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Full text of "The ancient proprietors of Jones's Hill, Dorchester, including brief sketches of the Jones, Stoughton, Tailer, Wiswall, Moseley, Capen and Holden families, the location and boundaries of their estates, &c"

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AND ITS ANCIENT PROPRIETORS. 



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THE 

ANCIENT PROPRIETORS 

OF 

JONES'S HILL, DORCHESTER, 



INCLUDING 



Jones, Stoughton, Tailer, Wiswall, Moseley, 
Capen and Holden Families, 

Witt location anli ISonnliatfts of t^tte lEaUAts, iet. 



COHPILSD BY 

DAVID CLAPP. 



BOSTON: 

PRINTED FOR PRIVATE DISTRIBUTION. 
1883. 



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• a P a 



V'-:: ■••- :.•: 



Pbess of David Clapp & Son, 
35 Bedford Street. 




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INTRODUCTION. 



The following pages contain the result of researches which 
were commenced with no other intention than that of learning 
something of the man from whom Jones's HUl — a well-known 
eminence in the northerly part of Dorchester — ^took its name, 
and what portions of the hill originally belonged to him. 
The writer^s interest in the subject may well be accounted for by 
the fact not only of his being a native of the town, but of having 
spent all the years of his boyhood at the base of the hill named, 
and many an hour of work or play oa its sides and summit* 

In seeking for information concerning Mr. Thomas Jones, the 
first immigrant, to whom there appears to have been granted 
from the first certain portions of the hill, it was found that his 
descendants for two generations could be easily tmoed, together 
with their inheritance of die father's lands and homestead and 
the transfer of the latter into the Clap family. It was like- 
wise seen that Israel and William Stoughton wei^ contem- 
porary and adjoining owners ^f land on the hill — the 
latter Lieut.-Govemor of the colony, whose nephew and heir, 
Lieut.-Governor Tailer, and his children, were for nearly 
a century also possessors of extensive tracts there. The records 
were therefore examined in regard to the estates of the two 
Stoughtons ; and, little having been known about so in^portant 
a man as William Tailer, the temptation to learn further of his 
history and estates was too strong to be resisted. Much space 
has been given, as will be seen, to what was gathered in relation 
to him and his family, a large portion of which had never been 



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IV INTBODUOnoN. 

in print, and will add something, it is believed, to our knowledge 
of one who, though bom and brought up in Boston, was twice 
honored with a most important royal appointment in our ancient 
provincial government. 

Other early owners of land and residents on the hill are included 
among those about whom the writer has sought information, 
and brief references to them and their families and estates will 
be found in the following desultory sketches. A completeness, 
beyond a careful accuracy of statement, has not been aimed at 
in any of them — ^neither time nor facility permitting this ; and 
they are to be taken, by the few readers likely to be interested 
in their perusal, as disconnected but authentic compilations, 
mostly from the public records which could alone furnish the 
information here gathered. Neither is the list given of early 
land-owners on Jones's Hill complete. It is to be regretted 
that a careful search at the Suffolk Registry of Deeds and Probate 
offices furnishes little information about several (among them the 
Hon. James Allen), who, during the last century, are known to 
have been owners of parcels of land on the hill. It is also well 
to say, that it has been no part of the compiler's plan to trace the 
line of descent in the families treated of down to the present time. 

It should be mentioned that much of the contents of this 
pamphlet has been printed, mostly during the years 1881 and 
1882, in the columns of the Dorchester News-gatherer^ among 
whose readers principally it was supposed any interest in the 
subject would be felt. It has since been thought, however; that 
whatever of local or historical importance they might possess 
would be better preserved in a different shape, and a few copies 
therefore of the collection, with additions, are reprinted in the 
present form. 

D. C. 
Boston, June, 1883. 



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CONTENTS-. 



Page. 

The Jones Familt and Homestbad ..... 1 

Thomas Jones, the first immigrant, his arrival in Dorchester and 
grailts of land to him. Isaac Jones, son of Thomas, parcels of land 
on Jones's Hill and elsewhere. Jonathan Jones, son of Isaac, in- 
herits the homestead and hill above it. Robert Seaver, son-in-law, 
and Thomas Kilton and wife grand- children, of Jonathan Jones, 
own land on the hill. David Clap, of Dorchester, buys of Kilton 
the homestead and adjoining part of the hill ; buys of Seaver land 
op|>osite the homestead ; seUs part of the hill to Col. Ebenezer Clap ; 
notice of himself and family, and division of estate. 

The Stoughton Family and Estates 9 

Israel Stoughton, among the first comers, and an early grantee of 
land ; his death in England ; large landed property in Dorchester ; 
his will. William Stoughton, youngest son of Israel ; graduates 
at Harvard, and studies in England for the ministry; lieutenant- 
governor, and Chief Justice of Superior Court; his death and 
burial, sepulchral monument, and funeral sermon ; his will, and 

eartition deed of lands on Jones's Hill and elsewhere ; location of 
is mansion-house, which comes into possession of his nephew 
William Tailer ; notice of others of the Stoughton name. 

The Tailer Family and Estates 19 

Parentage and early life of William Tailer ; marriage and settlement 
in his uncle Stoughton's mansion near the foot of Jones's Hill ; in- 
herits a large tract on the hill ; twice commissioned as lieutenant- 
governor ; his other public offices and labors ; his death and burial, 
and bill of fiineral expenses ; his remains laid in his uncle Stough- 
ton's tomb ; contemporaneous sketches of his character ; his will, 
and appraisement of his estate ; his children and their families ; his 
father-in-law Judge Byfidd. 

The old Stouohton-Tailer Mansion-house and Homestead 37 
Rev. Dr. Willard's visit to its ancient site. Description of the house, 
lands and garden. 

Division and Settlement of the Tailer Estate . . 41 

Sale of different lots by the heirs. Deed of partition signed by widow 
Abigail and her five children. Description of their lots on Jones's 
Hill and elsewhere. The hill lots fall to sons William and Gillam. 
Death of Madam T. Tailer's sons-in-law Rev. Mather Byles (and 
children) and Jacob Royall, Esq. Sale of lots in " the great 
Plowfield " to Col. Ebenezer Clap. Death of Dr. Gillam Tailer and 
notice of his son Gillam. Hill lots sold to Rev. Moses Everett and 
Dr. Henry Gardner. 



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VI CONTENTS. 

Page. 

SOMB OF THE WiSWALL FaMILT AND THBIR ESTATES 46 

John Wiswall, in Dorchester in 1634; became ruling elder, was 
selectman, clerk of the writs, &c. ; one of the overseers of Dorches- 
ter schools in 1645 ; removes to Boston, $nd sells land on Jones's 
Hill to Sergeant Samuel Clap in 1671. Thomas, brother of John 
Wiswall, riding elder in Newton in 1664 ; his children. Enoch, 
son of Thomas, conveys land on Jones's Hill in 1701 to Thomas 
Moseley. Ichabod, brother of Enoch, teaches school in Dorchester 
in 1655 ; afterwards minister at DuxburV) and agent to Englandi 
Thomas (not the Elder) buys in 1715 of James Humphrey a latge 
tract on Jones's Hill. Early school- hous^. Burial of Elder James 
Hun^hrey. 

Ownership by some op the Moseley Family ... 63 
John Mosidey, frednan in Dorchester in 1639. Thoihas, son of Johh, 
an active and usefiil man in the town ; his children. Thomas, soil 
of Thomas, buys in 17D1, of Enoch Wiswall, house and land on 
Jones's Hill where he lived, and where he died in 1749. Unite Mose- 
ley, son of the last-named Thomas, in 1742 buys land on the hiU, 
and in 1751 inherits his father'9 homestead adjoining; h^ moves 
into Boston, where he dies in 1756. Ebenezer Moseley, grandson 
of John, deeds land to Jonathan JoAes in 1733 ; afterwards moved 
to Stoughton ; his wiU and inventory. Rev. Seanud Moseley, of 
Connecticut, son of Ebenezer of Stoughton, conveys land on the 
hill. Henry Moseley, at Braintree in 1638 ; hfs son Siamuel, the 
noted and successflil warrior against the Indiaiis. Moseley's Pond, 
m Dorchester. Nine acres on the hill owned by Ebenezer Mosdey 
and Elisha Davenport in 1788 ; Moseley sells his part to JEtev. 
Moses Everett. L^e and death of Rev. Vtr, Everett. 

Thi Capen Ownership on the Hill 59 

Capt. John Capen the inmiigrant, son of Barnard. Preserved Capen, 
son of John, owns a homestead on the hill, ^which descends to Ms 
son Capt. Reserved Capen. The latter occupies it many years, and 
owns other lands near by ; in 1745 seUs the whole to John Holbrook, 
moves to Stbughton, and died there, probably in 1757 ; his will and 
division of his estate. Jonathttn Capen, cCtisin of Capt. Presesrved, 
sells his homestead and lands at the Four Comers in 1736, and 
moves to Stoughton ; estate passes to the Homanses, and then to 
th^ Bowdoins. Jonathan's son Jonathan and his family. Uncertain 
location of the house in which the first John Capen lived ; Nicholas 
UpaaU's imprisonment in it for four yefers ; tJpsall's bequest to the 
Quakers. 

Jo^N Holbrook and the Holden Familt .... 65 
John Holbrook, of Roxbury, buys, in 1745, the estate of Capt. Pre- 
served Capen on Jones's HUl ; he seUs the same, in 1758, to Dr. 
"William Holden, who buys, the same year, anoth«: tract of Thomas 
Kilton, at the summit of the hill. Notices of Dr. H., of his son Br. 
Phineas and his other children. Dr. Robert Thaxt^, successor of 
Dr. H. tl^e younger. Dr. Holden, the father, dies in 1776 ; inven- 
tory of his estate, and division of houses and lots of land. The 
Holden houses, as described in Deacon Barnes Humphreys's diary. 



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In his Oration delivered in Dorchester on the Fourth of July, 
1855, the Hon. Edward Everett thus refers to some portions of the 
town embraced in the following sketches : 

" But all is not changed. The great natural features of the 
scene, and no where are they more attractive, are of course un- 
altered : — the same fine sweep of the shore with its projecting 
headlands, — ^the same extensive plain at the North part of the 
town, — ^the same gentle undulations and gradual ascent to the 
South, — the same beautiful elevations. I caught a few days ago, 
from the top of Jones's Hill, the same noble prospect (and I know 
not a finer on the coast of Massachusetts) which used to attract 
my boyish gaze more than fifty years ago. Old hill,* as we called 
it then (it has lost that venerable name in the progress of refine- 
ment, though it has become half a century older), notwithstanding 
the tasteful villas which adorn its base, exhibits substantially the 
same native grouping of cedars and the same magnificent rocks, 
and commands the same fine view of the harbor, which it did before 
a single house was built within its precincts. Venerable trees 
that seemed big to me in my boyhood, — I have been looking at 
some of them this morning, — seem but little bigger now, though 
I trace the storms of fifty winters on some well-recollected branches. 
The aged sycamores which shaded the roof, beneath which I was 
born, still shade it; and the ancient burial ground hard by, with 
which there are few of us who have not some tender associations, 
upon whose early graves may yet be seen the massy unhewn stones 
placed there by the first settlers for protection against the wolves, 
still attracts the antiquary with its quaint and learned inscriptions, 
and preserves the memory not merely of ' the rude forefathers of 
the hamlet,' but of some of the most honored names in the history 
of Massachusetts." 

* Now called Savin-hill. 



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JONESES HILL AND ITS AISTCIENT 
PEOPEIETOES. 



THE JONES FAMILY AND HOMESTEAD. 

Thomas Jonbs was a prominent man among the early settlers of 
Dorchester. He is said to have arrived here in the " Abigail 
Hackwell," from London, in June, 1635, with his wife Helen and 
four children, himself 40 years old and his wife 36. He was chosen 
Selectman the next year, and iiearly every year afterward till 1666. 
He was among the first signers of the church covenant, with the 
Rev. Richard Mather, in 1636, after the departure of a portion of 
the church to Windsor; was chosen Deputy in 1638, was a 
member of the Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company, and 
held many town offices of trust and honor. He died Nov. 13, 
1667, his gravestone says *' aged about 76 yrs.'V The inventory 
of his estate shows him to have been possessed of an average 
share of worldly goods. 

As in the case of the other early settlers of the town, grants 
of land were made to Thomas Jones, and one of the lots which 
fell to him was a large portion of the hill in the north part of the 
town, a short distance south of the first meeting-house, and soon 
after and ever since known by the name of ''Jones's Hill." 
At the foot of this hill on the north-eastern side, near the junc- 
tion of what are now Stoughton and Pleasant Streets, were 
several acres of level land, suitable for cultivation and dwellings, 
and here he built his house and barn, and here was the homestead 
of the Jones family for the next one hundred and twenty years. 
The tract known as Jones's Hill is well marked out, and doubtless 
was so in the earlier times, being bordered on all sides by public 
highways — in length extending from what is now Upham's Corner 
2 



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2 Jones's hill and its ow:NErKs. 

on the north-west, to the junction of Pleasant and Commercial 
Streets on the south-east. The road which passed the Jones 
homestead (now Stoughton Street) in some of the ancient deed» 
was called " the road or highway leading from the mansiou-faonse 
of the late Lieut. Gov. Tailer to Boston''; and on the sooth' 
westerly side of the hill, what is now Hancock Street was " the 
road leading towards Roxbury," or " towards the meeting- house.'' 
The children of Thomas Jones who survived him were his son 
Isaac ; his daughter Rebecca, who married James Oreen ; Esther, 
who married Richard Way ; and Hannah, wife of Robert Ware 
of Dedham. By his will, his widow £llen was to have her choice 
of two cows to be hers absolutely, and the use of the real estate 
during her life, mention being made of " my present dwelling- 
house with the barn and out-housing, the arable and pasture-land," 
&c., with "all my house-hold stuff." At her decease, the 
property, after certain legacies were paid, was to be divided 
between Isaac and the daughters, the former having the privilege 
of taking the real estate. In the inventory, Dec. 11, 1667, are 
mentioned, among the items, — wearing apparel, £12; 88 sheep, 
£19;: 1 horse, mare and colt, £12; 25 bushels of apples in the 
orchard cellar, £1 lis. 3d, ; also the ** dwelling-house, ont-housing 
and orchard, £120 ; twelve acres of land on the hill above the 
house, £36 ; plowing-land and grass-plat behind the barn, £40 } 
about one acre by Capt. Clark's orchard " (on the south side of 
the hill) £10 ;— also 20 acres land at the Great Neck, £60, and 6 
at the Little Neck (South Boston), £40 ; and a 30 acre wood-lot 
elsewhere, £70. By the mention of 12 acres only on the hill, 
it would seem that before the death of Thonms he had conveyed 
to his children by gift or otherwise a portion of the original grant, 
or it had been sold to others and come back to the children, for 
many acres there were afterwards in possession of bis descendants.. 
It is certain that his son Isaac inherited the portion of it men- 
tioned in the inventory, and that he retained and occupied the 
house built by his father. Isaac seems to have built another house 
near it, which he had conveyed by gift, before making his will, 
with land adjoining, to his son Jonathan. His will is dated Dec. 
6, 1699, he dying two or three years later, and this portion of his 
estate was devised as follows: To the widow, *'the south end 
of the dwelling-house with conveniences in the cellar, yard and 
well; one third of the orchard at the west end and half the home 



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THE JONES FAMILY AND HOMESTEAD. 6 

lot on tbe west side ; one third of the hill pasture near the house/' 
To son Jonathan, '' one acre and three quarters on the east side 
of the home lot ; eight acres of pasture land on the east end of 
the hill pasture." To daughter Mehitabel (married in 1704 to 
Robert Newell, of Roxbury — she dying Nov. 4, 1739, aged 70, 
and he Feb. 1741, aged 68),one acre in the orchard; eight acres 
in the hill pasture (the middle part) ; the old end of the house 
northerly, and half the barn." To his son Ebenezer, large tracts 
of land were g^ven, one deed being on record which conveys to 
him 32 acres at the *' Neck," with a house thereon. 

The reason of this division of his real estate, is given in Isaac 
Jones's will as follows : — " And whereas I have given to my son 
Jonathan an house and some land about it near to the house 
wherein I now dwell, and it would be a mighty inconvenience to 
him if Ebenezer by virtue of his being an elder brother should 
take up all his portion in my land upon and about the hill under 
which I now dwell, I therefore direct and appoint that (excepting 
my son Jonathan do after my death consent to have it otherwise) 
a considerable part of his portion shall be set out to him by my 
Executors with the advice of my overseers, in my lands in the 
hill and such others as may be accommodable to him" 

Isaac Jones married Mary, daughter of Robert Howard, notary 
publia of Boston. She died in Dorchester Oct. 23, 1691, aged 62. 

He married for his second wife Ann , who survived him. 

Soon after her death, which took place Jan. 20, 1731, aged 77, a 
deed of division of the estate was signed by Ebenezer and Jonathan 
Jones, and Robert Newell and wife Mehitabel, by virtue of which 
the following portions of it, including the widow's thirds, passed 
into Jonathan's hands — viz., part of the orchard containing about 
1^ acre and 22 rods, the old house and well, eight acres on the 
hill above the house, and the home lot containing 2} acres and 20 
rods. This would seem to be in addition to what land his father 
had previously given him, on which stood another house, as already 
mentioned, but no entry of such gift can be found in the publig 
records, nor can any other mention be found of a second house 
on the Jones estate. Although the two other heirs, Jonathan and 
Mehitabel, in this deed of division had their portions elsewhere, 
it is believed that the latter was at that time, as she certainly was 
afterwards, in possession of land on the hill. 

Isaac Jones does not seem to have been entrusted with public 



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1 



4 JONES'S HILL AND ITS OWNERS. 

office to the same extent as his father Thomas, although his appoint- 
ment occasionally by his townsmen to important duties shows him 
to have been a citizen in good standing and highly respected. 
In his will he bequeaths £20 to the Deacons of the Church and 
the Selectmen of the town for the benefit of the poor, and to the 
Deacons 408. "for the use of the Church in a piece of silver 
plate to serve at the Lord's Supper forever." He also leaves 
small legacies to ** loving friends " Elder Blake, Capt. Clap, and 
Deacons Topliflf and Clap. His inventory shows him to have 
been in possession of some of the luxuries of life, as well as houses 
and lands. No less that 119^ ounces of "plate'' are on the list, 
valued at £38 148. 10^(2.; also aset of gold buckles, £1 lis. M.\ 1 
gold locket, £1 68. 3(2.; and 6 gold rings, £2 148. Crockery ware 
was comparatively scarce in those days, and we therefore find that 
Mr. Jones's was valued at only 128., while the pewter in his 
kitchen is put down as 68 lbs. in weight, at 12(2. a pound, amount- 
ing in value to £3 88. Among the eatables appraised, were 52} 
lbs. of an article called Chocollata, valued at 38. %d. a pound, and 
worth £9 48. 

Jonathan Jones, the son of Isaac, was not long the sole owner 
of the homestead lot and the hill above it. His death took place 
Sept. 12, 1739, in his 74th year, and letters of administration on 
his estate were granted Sept. 24, of that year, to his widow 
Catharine, Consider Leeds, and Robert Seaver his son-in-law, he 
having died intestate. In the inventory made out Dec. 31 of that 
year, we find the estate appraised as follows : — House and bam, 
£150; little orchard and three quarter acre, £60; one acre of 
orchard by the house and two acres adjoining, £120; 16 acres of 
pasture land, £192 ; 5 acres of land by the Old Field (which may 
have been situated elsewhere), £200. Among other items in this 
inventory are noticed, "wearing apparel, £17 48." ; "pewter, £11 
48."; "silver, £5 5s."; "stable at meeting-house, £1"; "hay, 
£35" ; "fruit, £9." It is rather surprising to notice the amount of 
this last item. Taken in connection with the facts that in Thomas 
Jones's inventory in 1667, we find the appraisement of " 25 bushels 
of apples," and that "orchards" are very frequently mentioned 
in the deeds of those early days, we may infer that fruit-growing 
was early and extensively practised in the town where our vener- 
able Marshall P. Wilder and others have since carried the art of 
pomology to such perfection. " John Josselyn, Gent," who was 



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THE JONES FAMILY AND HOMESTEAD. 5 

in Boston in 1638, says that he had brought to him from Governor's 
Isljind in Boston Harbor, "half a score of very fair pippins,'' 
adding, with how much truth it is difficult now to determine, that 
then there was " not one Apple tree nor Pear planted yet in no 
part of the Countrey but upon that Island." It would be interest- 
ing, were it possible, to obtain one of these **fair pippins'' of 
1638, or one of Thomas Jones's apples of 1667, to compare 
with a "Williams" ora "Gravenstein" grown by Mr. Wilder in 
1880.* The total value of Jonathan Jones's estate, as appraised 
above, was £971 15«. 6d, Ebenezer Williams, Ebenezer Clap and 
James Blake were the appraisers. 

Jonathan Jones seems to have been still less in public life than 
his father, no mention being found of his having held office of 
any kind in the town. The rod of domestic affliction seems to 
have fallen heavily upon him. The old grave-stones in the ancient 
burying-ground near by tell the following sad tale of bereavement : 
Isaac, son of Jonathan and Rebecca Jones, died Nov. 16, 1 702, 
aged 4 years ; Ruth, daughter of the same, died Nov. 24 of the 
same year, aged 7 ; and in less than five years afterwards, July 21, 
1707, Mrs. Jones died, at the early age of 36. He married again, 
April 7, 1709. His second wife was Sarah Bird, of Dorchester, who 
died June 30, 1731, aged 62. He must have married again, 
although no record is found if such marriage, as at his death he 
left a widow "Catharine." He owned real estate in several 
places. In 1730 he sold to Rev. Jonathan Bowman 3 J acres of 
land, between Savin-hill Avenue and Creek Street, and ''bound- 
ed north, east and west, by land of Hon. William Tailer, Esq., 
partly south by land of said Jonathan Jones, and west by high- 
way." Mr. Bowman also bought of Lieut. Gov. Tailer, near the 
same time, IJ acre of land apparently adjoining, bounded partly 
south " by the way leading to the wharf" (Creek Street), and west 
" by the highway leading from the meeting-house to my dwelling- 
house in said Dorchester" (now Pleasant Street). Mr. B. had 
then just succeeded the Rev. John Danforth as minister of the town, 

• Still further evidence of the extent of apple-growing in Dorchester in former 
years, especially for the making of cider, has been found in a diary kept by the late 
Deacon James Humphreys of that town. He says that Jonas Humphreys, his grand- 
father, who died in 1772, had a cider mill, and one year made one hundred barrels of 
cider of his own. " An apple-tree," he says, " that grew where my garden now is " 
(near the comer of the present Humphreys and Dudley Streets), " at 4 feet from the 
ground was about 11 feet in circumference, and then branched out to four limbs ; one 
year it bore apples enough for eight barrels of cider." 



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6 JONES S HILL AKD ITS OWNERS. 

and it is supposed very soon after erected on part of this land 
the house in which he lived, which in later years was owned and 
occupied by Mr. John Barnard, and is still standing, nearly op- 
posite the Downer estate on Pleasant Street. In 1748 reference 
is made to a piece of land formerly Jones's, near this place, with 
a barn on it. His estate was for many years unsettled. In 1753 
his son-in-law Robert Seaver and wife Ruth, with his grand-child- 
ren Thomas Kilton and wife Sarah, were joint heirs to large tracts 
on the hill and other places. Robert Seaver was a house wright 
of Roxbury, where he had a large estate, dying there early in 
1771. Thomas Kilton was an active business man in Dorchester, 
and was engaged in various pursuits. In the Records of Deeds 
we find him generally designated as a "weaver," sometimes as a 
"cloathier," and once he is styled "yeoman, alias carter, aliat 
cloathier." 

In July, 1754, Kilton mortgaged to Seaver for £24, a lot con- 
taining over nine acres, on the highest part of the hill, then bound- 
ed as follows: S. E. on land of William Tailer; S. W. land of 
William Holden; N. W. land of James Allen, Esq.; N. E. land of 
said Thomas Kilton, with all the privileges, &c. belonging, " par- 
ticularly a good and convenient way to said land, either to drive 
cattle or to go with a cart at all times. " On the 20th of next May 
Kilton paid the money and the mortgage was discharged. About 
the same time he mortgaged to Benjamin Pratt for £20 the home- 
stead itself, described as "my house and land whereon it stands, 
and Oarchard Feild and Garden, containing about five acres," the 
S. W. boundary on the hill being "land of Robert Seaver and 
wife." This mortgage was cancelled on the 15th of May, 1755. 

There is no probability that Seaver ever owned the Jones man- 
sion or ever lived in it. It is supposed that Kilton lived in it, as 
he seems to have been the sole owner of the lot at the time of 
the above transaction. 

By deed bearing date the 12th of May, 1765, several days before 
the record of the above mortgage discharge, Thomas Kilton and 
wife Sarah conveyed to David Clap, of Dorchester, cordwainer, 
for the sum of £146 IZs 44,, land comprising this homestead of 
the Joneses and the hill above it, and described in the deed as 
follows: " being part of the estate that our honored grandfather 
Jonathan Jones, late of Dorchester, died possessed of; and to- 
gether with it a small piece of land that we had of the heirs of the 



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THE JONES FAMILY AND HOMESTEAD. 7 

Hon. William Tailer, Esq., late of Dorchester, deceased, containing 
about ^ acre, separated from that which was our grandfather's only 
by a partition fence, the whole containing by estimation 12^ acres, 
partly orchard, partly tillage, and partly pasture, bounded S. E. 
and E. upon the land of Dr. Gillam Tailer ; S. upon land of 
William Holden ; W. upon land belonging to the heirs of James 
Allen, Esq., deceased ; N. E. on a road or way leading to Boston, 
together with all the edifices or buildings and fences on the same.'' 
The age of the mansion house at that time it is now impossible 
to tell, but into it there is little doubt the purchaser Clap at 
once took his newly married wife Ruth Humphreys. Here they 
lived the remainder of their lives, and here were bom their three 
sons and five daughters. 

David was the son of Deacon Jonathan Clap, grandson of 
Nathaniel, and great-grandson of Nicholas the immigrant ancestor, 
who had each lived and died on or near the old Clap homestead, a 
lot extending from the present Five Corners on the westerly side 
of Boston Street towards Upham's Corner. David was born there, 
and his interest in that estate up to this time was now sold to his 
brother Noah, the proceeds of which sale and the sale of lots else- 
where enabled him to purchase the estate on Jones's Hill. He 
also bought of Robert Seaver and wife about the same time (1755), 
an orchard lot of | of an acre nearly opposite the Jones mansion 
(now the northerly comer of Stoughton and Pleasant Streets), 
and also five acres of mowing land a little westward (about where 
the house of the late Ezra Baker now stands). Clap parted with 
these last named lots a short time before his death. 

In IT 7 7, the events of the war having somewhat lessened his 
means of support, David Clap sold to Col. Ebenezer Clap, for £46, 
four acres of the westerly portion of th^ lot purchased of Kilton 
This portion extended southerly from the present Stoughton 
Street, near the line of Everett Avenue, to the highest point of the 
hill, where Mr. Green's house now stands, and comprising what 
is now the Thacher estate. On the death of David C. in 1787, 
his land on Jones's hill was divided between his three sons-*^ 
David, Samuel and Seth — the Jones mansion-house occupying 
the middle one of the three lots on Stoughton Street. On the 
portion allotted to David — the westerly lot — he in 1794 erected a 
house, and with his wife Susannah Humphreys whom he had 
just married, moved into it. In four short years it was made 



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8 Jones's hill and its owners. 

desolate by the death of Mrs. 0. A year and a half afterwards> 
in July, 1801, he married Azubah Capen of Stonghton, and in 
this house they passed the remainder of their days, their four 
children being bom here. This house is still standing, and, with 
the hill pasture connected with it, is owned by his only surviving 
son. The old homestead lot and house were occupied by Samuel 
and Seth, the house being large enough for the two families, with 
room to spare. In the summer of 1804 this house was destroyed 
by fire. It was strongly suspected that the fire was kindled by 
the hand of an incendiary. Although it took place in the middle 
of the day, time was allowed the families to do little more than 
save a few of the handiest things they could lay hold of. Blinds 
just made for the whole house were in the garret, and wholly 
destroyed. A daughter of Seth, who still survives, was living in 
the house at the time — a child of 10 years — and her present 
recollections of the sad event are more distinct than those of many 
more recent occurrences. Thus passed away the only remaining 
link connecting five generations of the Jones family with those 
who were fast filling their places. Samuel Clap at once put up 
a new house on the site of the one burnt down. This house 
still remains, at the junction of Stoughton and Pleasant Streets, 
and is in possession of his grandchildren Samuel C. and Anna L. 
Harris. Seth Clap also erected a house on his lot — the easterly 
portion of his father's estate — but the house and land were sold 
in 1805 to John Amory, who lived in the house the remainder of 
his life, and in 1869 his heirs sold the estate to the present 
occupant, John S. Lyons. 

It thus appears that the portion of Jones's Hill on which the 
first immigrant of the name built his dwelling house, has been in 
possession of the Jones aod Clap families for more than 240 years, 
and in nearly equal portions of time to each. The heirs of 
Jonathan Jones retained an interest in other portions of the hill 
many years after the sale of the homestead, but it is not known 
that any spot of this sightly eminence is now in possession of 
any one of his lineal descendants. 



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THE STOUGHTON FAMILY AND ESTATES. 



THE STOUGHTON FAMILY AND ESTATES. 

During the first half of the last century, the names of the Hon. 
William Tailer, for several years Lieut. Governor of the Province of 
Massachusetts, and of his two sons William and Gillara, often oc- 
cur in the written transfers of land on the eastern part of Jones's 
Hill. William Tailer, the father, was also owner oflarge tracts of 
land in other parts of Dorchester, especially on the other side of 
the street eastward at the foot of the hill, probably all of which 
he inherited from his uncle, Lieut. Gov. William Stoughton, who 
was son of Israel Stoughton the original emigrant. As these two 
eminent individuals were also citizens of Dorchester, and were 
both large land-owners, it is proper that a few words concerning 
them should be said in this place. 

Israel Stoughton is said to have arrived with the first comers to 
Dorchester. He was a grantee of land there in 1633, and was ad- 
mitted freeman the same year. Additional and extensive grants 
were made to him afterwards, and among his lots, we have reason 
to suppose, was that part of Jones's Hill alluded to above. He 
likewise had permission to erect a mill on Neponset River, on the 
borders of which lay many acres of his land, and also a weir ad- 
joining his mill for catching fish. He is said to have been the first 
one in New England to grind corn by water. He seems to have 
had a house in 1633 at that place, and perhaps lived in it, but the 
neighborhood of the Neponset was then far from the settled part 
of the town, where we suppose his home lot to have been. In 
1638 the Records speak of "his house beyond the brooke, com- 
monly called Mother brooks.'' 

He was representative in 1634 and 1635 ; with his wife he 
was among the signers of the Church Covenant in 1636, and was 
active in all the religious movements of the town and colony. In 
the military line he was made Colonel, and he commanded the 
Massachusetts forces in the Pequot war of 1637. The success of 
that war was the occasion of a public thanksgiving ; and the town 
of Dorchester, to show its appreciation of Stoughton's eminent 
3 



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^0 JONES'S HILL AND ITS OWNERS. 

Berviccs in it, relinquished the rate on his estate for one year. 
For many years he was chosen Governor's Assistant, was one of 
the original or charter members of the Ancient and Honorable 
Artillery Company, was its Captain in 1642, and his name appears 
prominent in most of the business and political affairs of the day. 
He did not fear to dissent from and condemn the proceedings of 
the Colonial authorities when he thought them exercising powers 
not vested in them ; and in 1635, for publicly making known his 
displeasure at some of these proceedings, he was disfranchised by 
the Court for the space of three years — the Dorchester people un- 
successfully remonstrating against this treatment of their favorite 
citizen. The Court became reconciled, however, in 1636, and his 
disability was remitted. 

In 1642 Col. Stoughton went to England on business of his own. 
In 1644 he went there again, leaving behind him in Dorchester 
his wife, three sons and several daughters. Soon after his arri- 
val, he was appointed Lieutenant Colonel in the Parliamentary 
Army, but soon fell sick, and died at Lincoln in 1645. Before en- 
tering the army he made his will, dated 17 July, 1644, which he 
begins by saying," Being now likely to run some pt of the hazard 
of Warr,'' &c. &c. This will was made in London, was sealed 
up in a box and delivered to a friend, with instructions that it be 
not opened '' until he came again or died '' It was sent to Boston 
after his death, but seems not to have been acted on by the Court 
till 1652, when it was delivered to Mrs. Stoughton the executrix. 
In it he gives two hundred acres of land to Harvard College, situa- 
ted, as he says, '* on the north-east side of Naponsett, about Mother 
Brooke, that is on the vtmost bounds of my ffarme next to Dor- 
chester towne." To his " Deere and worthily honoured wife '' he 
gave, during her life, with other property, " free habitation and 
vse (with the children) of house in Dorchester towne, with the 
garden, orchard and yard roome, being about two acres of land,'' 
— no doubt the spot which for the next hundred years was the 
homestead of his son William and his son's nephew, being at the 
corner of what is now Pleasant Street and Savin Hill Avenue. He 
also left to his wife Elizabeth the entire profit of all his land 
(about fifty acres) on Dorchester Neck (S. Boston), and feelingly 
alludes to her in her far distant home by adding, " and only begg 
of her not to weep for mee, as one of those w^^out hope." Pro- 
vision was also made in the will for his mother, who was to 



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THE STOUGHTON FAMILY AND ESTATES. 1 I 

dwcW m the house with his widow, and have every other *' com- 
fortable accommodation '^ 

The sons are thiis spoken of in this will: — ''For my child- 
refi, I will them to the government and ordering power of my r^ 
Deere wife, durin^- their minority. Eldest sonne Israel a double 
portion, unlesse he prove himself unworthily; in such case, his 
double portion to goe to William ; if William prove himself unwor- 
thily; then the same to be given to the next sonne, John. Or if 
yet there bo another, him to be judged of as above ; provided if 
the difference in matter of grace and vertue appeare not very evi- 
dent, or the eldest his vice not very evident, then let the double 
portion remaine his absolute due." His library he divides be- 
tween his three sons — to Israel and John one fourth part each, 
** and vnto William the other halfe, for his incouragement to apply 
himself to studies, especially to the holy Scriptures ; vnto which 
they are mostly helpful." 

The widow lived many years, dying in Dorchester, it is sup- 
posed, in the year 1681, but the sons Israel and John died early. 

The amount of landed property in Dorchester left by Col. Israel 
Stoughton was 6,635 acres, large portions of it being on each side 
of the Neponset River, some of it several miles above his mill, 
many acres also in what is now the town of Stoughton, then a 
part of Dorchester. 

William Stoughton, the youngest son of Israel, was born Sept. 
30, 1631, probably in Dorchester, and graduated at Harvard Col- 
lege in 1650. He finished his education at Oxford in England, and 
having chosen the ministry for his profession, he was licensed and 
preached for a while at a parish in the county of Sussex. As he 
classed himself among the non-conformist clergy, we may suppose 
he was uncomfortably situated in the father land, and he returned 
to New England in 1662, taking up his abode in Dorchester, and 
probably on his father's homestead. He soon acquired a high repu- 
tation as a preacher. Effbrts were at once made to engage him as 
assistant to the Rev. Richard Mather, who had been minister of 
the town since the year 1636, and was now becoming aged and in- 
firm ; but he declined the invitation, though willing to preach oc- 
casionally. The invitation was repeated to the sixth time during 
Mr. iMather's life, which ended in 1669, but he persistently refused 
to accept, his answer being that he had " some objections within 



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12 Jones's hill and its owners. 

himself against the motion.'' He also declined an invitation fmi 
the church in Cambridge, given after the death of its minister, th 
Rev. Mr. Mitchell, in 1668. Still he assisted Mr. Mather dur 
ing all these years, and an appropriation of Irom £25 to £70 for 
his services was annually made by the town. After one of the 
Sunday "^exercises '' in 1664, Mr. Mather announced to his people 
that ** Mr. Stoughton did intend the next Lord's day to preach 
again, at the motion of the messengers of tlie church, although 
he had not preached publicly full 14 sabbaths before.'' In 167 I Kev. 
Mr. Flint was ordained as successor to Mr. Mather, and for that year 
Mr. Stoughton was paid £20 for *Miis labor amongst us for four 
months." We do not read of his preaching afterwards. Yet it 
seems that he was not a member of the Dorchester church during 
this period, for we find on record that he was admitted " 12th 9 mo. 
1671." Later in life he was a member of the Old South Church in 
Boston. His Election Sermon in 1668 is said to have been one of 
the most eloquent ever delivered before the General Court. Its title 
was — *' New England's True Interest not to lie." In it he made 
use of the saying so often quoted since, that " God sifted a whole 
nation that he might send choice grain over into this wilderness." 
In the mean time Stoughton was giving increased attention to the 
civil and military affairs of the colony, and was fast rising in pub- 
lic favor and political influence. He was Selectman of the town 
from 1671 to 1674, was some years Commissioner for the United 
Colonies, was sent once to Eugla»id on an agency, and was again 
chosen to go but declined. He was Governor's Assistant from 
1671 till the usurpation of the Government by Andros in 1686, 
was one" of Andros's Council for awhile, but in 1689 took the 
popular side and was one of the Committee of Safety which 
wrested the government from that hated official. From 1692 till his 
death he was acting Lieut. Governor of Massachusetts, was com- 
mander in chief of the province during most of that time, and also 
Chief Justice of the Superior Court. He was always highly es- 
teemed by the people of Dorchester, and it is doubtful whether 
any man ever lived in the town, before or since, who had more in- 
fluence both there and in the whole commonwealth. It is men- 
tioned in the Dorchester Records, Nov. 3, 1685, that two men of 
Watertown were ''fined for insulting Lieut. Gov. Stoughton"; 
and in 1697 the town voted to make a pew in the meeting-house 
for the /'Hon. Lieut. Governor." One who knew much of him 



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THE STOUGHTON FAMILY AND ESTATES. 13 

RSLys ho was " b. person of eminent qualifications, honorable ex- 
tract, liberal education and singular piety." Judge Stoughton 
was never married. 

Unfortunately for Lieut. Gov. Stonghton, he was oflScially ap- 
point(^d chief justice of the special court held in 1692 for the trial 
of the so-called Salem witches. His associates on the bench were 
Judges Sewall a»jd Saltonstall, both of whom are represented as 
having been more leniently inclined towards the poor prisoners 
than was the man of ** sterner stuff'' who presided at the trials. 
The lapse of time since that awful tragedy tends but to confirm 
the conviction that precious lives were then needlessly and cruelly 
sacrificed ; but the belief is also strengthened that William Stough- 
ton and Cotton Mather were not " sinners above all the rest/' 
their belief in the crime of witchcraft and its judicial punishment 
being not only in harmony with the spirit of that age in England 
and her colonies, but with ideas and practices which had been in 
vogue in Europe for centuries. 

One of the latest acts of his life was the taking a conspicuous 
part, as peacemaker, in the midst of that tempest of opposition 
against the formation of the Brattle Street Church in Boston, 
which arose in 1699. The manner in which ho and his old friend 
Judge Sewall were called on with two of the clergy to act in 
regard to this bitter controversy shows the high regard in which 
he was still held ; and that the efic)rts of these men were appre- 
ciated by at least one of the contending parties, is proved by the 
fact that the Rev. Mr. Colman, in his first sermon preached in the 
new church, acknowledged his great obligation for their kind 
endeavors. 

William Stoughton died, aged 70, July 7, 1701, in Dorchester, 
where he was buried, says a contemporary, " with great honor and 
solemnity, and with him much of New England's glory." With 
regard to his own funeral, he said in his will — *' My body I commit 
to the earth by a decent funeral, wherein my will is that all unprofi- 
table ceremonies and expenses be avoided, strictly prohibiting and 
forbidding any military appearance therein as altogether contrary 
to my mind and inclination." Probably his wishes in this respect 
were complied with as far as was consistent with a proper respect 
to so eminent a man. His tomb stone in the old Dorchester bury- 
ing ground, which was pronounced by the Rev. Dr. Harris in 
1828 to be " the most beautiful sepulchral monument in this part 



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14 Jones's hill and its owners. 

of the country/' with its famous Latin inscription, is familiar to all 
visiters there. In that year, having become much dilapidated, it 
was repaired by Harvard College, and is now in a tolerably good 
condition It has been sought out and its inscription read by 
citizens and strangers for the last hundred and seventy-five years ; 
and though in elegance and costliness it is far outdone in other 
cemeteries by modern skill and wealth, it is still looked upon by 
all classes of persons with undiminished interest. 

Tliere is an imperfect copy in the library of the Mass Hist. 
Societ3^ of Rev. Mr. Willard's funeral sermon on the death of Lieut. 
Gov. Stoughton. In the pages of it that remain, nothing can be 
learned concerning the person or character of the deceased. We 
gather from them, however, that the main object of the preacher 
was to enforce the idea that the death of Gov. Stoughton was but 
one of*' a great many awful Tokens of Divine Displeasure against 

this sinful Land which call for our deep Meditation and 

speedy Reformation. '' The following is an exact copy of the title- 
page, with the necessary omission of the heavy and coarsely 
engraved black border, crowned with the ghastly skull and cross- 
bones so common in those days : 

** Prognosticks | of | Impending Calamities | Delivered in a | 
Skrmon I Preached on the Lecture | at Boston, July 17, 1701. | 
Occasioned by the Death of the | Truly Honourable | Williara 
Stoughton, Esq | Lieutenant Governour. &c. of the Province of the 
Massachusetts Bay, in New England. \ By Samuel Willard, Teach- 
er of a Church in Boston. | Eccl. 7 2, 2'he living will lay it to his 
heart. \ Boston: Printed by B. Green d; J. Allen, for Nicholas 
Boone, at his shop over against the old meeting house, 1701.'' 

A finely engraved portrait of Lieut. Gov. Stoughton^may be found 
in Drake's ** History of Boston.'' It represents him in his robes 
of ofiice, with a dignified bearing, and a countenance strongly in- 
dicative of what we may supposato have been the milder traits 
of his character. 

William Stoughton was heir to much landed property; extensive 
grants were made to him at different times, and he purchased 
largely from persons who left the town. In 1664, a list prepared 
by himself of his various parcels of land made up an aggregate 
of 325 acres in Dorchester, and at the time of his death it seems 
still to have been very large, although he had at different times 
parted with portions of it. Having come in possession of a right 
in large tracts in the " Nipmug country," so called, in the town- 



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,i 



THE STOUOHTON FAMILY AND ESTATES. 15 

ship of Oxford, Mass., he sold to Robert Thompson, of Stoke 
Newin^on, co. Middlesex, Eng., in June, 1684, 1000 acres there, 
for £100 ; and in November, of the same year, to the same per- 
son, 1000 acres more, at the same price. In 1686 he sold to John 
Trescott, for £70, 50 acres in the 500 acre lot in Dorchester ; in 
1695, to Joseph Dummard, of Dedham, for £30, 38 acres in Dor- 
chester " at the lower end of the Farm of me the said William 
Stoughton"; and in 1700, to Samuel BuUard, of Dedham, 18 
acres on Neponset River in Dorchester near Dedham. 

In his will, signed July 6, 1701, he disposes of his landed estate 
by directing it to be divided equally between his nephew William 
Tailer and his three married nieces — Elizabeth, wife of Rev. John 
Danforth ; Elizabeth, wife of John Nelson of Boston, and Mehet- 
abel, wife of Thomas Cooper of Boston, who were also executors of 
his will. He then adds — " And as to the division my will is, that my 
nephew William Tailer and my niece Danforth shall have all my lands 
and houses within the body ofthe town of Dorchester — Thatis to say 
my nephew William Tailer shall have in his part my mansion house 
and all the buildings belonging to it, witli the orchards and lands 
adjoining as they are now fenced in on both sides of the highway, 
and half my salt meadows wherever lying, and half of all my 
pastures and swamp meadows as they are now fenced in ; and my 
niece Danforth to have in her share the other half of all my salt 
meadows, pastures and swamp meadows, with my lot lying by the 
burying ground. Said mansion house and houses adjoining to be 
set and reckoned at half the reasonable value only." In this will 
a very long list of legacies is recorded, including his noble bene- 
factions to Harvard College, and the institution of a fund for the 
support of poor Dorchester students therein. He also bequeathed 
liberal sums for charitable, religious and educational purposes in 
Dorchester. Many dear personal friends and poor dependents are 
likewise generously remembered. To the Rev. John Danforth, 
then minister ofthe town, husband to his niece Elizabeth, he gives 
*' my negro man Dick, my little silver drinking cann, and one of my 
silver-headed canes which he shall choose, and my silver standish.'' 
To Mr. Danforth's wife " and to her heirs forever, I give my 
little orchard on the hill by Nathan Bradley's.*' 

The partition deed of Gov. Stoughton's real estate was made 
July 17, 1704, and signed by the heirs above mentioned. As directed 
in the will, that portion of it on and around Jones's Hill came by 



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16 JONES'S HILL AND ITS OWNERS. 

this deed ioto the possesBion of William Tailer. The lots of land 
mentioned are numerous, and the list makes but a dry recital to 
the ordinary reader. It is however here copied verbatim and in 
fiill from the records, as likely to be more satisfactory to the 
seeker after correct information than any mere abstract. Tailer 
was to have for his share — 

" The late mansion-house of the said William Stoughton with 
the outhouses, Barnes, Edifices, buildings, members and appur- 
tenances thereto belonging ; the little house now or late in the 
occupation of Thomas Evans ; the Great Plowfield adjoining^ to 
the mansion-house, containing 28 acres more or less ; the 
Orchards, containing 9 acres 14 rods more or less ; the close, being 
part upland part orchard and garden and partly meadow, con- 
taining 7^ acres and 15 rods more or less; the long Hill Pasture 
so called, containing 35^ acres more or less ; eight acres in the 
Great Fresh Meadow, at that end thereof lying nearest to Dor- 
chester meeting-house ; the whole Little Fresh Meadow containiug 
9 acres 77 rods more or less : Smiths meadow so called containing' 
2 acres 10 rods more or less; Half the Lowest meadow at the 
point that was formerly Mr. Wiswalls, containing about 3J acres ; 
the Lesser Calve Pasture Meadow containing about 2 acres and 
60 rods ; Atherton^s meadow so called, containing 10 acres 21 rods 
more or less ; Nooke meadow 80 called, containing 6J acres more 
or less ; that division of Mather's meadow so called that lyes 
towards Boston Salt Works, about 3| acres ; Half Mills's wood- 
lot [the total of the wood-lot was near 20 acres] ; half the Little 
Wood-lot by Tilestones, lying at the end of the other, 1 acre ; half 
Wiswalls woodlot so called, 16 acres more or less — all which are 
in Dorchester." 

Lands in the " Nipmug Country'' also fell to Tailer's share. 
The other heirs had their portions elsewhere. 

The 35J acres of*' Hill Pasture" here mentioned, which it was 
supposed at first might have formed the eastern part of Jones's 
Hill, it is pretty evident constituted a portion of the rising ground 
south of the present Meeting-house hill? The " Great Plowfield," 
and orchards of over 9 acres, adjoining the mansion-house, extended 
from the corner of Pleasant Street eastward on Savin Hill Avenue ; 
north-westerly on Pleasant, past the junction of Stoughton Street ; 
then northerly on Pleasant towards Pond Street, embracing the 
area across which now run Thornley, Pearl and other streets, 
and reaching eastward probably beyond the present Dorchester 
Avenue. The north end of Pleasant Street (75 years since called 
'* The Plain ") was then called Green Lane, and is said to be the first 



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THE STOUGHTON FAMILY AND ESTATES. 17 

highway laid out in the Dorchester plantation. The " little 
house '' spoken of in the deed of partition was not unlikely occu- 
pied by the overseer of the estate or some employe. The " close " 
or enclosure was on the corner of Savin-Hill Avenue, opposite 
the mansion-house. It is prietty certain that some of the meadows 
spoken of were also near what is now Savin-Hill Avenue. 

The mansion-house which Judge Stoughton left to his nephew, 
it is supposed may have been built in 1662, just after his return 
from England, and if so, it probably took the place of one on or 
near the same spot in which his father lived. The reason for this 
supposition is the occurrence of the following vote in the town 
records of that year : — " Mr. Stoughton allowed for the p'sent tim- 
ber for ground sells of his house in the 600 acres layd out for non- 
comoners.'' Whether the following vote, 1 2 years later, refers 
to the same or some other house, the writer has no means of 
deciding: — "11th of 11th mo. 16T4 — ther was granted to Mr. 
Stoughton libertie to git Olobords for to Clobord his house about." 

No direct reference has been found to the building of Israel 
Stoughton's house on this corner, but all that has been gathered 
by the writer concerning its location points to this as the spot 
where it stood. The quotation already given from his will, in 
1646, locates the house in " Dorchester town " as distinguished 
from the place of his farm near the Neponset river, and states that 
about " two acres " of land were attached to it. References 
afterwards to the mansion-house known to be on that corner des- 
cribe the land enclosed around it as " two acres " ; and even after 
that house was taken down and the corner lot was sold in 1*1^1, 
the deed speaks of the land that the " mansion-house did stand on, 
as the same is now enclosed, containing two acres more or less." 
In the year 1646, the year that Israel Stoughton died abroad, the 
town, after a protracted and no doubt exciting debate concerning 
the best spot on which to build a new meeting-house, at a general 
town meeting agreed that " for peace and love's sake there shall 
be a new meeting-house built on Mr. Howard's land in the most 
convenient place betwixt Mr. Stoughton's garden and his barn." 
From the fact that Mr. Howard is known to have owned land in 
this vicinity, there seems good reason for believing that the 
first Stoughton homestead was the lot in question, and that 
thus the neighborhood of Savin-Hill came near being noted as 
4 



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18 JONn'B HILL AXm ITS OWKSn. 

comprising the towii meeting-houie m well m the mandon of thtt 
elder Stoughtonmnd two lieutenant-governors of the Prorince. The 
meeting-house was nerer put up there, " Rocky-Hill " being liker- 
wards selected for its location, where it was built in 16tS, and 
near the site of which the church of the First Parish now stands. 
The fortunate William Tailer, who as nephew to Stoughton 
inherited so much landed property, was then about twenty-five 
years of age, and moved into Dorchester from Boston about the 
time of his uncle's death. In possession of all that exalted 
station, family influence and abundant wealth could confer, be 
probably at once, with his newly married wife Sarah Byfield, 
took up his abode in the elegant mansion so long the residence of 
his bachelor uncle. What has been gathered concerning him and 
his estate from the scanty materials at command, must form tiie 
subject of another article. 

Thomas Stoughton,'*' a brother of Ool. Israel,t was made freeman 
in Dorchester in 1631, and was chosen bailiff the same year. He 
went to Windsor in 1636, and was a member of the court there the 
next year. Hon. E. W. Stoughton, our late minister to St. Peters- 
burg» who became very favorably known to the citizens of 
Boston on the visit here of Oen. Orant in 1880, is a lineal de- 
scendant of Thomas. He died in a year or two after that visit. 

The town of Stoughton, on being set off from Dorchestef in 
l*r26, was named in honor of Lieut.-6ov. S. ; and a street in Dor- 
chester district now bears his name, but, oddly enough, it is not 
the street on which he lived. 

•He had son Thomas,* grandson John,' great-grandson Nathaniel,^ great-great- 
grandson John,* whose daughter and onlj child married tiie aeoond Gov. OliTtt 
Wolcott of Connecticut.— i^.JB. Hit. if Gm. Rtg.^ xxxi. 429. 

t Col. Israel was a brother of Rev. John Stoughton, D.D., Rector of Aldermanburj, 
IiOttdon, who married tiie widow of Rer. Ralph Cudworth, D.D., author of the V Tnra 
Intellectual System of the Universe." Dr. Stoughton died May 4, 1639.—^. B. His. 
if Gm. R«g., xxi. 249. 

For list of publications of Dr. S., lee ibid^ zxzi. S8(K 



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£BM ZAILBB FAXILT AND XSTATSS. 19 



THE TAILER FAMILY AND ESTATES. 

LiQUTSNAHisGoTiRNOB WiLUAM TiXLiR, for thirty jears a reti- 
dent in Dorohtster, aod during that time the owner of maeh 
of the 8outh-«astom portion of Jones's Hill, waa ton of Wil- 
liam Tailer of Boston, and was bom Feb. 26, 16t5-6. His father 
was a wealthy and anterprising merchant, and '< of ezoeed- 
ing good repnte.'^ Bey. Noadiah Russell, a ootemporary, says 
of the father in his diary : ** He was a bra^e, accomplisht gentle 
nutn as any in Boston in outward respects.^' He married, Aug. 
25, 1664, Rebekah, daughter of Col. Israel Stoughton and sister 
of Lieut.-OoY. Stoughton. That the elder Mr. Tailer was con- 
sidered one among the leading men of the day may be inferred 
from the fact that at the imposing funeral of Goyemor John 
Leyerett, March 25, 16t8-9, he and three others *' carried each a 
Banner Roll at the four corners of the hearse.'' Notwithstanding 
his wealth and station, he fell into a deep melancholy, and on the 
night of July 12, 1682, hung himself with the reins of a bridle in 
his own counting-house. His mental dejection was noticed by 
others some mouths before his death, and in speaking of it himself 
he attributed it to some great losses at sea. The diarist already 
mentioned says of his funeral : '' He was buried in his own Tombe 
in Boston, 13th 5th at night, about 11 of y* clock." Bradstreet 
says : ** His death was much lamented, especially as to the Oircum 
stances." From the fact that one of the Mather ministers yisited 
Mr. Tailer during his season of despondency, it is supposed that 
he was, nominally at least, included in the Puritan fold, although 
his son William was afterwards an Episcopalian. But neither he 
nor his wife was a church member. We learn from tbo Dorchester 
Church records that Mrs. Tailer, being desirous of haying her 
children baptized, her mother, Mrs. Stoughton, in 1668> applied 
to the Rey. Richard Mather to administer the ordinance of baptism 
to her grandchildren on the ground that their mother was a mem- 
ber of the church by virtue of her parents' covenant. But the 
church in Dorchester did not see fit to grant the request, and as 



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20 JONES'S HILL AND ITS OWNERS. 

Mrs. Taller declined joining the church " in fall communion/' not 
feeling herself, as she said, "worthy or as yet fit for the Lord's 
Supper/' baptism was refused, or, as the record states it, " the 
church would not fully or comfortably agree about it, and so it 
rested." 

William Tailer, son of the preceding and afterwards Lieu- 
tenant-Governor of Massachusetts, was a lad of about six years 
at the time of his father's death. Nothing has been ascertained 
respecting his education. We know, however, that he never gradu- 
ated at Harvard College. In 1694, twelve years after his father's 
death, his guardian was selected by himself. In his letter of ap- 
plication he speaks of his being " a minor of eighteen years or 
thereabouts," and requests that his " trusty friend, Thomas Cooper 
of Boston," merchant, who was his uncle, be appointed to receive 
and take charge of the portion of his father's estate coming to 
him. Mr. Cooper was accordingly appointed his guardian by Judge 
Stoughton, also young Tailer's uncle. Three years after this, 
in 1697, as son and heir apparent of " William Tailer, late of Boston, 
deceased intestate," he conveys to S. Wentworth a tenement in 
Boston, with a bakie-house thereto adjoining, and a wharf before 
the same. In the same year he quit-claims to Richard Middlecot 
all his right in four acres of land in Boston, sold by his father just 
before his death. 

At the time of the death of Judge Stoughton, of whose 
estate he became so large an inheritor, Mr. Tailer was al- 
ready married, as we learn from a deed of sale of land dated 
Feb. t, lTOl-2. By that deed *' William Tailer of Dorchester, 
late of Boston," and wife Sarah, convey to Edward Lyde, Esq., 
his brother-in-law, for £526, real estate in Boston, *' in back street 
leading from Mill-;bridge." From this time Dorchester became 
his permanent residence, and the long-known *' Stoughton man- 
sion-house " became his dwelling and was designated by his name. 
In 1T03, not yet thirty years of age, we find him acting as one of 
Her Majesty's Justices of the Peace for the county of Suffolk. 
As already mentioned, his wife was Sarah Byfield, youngest daugh- 
ter of the Hon. Nathaniel Byfield (Judge of the Court of Vice- 
Admiralty in Boston) and his first wife Sarah (Clark) Byfield. 
Judge Byfield's second wife was Sarah, daughter of Grovernor John 
Leverett. Only a few years of the married life which opened with 
such brilliant prospects to the young Mrs. Tailer were hers to 



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THE TAILBB FAMILY AND ESTATES. 21 

enjoy.- She died, without issue, in the year 1108, or very soon 
after. 

Although Mr. Tailer was not, like his uncle Stoughton, engaged 
in public matters of the town, and was never, it is believed, a 
town oflBcer of any kind, he was constantly employed, in the 
service of the province, in both civil and military matters of great 
public interest. In 1110 he was appointed Colonel of one of the 
four New England regiments engaged in the successful expedition 
against Port Royal in Nova Scotia. One British regiment went 
w^ith these New England troops, making a fleet of thirty-six ves- 
sels, which sailed from Nantasket Roads on the 1st of September 
in the year mentioned. It is recorded that Col. Tailer and Capt. 
Abercrombie were the oflScers selected by the commander of the 
invading forces to wait upon the authorities of the place with a 
summons to surrender. In 1111, while commander of Her Majesty's 
fort at Castle William (now Fort Independence), he memorialized 
the provincial government in behalf of the eighty soldiers com- 
posing the garrison, recommending for them a higher rate of 
w^ages. In the same year he visited by appointment the frontier 
garrison towns in Massachusetts (including Wells, York, Haver- 
hill, Neckawaunack, Dunstable, Groton, Lancaster and Marlboro'), 
and reported very minutely to the Governor the condition of the 
forts, the population of the towns, and the assistance required 
from government. 

The year 1111 seems to have been a very busy and a very event- 
ful one in Mr. Tailer's life. A visit was made to England, which 
resulted in his return with a commission as Lieutenant-Governor 
of the province. This was doubtless obtained through the in- 
fluence of Gov. Dudley, and perhaps others, as places like this 
under the crown, even in good Queen Anne's time, were not often 
to be had without the aid of some friend at court. It was under 
peculiarly flattering circumstances that he entered, still under 
forty years of age, upon the duties of his high oflSce. But the 
year was to be crowned with an event still more important, person- 
ally, to the rising statesman. The intention of his marriage with 
Mrs. Abigail Dudley was published Feb.* 23, 1111-12, and they 
were doubtless married soon after. Mrs. Dudley was widow of 
Thomas Dudley, a shipmaster of Boston, son of QiiMJuBi ^PSe 
Paul Dudley, and grandson of Thomas Dudley, formerly Governor 
of the Province, his mother being a daughter of Governor John 



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22 JONES 8 HILL AND ITS OTfNEBS* 

Leverett. The newly-married Mrs. Tftiler was bom Feb. 2A, 
1684, and was danghter of Benjamin Oillam (or Oillom), also a 
shipmaster of Boston. She msprried Dudley, Deo, 29, 1105. 
They bad a daughter Abigail, born in 1*707, The exact date of 
his death is not known. 

Tailer was now once more settled down in married life, in a moflt 
commanding station, and in closest relationship with families of the 
highest dignity and wealth. He still made the good old town of 
Dorchester his home. The ancient Stoughton homestead, in what 
is now Pleasant Street,. was the residence of the newly married 
pair, and so continued during the remainder of his life. In it were 
bom to them six children, viz.: Stoughton, Qillam^ William, 
Abigail, Rebecca and Sarah. 

Respecting the acceptability of Mr. Tailer to the people of the 
province as their second officer in command, little positive can 
be gathered. There is no doubt that his being bom and brought 
up in New England was greatly in his favor, as the Provincials 
were becoming more and more restive under the royal governors 
sent over from England. On the other hand, we find it written of 
him that " he was stern for the Prerogative and an Episcopalian " — 
two facts in regard to any man which the Massachusetts people 
of that day looked upon with dislike. We find no evidence, how- 
ever, that he was really objectionable on this account, or that from 
any cause he was unpopular. In Allen's Biography it is said of 
him that he was ** pleasant and facetious.'' It is related that on 
the occasion of his introducing the Rev. Simon Bradstreet, a very 
learned man, to Gov. Burnet, he did so by saying, "Here is a 
man who can whistle Greek I" As a public officer and as a busi- 
ness man, evidence exists to show his great executive ability and 
energy of character. He was often engaged in expeditions of a 
public nature, which took him great distances from home, some* 
times accompanied with much hazard, and with travelling depri- 
vations and discomforts of which we of the present day can form 
little conception. In 1712 he was chosen Captain of the Ancient 
and Honorable Artillery Company. 

In three years after Mr. Tailer received his commission as Lieu- 
tenantrGoveraor, important changes took place in England, bringing 
about a change of officers under the crown in Massachusetts. 
The death of Queen Anne in IT 14 involved the loss at court of 
Oov. Dudley's chief supporters, and in 1715 Col. Bnrgesa was 



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THE TAILBR FAMILY AND ESTATES. 23 

appointed gorernor in Dndley'fl stead. Without entering upon 
his office, however, Col. Burgess sold ont his commission for £1000. 
James Shnte was appointed to take his place, and William Dnmmer 
was commissioned Lientenant Ooremor, thus supplanting Mr. 
Tailer in the latter office. In the summer of this same year, 1715, 
a few months before his displacement, we find Mr. Tailer acting 
tmder Gov. Dudley in an important transaction in Salem. His 
letter to the governor from that place, which is preserved in the 
Massachusetts Archives in the State House, is an interesting one, 
showing that the writer had the faculty of despatching a good deal 
of very important business in a very short space of time. We 
have copied it in full, and it is here g^ven verbatim : — 

" SiLEif, July 28, 1716) 
4 in y* morning. ) 
• " May it Please your Excellency : 

" I received your express att two this morning, and have sent a 
positive command to Mr. Woodbery to attend y' Excellency's 
Orders. I ariv'd here at Eight last night, and sent for Col. Brown 
& Capt. Pickren, the later of which has Exprest his readiness to 
serve your Excellency, and his country, and has very willingly 
accepted your Commission. I have secured two Sloops, wch shall 
be in readiness this day to receive the men on board. Capt. Pitman 
is in Boston in order to wait on your Excellency. I advise you to 
send him back as soon as possible, he being a fitt man to command 
the other Sloop. I expect ihe sloop from Boston will be with me 
this day. So I hope to dispatch 'em by Saturday morning. Mr. 
Davenport Joynes with me in presenting our humble regards to y' 
Excellency, with our most humble service to the Gentlemen of the 
Council. 

I am with all due regard, 

Your Excellency's most 

Humble' & Obedient 

Serv't, Wm. Tiilkb." 

In 1717 Mr. Tailer was connected with the expedition under 
Gov. Shnte to form a treaty with the Eastern Indians in Maine, 
who with the French from Canada were committing extensive depre- 
dations on the settlers in that exposed part of the Massachusetts 
province. Rev. Joseph Baxter, of Medfield, Mass., who was then 
in Georgetown, Me., as a missionary to the Indians, makes this 



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24 Jones's hill and its owners. 

entry in his diary, under date of May 2 of the year mentioned : — 
" Col. Tailer, Col. Winthrop, Col. Hutchinson, Dr. Noyes and 
Col. Minot arrived at Georgetown in the Pejepscot sloop." Col. 
Tailer was also one of the commissioners to treat with the Six 
Nations of Indians at Albany. 

In 1730 another revolution of the political wheel brought Col. 
Tailer again into royal favor, and, Mr. Belcher being appointed 
Governor, Tailer was once more commissioned as Lieutenant-Gov- 
ernor, his commission bearing date April 15 of that year. It was 
destined, however, that he should hold the place a still shorter time 
than before, but his second surrender of it was at the mandate of 
a higher power th^n any earthy prince. Important public busi- 
ness, however, seems to have claimed his constant attention during 
the last year or two of his life. We are induced to put in print 
another letter of his, also copied verbatim from the Massachusetts 
State Archives. It possesses additional interest, from its reference 
to a subject which has ever since received much public attention, 
and as showing the manner in which a high official of Massachusetts, 
in the old provincial times, was wont to deal with the aborigines 
on our frontiers : — 

" Sir : I have considered your Relation referring to the Appear- 
ance of the Indians near Rutland, and I Judge it necessary and 
accordingly Order that you immediately consult with some of the 
principal officers in the neighboring Towns, and with them agree 
upon two or three discreet Persons (one to be an Interpreter) to 
send forthwith on a message to the Indians to this eflfect : 

*' That the Lieutenant Governor is informed of their being gath- 
ered in a Body near our Frontiers, which makes the Inhabitants 
uneasie and fearful! of going on their necessary Business. And 
therefore he desires to know the occasion of their Assembling in 
so extraordinary a manner ; that as this Government have done 
Justice to the Indians and exactly performed all the Articles of 
the Treaty of Peace and will still do everything on their part to 
maintain the same, so they expect that the Indians according to 
their engagements in the same Treaty behave themselves peace- 
ably towards the English and not give them any disturbance in 
their Business or hurt their creatures, Corp, Hay and other things 
belonging to them. And that if the Indians have any message to 
me it shall be carefully delivered. 



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THE TAILBB FAHIIiST AND BSTAraS. 25 

"Immediately upon the return of the messenger, send me an 
account of the affair, and in the meantime see that your people 
are well on their guard and sufficiently provided with arms and 
ammunition, and* that they don't straggle alone in the woods. If 
any assault should be made on you, send forthwith to the ^o^oevB 
of the neighbouring Towns to comeito your Assistance. 

Boston, Aug. 8, 1730. Y' Serv'^, 

To Capt. Samuel Wright In Rutland. Wu. Tailbr. 



tf 



Two months after the date of this letter, October, 1130, Go.v. 
Tailer made his .will, one reason for doiq^which he ^tatjss tp h^^ve 
been that he was " designed on a voyage or journey Eastward to 
negotiate the affairs of the government with the Salvages there, 
And other concerns of this Province.'' 

In 1731, less than a year before he died» there were granted to 
Gov. Tailqr, with three other men tb^n in public life, .1000 acres of 
land. by the proprietors pf common and undivided lands within the 
town pf Lunenburg, " as a gratuity for their former gpod services." 

Mr. Tailer died in the, prime of -life, and in less than two ^yea^p 
after receiving his second commission as Lieutenant Governor. 
He died holding the same office, and residing in the ^ame house, ^ 
did hifi Uncle Stoughton thirty year3 before, and was buried i|i the 
same .tomb. During the time he had resided in the old Stougbtpp 
mansion, little change had taken place in its neighborhood, and 
probably little in the house itself. A portion of the southeajSterAside 
of Jones's Hill was still hi^, and served at the time of hitideftthf^ 
^pasture land for his cattle, as it had done during many years befoi;e 
for those of the two Stoughtons ; and from its heights both he and 
they had doubtless often watched the arrival in Boston harbor of 
vessels bearing despatches from their royal sovereign. 

All that can now be gathered of Gov. Tailor's death is contained 
in the following brief announcement in the Boston Weekly News 
Letter of March 2, 1732 : — " Yesterday in the afternoon died at his 
seat in Dorchester, the Honourable Wiluam Taii^bb, vEsq., Lieu- 
tenant Governor of this Province, aged 55 years, wanting 9 days." 

His funeral took place one full week after his death, as appears 
from the following notice in the same paper of Marqh 9th : — 

** Boston, March 9, 1732. Yesterday the Corpse of the Honour- 
able William Tailer, Esq ; Lieutenant-Governour of this Province 
5 



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26 JONES'S HILL AND ITS OWNERS. 

• 

(whose Death we mentioned in our last) was inter'd in Dorchester 
with great Honour and Respect. The Bells of this Town were 
tolled from Eleven a Clock till Five. The Cannon of His Majesty's 
Castle William (of which he was the beloved Captain) were dis- 
charged at their Funeral Distance, the Flag being half rais'd. 
The Pall was supported by His Excellency Governour Belcher ; the 
Honourable William Dummer, Addington Davenport, Thomas 
Hutchinson, Elisha Cooke, and Adam Winthrop, Esqs ; The Funeral 
was attended by a great number of Gentry in their Coaches, 
Chaises, &c. and abundance of Spectators.'' 

Notwithstanding the deceased had expressed in his will a desire 
that his body should be *' interred without public pomp or any 
manner of extravagancy," it may be inferred from the above state- 
ment that tliere was no lack of public display in showing funeral 
honors to a man so distinguished. The popular sentiment in those 
days was by no means averse even to ostentations parades in mani- 
festing respect both to eminent living worth and departed great- 
ness. Dorchester had before been witness to imposing ceremonies 
at the funerals of two of her most illustrious citizens — that of Gen. 
Humphrey Atherton in 1661, and of Gov. William Stoughton in 
1701. We can better understand the nature and costliness of the 
pageant which was witnessed at Col. Tailer's funeral by reading, 
in connection with the notice of it above given, the following bill 
of expenses paid by the estate after his decease. It is on file in 
the Suffolk Probate Office, and is here copied verbatim — probably 
never having before appeared in print : — 

EstcUe of Col. William Tailer to the following persons for his Funeral 
Expenses 1732: 

To Ezekiel Lewis Esq. as pr his Note 
Henry Bering Esq. " «♦ " " 
Thos. Gushing Esq. " «< *♦ " 
Jonathan Barnard Esq. «• ♦♦ " 
Jacob Hurd, for Rings 
James Boyer, for Enamelled Rings 
Green & Gerrish for 400 Sermons 
Attendance, ye Town Bell & Use of ye Pall 
Edw. Pell for Painting y« Scutcheons &c 
Jno Indecott for Coffin & Hatchment 
Thos. Price Sadler for covering Chaise &c 
Roger Price for 27 pair of mens gloves 
James Penniman for Shoes 
Samuel Rand Tailor 



£182. 


8. 


11 


120. 


18. 


2 


11. 


15. 





11. 




9 


46. 


4. 


6 


18. 


5. 





15. 


15. 





7. 


0. 





37. 


0. 





12. 


6. 





9. 


18. 





6. 


15. 





4. 


8. 


6 


2. 


5. 


6 


£486. 


0. 


4 



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THE TAILBR FAMILY AND ESTATES. 27- 

We are unable to give any expl^^nation of the first four items 
in the above bill, occurring, as they do, in connection with the 
names of four prominent men of the day. They are connected in 
some way, it is certain, with the cost of the funeral, and contribute 
very largely, it will be seen, in swelling the bill of expenses to 
what is equivalent to over $2000 I 

It may well be supposed that the people generally took some 
part in the funeral solemnities on this occasion. The tolling of 
the bells of Boston and Dorchester for several hours of the day, and 
the firing of minute guns from the Castle, must have arrested the 
attention of all within hearing ; while the special objects to gratify 
the sight, in the richly painted escutcheons, the heavily draped 
family chaise, the coaches of the gentry, and the dignified show 
of a procession composed of the great men of the Province, must; 
have drawn together in and around the old mansion house a mixed 
and eager crowd, making up what the News Letter called ''an 
abundance of spectators.'' Sincere grief and mourning, it is very 
certain, were also felt, not only in the breasts of the bereaved 
family, but among those who realized how great a loss the towns 
of Boston and Dorchester and the whole Province had sustained. 
It needs no stretch of the imagination to believe that the open 
pasture grounds on Jones's Hill afforded a sightly place, from 
which many of the people, gathered from the 12,000 inhabitants 
of Boston and the neighboring towns, could look down upon 
the funeral cortege as it silently moved from the mansion to 
the burying ground neiar by. Few houses were on the route. 
The old Jones mansion, as already described, must have been 
passed, and Jonathan Jones, of whom we have before spoken, the 
last of the name who occupied it, and who was now nearly com- 
pleting his three score years and ten, was doubtless a witness to 
the honors that were paid to his deceased neighbor. Other Dor- 
chester patriarchs were then living, and could not have been un- 
observant spectators of the proceedings of the day. Some of 
them could not only remember as a thing of yesterday the similar 
obsequies thirty years before on the death of Lieut.-Gov. Stoughton, 
but were living when, fifty years before that. Col. Israel Stoughton, 
also a Dorchester man, came to his untimely end in the Parliament- 
ary wars of England. Among these venerable men there died, in 
this same year of 1731 or the year following, Mr. Hopestill Hum- 
phrey, often a Selectman, in his eighty-second year ; Mr. James 



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is: JOKfil^'S HILL AND ITS OWN£BS. 

Foster, GommisBioner and Selectman, also in his eighty-second 
year ; Mr. James Blake, long a Deacon in the charch, in his eighty- 
firbt year ; atid Mr. John Bird, aged over ninety years. The latter 
Wais twenty-three years old Tdien " the renowned Capt. Richard 
Davenport," apredecessof of Tailer and Stonghlon in the com-' 
mand of Castle William, was struck dead in the fort by ligbtniii^, 
sMd Roger Clap appointed iti his plaee. 

The rietiiain^ of Lieut.-€k>T. Tailer Were deposited' in *e tonri> 
of Lietife-Ck>v. Stbughton. Only the year before it had become l^et 
last resting pla^e of Rerr. Johti Danfotth, the Dorch^te? minidtei*, 
haiving previously rcfceived the iieiftains of his wife; Mhrs. Daufortl^ a 
niece of Gov. Stotighton, and therefore a cousin of bim« who vwkp 
now to be placed by their side. On 1^ occaeioii of ^le bori«il of 
Mr. Danfoi'th, Mr. Blake, the Antiatlist, after emimera^ng^ his mtfny 
virtues, si^s : "And yet y** World is so nngratefal that he hasnot 
a Line written to preserve his melnory, no not so much as upon 
his Toifib ; he being buried in Lt.-Gov. Stoughton'sTomb tiwl was 
dover€ld with writtng before." 

Tbei i^fitoie remark might l!^ve been applied to l^s new occupsm^ 
ofthatt6mb; and certainly a regret ii^ gtill felt thai no visible 
ifietiiento can be found, either in epitaph, puWio monument, bio- 
gi*diphiCal sketch, or even in the name of a street> of one who served 
his cotiiitry so long; so laborfously and so faithlftlly atf- did lietit.^ 
Gov. Taller^. 

The *' Writing *^ Which Mr. Blake alluded to as covering* Gov. 
Stoughton's tomb Was no other than the celebrated L^n inscrip- 
tion to Which rieference has already been made, and which still 
I'etiiaitfs thereoti. It may not be considered out of place to copy 
hefe an English Version of this ancient epitaph, prepared, as is 
supposed, by the Sev. Cotton Mather, which has been seen «ind 
poildered over, if not read understandiiigly, by most of t^e people 
of Dorcihester. • This translation of it first appeared in the Appen- 
dix to ** Blafce'^ Annals," and afterwards in the History of Dor- 
chester. It is here compressed into narrow limits, and not dia- 
pUyeid &s 6eefl oti the tombstone tablet :— 

" Here lies William Stoughton, Esquire, Lieutenant, afterwards 
Governor, of the Province of Massachusetts in New England, also 
Chief Judge of the Superior Court in the same Province. A man 
of Wedlock unknown. Devout in Religion, Renowned for Virtue, 



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THB TAILBB FAMILY AND BSTATES. 29 

Fatmotra for E^aditioa, Acute m Jxtdgmenti Equally Illustrious by 
^mdred and Spirit, A Lover of Equity, A l>efend©r of the LawB> 
Founder of Stonghton Hall, A most Distinguished Patron of Let* 
terfir and Literary Men, A most strenuous Opponent of Impiety and 
Yk^e. Bhetoricians delight in HirB as Eloquent, Writers are^ 
acquainted with Him as Eleganty Philosophers Seek Bim as Wise, 
Doetora honor Hhn as a Theologian. The Devout revere Him as 
Ghrave, AU admire Him ; unknown by All yet known to All. What 
need of more, Traveller ? Whom have we lost — Stouohton I Alas I 
I have sadd soffieient^ Tears press, I keep silence. He lived Seventy 
yeatrer ; On the Seventh of July in the year of Safety 1701 He Died. 
Alas I Alas I What Grief I '' 

In the next number of the Boston News Lditer succeeding the 
one from which was taken the account of Lieut.-Gov-. Tailer^s^ 
fhneral, gfven above, appeared the following brief notice of his 
Kfb and character. The whole of it is here copied, unaltered in 
spelling or punctuation : — 

"Boston, March 16, 1T32.— The Honourable Col. Wiluam 
Tailer, Late Lieutenant Governour of this Province (whose Death 
and Funeral we have mentioned in our former) died as bewailed as 
he lived desired by a people duly sensible of his great merits. 

"It is hard to determine whether he was more serviceabfe in the 
Seat of Government or out of it ; when he Discharged the Duties of 
bis Superiour Station with impartial Justice and unsullied Honour, 
or when he was frequently employed in the most laborious and 
hazardous Enterprises, for the Honour of his Prince, and the good 
of his Country, which he pursued in arduous Expeditions by 
Sea and Land, with a noble Spirit and Resolution, with approved 
Courage and Fidelity. 

" Every one acknowledged and admired his quickness of Appre- 
hension and liveliness of Fancy, with his ready Invention and 
active Genius ; Every one esteemed him as an uncommon Instance 
of Good Nature, Tenderness, AflFability and Friendship, nor was 
he less amiable for his Catholic Principles in Religion. And if the 
most valuable personal Qualities are worthy of Esteem, if the most 
obliging Husband and tenderest Parent, if the devout attend er 
upon Divine Service, the Sincere Friend, the aflfectionate Neigh- 
bour, and the steady Patriot should be endeared to us, he was all 
these in a superior degree : We have therefore all imaginable reason 



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30 Jones's hill and its owners. 

to expect from this Government some distinguishing marks of their 
Esteem fur his Name and Memory, and of their thankfulness for 
his Meritorious Actions." 

The expectation expressed in the closing sentence of this extract 
was not realized, so far as we have been able to ascertain. No 
evidence is found that any action in this direction was taken by 
either the provincial government or the town of Dorchester. It is 
not now too late for the city of Boston to show some recognition of 
the worth and public services of Stoughton and Tailer, who were 
both probably born and both certainly lived and died within her 
present borders. An enlargement of the present opening at the 
junction of Stoughton and Pleasant Streets, by appropriating the 
sharp northern corner of unoccupied land now projecting into it, 
calling it Stoughton Square, and erecting in the centre some sub- 
stantial memorial of Gov. Stoughton ; also giving the name Tailer 
Avenue to the part of Pleasant Street extending north from this 
square, might be an appropriate tribute to the memory of these 
two native worthies. 

The^funeral of Gov. Tailer took place on Wednesday, and on the 
following day was delivered, according to custom, in the First 
Church of Boston a Thursday* Lecture. On these occasions it was 
custotfiary for the leading ministers of the town and vicinity to 
discourse on matters not only in relation to religious faith and 
doctrine, but on the material interests of the community. On that 
day the Rev. William Cooper, who was ordained a colleague with 
Rev. Benjamin Colman at the Brattle Street Church in 1716, and 
continued one of its ministers till his death in 1743, was the 
preacher, and delivered a funeral sermon on the occasion. A copy 
of this sermon, which was printed and makes a pamphlet of twenty- 
five pages, is preserved in the library of the Massachusetts His- 
torical Society, from which is copied verbatim the title page, as 
follows : — 

*' Man humbled by being compared to a Worm. 

A I Sermon | Preach'd at the. Publick Lecture | in Boston, | 
March 9th, 1731,2. | The Day after the i^urjeraZ of | the Honourable 
I William Tailer, Esq; | late | Lieutenant Governour | of the Pro- 
vince of the I Massachusetts-Bay inNew England. | who | Depeased 
at his seat in Dorchester | on the first of the same month, | and in 
the 56th year of his Age. | By William Cooper, A. M. | Boston in 
New England : | Printed by B. Green, 1732." 



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THE TAILER FAMILY AND ESTATES. 31 

Although in this sermon the preacher says but little about the 
character of the deceased, conforming in this reepect to the custom 
of the times in regard to funeral sermons, saying, in fact, more 
about the ** worm'' than about the Lieutenant-Governor, we yet 
gather a few important items which confirm what is said in the 
above extract from the News Letter. In his Dedication of the 
printed sermon to the widow of the deceased, by " her sympathiz- 
ing kinsman" (the preacher's wife being cousin to Tailer), after 
alluding to certain traits of character, he says : ** In these things 
I hope his sons will be followers of him ; as also in his moderate 
pacific temper and principles as to religious matters. Col. Tailer 
was indeed an Enemy to Bigotry and Uncliaritableness. Of this 
his Attendance on the Public Worship in Dorchester so frequently 
on the Lord's Days, and his Countenance to and Friendship with 
the worthy Pastor of the church there, was a conspicuous Proof." 
And in the sermon itself Mr. Cooper alludes again to the liberal 
sentiments of the deceased, as follows: "His tender regard to 
these churches, tho' not of their communion ; his respectful treat- 
ment of the ministers of them upon all occasion*, and his reverent 
devout attendance upon the word and praj^erin this assembly, when 
he was in town on our lecture-days, these things call upon us to 
mourn his decease in this place." 

As has already been stated, Col. Tailer was an Episcopalian. 
In the year 1707 and 1708 he was chosen one of the wardens of 
King's Chapel in Boston, which was then, after struggling against 
much opposition, becoming established as the first Episcopal 
church in the town. After he became Lieutenant-Governor he 
held, ex-officio, the office of vestryman in that church, it having 
been previously voted by the church that the Governor and Lieu- 
tenant-Governor should, from their office, belong to its vestry. 
In 1713 we read that after the rebuilding of the Chapel a con- 
spicuous sitting in it was assigned to him. Greenwood, in his 
account of the matter, says that the two previous long pews front- 
ing the pulpit were then made into two square pews, '* one for 
Col. Tailer, Lieutenant-Governor." It was therefore not without 
reason that the preacher of the funeral sermon should speak ap- 
provingly of Tailer's meeting with them on lecture days, for the 
officers under the crown, most of whom were worshippers in the 
King's Chapel, had not been wont thus to- take part in tho obser- 
vance of these Puri^n holy-days, although the General Court of 



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32 JONBS'g HILL AND ITS OWNERS. 

the Province was in the habit of adjourning, when in session, to 
attend the lectares. One other Episoopalian, however, still higher 
in ^oe, had formed an exception. Lord Bellomont, of course a 
churchman, came over as Governor of the province in 1:699. He was 
welcomed by all, but especially by the authorities of King's Chapel, 
who immediately placed his name first upon their list of vestrymen, 
cmd a state pew in the church was fitted up for him. During the 
short term of his service, nevertheless, he was a regular attendant 
on the weekly lecture, thereby incurring the suspicion of being 
lukewarm towards his own faith, or of trimming his sails to catch 
the popular breeze. Hutchinson relates that one day, on returning 
to his house from lecture, with a crowd around him, and pftssing 
the shop of a physician and apothecary, who stood at the door, 
Bellomont said to him : "Ah I Doctor, you have lost a precious 
sermon to-day.'* The Doctor, who was also a churchman, observ- 
ed in an undertone to a person standing by : *' If I could got as 
much by going there as his Lordship will, I would have been there 
too." There is no reason to believe, however, that either Bello- 
mont or Tailer acted otherwise in this matter than in accordance 
with the tolerant and charitable spirit which they were known to 
possess. 

In Col. Tailer's will, ^^hich, it has already been stated, was made 
in October, 1150, he names certain legacies, and gives to *'my 
dearly and well-beloved wife Abigail all the estate whatsoever- that 
she brought with her to me at our inter-marriage for her own use 
and improvement," &c. The remainder of the estate, real and 
personal, was to be " divided and settled to and among my said 
wife Abigail and my dear children, namely, Stoughton, 'Gillam, 
William, Abigail, Rebecca and Sarah Tailer, as the law of this 
Province has provided and ordered as the case of Intestates, 
Stoughton to have a double portion." He appoints as executors 
of his will his wife Abigail, his honored father-in-law, Col. Nathan- 
iel Byfield (father of his first wife, and who died in 1738, aged 80), 
and his good friend and nephew, Mr. George Cradock. The ap- 
praisers of the estate were three well known and substantial 
citizens of Dorchester, whose names call to mind others of their 
kindred, whp,'both before and af|^r, were ranked among the wor- 
thies of the town. They were Stephen Minot, Preserved Capen and 
Thomas Wiswall. Their appraisement is dated Aug. 29, 1732, and 
has the following preamble, to which their signaturea are attached : 



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THE TAILEB FAMILY AND ESTATES. 33 

" We, the subscribers, being desired by the executors to the estate of 
the late Col. W". Tailer dec'd to apprize the sd Estate, we have 
accordingly done it to the best of our Judgment." Then follow 
the articles of furniture and household utensils, scattered through 
no less than thirteen different apartments and halls of the mansion, 
besides property in the outhouses and out of doors. The writer 
has before him the whole list of articles thus appraised, copied 
from the Probate Records, making a document too formidable to 
insert entire in these pages. Suffice it to say that among the items 
are included '* one Molatto Woman and Boy," valued at £80 ; " 177 
oz. Wrought Plate," £163.14.6 ; " a chariot and furniture," £110 ; 
10 milch cows, 3 yearlings, 2 heifers, a yoke of oxen, a bull, a mare 
and colt, and a horse. Also two silver-handled swords and an ordi* 
nary sword, 5 pairs of pistols, 35 milk pans, 75 lbs. pewter, a cider 
mill and press, and various farming tools. The total value of the 
personal property is put down at £1084.19.3. 

The portions of real estate on and around Jones's HiU are here 
copied in full : — 

The mansion-house, bams and out-houses of all sorts, with the 
Gardens, fiam Yard, &c. as it is now enclosed on the north-east 
side of the Road, we value at £1400.00 

One piece of land on the westerly side of the J^ad, conf g 9-12 

acres, with a house and bam thereon, we value at £26 per acre, 317.10 

The meadow or close on the Easterly side of the Road, cont'g 7 3-4 

acres, 350. 

The Great Plowing Field and Orchards, cont'g about 40 acres, at 

£42 per acre, 1680. 

In the fresh Meadow about 9 acres, 190. 

The Great Pasture, cont'g about 35 1-2 acres, at £20 per acre, 710. 

Twenty- four acres of Pasture adjoining to the Great Meadows, at 

£16 per acre, 360. 

Seven other lots of wood land, marsh, &c. 674.10 

Houses and land in Boston, 2600. 



Total Real Estate, £8282. 

Personal do. 1084.19.3 



£9366.19.3 
Additions were afterwards made to the Personal Property, making 

the total £10,000.12.1 

The first item in the above list was the old Stoughton mansion 
and homestead, so often referred to in these sketches, on the north 
comer of what is now Savin Hill avenue and Pleasant street. The 
next one was on the opposite side of Pleasant street (then Green 
lane), the land extending upwards on Jones's Hill. It joined the 
old Jones (afterwards Clap) estate on the west, and the then divid- 
6 



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34 JONES'S HILL AND ITS OWNEBS. 

ing line between these two estates remains so to this day, now- 
running between the estates of the widow Appleton and Mr. 
Lyons. A house, it seems, then stood on this lot, probably near 
the street, and perhaps on the very spot where now (1883) stands 
Mrs. Appleton's house, which has lately attained its one hundredth 
year, having been built by Rev. Moses Everett about the year 
1780. The ** meadow or close '' was on the easterly corner of Savin 
Hill avenue and Pleasant street, reaching thence eastward on that 
avenue towards and no doubt across the present Dorchester avenue, 
and southward on Pleasant street to the lot then lately purchased 
by the Rev. Mr. Bowman, successor of Rev. Mr. Danforth in the 
Dorchester ministry. On this lot the young minister had just 
erected the house in which he lived, and which is still standing — 
a specimen of the workmanship of Dorchester mechanics a century 
and a half ago. " The Great Plowing Field and Orchards" were 
adjoining to the mansion and outhouses, extending eastward 
beyond the line of the present Dorchester avenue and to- 
wards the salt marsh, northwestward and northward along 
Pleasant to near Pond street, and comprising, as has already 
been said, the track through which now runs Thomley, Pearl, 
Victoria and perhaps other streets, but not one among them 
named ** Tailer." The.*' fresh " and " great meadows " mentioned 
were probably, one or both of them, on the southerly side of the 
present Hancock street, near Meeting House Hill. The Great 
Pasture, containing 35 1-2 acres, is, no doubt, the same lot as is 
called in Gov. Stough ton's partition-deed " the long Hill Pasture,'' 
and it is pretty certain lay south of the present Meeting-house Hill. 
In 1147 this lot, then called 36 acres, was sold by Tailer's heirs to 
Thomas Bird of Dorchester for £634. 

For many years very little seems to have been done with the 
Tailer estate in Dorchester, either in the way of division or sale. 
The widow probably occupied the mansion-house ; the son Stough- 
ton died early ; William became a merchant in Boston ; Gillam 
graduated at Harvard; became a physician, practised in Boston, 
married a daughter of Dr. Zabdiel Boylston, and died in 1757. The 
daughter Abigail married Jacob Royall, Esq., Rebecca married 
Rev. Mather Byles, and Sarah then remained unmarried. The 
names of all three of these daughters are found on the records of 
the Old South Church in Boston, as having become members of 
that church — Abigail on the 25th of June, 1738, and Rebecca and 



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THE TAILER FAMILY AND ESTATES. 35 

Sarah on the 21st of June, 1T41. Prom this circumstance we are 
led to infer that the residence of the unmarried daughter, as well 
as of the married ones, was then in Boston. From it we may also 
suppose that during the life of their father they were all worship- 
pers with him at the King's Chapel, but that, after his decease, 
they returned to the mode of worship so strenuously upheld by 
their distinguished ancestors in the Stoughton line. 

A few months after Col. Tailer's death, the personal property 
being found insuflScient to pay the debts of the estate, his Majesty's 
Justices of the Superior Court empowered the executors to make 
sale of a dwelling-house and land in Boston. It was situated in 
Ann street, which was named after Queen Anne, the name being 
changed-to North street in 1853. It was sold to William Tyler 
for £1200 "in good public bills of credit," he being the highest 
bidder. Although far away from our Jones's Hill, we give a 
description of this estate as a matter of curiosity. It was bounded 
north, on Ann street, 21 ft. 9 in. ; west, on an alley way 42 ft. 3 
in ; south, fronting the town dock, 21 ft. 9 in. ; east, on house 
and land of said William Tyler, 42 ft. 3 in., with rights, profits and 
privileges belonging to the wharf lying before said dwelling house ; 
'* also one single share of the ground under and belonging to the 
conduit adjoining to said Tyler's lane or passageway leading from 
Ann street, with the water pipes, water and buildings standing 
upon or belonging to said conduit," subject, nevertheless, to the 
payment of a certain quit-rent of ten shillings per annum to the 
Treasurer of the Town of Bostoil for the time being and his suc- 
cessor in that office *' every year forever hereafter." 

The "conduit" here spoken of, as we learn elsewhere, was in 
Union street, and was the receptacle of water, for family use and 
for fires, conveyed from Cotton Hill (afterward Pemberton Hill), 
near our present Pemberton square. It was constructed as early 
as or soon after 1667, three years after the " great fire "in Boston, 
and was a very diminutive precursor of the complicated works 
which now convey into Boston the waters of Lake Cochituate. 

The sale of this property may have been the last transaction 
engaged in, as one of the executors of Col. Tailer, by his father- 
in-law the venerable Judge Nathaniel Byfield. He died the follow- 
ing June, 1T33, aged 80 years. He was a man of exalted station 
and eminent worth ; was one of the four original proprietors and 
the principal settler of the town of Bristol, R. I., and removed 



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36 JONES'S HILL AND ITS OWNERS. 

thence to Boston in 1724. The inscription on his tombstone was 
attributed to Rev. Mather Byles. The words have been preserved, 
although the stone itself is said to have been broken and destroyed. 
The bon-mots and witticisms of Mather Byles are known to every- 
body. This inscription shows (assuming him to be its author) 
that his thoughts were not always frivolous nor all his words 
shaped into jokes. It is as follows : — 

" Byfield beneath in peaceful slumber lies, 
Byfieu), the Good, the Active and the Wise. 
His manly frame contained an equal mind, 
Faithful to God and generous to mankind. 
High in his country's honors long he stood, 
Succor'd distress, and gave the hungry food. 
In justice steady, in devotion warm, 
A loyal subject and a patriot firm. 
Thro' every age his dauntless soul was tried. 
Great while he lived, but greater when he died." 

In this same year, 1733, we find in the Massachusetts Archives 
the muster and pay rolls of the company at Castle William in His 
Majesty's service under the command of the Hon. William Tailer, 
Esq., Captain, containing 68 names, officers and privates, from 
April 2, 1T31, to August 10, 1732. The bill for this term of 
service allowed by the General Court was £1918.11.1. 



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THE TAILER MANSION-HOUSE IND HOMESTEAD. S7 



THE OLD STOUGHTON-TAILER MANSION-HOUSE AND 
HOMESTEAD. 

" Shall I attribute it to nature or prejudice," says Cicero, "that 
when we behold any of the places which have been frequented by 
personages worthy of renown, it makes a stronger impression 
upon us than the hearing of their actions or reading their writings ? '' 

In carrying out this idea the Hon. John Davis, in an address 
commemorative of the landing of the Pilgrims at Plymouth, de- 
livered December 22, 1813, thus writes : ** The mighty mind of 
Milton could build on chaos and travel through the universe like 
a seraph, but generally the finest and most durable performances 
of poetic genius have been prompted by domestic scenery, and 
animated by a refererifce to character, objects and events not so 
familiar as to have become insipid nor so remote as to be destitute 
of interest.'^ 

Moved by this high regard for places hallowed by the name or 
deeds of those who once lived or acted on them, the Kev. Dr. 
Samuel Willard of Deerfield, while on a visit to Dorchester some 
yeara since, visited the site of the qld Stoughton mansion-house. 
He had then been blind many years, was very aged, and died not 
many months after this visit. Among those who welcomed the 
venerable divine to Dorchester was the late Deacon Ebenezer 
Clapp, the historian of the town, whose familiarity with every- 
thing connected with its early settlement is well known. We 
cannot better describe the touching incident of Dr. Wijlard's 
sightless inspection of the spot alluded to than in Deacon Clapp's 
own words : " It was," says he, " on the 4th of July, 1869, that 
Dr. Gushing came for me to go and spend the evening at his house 
with Rev. Dr. Samuel Willard, thinking that I might ask him 
questions which he knew about and would be glad to answer. He 
was then about 84 years old, I think, had preached many years at 
Deerfield, was a man of decided ability, and had been blind during 
the later years of his life. I met. him, and in the course of the 
evening hit upon a series of questions on which he was well posted 
and which his retentive memory made very interesting. They 



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38 Jones's hill and its owners. 

were respecting the early graduates of Harvard. When I came 
to the name of Gov. Stoughton he warmed up and showed great 
interest, and when I told him that the foundation of one of Stough- 
' ton's buildings was still to be seen near by, he expressed a desire 
to know more about it. I remained with him till near midnight, 
but with him there was no night. The next morning Dr. Gushing 
took him in bis carriage to the site of the Stoughton house, helped 
him to alight, and the old gentleman placed his hand upon the 
foundation then still remaining with apparently great inward 
satisfaction.'^ 

Had Dr. Willard's vision been unobscured, his eyes would have 
in vain sought for any other objects to remind him of the statel-y 
mansion which once stood there, than the few brick and mortar 
ruins on which he then reverently laid his hands. The glory of 
the place had long since departed. Yet it is doubtful whether any 
other homestead in Dorchester was for so long a time the residence 
of men high in power and station and public esteem. The mansion 
itself was no doubt from the beginning the seat of Christian culture 
and generous hospitality, and when occupied by Gov. Tailer and 
his young family must have been an abode of much domestic 
happiness and many joyous festivities. In the time of the second 
Stoughton, he being a bachelor, the voice of youthful mirth may 
be supposed to have been less frequent, but we read of meetings 
of the Selectmen being held at his house, and also of distinguished 
strangers visiting there. 

The size and appearance of the Stoughton mansion are now 
matters of conjecture. The only ancient houses now standing in 
the neighborhood which it may be supposed resembled it somewhat 
are the old Gov. Everett house at the Five Corners, now (1883) 
owned and occupied by John Richardson, Esq., and the Appleton 
house on Pleasant street, at the foot of Jones's Hill. The former 
was built by the last royal Lieutenant-Governor of Massachusetts, 
Thomas Oliver, Esq., and, according to a dfeed on record at the 
Suffolk Registry office, dated 1766, the house was then standing. 
The other, as already stated, was erected some years later by 
Rev. Moses Everett. As the Stoughton mansion was torn down 
between 1758 and 1771, it was probably in existence when the 
Oliver mansion was built. As already mentioned (p. 17), there 
are reasons for believing it was built in 1662, thus making its 
age, when destroyed, not far from one hundred years. 



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THE TAILER MANSION-HOUSE AND HOMESTEAD. 39 

We get some idea of the internal arrangement of the house in 
qaestioh frojn the appraisement, already alluded to, of the house- 
hold goods of Col. Tailer, each room in the building being mention- 
ed by the appraisers. The following are the names of the apart- 
ments in the order in which they stand recorded : 1, the ball ; 2, 
• the black parlor (written " black '^ in the records, but perhaps 
meant for back) ; 3, the closet in the parlor ; 4, the bed-room ; 5; 
the lower lodging room*; 6, the best chamber; T, the rubb'd 
chamber; 8, the ** cor counting house " (containing only military 
weapons and implements) ; 9, the kitchen ; 10, the children's 
chamber; 11, Stough ton's chamber ; 12, the garrets; 13, the 
entry way. Some or all of these rooms were doubtless large, and 
it will therefore be seen that the house was of ample dimensions. 

After Gov. Stoughton's death a brick wall was built in front of 
the house on Pleasant street, extending round the corner on Savin 
Hill avenue and enclosing the garden. For a knowledge of this 
fact we are indebted to the diary of the late Deacon James Hum- 
phreys, which has already been referred to in these sketches. 
" In it," he says, *' a good, handsome brick wall was made 
against the road in front, and turned the corner on the lane leading 
to Eock Hill (now called Savin Hill). The length of the wall 
was 200 feet or more. The bricks and mortar were brought from 
the Castle that was left when the Province of Massachusetts Bay 
built the fort there. The mortar had been made a long time before, 
and was well tempered. The bricks [in the wall] were worn away 
by length of time, and the mortar remained, in many places, in the 
original form and shape. Said wall was taken away for the use 
of the public in the time of the Revolutionary War.'^ 

The completion of the fort at Castle William [now Fort Inde- 
pendence] here spoken of, took place about the year 1705, not 
long after Co'. Tailer with his first wife took possession of the 
mansion. Several years were consumed in the construction of 
this fort. In 1701 we read in the Massachusetts Archives that 
£1500 were granted by the General Court, over and above what 
had already been granted, for the fortification, and some months 
later £40 each were voted to Thomas Brattle and Capt. Timothy 
Clarke, in addition to the £30 they had already received, for 
services in directing and laying out the Ca^le. In 1703 a com- 
mittee reported on the condition and progress of the works going 
on there. It was during this period, probably, that the mortar 



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40 JONESES HILL AND ITS OWNERS. 

spoken of above became so " well tempered.'' It was doubtless 
part of this wall on which Dr. Willard laid his hand in 1869, and 
portions of it may yet remain under the surface. 

Deacon Humphreys mentioos another fact which imparts aa 
additional interest to the spot we are considering. He says that 
the first potatoes raised in Dorchester grew in Col. Tailer's garden. 
At first a few were planted in the same hills with corn. The next 
year a few rods of ground were set apart- for them, and they were 
planted separately, without corn. Many people went to see them — 
'*8ome,'' the Deacon adds, ''murmuring that there should be a 
waste of land for such useless roots.*' Probably Col. Tailer's 
incredulous neighbors gradually ceased their '* murmuring," as 
not many years passed before this nutritious esculent took its 
present prominent place, through the town and over the vvhole 
country, as a staple article of food. 

There still remain to be given, in this particular field of our 
researches, some few statements respecting the division of Col. 
Tailer'-s landed property. 



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DIVISION AND SBTTLBMBNT OP THE TAILER ESTATE. 41 



DIVISION AND SETTLEMENT OP THE TAILER ESTATE. 

After the death of Lieatenant-Goyernor Taller in 1732, no im- 
mediate changes of importance took place in his landed estate, in 
the way of settlement or sale. In 1734 the widow conveyed to 
Rev. Jonathan Bowman half an acre of land near the present Creek 
street, bounded on two sides by land already belonging to said 
Bowman; and in 1739, by a quit-claim deed she surrendered to 
him all her right of dower and power of thirds in the piece of land 
on which then stood Mr. B.'s house, which land Mrs. Tailor's late 
husband had sold to him in 1730. 

In 1747 the widow and five children were still living. April 
7th of that year the latter sold to Thomas Bird, as already men- 
tioned, for £534, a parcel of land said to contain thirty-six acres, 
which we suppose to be the lot set down in the partition deed of 
Gov. Stoughton's estate as containing thirty-five and a half acres, 
and the location of which was for a time doubtful. The boundaries 
of the lot now sold to Mr. Bird were as follows : — 

" East by the lower country road leading to Milton ; south by the 
upland and meadow of Ebenezer Mawdesley ; west by land belong- 
ing to the heirs of Elijah Danforth, Esq. dec'd ; north partly by 
land of Nathaniel Topliflf and partly by land of Joseph Hall." 

These bounds seem to place the lot south of the Meeting-house 
hill, fronting on what is now Adams street, and extending up the 
ascent further south — thus acquiring the name of Hill Pasture 
given by Gov. Stoughton to his " thirty-five and a half acres." 

April 24, 1747, the widow and children for £50 sell to Thomas 
Pimer of Dorchester " a piece of upland, fresh and salt meadow" 
containing three acres, which appears to have been in the vicinity 
of what is now Orescent avenue. On the 28th of the same month, 
Stoughton Tailer, the oldest son, being dead, his mother, brothers 
and sisters sell as part of his estate, a piece of land containing 
twenty-five acres. It was sold for £1140 Province bills to Andrew 
Oliver, Esq., one of a family which adhered to the British side in 
the great contest out of which came our American Independence. 
The boundaries given show that this lot was part of the great tract 
7 



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42 JONES'S HILL AND ITS OWNERS. 

beloDging to the family at the foot and east of Jones's Hill. Other . 
lots and parts of lots were sold by the heirs in 1747 — one in May 
to Ebenezer Moseley — ^but neither of them on Jones's Hill. 

In October, 1747, Miss Rebecca Tailer had become the second 
wife of Rev. Mather Byles of Boston. Eighteen years before, in 
1729, Mr. Byles came near being chosen colleague pastor in the 
Dorchester church with Rev. John Danforth, who was then aged 
and infirm, and who died the next year. He was one of three 
candidates from whom the choice was made — ^the lot falling at last 
upon Rev. Jonathan Bowman. Mr. Byles was soon after settled 
as pastor of the Hollis street church in Boston, and continued its 
faithful aird beloved minister till the time of the Revolution, when 
he stood almost alone among his own parishioners, as well as 
among the Congregational ministers of the day, in his undisguised 
loyalty to the British Crown, sacrificing thereto his personal liberty, 
his office in the ministry, and his social standing. A son of his 
by the first wife, of the same christian name, born in 1733, who 
like his father was honored with the title of D.D., became an 
Episcopalian, and was rector of Christ Church in Boston. At the 
breaking out of the war, he too adhered to the royal cause, and 
left Boston when the British army evacuated the place. He after- 
wards became Rector of Trinity Church in St. John, N. B., where 
he died in 1814, a tablet being set up in the church to his memory. 

By a deed of partition and agreement, dated Oct. 21, 1747, 
between the widow Abigail Tailer and her five children, all the 
remaining landed property was divided and set ofif to each of the 
heirs respectively. By this instrument the widow was to possess 
as her full dower and thirds, the tract of land known as the Great 
Plowing Field, comprising thirty-eight acres more or less, already 
described as lying north and north-east of Jones's Hill, near to 
the mansion house and garden of her late husband, and extending 
northerly and easterly from what is now Pleasant street — which tract 
of land she was to hold during her life. Gillam and William were 
together to possess the homestead lot with the mansion and other 
buildings on the comer as then fenced in ; also the nine and one- 
half acres opposite on Jones's Hill with the house and bam thereon ; 
the " close " or meadow of seven and three-quarter acres opposite 
the mansion house southward ; the three-acre lot known as Jones's 
pasture, adjoining the Great Plowing Field ; and six and one- 
quarter acres of salt marsh. Mrs. Byles, and the two unmarried 



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DIVISION AND SETTLEMENT OP THE TAILBR ESTATE. 43 

daughters, Abigail and Sarah Tailer, had their separate shares in 
real estate in Boston and certain wood lots in Dorchester. 

In April, 1748, the portion of the estate held by the sons, Wil- 
liam and Gillam, " in common and undivided,'^ was by mutual 
consent and by legal process divided. To the former was assigned 
the old homestead lot and buildings thereon, Jones's pasture near 
by, two of the nine and one-half acres comprised in the pasture 
lot on Jones's Hill, and the salt marsh. The remainder of the 
estate mentioned above fell to Gillam, including seven and one-half 
acres on Jones's Hill. 

Five years more brought about still farther and important 
changes in the Tailer family. In 1753 Madame T., the widow, 
was no longer living, and the daughter Abigail had been married 
to Jacob Royall, Esq., of Boston — the name of a wealthy and 
influential family in the provincial times, one of whom, a loyalist 
in the Revolutionary period, was the munificent founder of the 
first law professorship in Harvard University. A deed of agree- 
ment is on record, bearing date Feb. 14, 1753, by which the five 
children mutually assent to a division and apportionment of their 
mother's dowry — viz. : the Plowing Field, including Jones's 
pasture, and the two lots called Pond Orchard and Howard's 
Orchard. A chart of this division, as surveyed in 1762, is on file 
in the Suffolk Probate Office, from a copy of which, data have been 
obtained for the following brief outline. William Tailor's portion, 
by this agreement, took in the two orchards which adjoined the 
mansion-house and garden already his, making about ten acres in 
all, and extending eastward on Savin Hill avenue over five hundred 
feet, and a still greater distance to the north-west on Pleasant 
street, to near its present junction with Stoughton street. Next, 
north, came Mrs. Abigail Royall's lot, with a front of two hundred 
and seventy-five to three hundred feet on Pleasant street (then 
Green lane), and extending back to the eastward nine hundred or 
a thousand feet — making over six and one-half acres. Sarah 
Tailer's portion came next, with a little wider front on Pleasant 
street, containing seven acres. Gillam Tailer's followed, with the 
same frontage, but reaching nearly two hundred feet further east- 
ward, and making over eight acres ; and Mrs. Byles's, the last and 
most northerly lot, was of the same shape and size as Gillam's, 
and its northern boundary could not have been far from our present 
Pond street. It was bounded in that direction in part by the 



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44 JONSS'S HILL AND ITS 0WNEB8. 

efitate of the distuigaished Puritan soldier, Oen. Humphrey Ather* 
ton, the cellar of whose house, near what is now Dorchester avenue, 
many now living can remember, and with whose quaint epitaph in 
ti^e old cemetery all are £Etmiliar. 

Xn 1754 the son, William Tailer, conveyed to Christopher Minot 
his whole landed property in Dorchester as c<^lateral security, and 
a settlement was afterwards made, hi 1768 he sold to Dr. Sylves- 
ter Gardiner — another of our " ancient proprietors " who ranged 
himself on, the side of the loyalists in ihe Revolutionary struggle — 
for £333.6.8, the old mansion-house and its two acres of land, 
together with the two orchards and his portion of the Jones's Hill 
pasture. In 1760 these lots are reconveyed to Tailer, and in 1771 
tilie latter sells the property to Col. Sbenezer Clap, with the ex- 
ception of the mansion — the homestead lot being now described 
as ''the land on which the said William Tailer's mansion-house 
ddd atandJ^ This clause is the only clue we have to the time when 
tiie old Stoughton-Tailer house, which for a century or more had 
given dignity and ornament to the neighborhood, ceased to exist. 

The land on Jones's Hill thus conveyed by Tailer to Ebenezer 
Clap in 1771 was by the latter sold to Rev. Mt>ses Everett in 1779 
(the deed being dated in the ''3d year of Independence of the 
American States.") It was then bounded east and north by the 
road, west by land of David CI14), and south by land of Gillam 
Tailer. 

In 1762 the same purchaser. Col. Ebenezer Clap, became owner 
of a large tract in the "Great Plowing Field," — Jacob Royall, 
Esq., and wife Abigail, and Sarah Tailer, still unmarried, for £213, 
selling in that year to him their two lots there, together comprising 
over thirteen and one-half acres. 

Dr. Gillam Tailer, who graduated at Harvard in 1735, died July 
17, 1757, aged thirty-nine. Gillam Tailer, his son, was aged about 
14 when his father died. His mother Elizabeth was appointed his 
guardian. He retained his father's landed property many years, 
although frequent mortgages were laid upon it. He married Mary 
Loring. In 1789 he was in London, and there transferred to one 
Callahan, as collateral security for a debt of £150, about twenty 
acres of land, which is rather indefinitely described as lying " part 
on the north and part on the south sides of the road leading from 
Boston to Dorchester." The deed was acknowledged before the 
Lord Mayor of London. The next year he was.in Boston, and made 



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DIVISION AJSTD SBTTLBMBNT OP THE TAILBB ESTATE. 45 

arrangements for the sale of real estate in Marlboro' street, '' ad- 
joining the Massachusetts Bank." 

The interest of Mather Byles and his wife in the estate of her 
father ceased before Mr. Byles's death, July 6, 1788. In the 
appraisement of his property, Aug. 2, 1790, all the real estate 
mentioned consisted of his house and land in Nassau street (name 
changed to Common street in 1824), one hundred and sixty feet 
front by eighty feet deep, valued at £240. The whole estate was 
appraised at £602. 7. 10, his son Mather being administrator. The 
two daughters, Mary and Catharine, retained and lived upon the 
estate, paying to their brother in St. John and the husband of 
their deceased sister, Elizabeth B]X)wn, of London, the value of 
their respective shares. Their lives were prolonged to a great 
age, one of them dying in 1837, and both retaining in spirit to the 
last the loyalty to English Sovereignty which their father so con- 
spicuously and heroically displayed during the Revolution. 

The portion of Jones's Hill which fell to Gillam Tailer, senior, — 
called seven and a half acres in 1748 — was held by his son Gillam 
as late as 1789, then described in deeds as siic acres, and bounded 
south by lapd of widow Jerusha Pimer, west and north by land of 
Rev. Moses Everett, and east by the road. This lot, extending to 
the summit of the hill, passed finally into the hands of Dr. Henry 
Gardner, whose once elegant mansion at its foot is still standing 
(on Pleasant street), but now showing little evidence of the wealth 
and high position of its former occupant. The Pimer lot, south 
of it, adjoining the old poor-house lot, was previously for a whole 
generation at least in possession of the Moseley family, and 
subsequently became the property of Samuel Downer, senior, so 
well remembered by many now living, who long occupied a most 
delightful dwelling house on its eastern portion, and whose most 
worthy son, Samuel, after possessing and adorning it for many 
years, has recently died. 

This land on the south-east side as well as on other sides of 
Jones's Hill, so long held in the possession of its first owners, the 
Stoughton, the Tailer, and other families, is now fast passing 
through the transforming process which sub-division of old estates 
and the tasteful exhibition of architectural skill are bringing about 
in so many directions in the suburbs of Boston. The writer's 
researches have been confined to its early ownership and owners, 
with only occasional allusions to those of recent times; 



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46 Jones's hill and its ownees. 



SOME OF THE WISWALL FAMILY AND THEIR 
ESTATES. 

John and Thomas Wiswall were early residents in Dorchester. 
John's name is found as early as 1634; he was a member and 
deacon of the church in 1636, and was made freeman in 1639. He 
became a Ruling Elder, and kept the church records ; was a select- 
man many years, clerk of the writs, a deputy, and went to England 
on business in 1652. He returned to Dorchester and lived in that 
part of the town now called Canton, near Dedham, then described 
as " beyond y* Blew Hills.'' He was also one of a commission to 
treat with the Indians about lands. In 1659-60 he moved to Bos- 
ton, was chosen Elder of the First Church there, and died Aug. 17, 
1687, aged 86 years. He retained much of his landed property 
in Dorchester after his removal to Boston. In the year 1671 he 
sold, for £40, two parcels of land, comprising 5 J acres, to 
Sergeant Samuel Clap, oldest son of Capt. Roger* Clap. The 
deed of transfer is dated Jan. 30 of that year, and describes the 
first parcel as follows : "A field commonly called the burial-place 
field,** bounded "Northerly and Westerly with the highway leading 
from the meeting hous [then near the easterly end of Cottage 
street] to the burying place ; Easterly, part with the land in the 
tenure of Joseph Long, being the lot of Joseph Farnsworth, and 
p'tly with the land of Isaac Jones — the southerly end butting upon 
the land of Mr. Flint, which was formerly land of William Clarke.'' 
This lot sold by Wiswall we suppose to be the northerly portion 
of what now lies between Boston and Sumner streets, near the 
Five Corners. The Joseph Farnsworth mentioned was an early 
resident, probably having come to Dorchester in 1635. He died 
there in 1660. He married for his second wife the widow Mary 
Long, one of whose children, Joseph, by her first husband, seems 
to have been in possession of the land on the easterly side of the 
lot above sold. 

The other parcel sold by Elder Wiswall was evidently a portion 
of Jones's Hill. The deed describes it: '* Lying in the hill field 
bounded Easterly with the land of henery Ware, wch was formerly 



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SOME OF THE WI8WALL FAMILY AND THEIR ESTATES. / 4T 

William Blake, sen'r — Westerly with the land of Augustin Clement 
— Southerly with the land of Mr, flBiint, wch was formerly land of 
William Clarke — and Northerly with highway [Stoughton street! 
leading from the burying place towards Mr. Stoughton's.'' The 
Augustin Clement here mentioned, it appears, was one of the hill 
proprietors, although we have not found his title to land there 
anywhere recorded. In 1671, when the town was trying to pur- 
chase Mr. Clarke's estate above alluded to on the south side of 
the hill for a habitation for their new minister, Rev. Mr. Flint, Mr. 
Clement made proposals to assume part of the risk of the purchase. 
Probably he was already owner of the lot adjoining, which is men- 
tioned as the westerly boundary of WiswalFs lot to Clap. Mr. 
Clement was in Dorchester as early as 1635, and with his wife 
Elizabeth signed the church covenant in 1636. He was a painter 
by trade. In 1652 he was in Boston, where he owned a shop and 
land. He went back to Dorchester and died there in 1674. His 
daughter Elizabeth married William Sumner of Dorchester, and a 
granddaughter, Rebecca, daughter of Samuel, in 1695 was wife of 
Daniel Collins, and only surviving sister of her deceased brothers, 
Samuel and Augustin. 

Elder John Wiswall, who made this transfer of land on the "hill 
field," owned an interest in the mills early erected on Neponset 
river. He deserves to be remembered by the people of Dorchester 
as one of its three citizens who as early as 1645 were appointed to 
the oversight and management of its first public school. In that 
year a carefully prepared series of rules and orders concerning the 
school then lately established were adopted by the town, one of 
which was that "three able and sufficient men'' shall be chosen 
to be wardens or overseers of the school above mentioned, "in 
such manner as is hereafter expressed, and shall continue in their 
office for the term of their lives respectively, unless removal from 
the town or other weighty reason shall prevent." The men first 
chosen for this important duty were Deacon John Wiswall, Hum- 
phrey Atherton and Robert Howard. 

For the establishment of this Dorchester school and for the means 
of carrying it on, in addition to a trifling income from some school 
lands, a direct tax was laid upon the inhabitants, which is said to* 
Lave been the first tax ever imposed for the support of a free school. 
Part of the expense, however, was to be paid by individuals. One 
of the duties imposed upon the school wardens was to take care 



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48 JC^TES'S HILL AND ITS OWNERS. 

that every year, at or before the end of the month of November, 
which was as early in the fall, We suppose^ as a fire was thoHght 
needful, "there bee brought to the schoolhouse 1(2 sufficient cart 
or wayne loads of wood for fewell, to be for the tse of the Schoole 
Master and Schollers in winter, the Cost and Charges of which 
sayd wood to be botne by the Schollers for the tyme beeing, who 
shalbe taxed for the purpose at the discretion of the sayd Wardens/' 
Ab nothing in the Dorchester records is found to show how long* 
Deacon Wiswall held this office, it is probable that he served the 
town as school warden until his removal to Boston in 1659-60. 

John WiHwall should also be remembered as one of the few who, 
at the time of the Quaker persecution in Boston, dared to show a 
more tolerant and forgiving spirit than was shown by those then 
in power. We are informed that he united with the fearless 
Nicholas Upsall in bearing public testimony against the cruel 
measures adopted by the authorities in regard to the sect of Qua- 
kers. He seems, however, to have escaped the punishment in- 
flicted on Upsall forthusquestioningthe justice, of these measures^ 
— Thomas Wiswall, brother of John, came to Dorchester ^ about 
1635. He was grantee of land in 163T ; selectman in 1644 and 
after ; removed to Newton and was ruling elder there in 1664, 
and died Dec. 6, 1683. Among his children were Enoch, born 
1633, died 1706 ; Ichabod, born 1637, died 1100 ; Ebenezer, born 
1646, died 1691. Enoch was owner of a tract of land on Jones's 
Hill in. 1701. On the 25th of May in that year, he and wife Eliza- 
beth, for " £80 current money," conveyed to Thomas Moseley, 
Jr., weaver, two acres of land with "a messuage or tenement and 
barn" thereupon, then occupied by said Moseley. When or how 
Mr. Wiswall became owner of the estate we have been unable to 
ascertain. The boundaries are given as follows : On the North, 
land of William Stoughton, Esq. ; East, the highway [now Pleasant 
street] ; South, land of said Stoughton ; West [on the hill], land 
of heirs of the late Isaac Jones. 

This lot was near the southeastern extremity of the hill, and that 
it was originally part of Gov. Stoughton's estate there can be little 
doubt, being bounded on two sides by land then belonging to Gov. 
S., who died the next year after the date of this sale. Probably 
the northern side of the lot, reaching up the hill, was about on a 
line with the present Downer avenue. It formed part of the tract 
which many years crfterwards passed into the hands of the Pim«r 



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SOME OF THE WISWALL FAMILY AND THEIR ESTATES. 49 

family, and a house upon it is alluded to iu transfers and mortgages 
for nearly a hundred years after the date above mentioned. In the 
interesting diary kept by Deacon James Humphreys, which has been 
before alluded to, a list is given of all the houses on and around 
Jones's Hill which he knew to have been there up to the time of his 
writing. The Pimer house is mentioned, and he says of it that 
" it stood up the hill back of Mr. Samuel Downer's." • Probably 
the barn was in front of it, near the street, for, as the Deacon says, 
" it was customary formerly to set the barn adjoining the road, 
the house a little back." " I remember," he adds, " this side of 
our meeting-house twenty-one such bams." The advantage of 
thus locating the house on the upper part of the Wiswall lot is still 
apparent. From its elevation a commanding view in front was 
obtained of Dorchester bay and the mouth of the Neponset, with 
the long stretch of mainland and islands beyond, while near by, 
northward, was the stately mansion of Gov. Stoughton and its 
luxuriant garden reaching eastward towards Savin Hill, and 
scattered beyond it, here and there, were dwellings inhabited by 
descendants of some of the very earliest settlers of the town — the 
Athertons, Minots, Hawkinses, Howards, Moseleys, Wiswalls, 
Ludlows, and others. 

Enoch Wiswall, the owner of this estate till 1101, was married 
on the 25th of November, 1657, to Elizabeth, daughter of John. 
Oliver. He inherited his father's house in some other part of the 
town, and lived and died in it. He was constable in 1661, and 
also selectman for many years. Constables then were important 
officers in the management of public affairs, and had no light duties 
to perform. Besides other and disagreeable ones, the collection 
of the annual rates or taxes fell upon them, and the town of Dor- 
chester, and doubtless other towns, exacted pretty prompt returns 
from their tax gatherers. Men disliked to accept the office, and 
at some of the annual town meetings in Dorchester as many as 
half a dozen were successively chosen constable before one would 
consent to stand. A fine was at length imposed upon each one 
thus declining to serve, and many fines were in this way collected. 
In 1658 Enoch Wiswall was appointed with two others to run the 
line between Roxbury and Dorchester, and in 1665 and 1666 was 
one of the supervisors of highways. He died Nov. 28, 1706. 

Ichabod Wiswall, second son of Elder Thomas and brother of 
Enoch, was the third schoolmaster in Dorchester. He entered 
8 



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50 JONfiS'S HILL AND ITS OWNERS. 

Harvard College in 1664. After his entrance, the previons three 
years' course of study there was changed to four years. Ichabod 
and several others, not liking this change, left the college at the 
end of three years, thereby losing their degree and forfeiting the 
honor of having their names go down to posterity among the 
alumni of Harvard. While in college, and when about 18 years 
old, an agreement T^as made between his £&ther and the town, that 
Ichabod should be teacher of the school, which had then been 
established about ten years. This agreement is dated the 8th of 
February, 1656, and stipulates that " Ichabod, with the consent 
of his &ther, shall, from the Tth of March next, ensuing vnto the 

end of three full years Instruct and teach in a free school 

in Dorchester all such cheldren as by the inhabitants shall be com- 
mitted vnto his care in English, Latin and Greeke as from time to 
time the cheldren shall be capable, and allso instruct them in 
writinge as he shall be able : which is to be vnderstood such cheld- 
ren who are so fare entered all redie to knowe their leters and to 
spell some what.'* As compensation for this labor the selectmen 

of the town were "from yeare to yeare every yeare to 

paye or cause to be paid vnto Ichabod or his Father the 

full summe of Twentie Five pounds two thirdes in wheate pease 

or barley marchantable and one thirde in Indian att price 

current." In 1657, probably at the time when Ichabod took his 
sudden departure from college, his father petitioned the town, to 
use the language of the records, " In the behalf of the scoole that 
a flower [floor] be laid over head In the scoole house and a studdy 
be made In it for the vse of the scoolemaster provided 6s. toward 
It and timber In his lott for juice" [joist]. He also petitioned 
for certain quantities of Indian corn and peas due to his son Icha- 
bod for teaching. lehabod afterwards studied for the ministry, 
and in 1676 was settled as minister of the church in Duxbury, where 
he died in 1700, very much respected in the town and throughout 
Plymouth colony. One account says of him that he was '* neariy 
a faultless man." In 1689 he went as agent to England to obtain a 
new charter for Ry mouth colony, where he encountered Dr. Increase 
Mather, another son of Dorchester, who was also on a political 
errand, but in favor of a charter uniting into one the Massachusetts 
Bay and Plymouth colonies. Of course the two agents sometimes 
crossed each other's paths. Mr. Wiswall would speak of his rival 
as one " wont to trot after the Bay horse," and.Mr. Mather, after 



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SOME OP THE WISWALL FAMILY AKD THEIR ESTATES. 51 

botii had returned to their homes, his petition being granted, in- 
dulged the hope for his rival that the " weazel '' would now " be 
content in his den.'' 

In the year 1T16 one of the Wiswalls was concerned in an im- 
portant transfer of land on Jones's Hill — ^the lot sold extending 
wholly across the hill, from the present Stoughton street to Han- 
cock street. By the deed of sale it would seem that a dwelling 
house and bam then stood on this lot, though on which side of the 
hill is not stated.'*' The boundaries, here copied from the public 
records, show that the lot fronted on Stoughton street, somewhere 
near the present southerly gate of entrance to the old cemetery. 
It also fronted on Hancock street, the south side of the hill, and 
opposite, on the other side of that street, was an orchard lot also 
included in the deed. The deed is dated Oct. 5, 1716, and by it 
James Humphrey (now Humphreys) of Dorchester, husbandman, 
for £280 good money conveys to Thomas Wiswall of Dorchester, 
cordwainer (perhaps son of the Elder Thomas): 

'* All that my messuage or tenement, yards garden orchards and 
land adjoining thereunto " containing ** on that side of the highway 
that the house standeth " thirteen acres or thereabout — ^bounded 
North, by the highway or road leading by the Burying pl^ce ; East, 
partly by the land that was formerly Isaac Jones [N. side of the 
hill], & partly by the land of Preserved Capen [S. side of the hill] ; 
South, by the highway or road leading towards the meeting-house ; 
West, by the land of the widow Beman and Common land. More- 
over, also, all my orchard, being in quantity 2 acres or thereabout, 
" on the Southernmost side of the highway [Hancock street] 
directly opposite over against the land above mentioned ; the 
highway only parting the sd 2 •acres of orchard [from] the other 
land mentioned." The orchard land last mentioned was bounded 
North, on the road or highway ; South, on land of Preserved Capen ; 



* Eighty-five years later there was a house on the northern extremity of the hill, 
and probably on this same lot. Mrs. Sarah (Clapp) Davenport, now living in Needham 
at the age of 89 years, remembers attending school when very jroung in a house which, 
as she describes the location, must have stood nearly opposite the present westerly 
corner of the old burying ground. The school was then kept by Mr, Jonathan Bird, 
who graduated at Harvard in 1782, and died in 1809. This is supposed to have been 
a town school, although kept in a dwelling house, as the brick school-house, which 
stood for half a century a short distance north of this location, and in which Edward 
Everett and his brothers received tuition, was not then built. From that time until 
within a very few years, this large tract remained open land, being for a long while 
part of the late Isaac Clapp's mowing-ground, more recently part of Micah Dyer's 
estate, and now fast being covered with buildings. 



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52 JONES'S HILL AND ITS OWNERS. 

West, on the Oommons. " Together with all the buildings and 
housing, to wit, the Dwelling house & barn that is on the said land, 
with all other edifices, fences, trees, wood," &c. 

Signed by James Humphrey and Dorcas his wife. 

This James Humphrey was not the "Elder'' of that name, 
whose Tomb with its quaint acrostic inscription in the old burying 
ground still attracts the attention of the curious, but might have 
been his son. The Elder's- will, which was written in 1686, the 
year before he died, contains a remarkable instance of strong and 
enduring affection for a departed friend. He directs that his body 
" be buried in the same tomb with Mr. Mather, deceased, late of 
Dorchester, and formerly the reverend Teacher to the church " 
there, provided the consent of the Rev. Increase Mather be first 
obtained ; if otherwise, then " my body be buried as near unto it 
as conveniently it may be." Mr. Mather had then been dead 
sixteen years ; Rev. Josiah Flint had succeeded him as pastor of 
the church and died after a ministry of nine years, being followed 
by the Rev. John Danforth, under whom Mr. Humphrey was Elder 
when he himself died ; and yet his love for his long-buried friend 
and minister prompted the almost romantic desire that their 
dead bodie^ should not be separated, but henceforth should repose 
in the same final resting-place. His desire, we are informed in 
history, was not complied with, as Mather's tomb was fitted for 
only one coffin, and the corpse of the Elder was therefore interred 
near by that of his venerated Teacher. 

The land on Jones's Hill thus sold by Mr. Humphrey may 
have included the highest point of the hill, on which, in the mem- 
ory of many now living, a few poplar trees finished their proverbial 
short-lived existence. The westerly bounds of the lot are indefinite, 
as no other mention of widow Beman in that locality has been 
found ; but it seems pretty certain that her lot, as well as the 
" common land," comprised the curved western extremity of the 
hill facing in part on what is now Upham's Corner. 

Mr. Humphrey was ancestor of the several generations of the 
name who to the present time have clung to the original homestead 
in what is now called Humphreys Street, and where for a great 
many years the business of tanning was extensively carried on. 
The present occupants worthily uphold the name of one of the 
earliest and most respected families in Dorchester. 



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SOME OP THE MOSELBY PAMILT. 53 



OWNERSHIP BY SOMfi OF THE MOSELEY FAMILY. 

John Mawdeslet, or Moselej, was among the first settlers in 
Dorchester. He was made freeman March 14, 1639. By his first 
wife Elizabeth he had sons Thomas, Joseph and John, and daughter 
Elizabeth. At his death, Oct. 27, 1661, his second wife Cicily 
was appointed administratrix of his estate, which amounted by 
inventory to £240 38. Sd. She died very shortly after her husband. 
Her will is dated the 28th of November following his death, in 
which she says: " Vpon my sick bed I doe dispose of my third, 
which fols to mee out of my husband's estate." She gives por- 
tions to sons Thomas and John, to daughter Elizabeth, also Tho- 
mas's wife and child Mary. A rather imposing monument, con- 
sisting of a brown freestone slab on a brick foundation, now covers 
the last resting-place of John Moseley in the old Dorchester burying- 
ground. It is supposed that he lived near what is now called 
Crescent Avenue, bordering the salt marsh, and eastward of Hum- 
phrey Atherton's old homestead. Mr. Moseley's descendants have 
some of them ever since lived at this place, and an avenue near 
by now commemorates the name. His son John went to Windsor, 
Connecticut. 

Thomas Moseley, the oldest son of John, married Oct 28, 1668, 
Mary, daughter of Thomas Lawrence, of Hingham. He was an 
active business man, very useful to the town, his name being often 
mentioned in the Town Records. Much public gratuitous work 
was done in those days by men of the right spirit and vigor, some 
of it being of a kind which never falls to the lot of men of the 
present generation. Mr. Moseley seems to have had his share. 
At a meeting of the Selectmen of Dorchester, March 10, 1678-9, 
" there was appointed to looke after the boys in the meeting hous 
on the lord's day : Clement Maxfeild, Tho. Modesly, Timothy 
Tilston and Jno. Tolman, each to take the care of the boys orderly 
caredg in the publique meeting, each of them a quarter of a year ; " 
and on the same day "ther was appointed Thomas Modesly" and 
three others " to looke after the Swine that they be yoked and 
ringed according to former order." 



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54 JGSEB^B HILL AND ITS OWNEBS. 

Thomas, son of John, died Oct. 22, 1T06; and his widow ia 
April, 1T23. Their children were Mary, Increase, Thomas, Eliza- 
beth, Unite, Ebenezer, John, Nathaniel and Joseph. Increase and 
Unite were soldiers — the latter a sergeant — in the company from 
Dorchester under Oapt. Withington, which in 1690 formed part of 
the disastrous expedition against Quebec. The company consisted 
of about 16 men, of whom it is said not more than 30 ever returned 
to their homes. Many of the missing ones were lost at sea. It 
seems almost incredible that so many soldiers could have beeti 
raised for this purpose in a single town — so soon, too, after the 
whole country had sufiFered from the terrible effects of King Philip's 
war. The only further reference we have seen to either of these 
two Moseleys, is a clause in the will of their father, dated Oct. 1, 
1*706, in which he mentions among his heirs, " Increase, son of my 
eldest son Increase, late of Dorchester deceased.'' 

The Thomas Moseley last named, son of Thomas and grandson 
of John, was the one to whom Enoch Wiswall sold, in 1701, the 
estate on the south-east side of Jones's Hill as already mentioned. 
He was bom in Dorchester, March 12, 166T, and died there April 
12, 1H9, in his 83d year. In the deed of sale he is styled junior, 
his father being then alive. He was living on the estate when he 
bought it, but how long he had lived there we have no means of 
knowing. By the boundaries of this lot as already given, it will 
be seen that south of it was land of Gov. Stoughton, which was a 
strip of two acres, fronting on the street, and extending up the 
hill to a portion of the old Jones estate, the town poor-house being 
on the west. After Stoughton's death it passed out of the hands 
of his heirs, and became the property of Mrs. Elizabeth Williams, 
wife of Stephen Williams, Esq., of Roxbury, who, in 1742, by deed 
bearing date Oct. 16, and for £60, sells it to Unite Moseley of 
Dorchester, housewright, son of Thomas who owned the house and 
lot adjoining. It is called orchard land in the deed. Probably it 
included the space now occupied by the new De Wolf street. In 
1745 it was mortgaged for £50 to Paul Dudley, Esq., and mention- 
ed as *' containing two and one fourth acres more or less ; " and in 
1747, for £125, to William Ireland, of Boston, " containing two 
acres" — ^both mortgages being subsequently discharged. 

In 1751 Unite Moseley became the owner of his father's adjoining 
estate, Thomas having died as already mentioned in 1749. In his 
will Thomas directs that his son Unite shall have " my dwelling- 



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SOMB OF THE MOSELET FAMILY. 55 

house, bam, orchard aDd land about my house, he paying to my 
children what the same may amount to more than his single share 
of my estate." Accordingly, a quit-claim deed, to the estate, 
dated March 24, 1761, is given, for £100, lawful money, to Unite, 
signed by his brotiiers and sisters as follows : ThiHuas Moseley, 
Dorchester, cordwainer ; John Webb, cordwainer, and Rebetica 
his wifo ; John Blackman, Dorchester, yeoman, and Susanna his 
wife ; Samuel Pierce, DOTchester, yeoman, and Abigail his wife ; 
and William Cox, Boston, gent., and Thankful his wife. The land 
is described as containing two acres more or less. In 1752 this 
house and limd, together with- three acres of orchard and pasture 
land in Green lane (now PleasMit street) was mortgaged to James 
Porter. 

Thomas Moseley when he died had lived in this ** house on the 
hill '' at least for half a century. The inventory of his estate shows 
a total valuation of about £1,970. The house was valued at £700, 
showing that it was no cheap afiair; bam, £80 ; two acres of land 
about the house, £400. The three acres in Green lane were then 
his, and no other real estate is mentioned ; yet he seems to have 
kept two cows, one being appraised after his death at £20, and 
the other at £16. His apparel is set down at £S8 10s. and " his 
Armour'' at £6. 

Whether Unite Moseley lived in his father's house after it came 
into his possession, we know not ; but in a very few years he lUso , 
died, and he is then spoken of as " of Boston." He died intestate, 
in 1756, and Benjamin Bird was appointed administrator of bis 
estate, the total of which was £363 98. 2d. The house aud bam 
and four and one^uarter acres of land on Jones's Hill were ap- 
praised at only £200, and the lot on Green Lane at £70. A variety 
of carpenter's tools are mentioned "in y' workshop " in Boston. 
The estate proved iusolvent, and both the house and land on 
Jones's Hill, and that in Green Lane, not long after are found in 
the possession of Thomas Pimer, who, with his brother Mattiiew, 
were becoming large land owners in that part of Dorchester. 

Ebenezer Moseley, son of Thomas, grandson of John, and brother 
of the Thomas, Jr., who resided on Jones's Hill, was bom Sept. 
4, 1673. He was for many years a large landholder in Dorchester, 
and during a portion of his life few men in the town were so often 
engaged in the purchase and sale of real estate. In 1712, he, 
with his brother John and others, built a wharf at the foot of what 



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56 Jones's hill and its owners. 

is now Creek street, which was long known as Wales's wharf, the 
town securing to them the proprietorship of it forever, and agree- 
ing to lay out a public way leading to it. He moved to Stoughton 
some time before 1737, bought largely in lands there, and became 
engaged in the Stoughton Iron Works, then a large business con- 
cern. In deeds of purchase and transfer, both before and after his 
residence in Stoughton, he is designated as a " weaver." In 1733, 
by a singular and now inexplicable business transaction, he appears 
in the public records to have been a temporary proprietor of a 
portion of Jones's Hill. By deed dated May 8th of the year men- 
tioned, with no mortgage clause in it, Ebenezer Mawdesley for 
£120 conveys to Jonathan Jones nine acres of land, being a por- 
tion, as the boundaries show, of the lot which fell to Jones's son- 
in-law, Kilton, and sold by him to Clap in 1766. By another deed, 
dated the next day. May 9, 1733, but entered in the next Book of 
Becords, Jones, for the same amount, conveys the same lot back 
to Mawdesley. The lot in question, both before and after these 
transfers, passed as the property of Jones. 

The will of Ebenezer Moseley, of Stoughton, is dated March 8, 
1739-40, he being then, as he states, "very weak in body, but of 
perfect mind and memory.'' Mention in it is made of his wharf 
in Dorchester, which, with his large property in Stoughton, is 
divided, after his wife's decease, among his children, Ebenezer, 
^Samuel, Nathaniel, Elizabeth, Sarah, Mary and Hannah, and his 
sister Elizabeth. A negro girl, Nancy, is left to his wife ; £20 
each to the church in Dorchester and that in Stoughton, and £6 to 
the "reverend pastor" of the Dorchester church, theti the Rev. 
Jonathan Bowman. His son Samuel, then minister of the church 
in Windham, Ct., is appointed executor. His inventory, dated 
June 1, 1741, amounts to the large sum of £6903 4s. 3^^. He 
makes provision in his will that " if either heir do cause any dis- 
turbance by dissatisfaction with it, such heir to have 10s. and no 
further interest in the estate." 

The Rev. Samuel Moseley, just mentioned, son of Ebenezer of 
Stoughton, was born Aug. 16, 1708 ; graduated at Harvard College, 
1729 ; taught school in Dorchester, and afterwards became pastor 
of the Second Church in Windham, Ot., where he died in 1791, in 
his eighty-third year. He, too, as his father's executor, was con- 
nected in a business way with a lot of land on Jones's Hill. In 
the year 1748, he settled a mortgage claim on twelve acres of land 



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SOME OP THE MOSELBY FAMILY. 57 

on the Hill, which had been standing since 1T30, in favor of his 
father and against some of the heirs of Jonathan Jones. Deacon 
Nathaniel Moseley, brother of Rev. Samuel, was deacon of the 
church in Hampton, and died March 1, 1788, aged seventy-two 
years ; and Deacon Ebenezer, son of Rev. Samuel, died Aug. 25, 
1854, aged eighty-four. 

Henry Moseley, probably a brother of John the emigrant, had 
a grant of land in Dorchester, in 1637, but was in the town some 
years earlier. We soon find him living iii Braintree, where his 
daughter Mary was born in 1638, and his son Samuel in 1641. He 
joined the Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company in 1643, and 
seems to have lived in Boston in his later years. His son Samuel 
was a cooper in Dorchester, but afterwards removed to Boston, 
and became the famous Capt. Moseley, who so bravely and suc- 
cessfally served in the wars against the Indians. His treatment 
of them was marked by its severity, and he did not always escape 
the censure of those of his time who believed and practised milder 
methods. He married Anne Addington, daughter of Isaac, who 
was father of the secretary of the province after the overthrow of 
Andros. He died insolvent, and his widow, in 1681 and 1682, was 
granted a license " to sell wine and stronge liquors out of dores.'' 
She seems to have made this business profitable, for when she was 
married again in 1684 to Nehemiah Pierce, a deed of trust was 
conveyed to her brothers in favor of her daughters, " her only 
living children.'' Mr. Pierce died in 1691, leaving her again a 
widow. Samuel Moseley's daughter, Rebecca, married Deacon 
Jonathan Williams of Boston. 

Many of the older citizens of Dorchester, who in youth lived 
north of Jones's Hill, will remember the pond which once existed, 
but whose waters have long since disappeared, on the low ground 
between Cottage and Pond streets, the size of which was such 
that it went by the name of the Great Fond, and furnished, in the 
winter, ample room for all the skaters in the neighborhood, 
and a drinking place for cattle in the summer. This pond, or land 
adjoining, it would seem was once in possession of the Moseley 
family. In 1733, the lot of land near by, on which now stands the 
Dorchester AthensBum, was sold by Samuel Royall to Thomas 
Pimer, the boundaries of which are given as follows : — " South — 
by the way leading from the house of said Royall to the house 
of John Capen [now Cottage street] ; north east by the highway 
9 



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58 

[now Pond street] leading from Dorchester Neck to the house 
of the late Lieut. Gov. Taller in part, and partly by the pond 
called Mawdesley's Pond ; north west by Jonathan Kilton's 
orchard." The lot contained one arid one-half acres, and was sold 
for £40. Royall had recently bought it of the town of Dorchester. 
In 1788, EbenezerMoseley (probably son of Ebenezer of Stough- 
ton), and Elisha Darenport, were jomt owners of a tract of pasture 
land on Jones's Hill, the whole tract comprising nine acres, which 
were originally part of the ancient Jones estate. By deed dated 
Nov. 14, 1788, Moseley sold, for £36, his share in this lot to Rev. 
Moses Everett,* who had been minister of the church in Dorchester 
since 1774, and whose dwelling, still standing, was at the foot Of 
the hill on Pleasant street. The boundaries of this lot show that 
it was on what is now the summit of the hill, bounded south by 
the old poor-house lot, and through ^hich now run the newly 
laid-out highways called Sawyer and Gushing avenues. In 1794, 
two years after Mr. Everett had resigned his ministerial office, but 
while he still occupied the house referred to, he sold to Elisha 
Davenport his half of thisvuine^cre lot, and the whole subsequently 
went into the hands ofDr. Henry Gardner, was afterwards owned 
by his son, Gov. Henry J. Gardner, and more recently has been 
purchased by Messrs. Nathan Sawyer & Son. 

♦ Rev. Moses Everett graduated at Harvard College in 1771, and died in the man- 
sion house above alluded to in 1813, twenty-one years after he had resigned his min- 
isterial office. During those later years he was actively and usefully engaged in various 
important public duties; in 1794 representing bis town in the General Court, and in 
1808 taking the place of his deceased brother Oliver as Judge of the Court of Common 
Pleas. His funeral, as remembered by one now living, then a lad in the neighborhood, 
took place at his house, not many rods distant from the mansion where the funeral of 
Lieut.-Gov. Tailer was ceremoniously observed more than eighty years before. (See 
p. 26.) The attendance was very large,— the largest, probably, at the burial of any 
person in that part of the town since the obsequies of Gov. Tailer. The funeral sermon 
on the following Sunday by the Rev. Dr. Harris had for its text, **Moses my servant 
is dead." Mr. Everett left a widow and ten children— one child by his first wife, one 
by his second, and eight by his third. 



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THE CAPEN OWNERSHIP. 59 



THB OAPEN OWNERSHIP ON. THR HILL. 

Among the numerous individuals bearing the name of Gapen in 
the town of Dorchester during its earlier history, only one has 
been found whom the writer is sure had his dwelling-place on 
any part of Jones's Hill. This was Oapt. Preserved Capen, who 
"was born in the town April 10, 1686. He was son of Preserved 
Capen, born March 4, 1651 ; died Oct. 20, 1T08. The last-named 
was son of Deacon (also Oapt.) John, one of the most useful men 
the town ever had. John was born in England in 1612, and died 
in Dorchester i» 1692. Blake, in his " Annals,'' says of him, 
" He was Deacon of the church, and had been Selectman 16 years, 
and Recorder 13 years, and wrote more in the books than anyone 
. man by far ; keeping ye Books in good order." He married Mary 
Bass of Braintree, and from them probably descended all of the 
name of Capen in this country. He was son of Barnard, an old 
man on his arrival here from England, who died in 1638, aged 16 
years, and whose gravestone, lately dug up in the old Dorchester 
burying ground, is supposed to be the oldest in New England. 

The lot of land on which stood Capt. Preserved Capen's mansion- 
house was on the south-westerly side of Jones's Hill, and is supposed 
to be the lot originally owned by Thomas Clark, and afterwards by 
the Rev. Josiah Flint, the Dorchester minister from 1611 to 1680. 
" It was afterwards," says the History of Dorchester, " Lieutenant 
Wiswall's," although we have been unable to find any record of 
its coming into or going out of Mr. Wiswall's hands. Thomas 
Wis wall did, however, own land adjoining this lot, and one of the 
family, as already mentioned, owned a tract on the other side of 
the hill. The first mention we find in the Suffolk Probate oflSce of 
any ownership in the old Clark estate, after the death of Mr. Flint, 
is in the inventory of the real estate of Preserved Capen, senior, 
who died intestate, his widow Mary and son Preserved administer- 
ing on his estate. Among other items of his property (including 
"A Negro maide," valued at £10), we find ''A dwelling house 
and other buildings," £135, with no reference to location; and 
also, " The dwelling house that was formerly Mr. Flint's, with 



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60 JONES'S HILL AND ITS OWNERS. 

•land adjoining/' £1?0. Several years elapsed before this estate 
was settled, and in the mean time the widow Gapen had married 
a Mr. Williams. In 1T16, it being represented to the Judge of 
Probate that its condition did not allow of a proper division among 
the heirs, an appraisement was made, and permission given to 
settle it all upon the oldest son, Oapt. Preserved Capen, he paying 
certain sums of money to his mother and his two sisters, Mary 
Preston, wife of John Preston, and Ann Capen. The appraisement 
was made by Samuel Topliflf, Jonathan Clap and Nathaniel Glover, 
Jr. The two houses mentioned in the inventory are described in 
the appraisement — the first as "a house, barn & cyder mill, 
£106 10s.'' ; the other as " Mr. Flint's housing and land, £1T6." 
There is also added — "orchard land and meadow before and 
behind the house, £69," which, with four other pieces of land, 
made £804 as the total value of the real estate. 

The boundaries of the old Flint ''housing and land," which now 
came into the possession of Capt. Preserved Capen, were as follows : 
On the north-west by land of Thomas Wiswall ; north-east, partly 
by the Jones estate and partly by James Allen's [where Cushing 
avenue now is] ; south-east by the town or ministerial lands [the 
almshouse lot] ; south-west by the road leading by said house 
towards Roxbury [Hancock street], and containing three acres." 
There is little doubt that he was living on this homestead when it 
came into his full possession in 1716, and there is strong proba- 
bility that his father had lived there before him, and it is also prob- 
able that his grandfather, Capt. John, owned the place after Mr. 
Flint's death, as he certainly did own a lot at that time on the 
opposite side of the street. 

For thirty years after the settlement of his father's estate, Capt. 
Preserved Capen made this his home, where he led a life of in- 
creasing activity and usefulness as a citizen of the town. He was 
for many years a selectman. In Blake's Annals he is styled " Mr." 
whenever mentioned, until 1132, and afterwards the title " Captain " 
is given him till 1742, the last year in which he is there mentioned 
as serving the town in any capacity. In this dwelling, among other 
vicissitudes through which he doubtless passed during the period 
mentioned, he was called to bury no le^s than five of his children, 
as we learn from the gravestones in the old Dorchester buryiiig- 
ground. The dates of death and the names of these children are 
as follows : — May 29, 1710, Preserved, aged 17 days; Oct. 14, 



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THE CAPEN OWNERSHIP. 61 

1T14, Mary, 14 weeks; April 18, 1121, Preserved, in 10th year; 
Aug. 1, 1722, Elijah, 18 weeks ; June 22, 1723, James, 20 days. 
And in 174*7, after the removal of the family from the town, a daugh- 
ter Mary died in the 17th year of her age, and was laid in the old 
cemetery by the side of those of the stricken household who had 
been earlier called. 

Capt. Gapen, who is styled a husbandman, was not confined in 
his farming operations to his three acres of land on Jones's Hill. 
There had descended to him land on the opposite side of the high- 
way, which half a century before had been owned, as just mention- 
ed, by his grandfather. Deacon John Capen ; and in the year 1710 
he purchased of David Jones of Wrentham five and a half acres 
adjoining, which is described as " part meadow and part planting 
land,'' and situated " near unto the meeting-house." The bound- 
aries of this last lot are given as follows : " South, upon the road 
or highway [Hancock or Bowdoin street] ; north, upon said 
Capen's land ; north-east, upon land in the present occupation of 
the Rev. Mr. Danforth ; and wqst, upon land improved by said 
Danforth in part and widow Brewer in part." In 1668 there were 
a dwelling-house and barn upon this lot, and in a deed of sale that 
year by Edith and Samuel Proctor it is described as being *' near 
unto the school-house," the meeting-house on the hill not having 
yet been built, and was then bounded on the north in part by land 
of Deacon John Capen. After his purchase of these Qve and a 
half acres, Capt. Capen's landed property comprised nearly forty 
acres of meadow, upland and orchard, the portion on the south- 
west side of Hancock street extending from Bowdoin street on the 
south-east to Payson avenue, probably, on the northwest. 

In 1745 he sold his mansion-house and all his landed property 
in Dorchester to John Holbrook of Roxbury. The boundaries of 
the Jones's Hill homestead, as given in the deed of sale dated Dec. 
30, of that year,. are the same as have been already given. He 
describes it as " My now mansion-house, garden and yards, and 
about three acres of orchard lands adjoining — together with all 
my barns, stables, cyder houses and mill, and all other edifices 
and buildings thereon standing." The farm on the opposite side 
of the street in the deed of sale was divided into two lots — the 
first, "twenty acres of meadow, plow and pasture land," its 
north-eastern boundary being '* the way passing by said dwelling 
house " ; the other lot, " fifteen acres of pasture land," situated 



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62 JONEa'S HILL AND ITS OWNERS. 

south-west of the first lot. Included in the sale were also three 
acres of salt marsh at Calves Pasture. For the whole of this real 
estate Mr. Holbrook pays to Mr. Capen " J&2800 in province bills, 
old tenor/' 

After this sale Capt. Capen probably moved at once to the town 
of Stoughton, where his cousin Jonathan Capen had gone a few 
years before from the "Four Corners" in Dorchester.* He was 
now about 60 years old, and the reasons which induced him at this 
time of life to leave the home of his childhood and'of his maturer 
years are not now apparent. We learn nothing of his life during 
the few years he lived in Stoughton, nor have we been able 
to find the exact date of his death. His will was made in 1150, 
and was proved Nov. 14, 1T5T, in which latter year he probably 
died. In it he gives to his wife Susannah the use of '' all that part 
of the dwelling-house in which I now live and so much of the barn 
as she shall stand in need of" — also one-half of certain lands in 
Stoughton and *' one-half of my pue in the meeting-house in the 
third Precinct of Stoughton,'' with a horse and two cows, and 
ten bushels of com per year. His son David, whom he named as 
executor, was to have the other half of the above-named lands, 
also other tracts, and the other half of his *' pue." Son Ebenezer 
had assigned to him thirty-two acres of land in a certain location. 



* Jonathan Capen and Jean his wife sold, in 1736, to his brother Edward Capen, his 
estate at the Four Corners, in Dorchester, being 7>a acres of land on the northerly one 
of thife comers (now corner Washin^?ton and Bowdoin Streets), with a hoase and 
barn thereon, also four acres of mowing land on the opposite corner (now Harvard 
Street), for the sum of £1000. In 1741 Edward sells the same lots, for £650, to John 
Homans of Boston. In 1789 Thomas Homans conveys to James Bowdoin, Esq. of 
Dorchester, for £1200, *' the whole of the land and buildings lately occupied by Capt. 
John Homans, deceased," and also several additions thereto, making in all " 40 acres 
more or less " of the farm, likewise including various other parcels of fresh and salt 
meadow, besides land in Milton. 

Probably both of the two Bowdoins, Gov. B. and his son James, resided on this 
estate, and their name was in consequence given to the eminence which formed part of 
it. The last-named removed from Dorchester in 1796, and died in 1811 at Naushon 
Island, where he last resided. He was a most liberal patron of Bowdoin College, 
leaving to that institution his extensive library, philosophical apparatus, and paintings, 
brought by him from Paris, with the revereion of the island or Naushon. 

Jonathan Capen, above-named, died intestate in Stoughton in 1740, and his son 
Jonathan, born in Dorchester, was appointed administrator. He left four sons and 
two daughters — viz. Mrs. Elizabeth Tolman, Jonathan, Samuel, Edward, Joseph and 
Jane Capen. The children of his son Jonathan, Jr., by his wife Jerusha Talbot (m. 1746) 
were as follows— all born in Stoughton : 1. Rebecca, b. July 3, 1748, wife of Lieut. 
Elijah Wentworth. 2. Jerusha, b. May 16, 1750, wife of Capt Jacob Leonard. 3. 
Jonathan, b. Sept. 20, 1752, m. Hannah Glover. 4. John, b. Feb. 13, 1755, m. Patience 
Drake. 5. Melatiah, b. Sept. 10, 1757, wife of Joseph Porter, Jr. 6. Theophilus, b. 
June 5, 1760, graduated at Harvard College 1782, ra. Rachel Lambert and moved to 
Vermont. 7. Eleanor, b. June 18, 1763, wife of David Wadsworth. 8. Azubah, b. 
March 20, 1766, m. in 1801 David Clapp of Dorchester. 



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THE OAPBN OWNERSHIP. 68 

and parts of lots elsewhere in the town. To son Elijah were given 
lands at the south end of " Great Pond/' and certain of the cattle. 
Daughter Susannah Harvey, besides other property, to have half 
his ''Pne in Dorchester Meeting-house, but if she should have a 
mind to dispose of the same, then to offer it to my brother, Eben- 
ezer Wiswall, or one of his sons living in said town, they or either 
of them paying a reasonable price for said Pue." This Ebenezer 
Wiswall was the husband of Ann Capen, sister of the captain. 

By the removal of the two cousins, Jonathan and Preserved 
Gapeu, from Dorchester to Stoughton, tracts of land in the town 
which they left, on Jones's Hill and elsewhere, which for more 
than a century had been in the hiuids of original settlers, passed 
into those of later comers to the place. In the town to which 
they removed they were heirs to many acres of the origioal grants 
made to their ancestors, and to these each of them added more 
land by purchase, so that in their wills about one thousand acres 
in the town were divided among their children. 

The location of the homesteads of the earliest settlers in Dorches- 
ter becomes more and more uncertain as one generation after an- 
other of their descendants passes away. Stores of knowledge on 
this subject, traditional and authenticated, have been lately lost 
by the lamented death of Deacon Ebenezer Olapp. The question 
in regard to the spot where Deacon John Capen lived and died is 
not satisfactorily settled in the mind of the writer. His will, 
which is fully and carefully drawn up, does not decide the matter. 
In it he speaks of his ''home lott," and gives boundaries which 
would seem to locate it south of Jones's Hill, on the other side of 
Hancock street, and as part of the land sold by his grandson in 
1T45. He also mentions '* the dwelling-house I now live in," in a 
way that might apply to the house at the foot of the hill, where we 
know his grandson lived, part of it being then apparently occupied 
by his son Preserved, senior. Again, Deacon John gives to his 
son John another homestead, described as " that house that he now 
liveth in and ye land belonging to it which I bought of Henry 
Gemsey," &c. This lot, we have reason to believe, was at the 
corner of what is now Cottage and Pleasant streets, and near which, 
it has been generally believed. Deacon John Capen himself lived. 
We find no evidence on record that he ever did live there, or on 
the corner of Pleasant and Pond streets, opposite, as stated in the 
'* History of Dorchester." This last corner, owned by Gov. Stough- 



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64 JONES'S HILL AND ITS OWNBBS. 

ton in 1616, was afterwards, with a house and barn thereupon, the 
property of Ebenezer Williams, cooper, and previously to the 
above date had been in possession of the Withington family. 
While, therefore, we have found nothing in the records to show 
positively where this first Capen emigrant lived, the indications 
are strong that the foot of Jones's Hill was the spot. Its location 
is of more than ordinary interest, for with the house is connected 
an event in the early history of the colony in which were strikingly 
mingled the light and shade of the religious character of the time. 
Wherever the house may have stood, it is an historical fact that 
within its walls were confined, by order of the General Court of 
the colony, for the space of four years, Mr. Nicholas Upsall, whose 
disapproval of the laws then existing against the Quakers, and the 
sympathy and aid he gave to this persecuted people, drew upon 
him the heavy punishment of the government during the last ten 
years of his life. Imprisonment and banishment during several 
years having been inflicted on him, and he, as the court recites, 
having *' greatly abused their lenity," it therefore orders that he 
be ''confined again to the house of John Capen, provided he does 
not corrupt any with his pernicious opinions."* Here he died, 
August, 20, 1666, aged about TO years, and was buried in Copp's 
Hill Burying Ground, Boston. Mr. Upsall was a brother-in-law 
of Deacon John Capen, and together they had been selectmen 
of Dorchester in former years. An interesting sketch of the life 
and character of this tender-hearted, generous and brave Christian 
man, by Mr. Augustine Jones of Providence, R. I., may be found 
in the "New England Historical and Genealogical Register" 
for January, 1880. 



* The following is a provision in Nichola*; Upsall's will, dated " 8 mo. 9, 1660," not 
long after a colonial law had been passed forbidding any inhabitant to " entertain any 
person called a Qaaker, under penalty of £5 or whipping " : 

*' Item. I do order and give for the use of such servants of the Lord as are commonly 
called Quakers, my new feather bed, bolster and pillows, with a good pair of sheets 
and a pair of blankets, with the new rugg, and bedstead fitted with rope, Matt and 
Curtains, in that little room in my house, * the Red Lyon Inn,' called the parlor, or in 
the chamber over that parlor, during the life of my said wife, and after her decease to 
be then continued by my daughter Cook, within whose line that part of the house 
falleth." 



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JOHN HOLBROOK. 65 



JOHN ilOLBROOK AND THE HOLDEN FAMILY. 

The large landed property, situated on the westerly side of 
Jones's Hill and on the south-west side of Hancock Street opposite, 
already described, which John Holbrook bought of Capt. Preserved 
Capen in 1745, continued in Hoi brook's possession only till 1153. 
When he purchased the estate, he is described in the deed of sale 
as " of Roxbury '' ; but when he sold it he is spoken of as "of 
Dorchester.'' It is therefore probable that he changed his resi- 
dence when he bought Mr. Capen's house and land, and at once 
occupied the mansion which we have supposed may have been the 
residence of Capt. John Capen, and previously to have been the 
property of the Rev. Josiah Flint and Thomas Clark. Mr. Hol- 
brook seems to have lived there only eight years, for at the end of 
that time, by deed bearing date June 9, 1763, and which describes 
him as ''John Holbrook of Dorchester, gentleman," he sells to "Wil- 
liam Holden of Dorchester, physician," for £600, the four parcels of 
land which constituted the estate sold to him by Capt. Preserved 
Capen — viz., 1, the three acres of orchard land near the foot of 
Jones's Hill, being the lot adjoining the alms-house estate, with 
"the dwelling-house and barns, cider-house and mill" and other 
buildings ; 2, the twenty acre lot on the other side of the street 
south, " partly mowing-land, partly plow-land and partly pasture- 
land " ; 3, a piece of pasture-land adjoining the latter, containing 
fifteen acres, with a north-western boundary in part on "a way 
going across from the road aforementioned [Hancock Street] to 
the upper country rpad so called, by the dwelling-house of Edward 
Kilton"; and 4, three acres of salt marsh at " Calf s Pasture." 
It is curious to notice the difference in the prices of this estate, as 
mentioned in the two deeds of sale, in 1745 and 1753 — Mr. Hol- 
brook buying it for £2800 in the former year, and selling it for 
£600 in the latter. This was doubtless owing, in whole or in 
part, to difference in value of the currency in use at the times 
mentioned — the depreciation of " Province bills " being at times 
alarmingly great in the days of our forefathers. 
10 



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66 Jones's hill and its owners. 

The Dr. William Holden who thus became owner of a tract of 
land and a mansion-house on Jones's Hill, was for many years a 
prominent man in the town, not only as a physician, but as a 
justice of the peace and a holder of other offices of trust. He 
succeeded to the large medical practice of Dr. Elijah Danforth, who 
died in Dorchester in 1736. Dr. Holden was bom in Cambridge, 
March 4, 1113, and died in Dorchester March 30, 1776. His son, 
Phineas, born Jan. 31, 1744, having studied medicine with his 
father, succeeded to his practice, and continued the leading prac- 
titioner in the northern part of the town until his death in 1819. 
In 1792, by vote of the town, Dr. Phineas was permitted to build 
a hospital on Dorchester Neck, for the seclusion and treatment of 
patients inoculated for the small-pox, which method of preventing 
the unchecked spread of that pestilence was still practised, but 
soon to be superseded by use of the more gentle kine-pock inocu- 
lation. After Dr. Holden's death. Dr. Robert Thaxter, whose 
memory is fondly cherished by many of the generation now passing 
away, became an extensive practitioner in the lower part of Dor- 
chester. Dr. T. graduated at Harvard College in 1798, and died 
in 1852, aged 75. 

In the same year that the elder Dr. Holden purchased the estate 
of John Holbrook, he also bought of Thomas Kilton, one of the 
last of the heirs of Jonathan Jones, an extensive tract of land 
near the summit of Jones's Hill. This was bounded on the S. E. 
by lands belonging to Unite Mosely and heirs of Lt. Gov. Tailer ; 
S. W., by the poor-house lot; N. E., Jones's, afterwards D. 
Clap's estate ; N. W., land then belonging to Hon. James Allen. 

The inventory of the estate of Dr. William Holden, who died 
intestate, was taken in April, 1777. No less than four mansion 
houses are mentioned in it, with over fifty acres of land adjoining 
them, all apparently situated on Jones's Hill and the southerly 
side of Hancock Street ; besides which, there were parcels of salt 
marsh and woodland. A tan-yard is also included in the estate, 
but where located is not mentioned in the inventory, though there 
can be little doubt that it was in Hancock Street near Bowdoin, 
where the tanning business was carried on by Warren Glover 
within the remembrance of persons now living. Neither is the 
precise location of the different houses stated. Doubtless the old 
Flint house, afterwards Capeu's, was one of them, although no 
mention is made in the inventory, as previously, of " cyder-houses 



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THE HOLDBN FAMILY. 6T 

and mills" connected with it. One mansion is described as Uie 
one in which deceased lived ; the second, as " that in which son 
Samuel lives '' ; the third, where " son William lives" ; and the 
fourth, the one in which " sons Phineas and Jonathan live." 

Dr. William Ilolden left a wife and eight children. The names 
of the latter were — Samuel, William, Phineas, Jonathan, Hannah, 
Lydia, Mercy and Abigail. The estate was not divided among 
them for several years. In November, 1781, it was appraised by 
Samuel Pierce, Ezekiel Tolman and John How, and the land and 
houses assigned to the widow and the four sons. To the former, 
as her dower, fell the mansion in which she and her husband had 
lived, with land adjoining, and which we suppose to hav€ been 
the Jones's Hill property. The house is valued at £110, and the 
" barn, chaise-house and other small buildings " at £30. '' Land 
adjoining," reaching, it is supposed, to the top of the hill, about 
12 acres, at £7 per acre. The widow also had " 3| acres oppo- 
site said house " (south side of Hancock Street), at £23. lOs. per 
acre ; another lot of 5 acres near by, same valuation, and 3 acres 
of salt marsh at £9 per acre. The other three mansion-liouses, 
with the remainder of the land and the tan-yard, were settled 
respectively upon the other three sons. The latter fell to Jonathan, 
who also had " the Quinch-meadow, so called," probably meant 
for Quince, but plainly spelt with an h in the Record at th6 Probate 
office. 

The house set off to Dr. Phineas Holden was the house in whicb 
be had been living, and is believed to be still standing. It is on 
the westerly side of Hancock Street, neaa: the present Glendale 
Street, and with land adjoining has been for many years past in the 
possession of the Pay#on family. Here he followed the successful 
practice of his profession, for about half a century, and here be 
died, as already mentioQed, in 1819. 

Reference has been made, in a previous <;hapter of these 
sketches, to the diary kept by Deacon James Humphreys in the 
early part of the present century, in which he gives the location 
of houses in this neighborhood. An extract from it will show 
where stood several of the Holden houses, as remembered by him. 
He says — " There were before and at the time of my birth twenty- 
three dwelling houses between this place [Humphreys Street] and 
the meeting-house in going round Jones's Hill — now there are but 
twenty." After describing eighteen of these houses, many of 



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68 Jones's hill and its owners. 

which have been mentioned in the course of these sketches, he 
cornea to the foot of Meeting-house Hill on the easterly side, and 
says, " the nineteenth house belonged to the Town, and stood 
near the spot of the town poor-house, the barn on the opposite 
side of the road on the bend. A little before the Revolutionary 
war the inside of this house was taken out and it was made a 
place for a company of minute-men that had been recently raised 
to exercise in, commanded by Mr. Abraham Wheeler. The 
twentieth house stood where Major Samuel Payson lived, owned 
by Capt. Capen, with two large white pine trees standing in front, 
and afterwards owned by Dr. William Holden. The twenty-first, 
the Rev. Josiah Flint, since then occupied by John Champney, 
innholder; whose sign was that of a Turk's head, called ' The 
Turk's Head Tavern.' The bam adjoined the road, la little north of 
the mile stone now standing. The twenty-second house stood in 
the centre of Major S. Payson's land, near the well belonging to 
Capt. Thomas Wiswall ; and the twenty-third stood south-west, 
halfway from Mr. Isaac Olapp's house to the road, and belonging 
to Mr. Zebulon Pierce, afterwards to Mr. William Holden, Jr., 
the barn in front adjoining the road.'' 

No attempt has been made to trace down to the present time the 
ownership or occupancy of these several homesteads once belong- 
ing to the Capen family, and afterwards coming into possession of 
Dr. William Holden. The property has been divided and sub- 
divided. The region in this neighborhood, including the whole 
westerly side of Jones's Hill, is gradually undergoing a transfor- 
mation, which already presents a striking contrast to the western 
view which a hundred years ago was looked down upon from the 
top of the hill. Instead of the old Turk's Head Tavern, and the 
three or four scattered farm houses, with the tan-yard beyond, 
which then made up the near prospect, may now be seen scores of 
beautiful dwelling-houses on well laid-out avenues and streets, 
indicating a growing and thrifty population, with means and capa- 
city tastefully to improve and adorn a naturally fine location. 



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