ; and a row of seventeen evergreen-trees 
set out inside of the fence around the house, and the 
walk made from the fence up to the front-end of 
the house. 

But little change has been made in the house since 
its erection. In August, 1854, the inside of the house 
was repainted, the pews were grained, the pulpit 
lowered about one-half its previous height, the house 
newly carpeted, and a sofa and chairs purchased for 
the pulpit, <&c. ; and the expense of the same was paid 
by the ladies of the parish. 




t( This originated in the piooB forethought of oar fktthers of the Plymoath Oolonj." 

P. Olabu. 

In order to lay the foundation for the permanent sup- 
port of the ministry, the God-loving and God-fearing 
proprietors of the Taunton North Purchase conceived 
the idea of setting apart a portion of their lands for 
such a purpose. Accordingly, at a meeting of the 
North-Purchase proprietors, " Jan. 27, 1684-5, it was 
voted and agreed [to] Lay out a lot, in the most con- 
venient place, flFor the use of the ministry, — A Lot, 
Equal with one of our own, and Equal priviledges 
through the Whole purchase, never to be AUianated 
from the use of the ministry." ^ This vote was soon 
after carried into effect, and one hundred acres of 
upland and eight of meadow were laid out ; but, for 
some reason, — perhaps because they anticipated the 
division of the North Purchase into two or more 
towns, — on the 6th of March, 1698-9, the proprietors 
voted — 

" That the lot for the ministry aready pitched upon shall 
be let ffall, and one-halfe of it layed out nearer to Bridg- 
water, and the other halfe nearer to Chartley Ironworks ; * 
both where the Committee, with advise, shall Judg most Con- 

This vote was not at once carried into effect. Hence, 
on July 2, 1700, they ordered that the ministry-lot 
should be laid out in the two parts already spoken of, 

1 North-Purchase Records, p. 9. 

> These were at the Judge Leonard estate. 



and one hundred acres more should be added to it. 
May 25, 1721, the vote was re-afl5rmed, that one-half 
of the ministerial land sliould be laid out towards the 
west end, and the otlier half towards the east end, of 
the North Purchase, " both in future and latter divi- 
sions." Lieut. Nicholas White, Ensign George Leonard, 
and John Smith, for the west end ; John Phillips, Tho- 
mas Randall, and Josiah Keith, for the east end, — were 
appointed a committee to lay it out. From the records, 
it appears that, up to October, 1744, there had been 
set apart for the ministry four hundred and fifty-three 
acres of land ; but, heretofore, no use had been made 
of it, except that Rev. Mr. Avery had cut oflF some 
timber, and used it in the building of his house. In 
1747, a petition was sent to the Proprietors' Committee 
asking that a meeting might be called — 

•* To see if the Proprietee will give the Lands Layed out 
in the said Proprietee for the use of the ministree, to be dis- 
posed of by the town of Norton and Easton Respectively for 
the support of a Presbeterian or Congregation ell ministry. 
The town of Easton have a mind to build thereon, and Im- 
prove sd. lands lying in sd. townships." ^ 

Tlie meeting was held Dec. 14, 1747 ; but was forth- 
with adjourned to March 15, 1748. A committee was 
then appointed to view the lands, and report at the 
next meeting what was best to be done to make the 
lands most advantageous to the two towns for the sup- 
port of the ministry." ^ No report of this committee 
is to be found. 

In the warrant for a meeting, April 2, 1753, were 
articles to see about dividing the lands between Norton 
and Easton, and to divide the moiety set oflF to Norton 
between the two precincts of that town ; and also to 
determine for the maintenance of what ministers they 
should be improved. The proprietors vote to divide 
the lands equally between the towns of Norton and 
Easton ; that the half-share belonging to Norton should 

1 North-PnrcbaBe Records, p. 70. 2 n>id. p. 77. 


be equally diyided between the two precincts; and 
that the — 

^ Part of sd. lands which shall fall to Norton South Pre- 
cinct shall always be and Remaine to the use of the ministry 
of said Precinct, to which the North-Purchase Lands, whidi 
Leyeth between the Line of the town of AtUeborough and 
the Line of Taunton old Township, shall belong to." 

They then declare, that — 

** Whereas our Predecessors, who voted and sett sd. Land 
appart for the ministry, ware of and Belonged to those 
Churches which ware then called and Known by the name 
of Congregationell Churches, and we apprehend it was their 
Desire and intent that the above-mentioned Land should be 
Improved for the maintaining of the ministers of those 
Churches which shall be of those Prinsepells ; tharefore we 
now vote, that the whole of the abovesd. Lands shall be Im- 
proved for the maintaining of the ministers of the severall 
Congregationell Churches which belong to the said towns as 
above mentioned, and be Improved for that end only." ^ 

The division of lands having been made, the South 
Precinct, at a meeting held March 29, 1756, chose 
Col. George Leonard, Lieut. Benjamin Cobb, and Lieut. 
Thomas Morey, a committee to take care of their part, 
and ^^to see that there be no damage done on said 
Land by cutting timber or any other way." The land^ 
however, in its unimproved state, was not very avail- 
able property for the payment of ministerial charges ; 
and therefore, at a precinct-meeting, Jan. 16, 1758, 
Jonathan Lincoln, Benjamin Cobb, and Thomas Morey, 
were chosen a committee to make report, at a future 
meeting, " what is best for the South Precinct to do 
concerning said Land." 

We find no record of their report. The precinct 
held a meeting, Dec. 21, 1761, and declared that — 

" These Lands mostly lye in the North Precinct of sd. 
town of Norton, and so far from the sd. South Precinct that 

1 North-Purchase Records, p. 84. 


thej can never be of but Little or no advantage Towards 
maintaining the ministry of the South precinct in Said town 
of Norton, and no Improvement made on said Land yett. 
Therefore the Said precinct Now voted, that Thomas Morey, 
"Esqr.y shall be Impowered, in behalf of said precinct, To 
petition to the great and general Court of this province, That 
they woold Impower or Ennable said first precinct of The 
town of Norton, or such other persons as sd. Court shall Ap- 
point and Impower, to Sell all the sd. precinct's ministerial 
lands above mentioned, for the most said Lands will fetch ; 
and the money that shall Be Raised by the sale of sd. Lands 
to be Lett out to Interest as sd. court Shall order ; the Interest 
only to be applyed yearly towards the maintaining the mini- 
stry of sd. precinct For ever ; which, we apprehend, will be 
as agreeable to the good Intent and meaning of the proprie- 
tors who gave sd. Lands as to Lett the Lands Lye, and more 
for the Interest of sd. precinct." ^ 

In obedience to the trust confided in him, Mr. Morey 
knocked at the door of the General Court, Jan. 18, 
1762, with his petition, asking that the wishes of the 
precinct may be gratified. The court promptly granted 
the power asked for. Here is the evidence : ^ — 

"In the house of Representatives, January 23d, 1762, 
Read and Ordered, that the Prayer be so far Granted, as 
that the South Precinct in the town of Norton, by a Com- 
mittee by them to be appointed for that purpose, be Impow- 
ered to make Sale of the Land mentioned in the Petition, for 
the most the same will fetch ; and to make a Good Deed or 
Deeds in Law for Conveying the Same, the Proceeds of the 
Said Sale to be Let out at Interest, on Good Security, to be 
Improved annually towards the Support of a Congregational 
minister in Said Precinct, in the same way and manner as 
the Rents of Said Land would have been Improved if it 
had not been disposed of. 

" Sent up for Concurrence. 

" James Otis, Speaker. 

"In Council, January 28, 1762. — Read and Concurred. 

" Jno. Cotton, Dep. Secty. 

" Consented to : " Ira Bernard." 

1 Parish Records, book i. p. 98, &c. ^ ibid. p. 127. 


No progress was, however, made towards the sale of 
the land, till after the incorporation of the North Pre- 
cinct into the District of Mansfield. March 21, 1774, 
the town vote that the committee lately chosen for that 
purpose make sale of the ministerial land lying in 
Mansi^eld, and belonging to Norton, ^^ as soon as 
conveniently may be for the interest of said town." 
That " convenient season " did not come at once ; for, 
Nov. 17, 1777, the town vote to sell their ministerial 
land lying in Mansfield at public vendue, and dis^ 
charged from further service a former committee 
chosen for that purpose. They also chose Seth Smith, 
Isaac Hodges, and John King, to attend to the matter; 
who, Jan. 1, 1778, were empowered to act in conjunc- 
tion with a similar committee from Mansfield, to divide 
the lands belonging to the two towns, and establish the 
bounds. The division having been made,^ these lands, 
— a part lying near Mansfield Meeting-house, and 
now crossed lengthwise by the Taunton-Branch Rail- 
road, and a part on '' Dorchester Plain " so called, — 
amounting to about one hundred and fifty acres, were 
sold, in four lots, to John Pratt, George Cobb, Isaac 
Smith, and Samuel Hunt, for <£1,059. 175. 9d. On 
the fourteenth day of December, 1778, George Leo- 
nard, Esq., was chosen by the town to receive the 
money from the committee. On Monday, 8th of 
March following, a committee was raised to consider in 
what manner the money could be best deposited " for 
the benefit of the Congregational society in Norton." 
They report. May 26, that " the method they should 
have chose " was, at that time, " attended with some 
diflSculty ; and therefore recommend that Dea. Benja. 
Copeland, Dea. Benja. Pearson, and Dea.^ Daniel Dean, 
be impowered to receive the money, and put the whole 
into the Continental Loan office in their own name ; " 
they giving a receipt to the town-clerk for the same. 
This report was accepted.^ 

The fund thus created was increased by adding the 

} See Parish-Records, p. 129, &c. 3 Ibid. pp. 182 and 188. 


interest thereto, and by the proceeds resulting from 
the sale of " pew-ground " in the meeting-house, till, 
in a few years, the interest was sufficient to pay the 
salary of the minister ; and it continued to do so till 
the death of Rev. Pitt Clarke in 1836. 

By good financial management, this fund is still 
available for the payment of ministerial services, and 
essentially lightens the taxes that would otherwise fall 
somewhat heavily upon the parish possessing it. 


It is probable tliat the disposition made of the money 
in 1779 was attended with some difficulties ; and hence 
the're was a society-meeting called on the 6th of Janu- 
ary, 1783, " To choose a committee to petition the 
General Court to Incorporate sd. Society, so that they 
may legally act with regard to their ministerial money, 
or any other matter that concerns sd. society.'' At 
the meeting, Capt. Isaac Hodges was chosen agent to 
forward to the General Court a petition for an act of 
incorporation ; and five trustees were chosen to take 
care of the money. The prayer of the society was 
answered, as the annexed document will show : — 

"An Act^ to incorporate the Congregational Society in the 
town of Norton into a distinct Parish, and also to incor- 
porate a Committee of the said Society for certain pur- 

" Whereas the Congregational society in the town of 
Norton, of which the Reverend Joseph Palmer is the present 
minister, have represented to this Court that the said society 
are possessed of a sum of money and securities to the amount 
of four hundred and twenty-five pounds, which they desire to 
improve to the purpose of beginning and laying a foundation 
for a fund, the interest whereof to be appropriated to support 
a learned, pious, Protestant, Congregational minister in the 
said society for ever, and for building or repairing a meeting- 
house in said society; and have supplicated this Court by a 

1 Passed March 4, 1783. (See Massachusetts Special Laws, vol. i. 
p. 44, &c.) 


law to invest the said society with all the powers, privilegesy 
and immunities that precincts or parishes in this Common- 
wealth do or may enjoy: And also that certain persons, bj 
them, the said society, elected and named, may be made a 
body corporate, with sufficient powers to receive the aforesaid 
sum, and other donations that are or shall be made for the 
purposes aforesaid, and for the well-ordering the same : — , 

** Sect. 1. Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Rep- 
resentatives in General Court assembled, and by the authority 
of the same. That the Congregational society in the town of 
Norton, in the county of Bristol, where the Reverend Joseph 
Palmer now officiates, be, and they hereby are, incorporated 
into a distinct parish, by the name of the * Congregational 
Parbh in Norton;' and hereby are invested with all thie 
powers, privileges, and immunities that precincts or parishes 
within this Commonwealth do or may by law enjoy. And 
that it may be known at any time wlio of the inhabitants of 
the said town belong to the said parish, — 

" Sect. 2. Be it enacted by the authority aforesaid, That 
all those inhabitants of the said Norton, who usually attend 
public worship with the aforesaid society, shall be deemed 
and taken to belong to the said parish, to all intents and pur- 
poses, until they shall signify in writing, under their hands, 
to the Clerk of the said parish, their intention to attend public 
worship with some other religious society, and shall actually 
attend. Provided, nevertheless, That all parishioners so re- 
moving shall be held to pay all arreara of taxes legally 
assessed on them by the said parish before their removal. 

" Sect. 3. And be it further enacted by the authority aforcf 
said. That George Leonard, Esq., be, and he hereby is, fully 
authorized to issue his warrant, directed to some principal 
inhabitant belonging to the said parish, requiring him to give 
notice to the inhabitants of the parish aforesaid, qualified to 
vote in parish-afiairs, to assemble at some suitable time and 
place in the said parish, to choose all such officers as parishes 
are by law required to choose in the month of March an- 
nually ; and to transact such other matters and business as is 
necessary to be done in the said parish. 

" Sect. 4. And be it further enacted by the authority afore- 
said, That George Leonard, William Homes, Daniel Dean, 
Isaac Hodges, and Israel Trow, chosen, elected, and named 
by the said society for that purpose, and their successors 
hereafter chosen by the parish aforesaid in the manner as in 


and by this Act is hereafter provided, shall be, and herebj 
are, declared to be a body corporate, by the name of * The 
Trustees of the Congregational Parish in Norton,' and here- 
by are incorporated to this special purpose : viz., To receive 
All the donations, subscriptions, securities, and monies now in 
the hands of the said society, and also such grants, appro- 
priations, and donations, either real or personal, that have 
been or shall hereafter be made for the purposes aforesaid ; 
provided the whole sum do not exceed the sum of three 
thousand pounds. And all such sum or sums as shall be 
received by the aforesaid present Trustees, or their successors 
in the said trust, shall be, and hereby are, appropriated to 
raise an income by the annual interest arising therefrom for 
the purpose aforesaid. 

*' Sect. 5. And be it further enacted by the authority afore- 
said. That all bonds, mortgages, or other lawful securities, 
made to the said George Leonard, William Homes, Daniel 
Dean, Isaac Hodges, and Israel Trow, and their successors in 
the said trust, are hereby declared good and valid : And the 
said Trustees and their successors, by their said corporate 
name, may sue and be sued, and are hereby fully authorized 
by themselves, or by their agents or attornies, to appear, 
plead, and defend, in any action or suit brought by or against 
them in their said capacity, and the same prosecute to final 
judgment and execution, in any Court proper to try and 
determine the same. 

" Sect. 6. And be it further enacted by the authority afore- 
said, That the aforesaid sum of four hundred and twenty- 
five pounds, and all such further sum or sums as may hereafter 
be annexed thereto, shall be by the said Trustees put to 
interest ; and the annual interest arising therefrom shall be 
further put to interest, and so from year to year until a 
capital shall be raised, the annual interest whereof shall be 
sufficient to support a minister as aforesaid ; and then the an- 
nual interest of the said increased capital, or so much thereof 
as the said corporation shall find necessary, shall for ever after 
be paid to such minister resident and officiating in the work 
of the ministry among said society within said town. And 
if it shall ever happen that there be no such minister settled 
within the said society, then, in every such case, the interest 
arising in such vacation shall be improved to supply the said 
society with preaching. And, if there shall be any sur- 
plusage, it shall be put to interest on new securities, and 


added to the said capital, and improved for the building or 
repairing a meeting-house for the said society ; and all such 
increased sum or sums shall be ordered and disposed of hj 
the said Trustees according to the directions hereinbefore 
provided respecting the said capital. 

" Sect. 7. And be it further enacted by the authority afore- 
said, That if at any time the income arising by the annual 
interest of the fund aforesaid shall be more than sufficient for 
the purposes aforesaid, — in that case, all such surplus shall, 
and hereby is, specially appropriated, and shall be improved 
by the parish aforesaid, towards the support and maintenance 
of a school for the benefit of said society. 

" Sect. 8. And be it further enacted by the authority afore- 
said, That the said parish, at their annual meeting in March, 
from time to time be, and hereby are, fully authorized to 
choose Bye Trustees for the year ensuing. 

" Sect. 9. And be it further enacted by the authority afore- 
said. That if at any time the said parish shall, at their annual 
meeting in March, neglect, or by any means be prevented, 
choosing Trustees, — in every such case, the Trustees last 
chosen shall continue vested with all the powers and privileges 
aforesaid until others be chosen. 

" Sect. 10. And be it further enacted by the authority 
aforesaid, That the said Trustees, and their successors from 
time to time, shall be accountable to the said parish, and may 
be by them, for any misdemeanor or failure in their said trust, 
removed therefrom ; in which case, and also in case of death 
or other removal of any one or more of them, it shall and 
may be lawful for the said parish to appoint others in their 
room. And the said parish may at any time call a meeting 
for that purpose accordingly." 

In four days after this Act was approved by the 
Governor, a warrant was issued by George Leonard 
to Silas Cobb, to notify a meeting for the purpose of 
organizing by choosing all proper officers required by 
the Act. George Leonard was chosen moderator ; 
Silas Cobb, clerk ; and Seth Smith, jun., treasurer. 
The same trustees were chosen as were mentioned 
in the Incorporation Act. " Voted, that the Trustees 
should call in the money now outstanding due to 
sd. parish." — "Voted, that the sd. Trustees shall lay 



out sd. money for public securities as soon as maj 

After a few years' time, it was deemed proper to 
make an addition to the Act of Incorporation ; and, 
upon application of the parish to the General Court 
for that purpose, the following additional Act was 
passed June 17, 1797:^ — 

" Sect. 1. Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Rep- 
resentatives in Greneral Court assembled, and by the authority 
of the same, That the said parish be, and hereby are, author- 
ized and empowered, at any legal meeting thereof, to be 
bolden in the month of March annually, to choose some 
suitable person to be Treasurer for the Trustees of the said 
parish ; and the person so chosen shall give bond, at the dis- 
cretion of the said Trustees, for the faithful performance of 
his duty. 

" Sect. 2. And be it further enacted. That the Treasurer 
(for the time being) chosen and qualified as aforesaid shall 
be empowered to receive, for the use of the said parish, all 
monies and securities for money belonging to said parish ; 
any thing in the act to which this is in addition to the contrary 

No further change was made, so far as we can learn, 
till after the death of Rev. Pitt Clarke ; when it was 
found, that, in order to settle a minister, he must bo 
paid a salary larger than the interest of the fund 
would amount to: and hence, on the twenty-eighth 
day of December, 1835, after inviting Rev. Mr. Bridge 
to settle with them as their mimister, the parish voted 
" to petition the Legislature for an act of Amendment 
in their act of Incorporation." A petition, signed by 
the Parish Committee, was sent to the General Court, 
stating the facts in the case, and asking that they 
might have the privilege of using the interest of the 
fund towards the support of the minister, though it 
was not sufficient to pay his whole salary. The prayer 
was granted as follows : — 

\ Massachusetts Special Laws, vol. ii. p. 164. 


** Be it enacted, &&, The annual interest of the fand be- 
longing to the ' Congregational Parish in Norton ' may be 
appropriated by the said parish toward the support of their 
minister, and for supplying the said parish with preaching, 
although the same may not be sufficient for the support of a 
minister ; any thing contained in the act to which this is in 
addition notwithstanding.^ 

"Approved March 11, 1836." 

This fund now amounts to something more than 
seven thousand dollars; a portion of which is in- 
vested in bank-stock, and the rest is loaned on per- 
sonal security. I am told that the fund in Easton 
and Mansfield has become very much reduced from 
its original amount. 


" ^Twas nobly done, to make the schoolhoose free." — 0. T. Oonodon. 

Within a few years after the incorporation of the town, 
and the settlement of a minister to look after the spirit- 
ual interests of the young, their intellectual culture was 
provided for by the establishment of public schools. 
The first recorded action of the town relative to 
schools was April 28, 1719, when — 

" The town made chois of Thomas Skinner, Sen., to Be 
thare Scoolmaster, and to beginn at ye first day of June, 
1719, and to continu one quarter; and his salary not to Ex- 
cead two pounds for said quarter." 

It is probable, however, that some private instruction 
had been given previous to this date. For some years 

^ See Special Laws, vol. yii. p. 579. 


after the establishment of public schools, the town, in 
their corporate capacity, chose the schoolmaster. In 
some instances, however, they delegated power to the 
selectmen to contract with the teacher, and make 
the necessary arrangements for the opening of the 
school ; yet, for more than eighty years after the or- 
ganization of the town, there were no schoolhouses 
specially erected for that purpose. The early settlers 
felt themselves too poor, and had too many difficulties 
and obstacles to contend with, to furnish the means or 
find the time to erect separate houses for the instruc- 
tion of the young. In very many instances, they were 
obliged to "kill two birds with one stone." Hence pri- 
vate houses, carpenters' shops, &c., were more or less 
used for school purposes. Probably, in the centre of 
the town, the meeting-house, in the summer season, was 
converted pro tempore into a " temple of science." I 
am informed by a native of this town (Rev. Isaac 
Braman of Georgetown, born in 1770), that, in his 
boyhood-days, — 

"The schools generally were kept in private houses. I 
once went to school in a Carpenter's shop, in which the work- 
bench was used for a table. In the study of Arithmetic, no 
scholar was allowed a book. The teacher would give him a 
sum ; and he might sit and study upon it until he had found 
an answer, which would sometimes occupy several days." 

And, in almost every other respect, there was a like 
deficiency in books.^ Hence, of necessity, much of 
the instruction was oral, and less mechanical, than at 
the present day, even if it was given in a mechanic's 
shop. Mr. Braman says, " The great object," in those 
days, " was to procure cheap teachers," — an idea by 
far too prevalent at this day ; yet there was far more 
excuse for this idea a century ago than now. 

How cheaply the first teachers of Norton were pro- 
cured, will at once be seen by a reference to the price 

1 " In my early days," says Mr. Braman, " no book was used in school, 
except the Bible and Spelling-book. There were respectable aged persons 
who could not read.'* 


paid them. I have been informed by some elderly 
people, that most of the early schools were established 
for boys ; it being thought almost entirely unnecessary 
that girls should be educated. As they were not ex- 
pected to cast interest, or engage largely in any busi- 
ness transactions, it was not deemed important that 
they should be sent to school. Their husbands — if 
they had any — were considered the proper guardians 
of their interests ; and therefore, if they learned any 
thing, it must be in patience and meekness of their 
husbands at home. Hence, for many years after 
public schools were established, there were no female 
teachers. Of course, if they knew notliing themselves, 
they could teach nothing to others. 

The first record I find of a female teacher, or 
" schoolmistress," as she was called, is in 1791, when 
an order was drawn to pay Patience Leach for teaching 
eight weeks, at three shillings per week. Jonathan 
Hunt boarded the " schoolmistress " eight weeks that 
year, at three shillings per week ; and hence it is 
presumed she taught in his District, No. 7. Deacon 
Daniel Lane informed me that he knew Miss Leach, 
and said she belonged to Easton ; and was of the 
opinion that she married a Mr. Bird, and died, not 
many years ago, at Taunton. 

The next year (1792), Abigail Morey taught school 
three months, — probably in the Centre District, as 
she boarded at Col. Silas Cobb's. She subsequently 
taught other schools in town. 

The board of male teachers, between the years 1719 
and 1800, ranged from four to sixteen shillings per 
week ; the latter amount, no doubt, being paid when 
the currency was somewhat depreciated. As the 
population of the town was at first quite sparse, it 
is highly probable that there were but few children 
within its limits, — possibly not more than enough for 
one good school, if all could have been collected into 
one room. But, as all could not attend at one place, 
the school was kept from time to time in difierent parts 



of the town, so as to better accommodate all, as will 
appear from the following records: — 

"May 13, 1720. — The town made choice of Jeremiah 
Bassett for to be Scoolmaster; &, accordingly, lie have agreed 
& excepted of the same for one quarter of a year, after the 
Bate of thirty pounds Per year, — one-third money, the other 
two-thirds other pay. first beginning at the public meeting- 
house, the scool to be moving. If continued the other part 
of the year, the second quarter [to be] at that part of the 
town called Scottlin ; & the third quarter taking in Tiump's 
ic White's and Skinner's naiborhood ; and the fourth quarter 
at Winnaconick." 

This practice of "moving" the school, as it was 
termed, continued for several years, — most probably 
till the town was districted. 

"Aug. 14, 1721. — At a towne-meeting Legally warned 
[for that purpose], chose Jeremiah Basset to be Schoole- 
master to Keep Schoole in sd. towne one year next enceuing ; 
and sd. Basset is to have thirty Pounds in ye Produce of ye 
town, at the Price allready Sett." 

June 20, 1723, at a legal town-meeting, it was — 

" Voted that Simeon Wetherell shall be schoolmaster to 
keep school at his father's or his one house, to teech children 
to Reed, Right, and Cifer, for one quarter of a year next after 
the Last of august next ; and the selectmen shall agree with 
sd. Wetherell for his service, and he is to be Paid in ye Pro- 
duce of ye towne. Sd. Wetherell shall Keep School at but 
one of the Places all sd. quarter. And sd. Wetherel Excepted 
of his being Schoollmaster on sd. terms." 

In looking at the record, it would seem, that, in ad- 
dition to teaching the children " to Reed, Right, and 
Cifer,"^ the teacher might profitably have spent his 
" noonings," at least, in teaching the recorder of the 
above vote how to spell ; yet, in charity to the town- 
clerk, we should remember how exceedingly limited 
were the educational privileges of that day. 

"Jan. 6, 1723 or 4, voted that the selectmen shall Go 
forthwith and agree with Othnial Cambell, of Taunton, to 


Keep Schooll in Norton for one quarter of a year now fol- 
lowing ; and, if he cannot be had, then to Geet some other 
Sutable Persone to Keep School sd. quarter of a year." 

At a legal town-meeting, July 13, 1724, — 

" They voted that the schoU shall be Keept ye next quarter 
in that part of the towne which Goes by the name of Wine- 

"Sept. 14, 1724. — Voted to pay Mr. John Sumner, for 
Keeping School, £11 — 8 — 0. 

"Oct 12, 1724. — Thay made choice of William Caswell 
to be our SchoUmaster, to Keep SchoU in the towne of Nor- 
ton one year next Enseuing ; and that he shall have thirty- 
four Pounds, in currant money of sd. Province, for his wages 
to Keep scholl sd. year ; and the sd. Towne of Norton to be 
at no more cost Consarning his Being Borded sd. year. Pro- 
vided, allso, that he shall move in Keeping Scholl as the 
Towne shall agree, and thay made choice of Mr. John 
Hodges to go and agree with sd. William Caswell to Keep 
scholl in ye town. 

"Dec. 30, 1724. — 21y, They voted that the SchoUmaster 
shall Keep Scholl, the first quarter of a year, at the house of 
Eliezer fisher ; and the second quarter at the house of Left. 
Nicholas White ; and the third quarter at Winecunit, or in 
that Part of the town ; and the Last quarter at the meeting- 

"March 29, 1727. — Voted that Josiah Briggs shal be 
SchoUmaster to Keep Scholl in Norton, . . . Provided he will 
Keep scholl for 201b. a year, and his dyett; and that he 
shall Keep Scholl, the first quarter, at ye middle of the towne ; 
and the second quarter at Winecunett ; and the third quarter 
on the south side of ye way which is towards Elezer fisher's ; 
and the fourth quarter at Left. White's, or theyrabouts. 

" Nov. 30, 1727. — Voted to pay John Briggs, ye eldist, 
for dyeting of the SchoUmaster 14 weeks, at 6s. a week, 
041b.— 04s.— Od. 

" Sept. 20, 1731. — Voted to Samuel Vesey, for Diating 
ye ScoUemaster, 2 — 05 — 0. 

" Sept. 18, 1733. — Voated to Joseph Hodges, for hording 
the ScoUemaster, Mr. Bacon, ye sum of 01 — 16 — 0. 

" It .was voated to Joseph Hodges, for earring & fetching 
sd. colemaster, ye sum of — 14 — 0. 


^ It was voated to Dnniell Braman, for Keeping the scoll- 
master fower weaks, at Eight shillind pur weake. it came to 

" Voated to Samuel Clap, for treating with the coUmastery 
the sum of 00—03—00. 

"Aug. 31, 1736. — Voated that the Selectmen shuld hire 
a scoolemaster. 

" Sept. 28, 1736. — Voted to Mr. Samuel Clap, the 1, for 
to pay to Scoolemaster Vesey, the sum of 5 — 1—0. 

[Also] '* voated, that what is wanting for sculling for this 
presant year, and for the pore, is to be dran out of the present 

" May 14, 1742. — Theyr was a voate called for to Know 
whether the Scoole shuld be Kept on the west sid of the teen- 
mile River, in said Preesent ; and it past in the afirmative. 

"Nov. 1742. — Voated to Capt. Hodges, for carying the 
Scoolmaster to Cambridge, 01 — 05 — 0. 

"Nov. 27, 1751. — Voted that the Selectmen agree with 
Deacon John Briggs to Keep School, provided they can 
agree with him on Reasonable Conditions." 

He probably kept ; for, the next year, the town voted 
him sixteen shillings " for bording himself when he 
kept school." 

" Dec. 30, 1751. — Voted to Ephraim Leonard, Esq., for 
Boarding ye schoolmaster 6J weeks, and feching him from 
Concord, £11 — 00 — 0, old Tenor; £1 — 9 — 4, Lawful money. 

" Nov. 21, 1755. — Voted to Capt. William Stone, for 
boarding of the Schoolmaster, Stephen Farrow (Farrar ?), 

Mr. Farrar probably belonged to that part of Con- 
cord which is now Lincoln. The same day, — 

"Voted to Daniel Braman, for boarding Samuel Dean, 
Jun., Schoolmaster, £2 — 08." 

This was probably he who was afterwards the Rev. 
Dr. Deane, of Portland, Me. 

There is every reason to believe that most of the 
teachers heretofore mentioned belonged to Norton. 

About this time, the number of children had so far 
increased as to require some other arrangement than 


that of moving the school from one part of the town 
to another. The course that had been pursued must 
have been attended with many difficulties and incon- 
veniences, and hence earnestly called for a change. 
Whether for good or evil, a different course of pro- 
ceeding was determined upon by the town. We can 
hardly expect there was entire unanimity in the mea- 
sure ; but on Jan. 16, 1758, the town " voted to 
Divide the school, that is to be heareafter kept in this 
town, into nine quarters." The North Precinct, or 
what is now Mansfield, was to have one-third of the 
districts, or " Quarters," as they were then called. 

A committee of three in the North Precinct, and 
another of eight in the South Precinct, were appointed 
to divide the town into quarters ; and were directed to 
report to the said town, at the next March meeting, 
where the said quarters of the school should be kept, 
Ac. The committee of the South Precinct attended 
to their duty, and reported March 20 ; and it was 
"voted to Except of the Division of the School 
Ground." The committee report as follows : — 

" Firstly, we set of the center Quarter, to begin at Mr. 
Ichabod Washburn's, takeing in said Washburn ; then Ran- 
ging and Takeing in Mr. Noah Wiswall ; then Ranging so as 
to Take in David Williams, on Medfield Rhoad; then on 
medfield Rhoad, takeing in all the houses on said Rhod, In- 
cluding Mr. Timothy Briggse's house ; then Runing so as 
to take in Josiah vining and Timothy Smith and John HalFs 
houses ; then to the Line which is Between the North and 
South precint in sd. Norton ; then Runing on the precint- 
Line to the line Between the north purches and the old- 
township proprietors ; then on the sd. line untill it comes To 
Chartly mill-pond; then on a Straight Line to whare we 
first began. 

" 2dly, We set of the Second Quarter Begining at make- 
peace's mill; then Runing So as to take in John Patten's 
bouse ; then Runing so as to Take in the widdow Barney's 
house and Jonathan Clap's house, to Easton line ; then on sd. 
£aston line untill it come to the line which divides the North 
and South precint in said Norton ; then on said precint-line 
untill it comes to the line of the Senter Quarter; then on the 
line of the senter Quarter to the way that goethfvo\xi\xife^^^\A. 


Rhoad, near Benjamin Trow's house, to makepeace's mill^ 
whare we first began. 

" 3dly, Then we set of a third Quarter, begining at the 
senter-Quarter line, near to David Williamse's house ; then 
Ranging by the way that goeth to the new Bridge ; then down 
stream to Wineconet pond, and so to Extend to the Bounds 
of Norton town to the Line of the second quarter, near Jona- 
than Clap's house ; then on the Line of the Second Quarter 
to the Line of the Senter Quarter ; and on sd. Line to whare 
we began. 

" 4thly, Then set of a fourth Quarter, begining at the way 
near Ishabod Washburn's house ; then Ranged so as to Take 
in Josiah Woodward's house, and Cornelius Tucker's house, 
whare he now lives, keeping the Rhod that goeth by Samuel 
Willise's house to Taunton line ; then on Taunton line to 
weneconet Bridge ; Then across Weneconet pond to the new 
bridge ; then on the Road that goeth to David Williamse's 
house to the line of the center Quarter ; Then on said line 
to the place whare we began. 

" 5thly, Then we set of a fifth Quarter, begining at 
Chartly mill-pond to Attleborough Line, so as to take in 
the house which was Samuel Tucker's, now Thomas Morey's, 
and John Braman's ; then on Norton line until it comes to 
the way that goeth by Samuel Willise's, which is a bound 
of the south Quarter ; then on sd. bound to the center Line ; 
then on the center to the place whare we began. 

" 6thly, Then we set of a sixth Quarter, on the westerly 
side of the line of the center Quarter and the west of the 
fifth Quarter, and to the Extent of the west so far as to take 
in all the south precint in sd. Norton, called Chartley Quar- 

" Dated in Norton, March second day, 1758. 

"Jonathan Lincoln, 
William Stone, 
Benjamin Cobb, 
Ebenezer Bdrt, 
James Godfrey, 
Jonathan Eddy, 
Nathan Hodges, Jr., 
Noah Wiswall, 

The committee of the North Precinct reported that 
the schools in that part of the town should be kept 
at the dwelling-houses of John Caswell, jun., Timothy 
Welmau^ and Solomon Bates. 

Committee of the 
South Precinct." 


A new division of the school ground was mooted in 
1769 ; bnt no definite action was taken. 

At the annual March meeting in 1772, another at- 
tempt was made to divide the school ground, but 
failed. It was, however, " put to vote, whether the 
centre Quarter should have one month's schooling 
more than the other quarters in sd. town, & that the 
sd. month's schooling be kept on the Easterly side of 
Bumford River in sd. center quarter ; and it Passed 
in the negative." 

The exciting scenes of the Revolution soon followed ; 
and, until the close of that eventful struggle, the town 
paid but little attention to schools. During the con- 
tinuance of the war, we are unable to find any appro- 
priation for school purposes. Every cent of money 
that could be spared was needed to clothe, equip, and 
sustain those who battled for freedom and human 
rights. Occasionally, during the war, a school was 
sustained, for a few weeks at a time, by the voluntary 
contributions of one neighborhood and another. But 
as soon as the war closed, or as soon as there was a 
prospect of peace, we find the attention of the town 
again turned to the education of their cliildren, which 
had been so sadly neglected during the distracted 
state of the country. Within a week from the day 
the treaty of peace with the mother-country was 
signed, or Oct. 6, 1783, the town chose Capt. Israel 
Trow, Capt. Seth Smith, Lieut. David Arnold, Samuel 
Gopeland, Capt. Isaac Hodges, Lieut. Ebenezer Titus, 
William Burt, Capt. Seth Grilbert, and Capt. Joseph 
Hodges, " a Committee to Divide the school Ground.'* 
They also " voted to raise, for the purpose of schooling, 
£60." This shows that they were in earnest. The 
prospect of peace revived their drooping spirits. 

The meeting was adjourned once and again ; and 
on Nov. 10, 1783, the committee reported in favor of 
dividing the town into eight quarters, and fixing the 
bounds where they have remained to the present day, 
with some few slight alterations that have been made 
quite recently. The report of the committee was 


accepted by the town, and an agent was chosen " in 
each quarter to take care of their money ; " viz., — 

" Ist Quarter, Silas Cobb. 
2nd „ Ebn. Titus. 
3rd „ David Arnold. 
4th „ Isaac Hodges. 

5th Quarter, John Hall. 
6th „ Israel Trow. 
7th „ Samuel Hunt. 
8th „ Noah Clap." 

In April, 1784, Eleazer Walker and others pe- 
titioned for an "alteration in their school Quar- 

A meeting was called to consider the matter; but 
was " dissolved," without any action upon the peti- 

I do not find that any school agents were chosen 
in 1784. Probably those chosen in November, 1783, 
continued in office till the spring of 1785 ; when the 
following pei'sons were chosen, called trustees : — 

"1st Quarter, Coll. Cobb. 
2nd „ Ebn. Titus. 
8rd „ Lieut. Arnold. 
4tb „ Isaac Hodges. 

5th Quarter, Timothy Briggs, Jr. 
6th „ Lieut. Shepard. 
7th „ Samuel Hunt. 
8th „ Samuel Godfrey." 

In 1786, Col. Cobb, Ephraim Lane, George Hodges, 
Isaac Hodges, Seth Smith, Seth Gilbert, Samuel Hunt, 
Samuel Godfrey, were chosen trustees. 

In 1787, Silas Cobb, Ephraim Lane, Josiah Wood- 
ward, James Hodges, Deacon Smith, Benjamin Wild, 
Samuel Hunt, Eleazer Walker, were chosen trustees. 

In 1788, the trustees were Col. Cobb, Nathan Perry, 
Elkanah Lincoln, James Hodges, Seth Smith, jun., 
Deacon D. Dean, Samuel Hunt, Dr. Babbit, Dr. S. 

The trustees for 1789 were Col. Cobb, Nathan 
Perry, Lieut. Lincoln, Jonathan Briggs, Capt. Crane, 
William Burt, Dr. Samuel Morey, Elislia Cobb. 

I do not find that any trustees were chosen after this 

March 28, 1785, it was " voted to make a new divi- 
sion of school Quarters." At an adjourned meeting, 
May 12, Dr. Daniel Parker, Capt. Isaac Hodges, 


Eleazer Clap, Deacon Daniel Dean, Tisdale Hodges, 
Lieut. Ebenezer Titus, Elijah Hodges, Lieut. David 
Arnold, Noah Wiswall, Nathan Perry, Edward Babbit, 
Capt. David Clap, and David Lincoln, were chosen a 
committee to re-divide the town into school quarters. 

Adjourned once and again ; and, on Oct. 3, " voted 
not to Except the report of the committee chosen to 
divide the town into school Quarters." Then recon- 
sidered this vote, and recommitted the whole matter 
to the committee to be *' revised and corrected ; " and 
adjourned to Nov. 7. It was then ''voted to except 
the new division of school Quarters." 

Reconsidered this vote, and dissolved the meeting. 

Nov. 26, 1787, it was " voted that the iSrst school 
District be divided into two Districts." This made 
nine districts in town. We may as well state here as 
anywhere, that on April 2, 1792, by a vote of the 
town, " the centre School Quarter" was "re-united and 
connected with the one formerly taken oflF." 

There was an article in the warrant for a town-meet- 
ing, Dec. 30, 1789, " To choose a committee to divide 
the town into Districts, agreeable to a Late Law of the 
Commonwealth relating to schooling." At the meet- 
ing, Lieut. David Arnold, Capt. Trow, Col. Cobb, 
Lieut. Nathan Babbit, Capt. Lane, Capt. Crane, Dea- 
con Daniel Dean, Capt. Joseph Hodges, and Noah 
Clap, were chosen a committee to divide the town into 
school Districts." Hon. Horace Maiui, the first Secre- 
tary of the Board of Education in Massachusetts, con- 
siders the law of 1789, authorizing towns to divide 
themselves into districts, as " the most unfortunate 
law, on the subject of common schools, ever enacted 
in the State." ^ 

I can find no report of this committee. They pro- 
bably reported favorably to the project ; for, Feb. 14, 
1790, it was voted to divide the town into nine school 
districts, and " that the boundaries of the school dis- 
tricts be the same as the Town now stands divided." 

1 Tenth Report, p. 87. 


. These votes seem to have been reconsidered at an 
adjourned meeting in April following, and the whole 
matter is left in the dark. In all probability, however, 
the districts remained for many years — with the ex- 
ception stated on page 265 — as they were constituted 
in 1783. Coming out of tlie Revolutionary war poor, 
and the finances of the country being in a distracted 
state, it is not wonderful that the town took no imme- 
diate steps for the erection of schoolhouses. For some 
years after the war, they felt compelled to have their 
schools kept in private houses, as had been the previous 
custom. Yet all were not content with this arrange- 
ment ; and, as soon as the finances became somewhat 
settled, a movement was made by John Hodges and 
others "to build a number of schoolhouses in the 
several Districts in town." Dec. 30, 1789, it was 
^' voted that six schoolhouses should be built in sd. 
.town, at their expense." Then adjourned to Jan. 11, 
1790. No doubt John Hodges and his co-adjutors 
went home rejoicing at the prospect of new school- 
houses. No doubt their children's faces brightened, 
as they heard the report of what was done at the 
meeting. That night they all dreamed of being in 
the new houses, having a happy time, in the pursuit 
of knowledge. But they little knew what bitter dis- 
appointments were in store for them. They very soon 
found, that to vote to build schoolhouses was no sure 
index of their speedy erection ; for at the adjourned 
meeting, Jan. 11, the vote for building " six school- 
houses" was reconsidered. Then some one besides 
John Hodges went home rejoicing. The friends of 
schoolhouses, though defeated, were not subdued. In 
eighteen days, a warrant was issued calling a town- 
meeting, Feb. 15, 1790, to consider the petition of 
Isaac Basset and nine others, " to see if the town will 
build any schoolhouses, and how many, and where to 
set " them. At the meeting, it was " voted that the 
selectmen preside as moderators in the several school 
districts at their meetings, to prefix places to sot a 
Bchoolhouse in each District ; and, where the district 


cannot agree, for the selectmen to establish the place 
for sd. schoolhonse." Adjourned to the iSrst Monday 
of April. Met at that time, and " voted not to build 
any schoolhouses at the expense of the town." Thus 
the whole manner was " knocked into pie " again. 

In 1792, Silas Cobb and twelve others petition for 
a meeting " to see if the town will consider the cir- 
cumstances of the town respecting schooling, school 
districts and houses ; and to vote and act on each 
article as they shall think proper." The town met 
May 14, chose a " tyding-man," and dissolved the 

The friends of education are not, however, dis- 
couraged. They take time to arrange their plans; 
and, Jan. 5, 1795, a meeting was held " to take into 
consideration the petition of Seth Smith, Esq., and ten 
others, for a town-meeting, to know whether the town 
will agree to build a number of Schoolhouses." It 
was "voted to build a number of schoolhouses at 
the expense of the town ; " and Ephraim Raymond, 
Samuel Godfrey, Daniel Parker, John Crane, Seth 
Smith, Esq., Ebenezer Titus, David Arnold, Daniel 
Knap, and Zebulon White, were chosen a committee 
to report a plan to the town where the said houses 
shall stand. Also " voted for the town to find fire- 
wood for the several schools for the futer ; " aud then 
adjourned to Jan. 12. Thus, again, the friends of 
schooUiouses triumphed. But their time of rejoicing 
was short ; for at the meeting, Jan. 12, the votes for 
" building schoolhouses " and " finding firewood " 
were reconsidered, and the above committee " excused 
from any further service." Two years go by ; when 
William Verry and nine others want schoolhouses 
built, and ask for a town-meeting to consider the mat- 
ter. The town assembled Jan. 16, 1797, and voted 
" to raise a sum of money for the purpose of building 
a number of schoolhouses ; " and chose a committee, 
consisting of Daniel Parker, Silas Cobb, Ephraim Ray- 
mond, William Burt, John Crane, Ephraim Lane, jun., 
David Arnold, and Zebulon White, " to determine how 


many are necessary, and where they should be set, and 
the probable expense ; " and they were instructed to 
report at an adjourned meeting in March, when it was 
" voted not to except the report of the committee for 
building schoolhouses." Prom these facts, it will be 
seen, that, " in days of auld lang syne," there was no 
certainty of the erection of schoolhouses, even after 
they had been voted up by the town. I iSnd no fur- 
ther attempt on the part of the town to build houses 
for the several districts. 

Feb. 28, 1800, the General Court passed a law 
authorizing school districts to raise money to build 
schoolhouses for themselves ; and also requiring the 
clerks of the several school districts to be sworn to 
the faithful discharge of their duty. They were to 
keep a record of the doings at the district-meetings. 
I have been unable to find any school-district records 
that date *back farther than about the year 1817 ; so 
that we are obliged in most cases to rely upon indi- 
vidual testimony as to when the first schoolhouses 
were built in town. 

There was no schoolhouse in No. 1, or the Centre 
District, till 1817. Tliis was built by Zebulou White, 
and cost something more than two hundred dollars. 
It stood between where the present house stands and 
the road. For some years the school was kept, says 
Deacon Lane, in an old dwelling-house which stood on 
the easterly side of the road, nearly opposite to the 
house now occupied by the writer of these pages, 
between the house of H. H. Wetherell and the " Par- 
sonage House" so called, now owned by L. M. Whea- 
ton, Esq. After the Freemason Lodge was established 
in town, the room under their hall was used for some 
years for school purposes, till the district erected a 
house for themselves in 1817. This house stood till 
1847, when it was torn down, and incorporated into 
the new house built that year ; which is still occupied 
for school purposes, and stands a few feet farther back 
from the road than the first house. An attempt was 
made, in the spring of 1856, to build a house more in 


accordance with the wants of the present age ; but, we 
are sorry to record, the attempt failed. The house 
was repaired and painted during the year 1858. 

In No. 2, the first schoolhouse was erected by the 
late Judge George Leonard, at his own expense ; and 
it is thought by some to have been the first house 
erected in town. It stood for some years about 
twenty-five or thirty rods easterly of Wading River, 
on the southerly side of the road, between Judge 
Leonard's house and the house now occupied and 
owned by Stillman A. Wetherell. Some trouble arose 
between Judge Leonard and the district relative to 
the house, and the judge caused it to be removed ; 
and it now forms a part of the L of the above-men- 
tioned Wetherell's house. Jan. 12, 1819, a tax of 
two hundred and two dollars and seventy cents was 
assessed upon the district ; and, probably in the spring 
of that year, the frame of a house was erected in the 
corner of Judge Leonard's lot, nearly opposite to 
where William Lane now lives. There was some 
misunderstanding relative to the land, between the 
owner and the district ; and the frame was soon re- 
moved to where it now stands. It is supposed, how- 
ever, not to have been so far completed as to be 
occupied as a schoolroom till 1821. It is now (1858) 
the only one remaining in town of those old-fashioned 
square-built houses ; with gallery-seats on two sides 
of the building, witli a sort of broad aisle through 
the centre between them, — at one end of which is 
the desk, and at the other the door ; with the stove 
in the centre of the room ; serving to illustrate, 
especially in the winter season, the five different 
zones ; also latitude and longitude, and various other 
geographical matters. 

We wish it could be daguerreotyped, outside and 
inside, for the benefit of futin^e generations ; for 
probably the spirit of the age will soon cause its 

The first schoolhouse in No. 3 was erected for the 
district by George Hodges, in 1801, within a few feet 



of where the present house stands. It was rough and 
unique in many respects. It had but one aisle, and 
two rows of long benches upon either side ; a desk in 
one corner; a dark-closet for the girls' bonnets; a huge 
fireplace, with a cumbrous chimney. Dec. 30, 1800, a 
tax of one hundred and eighty dollars and nineteen 
cents was assessed for building this house. It stood 
till 1837, when it was removed a few rods westerly of 
R. H. Hall's house, and converted into a dwelling- 
house, and a new and more convenient building built 
on the same spot in its stead. Henry Gilmore, of Rayn- 
ham, taught the first school in this new house, in the 
winter of 1837-8. The present house was erected 
late in the autumn of 1854. The first school kept in 
it commenced Jan. 22, 1855. The teachers were Miss 
Maria J. Newcomb, of Taunton ; and Miss Louisa C. 
Dean, of Easton. This house, with its appurtenances, 
cost something more than two thousand dollars. 

The first house in No. 4 was erected for the district 
by Joseph Hodges, in 1801, and probably cost a little 
less than two hundred dollars ; for, on the 24th of 
December, a tax of one hundred and ninety dollars 
was assessed upon the district for building it. This 
house stood at first a few rods northerly, and on the 
opposite side of the road, from where Benjamin Rich- 
mond now lives. In 1838, it was removed to the four 
corners, on the other side of Mr. Richmond's house, 
and nearly fifty dollars expended in repairs. It was 
occupied for school purposes till 1853 ; when the new 
house was erected, at an expense, including land, &c., 
of about eleven hundred dollars. It was dedicated 
with appropriate services to the purposes for which it 
was erected, on Monday, Oct. 17, 1853. Mr. Daniel 
Leach, of Roxbury, Agent of the Board of Education, 
was the orator of the day. Some account of the early 
history of schools in Norton, and especially in the 
4th District, was read by Rev. G. P. Clark. Short 
addresses were made by Rev. S. P. Snow and others ; 
and the following song, written by Hodges Reed, Esq., 
of Taunton, once a teacher in the district, was sung : — 



" Things ain*t now as they used to be " 

A hundred years ago, 
When schools were kept in private rooms, 

Above stairs or below ; 
When sturdv boys and rosy girls 

Romped through the drifted snow. 
And spelled their duty and their abs, 

A hundred years ago. 

Those old schoolrooms were dark and cold 

When Winter's sun ran low, 
But darker was the master's frown, 

A hundred years ago : 
And high hung up the birchen rod. 

That all the school might see; 
Which taught the boys obedience, 

As well as " Rule of Three." 

Though 'twas but little that they learned 

A hundred years ago. 
Yet what they got they ne'er let slip; 

'Twas well whipped'in, you know. 
But now the times are greatly changed: 

The rod has had its day; 
The boys are won by gentle words, 

The girls by love obey. 

The schoolhouse now a palace is; 

The scholars, kings and queens ; 
They master Algebra and Greek 

Before they reach their teens. 
Where once was crying. Music sweet 

Her soothing influence sheds ; 
Ferules are used for beating time. 

And not for beating heads. 

Yes, Learning was a ragged boy, 

A hundred years ago : 
With six weeks' schooling in a year. 

What could the urchin do ? 
But now he is a full-grown man. 

And boasts attainments rare : 
He's got his silver slippers on. 

And running everywhere. 

The house was well filled, and the audience seemed 
much pleased with the exercises. The first school in 
this house commenced Oct. 25, 1853 ; and was taught 
by Miss Amelia D. Blanding, of Rehoboth. 

Prom the town-records, it appears that a schoolhouse 
was standing August, 1799, in the 5th District, near 


where Mr. Seth Smith now (1858) resides. Most 
probably, this house was built before the one in No. 2 
by Judge Leonard. Rev. I. Braman (already referred 
to), speaking of the schools in his boyhood, says, " In 
Norton, there was but one schoolhouse. That was in 
the east part of the town, a short distance south of 
Dr. Parker's." Of course, this must be the house in 
No. 5 ; for Dr. Parker lived where Benjamin Blandin 
(lately deceased) resided, — a near neighbor of Seth 

This house in No. 5, says Deacon Stillman Smith, 
— who went to school in it, — " was a square build- 
ing, with a four-sided cap roof, with the chimney 
standing in one corner." He says, " It was moved in 
1802 to near where the schoolhouse now stands." It 
remained there about a year unfinished, and then 
another house was built for the district by Joseph 

It stood a few rods northerly from where the present 
house is located. Fifteen or twenty years since, it 
was moved nearly on to the site of the present house ; 
and was there burned on the night of March 14, 1854. 
The present house was erected the same year, at a cost 
of six hundred dollars ; and the first school was taught 
in it by Miss Maria J. Newcomb, commencing Oct. 16, 

It is thought that a schoolhouse was erected in 
No. 6 in 1799 or 1800. It was moved back from the 
road, an addition made to it, thoroughly repaired, 
and modernized to some extent, in 1843. It is still 
used for school purposes, though much changed for 
the better, both in its interior and exterior appearance, 
from what it originally was. 

In 1801, a schooUiouse was built in No. 7. The 
tax of a hundred and thirty-eight dollars and ninety- 
six cents for building it was made Jan. 12, 1801. It 

1 We think the old house was moved in 1801, or earlier; for, Nov. 28, 
1801, the district voted to raise a tax of a hundred and sixtv dollars, — 
which was made by the assessors, Oct. 9, 1802, — no doubt to build 
a new house. 


stood till December, 1854; when it was torn down, and 
incorporated into the new house, erected January, 
1855, — which stands a few feet farther from the road, 
directly back of where the old house stood. It cost a 
little less than six hundred dollars. The first school 
in it commenced Feb. 26, 1855; and was taught by 
Edwin Goss, of Sterling. 

The old Iiouse in No. 8 is believed to have been 
erected previous to 1800 : I know not the exact year. 
It stood a few rods westerly, on the opposite side of 
the road, from where the present house stands. The 
new house was erected in the summer of 1853. The 
first school in it was taught by Miss Sarah B. Hitch- 
cock, who commenced the summer term of the school 
for that year in the old house, and closed it in tlie new 
Sept. 16, — having occupied it about one month. 

The division of the school-money among the several 
districts, so that every child in town shall receive as 
nearly as possible an equal amount of schooling, is a 
very important matter. 

Various methods of apportioning the money have 
been adopted by the town from time to time. Whether 
any of them is the best that could have been devised, 
is a question for the consideration of the friends of 
equal school rights and privileges. It is, no doubt, 
a diflScult matter, where some of the districts have a 
large number of scholars and others but very few, to 
so divide the money tliat each scliolar shall have the 
same amount and quality of schooling. No general 
rule will bear equally upon all. 

In the warrant for a town-meeting, March 19, 1764, 
there was an article — 

" To vote (if they see) that the people of the Respective 
Quarters whare the schools in sd. town have been usually 
Keept shall draw out of the Treasury of sd. town Their pro- 
portionable part of the money Raised in sd. town, to be used 
by them towards keeping a school in sd. Respective Quarters, 
as they shall think propper." 

We do not find any action upon this matter. 


At the March meeting in 1767, it was " voted that 
the town will divide the money to Each school Quarter 
according to the Rates each school Quarter pays;" 
and Dr. Gideon TiflFany, Isaac Hodges, John Crane, 
George Leonard, jun., Nathan Babbit, Benjamin Cope- 
land, Dr. Jonathan Pratt, Elijah Hodges, and Col. 
Ephraim Leonard, were chosen a committee to appor- 
tion the money in accordance with the above vote, 
and to report at an adjourned meeting. At the ad- 
journment, the above vote was reconsidered ; and it 
was decreed that each of the quarters '' draw the 9tli 
part of the money voted by the town for the school." 

In May, 1768, it was voted that each of the quarters 
" draw the money that they pay towards the support 
of the school, according to the tax-bill ; " and a commit- 
tee of three in each quarter was appointed to attend to 
the matter. Then it was " voted, that, while the money 
is expending in any quarter of the town, every person 
hath a Right to send their children to the sd. school." 

Oct. 6, 1783, the town " voted that each school 
ground, after a new Division, shall draw their part 
of the money raised for schooling, in order to hire a 
schoolmaster." This vote is somewhat ambiguous. 
It was probably intended that each district, or quarter, 
should draw as much money as was assessed on the 
polls and estates of that district; which, of course, 
would not be very just, unless the valuation of the 
several districts was the same, or nearly so. Yet this 
division was, no doubt, satisfactory to a majority of 
the town ; for we find no vote in reference to a divi- 
sion of the school money after this, till May 12, 1806, 
when it w^s "voted that each scliool quarter shall 
draw money for schooling, according to the number 
of scholars from 4 years to 18, and the scholars to be 
confined to their own quarters." This was, no doubt, 
deemed an innovation, a subversion of justice, and 
therefore not to be tolerated. Hence, on the first 
day of the following September, it was "voted to 
reconsider the vote about schooling, and to have it 
staud as it was the last year." But we find no vote 


relative to a division of the money in 1805. Tliere is 
but little doubt that the division " tlie last year " was 
in accordance with the vote of October, 1783. Another 
attempt at change was made May 11, 1807. It was 
then " voted that the school money sliall be divided 
according to the number of children, from four years 
old to twenty, in each quarter." Again the conserva- 
tives rally; and, July 20 of the same year, it was 
" voted that our school money should be divided as it 
was the last year." 

Thus, in all probability, the old system of appor- 
tioning the money prevailed till May 12, 1817, when 
the town voted " that each school district shall draw 
money according to the number of scholars it contains, 
from the age of four years to twenty-one." One man 
in each district was chosen to number the scholars. 

This plan was not long satisfactory, as will be seen 
by the following action, taken Nov. 2, 1818 : " Voted 
that the money raised for schooling be equally divided 
among the several school districts." In accordance 
with this vote, the money was divided till April 5, 
1847, when the present method of apportioning the 
money was adopted ; which is to divide one-half of 
the amount raised by the town for schooling equally 
among the districts, and the other half- according to 
the number of scholars in the district. The money 
received from the State School Fund is divided equally 
among the several districts. By the law of June 25, 
1789, it was made the duty of the ministers of the 
gospel, and the selectmen of the several towns, or 
"other persons" who should be "specially chosen" 
for that purpose, to visit and inspect the schools in 
their respective towns " once in every six months at 
least," to inquire into the regulation and discipline 
thereof, and the proficiency of the school, &c. ; giving 
reasonable notice of their intended visitation. And it 
was also made their duty " to use their best endeavors 
that the youth of their respective towns do regularly 
attend school." 

I cannot find any choice of " other persons," nor 


any action of the town relative to the matter, till 
May 12, 1817, when the town chose " a committee/' 
consisting of Earl P. White, William Verry, and Lu- 
ther Lincoln, " to inspect the schools with the select- 
men at the opening and closing of the same." There 
is no evidence to show that a similar committee was 
rechosen. March 4, 1826, an Act was passed by the 
General Court, requiring towns to choose a School 
Committee, of not less than five persons, to '' have the 
general charge and superintendence of all the public 
schools in their respective towns." This committee 
were required to visit the schools during the first 
week, and on some day within two weeks of the close ; 
and one or more of them to visit all the schools in 
town once a month, without giving notice of their 
visit. The committee were to make a report, to the 
Secretary of the Commonwealth, of various matters 
relating to public instruction, similar to what is now 
required. This law marks a new era in the develop- 
ment of our common-school system ;^ and, as might 
have been expected, met with a strong opposition from 
a portion of the inhabitants, and from some towns in 
their corporate capacity. It found opponents in Nor- 
ton, as will immediately appear. 

April 3, 1826, there was a town-meeting for the 
purpose of choosing " a school committee to make out 
a return, to the Secretary of this Commonwealth, of the 
amount of money expended for the support of schools, 
the number of scholars, the time of keeping the 
schools," &c. 

This meeting was adjourned to May 1. Then met, 
and " voted to dismiss the above warrant, and to have 
nothing more to do with it." The end of the matter 
was not yet ; for, in ten days, John Gilbert and others 
knock at the door of the selectmen's office with a peti- 
tion for a town-meeting " to choose a school committee 
agreeably to a late law of this commonwealth." The 
meeting was held May 18, and it was " voted to choose 
a committee consisting of eight persons." Accord- 
ingly, one was chosen from each school district. Their 


names may be seen further on, heading the list of the 
School Committee. Within a week after they were 
chosen, Elkanah Wood and others petition the select- 
men for a town-meeting " to see if the town will dis- 
miss the school committee chosen the present month 
from any further duties." The town met to act upon 
the matter, May 31 ; chose a moderator, and dissolved 
the meeting. 

Thus the attempt to "crush out" the School Com- 
mittee most signally failed. Yet, from that day to 
this, they have never been regarded with any special 
favor by a minority of the legal voters. But, from 
1826 to the present time, a School Committee has been 
annually chosen, with the exception of the year 1829. 
Whether chosen or not that year, is uncertain. No 
record of such a choice is made on the town-books. 
The town-clerk for that year thinks none were chosen. 
The opposition to them was so strong, that he thinks 
the election of them was, by general consent, permitted 
to go by default. 

The committee chosen in 1826 made a report to the 
town, through the chairman. Rev. Pitt Clarke; for, 
April 2, 1827, the town " voted to accept the report of 
the school committee." A copy of this report is now 
on file in the town-clerk's office. The law of 1826, 
establishing the office of School Committee, did not, 
however, require them to report to their respective 
towns, but to the Secretary of the Commonwealth. 
For more than ten years thereafter, we find no allu- 
sion on the town-books to a report of the School Com- 
mittee ; and probably none was made. 

By an Act of the Legislature, passed April 13, 1838, 
School Committees were required annually to " make 
a detailed report of the condition of the several Public 
Schools in their respective towns ; " which report was 
either to " be read in open town-meeting," or to " be 
printed and distributed for the use of the inhabi- 
tants," &c. In obedience to this law, the committee 
chosen in 1838 made a report to the town at the April 
meeting in 1839. It was written and read by Rev. A. 



M. Bridge. It is believed that a regular report of the 
committee has been yearly made to the town since 
that time. 

At a town-meeting, March 9, 1846, it was " ordered, 
that 500 copies of the Report of the School committee 
be printed and distributed for the use of the town ; " 
and from that time to the present, with the exception 
of 1847, it has been annually printed and distributed 
through the town ; and has thus, no doubt, been pro- 
ductive of much good. 

The following is a list of the School Committee of 
Norton, from 1826 to 1857 inclusive: — 

1826. Rev. Pitt Clarke, Willmm Wetherell, John Hall, 2d, 

Simeon Blandin, Ephraim Raymond, John Crane, 
Calvin Lincoln, John Arnold, jun. 

1827. Rev. Pitt Clarke, Laban Wheaton, Ephraim Ray- 


1828. Rev. Pitt Clarke, E. P. White, Laban Wheaton. 

1829. Probably none chosen. 

1830. Rev. Pitt Clarke, Thomas Braman, Eddy Lincoln. 

1831. Rev. Pitt Clarke, Thomas Braman, jun., John Crane. 

1832. Rev. Pitt Clarke, John Crane, Thomas Braman, jun. 

1833. Rev. Pitt Clarke, Thomas Braman, Thomas Copeland. 

1834. Rev. Pitt Clarke, Thomas Braman, Thomas Copeland. 

1835. Dr. Richard F. Sweet, Eddy Lincoln, Cromwell Leo- 


1836. Rev. A. M. Bridge, Rev. C. W. Allen, R. F. Sweet. 

1837. Rev. Asarelah M. Bridge, Rev. Cyrus W. Allen, R. 

F. Sweet. 

1838. Rev. A. M. Bridge, Rev. C. W. Allen, R. F. Sweet. 

1839. Eddy Lincoln, George B. Crane, Zebulon P. White. 

1840. Rev. A. M. Bridge, Rev. C. W. Allen, Rev. Nathan 


1841. Rev. C. W. Allen, Rev. William P Tilden, Almond 


1842. Rev. William P. Tilden, Almond Tucker, Rodolphus 

IL Williams. 
.1843. Rev. William P. Tilden, Almond Tucker, R. H. Wil- 

1844. Rev. William P. Tilden, R. H. Williams, Rev. Samuel 

J. Carr. 

1845. R. H. Williams, J. Calvin Crane, Almond Tucker. 


1846. R. H. Williams, J. C. Crane, A. Tucker. 

1847. R. H. Williams, A. Tucker, Rev. Amorj Gale. 

1848. Rev. William Barrows, J. C. Crane, Augustus Lane. 

1849. Rev. Frederic Hinckley, Charles W. Hodges, Augus- 

tus Lane. 

1 850. Rev. F. Hinckley, A. Lane, C. W. Hodges. 

1851. Rev. William Read, Rev. S. P. Snow, J. C. Crane. 

1852. Ji^mes B. Lincoln, Dr. Benjamin M. Round, Benjamin 

E. Sweet. 

1853. Rev. George F. Clark, Rev. Franklin Holmes, Dr. 

Benjamin M. Round. 

1854. Rev. G. F. Clark, Rev. F. Holmes, R. H. Williams. 

1855. Chnstopher Comstock, A. A. Lincoln, jun., Thomas T. 

Rock wood. 

1856. Rev. George F. Clark, Rev. John A. Gibson, Benja- 

min E. Sweet, 

1857. Eddy Lincoln, Benjamin E. Sweet, R. Henry Hall. 


** Are yoa good men and true? " — Shakbpxaki. 

It is believed that most of the town-meetings, from the 
organization of the town till the Town House was built 
in 1843, were held in the " Publick Meeting-house," 
either in the South or North Precinct, but principally 
at the former place. 

The first warrant for a town-meeting, that we find 
recorded on the town-books, is dated " February ye 20 
day, Annoque Domini 1718-19;" and the meeting- 
house was tlie place where the voters were to as- 

Occasionally, the meetings were adjourned to a 
private dwelling-house, probably on account of the 
inclemency of the weather, — the meeting-house hav- 
ing no means of warming it. 


By the loss of the records from 1711 to 1715, we are 
unable to give the names of all the prominent town- 
o£5cers for those years. Prom various papers and 
sources, we have learned the names of ,a few of the 
o£5cers before the commencement of the records now 
extant ; and, in cases where there is some doubt, we 
insert a question-mark (?). 

The names of the town-clerks for 1711 and 1712, 1 
. find attached to marriage certificates ; the treasurer's 
name for 1711, in a constable's warrant ; those of the 
selectmen for 1711, on the town-records, in connection 
with a return of a highway ; those of two of the se- 
lectmen in 1712, on a deed, given to them by George 
Leonard, of some land on which the meeting-house 
stood ; those of 1713, on the North-Purchase Records, 
pp. 38 and 39 ; those of 1714, on the town-records at- 
tached to a return of highway. 

The annual meetings for the choice of town-officers, 
from 1712 to 1858, have been held in March. The 
. meetings for the choice of Governor, from the adop- 
tion of the Constitution in 1780, were held in April, 
till the year 1831, when the Constitution was amended 
so that the election should take place in November. 
The meetings to choose representative to General 
Court were usually held in May, till the year 1831. 
Since then, they have been held on the day of the 
Governor's election. 

We now lay before our readers the names of the 
moderators of the annual March meetings, the town- 
clerks, treasurers, representatives, selectmen, assessors, 
tithing-men, and wardens, for each year from 1711 to 
1857. We give the titles attached to the names as we 
find them on the records ; and it will be understood 
that a portion of these officers, previous to 1770, be- 
longed to the North Precinct, now Mansfield. 


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1711. George Leonard, John Wetherell, Thomas Stephens. 

1712. George Leonard (?), Samuel Brintnell, Nicholas 


1713. George Leonard (?), John Hodges, Thomas Stephens. 

1714. George Leonard (?), Nicholas White, John Hodges. 

1715. John Wetherell, John Briggs, John Skinner. 

1716. George Leonard,* Nicholas White, John Hodges. 

1717. John Hodges, John Wetherell, John Skinner. 

1718. John Hodges, sen., John Wetherell, sen., John Skin- 

ner. " East End," Thomas Randall, John Phillips. 

1719. John Wetherell, John Hodges, John Skinner. 

1720. John Hodges, John Wetherell, John Briggs, grand 

senior. " East End," John Phillips, Josiah Keith. 

1721. John Briggs, grand senior, Benjamin Williams, John 

Smith, grand senior. " East End," John Phillips, 
Edward Howard. 

1722. Nicholas White, Thomas Skinner, Benjamin Williams. 

1723. Lieut. Nicholas White, Thomas Skinner, Benjamin 


1724. Nicholas White, Samuel Hodges, Benjamin Williams. 
1725.^ George Leonard, Samuel Hodges,* Ephraim Grover. 

1726. Capt. Samuel Brintnell, John Briggs, 2d, Richard 


1727. George Leonard, Nicholas White, Eleazar Fisher. 

1728. George Leonard, Lieut. Nicholas White, Thomas 

Skinner, sen. 

1729. George Leonard, Esq., Lieut. Nicholas White, Ensign 

Joseph Hodges. 

1730. Lieut. Nicholas White, Benjamin Williams, Joseph 


1731. John Briggs, 2d, Benjamin Williams, William Stone. 

1732. John Wetherell, 1st, Benjamin Williams, Samuel 


1 Sept. 16, John Skinner was chosen selectman in place (?) of George 
Leonara, deceased. 

2 At the annual meeting, March 1, of this year, " Thayer was a vote 
caled for, for those that ware for three Selectmen to Go into the Wimin's 
Galery, and those that ware for five Selectmen to Go into men*s Galery; 
and tfeare ware most in the Wimin's Galery." The moderator of the meet- 
ing undoubtedly wanted only three selectmen chosen; for he must have 
known instinctively that the largest number of men would have been 
found on the " wimin's " side of the house. 

9 May 14, 1725, Benjamin Williams was chosen selectman *Md the 
Boome of Samuel Hodges, deceased." 


1733. Epbraim Leonard, Joseph Hodges, Samuel Clap. 

1734. £phraim Leonard, Joseph Hodges, Benjamin Wil- 

liams, Mr. Samuel Clap, John Hodges. 

1735. Samuel Clap, William Stone, Benjamin Williams. 

1736. George Leonard, Esq., William Stone, Benjamin 


1737. Ephraim Leohard, Esq., John Hodges, Simeon Weth- 


1738. Col. George Leonard, Simeon Wethefell, Deacon 

Nicholas White. 

1739. John Hodges, John Gilbert, Josiah Pratt. 

1740. George Leonard, Esq., John Gilbert, Josiah Pratt. 

1741. George Leonard, Ephraim Leonard, Joseph Hodges, 

John Gilbert, Josiah Pratt. 

1742. George Leonard, Joseph Hodges, John Gilbert. 

1743. George Leonard, Esq., Ephraim Leonard, Esq., Wil- 

liam Dean. 

1744. Capt Simeon Wetherell, Lieut. Josiah Pratt, Lieut 

William Stone. 

1745. Capt. Simeon Wetherell, William Stone, Benjamin 

Williams, William Dean, John Andrews. 

1746. Capt. Simeon Wetherell, Capt. William Stone, Capt 

William Dean. 

1747. Capt Simeon Wetherell, William Dean, William 


1748. Capt. William Stone, Capt Simeon Wetherell, Capt. 

William Dean. 

1749. Capt, Simeon Wetherell, Capt William Stone, Capt. 

William Dean. 

1750. Capt. William Stone, Capt. Simeon Wetherell, Capt 

William Dean. 

1751. George Leonard, Ephraim Leonard, Nathan Hodges. 

1752. George Leonard, Esq., Nathan Hodges, Joseph El- 


1753. Hon. George Leonard, Esq., Ephraim Leonard, Esq., 

George Leonard, jun. 

1754. Hon. George Leonard, Esq., Ephraim Leonard, Esq., 

George Leonard, jun., Esq. 

1755. Ephraim Leonard, Esq., Lieut. Thomas Morey, Tho- 

mas Shepard, Lieut. Benjamin Pratt, Lieut. Ben- 
jamin Cobb. 

^ Thomas Fillebrown was chosen May 11, 1752, in the place of Joseph 
Elliot, deceased. 


1756. Lieut. Thomas Morej, Lieut. Benjamin Cobb, Mr. 

Thomas Shepard, Mr. Isaac White, Mr. Nathan 

1757. Thomas Morey, Benjamin Cobb, Ebenezer Burt. 

1758. Lieut Thomas Morey, Lieut. Benjamin Cobb, Mr. 

Ebenezer Burt. 

1759. Capt. Thomas Morey, Capt. Benjamin Cobb, Mr. 

Ebenezer Burt 
1760.. Capt. Thomas Morej, Capt. Benjamin Cobb, Lieut 
Benjamin Pratt 

1761. George Leonard, jun., Esq., Mr. Thomas Shepard, 

Mr. Isaac White. 

1762. George Leonard, jun., Esq., Capt. William Dean, 

Capt. Jonathan Eddy. 

1763. George Leonard, jun., Esq., Mr. Daniel Leonard, Mr. 

William Cobb, Ebenezer Burt, 1st, Dr. George 

1764. Lieut William Cobb, Dr. George Wheaton, George 

Leonard, jun., Esq. 

1765. Mr. William Cobb, Dr. George Wheaton, Mr. Isaac 


1766. Lieut William Cobb, Dr. George Wheaton, Mr. Isaac 


1767. Lieut William Cobb, Dr. George Wheaton, Mr. Isaac 


1768. Lieut William Cobb, Dr. George Wheaton, Mr. Isaac 


1769. Lieut William Cobb, Dr. George Wheaton, Mr. Isaac 


1770. George Leonard, jun., Esq., Dr. George Wheaton,* 

Mr. Nathan Babbit. 

1771. Hon. George Leonard, jun., Esq., Mr. John Crane, 

Mr. Nathan Babbit 

1772. Hon. George Leonard, jun., Esq., Mr. Nathan Bab- 

bit, Mr. John Crane. 

1773. Capt William Homes, Capt. John Crane, Mr. Sam- 

uel Newcomb. 

1774. William Homes, Samuel Newcomb, Isaac Hodges. 

1775. Capt. William Homes, Mr. Isaac Hodges, Mr. Eleazar 


1 May 23, 1770, John Crane was chosen selectman in the place of George 
Wheaton, who lived in that part of Norton, which, a few days before, had 
been erected into the District of Mansfield. 



1776. William Homes, Mr. Isaac Hodges, Mr. Eleazar Clap. 

1777. William Homes, Mr. Daniel Dean, Mr. Eleazar Clap. 

1778. William Homes, Esq., Lieut. William Cobb, Mr. 

Daniel Dean. 

1779. Lieut. William Cobb, William Homes, Esq., Deacon 

Daniel Dean. 

1780. Lieut. William Cobb, William Homes, Esq., Deacon 

Daniel Dean. 

1781. William Homes, Esq., Lieut. William Cobb, Deacon 

Daniel Dean. 

1782. Capt. Seth Smith, Capt. Israel Trow, Deacon Daniel 


1783. Capt. Seth Smith, Capt. Israel Trow, Lieut David 


1784. Capt. Israel Trow, Capt. Seth Smith, Lieut David 


1785. Capt Seth Smith, Capt John Crane, Col. Silas Cobb. 

1786. Capt John Crane, Capt. Isaac Hodges, Lieut David 


1787. Capt John Crane, Capt Isaac Hodges, Lieut. David 


1788. Capt John Crane, Lieut. David Arnold, Lieut. Jacob 

11789. Capt John Crane, Capt Ephraim Lane, Lieut. Jacob 

1790. Capt. tJohn Crane, Capt Ephraim Lane, Jacob Shep- 


1791. Capt John Crane, Capt. Ephraim Lane, jun., Lieut' 

Jacob Shepard. 
hL792. Capt. John Crane, Capt. Ephraim Lane, jun., Capt 
David Clap. 

1793. Capt. Ephraim Lane, Capt Israel Trow, Capt David 


1794. Capt. Day id Clap, Ephraim Lane, Capt Tisdale 


1795. Capt David Clap, Capt Tisdale Hodges, Isaac 

Hodges, jun. 
* 1796. Deacon Daniel Dean, Tisdale Hodges, Isaac Hodges, 

1797. Capt Tisdale Hodges, Isaac Hodges, jun., Elisha 


1798. Isaac Hodges, jun., Elisha Cobb, David Lincoln, jun. 

1799. Capt Tisdale Hodges, Isaac Hodges, jun., Lieut 

EUsha Cobb. 


1800. Isaac Hodges, jun., Lieut. John Hall, Capt. Tisdale 


1801. Isaac Hodges, jun., Lieut. John Hall, William Burt.* 

1802. William Burt, Lieut. John Hodges, Major Brian Hall. 

1803. William Burt, Samuel Hunt, Jonathan Hodges. 

1804. William Burt, Capt. Jonathan Hodges, Capt. Samuel 


1805. Capt. Samuel Hunt, Capt. Jonathan Hodges, Major 

Brian Hall. 

1806. Capt. Jonathan Hodges, Laban Wheaton, Esq., Capt. 

Samuel Hunt. 

1807. Laban Wheaton, Esq., Capt. Samuel Hunt, Major 

Brian Hall. 

1808. Laban Wheaton, Brian Hall, Samuel Hunt. 

1809. Isaac Hodges, Major Brian Hall, Capt. Samuel Hunt. 

1810. Brian Hall, Isaac Hodges, Samuel Hunt. 

1811. Isaac Hodges, Samuel Hunt, Samuel Copeland. 

1812. Samuel Copeland, Isaac Hodges, Samuel Hunt. 

1813. Isaac Hodges, Samuel Copeland, Samuel Hunt. 

1814. Isaac Hodges, Seth Hodges, Jonathan Newland. 

1815. Isaac Hodges, Lysander Makepeace, Daniel Lane. 

1816. Isaac Hodges, Lysander Makepeace, Seth Hodges. 

1817. Isaac Hodges, Seth Hodges, Lysander Makepeace. 

1818. Seth Hodges, Lysander Makepeace, Daniel Lane. 

1819. Seth Hodges, Daniel Lane, Lemuel Arnold. 

1820. Daniel Lane, Seth Hodges, Lemuel Arnold. 

1821. Lemuel Arnold, Lemuel Perry, Jacob Shepard. 

1822. Lemuel Arnold, Lemuel Perry, Jacob Shepard. 

1823. Lemuel Perry, Jacob Shepard, Thomas Braman. 

1824. Lemuel Perry, Lemuel Arnold, Jacob Shepard. 

1825. Lemuel Perry, Jacob Shepard, Daniel Patten. 

1826. Lemuel Perry, Jacob Shepard, Daniel Patten. 

1827. Lemuel Perry, Daniel Patten, Oliver Hunt. 

1828. Oliver Hunt, Williams Hodges, Calvin Lane. 

1829. Sylvester Newcomb, Cromwell Leonard, Jacob Shep- 


1830. Sylvester Newcomb, Cromwell Leonard, Jacob Shep- , 


1831. Cromwell Leonard, Sylvester Newcomb, William 

Lane, jun. 

1832. Cromwell Leonard, Sylvester Newcomb, William 

Lane, jun. 

1833. Cromwell Leonard, Sylvester Newcomb, William 

Lane, jun. 



1834. Cromwell Leonard, Sjlvester Newoomby William 

Lane, jun. 

1835. Cromwell Leonard, Simeon Blandin, Seth Hodges. 

1836. Seth Hodges, Cromwell Leonard, Simeon Blandin. 

1837. Cromwell Leonard, Simeon Blandin, Leonard Hodges, 


1838. Leonard Hodges, jun., Hennary Newcomb, Richard 

F. Sweet. * 

1839. Hennary Newcomb, Daniel Briggs, Leonard Hodges, 


1840. George B. Crane, Jacob Shepard, Earl Hodges. 

1841. George B. Crane, Jacob Shepard, Earl Hodges. 

1842. George B. Crane, Jacob Shepard, Earl Hodges. 

1843. George B. Crane, Jacob Shepard, Almbnd Tucker. 

1844. Almond Tucker, Rodolphus H. Williams, Hiram J. 


1845. Hiram J. Hunt, Eddy Lincoln, Cyrus White. 

1846. George B. Crane, Almond Tucker, Cyrus Whitei 

1847. Seth Sumner, jun., George B. Crane, Almond Tucker. 

1848. George B. Crane, Seth Sunmer, jun., David Arnold. 

1849. George B. Crane, Seth Sumner, jun., David Arnold. 

1850. Greorge B. Crane, Seth Sumner, jun., David Arnold. 

1851. Daniel S. Cobb, Eli Wood, Benjamin S. HalL 

1852. Daniel S. Cobb, Eli Wood, Benjamin S. HalL 

1853. Daniel S. Cobb, Charles H. Briggs, John B. New- 


1854. Earl C. White, Elkanah Wheeler, Augustus Lane. 

1855. Ebenezer Tinkham, Royal P. Hodges, Hiram H. 


1856. Augustus Lane, James O. Messinger, James Allen. 

1857. Augustus Lane, James O. Messinger, James Allen. 


We cannot ascertain that any assessors were chosen 
as such for several years after the incorporation of the 
town. The first allusion to them on the town-records 
was at the annual meeting, March 2, 1719, when the 
town " made chois of [the persons whose names are 
given below] to be assesors." 

Thenceforward they were annually chosen, for a 
hundred and nineteen years. In 1839, it was voted 
not to choose assessors. Since, they have been chosen 


only two or three years ; but the selectmen have per- 
formed their duties. 

1719. John Hodges, John Wetherell, John Skinner. 

1720. John Skinner, Samuel Hodges, John Briggs, sen. 

" East Precinct," Josiah Keith, John Daley, Timo- 
thy Cooper. 

1721. John Andrews, Jonathan Lincoln, Eleazar Eddy. 

1722. JoAathan Lincoln, John Andrews, Eleazar Eddy. 

1723. Jonathan Lincoln, Joseph Hodges, John Andrews. 

1724. Eleazar Eddy, Joseph Hodges, Nathan Hodges. 

1725. Joseph Hodges, Nathan Hodges, William Stone. 

1726. Eleazar Eddy, Simeon Wetherell, Jeremiah Newland. 

1727. Joseph Hodges, Simeon Wetherell, Jeremiah New- 


1728. John Briggs, 2d, John Skinner, Jeremiah Newland. 

1729. John Briggs, 2d, John Skinner, Jeremiah Newland. 

1730. Ephraim Leonard, Simeon Wetherell, Nathan Hodges. 

1731. John Wetherell, sen., John Skinner, sen., Ephraim 


1732. John Briggs, 2d, John Skinner, Ephraim Leonard. 

1733. John Briggs, 2d, William Dean, John Andrews. 

1734. William Dean, Benjamin Cobb, John Briggs, 2d. 

1 735. Benjamin Williams, Jonathan Lincoln, Benjamin Cobb. 

1736. John Andrews, Jonathan Lincoln, Benjamin Cobb. 

1737. John Andrews, William Dean, Benjamin Cobb. 

1738. Benjamin Cobb, William Dean, Nathan Hodges. 

1739. John Andrews, Nathan Hodges, William Dean. 

1740. William Dean, Benjamin Cobb, Simeon Wetherell. 

1741. Benjamin Cobb, William Dean, Simeon Wetherell. 

1742. John Andrews, David WiUiams, Benjamin Lane. 

1743. Lieut. Benjamin Cobb, Ensign William Dean, Jona- 

than Lawrence. 

1744. Jonathan Lawrence, Benjamin Cobb, Benjamin Pratt. 

1745. Lieut. Benjamin Cobb, Benjamin Pratt, David Wil- 


1746. Benjamin Cobb, David Williams, Benjamin Pratt 

1747. Lieut. Benjamin Cobb, Benjamin Pratt, David Wil- 


1748. Lieut. Benjamin Cobb, Benjamin Pratt, David Wil- 


1749. Benjamin Cobb, David Williams, Benjamin Pratt.- 

1750. Benjamin Cobb, David Williams, Benjamin Pratt. 



1751. Thomas Fillebrown, David Williams, John Fisher. 

1752. Thomas Morey, Isaac White, David Williams. 

1753. George Leonard, jun., David Williams, Jonathan New- 


1754. Thomas Morey, David Williams, Jonathan Newcomb. 

1755. Major George Leonard, Joseph Hodges, Isaac White. 

1756. Lieut. Benjamin Cobb, Lieut. Thomas Morej, David 


1757. Isaac White, Seth Gilbert, David Williams. 

1758. Benjamin Cobb, Isaac White, David Williattns. 

1759. Capt Benjamin Cobb, Mr. Isaac White, Seth Gilbert. 

1760. Capt. Thomas Morej, Lieut. Benjamin Pratt, Isaac 


1761. Major Thomas Morey, Lieut. Benjamin Pratt, Mr. 

Isaac Hodges. 

1762. David WilHams, WiUiam Cobb, Isaac White. 

1763. George Leonard, jun., Esq., Lieut Isaac White, Mr. 

John Crane. 

1764. Brian Hall, Seth Gilbert, George Wheaton. 

1765. Mr. Daniel Leonard, Mr. Noah Wiswell, Mr. John 


1766. Dr. Gideon Tiffany, Mr. Elkanah Lincoln, Mr. Daniel 


1767. Ephraim Hodges, Isaac Dean, Seth Williams. 

1768. George Leonard, jun., Esq., David Williams, Dr. 

George Wheaton. 

1769. John Crane, Dr. George WTieaton, Seth Gilbert. 

1770. John Crane, John King, Benjamin Williams.^ 

1771. Mr. John Crane, Mr. Record FrankUn, Mr. Silas 


1772. John Patten, Record Franklin, John King. 

1773. David Clap, Capt. William Homes, John King. 

1774. Isaac Hodges, John Patten, John King. 

1775. Lieut. Nathan Babbit, Mr. Noah Wiswall, Mr. Isaac 


1776. John King, Mr. John Patten, Mr. Record Franklin. 

1777. Capt. Silas Cobb,^ Mr. John Patten, Lieut Brian 


1 May 23, 1770, Seth Williams was chosen assessor in the place (?) of 
Benjamin Williams, who lived in that part of Norton that had recently been 
erected into the District of Mansfield. 

2 Nov. 17, 1777, Capt. Seth Gilbert was chosen assessor in the place of 
Capt. Silas Cobb, who was absent in the army. 


1778. WiUiam Homes, Esq., Lieut William Cobb, Mr. 

Daniel Dean. 

1779. Lieut William Cobb, William Homes, Esq., Deacon 

Daniel Dean. 

1780. Capt Israel Trow, Capt. Seth Smith, Capt Isaac 


1781. George Leonard, Esq., Capt Israel Trow, Silas Cobb. 

1782. George Leonard, Esq., Silas Cobb, Capt Israel Trow. 

1783. Silas Cobb, Capt Israel Trow, Capt David Clap. 

1784. Cfept Silas Cobb, Capt Israel Trow, Capt David Clap. 

1785. Capt John Crane, Mr. William Burt, Capt. Isaac 


1786. Capt. John Crane, Capt Isaac Hodges, Joseph Hunt 

1787. Joseph Hunt, Capt John Crane, Capt Isaac Hodges. 

1788. Josiah Woodward, Joseph Hunt, Eleazar Walker. 

1789. William Burt, Lieut. Seth Smith, jun., Joshua Pond. 

1790. William Burt, Lieut Seth Smith, Joshua Pond. 

1791. Joshua Pond, Capt David Clap, Capt Israel Trow. 

1792. Capt David Clap, Lieut EUsha Cobb, Joseph Hunt, 

Isaac Hodges, jun., Joshua Pond. 

1793. Capt. David Clap, Elisha Cobb, Joshua Pond. 

1794. Elisha Cobb, Joshua Pond, Isaac Hodges, jun. 

1795. Brig. Silas Cobb, Elisha Cobb, Brian Hall. 

1796. Noah Clap, Elisha Cobb, Brian Hall. 

1797. Noah Clap, Brian Hall, Joshua Pond. 

1798. Joshua Pond, Noah Clap, Brian Hall. 

1799. Timothy Briggs, jun., William Burt, Capt Jonathan 


1800. Major Brian Hall, Lieut John Hall, Capt Jonathan 

1801. ' Capt Jonathan Hodges, Major Brian Hall, Lieut. 
Elisha Cobb, Lieut. Rufus Hodges, Lieut. Samuel 

1802. Major Brian Hall, Lieut. Elisha Cobb, Capt. Samuel 


1803. Brian Hall, Samuel Hunt, David Arnold. 

1804. Major Brian Hall, Capt. Samuel Hunt, John Arnold. 

1805. Major Brian Hall, Capt. Samuel Hunt, John Arnold. 

1806. John Arnold, William Verry, Brian Hall. 

1807. Major Brian Hall, Lieut William Verry, Lieut. John 


1808. Brian Hall, William Verry, Samuel Hunt 

1809. Brian Hall, William Verry, Samuel Hunt 


1810. Brian Hall, Samuel Hunt, William Verry. 

1811. Brian Hall, Samuel Hunt, William Veny. 

1812. Brian Hall, William Verry, Samuel Hunt. 

1813. Brian Hall, Isaac Hodges, Samuel Hunt 

1814. Seth Hodges, Daniel Smith, Jonathan Newland. 

1815. Brian Hall, Isaac Hodges, Samuel Hunt 

1816. Brian Hall, Isaac Hodges, Samuel Hunt 

1817. Isaac Hodges, Seth Hodges, Samuel Hunt. 

1818. Isaac Hodges, Seth Hodges, Daniel Patten. 

1819. Isaac Hodges, Seth Hodges, Lemuel Perry. 

1820. Isaac Hodges, Seth Hodges, Lemuel Perry. 

1821. Isaac Hodges, Lemuel Perry, Seth Hodges. 

1822. Daniel Lane, Richard Newcomb, Williams Hodges. 

1823. Daniel Lane, Williams Hodges, Richard Newcomb. 

1824. Williams Hodges, Daniel Shepard, George Walker. 

1825. Williams Hodges, Daniel Shepard, George Walker. 

1826. Jacob Shepard, Daniel Lane, John L. Munro, jun. 

1827. Jacob Shepard, John L. Munro, jun., Elkanah Wood. 

1828. John L. Munro, jun., Daniel Lane, Williams Hodges. 
*1829. Sylvester Newcomb, Cromwell Leonard, Jacob Shep- 

1830. Sylvester Newcomb, Cromwell Leonard, Jacob Shep- 


1831. Williams Hodges, Hennary Newcomb, Daniel Briggs, 


1832. William Lane, jun., Sylvester Newcomb, Cromwell 


1833. Cromwell Leonard, Sylvester Newcomb, William 

Lane, jun. 

1834. Cromwell Leonard, Sylvester Newcomb, William 

Lane, jun. 

1835. Cromwell Leonard, Simeon Blandin, Seth Hodges. 

1836. Seth Hodges, Cromwell Leonard, Simeon Blandin. 

1837. Cromwell Leonard, Simeon Blandin, Leonard Hodges, 


1838. Leonard Hodges, jun., Hennary Newcomb, Richard 

F. Sweet 


As early as 1679, in the Colony of the Massachu- 
setts Bay,* it was ordered that tithing-men should be 

1 See Records, vol. v. p. 240. 


annually chosen in the towns ^^ of their most prudent 
& discreet inhabitants/' to inspect all licensed or un- 
licensed houses, "where they shall haue notice, or 
haue ground to suspect, that any person or persons 
doe spend their tjme or estates, by night or by day, in 
tipling, gaming, or otheruise vnproffitably ; or doe sell, 
by retayle, strong drincke, wine, ale, cidar, rumn, 
brandey, perry, matheglin, & without license." All 
such disorderly houses they were requested to search ; 
and if any of these liquors were found therein, and 
the owners could not give " satisfactory account of their 
having the same," either with or without warrant, 
they were empowered to seize said liquors and carry 
them off, and to institute legal proceedings against 
the parties on whose premises the liquors were found. 
The tithing-men were also requested " to inspect the 
manners of all disorderly persons ; " and to present 
to some magistrate " the names of all single persons 
that live from under family government, stubborne 
and disorderly children and servants, night-walkers, 
typlers, Saboath-breakers, by night or by day, and such 
as absent themselves from the publicke worship of 
God on the Lord's dayes ; " and all persons whose 
conduct tended " to debauchery, irreligion, prophaness, 
& atheisme." 

The tithing-men's badge of office was " a black 
Staff, of two foot long, tipt at one End with Brass 
about three Inches ; to be provided by the selectmen, 
at the Charge of the Town." 

Sept. 8, 1741, there was " voted to Jonathan Leo- 
nard, for 2 tithing-men's Staves, XOO— 02." 

In 1760, an Act passed to prevent " The Propha- 
nation of the Lord's day;" which required that 
from two to six persons, " of good substance, and of 
sober Life and conversation," called wardens, should 
be chosen annually, whose duty it was to see that the 
sabbath was duly observed in all public-houses and 
elsewhere; and to examine all persons suspected of 
unnecessary travelling on Sunday, &c. 

They were probably called wardens, from the fact 


that Boston was required to choose one from each 
ward in the town. The penalty for not choosing them 
in each town was fifty pounds. Their badge of oflSce 
was a ''white wand, not less than seven Feet in 
length." It will be seen that their duties were simi- 
lar to those of the tithing-men. For a year or two 
after the Act requiring wardens to be chosen was 
passed, no tithing-men were chosen in Norton. Sub- 
sequently, a portion of the time, both tithing-men and 
wardens were chosen. We here transcribe the names 
of the " prudent & discreet " persons, and those " of 
sober Life and Conversation," who have been chosen 
tithing-men and wardens : those of the latter we put 
in Italics. The town voted not to choose tithing-meu 
in 1839. Subsequently, none have been chosen, we 
believe, with the exception of the year 1850, when 
Eli. C. Wood was elected. 

1716. John Austin, Richard Briggs, (Clement Briggs).* 

1717. Seth Dorman, Isaac Shepard, (Thomas Randall). 

1718. William Wetherell, sen., John Smith, jun., Thomas 

Grover, (Ephraim Manuel). 

1719. Ephraim Lane, Joshua Lincoln, (William Manley). 

1720. John Newland, Peter Aldrich, (Israel Randall). 

1721. Ebenezer Burt, Samuel Clap, (Benjamin Drake). 

1722. John Briggs, sen., Richard Briggs. 

1723. John Briggs, sen., Richard Briggs, (Benjamin Drake). 

1724. John Briggs, sen., Seth Dorman, Thomas Manley. 

1725. John Briggs, sen., Joseph Pitee, Israel Randall. 

1726. Joseph Gray, Joseph Godfrey, Ephraim Lane. 

1727. John Briggs, 2d, Richard Briggs. 

1728. Ebenezer Eddy, John Briggs, 1st, Joseph Pitee. 

1729. Samuel Clap, Josiah Pratt, Joseph Gray. 

1730. Thomas Skinner, sen., John Wild, William Codington. 
.1731. Josiah Atherton, James Leonard, Benjamin Seele. 

1732. John Harvey, John Newland, 2d, Isaac Welman. 

1733. Benjamin Cobb, Solomon Skinner, John Austin, jun., 

William Haradon: 

1 Tho^e names enclosed in parentheses were for the East Precinct, now 


1734. John Andrews, Ephraim Dunham, William Bassett, 

Jonathan Pratt 

1735. Stephen Blanchard, Joseph Gray, John Cobb, John 


1786. Ebenezer Welman, Benjamin Seele* 

1737. Isaac Welman, Ebenezer Burt. 

1738. William Paine, Thomas Shepard. 

1739. William Paine, Samuel Phillips. 

1740. Samuel Clap, Ebenezer Brintnell. 

1741. George Allen, John Wetherell, 3d. 

1742. Gideon Bassett, Benjamin Copeland. 

1743. James Briggs, Samuel Titus. 

1744. John King, Joseph Elliot. 

1745. Ephraim Lane, 2d, Eliphalet Hodges, Stephen Blan* 


1746. Benjamin Hews, Nicholas White, Timothy Briggs. 

1747. Stephen Blanchard, Jonathan Burt, Uriah Leonard. 

1748. John Fisher, Seth Smith, Nathaniel Brintnell. 

1749. John Briggs, 2d, WUliam Codington, Thomas Fille- 

brown, Ephraim Lane. 

1750. William Codington, Joseph Elliot, Gideon Bassett, 

Joseph Hodges. 

1751. Seth Smith, Samuel Elliot. 

1752. Thomas Fillebrown. 

1753. Seth Smith, Thomas Fillebrown. 

1754. Nathaniel Fisher, Joseph Newland. 

1755. Ebenezer Grover, Natban Williams, Sylvanus Bra- 

man, Paul Cook, Timothy Briggs. 

1756. John Fisher, Benjamin Newcomb, James Grover. 

1757. William Paine, jun., Jonathan Knap. 

1758. Joshua Atherton, Ephraim Hodges. 

1759. Phineas Grover, William Newcomb. 

1760. John Briggs, Deacon Samuel Dean, Capt William 

Dean, James J'illebrown. 

1761. Benjamin Pearson, John Briggs^ Benjamin White, 

William Paine, 2cL 

1762. Jonathan Burt, Sylvanus Braman, Mr. Nathan Wil- 


1763. Israel Woodward, Job White, 

1 7 64. Meletiah Washburn, Samuel Fillebrown, Ahijah Fisher^ 

Gershom GamheU, Nathan Williams, 

1765. David Arnold, William Paine, 2d, John White, 1st, 

William Basset, jun* 


1766. Timothy Briggs, John White, 2d, John WethereOy jun^ 

George Briggs^ Elijah Dean, 

1767. Ebenezer BrintneUy CapL Jonathan HodgeSy William 


1768. Meletiah Washburn, Timothy Smith, Samuel Fille- 

brown, David Arnold^ William Carpenter^ jun^ 
James FiUehrown, 

1769. Dr. Gideon Tiffany, Thomas Grover, Record Franklin^ 

David Amoldy Benjamin Day^ Eleazer Williams. 

1770. Stephen Pond, John Patten. 

1771. Isaac Williams, Meletiah Washburn, John Eddy, Sam- 

uel Hunt, 

1772. Seth Williams, James Gilbert, Silas Cobb. 

1773. John Patten, Josiah Woodward. 

1774. Samuel Hunt, Silas Cobb. 

nib. William Makepeace, Hezekiah WtUard. 

1776. Daniel Knap, Joseph Burt. 

1777. Meletiah Washburn, Simeon Briggs. 

1778. Joseph Burt, Noah Woodward. 

1779. Meletiah Washburn, Timothy Briggs. 

1780. Capt. Silas Cobb, Capt. Israel Trow. 

1781. Elkanah Lincoln, jr., Nathan Babbit, Nathaniel Prior. 

1782. James Hodges, Elijah Danforth. 

1783. Seth Smith, jun., Tisdale Hodges, 

1784. Abiathar Shaw, Benjamin Braman, 

1785. Nathaniel Freeman, Elisha Cobb, 

1786. William Verry, Isaac Bassett, 

1787. Nathan Perry, Jonathan Briggs, 

1788. Samuel Copeland, Thomas Braman. 

1789. Timothy Briggs, Benjamin Wild, Benjamin Blandin, 

Benjamin Puffer, 

1790. Benjamin Wild, William Morey, Isaac Hodges, Daniel 


1791. Jonathan Clap, 2d, Samuel Hunt, John Gilbert, WU- 

Ham Makepeace, 

1792. Thomas Braman, Isaac Bassett. 

1793. Elisha Cobb, Thomas Braman. 

1794. Daniel Briggs, Nathan Perry. 

1795. Capt Titus, Isaac Burt 

1796. Jonathan Leonard, Asa Copeland. 

1797. Ichabod Perry, Benjamin Puffer. 

1798. Daniel Lane, Luther Lincoln. 

1799. Ephraim Raymond, Benjamin Horton. 


1800w Lieut Abiel Lincoln, Ljsander Makepeace. 

1801. Thomas Leonard, Daniel Bassett* 

1802. Josiah Hodges, jun., Araunah Smith. 
1808. Daniel Basset^ Daniel Lane. 

1804. Zopher Skinner, Asa Knowles. 

1805. Thomas Braman, jun., David Hodges. 

1806. Josiah Hunt, Capt Daniel Knapp. 

1807. Capt. Thomas Danforth, Daniel Knapp, David Make- 

peace, Benjamin King. 

1808. Seth Babbit, Jonathan Clapp. 

1809. No record of choice. 

1810. Abiel Lincoln, Nathaniel Stone, jun. 

1811. No record of choice. 

1812. Abiel Lincoln, David Makepeace, Daniel Bassett 
1818. Greorge Gilbert, Zopher Skinner. 

1814. David Makepeace, Timothy Briggs. 

1815. Daniel Smith, Jonathan Newland. 

1816. Lysander Makepeace, John Dean, Daniel Shepard. 

1817. Abiel Lincoln, Nathaniel Stone, jun., Thomas Braman, 

Zopher Skinner. 

1818. Terrel Cobb, William Burt, John Hall, jun., Abiel 


1819. David Woodward, Zopher Skinner. 

1820. Zopher Skinner, Bartholomew Burt 

1821. Simeon Briggs, David Field, David Makepeace. 

1822. Joseph Hill, Capt. Thomas Braman, Cromwell Leo- 

nard, Sjlvanus Braman. 
1828. Joseph Hill, Asa Danforth, Cromwell Leonard. 

1824. William Lane, Joseph Hill, David Makepeace. 

1825. Cromwell Leonard, Ephraim Allen, Ba^holomew Burt, 

Joseph Snow. 

1826. Josiah Harvey. 

1827. Asa Adams. 

1828. Isaac Woodward. 

1829. Deacon Asa Copeland. 

1830. Laban M. Wheaton. 

1831. No record of choice. 

1832. Richard F. Sweet 
1838. Laban M. Wheaton. 

1834. Leavit Bates. 

1835. Leavit Bates. 

1836. Asa P. Holmes. 
1887. Leavit Bates. 




Most of the facts relating to coroners and deputy- 
sherifiFs, 1 have taken from the " Massachusetts State 
Register," commencing in 1784. From another source, 
I find that Isaac Hodges was coroner in 1757 ; and, 
without doubt, was in oflBce till 1792 or 93. Isaac 
Hodges, jun., was coroner from 1794 to 1825 ; Lemuel 
Perry, 1816 to 1818 ; Cromwell Leonard, from 1819 to 
1821, and from 1888 to the present time. 


Benjamin Williams was deputy-sheriflF in 1767. 

How long he held the oflBce, we know not. Ephraim 

Burr is believed to have been sheriff from some years 

previous to 1784, up to 1803 ; Isaac Morey, from 1791 

^ to 1796 ; Thomas Fobes, from 1794 to 1796 ; William 

" Verry, most of the time from 1800 to 1815 ; George 

Gilbert, from 1803 to 1805 ; Ebenezer Titus, from 1803 

\ to 1808 ; Preston Hodge«, fix)m 1818 to 1821 ; Daniel 

; Smith, 2d, from 1822 to 1824; George Clapp, from 

1822 to 1824 ; Daniel Morey, in 1825 ; Timothy Smith, 

from 1826 to 1834 ; Horace B. Wetherell, from 1835 

to 1850 ; Austin Messinger, from 1851 to 1853, and 

again in 1856. Cyril S. Sweet was appointed in 1858, 

and is now in office. 


Those marked (*) were afterwards justices of the 
peace and quorum. Those marked (f) have been 
justices tliroughout the Commonwealth. 

Names. Appointed. 

George Leonard , . • J«ne 5, 1713. 
George Leonard* , . Mar. 4, 1723. 

Ephraim Leonard* 1737. 

Geo. Leonard, jr.*t • J«iu 2Si, 1754. 
Thomas More}' . , . Feb. 4, 1762. 
George Wheaton . . Feb. -3, 1774. 
William Homes . . . Aug, 29, 1776. 
Samuel Money* , , . Jaiu 9, 1789. 

Names. Appointed. 

Laban Wheaton* . . Aug. 6, 1789. 
Seth Smith, jun. . . May 10, 1791. 
Samuel Morey, jun. . Jan. 11, 1792. 
Ephraim Ravinond* . Feb. 11, 1801. 

Sila^ Cobb .' Before 1804.1 

William Burt .... Mar. 6, 1808. 

Brian Hall .lune 21, 1809. 

Thos. Danforth, 2d . May 16, 1810. 

1 We cannot find the date of his appointment. His commission was 
renewed in 1€09, For some years previous to 1800, he was doubtless 
eX'Ojfficio justice, in cousequence of his being high in military office. 



NunM. Appointed. 

George Gilbert . . . Feb. 21, 1811. 

John Hall Feb. 22, 1811. 

Daniel Parker .... Oct. 26, 1812. 
Isaac Hodges .... Feb. 2, 1816. 
Joseph Hodires .... Jan. 7, 1825. 
Laban M. Wheatonf Jan. 26, 1828. 
Lemuel Perry .... Feb. 1, 1828. 
Jacob Shepard* . . . Feb. 19, 1829. 
Cromwell Leonard* . Dec. 11, 1680. 
George Clapp .... May 81, 1833. 
John Crane Jan. 8, 1841. 


Daniel S. Cobb . . 
Hennary Newcomb 
Eddy Lincoln . . . 
Leonard Hodges . 
George B. Crane . 

Earl Hodges April 2, 1861. 

John Arnold Aug. 6, 1868. 

Zeno Kellv Jan. 27, 1866. 

Royal P. Hodges . . Mar. 24, 1866. 
L. O. Makepeace . . Aug. 29, 1866. 
Thos. T. Rockwood . Feb. 26, 1868. 


Feb. 28, 1848. 
Feb. 28, 1848. 
Mar. 24, 1848. 
April 16, 1860. 
Mar. 26, 1861. 


Hon. Abraham White was chosen senator in 1787, 
and again in 1788. He is believed to have been the 
son of Thomas Wliite, of Taunton ; and tradition says 
he was descended from Peregrine White, the first 
English child born at Plymouth. He was a some- 
what eccentric man, and could not read or write; 
but was possessed of much native talent, practical- 
good sense, and sound judgment. He was much 
employed in public life, where energy, and deci- 
sion of character, were needed. Numerous anecdotes 
are related of him, all of which illustrate his ready 
wit, keen satire, and ability to meet any emergency 
that arose. He lived at the easterly part of the town, 
a short distance below where Isaac Woodward now 
lives. He married, first, a daughter of John Holmes, 
of Taunton, by whom he had a son ; who, with his 
mother, died young. For second wife, Mr. White 
married Hannah, daughter of Edward White, of 
Easton ; and had by her eight children. He died 
Feb. 20, 1801, in his eighty-fifth year; so that he 
must have been born in 1717. 

Hon. George Leonard was chosen senator in 1793, 
and served one year only. (For notice of him, see 
Collegiate History.) 

Hon. Seth Smith, Jun., was chosen senator in 1797, 
and held the ofiice but one year. He was the son of 
Deacon Seth Smith (already mentioned) by his first 
wife, Sarah Cobb, 2d; and was born Oct. 1, 1756. 
He married, March 16, 1780, Rachel Newcomb ; and 
had three children. He was much employed in public 



business ; was town-clerk many years ; also represen- 
tative to the General Court. He kept a store in the 
centre of the town a few years. He left Norton 
about 1799, and went to New-York City, where he 
is believed to have died some thirty or forty years 

Hon. Cromwell Leonard was chosen senator for 
the year 1848, and rechosen for the year 1849. He 
is the son of Jonathan Leonard by his second wife, — 
Rebecca Smith, 2d ; and was born Dec. 1, 1788. He 
is the grandson of Jacob and Mary (Wild) Leonard ; 
and is descended from the Taunton Leonards, who 
came from Pontypool, Wales (see p. 85). Mr. Leo- 
nard married, June 15, 1815, Miss Belinda Cope- 
land, of Mansfield. They had four children. She 
died Aug. 25, 1848. He married for second wife, 
• June 20, 1849, Miss Harriet Morse, of East Cam- 
bridge, daughter of the late Dr. Caleb Morse, of 
Moultonborough, N.H. Mr. Leonard has enjoyed 
the confidence of his fellow-citizens in an eminent 
degree ; having served the town many years as mode- 
rator of town-meetings, selectman, assessor, repre- 
sentative to the General Court, and other positions of 
trust and respectability. 

Hon. John Crane was chosen seuator for the year 
1852. He is the son of Terry and Rebecca (Harvey) 
Crane, grandson of John and Rachel (Terry) Crane ; 
and was born Jan. 11, 1799. He married, March 28, 
1825, Miss Sally Harvey, of Taunton ; and has had 
two children. Mr. Crane has ever been very popular 
with his townsmen. He held the office of town-clerk 
and treasurer for thirty successive years ; which is nine 
years longer than any other person has continued in 
either office in town. When chosen for the thirtieth 
time, in 1857, he declined a re-election. He has repre- 
sented the town in the General Court, wholly or in 
part, ten years. 


Hon. George Leonard was a royal councillor twenty- 
five successive years ; commencing his term of service 


I . 


; \ . : 
J .. .. ■ 

V '■ 

. I : 
= y ■< ■' 

' • I 

Hon. George Leonard was a royal councillor iweniy- 
five successive years ; commencing his term of service 

'fyHrmu'^My ■^^A^'^ 


in 1741, and closing in 1766. He was the son of 
Major George and Anna (Tisdale) Leonard (whom 
we have noticed among the early settlers, p. 85), and 
was the first male child born in the westerly part of 
Norton. His advent into the world took place March 4, 
1698. He was the second justice of the peace in 
town ; was town-clerk many years ; and also other- 
wise much employed in public afiFairs, as selectman, 
assessor, moderator of town-meetings, representative to 
the General Court, &c. He was also much engaged in 
the military afiFairs of this neighborhood, having risen 
from a subordinate officer to the command of the regi- 
ment ; and is generally known as " Colonel George 
Leonard." He was appointed Judge of the Court of 
Common Pleas in 1725, and held the office till 1730. 
He was re-appointed to the same office in 1733, and 
held it till 1740, when he was dismissed for having 
been connected with the Land-Bank scheme. He was 
again appointed to the bench in 1746, and continued 
in office till about the commencement of the Revolu- 
tion. A portion of the time he was on the bench, he 
was Chief-Justice of the Court.^ He was appointed 
Judge of Probate for Bristol County, Feb. 16, 1747 ; 
and held the office about thirty-one years. Tradition 
has universally given him a character above reproach, 
and represented him to be a man of much practical 
wisdom and of sterling worth ; and the fact that he 
was almost constantly in public office, from the age of 
twenty-one to the close of fourscore years, serves to 
strengthen this idea. Rev. Pitt Clarke says, "He 
appears to have been distinguished for his urbanity, 
practical piety, and active benevolence. The praise of 
his many good deeds, in the church and through the 
county, has long been identified with Norton, and 
will be co-extensive with the history of this place.'* 
He married, in 1721, Miss Rachel Clap, of Scituate; 
and they had four children. He died Dec. 4, 1778, 
in the eighty-first year of his age. His wife died 

1 Judicial History of Massachusetts, by Hon. Emory Washburn, p. 869. 



April 28, 1788, in her eighty-second year. His pic- 
ture we have placed as the frontispiece of this book. 

Hon. George Leonard, Jun., was councillor from 
1770 to 1776. He was the son of Col. Leonard, just 
mentioned. (See Collegiate History.) 

Hon. Laban M. Wheaton held the office of coun- 
cillor two years; viz., 1867 and 1868. (See Colle- 
giate History.). 


Hon. George Leonard was appointed to this office, 
Dec. 10, 1715; and was on the bench only a few 
months, when he died. (See early settlers, p. 85.) 

Hon. George Leonard, son of the above, was judge 
most of the time from 1725 to 1775. (See council- 

Hon. Ephraim Leonard was appointed judge in 
1747, and was in office till about the commencement 
of the Revolution. He was a brother of George Leo- 
nard, last named ; and was born Jan. 16, 1705-6. He 
settled in the North Precinct of Norton, now called 
East Mansfield. He was a man of great energy, and 
decision of character, and was much employed in 
town-affitirs; and held the office of colonel in the 
militia during the old French and Indian war, and is 
generally known as " Colonel Ephraim Leonard." 
He married, first, Judith Perkins, of Norwich, Conn., 
May 28, 1739 ; and they had one son, Daniel. She 
died Sept. 4, 1740. His second wife was Meletiah, 
who " had been ye wife of Jonathan Ware, Esqr., 
and of Benjamin Ware, M.D., of Wrentham." ^ Her 
maiden name was Fisher ; and she died Oct. 3, 1758. 
His third wife was Mrs. Abigail (King) Williams, 
married March 18, 1760. '' She had been the wife of 
Mr. John Williams," ^ of Easton. She died July 27, 
1771 ; and was buried beside her first husband, at 
Easton, near the late Daniel Wheaton's estate. His 
fourth wife was Anna, who " had been the wife of Mr. 

1 Gravestone. 


Elisha Woodwarth, and also of ye Revd. Mr. Timothy 
Euggles,"! of Rochester. She died Oct. 7, 1782. 
He died May 2, 1786 ; and, with three of his wives, 
lies buried in a grove, about half a mile easterly from 
his former residence at East Mansfield. But his own, 
and the gravestones of his wives, lying flat on the 
ground, are nearly covered up with the earth and 

Hon. George Leonard was appointed Judge of the 
Court of Common Pleas, July 1, 1785. In 1798, he 
was Chief-Justice of the Court, and was on the bench 
as late as 1804. (See Collegiate History.) 

Hon. Laban Wheaton was appointed Chief-Justice 
of the Court of Common Pleas, May 18, 1810 ; but, it 
is believed, did not hold the office long. (See Col- 
legiate History.) 


Hon. George Leonard was commissioned Judge of 
Probate, Feb. 16, 1747 ; and held the office till his 
death in 1778. (See councillors.) 

Hon. George Leonard, son of the above, was ap- 
pointed to this office, June 7, 1784 ; and held it 
several years. 

judge op court op sessions. 

Hon. Laban Wheaton was appointed Judge of this 
Court, May 25, 1819; but, the following year, the 
court was abolished. 

register op probate. 

Hon. George Leonard, Jun., was commissioned re- 
gister, April 18, 1749 ; and held the office till 1783. 

representatives in congress. 

Hon. George Leonard was chosen, in 1788, a mem- 
ber of the first Congress of the United States. He 

1 Gravestone. 



failed of an election to the second, but was a member 
of the third and fourth Congresses. 

Hon. Laban Whbaton was representative eight 
years, — from March 4, 1809, to March 4, 1817. 

We here present to our readers the votes for Gover- 
nor for each year, from the adoption of the State 
Constitution to 1857. The name first recorded under 
the year was the Governor for that year, either elected 
by the people or by the Legislature. Tliose who failed 
of a popular election, but were subsequently chosen 
by the General Court, we have designated by a (*). 





John Hancock . . 

. 72 

John Hancock . . . 


James Bowdoin . . 

. 2 

Scattering .... 




John Hancock . . 

. 54 

John Hancock . . . 


James Bowdoin . . . 



John Hancock . . 

. 21 


John Hancock . . . 



John Hancock . . 

. 41 


John Hancock . . . 



Samael Phillips, jan. . 


James Bowdoin . . 

. 33 

1. f nm 

John Hancock ► . 

. 3 


John Hancock . . . 



James Bowdoin* . 

. 8 


Thomas Cashing . 

. 25 

Samael Adams . . . 


Nathaniel Gorham . 


William Cashing . , 



David Cobb .... 


James Bowdoin . . 

. 7 


John Hancock . . 

. 29 

Samael Adams . . ^ 


Thomas Cashing . 

. 2 



Samuel Adams . . . 


John Hancock . . 

. 104 

Increase Sumner . . 


James Bowdoin . . 

. 8 



Increase Sumner . . 


.Tnlin Hancock . 

. 52 

IVIoses Oill .... 


Elbridge Gerry . . 

• \^ mm 

. 39 

^^•M.\J\y\^%j V.^ AAA • • • • 

James Sullivan . . . 







George Walker . . 


Increase Sumner • 

. 58 

Moees Gill • • . 

. 19 



Christopher Gore • 

. 108 

Levi Lincoln 

. 127 

Increase Snmner • 
WilUam Heath . . 

^ ^x ^^ y^ 

. 33 
. 91 

Scattering . . • 

. 8 

Caleb Strong . • 

. 42 

Elbridge Gerry . . 
Christopher ' Gore . 

. 149 
. 107 

Elbridge Gerry. . 

. 85 

David Cobb . . . 

. 1 

Caleb Strong . . 
Elbridge Gerry . . 

. 81 
. 73 

Elbridge Gerry . . 
Christopher Gore . 

. 125 
. 104 


William Grey . . . 


Caleb Strong . . 

. 38 


Elbridge Gerry . . 
Edward H. Bobbins 

. 83 

Jk \^ ^b flSV 

Caleb Strong . • 
Elbridge Gerry . . 

. 189 
. 124 



Caleb Strong . . 

. 81 

Caleb Strong . . 

. 146 

Elbridge Gerry . . 

. 63 

Joseph B. Vamum . 

. 108 



Caleb Strong . . 

. 64 

Caleb Strong . . 

. 137 

James Sullivan . . 

. 93 

Samuel Dexter . . 

. 128 

William Heath . . 

. 1 




Caleb Strong . . 

. 141 

Caleb Strong . . 

. 71 

Samuel Dexter . . 

. 122 

James Sullivan . . 

. 89 

Scattering . . . 

. 2 



Caleb Strong . . 

. 86 

John Brooks . . . 

. 121 

James Sullivan . . 

. 69 

Samuel Dexter . . 

. 112 

John Sullivan . . 

. 1 

Scattering . . . 




Caleb Strong . . 

. 123 

John Brooks . . • 

. 104 

James Sullivan . . 

. 118 

Henry Dearborn . 

. 81 

Scattering . . . 

. 3 



John Brooks . . . 

. 119 

James Sullivan . . 

. 90 

B. W. Crowningshield . 87 

Christopher Gore . 

. 120 

Thomas Kittridge . 









John Brooks • • . 

. 133 

Levi Lincoln 

. . 56 

B. W. CrowningshieU 

1. 103 

Marcus Morton • 

. . 5 

WilUam Phillips . 

. 1 

Emerson Briggs 

. . 1 



John Brooks . . . 

. 103 

Levi Lincoln 

. • 81 

William Eustis • . 

. 74 

William Baylies 

. . 84 

John Brooks . . • 


Marcus Morton . 

. . 27 

. 115 

Scattering . • 

. . 8 

William Eustis . . 

. 65 


m ^\ ^^/^ 

Levi Lincoln 

. . 18 


Marcus Morton • 

. . 66 

William Eustis • . 

. 63 

William Baylies 
Scattering . . 


. . 14 

John Brooks. . » 
William Phillips . 

. 90 
. 2 

. . 8 


Levi Lincoln 

. . 77 

William Eustis . • 

. 105 

Marcus Morton • 

• . 41 

Harrison G. Otis . 

. 96 

William Baylies 

. . 10 


#■ ' 

Scattering • • 

. . 4 

William Eustis . . 

. Ill 


Samuel Lothrop 

. 123 

Levi Lincoln 

. . 61 


Samuel Lothrop 

. . 139 

Levi Lincoln . . 

. 78 

Marcus Morton • 

. . 17 

Marcus Morton . . 

. 1 



Levi Lincoln 

. . 38 

Levi Lincoln . . 

. 52 

Sarnuel Lothrop 

. . 126 

Samuel Hubbard . 

. 20 

Marcus Morion . 

. . 10 

Thomas VVinthrop • 

. 8 


Joseph Tripp . . 


John Davis* . . 

. . 25 


John Q. Adams . 

. . 97 

X \J*d f . 

Levi Lincoln . . 

. 61 

Marcus Morton . 

. . 17 

William C. Jarvis . 

. 14 


William Baylies 

. 12 

John Davis . . 

. . 35 

Scattering . . . 

. 7 

John Bailey . . 

. . 104 

1 In 1881, the Constitution was amended, so that the Governor should be 
chosen in November, instead of April ; and take his seat the first Wednesday 
of January, instead of the last of May. Hence it will be understood, that, 
from 1882,> the Governor was chosen the November previous to the year 
under which we have recorded his name. 




Marcus Morton ... 11 
Samuel C. Allen . . 6 


Edward Everett . . 40 

Marcus Morton ... 64 

Samuel T. Armstrong . 2 

Edward Everett . . 32 
Marcus Morton ... 99 

Edward Everett . . 68 . 
Marcus Morton . . .114 

Edward Everett . . 65 
Marcus Morton . . .161 


Marcus Morton . . .178 

Edward Everett . . 81 

Wendell Phillips . . 1 

John Davis . . . .122 
Marcus Morton . . . 202 

John Davis .... 80 
Marcus Morton . . .183 
Lucius Boltwood . . 15 

Marcus Morton* . .197 
John Davis .... 65 
Samuel E. Sewall . . 30 


George N. Briggs* . 64 

Marcus Morton . . .183 

Samuel E. Sewall . . 60 


George N. Briggs . . 70 

George Bancroft . .160 

Samuel E. Sewall . . 64 

Greorge N. Briggs . 
Isaac Davis . . . 
Samuel E. Sewall . 


G'eorge N. Briggs . 

Isaac Davis . . . 

Samuel E. Sewall . * 

Scattering . , , 

George N. Briggs . 
Caleb Gushing . . 
Samuel E. Sewall . 

George N. Briggs* 
Stephen C. Phillips 
Caleb Gushing . . 

George N. Briggs* 
Stephen C. Phillips 
George S. Boutwell 

George S. Boutwell* 
George N. Briggs . 
Stephen C. Phillips 

George S. Boutwell* 
John G. Palfrey 
Robert C. Winthrop 

John H. Clifford* . 
Horace Mann . . 
Henry W. Bishop . 

Emory Washburn* 
Henry Wilson . . 
Henry W. Bishop . 
Bradford L. Wales . 


. 60 
. 114 
. 52 
























Erasmus D. Beach 

. 49 

Henry J. Gardner , 

. . 149 

Samuel H. Walley . 

. 18 

Emory Washburn . 

. . 50 

Henry Wilson . . 

. . 30 


Henry W. Bishop , 

. . 19 

Henry J. Gardner . 

. 288 

Charles Allen • . 

. . 3 

Erasmus D. Beach 

. 51 

^ f^w i% 


William L. Garrison 



Luther V. Bell . . 


HenryaJ. Gardner 
Julius Rockwell. 

. . 117 
. . 71 

Scattering • • • 

. 2 




** Render tmto Gsesar the things which are CsMar^s." — Oeust. 

For some years after the incorporation of the town, 
it was customary to meet in the autumn ; and all who 
had any charges against the town brought in their 
bills, and a tax sufficient to pay them was then levied 
upon the polls jtnd estates. The practice of voting 
money in the autumn, to meet the current expenses 
of the town, continued till 1790. Since then, it has 
been voted at the annual meeting for the choice of 
town-officers in the spring. For some years, the town 
paid the representative to the General Court for his ser- 
vices; and hence a rate was made for that purpose. 
Some years, it is uncertain from the records how much 
money was raised. We give the sums in round num- 
bers, instead of the fractions of a pound that some- 
times occurred ; and therefore, in some cases, the rate 
was a few shillings more or less than we have recorded. 

Oct. 31, 1720. — "At a Town-meeting to mack a by-law 
conseming our town-Bats, [it was] voted that one-half of our 
Bates shold be Baised on the polls, and the other half on our 



The next day, Anna Leonard and her son George 
entered a " Protest against being Bated by any other 
Bule than that which is in the law." 

















































































































1771 * 


































































1 Including £6k of 

* Poor and schools. 

* Silver money. 

interest-money from b&nk. 
• Old tenor. 


^ Lawful money. 






















































































SI 200 



























































































































































































piirpoee of redeeming the doIo of 
.e Bchool-money is inclndsd in th6 nmonnl for 


There being a great scarcity of money, both of bills 
of credit and specie, a year or two previous to 1720, 
the people found it very difficult to transact ordinary 
business-matters, and especially to pay their taxes; 
and therefore, May 13, 1720, it was ordered, — 

" That all our Town-Rates, that are to be payed this year 
by the Inhabitants for the defraying the contengant charges 
of sd. town for the year 1 71 9 and 1720, shall be payed the 
one-half in Good shingles, at forteen shilinds pur thousand ; 
Clabords, at three pounds pur thousand ; white-pine bords, at 
three pounds per thousand, — and delivered at the landing- 
place at Taunton, near John vStaples's ; or in Good Indin 
Corn, at three and sixpence pur busshill ; Rey, at five shilinds 
pur bushill ; wheat, at seven shilinds pur bushill ; oats, at two 
shillinds pur bushill ; beaf, at three d. pur pound ; pork, at 
four d. pur pound; butter, at sevenpence pur pound; Good 
dry chese, at five d. pur pound ; beans, at Six Shilinds pur 
busshil; and that, out of the money part, the treasurer Is 
directed, and hereby ordered, to pay the Minister the one- 
half of his sallary, and to pay the Representative In the 
money part." 

The paying of the rates in produce, &c., did not 
seem to better the deranged state and scarcity of the 
currency. " Shingles, Clabords, pine-bords, Rey, In- 
din Corn, wheat, oats, beaf, pork, butter, and chese," 
to say the least, would not be very convenient change 
for a man to carry in his pocket ; and therefore, this 
state of things becoming almost intolerable, the town, 
Sept. 19, 1720, — 

" Voted that John Briggs, Sen., shall preepare a petition 
to Request the Grate and General Cort Respecting the want 
of money ; and offer said petition, the next town-meeting day, 
to the town for their approbation ; and the town-Clark to sign 
it in thare behalf, If the town licks it." 

Whether the town "licked" the. petition or not, we 
do not know ; but the Legislature soon after, as will 
be seen, took some measures to better the condition of 
the currency by the establishment of the fifty-thousand- 
pound bank. 


Probably the emission of these bills did not at once 
relieve the embarrassed state of the finances. 
Nov. 11, 1723, it was ordered, — 

^ That the Bate for Mr. Averj's salery for this year shaU 
be Paid in the same specia as he agreed with sd. town for it ; 
and the Rest of the towne-rate shall be Paid in the Produce 
of the towne, at the curant market-price.'' 


The reason for emitting this loan of money is 
stated, in the preamble of the bill, to be because " the 
Publick Bills of Credit on this Province (which, for 
want of Silver) have . . . answered the Charge of 
His Majesty's Goverment, . . . [and] served as a 
Medium of Exchange ... in the Trade and Business 
of the Province, are grown Scarce, in Proportion to 
the great demand for the same." These bills were 
to be distributed by the Province Treasurer " to <he 
several towns within this Province, according to each 
Town's respective proportion of the last Province-Tax." 
Three or five trustees who were freeholders, and each 
possessed of a real estate worth at least five hundred 
pounds, were to be appointed in the several towns to 
let out this money at interest, on good real estates or 
personal security. These trustees were to be sworn 
" to the faithful discharge of their trust," and were to 
be paid for their " Pains and Trouble " " what the 
several towns, in their good Discretion, shall think 
meet and convenient." No person was allowed to 
vote for trustees who had not " an Estate of Freehold 
worth at least Forty shillings per Annum." A tax of 
fifty thousand pounds was ordered to be levied upon 
the towns of the Province in proportion to the amount 
of bills they received, as a fund and security for the 
drawing-in and repayment of said bills to the public 
treasury; ten thousand pounds of which were to be 
paid yearly, commencing with the last day of May, 
1726, and ending, of course, with the last day of 
May, 1730. 


All the interest, profit, or income, arising to the 
several towns from these bills of credit, was to be 
used by the several towns towards " defraying the 

Norton, with the North Purchase, received, as their 
proportion of this loan, two hundred and forty-seven 
pounds. The freeholders of Norton and the North Pur- 
chase meet, Oct. 16, 1721, and vote that every freehold- 
er of the town of Norton, with the North Purchase, 
having an estate of freehold of forty pounds per an- 
num, shall have his proportion "... of ye Bills of 
Credit, . . . giving good security to the Trustees, 
with Lawful Interest, to be Paid yearly in ye Produce 
of ye town, at ye then current marcet-price ; " and 
the trustees were to take bondsmen or not, as they 
saw fit. 

As soon as the trustees received the money, they 
were to give eight days' notice to the freeholders; 
and "if there be aney Percone yt shall neglect or 
Refuse to come for theyr Part of ye sd. Bills, twenty 
days after ye sd. 8 days of notice be given," then the 
trustees were empowered to let out the money " to 
any of the freeholders," &c. 

The trustees were required to render a yearly ac- 
count to the town and North Purchase of their doings, 
and were to " be allowed out of the Town treasury 
for theyr Reasonable Charges in the Premices." 

The following persons were then chosen trustees: 
John Hodges, George Leonard, and Benjamin Wil- 

On the 1st of November following, another meeting 
was held relative to the matter, and the following vote 
passed : — 

"Notwithstanding the act that was passed in a towne- 
meeting, on ye 16th day of October, 1721, for the Leting- 
out of our Part of the fifty thousand Pounds of Bills of 
Credit, it is now Enacted and voted, that the trustees that are 
chosen to Lett out sd. Bill shall Lett out sd. money to the 
freeholders in sd. towne and North Purchase to no Percon 
above teen Pounds, nor any Percon under five Pounds, as 



far as it 'twill Go ; they Giving Good securety to ye trustees 
for ye Payment of sd. money, with the Interest for one 


In 1728, the General Court passed an Act for another 
loan of sixty thousand pounds, because " the Publick 
Bills of Credit, which have for a great length of time 
happily served this Government, are now become very 
scarce." This loan was distributed to the towns on a 
plan similar to that of the fifty-thousand-pound loan 
of 1721. The qualification of the trustees, and of 
those who voted for them, was the same as in 1721. 
The trustees were to let out the money at six per cent 
interest ; four of which was to be paid annually into 
the public treasury, the other two per cent to go 
to the several towns " to enable them to pay the cost 
and charge attending this affair." 

A tax on the real and personal property of the 
towns was the fund for the redemption of the loan ; 
twelve thousand pounds to be paid annually from 
May 31, 1734. 

Norton's part of this loan was two hundred and 
seventy pounds, ten shillings. 

April 19, 1728, the freeholders of Norton properly 
qualified, in public meeting duly notified for the pur- 
pose, chose several persons trustees to receive and let 
out the town's proportion of the money ; who refused 
to accept the ofiice. 

It was then " voted, that the trustees shall Let out 
sd. Bills to no Person above ten Pounds, nor to no 
Person less than five Pounds, within one fortnight's 
time " after the money was received, and due notice 
given to the town. Then, "if there is not Persons 
enoflf appear in sd. time to take it," the trustees were 
to " Lett it out in sd. town as they see cause ; taking 
Good security for sd. money, together with the In- 
terest." It was also voted, " that the trustees shall 
have six Pounds for the whole of their troubell " in 
taking care of the money. 


"March 2nd, 1743-4. — Voted that the selectmen — 
Simeon Wetherell, William Stone, and Josiah Pratt — shall 
Becon with the trustees which were chose to Let out the 
said town's Part of the sixtj-thousand-Pounds Bank, or 
the survivers of them, and to Receive the said town's Part 
of the Interest ; and also to sew them for it, if need be ; and 
also to sew the said surviving trustees for that part of the 
Princepell which they have neglected to Pay to the Province 
treasury ; so that thare is a Rate made on said town for it 
already, and they are also Impowered to carry on any 
action or actions in the Law against them, till they Git the 
said town's Part of the Interest, and ye Prinsepell sume 
of said Bank, which said town is rated for; and also all the 
charge sd. towne have already Bin Put to about it." 

In a warrant for a town-meeting, Sept. 24, 1744, one 
article was as follows : — 

"To act and Proceed in that way that they shall then 
think most Propper consaming the trustees of the sixty- 
thousand-Pound Bank ; either to discharge them, and accuit 
the towne's Part of the Interest, or to agree otherwise ; or 
to take some other method, so as to Bring that matter to a 
dispatch. Likewise to Hear what the selectmen have done 
consaming that matter already." 

The only recorded action at the meeting relative to 
the bank is this : — 

" Voted to Capt. Simeon Witheral and Mr. William Stone, 
for what they Paid Coll. Church towards his fees for sarving 
ye Executions for ye Bank-money, £01 — 13." 

The town-records throw no further light upon the 
matter; and therefore we must let the curtain fall, 
and leave it for each reader to decide for himself how 
the matter was finally settled up. These are the only 
two banking schemes that the town, as a town, are 
known to have been connected with. 


After the drawing-in of the bills of the sixty-thou- 
sand-pound loan in 1738, the currency of the country 
became again somewhat deranged. Therefore, in the 


beginning of the year 1740, with the professed design 
of providing a remedy for the inconveniences expected 
to arise from the withdrawing from circulation, in 1741, 
of all the various emissions of paper currency, with- 
out substituting any other medium of trade than gold 
and silver, a company was formed for the purpose of 
issuing bills of credit, on land security, to an amount 
not exceeding a hundred and fifty thousand pounds. 

There were eight hundred and sixty-three partners 
in this scheme, about four hundred of whom belonged 
in Boston, the rest in various parts of the Province. 
This scheme was very obnoxious to Gov. Belcher, who 
vigorously sought to crush it out. 

In July, 1740, he issued his proclamation, cautioning 
the people not to Teceive or pass the notes of the com- 
pany, because they would tend " to defraud men of 
their estates, and disturb the peace and order of the 

In November of the same year, he issued another 
proclamation, forbidding all military oflScers from 
dealing in this currency, under penalty of dismission 
from ofl5ce. In fact, nearly all officers of the govern- 
ment were forbidden to pass these bills. The opposi- 
tion to this bank entered largely into the election of 
representatives to the General Court for May, 1741. 
But a majority of the members elect seem to have been 
in favor of the bank ; for one of the bank-directors 
(Samuel Watts, Esq.) was chosen Speaker of the House. 
Thirteen new councillors were chosen, supposed to be 
favorable to the bank scheme. Gov. Belcher, how- 
ever, vetoed the election of councillors ; and, the next 
day, sent ih a message dissolving the Legislature. He 
also removed from office those favorable to the bank ; 
and, among others, George Leonard of Norton, of 
whom I have spoken elsewhere. 

The town, however, seem to have been in favor of 
the bank. Mr. Leonard — who was a member of the 
Legislature dissolved by Gov. Belcher — was, on the 
29th of June following, re-elected representative to 
the new General Court, which was to meet on the 8th 


of July. And a further evidence that the town was 
favorably disposed towards the matter is to be found 
in the vote passed Nov. 23, 1741 ; viz., " voted, that 
the maneyfactery-bills shall pay ye town's charge for 
this year." ^ 


^ Prior to 1750, the Massachusetts Legislature had enacted 
that the ProvinciiJ bills should be redeemed this year [1750] 
with hard money paid them by the parent goyemment for 
charges of warfare against the French in the Canadas, &C 
Bat the Legislatures of other Provinces had not so wisely 
determined : their bills were still circulating at great depre- 
ciation, as were those of Mass. While the commissioners of 
Mass. were receiving the bills of their own Province, they 
were allowed to redeem from its inhabitants bills of N.H., 
B.L, and Conn, [and these were called ' the bills of the other 
Grovermentts '], provided they would take oath that they had 
such money before April of 1750, and had not bought them 
of persons belonging to those Provinces, with silver, since 
March 30th of the same year." ^ 

It appears from the town-records that the principal 
town-officers in Massachusetts were, in addition to the 
oath of office, required to take the oath respecting 
the bills of other governments. Hence, at the annual 
meeting for choice of officers, held March 26, 1751, a 
moderator and town-clerk were chosen, who took the 
requisite oath relative to the other government bills. 
Then they proceeded to choose more than twenty 
persons for selectmen, who all, with but one exception, 
refused to take this extra oath ; but this one was not 
sworn. Finding it impossible to get a board of select- 
men who would take this oath, the meeting adjourned 
to May 15. 

Immediately after the adjournment, an informal 
meeting of some of the citizens was held ; and a com- 
mittee was appointed "To petition the Great and 

^ For further account of the Land-Bank schemei see Hobart*s Sketch 
of Abington, p. 164, &c. 

s Letter of Bey. J. B. Felt. 


General Court, that the Oath respectuig the Receiving 
and passing the [other Government] bills may not be 
imposed upon the inhabitants of this town, or that 
they Inforce that Petition that is already Prefered to 
sd. Court." We do not find any action of the Legis- 
lature relative to the extra oath ; but they passed an 
Act, April 8, 1751, enabling the town to complete 
the choice of their town-officers, " the expiration of the 
month of March notwithstanding : " and finally, in 
July, the list of ofiicers was completed of those willing 
to take the oath. The oath continued to be admini- 
stered to the principal town-ofiicers till the year 

In consequence of the calling-in of the Province 
bills in 1750, and the law against receiving and pass- 
ing the bills of other governments, the people again 
experienced great difficulties in the payment of their 
debts, and especially their taxes. 

No doubt with a view to remedy the trouble, so far 
as they could, the town, — 

"Jan. 21st, 1750-1, chose a Comtee to consider and re- 
port to the sd. town in what specias and at what Prises sd. 
Bates shall be paid. 

" The abovesd. Comttee made report, and the sd. towne 
voted, that, in Paying the above-mentioned rates, they may 
be paid in good marchentable Rey, at 3s. 4d. a BusheU ; In- 
dian Come, at 2s. 8d. a Bushell ; Oats, at Is. 4d. a BusheU ; 
Wheat, at 4s. 8d. a Bushell; flax, from the swingele, at 18d. 
a pound; Bar Iron, at 18s. 8d. a hundred; Beans, 4s. 8d. a 
Bushell ; Sheep's wool, at Is. 2d. a pound ; Barley, at 2s. 8d. 
a Bushell." 

" Sept. 2nd, 1751. — Voted, that those persons, that should 
pay their Kates in the species hereafter mentioned, shall pay 
them at ye prices hereafter sett : viz., Reye, at 2s. 6d. per 
Bushell ; Corn, at Is. 9d. per Bushill ; Oats, at Os. lOd. per 
Bushell ; Wheat, at 3s. Od. ; Beens, at 2s. 6d. per bushill ; 
Barley, at 2s. 4d. per Bushell ; Iron, at 16s. Od. per hundred ; 
Flax, at Os. 6d. per pound ; and wool, at Os. 8d. per pound." 

During the latter part of the Revolutionary war, the 
finances became very much disordered ; the bills of 


credit became almost valueless ; gold and silver money 
was very scarce ; and a general bankruptcy seemed 
almost inevitable. It was probably the most severe 
pecuniary crisis ever experienced by our fathers. As 
early as Nov. 10, 1777, the town " voted to Remon- 
strate and Pertition to the great and general Court of 
this state, that the Late act, with Regard to calling in 
the Bills of Credit Issued by said state, be Repealed ; " 
and a committee was chosen to " Draw a Remonstrance 
and Pertition." This remonstrance was probably 
sent, and a communication from the General Court soon 
after received ; for, Jan. 1, 1778, there was a town- 
meeting, among other things, " to hear the address 
from the General Court, setting forth the reasons 
which induced said Court to pass a late act for calling 
in the bills of credit Emitted by this Government." 
It does not appear, however, that any action was taken 
upon the matter. 

A town-meeting was warned to be on the 5th of 
July, 1779, " To take under consideration the votes 
and Resolves of the town of Boston, sent to this town 
(to be communicated) with regard to the depreciation 
of our currency, and the methods proposed for re- 
dressing the present grievances that so much affect 
us." About this time, a convention had been called 
to meet at Concord ; we should judge, to consider, 
among other matters, the state of the finances. Ac- 
cordingly, at the town-meeting, July 5, it was " voted, 
that one of the committee of Correspondence should 
go to the convention to be holden at Concord on the 
fourteenth day of this Instant." 

At an adjourned meeting, July 26, "voted to ac- 
cept of the Proceedings and Resolves of the convention 
held at Concord on the fourteenth day of July instant, 
and do every thing in their power to carry the same 
into execution." — " Voted, that a committee be 
chosen to Regulate the Price of articles in this town, 
agreeable to the articles afixt by the sd. Convention." 

At an adjourned meeting, Aug. 16, the report of this 
committee was " excepted by a Large Majority." 


It was then ordered, " that there be Proper coppies 
of the Report of the Committee of the Price of things 
in fhis town rote and set up at Every Publick-house 
and at Eyery Griss-Mill in this town." The " com- 
mittee of correspondence " were empowered " to cary 
into Execution the resolves of the Convention at 
Concord;" and Silas Cobb was chosen a committee 
" to correspond with other towns in the coimty." At 
an adjourned meeting, Aug. 30, " voted, that three of 
the committee that stated the price of things should 
attend the proposed Convention to be held at Taunton 
on the eighth of Sep. next." 

Aug. 30, 1779, the town " voted to choose one man 
for the proposed convention at Concord, and that he 
be chosen by paper-vot^s." 

From an article in the warrant for the above meet- 
ing, it seems that this convention was called ^^ to take 
into consideration the prices of Marchandize and 
country Produce," and was " to be holden on the first 
Wednesday of October next." What was done at the 
convention, we know not. In the warrant for a meet- 
ing to be held Sept. 20, 1779, there was an article " to 
receive the report of the Committee chosen to meet in 
a County convention at Taunton, in order to regulate 
the Prices of such things as are commonly Bought 
and sold in sd. County." What the report was, or 
whether one was made, the records say not ; but what 
has been recorded serves to show us the expedients 
to which the people were obliged to resort, in order to 
meet the demands made upon their purses when they 
had nothing reliable in their purses. 





"Ho! all who labor, all who strive; 
Te wield a lofty power : 
Do with joar might; do with your strength; 

Fill eyery golden hoar. 
Oh ! to your birthright and yourselvea, 

To your own souls, be true : 
A weary, wretched life is theirs 
Who hare no work to do." 

Miss C. F. Ornb. 

In the year 1695, Thomas and James Leonard, as we 
have already stated on page 12, &c., commenced the 
erection of an iron forge on Stony Brook, nearly in 
front of the old Leonard Mansion House, westerly of 
Wading River ; which, in a few years, passed into the 
hands of Major George Leonard (son of Thomas) ; and 
by him, his son George, and grandson George, the 
business of smelting the ore, and the manufacture of 
iron, was carried on at this place till near the Close of 
the last century. 

For many years, a great amount of business was 
done here by the enterprising family whose name is 
so honorably and permanently associated with the 
early ironworks of this continent. The late Judge 
Leonard built a gristmill, nearly on the site of the old 
forge, in 1805. It continued in operation till since 
the year 1825. George L. Barnes (a descendant of 
Major George Leonard), who, by the death of Mrs, 
Bo wen, came into possession of the Leonard home- 
stead, erected in 1855, at great expense, a saw and 
shingle mill, &c., near the site of the old forge. He oc- 
cupied the mill about a year ; and since then, till Janu- 
ary, 1859, it stood idle, most of the machinery having 
been taken out. It has very recently been bought 
by Henry S. Freeman, who has set it in motion again. 



There was a sawmill on Mulberry-Meadow Brook, 
a short distance above where Thomas Copeland now 
resides, as early as 1710, owned by James Leonard, 
jun., and John (?) Austin ; and might have been the 
first sawmill erected in town. In 1746, and for some 
years subsequently, it was owned by Samuel Glapp, 
and afterwards by* his son, Jonathan Clapp ; but, pre- 
vious to 1771, it passed into the hands of John Cook 
and Samuel Godfrey. About 1719, the mill was 
burned: it was then owned by James Godfrey, and 
was soon rebuilt by him. Its present owners are 
Benjamin and Moses Lincoln. 

As early as 1714, there was a " cornmill " owned by 
George Leonard on Wading River, at what is now 
Barrowsville. It had then probably stood several 
years, and, no doubt, was the first gristmill erected 
in town ; and, we suppose, for many years it was the 
only one. On the death of Mr. Leonard in 1716, he 
devised this privilege to his son Nathaniel, afterwards 
minister at Plymouth ; and it remained in his posses- 
sion till his death in 1761. There was then a grist- 
mill and sawmill, which were given to his son George. 
They probably stood on the opposite side of the road, 
several* rods above where the factory now stands. On 
the 12th of January, 1770, George Leonard deeded 
to Jonathan and John Amory a hundred and thirty- 
five acres of land, and " all the houses, mills, and 
other buildings, thereon erected." He also deeded to 
them one-half of the pot-ash house and utensils stand- 
ing on the land belonging to John White. When this 
pot-ash was built, or how long it remained, we have no 
information. In a little more than two months (or 
March 31, 1770), the Amory s sold the mills and laud, 
and half of the potash standing thereon, to William 
Homes. June 13, 1783, he sold to Thomas Dawes, of 
Boston; and he (Homes) soon returned to Boston, 
from which he was probably driven, in 1770, on ac- 
count of his hostility to the despotic acts of the British 
government. Dawes mortgaged these mills, &c., in 
1788, to Josiah Waters and others, of Boston ; who, 


Nov. 18, 1790, conveyed the property to Ephraim 
Baymond, a very energetic business man, who soon 
after erected an iron-forge, and carried on that busi- 
ness for some years. In 1810, Mr. Raymond and his 
father-in-law (Josiah Dean, of Raynham) erected the 
cotton-factory now standing. Mr. Raymond probably 
owned three-fourths of the establishment. The firm 
was known as the " Norton Manufacturing Company." 
March 10, 1821, Raymond bought of the executors of 
Mr. Dean one-fourth of the factory ; and between the 
6th of November, 1821, and the 26th of August, 1883, 
at four diflferent times, he sold portions of it to Samuel 
Crocker and Charles Richmond, amounting to seven- 
eighths of the whole establishment. Albert Barrows 
bought one-fourth of the factory, Oct. 1, 1833 ; and 
owned it, with Crocker and Richmond, for several 
years. March 12, 1837, the " Norton Manufacturing 
Company," consisting of Crocker, Richmond, and 
Barrows, was incorporated by the General Court, with 
the privilege of holding capital to the amount of fifty 
thousand dollars. After the failure of Crocker and 
Richmond, the property was sold at auction. Feb. 8, 
1844, the " Wheaton Manufacturing Company," con- 
sisting of " Albert Barrows, Samuel B. King, and 
Laban M. Wheaton, their associates and successors," 
was incorporated by the Legislature for the purpose 
of making " cotton and woollen goods," and were 
authorized to hold personal and real estate to the 
amount of fifty thousand dollars. The company or- 
ganized under the charter, March 12, 1844. Mr. 
Barrows died May 7, 1854; but, under the same 
corporate name, the business of making cotton cloth 
and batting is still carried on there. In the year 
1849, a steam-engine was erected to propel the ma- 
chinery, when short of water in the summer; and, 
during the present year (1858), a gristmill has been 
started in the steam-engine building. 

On the 18th of March, 1718, Benjamin Leonard, 
sen., of Taunton, deeded to John King two hundred 
acres of land, at a place called " buttomenummonthe," 
together with a dwelling-house partly finished; a 


quarter part of a sawmill; and the forge, "cole- 
house," and appurtenances, &c. Leonard was to have 
the right to dig and carry off the iron ore from ten 
acres of land " near to drinkwater." This forge and 
sawmill stood on Bumford River, six or eight rods 
above the bridge, near where Daniel S. Cobb now 
lives. The forge was afterwards moved nearly half 
a mile down the river; and finally run down, and 
stopped work, about a hundred years ago. About 
1792, Daniel Smith, Laban Smith, and William Story, 
built a mill, on the easterly side of the river, for 
cutting nails, a few rods below the bridge, near which 
the forge and sawmill were first erected. This nail- 
mill was burned ten or fifteen years after its erection. 
Daniel Smith rebuilt it for the same purpose. It has 
since been used for sawing shingles and for making 
cotton-batting. Mr. Smith erected a sawmill in 1822, 

1 some twenty rods below where the nailmill stood. 
This sawmill was repaired, and the dam rebuilt, in 
1857, by Daniel S. Cobb, Esq. ; who by the death of 
his uncle, Daniel Smith, has recently come into pos- 
session of the privilege. In 1817, a clothier's shop 

I was built on the opposite side of the river from the 
sawmill, by Sampson Patten. It was afterwards oc- 
cupied by Pliny Puffer and Stillman Smith for the 
manufacture of shuttles, and subsequently of cotton- 
batting ; and was burned January, 1840. 

About 1730, William Makepeace erected a grist and 
saw mill on Canoe River, near where Eddy Lincoln 
now lives. These mills were rebuilt, about 1751 or 2, 
by Peter Makepeace, son of William. Not far from 
1770, George Makepeace built an iron-forge just 
below, and on the opposite side of the road from, 
where the grist and saw mill now stand. How long 
the forge was in operation, we know not. Peter Make- 
peace had a slitting-mill in a part of the forge-building, 
or else adjoining to it ; and it is said to have been the 
first slitting-mill in the United States. But this is a 
mistake.^ This privilege passed into the ownership 

^ — ■- II -■ 

1 See Genealogical Register, vol. xi. p. 258. 


of Lysander Makepeace in 1792. On the 21st of 
January, 1811, he sold land for a bleachery, and 
water privilege for a factory, to Daniel Patten, 
Daniel Shepard, Benjamin Blanding, and Thomas W. 
T. Bicknell ; reserving to himself three-eighths of the 
privilege. The cotton-factory was built, and went 
into operation, in October of the same year. Mr. 
Bicknell was the first agent of the company. They 
made cotton-cloth and yarn about eighteen years. 
Then the factory passed into the hands of Daniel 
Patten and Mason Stone ; and, in a few years, was 
owned by Mr. Stone alone. On the 3d of October, 
1851, Mr. Stone sold to Eddy Lincoln and Hiram J. 
Hunt ; and Mr. Hunt, in a short time, sold his right 
to Eddy Lincoln. Since tlien, the building has been 
used for a shingle-mill, box-factory, a planing-machine, 
and a wheelwright's shop ; and is still owned by Mr. 
Lincoln. Aug. 28, 1824, Deacon Makepeace sold the 
sawmill and gristmill to the Norton Cotton Mills 
Company ; which, at that time, consisted of himself, 
Daniel Shepard, Lemuel Perry, Jacob Shepard, Simeon 
Blanding, Benjamin Blanding, Daniel Patten, and 
Ichabod Perry. With the factory, they passed into 
the hands of Mason Stone; and March 26, 1845, 
together with a shingle-mill that had been built a few 
years previous, they were purchased by Eddy Lincoln, 
who is the present owner. 

It is supposed that a sawmill was built by Major 
Joseph Hodges, on Crooked Meadow Cedar-Swamp 
Brook, near where Jarvis Hodges now lives, previous 
to 1745. This mill seems to have been rebuilt or 
repaired, in 1753 or 4, by three of his sons and their 
cousin Ephraim, as appears by a paper which reads, 
" norton, March the 8, ye 1754, then reckned and 
Balanced all accounts About Bulding and reparing 
our mill till this day, as witness our Hands, — 

" Joseph Hodges, Timothy Hodges, Ephraim Hodges, 
Isaac Hodges." In his will, dated May 1, 1756, Capt. 
Joseph Hodges speaks of his " third part of a saw- 
mill; " " it being in partnership with my brother Isaac 



Hodges, and Timothy Hodges." Np one can now 
remember when a mill stood there, and the privilege 
has fallen into disuse. 

From a deed given by Ebenezer Burt, July 12, 1744, 
to William Stone, of forty and a half acres of land, — 
which was a part of his then "dwelling-farm,'* — it 
appears that an iron-forge and a sawmill were at that 
time standing on Bumford Biver, near the residence 
of the late Deacon Daniel Lane. Burt seems to have 
owned the forge, and he and William Basset the saw- 
mill. The forge and sawmill are believed to have 
stood nearly opposite to the house where Deacon Lane 
lived, near the middle of the present factory-pond, 
where the remains of the old dam are still to be seen. 
On the 12th of February, 1776, the forge was still 
standing, as it appears from a deed given by Ebenezer, 
Joseph, Naomi, and Sarah Burt to Nathaniel Stone 
(son of William), of all the rights and privileges in 
the stream reserved by the deed of 1744. It is pre- 
sumed that Stone, father or son, had previously 
become owner of the sawmill, and thus had complete 
control of this water privilege ; which, for many years, 
was in the possession of the Stone family. It is 
believed that the forge and sawmill were both rebuilt 
about 1770. How long the forge stood is uncertain. 
Some time before 1800, a gristmill was erected, which 
stood a few feet easterly of where the factory now 
stands. More than fifty years ago. Deacon Lane, or 
rather the Lane Brothers, came into possession of this 
water privilege ; and, in 1811 or 12, they rebuilt the 
sawmill on the site of the old one. In 1828, a com- 
pany was formed, and the cotton-factory, or " Centre 
Mills," were built by Daniel Patten, Lemuel Perry, 
John and David Arnold, Simeon Derry, Deacon Daniel 
Lane and sons ; and the building of the factory de- 
stroyed the sawmill privilege. In the year 1846, the 
factory passed into the hands of Laban M. Wheaton, 
Esq., who is still the owner ; and the mills have been 
running but little of the time since. The present 
gristmill was built in 1846 (?). 


Previous to 1745, Jonathan Hodges^ erected a mill 
on Goose Bx'oofc, a few rods below the bridge, near 
where George H. Arnold now lives ; and carried 
on the business of "Fulling, Dyeing, and Dressing 
Cloth." This was the first mill for that business 
erected in Norton. Soon after it was erected, in 
consequence of some trouble with Judge Leonard, 
— whose laud was flowed by the fulling-mill pond, — 
Mr. Hodges removed his mill about thirty-five rods 
further down the stream, where he fulled and dressed 
cloth until about 1784; when his son, Jonathan 
Hodges, jun., assumed the business, and carried it 
on alone (with the exception of one or two years 
when he had a partner) till 1814, — the time of his 
death. In the fall of 1846, David and George H. Arnold 
erected the building now standing by the bridge, and, 
for some years, made cotton-batting. It is now used 
for a shingle-mill, &c. 

More than a hundred years ago, a sawmill was 
built by Deacon John Andrews (?) on Burt's Brook, 
about eighty rods above the site of the present mill. 
This old mill was fast going to ruin eighty years 
ago. The present sawmill near the furnace, on Burt's 
Brook, was built in the fall of 1800 by Luther Lin- 
coln. A carding-mill was started there in 1814. The 
present building below the road, used as a shingle- 
mill, &c., was erected in 1817, and, for some years, 
used for the carding of wool, &c. A machine for 
sawing shingles was put into it in 1826. The furnace 
for casting iron, &c., was built by Annes A. Lincoln 
in the fall of 1825. It is now occupied by Annes A. 
Lincoln, jun., and Company, for the same purpose. 

About a hundred years ago, a sawmill was built on 
Dora's Brook, some fifty rods above where Charles 
H. Briggs's wheelwright-shop now stands, by Samuel 
Hunt. It was in ruins more than fifty years since. 
Hiram J. Hunt built a shop on the same spot about 
1843, where he had a turning-lathe, and sawed wagon- 
felloes. It was occupied only six or seven years. 

About the year 1807, Terry Crane erected a sawmill 


where Mr. Briggs's shop now stands. It was taken 
down in 1841 or 42. Mr. Briggs's shop was built in 
1849. Some twelve years previously, he moved the 
shop — wherein his father, Daniel Briggs, made 
ploughs, which stood nearly in front of Don P. 
Makepeace's house — to the little brook westerly of 
where Warren Adams lives, and carried on the wheel- 
wright business there. 

Previous to 1761, a grist and saw mill were erected 
on Wading River, near where Allen and Augustus 
Lane now live, by Rev. Nathaniel Leonard, and his 
brother. Col. George Leonard. At his death. Rev. 
Nathaniel gave his half part of these " new mills," as 
he called them, to his son Thomas, together with all 
his land there, on the west side of the river, up to the 
road by Goose Bridge. Thomas Leonard died in a 
few years, and his part of this property passed into 
the hands of the late Judge George Leonard. Col. 
George Leonard, at his death in 1778, devised his 
part of the estate to his daughter, Mrs. Anna Chan- 
dler ; who, Dec. 25, 1792, sold her half of the mills, 
and two hundred and thirty-two acres of land, &c., 
to Josiah Dean, of Raynham, and Ephraim Raymond, 
of Norton. These mills finally run down, and stood 
idle several years. Nov. 18, 1820, the Lane Brothers 
(Ephraim, William, Daniel, Allen, Calvin, and George) ^ 
bought of Raymond and the executors of Mr. Dean 
their share of the mills, and rebuilt them ; giving Mrs. 
Bowen — who had, by the recent death of her father 
(Judge Leonard), come into the possession of the other 
half — one-fourth the income till the mills were paid 
for. In May, 1835, the entire privilege and appur- 
tenances were sold to William A. and Samuel L. 
Crocker, who wanted the water to carry by canal to 
their copperworks establishments, about three-fourths 
of a mile below. About 1845, the mill-buildings 
were taken down ; and the water still goes to the 
copperworks by canal. 

Previous to the Revolution, Benjamin Braman built 
a sawmill on Goose Brook, back of where Alien D. 


Lane sow lives ; but, being absent in the war, it run 
down. William Braman and Seneca Sanford built a 
sawmill near the same spot about 1814. It was used 
till the death of Mr. Braman in 1839, and then went 
to decay. Another building was erected by Augustus 
and Allen D. Lane in 1845. It is now used by them 
for sawing shingles and box-boards. 

On the 30th of August, 1783, Nathan and Edward 
Babbit of one party, and Annes Newcomb of the other, 
entered into an agreement to build a dam for a grist- 
mill and fulling-mill, — the Babbits to build each one- 
fourth of the dam and one-half of the gristmill, and 
Newcomb to build the other half of the dam and the 
whole of the fulling-mill ; ^ and the buildings were soon 
after erected on Canoe River, on opposite sides of the 
stream, a short distance from Easton line, between 
where Nathaniel Newcomb's factory now stands and 
the sawmill. On the 18th of November, 1794, Nathan 
Babbit being dead, his son Edward deeded to Levi 
Babbit one-half of the gristmill ; the other half being 
then owned by Asa Newcomb.^ Previous to Jan. 6, 
1795, the fulling-mill had passed into the hands of 
Asa Newcomb, who was a brother of Annes, and a 
sawmill had been built: for, on that day, he (Asa) 
sold one-half of the fulling-mill and one-half of the 
dam to Thomas Danforth, reserving the water not 
needed for the gristmill and fulling-mill for his 
(Newcomb's) sawmill ;2 which shows that the saw- 
mill was standing at that time. In February, 1811, 
Danforth sold to Jonathan Smith, Simeon Presbery, 
jun., Daniel Presbery, Stimson Austin, and Alanson 
Cobb, reserving to himself three-eighths of a water 
privilege ; and they built thereon a factory for mak- 
ing cotton-yarn. This factory was owned by diiferent 
individuals up to 1822 ; when Nathaniel Newcomb 
bought the whole of it, and made yarn for a time, 
then thread, and finally wadding and batting. In 
December, 1831, the factory was burned; and Mr. 

1 Becords of Deeds, vol. Ixxv. p. 6. ^ Ibid. vol. Ixxiii. p. 847. 


Newcomb rebuilt on the same spot, in April, 1882, 
the mill he now owns. In 1812, James Beaumont, of 
Canton, received a patent on a certain kind of wadding. 
Mr. Newcomb bought of him the right, and has manu- 
factured that wadding from 1832 to the present time. 
The gristmill went into disuse about 1814 ; the fulling- 
mill, about 1820. The sawmill still stands, and is 
owned by Eddy Lincoln and George R. Leonard. 

Not far from 1790, William Carpenter built a mill 
for cutting nails, on the westerly side of Rumfoini 
River, near the house now owned by Mrs. Eli Wood. 
By a freshet in 1806 (?), the dam was carried away, 
and the mill partially removed from its foundation ; 
so that it was never after used as a cutting-mill, and 
was subsequently removed from the spot. The build- 
ing now occupied by Ruel Robinson as a wheelwright- 
shop was built by Thomas Braman, 3d, in 1838 ; he 
having bought, April 18 of that year, the privilege. 
He made doors, window-frames, and sashes. The 
building was afterwards owned by George Clapp, and 
used for the same purpose. After the death of Mr. 
Clapp, Earl and Royal P. Hodges bought the privilege, 
July 2, 1845, and continued the same business. They 
sold the sash and also the saw mill, Dec. 28, 1846, 
with tlie land belonging thereto, to Jacob Shepard 
(guardian of John L. Hall) ; and, in a few days, Mr. 
Shepard sold the same to Loren Willis, the present 
owner of both buildings. He made iron axletrees in 
the sashmill two or three years. Mr. Ruel Robinson 
hired the building in the autumn of 1850, and com- 
menced the naanufacture of carriages, and still carries 
on quite an extensive business in that line. In 1809 
or 10, Zebulon White built the sawmill now standing 
above the road, and owned by Loren Willis. After 
Mr. White's death, tlie mill was bought, in 1843, by 
Eli and Elkanah Wood, jun. They sold to Earl and 
Royal P. Hodges, May 3, 1845. Many years ago, pre- 
vious to 1800, there was a potash-building on the oppo- 
site side of the road to the sawmill ; but by whom 
owned, or when built, we are not informed. 


In the year 1796 (?), Benjamin Horton built a slit- 
ting-mill on Wading River, at what is now called the 
Copper works Village, on the spot where the Cupola 
Smelting Furnace stands, adjoining the bridge. This 
building was burned the fore part of the year 1824. 
Mr. Horton had also a mill for cutting nails, on the 
opposite side of the river, which was burned some years 
previous to the slitting-mill. Crocker and Richmond 
erected the Cupola Furnace Building, in 1825, for a 
copper-rolling mill. The same year, they erected the 
building back of the furnace for a copper-refining fur- 
nace. It is now used as a yellow-metal furnace. In 
these two buildings the company carried on the copper 
business till 1835. In that year, the Crocker Brothers 
dug the canal from the mill-pond by Allen and Augus- 
tus Lane's, and erected what is called the Lower Mill, 
on the northerly side of the river, which is operated by 
the water from the canal. In 1838, they added the 
upper or zinc mill ; all of wliich, for some years past, 
have been owned and carried on by the Crocker Bro- 
thers and Company, of Taunton. During the year 1857, 
they put on an addition to tlie Cupola Smelting Furnace, 
for the purpose of condensing the oxide of zinc escap- 
ing from the furnace, which previously passed oflF 
through the chimney into the atmosphere in the form 
of vapor or smoke. It has proved to be a valuable 
improvement, not only for getting rid of the nuisance, 
but also in a pecuniary point of view ; for, on an ave- 
rage, more than fifty dollars' worth of the powder 
is saved daily, when the furnace is in operation, and is 
used in painting, though not quite so clear and white 
as lead. Mr. William A. West, about the year 1837, 
in one of these buildings, commenced making cents for 
the United-States Government; or rather, he prepared 
them for coining, and then sent them to the mint for 
that purpose. He continued to manufacture them till 
the issue, two or three years since, of the new and 
smaller cent ; and, on an average, he made about sixty 
tons per year. 

It is believed that Isaac Francis built a cutting-mill 


about sixty years ago on Rumford River, back of the 
house now owned by William A. King, between the 
Centre Mills and the road leading from the village to 
the railroad depot. It was afterwards owned by Icha- 
bod Clapp, but has been down many years. 

Araunah Smith had a cutting-mill, forty-five or fifty 
years ago, back of where his son Deacon S. Smith 
now lives, on the brook that passes between Allen B« 
Tucker's and Ansel Keith's. 

George Hodges built a fulling-mill on Wading River, 
a short distance below Barrowsville, about 1810. He 
had trouble with the owners of the factory, for flowing 
back upon their water-wheel, and was obliged to take 
down his dam. He moved his mill to the little stream 
near his house (where Samuel H. Lane now lives), 
and carried on business till he died, in 1828. 

David and Josiah Woodward built a sawmill on 
Rumford River, just above its junction with Wading 
River, about 1815 ; and it was used some ten or fifteen 
years. The privilege has not since been occupied. 

Isaac T. Braman erected a building on Wading 
River, in 1853, nearly half a mile below Mansfield 
Line. It is used for a gristmill, circular saws, and a 

It will be seen, from what has been written, that the 
first branch of business established here, aside from 
farming, was the manufacture of iron from the ore. 
For many years it furnished employment to a large 
number of men and boys ; the making of nails being a 
very prominent feature of the business. At first, these 
were all hammered separately by hand ;. but this was a 
slow and expensive process, and therefore led to the 
invention of the " slitting " and " cutting mills," as 
they were called. The slitting-mills were used to slit 
the iron, that had been rolled down to a proper thick- 
ness, into strips, of the width needed for the length of the 
nails ; and the cutting-mills cut these strips into nails, 
which, for a long time, were headed by hand. Some 
forty or fifty years ago, the business of cutting and 
heading nails was carried on here quite extensively : but, 


since nails have been headed by machinery, the busi- 
ness has passed away from Norton ; and two or three 
solitary blacksmiths' shops, for shoeing horses, oxen, 
&c., are all that remain of the numerous nail-^hops, 
cutting-mills, &c., of former generations. . 

In the early history of our country, the mothers and 
daughters carded and spun by hand ; and also wove 
into cloth the wool, flax, and hemp raised in those 
days. When woven, the woollen cloth was carried to ^ 
the fulling-mill to be dressed and colored, and thus \ 
prepared for use. Many families, however, did their ^ 
own coloring, especially of the yarn and the linen 
cloth. It was not till within the present century that 
machines for carding wool were introduced into town. 
They produced a great revolution in the labor of 

The braiding of straw, and the manufacture of bon- | 
nets and hats therefrom, have, in some measure, fur- j 
nished a substitute for the hand-cards. Betsey Make- \ , 
peace, sister of David Makepeace, was the first who / 
braided straw in Norton. She had leai'ned to do so 
while on a visit to Wrentham. This was more than 
fifty years ago. At first, the straw was braided whole ; 
but, shortly, a gauge, made of needles, was devised, by 
which the straw was split by hand. For some time, 
individuals raised their own straw, and cut it up at the 
proper season, and prepared it for use. At length, a 
division of labor took place : a part braided, and others 
sewed the braid into bonnets and hats. From the 
commencement of the straw-business here about 1802, 
to the present day, it has furnished quite a lucrative 
employment to a large number of females. Ansel 
Keith and Jonathan Smith were among the first to com- } 
mence the business somewhat after the fashion of the 
present day. They bought the straw, and put it out to 
be braided and sewed. This was about 1808. George 
Gilbert commenced the manufacture of bonnets, &c., 
about the same time. Soon after, Thomas Danforth, 2d, 
entered into the business, and carried it on quite 
extensively. Hiram H. Wetherell, either alone, or 



with his brother Horace 6., carried on the business 
from 1833 to 1844. Sept. 3, 1850, the Norton Straw 
Manufacturing Company, consisting of the Whear 
ton Manufacturing Company, L. M. Wheaton, Zeno 
Kelly, L. D, Anthony, and A. Barrows, was organized, 
with a capital of seven thousand dollars, and made 
bonnets, hats, &c. Jan. 14, 1854, the company was 
dissolved, and the Norton Straw Company was formed, 
consisting of L. M. Wheaton, Zeno Kelly, and T. 
T. Rockwood, with a capital of fourteen thousand 
dollars. Nov. 12, 1855, another change took place. 
T. T. Rockwood, A. Dunham, and D. S. Hardon, 
assumed the business, under the name of the " Norton 
Manufacturing Company." Oct. 6, 1856, Dunham 
and Hardon retired from the firm, and C. M. Dean 
became a member; and, in the spring of 1867, the 
company stopped business, and no one has taken their 
place. Many of the females in town, however, sew for 
firms in neighboring towns. 

By the erection of cotton-mills for making cloth, &c., 
in 1810 and 1811, a new impetus was given to the 
enterprise and industry of the town. When these 
mills went into operation, the cotton-bales were sent 
round to different families in town, and the cotton was 
whipped by men and women. This was done to pre- 
pare it for use, instead of picking' it by a machine, as 
is now done. No weaving was done in the mill near 
Eddy Lincoln's for some years after its erection. The 
yarn made was put out, in this and other towns, to be 
woven by hand-looms. 

The first tannery in town is supposed to have been 
hetween the schoolhouse in District No. 3 and Burt's 
Brook ; and was perhaps built soon after the incorpo- 
ration of the town, by Jolui Andrews, who settled 
thereabouts. But the first tannery of wliich we have 
any authentic account was built about 1740, by Deacon 
Benjamin Copeland, between the house of Thomas 
Copeland and Mulberry-Meadow Brook. It continued 
in the Copeland family till it went to decay, about 
1845. About 1758, David Arnold, who learned his 
trade of Deacon Copeland, set up a tannery on Burt's 


Brook, near where his son, Lemuel Arnold, now lives, 
and did a large amount of business for many years. 
Before the Revolution, a tannery was built near Rum- 
ford River, at the place where Mason Freeman lives, 
by a Mr. Basset. It was afterwards owned by George 
Walker, and fell into disuse some thirty years since. 

The shoe-business has never been carried on to any 
great extent in town. Of late years, quite a number 
of persons have taken boots and shoes to bottom for 
companies that reside elsewhere. In 1857, a fund of 
five thousand dollars was subscribed for the purpose of 
organizing a company to manufacture boots and shoes ; 
but the financial pressure of that year crushed it in 

The manufacture of baskets has been carried on for 
some years past by Hiram H. Wetherell, George W. 
Story, Deacon Jason F. Alden, Deacon Stillman Smith, 
Josephus Skinner, and others. 

Ploughs were made by Daniel Briggs, and also Wash- 
burn Braman, for several years ; but the introduction 
of cast-iron ploughs put an end to the wooden ones. 

A building for the making of molasses from Indian- 
corn stalks was built, during the Revolutionary war, 
by Nathaniel Wood and Noah Wiswall, on the south- 
erly side of the road, about half way from where the 
Wiswall House stood to where Warren Adams now lives. 
It was in a great measure a failure ; though, for a few 
years, a small amount of molasses was made. Simeon 
Presbery, during the war of 1812, erected a building 
for the manufacture of molasses from corn-stalks. It 
stood a sliort distance easterlv of Nathaniel Newcomb's 
house, in the lot, near a large oak-tree. 

Mr. Samuel R. Lincoln has, for some years, manu- 
factured gravestones at the extreme easterly part of 
the town. 

Theodore Carver, for some years, carried on the 
manufacture of soap in the northerly part of the town. 

Within the present year (1858), Austin Messinger 
has commenced the manufacture of a very superior 
kind of friction-matches. 



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In the following statistics, we have abbreviated a few 
words that are frequently repeated ; viz., val. denotes 
value; cap., capital invested ; emp., persons employed ; 
m. emp., males employed ; f. emp., females employed ; 
m., manufacture ; m'd, manufactured. 


Cotton-mills, 4; cotton-spindles, 1,993; cotton consumed, 
385,019 lbs. ; cotton-goods m'd, 290,376 yards ; val. of same, 
$53,167.82; m. emp., 53 ; f. emp., 35 ; cap., $57,228. 

Sheep, 425 ; wool, 1,108 lbs. ; val. of wool, $664.80 ; val. 
of sheep, $850. 

Boots m'd, 5,357 pairs ; shoes, 2,470 pairs ; val. of both, 
$15,862.50; m. emp., 13. 

Tanneries, 2 ; hides tanned, 375 ; val. of leather, &c., 
$850; m. emp., 2; cap., $1,500. 

Air and cupola furnace, 1 ; iron-castings made, 375 tons ; 
val. of same, $37,500 ; m. emp., 25 ; cap., $18,000. 

Plough-manufactories, 2 ; ploughs made, 35 ; val. of same, 
.$220 ; m. emp., 2. 

Straw bonnets m'd by dealer in them, 2,800 ; val. of same, 
$8,163; straw bonnets m'd for dealers in other towns, 14,- 
834 ; straw braid, 43,900 yards. 

Copper cupola furnaces, 8 ; sheet-copper and copper-bolts 
m'd, 500 tons ; val. of same, $280,000 ; m. emp., 33 ; cap., 

Shuttles m'd, 300 doz. ; val of same, $1,500. \ 

Val. of baskets m'd, $500. 


Cotton-mills, 4; spindles, 2,320; cotton consumed, 200,- 
000 lbs. ; cotton-cloth m'd, 598,272 y'ds ; val., $35,896 ; cot- 
ton-yarn m'd, and not made into cloth, 12,000 lbs.; val., 
$2,000; cotton-batting, 16,000 lbs.; val., $1,240; val, of 
pelisse-wadding m'd, $1,300; cap., $39,600; m» emp., 35; 
f. emp., 36. 

Furnaces for ra. of hollow-ware and castings other than 
pig-iron, 1 ; hollow-ware and castings m'd, 450 tqps ; val., 
$35,000; cap., $25,000; emp., 35. 

Copper-manufactories, 1 ; copper m'd, 750 tons ; val., . 
$316,750; cap., $226,000; emp., 60. 

Establishments for m. of soap and tallow-candles, 1 ; soap 
m'd, 300 lbs.; val., $1,200; cap., $1,000; emp., 2. 



Tanneries, 1 ; bides tanned, 50 ; val. of leather tanned 
and curried, $50 ; cap., $150 ; emp., 1. 

Value of building-stone quarried and prepared, $300; 
emp., 1. 

Lumber prepared, 383,000 feet; val., $1,167; emp., 20. 

Fire- wood prepared, 1,660 cords ; val., $4,996 ; emp., 17. 

Sheep, 276; val., $421; wool produced, 565 lbs.; val., 

Asses, 1; val., $50; horses, 169; val., $7,712; neat cat- 
tle, 654 ; val., $10,875 ; swme, 293 ; val., $1,465. 

Indian-corn, or maize, raised, 6,308 bush. ; val., $3,154 ; rye, 
724 bush. ; val., $543 ; oats, 600 bush. ; val., $180 ; potatoes, 
18,052 bush.; val., $4,528; other esculent vegetables, 800 
bush.; val., $300; hay, 1,160 tons; val., $11,600; flax, 10 
lbs.; val., $1. 

Fruit raised, 2,319 bush.; val., $417. 

Butter, 7,535 lbs; val., $1,227; cheese, 8,702 lbs.; val., 
$676; honey, 68 lbs.; val., $11 ; beeswax, 4 lbs.; val., $1. 

Val. of gravestones, $700 ; emp., 2. 


Cotton-mills, 3; spindles, 3,656; cotton consumed, 175,- 
000 lbs. ; cloth m'd, 376,320 y'ds, from No. 35 to 40 ; val. of 
cloth, $42,336; yam m'd, 45,720 lbs.; batting m'd, 25,836 
lbs. ; val. of batting, $2,325.24 ; pelisse-wadding m'd, 3,000 
doz. ; val. of wadding, $225 ; cap., $8^,000 ; m. emp., 53 ; f. 
emp., 33. 

Furnaces for m. of hollow- ware and castings other than pig 
iron, 1 ; hollow- ware and other castings m'd, 500 tons ; val. 
of hollow-ware and castings, $50,000 ; cap., $25,000 ; emp., 

Copper-manufactories, 1 ; cap., $60,000 ; emp., 60. 

Establishments for m. of coaches, chaises, wagons, &c., 2 ; 
vaJ. of coaches, &c., m'd, $3,615 ; cap., $2,000 ; emp., 5. 

Establishments for m. of straw bonnets and hats, 1 ; straw 
bonnets m'd, 35,000 ; straw hats m'd, 36,000 ; m. emp., 19 ; 
f. emp., 250. 

Charcoal m'd, 20,000 bush. ; val. of same, $2,000. 

Lumber prepared for market, 1,205,000 ft. ; val. of lumber, 

Fire-wood prepared for market, 2,588 cords ; val. of fire- 
wood, $8,210. 

Sheep, 92 ; val. of sheep, $210 ; wool produced, 287 lbs. 


Horses, 211; val. of horses, $16,156; oxen, over three 
years old, 90 ; steers, under three years old, 47 ; val. of oxen 
and steers, $10,785; milch-cows, 420; heifers, 82; val. of 
cows and heifers, $12,161. 

Butter, 12,358 lbs.; val. of butter, $2,471.60; cheese,' 
8,538 lbs.; vaL of cheese, $1,024.76. 

Indian-corn, 275 acres ; Indian-corn, per acre, 28^ bush. ; 
val., $7,637. 

Wheat, 2 J acres; wheat, per acre, 31 J bush.; val., $170; 
rye, 92 acres; rye, per acre, 10 bush; val., $1,380; barley, 
9 acres; barley, per acre, 18 bush.; val., $165; oats, 97 
acres; oats, per acre, 14 bush.; val., $819.60. 

Potatoes, 187 acres; potatoes, per acre, 61 bush.; val., 
$6,844.20 ; turnips, cultivated as a field-crop, 8 acres ; tur- 
nips, per acre, 81 bush.; val., $120. 

English mowing, 1,602 acres ; English hay, 871 tons ; val., 
$17,420 ; wet meadow or swale hay, 521 tons ; val., $5,210. 

Apple-trees, cultivated for their fruit, 3,428 ; val., $1,389 ; 
pear-trees, cultivated for their fruit, 150 ; val., $93 ; cranber- 
ries, 22 acres ; yal., $1,440. 

Establishments for m. of boxes, 1 ; cap., $2,000 ; val. of 
boxes m'd, $6,000 ; emp., 3. 

Bound timber sent to market, 500 tons ; val., $3,000. 

Swine, 367 ; val., $3,070. 


** Go now through all the tribes, and number ye the people." — Old Bibli. 

In this chapter, we shall give the population of Norton 
at various times ; and the State Census of the inhabi- 
tants on the 1st of June, 1855, taken by the assessors, 
which has been copied for us by a friend. We have 
taken the liberty to correct a few very obvious mistakes. 
Probably some of the surnames will be found incoi^ 
rectly spelled, especially among the foreign population ; 
and, doubtless, the same will be true of a few of the 



Gbristian names. It is almost impossible to take the 
census of any town, without more or less errors being 


Tear. Number. 





1763 . . . 1912^ 

1800 . 

. . 1481 

1830 . 

. . 1484 

1776 . . . 1329 

1810 . 

. . 1598 

1840 . 

. . 1554 

1790 . . . 1428 

1820 . 

. . 1600 

1850 . 

. . 1966 


OF 1855. 




Adams, Joseph S. . . 



Amelia K. 

24. Mass. 

Olive A. . . 



David D. . . 

2L „ 

Adams, Warren . . 



Marianna B. . 

12. „ 

Eunice . • . 



Charles F. Wilbur 

6. 99 

Henry B. . . 



Bernard Coyle • . 

15. Lre. 

Mary S. Wetherell 
AUen, £phraini . . 



Arnold, George H. 

32. Mass. 



Maria M. . . 

27. „ 

Sarah J. . . . 



Arnold, David A. . . 

31. „ 

Sally . . . . 



Ruth A. . . 

22. 9, 

AUen, James • . 



Ruth B. Lewis . . 

51. R.L 

Abigail . . . 



Austin, Otis C. I . . 

44, Mass. 

George £. . . 



Catharine . . 

39. N.Y. 

VelinaW. . , 



Ann M. . . 

17. Mass. 

Mary E. . . . 



Sanford B. 

16. „ 

Eliza L. . . . 



Adelaide . . 

14. „ 

Martha C. . . 



Josephine E. . 

12. „ 

Harriet S. . . 



Granville D. . 

10. „ 

Aiden, Jason F. . . 



Albert A. . . 

8. 9, 

Keziah E. . . 



Lizzie I. . . 

1. .» 

Hannah W. 



Austin, Solomon . • 

64. „ 

Alden, William H. . 



Zilpah . . . 

63. „ 

Angelia M. . . 



Peleg E. . . 

26. „ 

Arnold, Lemuel . . 



Abigail L. Field . 

25. „ 

Mary A. . . 



Babbitt, John . . . 

69. „ 

John Wallace . . 



Rhoda . . . 

66. „ 

Polly Bolton . . 



James L. . . 

37. „ 

Arnold, Asa . . . . 



Abigail L. Smith , 

12. R.L 

Hannah P. . 



Barker, George . . . 

56. „ 

Henry W. Horton 



Mabrey . . . 

52. „ 

Helen E. Olney . 



Alfred . . . 

21. Mass. 

Jemima Arnold . . 



Susan M. . . 

18. „ 

Arnold, John . . . 



Bassett, Mary . . . 

62. 91 

Esther D. . . 



Frederic T. Lane . 

23. „ 

Mary E. Nichols . 



Bailey, Sarah M. . . 

44. N.H. 

Arnold, David. . . . 



Sarah S. . • 

13. Mass, 

Roby . . . 



Mary J. . . . 

11. „ 

• Hannah D. . 



Caleb J. . . . 

8. ,9 

1 This included the inhabitants of the North Precinct, now Mansfield. 







Ballon, 'William . . 

42. Mass. 

Gardner . 



Elizabeth A. . 



Blandin, Sumner . 



George W. . . 






Charles H. . . 



Frances L. 



Edward F. . . 



Aliens. . 



Frederic D. . 



Henry W. 



Joseph E. . , 



MaryE. . 



Isabella J. . . 



Herbert H. 



Emily J. . . 

10 mo 

»• ft 

Blake, Hannah H. . 



Barrows, Carlos . . . 



Mary E. . . 



Cynthia W. . 



Franklin D. 



Nancy E. . 



James C. 



Henrietta E. 



Mary Lathrop . 



8te11a M. . 



Boland, John . • 



Barrows, Harriet . . 



Joanna . • 



Henry M, , 



John . . 



Edwin . . 



Patrick . 



Harriet L. . 



James . • 



Emma F. 



Mary . . 



Julia R. . . 



Dan . . 



Blanchard, Sylvia . • 






James . . 



Catharine • 

2 mo 

• ff 

Bates, Horatio . . . 



Bolan, Michael . . 



Sarah H. . . . 



Ellen . . 



Sarah J. . . . 



Bolton, William S. 



Savilion U. . . 



Flora J. . 



Bellows, Alfred . . . 



Eugene W. 



Charlotte . . 



Clara J. . 



OtisW. , . 



Brady, Patrick . . 






Bridget . . 



Blandin, Benjamin 



John . . . 



Nancy . . . 



Thomas . . 



Nancy W. . 



Catharine . 



Emily . . . 



Eugene . • 



William B. . 



Charles • . 



William Gould . . 



Bragg, Lucinda . . 



Blandin, Simeon . . 



H. Granville 



Hebecca . . 



Louisa Townsend 



Lucius D. 



Augusta Townsend 


» ff 

Benjamin F. Taylor 



Braman, Isaac T. . 



Louis A. Horton . 



Mary J. . 



Lucy A. Dean . . 



Sarah . . 



Blandin, Jesse . . • 



Benjamin Morey 






Braman, Washburn 



Blandin, Jesse H. • . 



Polly . • 



Eunice M. . 



Chloe . . 



Abbott H. . 






Mary E. , , 



Fanny . . 



Blandin, Isaac S. . . 



Braman, Lydia . . 



Eliza . . . 



Druzilla Shepardson 



George 0. . 



Briggs, Emerson 






* __ Whew 
^^ Born. 

Lydia . . . 

68. Mass. 

Briggs, Benjamin S. . 



Caroline . . . 



Benjamin J, . 



E1i7Abeth C. . 



Louisa A. . • 



Alfred . . . 



8ethR. . . . 



BriggSi Edmund . . 



Achsah . . . 



. Lydia A. . . 



Ellen L . . , 



Edmund A. . 



Stephen A. . . 



William Carter . ; 



^Briggs, Charles H. . • 



Lynthy A. • • 



Harrison H. . 



Eunice O. . . 



Sarah E. . . 



Lydia Hodges . . 



Briggs, Simeon . . . 



Esther W. . . 



Maria Tucker . . 



Britton, Zachariah . . 



Brown, Wesley . . . 



Elmira . . . 



Caroline . . 



Mary . , , 



Emeline . . 



Bruce, Alanson . . . 



Mary , . . 



William . . , 



Eliza .... 



George . . . 



Henry . , . 



Abby .... 

2 mo 

• »» 

Burt, Polly .... 



Burt, Jtielzar . . . . 



Martha . . . 



Martha E. . . 



Melzar E. . . 



Mary A. . . . 

4 mo. 


Carpenter, Daniel . . 






Caroline . 






Ellen . . 



Carpenter, Thomas 



WiUard M. 



Thomas P. 



Carpenter, Caroline • 

Dauphin K. 

Lydia Titus . . . 

Caffirey, Daniel . . • 

Mary • • . 

Hugh . . . 

Capen, WilUam, jun. . 

Mary . . • 

Mary J. . • 

Lucy M. . . 

William . . 

Card, James S. . • • 

Lucy A. • • . 

Thomas P. . . 

Thomas Blucklen • 

Anthony Alexander 

Caswell, Alyaris . • 

Ann S. • • 

Serena K. .. 

Lois T. . . 

Alexis . . . 

Mary A. King . • 

Chace, Leander . . . 

Elizabeth C. . 

Mercy A. Snow 

Marshall G. Kenan 

Clark, George F. 

Harriet E. 

Galen A. 

Clarkson, John . 

Mary A. 


William H. . 

Ann . 

Charles E 

Clegg, James 

Sarah . . 
William . 
Clement, Sylvester 

Mary . 

Codding, Isaac B. 

Sarah E. 

Charles Hall . 

Codding, George 

Sally . 

George W. 

Codding, William H. 

Martha B 

Martha C, 

Comstock, Christopher 

Tara G. . 

■*••• Bom. 

49. Mass. 
10. „ 
76. „ 

40. Ire. 

50. „ 
23. 9, 
47. Mass. 
45. „ 

17. „ 

7. ., 
80. „ 

33. R.L 

36. „ 
9. „ 

29. Eng. 
38. „ 
56. Mass. 
38. N.H. 

37. .. 
9. Pa. 

41. Eng. 

34. „ 

8. „ 
3. Mass. 

65. Eng. 
65. „ 

22. „ 

23. Mass. 

18. „ 
26 Me. 
64. Mass. 
26. „ 

6 mo. „ 
60. Conn. 
45. „ 







Charles Barnes • • 
Caroline Pond . • 
Mary Woodbury • 
Catharine Smith • 
Margaret Lee • . 
Sarah Tenny . . 
Honisie McGreath . 
Mary Coyle . . . 
EUen Barry . . . 
Caroline C. Metcalf 
Cobb, Daniel S. . . 
Harriet P. . . 
Silas H. • . . 
Derrick W. . . 
DulcibellaK. . 
Margaret Calaghan 
Daniel Smith . . 
Cobb, Gilford M. . . 
S. Masia . . . 
Pliny Wetherell . 
Collins, Michael . . 
Margaret . . 
Catharine . . 
Margaret . . 
Ann • • . . 
Michael Caveler . 
Conaty, James . . . 
Ellen . . . 
Mary . . . 
Catharine . . 
Patrick . . 
Ellen . . . 
Bridget . . 
Ann . • . 
Conaty, James, 2d . . 
Lydia- . . . 
Conaty, Charles . . 
Rosena . . . 
Charles . . 
Edward . . 
Mary . • . 
Copeland, Thomas . • 
Eliza . • . 
Mary . . . 
Lucy A. Quinley . 
John F. Dixon . . 
Copeland, Thomas H. . 

Lydia A. 
Copeland, Joseph . . 
Louisa . . 
Cosgrove, James 

• • 







Bridget . 





Eugene . 

9. Mass. 



Thomas J. 















Ann H. . 


4 mo 

' tt 



Patrick Coyle. . 





Cosgrove, Daniel . 





Bridget . 





Hugh . 










Philip . 















Edward . 





Cosgrove, Patrick . 










Coyle, James . . 





Kosa . . . 





Crane, John . • . 





Sally . . . 





Crane, John H. . . 





Sarah E. 





Anna . • 

3 mo 

* II 



Crane, George B. . 





Martha . . 





George T. . 





Samuel Drake • 





Crane, Daniel . , 





Wealthy A. 





Mary A. 





Daniel F. , 





Crane, J. Calvin 





Eliza . . . 





Henry C. 





Charles N. . 





Elmira Pratt . 





Crane, George C. . 





Harriet R. . 





Abbott C. . 



7 mc 

>. »* 

Clara E. . . 

6 mo. „ 

, 66. 


Clarissa Fuller . 




Cro8sman,Zephaniah S. 




Crossman, Harrison 









Oren H. 





Frank E. 





Cordelia E. 




Otis B. . 





Dane, Mary . . . 






Michael • • 









Mary . . • • 



Catharine • 

36. Ire. 

Bridget • . • 



Rosy Riley . . . 

16. „ 

Isabdla . . • 



Ann Riley • • • 

7. „ 

John .... 



Bridget Riley . • 

6. „ 

WilUam . . . 



Donohue, Thomas • • 

38. „ 

James • • • • 



Mary . • 

29. „ 

Dean, Bethiah . . • 



James . • 

6. Mass. 

Dolly .... 



Thomas . • 

3. „ 

Dean, Bradford • . • 



Charles • • 

1. »> 

Eliza .... 



Donohue, Francis . • 

38. Ire. 

Lloyd H. . . . 



Catharine • 

85. ,» 

OtisB. . . . 



Catharine . 

9. Mass. 

Eustice H. . . 



Ann E. . • 

7. „ 

Sarah E. Burt . . 



James • • 

4. „ 

Dean, Otis .... 



Mary. • • 

2. ,9 

EUghty S. . . 



Donnelly, Patrick . • 

30. Ire. 

Sarah M. . . • 



Mary. . • 

28. „ 

OtisB. . . . 



John . . • 

3. Mass. 

Dean, Simeon A. . . 



Michael • . 

6 mo. „ 

Eliza B. . . . 



Thomas Marley. . 

35. Ire. 

Ellen M. . . . 



Barney Rounch 

33. ff 

Adelia A. . . 



Draper, Joseph . • . 

46. Mass. 

Hiram A. • . 



Lucilda B. 

46. „ 

Anna J. . . . 



Joseph O. . . 

21. „ 

MaryT. . . . 



Samuel A. . . 

18. „ 

Davis, William H. . . 



Mary E. Kir kpatrick 

16. „ 

Mary D. . . . 



Drake, Charles A. . . 

33. ,f 

Mary J. . . . 



Lydia . . . 

40. „ 

WiUiam H. . . 



Charles E. . . 

IL „ 

Devoll, Pardon B. . . 



Sarah L. . . 

4. M 

Esther G. . . 



Dyer, Polly .... 

64. „ 

Edward S. . . 



Mary A. . . . 

36. „ 

Mary C. . . 



Eliza A. Lincoln . 

13. „ 

Catharine . . 



Droun, Sally .... 

68. „ 

Julia A. . . 



Nancy M. , . 

32. „ 

Catharine Galligan 



Sarah F. . . 

25. „ 

Ann Cunningham • 



Eddy, Mary .... 

69. „ 

John S. Clapp . • 



Eddy, Hodges . , . 

31. „ 

Dexter, Christopher . 



Almeda . . . 

23. „ 

Sarah W. , . 



John .... 

1. ,t 

Walter . . . 



Eddy, John .... 

58. „ 

Sarah . . . 

9 mo 

• » 

Charlotte . . 

59. „ 

Derry, Betsey B. . . 



Eddy, Elijah .... 

70. „ 

Joanna C. Taber • 



Elliot, John S. . . . 

43. Eng. 

Derry, Clarissa . . . 



Esther W. . . 

43. Me. 

Eliza J. . . . 



Mary E. . . • 

13. Mass. 

Dorgan, Abbie . . • 



John W. . . . 

12. „ 

James . . • 



William T. . . 

10. „ 

Timothy . . 



Joseph S. . . 

8. „ 

Nancy McNames . 



Charles W. , . 

3. „ 

Donohue, James . . 



Samuel S. . • 

2. ,a 



Elms, Lydia • . 

Anna • • 

Fanny . . 

Ellen Coyle . 

Bridget Smith 

Faden, Nathaniel 

Susan . 

Emiline * 

Foster, Perez 

Hannah . 
George . 
WiUiam H. 
Ellen J. . 
Samuel Balcom 
Foster, Alexander 
Abner H. 
George . 
Ellen Godfrey 
Fobes, William R. 
Elmina A. 
Marion J. 
Frands, Ephraim 
Mary . 
Lueian . 
Lyman R. 
Field, David . . 
Celia . . 
Matilda . 
Chester R. 
Barnum A. 
Field, David, jun. 
Nancy A. 
Lucretia O. 
Celia A. 
Field, Emma 

Abigail B. 
Charlotte G. Stone . 
Field, Earl W. 
Ann J. 
EUen J. 
Field, Rachel 
Field, Darius 
Betsy . 
Fidd, Dennis 
Sally . 
Fisher, Marcus M. 
Hannah N. 
Mary. . . 


^^ Bora. 

65. Me. 
30. Pa. 
23. „ 
29. Ire. 
19. ,f 
55. Mass. 
51. .. 
10. „ 
58. R.I. 

49. Mass. 





50. „ 
16. Vt 
14. I, 

9. „ 
81. Mass. 





Harriet E. • 
Edward M. 
Finn, Michael 
Sarah . 
Mary A. 
Sarah . 
Fitzgerald, David 

Frarey, Owen 
Mary • 
Freeman, Sanforth 
Carlos D. 
Rachel Thayer 
Freeman, Abigail 

Freeman, Schuyler 
Sally M. 
Hiram S. 
Charles H. 
Freeman, Mason . 
Hannah S. 
George M. 
SethB. . 
Ellen E. . 
Freeman, Nathaniel 
Sarah J. • 
Abbie J. . 
Lucinda S. 
Galligan, Philip 

Mary . • 
Mary . • 
Rosa . . 
Agnes • 
Barney • 



■•«•• Bora. 

11. Mass. 

8. „ 
2. „ 

40. Ire. 
31. „ 
7. Mass. 

4. ff 
2. „ 

45. Ire. 


7. M 

4. Mass. 

2. ., 
40. Ire. 


7. „ 

5. Mass. 

3. „ 
11 mo. „ 





9. „ 

46. Ire. 
39. „ 

12. Mass. 
10. „ 

8. „ 

6. „ 
2. „ 






(^alligan, Patrick . . 

Catharine . 

Henry • . 

James . • 

GalligaUi Edward . . 

Mary . . . 

Henry . . 

Mary . . . 

Anna • • • 

Edward , . 

Ellen . . • 

James . • 

Qalligan, Charles . . 

Barney . • 

Charles • . 

Ann . • • 

Galligan, Daniel . • 

Catharine . 

Barney . . 

James . . • 

Bridget • • 

John • • 

Qaffney, Owen . . . 

Elizabeth . . 

James F. . • 

Thomas . . 

Gaffney, Edwin . . • 

Mary . . . 

Mary A. . . 

Gilmore, Everett G. . 

Julia A. . . 

Avis A. . • 

Eveline • . 

Julia E. . . 

Elbridge H. . 

Susan E. Stoddard . 

Esmerelda Stoddard 

Gooch, Thomas . . . 

Elizabeth W. . 

Polly King . . . 

Charles Briggs . . 

Goodwin, Polly . . . 

Abby . . 

Hannah L. . 

Godfrey, David . . . 

Betsy . . . 

Laura F. . . 

Rosilla B. . 

Sarah . • . 

God&ey, Jones . . . 

Hannah • • 

.«, Where 
^^ Born. 

^8^ Bom. 

30. Ire. 



18. Mass. 

28. „ 

Lebe A. . 

17. „ 

3. Mass. 

Martha A. 

16. „ 

2. ,. 

Emily J. . 

13. „ 

40. Ire. 

Jones W. 

11. „ 

33. „ 

Goff, Silas R. . , 

42. „ 

16. Mass. 

Roxanna . • 

38. „ 

15. H 

Abby J. , , 

13. „ 

n. „ 

Mary E. . . 

7. ,. 

10. „ 

Baylies R. . . 

3. „ 

8. „ 

Lucinda Horton 

20. „ 

5. „ 

Abbie A. Horton 

11. ., 

40. Ire. 

Gillroy, Hugh . , 

35. Ire. 

5. Mass. 

Margaret • 

28. „ 

3. „ 


2. Mass. 

27. Tre. 

Mary E. . 

6 mo. „ 

42. „ 

James Gaffney . 

27. Ire. 

36. „ 

Grady, Dennis . • 

27. „ 

15. Mass. 

Grace M. . 

29. „ 

13. „ 

Dennis Galligan 

8. „ 

9. „ 

Sarah Galligan . 

6. „ 

6. „ 

William Gidligan 

4. „ 

30. Ire. 

Catharine Galliga 


1. » 

23. „ 

Patrick Magro . 

26. „ 

2. MaftS. 

John Magro . . 

19. „ 

3. „ 

Catharine M. Magro 

21. „ 

36. „ 

Timothy Crowan 

26. „ 

24. „ 

Grimshaw, Thomas 

36. Eng. 

2 mo. „ 


35. „ 

35. „ 


16. „ 

34. R.L 

Alfred . 

5. Mass. 

11. „ 

James . 

1. » 

9. 1, 

James Lyle . . 

37. Scot. 

6. „ 

Agnes Lyle . , 

35. „ 

4. „ 

Guild, Nancy E. • 

37. Mass. 

31. „ 

Ellen S. . . 

10. „ 

3. „ 

Abbie A. 

7. „ 

30. Mass. 

Catharine Darey 

40. Ire. 

35. „ 

Hall, Benjamin S. . 

52. Mass. 

73. „ 

Caroline J. . • 

49. „ 

7. n 

Hall, Richard H. . 

45. „ 

80. „ 

Mary A. . , 

42. „ 

65, „ 

R. Henry . . 

24. „ 

40. „ 

Horatio H. . 

22. „ 

60. „ 

Mary J. . . 

19. „ 

58. „ 

Eliza A. . . 

16. „ 

33. „ 

Harriet A. 

10. „ 

15. „ 

George E. . . 

7. „ 

85. „ 

Velina A. • • 

9 mo. „ 

46. „ 

Hall, Eben . . . 

49. Me. 

41. „ 

Susan . . • 








I«aacM.. . • • 



W. Georges 



EbenW. . . . 



Hill, Marbee . . , 

1 • 



Christiana A. 



Martha . . . 



Susan S. Nason . .- 



Allen L. . . 



Harriet W. Nason . 



Hill, NahumW. , 



Elizabeth A. Nason . 






Martha T. Nason . 



Sanford W. . 



Mary A. Nason . . 



Ella E. . . . 



WiUiam P. Nason . 



Hicks, Gilbert . , 



Harding, Achsah C. . 



Malanca . , 



Watie A. . 



Charles F. Carp 


Achsah C. . 



ter . . . , 



Andrew A. . 



High, Timothy . , 



Hardon, Isaac, juu. , 



Bridget A. . 



Eunice . . 



Mary . • . 



Eunice . . 



Anna . . . 



John D. . • 






Hazleton, George M. . 



John . . 



Su^an A. . 



Timothy . , 



Silence Randall 



James . . , 



Harvey, John . . . 



Holmes, A^^a P. . , 



Cornelia A. . 



Eunice . , 



Cornelia E. • 



Alonzo P. 



Ellen F. . . 



Melissa S. 



Adeline H. . 



Horton, Abigail . 



Harris, John .... 



Horton, Allen M. 



Margaret • . 



Olive K. , 



Alfred Rainford . 



Allen M. , 


>. ff 

Alice Rainford . . 



Sarah W. MiUer 

61. ( 


Hagerty, Charles . . 



Hodges, Hannah , 



Mary A. . . 



Hodges, Leonard , 



Mary A. . . 



Chloe . , 



Harlow, Reuben . . 



Fanny J. , 



Betsy . . . 



Henry G. 



Lavinia . . 



Ann E. 



Reuben A. . 



Caroline B 



William F. . 



Charlotte J 

L ! 



William T.Britton. 



Hodges, Earl . . 



Sarah Williams . . 






Benj. Mahusen . . 



Emma T. 



Anna Mahusen . . 



Emma Lane . 



James Godfrey . , 



Hodges, Royal P. 



Lettuce Puifer . . 



Martha M. 



Nancy Watson . . 



Julia B. 



Edmund Lathrop . 



Ann Williams , 



Hazlehurst, George W. 



Hodges, Hiram • 



Almeda . 






Elizabeth G 

. 9. 





Alfred P. . 



Lucy . 






Frank . , 




2. Mass. 

Sarah . 





Hodges, Williams • • 

Avis P. . • 

Charles W. . 

Joseph F. . • 

Clara . . . 

Emma R. • • 

Alfreds. . . 

Hodges, JarTis . • . 

Rhoda . • . 

Ludnda • • 

Maria L. West . • 

Hodges, Samuel , . . 

EUza J. . . 

EUen D. Skinner • 

Josephus E.Skinner 

Hodges, Newton S. 

Lnranah W. . 
Sarah . 
David L. 
Hodges, Solomon S. 
Nancy T. 
Sally M. 
Hunt, Fanny 

F. Maria . 
Hunt, Hiram J, 
Betsy . • 
Mary £. . 
Hunt, Calvin M. 
Lavina . 
Sarah A. . 
George C. 
Laura J. . 
Hunt, Adolphus D. 
Emily J. . 
Emily H. 
Frank D. 
Hunt, John . . 
Lucy A. • 
Sarah . • 
Hunt, Elbridge G. 
Betsy . . 
George E. 
Catharine E. 
Hunt, Peddy . 
Harriet J. 
Hunt, Moses . . 
PUny P. . 
Nancy A. 
Amanda F. 
Albert M. 

-*«* Born. 

•*«^ Bom. 

69. Mass. 

Eunice M. • 

7. Mass. 



Hunt, Borden • • 

. 69. R.L 



Harriet • • 

• 42. Mass. 



Hunt, Henry . • 

. 40. „ 



Maria . • • 

• 40. „ 



Henry L. . 

. 11. .» 



Cornelia Dean • 

• *^« ff 



Lewis B. Dean • 

• 28. „ 



Isherwood, Ralph • 

. 29. Eng. 



Alice . 

. 28. „ 



Mary A. 

• 8. „ 



Alfred . 

2. Mass. 




. 10 mo. „ 



Johnson, James . • 

. 38. Ire. 



Mary . . 

. 40. „ 



Mary A. . 

. 11. M 



Johnson, Charles H. 

. 37.N.C. 



Eliza A. . 

. 30. Mass. 



Emma J. • 

. 9 mo. „ 



Jones, Elnathan . . 

• 68. „ 



Polly . . . 

. 46. „ 

8. Mass. 

Harriet A. . 

• 12. „ 



Jones, William D. • 

. 20. „ 



Betsy . . . 

* 2*5. „ 



Kosco W. . 

• 3 mo. „ 



Jones, William . . 

• 66, „ 




• 66. „ 



KeiSe, Edward . . 

. 26. Lre. 



Elizabeth . . 

. 19. .. 



Margaret . • 

2. Mass. 



Kelly, Zeno . . . 

. 44. „ 



Julia A. . . 

• 34. „ 



Blanchard B. 

. 9. „ 



Zeno H. . . 

. 7. „ 



Abbot E. . 

. 7 mo. „ 



Margaret Fane . 




Polly Braman . 

. 60. Mass. 



Keith, Ansel . . . 

. Oo. ,, 



Betsy . . . 

. 71. „ 



Nathaniel Andrews 64. „ 



Keith, Amos . • . 

. 69. „ 



Abigail . . 

. 58. „ 



Elbridge D. 

. 31. „ 



Cephas . • 

. 28. „ 



Martin L. . 

. 20. „ 



Keith, Williams . 

. 66. „ 



Louisa F. . 

. 18. „ 



Amelia L . 

. 16. „ 



Theodore W. 

. 11. „ 



Otis L. . . 

. 8. „ 



Hannah . . 

. 70. „ 


Phebe . . 
Eimlwll Q), Kiapath 
Alfred Clark. . 
Wmiam VaUett . 
LeioO^T I. 
Aim McfiinniJi 
King, Bhoda. . 
William A. ■ 
Enapp, Nancy , 
E^pp, SumnCT 

Cturlea P. 
Enowles, William 
George A. 
Lane, Daniel . . 
Albert. . 

Haicu9 O. 
Herbert . 

Julietta . 

Benjamin C 

Lane, Calvin . . 

MaT|;ai'et . 

Lane, George ■ 
Chloe A. . 
Silaa A. Stone 
Lane, William . 
Bets^ . . 
NehemiBh A. Dean 
An jenett R. Wilde 
Lane, Qardner . . 
Amelia . . 
Mar; A. . . 
Polly Carver , 
Mary L. Conant 
Lane, Allen . . . 
Elizabeth . . 
Abigail . . 
Jetusha H. Freeman 
Lane, Allen D. . 
Lucy M. . 
WiUiam A. 
Edwin A. 







. 10 

. 25 


















. 47 

























a 39 

. 31 






LucyE. . . 


AbbieR.. . 

3. „ 

Elizabeth. . 

6 mo. „ 

AbWe N. Pidge 

22. „ 

Lane, Samael H. . 

42. „ 

EebeccaP. . 

37. „ 

lane, AugustuB . . 

36. „ 

Mary A. . . 

30. „ 

George A. . 

6. „ 

Charlea A. . 

4. .. 

Robert E. . 

2. „ 

UaryH. . . 

4mo. „ 

Edgar A. Freeman 

13. „ 

James H. Leonard 

25. „ 

Mary Smith . . 

19. Ire. 

Lane, David C. . . 


Abiah . . . 

es. „ 

Alice . . . 

24. „ 

Ellen W.. . 

22. ., 

WiUUmH. . 

16. „ 

Lane, Don F. . . 

46. „ 

Harriet . . 

42. „ 

Andrew . . 

18. „ 

Cordelia . . 

16. „ 

John T. WiUiams 

20. „ 

Lane, Mary H. . . 

40. „ 

Lane, Charles D. . 

30. „ 

Fanny H. . 

27. „ 

Emily D.. . 

7. ,. 

Ellen F. . . 

Crawford Lane . 

18. „ 

Lane. Oliver H. . . 

26. „ 

Polly E. . . 

24. „ 

Charlea E. . 

3. „ 

Eli W. Field . 

30. „ 

Leonard, Cromwell 

Harriet M. 

44. N.H. 

Jamee Dew . . 

13. N.B. 

Elizabelb Hoy . 

18. La. 

Leonard, Luen C. . 

36. Mass 

Eunice H. 

36. ,. 

Jacob A. . 


Florence C. 


Leonard, Hathaway 


Maiy B. . 




Marion B. 


Charles P. 


Leonard, Otia R. . 


Mary A. E. 


Peleg 0. . 






^fl^ Bora. 


.8 mo. 


RhodaA. • . . 

13. Mass. 

Eliza J. Dean . 

. 14. 


Alvin F. • • . 

11. „ 

Leonard, Gilford . 

. 41. 


Betsy Eddy . . . 
Leddy, Barney • • . 

49. „ 


. 40. 


45. Ire. 

Gilford H 

• . JiJ»» 


Julia . . • . 

50. „ 

Laura A. 

. 14. 


Leddy, Peter . • . . 

30. ,» 

Charles , 

. . 12. 


Margaret . . 

26. „ 

Emeline . 

. . 10. 


/ Julia . . . . 

3. „ 

Wealthy C. . 5. 


Catharine . . 

7 mo. Mass. 

Densey E. 

. 3. 


Lothrop, Solomon . . 

64. „ 

Leonard, Gilbert B. 

. 29. 


Fanny . . . 

64. „ 


. 24. 


Andrew J. . 

81. f, 

Wealthy ] 

B. . 9. 


Nathan C. . 

16. „ 

Ellen V. , 

. . 8. 


Lothrop, Melvin 0. . 

36. „ 

Walter B, 

. 5. 


Mary A. • • 

80. „ 

Lewis D. 

. 3. 


Everett M. . 

3. „ 

George F, 

. . 2. 


Fanny T. . . 

5 mo. „ 

Anna J. 

. . 2 mo. „ 

Margaret Butler . 

24. Ire. 

Leonard, Ezekiel 

. . 38. 


Lincoln, Annes A. • * 

59. Mass. 

Rally R. 

. . 37. 

Nancy. • . 

53. „ 

Ezekiel S. 

. 17. 

Mary A. . . 

26.. „ 

Jjewis E. . 

. . 13. 

Annes A., jr. 

23. „ 

Irving L. 

. 9. 

Luther . . 

21. „ 

Edwin F, 

. . 7. 

Daniel B. • . 

. 20. „ 

PhUo F. . 

. . 3. 

Anna . • . 

17. „ 

Leonard, George R 

. . 45. 

David A. . . 

14. „ 

Patience E. . 38. 

Edwin H. Arnold . 

34. „ 

Elizabeth E.. 15. 

Mary Arnold . , 

. 49. „ 

George H 

. . 12. 

Margaret Lynch . 

. 17. Ire. 

Everett R. . 9. 

Lincoln, Seneca . . 

54. Mass. 

Stephen I 

.. . 4. 

Elizabeth . . 

50. „ 

Mary Walsh 

. . 25. 


Elizabeth . , 

, 25. „ 

Leonard, Rebecca . 

. . 69. 


Ruth . . . 

24. „ 

Dennis Moran 

. . 21. 


Seneca L. 

. 22. „ 

Leonard, George E 

. . 22. 


Lydia A. . . 

20. „ 

Jane . 

. . 18. 


Mary B. . . 

18. „ 

Leonard, James . 

. . bb. 


Phebe A. . , 

15. „ 


. . 54. 


Rebecca R. , 

13. „ 


rD. 16. 


Charity . . 

10. „ 

James H. 

. 11. 


Rachel Lincoln . . 

65. „ 

Caroline Irish . 

. . 24. 


Annis A. Slade 

13. „ 

William D. Wa 


Lincoln, Laban . . , 

64. „ 

burn . • , 

. 20. 


Susannah . . 

61. f, 

Leedham, John . 

. . 53. 


Hannah D. . 

29. „ 

Alice. . 

. . 52. 


Mary J. . , 

20. „ 

Joseph . 

, . 28. 


Lincoln, Calvin . . . 

67. „ 


. . 21. 


Nancy P. . . 

56. „ 

James , 

. 15. 


Moses 0. . . 

23. „ 

Samuel , 

, . 13. 


Rhoda Wilbur . . 

47. „ 

Lee, Alvin D. . . 

. 40. 


Lincoln, Silas W. . . 

40. ,. 

Filena . . 

. . 41. 


Susan A. B. . 

29. Me. 






•*«^ Bora. 

Jolin H. . • 

14. Maw. 

Lincoln, Samuel R. . 

55. Mass. 

Mary S. . . 



SaUy . . . 



Jeremiah McDonald 



James G. . . 



Thomas Hill . . . 



Eunice A. 



Catharine Leonard . 



Nancy . . . 



Sarah E. Loring 



Lewis E. . . 



Ellen M. Loring • 




Harrison T. . 



Lincoln, Sumner W. • 

40. Mass. 

Elmira . . . 



Mary . . . 


Mary A . . . 



Lloyd S. . . 



Benjamin , . 



MaryE. • . 


Nancy • . . 



Harriet M. . 


Joseph . . « 



Sarah H. . . 


Susan Sharky • • 



John Hardey . . 




John . . . 



Barney Field . . 

62. Mass. 

Lydia . • . 



Lincoln, Calvin C. . . 



John B. . . 



Catharine M. 



Charles A. . 



Emory C. . . 



Lydia A. . • 



Lincoln, Eddy . . . 



Frances R. • 



Lydia . . . 



Elnora . . . 

10 mo 


Daniel . . . 




Orin F. . . 



Moses Lincoln 



Laura . • . 



Mary Magrovren . 



Lucy A. . . 



Timothy O'Brien . 




ice, Lysander . 



James Todd . . . 






Samuel Fisher . , 



Makepeace, Lysand. 0. 



Lincoln, Aaron, jun. . 



Esther R . 



Rhoda . . . 



Anne E. . 



George F. 



Sarah A. • 



Henry W. . 



Stella A. . 



William O. . 



Frank B. . 



Rhoda E. . . 



Lucia A. . 



Hannah M.F. 



Eveline L. 



Samuel S. 



IdellaS. . 

5 mo 

' tt 

Charles H. . 



Honorah Calahan . 



John C. . . 



Makepeace, Don P. . 

50. J 


Lincoln, Elijah . . . 



Elizabeth . 



Patience . . 



Lucilda D. 



Bradford Willis . 



Laura F. . 



Tiincoln, Elijah D. . . 



Abby , . 



Phebe . . . 






Phebe C. . . 



Charles H. 



Eliza . . . 



David . . 



Elvira . . . 




ace, Jason T. L. 



Jesse D. . . 




Henry A. . • 



W. . . 



Lincoln, Simeon, jun. . 






Adaline M. . 




William T. 



Clarence . • 



Makepeace, Deborah . 



Simeon • • 



Lurana Tisdale . • 



Lincoln, James . . • 



Makepeace, Alanson • 







«a« When 
•*«^ Bom. 

Jane I. 

40. Mass. 

John • . • 

9. Mass. 

Mercy J. . 



Ellen . . 

7. „ 

Sarah E. . 



Kobert . . 

6. tt 

Martha M. 



McMahan, Thomas • • 

39. Ire. 

Charles 0. 



Margaret • 

38. f, 


, 2. 


Patrick . • 

17. „ 

Makepeace, David W. . 



James • • 

12. „ 

Abigail A. 



Bridget . • 

9. Mass. 

AbbyA. . 



Thomas. • 

6. „ 

David A. . 



Margaret A« 

4. „ 

Elmar W. . 



Catharine • 

2. t, 

MathewBOxii John . . 



Charles . • 

7 mo. „ 

Eunice . 



McNamara, Michael • 

50. Ire. 

Arabella . 



Mary . . 

46. „ 

Sarah L. . 




13. Mass. 

John n. . 



Jane . • 

11. ,1 

Munroe, John L. • . 



Fanny . . 

9. „ 

Betsy . . . 



Patri^ . 

7. „ 

Murry, Catharine . . 



Wilh'am . 

6. „ 

Mary . . . 



Laurana Hacus . • 

13. Ire. 

Patrick . . . 



McNamara, Dennis . 

30. „ 

Ann • • • . 



Margaret . 

21. 1. 

Catharine . . 



Cornelius • 

3. Mass. 

James . • . 



Nora . . 

1. .1 

McCaffery, Thomas . 



Messinger, James O. . 

45. „ 

Ann . . 



PhebeM. . 

39. „ 

Mary . . 



J.Alfred . 

17. „ 

Kosena . . 



Abbie E. . 

11. ,1 

Alice . . 



Frances Wayland . 

22. N.F. 

Frederic . 



Messinger, Austin . . 

37. Mass. 

Julia . . 




32. „ 

McClarence, Archibald 



Mary E. • 

9. „ 

Sarah . . 



Khoda . • 

63. „ 

Isaac . . 



Macomber, Zaccheus . 

41. 1. 

Maria . . 



Elmira . » 

39. „ 

James H. . 



James O. • 

16. „ 




Harriet E. . 

5. „ 


. 5. 


Miller, Elbridge G. . 

40. „ 

Sarah J. . 



Hulda . . . 

37. „ 

McDowney, John . . 



Charles E. . . 

18. .. 

Bridget • 



Ruth A. . . . 

16. „ 

McDonald, James . . 



Jonathan G. . 

14. „ 

Mary . . 



Betsy J. . . . 

11. .1 


Sarah E. . . 

8. ,1 

jun. . . 



Elbridge E.. . 

5. „ 

Abraham . 



Herbert G. . .11 mo. „ 

Mary . . 



Morse, Willard . . . 

44. „ 

McGinley, John . . 



Asenath . • • 

37. „ 

Mary . , 



Eliza A. . • • 

14. „ 

Mary A. . 



Lysander C. • 

11. „ 

James • . 



Sarah E. • . 

8. 1, 



»__ Whcr6 
^f^ Born. 



Elbridge G. • 

4. Mass. 

Caroline A. . 



Morton, Edmund • . 

56. Me. 

James M. Donald . 



Hannah Hammond 

43. „ 

Plnnket, Patrick . . 



Abbie M.Hammond 

16. „ 

• Margaret . • 


Muntz, William H. • 

30. Eng. 



Alice . • . 

27. „ 

John • . • 


Alfred Parker . • 

25. „ 

Mary . • . 


Sarah Parker % • 

23. „ 

Thomas . . 


Catharine Smith . 

18. Ire. 

Bridget . . 


Catharine Smith . 

20. Mass. 

Patrick . . 


Maloy, John .... 

50. Ire. 

Perry, Ichabod . , • 

66. Mass. 

Bridget . . . 

50. „ 

Celia D. . . . 


Newcomb, Sylvester • 

87. Mass. 

Harriet E. • • 


Roxanna . 

64. R.I. 

Sarah W. . . 


Newcomb, Asa . . , 

25. Mass. 

Perry, Lemuel . . . 


Ellen . . 

26. „ 

MillaK. . . . 


George E. . 

1. u 

George R. . . 


Josephine Dean 

H. M 

Perry, Henry C. . . 


Newcomb, Charlotte S. 

38. „ 

Nancy E. . • 


Merrick O. 

30. „ 

AdellaP. . . 


Emily H. . 

20. „ 

Florence A. . • 


Newcomb, Josiah . . 

70. „ 

Pond, Horace A. • . 


Nancy . . 

67. „ 

Lucy .... 


Joseph . . 

31. „ 

Edgar A. Perago . 


RuelCobb . . . 

64. „ 

Riley, Edward . . . 



Fanny Fisher . . 

28. „ 

Ellen .... 



Newcomb, Nathaniel . 

58. „ 

Mary .... 

3. Mass. 

Betsy . . 

60. „ 

Ann .... 

5 mc 

>. •> 

Harriet . . 

21. „ 

Farel Smith . . . 



Ellen Burt . . . 

22. Ire. 

Redding, Lewis . . . 



Newcomb, John B. 

43. Mass. 

Maria A. . . 


Abigail C . 

33. Me. 

Adaline . • 


Abbie C. . 

6. Mass. 

Edwin L. . 


Charles H.. 

4. » 

Reed, Stephen D. . . 


Walter Ross . . . 

17. „ 

Emily A. . . . 


Mary Dolan . . . 

23. Ire. 

Reed, Irena .... 



79. Mass. 

OrvillaJ. . . 


O'Brien, Andrew . , 

64. Ire. 

John F. . . . 


Ann , . . 

59. „ 

Reed, Lydia .... 


Edward . . 

25. „ 

Adda .... 


Lucinda . . 

22. Me. 

Sarah .... 


Pratt, Augustus L. 

44 . Mass. 

Abbie J. . . . 


Vashti. . . . 

41. „ 

George . . , 


Ellen A. . . . 

11. ., 

Richmond, Benjamin . 


Henry A. . . 

4. „ 

Mary J. 


John A. Gibson . 

39. Vt. 

Hannah T. Hodges. 


Palmer, Clara E. . . 

25. Mass. 

Richmond, Benj. H. • 


Clara A. . . 

4. „ 

Julia A. • 


Frederic M. . 

1. „ 

Ann M. • 


Patten, John .... 

59. „ 

EllaE.. . 


Nancy M. . • 

56. „ 

William F. Adams. 








Bichmond, Ward . . 



George B. . 



OHveB. . 



Shelley, Libbeus . 


Richmond, David H. . 



Lucinda . 


Martha M. 



Shepard, Jacob . . 


Hiley, Catharine . . 



Mary . , 


Owen .... 



Mary . . 


Faral .... 



Catharine . 


John .... 



Sheridan, John . . 



Patrick . . . 



Mary . . 



Kogers, Charles . . . 



Thomas . 

7. Mass. 

Harriet F. . . 



Bridget . 



Harriet M. . . 


John . . 



Betsy A. . . 





Fanny J. . . 


Sinclair, Amos S. . 



Emma J. . . 



52. Mass. 

Kobinson, Ruel . . . 


Sarah L. . 



Eliza . . . 


Ellen M. . 



IdaA. . . 


MaryKeffe . . 



Ruel E. . . 


Skinner, Albert . . 



Adda F. Dunham . 


Elizabeth M 

. • 


Robinson, Mary A. 


Eugene M. 


Sarah H. . 


Clarance A. 


Robinson, Edward 0. . 


Orinthia S. Hewitt 


Lucinda . . 


Rachel Skinner . 


Rock wood, Thomas T. 


Skinner, Josephus . 


Eveline A. 


Rebecca . 


Charles H. 


Marietta A. 


Franklin Holmes . 


Rebecca 0. 


Rogerson, John R. . . 


Harriet E. 


Mary L. 


Smith, Timothy . . 


Ellen A. . 


Charles T. . 


Alfred V. . 


Smith, Noah . . . 


William B. . ' 


Nancy . . 


Lydia S. 


Ann A. . . 


Sylvanus H. Blan- 

Stella A. . 


ding .... 


Ellen King . . 


Round, Benjamin M. . 


Smith, Charles H. . 


Sophia . . . 


Susan . . 


Helen R. . . 


Smith, James, 2d . 



Arthur M. . . 


Bridget . . 


Alice A. . . 

10 mo. „ 

Catharine . 


John Cormody . . 



Andrew . . 


Ann Galligan . . 



Thomas . . 


Hannah PuUen . . 



Bridget . . 


Root, Clarinda . . . 



Mary . . . 


Emma F. . . . 


Rosa . . . 


Clara M. . . . 


James . . 

8 mo. „ 

Shaw, John .... 


Smith, Matthew . . 



Polly .... 


Ann . . . 



Marshall . . . 


John . . . 



Horatio E. . . 


Ann . . . 






Eliza . • 

Matthew . 
Patrick Riley 
Michael Murry 
Frank Gyrl 
Smith, Patrick 

Julia • 

Mary. . i .3 

Smith, James 

Abigail Preeman 
Smith, James, jun. 

Hachel L. 

James H. 

Kachel D. 
Smith, Seth . • 

Sarah M. 

Mary E. . 
. Herbert R. Arnold. 
Smith, Stillman . 

Eunice . 

Eunice M. 

William W 
Smith, Stillman L. B. 

Ann E. . 

Prank L. 
Smith, Henry . 

Sarah . . 

Dwight D. 
Smith, Peter . . 

Bridget . 

Philip . 
Smith, George W. 

Alvin P. 

Daniel B. 

Lydia A. 


Lydia • 
Smith, Lucinda . 

Hannah L. 
Smith, Nathan . 

Olive . . 

Caroline M 

Sanford E. 



Emerson W 

Eliza A. . 

Matilda J. 

Evert tt A. 
Snow, Joseph . 


15. Mass. 
12. „ 
35. Lre. 

20. „ 
30. „ 
22. Lre. 

21. „ 
mo. Mass. 

18. Ire. 
63. Mass. 




1. » 

28. Conn. 

29. „ 
4. „ 

34. Ire. 
33. I, 
24. „ 

30. Mass. 

3. it 
67. R.I. 



Nancy . • . 
Nancy Y. . . 
Sprague, Charles, jun. . 
•Betsy W. 
Warren C 
Betsy A. 
Mary P. 
Charles . . 
Hannah Kelly 
Stanley, Phebe . 
Dilly HaU . 
Stanley, Benjamin D.'. 
Harriet E. • 
George B. 
Harriet M 
Laura . 
Stedman, Patrick 
John . 
Mary , 
Stephens, Benjamin M. 
Ann E. 
Ann E. 
Polly Field . 
Story, George W. 
Delia M. . 
George H. 
Adelia M. 
Story, Thomas . 
Betsy . . 
A. Thorton 
Elmira A. 
Stone, Larnard . 
Rebecca . 
Lucinda . 
Earl W. . 
Sumner, Seth . 
Ruth A. 
Ruth . 
Sweatland, Rufus 


Sweatland, Edwin . 



James E. . 

Anjenette . 7. 

Lydia M. . 5. 

Marietta • 1. 

Sweet, William ... 62. 

Lydia , , , 65, 


AiM WhW8 

-*«*• Bom. 

49. Mass. 

77. „ 
30. Ire. 
70. Mass. 
88. „ 
37. „ 
35. Me. 
11. Mass. 

7. „ 
2 mo. „ 

24. Ire. 

25. „ 
1. Mass. 

56. Ire. 

47. Mass. 








78. „ 
46. Me. 
46. „ 
10. Mass. 







Serena • . • 

Sweet, Cyril S. . . • 

Mercy A. ., • 

Isabdla A. •* . 

Cyril F. . . . 

Ida R. • • • 

Sweet, Betsy S. • • . 

Betsy J. . • . 

Sweet, Alanson . . • 

Lydia . . • 

Alanson £. . . 

Benj)Amin F. . 

Leand^ . . • 

Albert L. . . 

Swe^, Benjamin R. . 

Rhoda M. . . 

Sweet, George M. • . 

Sarah W. . . 

George A. . . 

Frederic M. 

Mary • . • • 

Sweet, Oliver . • . 

Sweet, Hezekiah . • 

Lydia W. • . 
Sweet, Eliza .... 

Amelia T. . . 

Eliza .... 

Sarah T. . . 

Sweet, Benjamin . . 

LycUa D. . . 

Benjamin E. . 

Sophia C. . . 

OrvilleB. . . 

Aurelia J. . • 

Sweet, Joseph D. . . 

Abby A. . . 

Lewis H. . . 

Abbie A. . . 

Joseph F. • . 

Andlew H. 

Sweet, James M. . . 

Sophia J. . . 

Ann M. • • . 

Elvira O. . . 

Otis J. . . . 

Samantha K. . 

Tinkham, Ebenezer . 

Adaline . . 

Abbie M. . 
Frederic W. 
Howard A. . 

Aa^ When 
^f^ Bom. 

56. Mass. 
38. „ 
35. „ 
9. „ 

4. » 
3 mo. „ 

70. „ 














Lydia A. Arnold • 

Titus, Oliver S. . . . 

Angeline . • • 

Emily A. • . 

Henry O. . • 

Oren E. Walker . 

Tripp Thompson • . 

Nancy . • . . 

Alice Smith . • . 

Caroline L. Smith • 

Catharine Linard • 

Tucker, Polly H. . . 

Mary A. . • 

Elizabeth L.C. 

Tucker, Allen B. • . 

Alice . . . 

Harriet N. 

Charles B. 

James E. • . 

Tucker, Almond . . 

Nancy • . . 

Almond H. • 

Moses H. . . 

David A. • • 

George N. 

Frank M. . . 

Ann E. • . 

Rosco L. B. . 

Tucker, Albert S. • . 

Abigail . . . 

Lydia . . . 

Emily A. . . 

Mary E. . . 

Albert W. . 

Benajah . . 

Tucker, George W. 

Eunice L. . . 
Charles H. 

Washburn, James S. • 

Betsy . • 
Joseph H. 

D. . . 

Ann F. . 
Sally Bryant 
West, William A. 
Ann B. . 
Mary B. . 
Frederic M. 
Anna B. . 
John . . 


^3* nLSBB» 








24. „ 

15. Ire. 

61. MasB. 





























Job W. Hall . . 

86. Maas. 

Marcus W. . 

12. Mass. 

Nancy Hall . . . 



Roby . . . 



Mary Timmings . 



Wheeler, Wheaton 



West, Hiram . • . 



Eliza . . . 



Arminthia • • 



White, Howe . . . 



Wetherell, William . 



Temperance . 



Electia . . 



White, Cyrus . . . 






Asenath. . . 



Wetherell, William, jr. 



Hennary Newcomb 



Emily E. . 



White, Jason . . . 



Ellen L . 



Lydia . . . 



Frank J. . 



Jason L. . . 



Mary A. . 



Bet^iyA. . . 


William , 

6 mc 

>• ff 

Emory L. . • 


Wetherell, Hiram H. . 



William N. . 


Lurinda S. 



Otis A. . . . 


E. Sidney . 



White, George, jun. . 


Eliza J. . 



Sarah • . . 


Ann Callaghen . . 



Sarah E. . . 


Wetherell, Caleb S. . 



White, Isaac .... 


Cordelia E. 



Sophia . . . 


Caleb B. • 



Sophia H. . . 


George L. . 



Marrietta . . 


ChloeE. . 



White, George A. • . 


Wetherell,Benjamin C. 



Polly A. . . 


Sarah L. . 



White, John H. . . 


Thomas B. 



Ellen J. . . . 


Charles H. 



White, FArl C. . . . 


Edwin B. . 



Elizabeth A. . 


Anna L. . 



Sarah E. . . 


Frederic A. 

7 mo 

• ft 

Lewis E. . . 


Sarah Sweet . . . 



Mary J. . . . 


Wetherell, Stillman A. 



Lloyd E. . . 


Adaline . 



Isaac Dean . . . 


Ellen A. . 



Betsy O.White. . 


George Clark . . 



Joel F. White . . 


WethereU, William D. 



Williams, Lyman D. . 


Celia . . 



Harriet J. . 


Susannah . 



Lyman F. . 


Wheaton, Laban M. . 



Williams, Greenleaf . 


Eliza B. . . 



Julia A. . . 


Bradbury Hall . . 



Williams, Betsy . . . 


Sarah Moody . . 



Selina . . 


Ellen Stockbridge . 



Rally G.. . 


Wheeler, Elkanah . . 



Benjamin • 


Rhoda R. . 



Achsah . . 


Rhoda A. . 



Willis, Calvin . . . 


Clara B.Richardson 



Sally .... 


Wheeler, Williams B. 



Em^ry E. . • 


Lydia . . . 



Lewis H. . . 


Lydia A. 



Laura J. . . 





WUUs, Ichabod . . 
Hannah . • 
Henrietta • 
Haniet M. • 
Rofiilla A. . 
Emily A. 

^f^ Bora. 

47. Mass. 
89. Pa. 
12. Maas. 

6. )) 

Hannah S. Allen . 15. N.H. 

Willis, Loren . . . 4d. Mate. 

£hza • t • • 46* „ 

Loren B. . • 14. „ 

Ebenezer B. • 11. „ 

Wilbur, Oren ... 56. „ 

Folly ... 64. M 

Lemuel K. . 18. „ 

Folly Aldrich . . 84. „ 

Wilbur, Oren, jun. . 80. „ 

Lydia L. • • 28, „ 

Frederic O. . 4. „ 
Charles L. . 2 mo. „ 

Daniel Smith . . 23. „ 

WUbur, Oliver K. . . 46. „ 

Sabrina . . 46. i* 

Cynthia . • 17. ,f 

Eunice. . . 13« „ 

Wilbur, Benjamin . . 26. K.L 

Caroline A. . 26. Mass. 
Joseph B. . . 4. K.I. 
Maria J. . . 3, „ 
Charles E. . 10 mo. „ 

Wild, George W. . . 27. Mass. 

EHzabeth B. . . 27. N.J'. 
George W. . . 8 mo. Mass. 

Wyigley, James L. . 32. „ 

Mary £. . . 21. „ 

Elizabeth M. 17. „ 

Wood, Elkanah . . 85. „ 

Wood, Elkanah, jun. . 57. 

Lemira . . • 54. 

Catharine L. . 23. 

Nathaniel H. . 13. „ 

Wood, Eli .... 54. „ 

Fanny M. . . 28. „ 

Stephen J. • . 
Mary A. H. 
George Pitts . . . 
Woodward, Isaac • . 

Woodward, Isaac D. . 
Naomi • 
Charles E. 
Barney F. 


12. M 

26. N. Y. 








Albert D. 10 mo. „ 

Woodward,BradfardN. 47. „ 

Sarah L. . 49. 

BradfordJ. 21. 

MaryE. . 17. 

Sarah A. • 14. 

Fidelia . 13. 

Joseph . . 10. 

Herbert . 5. 

Woodward, Ann M. . 45. 

Ann M. . 15. 

Caroline J. 13. 

Alfred W. 11. 

Phebe A. 8. 

Charles H. 5. 

Helen O. . 2. 
Woodward, Dayid . .71. 

Sally . . 52. 

Marcus R. Peck . 15. 

George B. Lincoln 25. 

Woodward, Joiiah . • 74. 

Lurana . 51. 

Josephus . 12. 

Albert . . 10. 

George . 7. „ 

Patrick Casety . . 31. Ire. 

James Donohue . 15. „ 

Margaret Kelly . . 19. „ 

WoodwardjJosiah, jun. 30. Mass. 

Cassandal 29. 


A.» . • o. 

Anne J. . 1. 




ConBisting of four hundred and ten families, and 
eighteen hundred and eighty-six persons ; of whom there 
are two hundred and fifty-three farmers, thirty-nine cop- 
persmiths, twenty-six laborers, twenty-five shoemakers, 
seventeen whose occupation is not given, fifteen car- 
penters, nine weavers, eight basket-makers, Qight ma- 


chinists^ eight bonnet-pressers, eight masons, seven 
merchants, seven moulders, three clergymen, three 
ootton^spinners, three painters, three stonecutters, two 
butchers, two blacksmiths, two depot-masters, two 
millers, two manufacturers, one physician, one grinder, 
one roper, one teamster, one carder, one overseer, one 
horse-dealer, one harness-maker, one box-maker, one 
boniiet-manufacturer, one teacher, one clerk, one job- 
ber, one hotel-keeper, eleven paupers, nine colored^ 
three idiotic, and two insane. 


'* Ye have the poor always with you." — Christ. 

It has already been stated, on page 83, that Mrs. 
Susannah Harvey was one of the first paupers ; and, 
so far as we know, she was the first supported by 
the town. Mary Merry — sometimes called " Goode 
Merry " — was a pauper as early as 1723 ; and others 
of the Merry family, of two or three generations, are 
known to have been a public charge. Zipporah Cas- 
well was a pauper in 1726, and many years subse- 
quently. The people, in ancient times, took every 
possible precaution to prevent immigrants becoming 
paupers. Hence it was customary, when a person 
moved into town, to ''warn him out," no matter 
whether he was a man of property or not; and, in 
many cases, the constable carried the individual out 
of town, if he would not go of his own accord. Even 
females were frequently notified to "depart beyond 
the limits of the town." This practice of warning 
and carrying out of town seems to have been con- 
tinued till about 1770, and to have been revived iti 



1790 ; and the last warrants for this purpose we have 
found are dated in 1794. We should have given the 
names of the persons warned away, if we could have 
found a complete list. We here present to our readers 
one of these warrants, which will serve to show the 
manner of proceeding : — 

" Bristol ss. — To either of the Constable of Norton in 
sd. Countj of Bristoll, Greeting. — Whareas Benjamin Lane, 
Late of Dorchester, is Lately Come to Sojourne in the Towne 
of Norton ; and he hath not Grott bondsmen for the towne- 
Scurety, in Case he Should Come to be a towne-Charge, — 
These are, in his majestie's name, to Require you to wame 
the sd. Benjamen Lane, that he depart out of the towne of 
Norton within the Space of fourteen days after warning 
Given him to depart ; and make Returne hereof, with your 
doings herein, forthwith after you have warned him out. 
Given under our hands, ye 17th day of May, anno dom. 
1722, in the eighth year of his majestie's Reign. 

" Thomas Skinner, "^ 
Nicholas White, >• Selectmen.** 
Benja. Williams,) 

It was also required of those who received a stranger 
into their house to dwell, or let him a house to dwell in, 
to give notice of the fact to the town-authorities. 

Only two years (1742 and 1743) in the history of 
the town have overseers of the poor been specially 
chosen ; the selectmen being, ex officio^ overseers when 
the town chose none. June 18, 1770, the selectmen 
were chosen a committee, to join with a committee of 
Mansfield, to make a division of the poor between the 
two towns. The report of this committee was accepted 
by the town, Sept. 2, 1771. Prom it, it appears that 
Norton agreed to maintain, if need be, Abigail Leo- 
nard, Theodora Leonard, Widow Mary Smith, Asa 
Eddy (a minor), Samuel Eddy and his wife, Widow 
Harradon, and Delancy Harradon. Mansfield agreed 
to maintain, if need be, John Wetherell, Seth Stephens 
and his wife Abigail, Samuel Stephens (a minor), Zu- 
ruiah Hide and her child, and George Tucker. It 
was further agreed, if any persons should thereafter 


be brought from other towns for support in Norton or 
Mansfield, tiiose who had their last residence within 
the limits of Norton should be supported by Norton, 
and those who had their last residence within the 
limits of Mansfield should be supported by Mansfield. 
Both towns, in their corporate capacity, ratified this 
agreement : but, in an action brought by Norton 
against Mansfield for the support of a pauper, in ao* 
oordance with this agreement, it was decided by the 
Supreme Court, in July, 1819, that Mansfield was 
under no legal obligation on account of any poor, but 
those who, by virtue of the incorporating Act, acquired 
a settlement in that district ; and hence the agreement 
was not binding upon Mansfield, because the two townd 
had no legal power to make such an agreement.^ 

Until within a few years, it was the general practice 
in this town to yearly " vendue the poor ; " or, in other 
words, to sell their maintenance, either separately or 
t6gether, for the year, to the lowest bidder. To stimu* 
late the people to take the poor at a low figure, spiritu- 
ous liquors were formerly gratuitously distributed to the 
crowd who came to " bid off the poor." We regard 
this venduing of the paupers as one of the most un-' 
feeling and heartless customs that has been rife in 
New England. It was too much like selling slaves 
upon the auction-block to meet with the approbation 
of all ; and hence, from time to time, the question of 
an alms-house, where all could be properly cared for, 
was discussed. In the warrant for a town-meeting to 
be on the 2d of December, 1776, there was an article 
" to consider and determine whether they will hire 
or build a house for the reception of the poor/' We 
do not find any recorded action upon the matter. 
Another attempt was made in 1787 to " build a house 
or houses for the poor," with a like result. Jan. 14, 
1793, to build, or not to " build, a house or barrack 
for the poor," was the question before the town. The 

^ MassaChtts^ttiS Reports, vol. xvi. p. 48, &c. 



meeting was dissolved without any vote upon the article. 
May 11, 1807, ^^ voted that the selectmen vendue the 
poor alltogether for one year, and the doctoring and 
clothing to be included." May 18, 1816, " voted that 
the poor be put out singly for one year, from the first of 
Sept. next." But a more humane and Christian way 
of supporting the houseless and moneyless sons and 
daughters of the town came at last. Nov. 1, 1880, a 
committee was chosen to inquire into the expediency 
of purchasing a farm for the support of the poor, to 
ascertain the cost of keeping the paupers for the last 
five years, and to make such other inquiries as they 
thought proper. The time had not then arrived for 
heeding the calls of humanity. Yet the idea of an 
alms-house was not lost sight of, but sought to be 
practicably carried out. April 7, 1834, the town 
** voted to dismiss the subject respecting a farm for 
the poor." In a little more than three years from this 
last date, or May 31, 1837, the leaven of justice and 
benevolence had so far done its work, that the town 
voted, fifty to twenty, to purchase a farm for the poor ; 
and a committee of nine were chosen to make the 
purchase. The committee bought the farm occupied 
by John Hall, 2d, in the nortlierly part of the town, 
near Mansfield line, consisting of a hundred and ninety 
acres ; and a deed of it was given to the town, Nov. 16, 
1837. It was occupied as an alms-house and poor-farm 
about the 1st of April, 1838 ; and the poor are still 
provided for at that place, although a portion of the 
land has been sold by the town. The following per- 
sons have been superintendents of the alms-house since 
its occupancy for that purpose : John Patten, from 
April, 1838, to April, 1839 ; Alanson Makepeace, fi-om 
1839 to 1840 ; Moses Hunt, from 1840 to 1843 ; Schuy- 
ler Freeman, from 1843 to 1846 ; Moses Hunt, from 
1846 to 1851 ; Ebenezer Burt,^ from 1851 to 1853 ; 
Alanson Makepeace, from 1853 to 1854 ; Reuben Har- 

1 Mr. Burt died May 1, 1862; and his widow managed the affairs till the 
following April, when the term of her hosband^s service was to have ex- 
pired, had he Mved. , 


low, from 1864 to 1866. Moses Hunt then returned, 
and is still there. 

We take great pleasure in recording the' fact, that, 
just as these pages were going to press, the inmates of 
the alms-house voluntarily declared to the writer, that 
they had every thing provided for their comfort they 
could reasonably expect; that they had no fault to 
find, either with the superintendent or the overseers ; 
that they did not think there were many towns where 
the paupers were as well cared for as in Norton. May 
it ever be so ! May the injunction of the sacred pro- 
verb ever be heeded ! — " Rob not the poor, because he 
is poor." 


" Throw physio to the dogs : I'll none of it." — Shakspiari. 

The first notice of a physician that I find is a record 
on the town-books, under the date of July 13, 1724, 
when it was " voted that thay would pay doctor Deeii 
out of the next town-rate what ye selectmen shall agree 
with him, for doctoring Walter Merry's hand." He is 
supposed to have lived in Taunton. 

Dr. Samuel Caswell appears to have been the first 
resident physician within the ancient limits of Norton. 
He is supposed to have been the son of John Caswell 
(see early settlers) ; and was born Oct. 6, 1695. The 
first notice we have of him on our records is Oct. 17, 
1726, when the town " voted to Pay to Doctr. Saml. 
Caswell, for doctering Goode Merry, — 15 — 0.'' He, 
however, bought land in Norton, in 1723, of Lydia 
Briggs, daughter of Samuel Briggs, deceased ; and 
was then called a "Practitioner of Physick." Pro- 
bably aj^out that time, he established himself here as a 


physician and farmer. He lived where Benjamin Sweet 
now (1858) lives ; and his house stood three rods orer 
the line, within the present limits of Mansfield. He 
married, Feb. 6, 1727-8, Ursula White, daughter of 
Deacon Nicholas White ; and had four children. He 
remained here till about the year 1747, when he died. 
He is believed to have had a wife, and a son Samuel, 
previous to his marriage with UrsuJjT White. 

Dr. Nicholas White was the son of Deacon Nicholas 
and Experience White (already mentioned), and was 
born about 1706. He was a practising physician for 
several years, and resided sometimes in the North and 
sometimes in the South Precinct of Norton. He 
married Sarah King, May 1, 1728 ; and they had six 
children. He died in the North Precinct, June 29, 

Dr. WiLUAM Ware was the son of John and Me- 
hitable Ware, of Wrentham; and was born July 4, 
1697. Feb. 19, 1729, he bought of John Finney the 
farm now (1858) owned by Sanforth Freeman. He 
was a " Practitioner of Pliysick " here for several 
years, and also kept a public-house from 1728 to 1740. 
He sold his farm in Norton, Nov. 24, 1750 ; and 
moved soon after to Dighton, where he died in 
1764 (?). His first wife was Zibiah Sweeting, mar- 
ried Oct. 30, 1728. She died Nov. 1, 1732. His 
second wife was Anna Hodges, married Sept. 27, 1783. 

His third wife was Lydia . He had at least nine 

children, seven of whom are mentioned in his will. 

Dr. John Wild, Jun., was tlie son of John and Abi- 
gail Wild, and was probably born in Braintree in 1727. 
He is supposed to have lived where George R. Leonard 
now lives. He married, May 1, 1746, Anna Hodges ; 
and had two or three children. He was buried in the 
Timothy-Plain Cemetery ; and this is the inscription on 
his gravestone : " In memory of M.D. John Wild, who 
died December ye 13th, 1756, in ye 30th year of his 

Dr. Lewis Sweeting wa^ undoubtedly the son of 
Lewis and Zibiah (Whiting) Sweeting, of Wreiptham, 


who were married in 1721, and were afterwards of 
Rehoboth. He probably came to Norton soon after 
reaching his majority, and seems to have lived a part 
of the time within the present limits of the town, and 
a part of the time in Mansfield ; in which town he was 
one of the Committee of Correspondence and Safety 
in 1776. He married, Nov. 21, 1744, Abiah Cobb ; 
by whom he had ten children. When he died, we are 
not informed. 

Dr. George Wheaton was the son of Ephraim and 
Abigail Wheaton, of Swansea; grandson of Deacon 
Ephraim and Mary (Mason) Wheaton, of Swansea; 
great-grandson of Robert (who was in Rehoboth as 
early as 1643); and was born Aug. 18, 1728. He 
came to Norton, and commenced practice as a physi- 
cian, previous to 1750. in that year he bought the 
place formerly owned by Dr. Caswell, and lived on 
the Mansfield side of the line for many years. Some 
time after the incorporation of Mansfield, he removed 
to the place where L. 0. Makepeace now lives, in 
Norton ; where he died, June 4, 1803. He married, 
Oct. 4, 1750, Elizabeth Morey ; and had six children. 
In 1758, he was surgeon's mate in an expedition for 
"the total Reduction of Canada." He was much 
employed in public life as selectman, assessor, repre- 
sentative to the General Court, justice of the peace, &c. 

Dr. Jonathan Pratt is supposed to have been the 
son of Jonathan and Abigail (Morse) Pratt ; and was 
born Oct. 17, 1729. He lived in the Mansfield part of 
Norton, some distance to the south-east of Mansfield 
Centre. He married, 1758, Hepzibah Billings, of 
Stoughton (now Sharon) ; but never had any chil- 
dren. He was, in 1757, styled " Doctor " on the 
" Alarm list " of soldiers in the North Precinct. He 
died Oct. 13, 1771. 

Dr. Gideon Tiffany was the son of James, jun., 
and Elizabeth (Allen) Tiffany, of Attleborough ; where 
he was born Sept. 19, 1737. His grandfather, James 
Tiffany, came from England. He married Mrs. Sarah 


Farrar, the widow of Rev. George Farrar, of Easton^^ 
Feb. 8, 1759. She was the daughter of Nathan And 
Elizabeth (Nicholson) Dean, of Norton. Her father 
tod mother both died within a week of each other^ 
when she was about three years old ; and it is sup- 
posed that she was immediately, or very soon, taken 
into the family of Rev. Mr. Avery, and lived with 
them till her first marriage. After the death of her 
husband, she probably returned to Mr. Avery's, and 
lived there till her marriage with Dr. Tiffany; and 
then he also took up his abode at the old parsonage- 
house (a picture of which we have given on page 65), 
where he resided till after the death of Mr. Avery, 
when he sold the old ministerial farm which he bought 
a few years previous, and removed to Keene, N.H* 
About 1782, he removed to Hanover, N.H., and re* 
mained there while his sons were in college. He went 
from Hanover into the State of New York, where he 
lived for some years ; but is supposed to have died^ 
many years ago, at Ancaster, Canada West. He hacj 
ten children. 

Dr. Adam Johnstone was a Scotchman by birth^ 
and probably came to Norton about 1772. He mar- 
ried, Oct. 14, 1773, Sarah Hodges. She " died sud- 
denly, Oct. 29, 1781, in her 31st year." He is said to 
have l3een a " surgeon in the Revolution." ^ He kept 
a public-house in the centre of the town from 1780 to 
1787 ; and, probably soon after the latter year, left 
town. He is believed to have resided, for a time 
after leaving here, at Pelham. Prom thence he went 
to Danby, Vt. ; and died there June 10, 1806. 

Dr. Daniel Parker was the son of Rev. Jonathan 

1 Mr. Fan*ar was the son of George, jun., and Mary Farrar, of what is 
now Lincoln ; and was born Nov. 23, 1730 ; graduated at Harvard, 1751 ; and 
died Sept. 17, 1756, of a fever, at his father's house, whither he had gone 
to visit a sister sick with the same fever, who died a (ew days previous to 
him. He was buried at Lincoln. He was the brother of Rev. Joseph 
Farrar, the first minister of Dublin, N.H. He was married June 2, 1756. 
His wife was then a minor; and, a few days before his death, he was ap- 
pointed her guardian. 

2 Book of the Lockes, by J. G. Locke, p. 169. 



Parker, of Plympton ; and was born about the year 
1760. He was here as early as 1773 ; and, during most 
of the time of his residence in Norton, lived on the 
farm lately owned by Benjamin Blandin, deceased. 
He married, Dec. 22, 1777, Miss Abigail Hewes, of 
Wrentham; and had seven children. He died Sept. 26, 
1826, aged seventy-six. Feb. 17, 1794, he was com- 
missioned a surgeon of the regiment to which the 
militia of this town belonged ; which office he held for 
several years. 

Dr. Nathaniel Cook was the son of Paul and Jo- 
i^nna Cook ; and was born May 29, 1752. He probably 
did not practise any great length of time, as he died 
Oct. 22, 1778; which must have been soon after he 
completed his medical studies. 

Dr. Timothy Smith was the son of Timothy and 
Hannah (Hall) Smith, grandson of Seth and Eliza- 
beth Smith ; and was born Oct. 17, 1754. He married 
Anna Morey, Oct. 20, 1778; and had five children. 
He was a surgeon in the Revolutionary war, but 
never had a very extensive practice in town. He died 
Jan. 9, 1794. His widow married Abiel Lincoln; 
and, during the latter part of her life, received a pen- 
sion from the government for services rendered by her 
first husband. 

Dr. Nathan Babbit was the son of Nathan, jun., 
and Abigail (Cobb) Babbit, grandson of Nathan and 
Sarah, and great-grandson of Nathan, who, with his 
brother Edward, is supposed to have come from 
England, and settled in Berkley. Dr. Babbit was 
born in Norton, March 6, 1755. In the year 1778 
and the early part of 1779, he was surgeon's mate in 
the Military Hospital at Providence, R.I. June 24, 
1779, he married Anna Newcomb, and located himself 
at the east part of the town, at the place where Calvia 
Lincoln now lives. He kept a public-house from 1780 
to 1787 or 8, In the summer of 1789, he removed 
with hie family to Westmoreland, N.H., where he 
continued in tiie full practice of medicine for " quite 


a number of years ; " but, during the latter part of 
his life, he was principally engaged in agricultural 
pursuits. He had three sons and three daughters, 
and died April, 1826. 

Dr. Samuel Morey was the son of Samuel and Mary 
(Hodges) Morey, grandson of George and Elizabeth 
Morey ; and was born June 4, 1767. He graduated 
at Yale College in 1777. He soon after entered the 
Revolutionary army as surgeon. After the close of 
the war, he was a practising physician for many years 
in town, and was quite distinguished in his profession. 
He lived for many years at the place now occupied by 
George Barker, on the road to Mansfield. He married, 
April 19, 1787, Miss Sarah Palmer, daughter of the 
second minister of this town ; and had three children. 
He died Nov. 8, 1836. 

Dr. Lewis Leprilete was a Frenchman by birth, 
and was naturalized by an Act of the General Court, 
March 6, 1790. He probably came to this town about 
the close of the Revolutionary war. He married, 
March 15, 1784, Mrs. Deborah (Hodges) Allen ; and 
lived, after his marriage, where Mr. L. 0. Makepeace 
now resides. He was a distinguished physician, and 
had quite a number of medical students while he 
resided in town. He remained here till about 1792 ; 
when he removed to Jamaica Plain (West Roxbury), 
where he remained two or three years. He then re- 
turned to France, and was absent about seven years. 
On his return to America, he located at Franklin, and 
remained there till he died. His remains were taken 
to Jamaica Plain, and the forms of burial were ob- 
served ; but, before his death, lie had given his body 
to Dr. Warren, of Boston, for anatomical purposes, 
and it was taken from the grave after the friends had 
left. " On a marble slab standing in a field on the 
Boylston estate, about 20 rods from Boylston Street," 
Jamaica Plain, is an inscription in Latin. The fol- 
lowing is a free translation of a portion of it : " In 
memory of Doctor Lewis Leprilete, member of Mass. 


.4 .• ^ 





^ See Genealogical Begister, yol. x. p. 22. 



Med. Soc. ; born in Nantes, France, Oct. 10, 1750 ; 
Died July 29, 1804 ; very celebrated in surgery." ^ I 
am told there is a very good portmit of Dr. Leprilete in 
the possession of Dr. Miller, of Providence, R.I. 

Dr. Leavit Bates was the son of Leavit and Eiizar 
beth (Pain) Bates, of Mansfield ; and was born May 6, 
1770. He came to this town, and established himself 
as a physician, about 1796. For some years, he re- 
sided in front of the Trinitarian Meeting-house. He 
was quite attentive to his patients, and rather moderate 
in his charges ; and hence was quite popular as a phy- 
sician. He married Hannah Clapp, 2d, in 1797 ; and 
had five children. He died Dec. 16, 1850. 

Dr. Guilford Hodges was the son of Tisdale and 
Naomi (Hodges) Hodges ; and was born Jan. 25, 1778. 
He fitted for college, and was one year at Brown 
University. He studied medicine with Dr. Willard, 
of Uxbridge. He was a practising physician here in 
1803, and also taught school the same year. He re- 
moved soon after to Phillipston, where he practised 
till his death in 1815. He married Phebe Maynard, 
of Phillipston, and had two sons. 

Dr. Asa M. Adams was the son of Asa and Martha 
(Metcalf) Adams, and is believed to have been born 
in Natick about 1795. He was licensed to practise 
medicine, Aug. 31, 1818, by the Censors of the Rhode- 
Island Medical Society ; and was then said to be of 
Cumberland, R.I. He came to Norton about 1819, 
and commenced practice as a physician ; and rode 
quite extensively for some years. By his somewhat 
intemperate habits, he finally lost the confidence of 
the community ; and removed to Easton about 1841, 
where he remained a few years ; and from thence he 
went to Taunton, where he died, a bachelor, Oct. 25, 

Dr. Richard F. Sweet was the son of John and 
Eunice (Tucker) Sweet, and was born March 11, 
1801. He fitted for college at Andover, and gradu- 

1 See Genealogical Register, yol. x. p. 22. 



ated at Brown University in 1824. After graduating, 
he studied medicine about two years with Dr. Bugbee, 
of Wrentham ; and also attended one or two courses of 
medical lectures at the Medical College at Boston, 
where he. graduated July 25, 1827 ; and was soon 
after appointed Physician of the Marine Hospital at 
Holmes's Hole, in Tisbury, on the Island of Martha's 
Vineyard, which office he held for two years, residing 
at Edgartown during the time. After closing his con- 
nection with the hospital, he practised two years at 
Edgartown. In August, 1831, he removed to his native 
town ; and had quite an extensive practice till his 
death, March 21, 1841. He married. May 16, 1830, 
Eliza Milton, of Edgartown ; and had three sons and 
four daughters. He was a very estimable citizen. 

Dr. Ira Barrows was born at Attleborough in 1804, 
and is the son of Ezra and grandson of Ichabod Bar- 
rows. He graduated at Brown University in 1824 ; 
but received his medical degree at Harvard in 1827, 
and immediately entered into practice at Pawtucket. 
He left there in 1837, and went to the West. In 
1840, he returned to Pawtucket, and practised for a 
few months. He came to Norton in 1841, and- was 
quite popular here and in this vicinity till 1851 ; when 
he removed to Providence, R.I., where he now resides, 
quite distinguished as a physician of the homoeopathic 
school. He married, in 1833, a daughter of the late 
Oliver Bartlet, of Smilh field, R.L; and has had four 

Dr. Benjamin M. Round was born in Rehoboth, 
Aug. 11, 1816 ; and is the son of Benjamin and 
Devena ^(Harvey) ' Round. He studied at Bristol 
Academy, at Taunton ; and also, for about two years, 
with Rev. Mr. Cobb, of Taunton. He studied medi- 
cine with Dr. Swan, of Easton, and Dr. Randall, of 
Rehoboth 4 and attended medical lectures at Harvard 
College in 1841 and 2. He was licensed to practise 
in 1843, and commenced his professional duties as an 
allopathic physician. He came to Norton, Sept. 9, 
1843. The 1st of April, 1844, he commenced the 


homoeopathic practice, which he still continues. He 
married at Norton, Dec. 24, 1845, Miss Seraphene S. 
Fallen, of East Winthrop, Me. ; and had one child by 
her. She died Sept. 19, 1847. For second wife, he 
married, Aug. 30, 1849, Miss Sophia Morey, of Taun- 
ton (a grand-daughter of Dr. Samuel Morey, already 
mentioned), and has had four children. He is now 
the only resident physician in town. 

Dr. George H. Randall is the son of Dr. M. R. 
and Eliza Randall, of Rehoboth, where he was born in 
1826 X^?). He practised some time with his father, 
after completing his medical studies. June- 1, 1861, 
he married Mehitable Hodges, of this town, and 
located here, where he remained till April, 1854 ; 
when he removed to his father's, in Rehoboth, where 
he still resides. 

We cannot learn that any other physicians have re^ 
sided for any length of time here. It is certainly 
quite an argument in favor of homoeopathy, that one 
physician is now able to attend to the wants of the 
sick ; while, years ago, there were three allopathie 
physicians here, and all had as many patients as they 
could well attend to. Allopathic physicians of other 
towns are frequently called to practise in Norton ; and 
patent medicines, of numberless names, but of doubtful 
value, find a ready sale here. 



" Oive me no grave where the brier and bramble- 
Choke the gveen grass o^er my place of repose." 

Miss 0. A. Beigos. 

The proprietors of the North Purchase, June 9, 1702, 
" Voted that the land on the southerly side of the way 
to Chartley (and on the westward side of the Town- 


line), between said way and Joseph Willis his Land, 
shall ly perpetually Common for publick uses; not 
heading Jabez Pratt's land northward."^ 

This is what is now called the ** Common Burying- 
ground," southerly of the road leading from Austin 
Messinger's to Sanforth Freeman's, about a mile and 
a quarter southerly from the Centre Village. The 
" town-line " spoken of is the line between the North 
Purchase and the old town, or original purchase, of 
Taunton. This is believed to have been the first 
burying-place formally set apart for that purpose 
within the present limits of our town. 

William Hodges, by some means, is supposed to 
have come in possession of Joseph Willis's land south- 
erly of this lot set apart for public uses. It is pre- 
sumed, from the annexed documents, that ho wished 
to bring his house up to the road leading from the 
meeting-house to George Leonard's ironworks (called 
Chartley): therefore he (Hodges) took possession of 
the easterly end of the Common, next to the " Town- 
line," and built his house near the two elms now 
standing, where Rev. Mr. Palmer afterwards lived ; 
and, in lieu of this land taken up, he laid down an 
equal amount of his own, adjoining to, and on the 
southerly and westerly side of, the burying-ground. 
The following protests were made against the occupa- 
tion of this land by Hodges : — 

"Whereas there was a piece of land in Taunton North 
purchase, lying on the south side of the way yt leadeth to 
Chartley, and on the north side of the land that was Formerly 
Joseph Willise's, and on the west side of the town-line ; which 
parcel of land was voted and appointed, by the proprietors of 
said north purchase, to ly perpetually Commoif for public uses ; 
and there is a burying-place already begun in, and at one end 
of, said parcel of land, — the other end lying very convenient 
for a training-field ; and whereas William Hodges is about to 
make some alteration in said common, — viz., to take up the 
land at the one end, which was designed for a Training- 

1 Proprietors' Records, p. 31. 


field, and to lay down some on the other side of the burying- 
place, — and, in so doing, will bring the burying-place near the 
middle of the training-field, which will be very inconvenient 
smd unhandsome : We, therefore, whose names are underwrit- 
teny being also proprietors in said north purchase, are very 
unwilling to any such alteration being made, and do here enter 
our protest against it; as witness our hand, May 15, 1708, — 
George Leonard, Sylvanus Cambell, Benjamin Gumey, John 
Foster, Robert Tucker, Samuel Leonard, Samuel Brintnell, 
Thomas Skinner, Andrew Grover, Thomas Grover, Isaac 
Shepardy Peter Aldrich, Benjamin Williams, Joseph Brint- 

"We whose names are under-written, altho' we are not 
proprietors in said north purchase, yet we dwel neer the 
within-mentioned Common, and are very unwilling there 
should be any alteration made in it, and do humbly desire 
there may due care be taken that there be no alteration made 
in it; as witness our hands, May 17, 1708,. — John Cobb, 
Thomas Braman, Sen^ Benjamin Caswel, John Lane, Isreal 
Fisher, Eliezer Fisher, Ebenezer Eddy, Daniel Braman." 

Notwithstanding these protests, William Hodges, 
having pitched his habitation on the easterly end of 
the Common, near the principal highway from Attle- 
borough to Bridgewater, was by no means disposed 
to pull up stakes, and go into the background; and 
therefore the town of Norton took up the matter, and, 
Oct. 6, 1713, voted, — 

" That if William Hodges, or his father, give ye Town of 
Norton a deed of four acres and a quarter and seven Rods 
of Land, on the south side of the burying-place, and on the 
west side of it, neer his house ^ in Norton ; and procure 
George Leonard also to Give the Town of Norton a deed of 

1 From an examination of the ground, I am satisfied that Hodges' house 
was on the east end of the Common ; and not on the west, as these words 
have been interpreted to mean. What is meant is, undoubtedly, that the 
"four acres and a quarter and seven rods of land" were near William 
Hodges', and bordered upon the south and west side of the bnr^nng-place. 
The oldest graves are near the middle of the ground^, as it no>w is ; and the 
taking-up of the east end for a house-lot, and laying down some at the west 
end, would bring about such a resiilt as is stated by George Leonard and the 
other remonstrants. The occupation of the east end would also, as they 
stated it did, interfere with the training-field. Our oldest inhabitaiits have 
no tradition of a house at the westerly end of the Common* 



the Remaining part of two acres of Land that was Lajd out 
to him where Norton meeting-house stands, he haveing given 
the town a deed of part of it already,* — yt then, and not els, 
the selectmen, in the Town's behalf. Give William Hodges a 
deed of four acres of Land, and a quarter and seven Rods 
which he hath Already fenced in, and on which his house and 
bam doth stand on in Norton ; and also that thay Give him a 
deed of a quarter of an acre more, in the comer of the com- 
mon Land, neer his Bam." 

At a meeting of the North-Purchase proprietors, 
Feb. 3, 1713-14, after the above vote of the town had 
been read, the said proprietors — 

" Voted there concurance with this vote ; with this proviso, 
that William hodges shall give the deed of the four a<»'es and 
a quarter and seven rods aforesd., joyning to the burjring- 
place, to George Leonard, John Hodges, and Thomas Stevens, 
the presant selectmen of Norton, for and in the behalf of the 
proprietors of the north purchase, for their use and benefit, as 
well as to the inhabitants of the town of Norton, and to lye 
perpetually common for publick uses." 

The matter, however, was not settled very speedily. 
Hodges held on to what he had got, with a tenacious 
grasp. At a meeting of the North-Purchase proprie- 
tors, June 15, 1727, — 

" Thirdly, in Refference to the Land that William Hodges 
hath setled upon in said north purchase, that was laid out for 
a common or for pubhck uses, the proprietors voated to chuse 
a committee, and to Leave that affaire with them to deside 
that matter, by Giveing and takeing deeds of Exchaing of 
Land on the proprietors* behalf, and said William Hodges 
to pay the charge therof ; the committee to consist of three 
men. And what said committee doth do on the proprietors' 
behalf, relating to that affaire, to be and remain firm and Good 
for Ever." 

Finally, April 5, 1728, deeds of exchange of land 
between Hodges and the North-Purchase proprietors 
were executed, and the matter permanently adjusted. 

1 Tliis deed was given Dec. 16, 1712; and the amount of land conveyed 
to the town by it was three-fourths of an acre. 


This common-ground was, for many years, used 
conjointly for a burying-place and a training-field, 
and the regimental musters were frequently held on 
this spot ; so that it would seem, notwithstanding the 
encroachments of William Hodges, it was still available 
for military parades, and all the accompaniments of 
such occasions. April 5, 1802, the town chose Briga- 
dier Silas Cobb, and Isaac Hodges, jun., a committee 
" to look into and ascertain the Boundaries of Norton 
Common, so called." The next year, Laban Wheaton, 
Esq., Silas Cobb, Brian Hall, Isaac Hodges, and Wil- 
liam Burt, were chosen " a committee to settle the 
bounds of the common." How they discharged their 
duties, we are left to conjecture ; but, until within a 
recent period, there was no fence or wall or any thing 
to mark the bounds between the " home of the dead " 
and the training-field. The four-footed beasts that 
were turned loose upon the " common " trampled upon 
the green sod that covered the loved of earth, till the 
exact resting-place of many was obliterated. This state 
of things continued till about a quarter of a century 
since. There was an article in the warrant for a town- 
meeting, March 7, 1825, " To see if the town will vote 
to sell a part of Norton Common, and appropriate the 
money ... for fencing the burying-ground." It was 
voted '" to request the selectmen to go and find where 
the road, or roads, ought to run, and where the fence 
around the burying-ground ought to be set." At the 
adjourned meeting. May 25, " voted that individuals 
might fence the burying-ground on Norton Common, 
so called, without any expense to said town ; " and a 
committee of five were chosen to see where it was 
most convenient to have the roads run and the fence 
built. Soon afterwards, the now rather dilapidated 
stone wall that surrounds the burying-place was built 
by private contributions of time and money. It is 
better than nothing, but not what the honor and repu- 
tation of the town require it should be. 

The Central Burying-ground, near the Trinitarian 
Meeting-house of Norton, is within the limits of the 


old township, or original purchase, of Taunton. Feb. 1, 
1710, certain persons — 

" Granted to the North Precinct some land to ly on the 
plain near Richard Briggs's, to ly common there for a hurying- 
place, or some other publick uses, for the benefit of the said 
precinct; Said land being Given, by the persons hereafter 
named, for said use. John Witherell, two acres 'r Isaac Dean's 
heirs, one acre ; John Lincoln, one acre ; William Leonard, 
one acre ; John Lincoln, Grand Senior, one acre ; and Robert 
Grossman, one acre, — being seven acres in aU." * 

Not a third part of the original seven acres is now 
occupied as a " burying-place, or other public use^" 
How it has been diminished, and the changes in and 
around it, we shall briefly state. 
' Sept. 9, 1734, the town "voted that George Leonard, 
Esq., and John Hodges, the 1st, and John Briggs, the 
2d, Be a Gomitey to tacke Gare and Renew the Bounds 
of the towne's Comons, neare to the Land of the Eyrs 
of Richard Briggs, deseased." Nov. 19, 1742, " Tlieyr 
was a voate called for, to Know whether the Towne 
wold clear aney of the town's comons by George 
Briggs ; and it past in the negative." 

In the spring of 1753, Gershom Cambell, who lived 
near by, desired " to clear some of the town's common 
land, at or near the burying-place ; " but, on May 14 
of that year, the town " voted not to give Liberty to 
Gershom Cambell to clear the Burying-place near Wil- 
liam Carpenter's Orchard, or any part thereof." 

May 21, 1764, the town "voted to exchange some 
Land with William Carpenter^ near sd. Carpenter's 
Dwelling-house ; " and a committee of three was " Im- 
powered " to give and receive a deed, &c. 

At a town-meeting. May 11, 1778, "voted not to 
act on the article in the warrant with regard to selling 
the town's land near Carpenter's." Towards a dozen 
years later, Capt. Isaac Hodges and nine others pe- 
titioned for a town-meeting, to see if the town would 

1 Proprietors' Book (Sixty-four-acre Division), p. 135. 


" sell their land which lies near Peter Carpenter's, and 
pay some of their debts with the money." The meet- 
ing was held Nov. 9, 1789 ; and it was " voted to sell 
the town's land lying near the house of Peter Carpen- 
ter ; " and the selectmen were directed " to ascertain 
the bounds, and measure the same, and lay out a 
suitable part for a burying-ground." 

At an adjourned meeting, Nov. 23, John Crane, 
Isaac Hodges, and Nathan Babbit, were authorized to 
sell at " Publick vendue [this common land,] Except 
one acre and three-quarters of an acre reserved for a 
burying-ground, . . . unless sd. Committee shall find, 
on examining the proprietors' records, [the town] has 
not a right to sell the same." The same persons were 
further " Instructed, at the same time and in the same 
mode, to sell the wood standing on the land reserved 
for a Burying-Ground." 

Probably, on an examination of the proprietors' 
books, it was decided that the town had a right to sell 
it ; and it was accordingly disposed of to the highest 
bidder : and nothing now remains to the town of the 
original seven acres, except one acre and three-quar- 

When the Timothy-Plain Burying-ground was laid 
out, is uncertain. Feb. 16, 1742, Benjamin and John 
Williams deeded to Benjamin Copeland " a meadow- 
lot of two acres," bounded " Easterly by Goosberrough- 
meadow River," and westerly " partly by an acre of 
Land laid out to John Wetherel for a burying-place." 
This must be the ground at Timothy Plain, on the 
westerly side of Canoe River; for this stream was 
once called " Goosberry brook." Whether the lot 
was intended as a public or private ground, we are 
unable to say ; but most probably for public use. At 
any rate, it is now considered as public property. 
This ground is in a sad condition: it is overgrown 
with bushes aiid brambles, and unfenced. 

It presents a most gloomy aspect to the passer-by, 
and a melancholy commentary upon the public spirit 
of the town. 


Probably the people in the neighborhood of Winne- 
connet for many years buried their dead at the old 
ground (now unused) situated beside the meadow, 
forty or fifty rods nortli-easterly of the outlet of the 
pond, near the line of Taunton. 

This ground is, no doubt, the oldest within the limits 
of Norton, and yet was probably never formally set 
apart for burial purposes. Here, we presume, was 
buried the first settler, — William Wetherell. The spot 
is now situated in a '^ pasture-lot," and not protected 
from the tramp of the sheep and cattle that find a 
home there during the summer months. It was given 
up on account of its proximity to the meadow; the 
graves, when dug, becoming partially filled with water. 
This led to the opening of the burial-places farther 
up towards Winneconnet Village, which are separated 
by a narrow road. 

The burying-place nearly a mile north-easterly of 
the schoolhouse, in District No. 5, was originally com- 
menced as a private burial-place by the Babbit B^mily. 
Prom tlie Babbits the estate passed into the hands of 
William Cobb, who deeded it to tlie town for a public 
burial-place. This deed, in the course of time, was 
lost, and Judge Wheaton had succeeded to the owner- 
ship of the land ; who, on being assured that it had 
once been deeded to the town, gave a new deed of a 
quarter of an acre to the town for a burial-place. 
About twenty years ago, a wall was built around this 
ground by the private contribution of those who had 
friends interred within. 

There are many other places — most, if not all, of 
them of a private character — where the dead lie 
buried in town. It is to be hoped, however, that these 
private grounds may not be increased. For many 
reasons, it is better that there should be but few ceme- 
teries in a town ; for where there are so many " private 
grounds," or even a multiplicity of public ones, it is 
difficult to make an appropriation to keep the ceme- 
teries in a respectable condition. 

And this difficulty was experienced here no longer 


ago than 1854, when the attempt was made by the 
town to beautify and adorn our burying-grounds ; 
which were, and still are, in a most lamentable con- 
dition. We hope, however, for the honor and credit 
of the town, that these habitations of the dead will 
remain not long in their present poverty-stricken con- 


Until within the memory of many now living, there 
was no hearse in town for the transportation of the 
dead to the place of burial. April 2, 1804, the town \ 
" voted to build one hearse, to be kept at the centre 
of the town." Previous to this time, the dead were 
always carried — and in some instances, of course, 
several miles — on a bier, upon the shoulders of the 
bearers. Where the distance was long, others besides 
the bearers joined in the procession, for the purpose of .' 
" taking turns" at carrying the dead.^ 

April 1, 1805, the town " voted to build or buy a 
house to put the hearse in ; " and the selectmen were 
to have the oversight of tlie matter. A house was 
built near the end of the horse-sheds, back of the old 
Meeting-house, on the northerly side of the Centre 
Common, a few feet from where the Hayscales now 

Here it remained until 1837, when the town con- 
sented that it " might be removed to the corner of the 
burying-ground, near Dr. Leavit Bates's, if it can be 
done free of expense to the town," &c. ; and it was 
accordingly removed. Tlie same year, Nov. 14, the 
town agreed to purchase a suitable hearse and harness. 
Sept. 30, 1839, the selectmen were authorized "to 
repair the Hearse-House as much as they think proper, 
at the expense of the town." In 1856, a new hearse 
was purchased by a vote of the town, at an expense of 

1 Mr. David Makepeace, the oldest man now living in town, informs 
me he has assisted in carrying more than fifty corpses in this way; and 
does not recollect seeing a single corpse carried to the grave in any kind of 
a carriage till the hearse was purchased. 


two hundred dollars; making the third hearse the 
town has owned within a little more than fifty years. 
The first time this new hearse was used,^ it was found 
to be too small to admit the coffin of the deceased ; and 
the old hearse had to be sent for to carry the corpse 
to the grave. 



** El fer war, I call it mnrdmr; 

There you her it, plan an' flat: 
I don't want to go no forder 
Than my Teatyment fer that." 

BlOLOW Papibs. 

Though we like not war, nor any of its works ; though 
we believe, that, in every instance, all difficulties be- 
tween nations might be settled without a resort to the 
sword, — still our duty as an historian compels us faith- 
fully to chronicle those events wherein man, — 

" Like an angry ape, 
Plays such fantastic tricKs oeiore high Heaven 
As make the angels weep.'* 

In the spring of 1744, hostilities between England 
and Prance were declared. This war is sometimes 
called the Old French War, to distinguish it from that 
of a subsequent date ; but perhaps is more commonly 
known as King George's War. As a matter of course, 
the hostile feeling between the mother-countries ex- 
tended to their respective Colonies in America. The 
most important event this side of the Atlantic, con- 
nected with the war, was the attack upon, and capture 
from the French, of Louisburg, a strongly fortified 
place on the Island of Cape Breton. A plan for the 
reduction of this place, communicated by Gov. Shirly, 


1 Nov. 14, 1866, at the fiineral of Mrs. Eunice Adams. 


was adopted by the General Court of Massachusetts, 
early in the year 1745, by a majority of one vote. A 
company of soldiers to go on this expedition was raised 
in Norton and vicinity. In the " History of the Hodges 
Family," by A. D. Hodges, p. 18, 1 find "A List of the 
Soldiers listed to go in the (Expedition) at Cape Bre- 
ton, under the command of Major Joseph Hodges, 

Lieut. , and Ensign Caswell." This was John 

Caswell, of this town ; and, there being no lieutenant, 
he was soon promoted to that office.^ 

We copy only the names of those belonging to 
Norton : — 

Drummer, Thomas Braman ; Phillip Atherton, Jeremiah 
Cambell, Micajah Dorman, Abijah Fisher, John Fisher, 
Eleazer Fisher, John Forrist, Isaiah Forrist, Samuel Forrist, 
Thomas Grover, Zepheniah Lane, Ephraim Thayer. 

Seven men were transferred from Major Hodges' to 
Nathaniel Williams's company. Three . of these — 
viz., John Pinny, John Finny, jun., and Jonathan 
Lane — are supposed to have belonged to Norton. 
Prom this expedition Major Hodges never returned* 
One account says, " He died in the early part of the 
war, when stationed on the lines between the present 
state of Maine and Canada." Another account says, 
" that, on his returning voyage [from Cape Breton] in 
a French vessel, he died suddenly ; and there was sus* 
picion that he was poisoned." 

He is represented " as a man of a brave, chivalrous 
spirit." 2 

I have searched the Muster Rolls at the State House, 
Boston ; but can find nothing relating to the company 
under the command of Major Hodges. 


After a peace of only a few years' duration, Eng- 
land and Prance again formally declared war in 1766. 

1 See French- war letters in Genealogical Register, yol. iv. p. 27. 
3 For further account of him, see deacons, p. 215. 



Hostilities between the French and English Oolonies in 
America had, however, been carried on about two years 
before open war was proclaimed. This war extended 
from 1766 to 1763. To assist in carrying it on, Nor- 
ton furnished her full quota of officers and soldiers. 
In Capt. Nathaniel Perry's company, of Easton, — on 
service from the middle of June to the middle of Sep- 
tember, 1754, employed for the defence of the eastern 
frontier, — I find the names of the following men 
belonging to Norton: — 

Jonathan Eddy, William Rogers, Levi Lane, Samael 
Pratt, Elijah Smith, John Thayer, George Wetherell, Elisha 
Thayer, and Ephraim Briggs.^ 

In the autumn of 1755, in an expedition to Crown 
Point, were the following persons, either born, or re- 
siding at the time, in Norton : — 

Samuel Eddy, Eleazer Eddy, Nicholas White, jun., Ben- 
jamin Bailey, Joseph Mitchell, Seth Gilbert, Ephraim Briggs, 
John Cobb, Daniel Tiffany, Nathan Lawrence.* 

From a muster-roll of Capt. Hodges' company, dated 
Boston, May 5, 1756 ; and also from a return of said 
company, dated at Albany, May 29, 1756,^ — I take the 
names of the following Nortonians, who went iu an 
" Expedition against Crown Point," There were 
others in the company, but they were not of this 

Capt. Joseph Hodges ; Ensign Gideon Basset ; * Sergeants 
Oliver Eddy, John Thayer; Corporals George Braman,^ 
Obediah Eddy;* Thomas Winchel, John White, Martin 
Dassance, Joseph Tucker, Samuel Brintnell,* Josiah King, 
Joseph Brintnell, Jonathan Newland, Jotham Basset, Elkanab 
Wellman, Elisha Thayer, Isaac Day,* David Coleson,* John 
Holmes, John Martin,* Thomas Nichols, David Smith, Jacob 
Grover, James Pearson. 

1 Master Rolls, 1749-65. 

« Ibid. 1749-65, pp. 192, 245. 

* Ibid. 1756-6, pp. 176 and 337 ; where apes mav be seen. 

* These men are supposed to have been killed with Capt. Hodces (see 
Muster Rolls, 1757, p. 266). 

6 Dead before May 29, 1756. 


Capt. Hodges, who commanded this company, was 
the son of Major Joseph, already mentioned ; and 
was the first child baptized here after the church was 
jD^athered. He was a man of " desperate bravery." 
Probably while stationed near Lake George, " he went 
out on what was termed an Indian Scout " (a kind of 
service requiring great prudence and courage), and, 
with his whole party, fell into the hands of the Indians ; 
and they were all killed, Sept. 19, 1766, except one 
man by the name of William Merry. Merry was 
taken prisoner, but finally returned home to relate 
the melancholy fate of his brave but unfortunate 
captain and associates. 

The following is William Merry's account of the 
death of Capt. Hodges, as given by Rev. Joseph 
Hodges, of North Oxford, Mass., in a letter to A. D. 
Hodges, Esq. : ^ — 

" Capt. Hodges volunteered his services on this occasion, 
and those who accompanied him were volunteers. His com- 
mand numbered sixty men. The company had marched 
nearly to the point designated in the order given to Capt. 
Hodges, when he made a halt for the purpose of refreshment. 
A party was despatched to the lake, with canteens, for. water. 
They returned immediately with the alaiming information, 
that they saw on the shore of the lake hundreds of fresh 
tracks of Indians in the sand. The order was immediately 
given to resume the march. The company had proceeded 
but a short distance, when the firing from every quarter con- 
vinced them that they were surrounded by Indians. Capt. 
Hodges charged his men * to fight for their lives.' He set 
his men the example by the energetic use of his own gun — 
which he carried on this occasion — instead of his sword. 
But they were overpowered by numbers. Merry's testi- 
mony was that he fought by the side of his commander, who 
was first wounded in the ankle by a musket-ball; when he 
dropped on his knees, and continued to fire, and encourage his 
men. Another ball struck him in the breast. Placing one 
hand on the wound to check the flowing blood, with his 
musket in the other he still kept the Indians at bay, one 

1 Hodges Family, p. 16. 


of whom reached forward to sever his scalp. Foiled thus, 
the Indian levelled his gun, and shot him through the head, 
when the brave captain felL It was Merry's custom to re- 
late with pride that he killed the Indian who aimed the last 
fatal shot at his commander, of whose bravery and character he 
spoke in the highest terms. After being a prisoner with the 
Indians five years, Merry made his escape, and returned to 
Norton; where he passed the remainder of his days in a 
quiet and humble life. He had the reputation of being an 
honest, simple-hearted man ; and his statement may be relied 
on as faithfuL" 


From the return of Benjamin Williams's company, 
of Easton, dated " Boston, the 7th May, 1756 ; " and 
from a return of the same company, raised for the 
expedition against Crown Point, dated Fort Edward, 
26th of July, 1756,^ — I extract the names of those who 
were born in or hailed from Norton at that time; 
viz.: — 

Clerk, John Basset; Nathaniel White,* William Merry, 
Ebenezer Turner, Nicholas Smith. 

This Capt. Benjamin Williams was great-grandfather 
of our townsman, Rodolphus H.Williams, Esq., in whose 
family is a standard, said to have been taken from the 
French in this war. It is a curious relic of olden 
times. The design, painted on both sides, is a human 
face, dotted all over with eyes ; and underneath is the 
motto, " YiGiLANTiBUS." We believe the tradition relar 
tive to this " standard " is very unreliable ; for, in 
diflFerent branches of the family, it is very conflicting. 
Mr. Williams has also in his possession a pair of 
" smoking-tongs," that belonged to his ancestor, Capt. 
Benjamin Williams ; whereon his name is engraved, 
and dated " fort wm. henry, 1756." They are very 
curiously made, and are worthy of an examination as 
an article of camp furniture one hundred years ago. 

In the return of Capt. David White's company,^ of 

1 Muster Rolls, 1765-6, pp. 198 and 832. 

2 He was dead Feb. 24, 1757 (see Muster Rolls for that year, p. 197). 
•Muster Rolls, 1755-6, p. 856. See also letters of Col. Ephraim Leo- 
nard, Muster Rolls, 1756-6, pp. 248-9 and 339-40. 


Mendon, — who was also in the Crown-Point expedition 
of 1766, — are a few names of Norton men : — 

Lieut. Nathan Hodges, Josiah Tucker, Thomas Ray, Jo- 
seph Woodard, Joseph Mitchell, Robert Craig, Job Tucker.* 

Phillip White was in an expedition for the reduction 
of Canada in 1758 ; and George Wheaton was surgeon's 
mate in Thomas Doty's regiment for the same purpose 
the same year. Pour men from Norton went on an 
expedition to Crown Point in Capt. Thomas Cobb's 
company ,2 of Taunton; the time of service, from 
May 11, 1759, to Jan. 2, 1760. First lieutenant, 
Ephraim Lane ; Nathaniel Lane, Simeon Cobb, Abiel 

From May 12, 1769, to Jan. 2, 1760, Capt. Nathan 
Hodges, of Norton, was out with a company of men 
from this town, whose names we here record : ^ — 

Second Lieutenant, Elijah Hodges ; Ensign, John King ; 
Sergeants, Ephraim Hodges, Silas Cook, Israel Trow, Abiel 
Eddy ; Corporals, William Puffer, Hezekiah King ; Privates, 
Elkanah Bishop, John Cook, William Dean, Record Franklin, 
David Fisher, Joseph Hart, David Hodges, Abraham Martiny 
Benjamin Morey, Soloman Trow, Ebenezer Titus, Nathan 
Wood, Benjamin Willis, Josiah White, Nathaniel Wood, 
Henry White. 

John Hall, of Norton, was out in Capt. Burt's comh 
pany, of Milton. 

In Capt. Job Williams's company, of Taunton, from 
Feb. 13 to Dec. 26, 1760, there were, belonging to 
Norton, — 

Benjamin Briggs, Benjamin Cole, Jonas Caswell, Heze- 
kiah Drake, Jacob Grover, Joseph Mitchell, Stephen Ranger, 
Isaac Tucker, Henry White.* 

In 1760 and 61, there enlisted, for the total reduc- 
tion of Canada, from Norton, — 

^ D6S6ir1iGd 

3 Muster RoUs, 1758-60, p. 874. • « Ibid. 1758-80, p. 87». 

4 See Muster Bolls, 1760-1, pp. 244-6. 



Isaac Tucker, Jacob Hoor, Joseph Mitchell, Daniel Weth- 
erell, William Deao, jun., Henry White, jun., Jonathan C^- 
well, Samuel Ranger, Obediah BrintneU, and Abiel Caswell. 

The foregoing comprise all the names of soldiers I 
have been able to find, who were engaged in the French 
and Indian war. A more thorough search of the Mus- 
ter Bolls would undoubtedly have added some names 
to the list.^ It must be borne in mind, that Mansfield, 
during this war, had not been taken from Norton ; and 
therefore some of these persons belonged in that part 
of the town. 

CHAPTER xxym. 

" Giye me liberty, or ^re me death." — Hxnkt. 

The town of Norton took an active part in the struggle 
for liberty which commenced at Lexington and Concord 
on the 19th of April, 1775, and virtually ended with 
the surrender of Lord Cornwallis on the 19th of Oc- 
tober, 1781. Of the remote and proximate causes of 
the war, our limits forbid us to speak very particularly. 
We must content ourselves with referring only to those 
in reference to which our town took a part. 

The Stamp Act of 1765 seems to have been the first 
in the series of tyrannical edicts tliat aroused the pub- 
lic indignation of our townsmen. This Act was to 
go into operation on the 1st of November, 1765. A 
town-meeting of the citizens of Norton was convened 
Oct. 21 " to see if the town will vote to give instruc- 

1 Hon. Cromwell Leonard tells me, that his father, Jonathan Leonard, 
w£is out in this war; that he has heard his father say he was in Nova Scotia, 
in the army, the day he was twenty-one years old. If this is true, he was 
there April* 17, 1759; he being twenty-one on that day. Without doubt, 
some of the Muster Rolls have been lost, and, with them, the names of some 
who served their country in the army. 


tions to the representatives relating to the important 
aflFairs of this Province ; '' and the following address 
to the representative was adopted : — 

" To George Leonard, Jun., Esqr. 

" Sir, — In the present mallancholy situation of the pro- 
vince, while we groan under a most destresing load of public 
and private debts, as trade seems to be departing from the 
colonies ; and more especially as The time is at hand when 
the act called the stamp act, if carried Into execution, must 
give the finishing stroke to every thing that Is dear to us as 
men and Englislimen, — we think it a duty we owe ourselves 
and posteryty to comunicate to you our sentements; That 
both you and wee may use our utmost endeavours to preserve 
Those Rights and priviledges that our forefathers purchased 
so Dearly, and transmitted to us for an unalianable Inheret- 
ance. undoutedly we are entitled to the priviledges and 
Imunities of Englishnien. we venture to assert, that we have 
Rights founded in Nature, confirmed by charters, and granted 
by the brittish constitution Itself. Every attempt, therefore, 
to divest us of them, must be looked upon as arbetrary and 
unconstitutional ; and ought to be opposed by all means that 
are warranted by the Laws of God, the Brittish constitution, 
an the common Rights of mankind, the stamp act, made and 
passed In the Brittish parliment, — where the coleneys have 
no Representatives, even without the hearing of any one Re- 
monstrance against it, out of the many decent and dutiful 
ones, that, at a vast Expence, ware presented, as we appre- 
hend, through a wicked misrepresentation of our circumstances, 
— subjects the Colinies to so great and disproportionate tax 
as they are unable to pay, and, if Insisted upon, must end in 
their final Ruin ; and also subjects us to the desposition (?) of 
a Judge of admiraltry in numerous entemal matters, without 
being allowed the Inestimable priviledge of a trial by a Jury, 
we therefore take the freedom to say, that we look upon This 
act as an Innovation at least ; Replete with Inconveniences ; 
Ruinous not only to amarican Liberty, but, in its consequences, 
to the Brittish constitution itself, should so dangrous a pre- 
cedent be deemed constitutional. Therefore we cannot think 
It our duty to Instruct you to Jojn in any publick measures 
For assisting in the execution of the same ; but, on the con-? 
trary, expect that you use every method to prevent its being 
carried into execution, that is consistant with our allegience 


to the best of Kings, we likewise take the opertunity to 
express our detestation of mobs and all ontragous proceed- 
ings ; being sensable That an unthinking, misguided mob is 
the worst of tirants, and monarchy the worst state of slavery, 
nevertheless, wee cannot Think ourselves any answarable for 
the damage that particular persons may have suffered in l^e 
Late disturbances ; and expect that you oppose every attempt 
to their being compensated out of the publick money ; that 
you oppose all unconstitutional and unaccustomed grants, and 
endavour the gratest frugality may be observed in all disposi- 
don of the public monies whatever, we would further observe 
to you, that if any safe method can be found out to prevent the 
courts of Justice from being shut up, and The province plunged 
into all the destresses of an outlawry, and whereby the trade 
of the province may be yet upheld, we expect your prudence 
will drect you to embrace it." 

It will be seen by this document, that the people of 
this town, almost a hundred years ago, did not believe 
in the doctrine, that we must submit to a wicked and 
unjust law. It was the bold and manly refusal of the 
Colonies to obey this unrighteous decree that caused 
its speedy repeal, and also inspired the great Lord 
Chatham, in the British Parliament, to say, " he re- 
joiced that the colonies had resisted, and he hoped 
they would resist to the last drop of their blood." 

At a meeting, Dec. 2, 1766, the town voted to make 
up " the losses which several persons suffered in the 
late disturbance in Boston." Encroachments upon 
the rights and liberties of the Colonies, in one form 
and another, continued. Jan. 11, 1773, the town met 
" to act on the pitition or application of Israel Wood- 
ward and eleven others, of Norton. Sd. application is 
as follows:" — 

" Sensable of the alarming situation of our publick affairs, 
in the many Incroachments made of late on our most valuable 
Rights and priviledges, and the several Infringements and 
violations of the just Rights of this province, which consearna 
Every town; furthermore, to take these matters into con- 
sideration, and persue such measures as may be thought Best 
on such an occasion, and to give such Instructions to our 
Representative as we shall then think proper." 


At the meeting, " it was put to vote, whether the In- 
croachments and Infringements, as mentioned in the 
warrant, be a grievance to us ; and it passed in the af- 

" Then chose a committee to consider and report, at 
the adjournment of this meeting, what is proper to be 

Met again on the 18th inst., and chose William Cobb 
*' a committee-man, in the room of the Hon. George 
Leonard, Esq. ; " and adjourned to March 15. Then 
accepted the report of the committee, and " voted that 
the Clerk of the town transmit a Copy of said Report 
to the Committee of Correspondence at Boston." 

The letter sent to Boston reads thus : — 

" Gentlemen, — In ansure to your Letter of the 20th of 
november Last, and with Reference to the pemphlet which 
accompanyed it, we beg leave to Say, that we think the gene- 
rality of your Sentiments are well Expressed with regard to 
our publick Rights, and the Infrengements of them, we Did 
not Receive tbem till we ware assured the General Court 
would Sett in a few days ; and as it was our opinion that those 
Important matters not only most properly Came under their 
Consideration, but that their sentiments would be of much 
greater Influence, and tend much more to Convince our most 
gracious Sovering of the sentements of his Loyal Subjects in 
this province, than the Votes of Towns, we chose, therefore, 
to wait their Discussion of so Important a point. And, as two 
Branches of our Legislative have so Unanimously Concurd 
in your Sentements, it must give you and Every well-wisher 
to his Country a real Satisfaction, and, in some measure, 
foreclose any ansure to your request as to our Sentements : 
yett we Cannot forbare to Testifye our apprehensions of the 
danger Impending this province, and america in general ; and 
we are so far from being easey and Contented under those 
Infringements, that we consider them as Saping the Verry 
foundation of our Constitution, we are senceble of the duty 
and Interest of our being flrmly united in a Cause that so 
much Concerns our own and our posteritye's wellfare, and are 
desirous of Cherishing a spirit of patriotism, and to give all 
due incoragment to our metropolis ; and we take this oppor- 
tunity to Express our obligations to the Town of Boston for 


their Spirited behavour firom time to time in oppoeing the 
arbitrary measures of those whom we fear have a desire to 
inslave us. maj the alwise Govemer who Ruleth in the 
Eongdoms of men direct all those to whom is Committed thtf 
managment of our pnblick affairs, and grant them success in 
their Indeavours for the preservation of our most Yiduable 
Civial and Religious rights and priviliges, so as that we may 
Transmit them to our posterity as they ware Transmitted to 
OS, is the desire, gentlemen, of your friend and Senrants in 
the Common Cause of our Country. 

"Thomas Morey, 


John Chane, 
William Cobb, 
George Makepeace, 

>- Committee.' 

In the autumn of 1774, a Continental Congress, 
composed of deputies from eleven Colonies, met at 
Philadelphia, and agreed upon a declaration of rights, 
and recommended the non-importation of British 
goods into the Colonies until their grievances were 

Jan. 16, 1775, the town " voted to adhear to the 
advise and Recommendations of the association of the 
Continental Congress.'^ They also chose a committee 
"to see to the faithful performance of the Recom- 
mendations of the Continental Congress ; only the said 
Committee, or the major part of them, [should] not 
expose any person but by order of said town." The 
Committee of Correspondence and Inspection consisted 
of John King, Benjamin Morey, William Smith, Isaac 
Smith, and Israel Trow. March 6, added to this com- 
mittee, James Hodges, Noah Wiswall, Eleazer Walker, 
Elkanali Lane, Benjamin Pearson, David Lincoln, 
Isaac Hodges, and Eleazer Clap. It was then — 

"Voted that the committee of Inspection be Directed to 
take particular notice of all persons that should sell any cind 
of provisions to any person or persons that they think is 
hying with a view to distress the Inhabitants of this pro- 


Thus far all had been preparation, though no actual 
hostilities had comnaenced ; but the ever-memorable 
19th of April came, when the streets of Lexington and 
Concord drank up the first blood of the Revolution. 
The alarm quickly spread through the country. It 
reached Norton some time during the day ; and, ere 
the morrow's sun had risen, Capt. Silas Cobb and 
Capt. Seth Gilbert, each with a detachment of men, 
were on their march to join with others in repelling 
the invasion. All of Capt. Cobb's company left home, 
April 19 ; and their term of service varied from four 
to ten days. It is proper that their names go down to 
posterity ; and we therefore record them : — 

John Allen, second lieutenant ; Nathaniel Prior, sergeant ; 
Nathaniel Stone, corporal; John Hodges, corporal ;'^Abner 
Tucker, drummer ; Abiel Hodges, Tisdale Hodges, Isaac Ha- 
radon, Abiel Lincoln, Jonathan Franklin, Noah Woodward, 
Josiah Woodward, Joseph Hodges, Abijah Fisher, Phillip 
Hor, Josiah Hodges, Samuel Hodges, David Hodges, pri- 

The term of service of Capt. Gilbert's men was 
from four to twelve days. Where no figures are at- 
tached to the name, it will be understood that the 
individual left home April 19 ; those attached to a 
name denote the day of April he left. 

George Makepeace, first lieutenant; Noah Wiswall, Seth 
Smith, Eleazar Clap, William Makepeace, sergeants ; David 
Clap, Jonathan Leonard (20), Samuel Hunt (27), corporals ; 
privates, Isaac Smith, John Hall, Seth Smith, jun., Jacob 
Shepard, Seth Shepard, Stephen Jennings, Noah Wiswall, 
jun., Jacob Shaw, Antha. Newland (21), Eben Wetherell 
(21), William Copeland, Noah Clap (20), Stephen Briggs, 
Fhineas Briggs, Levi Babbit, Nathaniel White, Elisha Cobb, 
Edw. Kingman, John Cook (21), Joseph Newcomb (21), 
John Crane, jun. (22), Samuel Newcomb, 2d (27), Simeon 
Wetherell, 2d (26), William Clark (26), Solomon Wetherell, 
"Rmothy Briggs, 2d (20), Jona. Briggs, Elijah Briggs, Israel 
Trow, Seth Williams, Simeon Briggs, Elijah Danforth, Elea- 

1 Lexington Alarm Bolls, vol. xi. p. 255. 


ser Walker, Samuel Copeland (20), Edw. Babbit, Beaben 
Tisdale (27), James Boldeiy, jun. (27), John Austin (27), 
Abijah Lincoln (27), John Newcomb (27), Samuel Godfrey 
(27), Joel Briggs (27), Nathan Babbit, 2d (27), William 
Cobb, jun. (26)? 

The war was " now actually begun," and active pre- 

Etrations are made for the defence of the Colonies, 
ay 8, 1775, the citizens ^^ voted to bye teen guns and 
Bagonets for the use of said Town." At the adjoumr 
ment, May 22, — 

" Voted to pay so many men as to make half the number 
of men in the Training- List, which are to be raised out of the 
Laram and Tnuning Lists for minit men ; and to be paid for 
the time they shall be necessarily Detained in service upon 
any Emergancy, as much as the said town shall think proper." 

We propose to give the names of the Nortonians 
who served each year of the war, so far as we have 
been able to ascertain them ; and we do no more than 
justice to their patriotism by such a record. The 
following is tlie return of Capt. Silas Cobb's company, 
made Oct. 6, 1775. The men were enlisted for eight 
months. We are uncertain whether those marked 
with a (*) were out the full eight months or not. 
Those unmarked are known to have served the whole 
time for which they enlisted. 

Officers. — Silas Cobb, captain ; Isaac Smith,* lieutenant ; 
Isaac Fisher, ensign. 

Sergeants, — Edmund Hodges, Nathaniel Lane, Jonathan 
Hodges, Nathaniel White. 

Corporals. — Jonathan Franklin, Richard Cobb, Stephen 

Drum and Fife. — Abner Tucker,* Jabez Briggs. 

Privates, — Joshua Atherton, Jacob Allen, John Austin, 
Stephen Briggs, Phineas Briggs, James Boldery, John Bol- 
dery, Isaac Basset, Benjamin Braman, Levi Babbit, Elisha 
Cobb, John Capron, Abiel (?) Derby, Abner Derby, Abijah 
Fisher, John Hodges, David Hodges, John Hodges, 2d, 

1 Alarm Roll, vol. xii. p. 111. 


Lanson (?) Hodges, Isaac Harridon, Stephen Kelly, Abiel 
Lincoln, Rufus Lincoln, Amos Martin, Joseph Pratt, Daniel 
Pratt, Joshna Pond, Oliver Smith, Abiathar Smith, Seth 
Smith, Nathan Shaw, Jacob Shaw, Abiathar Shaw, Abel 
Wetherel, Noah Wiswall. 

In the return of Capt. Masa Williams's company, of 
Easton, made Oct. 6, 1775 (eight months' service), I 
find the following men from Norton : — 

Officers. — Samuel Lane,* lieutenant ; John Cook, ensign ; 
Samuel Copeland, sergeant ; Benjamin Morey, corporal. 

Privates. — James Newcomb, James Cook, Abiel Knapp, 
Robert Hagin, Edward Kingman, Amos Tucker, Moses Dow- 
ning, Jedediah Tucker, Zepheniah Newland, Isaac Morey, 
Daniel Morey, William Merry, John Newcomb, Acors Hewitt. 

Capt. Josiah King, of Norton, was also in the eight 
months' service in 1775. In his company were the 
following men from Norton: — 

Thomas Bass,* Josiah King, Comfort Eddy, Josiah. Smith, 
Benjamin Tucker. 

There were also out in three diflFerent companies, 
in the eight months' service, the following persons 
from Norton : — 

Peletiah Day, David Balcom, Jonathan Pidge, Israel 
Smith, Samuel Newcomb. 

Elijah Eddy, of this town, was in Peter Pitt's com- 
pany, of Dighton, three months and six days during 
this year ; and Nathan Morey was chaplain of Timothy 
Walker's regiment. 

" Sept. 18, 1775, voted to Eleazar Clap, which he 
paid for mending a gun for the town's use, <£0. 85. 6rf. ; 
also to the same, for carrying blankets to the army for 
said town's use, £0. 2s. ; also to the same,^ for thirty- 
two days' service at the Provincial Congress, £4. 45. 4rf. ; 

1 Mr. Clap represented Norton and Mansfield in the first Provincial 



also to Capt. William Homes,^ for one hundred days' 
attendance at said Congress, £12. I85." 

In 1776, the Committee of Correspondence, Inspec- 
tion, &c., were William Homes, Andrew Hodges, David 
Lincoln, John Hall, Noah Woodward, Eleazer Clap, 
and Israel Trow. The question, whether the Colonies 
should declare themselves independent of Great Britain, 
was agitated in Congress in the spring of 1776. It 
was thought best to feel the pulse of the community 
a little before proceeding to extreme measures. 

The freeholders and other inhabitants of Norton 
were warned to assemble on the 24th of May ,2 among 
other things, " to know their minds whether they will, 
in conformity to a resolve of the late Hour. House of 
Representatives for this colony, advise their Repre- 
sentative, that, if the Honor. Continental Congress 
should, for the safety of the United Colonies, Declare 
them Independent of Great Britain, that they, the said 
Inhabitants, will solemnly engage, with their lives and 
fortunes, to support them in the measure." And it 
was " voted, if the Honor. Continental Congress should 
think proper to declare the United Colonies Independ- 
ant of Great Britain, that they will support them with 
their lives and fortunes." 

This was no unmeaning flourish of trumpets, as all 
will be abundantly satisfied when the whole transac- 
tions of the town relative to the war are recorded. 

During 1776, the following men were from Norton, 
in the Rhode-Island service, in Capt. George Make- 
peace's company: — 

Lieutenants, — Seth Smith, Ephraim Lane, jun. 
Sergemits, — Daniel Knap, Daniel Dean, Hezekiah Wil- 
lard, Abiel Eddy. 

1 Mr. Homes represented Norton and Mansfield in the second and third 
Provincial Congiestics. 

2 Heretofore the warrants for town-meetings had been called " in his 
majestie's name;" but, in the call for the above meeting, this formula was 
omitted, 'the next meeting, held in September after the Declaration of 
Independence, was called in the *' name and the government of the people 
of the state of the Massachusetts Bay." 


Corporals. — Edward Darby, Timothy Briggs, Elisha 
Cobb, Abiel Lincoln. 

Fife. — Abiathar Shaw. 

Drum. — Jabez Briggs. 

William Makepeace, John Briggs, John Patten, David Ar- 
nold, Ephraim Eddy, Oliver Smith, Ezra Eddy, John Gilbert, 
Benjamin Bland in, Jeremiah Cambell, Phineas Briggs, Jacob 
Shaw, John Clark, John Hall, Seth Gilbert, Timothy Smith, 
Isaac Smith, John Cook, Samuel Lane, Amasa Williams.^ 

There also went from Norton to Rhode Island, in 
Capt. Isaac Hodges' company, — 

Nathaniel Wood, sergeant; Rufus Hodges, John Derry, 
William Carpenter, Joseph Newcomb, Job White.* 

Capt. Isaac Hodges also had the command of a com- 
pany in the Tiverton Alarm. The names of his men 
(whether all from Norton is uncertain) were — 

Lieut. Brian Hall; Jonathan Hodges, Amos Martin, El- 
kanah Lincoln, Benjamin Braman, John Wetherell, Josiah 
Braman, Sylvanus Braman, Thomas Braman, Silas Cobb, 
Abisha (?) Capron, Abraham Derry, Abijah Fisher, James 
Hodges, Jesse Hodges, Rufus Hodges, Nathaniel Hodges, 
Simeon Hodges, Philip Hore (?), Stephen Kelly, Samuel 
Lincoln, Josiah Willis, Timothy Wellman, L«5aac Stone, Wil- 
liam Stone, Daniel Phillips, Ichabod Perry, Benajah Tucker, 
Meletiah Washburn, Isaac Fisher.' 

In a secret expedition from Sept. 25 to Oct. 31, 
Capt. Hodges was again on duty, with these men under 
his command, most of whom were from Norton : — 

Nathaniel Prior, Elijah Danforth, Ebenezer Titus, Com- 
fort Day, Abiel Eddy, James Fillebrown, John Clap, Samuel 
Fillebrown, James Newcomb, William Leonard, William 
Stone, Daniel Phillips, Sylvester Cobb, Abijah Fisher, Joseph 
Braman, Elias Eddy, Amasa Lincoln, Joseph Andrews, Alex- 
ander Balcom, Peter Derry, John Derry, Eliab Derby, John 
Hodges, George Hodges, Stephen Kelly, John Martin, Asa 

1 Revolutionary Rolls, vol. iii. p. 7. 

3 Rhode-Island Revolutionary Rolls, vol. 11. p. 86. 

« Revolutionary Rolls, vol. xx. p. 69. 


Newcomb, Elijah Eddy, Moses Fisher, George Briggs, Stephen 
Briggs, Abijah Lincoln, Abijah Wetherell, Simeon Briggs, 
Samuel Copeland, Josiah Vining, Solomon Wetherell, Na- 
thaniel Wood, Ephraim Eddy, Ezra Willis, Samuel Pratt, 
I^avid Lovit, Abijah White, Ammi Kimball, Daniel White, 
Asa Clap, Jonathan White, Jedediah Grover, Nathaniel 
Sweeting, Thomas Skinner, Zebulon Hodges, Nathaniel 
Hodges, Samuel White, Jonathan Lane, Benjamin Skinner, 
Joseph Titus, Stephen Pond, Isaac Skinner, Benjamin Blan- 
din, William Axtell (?), Abisha Smith, Joshua Pond, Ichabod 
Willis, Benjamin Fuller, Levi Babbit, Ichabod Eddy, Jona- 
than Franklin, Silas Wellman, Royal White, Caleb Dunham, 
Nehemiah Leonard, Elisha Thayer, John Harden, Jesse 

Dec. 8, 1776, Capt. Israel Trow marched to Rhode 
Island at the head of the following men, all from 
Norton :- — 

LieiUenants, — David Clap, Edward Babbit. 

Sergeants, — Seth Williams, Samuel Hunt, Jacob Shepard, 
Benjamin Wild. 

Corporals. — David Lincoln, John Newcomb, Jonathan 

Privates, — David Austin, Simeon Briggs, Eleazer Clap, 
Noah Clap, Asa Copeland, Abijah Lincoln, Joseph Hunt, 
Rufus Lincoln, Samuel Newcomb, Mase Shepard, Seth Tis- 
dale, Reuben Tisdale, John Tisdale, Thomas Storey, Thomas 
Storey, jun., Solomon Wetherell.^ 

The Committee of Correspondence, Ac, for 1777, 
were David Lincoln, Eleazar Clap, Israel Trow, Noah 
Wiswall, Record Franklin, Jonathan Clap, and Seth 
Gilbert. There were some in Norton, as in most of 
the towns in the Colonies, who espoused the cause 
of the British, and were known as Tories, or Loyalists. 
There were others, probably, who were uncertain how 
the contest would end, and therefore avoided taking 
any active part on either side ; so that, in the end, 
they could easily join in with the victorious party. 
These last were truly but little better than the first : 

1 Revolutionary Bolls, vol. xx. p. 93. 2 ibid. vol. iii. p. 186. 


for, generally, those who did not openly espouse the 
cause of the colonists, secretly hoped that the oppressors 
would triumph ; and were, therefore, really on their 
side. Hence it became necessary, for the security of 
the Colonies, that these pretended neutrals should be 
watched. Accordingly, June 23, 1777, Isaac Smith 
was chosen " to collect what evidence he can against 
such persons as have been or may be Inimical to this 
or the United States." 

At the same nieeting, Samuel Godfrey was declared 
to be inimical to the States. At an adjourned meeting 
one week later, said Godfrey was voted " not Inimicsd 
to the states." ^ It is presumed, however, that neither 
of these votes in the least changed the character of 
the man. 

Sept. 8, 1777, the town " voted to George Cobb, for 
going to Milton for paper-cartridges, ^0. — ^12^. — Orf. ; 
The cost of paper, ^0. — 18s. — lOrf. ; For a box to 
stow the cartridges in, £0, — Bs. — Od. ; For two days 
himself, and three days and a half of Seth Smith and 
Joshua Pond, to make cartridges, ^4. — 2s. — d. ; For 
thread for the cartridges, £0, — Is. — Orf." Also " voted 
that the selectmen procure the town's proportion of 
arms allowed by the state, and that they should have 
the money to purchase said arms with." Sept. 15, 
*' voted that ten of the fire-arms sent to this town 
should be kept as a store for said town." 

In April and May of this year, Capt. Israel Trow 
had the command of the following men in the Rhode- 

1 I find no other person named on our records as unfriendly to the 
American cause. Amon^ the neutrals was doubtless Judge Leonard. 
Though the most influential man in town, he took no active part in public 
affairs during the war. Among the most conspicuous of the Loyahsts in 
this town was George Leonard, 3d, who lived at Barrowsville, and was a son 
of Rev. Nathaniel Leonard, and a brother of Daniel of Taunton, also a 
Loyalist., According to a writer in the Genealogical Register for October, 
1858, p. 338, he joined the enemies of our country, and ^* was a colonel of a 
regiment; laid Nantucket under contribution; and attacked Fall River, where 
he was gallantly repulsed by Col. Joe Durfee. He eventually retired to 
Nova Scotia, where he became a provincial councillor, and renewed his 
fortune, which had been confiscated ** in Massachusetts. He died at Sus« 
sex Vale in 1826, aged eighty-three. 



Island service. Most of them were from Nortooi but 
probably not all. 

lieutenants. — Isaac White and Jonathan Pratt. 

Sergeants. — John White, Jacob Newland, Amos Martin, 
Thomas EasoD. 

Corporals. — Samael Fillebrown, Jesse Hodges, John 
White, Asa Williams. 

Drum. — Joel Briggs. 

J'ife. — John White, 3d. 

Asa Clap, Abijah Clap, Asa Copeland, Eleazer Eddj, 
Nathan Finney, Thomas Gibbs, Benjamin Hodges, Thomas 
Bass, Masa Basset, Benjamin Cobb, jun., Mason Cobb, Jo- 
siah Crossman, William Dunham, Elias Eddy, Levi Francis, 
David Grover, Phillip Horr, Thomas Hewit, Zebulon Hodges, 
Bethuel Hack, Amasa Lincoln, Timothy Leonard, Nehemiah 
Leonard, Oliver Lincoln, Joel Martin, Benjamin Merrifield, 
Isaac Makepeace, Ebenezer Newcomb, Daniel Phillips, 2d, 
Ebenezer E^chardson, Nathan Richard, Abisha Smith, Asa 
Smith, Nathaniel Sweeting, Benjamin Skinner, Jonathan 
Smith, Joseph Titus, Amos Shepardson, Benjamin Trow, 
Stephen Thayer, Ichabod White, John White, 2d, Job White, 
Isaac White, Samuel White, Royal White, Silas Williams, 
Jacob Williams, John Thayer.^ 

From May 14 to July 6 of the same year, Capt. Trow 
was again in service, with these men under his com- 
mand, most of them from Norton : — 

Ldeutenants, — Isaac White and Michael Sweet ; Amos 
Martin, Amos Ide, Thomas Eason, Daniel He wet, Joel Briggs, 
John White, Christopher French, Mason Cobb, Lamech 
Blandin, Thomas Bass, Isaac White, Noah Robinson, Masa 
Basset, David Balcom, Asa Clap, Abijah Clap, Asa Cope- 
land, William Carpenter, David Cooper, Joseph Dagget, 
Eleazer Eddy, Nathan Finney, Thomas French, David Gro- 
ver, Thomas Gibbs, Thomas Hewit, Thomas French, jun., 
Zebulon Hodges, Isaac Jackson, Amasa Lincoln, Timothy 
Leonard, Oliver Lincoln, Joel Martin, Ebenezer Newcomb, 
Henry Peck, Isaac Perry, Daniel Reed, Benjamin Richard- 
son, Abisha Smith, George Stanley, Gideon Stanley, Ebenezer 
Tyler, Abel Titus, Zelotes Tyler, Noah Tiffany, Benjamin 

1 Revolutionary Rolls, vol. iii. p. 181. 


Trow, Ichabod WUlis, Samuel White, Royal White, Jacob 
Williams, Job White, Jonathan Wilmarth, John White, Asa 
Williams, Oliver Wellman, Asa Smith.^ 

Capt. George Makepeace had the command of a 
company in the Rhode-Island serTice this year. In 
it were, from Norton, — 

Hezekiah Willard, Daniel Knap, William Makepeace, 
Edward Darby, Timothy Briggs, Simeon Wetherell, George 
Cobb, John Briggs, Phineas Briggs, John Clark, Abner 
Tucker, Seth Smith.* 

In December, Capt. Silas Cobb had the command of 
a company. In it were these men, from Norton : — 

John Allen, second lieutenant; Nathaniel White, Amos 
Martin, Abiel Lincoln, Benjamin Hodges, Jabez Briggs, 
Daniel Hodges, Samuel Norton, Elkanah Hall, George Har- 
vey, Nathaniel Prior, Phillip Horr, Edmund Tucker, Josiah 
Smith, Masa Basset, Thomas Bass, John Hall, 2d, Paul 
Cook, Joel Martin, Jonathan Smith, William Makepeacei 
Rufus Lincoln, William Carpenter, Joseph Harridon, John 
Hall, Timothy Wellman, Jonathan Clark, Thomas Hewit, 
Ephraim Knap, Snellum Babbit.' 

In 1777, the persons whose names are here recorded 
enlisted into the army for three years. All did not, 
however, serve the full time of their enlistment. The 
figures attached to the names show the number of 
months the individual was in service. 

Benjamin Morey (36), William Merry (10),* Csesar 
Makepeace (32), Caesar Itforey (44), Jonathan Morey (5), 
Isaac Morey (10), Nathaniel Morey (36), Daniel Morey 
(15), Jedediah Tucker (33), Josiah Tucker (36), Jacob 
Allen (37),* Jeremiah Cambell (36), Ezekiel Clap (3),» 
John Capron (20), James Dorsey (?) (46), Francis Guillow, 
John Harridon (36), Josiah King (45), Josiah King (39). 

^ Revolutionary Rolls, vol. iii. p. 184. 

a Ibid. vol. iii. p. 187. 

8 Ibid. vol. i. p. 140. 

^ Deserted. * Died. 


For 1778, the Committee of Correspondence, Ac, 
were Jonathan Clap, David Arnold, Isaac Smith, John 
Hall, and Seth Gilbert. 

March 9, 1778, " voted that the selectmen should 
procure powder-flints, lead, and gun-locks of the 
board [of] war." 

May 11, " voted that the ofiicers of the several com- 
panies should raise the men sent for by the General 
Court on the best terms they can ; and, if they cannot 
procure them for thirty pounds granted by said Court, 
that the town will pay the overplus." The officers 
were further directed " to hire the money to procure 
said men with, if thirty pounds will not." 

We give below the members of Capt. Israel Trow's 
company, draughted for three months' service in Rhode 
Island, commencing Jan. 1, 1778. The residences are 
not given. Most of them are known to have belonged 
to this town. 

Lieutena7its. — Ebenezer Brintnell, Ephraim Lane. 

Sergeants. — Jonathan Newcomb, William Bonney, Wil- 
liam Wetherell, Jonathan. Briggs. 

Corporals, — Theophilus Grossman, Joseph Spurr, Joel 
Briggs, William Verry. 

Drum. — John Wetherell. 

Privates. — Masa Basset, Thomas Bass, Samuel Bailey, 
John Bates, Obadiah Brintnell, Jonathan Clark, Ebenezer 
Cane, Banfield Capron, Caleb Dunham, Abraham Derry, 
Peter Deny, John Dunbar, lehabod Eddy, Ezra Eddy, John 
Field, Israel Fisher, Calvin Fillebrown, William Hodges, 
Zebulon Hodges, John Hall, jun., William Lane, Ephraim 
Knap, Timothy Leonard, Paul Lincoln, Jonathan Mebu- 
ren (?), Daniel Phillips, Ichabod Randall, Solomon Skinner, 
Enoch Story, Asa Smith, William Story, Benajah Tucker, 
Jesse Tupper, Stephen Thayer, Benjamin Trow, Ichabod 
Willis, Permer (?) Wood, John White, Timothy Wellman, 
Josiah Willis, Ezra Willis, Levi Woodward, Abiathar Shaw, 
Seth Tiffany.^ 

The following men from Norton enlisted for one 

1 Revolutionary Rolls, vol. iii. p. 182. 


year, from Jan. 1, 1778, in Capt. Joseph Cole's com- 
pany, of Bridgewater : — 

Seth Smith, Asa Newcomb, Elkanah Hall, Ichabod Eddy, 
Levi Woodward, John Cobb, John White, Timothy Skinner, 
Elias Eddy, Simeon Wetherell, John Gilbert, Masa Basset^ 

In Capt. Isaac Hodges' company, engaged in Rhode- 
Island service, we find these names. Most of them 
were from this town. 

David Keith, Isaac White, Lewis Sweeting, Nat Freeman, 
Alexander Keith, James Newcomb, John White, Eliab Darby, 
Edmund Macomber, Abiel White, Joel Briggs, Thomas Gro- 
ver, Alexander Balcom, Thomas Braman, Samuel Bailey, 
Obadiah Brintnell, Stephen Briggs, Benjamin Braman, Levi 
Babbit, Rufus Clap, Abijah Clap, Asa Clap, William Clark, 
William Dunham, James Fillebrown, Asa FiUebrown, Cor- 
nelius Gibbs, George Hodges, Elijah Hodges, Abial Leonard, 
Isaac Lincoln, Isaac Lathrop, John Newland, Nathaniel 
Prior, Seth Pitts, John Patten, Phillip Pratt, Jesse Randall, 
Benjamin Shaw, Joshua Steams, Eliphalet Sweeting, Robert 
Skinner, Mase Shepard, Asa Smith, William Stone, James 
Stone, Benjamin Tiffany, Seth Tisdale, William Verry, Peter 
Wellman, Royal White, Asa Wellman, Abijah Wetherell, 
Simeon White, Seth Williams, Benjamin Homes, Ebenezer 
Burt, Samuel Copeland, Stephen CiUey, Daniel Pratt.* 

These men were draughted from Norton in 1778 for 
nine months' service : — 

Thomas Jenkins, Peter Derry, David Hodges, Joshua 
Smith, Thomas Bass, Ephraim Knapp, London Morey (ne- 
gro), rejected, William Axtell. 

Ephraim Lane was a lieutenant-colonel in Col. Tho- 
mas Carpenter's regiment, Rhode-Island service, from 
July 24 to Sept. 9, 1778. He was also a lieutenant- 
colonel in Col. John Daggett's regiment in 1776, 
called out by the alarm at Lexington, 19th of April. 

For 1779, the Committee of Correspondence, Ac, 
were William Cobb, William Homes, Esq., Daniel 

1 Revolutionary Rolls, vol. i. p. 109. 2 ibid. vol. xx. p. 57. 


Dean, Noah Wiswall, Noah Woodward, Silas Cobb, 
and Eleazer Clap. June 22, '^ voted that the eight 
Continental men now called for for nine months, and 
the three men for the Lines at Rhode Island, be raised 
by way of a tax on the ratable polls and estates in sd. 
Norton ; " and a committee were appointed to raise 
" the above men." 

This committee were directed " to procure the above 
men upon the best terms they can, and lay their ac- 
count before the town for their allowance and payment, 
and it should be allowed." Adjourned to July 5. 
Then " voted to raise on tlie ratable polls and estates 
three tliousand pounds, for the purpose of raising men 
for the country's service." 

Aug. 30, " voted to Silas Cobb two pounds, nineteen 
shillings, L. my., for keeping seven Highlanders one 
night, and finding them all a breakfast." ^ 

Tliere was an article in the warrant for a town- 
meeting, Sept. 20, 1779, " to take under their con- 
sideration a letter from the town of Boston, with 
regard to the difficulties sd. town is now [laboring 
under] for want of supplies of the necessaries of life." 
Samuel Moray and Isaac Smith were chosen a com- 
mittee " to collect sheep and grain for to carry 
to Boston, for the supply of sd. town of Boston." 
During this year, we find but few soldiers on duty 
from Norton. In the roll of Capt. Joseph Franklin's 
company, of Rehoboth, engaged in a four months' 
service in Rhode Island, in the autumn of 1779, we 
find a few names of men from this town, which we 
here record : — 

Israel Fisher, Francis Guillow, Isaac Stone.^ 

1 Rev. Isaac Braman, of Georgetown, recently deceased, wrote me, that, 
"when Burgoyne surrendered to the Americans, his army was scattered 
over the country in different towns. Twelve Scotch Highlanders were sent 
to Norton. They came to church, and sat together on the lower floor, 
dressed in short red coats ; checked kilts, coming a little below the knee, 
stripes two inches wide; stockings of the same kind of cloth. Their ap- 
pearance was novel and exciting. How long they continued in Norton, I 
cannot say." These were doubtless the men for whose lodging and break- 
fast Mr. Cobb was paid. 

2 Revolutionary Rolls, vol. ii. p. 61. 


The years 1779 and 1780 were probably the saddest 
and darkest known during the whole war. The cur- 
rency was in a very depreciated condition. To such 
an extent was it reduced, that, in 1780, fifty or sixty 
dollars of bills of credit were worth only about one 
dollar in specie. This state of things added very much 
to the difficulty of procuring recruits for the army, 
and of providing food and clothing for those already 

For 1780, the Committee of Correspondence, Ac, 
were William Cobb, William Homes, and Daniel Dean. 
June 16, voted to raise such sums of money as shall 
be sufficient to pay the eighteen men, to be raised for 
the continental army for six months, by a tax on the 
ratable polls and estates; and a committee were 
appointed to raise said men. Then "voted that the 
committee procure the sd. 18 men upon the best terms 
they can, and lay their accounts before the town." It 
was probably found difficult to induce the men to en- 
list; and therefore, as an incentive, it was, June 23, 
" voted that those persons, who shall inlist voluntarily 
into the six months' service before four in the after- 
noon next Monday, sliall be exempted from their poll- 
tax during their service." Adjourned to the Monday 
following (June 26) ; then " voted to give the men that 
shall engage in the six months' service twenty-four 
pounds, as a bounty ; to be paid in Indian Corn, at Ss. 
per bushel ; and Rye, at 45. per bushel ; and Bar Iron, 
at four dollars per hundred ; or the same sum in Gold 
or silver paid down ; and exempted from payijig any 
poll-tax for six months to come, or during their service 
this campaign." Adjourned to last Wednesday of 
August. July 4, the town decided to raise the twenty- 
two men, called for from this town for three months, 
by a tax on the polls and estates ; and ofiered, as a 
bounty to those who would enlist, " twelve pounds, to 
be paid in silver money." Afterwards voted " to pay 
the twelve pounds' bounty in Bar-Iron, Rye, Indian 
Corn," at the prices offered for the six months' men, 
and to " excuse them from their poll-tax in proportion 


to the six moiitlis' men, according to their time of 
service/' Also voted to give the four men now called 
for, in addition to the eight men called for (for six 
months) by a resolve of the General Court of Jane 6, 
1780, " the same bounty as was given to the eighteen 
men." Chose a committee ^' to raise the 22 men for 
three months." 

The full quota of men was not raised July 6. It 
was then ordered, that those men draughted and 
mustered shall be entitled to the same bounty as those 
that enlist. 

Voted to raise five thousand pounds' tax forthwith, 
to pay for the horses purchased in this town. 

On the last Wednesday of August, the bounty of 
twenty-four and twelve pounds had not charmed the 
full number of men desired into the ranks of the army; 
and hence, on that day, the town empowered the com- 
mittee to go into any other town, where they can be 
insured that they have got their quota of six and 
three months' men, and hire the men now wanting 
for this town. 

Oct. 9, the town "voted to raise <£1,108. — 55. — 0., 
in silver money, to pay the Bounty to the soldiers that 
were hired the summer past." Also " voted to Mr. 
Nathaniel Prior 210 pounds, old continental money, 
for going, himself and team, to Tiverton with the 
soldiers last August." The same day, " voted to 
choose a person to purchase the beef called for (by 
a Resolve of Gen. Court) from this town ; " and 
Major Silas Cobb was chosen to make the purchase. 

Oct. 16, it was " voted to raise £1,100.-0.-0. for 
to pay for the beef and trouble." Dec. 25, " voted to 
raise such a sum of money as to enable the town 
to pay each soldier tliat shall enlist into the continen- 
tal service for three years, or during the war, three 
hundred silver dollars each ; one hundred paid soon, 
one hundred paid in one year, and the other hundred 
in two years, with interest." 

In the alarm of August, 1780, Capt. Israel Trow 
marched to Rhode Island at the head of a company of 

»BVOLtrnaNARY war, 409 

men, whose names we here record ; all of whom are 
supposed to have belonged to this town : — 

Joseph Hodges, first lieutenant; Jacob Shepard, second 
lieutenant; Benjamin Wild, Elkanah Lincoln, David Lin- 
coln, Jonathan Newland, James Newcomb, Joshua Pond, 
Kufus Hodges, Joseph Andrews, Sylvanus Braman, Samuel 
(?) Blandin, George Briggs, Daniel Basset, Joseph Burt, 
£lijah Briggs, David Balcom, Noah Clap, John Clap, Jere- 
miah Cambell, Theophilus Crossman, Paul Cook, Tisdale 
Hodges, George Hodges, Elijah Hodges, Joseph Howard, , 
Abijah Lincoln, Levi Lincoln, Seth Pitts, Thomas Story, Asa 
Smith, Araunah Smith, Zebulon White, Joel White, Abijah 
Wetherell, David Wetherell, Josiah Wellington, Elkanah * 
Wilmarth, Abiathar Macomber, Amos Martin, Nathan Perry, 
Elijah Danforth, Samuel Hunt, Seth Williams, Eleazer 
WaJker, Jacob Shaw, Nathaniel Freeman, Noah Woodward, 
Jesse Hodges, William Copeland, Samuel Copeland, Josiah 
Hodges, William Stone, William Norton, Jonathan Hodges, 
Peletiah Day, Joseph Wellman, Ichabod Perry, William 
Wetherell, Ebenezer Wetherell, Elisha Capron, Daniel Phil- 
lips, James Davis, Nathan Dean, Nathaniel Wood, Silas 
Cobb, John King.^ 

Capt. Seth Smith commanded a company in the 
Rhode-Island service this year, probably all Norton- 
ians; whose names were — 

Ephraim Lane, Jieutenant; Hezekiah Willard, William 
Makepeace, Nathan Cobb, Daniel Knapp, Isaac Hodges, Ed- 
ward Darby, George Cobb, Benjamin Stanley, John Hodges, 
Jabez Briggs, David Arnold, Phineas Briggs, Thomas Bra- 
man, Benjamin Blandin, Joseph Matthews, John Briggs, Isaac 
Basset, Nathan Dean, ]£phraim Eddy, Ezra Eddy, John 
Hall, Zephaniah Hodges, Abiel Lincoln, Oliver Leonard, 
Calvin Morey, William Stone, Nat Stone, Seth Smith, Bena- 
jah Tucker, Benjamin Tiffany, William Verry, Simeon Weth- 
erell, John Wetherell, David Woodward, Samuel Willis.* 

Capt. John Allen was also absent six days with a ' 
company in Bhode-Island service. We give the names 
of those from this town : — 

1 Revolutionary Bolls, vol. ill. p. 177. ^ n>id» vol. zxiii. p. 65. 



Jacob Shepard, lieutenant ; Isaac Hodges, Jonathan Briggs, 
Safus Hodges, Nathan Dean, John Hodges, Joseph Andrews, 
John Arnold, David Balcom, Sylvanus Braman, Isaac Bas- 
set, Benjamin Blandin, William Carpenter, Paul Cook, Noah 
Clap, Ephraim Eddj, Elijah Eddj, Tisdale Francis, Zepha- 
niah Hodges, Joseph Howard, Oliver Leonard, Levi Lincoln, 
William Newcomb, Solomon Newcomb, Josiah Newoomb, 
Nat Prior, Abisha Smith, Araunah Smith, Thomas Story, 
Samuel Stevens, John Tisdale, Jacob Tiffany, Elkanah Wood- 
ward, James White, James Wetherell, Simeon Wetherell.* 

lu Capt. Jabez Barney's company of Swanzey, at 
West Point, August, 1780, were the following men 
from this town. The first two served for the town of 
Mansfield ; the remainder, for Swanzey. 

Isaac Morey, lieutenant ; Levi Francis, jun., John Cam- 
bell, John Prior, Brian Hall, Vincent Cambell, Benjamin 
Holmes, John Martin.^ 

In the six months' service, in 1780, 1 find the follow- 
ing list of men from Norton, made up by the select- 
tnen : — 

Jedediah Tucker, Daniel Hodges, Ichabod Pitts, Jabez 
Newland, Isaac Stone, Vincent Cambell, Henry Howard, 
Samuel Willis, John Hall, Benjamin Holmes, Israel Smith, 
Daniel Hodges, 2d, Daniel Burr, Jonathan Hodges, Benjamin 

The following is a list of the men raised in Norton, 
agreeably to a resolve of the General Court, passed 
Dec. 2, 1780 ; the term of service, three years ; — 

Samuel Sherman, Benjamin Fuller, Elisha Capron, Joshua 
Fuller, Timothy Tucker, Abiathar Macomber, Henry Hay- 
ward, Jacob Briggs, Samuel Eddy, Francis Guillow, Sey- 
more Burr, Seth Capron, Benjamin Chotsey (?), Cuff Free- 
man, Jedediah Tucker, Ezra Hodges.* 

Jan. 8, 1781, the town " voted so far to comply 
with the Resolve of the General Court Respecting 

1 Revolutionary Bolls, vol. i. p. 7. ^ ibjd. yoi. i. p. 51 J. 

« Ibid. vol. iv. p. 184. * Ibid. vol. xxiv. p. 418. 


Beef as to procure sd. Beef, or the money ; " also 
voted to raise ^204. 3s, Orf., silver money, in addi- 
tion to tlie £1,108. 55. raised Oct. 9, 1780, — to be 
devoted to the same purpose. The Committee of Cor- 
respondence, Ac, for 1781, were Silas Cobb, Israel 
Trow, and Noah Wis wall. 

March 5, " voted to give the men, called for to go 
to Rhode Island for forty days, four pounds and ten 
shillings per month, including whatever shall be given 
them from this commonwealth, or any other way from 
the publick." 

In the summer, the General Court called upon the 
town to supply the army with six thousand seven hun- 
dred and sixty-eight pounds of beef, twenty-eight shirts, 
twenty-eight pair of shoes and stockings, and fourteen 
blankets. July 16, it was " voted to comply with 
the requisition of the General Court respecting Beef ; 
and £120 silver money was raised to pay for it, and 
Capt. Ephraim Burr was authorized to purcliase it at 
fourpence per pound : " and it was ordered, " that 
there be a clause inserted in the warrant for our fall 
meeting, to raise a sum of money to pay for clothing." 
It was also " voted to give the men, that shall go into 
the three months' service, twenty silver dollars per 
month, and the town to receive their wages from this 
commonwealth, and that each man have five dollars 
advance pay." 

We find but few names of soldiers to record for the 
year 1781. In January of this year, there were in 
the Continental army, from Norton, enlisted in the 
years 1777-79-80, for three years, or during the 
war, — 

Josiah King, Caesar Moray, Joseph Pratt, Lathrop Knapp, 
John Harridon, Josiah King, Anthony Morey, Jacob Allen, 
and William Wellman.^ 

On the 19th of October, Lord Cornwallis and his 
whole army laid down their arms at Yorktown, Va., 

1 Revolutionary Bolls, toI. xxiz. p. 118. 


as prisoners of war, to the combined forces of France 
and the United Colonies ; which event was the virtual 
termination of the war, although the articles of peace 
were not formally signed till nearly two years after- 

The town-records are almost entirely silent relative 
to the war after the siege and surrender at Yorktown. 
At the March meeting in 1783, the selectmen were 
chosen *' a committee of correspondence and Safety,'' 

March 1, 1784, the town "voted not to give the 
continental oflBcers any extraordinary pay." Rev. 
Isaac Braman wrote me, that, " Towards the close of 
the Revolutionary war, a hen's egg was found about a 
mile south of the church, cm which was written in 
raised letters, * Piece to America.^ This was thought 
by the 'Hoi Polloi ' to be a true prophecy, — that 
Peace was soon to take place. I was a little more 
than 12 years of age, but knew the difference between 
Peace and Piece^ and was convinced that it was an 
imposition." And such, no doubt, it was. Here, then, 
we must bid adieu to the war, which forms the greatest 
era in our country's history. 

We do not suppose we have recorded the names 
of all our citizens who served in defence of their coun- 
try's rights. It is to be regretted that the names of 
all who were engaged in the war were not entered 
upon the town-books. 

Had this been done, our list of Revolutionary pa- 
triots would no doubt have been much longer than it 
now is. Yet we would also remember, that the victory 
was not won by those alone who met the enemy face to 
face amidst the din of clashing arms, and the shrieks 
and groans of the wounded and dying. Por those 
who remained at home, and who furnished the " sinews 
of war," and took care of the families of those absent ; 
who, out of their poverty, furnished provisions and 
clothing for the army, and cheered them on through 
all their reverses, trials, and discouragements, — and 
among these we must reckon the mothers, wives, and 


daughters of the soldiers, — we would not withhold 
the praise justly their due. We cannot, it is true, 
record their names ; they stood not so prominently 
before the eye of the world: but their heroism was 
none the less real on that account ; and we trust their 
patriotism and self-sacrifice will never be blotted from 
our country's remembrance. 

Although the war released our fathers from the des- 
potism of England, it left many of them under the 
despotism of irreligion and immorality. The whole 
nature of war is demoralizing in the extreme. In cor- 
roboration of this idea, we will quote a passage from 
Rev. Pitt Clarke's " Historical Sermon." Speaking 
with reference to the causes of waning morals among 
the people of Norton, he says, — 

"The French war, and the revolutionary contest with 
Great Britain, produced great changes in the morals of the 
people, and, in particular, led to a greater disregard to the 
Sabbath, and public worship. War is not only the scourge of 
nations, but a very corrupting engine to the people. It breaks 
down the barriers of peace and order. Its bad effects are 
extensive and lasting, if they cdn ever be repaired. Its in- 
fluence was great in corrupting the morals of this town as 
well as other places ; in consequence of which, many of the 
past and present generations have lived in total neglect of 
the Sabbath, and sanctuary opportunities. We find but few 
instances of those, who were long in the army, returning to 
their homes with any regard to the Sabbath, or institutions of 

With this testimony against war, without the least 
desire to impugn the motives of the Revolutionary 
patriots, we close the chapter. 





" Sfan is a mflitary animal: 
Glories in gunpowder, ana lores parade." 

P. J. Baiut. 

Op the early military history of the town, we can learn 
but little. About 1698, a military company was formed 
in the North Purchase, and that part of theold town of 
Taunton now included in Norton. George Leonard 
was the first captain, commissioned by Richard, Earl of 
Bellamont, Governor of the Province. It is believed 
that Samuel Brintnell was the first lieutenant; and 
Nicholas White, ensign. It will be remembered, that, 
ill the precinct controversy, the " military line *' was 
desired by the petitioners to be the southerly line 
of the precinct. This *' military line," I suppose, 
was the bounds between the North-Purchase Company 
and the other company at Taunton Town. By a law of 
1693, the following persons were exempted from mili- 
tary duty : viz., Councillors, Representatives, Secretary 
of the Province, Justices of the Peace ; the President, 
Fellows, Students, and Servants of Harvard College ; 
Masters of Art, Ministers, Elders, and Deacons ; SheriflFs 
and their Deputies, Physicians, Schoolmasters, Coro- 
ners, Treasurers, Attorney-General, Clerk of Courts, 
Constables, Ferrymen, Millers, Officers of the Revenue, 
Masters of Vessels, Herdsmen, lame persons, Indians, 
and Negroes. For many years previous to the separa- 
tion of Mansfield from Norton, there were three mili- 
tary companies in town, whose limits were as follows: 
The first company embraced all the territory of the 
South Precinct westerly of Rumford River. The second 
company was in the North Precinct (Mansfield) ; and 
the third company embraced all the South-Precinct ter- 


ritory easterly of Rumford River.^ I have found a list 
of these three companies for the year 1757 ; of which 
Major George Leonard, jun., had the command of the 
first ; Col. Ephraim Leonard, the second ; and Capt. Sim- 
eon Wetherell, the third. We regret that want of space 
compels us to omit these names. In the lists of town- 
officers which we have given in Chapter XX. will be 
found attached to their names the titles of most of the 
military officers previous to the Revolutionary war. 
I have been unable to find, except in one or two cases, 
the date of any military commissions previous to 1776. 
After the incorporation of Mansfield, the two infantry 
companies of Norton (one on each side of Rumford 
River) continued till about twenty years ago. In 
1834, the military system of Massachusetts was revised, 
which gave the deathblow to all but the volunteer 
companies ; and hence we find no commissions issued 
to officers of the old infantry company after that time. 
The following persons were captains of the infantry 
company, on the west side of Rumford River, between 
1781 and 1834. The date of their commissions, in 
parentheses, immediately follows their names. 

Joseph Hodges (July 1, 1781) ; Ebenezer Titus (Aug. 4, 
1789) ; Zebulon White (Aug. 20, 1792) ; William Morey 
(Sept. 25, 1797) ; Jonathan Hodges (March 26, 1798) ; Ru- 
fus* Hodges (May 5, 1801) ; Seth Hodges (Dec. 3, 1804) ; 
Asa Arnold (March 23, 1807) ; Lemuel Arnold (Nov. 21, 
1808) ; Sanforth Freeman (June 15, 1815) ; Alvin Perry 
(May 1, 1819) ; Ichabod Perry, jun. (June 26, 1821) ; Isaac 
Braraan (May 30, 1822) ; Mason Stone (March 30, 1826) ; 
Almond Tucker (Oct. 25, 1828) ; Thomas Carpenter (May 14, 

We here give the names of the captains of the comr 
pany, east of Rumford River, from 1781 to 1834 : — 

1 For many years, in taking the yalnation of the town, the same division 
was observed. — George Leonard heading the list westerly of Rumford River; 
Simeon Wetnerell, that on the easterly side of said river; and Ephraim 
Leonard, at the head of the North- Precinct list. We suppose they were placed 
first because they were considered the leading men in their part of the 


David Clap (July 1, 1781) ; Reuben Tisdale (May 28, 
1789); Isaac Makepeace (July 16, 1790); James Godfrey 
(Sept. 26, 1803); Lysander Makepeace (March 24, 1806); 
Asa Knowles (Feb. 15, 1808) ; Terry Crane (May 18, 
1811); Jacob Shepard (May 17, 1812); Laban Lincoln 
(Aug. 9, 1819); Thomas Copeland (June 6, 1820); Lyman 
Eddy (May 6, 1824) ; Daniel Briggs, jun. (Aug. 26, 1826) ; 
Hennary Newcomb (April 30, 1830) ; George B. Crane 
(April 16, 1833). 

In 1776, the Norton Artillery Company was organ- 
ized, and George Makepeace was commissioned as 
captain. This company remained in Norton (a portion 
of its officers and members belonging to other towns) 
till 1854 ; when its name was changed to Light Infant- 
ry, and the company was removed to Foxborough. 
The two field-pieces in the possession of the company 
were returned to the State ; and the Gun-house, near 
the Pound, was sold. At the time the name was 
changed, and the company removed to Foxborough, 
it was the oldest military company in the State.^ The 
following are the names of its commanders (with the 
date of their commissions) who have belonged to 
Norton. A few captains, whose residence was in other 
towns, we have omitted from this list. 

George Makepeace (Oct 31, 1776) ; Ephraim Lane, jun. 
(1787) ; Daniel Knapp (March 26, 1790) ; Benjamin Blan- 
din (Dec. 28, 1795) ; John Gilbert (May 7, 1799) ; Samuel 
Hunt (March 9, 1802); Thomas Danforth, 2d (Aug. 27, 
1804) ; Elisha Grossman (June 14, 1810) ; Isaac Lane 
(May 14, 1812) ; David Lane (Aug. 22, 1814) ; George 
Walker (May 20, 1817); Lemuel Perry (Sept. 22, 1821); 
Calvin Lane (March 31, 1824) ; George Lane (Feb. 5, 
1827) ; Simeon Blandin (March 8, 1828) ; Ira Richardson 
(April 16, 1833) ; Earl Hodges (Sept. 24, 1836) ; Carlos 
Freeman (April 9, 1836) ; Don F. Lane (July 4, 1839) ; 
Benjamin S. Hall (April 24, 1841); Luen C. Leonard 
(May 13, 1843); Carlos Freeman (May 24, 1844); Jacob 

1 Adjutant-Generars Report, January, 1855, pp. 26, 27; where also may 
be seen a copy of a commission to Ephraim Lane, as second lieutenant of 
said company, dated Oct. 31, 1776. 


T. Shepard (Aug. 30, 1851) ; Benjamin M. Round (April 27, 

There was also, for some years, a horse company, 
a portion of whose members belonged to Norton ; and 
the following Nortonians were captains of it: — 

Tisdale Hodges (Dec. 16, 1793) ; Daniel Smith (May 24, 
1810) ; Pliny Puffer (Aug. 22, 1823). 

The following comprise a list of those from this 
town, who, since the Revolution, have risen above the 
post of captain, or held a commission of the same 
rank : — 

Brigadier- General. — Silas Cobb (Aug. 2, 1792). 

Colonels, — Silas Cobb (May 26, 1788); Isaac Braman 
(Sept. 9, 1826) ; Mason Stone (Nov. 3, 1832). 

Lieutenant' Colonel, — Simeon Wheeler (Jan. 14, 1819). 

-afo/or*. — Thomas Fobes (Sept. 26, 1794); Zebulon 
White (Aug. 1, 1803); Brian Hall (April 20, 1797); Isaac 
Braman (Oct. 1, 1825) ; Earl Hodges (July 10, 1844).^ 

Adjutants, — Isaac Morey (Oct. 2, 1788) ; Ephraim Ray- 
mond (June 14, 1791); George Palmer (Aug. 30, 1797); 
William Lane (May 7, 1799); Thomas W. T. Bicknell 
(Oct. 4, 1812); Ephraim A. Raymond (April 23, 1829); 
John B. Newcomb (March 30, 1833). 

WAR OF 1812. 

We find but little to record relative to the war of 
1812-15. From the* following votes, we infer that 
the war was not very popular in Norton. Aug. 24, 
1812, the town met, in obedience to a petition of 
Silas Cobb and others, to consider whether a continu- 
ance of the war was necessary, &c. 

" Yoted, that a continuance [of the] war was not 
necessary nor expedient under existing circumstances." 
— " Yoted, that an alliance with Prance is not desirar 
ble. Chose three delegates to attend a County Con- 
vention to consult together for the common good," &c. 

The latter part of June, 1814, the Norton Artillery 

1 He did not accept the commission. 


Company, Isaac Lane, captain, were called out to 
guard New Bedford. They were absent about twelve 
days. In August of the same year, one-half of the 
Artillery Company were draughted to go to Fairhaven ; 
and the other half went to Boston, and were absent 
about six weeks. A portion of the infantry compa- 
nies were also draughted into service about the same 

Nov. 7, 1814, a meeting was held " to take into con- 
sideration the petition of Benjamin Horton and others, 
to see if the said town can or will fully compensate 
those that have been or shall be called into the service 
of our country this season or year." 

At the meeting, " Voted to choose a committee of 
five persons to take into consideration the above-named 
petition, and report at this meeting." 

The committee reported " that they think it expedi- 
ent for the town to make up the wages of each non-com- 
missioned officer and private soldier to fifteen dollars 
per month, including government's pay." This report 
was accepted. 

The following persons from Norton were called into 
service during the war; viz., — 

Isaac Lane, David Lane, Lemuel Perry, Asa Danforth, 
Samuel Hunt, George Walker, Josiah Hodges, Allen Lane, 
Calvin Lane, Samuel Copeland, Enos Dean, Ebenezer Burt, 
Thomas Sweet, Geoi^e Wetberell, Ebenezer M. Lincoln, 
Daniel Morey, Stillman Smith, Newton Sweet, Henry B. 
Dyer, Thomas Braman, jun., Ezra Macomber, Moses Hunt, 
John Harris, Noah Cooper, Eliab Thompson, Samuel Hunt, 
2d, Joel Wilbur, Jonathan Knowles, Elijah White, John T. 
Whiting, Joseph Fuller, Simeon Dean, Allen Derry, Alfred 
French, Amherst Guild, Asa Patten, Spencer Morse, James 
Wiswall, Henry B. Hodges, Abijah Dean, John Gilbert, 
Stephen Hodges, Daniel Guillow, John Penno, Peleg West, 
Williams Keith, Sylvanus B. Braman, Andrews Braman, 
Perry Atherton, Sylvester Round, John Russell, Levi Bowen, 
Nathaniel Danforth, Ichabod Perry, jun., Seabury Woodward, 
Horatio Field, Kingman Richmond, Reuben Wilbur, John 
Wild, jun., Jesse Blandin, Elijah Eddy, Barnard Dean, Ly- 
man Eddy, Solomon Lothrop, jun., Benjamin Blandin, jun., 

inUTARY fflSTORY.' 419 

Josiah Wilbur, Abiathar Knapp, Tisdale Lincoln, George 
Hodges, jun., Charles Danforth, Leonard Hill, jun., William 
Lane, jun., Adoniram Hodges, Elisha Grossman, Nathan Dean, 
jun., William Dean, Gulliver Dean, Albert W. Godfrey, So- 
lomon Leonard, Jedediah Packard, Daniel Lane, Asaph 
White, Philip Andrews, William Sweet, Zelotes Wetherell, 
Lawrence Hunt, Oliver Hunt, George Lane, John Freeman, 
jun., Zopher Skinner, David Godfrey, Alanson Cobb, Ephraim 
French, Augustus White. 


In " An Act for regulating of the Militia," passed 
by the General Court in 1693, ij; was ordered, " that 
there be a St©ck of Powder and Ammunition in each 
town provided, and from time to time, as there is need 
be, renewed by the selectmen." The stock was to 
consist of a barrel of good powder, two hundred pounds 
of bullets, and three hundred flints, for every sixty 
enlisted soldiers, and in that proportion, whether 
more or less. The penalty for neglecting to have such 
an amount on hand on the 1st of May each year was 
" five Pounds." The selectmen were empowered to 
make a rate to purchase the ammunition, &c. 

I do not find any action of the town relative to the 
matter till Oct. 2, 1722, when it was " voted that 
Joseph Pratt, Treasurer, shall Recover all the money 
that is dew to the towne for stray creters that have bin 
taken up, and deliver it to the selectmen for to Gitt a 
towne Stock of Powder and aminition with ; and sd. 
Pratt shall be Paid out of sd. money for his Reasona- 
bell charges." 

May 13, 1723, at a meeting " warned to Provide a 
Towne Stock of amenition," it was " voted that they 
would Refer the Gitting of a stock of amenition till 
the Representative should Go to Boston, that he might 
send word what the minds of ye Court ware consarning 
the Precent ; Baring a Part of Gitling sd. amenition, 
and to have a meeting before July Court again." We 
do not find, however, that they had " a meeting before 
July Court ; " but, on the 1st of November foUowing, 


a vote is passed, ^^ that the Interest money that is dew 
to the towne of Norton and sd. North Purchase, for 
this Presant year, shall be Laid out to Oitt a towne 
Stock of Powder and ammeuicion for sd. towne and 
North Purchase." 

Sept. 1, 1740, " Voated for to provide a towne Stock 
of amanition, the sum of £50 — 00 — 00." This lasted, 
we suppose, till May 17, 1744; when, probably, the 
news of war with France had reached the Colony, and 
an extra amount of ammunition was deemed necessary. 
Hence the town " voted to raise one hundred pounds, 
old Tenor, to be laid out for a towne stock of Powder 
ammunition, and cljarges of Giting it." This, we 
suppose, was used up during the year ; and therefore, 
Sept. 23, 1745, XllO were appropriated " to purchase 
a towne stock of ammunition." The prospect of 
another war with France, in 1754, caused the town 
to again look to their powder-box, and pick their iSints 
preparatory to the contest. Accordingly, Oct. 14 of 
that year, they voted " that the money which the 
General Court hath ordered to be paid to the select- 
men out of the province Treasury be to provide for 
a town stock of Amunition, so much as is now wanting 
to be sufficient according to law, provided that Capt. 
William Stone do not procure the same." 

In the summer of 1770, a division of '' the town 
stock of ammunition, as powder, bullets, and flints," 
was made by a committee of Norton and the district 
of Mansfield ; but the amount on hand was not stated. 

"Feb. 19, 1787, voted that the selectmen be requested to 
make inquiry into the state of the ammunition in this town, 
and make report at the next March meeting." 

" March 12, voted that the selectmen be directed to call on 
those persons, who have had any of the Town stock, to replace 
it immediately." 

This was duriiig the troubles caused by what is 
known as " Shay's Rebellion." For many years, the 
town's stock of powder and ammunition was kept in 
the garret of the old meeting-house. This was con* 


sidered rather an unsuitable place ; and hence the erec- 
tion of a building to deposit all the military stores in 
was a question before the town at a meeting, April 2, 
1804 ; but it was " voted not to build a powder-house." 
The next year, the matter was revived with better 
success ; for, June 12, 1805, it was " voted to build a 
Powder-house of brick and lime, and to set up the 
building of said house at vendue." By whom it was 
erected, we are not informed ; but the little circular 
brick building, about six feet in diameter, and as many 
high, with a conical roof of wood, now standing back of 
the Trinitarian Meeting-house, and nearly in front 
of William A. West's house, was soon after built in obe- 
dience to the above vote ; where, for many years, the 
town have kept their ammunition and other military 

"May 11, 1818, voted to furnish each infantry soldier with 
twenty-four cartridges with balls, to be kept in the town's 

The powder-house now contains one old rusty flint- 
lock musket and bayonet ; about two kegs of ball-car-^ 
tridges, so completely saturated with water and petrified 
that it is doubtful whether they would burn in any 
common fire ; a lialf-bushel of bullets, a peck of flints, 
three old tin pails, a few broken boxes, and almost 
hoopless powder-kegs. May it never contain more ! 
Peacefully may it go to ruins, with none to weep over 
its mouldering remains ! 

The old Common, near Sanforth Freeman's, was the 
scene of frequent regimental musters and military \ 
parades, with all their accompaniments of drunkenness, 1 
gambling, and fighting. But the progress of Christi- 
anity has almost entirely removed from our State these 
relics of a barbarous age ; and, so far as our town is 
concerned, all that remains of the military grandeur of 
former ages (aside from the powder-house) are a few 
broken muskets, rusty swords, beltless cartridge-boxes, 
tattered knapsacks, and mouldy commissions, preserved 
as mementoes of a bygone age. 





" What eoDstitates a slate? 
Men, — high-minded men ; 
Men who their dntiee know; 
But Imow their ri^ts, and, knowing, daxe maintain.** 

Wm. Jovn. 

The Declaration of Independence formed no bond of 
union among the several Colonies. Hence the atten- 
tion of the Continental Congress was soon called to 
the necessity of such a confederation, or union. Dr. 
Franklin, in 1775, submitted to Congress articles of 
confederation. But most of the members were pro- 
bably then unprepared for such a movement. In the 
spring of 1776, this subject was again before Congress ; 
and a committee of twelve — one from each State, 
except New Jersey — took the matter into considera- 
tion, and, the next week after independence was 
declared, reported a series of articles. It was found 
difficult, however, to harmonize all the conflicting 
opinions of the Colonies. 

In the spring of 1777, Congress again turned its 
attention to this matter ; and, on the 15th of Novem- 
ber of the same year, the articles of confederation 
were adopted, — giving to the Colonies the name of 
The United States of America. 

There was an article in the warrant for town- 
meeting, Jan. 1, 1778, " to take under consideration 
the articles of confederation and perpetual union pro- 
posed by the Congress." 

At the meeting, the town " voted to choose a Com- 
mittee, to take the confederation of Congress into 
consideration, and report." Chose William Holmes, 
Abraham White, Seth Gilbert, Nathan Hodges, Brian 
Hall, Eieazer Clap, William Cobb, Noah Woodward, 


John Patten, David Arnold, George Leonard, jun., 
Jonathan Clap, and David Lincoln, for said com- 

Adjourned to 12th inst. Then "voted to Except 
of the Report of the aforesaid committee with regard 
to the confederation of Congress." — " Voted, that a 
copy of said Report should be given to the Repre- 

No record of this report was made on the towu- 
books, and I have been unable to find a copy of it. 

These articles of confederation did not authorize 
Congress to pass general laws or to impose taxes: 
they served only a temporary purpose, and that in- 
adequately. Li carrying on the war. Congress had 
incurred a heavy debt ; but, having no power to raise 
money, could not pay it. This inability led to serious 
diflSculties. At length, however, the conviction be- 
came general, that a remedy for these troubles must 
be found in amending the articles of confederation, 
or the formation of a new compact, or bond of union, 
between the States. 

A convention of delegates from all the States, ex- 
cept Rhode Island, met at Philadelphia in 1787, and, 
having decided not to revise and amend the articles of 
confederation, proceeded to the formation of a Federal 
Constitution ; and, after some months of deliberatiouy 
a constitution was adopted, and submitted to the- 
several States for ratification. 

Nov. 26, 1787, the town " did elect Mr. Abrahams 
White to represent them in a state Convention to be^ 
holden at Boston on the second Wednesday of January 
next, for the purpose of taking under consideration the 
Federal Constitution." 

The constitution was ratified by the convention at 
Boston, Feb. 6, 1778, by a majority of nineteen in a 
vote of three hundred and fifty-five. Mr. White, from 
Norton, voted against its ratification ; but, imme- 
diately after the vote was declared, he is reported 
to have said, ^'that notwithstanding he had opposed 
the adoption of the constitution, upon the idea that it 


would endanger the liberties of his country, yet, as 
a majority had seen fit to adopt it, he should use his 
utmost exertions to induce his constituents to live 
in peace under and cheerfully submit to it." ^ This 
seemed to be the general spirit of the opposition. 


Immediately after the Declaration of Independence, 
the Massachusetts Assembly began to devise means 
for the formation of a constitution, and the adoption 
of a state form of government ; and, accordingly, a 
resolve looking to this end was passed by them in Sep- 
tember, 1776, and sent to the people. 

On the 7th of October of that year, a meeting of the 
inhabitants of Norton was held — 

" To take under consideration a resolve of the Honorable 
House of Representatives of this state with regard to a form 
of government ; and to consider and determin whether they 
will give their consent that the present House [of Repre- 
sentatives], together with the Honorable Council of this State, 
in one body and equal voice, should consult, agree on, and 
enact, such a Constitution and form of Government for this 
state as the said House and Council, joined as aforesaid, shall 
judge will most conduce to the safety, peace, and happiness 
of this state ; and whether, if any form of Government 
should be agreed on, that this town would desire that such 
form should be made publick for their inspection before it is 
ratified by said assembly ; and to act in all respects with regard 
to said Resolve as they shall think fitt." 

At this meeting, William Homes, Eleazer Clap, Wil- 
liam Cobb, Brian Hall, Nathan Hodges, David Arnold, 
Jonathan Clap, David Lincoln, Seth Gilbert, George 
Makepeace, and Henry Wetherell, jun., were chosen a 
committee to consider and make report upon the mat- 
ter. The meeting was adjourned once and again to 
Oct. 22 ; when the committee make the following re- 
port, which was accepted : — 

1 See account of the ratification, &c., in Genealogical Register for Juty, 


"The freeholders and other inhabitants of the Town of 
Norton, legally warned and in Town-meeting assembled, 
taking under their consideration a late Resolve of the present 
Honor. House of Representatives of this state respecting 
their consent that said House, with the Honor. Council, should 
agree on and enact a form of government for said state, came 
into the following votes ; viz., — 

" Istlj, That the establishing a good form of government 
is absolutely necessary, in order to lay a foundation for the 
future safety, happiness, and welfare of a people. 

" 2ndly, That as the end of government is the good of the 
people, so the power and right of forming and establishing a 
plan thereof is essentially in them. 

" 3dly, That, as this state is at present without a form of 
Government, it is highly necessary that one should soon be 

" 4thly, That we cannot give our consent to the proposals 
of the said Honor. [House] in their resolve of the 17th of 
September last, that the present Honor. House, with the 
Hour. Council, should enact a form of government for this 
state; for these reasons, viz. : Istly, That the present House 
and Council were not separately elected by the people for that 
special purpose, which we think it highly reasonable they 
should be in a matter of such importance ; 2dly, The requisi- 
tion of the Honor. House being so pregnarit with power, we 
cannot think it will be conducive to the future good of this 
people to comply with their proposal. 

"5thly, That we humbly conceive, that if the present 
general Assembly in a convenient time should be dissolved, 
and a state Convention called and convened for this important 
purpose, it might conduce much to the peace and quiet of the 
people of this state ; and, we hope, would be a salutary mea- 
sure to obtain the end proposed. 

" 6thly, That we think it would be very conducive to said 
end, with regard to a form of government, if each county 
should meet by their delegates, and consult with regard to 
what form of Grovernment they may think it would be best 
for this state to come into ; and, when they have so done, to 
lay the result of their several meetings before the proposed 
General Convention, that they may better collect the minds 
of the people, and select from the whole such a form of Gov- 
ernment as shall by them be thought most likely to terminate 
in the safety, peace, and happiness of the people. 



" 7tlily, That it appears to us absolutely necessary, for the 
liberty and safety of this state, that the plan of goveminent^ 
when formed, should be published for the perusal of* the 
people, and not established without their approbation. 

** 8thly, Voted, that a copy of these Resolves be sent to 
the Secretary's office of this state, attested by the Town 

May 5, 1777, the Massachusetts Assembly " recom- 
mended to the people to choose their representatives 
to the next General Court, with full powers, in one 
body with the Council, to form such a constitution of 
Government as they shall judge best calculated to 
promote the happiness of this state ; " to be subject 
to the approval of a two-thirds vote of the people. 

At the session of Jime, 1777, a committee of twelve 
was charged with this subject. In January, 1778, 
this committee reported a draught of a constitution, 
which was adopted by the General Court, Feb. 28, 

In the spring of 1778, this draught of the state con- 
stitution was submitted to the people for their accept- 
ance. It was, however, so objectionable, that most 
of the towns in the State voted against it ; and it 
was accordingly rejected. 

At a meeting on the 22d of May, held by adjourn- 
ment from May 11, the town of Norton " voted not to 
receive the form of Government agreed on by the 
Convention or general Court of this state ; 8 'for it, 
and 102 against it." 

Feb. 20, 1779, the General Court, by a resolve, 
directed the selectmen of towns to obtain a vote from 
the people upon two questions, — whether they wished 
for a new constitution or form of government ; and, in 
case they did, whether they would empower their rep- 
resentatives for the coming year to vote for a " State 
Convention for the sole purpose of forming a new 
Constitution." The people said *' Yes" to both these 

1 See printed Journal of OonventioDf 1820, p. 6, Note. 


In the warrant for a town-meeting, May 19, 1779, 
there was an article to see " whether they choose at 
tliis time to have a new Constitution, or form of 
Government, made." On this article, " voted in the 
negative." Then reconsidered the vote, and chose a 
committee " to give the representatives instructions ; " 
and adjourned to May 26. Then met, and " voted for 
a new constitution, and form of government, at this 
time, 34 for it, and one against it." 

" Voted to accept of the instructions of the Com- 
mittee to the Representative." They are as follows : •^— 

c.rwy TLr ai t -rrr, * " NORTON, May 26th, 1779. 

"To Mr. Abraham White. 

" Sir, — As the town of Norton have made choice of you 
to represent them in the General Court at this critical and 
perplexed day, so they confide in your wisdom and integrity 
to conduct that arduous task in general so as you shall judge 
will best promote the interests of sd. town, and this and the 
other United States of America. Yet, as it must be agreeable 
to you to know the minds of your constituents in all matters 
of importance, we think fit to ^ve you the following instruc- 
tions ; viz. : That you use your influence, that, as soon as con- 
veniently may be, a new form of Government may be made. 

"Secondly, that there be [permission granted] from the 
General Court to the several towns and districts in this state, 
for said towns and districts to delegate such person or persons 
as they shall think fit to convene for the Express purpose 
(and for that only) of forming a constitution for this state ; 
and, Thirdly, that whatever the constitution may be that may 
be agreed on by said Convention, that you use your utmost 
influence that it shall not be established before it is laid before 
the several towns for their approbation, and that at least two- 
thirds of the voters on this occasion (collectively) approve of 
the said Constitution. These matters, with others that may 
come before the General Court, we trust to your firmness ; 
reserving to ourselves the liberty of further instructions as 
occasion may require. 

" By order of the Town. 

« Silas Cobb, Town Clerk." 

How faithfully Mr. White obeyed the instructions of 
the town, or how much influence he exerted in the 


General Court towards bringing about results so 
nearly akin to the ideas -embodied in the instructions, 
we have no means of knowing; but certain we are 
that a convention of delegates from the several towns 
was ordered to assemble at Cambridge on the first day 
of September, 1779, " for the sole purpose of forming 
a new Constitution, or form of Government." 

Aug. 16, Mr. Abraham White was chosen a delegate 
from Norton to the proposed convention. 

,The convention assembled at the time and place 
appointed, and was continued by adjournments till 
March 2, 1780, when the draught for a Constitution 
was submitted to the people. It was adopted by a two- 
thirds vote of the State, previous to June, 1780 ; and, 
with the amendments since adopted, it is now the one 
under which we live.^ The town of Norton met to 
consider the new constitution. May 8, 1780, and at- 
tended to the reading of it. It was objectionable in 
some particulars. They chose a committee "to take 
sd. constitution into consideration, and report." 

Adjourned to May 25. Then met, and heard the 
report of the above committee, their objections and 
amendments ; and it was " voted that the constitution, 
as it stands, should not be accepted unanimously, by 
78 votes." 

Then adjourned to June 1. At that time, it was 
"voted unanimously (108 voters present), that every 
article in the Declaration of Rights (except the fourth 
and twenty-second) and new form of Government 
should be accepted, that have not any objection or 
amendment made thereon by the committee." — " De- 
claration of Rights, Art. 3rd, voted with the amend- 
ment made by the committee, 72 for it, and 36 against 
it." — " Art. ye 4th, voted 51 for it, and 24 against it." 
— " Art. ye 22nd, voted 107 for it, and 1 against it." 
— " Voted, that the remaining part of the articles, with 
their amendments, be read, and voted upon all toge- 

1 The first Legislature under the new Constitution assembled at Boston, 
Oct. 25, 1780. 


ther ; and voted to accept of them all, with their 
amendments and objections ; 103 voters for them, and 
6 against them." 

What were the particular objections to the several 
articles in the constitution does not appear, and pro- 
bably will never be revealed.^ 

The question of the revision of the State Constitu- 
tion was submitted to the people in the- spring of 1795. 
A majority of the voters in the State were opposed to 
a revision. In this town, the vote was taken May 6 ; 
and " 43 voted for a revision of the Constitution, arid 
3 against." On the 21st of August, 1820, the town 
voted by ballot on this question, " Is it expedient that 
delegates should be chosen to meet in convention for 
the purpose of revising or altering the constitution of 
government of this commonwealth ? " and there were 
90 yeas and 11 nays. 

The requisite majority of voters in the State havihg 
been given in favor of a Constitutional Convention, 
delegates from the several towns were chosen. Those 
from Norton were George Walker and Seth Hodges. 
The convention met at Boston, Nov. 15, 1820. They 
were in session till Jan. 9, 1821, and submitted four- 
teen articles of amendments to the people for their 
acceptance. April 9, 1821, the town vote upon these 
several articles of amendment as follows : — 

Art. I. related to the public worship of God, the support 
of religious teachers, and to persons accused of criminal 
offences. Yeas, 5 ; nays, 104. 

Art. II. changed the commencement of the political year 
from the last Wednesday of May to the first Wednesday of 
January ; and provided for the choice of State officers in No- 
vember, instead of April. Yeas, 3 ; nays, 126. 

Art. III. established the veto power of the Governor, &c 
Yeas, 5 ; nays, 107. 

1 At a meeting held the second Monday in May, 1781, " voted to Mr. 
Abraham White fifty old continental Dollars per day for forty-nine days 
that he attended at the State Convention held for forming a new Constitu- 


Art. IV. empowered the General Court to grant a city 
government to towns having twelve thousand inhabitants. 
Yeas, 0; nays, 123. 

Art. V. districted the State for the choice of thirty-six 
senators, instead of forty ; provided for the election of repre- 
sentatives from the several towns ; and required seven coun- 
cillors to be chosen by the Legislature " from among the people 
at large," instead of nine.^ Yeas, 0; nays, 147. 

Art. VI. related to the qualification of voters. Yeas, 15 ; 
nays, 87. 

Art. VII. related to the appointment of notaries public, 
secretary, treasurer, and commissary-general, and to the re- 
moval of military officers. Yeas, ; nays, 105. 

Art. VIII. had reference to voters for military officers. 
Yeas, 35 ; nays, 46. 

Art. IX. related to the removal, by address of the Legis- 
lature, of justices of the peace and other judicial officers ; and 
fofbade the Governor and Legislature to ask the opinion of 
the Supreme-Court judges upon certain questions. Yeas, 1 ; 
nays, 101. 

Art. X. confirmed the rights and privileges, &c., of the 
President and Fellows of Harvard College, and regulated the 
choice of clerical overseers. Yeas, 2 ; nays, 89. 

Art. XI. related to the oath of allegiance, and gave 
Quakers the privilege of affirming. Yeas, 27 ; nays, 53. 

Art. XII. declared that no oath but that prescribed by 
the preceding article should be required of the Governor 
and other State officers. Yeas, 5 ; nays, 71. 

Art. XIII. declared that a member of Congress should 
not hold at the same time certain judicial, state, and county 
offices, &c. Yeas, 27 ; nays, 38. 

Art. XIV. prescribed the mode of making future amend- 
ments to the Constitution. Yeas, 4 ; nays, 79. 

It will be seen that every article of amendment was 
rejected by the town, and most of them by a very de- 
cisive vote. The first, second, fifth, ninth, and tenth 
of these articles of amendment were rejected by the 
people ; the others were adopted by the requisite ma- 


jority of votes in the State, and constitute the first nine 
amendments to the Constitution of 1780. 

The tenth article of amendment was passed by the Legisla- 
tures of 1829-30 and 1830-1 ; and was approved by the 
people, May 11, 1831. It changed the commencement of the 
political year from the last Wednesday of May to the first 
Wednesday of January ; and also required the Governor and 
Legislature to be chosen on the second Monday of November 
each year, instead of in the spring, as had long been the 

On this amendment, the vote of Norton stood, — yeas, 28 ; 
nays, 79. 

The eleventh article of amendment was adopted by the 
Legislatures of 1832 and 1833 ; and was approved by the peo- 
ple, Nov. 11, 1833. This was a modification of the third arti- 
cle of the Bill of Rights, establishing religious freedom. 

The vote of Norton upon it was 33 yeas and 6 nays. 

The twelfth article of amendment was adopted by the 
Legislatures of 1835 and 1836 ; and was approved by the peo- 
ple, Nov. 14, 1836. It related to the apportionment of re- 
presentatives to the General Court. 

The vote of Norton upon it was, — yeas, 66 ; nays, 6. 

The thirteenth article of amendment was adopted by the 
Legislatures of 1839 and 1840 ; and was approved by the peo- 
ple, April 6, 1840. It related to the apportionment of sena- 
tors and representatives to the General Court, and the choice of 
councillors from the people at large. 

The vote of Norton upon it was, — yeas, 77 ; nays, 4. 

By order of the Legislature for that year, the people 
of the State voted, Nov. 10, 1851, for and against a 
Convention to alter the. State Constitution. 

The vote in Norton for a Convention was 165; 
against it, 105. The project was rejected by the peo- 
ple of the State. A similar proposition was submitted 
to the people, Nov. 8, 1852. In this town, the vote 
stood, in favor of a Convention, 159 ; against it, 107 : 
and there were a majority of voters in the State in 
favor of a Constitutional Convention. March 7, 1853, 
George B. Crane was elected a delegate to this Con- 
vention, which met at Boston on the first Wednesday 
of May, 1853, and continued in session till the 1st of 


August following. The Convention submitted for the 
approval of the people eight " Constitutional Propo- 
sitions." The vote was taken Nov. 14, 1853. 

Prop. No. 1 embraced the old Constitution, modified in 
some respect; and contained the Preamble, Declaration of 
Rights^ and Form of Government 

In this town, the vote was as follows: Yeas, 156; najs, 

Prop. No. 2 granted the writ of habeas corpus, "as of 
right, in all cases in which a discretion is not especially con- 
ferred upon the Court by the Legislature." Yeas, 160; 
nays, 115. 

Prop. No. 3 gave juries in criminal cases " the rigbt, in 
their verdict of guilty or not guilty, to determine the law, and 
the facts of the case." Yeas, 159 ; nays, 116. 

Prop. No. 4 affirmed that every person, having a claim 
against the Commonwealth, ought to have a judicial remedy 
therefor. Yeas, 160; nays, 115. 

Prop. No. 5 declared that " no person shall be imprisoned 
for any debt hereafter contracted." Yeas, 158 ; nays, 115. 

Prop. No. 6 forbade the public-school moneys to be used 
for the support of sectarian schools. Yeas, 158; nays, 116. 

Prop. No. 7 forbade the Legislature creating corporations 
by special Act, " when the object of the incorporation is attain- 
able by general laws." Yeas, 159; nays, 114. 

Prop. No. 8 took from the Legislature the power to grant 
" any special charter for banking purposes, or to increase the 
capital stock of any chartered bank ; " but such corporations 
were to be formed " under general laws." Yeas, 159 ; nays, 

All these several propositions were rejected by a 
majority of the voters in the State. The vote for 
and against them was almost strictly a party vote ; the 
Democrats and Free Sellers generally voting for, 
the Whigs and Catholics against, the proposition. The 
foreign vote, contrary to custom, was thrown on the 
Whig side. The proposition against sectarian schools 
is supposed to have caused the Catholics, generally, to 
oppose all the propositions. 

Six amendments to the Constitution, having been 
adopted by the Legislatures of 1854 and 1855, were 


submitted to the people for their approbation, May 23, 
1855 ; and all of them were approved by a majority of 
the voters in the State voting thereon. 

Art. I. of these amendments declared, that, in all elections 
of civil officers, the person havin^: a plurality of votes should 
be " deemed and declared elected." On this the vote in 
Norton was, — yeas, 19; nays, 40. 

Art. II. changed the time of choosing the Governor and 
State Legislature, from the second Monday to " the Tuesday 
next after the first Monday of November." Yeas, 52; 
nays, 7. 

Art. III. required the State to be divided into eight Coun- 
cillor Districts, and the councillors to be chosen by the people, 
instead of the Legislature as heretofore. Teas, 45 ; nays, 15. 

Art. IV. required the Secretary of State, Treasurer, Au- 
ditor, and Attorney- General, to be chosen annually by the 
people. Yeas, 44; nays, 16. 

Art. V. forbade the public-school moneys to be used for the 
support of sectarian schools. Yeas, 54 ; nays, 6. 

Art. VI. related to the election of Sheriffs, Registers of 
Probate, Commissioners of Insolvency, Clerks of the Courts, 
and District Attorneys, by the people. Yeas, 44 ; nays, 16. 

Most of these propositions were nearly identical 
with some of those proposed by the Convention of 
1853, and that year rejected by the people. 

The following amendments to the Constitution 
passed the Legislatures of 1856 and 1857 ; and were 
submitted to the people, May 1, 1857. The vote in 
Norton, upon these amendments, stood thus : — 

Art. I. requiring each voter to be able to read the Con- 
stitution in the English language, and to write his name. 
Yeas, 38; nays, 56. 

Art. II. providing for the districting of the State for the 
choice of two hundred and forty Representatives to the Gene- 
ral Court. Yeas, 41 ; nays, 52. 

Art. III. requiring the State to be divided into forty single 
Districts, for the choice of State Senators. Yeas, 44 ; nays, 49. 

All the amendments were adopted by a majority of 
the votes cast in the State. 




'* They went out from as." — John. 

It will be recollected, that in the Bill creating the 
North Precinct of Taunton, and also in the Act incor- 
porating the town of Norton, there was a proviso, that 
the east end of the North Purchase should have a pre- 
cinct by themselves, whenever the court should judge 
them able to support a minister. I am indebted to 
Ellis Ames, Esq., of Canton, for the following docu- 
ments relating to the East Precinct: — 

" Oct. 30, 1717, a petition of the Inhabitants of the East- 
erly part of Taunton North Purchase, shewing that, whereas 
the Honble. Court, when they granted the North Precinct in 
Taunton to be a town by the name of Norton, made this pro- 
viso, — that the East end of the North Purchase shall have 
half of the said Purchase as their precinct, when they are 
able to maintain a minister, and this Court judged them so ; 
and that, since the passing of that order of the General 
Assembly (which was in March 17, 1710-11), the number 
of the settled families in the said East end of Taunton North 
Purchase is much increased, and their settlements are too 
remote from any place where the public worship is carried 
on to travel comfortably to any such place, — they now judge 
themselves in a capacity to support a minister themselves. 

" Therefore, praying that a committee be appointed be- 
tween them and the town of Norton, that they may know 
their bounds of the half-part of the North Purchase, and that 
this Hon. Court would grant them to be a distinct Precinct 
or Township, as they shall in their wisdom think fit. And 
the petition was on that day read in Council, and sent down 
to the House of Representatives." 

" In the House of Representatives, November 11. — Read, 
and Ordered that the said East end of Norton be made as a 



precinct, and have the powers and privileges granted by law 
to precincts; and that John Field, Ephraim Howard, and 
John White, surveyor, be a committee to run and settle a 
divisional line, by which it is to be set off from the other part 
of Norton, — pursuant to an order of the Court, Miirch 17, 
1710-11, — and make report to this Court. 

" Sent up for Concurrance. 

" In Council. — Read and Concurred. 

" Consented to. • " Saml. Shuts." 

On June 5, 1718, the report of the above-named 
committee, marking out the bounds, came in, and was 
confirmed, establishing the bounds of the East Precinct. 
Also, on June 5, 1718, an order was passed, on the 
petition of several of the inhabitants of the East Pre- 
cinct of Norton, praying that a committee be appointed 
by the General Court to find out the centre of the 
East Precinct, and to appoint the place where the meet- 
ing-house shall be built. 

Having built a meeting-house, and provided them- 
selves with a minister, and become " competently filled 
with inhabitants," the East Precinct petitioned the Ge- 
neral Court to be incorporated as a town. It appears 
from our records that there was no opposition to the 
measure, from Norton : for, Dec. 7, 1725, " at a meet- 
ing of tlie Inhabitants, Legally warned, thare was a 
vote Caled for to Know whether the East Precint 
Should Be made into a township, and thare was but 
one hand heald up ; and thare was a negative vote 
caled for, and thare was not one hand up." Accord- 
ing to the prayer of the petitioners, the town of Easton 
was incorporated Dec. 21, 1725 ; and thenceforth all 
municipal connection between the two towns ceased. 


Two or three years after the organization of the 
East Precinct, a movement was made in the westerly 
part of the town to take another slice from the North- 
Purchase part of Norton. May 15, 1721, at a town- 
meeting, — 


"- 4I7, thaj voted not to Grant the desire of Thomas Skin- 
ner and his neighbours concerning thajre being dismised from 
sd. towne, in order to thare Gitting a towneship with Part 
of Dorgester and Part of attleborough." 

But the friends of the movement were not satisfied 
with the above vote, and therefore renewed their re- 
quest the next year with no better success ; for, at^ 
meeting, March 20, 1722, " 31y, they voted that tl^y 
would not Sett of Mr. Skiner and that Naiberhood-to 
be a precent acording to theyr Bounds that they re- 
quested." This second denial of their request seems 
to have moderated the zeal of the petitioners, but not 
entirely to have removed it. The probable reason 
why they wished for a precinct was the inconvenience 
felt of going five, six, and seven miles to meeting ; and 
they desired to be empowered to establish the ministry 
among themselves. 

After waiting a few years till their numbers were 
somewhat increased, they again renewed their request, 
and were again disappointed. The record says, that 
at a town-meeting, May 8, 1727, — 

" 21y, it 'twas Put to vote, whether they would Give Liberty 
to Thomas Skiner, Sener, and fifteen others, to Go of to be a 
Precent with part of the towne of Atelboro* and Part of the 
towne of Dorchester, acording to the Bounds which they 
Pititioned to sd. towne for; and it pased in the negative." — 
" Sly, the question was Put to vote, whether they ware willing 
that the Persons that have Pititioned should Go to joyne with 
Part of sd. townes to be made a Precent ; and it Pased in the 

Thus baffled in their attempts to be erected into a 
precinct, they take another tack ; looking towards the 
establishment of a second society, as it appears by this 
record : — 

"Feb. 19, 1728-9, it 'twas put to vote, whether the towne 
would Buld a meeting-house upon ye minestree Land in ye 
Northern Part of the towne, and setell a minester thare, and 
pay him out of the towne treasurey ; and it Pased in the nega- 
tive. And then it 'twas Put to vote, whether the towne would 


Sett of ye Inhabetance in ye north Part of this towne, acord- 
ing to the Bounds they Petitioned for ; and it Pased in ye 
negative." ^ 

The petitioners, again defeated, again renew their 
request. Every failure had only added new converts to 
the cause ; and a pretty general feeling was manifested 
in the north part of the town to have better ministe- 
rial accommodations, and another determined attempt 
was made to wring from the town the boon they asked. 
All things being matured, a town-meeting was called, 
to be " on Monday, the 21st day of September, 1730." 
The friends of a new precinct were out in full strength. 
It soon became evident that the house was about equally 
divided upon the question, and heince great precaution 
was necessary on the one side and the other to insure 
success and to prevent defeat. A moderator (John 
Briggs, 2d) is chosen from the south part of the town. 
Rather an ill omen, this ; but it does not discourage 
the Northerners. Probably " noses had been counted." 
Now came the " tug of war." 

" 21y, thare was a vote Called for by ye moderator, for those 
that ware for seting of ye northern Parts of norton, acording 
to theyr Request, to Bring in paper-votes, writ upon (Sett 
of) ; and those that ware against it to Bring in theyr votes, 
writ upon (not Sett of) ; and there was 54 votes for seting of, 
and 47 votes for not seting of." 

The combined northern forces triumphed, and great 
was the rejoicing on their part. A portion of the de- 

1 I am informed by D. S. Cobb, Esq., that his ancle, Capt. Daniel Smith, 
recently deceased, had told him a spot for a meeting-house was once staked 
out, not far from said Smith's house, on the southerly side of Rumford 
River, westerly of the road on the high ground near the bridge. This is 
about a mile and a half northerly from the Centre Village of Norton, where 
the first meeting-house was erected; and would have been nearly in the 
middle of the tract of land then constituting the town of Norton. If the 
house had been placed there, it would, no doubt, have given satisfaction to 
the people of what is now Mansfield; and, perhaps, might have kept the 
two towns together even to the present time. It would have been a very 
pleasant site tor a meeting-house. 

But probably the southerly portion of the town, having a meeting-house 
that well accommodated them, did not care to incur the expenses of re- 
moving it, or of building a new one ; and hence no arrangement satisfactory 
to the northern part could be made. 



feated party consult together for a few moments, and 
then cause the following entry to be made on the town- 
records : — 

" We, the subscribers, are of opinion, that the vote Called 
to sett of ye northern Part of norton, acording to their Re- 
quest, was an elegall vote; and tharefore we do enter our 
Protests against it, — Eleazer Fisher, Sener, Isreall woodward, 
Elezer Fisher, Juner, Ebenezer Burt, Jonathan Burt, John 
Cobb, Benjamin Selee, Nathaniell Fisher, Juner, John Bra- 
nam, Jeremiah newland, Robert Tucker, John Fisher, Jo- 
seph Gray, Sener, Joseph Gray, Juner, Joseph Hodges, Wil- 
liam Ware, Ephraim Lane, Nathan Fisher, Ichabod Shaw, 
Silvenus Cambell, Peter aldrich, nemiah Fisher, Edmun 
Fisher, Bepjamen Lane, Benjamen Hodges, Thomas Shaw, 
Sener, Ebenezer Eddy, Sener, Daniell Braman, Nathaniell 
Fisher, Nathaniell Braman, George Leonard." 

Having thus obtained the consent of the town for 
their erection into a precinct, the Northerners forth- 
with, by petition, appear before the General Court, 
asking that legal steps be taken to invest them with 
the powers, privileges, <fec., of a parish. The accom- 
panying documents show that their prayer was soon 
granted : — 

" On the petition of Nicholas White and others, of Norton. 
In the house of Representatives, June 23rd, 1731. — Read, 
and ordered that the petitioners, with their estates, agreeable to 
the bounds hereafter mentioned, — viz., westwardly by Attle- 
borough bounds ; north-eastwardly by Stoughton bounds ; east- 
wardly by Easton bounds, until it comes to be due west from 
the house of Erasmus Babbit, deceased ; from thence to the 
south of Samuel Caswell's house, three rods or poles ; from 
thence to the centre between the public meeting-house in said 
Norton, and the common land upon the eight-mile plain in 
said Norton ; from said centre to said Attleborough bounds, on 
the south of Benjamin Lane's house ; and on the north of the 
house of Isaac Shepard, deceased, — be, and hereby are, erect- 
ed into and made a distinct and separate precinct, and vested 
with like powers, privileges, and immunities as other pre- 
cincts within this Province have, or by law ought to enjoy. 

'* Sent up for concurance." 


"In council, June 23rd, 1731. — Read and concured. 

"J. WiLLARD, Secretary." 

"June 23rd, 1731. — Consented to: "J. Belcher. 

" Copy examined, " Per J. Willard, Secretary." 

On the 16th of August, 1731, George Leonard, jus- 
tice of tlie peace, issued a warrant, directed to Josiah 
Pratt, one of the inhabitants of the North Precinct 
of Norton, authorizing him to notify the inhabitants of 
the precinct to meet at the house of Isaac Wellman, 
" on Tuesday, the 31st of August," to choose precinct 
officers. At this meeting, Nicholas White was chosen 
moderator ; Benjamin Williams, clerk ; John Skinner, 
Josiah Pratt, and Ephraim Leonard, assessors ; Joseph 
Elliot, treasurer; Thomas Skinner, Nicholas White, 
and Ephrain Grover, prudential committee. 

At this time, the North Precinct " contained 30 or 
85 families. They soon made preparations for a place 
of public worship. A small frame was put up, a little 
south of the present central Congregational meeting- 
house, on the common." Efforts were then made for 
establishing public worship. Sept. 4, 1731, the pre- 
cinct "vote to cover and enclose the meeting-house 
already put up," — '' to put in window-frames, lay the 
floor," &c., and appropriate forty pounds (old tenor) 
to defray the expense. Sept. 28, Thomas Skinner, 
Samuel Bailey, and Ephraim Grover, were chosen " a 
committee to inspect the work done on the meeting- 

Ephraim Leonard and Josiah Pratt are empowered 
" to obtain a minister to preach 3 months," and twenty 
pounds were raised " to support the minister." Dec. 13, 
" voted to hire a minister to preach the gospel in the 
precinct until the first of March." 

During the winter of 1831-2, it is supposed, the pre- 
cinct had stated preaching, in accordance with the 
vote passed Dec. 13. March 27, 1732, at a legal meet- 
ing of the precinct, it was " voted to give Rev. Mr. 
Ephraim, Little, of Scituate, a call to settle with them in 
the work of the Gospel ministry ; " and they agreed to 


give him a yearly salary of a hundred pounds, old tenor, 
during his ministry in the precinct, and oflfer him, as a 
settlement, two hundred pounds, to be paid in annual 
instalments of fifty pounds. 

These proceedings were " without a negative vote." 
Mr. Little, however, gave a " negative " answer ; no 
doubt, much to the disappointment of the precinct. 

We had prepared a full ecclesiastical history of the 
North Precinct ; but our crowded pages and other good 
reasons oblige us to omit most of it. 

Oct. 7, 1734, Abiel Howard, of Bridgewater, was 
unanimously chosen pastor. '' He could not see his 
way clear to accept the call ; " and hence the precinct 
try again. May 20, 1735, they unanimously gave a 
call to Atherton Wales, of Braintree ; but he declined 
it. With commendable perseverance, the precinct, 
Dec. 20, 1735, unanimously invited Samuel Toby, of 
Sandwich, to settle. His answer was " No." Again 
they look about for a candidate. One is procured. He 
is acceptable to the people, who, Sept. 7, 1736, ask 
Ebenezer White, of Brookline, to be their " gospel 
minister ; " and, after about four weeks' deliberation, 
he accepted the invitation. 

The ordination took place, Feb. 23, 1737 ; but who 
took part in the interesting services of consecrating 
him to the work of the gospel ministry is unknown, as 
no records are to be found. It is uncertain on what 
particular day the cliurch was embodied. No record 
of the organization of the church, or the names of 
those who composed it, are extant among the church 
or parish papers ; but Eev. Mr. Avery fortunately 
made in his church-records the following entry, which 
throws some light upon the matter. We therefore 
transcribe it. 

"Jan. 2nd, 1736-7. — Dismissed (at yr request), in order 
to ye gathering a Chh., Nicholas White,* John Hall,* Tho- 
mas Skinner,* vSen., John Skinner, Sen.,* Ephraim Grover, 
Sen.,* Benja. Williams, Seth Dorman,* Josiah Pratt, Thomas 
Fillebrown, Joshua Atherton, Stephen Blancher, Wm. Pain, 
Benj. Lane, Willm. Dean, Jonathan Pratt, Joshua Williams, 


Andrew Grover, Thomas Grover, Sen.,* Ezra Skinner, — 
members of ye Chh. in Norton, Living, in ye North precinct." 

Those marked with a star were original members 
of the church from which they were dismissed; so 
that just half — reckoning the pastor among the num- 
ber — of those who were embodied, Oct. 28, 1714, as 
the first church of Norton, were among the original 
members of the North-Precinct Church. They parted 
from their old associates and pastor in the goodly 
fellowship of the gospel and in the spirit of Jesus. 
They parted because they thought the interests of 
religion demanded a settled ministry iu the northerly 
part of the town. One proof of the fraternal feeling 
existing between the. parent and the child is the follow- 
ing vote, copied from Mr. Avery's records : — 

"July 1st, 1737. — Att a chh.-meeting before ye sacrament, 
ye chh., by vote, gave two bacars they bought with yr own 
money, and also ye bacar given by Mrs. Hannah Briggs, ye 
wife of Benj. Briggs, Sen., of Taunton, with her Consent, to 
ye 2nd Chh. in Norton,-for yr. use and improvement." 

Mr. White's ministry was not of the most peaceful 
character. He was probably too liberal in his views 
to satisfy many of the " stricter sort " of his parish. 
He was of a feeble constitution, and hence frequently 
was unable to attend to the duties of his office. Just 
as negotiations for his withdrawal from the ministry 
were completed, and a successor had been chosen, or 
on the 18th of January, 1761, he left the troubles of 
earth for the peaceful realms of the spirit-world. 
Jan. 12, 1761, six days previous to Mr. White's death, 
the precinct chose "Roland Green, of Maiden, to settle 
with them in the work of the Gospel ministry." He 
was ordained Aug. 26, 1761, under the shade of some 
venerable trees, which stood near the westerly end of 
the present Congregational Meeting-house, in Mans- 
field. Mr. Green continued in tlie ministry till July 4, 
1808 ; when he died suddenly of apoplexy, at Norton, 
whither he had come that morning to join in a public 
celebration of the day. 


In April, 1770, the North Precinct of Norton was, 
by an Act of the General Court, incorporated into 
a separate district called Mansfield.^ Of the causes 
that led to a total separation of the precinct from 
the town, we are not cognizant. Probably the pre- 
cinct thought they had so far increased in importance 
and dignity as to be able to take care of themselves ; 
and certainly, after having a tutelage of about thirty- 
nine years, they were worthy to assume the powers 
and duties of a corporated town. And yet, for some 
years after the erection of the precinct into a district, 
it voted with Norton in the choice of representatives 
to the General Court. 

Perhaps the following votes of the town might have 
had some influence in hastening the separation : — 

March 19, 1749-50, the town voted down a motion 
to have one-third part of the town-meetings at the 
North-Precinct Meeting-house. 

March 29, 1766, " voted not to have any of the town- 
meetings held in the North precinct." 

May 21, 1764, "voted that one-third part of the 
meetings in said town shall be held at the North- 
Precinct meeting-house." 

March 9, 1767, " The town voted to hold no more 
of the town-meetings in the North precinct of sd. 
town." This vote was probably the straw that broke 
the camel's back; for an immediate movement was 
made towards a separation. The precinct seems not 
to have been unwilling that the child should navigate 
the sea of life alone, as will be seen by the action of the 
town : — 

»' Sep. 14th, 1767. 

" Voted, whereas the North precinct of the town of Norton 
have desired said town to vote them off a district, the sd. town 
doth hereby signify their consent to the same, if the General 
Court should think proper to set off and make sd. precinct a 

1 The difference between a district and a town was that the former were 
not allowed to choose a separate representative to the General Court, but 
were connected with some other town or district for that purpose. A few 
years after the incorporation of Mansfield as a district, a General Act was 
passed by the Legislature, raising all districts to the dignity of towns. 


separate district ; sd. North Precinct taking their proportion- 
able part of the poor of said town, and also their propor- 
tionable part of the town-stock." 

After negotiating with the General Court more than 
two years, the court, as we have stated, declared the 
child of full age to act for itself. The bounds be- 
tween the towns were the same as between the town 
and precinct already given. 


*' My name is written in the Book of Life." — P. J. Bailkt. 

The reader has probably noticed, that in the chapter 
on the ministry of Mr. Avery, p. 107, allusion is made 
to those who had set up a meeting in opposition to the 
First Church ; and also, on pp. 108 and 109, seven per- 
sons were suspended for their separation from Mr. 
Avery's church, and joining with those who had set 
up a separate meeting. 

After a long and patient search, we have found the 
record of these dissenters, who formed a church and 
society, and maintained worship according to their own 
idea of things. They were, no doubt, what were called 
in those days " New Lights," and adherents to many 
of the doctrines promulgated by the leaders of the re- 
vival of 1740. Most of them were residents of the 
easterly part of Norton ; some of Easton and Taun- 

As this movement, in several respects, was quite an 
important one, and as few at the present day know 
any thing relative to it, we shall let their own records 
tell the reason which induced them to take the steps 
they did, and set forth the principles on which they 
established the new organization. We retain their 


own phraseology ; taking the liberty to supply, in brack- 
ets, such words as seem necessary to complete the 

The spelling is so bad, that few of our readers would 
be able to make out what is meant if we copied the ori- 
ginal : therefore we take the liberty to correct that. 

** The Records of a Church of Christ in Norton, in the County 
of Bristol, in New England, that dissented from the Consti*- 
tution of the Church in this land for the following reasons ; 
to wit : — 

'< 1. Because that they did not particularly examine those 
admitted to their communion, as they ought to do. 

'< 2. Because they did not hold a gospel discipline. 

" 3. They deny the fellowship of the saints. 

" 4. Their settling ministers by way of salary. 

" 5. By their allowing of half-way members. 

** All which particulars we look upon to be contrary to the 
rules that Christ and his apostles practised. 

"And after due pains being taken, and no way [being 
devised] to have the difficulty removed, we, in faithfulness to 
the cause and interest of Christ's kingdom here in this world, 
did bear faithful testimony against their proceeding. 

" Then the Lord put it into our hearts to [look to] him 
for direction ; and we set ourselves to seek the Lord by 
prayers. And the Lord put it into our hearts to set apart 
the first day of February, 1747,^ to be kept as a day of solemn 
fasting and prayer to Almighty God, for the accession of his 
Holy Spirit to direct us in the way he would have us to walk 
in. And the Lord so wonderfully owned and blessed us, that 
ten persons solemnly covenanted with God, and one with 
another, for the building of [a] Church, and maintaining the 
worship of God, in this place." 

"The articles of faith and Covenant drawn up and agreed 
upon by the Church of Christ in Norton: — 

"1. We believe that there is one only living and true 
God, who is a spirit ; of himself from all eternity to all eter- 
nity unchangeably the same; infinitely holy, wise, omnipo- 
tent, just, merciful and gracious, omniscient, true, and faithful 

»■■■-■■■■■■■ .1 — — — -.,-, ■ ■■ I. ■■ — ■■■ ■■ , 

1 This was, no doubt, 1748, new style. 


God ; filling all places, and not included in any place ; essen- 
tially happy in the possession of his own glorious perfec- 

"2. That- this God subsists in three glorious persons,— 
the father, Son, and Holy Ghost, which are but one God, the 
same in substance, equal in power and glory. 

" 3. That the Scriptures of the Old and New Testament 
are the word of God, wherein he hath given us a perfect rule 
of faith and practice. 

*' 4. That God hath, for the manifestation of his glorious 
perfections, ordained whatsoever comes to pass. 

" 5. That God, in the beginning, created the heavens and 
the earth, and all things in them; and doth still uphold all 
things by the word of his power. 

" 6. That God did create man in his own image, — in 
knowledge, righteousness, and true holiness, — capable of 
obeying and enjoying of him ; and so made with him a cove- 
nant of life, the conditions whereof were perfect obedience. 

" 7. That man soon fell into sin against God, by which he 
brought himself and all his posterity into a state of Death. 

" 8. That, man being thus dead, his recovery is wholly in 
and from God. 

"9. That God the Father hath from all eternity chosen 
a number in Christ to eternal salvation. 

" 10. That Christ did, in the fulness of time, take on him 
the human nature ; lived a perfect life on earth ; died a cursed 
death on the Cross ; arose from the dead ; ascended into the 
heaven, and there ever liveth to make intercession for them. 

"11. That the Holy Spirit of God, proceeding from the 
Father and the Son, and he only, can and doth make a par- 
ticular application of the salvation purchased by Christ for 
every elect soul. 

"12. That we are of the number that was chosen from 
eternity ^ in Christ ; and that he hath come and obeyed and 
suffered, arose and ascended, and doth ever plead before God 

1 It is a somewhat remarkable fact, that all those who believe in the 
popular doctrine of " election " are sure that they are of the number chosen 
to eternal salvation. But their daily intercourse with the world does not 
always impress others with a favorable idea of their superior sanctity. 

Rev. I. Backus, in his " Church History," vol. iii. p. 160, speaking of 
this church, sa^s, " Some of the members, especiaUv they who lived in 
Easton, had run into the most delusive notions that could be conceived of, — 
even so far as to forsake their lawful wives and husbands, and to take others ; 
and they got so far as to declare themselves to be perfect and immortal, or 
that the resurrection was past ahready, as some did in the apostoUc age.** 



the Father for as ; which he hath given us to believe hj Bend- 
ing the holy spirit to convince ns of oar miserable and lost 
oondition, and discovered to and offered to us a ^orioas 
[salvation] in his suitableness and sufficiencj, and [invited] 
us to embrace him with our whole souls; wherebj he ii 
made unto us wisdom, righteousness, sanctificatioiiy and re- 

^13. That the life of religion consists £in] the knowledgs 
of God, &nd a confonnitj to him in the inner man ; whidh 
necessarily produces an external conformity to his laws. 

'^ 14. That all doubting in a believer is sinful; being con- 
trary to the commands of God, hurtful to the soul, and a 
hinderance to the performance of duty. 

^15. That true believers, by virtue [of] their anion to 
Christ, have fellowship one with another, whereby they are 
made partakers of each other's gifts and graces. 

'^ 16. That the firet day of the [week], commonly called 
the Lord's day, is the -Christian Sabbath. 

^17. That true believers, and none but such, are members 
of the Catholic Church of Christ, and have a right to all the 
internal and external gifts and privileges that Christ hath 
left in his Church in the world ; in order to the right enjoy- 
ment of which, and the due administration of Church Disci- 
pline, [it] is meet, and according to scripture, that there be 
particular Churches of believers." 

**0f which we shall next consider, and say, — 

" 1. First, it is a number of true believers, by mutual 
acquaintance and communion voluntarily covenanting and 
embodying together for the carrying-on Uie worship and ser- 
vice of God. 

" 2. That [there] are two sacraments of the New Testa- 
ment, which Christ has instituted to be practised or observed 
in his Church till his coming; (viz.), Baptism and the Lord's 

" 3. The most of [us] hold that true believers have a right 
to give up their children to God in Baptism ; yet a different 
opinion in this point don't break our fellowship. 

" 4. That whosoever pretends to administer or partake of 
the seals of the covenant of grace, without saving faith, are 
in danger of sealing their own damnation. 

" Therefore, the doors of the Church are to be carefully 
kept at all times against all such as cannot give a scriptural 
evidence of their union to Christ by faith. 


'< «5. That a number of true believers, being thus essentially 
and visibly united together, have power to choose and ordain 
such officers as Christ hath appointed in his Church, — such 
as bishops and deacons ; and, by the same power, to depose 
such officers as evidently appear to walk contrary to the Gos- 
pel. Yet we believe, in such cases, 'tis convenient to take 
advice of the neighboring Churches of the same Constitu- 

" 6. That, before choice and ordination of* such officers, 
trial be made of their qualifications by the Church in which 
they are to be officers in. 

" 7. That the Bishop or Elder, by virtue of their office, 
have no more power to decide any case or controversy in 
the Church than any private brother : but his work is to lead 
in the meetings of the Church, and to administer the Sacra- 
ment; and to devote himself to the work of teaching and 
warning, rebuking and exhorting, the people, publicly and 
from house to house. 

*' 8. That the deacon's office [and] work is to take care of 
the poor and the church treasure, and to distribute to the 
support of the Pastor, the propagation of religion, and to 
minister at the Lord's table. 

" 9. That all the gifts and graces that are bestowed upon 
any of the members are to be improved by them for the good 
of the whole ; in order to which, there ought to be such a 
gospel freedom, whereby the Church may know where every 
particular gift is, that it may be improved in its proper place 
and to its right end, for the glory of God and the good of the 

"the covenant. 

"Thus having declared our faith concerning the Trinity, 
and of the state of man before and after the fall, the way of 
salvation by Christ, how we are brought into the Covenant 
of Grace, of the communion of saints, the nature and power 
of a church, &c., — 

" We do now, in the presence of the Great God, and in 
the faith above and before declared, and by the present help 
of Divine Grace, renewed and united by giv[ing] up ourselves 
to God Almighty, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, to be for 
him, and no other ; freely submitting ourselves to him, to be 
at his disposal, for his glory ; taking him as our chiefest good ; 
promising, by the help of Divine Grace, to watch against 


every sin, oomiption, and temptation, and to hold s continnal 
and perpetual warfare with the same ; looking to Christ Jesos, 
who is the author and finisher of our faith ; promising to 
watch over one another in the love of Grod, and to hold oom« 
munion together in the ordinances and discipline of the Gos- 
pel Church ; submitting ourselves to one another in love, and 
submitting ourselves to the discipline of this Church as s part 
of Christ's mystical body, according as we shall be guided by 
the spirit of God in his word, and by the help of Divine 
Grace ; still to be looking for more light from the Lord, be- 
lieving that he will yet further and more graciously open his 
word and the mysteries of his kingdom ; looking and wait- 
ing for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen and 

It is much to be regretted that these ten persons, 
who were so sure that they were "of the number 
chosen from eternity," did not append their names 
to this statement of reasons, declaration of faith, and 
covenant ; for nowhere upon the records does it appear 
who they were. 

Possibly they did not immediately sign the cove- 
nant, and that they were of the number — whose 
names we shall hereafter give — that covenanted with 
the church previous to the ordination of a minister. 

The matter is left in doubt ; and eternity will pro- 
bably only reveal who were these " ten righteous men" 
that were to save the Sodom of Norton from destruc- 

Having adopted the covenant, &c., they began to 
look about for an elder or teacher in spiritual things. 
We will let their own records tell how they reached 
the end desired : — 

"August ye 1, 1748. — A meeting [was] appointed to 
inquire duty of God, in or[der] that God would make duty 
plain to us, in order to have a Church completed with 
officers ; And, after solemn prayer to Almighty God, it ap- 
peared duty to us to appoint August ye 11 to be kept as a 
day of fasting and