Skip to main content

Full text of "History of Ashburnham, Massachusetts : from the grant of Dorchester Canada to the present time 1734-1886 with a genealogical register of Ashburnham families"

See other formats

974.402 *^'- ^ 








3 1833 01104 4275 

Digitized by the Internet Archive 

in 2010 with funding from 

Allen County Public Library Genealogy Center 



I C' . ^^C/^t /iJ 




'i>'«xmis W j^ t ^> m 'g>oiiSiiSns£JSiS^S^''^'*^ 



TO ,(• 

THE PRESENT TIivIE,.,JJ34-1PM. ^- - ' 

WITH A I , , -■- 




By EZRA S.^rEABliS, 

Author of the Histonj of Jiin'ltj'', JV. H. '. ■ 


*'^Vhateve^ strengtheiis oar IochI attachiuents is favorable both 
to individual and national charactor. Show me a man •who cares 
no more for one place than another, and I will show you iu that 
same person one who loves nothing but himself." 

A S H B U R N H A >[ , M ASS.: 

18 8 7. 

f - "^ 

' V 

34 1626856 


15 V THE 


This volume is preseutinl iu response to a ]>.:;i;ular deinund. 
The enterprise was instituted and sustained l-j a generous desire 
of tlie citizens of Ashburnliani to seciu-e the publication of the 
history of the toAvu. The initial action to this end is found in a 
vote of the town in 1880, nuiking choice of ^Villjur F. AVhitney, 
l\ev. Josiah 1). Crosby, Simeon Merritt and ^Villinni V. J>llis to 
jnake preliminary arrangements for the compilation and })ubli- 
cation of a volume. By subsequent votes of tlic town the 
committee has been directed to consummate the work. 

In 1882 Mr. ^Vlerritt died, and George F. Stevens was elected 
by the to^vn to complete the origin-il number of the committee. 
Subsequently, on account of age and feeble health, Mr. Crosby 
resigned, and Charles "Winchester was designated to till the 
vacauc}'. Mr. P>llis was appointed by the committee to gather 
material and family registers, and from this point the work has 
been prosecuted without interruption. 

t Early in the spring of 1884 the committee contracted with 
Hon. P^zra S. Stearns, of Kludge, New Hampshire, to wi'ite a 
History of Ashburnham, following a general plan which he sub- 
miited for our consideration, and Avliich met our approbation. 

'Sir. Stearns has faithfully and ably fniniknl the obligation he 
assumed, and has produced a work which nieets our warmest 
api)roval and unqualified endorsement. Yieldiiig to the express 
desire of the author, we reluctantly refrain from a more particular 
expression of our estimate of the sterling character of the volume 
and of our ready appreciation of the vigor of thought and felieiiy 
of expression which will not escape the attention of the reader. 

"NViLP.UR F. AVhitnev, 
William P. Ellis, 
Geokgk F. Stevkxs, 




A New Exglaxd town can allege no antiquity. Only 
ill a comparative sense can one assume the dignity of age. 
The municipal histoiy of Ashburnhani is compressed witln'n 
the 1)rief span of one luuidred and fifty years, and of tins 
period the first two decades are isolated from the connected 
narrative of the remainder. The drama is limited in 
duration, yet the scenes are crowded with events. At the 
threshold stands the surveyor with his compass and chain, 
the emblems of approaching civilization, ready to sever from 
the wilderness a defined area and limit the stage on which 
will appear the shifting scenes of succeeding years. The 
early settler, struggling with the subjugation of the forest, 
and, in the dying flame and fading smolce of the clearing, 
rearing a cabin and garnering the product of a virgin soil, 
the mechanic in daily toil dreaming not that he is founding 
industries that will Itecome swelling ti'ibutaries to the com- 
merce of the world, the Rcvolutionarv soldier breathiu"- into 
life his aspirations of liberty, and in the fruits of war 
revealing the possibility of a republican form of government, 
the meeting-house on the hill, the settlement and labor of 
''the learned orthodox minister," the early schools, the 
primitive roads broadening bv use into thoi'ouohfares, the 
rude mills exhil)iting only the elements of mechanical skill, 


are a part of the lii*tory of eveiy New En^iland town, and 
each occupies a })lacc in tlie following chapters. And yet 
throughout the work, in early and in later alfair.s, it has been 
my constant aim to present, in a proper light, the forms of 
procedure and the phases of character peculiar to this town. 
The stereoty})ed features, which in the force and sc-iueiice 
of eyents are common to the histor}' of all Xew England 
towns, haye l)een mainly emplo}'ed as connecting links in 
the succession of eyents or as mirrois to tlie individuality of 
AshV)urnham. The glory of any town is retlected in the 
liyes of sterling men whose deeds are the soul of its annals. 
In the following chapters, generation has succeeded genera- 
tion, and each has left to })osterity the strengthening 
influence of an ins])iring example. In local history is found 
the most })otent incentive to activity of life -and an 
honorable conduct. The nearness and fimiliarity of the 
exemplars animate the example. 

During a review of these many years I have found enter- 
tainment, which can be renewed by the reader, in silently' 
noting the types of mind and character developed by the 
several families which have constituted the population of 
the town. — each generation exhibiting the balances between 
extremes of character and ability that incite comparisons and 
suggest conclusions. The sunmiary record of achievement 
and conduct demonstrates that the genius of Ashburnham 
has been persevering, that the average ability of the citi/en 
has been conspicuous, and the general character of the 
masses has been well sustained. 

Without an interruption of the narrative in an exhibition 
of the fact, it has been my }iurposc to supplement the deeds 
of men with an elfort to also portray the habit and thought. 
the manners and customs, the aspirations tmd })assions of 


I ■ ;;■• 


eiicli gonoL'atioii, and to state i'act.s in such a manner tbat 
the reader l)e loft at full liberty to draw suggested 
conclusions. Leaving the discussion of philosophies to 
more pretentious volumes, it has remained our pleasurable 
labor to revive fading memories, to gi^e form and substance 
to the shadows of the past, to clothe in the habiliments of 
truth the fugitive forms of tradition, to assign to deeds of 
men the inspiration of a good or an unwoithy motive, to 
present a picture of the past in which can be seen in clearer 
light the outlines of the present, and to combine the past 
with the present in a coimected narrati\c of sequence and 
fact, ^ot to the manner born nor at any time a resident of 
Ashburnham, I have often gleaned in the iicld at a disad- 
vantage, but I have been free from the prejudices of 
familiarity, and in this etfort have not been misguided by 
the vivid impressions and false estimates of childhood and 
youth . 

The lields, from %vhich the material of the following 
chapters has been garnered, are the town and church 
records, the manuscript volumes in the State archives, 
manuscripts and printed volumes wherever found, and 
registry and probate records of several counties. Ceme- 
teries with their rigid inscriptions and family records, 
preserved by pious care, have supplied many dates that 
could not be secured from other sources. To the custodians 
of the numerous records that have been laid under tribute, 
and to a multitude of friends who have rendered cheerful 
and valued assistance, mv wei2:htv ol)ligations are revived in 
the memory of polite attention and spontaneous kindness. 
A generous measure of genealogical information has been 
obtained at the library of the New England Historic- 
Genealogical Society, and to John Ward Dean, A. ^l.. and 

■. 1 


]ii.-> obli^iiig ;issisfants, I am indcljiod bovoiid tho coiivoti- 
tiojul ibrms of acknowlndL-nu-ni. And duty Joins with 
pleasure in an uni-rscrvcd expression of my gratitude to 
Harriet Proetor Poorc, ^vliose ianiiliarity with the reposi- 
tories of historic and genealogical lor*- has aid<'d suecessful 
research for many dates and facts not easily accessi!;1e. 'J'o 
^Vilbur F. Whitney, AVilliam P. I'^llis. George F. Stevens 
and Charles AVimhcster, who have faithfully r<"])rcsented the 
town in the pi-eparation and ])ul)licalion of this volume, I 
am pleased to ex])ress persona.l obligations for courteous 
treatment and polite attention. Their zeal and interest in 
the prosecution of the M'ork have been a constant incentive, 
and their })ronij>t attention in the protler of facilities has 
anticijtated every reasonal)le rcsjuirement. The conmiittee 
has relieved me tVojn the embarrassment of censorship and 
the restraint of dictation, and, in a ])roper recognition of 
the fact, I assume ]espon.>ibility for errors, for failure of 
judgTuent and for all im])erfcction.> which appear in the 
following ])ages. 

It should be l)ornc in mind that manv of the foUowiu" 
chapters were written two yeai-s ago, and that mention of 
])resent time has reference to the begiiming of the year 
ISrSG. The mention of a subscijuent event and the emi)loy- 
ment of a later tlute are gratuitous amendments to the plan 
originally adopted. 

EzuA .S. Stkauxs. 
Ri.vDoE, N. IF.. May 1, 1SS7. 

, , ,t , 

-t .■;-.. ,'.vi 



Location. — lioundaries — Area.— Surface. — Soil. — Course of the Streams. — 
Connecticut and Merrimack Drainage.- — rends.— Products. 
— Wila Animals. — Native T.irds. — Fisli. — Klevations. — Scenery. 



Seven Grant? of Land. — The Policy of the General Court. — .Vr. Era of 
Grants. — Tiie Starr Grant. — Owned by Green, "Wilder and .Toslin. — 
The Cambridge Grant. — The First Survey. — The Lexington Grant. — 
Sale of same to the Germans. — The Bluefield Grant. — The Early 
Tioad to Xortlifield — The Grant Sold to "William .Tones and Ephraim 
Wetherbee. — The Converse Grant— Sale to Joseph Yv^ilder. — The 
Polfe Grant. —Sale to John Green-wood.- The Dorchester Canada or 
Township Grant. — The Canada Soldiers. — Four Towns Chartered in 
One Enactment. — The Township Surveyed. — Area. — l^ersonal Notices. 




The Township Awarded to Sixty Person.s. — Their Influence over the Settle- 
ment. — Proceedings of the First ]Meeting. — Changes in Membership of 
the Proprietors. — House Lots Surveyed. — Site for Meeting-house 
Selected. — Saw-mill Proposed — Second Distribution of Land. — A 
Fulling-mill Suggested. — The First ^Meeting-house. — "War witli Heze- 
kiali Gates. — The Province Line. — ]Mossmian's Inn. — Fear of Indians. 
— Block House Built. — The Settlement Temporarily Abandoned. — 
The Situation. — Changes in Meuiber.-hip of the Proprietors. — Personal 
Notices. — Mossman's Petition 52-79 



Renewed Activity of the Proprietors. — Moses Foster. — The Second Saw- 
mill. — Grain-mill. — Settlement. — Disagreement between Resident and 
2Jon-resident Proprietors. — Names of Early Settlers. — The German 
Settlement. — The Province Line. — Manufacture of Potash. — Distri- 
bution of Undivided Lands. — P^arewell to the Proprietors. — Persona! 
Notices 80-107 




Incorporation.— The rctitions of the Inhabitants and of the Proprietors.— 
The name of Ashflcld Proposed.— The Cliarter.— i:arly Town Meetings. 

— Ashby Incorporated.— Contribution to Asliby.— New Arrivals. 

Salary of the Minister.— Schools. — Abatement of the Province Tax — 
Kevolutionary Flashes.— Death of First Minister.— TJie Common.— 
Tax List, 1770.— Price of Commodities. — A Pouiul and Ficdd Drivers. 
—Gardner First Suggested.— Warning C)ut 108-1;{0 



Situation of the Town.— The Covenant.— Worcester Convention..— The 
Juror List. — I'eprcsented in Provincial Congress. — Powder and Lead. 
— The Militia Organized. —Prominent Citizens Interviewed. — The 
Salt Problem.— .Vlann at Lexington.— Captain Gates' Company. — 
Captain Davis' Company.- The Siege of Boston and Battle of Bunker 
Hill.— Captain Wilder's Company.— The Declaration of Independence. 
—Enlistments in 1776.— An Hour of Gloom.— Town Proceedings.— 
Soldiers in 1777.— .\larm and Call for Troops.— The Response of 
Ashburnhani.— Continental and Oilier Sol liers.— Pul)!ic Aid.— Assent 
to the Articles of Confederation. — Depreciation of the Currency. — 
The Soldiers in the Field.— New Recruits.— Clothing fur the Army. — 
Alas! One Deserter.— Soldiers in 1771).— IJepresentative to General 
Court. — Price of Conmi'.)dities.— Constitution Proposed. — Thanksciv- 
ing.— Soldiers in 17S0.— Town Meetings.— Observance of the Sabbath. 
— Soldiers in 17S1. — Bounty Proposed. — A Fine Pemitted.— Requisi- 
tions for Beef. — Home Trials i;ll-17G 



Personal Xoticos. — P'.benezer Munroe. — Lowe.— Josepii Jewett. 

Samuel Kelton. — Reuben Townseiul.— Isaac Stearns.- William 
Stearns.— Isaac Whitmore.— Charles Hastings. — David Wallis. — 
Cyrus Fairbanks. — Ebenezer Wallis. — Thomas Cribson. — Jonas Rice. 
Reuben Rice.— Eliakim Rice.— Jai)ez Marble. — Lemuel Stimson. — 
Abraham Townsend. — John Bowman. — .loshua Fletcher. — Joseph 
Merriam. — .\sa Brocklebank. — Jonathan Gates. — Jonathan Samson. 
— Ezekiel S. Metcalf.— David Clark.— David Chattin. — Ebenezer B. 
Davis. — Isaac Merriam. — David Merriatn. — John Winter. — William 
Ward. — Edward Whitmore. — Reuben Rice. — Abraham Lowe. — Joseph 
Jewett. — Reuben Townsend. — Letnuel Stimson. —Jonas Rice. — .Jabez 
and Oliver Marble. — Thomas Gibson.— Charles Hastings.— Joseph 
Gibbs.— David Wallis. — Cyrus Fairbanks. — Joshua Fletcher — Joseph 
Merriam.— Names of Pensioners Residing in Ashburnhani in 1840. 



STATE i;i:lations, I'Olitic.-5, town oiuckrs. 
A Season of l^isquietude. — Shay's I\cvolt. — The Loyal Sentiment of Ash- 
burnham. — Volunteers to Suppress the lievolt. — Isaac Stearns' Diary. 
— A Bloodless Campaign. — Constitutional Conventions. — Piepresenta- 
tion in the Legislature. — Vote of the Town for Governor. — Proposed 
Divisions of tl;e County.— A List of Town OOicers. . . . 211-242 



Early Measures to Secure Preaching. — Kev. Elisha Harding. — Call and 
Ordiratior; of Kev. .Jonathan ^Vinohester. — A Church Embodied. — 
The Covenant.— Original Membership. — Additions. — The Fir*t Dea- 
cons. — Death of Mr. Winchester. — His Character.— Call and Ordina- 
tion of Rev. John Cushing.— A Long and Successful Ministry. — An 
Era of Concord. — Discipline withnut Asperity. — Half AVay Covenant. 
—Death of Mr. Cushing.— His Character.— Call and Ordination of 
Kev. George Perkins. — Installation of Rev. George Goodyear. — Rev. 
Edwin .lennison. — Rev. Elnathan Davis.— Rev. Frederick A. Fiske. — 
Rev. Elbridgo G. Little.— Rev. Thomas Boutelle.- Kev George E. 
Fisher. — Rev. Moody A. Stevens. — Rev. Leonard S. Parker. — Rev. 
Daniel E. Adams. — Rev. .Josiah D. Crosby.— A Vacancy. — The 
Deacons 243-281^ 



The First Meeting-house. — Votes Concerning the Edifice. — Pews Con- 
structed. — The Town as a Parish. — The Salary of Mr. Cushing. — 
The Hurricane.— The Site of the First Meeting-house. — The Second 
Meeting-house. — Proceedings 17D1. — Painting of the Meeting-house. — 
Toleration. — Dissolution of the Relations between the Town and the- 
Church. — First Parish Organized.— Contention over the Ministerial 
Fund. — The Third Meeting-house. — Location.— Continued History. — 
— The Edifice Remodelled. — The Parsonage 2S4-;30S 



The Methodists.— The Field and the Situation. — The Early Preachers. — 

The First Meeting-house. — Second Meeting-house.— The Miiiisters. 
The Union Chukch. — The Elements Collected. — The Meeting-house. — A 

Church Embodied. — The Early Preachers. — Elder Edward A. Rollins. 

—Rev. A. A. Whitmore. — Temporary Supplies.— Rev. Daniel Wight. 

— The Parish. — Personal Notices. — The Deacons. 
The Baptist.?. — Preachers without Pay. — Stephen Gibson. — Disintegration. 
Advextists. — Their Belief. ^ — No Churcli Organization. 
The Catholics. — First Services in this Town. — Purchase a Meeting-house. 

—Rev. .Toim Conwav 309-32i 


CllArj'EK \l. 


A Tnilliful Koniark of >.u Great Account.— Karly Actiun in Uelatiuii to 
Sacred Music. — Ye I'ltch-pijic. — Kaily Ilyiun-books. — Now Tunes. — 
First Choristers.— l)eacorii!ifc the llyinii.— Huss Viol.— O^Iusical 
Families. --Later ^[enlbers of the Congregational Choir.— The Meth- 
odist Choir ;-;lM-3.>() 


I'UiiMC sciioor-s. 

Home Education. — First Appropriation for Schools. — First School-houses. 
—])istrict.s.— Eight Districts Defined.— A New District.— The Tenth 
District.— New Tjouudaries.— The Eleventh District.— The District 
System Abolished. — School-houses. — Text-books. — Teachers. — Ap- 
propriations—School Legislation. — High Schools. — Prudential Affairs. 
— Supervision :^.31-i''l'J 

THK ccsiiiM. a<ai>i:mv. 

Incidental F'eatures of the F:ndowu)ent. — The Will of Thomas Tarkman 
Gushing.— The Trustees.— Progress of Events.— Winchester Square.— 
The Edifice.— Dedication.— The School Fund.— Jewett HalL— The 
Crosby Scholarshi[i.— Library and Apparatus.— Professor Pierce. — 
Professor Vose. —Board of Trustees, Past and I'rcsent. . :'.:)<)-35;) 



Donations of Land to Other Towns. — Original Area.— Province Line. — 
Incorporation of Ashby.— Gardner.— Area Severed from Ashburnham. 
— The I'amilies.— Land Annexed to Ashby.— The I'etitioners.— Ash- 
burnham Resists.— New P.oundaries. — The Families. — A New Town 
Proposed.— Meeting-house Built. — Renewed lUlbrt and Opposition.— 
John Ward and William Barrell Annexed. — Petition of George Wilker 
and others '>t)0-^i 1 



The Primitive Roads.— The Northfield Road.— Early Roads in Ashburnham. 
— The Great Road to Ipswich Canada.— A County Road.— Road tu 
Ashby Line. —New Roads.— The Town Imlicted.— Other County Roads. 
—South Turnpike.— The Wincliendou Koad Amended.— Turnpikes. — 
Teaming. — Expenditure. — Road Commissioners. — Railroads. ;'.72-38.'^ 

cox TK NTS. 13 


The Fir?t Inn. — Several Early Ijinholders. — Uncle Tim'.';. — The Cockerel 
Tavern.— Two llotel.s on ^fain Street. — Chiklren of the Woods. — A 
New Tavern. — The Central Ilou.^e. — Tiie Frye Tavern — The Tavern 
at Factory Village. 

Ti!K Stokes. — The First Store. — Tiie Jewetts and their Successors. — 
Madame Cushing a Merchant.— Several Small Stores. — The "Winches- 
ters. — Adams and Grcenv.ood. — Ellis and Lane. — Newton Hayden. — 
Parker Brothers. — Marble and Gilson. — Georfre llockwood. — Elliot 
Moore. — Mirick Stinisnn.— Store in South . . ."IS^-iOO 

:mkch.vnical industries. 

Prominent Position of Ashburnham. — Three Early Mills. — A Multitude of 
Grain-mills and Saw-mills. — The ^fanufacture of Chairs. — The Great 
Xuiuber Eniiaged. — John Eaton.- The Pioneers. — Philip Ti. Merriara. " 
— Charles and George C. Winchester. — The Boston Chair Manufact- 
uring Company. — W. F. Wliitney. — The Manufacture of Chairs in 
South Ashburnham.— Burrageville. — Tubs and Pails. — Thread Spools. 
— Friction Matches. — Baskets. — Miscellaneous Wood-ware. — Wool 
Carding and Cloth Dressing. ^(^otton Factories. — Tanning. — Morocco 
Business. — John and S. W. Putnam 401-423 



Zeal in Military Pursuits. — Early Officers. — The Light Infantry Organized. — 
First Commanders. — A Few Veterans. — Service in War of 1812. — 
The KolL—Years of Prosperity.— List of OtBcers 1791 to 1S47.— 
Promotions. — The Militia Company. — Militia Officers. ^ — The Draft 
1814.— History from ISor, to 18(12.— Brief Record from ]8G'l to 
Present Time.— List of OlTicers 424-439 


^^•xu or the kedei-liox. ' ' ■ 

Prepared For War. — Mission of the Ashburnham Light Infantry. — Early 
Enlistments. — Second Regiment. — The Home Company. — The Uni- 
form. — Liberality of George C Winchester. — State Aid. — Twenty- 
first Regiment. — Its Piecord. — Names of Men in this Service. — 
ColonelJoseph P. Rice. — Captain Walker and the Slavery Problem. — 
Other Enlistments in 18".!. — Record of 18G2. — P'ifty-third Regiment. 
— Resolutions. — Record of 1803. — The Draft. — P^nlistments. — The 
Second Draft. — Conclusion 440-40:'. 

14 ■ CnXTEXTS. 


IMIYSICIANS.— J.VWVr.US. — l-LU>ON.\I. X<)1ICKS.— C()LI,i:Oi:til!AI.('ATi:S.— OTirKR 

Doctors Brooks, Senter, Abraham Lowe, Abraliain T. Lowe, Nathaniel 
Peirce, Abercrombie, Cutler, Stone, IMiUer, Wallace, Whitmorc, 
Mattoon, Temple, Jillson, Cliarles I,. Pierce, Stickney. Aniory .Tewctt, 
Nathaniel Jewett.- -Lawyers Cunningham, Adams, Parker and 
A ndre-.vs.— Samuel Wilder.— .losepli .le%vctt.— Ivers Jewett— Jacob 
Willard.— Silas Willard.— John Adams.— Enoch V^'hitniore.— Jerome 
W. Foster.— Ohio ^Vhitney.—L«aac Hill.— Thomas I'arkman Cushing. 
—Milton Whitney.— A List of CoUo-e Graduates.— Other Sons of 
Ashburnham 4*34-517 



Pauperism.—— Town House.— Union Ilall.-Post Offices- 
Libraries.— Pirst National Bank.— Savinsjs Bank.— Farmers' Club.— 
Pounds.— Bounties on Wild Animals.— Thief Detecting Society.— 
Brass Band.— Powder House.— PopSlation .5ISI540 



The Early Burials.- Death of Mr. Haskell— Germans Buried Elsewhere.— 
The Old and the New Cemeteries.— Suicides. — Accidental Deaths.— 
Record of Deaths of Aged Persons— List of Aged Per'sons now 
Living in Ashburnham o41-55r> 



A Present^ to Rev. John Gushing.— Seating the Meeting-house.— Minor 
Topics.— A New Town Proposed.— A New Name Suggested for 
Ashburnham.— A War Cloud.— Sickness.— A Severe "Winter.— A 

Variety.— The Great Gale.— The First Fire Engine Temperance.— 

Millerites.— The Great Freshet.— xMiscellaneous Topics . , 55G-.573 

Genealogical Register 57.5-1007 

Index of Names 10O0-lu22 




A. T. LOWE . 

IL C. 110 BART 






IVERS pniLLirs . 


^^^L^iUR k. whitney 
































CO. . . . 










* • . • 


. • • 


::'^.) :' A r, "1. ;- 






AsiiBuitxiiAM is tlie mosl eastern of t!ie three towns in 
AVoreester county in ^Massachusetts ])ordering upon Xe^v 
IIam])shire and is bounded on the nortli ])y Rindge and Xew 
Ipswich ; on the east by Ashljy and Fitchburg ; on the south 
by Westminster and Gardner and on the west by Winclicii- 
don. The old common on ]Meeting-house hill is fifty-five 
miles in right line northwest from Boston, and thirty-one miles 
north from Vrorcester, and is in latitude 42° 38' north, and 
longitude i^ 10', very nearly, east from Washington. The 
area of the town is about twenty-four thousand five hundred 
acres includinsr about one thousand five hundred acres of water. 
The surface is hilly and diversified. Without ranges or sys- 
tems of hills the outlines of the landscape are Iwld and majes- 
tic, and promontories are fre(iuent, yet isolated. Alany of the 
elevations are bold and rugged, while others are I'ounded and 
elevated swells of land fertile to .the summit. There is very 
little plain and intervale. TJie streams are gathered in bnjkcn 

and narrow valleys. 

2 ' 17 

/ '. > [ 


The soil of Asliliunibam is lliat coinu.u)ii to the hill towns 
in this vicinity. When placed in conipai'ison it is even slnb- 
born and rockj^ yet in most parts aral)lG and i)rodnctive. 
The surface is well watered. The snl)soil is clay retaining 
moisture and springs of the ])urcst water are abundant. 

The altitude of this town is greater than that of the sur- 
rounding country on the east, south and west. The courses 
of the streams are outward except in the north. The line of 
water-shed l)etween the Connecticut and ^Merrimack valleys 
extends diagonally through the toATii. The line of division 
is irregular but is easily traced from Great Watatic to Little 
■AVatatic, thence southerly and over the low ridges between 
Upper Xaukeag and Eice pond to the old connnon. Diverg- 
ing to the noi-th and west the line extends near the ancient 
Winchendon road past the residence of Edwin Hayward to 
near the John Woods fiirm, thence southerly into the forest 
about one mile and thence westerly and southwesterly about 
two miles to the southeast corner of AVinchendon. 

The northwestern or Connecticut slope is drained into ^I'd- 
ler's river. ^J'he Upper Xaukeag lake which flows into Lower 
Naukeag is the source of the south liranch of that river. At 
the Lower Xaukeag it receives a copious alHuent from the north- 
east. This stream rises in Binney pond in Xew Ipswich and 
receives the drainage of a considerable portion of the eastern 
slope of Xew Ipswich mountains. It enters this town through 
the farm of Edwin J. Stearns and ilows thence through the 
village of Xorth Ashburnham into the Lower Xaukeag. In 
its onward covu'se from this lake the next considerable tribu- 
tary to the south branch of Miller's river is the modest con- 
tribution of Eindge which flows past the mills of liobert \V . 
]McIntire and joins the stream north of Burragevillc. The 
river thus reinforced abruptly leaves the town but repenting 
before a mile is traversed, it returns and patiently drives the 


mills at Barragevillc. In compcnsalioii for (.'xhaiislcd energy 
it socm receives a tril)ntai'y from the south atid rushes ou to 
its many tasks l)eloA\' imtil it falls into the CoDuecticui near 
Greenfield. By this river a half of the tov,ri is drained. 'J'hc 
source of the brook rising in Xew Ipswich and tlowing through 
this town i.- the extreme eastern point of the Connecticut 

The southeastern or ^Merrimack slope is divided into four 
sections and i- drained hy as many streams flowing outward. 
The first drainage is in tlie northeast part of the town and 
emTjraces the basin detiued i)y Great AVatatic, Little Watatic 
aiid ]'>lood hill. Here the overtlow of Stoger meadow and a 
few smaller streams falling into Ward j^ond and thence into 
Watatic pond give lise to a l)rancli of the Souhegan river. 
Its course is through the north part of Ashby and Xew ]})S- 
wich :ind onward to the ^Merrimack river at the towu of ^Nler- 
riraack, Xew Hami)shire. 

The second drainage is of small area lying between Blood 
and Russell hills and embraces portions of the Dutch and 
Cambridge farms. The streanis leave this town near the 
residence of Joseph AV. Wilker and fall into the Ashby res- 
ervoir. Here the collected water assumes the name of 
AVillard's lirook and is tributary to the Squanicook river in 

The third drainage is bounded on the north and cast by the 
Connecticut slope and the first and second sections of the 
^lerrimack slope. The western boundary is the height of land 
from ]\Ieeting-house hill, thence south across the farm of 
'Joseph Harris to the line of >\''estminster. The water collected 
at Kice or Reservoir pond is drained by Phillips' brook flowing 
through the centi-e village and onward through the northeast 
part of "Westminster into Fitchburg. 

The fourth drainage of the ^Merrimack slope embraces the 


southwest and reiiiaiiiini^ aiva of tho town. Hero are several 
artiticial ponds ])ut no natui'al ])ody of vrator. The drainai:rc 
is collected in the slream risino- in the Xashua ivservoir and 
flowing through the village of South Ashburnluun and Ihence 
through Westminster in a course nearly parallel with IMiillips' 
brook to the line of Fitehhurg. At this point it ahruptly 
turns to the nortli and uniies with Phillips' Ijrook at West 
Fitchburg. Dashing on in a tirsl embrace thi-ough tlie rocky 
valley of Fitchburg it more leisurely i)ursucs its way through 
Leominster and Lancaster to a point between Groton and 
Shirley vrhere it receives the Squanicook, beaiing the waters 
of the second drainage. Togetlier the triune river engulfed 
in stronger current.- falls into the Merrimack river at Xashua. 
Perhaps somewhei-o in the river-bed tliey rccogniy.e and 
mingle with the clear watei's from Watatic |)ond which in its 
onward course to the ocean has wandered through the valley 
of the Souhegan. Fallulah or J5aker's iirook ilowing into 
Fitchburg and a small stream ilowing into Westminster are 
tributary in a short distance to the larger streams and are not 
considered separately. 

There are eight natural jionds in this town ; four are trib- 
utary to the Connecticut and four to the ;^^errimack river. 

The Ui'VFAi Xaukeag or Meeting-house pond, beneath 
the towering sunmiits of the surrounding hills and dotted 
with rugged islands, is a lake of peculiar beauty and attrac- 
tion. The water is clear and cool and the basin umisually 
free from sediment. The shores are maiidy rocky, some- 
times bold and rugged, in other places pure sand of spark- 
ling whiteness forms the encircling l)arrier and extoids 
beneath the surface of the crystal water, but nowhere is the 
lake ap])ro;iched by low and marshy ground. This lake and 
the AVatatic mountains were known to the ex[)Iorers before 
the settlement of the town. The names undoubtedly are 

INTUOnV'CTlOX. ^ 21 

()(■ I'uli-an oriiriiK l)ut the oriirinal sound lins l)ecn so iiniier- 
lectlv {)!-esorv('(I and tlio names have ex})crienc'ed so many 
i-litinges in Kiiiilisli orthograpliy that students of the Indian 
dialeets fail to discover the oriirinal siirniiieation of the tenns. 
Professor I'runihull, a reeoirnized authority, lias examined 
these names in every form of orthoii-ruphy and fails to find in 
tlicm any element that designates either ])ond or mountain. 

'i'fiK IvOWF.i; \ArKKA(r Lake is less ruu«:ed in outline. 
At the eastern extremity the aeeumuLitinir deposit of cen- 
turies has iijuiL-ared ahove the surfaee of the water and many 
acres of low land are included within the oriirinal basin of the 
lake. The di-ainaire is controlled by artificial obstruction. 

A Xa.mkless J^oxi) of small area is found in the forest and 
.surrounded l)y marsh. It is situated a short distance ^vest 
of Little Watatie and is tributary to the stream ^vhieh Hows 
throuirh North Ashburnham. 

Anotiihi: Xamhless roNi>, a lonely sheet of water, is 
found in the marsh in the southwest })art of the town. It 
is near the line of the Cheshire railroad and midway between 
the depots at North and South Ashlnirnham. It is tributary 
to the south branch of Miller's river at liurrageville. The 
course of the stream is northwest and near the line of the 
Cheshire railroad. 

liiCE P<)Xi) is the most important body of water in the 
Merrimack draina_u-e. T'lie dam at the outlet controls the 
natural current and overtiows the oriuinal lunuidaries. The 
declivity of the shores is irenerally uniform and the natural 
features and contour of tlie pond are generally preserved. 
At the present time it is freijueutly called Keservoir pond, 
Jind in 1735 it was known as Wenecheag pond. 

Mud Pond of small area is tributary to Ivice })ond and is 
situated about one-half mile northwest of it. 


Waui> I\).\I), tbniu'i'ly i:ik)W1) as A\'liitoin;iii nond, is a li'eiii 
511110 ML^ the lakes <2.uai(lo(l and nurlurecl by the enciivlinir hills. 
Its pebbly shores are familiar to the anuier while iis j)laeid 
surlace and pieturcsqiio surroundings are suggestive of rest 
and tranquillity. ; ' ' 

. Watatic Poxi) on the stream belou' Ward i)ond is similar 
in outliric Ijut smaller in area. It lies jiartly in Ashby, but 
the greater portion is in tin's town. Xear these two }:)onds 
were the homes of seveial of the earliest settlers of Dorches- 
ter Canada. 

In addition to these natural bodies of water, which for cen- 
turies have enlivened the landscajie and mirrored in their 
crystal waters each passing bird and tlie overhanging hills, 
there are many reservoirs or artificial ponds in this town. 
Maintained by the M'ork and for the convenience of man they 
are perishable and unless the barriers are constantly renewed 
the waters will again flow within the banks of the natural 
currents. They form no part of tlie natural features of the 

The prevailing arboral products are white pine, spruce, 
hemlock, maple, birch and beech. I'hese are found in all 
parts of the town. In the original forests the heaviest growth 
of the deciduous varieties was found in the southeast part of 
the town, while the soft woods were in gi-eater abundance in 
the northern and western portions of the town. The red oak, 
chestnut, white and black ash, hard pine, juni}')er or tamarack, 
fir balsam, basswood, leverwood and hornbeam are native 
here. The elm, black cheny and white oak arc found in 
small quantity. The Avhite willow, poplar and gray birch 
are possibly of secondary growth and ;ire constantly increas- 
ing in quantity. The moose wood, with its large, broad leaves, 
flourislies beneath the shade of the forests. JMack alder, 
bearing red berries, is seen upon the roadside, and tag alder 


linos the slioro of tlic brooks and the ninro'in of low lands. 
Red and poison sinnac, or dogwood, arc rave. Clusters of 
withe, whitewood, witch and nut hazel, and laurel are found 
in n)any ]ilaces, A few locust — two varieties — l»utternut or 
wliite walnut, and Lonil)ardy ]ioplar liave tlouri.^hed as shade- 
trees, l)ut are not natives here. 

The town originally was heavily wooded. Tlie denizens 
of the dense forests included a variety of animals common to 
the locality. In the early progress of the settlement the black 
bear forsook his- favorite haunts Avithout thouglit of contest or 
show of resistance. A coward liotli by instinct and habit he 
fled at the approach of njan. But every solitary bear that 
since has made a hasty circuit of the town has li\ed in peren- 
nial tradition and has immortalized CAcry man or woman who 
chanced to behold the fugitive presence. Very few of the 
early settlers ever belicld the countenance of a living bear. 
Habitually his face was directed the other way and his eye 
was ever resting on some distant point he desired to visit. 
The wolf in early times was more numerous and troublesome. 
Fifty years ago they had not entirely disai^})cared. 

Traces of beaver dams are not yet wholly oblit<n'ated but 
the liuilders abruptly refused to labor in conipctition with 
man. The track of the otter is yet seen occasionally in the 
new fallen snow and the mink still inhal)its along the courses of 
the streams. ^Nluskrats with little fear of man continue to 
build their round moundlike houses in the shallow water of 
the jwnds. Foxes, fed by the garbage of civilization, and the 
woodchuck, partial to the succulent vegetation of cultivated 
fields, are probably as numerous as at any former period. 
The several varieties of squirrels, the hare and the coney 
rabbit, while limited in the area of their jwssessions, are rel- 
atively niunerous. Occasionally the slee])y ])orcupine is 
found in his (jniet home in a hollow tree and the raccoon visits 


the fickls of ripening corn from year to year in ujiequal 

The l.inls found here u]-e .such as are comnionto tlie hititude, 
and other conditions of tlie town. The melodies that greeted 
the morning iight in the .solitudes of the original forests are 
our delight at the present time. The thrush and the si)arro\v, 
first to contide in the mercy of men and r,est near the htimlets 
of the clearing, if not a^ numerous as formerly, are still the 
welcome visitors of the suimner-time. The red-headed wood- 
pecker, whose animated rap))ings broke the stillness of the 
forest, was frequently seen in former yeai-s but is now 
extinct, wliile the imported sparrow has found its way hither 
from the seaboard. The wild goose, the black and gray duck, 
of migratory habits, visit the i)onds in their spring and autumn 
transits. The Avood a)id dipper duck not unfrequently nest 
here, and can l)e found in their retreats during the summer 
and autunm. The loon or northern diver (Colymhus gla- 
cial is) dining the summer months and early autumn is daily 
seen floating upon the lakes or is heard calling his mate during 
a flight between the ponds. They frequently nest upon the 
islands in rp|)cr Xaukcag. The wild pigeon is less abundant 
than formerly, while the sonorous whistle of the quail {Ortyx 
Virginia jucs) is sometimes heard, but this bird seldom nests 
in this latitude. Partridges ( Tetras umbellus, or the Bonasa 
umbellus of Linna'u^) are abundant, and the loud whirring 
sound of their wings, as they bui-st away at the ai)proacli of 
visitors to their haunts, and their animated drumming in the 
forest continue to attest their familiar presence. 

The hdvrs, reservoirs and rivulets r)f thi.-, town abound in 
fish peculiar to the waters of this vicinity. So far as known, 
none of the natives of these waters have become extinct. 
The black bass, land-locked salmon and lake trout are of 
recent and artificial introduction. The brook, or spotted 


troiit. fond oi" shude and cool water, have been di.stnrbod in 
. their favorite liaunt.s I'V the ix-nioval of the forest.'=;, and are 
Jess nunjerons than forinerlv. The name and the eliarac- 
teriritieis of the habitants of the hdves and l)rook.s of this town 
are familiar to all, yet the followini: list ni;iy l)e of interest at 
some future time : 

The ])iekerel {£^sox reficulatus) ; bi'ook trout [Sohno 
fontinah's) ; ix'veh {Perca jlavc^^ccns) ; shiner {StiJhe chry- 
sohncas) ; bream or sunfish (Pomotis vulgaris) ; chub or 
cheven (Lenciscus chejihaJus) : l)laek sueker (Catostomus) ; 
chub sueker, another of the same frt'iuis ; the minnov/, or 
ii)inum, a very small tish, and a specie of Lenciscus; c;it tish 
or horned pout {Phnelodus caius). 'Jlie common eel {An- 
guilla feniiirostns), and the lamprey eel, a specie of the 
Petrojiiyzon, although rare, are sometimes taken from the 

The most prominent elevation is Great Watatic. Its 
rounded summit is one thousand eight hundred and forty- 
seven feet a1)ove tide ^\ater. This grand tmd lofty tower on 
the line of the water-shed, is sy nnnetrical in its form and 
imposing in its presence, and with grim visage it overlooks 
the hamlets in the northeast part of the town. In a right 
line 4ind a mile nearer the old connnon, is Little Watatic, of 
similar iVn-ni and softened outlines. An earlier orthography 
of these mountains, was \\'autatuck. Blood hill, south of 
Great Watatic, and on the line of Ashby, in the morning 
light, casts its fretted shadow over the lakes at its base and 
around its crest the rainbow appears in the lingering rain of 
an evening shower. Across the intervening valley at the 
south, is the plateau of Russell hill, once heavily wooded, 
and now the seat of productive farms. Jewell hill, n<>ar at 
hand, is a stuixly watch-tower on the limits of the town. 
East of Kice jiond, suddenly rises tlie bristling form of 


]\Ioui)t llimgor. It' its iiaino and sterility are sngi!'estivc of 
famine, its situation near the lake is a stifeguard auainst 
thirst. And on the line of the water-shed, is ^Meeting-house 
hill, A\hich commands an extensive view of the surrounding 
countrv. Here our fathers literally went up to worshi]), and 
eai-ly called it "a hill with a very fair prosjiect." lJro^\•n 
hill, and the ridges in the northwest j)art of the town, and 
other elevations, on Avhich are houses and cultivated llelds, 
would be styled mouiitains amid surroundings less grand and 

The altitude of the town, and the bold and rugged outlines 
of the landscape, are the elements of scenery unsurpassed in 
beauty and grandeur. These features of nature are a living- 
inspiration and enjoyment to all who inhabit here, and 
treasured among golden memories are the visions of matchless 
subUmity Avhich delighted the childhood and youth of every 
absent son and daughter of Ashburnham. 

"From such a 'scene, how numy feelings spring I 
How many thouglits tiash throu'^li the kimlling mind! 
Delightful dreams have birtli ; — we almost seem 
PassM to another sphere, — and the glad heart 

Forgets that earth is still its transient home. . • .. 

This is a vision for the rest of life, 
An amarantliine tenant for the hreast, 
A morning star for nienfry, which, amid 
Life's fitful clouds, shall radiantly shine forth. 
When scenes less beautiful attract my gaze, 
I shall recall tiiy quiet loveliness." 

THE i:ai:ly c;il\xts. 










Rome "was founded on seven liills. Ashburnliani was 
founded on seven grants of land. To give some account of 
these several grants will be the })rovincc of this chapter. 
One hundred and fifty years ago, ^Massachusetts vas rich in 
lands, but poor m treasure. The public treasury was con- 
tinually overdrawn, and in place of money, the unappro- 
priated lands became the currency of the })ro\'ince. Upon 
the wilderness, the (Jovernment made frequent and generous 
drafts in the pa3"ment of a great variety of claims and demands 
against the colony. At the time these seven g'rants of land 
were made, the prolonged controversy concerning the loca- 
tion of the ])rovincc line between ]\rassachusetts and Xow 
Hampshire was being vigorously prosecuted. It was clearly 
the accepted policy of ^Massachusetts to fortify her claim to a 


large tract of the coutrovcrtod territoiy In' posseysioii and 
occupancy, in the hope thereby of luaintainin^' a chiiiu to the 
domain after all diplomacy had failed. Thus stimulated, 
both by necessity and ])oliey, the General Court n)ade 
numerous grants of land in this immediate vicinity, with 
unmistakable alacrity. It was an era of bt'ne\'olence. Per- 
ceiving tho disposition of the Ciovermnent, many, who could 
only niake the smallest pretext of service rendered the colony 
by themsehes or their ancestors, were found among the 
petitioners for land. Seldom were their requests denied, 
and even old claims, which had remained unanswered majiy 
years, were suddenly revived and rewarded with generous 
parcels of the })ublic domtiin. AVhile this spirit of liberality 
was rife and condescending, the territory within the ancient 
boundaries of this township was severed from the wilderness 
and l)estowed in recognition of service rendered the colony. 
Included within the limits of Dorchester Canada, v»ei-e 
six earlier grants, which were located and surveyed before 
the bounds of the township had been estal)lished. They fell 
within, yet were independent of. the main grant, as will 
appear in the progress of our narrative. ]n regard to the 
relative dates of these grants, the traditions of the town are 
not in harmony with the facts, and AVhitney's History of 
Worcester County, 1793, incorrectly asserts: "To the 
original grant were afterwards added Lexington farm of one 
thousand acres, Cam])ridge farm of one thfiusand acres more, 
and Kolfe's farm of six hundred acres, and another of about 
a thousand acres." Kev. Dr. Cushing, in his Half Century 
Sermon, l<sl8, repeats the error in nearly the same words : 
''To the original grant, four farms were annexed: Lexing- 
ton Farm, Cambridge Farm each of 1000 acres, Kolfs 
Farm of 7 or SOO acres, and another of lOOO." But he 
nearly corrects the statement when he adds, thtit "these 



,' 1.;-:,; 



rnrnis wei'c loctited west of Luiiciibiirir and I'ownsciul. and 
iioi'th of Westininsler, ])eforc tliis town ^\:ls irrantod." It 
will a})})ear that there were six farms, or <:ranls of land, and 
that all of them were conveyed and located [nx'vious to tlie 
grant of Dorchestoi' Canada. In the survey and location of 
the township, these farms were included within its boundaries, 
but Avere not computed as a part of the thir(y-six square 
miles that were conveyed in the grant of the township. 

About 1G.")0, Dr. Thomas Starr accom})anied, as surgeon, 
one of the expeditions against the Pequots. This service is 
the earliest event of vrhich we liave any knowledge, that is 
hnmediately associated with the history of Ashburnham, and 
leads directly to the narrative of the tirst grant of land within 
this town. 

I. Thk Staku (J rant. — On account of this service of 
Dr. Thomas Starr, who died in Charlestown, l()5-i-, his widow, 
four years la.ter, }>etitioned for a grant of land, as appears in 
Court Kecords, 1(55.^ : 

"NVherens ^Ir Thomas Starrc deceased having left a desolac 
widdow and eight srnale children was y'' ehirurgoon of one of y" 
companys }* went against }" Pequotts in Ans"' to the Request of 
Several! Gentl" ou y' behalfe. 

The Court jedgeth it meete to grainit fewer hundred acres of 
Land to y" sayd widow & children & doe impower y*" Tresurer 
and Capt. Norton to make sale or otherwise to dispose of the 
sayd as may best conduce to y^ benefit of the widdow & children 
as they shall see meete. , • 

It is certain that this gi-ant was never located and that 
the desolate widow and eight small children did not 
receive any beneiit from the kind intentions of the General 
Court. Severity-tive years later, the descendants of Dr. 
Starr revived the claim as set foith in Council Kecords. 
October ID, 17;;8 : 


A Pcftiou cf ]>ci)j:imiu Starr for bimself aiid the rest of the 
heirs & Descendants of the AVidow of Thomas Starr late of 
Charlcstown dec"^ showing that the General Court of tlie late 
Colony of the Massachusetts Bay in tlie year 1G58 for Service done 
by the said Thomas Starr made a Grant of four hundred Acres of 
Land to his said widow &Chihlren whicli lias not yet been laid out 
and therefore praying tliat tliey may now be allowed to lay out 
four hundred Acres of the unappropriated Land of the province to 
satisfy the said Grant. 

In the House of Kepresentatives Head & Ordered that the 
prayer of the petition be granted and the petitioners are allowed 
nnd impowered by a Survcj'or & Chaiumen on Oath to Survey 
and lay cut four hundred Acres of the unappropriated Lands of 
the province so as not to prejudice the Settlement of a Townsliip 
& that they return a Plat thereof to tliis Court within twelve 
Months for confirmation. 

In Council liead & Concurred,. 

Consented to 


Again the petitioners suffered tlieir grant to lapse, and, in 
jSToveiuber, 1734, llie General Court with expansive consid- 
eration " ordered that twelve months more be allowed to 
Benjamin Star of Xew London and other heirs to take and 
return a plat of land." . 

Under tlie provisions of this vote the grant was consum- 
mated and the service of Dr. Starr, after the lapse of nearly 
a century, was rewarded. The survey was made by Joseph 
Wilder and returned under date of ^fay 30, 1735. 

Tlie chaimnen in this survey were John Bennett and Joseph 
Wheelock. In the mean time the Cambridge farm and the 
Lexington farm, which were granted in 1734, had been sur- 
veyed and confirmed, and the Starr farm, although first 
gi-anted, became the tliird in the order of survey. The con- 
firmation or a}^})roval hy the General Court is under date of 
June 10, 1735 : 


A Plat of four luni<])-ed Acrois of l^iiiul Granted to the lioirs of 
the vriilo'.v Slarr laid out by Josepli AVikler .Esq% Surveyor und 
Chainmen on oath, lying on the north side of Narragansett Town 
number two and bounded cver^" other -way by Province l^ands 
beginning at a stake & stones on the aforesaid Narragansett 
Line, Eighty rods Avest of where the said Ivine crosses a Branch of 
Lancaster North River tliat comes out of Wcuecheag pond ; thence 
running north IS deg"^- Avcst three hundred & thirty rods to a stake 
and stones ; thence Punning west IS deg''' South two hundred & 
Eight rods to a stake & stones; thence Punning South 18 deg" 
East three hundred & thirty rods to the aforesaid Narragansett 
Line to a stake & stones ; thence with said line East 18 deg" 
north two hundred <S. eight Pods to where it first began. 

In the House of Pepresentatives : Pead & Ordered that the 
Plat be accepted and the Lands therein delineated 6c described 
be and hercbj' are confirmed to the said lienjamin Star and the 
other heirs and descendants of the widow of Dr. Thomas Star 
deceased their heirs and assigns Pespectively provided the plat 
exceed not the quantity of four hundred Acres of Land and does not 
Interfere with any former Grant. 

Consented to 


This tract of land can be easily traced at tbc present time. 
It lies on the line between Ashburnham and Westminster, 
its southeast corner being on the town line four hundred and 
fourteen rods westerly from the connnon corner of Ashl>uru- 
ham, Fitchl)urg and Westminster. It is a rectanalc extend- 
ing three hundred and thirty rods northerly and two Junulred 
and eight rods westerly from the ])(nnt named. Ten nxls 
were added to the leugUi an<l eight rods to the width on 
account of " unc^'en groimd and swtig of chain." The home- 
•stead of John G. "Woodward lies within the grant. 

Before the close of the year tlie heirs sold the grant to 
Thomas Green, a merchant of Boston, for t\\'o hundred 


pounds, wliicli tlicii Avas alxnit two hundred dollars ii) silver. 
Six years later ^Ir. (Jreen sold llie >vli()le lour hundred aercs 
todoseph A\'ild<u'. dj-., who eonlinued the owner alon(> ;uid in 
eonipauy widi John doslin until the time it was sold in small 
lots a numbei- of years later. AVhile Mr. Wilder had ])osses- 
sion of tills land he also owned the Converse jxrant whicli 
lies next west, and together tJiey were known as the \\'ilder 
farm. . ' 

II. Tin: CA:\niRiDGE Giiaxt. — For many years the Gen- 
eral Court of the colony made it obligatory upon Cambridge, 
Newton and Lexington to maintain the bridge spanning 
Charles river between Brighlon and Cand)ridge. This struct- 
ure, called the "Great Bridge," was built in 1GG2 and was 
justly considered an aehie\'ement of considera])l<> magnitude. 
These towns made fre«|uent re([uests to be relieved, wholly 
or in part, from the bvu'dcn of its sup})ort, and tinally the 
three to^vns joined in a }ietition to the General Court pray- 
ing that "they may Ite in soriie measure eased of it or that 
the Court would make them a (irant of Land the better to 
enable them to supi)oit said charge." The Court, a[)par- 
ently, was more inclined to give them land, than to oiler or 
suggest any other relief, and with connnendable jn-omptness 
voted to each of the three towns one thousand acres of land. 
These grants were made June 22, IT.'U. Xewton located 
five hundred and sixty-six acres adjoining Athol and Peters- 
ham and the remaining four hundred and thirty-four acres at 
Berwick, M:une. Cand)ridge and I^exington located their 
grants within the limits of this town, whi(.'h for many years 
were familiarly known as Candtridge and Lexiniiicjn farms. 
The Cambridge grant was surve}'e(l previous to Septendier 
(), of the same year, for at that date Xathan I ley wood made 
oath that in surveying this grant he had em})loved his bi'st 
skill and understautlinu'. The location and survev of the 


ijranl were eoiifirincd September 13, 1784. Tlii?^ grant v/as 
the tirst tract of land severed from the ^vilderncs3 within 
the tov\-nship of As]il)urnha)n and Avas described in the 
records : 

A riat Containing one thousand acres of the unappropriated 
Laud of tlie Province of the niassaehnsctts Bay Laid out to sat- 
isfy a Grant made by the great and general court in tlioir last 
sessions to the Town of Cambridge to enable them the better to 
keep in Repair their great Bridge over Charles River. Beginning 
at a certain Pillar of Stones erected for the North east Corner in 
the line of Lunenburg [ now Fitchburg ] about three or four 
score rods South from Northfield Road and running South 12 deg 
"West on said line of Lunenburg one mile and a half and twenty 
pole with 17 pole allowance for swag of chain and uneven Land 
to a -red oak tree marked. Then running West 12 deg North 
on unappropriaied Land one mile with eleven pole allowance to a 
pillar of stones and a Little beech tree ; tlie other two lines being 
paralel with the same allowance and bounding on Common land. 

Let it be remembered that in the survey of this grant, in 
the smimier of 1731, Xatlian Hey wood of Lunenburg per- 
formed tlie iirst act vvithin the townshij) that is a part of the 
continuous history of this town. Previous events, more im- 
poi-tant in their results, occuiTed remote from the theatre of 
action. There are records of exploring pa)-ties through tliis 
town, and Great Watatic, Little Watatic,thc Xaukeag hikes, 
Stoger meadow and Souliegan river were associated names 
at an earlier date, 'lliis gi-ant was the iirst tract of land 
severed from the unbounded wilderness. There is no record 
of any previous act performed on the soil that influenced 
succeedino; events. The town of Cambridge owned this tract 
of one thousand acres about thirty years and during this time 
the records of that town contain frequent reference to "the 
liridge farm in Dorchester C'anada." In 1751 the bounds were 


renewed l)y direotiou of the. toAvn, and in the succeeding years 
several committees were chosen with instruction to sell the 
land, provided reasonable terms could he secured. These 
measures for several years were void of any result. In 
Xovemher, 1764, " the town chose Deacon Sanniel AVhitte- 
more, Thomas Sparhavrk, Esq., Joseph Lee, Esq., Captain 
Ebenezer Stedman and Ca})tain Thomas Adams to efiect a 
sale" and gave them more peremptory instructions in regard 
to the business. Xo I'ccord of a sale has been found. There 
is, however, am])le e^'idence that tlie town of Cambridge 
sold the land in several lots prcviovis to 1770. In 17 OS, 
Captain Thomas Adams owned a portion of the farm and 
sold to his sou John Adams one hundred acres of land "Ijeing 
a part of Cambridge Grant," and later he sold to Joshua 
Billings eighty acres adjoining. In 1772, the town of Cam- 
bridge enter on record an inventory of notes and mojiey 
"being the proceeds of the sale of Cambridge farm." This 
record includes a note given by Isaac Stearns of Billerica for 
two hundred pounds, dated June 3, 176.'); a note given by 
Sanmel Eussell of Cambridge for ninety-four pounds, six 
shillings and eight pence, dated August 4, 1760 ; and a note 
given by Antil Gallop of Cambridge for one hundred and 
thirty-three pounds, six shillings- and eight pence, dated 
August 5, 1771. 

dSo conveyance from the town of Cambridge or its com- 
mittee is found on record, nor is it easy to discover in what 
manner Gallop and Kussell disposed of their land. In regard 
to the land owned by Isaac Stearns the records in a more 
accommodating spirit announce that he sold seventy-tive 
acres to Samuel Adams in 1769, and one hundred and foily 
acres in 1772 to Simeon Proctor and the same year two 
hundred and fifty acres to Ebenezer Fletcher. In all of 
these deeds the premises are described "as a pai-t of the 
Bridge fiirm or Cambridge grant." It has been frequently 




assertod uiid quite generally liolit'ved that llii.s land wa.'^ once 
the cberislied projievty of Harvard University. An exliaus- 
tive search of t!)e records of that institution not only fails to 
discover any proof of the allegation Ijut tinds an.iple evidence 
that the flivorite tradition is unsippported and erroneous. 
Jn the succeeding chapters the families bearing the name of 
Adams, Russell, Billings and Fletcher, which have been intro- 
duced in tliese proceedings, will be found in continued occu- 
pancy of the pre7ni>es. 

III. Thp: LextxCtTOX GitAXX. — It already appears that 
this grant was simultaneous MJth the Cambridge gTant, and 
for tlie same ct-nsideration. 'J'he survey was returned under 
date of September 18, and tlie grant was confirmed Xovember 
21, 1734. Ebenezer Prescott was surveyor and Ejjhraim 
AVelherbee and Isaac Townsend v^'ere chainmen. The report 
of tlie survey is here given : ' ' " 

At the Request of- Capt. Boinan and other Gentlemen of 
Lexington I have laid out pursuant unto a grant of lOuO acres 
for t\v) support of Cambridge Bridge, at Stogers west of Little 
"Wctatuck beginning 4G perches S 12 d. west from Lunenburg [now 
Fitchburg] Corner on South west side of Little Wetatuck to a 
heap of stones then running N. W. 29 d. N 320 perches as the 
shanmon [chrdir.ocn] say to a ITemlock with stones marked with 
L about IG p * * off. then turning S. W. 29 ^Y 500 perches to a 
Hemlock then turning S E 29 d S 320 perches to a rock with stones 
laid on it. Then Turning N. E. 29^ d. E 175 perches to the line 
of Cambridge's 1000 acres. Then turning North 10 perches by 
the line of said Cambritlge corner and then turning by Cambridge 
Line 40 perches and then to the bounds fir.4 mentioned N E 29'^ 
E. One perch allowance in 50 for swag of chain. 

It will be seen that the northwest corner of Cambridge 
tarm enters one side of this grant, cuffing from it one and 
one-fourth acres. Accompanying the survey is a map detin- 
lug the location of the brooks and of two meadows. Within 


the outlines of the hirircr of these is written " Sto^^-ers medov>' '" 
which clothes tliis ntune with considenible untiquity. On 
this map, AN'ard })ond is represented a short distance north 
of the grant, but no name is applied to it. The brook llow- 
ing from it is styled Souhegen in one place and Sougan iu 
another. The to\\'n of Jvexington received no benetit fi'om 
the grant for more than twenty years, when the town voted 
"to sell tlie Bridge farm, so called, that lies in Dorchester 
Canada, and choose AVilliam Iveed, El)enezer Fiske and John 
Stone to conduct the sale." In a deed dated December 31, 
1757, the whole tract was sold to seven German emigrants 
for two hundred and eighty pounds, who, with others of the 
same nationality, immediately settled upon their new posses- 
sions. The origin of the name of Dutch farms is here easily 

IV. The Bluefip:ld Geaxt. — This grant of four 
hundred and lifty acres was made to secure the maintcuanee 
of a house of entertainment upon the line of the Xorthtield 
road, which was laid out through this town previous to the 
charter of Dorchester Canada. This grant was loca.ted in 
the northwest part of the town, and upon botL sides of that 
ancient road. In what manner the name of Bluefield became 
associated with this grant, is uncertain. The earliest records 
refer to the Bluetield farm and to the Bluelield road, but 
attentive research tinds no explanation of this use of the word. 
Tradition, ever ready with suggestions, asserts, but without 
proof, that ]\[r. Bluelield lived here once upon a time, 
but the only indisputable thing that we can assert about 
Bluefield, is our complete ignorance coiicerning its origin. 
Happily, the history of the grant is less obscure than its 
name. To several prominent citizens of Lunenburg had 
been granted large tracts of land in the southwest part of 
New Hampshire, above Xorthheld. These gentlemen mani- 

I A ■ 


festo.l a lively interest in tlic coiisfnictioii nnd iiininteiumce 
of tlie " £ri"eat toikI from Luaenburir to Xortlitiold and the 
new towns at Asliuelot." In the autumn of 1734. Benjamin 
]k'llo\vs. Ililkiah Boynton and ]Moses Willard joined in a 
petition for a grant of land to be located at some convenient 
point on the line of the road. The petition sets forth that 
the entire length o^^ the road is forty-two miles, and that 
about twenty-four miles from Lunenburg there is a " house 
of entertainment set u}) to the great ease and comfort of 
persons travelling that ri^ad," and continues: "and your 
Petitioners ai)})rchending it would greatly accomodate 'J'ravel- 
lers laore esj^ecially in AVinter seasons to have another House 
of Entertainment between Lunenliurg and that alread}' set 
up Humbly })etition your Excellency and this Hon"'' Court 
to make them a (irant of Land, i)i some suilal»ic place if it 
be found on said Koad, of four hundred and fifty acres of 
land." In answer to this petition, the General Court, ]S'ovem- 
ber 28, 1734, granted four hundred and tifty acres on the 
line of the road and "near to Lexington Farm.'' It was 
stij^ulated in the grant that the survey should be made and 
returned within six months. The survey was not made until 
July 2, 1735, for the reasons set forth in another petition 
f^o]n the same gentlemen : 

The Petition of Bcnjainiu Bellows for himself Ililkiah Boyu- 
toa and Moses Willard : — 

Humbly She\veth, 

That ou the 2.sth Day of November 1734 your Exelency and 
Honours were pleased to Grant your Petitioners four Hundred and 
fifty Acres of Land To be Laved out iu a rt-guler form on the new 
Road from Lunenburg to Northfield ^Yithin six mouths from y'= 
giant afoi-cs''' On the Conditions mentioned and Expressed in the 
Grant and order of Court. 

That your Petitioners Soon after the making of said Grant were 
about to Lav out the Land granted Accordingly ; And upon the 

1 M; 


saiil Koiul as then markrd out viewed a Tract for that purpose 
but were told l.y Coll. Wiliard and others Concoriied in Said Koad 
That it would be iiece^.^^ary to alter the Same and if Ave Should Laj' 
out the Land before the Koad was Altered it might not ansv,er the 
end proposed vi:^. the entertainment of Travaillers cVe. which 
oecassioued Your Petitioners to ])elay Laying out and Uuilding on 
said Land Till the Time Given 3'onr Petitioners was Elapsed. 
Since Which Your I'etitioners by the Advice and the Desire of 
Col' Wiliard and Others Chiefly conceriied in said Koad have 
Laved Out the Said Tract as Discribed in the plat herewith pre- 
sented and built thereon a Good Dwelling House And furnished 
the Same for y'^ Entertainment of Travailers, Cleared a consider- 
able Quantity of Land and Got Hay SuUlcient for the Accomoda- 
tion of all Travailers using Said Road and have Inhabited for 
more Than Six months Last past. 

And Inasmuch as the only Reason of your Petitioners neglect- 
ing to Lay out and comply with the Conditious of said Grant was 
That the Good Ends proposed thereby might not be frustrated 
and Travaillers y*' better accomodated. 

Therefore Your Petitioners Most Humbly pray your Exelency 
& Honours would be pleased to accept the said plat and Confirm 
the Land therein discribed To your petitioners their heirs & assigns 
forever. On Condition they perform upon the Same within Twelve 
months next coming All Things enjoynod them in the Conditions 
of y^ Grant afores"^ they have omitted ; The Time being Elapsed 
as afores'^ notwithstanding. 
. And Your Petitioners as bound in Duty shall ever pray. 


Tis hereby certifyed that what is Above Suggested Eospecting 
the Turning the Road and the Petitioners building and Improving 
upon the Land is true. 


The date of this petition docs not appear but it was written 
between July 2, 1735, the date of the survey, and January 
17, 173(3-7, when the General Court continned the grant. 


■■' TJIE V.AKLY GPvA^"^S. 39" 

V\'it]j the ori^'-innl papers in the Slate are])ives ou tin's sul>jeet 
is the rei)ort of David Farrar, tlie surveyov, in whicli it is 
stated that the giant is located on the Xortlitleld road, ])artly 
on the iil'teenth and partly on the sixteenth miles from Lunen- 
burg, tliat it was laid out in the form of a rectangle two luin- 
dred and eightA'-four by two liundred and seventy rods, with 
about one rod in thirty allowance for uneven ground ; tliat 
the direction of the southern l)oundary is north 70^ east, two 
liundred and eighty-four rods ; and is l)ounded on all sides I)}' 
unappropriated land. It is also stated that tlic southwest 
corne]' is forty or tifty rods soutli of a brook and meadow. 
Ou the plan is represented the Xorthtield road entering the 
gi-aut ten rods north of the southeast corner and extending 
north 17° west, until it leaves it near the centre of the north- 
ern side. In the ea.-terly part of this grant is the tarm of the 
late Deacon Daniel Jones and in the western part is the Xo. 
7 school-house. In 1737, the grantees sold tlic whole tract to 
William Jones and Ephraini AVetherbee. both of Lunenburg, 
for ninety pounds. The same year ]\[r. AVetherl)ee sold his 
interest to Ephraiin AVheeler of Lancaster. In these ancient 
deeds it is called the Bellows farm and the name of Bluetield 
does not a})pear. AVilliam Jones died in 17^1. In his will 
his interest in this land is devised to two of his sons, Enos 
and Isaac. The latter son died soon after the death of his 
honored father and the heirs, in 1773, joined in a deed con- 
veying their interest to Enos who was then residing on the 

V. The Coxverse Grant. — Several grants of land 
were bestowed upon the heirs of ]Major James Converse of 
Woburn in recognition of distinguished seiwice rendered the 
colony, among them was a grant of four hundred acres of land 
located in this town. In the House of Representatives, 
December 9, 1734, it was ordered that the petition of Robert 


aiul Josiah Convcvse, soPiS of Major Jaincs Converse, be 
revived and that thov be i^ranled fonr liniidred acic-^ on (lie 
condition lliat " M'ilhin iive years t]ie i)elitioners settle two 
families on tJie granted i)reniises, each of wliicli to have an 
house of eighteen i'cct square and seven feet stud at the least 
and four acres each In-ouirlit to and ploM'ed oj- stocked v:ith 
English gTassand fitted for mowing." The land was surveyed 
by Joseph "Wilder in ]\Iay and the title confirmed by the Gcn- 
-eral Court June 10, ]7o.3. The descriptive portion of tliese 
]3apers is as follows : 

Said land lietb on tlic northerly side of one of the towns called 
!Narragansett viz : No. 2 and hounds Southerly thereon. Easterly 
it bounds on a farm of four hundred acres laid out to the heirs of 
Thomas Starr, Northerly and Westerly by common or province 
lauds. It began at stake and stones the South Corner of the 
aforesaid farm and from thence it ran with it North 18 degrees 
West three hundred and thirty Hods to a stake and stones; from 
thence it ran west 18 degrees South Two hundred and Eight rods 
to a stake and stones ; and from thence it ran South Eighteen 
degrees East three hundred and thirty Rods to the aforesaid Nar- 
ragansett line to a stake and stones and then v/ith said line East 
18 degrees North two hundred and eight rods to where it began. 

In othei- terms this grant was located on the Westminster 
line extending west from the Starr grant nearly to South 
Ashburnham village. Robert Converse immediately sold his 
interest to Ids l)rothcr Josiah, who sold it to Gershom Keyes 
of Boston, Octob(>r 10, 17;b'), for one hundred and fifty 
pounds. It jiasses through several hands and is soon sold to 
Ilezekiah Gates, who in 17 IT, sold it to Jose})h Wilder, Jr., 
and as stated it then became a part of the AVikler liirm. 

VI. Thr PvOLrE Gkaxt. — Rev. Benjamin Rolfe, the 
second minister of Haverhill, was slain by the Indians in 
their attack upon that town August 20, 170S. His wife and 

1' ■■ ^".:.>:i 


oiic cliild v.ore also killed. '"Two dauirlilors were prcsorved 
1)}- Hairar, tlie maid servant, wlio covered Ibcin with luhs in 
the cellar, " A son also esca])ed as a})pears in the records of 
this iTi'ant. Tlie survivino; children arc petitioners in IVSiS 
for a tract of land on account of the service of their father 
and v^'crc L^-anted six hundred acres which subseciuently 
]>ecame and still remains an important ]>art of this town. 
The records of the General Court recites tlie petition in these 
words : 

A Petition of Benjamin Rolfe and the Kest of the heirs of the 
Rev' M' Henjamin Rolfe, late of Haverhill deceased, show- 
ing that his said father was employed divers times as Chap- 
lin to the Forces in the late wars and once in an actual 
Engagement with the Indian Enemy and afterwards settled in 
the work of the Ministry at Haverhill where he with their 
mother was killed by the Indians and therefore praying that this 
Court would Grant to tlie Pef and his sisters some of the 
wa*te lands of the Province. 

In response to their petition the General Court June 17, 
178."), p-anted six hundred acres. The land was surveyed 
by Joseph Wilder, previous to Xovcmher 7, when the chain- 
men, John Bennett and Joseph AVlieelock, made oath that 
they had i^erformed the service " without favor or aticction 
and according to their best judgment." The grant was 
confirmed December 23, 173.5. 

This tract of land, known many years as the llolfe farm, 
is located in the southeast corner of this town between the 
Stan- and- the Cambridge grants. It is l)ou)idcd east 120 
rods by Fitchburg, south 414 rods by Westminster, west 
330 rods by the Starr grant, and northerly 320 rods by 
Cambridge grant and a line of 210 rods joining the corners 
of the two last named grants. Phillips' Brook and the Fitch- 
burg road divide this tract into two unequal portions, the 


greater ];art lying cast of them. Xortlicrly it exiends one 
mile from tlie AVestminster line or to the farm of the late 
Dr. Merrick \7allace. The Rolfe heirs retained the grant 
until 17.30 when it was sold to John Greenwood of lio.^ton 
for two hundred and tliirty pounds. lie sold it out in the 
years immediately following in seveiiil lots, and in this way 
it came into the possession of the eai'ly settlers. 

y.TI. The DoiiCHESTER Caxada or Towxsjiip Grant. 
— The immediate consideration leading to the grant of this 
townshi}) and other.s in the vicinity, is found in connection 
with the ex})edition to Canada in 1(100. The story of this 
ill-fated exploit fomns an interesting chapter in the early his- 
tory of New England. The hardships and misfortunes of 
the hazardous enterprise were shared by companies of sol- 
diers from Dorchester, Iixswich, Rowley and many other 
towns in the colony. In fitting out a Ibrce of two thousand 
soldiers and thirty-two shijis the treasury of the colony was- 
so greatly depleted that nothing was left for the payment of 
the soldiers on their return. In this emergency the colony 
resorted to the issue of treasury notes to the amount of one 
hundred and thirty-three thousand pounds which was the 
first paper money c\ev issued in New England. These notes, 
founded sim})ly on the good intentions of an impoverished 
colony, so rapidly depreciated in value that the soldiers, to 
whom they had been paid, sought indemnitj' from the Gen- 
eral Court. For a long time their solicitations were persis- 
tently pressed and renewed without avail until an era of 
grants of land came to their relief. About 173"), after many 
of the petitioners were dead, the General Court, intluenccd, 
possibly, as nmch ])y a newly formed policy of encouraging 
settlements along the line of the disputed boundaries betv,'een 
New Hampshire and Massachusetts, as by any other consid- 
eration, granted a township to each company of sixty soldiers 

,':) ■■ » 


. .'7 


and the heirs of those deceased. On aecouitt of the service 
for 'which they were bestowed liiese gnuits -were styled 
Canada townshij^s and tiiey generally received the additional 
name of the town in whicii a majority of the petitioners 
resided. To the soldiers from }3orc]iester were assigned 
this town Y\'hich bore the name of Dorchester Canada many 
yeai's. In the same manner and at the same time was 
grunted Ipswich Canada, now '\A'inchendon, and immediately 
after Eowley Cana.da, now Jiindge. There were man}' other 
Canada to^vnshij)s but not in this innnediate vicinity. The 
adjustment of the province line found several of these town- 
ships in Xew Hampshire aud tlicir charters were aimuUed, 

In January, 1735, the (xcneral Court, premonitory to some 
action in the premises, ordered the a})pointment of a com- 
mittee to take into consideration these petitions of the soldiers- 
and '"report Avhat may be proper for the Court to do." The 
day following, the committee cleared tlie deck for action in 
recommendi]ig that a township of six mik^s squai'e be gTanted 
to every collection of sixty soldiers or the heirs of those 
deceased and that these grants be located between the ]\Ierri- 
mack and Connecticut rivers. Tlie committee further recom- 
mended that these grants be given under certain restrictions, 
which need not be stated in this connection, as they arc 
repeated in the charters that were subsequently enacted^ 
^\'ithout great delay, four townships were granted under one 
charter which i)assed the House June 10, the Council June 
18, and was approved by Governor Belcher, December 29, 
1735. In the order named in tlie charter these towns are 
now known as Warwick, Ashburnham, Guilford, Vermont, 
and Winchendon, and all of them are of equal age. Should 
the neighboring towns, Ashburnham and Wincheudon, con- 
tend for the honors of antiquity, we can enjoy the ample 
consolation that in the charter, the name of Tilestone })recedes. 
that of Tilton. 



It would be easy to be led into tlie error of presinainir that 
each of these towns was created under a sjx'ciik- crant, for 
the Deputy Secretary made copies for the grantees of each 
town. In some of them, at least, is omitted all i-eference to 
the three remaining: towns. These copies have been mis- 
taken for independent cliarters. 11ie quadripartite grant or 
charter is here given : i 

In the House of Representatives June 10, 1735. 

In Answer to the four Petitious of Samuel Newel and others, 
Thomas Tilestone and others, Samuel Gallop and others, and 
Abraham Tilton and others : 

Voted, That four Several Tracts of Land for Townships each of 
the Contents of Six Miles Square be Laid out in Suitable Places 
in tlie western Parts of this Province and that the whole of each 
Town bo laid out into Sixty three equal Shares, one of which to 
be for the first Settled minister, one to be for the use of the Minis- 
try and one for the School ; and that on the other Sixty Shares in 
each Town there be Sixty Settlers admitted and in tlie atbnissiou 
thereof Preference to be given to the Petvtioners and such as are 
Descendents of the ofllcers and souldcrs who Served in the Expe- 
- dition to Canada in the year 1G90. Viz one Tract of Laud for a 
Township to the said Samuel Newell & otlicrs, one other Tract of 
Land to the said Thomas Tilestone and others, one other Tract of 
Land to the said Samuel Gallop and others and the other Tract of 
Land to the said Abraham Tilton a!ul otliers and in Case there be 
not a sunicient number of Persons named in each of the said four 
Petitions as ware either oOlcers or Sonlders in the said Expedition 
or the Descendants of Such as were lost or are since Deceased So 
as to make Sixt}' Settlers for each Town. Tliat then Such others 
as ware in the Expedition or tlieir Descendants be admitted Set- 
tlers there untell Sixty Persons in each Town be admitted and 
inasmuch as tlie officers and Sonlders in that Expedition ware very 
great Sufferers and underwent uncommon Hardships, Voted that 
this Province be at the Sole Charge of laying out the said four 



Townships in a Kegular mnnner rani of admilting the Settlers. — 
That the Settlers or Grantees be and hereby are obliged to bring 
forward the Settlement of the said four Tov/nships in as Ecgular & 
defensible a manner as the Situation and the Circumstances of the 
Places will admit of, and that iti the following manner, Viz, That 
they be on the Granted Premises Respectively and have each of 
them an House of eighteen Feet square and seven Feet stud at the 
least. Thnt each Right or Grant have six Acres of Laud brought 
to and Plowed or brought to English Grass and i'.ticd for mowing. 
That they respectively Settle in each Plantatiou or Township a 
Learned and Orthodox minister and Bild a Convenient j\[eetin'T 
House for the Publick "Worship of God in each Township. The 
>vliole of these Conditions to bo duly complied v*-ith within five 
years from the Confirmation of the Plats. 

And that John Bowles and John Metcalf Esq"^ with such as the 
Honourable Board shall appoint be the Committee for laying out 
the Township hereby Granted to Sanuiel Newell and others ; 
Thomas Tilestoue Esq' and M' William Royall with such as the 
Honourable Board shall appoint shall be the Committee for 
laying out the Township hereby granted to Thomas Tilestoue & 
others ; Charles Church and Joseph 2^Iason Esq''' with such as the 
Honourable Board shall appoint be the Conimittce for laying out 
the Township hereby granted to Samuel Gallop and others ; and 
Cap' John Ilobsou and Cap' John Choale with such as the 
Honoura^'''' Board shall appoint be the Committee for Laying out 
the Township hereby granted to Abraham Tilton & others, for 
laying out the Townships Respectively Sc admitting the Settlers 
as aforesaid who shall take Bond of each Grantee to the Value of 
Twenty Pounds to the Province Treasurer for the Respective 
Grantees Fullfillment of the Conditions of their Grants each lot as 
aforesaid to be entitled to and draw future Divisions in equal 
Proportions in the Townships or Plantations Respectively and that 
the Committee return the Plats of the said Townships to this 
Court within twelve mouths for Confirmation, i;s also a List of the 
Names of the Respective Grantees and their Place of Residence 
into the Secretarys Office that so the same ma}^ be examined and 


liogulnted by a Cominittce that may be hereafter for that Purpose 

appointed by the Court and further it is ordered that iu cose any 

of the Grantees sliall neglect or delay to fullfiU tlie Terms of this 

Grant such Person or Persons shall forfeit to the Province all his 

or their Right and Interest iu the land hereby granted. 

Sent up for Concurrence 

J. QUINCY, Spkr. 

In Council June 18 1735 : — 

Read & Concurred, and ordered that William Dudley Esq' be 
joyned to the Committee for laying out tlie first 'J'ownship, Joseph 
Wilder Esq"" for tlic second, Edward Goddard Esq'' for the third 
?nd Thomas Berry Esq' for the fourth To\\^nship. 


December 29 Consented to J. BELCHER. 

Immediately following tlie gi'anl of these townships the 
General Court instructed the several connnittees charged with 
the distril)ution of the land to give "preference to the eldest 
male lieir if such there be otherwise to the eldest female" 
and that tlie heir of any soldier deceased receiving a right or 
one-sixtieth ]iart of a township, "shall pay the other descend- 
ants or heirs of the deceased soldier their proportionable part 
of ten pounds." These connnittees were further instructed 
to exercise "the Best Care they Can in Examining and Keg- 
nlating the Claims of all Persons that shall appear as Heirs, 
Descendants or Ivepresentatives to make and keepe fair Lists 
of the names and Places of liesidence of tlie Pespective Gran 
tecs or Settlej-s of the said Towns in order to prevent Mistakes 
in settleins; and Rcc^ulatini; the Claims and admission of the 
Grantees." At the same time it was ordered that if the 
expense of surveying and admitting settlers exceed fifty 
pounds the excess should be paid by the grantees. The for- 
mer vote to pay tlie whole expense had been in consideration 
that "the officers and soldiers in that expedition ware very 


THE eauly grants. 47 

irreat suiTeivvs and iiudorwout uncoiuinoii JIardsliips." In 
the niiiended vote -it is made reasonably certain that their esti- 
mate of tlie gi-eat sulFering and uncommon hardship of every 
sixty soldiers and the heirs of those deceased did not exceed, 
when expressed in financial terms, the sum of fifty pounds. 

Under the direction of the committee consisting of Joseph 
TVildev, Tliomas Tilcstonc and William Ptoyal, the toAvnship 
of Dorchester Canada Avas promptly surveyed by Jonas 
Houghton. The report of the survey dated January, 1736, 
the day of the montli omitted, is substantially repeated in the 
act of coiiurmation which vras passed June 1, 1736. < • . 

A Plat of a Tract of Six miles Square Granted to Tlioruas 
Tilestone Esq & others for a Township laid out by Jouas Hough- 
ton Survey' aud Chainmen on oath, Bounding Southerly on the 
Narragansett Township No two ; Westerly by a Township laid 
out for Tiltou & others Northerly by a Township laid out for 
Ipswich aud Easterly part on Tovrnshcud and part ou Luncnhurg. 
It begins at a Hemlock the North Easterly Corner of the said 
Narragansett Town & Kuns West 18 deg. South seven Miles 
wanting twenty Jiods from thence North 12 deg East Eight miles 
& two hundred Rods, and from East 12 deg Sonth Seven miles 
and 100 perch from thence Southerly by said Townshend hue One 
thousand One hundred & twenty & by Lunenburg line Six hun- 
dred & twenty Rods to where it first began. 

In the House of Represent-' : Read and Ordered that the 
within plat bo and hereby is accepted and the Lands therein Delin- 
eated & Described are accordingly Confirmed to the Grantees 
Mentioned in the Petition of Thomas Tilestone Esq' and others 
in behalf of the officers and Soldiers in the Canada Expedition 
Anno 1690 wdiich passed this Court in their late Sittings and to 
their heirs and assigns and Lawfull Represent" Respectively for- 
ever : they Complying with the Conditions of the Grant. Pro- 
vided the Phat exceeds not the quantity of Six Miles Square with 
an addition of Three Thousand Eight hundred aud Fifty Acre 


formerly Granted and coutaiued in the plat and three hundred 
acres allowed for Ponds and docs not Interfere with an}' Ibnner 
Grant. . 

In Council Read & Concurred 

Consented to J. BELCHER. 

Oar new township now usj,uines the name of Dorchester 
Canada, whicli it retains until the incorporation of Ashburn- 
ham in 1765. As yet it is merely a dotined portion of the 
wilderness. The rudest habitation of man has nowhere a 
place in the unbroken forest. The echoes from the Inistle 
and activity of civilization have never answered back from 
the surrounding hills nor lloatcd over the lakes. But now 
the compass and the chain, the heralds of tlie approach of 
man, hem the forests within the pale of the axe and the torch 
and the greed of gain fastens its despoiling hands upon the 
hills and the valleys which for centuries have been sleeping 
in the beauty and quietude of nature. 

The intluences which guided the committee to this locality 
c;ui never be fully known. The assignment of any reaso]i, 
at this late day, is speculative. If they came by the way of 
Lunen/jurg this was the lirst imappropriated land they had 
found. It is a fact, also, that one of the conunittee was not 
a stranger to the place. The summer preceding Joseph 
Wilder had been here as the surveyor of the Starr, the 
Converse and the Eolfe grants. 

The attentive reader has observed that in the act of contir- 
matiou, Dorchester Canada is bounded on all sides by town- 
ship lines. A literal construction of the terms employed 
would lead to the conclusion that the committee here found 
a tract of unappropriated hind entirely surrounded by estab- 
lished towns, with an area so accommodating that an exact 
equivalent to six miles square was conveniently left for their 


1 V •. 

1 . . ; 


acceptance. Tlie terms delliiing- the Mesteni njid norihern 
])ouiidaries need c.\])Ianatioii. At this time TiUon's to^vn or 
Ipswich Canada had not ]jecn surveyed, l)ut it is within i-ea- 
son to infer there was an understandini^- between the two 
committees that Ijjswich Canada was to be located next "west 
of Dorchester Canada, In fact, I])sm ich Canada was not laid 
out until the summer following. Xew lps\N'i('h bounding on 
the north had not been surve^^ed at this time, l»Lit it was 
located before Dorchester Canada was conrtrmed. The south 
and the east boundaries were already established, and now the 
surveyor runs the M'ost line parallel to the old Lunenl)urg 
line and tlic north lino at a right angle and locates them so as 
to include the required area. 

The allowance of .3850 acres for former grants and 300 acres 
for ponds requii'ed the surveyor to lay out 27,190 acres instead 
of 23,0-10 stipulated in the charter. 'J'he survey contained 
about 27,700 acres which was not an muisual allowance for 
uneven ground. 

In this account of the several grants an attempt has been 
made to discover where each was located and for what eon- 
sideratioli it was bestowed. An outline sketch, at the close 
of this chapter, presents a summary view of the form and 
relative position of the township and tlie six smaller and earlier 
grants which were included within its boundaries. The la})se 
of time will add interest to these initial features of our local 
history. In these early grants, extending wider and Avider 
from the centres of population, new fields wei'e dedicated to 
the occupancy of man. To this poilion of the Avilderness 
Avhich has now been located and outlined the succeeding 
chapters will welcome the arrival of the settlers, and attend 
them while they fell the forest, build houses for their 
families, establish churches and schools and wisely direct the 
civil afFiHrs of the new settlement. 



MuiiY of llie persons n;nii(--d in tins cliai)ter "will a])poar 
again. Unless incidentally nientioncd (he n.anies of others 
associated ^vitli these events will not lie repeal<'d in the fol- 
loM'ing cha])ters. El)enezer Prescott, Jonas Houghton and 
David Farrai', the surveyors, were residents of Lancaster. 
Jonas Houghton was alst) emjdoyed in the original survey of 
Xew Ipswich. Ephraini AVetherbee and llilkiah Boynton 
were of Lunenburg. I^jhraiiu A^'ethcrbee >ras chainnian for 
Nathan He}- wood in the tirst survey of Eindgc. Colonel 
Josiah and ^Sloses AVillard Avere leading men in Lunenburg 
at the date of their niention in this chapter. They ^vcre 
among the grantees of AVincliester, New Hampshire, and 
became ])roininent in the amuds of Clieshire county. Their 
only interest in this town was in connectioi] Avith the Xorth- 
tield road which extended through the to^vnship and opeiied 
a way to their lands in Xew Hampshire. 

Colonel Benjamin Bellows was also of Lunenburg at this 
date. Su!)sequently he removed to "Walpole, X"ew Hamp- 
shire, whicli for a time was called Bellowstown. Cond)ined 
with a remarkable business capacity ^vere cnei'gy and deci- 
sion of character. It Avas Ids son Benjann'n who was a 
general in the Ecvolution and through a long and useful life 
distinguished in civil atVairs. 

Major James Converse was of AVoburn Avhcre he closed an 
active and eventful life July S, 170G, He was a mcudjer of 
the General Court and three times elected speaker of the 
House. In unlitary afi'airs he was equally distinguished and 
his gallant defence of Storer's garrison in KiSS is mentioned 
in comidimentary terms in the histories of the time. His 
sons, Robert and Josiadi, to whom the land in this town Nvas 
granted on account of the service of their father, were intlu- 
ential citizens of \Vo])urn, although for a short time Josiah 
is found residinji in I^eicester. 


A B — Ipswich Canada Line — South part now in Gardner. 
B C — New Ipswich Line — now New Ipswich and Rindge. 
CD — Old Townseud Line — now in Ashb}-. 
D E — Old Lunenburg Line — now Fitchburg. 
A E — AYestminster Line — West part now in Gardner. 
I — Starr Grant. 
II — Cambridge Grant. 

III — Lexington Grant. 

IV — Bluefield Grant. 
V — Converse Grant. . 

\T--Rolfe Grant. 
VII — Dorchester Canada. 

i IV 











DoiiCHESTER Canada now foils into the possession of its 
new i)roprietors. Three shares or rights are reserved for 
public uses, and sLxty arc bestowed upon the persons con- 
templated by the charter. Thus each person to whom is 
allotted a right becomes the owner of one sixty-third part of 
the township. The committee promptly completed the ser- 
vice enjoined in the cliarter by naming the persons who were 
entitled to a share in the grant. Fifty-four riiihts were 
besto^v ed on account of service under Captain John AVithinjz- 
ton of Dorchester, and six to the soldiers, or their lea'al rep- 
resentatives, in other companies. Foi-tunately the report of 
this committee has been preserved. It presents a sad record 
of mortality. Only one soldier, Philip Godding, comes for- 
ward and receives in person this late rewai-d for service to the 
colony. It is certain, however, that a few others, repre- 



sented on tliis occasion by their relsitives. wore still living. 
The sixty rights in the to^rnship were assigned ris follo^^s : 

1 — Thomas "Wilder of Lancaster in Right of His wife Susannah 

eklest Daughter to John Pope. 

2 — ^ John Swift .Tun"' of Framingham in the Right of His Father 

M^ John Swift eldest ]3rotlier to AViUiani Swift. 
3 — Joseph Warren of Roxbury in the Riglit of Elias idonk of 

■4 — Benjamin Cheney of Dorchester iu the Right of his Brother 

William Cheney. 
5 — Joseph Triscott of Dorchester in the Right of His Father 

Joseph Triscott. 

6 — Rumphiey Atherton of Stoughton in the Right of His Father 

Consider Atlit-rton. 

7 — Jonathan Chandler of Dorchester iu the Right of His Brother 

Sarauel Chandler. 

8 — Matathias Evens of Dorchester iu the Right of His Brother 

Richard Evens at the Desire of his Eldest Brother Thomas 

9 — John Toalman Jun' in the Right of His P^xther John Toal- 

man of Dorchester and at His Desire. 

10 — Seth Sumner of Milton in the Right of His Uncle Josianiah 

Sumner at the Desire of His uncle Vrilliam Sumner. 

11 — John Robinson Jun'' of Dorchester in Behalf of his Father 

John Robinson eldest Brother to James Robinson. 

12 — Ebeuezer Crane of Braintree iu the Right of P^benezer 


13 — William Blake of Milton in the Right of .James Morey in 

Behalf of his Mother Martha Blake eldest Daughter to 
said James ]More\". 

14 — John Andrews of Dorchester in the Riy,ht of His Brother 

Thomas Andrews. 

15 — Joseph Leads of Dorchester in Behalf of His Wife Mary 

eldest Sister to Josepli Weeks. 

16 — Thomas Lyon Jiur of Dorchester in Behalf of His Father 

Thomas Lyon Eldest Brother to Henry Lyon. 



VI — "Richsid \Vitl,iiugtoii of Dorchester in the Eight of His 

Father Cnpt John Withingtou. 
18 — Joseph Weeks of Dorchester in the Riglit of His Brother 

Thomas Weeks. 
19 — M" William Cooper of Boston in the Right of Benjamin 

Hewins, at the Desire of Joseph Hewins eldest Brother 

of said Benjamin Hewins. 

20 — Obadiah Sv.ift of Dorchester in the Right of His Brother 

James Swift. 

21 — Hczckiah Baiher of Dorchester in the Right of Yonnite 

Modsley at the Desire of His Brother Thomas Modsle}'. 

22 —Ralph Pope of Dorchester in the Right of His Brother 

Ebcuezcr Pope. 

23 — Samuel Butt of Dorchester in the Right of His Uncle 

Richard But. 

24 — David Joans of Wrenthara in the Right of His Uncle John 


25 — Samuel Sumner of Taunton in the Right of His Father 

Samuel Sumner. 

26 — Josiah Baker of Boston in the Right of His Uncle William 


27 — ]Mr. William Cooper of Boston in the Right of His Uncle 

George Menott. 

28 — Edward Kelton of Dorchester in the Right of His Father 

Thomas Kelton. 
29 — Robert Redman of Stoughton in the Right of His Father 

Charles Redman. 
SO — Samuel Knceland of Boston in the Right of Ammiel Weeks 

at the Desire of His son George Weeks. 

31 — Xeamiah Clap of ^lilton in the Right of His Brother 

Edward Clap. 

32 — Timothy Tilestone of Dorchester in the Right of His 

Brother Cornelius Tilestone. 

33 — Samuel Ilinshua of Milten in the Right of Daniel Hinshua 

His Uncles son. 

ivvU '>' ]0 t. ' ^- ' ' 


3i_f:(lwaia Sumuci- of Roxbury in the Kight of His Uncle 

Samuel Siuuuer'. 
35__]',enjamin Sumuer of MiUeu in the Right of His Brother 

William Sumner. 
3G— Robert Cook of Xecdliam in the Right of ilis Brother 

William Cook. 
37 — Bartholame GoM of Boston in the Right of His Uncle 

Ebenezev Sumnei-. 
3S_Joha Charhore of iMilten in the Right of His Uncle John 


39 __ licnjamin Bird Jun^ of Dorchester in the Right of His 

Uncle Thomas Bird. 

40 _ Samuel Blake of Taunton in the Right of His uncle William 


41 —Thomas Tilestone Esqr of ])orchester in tlie Right of Capt. 

John Galliver at the desire of Jonathan G-alliver who was 
admitted a Settler. 

42 — Timothy Mossman of Sudbury in the Right of His wive's 

Brother Samuel Hix. 

43 —Joshua George of Attleborough in the Right of His Brother 

William George. 

44 _ James Atlrerton of Harvard in tlie Right of His Uncle 

Joseph Athertou. 
45 —William Sumner of Milton in the Right of William Sumner 

His Uncle Increase Sumners Son. 
46 — Elizabeth Trescott of Milton in the Right of Her Brother 

Samuel Trescott. 
47 — Joseph Chaplin of Roxbury in the Right of His Brother 

Moses Chaplin. 
48 — Hezekiah Barber of Dorchester in the Right of Eliab Lyen 

at the Deseir of Zachariah Lyon Son of Nathaniel Lyon 

Eldest Brother to said Eliab Lyon. 
49— Waitestill Lyon of Dorchester in the Right of Her Uncle 

Edward Wiat. 
50 — Benjamin Mansfield of Dorchester in the Right of His 

Neffue Peter Kelley. 

•• :| I 




51 — Sainuel Biivch of Dorchester in the Kight of Ills Uncle 

Eliazcr Wales. 

52 — Isaac Mow of Dorchester in the Right of His Cusscn Joseph 


53 — Thomas Tilestone Esq'' of Dorchester in the Eight of Ilope- 

still Sanders in BehalfVjf John Sanders. 
51 — Vv'illiatn Royal of Stoughton in the Right of Samuel Sanders 
in Behalf of John Sanders. 

55 — John Sheperd of Stoughton in tlie Right of His Uncle John 

Sheperd — Maj^ Wade. 

56 — Philip Gooding of Stoughton who sarved under ^laj'' Wade. 

57 — Joseph AVilder Esq"" of Uaucaster in the Eight of His Uncle 

Samuel "Wheelei'who sarved in the Expedition to Canada 
under Maj' Nathanel AVade. 

58 — Nathan Heywood of Lunenburg in the Right of John Willis 

His Wives Father who sarved under Capt Savage. 

5;t — Oliver Wilder of Lancaster in the J'Jight of Jonathan Fair- 
bank who sarved under Cap' Chaiupney. 

60 — -Joseph Wheclock of Lancaster in the Right of His Uncle 
Timothy "Wheclock who sarved under Cap' Anderson. 

Except Timothy ]\lossmaii, none of these oiiiiiiuil proprie- 
tors ever resided in the tov.n.sliip, yet several of them, or 
their sons, retained their interest and attended the meetings 
of the propriety for many years. The Wilders, the Sumners, 
Joseph \Vhcelocl-:, Xatlian llevwood and Hezekiali Barber 
became intimately associated witii the foitunes of the settle- 
ment. The descendants of several of thesc^. })roprietors Avere 
subsequently among tlui m<jst useful and valued citiy.ens of 
Ashburnhani. Here is found the probable cause which led 
to a residence here of the AVilder, Kelton and Crehore fami- 
lies. And in the succeeding records, as the change of 
OAvnershi}) introduces new names, will a})pear the first men- 
tion of otlier families which have been honorably associated 
w^ith the annals of the town. A miniature town was con- 

r '.1 yi. 

' ■ ' 'J 

■ • . 1. 



conleJ iii iMs report of IToG. To sixty men and tluMi- suc- 
cessors was committed the destiny of a future xVsliburnham. 
Had the decision of the committee j)assed ]>y these names 
and bestowed tlie g-rant on sixty other pei-sons, tlie drama 
would haye jjroceeded with the scene unchanged, Init the 
actors and all the incidents of the pla}" would haye been 
changx'd. A town ^vith a parallel history would haye suc- 
ceeded, but the name, the men, the order and color of the 
cyents would not be those which lill the pages of our annals. 
While these proceedings were in pi-ogress, the General 
Court had passed an ordei" empowering Timothy Tilestone 
to call the tirst meeting of the proprietors. This yaj-rant is 
dated Sejjtendjer 8, IToG, and the meeting was assembled m 
Dorchester fourteen days later. The proceedings of the first 
meeting outline })lans and projects for the benelit of the 
proposed settlement which are n.ot consummated for many 
years. The record of the nu:-eting is as follows : 

Att a fleeting of the Proprietors of a Township Granted to the 
Officers and Soldiers in the Expedition to Canada anno 1C90 in 
the Company under the Command of Capt John Witiiington late 
Deceased on the 22 Day of Sept 173G att the Turkshead in Dor- 
chester, Legall}' warned. 

Voted That Thomas Tilestone Esqr be moderator. 

Voted To Lay ont the Land as Soon as may be. 

Voted the first Division Lots to be fifty acres and the Com- 
mittee to ad thereto for badness of Land. 

Voted That the Committee shall Consist of Six men and four 
of them to be a quorum. 

Voted Tliat Edward Hartwell Esq. Benjamin Bird Mr Samuel 
Sumner Mr Benjamin Sumner Mr Isaac Howe & Joseph Vvllder 
Esqr be a Committee to Lay out the fiist Division Lots. 

Voted That the Committee do agree with the Surveyors and 
Chain men. - ■ 

f\ ■■:/:'. 

! M 


VoteJ Tliat tho Sarv'eYor.s each Shall have fifteea shillings per 
Day, tiiGj' to support them Selves. 

Voted That the Chain men each Shall have ten Shillings per 
Day the^' to support thera Selves. 

Voted That the Committee Shall have Twelve Shillings per 
Day they to Support them Selves. 

Voted That when an so often as an}' five or more of the Pro- 
prietors shall judge a Proprietor's Meeting to be necessary they 
may make Application to the Proprietors Clerk for the Calling of 
a meeting Ex[ncssing the time and the place and the Occasion 
thereof and the said Clerk is hereby Impowered to Grant the same 
for such Meeting accordingly and to Xotif}' the Proprietors of 
the Said Meeting and the time and place for the same, which 
Notification Shall be given in Writing Posted up in Some Public 
Place or Places in Dorchester, Milton, & Stoughton Fourteen 
Days before the Day appointed for the Meeting and the Notifica- 
tion to be put to the Public Prints. 

Voted to have a Clerks Book, 

Voted that evry Proprietor to have a Plan of his first Din^aon 
Lot he Paying for the same. 

Voted That evry Proprietor Come att the Next Meeting to 
Draw his first Division Lot, he to pay for the Laying of said Lot 
out before he Draws said Lot. 

Voted That the Committee Vew a Convenaut Spot for the 
Meeting House and that the said Committee leve Couvenant 
High ways. 

Voted to leve Convenant Places for a ^lill or Mills Common 
for the use of the Proprietors. 

Voted that the Committee leve out thouse peices of Medow they 
think Proper to be left out for the use of the Proprietors. 

Voted that r>enjamin Bird be the Proprietor's Clerk and the 
said Bird tuck the following oath : 

Whereas you Benjamin Bird are Chosen by a Majority of the 
Voters to be Clerk to the Proprietors of the Township Granted by 

"j^: ■ r 

ill---; --.';^■ 

t' ) 


the General Court to the Coinpuu)' in\cler Capt. Wlthiugton in 
the PLxpeditiou to Canada You do Swear b}' the true and ever- 
living God that vou will Dul}' and faithfully Discharge that Trust 
according to your best Skill and Knowledge. So Help you God. 

Piiovixci: 01^ THE Massachusetts Bay S S. 

Sept. the 22'-'^ 173G. 
Then tb.e above Named Benjamin Bird Farsonally ap[>earing 
made Oath as above. Before me 

the Peace througli the Province. 

Thus ends the record of the lirst meeting of the propri- 
etors. All organization had been clfccted and the clerk had 
been sworn in solemn form. It is Avorthv of note that after 
taking the oath ]\Ir. Bird seldom again spelled at with two 
ts while he held the olKee. His best skill and judgment 
had Ijocn invoked. At this meeting a})pears for tlie iirst 
time Edward Ilartwell of Lunenbnrg, He was not an orig- 
inal proprietor but had jiurchased a right of Joseph Letids 
and became an active and leading meml)er of the organiza- 
tion. Thomas Tilestone, to whom in the admission of pro- 
prietors was assigned two rights, now owns the former rights 
of John Chandler and Samuel Burch ; the four rights were 
probably acquired hy purchase. Although the figure head 
of the petition to the General Court it does not appear that 
Mr. Tilestone was entitled by inheritance to any interest in 
the grant which had been secured mainly througli his intlu- 
encc. William White now owns the right of David Jones 
and the right of Waitstill Lyon is held by Thomas Stearns. 
Jonathan Dvright of Boston takes the place of Joseph Chap- 
lin, and Andrew "Wilder, Jr., of Laneaster, is the owner of 
one of the rights of Hezekiah Barl)er, while James ^Nlears 
and T'imothy Green represent the riglits formerly of Ben- 
jamin Cheney and Elizabeth Triscott. 



A spirit of activity i)ervade.s tlie record of the first meet- 
ing. ITiirdly had a moderator been chosen l)efore a ^■otc 
was })assed to lay out a liovisc lot for each proprietor "as 
soon as may be." Five days after the meeting, the six 
members of the conmiittce, in full synipatliy witli the zeal- 
ous enthusiasm of their associates, attended 1)y two surveyors 
and nine chainmcn and assistants, are u))on the ground. For 
fifteen days the stillness of the woods is Ijroken 1jy tl)e sound 
of the axe and the strong voices of sturdy men. In their 
dying echoes is heard the doom of the primeval forest. The 
sleep of centuries is ended. Tiie entire expanse of foliage 
■warmed in an autumn sun will ntn'cr again present its varied 
hues in an unbroken picture of grandeur and beauty. The 
despoiling agency of mtui has been invoked and soon the 
flame and smoke from the clearing of the settler will ainiounce 
the preparation for his habitation. Under the direction of 
the committee sixty-three house lots are laid out by Andrew 
Wilder, Jr., and Joseph Wilder, Jr. 'J'hc chainmcn and 
assistants were nearly all })roprietors who had come hither to 
view their new possessions. These lots were located on the 
west, south and east shores of Upper Xaukeag lake, then 
extending south througli the Centre Village and east to Cam- 
bridge farm, then westerly on the north lines of the Rolfe, 
Starr and Converse farms and on the west line of the latter 
ftirm to the line of Westminster, covering the site of the 
South Village, but not so far west as the line of the Cheshire 
and Vermont and ^lassachusetts railroads. Two lots were 
detached and located in the present limits of Ashby. The 
remaining lots were in one continuous tract of irregular form. 
In these lots were included three thousand one hundred and 
fifty acres, exclusive of any allowance that might have been 
made for inequality of laud. The remainder of the grant, 
or above three hundred acres for each riijht, was still owned 



111 common by the pvojirietor.-. Tliese surveys were com- 
pleted Oelol>ci- 11. Meuinvliile the commiitec li-ad selected 
a site for the meeting-house and had laid out roads leadmg- 
to it. For tliis ser\icc the committee and tliose employed 
by them were paid £152-1(]-G. The sum of £2 was '^Taid 
Sundry People at Sundry times for Bringing the Horses out 
of the woods,'" while £2-19 N\as paid for }.asturing horses, 
wliich ])Ossibly indicates that some of the liorses were past- 
ured at expjnse on improved lands in Lunenburg, being 
more highly favored than those let loose in the woods. 

The second meeting of tlu^ proprietors was held November 
10, of the same year. While it was assembled under a new 
warrant, or notification, as our woilhies styled it, it was 
practically a continuation of the former meeting. The 
account of the committee already mentioned was allowed and 
to pay the same an assessment was ordered. This action 
called for a new class of officials. Samuel Sunmer and 
Edv\-ard Ilartwell were chosen assessors, Thomas Lyon, Jr., 
collector, and Benjamin Bird, treasurer. The following 
extract from the records outlines the most important of the 
proceedings : 

Voted the Confirmation of the place T\Iarkcd out by tlic Com- 
rait!;ee for Building the Meeting House on, and the Highways they 
have Laid out thereunto in Said Town. The :\[ecting House Lot 
Contains 10 acres lying squar and it Lieth on a Hill 180 Rods 
South of a Greate Pond and has a very faire Prospeck. The 
North East Corner is a young Pitch Pine and thence it Runs west 
40 Rods to a stake and Pillar of Stons and thence South 40 Rods 
to a stake and Heep of Stones and thence it Runs East 40 Rods 
to a stake and Hecpe of Stons and thence it Runs North 40 Rods 
to whare it began. 

Voted to Clear the Highway, and Edward Ilartwell Esq% 
Capt. Oliver AVilder and M^ Joseph Wheelock were Chosen a 


Committee for tliat Sarvice, unci also to Fire the Woods the Gist 
Convenant time. .. -, 

Voted that Edward Hartwell Esq'", Capt Oliver Wilder and 
M' Joseph Wheelock be a Committee to a Gree with a Sutable 
Persou or Persons to Pmild a Sawmill in said Town in tlie 
most Convenant Place that the}' Can find therefor, and That 
in Giving eucurrageraent to any Persou to undertake therein tliey 
do not exceed one Hundred acres of Land and tliat they oblige the 
Person so undertaking (by P.ond or other ways) to have the Mill 
Going within the &pace of five rnontha and to Keep tlie same in 
Repair for the space of Ten years and that he saw Boards for tlie 
Proprietors for forty shillings a Thousand and Saw timber P)rought 
to said Mill for Twenty shillings a Thousand and other Timber 

The same iiiontli the committee charge the proprietors for 
four days each, three hired laborers four days each and one 
man one day in clearing the roads leading to the place set 
apart for the meeting-house and a common, "vvhich we are here 
informed and fully reali;^e "has a very faire Prospeck." 

At this meeting the house or lirst division lots are distrib- 
uted among the proprietors. The eighth lot is reserved for 
the ministry, the ninth for schools and the fifty-seventh for 
the lirst settled minister. Here ends the record of the lirst 
year. A Xew England winter regains control of the wilder- 
ness and for a time closes the door against the progress of the 

1737. With the arrival of s})ring, the committee chosen 
for that purpose enter into negotiations with Hezekiah Gates 
of Lancaster to build a saw-mill within the towniship for the 
acconmiodation of the settlement. The committee grant him 
ninety acres of land, lying on the stream ])etween the Upper 
and Lower Xaukeag lakes and receive from him a bond of 
five hundred pounds, obliging him to build and conduct the 


mill on tile lei'tns oatlincd in the vote of the proprietors. The 
charues of tlio coiuDiittee for their serviees estahlisli the date 
of these ])roeeediiigs ; 

1737 May 17 tlie Connniltee four days eacli 

M'ith the man that is to Build tlie saw mill (a) 10^ £C — — — 
h (lay eaoh to signe the Righting — 15 — — 

the writings with M' Gates — 3 — — 

In effeeting an ngreement with }klr. Gates the coinuiiftee 
consume anijde time in its consideration and apparently con- 
dnet the business to the present satisfaction of the proprietors, 
l)ut in the years immediately following hioth ]Mr. Gates and 
his mill were an endless source o^ perplexity and litigation. 
The proprietors continually complain of the construction and 
management, while he successfully resists their directions to 
raise the dam and make re})airs, until the fact gradually 
develops that there is a better head on Gates than at his 
mill, and more revcdving power in his mind than i)i his 

Two foiiual meetings of the pro})rietors are held this year 
at the " Turks Head Tavern in Dorchester," and Henry A^'ood- 
man, James Bishop, Joseph ]>ent and Jose})h Herbert make 
their tirst appearance as ])ro]>rietors in jdace of ]\Iatthias 
Evans, John Andrews, Joseph AVeeks and Thomas Lyon, Jr. 
At the first meeting, August 25, it was voted " to lay out in a 
second Division, Sixty three Lots in the up land, each lot 
coiitaining eighty Acres at the least and in case so many Lotts 
cant be laid out in the very best of said land, that it be in 
the Power of the Counnittee to add to every eighty Acre lot 
so much as to make them equal to the very best Lot, not 
exceeding Forty Acres to any one Lot." 

Andrew AVilder was cluxsen to lay out the lots and a com- 
mittee of Xqw was chosen to conduct the business. At the 


':■ -J' 


!<t'Cond meeting, ]")ecein})er 14, live suvvoy of tlic second 
division lots was a})pi-oved, and a lot Aras assigned to each 
OAvncr of a right. 'J'hc tenth lot was reserved for the first 
settled minister, tlic eleventh for the ministry and the sixty- 
third for schools. 

The price of labor o)i the highways Mas rated at seven 
shilJings per da}', and Ileniy "Woodman was added to the 
committee on higliways who were instrneted that " but one 
of said Committee work on that Business at won and tlie 
same time." During the year the roads receive the benefit 
of tvrenty-three days' labor at a cost of £9-2-0. The charges 
for laying out tlie second division lots were £224-9-G, the 
clerk and treasurer receives £5-7-0, for his services to the 
close of the year and a few small charges are allowed. To 
meet these demands an assessment of £2.58 or £4-<3-0 on 
each right is made. Only one proceeding of interest during 
this year remains unnoticed : 

Voted That jM' Joseph Harbort have five acres of Land and 
the Stream by it for to Set a fulUng Mill he raataining said mill 
ten years for the Sarves of the Propi-ietors, the said Propiietors 
paying him for what work they have don at said ISIill. And the 
Committee that was appointed to a gree with a man for to Bulding 
a Saw Mill he the Committee to give a Deed and take Bond of 
said Harbort lie Paying the Committee for their treble. 

This solitary mention of a fulling-mill is all that is heard 
of it for many years. The committee, to whom the project 
w^as referred, found ample employment in the management 
of ]Mr. Gates and his saw-mill. This addition to their per- 
plexity was an act of great iinkindness on the part of the 
proprietors. It is reasonably certain that the grant of land 
was never consummated, perhaps, admonished by the perilous 
adventure of Don Quixote and the fulling-mills, the subject 
is not revived. 

' ■•• -I 


173S. Sjuimel Hay ward has become a proprietor rc})rc- 
f>C!iting the right formerly of Kobert Redman, and Ilezekiali 
(iates also ap])ears at the n\eetln<xs of the board, but whose 
riiilit he has purchased is not certain. Other cliana'es in the 
nicmbcrshi]:) of the proprietors occur from time to time, but 
the general management of aflairs contiimes to be refeiTcd to 
tliose whose names haxc become familiar. Only one meeting 
is held this yea]-, Avhich is convened .August 22, "at the 
l)ouse of Jonathan Dwiglit of Boston, Innliolder." Timothy 
(ireen is elected clerk and treasurer in the place of Benjamin 
Bird. 'J'he saw-mill has been built but the contention con- 
cerning its etHciency and management has not as yet sufli- 
ciently develo};ed to prevent the pro})rietors from considering 
a I'eiiuest from its owner, in a lienerous and j^ood-natured 
manner : 

Voted That Mr. Hezekiah Gates of Lancaster have liberty to 
lay oul Thirty Acres of Land adjoining to the land he has already 
hiid out at the Mill between the Pond and the lower end of his 
band already laid out in part of his Ninety Acres. 

Voted that iM/ Hezekiah Gates have liberty to build his blouse 
on his Land near the Mill and clear as much Land there as any 
one Proprietor is obliged to do by his Grant. 

Also at this meeting Captain Oliver Wilder and ]Mr. Gates 
are chosen "to clear a good cart way from the saw mill to the 
place wdiere the meeting house is to stand as strait as the 
land will uUoav of." For this purpose an appropriation not 
exceeding eight pounds is made. The sentiment of the pro- 
I»rict(n-s was taken in regard to building a meeting-house and 
It passed in the negative." 

It-V,). A note of preparation for some weighty under- 
taking is heard in the early call for a meeting of the 
pnipnctors. Earlier by several months than in former years 

are assembled the controlling spirits of the township. Tliis 


niemornl)lc inceiiiiii,- \va^ held in Bosion April 11, at the 
house of ]\Ir. Dwiuht. X(;ticcs had been puljlished in the 
Boston papers and posted at Dorehester and probably at 
Milton and Stouirhtou, announcing to the proprietors that 
they will be invited at this meeting "to consider what is 
proper to be done al)out building a meeting house for the 
worship of (rod. " Of the time for building a meetirig-house 
stipulated in the charter two full years yet remained, and in 
consideration of the small progress made in the settlement, 
and that so far the plantation had been a continual source 
of expense to the proprietors, an excuse for delay is easily 
found. The recoi'd, however, presents no shadow of hesita- 
tion but rather the cheerful voice of a united purpose. 

Voted That a Meetuig House for the Publick Wor.->l)ip of 
God be liuilt as soon as conveniently uia}' be, on the Meelhig 
House place in the said Township to be Fort}' Five Feet Long, 
Thirty Five Feet wide, the Corner post to be Twenty one Feet 

Voted That Thomas Tilestone & Edward HartwcU Esq^ Major 
Oliver "Wilder, Mr. Andrew Wilder and Mr. Hezekiah Barber be 
the Committee for Building said ^Meeting House. 

Voted That a Tax of Three Hundred Pounds be laid, on the 
Proprietors, to pay Charges past and towards Building said 
Meeting House. 

An omission to give this record in full would be an act of 
injustice. The will of the meeting expressed in other terms 
woidd conceal, in a great measure, the resolute purpose and 
firm determination of the act. On the strength of this action 
alone the meeting-house was built. Xo postponement, no 
amendment nor qualification of this action v/as ever tolerated. 
In marked contrast with the early history of other towns in 
this vicinity the first moeting-housc was located with rare 
unanimity and built without contention. The picture of the 

rnoi'KiETAin: nisrouY. 67 

" fuire Pro:^peck" was not inarrcd with an cKliibilioii of the 
passions of contending" men. Under the direction of the 
connnittee, the meeting-house v.'as Ijuilt 1\y ]3eni;imin Ballard, 
who received in six i)a3'ments £i?.")l-17-0. In his Half 
Century Sermon, 18] 8, Rev. Dr. Cu.-hing sa^'s : "In 1731', 
the proprietors erected a meeting house 50 b}' 40. It was 
the lirst frame that was set-up in the town and it has l)ecn 
considered, and Avas at tlie time, as an cxtraordinar}' enter- 
prise (hat it was raised by only sixteen men." This refer- 
ence to the year in which it was l^uilt is of interest, since 
th(> records do not make it a])pcar whether it was built in 
1731' or the year following. Xovember 19, 1710, it was 
voted to pay ]Mr. Jjallard one hun^U'ed and fifty })ounds in 
part for l)uilding the meeting-hou.--e, and at the same time the 
committee was requ.ested to make a report. While the 
records admit the conjecture that it might have been built in 
1740, there is found no cause to qualify the assertion of Mr. 
Cushing that it was erected in 1739. In regard to the size 
of the edifice, it is fair to presume, that referring to it twenty- 
seven years after it was removed, it would have been easier 
for j\[r. Cushina: to overlook the exact dimensions than for 
the connnittee to exceed their instructions so tar as to erect a 
meeting-house longer and wider by live feet than directed by 
the vote of their associates. On one point all the authorities 
are in liarmony. At this time the roof and sides were 
covered with boards and open spaces were left for windows 
and doors. It was several years ])efore the roof was im- 
proved and doors and window^s procured. 

Two other meetings were held at Boston this year, at 
which considerable business was transacted. It was pro- 
posed to clear a road leading from Lunenburg to Winchester, 
Kew Hampshire, but the ambition of the proprietors was 
satisfied in the choice of a committee to view and estimate 

- ■■',)■ 


the expc'ise of ;i road tVoiu the coimnon to the west line of 
the tovs'iLship. A gnituity of four pounds eacli was voted to 
the first fifteen settlers who, previous to r^Iay, 1740, should 
build a house and comply with the other conditions of the 
grant ; and a grant of sixty acres of land was made to 
"Thomas Gamble who lately met with some loss l)y fire in 
said township." An account of this tire, probahly tlie first 
in the settlement, Avould be of interest, but no additional 
information lias been found. At a former meeting there had 
been a decree to prosecute all persons who cut any white 
pine trees on the undivided lands, and nov,' a committee is 
chosen to number and mark all the white pine trees fit for 
clapboards and shingles on the ten-acre common that they 
ma}" be reserved for future use. 

17-tO. The chronicles now declare the vwar of 1740. The 
o-rowing discontent over the continued mismanaL'-ement of 
the saw-mill culminated in acts of open hostility at a meeting, 
assembled at the inn of Jonathan Dwight, on the tenth of 
April. The declaration of war is inscribed in a bold, firm 
hand upon the records : 

Voted that Edward Hartwell Esq. of Lunenburg, Col. Oliver 
"Wilder and Joseph. Wheclock of Lancaster be a committee to put 
iu suit and pursue to final judgment and execution the bond of 
Mr. Hezekiab Gates of Lancaster. 

Forgetting that their treasury was empty and that Mr. 
Ballard was waiting for his pay for building the meeting- 
house, the proprietors do not fail to vote the sinews of war : 

Voted that the committee, chosen to put in suit and pursue to 
final jadgmeut and execution the bond of Hezekiah Gates, have 
liberty to draw upon the proprietor's treasurer what money may 
be thought proper and necessary to carry on the suit. 

rr.opnirTAKY iii story. 69 

Mr. Gates wns sued; probably Daniel Gookin, the first 
.sheriff in V,"oree.ster county, served the wi'it. The di?^con- 
tent of the proprietors had become chronic an.d relief could 
not be found in treatment less heroic. It was a valorous 
attack, but the enemy was not wholly routed, as appears in 
a call fiv,- a meeting to be assembled at the inn of C^iptain 
Josiah Shelden in IViston, Xovem])er 19, "to liear Avhat ^^Ir. 
Hezekiah Gate's hath to oiler for an aorcement concerning 
the saw mill and damn." The records of Timothy Green 
arc spelled with great accuracy. lie fails now in the oHliog- 
ra])hy of one Avord. Proltabl}' he did not use that ■word 
oficn, but we are sorry to find him using it in this form when 
he is talking about Gates and the saw-mill. Mr. Ilartwell 
is allowed and some time later was paid £3;'j-3-0 " for sueing 
Hezekiah Gates ; for charges attending Court at Worcester 
May 17-10 and for officers fees and witness fees and for 
laying out ten acres of pine land and laying out Hezekiah 
Gates' land." In 1743. after many votes and references to 
the affair, the proprietors, in a more conciliatory spirit, pro- 
pose to adjust the difUculty on receipt of £40 or £10 new 
tenor. The proposition was accepted and pa^'ment made by 
Mr. Gates soon after. Complaint however vras renewed in 
a future year, 1744, in a call for a meeting "to see what 
the proprietors will do concerning Hezekiah (rates ; the saw 
mill being out of repair and no boards." When the meeting 
was convened nothing was done about it for the saw-mill and 
all minor troubles were forgotten in the sorrows and discour- 
agements of the French and Indian A\'ar. 

1741. Several of the })roprietors of Dorchester Canada, 
compared with the standard of their time, were men of 
wealth. It is apparent that others were less fortunate. A 
considerable portion of the taxes which had been assessed 
from time to time on the rights in the township remained 

i';. •:;;-( 

I. -•!!:* -.:•; ;u;' 


unjxiid, and iiKuiy dcinaucls the prc)])rioty were unad- 
justed. The ciiibai'rassincnt occasioned by this state of 
alfairs finds iVeciuent ex])ression in tlie records. Early this 
3'ear it was voted to sell at auction the land of the delinquent 
owners, but before the day apjxiintcd for the sale ari'ived, the 
majority took a more cinicilialor}- course in referrinir the 
subject to a conunittee. It is jn-obuble that no sale of land 
for the payment of taxes was made until 17.>1.. 

In the annals of this year should be recorded an important 
event over which the ])roi)rietors had no control. The 
boundary line, having been adjusted previously by the con- 
tending provinces, was ruii by liichard Ilazen in February of 
this year. A belt of land along the northern boundary of 
Dorchester Canada, containing nearl}' one thousand acres, 
was ruthlessl}- given to New Hampshire. Overcome by a 
grief which refused utterance, or sustained by a stoic resig- 
nation which commanded silence, the jn-oprietors make no 
reference to this event for many years. 

17-l:*2. The annals of this year are somewhat brief and 
uneventful, and the careless reader might fail to discover the 
feature of greatest interest. Here is found the first trace of 
faction among the proprietors. In a call for a meeting to be 
held at the meeting-house in ] Dorchester Canada, the first 
attempt to hold a meeting outside of ])orcliester or Boston, 
appear the names of Caleb A\'ilder, Joseph AVheelock, Ileze- 
kiah Gates, Jienjamin Harris, Crardner AMlder, Edward 
Phelps and Xathaniel Caller. These MX're the })etitioners 
who caused the meeting to l)e called and designated the 
place. I'ormer meetings had generally been called by 
Thomas Tilestone, Jon;itiian Dwight, Hezekiah Barber, 
Samuel Kneeland and others living in Boston or immediate 
vicinitv. The record of the ])roceedin*2:s of the meeting 
convened in Dorchester Canada is brief: "A number of the 

'■ ,\r ., 


))r()]>i'ictor:^ mot at tlic )nccting liouse in Dorcliestcr Canada 
and thf^ro was ol)jection aro.^e about the oalUnL'; the luectinir 
and so notliinL'' wa^ done." 

I'vvidently, withoul consulting tlie Tilestoiio paily, the 
same gentleman joined liy a few others get a meeting called 
sof)n after to be convened at Leominster. Again "there Avas 
ohjectiiiu arose " on acconnt of the absence c-l'the clerk "and 
so nothing was done." It becomes ap})arent that in the 
fictitious phiy of Afohaninied and the mountain, the Boston 
])arty preferred to be the mountain. A meeting Avas then 
called to assemble early the folIoAving year at the irm of Mr. 
Jonatlian Dwight in ]>()ston whei'c matters of grave im}K)rt 
were considered. 

171-3. At a meeting convened ^Niareh 31 at the house of 
Jonathan D^vight, an entertaining proposition was considered 
and decided as Ibllows : 

Voted That the proprietors give CDCOnragement to one person 
that will settle a Family and Keep a public House with Suitable 

Voted That tho sum of £100. O. T. be paid to one person that 
shall build a good and suflicient House — three Rooms on a floor 
with Chimneys in each Room of it for a House of ICntertainment 
and Rain unit provision suitable for to eniertain men and 

In order that the bounty proposed might lie paid to any 
person complying with the conditions a tax was assessed at 
this time, bnt the money was not ]n\)mptly collected. 
Timothy ^lossman of Sudbury built a house of entertainment 
this year, and received eighty pounds of the one hundred 
pounds which was attempted to he raised. The record will 
establish this point l)eyond dispute. Under an article "To 
do what shall be thouirht neeessarv in order that Mr. Tiniothv 



^Mossi'iaii ])ia_\" have tlie iiioiic}' ])ai(j him \\"hich is justly due 
and o\Yinu' to him tVoui said ])ro]'))-iotors" it Wits ordered " That 
tlie sum of eiii;hty pounds ohl tenor be a1h)V\-ed and paid to 
]\lr. Timothy ^lossman lor his service in building a house of 
entertaimuent and if theie should be peace with France 
within twehe nuniths that tlie aforesaid ]\Iossman to have the 
sum of forty ])Ounds old tenor." 

In recognition of faithful service, the sum of twelve 
sliillings per day for seven and one-half days was voted to 
Edward Hart well, Jose})h W'heelock and Andrew Wilder, a 
committee '' to view out and mark out a road from the meet- 
ing house to the west line and that tifty shillings bo allowed 
to each of them for their extraordinary hardshi])." 

174.-J:. At the threshold of a new year stand the waiting 
heralds of impending war : their niessages, borne on the 
wings of alarm along the uiq^rotected frontier, are answered 
in hasty p]"i'})arations for defence. The settlers from the 
unprotected l»orders through fear of attack from the Indians 
are hastening to the older and foi'titied towns. The proprie- 
toi's of Dorchester Canada, })erceiving that the existence of 
the settlcnu.-nt was invoUed, adopted early measures to 
create a feeling of security. First, they i)lace themselves 
squarely on the rec(n\l : '' \'^oted that the proprietors will 
foilify," and at the same meeting one hundred and sixty 
pounds was voted to Asher Cutler if he woidd "build a 
fortification aroimd his house and receive the soldiers that is- 
ordered for that }dace and have the }jrovince pay for billeting 
and kee}) a ta\'ern Viitli good staijling ha\' t^c to the acce])t- 
ance of the proprietors.'' Mr. Andj-ew Wilder was chosen 
"to view the fortitication ]Mr. Cutler is to build in said town- 
ship." It is reasonal>ly certain that this contract was 
annulled. In August following an agreement is made with 
Jonathan Dwight and l^ihraim "Wheeler " to build a block 


liousG in ?;ud Dorcliostcr Canada and keep a _<::ood and suffi- 
cient hon>o of entertaimnent tit both for man it horse and 
to entertaJn all soldiers tliat have or may he ordered to said 
townslii}) & to receive tlie province ])ay for their billeting.** 
The consideration for this undertakini.'; ^vas two hundred 
pounds v>'hich was paid them the following year, but no 
record of any pa3'inent to ~Sh\ Cutler is found. 

Only two months preceding this agreement with Dwight 
and AVheeler, Timothy ]\Iossman was chosen " to take care 
of the meeting house In' nailing boards against the windows 
and doors and prevent the burning of brush near it." It is 
probable that lietween these dates ]\Ir. ]Mossman had left the 
house of entertainment built the year })receding. Certainly 
in the following year he was residing in Sudbury. It 
appears, also, that Asher Cutler was the owner of the ]Moss- 
man inn when he made the agreement "svith the })ro})rietors 
to fortify his house in Dorchester Canada. 

In contirmation of this statement there is the record of a 
deed dated August 10, 1744, of Timothy Mos.snian of Dor- 
chester Canada conveying the fourteenth and tiftecnth tirst 
division lots to Asher Cutler of Sudbury, 'iliese lots are 
west of the highwa}* and between the house of Seth P. Fair- 
banks and the old common. There is also a distinct tradi- 
tion that this ancient inn was fortitied and stood near the site 
of the Powder House. 

At the time Dwight and AMieeler built the block-house 
IMr. Wheeler was the owner of one-half of the liluehidd. or 
Bellows grant, and it is not improljable that the house built 
on this grant in 17;j4 was a part of the l)lock-house built in 
the autumn of 1744 or the following spring. Enos Jones, 
who settled on the Blueticld grant about 17G2, was accus- 
tomed to say that there was a l)lock-house and an inn situ- 
ated a short distance south from the house occu})ied by the 
late Deacon Daniel Jones. 

< ! T ; , 


174-5~17:t9. If any iiK^ctinii; of (he pro))riclovs was con- 
vened, durini;- tlie.-e live yenrs, no record of it has been 
preserved. It \\oidd l)e a source of satisfaction to make it 
a]>pc;ir, upon proof, that durini;- these years of gloom and 
<3iscourageDient to all tlie frontier settlements our little 
colony had maintained a continuous ha])it-ation in Dorchester 
Canada. But a knowledge of the fortunes of other settle- 
ments similarly situated, the absence of any sustaining 
evidence and tlie voices of tradition combine to destro^^any 
such picture and to. lead to tlie conclusion that during a con- 
siderable jwrtion of the time the settlement was entirely 
deserted. If it is true that the fires are sutTered to burn low 
on these primitive liearths, they are not wholly extinguished. 
In a little wliile the ])ioneers return in augmented force and 
the infant colony grows apace. It was the rest and inac- 
tivity (:f sleep, 1)ut not the eternal silence of death : and the 
little clearings in the forest, the meeting-house and tlie mill 
will await them on their return. 

Previous to this date, in ad'lilio)i to grants of land to 
the saw-mill and for other ])urposes. the pro})rietors had 
expended above one thousand five hundred pounds, old 
tenor, in forwarding the settlement. Substantial jirogress 
had been uiade. i*rimitive roads had been constructed 
frcan Lunenburg to the meeting-house and from thence 
to the 'Winchendon line. There was a road of more 
pretension from the saw-mill to tlie meeting-house, and the 
jN'orthfield road extended through the townshij). A saw- 
mill and later a meeting-house had ])een built and the 
fruit of civilization had l>een enjoyed in a lawsuit of very 
fair proportions. Through several clearings in the forest 
the summer sun Avarms the earth and paints in livery of 
green tlie tender blade. A i\'M' houses have been built in 
the centre of tlie clearings. The house on Bluefield farm is 

I 1.' 



os(;il)lislied by tlie records, jj'lic owner of (he .saw-mill w:is 
}>ermitted to build his iieiir by. Tlu; house of" ^Ir. 
];in, and the fortitlcd house of Dwight and "Wheeler, 
were eonii)leted to the acceptance of the ])ro])rietors. But 
the number and hK-ation of the earliest dwellings have 
esca})ed record and have faded from the traditions of men. 

Tlie original grant of several towns in this vicinity was at, 
very nearly the same time. At the outset it M\as an even 
race. The pro})rietors of Dorchester Canada, manifesting 
a li\ elier interest in their plantation by more frecpient meet- 
ings and more comprehensive action, seciu'cd better results 
and made more progress in a preparation for the future than 
was made by their rivals. It is probably true that if the 
l)uildin2: of the meetino-house had Ijeen delaved a ^'ery short 
time, it would not have been built until the return of peace 
after the French and Indian "War. Admitting the conjecture, 
the fact remains — one was built, and it was more than 
twenty years before a similar edifice ^^'as reared in Ivindge 
or in W^inchendon. 

The fear of attack from the Indians which led to the 
desertion of the settlement was not without good and suffi- 
cient reason. Any other course would have been rash and 
venturesome. A view of the surroundings as they were in 
1745 leads directly to this conclusion. Townsend, includ- 
ing the greater part of Ashby, and Lunenburg were incor- 
porated towns containing several block-houses on which the 
inhabitants relied for })rotection. The settlement in W^est- 
minster had made substantial progress, containing about 
twenty families. In that town was a line of ten block- 
houses or fortified dwellings which, joining with the fortifi- 
cations in Luiienl)urg and Townsend, made a continuous line 
of defences on the south and ea>t, with Ashburnham on the 
outside doing picket duty for the older and foilitied towns. 


. . -i ^1 


There was no protection from the nortli and west. In this 
direction, between the lines of settlement along the margins 
of tlie Connecticut and ^Merrimack rivers, v\as an exi)anse of 
unbroken >\'ilderness through which an insidious foe could 
approach unchallenged. The only settlements on the dan- 
ger side of Ashlun-nham were at New I})swich, Peter- 
borough, ivJndge and Winehendon. All tliese were deseiied. 
It would have been foolhardy for an}' of tliem ov all of 
them in alliance to have attempted to maintain an existence 
during these years of danger. History commends the Avis-. 
dom of the course pursued by these unprotected and feeble 
settlements. It is a well-estal)lished fact that the Indians 
were discovered many times lurking along the line of the 
gan'isons and ready to attack any unguarded point. They 
were held at Ixiy only ])y the active measures taken for 
defence. They even entered Westminster and Lunenburg 
and in a part of Lunenbm-g now in Ash1)y, they Inirned one 
of the foiliiied houses, killing two of the three soldiers who 
had been stationed there and carried into captivity an entire 
family, consisting of John Fitch, his wife and five children. 
The Indians made their retreat and doubtless came 
through Ashburnham. Electing between reti'eat and mas- 
sacre, these settlements were aliandoned. Even within the 
fortified line there were expressions of fear and repeated 
calls for assistance. July S, 1748, three days after the cap- 
ture of John Fitch, fifty-eight citizens of Lunenburg and 
Leominster join in a petition for more soldiers "for the pro- 
tection of their lives," giving as a reason for their re(|uest 
"that we are soried to look upon ourselves in a very hazard- 
ous as well as distressed case to such a degree that we can- 
not many of us labor on our farms or abide in our houses 
with tolerable safety." Four days later the connaissioued 
officers and the selectmen of Luneiiburg renew the request 



for help declnrinii; that for the pas( week "nliuost daily the 
enemy are heard sliootini;' in tiie ^vood^■> above us." In the 
accumulated evidence of these and oilier documents which 
care has preserved and research brought to liglit is found 
the danger which led to the abandonment of our little settle- 
ment and which raised alarm in the older and stronger 

During this jieriod of suspension in the afi'airs of Dorches- 
ter Canada, material changes occurred in the membership of 
the propriety. 'J'homas Tilestone died October 21, 1745. 
No other name has become so familiar. lie was the letiding 
petitioner for tlic grant and was appointed by the General 
Court on the conmiittee to admit the grantees and also to 
conduct their organization. Sul)scquently he was elected 
moderator of CA'cry uieeting of the proprietors, was named 
on the most important committees and until his death, at the 
age of seventy years, he was the leading spirit among his 
associates. He was a son of Timothy Tilestone and was 
born in Dorchester October 19, 1G75. Tin-ongh a long and 
useful life he was called to many positions of trust, both in 
civil and military affairs. His name is honorably connected 
with the annals of his time. In the concerns of Dorchester 
Canada, he was succeeded by his son Elisha Tilestone, who 
from inclination or otherwise made no attempt to exercise an 
equal influence in the management of its aft'airs. 

Joseph Wilder of Lancaster was a member of the Council 
in 1735 and was one of the committee to admit the grantees. 
At first he was prominent in the councils of the proprietors, 
but occupied witli aft'airs of greater moment his name now 
fades almost entirely from these annals. He was Judge of 
Probate many years and one of the Justices of the County 
Court from the organization of the county in 1731 until his 
"death in 1757. It was his son Joseph who was one of the 



sarveyor? of tho iirst division lots in ] 7;>(). Aiiotl'Or son 
Caleb find ;i cousin Oliver continue active members of the 
propriety for many years, ;md anK)ng the residents ^vbo 
apj)ear at a later pei'iod the name of AVilder w[]\ receive 
honoi"able mention. 

Edward ILirtAvcll was one of the iirst settlers of Lunen- 
burg wliere be contiimed to reside until liis death ]'\l)!ni;iry 
17, 178."), aged ninety-six years. He continues a proprietor 
of Dorcbester Canada, but :dter this date lie gives veiy little 
tmie or attention to its atlairs. His ,^ound judgment and 
vigorous bitellect made bim a letider among men. lie was 
a major in the mibtia and was frequently in service in the 
protection of the frontier. For many }ears he vras a mem- 
ber of the Legislature and served in that capacity after he 
was eighty years of age. lie was also one of the Justices 
of the County Court from 17G2 to 1771. In the midst of 
• these accuniulating honors and with ■weighty responsibilities 
resting upon him, he is found clearing the roads in the new 
township seven and one-half days and is rewarded with a 
gratuity of titly shillings on account of bis extraordinary 

On the muster-roll of Captain AVithington's company 
which served in the expedition to Canada in IGiJO a})pears 
the name of Samuel IJicks. The son Samuel, Jr., being 
dead a right in the township of Dorchester Canada was 
awarded to Timothy IMossman of Sudbury who married 
Sarah Kicks a daughter of Samuel, Senior. ]Mr. ]Mossman 
was the only one of the sixty original proi)rietors who settled 
in the township. Driven away by fear of the Indians and 
being advanced in years, he did not return when the settle- 
ment was renewed but the name will ever be associated with 
the earliest annals of the place. While he resided here, as 
stated elsewhere, he owned and occupied a house and lands 

1 I .Vjv.;:^ : .1',' .■ '^'1 

u-\\\ '.u : .'■■■' ■• V 




rnorRiETAijY histoky. 79 

a short distanco south of (liti comiiion. From a petition 
found in tho forty-sixth ^■olunle of State tiirhivcs it a})pcars 
that Mr. ^Mossuiiin liad a lease of other huid and that potasli 
was manufactured there at a very early date. 

The petition of Tiujothy INIossrinin wliich humbly craves leave 
to show that your petitioner lived in Dorchester Canada and was 
drove off b^' tlic IniHans from that town, and thereby I losscd niy 
House Moveables and Improvements and being impoverished sold 
my land there, J was put in possession of the pottash farm by 
virtue of a Lease from Capt Plaistced, where I did much labour 
in fencing improveing and n.akeing roads to the value of Two 
Hundred pounds where a so I met uith Great sickness in my 
person & familly and was furthei- reduced by tlie loss of the 
possession of the proA'ince land as it became profitable. 

Therefore I j;)ray your Excellency and Honours from your own 
goodness and Humanity to Compassionate my distress'd Circum- 
stances and forgive me the dclit I owe to the ]*rovince and give 
me a small Tract or Tracts of l'ro\ince Land that ma}' be found 
to L^-e betwixt Westminster and Leominster that, is useless to the 
Govern'' or the Sum of Two Hundied Pounds or Equivolence in 
laud, and as in duty bound shall ever pray. 


In answer to this petition of ]Mr. ^NFossman, the General 
Coui-t ordered June 12, 17G1, "that the sum of twelve 
pounds, being a debt due from the petitioner to the }n-ov- 
inee, be remitted to him in full answer to his petition." 

The second allegation in the petition concerning the pot- 
ash w*orks under the lease of Ca})tain Plaisted relates to 
events wdjich occurred after his removal from this town. To 
Thomas Plaistod had been granted fifteen hundred acres of 
land, now a part of Princeton, and while ]Mr. ^lossman was 
occupying this grant in 17G0 the title was forfeited on 
account of non-fulfdmcnt of the conditions, jt is this mis- 
fortune that is recited in the petition. Timothy Mossman 
was born in AYrentham, 1670, and died in Sudbury, 177o. 
lie did not reside in this town subsequent to 1744. 









The Coxgkess of nations convened at Aix la Chapelle, in 
1748, effected a suspension of hostilities between England 
and France, but during the summer of the following yeai', 
detached bodies of Indians, sometimes accompanied hy a fe^\' 
French soldiers, continued to menace the exposed line of 
settlements. Not until 1750, did a feeling of security invite 
a return of the settlers to the frontiers, nor at this time in 
any considerable number. One by one the hardy pioneers 
break an 0})ening in the wilderness or enlarge a clearing 
already begun. The rude cabins are separated by wide 
M'astes of unbroken forest. The cheering presence of a new 
arrival, or the return of a former companion is only hailed at 
long intervals of time. It was several years before there 
were many settlers in the townshij). The renewal of the 
war in 1754, and the news of sudden incursions by the 
Indians into Salislniry, Charlestown, AValpole, ]{.eene, 
Hinsdale and other towns in New Ilarap.shire, continued to 
cast clouds of discouragement over a second attempt to pos- 
sess the township. While this state of ailairs from 1750 to 


; . "1 " 

■■■'■ H 



17 GO greatly rct-irdod, it did not prevent niatei-ial progress 
ill the settlement of Dorchester Canada. 

Early in the year, 1750, the ],)roi)rietors, aroused by the 
bustk'. of preparation heard on every hand, are convened at 
the inn of their old associate, Jonathan D wight. For five 
3^ears they have beheld their possessions in Dorchester 
Canada, through the dim vision of gloomy foar and fading 
hope, but now assembling with cheerful countenances, they 
forget the misgivings of the past as they read on every hand 
the accumulating promises of amended fortunes. They can- 
not fail to note the vacant chair of Timotliy Tilestone. 
Joseph Wilder, engrossed by affairs of greater moment, has 
withdrawn from an}' })articipation in their aliairs, and Edward 
Hartwell, after this date, is seldom present. In their room 
come Elisha Tilestone, Richard and Caleb Dana, Henry 
Coolidge, Eleazer AVilliams and John Moffatt, while the 
Sum-ners, Colonel Oliver and Captain Caleb Wilder, Jona- 
than D wight, Hezekiah Barber, Jose})h AMicelock, Xathan 
Heywood and others, whose names are familiar, will con- 
tinue active members of the board. And last, but not least, 
from year to year there will be added to their councils ne^v 
members, residents of tlie settlement, increasing in numbers 
and influence until they gain control of the corporation. 
These, in whom we have much the greater interest, will be 
introduced with honorable mention as they make their 
appearance at the meetings of the board. 

The date of the first meeting after the long interval, w^as 
February 20, 1740-50. It was proposed to }.)rocure windows 
and finish the meeting-house, and the expediency of calling a 
minister was suggested for the first time, but nothing was 
decided in reofard to a minister or the meeting-house. A 
committee was named to report at the next meeting concern- 
ing the probable expense and the location of a grist-mill, and 

' >i: 

v/ :,;: I'll 



then, Avith their accustouied alacrity, they achnoiiisliod ?ilr. 
Gates instructing him in specilic terms, to J^eep the sav>'-mill 
■ in good rcjiair and to ''raise the dam one foot and a half 
higher than it used to be or ever has been." xVfter some 
attention to the roads, which doubtless ni-eded mending, the 
proprietors directed attention to one sid)ject of no little 
interest. Present at this meeting, and mingling Avilh them, 
was jNFoses J'^ostcr, then ahnost sLxty years of age. For 
sevcnd 3'cars he had resided a })ortion of tlie time, at least, 
in Dorchester Canada. lie brought them tidings from the 
wilderness, and gave them an account of what had happened 
there. By him they were assured the meeting-house had 
been unharmed and he gave them the names of those who 
had b?en to the wilderness or v.'cre proposing to settle there. 
Mr. Foster had purchased one first and one second division 
lot lying adjacent in the northeast part of the town, now in 
Ash])y. The title to one of the lots was in dispute and the 
proprietors at this meeting made him a grant of fifty acres. 
Not content with this moasuro of kindness to their aged 
guest, the proprietors vote him five })0unds " for being one of 
the first settlers." There is no record of the pnyment of 
this gratuity, but a few years later a tract of about iifty acres 
was granted to "Mr. jNIoses Foster one of the first settlers" 
on condition he "shall come personally and settle and inhaljit 
there and continue there for several years provided his life 
be spared him." This grant was located adjacent to and east 
of the common, and for man}'' years was known as the 
Deacon Foster grant. It is now owned and occupied by 
Benjamin Gushing. Permission was also given ]Mr. Foster 
to throw up his house lot Xo. 51, and lay out another which 
he did, selecting a tract extending noiih from the land 
granted to him, but not extending so far westward. 

•j' Iww; ' -.,<] yi 


At tills time occin-red a radical chaiiL'o in New EngLind in 
the terms e))i})loycd expressing money. In J 730, tlie }iaper 
money, styled old tenor, comjxired with silver was worth 
about one-ihird of its nominal value. It gradually depreci- 
ated, until in 1750 the bills issued by Massachusetts were 
rated at about fourteen per cent. In 1740, England sent to 
the New England colonies in compensation for the cost of the 
recent "war a large amount of specie. 1'he proportion of 
^fassachusetts, amounting to $612,330.41, was employed in 
redeeming the issue of paper money at current rates. After 
this date when a sum of money is stated, a poimd will 
represent an equivalent to $3.33j in silver. Rel\}rring to 
payments of money previously made, the vote in 1737 to 
give the laborers upon the roads, seven shillings per day- 
was equivalent to thirty-oiic cents, and the cost of liuilding 
the meeting-house was about two hundred and twenty-five 
dollars. The gratuity tendered !Mr, Eoster on accouiil of his 
early settlement, was equivalent to two dollars and twenty- 
five cents. In 1751, measures were adopted which led to 
the building of a new saw-mill. In order to accomplish this 
desired result, the proiirietors first declare their independence 
of ]N[r. Gates and his mill, and then, in the light of a dis- 
covery, come to the conclusion that the former grant of land 
to him is revoked and can bs given by them to any other 
person or persons who will undertake to build another and a 
better mill. With the summary retirement of INIr. Gates, 
the old mill falls into decay., and the temi)er of the proprie- 
tors is reflected with more serenity in the pages of the 
records. Let it not be presumed that this continued trouble 
over the saw-mill has been unduly colored in these annals. 
Only a few of the many complaints of the proprietors have 
been mentioned, and always with a conscientious elTort to 
temper their acerbity. ... 

t'. ^ 

' 10 



The iin;i.I vole was passed, XoronibiM- 5, 1751. 

Voted that the proprietors do h.crehy grunt to Caleb Dana, 
Timoth}- Green and Jonathan Dwi^d^t and their heirs, tlie stream 
of water whereon tho old saw-rnill was built by Hczekiah. Gates, 
and the ninety* acres of land, sixty acres of which arc laid out near 
or adjoining to said stream, which was supposed to be granted to 
the said Gates. The}' viz: Calel) Dana, Timothy Green and 
Jonathan Dwight build a saw-mill and keep the sranc in good 
repair three years after said mill and a good dam is well finished 
at or before the 20"" day of Ma}' next or sooner. 

At tlie same meeting a bounty of fort^'-eight pounds Avas 
ofiered to any one M'ho would build a grist-mill on the same 
stream "as near tlie saw mill as conveniently can be." 
There were stipulations that, at the saw-mill, ^vork should 
be done at a stated price and that the grist-mill should be 
kept in good repair and with good attendance for the term 
of fifteen years. It was proposed in April, 1752, to make a 
further gi-ant to encourage the building of • the grist-mill 
and the subject was referred to the next meeting with the 
encouraging remark " l>y which time the grist-mill will be 
finished." Stimulated by these proceedings a new saw-mill 
and a grist-mill were soon built. Caleb Dana of Cam- 
bridge, the owner of many lots of land but never a resident 
in this townshi}!, and Elisha Coolidge, also of Cambridge, 
who settled at this time in Lane Villaixe, bou<'dit of Jonathan 
Dwight fifty acres of land situated southeast and adjoining 
the old saw-mill grant. On their new purchase they built 
a saw-mill and a grist-mill in the year 17.32. These mills 
were near each other and possibly under one roof, and were 
located nearer the Upper Naukeag than was the old saw- 
mill. In January, 1753, Dana and Coolidge sold the two 
mills and the Dwight land to Nathan Dennis of Dudley. 


A Ki:Ct)lll) OF SETTLEMENTS. 85 

]\[r. Dennis removed at oneo and took possession of tlic 
mills and for a luimber of years ]Mr. Coolidge remained 
here. Danii and Coolidge for many years retained posses- 
sion of the .>5aw-mill grant. For some reason the grant Avas 
not confirmed to tlicni by the j^rojjrietors until 1760, nor 
was the graUiity of forty-eight })oin)ds to encourage the 
building of tlie grist-mill prom'ptly paid. This delay led 
to the second lawsuit which attended the' of the 
settlement. Jn this in.stance the }>ro]n-ictors Avere the 
defendants and in IToli paid the successful litigants on an 
executic)]! tlie sum of £77-15-2, and about the same time 
Mr. Dennis, the proprietor of the mills, secured an execu- 
tion for the sum of £14 -15 -3. The proprietors, having 
secured the building of a better saw-mill and a grist-mill 
for th(^. aeconnnodation of the settlement and satiated with 
vexatious experiences and the lawsuits attending ever}" 
enterprise in this direction, now leave their management and 
the building of other mills to the enterprise of business men. 
The contiiuied history of mills and manufactures will be 
found in another chapter. 

In regard to the location of the first mills in this town 
there is little doubt. The mill which was built by Mr. 
Gates in 1737 was on the saw-mill grant, located on the 
stream between tlie Upper and Lower Xaukeag lakes. 
Between the grant and the Upper Xaukeag was a lot of fifty 
acres on which the two mills were Iniilt by Dana and Cool- 
idge in 1752. The bounds of these tracts of land are defi- 
nitely defined and the location of the mills ai)proximately 
shown ])y deeds recorded in the AVorcester llegistry. The 
first mill was near the lower mill of Packard l>rotliers, for- 
merly of ]-]lias Lane, and nut many years since ti'aces of the 
old log dam could be seen about twenty yards south of the 
present dam. The other mills were about sixty yards east 


of the mill in Lnnc Yillao-c, nov/ of Packard Brothers, for- 
merly of C. &:, G. C. Winchester. Traces of the dam, in 
the present mill-pond, still remain. 

Referring the action of the proprietors in regard to roads 
and to ecclesiastical allairs to chaj)ters devoted to those sub- 
jects, there are found remaining many items of interest and 
information which relate to the progress of the settlement. 
In the proceedings of a meeting convened in March, 1751, 
and between the record of two other votes on disconnected 
subjects is fourid the following assertion : "Voted that thirty 
men or upwards residing in tlie township." This is stLU-tlin<->- 
information. Turning to the warrant for an article intro- 
ducing this vote there is found, "To agree upon a speedy 
and full complia)ice with the conditions of the General 
Courts Grant." The conditions of the chai-ter requirijig the 
settlement of a certain number of families within a limited 
time had been unfuliilled several yeai-s. On account of the 
troublous times which had retarded the progress of all the 
younger settlements, the General Court, by tacit consent and 
sometimes by enactment, had extended in an indefinite man- 
ner the time stipulated for the fulfilment of the conditions of 
the gi-ants. Yet the policy of reminding the settlements of 
their delinquency was being pursued. The solemn declara- 
tion of the proprietors that there were thirty men residin"- 
in the township at this time should be qualified. It was not 
recorded for their own information but was rather addressed 
to the General Court. If the vote had a desired etiect in 
the quarter to which it was directed, it did not increase the 
mmiber of settlers. The population of their plantation could 
not be inflated at will l)y resolving tliat the men were 
there. Only a few families were residing in the township 
when this startling vote was passed, and any mention of 
thirty men, if correct, nmst have included any who were 


repairing roads for the propric toi'.s or clcarinu' lots prepara- 
tory to a removal of their families ; but Iheir existing legal 
residence and tlic houis of their families were not as 3'et in 
Dorchester Canada. 

Aliout the time the town was incorporated, and jjerhaps 
an incident of that event, there are found renevred evidences 
of discord between the resident and non-iesident [tropri- 
ctors. For several years the nicetings of the })ro})i'iety liad 
been held in Dorchester Canada and in thein all there had 
l)een o})portunJty for diliercnces of opinion in the policy 
which should be pursued in the general management of 
affairs. The non-resident proprietors in forwai'ding the set- 
tlement were increasing the value of their lands, while the 
resident proj.u'ielors, ha\'ing a twofold interest in appro jn'i- 
ations for roads and other public conceriis, would favor 
larger a})propriations and the pursuit of a more liberal 
policy in the general management of the coi'poration. ]>y 
conciliation and sometimes by the postponement of con- 
tested measures an open issue was avoided, leaving the pro- 
prietors at greater liberty for a contest over the place of 
holding their meetings. The resident pro})rietors constantly 
increasing in number had now maintained the meetings in 
Dorchester Canada without much interruj^tion for several 
years. Tiiere vras no injustice in tlieir claim that the minor- 
ity and wealthier ])art of the })ropriety could come to the 
plantation to attend meetings with less sacrifice than would 
attend them in a journey to Boston. At a meeting con- 
vened in Dorchester Canada in April, Hi')'), an unusual 
amount of business was ti'ansacted, including a vote that 
nothing be done about holding future meetings in some other 
place. The defeated party on the pretence, real or imagi- 
nary, that "they were hindered from giving their attend- 
ance by reason of the extraordinary freshets at that time 

1 ■<■! 





which vendered Iravclliuij; tliilber iin])r;uticabk\" iinjiicdi- 
ately caUed another iiioeting. In the wan-ant for tbis meet- 
ing there was an article })ruvidi!ig for (lie reconsideration of 
all that Avas done at the A])v\] nieetini^-. They assenibhul at 
the meetinii-hoiise ^Nfay 8. On accounl of a foi'nier vote a 
meeting could not be called elsewhere. In the organizalion 
of the meeting Seth Sunnier, a non-resident proprietor, was 
chosen moderator in [)lace of either Elislia Coolidge, Dea- 
con ]\Ioses Foster or Sanuiel Fellows, who had frequently 
been selected at former meetings. A\"itliout a vote on any 
other question the meeting was adjourned to meet in Kox- 
bur}', and havir;g met at that place was adjourned to meet 
in Boston. 

The Boston [tarty continued the meeting over a year, 
holding by adjournment eleven sessions. They elected 
Richard Dana clerk in i)lace of Sanniel AVilder of Ashl)urn- 
ham who was elected in ITGo to succeed Xuthau ITeywood of 
Lunenburg ; they repealed all the measures adopted ut the 
April meeting and voted that future meetings should bo held 
in Boston until otherwise ordered. Not mitil 1771 was 
another meethig of the i)rojn'ietors convened at Ashburnham, 
when Samuel Wilder was again elected clerk and was con- 
tinued in otlice until the organization was practically extinct. 
Benjamin Church of Boston remained the treasurer until 
1763 and was succeeded by Caleb Wilder of Lancaster and 
b}^ Jonathan Samson of Ashburnham. 

It is certain that both i)arties were united in a vote passed 
a short time l^efore the trouldes began. It was proposed, 
in 1701, to "grant Mr. Taylor any certain sum of money 
to enable him to build a grist mill in the northeasterly part 
of said township and it passed in the negative unanimously.'* 
On the question of mills and the general policy of having 
any further connection with them there was the fullest meas- 

i Hi 

Mbl « 


lire of syiiipatliy and concord. At tlie previous meeting it 
was Yoled to "grant James Colnian about one acre and one 
■ hundred yo(1< lying between the house where he now dwells 
and the saw mill yard which belongs to ]Moses Foster Jr. 
and Zimri Ileywood." The records also declare that such 
favor to iSlr. Coleman was on account of '"his good service 
in said townshij) in ]nomoting the seUlemcnt there." This 
land was in the northeast part of the town and is now in 

In 1701 the General Court so far recognized the settle- 
ment as to impose a province tax upon the lands and inhab- 
itants of tho townsliip. The proprietors instiiictcd a 
conunittee to apply to the Court for relief. The petition, 
containing imformation of interest, is preserved in the Court 
l\ecords : 

A retition of Joshua Hcnshaw Esqr. and others, proprietors 
of the plantation called Dorchester Canada, Setting forth : That 
in the year 3 7G1 the General Court Inid a Tax upon them of 
£4i-7-l. and tluee yearly Taxes since. 'J'hat the Lands lu such 
a new riantation do not yield the produce as in tliose that are 
more cultivated, and are subject to early and late frosts, inso- 
much that the Inhabitants have not been able to raise one half 
of their bread corn, but are obliged to travel to other places to 
purchase it. That they are, besides, subject to the ravages of 
wild beasts, whereby they lose more young Cattle, Slicep and 
Swine than tlie value of any Province Tax that could equitably be 
laid upon thera and praying Kelief. 

The Eai:ly Settleus. — A complete register of the early 
settlers of this town cannot now be made. The records in 
thejncidcnt.d employment of names })resent no accurate list 
and there is no account of an enumeration of persons or of 
families at any time during the infancy of the settlement. 
The information which establishes the residence in this town 

',* lo 

; f-'i 




of the pert^ons hcreiU'ter ii:iuied bus been glcuned from many 
sources. In 1751, when the }))X)prIetoi-s informed the Gen- 
eral Court there were thirty men or more residing in the 
tovrnsliip, Timothy JMossman and Asher Cutler had removed 
to Sudbury, from whenee they came, and did not su))se- 
quently return. Thomas Gamble, who w;is here in 17/59, 
liad disappeared and in sonic other settlement w;is recount- 
ing his loss hy fire. The man employed b}'^ Benjamin 
Bellows and his associates on Bhiclield gr;inl, and to whom 
tradition assigns the name of Johnson, is not mentioned after 
the desertion of Ihe settlement in 1744. Ephraim AVhceler 
of Lancaster who ^vas the managing proprietor of the block- 
house was frequently here until 1700, but probably never 
resided in the to^v'nship. ■ 

IMosss Foster is found residing here in 17o(), but the date 
of his arrival is not defmiiely known. About 1750 ho 
removed from the northeast ])art of tlu^ township to land 
granted him near the old common where he was a licensed 
innholder in 1751 and in latcn- years, llis name will fre- 
quently occur in tlte continued record of the settlement. 

James Coleman with a nuTuerous family left Ipsv/ich, Mas- 
sachusetts, 1743, and the same year united witli the church 
in Lunenburg. He is claimed as a resident of Lunenburg 
until 17G0, but it is certain that he early settled on his land 
in the northeast [)art of the township), now i'l Ashby, and 
very near if not adjacent to the first clearing of Closes Fos- 
ter. Possibly when apprehensive of danger he retired within 
the line of the fortifications and being found a member of the 
church in Lunenburg, it was ei'roneously [)resumed that he 
was a resident of tliat })lace. lie was a ])r(nninent man in 
the settlement and was later a valued citizen of Ashby. 

Elisha Coolidgc came from Cambridge, 1752. He })rob" 
ably assisted in building the mills and for a time owned an 


1 n , 


interest in theni wiiich he conveyed to Nathan Dennis, 
December 13, 1752. lie was a licensed innliolder 1751), 
1760 and ]7GL He was one of the original members of the 
cljureh aiul will be frequently named in the following jjages. 
Nathan Dennis was from Dudley. He owned the mills 
and was an imiliokler 1753 and 1754. lie returned to 
Dudley about 175G. 

Jeremiah Foster remo\ ed from lIar^'ard and settled on 
the Gamaliel Iladley farm in 1753. In 1757 ho was chosen 
a committee to repair the roads and subsequently his name 
is frequently repeated in the records. 

John P>ates, lienjamin Spaulding and Zimri Ileywood 
were residents of the northeast part previous to 17G0. In 
17(w they were included within the new town of Ashby. 

Thomas AVheeler was here and an innholder in 175(;. He 
was one of the original members of the church, moderator 
of the second town meeting, 17G5, and probably moved 
away that year. 

]\roses Foster, Jr., was in Dorchester Canada in 175S and 
perhaps came with his father several years earlier. His 
eldest child died here in 17 GO. The family removed to Shel- 
burne in 1771. He lived in the northeast part of the town 
and in 17G0 he and Zimri Ileywood had a mill there. 

Unity ]>rown was a resident here in 1751), but the date of 
his arrival is not known. The marriage of Unity Drown 
of Dorchester Canada and Eebecca Arnold of Shrewsbury 
August IG, 1759, is entered on the records of Shrewsbury 
and Lunenburg. He united with the church at its organiza- 
tion but his name is not anywhere found after 17G2. 

Enos Jones from Lunenburg settled on the I5hiefield 
grant in 17G1. He was then nineteen years of age and 
was not maiTied until several years later. A part of the 
land owned by him has remained in the possession of his 
descendants until within the memory of many now living. 

1 Ju 



Samuel Follo^.'s roiuoved from Harvard, 1702. He set- 
tled in the centre of the town and built Ih^' lirst mill on 
Phillips' brook. It v.-as located just north of the blacksmith 
sho}) and very near the site of the shop of Kockwood Oi 
Walker that was burned in 18^53. AVith the father came Sam- 
uel Fellows, Jr. They removed ten years later to Shelburne. 

Samuel Nichols from Harvard Ijought the mills at the out- 
let of Xaukeag lake which had been owned by Dana, Cool- 
idge and Dennis. In 1777 he removed to AValpole, Xew 

William Whitcomb, also from Harvard, settled on land 
which was later known as the George Howard farm. For 
several years he was one of the most active and influential 
men in the })laee, but later his name is seldom found in the 
records. He died here at an advanced age. 

Jonathan Samson, like many of the other settlers, was 
one of the proprietors and had OAvned a right in the township 
sometime previous to his settlement on the ]\[errick Whit- 
ney farm in 1702. It is possible he was here before the 
date given. The birth of his eldest child ^Nlay 7, 1759, is 
recorded here, but there is no assertion that the child was 
born in Dorchester Canada. 

Stephen Ames settled east of Rice pond, as early as 1702. 
He removed from town in 177 7. 

Tristram Cheney was from Sudbury. "Tie was an active 
citizen. While he remained no one exercised a more con- 
trolling intluence in the direction of public aifairs. He 
settled where Horace W. Houston now lives, and in 1774 
removed to Antrim, Xew IIam|[)shire. 

William Joyncr was [)rob.d)ly from Sudbury. He was 
here in 1703, town clerk 17()0, 1707 and 170,s, united with 
the church, 1700, but there is no record of his death or of 
his dismissal from the church. In 1770 he was not taxed 
and it is probable he removed late in 1709 or early in 1770. 


! L 

.-. , tl-) 



Ebenezer Conant, from Coiu'ord, settled probably near and 
west of Kice pond. He was residing here in 1 703. He was 
sixty-four j-ears of age at tluit time. With him came his 
son, Ebenezer Conant, Jr. 

John ]\Iartin, Ebenezer ITemenway, Abraham Smith, 
Deliverance Davis, who settled on the David Kussell place, 
now owned by ]\lrs. Russell, George Dickerson, Jeremiah 
Bridge and a few others, arrived here so near the close of 
the annals of Dorchester Canada th:d they should be counted 
among the early arri\'als in the new town of Ashburnham, 

There is evidence that a few fiimilies were residing on the 
Eolfe, the Starr and the Converse grants at an early date, 
but there is found no mention of the names. 

During tlie arrivals of the settlers who have been named, 
the Germans were making substantial progress in the settle- 
ment of Lexington grant. They were independent of the 
proprietors, and except in the sym])athies of a new settle- 
ment, they were a community by themselves. 

yE DuTCH:\rEX. — The German settlement in the eastern 
part of the town was a substantial contril)ution to the intelli- 
gence and population of the settlement. These emigrants 
were educated people, equal in character and ability to their 
contemporaries in the township. They were in full sympa- 
thy with the other settlers in religion, in hatred of tyranny 
and in zealous defence of their political rights. In the 
Revolution no portion manifested a livelier interest or con- 
tributed more in treasure, sacrifice or service. They had 
fled from t}Tanny in their native land and were quick to 
recognize and resist oppression in any form. The sturdy, 
fnigal, industrious characteristics of the i^ithers have been 
renewed in their children. From the first they have been 
received into full fellowship and admitted on equal terms to 
all social and public privileges. By assimilation and inter- 

■ 'tti 


I .J; 

■' 1 


rnarri;ig-c, lliej are no longer a distinct people, yet tlie im- 
press of tliis element of the population of the town has been 
healtliful and .salutary. . There remains an impulse not to 
mention the German settlers in a separate paraoraph and in 
no mannei- distinguish them from other members of a 
cemented common conn-nunity. The impulse would })revail 
save from a fear that the omission of particular reference 
would falsely be ascribed to an indilierent recognition of 
their character and worth. The events which influenced 
their settlement in this town are not concealed. They were 
in Lexington in 1757 and not destitute of money. Their 
imperfect knowledge of the English language and other 
reasons, at once aj^ijxu-ent, urged them to settle in one com- 
munity if sufficient land could be found at a convenient 
point. The town of Lexing-ton offered to sell them one 
thousand acres of land in a continuous tract. They l^ought 
it and came here. If Lexington grant in 1735 had been 
located in any other place they would have gone there. The 
deed bears date of December, 1757, and is recorded in 
jNlarch, 1758. The original grantees were Henry Hole, 
Christian AVilliam AVhiteman, Jacob Schofle, Simon Roda- 
mell, Peter Perry, John Pich and John Kiberling. All of 
these, except Peter Perry, whose name does not a})pear 
again, immediately settled on the Lexuigton grant. At the 
same time or the fol loosing year, Jacob Selham, Andrew 
Windrow, Hemy^ Stack, widow Constantine and Jacob 
Barkardst settled near them. John Oberlock and Philip 
Vorback bought land and resided soutli of the old common 
and near the site of Gushing Academy. In 1774, Jacob 
Wilker removed from Boston to the farm still owned and 
occupied by his descendants. These were born in Germany, 
and Lexington grant, where most of them resided, soon 
became known as the Dutch farms. 

i; •'•; J' 


John KiMingcr — the n;iine is now written Kibling — fiTst 
settled in ]\raiiiG l)ut soon removed to Boston. In 1758, with 
his Avife and three children, he came to Dorchester Canada. 
He was prominent in puhlic aflaii's nntil his death, Api'il 4, 
1777, aged about tifty-livc yeai's. This family first located 
north of the Wilkcr farm, l)at subsequently they exchanged 
farms with the Constantincs and removed to the farm now of 
George A. Willard. 

Constantinc. — This ftimily consisted of a widoAV and her 
children, the husl^and and father having died in Boston a 
short time previous to their removal to this town. She died 
April 25, 1782, aged nearly eighty years. Jacob Constan- 
tine, a son, married July 5, 1773, a daughter of Christian 
William Whiteman. He died from injuries received b}'' 
being thrown from a bridge in Ashl)y, ^Nlarch 8, 1814, aged 
sixty-one years. As previously stated, this family linally 
settled on a farm still associated with the name and situated 
north of the farm of Joseph AY. Wilker. 

Christian William Whiteman, or Whitman, settled on the 
farm now of AVarren E. ^Marble. He was an active, intelli- 
gent man. In this family there were six children, three of 
whom were born in this town. In 179G, the aged i)arents 
removed to Haverhill, New Hampshire, where one of their 
sons was then residing. 

Jacob Schofte resided near the Whitemans until 1777 when 
he removed to Haverhill, New Hampshire. While he re- 
mained, his name receives honorable mention in the records. 

Henry Hole assumed the name of Hall. He was forty 
years of age at the time he settled on the Captain Lemuel 
Whitney fann now owned by Levi E. Flint of Ashby. He 
died in this town 1794, aged eighty-three years. His 
eldest son was born on the ocean. 

i ■;-'>' 

'I '-A 

" > 



Simon Rodamoll Imd a firm near the homo of Jacob 
Schofle. In 1777 lie presenled letters of recommendation 
from a Lutheran church in Germany and was admitted to 
the churcli in this town. In later years the name has been 
changed to Rodimon. He died 1813, aged ninety-three 

John Kich, one of the early German setth.'rs, was an active 
citizen while he remained in the township. lie was living 
in Ashburnham in 1774, but previous to 1778, he removed 
to Haverhill, Xew Hampshire. 

-Andrew AVindrow. — To end a season of discontent con- 
cerning his German name, he found a glorious sunnner in 
the name of Winter. His farm was northeast from the 
centre of the town. He died November 22, 1792, aged 
seventy years. His 'widow died 1814. Andrew "Winter, 
Jr., resided on a firm that was amiexed to Ashby in 1792. 

Jacob Selham resided on the borders of the German settle- 
ment. When Ashby was incorporated, he was included in 
that town. The name was changed to Sellenhara. He died 
17G9, aged sixty years. His son, Hemy Sellenham, is fre- 
C[uently mentioned in the records of Ashby. 

Henrj^ Stack, later known as Steele, is said to have been 
buried in this town. No record of his death has been dis- 

The Lexington grant was originally purchased by Henry 
Hall, Christian William Whiteman, Jacob Schofle, Simon 
Rodamell, Peter Perry, John Ilich and John Kiblinger. 
Peter Perry immediately sold his interest to his associates 
and the land was divided among them. James Locke of 
Townsend, later of Ash})y, was employed to survey and 
divide the land into lots. About one hundred and fifty acres 
of meadow were reserved as connnon lands and the remainder 
was divided into fourteen lots of unequal areas. 


In tbo distribution of land among the i^ix rcDiaining pro- 
)>rictors, to Iicniy Hall vras assigned a lot in the northeast 
corner and a lot near the centre of the south line. Christian 
A\'illia-,u '\Miitemau received a lot on the e:ist line, south of 
the first lot of -Mr. Hall, a lot near the centre of the north 
line, and a small lot near the centre of the ^Yest line. Jacob 
Schoffe took a lot near the centre of the east line and south of 
]\Ir. Whiteinan's first lot, and a lot of irregular outline in the 
fc.outhwest corner. John Eieli became the o^vner of a lot on 
the east line south of the first lot of ]Mr. Schofle and a gener- 
ous lot in the centre of the grant. To John Kiblinger was 
given a lot in the southeast and another in the nortlnvest 
corners of the grant. ''J'o Simon Jlodamell was awarded two 
lots near the centre of the grant, one north and one south of 
the lot of ]\Ir. Kich and a small lot near the centre of the 
M'cst line between lands of ]Mr. Whiteman and ^Ir. SehofTe. 

The Province Line. — The boundaries of Dorchester 
Canada were established in Januaiy, 173(3. Five 3'ears later 
tilt' province line was rnn wliich severed a considerable tract 
of land from the township and gave it t(-« Xew Hampsliire, 
Allowing for a variation of the needle, the province line 
was run north 80° west, while the northern boundary of the 
townsliip was located north 78° west. The dift'erence be- 
tween the town course across the townsliip would lead to a 
divergence of about one hundred rods. The province line 
entered Dorchester Canada about ten rods south of the 
northeast corner and passing westward, cutting wider and 
"wider, it severed one hundred and ten rods at the north- 
■Nvost corner. The detached area was two thousand three 
hundred and forty rods in length with an average width of 
t-ixty rods, amounting to eight hundrt-d and seventy-seven 
acres. In the northeast corner of the township there had 
been laid out twelve second division lots which were clipped 



h}' the province line. On llic nortlicrn side of tlie township 
no other lots had l)een laid out. Thi'ouo;h the remainder of 
its course tlie province line took tribute from the undivided 
lands. Vyy subsequent grants, the pro])rictors make restitu- 
tion to the owners of the nuitilated lots, but their loss from 
the common land was never compensated. Twice they 
chose a connnittee to petition the General Court for remu- 
neration, and as late as 17G^, they voted to have the claim 
revived. It had been delayed too long. The era of grants 
was ended. In the prosecution of this claim the proprietors 
joined another which arose from the inadequate allowance 
for the ponds in tlie orig'inal survey of the township. The 
proprietors informed the General Court tliat the allowance 
of three hundred acres which was then made T\^as an error at 
once apparent, as indeed it was. They submitted an esti- 
mate of the several ponds in the township made by Caleb 
Wilder and Xathan Ileywood. This ancient reference to the 
ponds is of interest : 

The Great pond in Dorchester Canada that 
the mill stands on [Upper Naukeag] 

In tbc Lower Mnnockceg 

the long pond by mount Hunger hill 

In one of the great Watatock ponds 

In the other " " " 

In one of the little Watatock ponds 

In the pond by the third Divisioji School Lot 

The pond in the Southwest corner of the 

That part of the Mcnomanack lying in Dor- 
chester Canada 

Taken off b}' the Province line from Dor- 
chester Canada ' 877 " 

• In these statements it was claimed that the proprietors 
had lost one thousand three hundred and ninety acres on 




















nocoiinl of (lie ponds and ciglit luaidred and seventy-seven 
acres by the establislinient of the pro^'incc line. 

The contributions of land to Ashb}' and to Gardner, when 
(liosc towns were incorporated, will receive mention here- 
after. The northeast corner of the original township before 
it suffered any dismemberment was about two miles east of 
tlie present bound. The southwest corner Avas at Gai-dner 
Centre. The northwest corner was within ]Monomonock 
lake, in Rindge. In the estimate of losses exhibited to the 
General Court there is an error of one hundred acres. That 
part of ]Monomonock lake which fell within tlie limits of the 
old survey is reckoned a part of eight hundred and seventy- 
seven acres cut oil" by the i)i'ovince line and is also included 
in the losses on account of the ponds. 

The ^Maxutactuue of Potash. — One lumdred years 
ago }jotash was made in al] the ne^v to^s■ns, and for obvious 
reason the bushiess was continued until the supply of asiies 
became limited. A sketch of Ashburnham found in AVhit- 
ney's History of AVorcester County, 1793, contains the 
assertion, "here are potash works and have been from its 
infancy ; and the first complete ton of this article carried 
into market was from Ashburnham." It is ])robable that 
this sketch was contributed bv Rev. Dr. Cushinir. The 
authorship is reflected both in the substance and in the man- 
ner of expression, and many of the details are repeated in 
nearly the same words in his Half Century Sermon, twenty- 
five years later. Dr. Gushing ncA'cr wrote carelessly and 
the statement can be accepted without qualification. The 
earliest reference to this manufacture appears in a vote of the 
proprietors, 1753, offering to Benjamin Frobisher one right 
of land in the township, whenever he commenced the manu- 
facture there and o-ave four shillinirs, old tenor, fi^r each 
bushel of ashes delivered at his place of business. The 


price uamed was equivalent to nine cents in silver. At a 
later meeting, a committee v/as instriK-ted to purchase a I'iglit 
of land for tliis purpose at an approaching sale of land for 
the payment of taxes. Suhsequently, it was proposed that 
the projirietors agree to deliver 3000 busliels each year at 
6^ pence, or near 8^ cents per bushel. The grant of land to 
encourage tliis enterprise was never made, nor is there any 
evidence that Mr. Frobisher ever located in the townsliip. 
It is more probable that tliis enterprise in its infancy was 
encouraged b}^ Caleb AVilder of Lancaster, a man of ability 
and enterprise. He was one of the proprietors of Dorcliestcr 
Canada, and exercised a controlling intluence in its allairs. 
He was engaged in the manufucture of potash in several 
places, and was the first to employ kettles in forwarding the 
process of evaporation, and it was here he manufactured that 
historical ton of potash, ai that time the largest shipment 
that had been made at one time. One of the early and 
longest continued works of this character was situated nearly 
opposite theXo. 1 school-house. The water for the leaches 
was conveyed from a sj^ring not far from the Powder House. 
At this place Josei:>h Jewett and Ivers Jewett manufactured 
large quantities of potash. The works were under the 
supervision of John AVoods. Captain Lemuel Whitney 
and several others were engaged in this manufacture until 
a comparatively recent date. ', . 

The DiSTinnuTiox or Lands. — Very early in the pro- 
ceedings of the proprietors, the first division lots of fifty 
acres and the second division lots of eighty acres were laid 
out and became the private pro])erty of the several proprie- 
tors. Exclusive of the six grants within the township, over 
which the proprietors had no control, the undivided land, 
comprising nearly two-thirds of the township, was the 
common property of the corporation. Passing over many 

- ;■;'■) 

■ • .A. 



votes fuid the selection of eoimnittccs to lay out additional 
]:\u(\< which produced no results, the iirst substantial acconi- 
j)]ishuieut was in 17G2, when a third division lot of eighty 
acres was assigned to the owner of eacli right. A few 
of these lots were assigned pre\'iously but there was no 
i^encral distribution until this date. A fourth and a iifth 
division soon followed. The last were called equivalent lots, 
for the reason that the more valuable ones were given to the 
})Grsons who had drawn inferior fourth division lots. After 
tliesc distributions of land, there remtiined about tv\'enty 
small tracts of land in dillerent parts of the towu'^hip, in- 
cluding five islands in Upper Xaukeag. Those remained 
common property until an auction sale in 1781. At this 
sale a tract of fifty acres was purchased l\y Rev. John Gush- 
ing. This was the original number 51 in the first division 
wliich the proj)rictors allowed Deacon ^Moscs Foster to 
relinquish and lay out another lot bearing tlic same number 
a short distance northeast of the connnon. The great island 
was sold to Edvrard AVithington and the four smaller islands 
were purchased by Timothy Fisher. The common lands 
were the capital of the corporation of the proprietors, and 
when this was all disposed of tlie organi;cation was dissolved. 
The owner of each right in the township had received five 
tracts of land and had been required to pay one-sixtieth of 
all the taxes assessed from time to time. AVhcn the remain- 
ing lands were sold and the debts liquidated, there was 
remaini)ig in tlie treasury" a sum of money which was divided 
among the proprietors, and on each right was paid £2-10-2. 
From a financial stand-point, if the value of the land and this 
insignificant dividend exceeded the amount of taxes assessed 
from time to time, the enter[)risc was successful. But in 
forwarding and solidifying the settlement, in extending the 
fruits of organization, and in their agency in the control of 



■ I'T 



public afTairs the jn'oprietors were iuspircd l)y loftier pur- 
poses and nobler aims. 

The folloAviug tal>le presents a list of the owners of the 
several rights when the propriety Avas organized and the 
fu'st di\ision of lands was made. Compared with the list 
in Chapter 11., it is found that sixteen persons who were 
admitted as grantees of the township had sold their interest 
in the grant previous to the early meetings of the pro})rie- 
tors, Tlie right-hand eolumn gives the name of some 
suljsecjuent owner of the same right. Five rights were 
continued in the same name throughout the existence of tlie 
organization. Jn some instances a right was owned by 
several persons in succession. In filling the right-hand 
column in such cases, the name of the person in whose 
possession the right remained the longest time has been 

This list of pro})rietors introduces many names, which 
became intimately associated with the continued history of 
the town. Zimri llcywood, Ebenezer Conant, Jonathan 
Samson, Samuel Fellows, James Coleman, Da"\id Taylor, 
James Spaulding, Nathan ^lelvin, John Bates, Jonathan 
Gates, Xathan Dennis, Elislia Coolidge, Moses Foster, 
Josiah Wilder, J(niathan AYinchester, Stephen Ames and 
David Clark were well-^known resident proprietors. ^Slany 
of the non-resident proprietors were succeeded by their sons 
who subsequently occupied the lands acquired by inheritance. 
Among this class the families of Wilder, Stearns, Keltou, 
Daria and Crehore are conspicuous. 

The families Avho settled on any of the six minor grants 
do not appear in these records of the proprietors, and not 
until the act of incorporation did they constitute a part of 
the body politic. ^ ... •...-..,. 



OKiGiXAL rr.oi'i;ii;Toi:: 

Timothy Mossman, 
Elisha TilestoiU', 
WiUiiiiu Coojui', 
Andrew A^'ilder, 
ErlwnrJ Sunnier, 
Joseph Triscott, 
John Swift, 

Ilezeklah Rnrber, 
Samuel Blake, 
Edward Hart well, 

Thomas "Wilder, 

Joseph Weeks, 
Josiali Bnkor, 
Ebenezer Crane, 
Ilezeklah Barber, 
Joseph Warren, 
Isaac Royal, 
Timothy Tiiestone, 
Isaac Royal, 
Matthias Evans, 
John Andrews, 
Tliomas Tiiestone, 
Kathan Heywood, 
Joseph Wilder, E.sq., 
Benjamin Bird, Jr., 
Ralph Pope, 
Humphrey Atherton, 
Nathaniel Blake, 
James Mears, 
John Crehore, 
Isaac Kovv, 
Robert Redman, 
Thomas Tiiestone, 
Thomas Tiiestone, 
Oliver "Wilder, 
Benjamin Sunmer, 
Joseph Wheelock, 
Ebenezer Clapp, 
John Shepard, 
"William "Wlute, 
Samuel Heushaw, 
William Cooper, 
Nehcmiah Clapp, 
Jon;ithan Dwight, 
Edward Kelton, 
Samuel Butt, 





































'■^ i 

SAML Hit. in. 













13 ! 41 


o t 































































Zimri Hevwood. 
William Balicock. 
Joshua llenshaw. 
William Scott. 
Samuel Sumner. 
John Moffatt. 
Eben'r Conant. 

Caleb Dana. 
John Mofl"att. 
Jonathan Sauiion. 
Rccomjiense Vt ard; 

worth Stinison. 

do do do 
Samuel Follows. 
William Bowdoin. 
James Coloinan. 
Samuel Fellows. 
Samuel Fellows. 


Caleb Dana. . . 


David Tavlor. 
Caleb Wilder. 
Caleb Wilder. 
Caleb Wilder. 
James Spaulding. 
Ebenezer I'opo. 
Nathan II ey wood. 
Isaac Stearns. 
Sanmel Dwight. 
John Crehore. 
Isaac Stearns. 
Isaac Stearns. 
Nathan Melvin. 
Caleb Dana. 
John Bates. 
Benjamin Sunmer. 
Jonathan Gates. 
Benjamin Ilammett. 
Oliver Wilder. 
Caleb Dana. 
Caleb Dana. 
Alexander Hill. 
Neliemiah Clapp. 
Nathan Dennis. 
E^lisha Coolid^c. 

-;f . : S'.'.i I' 

. ,1 

i. II • 

.. . .. ■: \ 



































— * 












Benjamin Jewett, 
Joshua George, 
Kobort Conk^ 
Thomas Lyon, Jr., 
Richard Withiny:tjn, 
Jamc;^ Atherton, 
Setli Sumner, 
James Swift, 
Eirst Minister, 
Bartholomew Gonld, 
Samuel Kneeland, 
John Kobinson, Jr., 
Thomas Tilestone, 
Thomas Stearns, 
William Sumner, 































































Jonathan Gates. 
Klisha Coolidge. 
]\Ioses Foster. 
Josiah Wilder. 
Henrs' Coolidge. 
Caleb Dana. 
Caleb J)ana. 
James Swift. 
Jonathan Winchester. 
Closes Burgess. 
Samuel Kneeland. 
Stephen Ame.s. 
Ben)nniin Church. 
David Clark. 
Eben'r Hemenvrav. 

Many of the nou-residcnt }M'()})ivietors were men of influ- 
ence and character and during their connection with the 
affairs of thi.s town were actively engaged in other pursuits. 
One of the most influential and useful metnbers of the pro- 
priety was Caleb AVildcr. He was a son of the elder Judge 
Joseph "Wilder and a lifelong resident of Lanctister. Own- 
ing several rights in tlie plantation, from an early date until 
after the incorporation of the town, he continued to exercise 
a controlling inllueuce in the general direction of its affairs. 
He introduced the manufacture of potash here and wtis a 
leading spirit in all the concerns of the settlement. In 17G5 
he was styled major and probably held other commissions 
in this line of service. He was a deacon of the church and 
honorably tilled many positions of trust in his native town. 
He died June 19, 177G, tiged sixty-six years. Two of his 
sons, Caleb, Jr., and Samuel, l)ecamc useful citizens of tliis 
town. In an eminent degree thc}^ reflected the sterling 
character and marked ability of their honored father. 

: :..U 


Josepii AVildcr, unollicr son of Judge Joseph Vf ildcr, was 
born in Lancaster, 1708. He was a surveyor, a magistrate, 
a colonel in the militia, and after the death of his father he 
was also one of the Justices of the County Court. lie set- 
tled in the Nortli Precinct or Lancaster Ne^v Grant v.hich 
was incorporated under the name of Leominster in 1710. 
Forgetting tliat Leominster originally was a part of Lancas- 
ter, it is sometimes erroneously stated that he removed from 
Lancaster to Leominster in 1740. Wliilo a proprietor of 
Dorchester Canada, for many years he was also the owner 
of the Starr and the Converse grants. lie died September 
12, 1776. 

Oliver Wilder was a cousin of Judge Arilder, Sen. An 
early proprietor, he was frequently named on important 
committees and after the death of Tliomas Tilestonc he 
was often chosen to preside at the meetiiigs of the cor- 
poration. Like nearly all the Wilders he was a military 
man and rose to the rank of colonel. He died ]March S, 

Thomas AVilder remained a pro^nietor but a short time ; 
his right was sul)sequently owned by Caleb Dana. 

The Sumners were extensively engaged in buying and 
selling land in other townshi})s. Seth Sumner was the only 
one of this name who attended any consideral)le number of 
the meetings or was in any way identified with the settle- 
ment beyond the purchase and sale of lands. 

Caleb Dana was of Cambridge, where he was boi'n 1697, 
and died April 28, 1761). Becoming a proprietor about 
1750, at one time he owned nearly four thousand acres or 
over one-eighth of the township. He was a magistrate, and 
at his home and in the councils of the proprietors an active, 
energetic man. His land in this town was subsequently 
owned by his son George Dana, who settled here about 
1776 and died in this town April 11, 1787. 



, Richard Dana, a brotlier of Caleb Dana, resided in Cam- 
bridge ; born June 2(3, 1700, and died IMay 17, 1772. He 
was a graduate of Harvard University and an able lawyer. 
Several years be was clerk of tlie propriety, leaving a clear, 
ornate record. His son, Francis Dana, and grandson, 
Kichard II. Dana, were men of national reputation. 

Henry Coolidgc, a brother of Elisha Coolidge, who set- 
tled here, owned a right several years. He married a 
daughter of Caleb Dana and resided in Cambridge. 

Joshua Henshaw, Esq., of Boston, as he was styled when 
named in the records, was proljably the same who was 
elected to the Council in 17 68. On account of his patri- 
otism he was not recognized by the royal Governor and was 
later one of the selectmen of Boston. 

Rev. John Swift of Framingham married a sister of 
Thomas Tilestone. An original pro])rietor he continued his 
interest in the township until his death in 1745. In his will 
he gnve to his son, Rev. John Swift, Jr., of Acton, "his right 
of land in Dorchester Canada," who remained a projn'ietor 
until the common lands were distril)utcd. lie was admitted 
a grantee on account of the service of his brother William 
Swift of Dorchester who perished in the expedition under 
Sir William Pliipps in lGi)0. 

Joseph Wheelock of Lancaster, and after 1740 of Leom- 
inster, served on important committees in the earlier pro- 
ceedings, but after 1760 his right was owned by Jonathan 
Gates who became a settler. 

Rev. AVilliam Cooper was pastor of the Brattle Street 
Church, Boston. He was the original owner of two rights 
which were subsequently owned by Alexander Hill and 
Joshua Henshaw. 

Isaac Stearns was not a proprietor until about 1760. He 
was a son of Hon. John Stearns of Billerica where he was 





boi-ii June 16, 1722, and tliere resided until Lis death April 
23, 1808. lie was a representative, a senator, a magistrate 
and a most useful citizen. By his associates in the propriety 
lie Avas held in great esteem and was frequently named on 
important conmiittees. Two of his sons, Isaac and William, 
sul)serjuently settled in this town. 

Vritli the close of this cliapter we leave the non-resident 
proprietors in the retirement of their homes. Many of the 
later proprietors hecame residents and in the following 
chapters it will appear th;it the projjj-iety introduced to the 
town a considerable mnnber of its most valued and useful 
citizens. The proprietors left the town many legacies. An 
unwearied ellbrt to forM^ard the settlement had been a con- 
st:uit aim and purpose. The meeting-house, the mills, the 
division of tlie town into lots, and an initial system of roads 
must be placed to their credit. In the proceedings of their 
meetings the settlers hecame familiar with method and sys- 
tem which they subsequently called to their aid in the man- 
agement of town affairs. They left an impress and imparted 
a character to the settlement that retlects in pleasing lines 
the woi-th of the men and the spirit of the organization. 












AsHBURNii.\3t was iiicorporulcd February 22, 1765. In 
this decisive measure several interests were involved. The 
concern of the non-resident projuietors in an act of incor- 
poration was measured by its pro])a).)le effect upon the value 
of thcii lands in the township ; to the resident proprietors 
with an equal interest in the value of lands were tendered the 
responsibilities and privileges of citizenship in the proposed 
to'wn ; there were also a few residents v,dio were not pro- 
prietors and whose only interest was of a personal character, 
and last there were the settlers on the independent grants or 
farms, as they were commonly called. Nearly all of the last 
named class were the Germans, who had settled on the Lex- 
ington grant. Until the town was incorporated they had 
constituted a little republic and were as independent of the 
proprietors as were the inhabitants of the neighboring towns. 
Thev built roads within their "rant and manaif;cd their inter- 

nal affairs with no intermediate authority betu'eeu themselves 



it '■ 


and tlie laws of the province. It was tlie office of an act of 
incorporation to join and cement these several interests and 
give to everj- citizen an equal voice in tlie management of 
public aflairs. The measure of deliberation and conference 
which led to a union of these interests in the solicitation lor 
incorporation cannot be determined. There is no evidence 
of an^' discord in the progress of these proceedings, yet it 
is certain tliat the resident proprietors were the first to pro- 
pose tlie measure. Their petition was considered by the 
General Court as early as June 7, 1763, when it was 
resolved that the prayer of the petition of the inhabitants of 
Dorchester Canada to be incorporated be granted, and that 
they have leave to bring in a bill. At a meeting of the propri- 
etors in :\lay, 17G4, it was decided to apply to the General 
Court for an act of incorporation. Piichard Dana, Joshua 
Ilenshaw and Caleb Dana were chosen to present their jjeti- 
tion. To this committee, Samuel Fellows, Elisha Coolidge, 
Jonathan Samson and Samuel Xichols were joined to rep- 
resent the inhabitants. In accordance with their instructions 
the committee of the proprietors joined by Samuel Nichols 
representing the residents of the township presented the fol- 
lowing petition : .., 

To his Excei'^-^ Francis Bernard I^sq- Capt" gcnerul & govern'' 
in chief in & over his Majesty's province of Massachusetts Bay, 
the Hon'ble his Majesty's Couucil and the Ilon''''^ house of repre- 
sentatives in general court assembled at Concord on y-^ 5"^ day of 
June Anno Dom. 17C-4. 

Humbly Sheweth 

The proprietors & inhabitants of that planta- 
tion in the county of Worcester eall'd Dorchester Canada That 
its inhabitants are cow increased to such a number as in the 
petitioners humble opinion makes it fiting & Expedient for tlicm 
to be incorporated into a town. That y= s"^ proprietors long since 


>:-i\\<-j r. 




built a racctiug house there for puhlic worsliip & for y" space of 
four years hist past & more have had an uhle learned & orthodox 
minist^ of y" gospel settled tliere whom v^ petit^^ have snpi)orted 
hitherto. That y' incorporatiDg- y^ «''■ plantation avIU greatly pro- 
mote the growtli thereof by removing the great and unavoidable 
inconveniences which they have hitherto laboured under & will 
continue during their present situation. That for promoting 
their incorporation y° petit" have agreed & voted that u tax of 
three half pence an acre be laid by y'' Excel'-'' &. Hon' upon 
all y^ lands & farms within y'' limits & plan of y'= s'' plantation, 
(except y^ Cambridge farm, parsonage or ministry lands & y" 
school lands) to continue for y'^ term of three years from y'^ 25"^ 
day of Jan^ last, sixty pounds thereof to bo annually applied for 
y'' paym' of their minister's salary &y^ residue for further finishino- 
their meeting house afores*^, Keeping y-^ public county road there 
in duo repair & for neccssar3- cliai-ges. 

Wherefore your petitioners pray that the plantation afores'^ 
with all the lands & farms within y' plantation and limits tlicreof 
may be incorporated into a town & that >'■= inhabitants thereof 
may be invested with }■"= like power & privileges tbat other towns 
in this province are invested wilhall. And that y*= afores'^ tax as 
agreed upon may h? ratiGed ^fc confirmed. And y'" petit"" as in 
dutj' bound will ever pray. 

rac" DANA. 



It is prayed y« y" intended town may be called AsliGeld. 

The request of the petitioners that tbo new town be 
called Ashfield was disregarded by the royal Governor. At 
that date the nobility of England were frequently compli- 
mented in the selection of names for the incorporated towns, 
and Governor Bernard was greatly inclined to this system 


of noiiienclaturo. The tov,-ii of A.shfleld in this Slate 
received its name and its cliarter only four months after the 
incorporation of this town, In the employment of that 
name it is asserted that the Governor tendered a compliment 
to Lord Thurlow of Ashficld, a member of the king's coun- '' 
cil. It is possible that sonic of the pro}n-ietors of Dorches- 
ter Canada who were on ijitimate terms with Governor 
Bernard proposed the name with a knowledge that it was 
one he lield in reserve for early use, or with equal proba- 
bility it may be presumed tliat with more immediate associa- 
tions the inhabitants found in Ashfield a fitting name for a 
town engaged in the manufacture of potash. In either event 
the suirsrestion was of no avail. The General Court, with 
an accommodating regard for an assumed prerogative of the 
Governor, in the act of incorporation, left the name a blank, 
which was subsequently supplied with the name of Ashburn- ■' 
ham which is supposed to bo in honor of John, the second 
Earl of Ashburnham. It is a good name and consequently '' 
better than precious ointment. 

It is probable that tho settlers had selected their com- 
rnittee in advaiice, and that they were joined with the other 
committee by the proprietors in courteous recognition of the 
fact. Further evidence of conference appears in a vote of 
the proprietors obligating themselves to pay into the treas- 
ury of the proposed town for a term of years an annual tax 
of three half pence on each acre of land owned by them, , 
provided the other lands in the township were taxed at the v 
same rate. This agreement between the resident and non- 
resident proprietors, was recognized by the general Court 
and was made a part of the act of incorporation. An 
exception, however, was. made by the Legislature of Cam- 
bridge larm, then owned by the town of Cambridge, and for 
that reason it was exempted from the payment of the i)ro- 

1 i 

'■'-■■ A-t 

■'-. ,' 


■ Y/ilJ 



posed tax. An act of iiicoiporatioii, AviUi no name of the 
town inserted, passed both Louses of the General Court 
Februtiry 15, 17(35, and tbur days later tlie engrossed bill 
bearing the name of Asiibuknham was sent to the Governor 
for approval. Tiie bill was signed February 22, ]765, the 
day that ^Fashington entered ujion his thirty-fourth year. 
The act creadng a town and vesting it with civic powers 
and privileges, is in the following terms ; 

An Act for incorpornting a new rUintation in the county of 
Worcester called and known bv tlie name of ];orehester Canada 
into a Town by the name of Ashburnham. 

Whereas the inhabitants of the Plantation called and known by 
the name of Dorchester Canada labour under many difficulties and 
inconveniences by reason of their not being incorporated: There- 
fore for the removal thereof 

Be it enacted by tlie Governor, Council and House of Repre- 
sentatives, that the Plantation commonly known by the name of 
Dorchester Canada according to the bounds of the original grant 
thereof made by the General Court the first day of°June"l736 
being as follows, viz : 

A Tract of Land of six miles square bounding southerly on the 
Narraganset Township N« 2 M^esterly on a Township Laid out 
for Tilton and others. Northerly on a township laid out for 
Ipswich and Easterly part on Towuscnd and part on Lunenburg. 
It begins at a Hemlock, the northeasterly corner of the sard 
Narraganset Town and runs Vrest Eighteen degrees South seven 
miles wanting twenty i-ods ; from thence North twelve degrees 
East eight miles and tu^o hundred rods; and from thence East 
twelve degrees South seven miles and one hundred perch; from 
thence Southerly by said Townsend line one thousand one hundred 
and twenty rods and by Lunenburg lino six hundred and twenty 
rods to where it first began. And the Inhabitants of the same 
Plantation together with all the Lands and Farms included within 
the same boundaries be and hereby are incorporated into a town, 

FROM Tin: ixt'orvVur.ATiox tu the devolution. 113 

liy the name of AsnBur.xiiA^r, aud that the same town be aud 
liercby i.s vested with all the powers privileges and immunities, that 
fiiiy other of the towns in this Province do or nia^' by law exorcise 
and enjoy. ,. 

i'\nd whereas it is agreed between the Inhabitants of the Plan- 
tation aforesaid and the Proprietors of the common and nndivided 
lands there, that a tax of three half pence an acre be laid upon all 
the land within the same (Excepting Cambridge Farm and the 
lands alloted and reserved for the ministr}^ the first settled minis- 
ter there aud the school) for tlie space of three years from the 
fifth and twentieth day of Januars' one thonsaud seven hnndred 
and sixty-four; Sixty pounds whereof to be annually applied to 
and fur the payment of the minister's salary and the residue 
towards finishing the public meeting honsc there aud for repairing 
the pnblic roads through the said Plantation from aud after the 
aforesaid twenty-fifth day of January. 

Be it therefore Enacted, that there be and hereby is granted a 
tax of three half pence an acre to be annually levied and assessed 
upon all the lands in the aforesaid Township (except the lands 
and farms before excepted) for the term aforesaid and for the uses 
and purposes aforesaid and that the proprietors aforesaid be 
thenceforward discharged and free from all further and other 
taxes and expenses on account of those articles and every of 
them, unless by order of this Court. 

And be it further enacted that Joseph Wilder Esq be aud ho 
hereby is impowered to issue his Warrant to some one of the 
principal Inhabitants of the aforesaid new Town, requiriug him to 
warn the Inhabitants thereof to assemble at the aforesaid Meeting 
House sometime in the month of March next to choose all town 
ollicers by law required for carrying on and managing the affairs 
of the said town and to assess levy and collect the tax aforesaid. 

In compliance with tlic duty enjoined in the act, Joseph 
Wilder of Leominster, who was then one of the justices of 
the County Court, issued the following warrant : 

8 ._-- 


■ J3 

r, .;1 

: . ; : :! 
, Ml 



WoncESTER 53. To Dca Snmiiel Fellows, one of llic principal 
inhabitants of tlie new town of Aslibnrnluain Greeting: — In his 
Majesty's name you are required to warn all the Inhabitants of 
said Ashburuham to assemble at the Meeting House in said town 
on Monday the twenty-fifth day of this instant March at ten 
o'clock in the forenoon to choose a Moderator to govern said 
iiieetiug and to choose all town officers as before recited and to 
agree how to call meetings for the future. 

Hereof fail not and make due return. 

Given under my hand and seal this eleventh day of March in 
the fifth 3'ear of his Majest3''s reign Anno Domini 17C5. 


Justice of the Peace. 

By the terms of his instructions Judge "^Vildol• was 
required to issue his warrant to one of the principal men of 
the phice. The mantle of honor fell upon Deacon Fellows. 
The selection was approved by tlie town who made choice of 
the same principal inhabitant to jireside over the first town 
meeting assembled in Ashlnirnham. "William AVliitcomb 
Avas chosen toAvn clerk, and the principal inhabitants were so 
numerous that five were delegated to i)crform the duties of 
selectmen. They were Deacon Sanmel Fellows, Tristi-am 
Cheney, James Coleman, John Rich and Jonathan Gates. 
Jonathan Gates was also chosen constable and Samuel 
Wilder collector of taxes. For assessors the town chose 
Samuel AVilder, William Joyner and John Bates. The 
town had no money, but anticipating future possibilities, 
Deacon Samuel Fellows was chosen trea^surcr. For wardens 
the town selected Deliverance Davis and Jacob Schofie. 
The highway surveyors were Stephen Ames, Tristram 
Cheney, Deliverance Davis, James Coleman and Jonathan 
Samson. To the oflice of tithingmen with its solemn obli- 
gations the town called Tristram Cheney and John Kil)linger. 




Klislia Coolidge ^vas made surveyor of boards and shingles 
and also of wheat. For deer reeves the town solicited the 
watchful attention of Xathan ]\rclvin and AVilliam Bcnjaniin. 
Tlie custody of "^eights and measures, if they had any, was 
delegated to Elisha Coolidge. Christia]i AVilliam Whiteman 
and John Samson were selected for "vewcrs," an office 
relating to the division of lands, and then with the choice of 
Jlenry Selham and Samuel Foster to ofliciate as hog reeves, 
tlic list of officers was completed. The next meeting was 
called in his ^Majesty's name to assemble on the twenty-ninth 
of April for the transaction of business "which could not be 
considered under the former warrant. Thomas Wheeler, 
who was not named in the pi'oceedings of the first meeting, 
was chosen moderator. It was voted to raise six pounds to 
defray town charges and ''fifty pounds to make and mend 
private ways." For labor upon the roads it was voted to 
allow two shillings and six pence per day lor each man and 
one shilling and four pence for a pair of oxen. The number 
of hoin's was not stipulated. Sjmiuel "Wilder, William Joyner 
and John Bates were chosen to sell the land of delinquent 
tax-payers, and after a vote to let swine run at large the 
ensuing year, in a motion to adjourn they secured an equal 
liberty for themselves. Two other town meetings were 
called before the close of the year. At the fonner the town 
declined to send a representative to the General Court, and 
at the second meeting Samuel Nichols was chosen collector 
of taxes in room of Samuel ^Vilder who was out of town 
about one year. In June of this year Tristram Cheney and 
William Joyner certify that they have ''perambulated the 
line between Winghendon and Ashburnham." 

With their enlarged privileges under the act of incorpora- 
tion the settlers were met with heavy burdens in the form of 
taxes. The land tax for 1764: and 1765, amounting to £255, 


a province t;ix of £30, a couiily tax £1-11-0, and a tax of 
£C) to defray to^^vn expenses, nuist have })laced them ou 
familiar terms and close relations with tlu-. collector of taxes. 
Scarcely had the town ])ecn organized and (he inhabitants 
become familiar with their new duties and privileges when 
several families and lifteon hundred acres of land were joined 
to another township. Ashby was incorporated ]\[arch 5, 
1767, but the proceedings in which the inha])itants of Ash- 
burnham jia.rticipated occurred at an earlier date. U)itil 
1764 the territory hicluded within the present towns of 
Townsend, Lunenburg, Ashburnlnun, Fitch1)urg and Ashby 
was embraced by the three towns hrst nained. In 1764 
Fitchburg was set off from Lunenl)urg and at that time 
included the southern jxirt of Ashby. The incorporation of 
Ashburnluuii in the following year did not change boundary 
lines. Very soon after, Ashl)y was formed from poilions of 
Townsend, Fitchburg and Ashburnham. Thus John Fitch 
and others, Jiving in 17 60 in the vicinity of the present resi- 
dence of Paul Gates in the southern part of Ashby, were 
residents of Lunenburg ; in 1764 they were in Fitchbur"-, 
and in 1767 they were in .Vshby. A\'ith bewildering sud- 
denness and without a change of residence they were citizens 
of three towns and attended town meetings in as many 
places in this brief space of time. The original petition, for 
the creation of Ashby, was before the General Court several 
months before Ashburnham was incorpoi-ated. "While a 
part of the petitioners for Ashley Avere pressing a solicitation 
to become inhabitants of one town they Avere included Avitlu'n 
another. They continued, however, to pursue their original 
project and joining Avith the other petitioners an organization 
was ejected and a committee, consisting of John Fitch of 
Fitchburg, Jacob SchoJfe of Ashburiiham and James Locke, 
Jr., of ToAvnsend, Avas chosen to appear before the General 

-/ : /• ; ■•: :j.';.'', ■\i 

I ■ , , ■ i 



■■>!"> ; 



Court ill siij^port of their petition. At a meeting of the \)V()- 
))i'ietors ojily a few days .ifter tlie incorporation of Ashhurn- 
hani a conmiittee was chosen to remonstrate against the loss 
of the most thickly settled portion of the town. The follow- 
ing year tlie sultject was Liid before the town at a special 
mi'cting called for that ]")urpose. The petitioners in the 
iioi'theast part of the town joined l)y the Germans were a 
dear majority of the town. Conscious of their power, they 
proposed to carry with themselves a very considerable por- 
tion of the township, including the Cambridge and Lexing- 
ton farms and all that })art of Ashburnham east of a line 
running from the northwest corner of Lexington farm across 
the summit of Great Watatic to the province line. 

This lilieral proposition included a majority of the inhabi- 
ta.nts and al.)out one-fourth of the area of the township. 
Innnediately following the record of the meeting is recorded 
a protest against the measure, signed by Samuel Fellows, 
Tristram Cheney, Samuel Nichols, Jonathan Gates, George 
Dickerson, Xathan Melvin, Elislia Coolidge, AVilliam 
Joyner, Samuel Foster and Enos Jones. Xo reason is 
found for the absence of the names of Benjamin AVhitcomb, 
]\roses Foster, Jeremiah Foster, Deliverance Davis and 
others who were then living west of the proposed line and 
who very iraturally Avould be in sjmipathy with the remon- 
strants. This proposition, however, was very materially 
modified by the General Court. When Ashby was finally 
incor|)orated only about one-fourth of the proposed area was 
severed from Ashl)urnham. Alany years later another tract 
was joined to Ashby, but the original division line between 
the towns in 1767 left the eastern boundary of Ashburnham 
almost a straight line, extending very nearly due north from 
the northeast corner of Westminster to the State line. The 
corner of the two towns at the State line was very nearly a 

./' i;'f 

•.li '(; 

■1.. • ■ .'H'«V 


■iwi-'/. •.I'.xlY/ .*'!in> I (in -MoV) oils / ! i.»' 

>v -i.ji>r .J' ' /►'■i^ j!;-i;-iJ-, i\ 


mile o;i>:(' of the iJi-e-^cnt corner. ]n this forin the town of 
Ashbuniluuu remained until after the lieNolution, wlien a 
second donation to Ashl)y and the ineo]'})oration of Ciardner 
cut oJftwo areas from tlie oj)j)osite corner^; of the town. 

Among the settlers inchided v>ithin the town of Ashl)y 
were sev(,'ral town otHcers who were eliosen only three days 
before that town was iricorporated. Ca]) John Jones, 
residing on tlic Amos ^\'eUington farm tlien in Ashburnham, 
was a selectman here in IKIt! and again elected in ITtiT. 
The same year he was chosoi a selectman of Ashby. 

James Coleman had bem elected one of the constables, 
an otlice then including the collection of taxes. Xotwith- 
standing the change in to^vn lines, the assessors of Ashljurn- 
liam committed to him a tax list foi- collection and in 
XoA'cmber of the following year '" y to^vn voted to Defend 
y*" Town Treasurer in a 'J'rial with James Colman for to get 
y* money that was assest in y'' year 170 7 which assessment 
was Delivered to s'' Colman to Colect." It is i)robable that 
both toNNiis claimed the taxes assessed this year on the 
estates set olf to Ashbv and that Mr. Coleman found it diffi- 
cult to serve two masters. IJy this change in town lines, 
in addition to John Jones and James Coleman, Ashburnham 
lost Thomas Stearns, Zinn-i Ileywood, John l^ates, David 
Taylor, Henry Selliam. Benjannn Spaukling, Sanniel Derby, 
Samuel liice, Levi Houghton and i)erhaps a few others. 
Several of these l)ecame promin.ent in tln' allairs of Ashby. 
The only Germiui was ^Nlr. Sdham whose name is genendly 
>\Titten Sellenham in tlio Ashby records. 

Unless there Avere two })ersons of the same name, ben- 
jamin Spaulding returned to Ashlna-nham in 1766 and in 
1769 as will appear joined in a petition to be set olf to 
Ashby a second time. Had he succeeded, asd continued the 
process he v.ould have Avhittled av,ay tlie entire towushi}). 

), ■ I ' .■ 1 

-, .j;,;i !■ 

,'.;,>.,( ■>■■ -^ii/' 


(/ ^y.\: !...:. 


, 1 ., , iv 

SI 'it 

, (,,. '.i.i'i.':; 


I'Ofi. Tlic m;\v names iippearing in Iho proceedings of 
tliis your avf Ilomy Hall, John Conn, Ziinii Ileywood, 
>f<>ses ]^\tst<'r. fir., Saniucl Salter, Simon Eodamcll, Ileniy 
Selham and Joseph Perry. Some of these had l)een here 
several ycai's but were not named in the records of the pre- 
eedini;' }'ear. In addition to the land and ))rovince tax, the 
town raised twent}' })ciunds for town charges tmd appro])rinted 
sixty ]'>onnds of the la.nd tax for the sap})ort of roads. This 
year the to'.vn also voted not "to choose a man to lAe})resent 
them at the great and geneial Coart or assembly to bo held 
at Boston on Wensday the twenty eight Day of may Current 
at Xine of the Clock in tlie morning." But more mindful of 
internal improvement, the town voted to build a pound of 
stone or timber, two rods square inside^, to be located near 
the barn of Christian '^^'illiam "Wliiteman, but this vote was 
reconsidered soon after and a pound was not built for several 
years. The records assert that this year "the town chose 
Mr. 1'imothy pane Esqnier regeister for the County of 
Worcester." ^Ir. Paine was elected this year, leaving us to 
infer that cither the remainder of the county magnanimously 
concurred in this action on the part of Ashburnham, or that 
the record i^s a simple assertion that Mr. Paine was the choice 
of the voters of this town. The custom of warning out all 
now arrivals is mentioned in another conn.:.:tion ; the names 
of the men sunniioned to renio\ ^' during V ti'rst two years 
of I he existence of the town, were Sauni' 1 Salter, Joseph 
Perry, Oliver AVetherbcc, Daniel ^Merrill, Daniel Harper, 
Timothy Farley, Amasa Turner and George Hewitt. 

1707. Early in the 3'ear 1767, a special meeting was 
called to make some ari-angements concerning the salary of 
the minister. When the town assumed control of public 
aflairs, ]Mr. AMnchestcr had been settled several years. It 
only devolved upon the town to pay him the amount of 

('( ': 

■ -I : ■■ » I ' 

, I . >■ ■ • .111 . , ■( ■ . ' ' t, : ;■ ,' i '•,••: 

;i 11 ! 

r, I 


salary stipulated bv tlic proprietors at the time of bis settle- 
]iiGiit. By the terms of the act of inc(ji-})oration this smii 
was to be })aid out of the land tax. It only remained for the 
io'^'ii to conduct the assessment and collection of this tax. 
The result of tliis meetimr iudicates that the only issue raised 
at this time I'elated to the time when the salary of the minis- 
ter should be paid. A committee was chosen '' to discourse 
with Eev. Mr. AVinchester relating to his salary." At a 
subsecjuent meeting the town acted upon the repoii of their 
committee by a vote '' to pay ]Mr. AVinchester one half of his 
salary at eiglit months' end.'' 

The records of this year introduce the earliest reference to 
schools in a vote to raise eight pounds for that purpose, and 
voted tlnit '\y* y*^ school should be a moveing school and 
to leave it y" Select men to make y'' Quarters where y^ 
school shall be Cei)t. Yoted it to bee a free school." 

The increasing burden of taxation and the inability of 
many of the settlers to meet these increasing demands upon 
their limited resources find frequent expression in the 
record-. In June the town chose John ]Moflat of Boston, 
Eev. Jonathan AVinchester and Tristram Cheney, to apply 
to the General Court for an abatement of the province tax. 
In connection with this ethn't the following petition was 
made to the General Court : 

To His Excellency Francis Ijjrnard Esq. Captain General 
and Governor in Chief of His ^lajfsty's Provence of the Massa- 
chusetts Bay, to the Ilonnorablc his majostys Council & the Hon"* 
House of Keprcscntativcs, In General Court assembled. 

December 30 17G7 

The Petition of the Inliabitants of Ashburnham humbly Sheweth : 

That whereas a Provence Tax for a number of years Past has 
been Laid on your Petitioners no Part thereof has been paid, that 
your Petitioners Labouring under great poverty think them selves 


!' I 

.■ 1!',, -li^Jl 

;< -/J 


ulteily unable To make an}- sucb payment, that the soil we Possess 
is very Stubborn Requiring much hard Labour befui-c any profit 
can be reaped from it, Tliat the greatest part of your petitioners 
have been in said Town but a short time and are unable to raise 
provisions sutlicient for the su[)port of our families. And as there 
is far from being enough produced in the Town to maintain the 
Inliabitants we have not only nothing to Conveit into money ; but 
are at much annual expense for the necessays of Life or be desti- 
tute of them ; or else contract debts unpayable without the for- 
feiture of our Lands. 

That y'' growth of y'' said Town has been much obstructed by 
y' said tax as many pei'sons have of Late gone over y*" Provence 
Line to avoid a burden which seams so likcl}' to be un^upportable 
and fatal, I'hat 3-our Poor petitioners are unable to keep our few 
cattle alive in y*" winter season without driving a considerable 
proportion of them out of town for subsistence. That your 
Petitiuuers House of Public "W^orship has lately been struck by a 
Hurricane and y'^ cost to repare ('annot be less than £30, Lawful 
money, "With all that can be done to said House it must be Re- 
built in a few A'ears. That the Death of our very worth}' Pastor 
y' Reverend M' "W'inchester v'our Petitioners must needs be exerted 
to a very great additional expenee. 

Therefore your Humble Petitioners vor}- eariicstly beseech your 
Excellency & Ilouers to considerate our unhapy circumstances 
by Removing 3'e grievous Tax or to Releive u^^ hi such way as in 
3'our great wisdom you shall Think fitt. And your Petitioners as 
in duty bound shall ever pray &e, 

TRISTRAM CL^KXEY inbeli.dfof sd Town. 

Dated at Ashburuham, December y" 23'^ 17G7. 

The petition was kindly received In' the General Court 
and all the province taxes then due from this town were 
forgiven, Qiialifyhig the petition with the reflection that it 
is an argument for etfect, it is true, however, that it presents 
a view of the poverty and distress of a new settlement and 

,1 ;;■//-) 'n ';. 


..■> I '!■ 

. ..■ J- , 

.,!,::; ■...; J-,,: -.,1 •" '''■■< .-■'•^' 


' ' 5 ■■ 

■! 'i 
''' i 


from il ^yc learn much of tlio situaliou of tlie town at tliis 

November 30, 17G7, the inliabitants were Avarned to 
assemble on tlie tenth oi' the followinu" morith '^ to see if liie 
town v.'ill comply with tlie town of ]5ustijii in not purchasing 
any of tlie articles montioi\ed in the ])aper sent to tlie seh'ct- 
men." The pa}>er refei'i-ed to was the historic letter of tlie 
selectmen of Bostoii, dated October 2^, and sent to the 
selectjnen of the several toA\ns in the proA'incc, respecting 
the sale and use of certain foreign articles upon which Par- 
liament had laid a tax. At the meeting in Ashburnham it 
v,-as voted ''to compl)' with the retjuest of tlie selectmen of 
Boston respecting the articles in a paper they sent to us." 
Here is found the first and a very early act relating to the 
Eevolution. It was one of a series of e^'eilts which foretold 
the approaching storm, truthfully relh'cting the progress of 
puldic sentimput while the smouldering tires of discontent 
were being fanned into the ilame of open revolt. Otlier 
towns actuated by an equal patriotism ])assed similar votes, 
but very few of them at this early date were prepared to 
speak with equal em[)!iasis and pronq)tness. 

The death of the first minister occurred this year. A meet- 
ing was promptly called at which the town voted to defray 
the expenses of the funeral and tu pay to ]\lrs. AVinchester, a 
sum equal to the stated salary for the remainder of the year. 
Xo item of the ex[)ense of the l>urial of Mr. ^^'inchester has 
been preserved, but in accordance with the custcnns of the 
times, it is })robable that gloves, weeds and other insignia of 
mourning, wei'e procured for the bereaved family and for the 
bearers. All were mourners and all followed the rcmai))S of 
their beloved pastor to tlie grave. The measure of their 
sorrow at the death and their respect for the charactm- of 
IVtr. "Winchester were continually retlected in the kind con- 

■t .; 1 

I <■ 

,i , I! ::''': !^• •■ 

,1,:'' ■ > • ■('. ,■ M.-vh 

' , \ •!:■■/' 


sidcnition in which ihey always rcpai't.led the widow and llie 
children of their lirst n^iiiister, 

17GSc This year, Kcv. John dishing was settled. An 
account of the ordination and of a prolonged and successful 
ministry a\ ill be found in anotlicr chapter. Other proceed- 
ings of less magintndc complete the record of the year. In 
the warrant for the animal ^NLu'ch meeting appears an article 
"To see if y° town will vote y' there shall be no ox sled 
Drawed in y Privet Roads in Ashlnirnham less tlum four 
feet and a half wide on Penalty such as y" town shall thinlv 
Proper." ''Pa.ssed in y*" negative." Tlie highways in this 
connection were styled pri\'ate roads to distinguish them 
from the county roads wliich had been constructed, and in 
some measure were luider the supervision of the court. 

It was also ordered this year that ''y'' Dutch sliould dravr 
their school money " u]ion condJtio)i it was used for its 
legitimate pur})osc. 

The increasing discontent of the colon}" in regard to the 
continued acts of oppression by the British government, and 
the promptness in wliich each infringement of their charter 
rights was resisted by the watchful spirit of democracy 
again invite the citi/ens of Ashburnham to assemble hi town 
meeting. Inmiediately following an unsuccessful attempt to 
persuade the Poyal Governor of the province to convene the 
GcTicral Court, letters were sent to all the towns inviting 
t1)"!n to send delegates to join in a conference over public 
aiiairs. The citizens of this town unanimously instructed 
their selectmen to send in writing their desire to join with 
the assem])led delegates "in all jn-oper way to defend our 
rights and privileges which was granted to us in oiu- 

1VC9. It will be remem])ered that while the inhabitants 
were thus assemblino- jn town meetinir from year to year and 

■i . ■ , !|v... 

.] 1 


a(loi)tin!jj moiisuros concerning tlic })riulcntial iil]";iirs of llu; 
town, the ]>ro])i-ieto]s wero still an acTivc oruanizalion. 
Under the hnvs of the ]>rovince, the town assuniod tlic 
conti'ol of the roads, the su])[)ort of the ministry tmd the 
general manaa'cnient of all municijial concei'ns, while the 
propriety, owning the luidivided lands, was still an organized 
corporation. The })ro])rietors surrendered the meeting- 
house to the town without any formal vote, and in 1770 at a 
meeting eoiivencd in Boston, there was a proposition under 
consideration to surrender to the town " the meeting house 
square with the reservation thnl the whole of it reniains a 
common forever.'' Tins suhjeet was disnn'ssed without 
action and it is possiljle the projn'ietcn-.s considered that the 
connnon already l)elouged to the town imder tlic title of 
public domain. If any consideration less friendly prompted 
the failure to relinquish their chiim to the common, the 
inhatiitants of the town h;ul very little concern ;il)out it, and 
were masters of the situation, '^'hey had already disposed 
of one-fourth of it and Mere holding the remtiinder with grim 
com})lacency. I'^nder an ai'ticle to see if the town would 
sell a part of the common to I\ev. John Cushing, the town 
in ]Mav, 17G9, voted to make him a present of two and one- 
half acres at the east end and instructed the selectmen to 
give him a deed. 

JUmJamin Spaulding, and a few others residing in the 
northeast part of the town, petitioned the (ioneral Court to 
be annexed to Ash by. The town promptly e\'i>ressed its 
dissent and submitted the matter to Sanuu-l Wilder who 
successfully ojiposed the measiu-e. 

The questions arising in town meeting and tlie methods of 
treatment, are continually suggesting the changes which have 
attended the progress of years. One hundred and twenty- 
five years ago, as a source of revenue, the town voted that 

f ,1 

'.''I "^ : 

,.d; -'10 

..(l'^' .,!' 

, 1..., •..: , . \: ^M,,,;;.;i i-j .■> '' 

» ''■■''•''! 

. ! ■. i /. ri i 
• ' ' ;■ :.i'"A ■f^'g 


"e\'ciy iiilKibitaiit that (akcs caltlo to run in the wtiods shall 
])ay to the town four sliillinu's per head." The same j^'ear, 
not having paid their minister the sum due for settlement, 
the town borrowed the money of Colonel Caleb AMlder and 
ogrced to pa}'^ it in elearing land tor him. For several years 
tlie town aceej)ted labor on this aeeount in payment of taxes. 

1770. The annals of this year introduce very few subjects 
not anticipated in a general ^iew of a town "in the transaction 
of the ordinary business. The year })reeeding the town, 
voted not to choose a conmiittee " to see where the town's 
money had gone." They probably concluded it had never 
been gathered in, since this year a number of parcels of land 
belonging to non-residents were sold at auction in payment 
of taxes. From this source the town realized nearly lift}' 
pounds. One of the purchasers tit this sale was liev. ^Iv. 
Gushing, who bought six and one-half aci'cs between the 
conmion and Upper Naukeag lake. This year the court had 
under consideration the location of a county road from 
AVinchendon to Westminster, passing through a corner of 
this town, now in Gardner. The town of Ashburnham 
histructed Samuel Wilder to oppose the project and "if 
need be, to employ an attorney." This road was built soon 
afier, but the part of it within this town was inconsiderable. 

In accordance with an act of the General Court, an inven- 
tory of the province tax for the year 1770 was returned by 
thr; assessors. Fortunately, the oiiginal is preserved in the 
State archives. This rate assessed on the polls had no con- 
nection with the land tax. The list preserves the names of 
the men residing in this town December 14, 1770. The 
names followed by the figures 2 or 3 paid the tax of as 
many persons, who might be either sons above sixteen 
years of age, or young men in their employ. Ebenezer 
Conant, Sen., was probably residing here at this time ; later 

■ {-, iK 

■■■.i< \n-J i 

■■ :.:■.' i ■ !■''<> 

>:5 ■' )->f ii.. ■..!]'■ 

i .! 1, 

li: i '111 

. !■•' -.1 

1 ,, 

':■^ '•;,' ;'i; ni;-'*- ■;:.l;.:''.( -. 'f^ fil 

1 . f-r., -,■ 

•*MVf*0 ''J'! rV'''!-' 


' .1 j . ■■ 

!o' : ■>'■ ,1 I. 



ill life he Ava.s a town clmrgo, Init no reason apjieai's for tlie 
omission of liis name. It ^vas ])rol)ably aeci<lcnl;il. Tiie 
omission of the name of Mer. John dishing was probably 
intentional, ']"'he number of names in the list is seventy- 
four, A\hich would indicate a population of less than four 
hundred. ' '■ ' 

Jolm Adams 
Stejjlieii Ames 
"William Eeiijamiu 
Jtloits Bcunttt 
John Bigflow 
Xalhnn Bigclow 
Jo sima Billings 
Abrniiam Blodt^ett 
Isaac Bioduett 
Jereiuiah Bridge 
P-eter Brooks 
Tri^tram Ciieney (3) 
3;)avid Clark 
Job Coleman 
Ebenezor Couant, Jr. 
John Conn 
Elisha Coolidfre 
I.)eliverance Davis 
Amos Dickerfon 
David Dickerson 
Salmon Dutton 
Thomas Dutton 
Elijah EdsoTi 
Sanmt-1 Fellows (3) 
Jeremiah Foster 

Moses Foster (2) 
Samuel Foster 
Henry Gates '^'''' 
Jonathan Gales (2) 
Henry Hall (2) 
Jacob Harris 
Ebcnezer llemeinvay 
Joseph Holden 
^Moscs Johnson 
En OS .Jones 
Abijah Joslin ' 

James Joslin 
Peter Joslin 
Jolm Kiblingcr (2) 
Benjamin Kemp 
Nathan Melviii 
Daniel Merrill 
Joseph jMetealf 
Sanniel Nichols 
Simeon Nuttiiiij 
Jolm Oberlock 
Joseph Perry 
Daniel Priest 
John liicli 
Simon Kodanicll 

Samuel Salter 
Aaron Samson 
John Samson 
Jonathan Samson 
Jacob Schofle 
Benjamin Siiaulding 
Ephraim Stone (3) 
Oliver Stone 
Jonathan Taylor ' 
Philip Vorback . . 
Caleb Ward 
Jacob Wenneg 
Oliver Wetherbee 
Plnnehas Wetherbee 
Benjamin Whitcomb 
Oliver Whitcomb 
Christian "Wm. White 

Samuel Wilder (2) 
Hezekiah AViUard' 
John Willard 
Oliver Willard 
Andrew "Winter 
Timothy Wood 
Abijah Worcester 

1771. lu addition to specific legislation regarding schools 
and the meeting-house, which will appear in other chapters, 
this year the town sold the riglit of land resented for the 
benefit of schools. ?;'rj; r- 

From the incorporation of the town to this date there had 
been little change in the i)rice of labor and many articles of 
merchandise. The depreciation of the currenc}' a few years 
later introduced tlctitious values in all business transactions. 
Qlie town at this time contiiuied to allow the selectmen and 
other town otlicers two shillings and eight pence per day. 
The rate of labor upon the highways for several years is 

.;<(••■';'■-■>' n 

.! .•■?: :li 

it T..-.. 

;!, ... •/ ,'.■( - 'ill J 'r.;'>"f 

■;!■• I'. A 


rccordcil in staled form: " tlireo sliilling })cr day from now 
to tlic last of S('ptfml)cr, one shilling and four pevict;-. ibr 
0X011 and eight pence for a cart and after Sei)teniber two 
shillings per day." From an account of sales made in an 
adjoining town at this date it appears that u])land hay sold 
at £1-5-0 per ton, rye at four sliillings per bushel and 
])utter from six to eight pence per pound. 

1772. ''Voted to buy some grave stones in memory of 
Kev^ :Mr Jonathan Winchester and that :\['' William Whit- 
comb be tlie man to get the above stones." This act com- 
memorating, at once, the virtues of the dead and the sci'ious 
ira[>ulses of tlie town resulted i)i the erection of the ])l:iin 
slate stone -which yet marks the grave of the first minister. 
Future generations may ei'cct at this grave a monument of 
far greater pretension, but none can ever express a more 
fitting devotion to the memory of him ■^vhose virtues are 
inscribed upon this "ancient stone in language of sincere 
respect and love. 

1773. Ilaviufr l)uilt a ])Ound the i)recedina' A'ear the town 
chose Benjamin Ih'gelow and Jacob AVillard to conduct the 
business at that station. Field drivers, or hog reeves as 
they were formerly called, have been chosen every 3'ear 
since the incorporation of tlie town. This year, with a new 
adjunct to the office, the selection was made with due 
deference to ability and regard to place of residence. The 
location of the first pound is not certain. The pound at the 
southwest corner of the common was not built until 1794, 
but time and the elements appear to have been unusually 
active in hastening its destruction. 

The manner in which our fathers regarded the obligation of 
conh-acts and the attention they paid to their proper fulfil- 
ment are refiected in a vote to '" advtmce thirty pounds to the 
Rex-^ ^P Cushing's Sallary to be assessed this year to make 

;< u..i '-•'.{} !>: ti <•/■ 

i: •; ci I 

r .-,;!• 

- ,.'••.7 !.i.o •.;i;i<i, OJ -V-'r^T 
,•■ ; l,ii;'.;M V-:H '■«■'> to 

128 IirSTORV OF ASinnjRNlIAM. 

UT) Uie Damage in his not giting his SaUaiy according to 

1771. In pro})hecy of tlie political revolution near at 
hand and retlecting the sentiment of the pco})le a town 
meeting is called for the first thne williouL invoking the 
name of the king. In former 3-ears tlie people had been 
warned to assemble "in ]]is Majestv's name." A mcetino- 
was called in September, 177J:, in the simj:)lc terms, "You 
are requested to meet." Later the ]ieo]ile were warned "in 
the name of tlie govermiicnt and tlie people of the state of 
Massachusetts Bay," until tlie new constitution of the State 
iiiti'odnoed "the commonvrealtli of jMassacliusotts." Tliese 
terms clearly indicate the })rogress of public sentiment during 
radical changes in the forms of government. 

The incorporation of Gardner was almost consummated 
this year. Tlie project was suffered to sleep dui-ing the 
devolution but it scarcely failed at this time. The petition 
was signed by residents of Westminster, Templeton, AYin- 
chendon and Ashburnham who desired to be included in the 
proposed town. In answer to the petitioners, the town 
voted ]\Iay 23, 1774, that the portion of Ashburnham south- 
west of a line extending from Samuel Kelton's lot to the lot 
of AVilliam Ames "be set off with portions of other towns 
to form a new town or district." The line described in this 
vote is substantially the same as the one established eleven 
years later. The Itcvolution caused a delay and introduced 
a name for the town, but the boundaries first proposed were 
not materially changed when the town eventually was 

Commencing with the date of incorporation and extend- 
ing a few years lieyond the limits of this chapter, the tow^n 
continued the custom of warning out a majority of the arri- 
vals in town. It was a precautionary proceeding suggested 

::[\ -.'^l I' 

.jj '''iifi U'-ni 

1,) •■ ■'} 




and C'lifoui'agod b}- the laws of t])e proviuce. The statute 
})rovicled that persons, who wore Icgall}' warned out of tlie 

town, could not cain at once a full leo-al residence and that J 

in ease of extreme povei-ty tlic toAvn would not be charge- 1 

able for their sujjport. It was a cold reception but inoditied \ 

Aviih a fair understanding that it was a formalit3- of law in j 

which there "was often no sincerity. If it savors of inhu- j 

inanity it was a fault of the law aiid not of the people. Its i 
practice in other towns led to its adoption here in self- 

defence. In tin's connection it should be remcnibered, that \ 

while the sentiment of cliarity and brotherly love has ever | 

existed in the heart of man, tlic present system of public | 

charities which embraces all classes of unfortunate men and | 

Momcn of the Connnon wealth is the result of more recent j 

legislation. If the early settlers of this to^^n were Avarned I 

out, they were at once admitted to all social })rivi leges. In I 

some instance men who were warned out were elected to 1 

office at the following town meeting and became useful, I 

substantial citizens contributing largely to the intelligence I 

and wealth of a town to which tliey were so formally l 
received. Not a few of those who served in the lie volution 
were welcomed in this manner to Ashburnham. In their 

turn they joined, in a more serious manner, in warning out | 

an ai-my of invasion before it gained a residence on Ameri- 1 
can soil. A few extracts from the records will give a fair 
idea of the spirit of these proceedings. ■ • 

To JoxATHAX Gatks, cotistalilc of the Town of Ashburnham, 

Greeting: J 

Whereas Joseph Perry and iMary Perry his wife, Joseph Perry, I 

•Inner, and Mary Perry and Abigail Perry and Annie Perry, I 

ehil.lren of Joseph and ilary Perry, Hath lately Come to the | 

Town of Ashburnham and came last from Midway and Came to 

■ 1 1 I : 

// \-'it\ 

[(. : •'! 

.■1.1 ;.....:: , I 

1. ■•'j; .. ill 
Li u . 



the I'own of Asli])uvnbara Novfiiibcr 17Go, whom the Selectmen of | 


Ashburuhani Ixefuse to admit us Inhabitants of the said Town. 

THESE are therefore in hi-; majesties name to Acquire 3'ou, 
the said Constable to warn the persons a Bove lacntioned forth- 
with to Depart out of the town of Aslibnrnluim. 

Hereof fail not and make Duo ret'Jin of this warrant with your ; 

Doimrs therein to sonic one of us tlie subscribers. ! 

Given under our hands and seal at Asliburnliam This Twelfth '| 

day of February A D 17CG in the Sixth year of his Majesties Piain. i 

TEISTKA:\r CHENEY ) Selectmen I 

JOHN KICn [■ of I 

SAMUEL FELLOWS ) Ashburnham. j 


Worcester ss. Asiir;unNiiA>i, Februar}' 24 17G6 : 

In obedience and by virtue of the within written warrant I have ■<, 

warned the within named Joseph Perry and Mary Perry his wife •' 

Joseph Perr}- Juner Mary Perry Abigail Perry Annie Perry ,; 

children of Josepli und Mary Pcrr}-, forthwith to Depart out of the ■' 

town of Ashburnham. -J 


* ■' Constable of said Town. ■ 

In some instances the selectmen made a memorandum | 

of the arrival of a family into town and in such cases no ' 

warrant is found. ; 


Olive Davis and ]Mercy Davis Daughters of Jonas Davis of 

Harvard Deceased and Elizabeth his wife came into this town ;| 

October y^ l-I, 17G7, and came last from Harvard. 'i 

Elijah Edson left Bridgewater June 17 17G9 and brought with 

him Martha Edson his wife and three children Sarah lulson, '; 

Oliver Edson and Ziba Edson, whom the selectmen refuse to ^ 

admit as Inhabitants of Ashburnham. ' ,i 




eiTUATiox or the towx. — thr covexast. — ■v^•ORCEsrl:R coxvestiox. — | 




















TnE story of Asliburiihaiu in the Ivovoliition compre- | 

hciids neitlier the movements of annics nor the decisive j 

results of sanguiiiarv engagements. The cause.s of the war, | 

the prevailing sentiment of the colonies and the campaigns j 

and fortunes of the army are subjects of general history. i 

It falls within the province of this chapter to record the j 

names of the men of A.shburnham who were in the service 

and to present some account of the hardships endured at i 

home. It will appear that the inhabitants of this town were j 

in full s^inpathy with the patriotic sentiment of the colonies, 


-- T .1 ■■■ .'.> n;.r 

t r ■ I. 

- ':\'uii''2^-',i 

■■ ■ :" ' Ti A — 

■; i;r; , J 1 -ii: 'it'. 

■-■<<; V- 

ri , i; ii ■•• • ,1 ■'.■ ,'ir(H J. 


and in t]io field inifl :il the lircside clieerfully bore a fu]] 
me;isui'c of llic iKU-dsliij^s and burdens of t]ic period. Com- 
pared with the oldei' sctllcments the frontier towns wore 
joung and fcel)le ; and, if remote from tlie earlier discussion 
of pul)lio jiTievances and from the theatre of war, it is cer- 
tain they felt every pulsation of the heart of the colonies 
and responded to every demand. 

The population of Ashburnhnm in 17 7G was fiA'C hundred 
and fifty-one. U]ion this little conununity, situated" upon 
the border of the })roviiice, the provisional government and 
the patriotic hnpulsc of the people, during the j^rogress of 
the war, made heavy drafts for men and treasure. Inured 
to the privations and hardships of the frontier, the settle- 
ments bravely assumed burdens which would have been 
refused by people less familiar to lives of self-denial and 
hardships. During the Kevolution the sti'cngth of the colo- 
nies rested in familiarity with })overty and toil. Patriotic 
impulse and a firm reliance in the righteousness of their 
cause were imjiortant factors, but it required hardihood as 
well as impulse and endurance as avoH as principle. A sol- 
diery more tenderly nurtured and le^s inured to privation 
might bravely meet the enemy in the field but would have 
failed in the sufferings of Yalley Forge. 

Commencing with the beginning of open hostilities the 
older towns, situated near the theatre of the war, sent an 
increasini:!; stream of immisfratiou to the frontiers Vvdiere a 
more comfoilalde feeling of security could be enjoyed. 
During the war all the towns in this vicinity increased 
rapidly in population. From 1776 to 17S0 the population 
of Ashburnliam was increased nearly twofold. The names 
of many tamilies which are conspicuous in the annals of 
Ashburnham first appear at this tiiuc. All who removed 
hither were fraternally welcomed and the older resident and 

■ hi,. 

I ii: ■> rn.i 

n:] .-.I 

.,■ ;■. .':- -lit !lv . . 

■.I'lk ■> ';;: 1;' 

:; -.•.,■'1 

i/r , /ii ,1 .;,m: 


the nor rivrivnl, actiuitod by a oojumon purpose, arc found 
side l>v sii.le in tlie arniv or ioinccl in procurinij nionev' and 
moans to cany on the ^var. 

Tt will appear in t]ie coiu'sc of this narrative that nearly 
every man residing in tliis town and neai'ly every boy over 
sixteen years of age were in the service foi- a longer or a 
sliorter period. Tlie records of Ashburnham do not pre- 
serve the names of any revolutionaiy^ soldiers. The search 
for the material for this chaj^ter was made elsewhere. The 
State archives and the fdes of the Pension Oilice at Wash- 
ington have been fruitful fields of research. It is believed 
that the following pages will contain the names of nearly all 
the residents of this town who served in the army during the 
Revolutionary "War. Xo name has been admitted without 
unquestionable proof. Tradition and the records are fre- 
C]U(Mit]y at variance, and in such cases the autliority of the 
records has been acce]:)ted. 

The winter preceding the repulse of the enemy at Lex- 
ington and Concord was a season of gloom and uncertainty. 
The colonists, and especially those of ]\rassachusetts, were 
anxiously waiting for the clouds to l)reak or, if inevitable, 
for hostilities to commence. This era of doubt and uncer- 
tainty cast the deepest glooni over the land. The inhabi- 
tants of Ashliurnham are early found in full sympathy with 
tlie prevailing sentiment and with remarkaljle untmimity are 
early prepared for the deci-ive issue. As early as 1773 
mention of the situation of public atl'airs fmds ex})ression in 
an article in the warrant for the annual ]March meeting, "To 
see if the Town will consider the general grievances that 
are laid upon us by acts of Parliament & disposing of our 
monies without our consent." At this tune no action was 
taken, but in July, 1774, ''it Avas moved that the Covenant 
sent from Boston be read and accordingly it was read. 

:..,.( ' ,h 5-1 I ^■'■'< '''-''■ I'i- 

: M: .■■::i. 


::) :,i 

/. " t-J:..r 

ff "i''i ;/■ :'M' 

134 HISTOKY OF ASIIBU1^^^1IAM. .,,. 

Then a Jiiolioii was made for an alteration and that Doctor 
Senior, George Dana, Elisha Coolidge, Samuel Nicliols and 
Jonathan Samson l)e a committee to alter said covenant and 
adjourned said meeting for lialf an lionr and tlicn said Cove- 
nant was altered to tlie acceptance of the Town.'" ''Voted 
that Elisha Coolidge Samuel AVildcr and Samuel Xicliols be 
a connnitiee to keep the covenant after it is signed." 

The covenant adopted in the foregoing vote was a solemn 
engagemenl, signed by the inhabitants of the town, that they 
Avonld refrain from the })ure]jase and use of certain articles 
of British merchandise, and tliat risking their lives and 
fortunes in the defence of their charter rights and jn'ivileges, 
they "would resist all ofliccrs holding commissions imder the 
late acts of Parliament. On tlie third day of September, the 
town Ayas assembled to hear the rejiort of Jonathan Taylor 
who had been chosen to attend a convention at "Worcester, 
which met in August at the house of ]\[ary Stearns, widow 
of Ca})tain Thomas Stearns. The records do not aflbrd any 
information of the chai'acter of the report, yet from other 
sources it is known that this eonvention recommended the 
several towns to appoint military ofliccrs, to provide arms 
and ammunition, and to make ample provision for any emer- 
gency that may arise. At the same meeting the progress of 
public sentiment is revealed in a vote to indemnify the officers 
of (ho town foi- not returning a Ji-t of jurors as required by 
an act of Parliament. This was a bold measure and in open 
resistance of royal authority. The colonists were extremely 
sensitive in regard to the influences surroundinir the halls of 
justice. The man of lowest degree justly demanded a hear- 
ing on e(]ual terms with the favorites of roytdty. The exist- 
ing discontent arose in the fact that the judges were appointed 
by the crown and provision was made in England for their 
support for the purpose of rendering them wholly independent 

.1 .. ■ i..i: 

I 1- -n v"'"'^ 

k' ;jq 

,!■. I (^l '. 

'' (i-M. iri 

■■•1 iiod 


oC colonial intiueiico. This system of ai)[)ointment and salary 
of the judges received early discussion and lirai iTsistaiico. 
Tlie vote of Ashhiirnhani rofiisiiio- to recognize the courts 
thus constituted in I'oturning a list of jui'ors, was a part of 
the general action of the colony. 

"^Fwo other important votes ^\'cre passed at this meeting. 
First, tlie town choose Jonathan Taylor, a representative to 
tlie famous provincial congress which assembled at Concord, 
October 11, and by adjournment to Cambridge continued 
their deliberations until December 10, 1774. Evidently, not 
yet content with these exjiressions of opinion, and with these 
provisions for the future, at the same meeting, nearly a year 
before AVashington assumed command of the army, the town 
voted "to buy half a hundred of powder and one hundred of 
lead and ten dozen of flints as a town stock." At this meet- 
ing, as stated, the town heard from their delegate ti)e recom- 
mendations of the "Worcester convention, and ten days later 
were agahi asseml)led to carry them into efl'ect. The action 
of this meeting was brief yet decisive. A connnittee of 
safety and correspondence was chosen and the miliiia was 
organized. The record of the meeting preserves the roll of 

Clioso Samuel ^sichols, Jouathau Samson, Deliverance Davis, 
Abijab Joslin and Jouathau Taylor a commitcoe of correspond- 

Voted that the following persons be the officers of the militia of 
said town : — . 

Abijah Joslin, captain. 
Deliverance Davis, lieutenant. 
Ebcnezer Conant, Jr., ensign. 
Amos Dickerson, first sergeant. 
Jacob Harris, second sergeant. 
Oliver Stone, third sergeant. 

:,^! !■;. It'. 
. ■ ■ 1 ■ - . \'l 

< ^ ' )r 



..,..-"■ :-'■. 


-;:' ■v.ifw 


'to ',7 

■Ml .if!) 


l.:w: ,.i 


. , ■ ■ • y. 1 1 i ; 

'■: ■■:•..[ 
[.■.■■ I i.\hl 

ill A 



■.!> h'Sn 


■ 17/ ' . t 




Euos Jones, fourth sej-gennt. 
Pbiiichfis Wcthcrbeo, first corporal. 
Salmon DuLion, second corporal. 
George Dana, third corporal. 
Ezra Atherton, fourth corporal. 
John Conn, cleric. 

Tins Dieetinir completes the oiiicial action of the to-\vn for 
the rear and introduces the names of men who will be fre- 
quently :ind lionorably mcntiojied in tlic following pao;es. 
Early in 177.3, we find two companies of organized militia, 
of which Ca]>tains Jonathan Gates and Deliverance Davis 
vrere commanders, but no record is found of their election 
or of the resignation of Captain Joslin. 

1775. At the aimual ^hirch meeting this year, live select- 
men, consisting of John Kiblinger, Sanuiel Nichols, Captain 
Jonathan Gates, Oliver Stone and Amos Kendall, were 
chosen. Through tlie extended record of proceedino-s con- 
cerning the ordinary town allairs-, the gleam of the devolu- 
tion is revealed in a v(jte that Captain Jonathan Gates ))& 
instructed to procure thirty-six cartridge boxes for the use 
of the minute-men at the expense of the town, A fonner 
town meeting had been convened early in the month at 
which town officers were chosen and the usual routine busi- 
ness was transacted. At the second meeting all the proceed- 
ings of the tirst meeting were declared null and void and new 
otneers were chosen wlio continued in office through the year. 
The tirst meeting chose Samuel ^Vilder town clerk, but at 
the second meeting Jacob A\'illard was chosen to transcribe 
the pu!)lic records. There is tradition that for a short time 
in the early stages of the Revolution, Tie v. John Gushing, 
Samuel Wilder, Deacon John Willard, and i)ossibly one or 
two others, were regarded with some measure of suspicion 
by the more ardent patriots. It is certain that about this- 

(■',■, I-. :iU 

• ' '\-> -JO 

• ■' • r 

■.■■tUi- .-yl 

'■ H' ';f}i 

.' •'. •'■ iiifo 
.■;■■■'• ni 


time a company of men, mainly from otlicr towns, waited 
upon these u'entlemcn f >r an expression of tlieir views on 
public affairs. AYhatevej- may have been the character or 
influence of tliis interview, there was no further question in 
regard to the political o]:nnions of tliesc men. ]Mr. ^Vilder 
was elected town clerk the following year, an office he held 
with no other interruption ii'om 17()9 to 1792, and all of 
these tnon gave a cheerful support to every measure for the 
prosecution of the war. The })0])ulation of the town was 
increased during the year 1775 by the arrival of the folloAV- 
ing nu'u, inost of wlioju liad families : John Putnam, 
Nathaniel Adams, Peter AVillard, Captain Jose})h AVilder, 
Simeon Xutting, Timothy, David and Levi Chaplin, Asa 
Brocklebank and Jacol> AV'ilker, the first of the name in 
town. I 

While this town voted throughout the year not to send a 
representative to the provincial congi'css, it is api)arent that 
there was no want of interest in the progress of public aiTairs 
outside of the to^vnship, since a committee of inspection was 
promptly chosen "to see that the re>-olves of the Continental 
Congress respecting trade Ije strictly adhered to." To this 
duty William Whitcomb, Jonathan Taylor, Jonathan Sam- 
son, George Dana tmd Sanuiel Cutting were assigned. 
Similar to the action of other towns in this vicinity, Ashburn- 
ham adopted early measures to secure and distribute among 
the families of the town a supjily of salt before the channels 
of trade were closed and many commodities beyond their 
grasp. A few votes on this subject are transcribed from the 
records : 

Voted to Purchis 300 Bushels of salt for a town stock and 
chose Messrs, Jonathan Taylor, Amos Kindall and Samuel Foster 
to bee a committee to percure the same. AUso said committee is 
to give security in behalf of said town for said salt. Said town 

': n.'!^ 

I 1;, 


J ::2 

■( '••,[: 

;» M 

t w) . -lU 

'Mit: si!!';' -. f' 
:: i,.v, .Ml 

. , . .ilif/; !:;.:tlil //" iiiSb 

;f ■ , : f ■. •> A 


to alow Mr. Amos Kindall, 18 shillings for going down to percurc 
said salt. 

• Voted that the committee apply to the town Trea.surer for money 
to Bair the charges of teems. ' .. ■ 

At a sulxsequcnt meeting : 

Voted that the committee Imploycd to git the Salt take the 
same under their Cair and sell to each man as they think his 
portion is for the space of six months frt)ni the first of July 1775, 
and no longer. N. 1). After the time heir prefixed said com- 
mittee may sell the salt to any person or persons in town or out. 

Plaviiig given some account of the proceedings at liomc, 
the principal events in the histoiy of Ashburnham for the 
year 177.5 remain as yet untokl. The town, if remote from 
the early scones of hostilities, bore an honorable part in the 
alarm at Lexington, the battle of Ikinlvcr Hill and the sub- 
sequent siege of Boston. 

Thus far we have discovered some of the steps which 
mark the progress of public opinion. The evidence of a 
firmer faith and a more resolute purpose, leading to the 
sterner scenes of the Jxcvolutionarv struggle is at ready 
command. And yet the alacrity witli which the inhabitants 
of Ashburnham responded to the alarm of war at the first 
call of their country was the simple and natural outgrowth 
of the resolute prei)aration which had been made during the 
past two years. • ;^ ■ '■ ' ' ' • 

The s])ring of 1775 was unusually forward; the warm, 
sunny days of mid April had invited the husbandman to the 
labors of the field. But in the mid>t of a peaceful avocation, 
and attending this external appearance of security and com- 
posure, there was a strong undercurrent of sus})ense and 
anxiety. Xeitlier the vernal sun nor the balmy air of spring 
could dissolve the portentous clouds which overhung the 

•':"... ' 'i ' : » ; 

H- tr; 


, ■■it 

;i ■*•! 1 

■(• I ;•• ,: ' r 

..7 ' •. t . 

i m'I '(' 


political horizon. And now at a season of the year most 
sugucestivo of tranquillity and gltidnes.s, all remaining doubt 
was suddenly removed and all anticipations of an honorable 
j)eace were dispelled. The harsh notes of Avar and eai'iiage 
resounded over the dying hope of a peaceful settlement of 
the })ublic grievances. With unfinished furrows and tields 
half sown, the patriot farmer reversing the ])rophecy lay down 
the {)runing- hooks for spears and quickly beat the plough- 
shares into swords. The ominous intelligence that the 
British Averc marching from Boston towards I^exington 
swiftly borne on the wings of alarm was proclaimed in Ash- 
burnham in the afternoon of that historic day. To the 
signal guns came answering echoes from the surrounding 
hills, and 1)eforc the reverberations quivering with ahirni had 
faded in the distance, there came res})onsivc shots from many 
homes. The town was quickly aroused. The p)atriots, arms 
in hand, were hurrying forward from every quarter of the 
town . 

Xo intelligence of liostilities at this hour had been received. 
It was only known that the enemy were marching inward. 
The story of the slaughter of their brethren at Lexington and 
at Concord was then unknown, nor was it needed to call 
these men to arms. Under command of Captain Jonathan 
Gates, a compau}'' of thirty-eight men pronq>tly responded 
to the call and marched that ufltM-noon. Xor was this all. 
Through the following night the men from the remoter 
portions of the town responded to the alarm, and busy notes 
of preparation were constantly renewed. A second com])any 
of thirty-three men, under command of Captain Deliverance 
Davis, was organized, l^arly in the gray of the following 
morning they were on the march. The rolls preserve the 
names of those men, seventy-one in number, who vos})onded 
thus to the alarm. Leaving homes and famil}^ with hasty 

.ir •■'!:')' 


J 'II 


fnrcwcll^, tlicy hastened to the relief of iheir brethren, :ind 
some of them to the familifir scenes of their eliiklliood and 
to the defence of the homes of their kindred. 

The rapidity with which the alarm ^vas spread over the 
conntry on the nineteenth of April, has excited surpi-ise. 
It was not accidental, nor one of those hazard enterprises 
that sometimes apparently hapjien in a fortuitous manner. 
For weeks the committees of safety and correspondence had 
been preparing for just such an emergency; in man}" 
instances it had been aiTanged who should ride, and to whom 
deliver the message. At twilight mariy a vigilant ]xitriot 
had carefully stabled and fed his ilectest horse, half in 
expectation that a sunmions to ride might come before the 
rising of another sun. 

The pu1)lic records of the town afford no information of 
the number or the names of these men who promptly 
responded to the alarm. If tradition was the only remain- 
ing source of information, the lists would remain uncertain 
and incomplete. The traditional statement that this town 
sent out one company ^\hich, on the receipt of intelligence 
that the alfray was ended, returned home the same or the 
following day, has been quite generally accepted. Ashburn- 
ham soldiers in the devolution did not ac'iuit themselves in 
that manner. For once tradition shot beneath the mark, but 
has made ample amends in other fields of information. For- 
tunately, the muster rolls of these two companies are 
preserved in the State archives. If additional evidence is 
required it is not withheld. Among the papers of the late 
Deacon .lohn C. Davis, a grandson of one of the com- 
manders, is preserved a list of the men under the command 
of Captain Deliverance Davis. This list and the roll at the 
State House without exception are the same, and the per- 
sonal statements of :i few of the men will a})pear in another 

t ;:•'.- i.-r.i 

I' ,/' 

;i"'l!? ''M: 


;r. 'in > > i 

\ (• M^ivfl 


t;;!;'i:, ''jk 





<'onnection. Botli of Ihe coin])aiiies inarclicd to Cambridge 
and there remained with the gatliering army several days. 

As previously stated, Captain Gates' company left Ash- 
huruham on the afternoon of the alarm. Ujion the muster 
roll, under the liead of " Time Avhen marched,'' llierc appears 
oiii)osite every name ''April 10.-' This com})any continued 
an organization until May 1, when it was disbanded. A few 
had previously returned home ; a few came home when tlie 
compan}' was disl>anded and sixteen of them enlisted in 
Colonel "Whitconib's regiment and remained in the service 
until the close of the year. Captain Davis' company is 
credited with marching April 20. It was disbanded at 
Cambridge, April 30. Three from this company remained 
in the service. "With the exception of three in Captain 
Davis' com]~>any and a few in Captain Gates' company, these 
men are credited with tifty-five miles' travel. 

Ccq>^ Jonatlmn Gates' Muster Roll in Col John ]niitcomb's Regi- 
ment of Militia Men lolio marched from Ashhurnham on y^ 
Alarm April 19'^ ] 775. 

Jonathan Gates, Captain 

Amos Dickerson, Lieutenant 

Ezra Atherton, Lieutenant 
George Dana, Sergeant Henry Gates 

"WilUani AVilder, do Samuel Joslhi 

Joseph Metcalf, do ,; ' . Jonathan AVarreu Smith 
Ebenezer Burgess, do David Roluuson 

Daniel llobart, Cor/>'^ Jacob Kiblinger ''■■'■- 

Peter Joslin, do Ileurj' Hall 

Francis Lane, do Amos Kiudall 

Joseph Stone, D/vt??i7ner . Henry Winchester 

Amos Lawrence Samuel Willard 

Phiuehas Weatherbee Philip Lock 

Moses Russell ' Aaron Samson •- 

Nathaniel Parker ' ■' '• Samuel Salter • v. ; . 


;...■ 4-.t 

: !->}ffr'l 



John Gates John Whiluey 

. Jonathan Winchester .^. Joshua Holt ' 

Diinifl Edson ICbcuczor Wood 

Jose]>h. Wilder Philip AV inter 

Nathaniel Harris David Clatk, Jr. 
Peter Osgood 

Capt. Deliverance Davis' Muster Roll in Col Asa Wh>tcomb' 
Jiegiment of Milida men who marclied from AsJdnirnham on 
if- AJarhi April 10^'' 1775. 

Deliverance Davis, Capf.ain 
Ebenezer Conant, Jr., Lieutenant 

John Conn, 2<^ Lieutenant 

Oliver Stone, Serrjceint Nathan Melvin 

John Adams, do Nathaniel Hastings 

Samuel Cutting, do Samuel Ma^on 

Shubuel Hobart, Corp''- Ephraim Wethcrbce 

Timothy Wood, do David Clark 

Oliver Whiteomb, do Isaac Blodgett 

Elijah E<lson, Drummer Joshua Hemenwny 

Isaac :\[c!riam John Hall 

Oliver Willard John Kiblingcr 

Uriah Holt John Putnam 

William Whiteomb Jacob Willard 

William Uenjamin Joshua Holden 

Jacob Constantiue Jonathan Taylor 

Caleb Ward Jonathan Taylor, Jr. 

Elnos Jones Joseph Perry 

Immediately following tlie aiTair at Lcxiii-lon the IMassa- 
chusctts committee of safety called out the militia. In an 
address to the sevei-al towns dated Apiil 20, the conmiittec 
urged them '^to hasten and encourage by all possible 
means the enlistment of men for an army." "C)ur all," 
says the address, "is at stake. Death and devastation are 
the certain consequences of delay. Every moment is inli- 
nitely precious. An hour lost may deluge your country in 

;jiri >^i 

>,v A. 

- r 

..,1 ir/Mi 


blood and entail perpetual slavery upon the few wlio ina\' 
survive the carnage." An answering spirit animated Die 
inhabitants of this tovrn and as will appear a considerable 
number joined the army gathered around Boston. 

In response to this appeal and i;i full sympjithy witli the 
sentiment of the colony the enlistments from this town were 
neither tardy nor few in number. It is probable that some 
enlisted at this time of whom no record has been found. 
The rolls are imperfect and there is no reason to presume 
that the following lists contain the names of all from this 
town who were in the service either at this time or at subse- 
quent periods. The muster roll of the company of Captain 
David Wilder of Leominster in Colonel "Whitcomb's regi- 
ment bears the names of sixty-eight men including oflicers. 
On one of the rolls of this company the residence of each 
man is stated. The following abstract contains only the 
Ashburnliam men : 


J ox]a{hra\ Gates, First Lieutenant April 25 1775 

Francis Lane, Sergeant " 26 

Peter Joslin, " "26 

Joshua Holt " 26 

Jacob Kiblinger "26 

Philip Locke " 26 

David Pobinson :. . , "26 

Samuel Salter " 26 " 

Aaron Samson " 26 

Henry H:.ll "26 

Henry Winchester " 26 ' 

SamiielWillard ■ "26 

John Whitney "26 

Kbenczor Wood "26 

Philip AVinter : . .. "26 

•;.} ri 

' I i .' i' ; " ' ' 


I,:.';' ,.'';(! 


,•') !.'•- *' '' 



















144 lIlSTOlir or ASUBUKNIIAM. 

Davia Clark, Jr. 

Joshiuv IlemiDCuway ,^ 

Johrt I-'\'i.rmer 

Joscpli Smith, Jr. 

Jonathan Gates, Jr. 

Isaac Blodget 

John Locke 

Jacob Wiuter -- •• 

Daniel Edson 

The men participating in the .siege of Boston remained in 
the service until tlie close of the year and some of them 
remained a few weeks longer or initil new recruits came for- 
ward to fdl their place. In the same service were David 
Clark, Sen., in the company of Captain Longley in Colonel 
AVhitcomb's regiment, Uriah Holt in Captain Burt's com- 
pany and Thomas Dutton in Captain Wyman's company of 
Colonel Prescott's regiment. 

Twentj'-three men from Ashljuruham participated in the 
battle of ]5unker Ilill. Several others who subsequently 
removed to this town shai-ed the dangei- and glory of that 
memorable engagement, but at the time were residents of 
other towns. Of these, twenty were in Captain Wilder's 
company and the remaining three were Clark, Holt and 
DuHon who were ntuned in a former paragrajih. It is prob- 
able that Colonel "\A'hitcomb's regiment, as an organization, 
was not engaged in the battle of Bunker Hill but it is cer- 
tain, and the fact is undisputed, that the company of Cap- 
tain "Wilder was wtirmly engaged on that occasion. 

It was this year that the lirst summer boarders amved in 
Ashburnham. We do not know their names nor the families 
that entertained them. In accordance with stipulations 
between the committee of safety and General Gage at Bos- 
ton, many families of that environed town were sulfered to 



!.<] lU 

l|!';, nv 


leave umnolested and b}' the eoiiiinittee were distributed 
among the scveual tcwns ot" the colony for temporary sup- 
port. The number of those woi'thy poor assigned to Ash- 
biu'nham Mas twelve. 

At tlie close of the year, 1775, a sim])lc fonn of State 
government was in oi)eration, controlled by a house of repre- 
scjitatives and an executive coimcil, and judicial coui'ts were 
duly organized. This form of government was crude and 
untried. A healthy pu])lic sentiment and vigilance, tcm- 
])cred "\vit1i prudence, were tlie main protection of the peo- 
ple. The sunnner of this year had been extremely hot and 
dr3% an.d the slender harvests occasioned much anxiety and 
alarm for the future. This condition of alfairs, the absence 
of many of the heads of families in the army, and the 
extreme solicitude experienced by all concerning the issues 
of the war, cast a deepening gloom o^'er the trials and 
anxieties of the closing year. 

1776. The year 1776 was an eventful one. The for- 
tunes of the army were not decisive in any degree, yet the 
})atriotism and bold faith of the colonists at no time shone 
forth more conspicuf)usly. The record of the year will 
afibrd ample proof that the inhabitants of Ashburnham gave 
an unqualitlcd adhesion to the more comprehensive plans 
and the dee}ier senthnent which animats d the colonies. 
The war commcncinii: on the ])lea of defcnre now chancred 
to a war for indej^endence. ]t was no hjuger a domestic 
strife. The patriots ceased to be rebels and a civil war 
was odious to many. 1'hey were now ready for revolution 
and by the Declaration of Independence, in which they 
asserted their right and title to all the atti-ibutes of a nation, 
their position among the nations and their attitude to Eng- 
land were suddenly changed. Heretofore, the proceedings 
of the conventions were recommendations and appeals to 

if t 

■ ll'J.l't 

., '.:-.•!, 

"' . ;'■!:! 


,- ■.-■',-. 


. . ■ ("I i 


.,. - -tv; 


' I " \ 


.10 J 



1 )• J- ' 

' )' ft R 

■ ■^J,, ; . •■ 


I , , , , t 


■ 1 "!!:'/ 



tho patriotism of llio, ])co}:)lo ; now siicli enactments 
assmned the dia-nity and majesty of lavr, and, aided l)y a 
spirit of obedience >Yl)icli pervaded the colonies, there was 
uo faihire of orderly conduct nor any hiatus in the munici- 
pal government of the people. Tlu'ougli radical changes 
and for a season through tlie failure of any organic law, the 
tov;n of Aslihurnham lield meetings, chose ofKcers and lev- 
ied taxes with no authority except a loyal public sentiment. 

In May of this year the OJeneral Coui't passed an order 
calling upon the people to exj^ress an o})inion concerning a 
formal and ciitire separation from Great Britain. It wa> 
not presumed tliat a reconciliation was eltlier probable or 
possible, but an explicit expression of opinion was suggested 
by this action. On tho twenty-fourth day of June a war- 
rant for a town meeting was issued and four days later the 
inhabitants of Ashburnham were assemltled to deliberate 
upon a grave and momentous question. The article and tlie 
vote are self-explantitory. 

Article 2. To see if the Inhabitants of said Town are wiUiDg 
to stand by the Plonourable Congress in declaring the ColoDies 
Independent of the Kingdom of Great Britain with their lives 
and fortunes to Suppoit them in the measure. 

June 28, 177G. Pursuant to the above vv'arraut the town 
being met made choice of Mr. Kii.^ha Coolidge uioderator. 

Voted. We the Inhabitants of the Town of Ashburnham, in 
Town meeting assembled being sensible of the disadvantage of 
having any further connections ^ith the Kingdom of Great 
Britain and are willing to brake off all connections with them and 
it is our Resolution that if the Honorable Congress shall declare 
the Colonies Independent of the Kingdom of Great Britain that 
we the said Inhabitants will stand by them with our lives and for- 
tunes to support them in the measure. • ■ . 

The foregoing motion being put was voted unanimougly. 

V .I'M ;:;}>! 

(V ••;.- v', -(I'M 

M ' ,m'|.' 


' ! I ' ' "? 

r ( : i ■ r 

• . ;r)V 

.!:•)•' .' ■" 

. . , ,, j!' ■. . 


Soon after this vote tlic Doclunitioii of ln(le})0)i'l('neo ^vas 
ivc(!ived in prJiiled form. It Avas read from tlio pulpit and 
transcribed at leiigtli upon tlic records of the tov\'n. 

At the annual meeting the toAvn chose Jonatlian 'J'a^-lor, 
John Willard, Jonathan Samson, Abijah Joslin and El)en- 
czer Conant, Jr., a eomniittee of correspondence. Tlie 
only remaining action of tins meeting relating to the M'ar 
was a vote ''to abate the soldiers highway' rates for the last 
yenr." The selectmen, upon wliom devolved many duties 
concerning the prosecution of the war, were William Whit- 
comb, John Kiblingcr and Oliver AVillard. 

In connection ^vith these proceedings the service in the 
field for the year was the natural sequence of the spirit per- 
vading the town. The company of Captain David "W^ilder, 
containing twenty-four men from Ashburnham which par- 
ticipated in the siege of Boston, was discharged on account 
of expiration of term of service near the close of the year 
1775. Without returning home Jonathan Gates, Jr., and 
possibly others, reenlisted and served an additional term 
of three months. About this time the army became so 
depleted by expiration of terms of eidistment that a call was 
issued for additional troops, and to maintain the army while 
the iiQw recruits were being enlisted thei-e vv'as also a call 
for men for a short term of service. For the service last 
named this town furnished tlu-ee men who enlisted for six 
weeks and were assigned to the right wing of the army at 
Eoximry. They were Jonathan Samson, Jr., Joseph ]Met- 
calf and his son, Ezckiel Shattuck Metcalf, in Captain lliirs 
company of Harvard. In an athdavit of the widow of 
Ezekiel Shattuck Metcalf, in su})port of her application 
for a })ension in 1839, she alleges there were four n.ien 
from this town in that company. Her recollection may be 
correct but no record of the remaininir soldier has been di^- 

; f 


•,:rr .VJlr'/oJT. 


covered. In the comj^any of Captain liand of AVestminstcr 
and in tlie same service was David Merriani who enlisted for 
tliree months in January of this year. "When AVashington 
withdrew tlic army to New York he left at Boston onU' three 
regiments of militia. jNIassachusetts promptly raised three 
additional regiments for the defence of the harl)or. In these 
regiments, serving nndcr General Ward, Ashliurnham was 
honorably represented. 

Jonathan Samson, Jr., after completing the enlistment 
mentioned in a former paragra})li. joined the army again in 
Oidy and served in the company of Captain Manasseh Sawyer 
of Sterling iji Colonel Dyke's regiment. "With his company 
he was emraired four and one-half months in constructine: 
forts at Dorchester Heights. Agaiji in December he enlisted 
into the same company and served three nionths at Dorches- 
ter. In the last service he was joined by ]3avid illerriam, 
Ebenezer Bennett Davis and Daniel Putnam. In Captain 
Warner's company of Colonel Josiali "Whitiiey's regiment 
are found the familiar names of Uriah Holt and Thomas 
Ross and in Colonel Dyke's regiment was David Taylor. 
Jacob Kiblinger and John Hall served two months in the 
sunmier of this year in the company of Captain AVoods in 
Colonel Converse's regiment, which for a time was stationed 
at Dobb's Ferry and at Tarr}'town and constituted a part 
of ilio main army under Washington. In the same corn- 
pan v was Abraham Gibson v.lio then resided in Fitchburir, 
but subsequently removed to this town where he resided 
many years. 

In the company of Captain Sargent of Princeton in 
Colonel Josiah AVhitney's regiment from May to July were 
John Kiblinger, William Ward and Jacob Podiman. They 
were stationed near Boston and for a short time were with 
the army in Phode Island in an unsuccessful attack upon the 

•(■'•.. i: :■; »■ 


J ,. '\\^--' 

'■■'■ ''■' 

, 1 

t! 1 

> " ■ ' 


/ - . ; I..' 

.1 *! 


])ri( In the same coJiijonnv Avas C/hai'les Hastings -wlm 
enlisted from Princeton but soon after removed to this tov/n, 

David Stcdman served one enlistment in Captain Fiske's 
irompany in Colonel Brooks' regiment, and Nicholas "White- 
man enlisted December 8 in Ca})tain Alden's company, 
Colonel ^Mitchell's regiment. 

Three soldiers sealed their devotion to the cause of their 
country with their lives. These were Peter Joslin, aged 
about twentj'-tive years, who died on his Iiomeward journey 
from the army ; Philip Winter, aged twenty-two years, who 
died in the service, and Daniel llobart, aged twenty-seven 
years, who was killed at the battle of White Plains, October 
28, 1776. Young Hobart enlisted in June and was assigned 
to Colonel Coleman's regiment which joined the army under 
Washington. In this cngr.gemont Avitli the enemy he was 
wounded in the thigh with a musket ball and left upon the 
field. }Iis retiring comrades beheld the enemy appro;ich 
and beat him with clubbed muskets. 

Dr. Abraham Lowe and David Wallis then of Lunenburg, 
Isaac Whitmore of Leominster, Cyrus Fairl)anks of Harvard, 
Reuben Townsend of Shrewsbury, Isaac and W^illiam 
Stearns of liillerica, Jonas Kice of Sterling, Peuben Pice of 
Lancaster, Joshua Fletcher of Westford, CHiver and Jabez 
Marble of Stow, all of whom sul)sequently removed to Ash- 
burnham, were in the service some portion of the year. 

1777. The spring of this eventful year was a season of 
•deepest gloom and depression. To this time the American 
army had been engaged in a defensive warfare and very fre- 
quently had been found unable to cope with the disciplined 
■and well-equipped forces of the enemy. Yery frequently 
had the American soldier ])een obliged to retreat from scenes 
of courage and heroism worthy of victory. The discourage- 
ments of the hour were cumulative. To test the endurance 

':.•.' fl 

•• 1.) : r.;-.; . • CM ■ 

- , ■,■■; ■:■.'■ ■-<■( ..i ■..•.., ^' 

I !(i>. ' - 'M' . 'i ' ;, . .1:, 

• ;. )<;■ . ,,)'■ '*' '■ ' 

! •;('' / 

11. ' > '/-./< ,i i J .; •>? 


and fniili of the colonics came tlic depressing intelligence of 
the })rogres.s of the Jiaughfy arm}' niuh^r lUirgoync in it.s 
advance from Canada to join the luali.i army at Xcw York. 
Apparently, a further in\asion of the country Avas inevitable 
and es])ocially was New England menaced with instant 
danger. Tlu^ inh;i1.)itants of this town evinced no evidence 
of terror or dismay but calmly proceeded to adopt defensive 
measui'cs and to raise tlieir full proportion of men. The 
activity of the State au(l)oi'iti(vs and the generous response 
of the ?^[assMchusetts and Nevv' ITamjishire militia at this 
critical moment are important events in the histor}' of the 
American lve\ olution ; I)ut it is only (he part borne by Ash- 
biirnham that appeals for expression in this narrative. The 
number of enlistments in this town during the year was 
about one hundred. Some of these men were at Stillwater 
and Saratoga in the gallant army of General Gates which 
eventually crushed and annihilated the proud army of 
Burgoyne, so recently tlushed with the hope of spoils and 
devastation. The latter they realized, but from a stand})oint 
directly opposed to their lofty expectations. 

Prelimiuary to an account of the enlistments for the year 
some reference sliould be made to the action of the town and 
the home trials of the year. IJeeogniziug efficient service, 
and possibl}' as an encouragement to their successors in. office 
to pursue a similar policy in the conduct of town aflairs, 
the town in March voted " to allow the selectmen additional 
compensation for extraordinary services the past year" in a 
special appropriation of '' twenty-four shillings for going to 
Boston in their country's service." In May, William AVhit- 
comb was chosen '' to rejM'csent the town in the great and 
general court to bo held in Pioston tlie 28"' day of ^lay cur- 
rent." This record presents an early employment of the 
high-sounding and ponderous title that has tlattered a legisla- 

.1 yv>«,i. 

f ■;■ 

\.-/ ■!■ 

in,' :' 

-: /:•:, I: 

''.^. ..,!• ,,v :i 

■ ■ ■ ' , ■ ' 1 I ■■ ' , 


(arc -with Oic weiii'hi of it.^ own dig'iiity. It Avas this session 
ol" the Gc^nci-al Court M'liich submitted a proposed constitu- 
tion for the acceptance of the people and wJiicli was ]'cjoctcd 
by a o-reat maioritv earlv the folloAvinir rear. The selectmen 
this year were Samuel ^Vilder, Deacon John Willard, Jona- 
than Samson, Jonathan Taylor and Captain Abijah Joslin. 
The co)nmittee of correspondence and inspection ^vere 
Samuel Foster, AVilliam Wilder, Enos Jones, Jose})h ]Met- 
calf and Francis Lane. ICxpressive of the sentiment of the 
town on the subject a committee, consisting of Captain 
Thomas Adams, George Dana, John Conn, Captain Jonathan ' 
Gates and William AVilder, was appointed to remonstrate 
the Legislature against the proposed measure of calling in the 
issue of ]japer money. Ca])tain Adams named in this vote 
was the father of the centenarian, John Adams. The elder 
Adams removed to this town, 1775, and very soon a{\er the 
alarm at Lexington, ^vhere he resided, until his death in 
1802. If this statement is opposed by other records, it is 
nevertheless correct. The first reference to a depreciated 
currency u})on the record of this town is found in a vote late 
in the year ''to allow Rev. John Cushing £331 on account of 
the fall of money." 

It is impossible at this lafc period to name all the men of 
Ashl>urnham who served in the army this year. xVs is well 
known, a portion of the muster rolls were never tiled among 
the State papers and others have been destroyed by fire. 
The roll here given, although imperfect, is highly creditable 
to the town, while every one will join in a regret that any 
name has been lost from the record of patriotic service. 
Among the Massachusetts forces sent to the defence of 
Khode Island in 1777, was the regiment commanded by 
Colonel Josiali Whitney, which included at least five men 
from this town. They were John Kiblinaer, Jacob Eodi- 

'* ■ < ' 

•i :t\\ K, 


C'C. . 

• ' ■■,■ 

:',:■■ \ 


m;ni, Saimirl ]\Ietcalf, Joualhtui Coolidgc atul William A\''ard. 
The service Avas rendered in the early part of the j'ear and 
before this regiment was sen.t to Xew York, as the mileage 
for five of tlicsc men due from the State was allowed to the 
town in June. From other evidence it a})pears that these 
men were in service four months. In the summer of this 
year, intelligence of the fall of CroAvn Point and Ticonderoga 
and the steady and triumphant advance of General Burgoj'ne 
created a widespread sentiment of the most painful appre- 
hension. Eurly in July General Schuyler, while retreating 
before the enemy, issued a proclamation calling to his imme- 
diate assistance the militia of New England and New York, 
and aroused by the danger of the situation, multitudes obeyed 
the call. While men for this service were being recruited 
in Ashburnham, there came the startling intelligence that a 
detacliment of the enemy had invaded the soil of Vermont 
and were pressing on toward the Aveslcrn counties of ]\Iassa- 
chusetts. The town immediately was in arms, and Captain 
Jonathan Gates, with twenty or thirty men from this town, 
immediately marched to the relief of their brethren. So 
prompt was the action of tlje authorities, and so responsive 
was the spirit manifested by the people, that all, or nearly 
every town in this vicinity, sent an independent company of 
men who did not delay for regimental organization, but each 
little company, independent of superior ofliccrs, conducted a 
brief campaign on personal responsibility. These men were 
not mustered nor organized into regiments and never received 
pay nor rations for their service. This compan}^ with others 
from this vicinity, was marched to Cliarlemont, and was 
there held to await information of the ])rogress and probable 
course of the enemy. Learning that the American army 
under General St. Clair had retreated into New York, and 
that the probable theatre of war had l>een removed beyond 

'1 ! J 1 ". 

, ', ■ ^'I'-iJj 'M', 


llioir vicinity, they '\vcre dis;inis-sed and after an aVtsence of 
lliree weeks returned io their homes. There were no iniister 
rolls of these men, and, with few exeeptions, their names 
haA'G faded beyond recall. It was an anonymous campaign. 
In the same expedition Avere forty-eight men from West- 
minster, under coinniand of Captain Elisha Jackson ; Criptain 
Tlmrlo Jed a company of twenty-two men IVom Fitchburg. 
Lunenburg was represented b}^ Captain Carlisle and a num- 
ber of men under his command. In the latter company was 
T>i\ Abniham Lowe, later, the well-known physician of this 
town . 

The few names of the Ashburnham company that can now 
be ascertained are Jonathan Samson, Jr., William AYard, 
John Adams, David ]\IerrJam and probably Jacob Constan- 
tine, John Kiblinger and Nicholas AVhiteman. Scarcely had 
these men returned to their homes and the labor of their 
fields before they were again called into service. The 
annihilation of the army under Burgoyne was a preconcerted 
effort and this call upon the militia was a part of a well- 
matured plan. Catching the spirit of the undertaking, the 
men came promptly forward ''to dri\e the Hessians into the 
woods." Captain Gates was commander also of this expedi- 
tion and in the rapid organization of the army, his company 
was assigned to serve in connection with a New Hampshire 
regiment commtmded by CVilonel Benjamin Bellows of 
AYalpole. The com})any, quickly enlisted and hurriedly 
equipjied, was marched through Charlemont, AVilliamsto^vn 
and thence to Bennington, Vermont, arriA'ing there two days 
after the victory of General Stark. Here they were per- 
mitted to behold the prisoners there confined and guarded in 
the meeting-house, and thus stimulated by a view of the 
fi'uits of valor, were hurried on to Fort Edward in >seAr 
York, where a part of them remained until after the surren- 

l .{!i,;V ftiili:;^ 'Vi^.V . .li< 

< : -■ y.ji 



. ,( I., , '!• 

ii; '■ 

: I) iS( 

vif b-)bni:iv:i\;v-< 
"•1 vf:40'iii) ,V({t"MM<MV; ■:■;■{ 


der of Burgoyne, which occurred October 17, and some of 
them were transferred to other companies and participated in 
the battles of Still vcater and Saratoga. The number of men 
from As]il)urnh;im in the second expediticni connnandcd by 
Captain Jonathan Gates was between twenty and thirty. 
Only a part of their names has l^een discovered. They are 
AMViiam \\"ard, Xicholas AVhiteman, Jacob Constantine, 
John Adams, Jonathan Samson, David ]Merriam, Jonathan 
Gates, Jr., John Iviljlinger, Kzekiel S. ]Metcalf, and Mv. 
Gates, a brother of Captain Jonathan Gates. 

To avoid the incon\'cnience experienced during the pre- 
ceding two years, on account of the short terms of enlist- 
ment, and to create a more stal)lo and a better disciplined 
army, orders were given earl}' in 1777 to estal;)lish the, regi- 
ments on the continental plan and recruit their decimated 
ranks with men enlisted for tliree years, or during the war. 
For this purpose the quota of Ashbnrnham was sixteen, and 
an earnest elTort was made to supply the required number. 
Thirteen men enlisted and were mustered into service May 
2(J, 1777, for three years, and the town or individuals hired 
the three remaining men, Francis Lee of Pep})erell, Andrew 
Foster of Andover, and Josiali Fessenden of Boston, to 
conqdete the quota. 

■'{"he men from Ashburuham whose names arc deeply 
inscribed in the tablets of the history of the town, were 
Ehcnczer Bennett Davis, David Clark, David Clark, Jr., 
Jolm "Winter, Thomas Pratt, Sanmel ^lason, John "White, 
Paul Sawyer, Jacob Lock, Thomas Boss, Joshua ITolden, 
Timothy Johnson and Adimi Bodiman. 

A considerable number of otlier men from this town was 
hi the service this year. There are many incidental refer- 
ences which establish the fact, but do not reveal the 
names of the soldiers. In August this year there was a 

• V ;■>.! y;!i '■■■ i^i>'\-'-^\ ■ 1) 'i^' 
,••!. ,:i«r^ ;k.;';'! .h^^.> \a<u<\ , 

I ,■:., . .. : ■,■■■■- 

,i>; ■; I . ' 


draft in this town for men to servo tlirec months, but the 
number of men required has not been aseertained. It 
appears tliat David Chatlhi was drafted at tliis time; anvl was 
assigned to Captain Xathaniel Carter's company in Colonel 
Cusliing's regimonf and joined the army undei' General 
Gates. On account of sickness he was discharged and 
arrived home, November 1, 1777. 

1778. The new year opened with a tow)i meeting at 
wliicli the town voted that they '' were not willing to send 
any relief to the Continental soldiers now in the army." 
Tlie natural construction of this language unfairly represents 
the prevailing sentiment and the real intent of the town. 
It was the intention of the town, as appears from other 
records,, that the needs of the soldiers beyond their stipu- 
lated pay and bountv sliould be left with their friends and 
the generosity of individuals, which liad proved adequate in 
the past and Avere contidently invoked in this instance. 
Present in this meeting, perhaps, was Samuel jSIctcalf, then 
a youth of sixteen years, who had but recently returned 
fi'om a ■ long and j^erilous journey to the army, bearing 
clothing to his brother Ezekiel to supply a loss caused by 
the burning of his tent which had left him destitute. With 
such evidence of the thoughtful care of the soldier in the 
field, with the hum of the wheel, the click of the loom and 
the busy needk^ in every homo, there "was present in this 
meeting every assurance that the individual and not the tovvm 
could best respond to this call upon their charity. 

In May of tliis year, the town approved of the Articles of 
Confederation proposed by the Continental Congress. The 
vote was decisive. The records assert "" there was but one 
against it," but the name and motive of this dissenting voice 
are not revealed. In the midst of the weighty responsibilities 
resting upon our worthy fathers, perplexed with the demands 

. .;'i .'■'*1 'io 
;i //i il •>.iJ '. r ; ■■ :;; i ■■■ ■ '■ ''"'" 

'■■:A) hi'. 

., .vilr.f^: i.i}', '::• (-,>, ■ I I i J<! 


of war ajid the pro])lcms of new forms of government, tlie. 
tovY-n eloquently assert their nttenttve eare of the family of 
the soldier in a ^-ot<^ "to help Timothy Johnson's wife who is 
in needy circumstajices, so that she may he made comfort- 

Timothy Johnson is found in the list of men enlisting the 
previous year for three years and leaving, doubtless with 
confideuce, his wife and their three babes to the considerate 
care of his townsmen. ' ; i _ . ,'.'.; 

To the husbandman the summer of 1778 was one of great 
discouragements. The season was extremely dry and the 
product of the tield was small and unremunerative. The 
partial failure of the crops was keenly felt at a season when 
the product of the farm was the onl}^ means to meet the 
heavy demands for money and provisions to carry on the 
war. To give poignancy to their despondency the currency 
depreciated so lapidly in value that financial ruin seemed 
instant and ineyitable. During the year 1778, the equiva- 
lent of a unit of money decreased from one-third to less than 
one-sixth of its nominal value. One assessment of taxes fol- 
lowed another in ra})id succession, until the constable, who 
was also collector of taxes, only left the door to soon return 
with renewed demands, and creditors, beholding every dol- 
lar of their dues fade in value from month to month, were 
importunate and peremptory in their demands for immediate 
payment. In the midst of these depressing surroundings 
at home came many assurances of amended fortunes. 

During the past few months a disheartened and retreating 
anny, receiving timely reenforcemcnt, had fought several suc- 
cessful battles which had completely annihilated a proud and 
invading army. The patriots had taught the disciplined and 
well-equipped soldiery of Europe that they were their 
equals, both in the open field and in the strategems of war. 

.SI '■' r ■ -;' 

A .1 

; i t • ', 

t- 1.' 

.i| 'lufij. 

>ji ■ .M 

•I '•';(; .'1'»i)5-^; •• : 1 


They liad awakened a renewed confidence in themselves 
which imparted the strcngtli of cohesion and of disciplineTo 
the ]ialriot army. The seat of Avar was removed to tJio 
South, and the calls for troo})S were less frequent and inoper- 
ative. The sudden and tantalizing alarms whicli had char- 
acterized the preceding year, giving the mimite-mea but 
little freedom from actual service or solitude when at 
home, for many months were not repeated. In addition to 
all these flattering omens, which encouraged hope to triumph 
over despondency, the most enlivening hopes were associ- 
ated with the alliance with France, and her profl'ers of assist- 
ajice in the prosecution of the war. A firmer faith in the 
success of their cause was everywhere manifested, until 
many were persua.ded to believe that the war was sul)stan- 
tially at an end. And yet amid these cheering omens 
another vial was being opened wlioso bitterness soon 
drenched the land ; only an oasis had been reached, and not 
the fruitful soil be^^ond the desert s:mds ; the clouds were 
not breaking, but only shifting into new sha])es, to ao-aiu 
inundate the land with darker days and greater trials. 

The record of the preceding year left the continental 
soldiers from this town with the army under the innnediate 
command of AVasln'ngton. It will be remembered that these 
men enlisted for three years. -Tacob Lock and Samuel Mason 
having died the remaining fourteen shared the suflering of a 
winter of unusual severity at A'alley Forge. In the spring of 
this year with more than two years of rugged service before 
them they follow-ed the fortunes of Washington in the 
extreme heat and dangers of ]Monmouth and in the summer 
campaign near the city of New York. In 'the late autunui 
they were marched to Middleljrook, Xew Jersey, and there 
erected huts for the winter. The new recruits this year are 
found in several regiments and in as many branches of the 

um; !!-'->!i.if: 

!' IJjI'J 'lO J- 

M(. /'■>.'.:; <.r. •■: J. '.i ■•i''i:: n-'f 

■ ;>( .(M^O'; «)■!••/'' 

I'jS history of ASlinUKNIlAM. 

service, and there is simple evidence tlint several were drafted 
or enlisted in the spring and summer whose najnes and ser- 
vice cannot now be stated. 

The ijien tliat were being enlisted to recruit the decimated 
ranks of the coiitinental regiments were so fc\v in number 
that the General Court called for two thousand men to serve 
in these regiments for the term of nine months. For this 
seiTice three men froni tliis town volunteered or were 
drafted. A^'^iHi;nn Ward enlisted in the month of June and 
was assigned to Colonel ^larshall's regiment, fi'om which he 
was discharged ]March 7, 177-'^, and al)Out the same time and 
under tlu^ same requisition, Jonathan Bcrijamin and Eenjaniin 
Clark entered the service and were niustered at Fishkili, 
Xew York. The muster rolls describe Benjamin as seven- 
teen years of age, five feet and six inches in stature arid of 
light complexion. Clark, the roll alleges, was at this time 
sixteen vcars of age, onlv five feet and two inches in heiiiht 
and light complexion. Young Clark was not a tall soldier, 
and as he lived to enlist again, there is license for the pre- 
sumption that his head ^vas carried below the line of greatest 
danger. Having fdled this quota, the selectmen express 
their relief in a letter to the General Court. 


State Mass-vchusetts Bay. 

These m ay eertify that the Town of Aslihurnhara have com- 
plied with the resolve of the C'ouit of the 20''' of April 1778 Last 
in raisiug Continental men and the men marched when called for. 

AsHBUUNUAX Aug 24"" 1778. 


JOHN COx\N r Selectmen. 

^ Wokcester S3 Aug 20"' 1778. 

personally appeared Capt Jonathan Gates of Ashburnliam and 
made oath to the above certificate before me. 


Town Clerk. 

:'.: y< 

■^ .: .1 

!..!.r ill.titv.ri 

I/; !• 

■v. I 


!)■:/.. '.: 

'■.;■ t .1:,.!' ■ M: ' ; •'! ' './'r -• ' •'''■ 

■) /^;.'.^'. 

■ > ', .'"• 


Kefereiico is miidc in tlie following letter to ti subjocl of 
M-liich the result cannot be stated. The fact that Benjamin 
Clark was eventually mustered into service at Fishkill for 
nine months, and at that thne the father, David Clark, ha.l 
two frdl years to serve, Yould indicate that he was not 
accepted as n substitute fo)' his tather. 

,, . •, . , :..--- AsiiROKKHASi June 01 y' 177S. 

this is to sort if}' that Jonathan Benjeman has ingaged in the con- 
tinental sarvis nine rnout-'. and Likev.isc Benjeman Clark in llic 
Rom of his father David Clark, he being a man in years and I 
should be glad if 3'ou vrould es:cept bi]n in his rornm. 

To Mr "Worshbon the supereutendcnt for the County of \Yoreester. 

In the summer of this year, a combined attack, b}" land 
and water, upon the British army at Newport, in lihode 
Island, was projected. An army raised from the militia of 
New England was sent to reenforce General Sullivan, and to 
cooperate with the French fleet. Calls were also made this 
year for men to serve in defence of Boston and the military 
stores deposited there. In the former service there were at 
least four men from this town. They were enlisted or 
drafted in June to seiwe the remainder of the year. They 
were assigned to the company of Captain Benjamin Edgell in 
Colonel John Jacob's regiment, which was a part of the 
army under General Sullivan. They arrived home the first 
week in January, 1779. The descriptive list of the men 
from Ashburnham is of interest. 


Ezekiel Metcalf, June 25th, 100 miles, 6 inos 12 days, £20-15-3 

John Chamberlain, June 24th, • 100 " 6 " 13 " 20-lS-l 

David Chafiln, Juno 2otb, 100 •' 6 '« 12 " 2'J-i:)-3 

Simon Kodiman, June 20th, 80 " 6 " 11 " 2D- 5-8 

c, f 

t ii 

i! ■:' 

■ 1 ;M ; 

'/ L.i:^. 

' I , ■ •' 1 ■ ■ ' • 

,! ,'•; /7 , :!•■ ifni.;, 1-i 

,1 )l. I, :!...0f.« 1-Ji 


IIJO'I i'"! ■. .I*-'-' 


To meet tlio rcqiurements for service at Boslon, a number 
of luen WHS driiftod or recruited to serve tlirec moiiths. 
Anioi\ir theiii were Joiuitlriii Samson, Jr., Nicholas White- 
man and John lTa.ll> vrlio were assigned to the company of 
Captain John AMiitc of Lancaster, and stationed at Castle 
island. In service at this time and near Boston, were David 
Steadman and William Ward. Tiio latter served only one 
month and was eniployed at I'rospect Ilill in guarJing" 
prisoners, the rt'inains of Burgoync's army. From this 
service he returned in season to enlist in Colonel jMarshairs 
regiment, as stated in a former paragrajih. 

Ashburnham was now required to furnish its proportion of 
clothijig for the army. A resolve was ado])ted by the 
General Court, ]M;irch 13, 1778, requiring each town in the 
State to furnish as many shirts, pairs of shoes and stockings, 
as Avould 1)6 equal to one-seventh part of all its male inhabi- 
tants. These articles were ordered to be collected in each 
county and forwarded to the army by the county agent, 
whereupon each soldier Avas to I'cceive one shirt, one pair of 
shoes and one })air of stockings "as a present from tlie people 
of the State." Under this resolve, the quota of Ashburnham 
was immediately filled. If the quota of this town was seven- 
teen, more shirts were forwarded than was required, but it 
is probable that the excess of shirts was intended as an 
equivalent for a deticiency of shoes and stockings. If this 
sup]>osition is correct, the quota of Ashburnham was twenty, 
which represents that at this time there were one hundred 
and Ibi-ty male inhabitants in this town. The following 
letter of the seleetmcn is a part of this proceediisg : 

To Mr. John Wait Agent and Keeeiver of Clothing for the 
County of Worcester 

Sir these arc to inform 3-011 that we have complied with the 

tin'' . 

, • 11; ■■■>IIOt> 

^ . [ 

! M rL'.-il^ 

■ I!' ' 

i Ixtft 

1 ^'. V 


resohe of Coit last sent in providing clothing for the solgert'. 
ycQ have provided 

Seventeen pr of Shoes cost £3 pr ^^ £51 

and seventeen pr Stockings £1 :lG-0 pr ^^''^ £30=12=0 
and tweut^'-seven Shirts at £1 :1G apiece £48=12=0 
and as. we have received no furder orders Since the Resolve of the 
general Cort concerning the Clotliing we do send them l)y Dca" 
Samuel Wilder to 3'ou to be Rec'^ as our part of the clothing for 
this time 

Sum total ~ 

for Clothing 
Ashburnham Sept lG-1778 £130-4-0 ■' • 

So we reinain your friends & Humble Serv. 


JOHN CONN [■ Selectmen. 


To the lions''''' Corts Committee we leave the Troble of Colect- 
ing and Cost of Transporting 37 miles to the agent to your Honors 

This account was audited June 5, 1779. The price of the 
shoes was reduced to forty-eight shillings a pair and £5-11-0 
was allowed lor transportation thirty-seven miles. 

Concerning the record of one of the continental soldiers of 
the town, an important tact remains as yet mitold. Adam 
IvodJman descried. If he had been a man of diminutive 
stature, like Benjamin Clark, it might rc:iSonably be pre- 
sumed that he was temporarily overlooked and the record 
made before the oversight was noted, but he is deso-ibed as 
twenty-three years of age, six feet high, dark eyes and hair 
and by occupation a blacksmith. Whether he repented and 
returned, whether he was returned by force without repent- 
ance, or whether he neither retm-ned nor repented, does not 
appear in the records. It is known, however, that after the 
war he resided several years in this town. Ah ! Adam, 

.-1,; . . J >.^Ji • ' 'iih'): 


badst thou known thai our luindivd :ind more years after lliy 
desertion oi" tlie post of duty, this net of tliine would be 
recalkid, that tlie iaitliful Jn'storian who records with impartial 
I)cn the deeds of the just and tlie unjust, giving at once to tlie 
prhieipal inhabitant and niost lowly citizen his fair measure 
of censure or praise as his life and service are revealed in the 
records and traditions of the town; hadst thou known and 
realized all this, thou Mouldst have remained to share the 
trial and dange]-s bra^■ely endured b}- thy heroic comrades, 
and -wouldst have conquered a co-wardiee that gives an only 
stain to the ensign armorial of the good old town of Asli- 
bui-nhani. But, alas ! like th}^ progenitor, whose name thou 
bore, thou too didst fall. 

1779. The theatre of the war having been transferred to 
the Southern States, the call for nu^n was less imperative 
than in the years preceding. At the same time the military 
spirit of the people waned with the removal of danger from 
the borders of New England. If the mnnber of meri was 
com})arati\'ely small, the labor in })rocuring them was no 
less onerous than in former years. In accordtmce ^itli a 
resolve of the General Coui-t, passed June 9, eight men vrere 
raised in July to recruit tlie continental army. Three of 
these men to serve nine months were mustered with the 
following description : . 

Ebenezer Conant, n^ze oG, height 5 — 9 
Jacob Constantine, '• 27, " 5 — 9 

John Kiblinger, " 24, " G— 

The roll also announced that all of them were of dark 
complexion. ^lany of the continental men who entered in 
1777 were in Colonel Greaton's regiment at this time. 
Succeeding the repeated failures in the past, a successful 
attempt to dislodge the enemy from Ivhode Island was made 

'/. /■ 


it do I 

i{EVO]XTioxA];r history. 103 

thi>s yviiv. In this ^;ervice Asbburnliaiii Avas rcpi'cs(MiUHl hy 
at least live men mIio were drafted in Jul}' and served six 
months. They were marched under command of Sergeant 
Slonc to P]-ovidcnce, and at the close of the campaign were 
discliarged at Newport. A part or all of them were assigned 
to Captain 'Jltoraas Fiske's com})an}' in Colonel T3"ler's or 
Colonel Jackson's regiment. The names which have been 
found from nearly as many sources are as follows : Sergeant 
Joseph Stone, Jonatlian Gates, Isaac ^NFerriam, AVilliam 
"Winchester and Jonathan AVinchester. In the autnnm 
David Merriam took the place of his Iirother Isaac Merriam. 
In the early autumn, Ashburnham was required to send four 
men, styled fatigue-men, to serve three months under Clap- 
.tains Henry and AVilson at Castle AVilliam and Governors- 
island. The men engaged in this service were David 
Chaflin, Edward AVhitmore, Xathaniel Kendall and David 
Samson.- Daniel Bond of this town was in the service as 
fatigue-man at this time, but probably did not enlist at the 
time the others were recruited, and AVilliam AVai'd served 
three months this year at West Point in a company com- 
manded by Captain Burt of Harvard. At the close of the 
season the Northern army, ^vhicli included the continental 
soldiers from this town, retired into winter quarters, — one 
division at 'WQ:^i Point, Xew York, and the otlier at ]\Iorris- 
town, Xew Jersey. 

At the annual meeting, Isaac Merriam, Xathaniel HaiTis 
and Daniel Putnam were chosen a committee of correspond- 
ence. The selectmen were John Conn, Oliver AMllard and 
Amos Dickerson. William "Whitcomb was ae:ain selected to 
represent the town in the General Court at this session, 
which did not adjourn until October. He was pernn'tted to 
join with his associates in a fniitless attempt to regulate by 
law the price of articles of merchandise. If such legislation 


-*3 :1 

. f- ' I I 

•Mir oniit 


.].' •;.«:>.; ,•:/..; 

, f ■ ' '1 !: 


at till limes and uiidor all cireunistances has proved futile^ 
in tills instance the Ici^-islators recop-iiized the exif^-cneies of 
the hour and manifested more eoura^e than wisdom in the 
advancement of remedial moahures. The ineJl'ectual meas- 
ures of the Legislature were supplemented l)y the recom- 
mendations of county conventions. The convention which 
asseinbled in ^Vorcester August 11, jiroj^sed a schedule of 
prices for many articles of merchandise, and with great 
earnestness and solicitude, roconnnended the people to ^dopt 
them in the conduct of their business. 

In this proceeding the convention essayed to ctTect by 
apipeal that ^vhich the Legislature failed to accomplish by 
the force of hnr. The town of Ashburnham promptly 
• adoi)ted the recommendations of the convention and chose 
Samuel Wilder, Captain Jonathan Gates, Jacob Harris, 
]Nioscs Tottingham and Francis Lane a committee to 
encourage the peoi)le, and through the force of a firm, public 
sentiment compel them to adhere for a time to the stated 
prices. In these proceedings the necessities of the people 
were demanding relief. But the lo\e of gain, the insatiable 
gTced of speculation and the personal interest of the few who 
had the ability to profit by the necessities of the many 
rendered all these measures inctrectual. In February the 
Gerieral Court sul)mitted to the peo;[)le the proposition of 
calUng a convention for tlic p-urpose of forming a State 
Constitution. The town of Ashburnham voted ATay 21, 
" That this State have a new form of Government as soon as 
may be, and also that our representative vote to have a State 
Convention called for that pui'])ose." 

On an article in the warrant for the ]\Iay meetinir, "To see 
if the Town will allow ^Nlr. Jonathan Samson and ^Nlrs. Hem- 
meuway for two small Deer sent in to the seiwice," the 
decision was in the negative. The same fate attended a 

)t :o 

, -i'l-l i.'i '■) 

;■// -j; 

.,! -(M i'.iiU;i,r 

,, . ',. 

,.' ' .1 ' tr./ Lj'i" 

i; '• '/If '/)' 


pro})ositiou (o p:iy Deliverance DavU "for going to A11);inv 
lor to carry cloalblng to tlic soldiers." If these decisions of 
the town fail to satisfy the sensitive nature of lo^'al descend- 
ants, they can be consoled witli the iact that there could not 
liave been a groat sum of money in the treasury, and any 
action on these points was quite immaterial so long as the 
soldiers had and enjoyed both the deer and the clothing. 
Having previously chosen a committee, consisting of Jacob 
Harris, Captain Jon;ithan Gates, Lietitenant Amos Dicker- 
son, dolni Adams and Francis Lane, to estimate and equalize 
the service in the army of eacli man in Ashburnham, the 
town adopted the report of this committee August 30. Tliat 
report if it had been preserved would have afforded the out- 
line of a more accurate history of Ashburnham during the 
lievolution than can now be M'ritten. 

Thursday, December 9, 1770, Avas a day of thanksgiving 
in all the States. The observance of this day is seldom 
noticed in histor}', but there are many evidences at hand to 
establish the fact that i)i many places there were religious 
exercises, and that our fathers, burdened with the weighty 
proldems of the hour, and oppressed with the existing state 
of public affairs, did make a solemn etlbrt to find occasion 
for thankfulness on this memorable day. The journal of 
Isaac Stearns informs us that tiie day was observed in Ash- 
burnham, and that Mr. Gushing preached fro.m the text : 
"The \vorks of the Lord are great, sought out of all them 
that have pleasure therein." 

1780. The record of death continues. Again the open 
ranks of the continental reiriments are the silent oracles of 
their valor. In prompt response to renewed acquisition for 
men, seven recruits from Ashburnham were mustered into 
the service for six months at Leicester. "With other I'ecruits 
they were marched from Sjiringfield July 2, under command 

^ '.di 



ol" Capli'iiii ririiu'bas J^arkcr. 'i'licsc; iiieu wx'va .slyled new 
levies, and were a.ssigned to the ]\Ia.ssaehu.setts regiments 
already in the lield and stationed at AVest Point. The 
names of these recruits are found upon the desci'iptive lists 
on tile in the State archives. 





Samuol Metcalf 


G— 2 


David Chaflin 




Edwani Vrhitniore 


.5— G 


Elijah ]Mason 


5 — 5 


Simeon llodinuin 




Isaac Meiriam 




Jacob Rodiinan 



On anotlier ro]] crediting tliis service to Ashburnham, is 
the name of Xalhaniel Breed, but there is no otlier evidence 
that he was from this town. Tlie servidtc of tliese men and 
others in tlie continental army at this time covers an im- 
portant chapter of Revolutionary history. They were with 
the Xorthern army at tlie time of the treason of xirnold and 
tlie execution of Andre. In an application for a pension, 
David Chailin alleges he ^vas one of the o'uards and was 
within ten feet of Andre when he was executed. Isaac 
!Merriam says he ^vas in Xew Jersey when Andre was hanged 
and when Arnold attempted to deliver up A\'est Point, an.d 
afterwards marched back to ^^'est Point and was there 
discharged at the expiration of six months. Edward "Whit- 
more was in a detached service for a time but joined his 
regiment a short time before he was discharged. He says 
he recollects Ai-nold's treason and saw ]\[ajor Andre 
executed, hi duly there was another requisition for men 
to serve three months. Jonathan Samson, Jr., Andrew 
Winter, Jr., and Peuben Pice, who removed to Ashburn- 
ham this year, entered the service and also served at West 

!,' ! It; /M fJ- \i- ll! '^' 

il ■-., ;.•,'.■ V;;-f ? ■ • 'il. 

I , - ■ ' / / 



'l.>J^ l'> . ' 1 


In the suininer o( this year, the men Trho oiilisled for 
three years CLune liome at diHei'eiit times in tlie order of their 
discharge from tlie companies in wliich they had sewed. On 
llie arrival of eacli little bund, the pastor read their names 
the following Sabl):itli and offered the prayer of gi'atcful 
thanks to Ahnighty God for tlieir jireservation from the 
dangers of war and their safe return to the avocations of 
peace. John White was probably dischaiged on account of 
disability the })rc^'ious year. lie continued his residence 
here and became an inhabitant of Gardner when that town 
Avas incorporated. 

The selectmen for 1780 were Samuel Wilder, Isaac 
^lerriam and Francis Lane. For a committee of corres- 
pondence, Cajjtain Deliverance Davis, Steplien Kandall and 
Jonathan Samson were selected and the town also made 
choice of Captain Deliverance Davis, Levi Whitney and 
Amos Lawrence to hire the soldiers for the ensuing year. 
The vote of this town upon the adoption of a State Con- 
stitution was an emphatic expression of approval and is 
mentioned in another chapter. In September, the civilian 
and the soldier, reaping tlie early fruits of the Avar, cast the 
iirst vote of Ashburnham for State otliccrs chosen by the 
peoj^le, and at the same time Samuel Wihler was chosen as 
the last representative imder the tem})ora7-}' form of govern- 

The winter of 1779-80 was one of unusual severity. The 
men in Ashburnham brought wood for their daily lire upou 
their backs, an'd the brooks and springs being congealed by 
frost, a scarcity of water aggi-avated the discomforts of an 
inclement winter. The extreme cold and deep snow of that 
season were the theme of fre(]aent remark as long as tliat 
generation endured. 

) .•■■; 

' .'I'r 


I -I ' 

.>. -'M^i. 

!l'7 'i'"! 

■ iiio ;M 

/i I i" A 


nSJ. The seleclinen for this year wove Jiicol) Harris, 
Hezelviah Corey and Eiios Jones. For a committee of cor- 
respondence, the town selected Samuel Cutting, Timothy 
Fislier and Ilenr}' AYinchcster. At the same meeting in 
which these ofiicers were selected, wliile struggling with the 
burdens of the Kevolution and at an liour Avhen their Imrdens 
were most onerous, the inhabitants of tlie to^vn were pre- 
pared to direct their attention to other questions and to give 
a serious thought to a pro})cr observance of tlie Sabbath. 
Tliere was an article in the warrant for tliis meetinir. "to see 
if the town will pass any vote to ])revent travelling on the 
Sa];b:ith," The succeedino- article was the one of set form 
which ap})eared in the annual warrant for many years: "to 
see if the town will let swine run at large the ensuing year." 
As would rationally be expected of our devoted worthie«>, 
they voted to put every legal restraint upon men and 
pro tiered the freedom of the town to the swine. 

If a smaller munber of men was required for the army 
this year, they were procured with increased etfort and 
under great fiuanci:il emljarrassment. While the three years' 
men were l)eing raised, there was an intermediate call for men 
to recruit the army while the enlistments for a longer time 
were slowly progressing. These men were more easily 
procured. In June Corporal l^hinchas Hemenway, Jona- 
than ]\Ierriam and William AVard enlisted. They were 
assigned to Captain Sibley's company in Colonel Dmry's 
reiriment and were discharsred the last of Xovember. This 
was the seventh enlistment of William A\''ard. With the 
close of the preceding year came a call for more men to 
seiwe three years in the continental army. The town, 
embarrassed by the depreciatr-d currency which had nearly 
become worthless, and by their inabilit\' to oiler anything 
more substantial than a promise, passed the following vote 


.: ji!i;CJ'.; 

ii) 7'- / 


as an eiicouragoinent to anv wlio iiiiglil be prevr.ilecl upon to 
enlist: "Voted that oaeli )nan that will enp:agc to sorvc in 
the army for three years shall have eighteen head of three 
years old cattle given him when his time is out, and if lie l)e 
discharged in two years tiicn said cattle are to be but two 
years old or if he serve Ijut one year the}" are to be but one 
year old, all to lie of middling si^.e." In other >\'ords, the 
soldier v^"as to receive a bounty of eighteen calves and the 
town was to keep them of middling size as long as the 
soldier remained in the service. The vote is an apt illustra- 
tion of the straits to which our worthy fathers were driven 
in the solution of the fmnncial problems which attended their 
daily lives and official laljors. The cattle bounty was not 
fayoralily received. The proposition savored of veal. The 
town could not reti'act its step and again ofter a bounty in 
currency, for that in the mean time had utterly failed. 
There could be no failure in tlie end. The originators of 
the calf project are again found equal to the emergency. 
They called to their aid in alluring their fellow-townsmen to 
enlist, the click and gleam of silver and gold. They ottered 
each man who would enlist for three years, ninety pounds 
lawful money as it was rated in 17 74:. There was substance 
in til is proposal. True, the tender was not necessarily in 
specie, but it was of a known and absolute value and equiva- 
lent to three hundred dollars. This vote was adopted in 
February and two months later five men were nmstered into 
the service for the term of three years. All of them were 
described as of light complexion. 

David Clark 24 yrs of age 5 feet 9 inches in stature 

Jonas Benjamin 19 " " " 5 " 10 " 

JohnCoolidge 17 " " " 5 " 3 " 

James Ledget 27 " " " 5 " 5 " 

John Mar— (bhirred) 29 " " " 5 " 7 " 

I uyy 

'..• a 

'm . I'l '♦ 

'vF* .-.j^r >-^ 

r : ■ : •....( 

■ , ■ :! !■-. 

'; n'i 


Ill August following the commitlee Avas instnictcd "to 
hire the two tliicc years men that were still wanted on the 
best terms they can." ]Sear the close of the year the men 
were procured. 

Peter Eodiman, age IG, hciglit 4 feet 11 inches, enlisted 
Deceiliber 9. A bo}' of tliat age and stature enlisting for 
three years might be expected to look pale, but the muster 
rolls assert that at the time of engagement, he was of dark 
complexion. The other man was our old acquaintance, 
Benjamhi Clark, who has added two inches to his stature 
since his former entrance into the service. One week after 
the enlistment of Kodiman, the other name was added to tlie 
muster rolls. Benjamin Clark, age 20 years, height .5 feet G 
inches, complexion light, and occupation, farmer. This was 
the last enlistment from Ashburnham. At the close of the 
war, young Clark returned to this town and in 17S7 re- 
moved to Keading, Vermont. The three 3'ears' men were 
called for in resolve of the General Court adopted December 
2, 1780. The call was for four thousand two hundred and 
forty men and the quota of this town was seven. It has 
appeared that more than a year elapsed before the to\vn 
was able to secure all the men. Eventually the General 
Court took note of the delinquency and inqjosed a tine 
amounting to four hundred and twenty-eiglit pounds and five 
shillings. In the mean tinn- the town had fullilled the 
demand and petitioned the Ijcgislature to remit the fine, 
which request was granted : 

To THE Honourable Senate and House of Representatives 
IX General Court assemeled : 

The Petition of William AVhitcomb in behalf of The Town of 
Ashburnham Humbly sheweth that the said Town of Ashburnham 
is Fined in the Last State tax for a Deficiency of two three years 

■■'• ■'.''''■ '• 

\ ', 

! 1 


•I .r.M 

I M''. '':'■:' 


.■■;/; <'it 


• "■ -} 

t -n': i..;:." ' 

■;• ' 'f 





m?n v.'liicli were absolutely Raised & marched agreable to the 
Kesolve of tlie 2'"^ of Dec"" A. D. 1780 & subsequent resolves as 
will appear by the Kcceipt of the Superintendent ; your Petitioner 
therefore Prays That your Honours \vould take the mattei' into your 
wise Consideration & Grant an abatement of the hues. As in 
Duty bound shall ever Pray 


In suppoi-t of tlieir petitioD the town produced the receipts 
for the required nurolxn- of men, signed by Colonel Seth 
AVasliburn of Leicester, superintendent of enlistments. 

LiMCKSTER June y'' 2G 1781. 
Eeceived of the town of Ashburnham five men who have enlisted 

and past muster <S:c., &c. 



These were David Clark and the foin- others named in a 
former paragraph. 

Leicester March y" 27 1782. 

This day received from Ashburnham Benjamin CLark a solger 

for the term of three years. 


LEiCESxr.K June 11 1782. 
This day received from the town of Ashburnham one man to 
serve three years. 


The hist receipt probably refers to Peter Eodlman and it 
will be observed tliat all the receipts are dated some time 
subsequent to the entry of enlistment on the military rolls. 
It is possible that these receipts wore of set form and were 
issued by Colonel Washburn, whenever the town liad need 
of them, as vouchers in answer to the demands ot the 
General Court. 

V.'.' '•! 


f •;<!,>./ 

.1 ■ vS'. 

W i:'0.':. I 


, l- (■ 
■ ir 

;:.i^ ' 


Tlic live poldicrs who were recruited in the simiraer for 
three years according to tradition Averc hurried on to New 
York and from thence iinmediately proceeded with the army 
under Wa-;hingt on to A'irginia, and tliere is amph.' evidence 
to sustain the assertion tliat some of the men enlisting this 
year remained in the service until near the close of the year 
1783. The discharge of David Chirk signed by General 
Knox is dated Decemhcr 24, 1783. 

The name of Jacol) Winter appears in Captain Wilder s 
company in 1775. His subsequent service is not known, 
but he died a prisoner at Halit^ix in the autunm of 1777. 
Tiie death of vSamuel Mason, mentioned in the annals of 
1778, is recorded by Mr. Cushing in September, 1777, and 
Jacob Lock who was in the same service died a few weeks 
later. He was a son of Jolm Oberlock whose children 
Assumed the name of Lock. The same year Francis Iven- 
dall died, as stated by Mr. Cushing, ''on his way from the 

And now after these years of carnage in tlie field and of 
denials and endurance at home, the curtain falls at lork- 
town. Tlie campaign of 1781 is ended. The nation's hope 
gleanis in the bayonet and flashes in the sword of the return- 
ing- soldier, while the hardshiiis of the campaign are witnessed 
in his weary })rogress and the residts of an exhaustive war 
are felt on every hand. ' . 

In the pursuit of the nari-ative through the foregoing 
pages, the burdens of taxation and other incidents of the 
home life of our fathers during the Revolution have been 
suiiered to remain for mention in separate paragraplis. At 
the beginning of the war the colonists were not without 
resources but were unskilled in the ail; of fina.nce. The 
colonial wars in which the people had been engaged had been 
maintained ])y a paper currenc}' m hich though depreciated in 

•\:\ >' -■•i;t;Mo' :< 

•'■■^' ■..Ml ,.l- 

ft 1(1 
; 'I sift 

.,1 .w(j 


some mcasuve was evciittially redeemed by uUowances from 
the treasury of England in the payments for service 
b}' the eolonies. The jiaper money of the Revohition h:id 
no such foun(hition. After a brief season of ajiparcnt 
solidity it gradually depreciated in vahie until in 1781 it 
utterly faDed and suddenly went out of circulation by 
general consent. The experience of tlie ])eo})le of Asliburn- 
ham from tliis source was ])rol)ably no gi'eater and certainly 
no less than that of other towns. Sums of money voted by 
the tovrn for specific puqioses so rapidly depreciated in \aluc 
before the tax could be assessed and collected that the appro- 
priation became inadequate for the purposes proposed and 
fi'equcnt disputes concerning . balances arose between the 
debtor and the creditor. Exjilanatory of the intrinsic value 
of sums of money mentioned in the preceding and subse- 
quent pages, the following table commencing with the year 
1777 when the depreciation in earnest began will represent 
for each succeeding month tlie number of pounds that were 
equivalent to one hundred pounds of standard value : 

1777 1778 1779 1780 1781 

January .... 100 325 742 2934 7500 

February .... 104 350 8G3 3322 7500 

March .".... 106 375 1000 373G 7500 

April no 400 1104 4000 7500 

May 114 400 1215 4.S00 7500 

June 120 400 1342 5700 12000 

July 125 425 1477 GOOO 

August 150 450 1C30 6300 

September ... 175 475 1800 6500 

October .... 275 500 2030 6700 

November. ... 300 545 2308 7000 

December .... 310 634 2393 7300 

The burden of taxation is seen in the following excerpts 
ft'om the town records. Other sums were assessed for Avar 
purposes under command of the General Court, of which no 
entry was made in the current volume of records. 

'.(■■ ;:■ 

I..;. :jni. 

-i> / 

:.|..-i.,r, V, 

. !■■■ 

' ' I .- - , 

:• [ 



1 :: i. 

ut.'l ■ 

1 r 

1 ;; ' 



; i I 


.~' ':; I 

...• i 


M'; : 






1 ' ^'i 


1778 December 16. We ]) assessed the inliahitants and estates 

in said town in the sum of £401-19-6 and 
have committed the lists to the constables 
for collection. 

1779 Felauary IS. Town and county rate committed for col- 

lection £357-9-11. 
1779 August SO. Voted and granted £Gir>0 to defray the 
charges of the war. 

1779 September 13. We have assessed the inhabitants and es- 

tates in -Ashburnham in the sum of 
£26364-7-0 and have committed the same 
to the constables for collection. 

1780 January 27. Committed for collection state and county 

rate amounting to the sum of £4328-9-0. 

1780 June 14. Voted and granlcd £2500 to defray towii 


1780 June 27. CoinmilLoil State tox for collection amount- 

ing to £6966. 

1780 July 3. Voted and granted £7000 to defray the 

charges of the war and that the committee 
give security for an}' money that may be 

1781 March 5. Voted that each man be allowed fifteen 

pounds per day for labor on the highway. 
1781 August 20. Voted and granted £300 silver money for 

town cluirges. 
. Voted that the coustal-ks take four shil- 

;,; , ' lings in lieu of one hundred dollars old 

: * , emission from those persons who are be- 

hind in rates. 

By a resohc of the General Court adopted in Septcm])cr, 
1780, Asliburnliam was required to supply the army with 
three thousand one hundred and twenty pounds of beef. 
The new obligation was promptly met by the toAvn. 


<A ? 

ti r^,\\! 


■t !)■!!;; I,.-. M 

,■ . ■-;...- : ■■•■ •*''•''' 

yvrt : ■ 

.( ' ' :>■■ ■'[:■-' (X 

,, ; 1 .:;■■= ;!:(.-i4, 

,, /f ; ".).": y. t 


1780 October 5. ^"oted that Amos La-wrence bin- 3120 Ihs. 

of beef for the tinny. 

In Dcecin1)or following Ibe Gciiernl Coinl made a second 
I'equisition for 1)ecf and again the inhabitMids of Asliburnbam 
are assembled in town meeting prepai-ed to second the pro- 
visions of the Legislature for the snpport of Ihe arm}'. 

] 780 December 27. Voted and granted X'7200 for buying beef 
for the army. 

Probably Oii account of the depreciation of the currency, 
this sum proved inadequate for the purpose. The proportion 
of Ashburnhani was five thousand nine hundred and ninety- 
two pounds. 

1781 January 15. Voted and granted £1800 to be added to 

£7200 granted at the last meeting and voted 
that Capt. Francis Lane purchase the beef. 

In June following came another demand fiom the Legisla- 
ture and anotl)cr town meeting was the natural sequence. 
This meeting was convened Julv 11, and after listeninir to 
the requisition, the town chose Captain Lane ''to buy the 
beef \\-anted," and at the same meeting instructed their agent 
to procure the beef for which ilie town was in arrears on the 
former requisitions. Either reminded of tlieii* delinquency, 
or prompted by a sense of dciy, the town are assembled 
again in August and pass the final vote on the subject in 
choosing Benjamin Lane to buy all the beef that is wanted 
for the army. The last requisition was for twelve thousand 
four hundred and seventy-three pounds. 

Among the cumulative burdens of the Ecvolution, and 
another item in the extended list of the demands upon the 
resources of a patriotic and uncomplaining people, was a 
second requisition for clothing: which came simultaneously 

,,i ,■ ,,. , :;.r!: io 

<lj >(■ '<i! '• 

f ! . <!!.'' 

!■, ' t 


with the thiid :rud hist requisition for beef. It "was a 
renewed a]")p<"';il to the patriotism of the times. Our wortlues 
neither faltered nor eoin[)h'uned ])U( })rontptly })aid every 
demand upon their slender means and every titlie upon 
their dailv toil. In addition to the meetinir for the ehoico of 
State officers, there M"ere seven town meetings in the year 
1781, and the burden of them all to raise money and 
consequently to increase the lien upon their future crops and 
the future labor of themselves and tlieir families. During 
the elo^ing years of the war the experience of the patriot at 
home, oppressed by povert}" and met by the vigilant demands 
of increasing taxation, is a sublime exhibition of patience 
and courage. Frequently compelled to surrender to the oft- 
returning tax-gatherer the choicest of his herds and the 
ripening product of his fields, making contrilnitions of beef 
from the needs of his family and dividing his garments with 
the soldier in the iield, he teaches posterity the sacrilices 
made and the ])rice paid for national existence. Ever 
prominent in the annals of ^Ashburnham and seen in the 
light of the lustre of the achievements in the field will be 
the home trials and the sacritices which attended the daily 
life of the patriot citizen. 

W ! i i 

I J f!i.'|ft 

11,-..:,. I,, 

:, ;, , :-'■ :■] :■■■<..■. ■ 

*!l; in ,,,,. 

chapt]':e. yi. 

















A coxsiDKKABLE iiumbcr of the citizens of this town -who 
removed hither during the hi-t years, or .soon after the close 
of the Itevohition, li:id prt;vioasly served in the unny. 
AVhih^. tlieir service constitutes no part of the histoiy of Ash- 
burnliani in the Revohition, these men sulisequeuth' became 
so intimately connected with the affairs of this town that the 
events of their lives are a part of its general liistory and 
their seiwice in the war, even if perfonned while they were 
residing elsewhere, claims admission in this record of the 
lives and services of the citizens of Ashburnham. 

KiiENEZER ^NIuxiiOE, wlio rcmovcd to this town about 

1782, where he lived highly respected until his death May 
12 . 177 

/ ,:■ 


[(.! ,h'! ■' J ._ ■' '■ ' 

. (■ 1 


25, 1825, was :i pi-oniinont ador in tlu-. ongngeinput tit 
Lcxinglou, wliicli is clearly estaljlislu;*.] by the depositions 
of tlioso wlio were engaged on that occasion. Kcjilyiiig to a 
reniarii made \yy a eomradc as the British l)egan tiring that 
they only tired powder, Ebenezer ]\runi'oe exehiimed, "They 
have tired sometliing l.iesides powder now for I am w ounded 
ill the arm." lie then discharged liis gun recei\ing two 
balls from them in return, but neltlier did serious harm. 
His deposition was taken April 2, 1;:^25, only a short time 
before his death in which he says, "After tlic tirst lire (of 
the regulars), I received a wound in my arm ; as I turned to 
run I discharged ]\\y gun into the main liody of the enemy. 
Another ball })assed between my arm and my 1)ody and just 
marked my clothi^s, one ball cut off a jiart of my ear-locks 
which v,-ere piiin.ed u}). The balls i\c\v so thick I thought 
there was no chtmce of escape and that I might as well tire 
my gun as stand still and do nothing." He claimed that he 
fired the lirst gun on the American side. Being wounded he 
mounted a horse and rode from town to town alai'ining the 
people and carrying with him the convincing proof that the 
war in earnest had begun. 

Abhaiiam Lowe, while a resident of Lunenburg, was in 
the service two months at the siege of Boston, two months 
commencing l)eeem1)er 1, 1775, and live months in New' 
York in 17 7(). He was also a volunteer at the Bennington 
alarm in 1777. 

Joseph Jewett, then residing in Bolton, enlisted for 
eight months in the spring of 1778, and served in New York. 
Enlisted again in 1779 in Colonel ])enuey's regiment; also 
sciTcd at West Point three montlis in 1780 in Colonel Hand's 

Sa:\iuel Keltox, then of Xeedham, was a sergeant in 
Captain Aaron Smith's company, at Lexington alarm, and a 


i-i T fHJI 

' ■ ■.M'A<\k 

-i ' ' ■•:-":iri 

-.'/ .;.;,iv/ 

. •.. '/ ■■v^il 

:■ i,r.-i Yt^i, 

:l ■" -li i---iih 

': '. ■ .i:.iK-',l)l 

' ■ :,; • 'i ji.'^^j 

■ ,' ■ ;'i 'iUVr 

J 1] 1 ,'i / . 


■| ;^i ;;r.oY 

. ; • . VilAii 


t.; ;((t •■■Mi:' .:•- \' I ■' /'' 'U\ !i ,■ .oa 


(Mptaiii in Colonel ]-':itter.soii\s reuinierit in the siege of 
]^)OSton. lie WHS know n in AsliburnliMni as Captain Kelion 
from the date of his reinoval hither. 

l\EUi>EN TowNSENJ), then a citizen of Shrews! )ury in 

1776, .served in Xew York five niontlis and nine months in 

1777. His first enlistment was in Colonel Smith's regiment 
and tlic second in Colonel Bigelow's regiment. 

Isaac Steakxs, previous to his removal from Bilk'rica, 
was a soldier in the siege of Boston eight months and pav- 
tici{)ated in the l)attle of Bunker Hill. 

WiLLiA>[ Steauxs. a brother of Isaac, >vas in the same 
company anvi for the same length of time. Tic removed to 
this town soon after tliis service. 

Isaac ^Virroroin:, while a resident of Leominster, was in 
Captain ^Maxvcelks company in Colonel AVilliam Prescolt's 
regiment for one year coumiencing January 1, 1771), and 
was discharged at Peekskill, Xew York. X^o record of 
service after his removal to this town has been found. Tlie 
war record of Edward AVhitmorc, being performed after his 
removal to this town, is found in the preceding chapter. 

CiiAKLES Hastings, then living in Princeton, served two 
months in 17 7G in Phode Island, also six months in 1777 in 
Colonel Keyes' regiment, and tliis service was also in Phode 
Island. Enlisted again in 1778, and vras a guard over 
prisoners from Burgoyne's army at AN'atertown and later at 
Puthtnd. This service was three or four months. Lnmedi- 
utelv after he enlisted in Colonel A^"ade's regiment and served 
six months again in Pliode Island and was in the eniraire- 
ment at Xewport ; also was in the continenttil army six 
nionths commencing July, 1780, and serving a pai't of the 
enlistment in Colonel Greaton's regiment he was transferred 
to Captain Haskell's company of Light Infantry under 
General Lafavette. This service was at West Point. 

cT 1 

1 •; / 

■ ■■ \ ■'. ;■■ .: M 

. r !; 


!i.!;- fl ■•'■ 

1 <Mfi\. ■'■■■I- 


[ i;. 




Daaid Wallis, then a resident of Luaenburo: and a youtli 
of seventeen years, ^vas in the service one month in Captain 
Bellows' conipan}' and was at Fort Edward. In 1778 he 
was three months at Castle A7illiam, again in 1779 he served 
three montlis in Captain Martin's eo]ni)any stationed at 
Governor's island and Castle William. 

Cyeus Faiebaxks, then residing in Harvard, was a volun- 
teer at the X^exington alarm and sulisequently a drummer 
eight months in Captain Jonathan Davis' company; was 
stationed at Caml)ridge and at l*rospect Hill. In 177(3 was 
a drum-3uajor in the army near the Hudson, was also at Fort 
Edward one month in 1777. 

Ebene/er AYallls, at the age of fourteen years, was in 
the service three months at West Point in 1780. The fol- 
lowing year lie eidisted again for three months and -\sas at or 
near AVest Point. The tirst service was in Colonel l^and's 
regiment and the last service was in Colonel AVebh's red- 
ment. After the war he resided in Lunenburg and in 
Vermont, removing to Ashburnham aljout 1830. In 1835 
he started for Xew York and died on the way. 

Thomas Gibson, then of Fitchbujg, served five months 
in the siege of Boston and two months in 1776 in New York. 
In 1777 he served in Captain Thurlo's company and in 1780 
he again enlisted for three months and joined the Xoi-thern 
anny at and near West Point. He also served a few months 
at ]>()ston harlx)r. Removed to Ashburnham ^ ery soon after 
his last term of service. 

JoxAS PxicE, then residhig at .Salem, was a volunteer at 
the alarm at Lexington and served eight'months in the sicire 
of Boston. He then removed to Sterling and from there 
enlisted in 177G for five months and was assigned to the 
anny in Xew York. In 1777 he served two months in 
Rhode Island. Removed to Ashburnham in 1779. 

-•>< : ■ ' I 

', Iw 'V 

;.!-(, r; 

ii .X)^r- ;■: I'D 

.... J ivto" •■-'(>! v:fi»-- a'l •-''.' 


T\F.i']4EX }\iCK was dral'tcd at I>aiicastor December, 177G, 
jor a term of tliree montlis and served tlie time in Xew 
Jersey. While temporarily I'esiding in Wineliendon in 1777 
lie served in Captain Boynton's company in Xew York, In 
tlie spring of 1780 lie removed to this town and was subse- 
<|neiit]y in the army at West Point. 

ErjAKiM liiCE )-emoved to this town in 1771^ or 1780. 
He resided liej-c several years and removed to ITartland, 
Vermont, While a resident of Salem he served two or more 
enlistments. He was at the siege of Boston in Colonel 
Bridge's regiment. His company, in which was his brother 
Jonas Piice, was engaged at the Ixittle of Ikmker Hill. 

Jaeez MAi;nLE, then of Stow, served from October, 1775, 
to March, 177(3, at the siege of Boston in Captain Brooks' 
company, Colonel Dyke's regiment. This service was per- 
formed for his twin brother Oliver, who had previonsly 
served three months of an enlistment for eight months. 
Only the name of Oliver ^larble is fonnd, as Jal)cz ]\Iarble 
unsv:ered to that name while completing the term of his 
brotlier. He served terms of two months each in 1777 and 
1779, both in Kluxle Island, and in a later campaign in the 
sam(> locality he served thi'cc months in 1780. The two 
l)roti!ers removed to Ashburr.ham from Stow, 1780. 

IvK.MUEL S'liMsoN', wlio removed to this town near the 
clovo of the war, had })re\iousIy served two or more enlist- 
ments. He was in the siege of Boston and was engaged in 
tl>e battle of Bnnker Hill. His second service was at 
Ticonderoga in 1770. He was a native of Weston and 
resided in that town nntil he removed to Ashburnham. 

Abraham Towxsexd removed to this town aliout 1778, 
where he resided many yeai-s. Later he removed to Berlin, 
Vermont. He was in the service eight months at Fishkill 
Jn 1778. Xo further record has been found and tiiere is no 

I - V ;■' 'i 

,..,7 •'•>'. ^jr;^ .!. ■■!'( 


reaso)i to presnine that ho ^vas not in tho service at other 
times during tho war. 

Joirx licnvAfAX, Avho resided in Lexington until alter the 
Revolution, removed lVom AndoNer to this lown .^bout 1810, 
served lour enlistments and is found on the rolls of ^^crvicc 
in New York and Rhode TsLind. 

Joshua Fi.etcjieu, then of AVestford, served an enlist- 
ment of seven months in Boston har])or and again three 
months at Boston, lie then in February. 17 77, entered the 
continental army for three yeai's and ^vas in Captaiii lliomas' 
company. Colonel ^Marshall's regiment. lie was at the 
battle of Stilhvater, the surrender of Burgoyne, and passed 
the winter at Valley Forge. Following the army in 177(S to 
Xew York on account of disaliility he was granted a leave of 
absence August 29, 1778, })ut was unable to rejoin the army. 
lie removed to Aslil)urnham about 1810. 

JoSEi'ii ]\Ieukia:m, then of Lexington, served two months 
in Rhode Island in 1779. In the following yeav he was one 
of the six months' recruits in the continental armv, being 
assigned to Colonel ^Marshall's legiment. This service M'as 
in New York. In 1781, he again enlisted by agreement 
with the town of Bedford, and counted on the quota of that 
tov;n and was again assigned to the Xortherii army on the 
Hudson. He removed to Ashburnham at the close of the 
war and subsequently to Tenq)leton. • • 

Asa BuocKLEi'.AMv, while residing in irmdge, served two 
enlistments, lie removed to this town in 1777 and returned 
to Rindge after a residence here of several years. 

It is possible, and the conjecture is reasonable, that the 
names of some revolutionary soldiers, who resided in this 
town during the war or soon after removed hither, are not 
included in these pages. Indeed, it has been shown that 
there were demands for men and (juotas were fdled in 

r '■.;: '!' 

.'■y .J "!'> II Hi: , 

■ i >■■ . 

.' ., i, , '; ■■■■) I 


UM-: •<) 

:• '< 


sovcral instances wliorc only a part of the names coukl he 

The fact that there Avere more enlistments than are liere- 
recorded is additional credit to the town and augments its 
patriotic record. In the preceding chapter and in tlie fore- 
jioing record of service, nothing has been assumed. If 
service in the array vras not sustained by the record it has 
been neither disputed nor asserted. It has now l)ecome 
a fact that the men of the Ixcvolntion who did not win 
the laurels of war by j^ersonal service have had them 
thrust upon them by the generous and applauding lips of 
tradition. The missing rolls of many Massachusetts regi- 
ments oive unusual license to conjectural statements, but 
afhrmativc testimony is the prime requisite of historical 
statement. In every instance au honest etlbrt has been 
made to obtain all the available record on any sul)ject, and 
Avhile employing every established fiict, the more fanciful 
narrative of tradition has always been heard with many 
grains of allowance ; and if for these substantial reasons the 
history of Ashburnham is not as extended as might be 
desired, it is mainly correct. 

The following statements made by the actors in the great 
drama of the Ptevolution wei-e secured through the generous 
favors of Hon. Henry ^y. T.hur, United States Senator from 
New Hampshire. These papers were received after the 
material for the preceding chapter collected from many 
sources had been arranged in the order of events. Of great 
interest in themselves they also sustain the outlines of the 
narrative to which they are subjoined. These papers, being 
the sworn statements of the revolutionary soldiers in support 
of their several applications for pension, are authentic 
accounts of their service. It is a matter of regret that the 
personal statement of all who bore arms in the war tor 

.;.■ : .' I.I..'. ; t !• 

h/; = 

]','. > 

' r ' :;i ;: , .. ; i;',v< ■ ; i; 

; h u i > \',' : '.::',/- ■ '' '•■■' >/. 

'• I-. ! ■ .'1 

"> ■■■:Ui '.:'\ Ini 

- >i!1 ' : K.-iil' 


iudcpeudcncc arc no! jiro^-cived. It is sii;i"!2:csled at once that 
only the youiigrr soldier^ were living at tlio time these appli- 
cations for pension v/ere made. Jt also apj)ears that some 
of the a})})]ic'ants g'a^'e only a ])artial account of the service 
performed. In such cases, doubtless, it ^vas not, deemed 
necessary to assert and pi'ove more than one or two enlist- 
ments, and, seizing u}3on th.^se terms of service Avliich could 
be jnost easily proved, rio mention Asas made of additional 
service. Others, it will be observiul, present a full accoimt 
of eacli enlistment. 

JoxATJiAX Gates, whose afhdavit introduces these interest- 
ing accounts of personal service, was a son of Captain Jona- 
than Gates. AVhen an iiit^:uit, and previous to the date of 
incorporation, the fajnily remoN'cd U) this to^vn. September 
11, 1832, at the age of seventy years, he says: 

I. He enlisted at Cambridge in April, 1775, in Captain David 
Wilder's company, of \Yhich Jonathan Gates, Sen., was lieutenant, 
in Colonel Asa Whitcomb's regiment, and marched from Cambridge 
to Prospect Hill where he remained during the eight months of his 
enlistment, and after the expiration of his time he volunteered to 
sta}- until new recruits came, and stayed there tlirce months longer, 
making eleven months in all. 

II. In September, 1777, a sliort time before the taking of 
Burgoyne, enlisted at Ashburn'iam under Ca[itaiii Jonathan Gates, 
Sen., for one motith. Colonel bellows connii:inded the regiment 
and we marched for the place when Burgo^'ue was taken near 
Beaman's Heights. 

III. Enlisted at Ashburnham soon after tlie taking of Bur- 
goyne, thinks it was in 1777, under Captain Whitney; marched 
to Castle NVilliam and was there three months on guard over 
prisoners from Burgoyne's army. 

IV. Enlisted at Ashburnliam in 1778 or 1779 [it was in 
December, 1777] for three months under Cajjtain Jonathan 
Gates, Sen., marched to Bound Brook, Xew Jersey, and remained 
there for the full term of his service. 

i,i>;U-i'.'>:'' '•'.- 

i,. :ij; .-i:i-. 

1 . I .'.' 

.-|.iiJ '!<;■••' •v:v<'>rr 

^ ',: i_ ^' 


V. In 1780, or 1781 [it was iu 1779], enlisted for six months 
at Ashburuham in Co.ptJun Fisko's company, iu Colonel Jficksou's 
regiment and remained there for his term of service. 

In 1838 'My. Gates gives additional particulars of liis last 
service and says, "That orders were received for a certain 
nundier of men to go to Ivliode Island ; tliought the luniiber 
required of Ashburuham v>as seven, and he turned out as 
one of the seven. Xo oilicer but a sergeant ^vent out with 
Ihem. Tiic sergeant v:is Josepli >Stone. "SA'hen tliey readied 
Providence, he was requested to go into Captain Fiske's 
company. lie thinks that Captain Fiske's jirst name was 
J:ired. Re was not sure lip had given the 3'ear correctly 
but it was when the r)ritish lay on Rhode Island. After 
about two months' service he was detailed with seventeen 
others, a li(^utenant, one corporal and sixteen privates, to go 
on board a prison ship in which were tliirty-two British 
prisoners; the ship lay at Fox Point, below I'rovidence. 
He was on this ship about six weeks and received a wound 
on his head b}' the breech of a musket. The prisoners rose 
upon them one night and got possession of some of the guns. 
He was struck on the head in coming up the hatch^vay and 
bore tlie marks then (1833) of the blow. They succeeded 
in getting the mastery over the prisoners without the loss of 
any lives on the part of the guard, but t^vo of the prisoner^ 
were nn'ssing. Soon after this he was detailed with twenty 
others to go to Bristol after hay for the continental horses. 
The hay was brought upon three boats, seven men to a boat, 
the whole under command of Lieutenant Xestle.'' 

Ho further alleges, "that he was born at Harvard Septem- 
ber 27, 17G2, and lived at Ashburnham during the war." 
He moved to Salisbury, Xonv York, 1798, to Antwerp, Xew 
York, 1815, and to Chami)ion, Xew York, 1818. 

I •;. I -'.,!; 

,1 •' 'I 


:: .\,A-- ■:'r\I 

-)i'; ''ij 

!,'f-i ■' i ■' i o;:: (» 

'■7; "»; 


JoxATiiAX Sa:\isox, oldest soM of Jonathan Samson, was 
born at Harvard, May 7, 1759. The family settled hi this 
town previous to date of incorporation. His slatement was 
made in this town Septeml)er G, lS-'^)2, in which he says : 

I. He enlisted in Decemlier, 1775. for six months and went to 
Roxbui'v, ^Massachusetts, and was put into tl>e militia eouipany 
of Captain Hill of IJaivard. Thomas iMcBiidc of Boston was 
lieutenant and Samuel Sawin of Westminster was ensign. 

IT. Again, enlisted in 'early part of smnraer of 1776 for four 
and a half months and went to Dorchester, jNIassaehusetts, and 
was put into militia company of Ca[)tain Manasseh Sawyer of 
Sterling. Samuel Sawin of Westminster was lieutenant and the 
ensign was Carter. He was employed the whole time in building 
forts at Dorchester Heigiits. 

III. Again enlisted in December, 177C, for three months in 
the last named company, and was stationed during this service at 
Dorchester Point near Boston. 

IV". He also entered the service in July or August, 1777, was 
called out. A detachment of Burgoyne's army had made an in- 
cursion into Vermont and a call was made on Ashburnham for 
volunteers to go to oppose this force. Says he marched with 
about twenty others. They went as far as Charlemont, Massa- 
chusetts, where the}' were ordered to wait further orders and while 
there the company was dismissed. They volunteered for one 
month but were out only about three weeks. 

V. Again enlisted in April, 177.S, for three months in a militia 
company commanded by Cajjtain White of r>ancaster, Massa- 
chusetts, and was stationed on Castle island in Boston harbor. 

VI. Again enlisted in July, 1780, for three months, and 
marched to West Point, New York, and on his arrival there was 
put in a company commanded by Captain Reed. The lieutenant 
was Brigham of Northborough, IMassachusetts. Arnold had com- 
mand there during tl^is time and his plot to surrender to the enemy 
was discovered during this time. 

;■•■ ^r^■'^ 

. U- 

I 1 •; ,V'\ I ! .:: il.' ■■ '■ 

:! I ) 



" ,,•■• ■■ 'ry'f 

I ,:;„.« A 



\' . , 

. ' ■ Will 

, :' , r.-: i 

■ ;;; !.iq 

>;■■"!'' _■!,. 

)■ : -; 1, :=.,')-, 


William "N'^'ard, of As1ibur)ihain, says "tliat lie served with 
the claimant dui'iui;: (lie last eiilistmeiit." 

Joliu Hall, of Ashlnunluim, saj's tliat "he served witli the 
claimant during the fiftli service." 

EzEKiEL SuATTUCK ^NIetcat.i", a son of Jose})h ^[etcalf, 
was born in Gvotoii October 13, 1751). The family removed 
to Ashburnham, 1770. lie died ?ila}'31, 1831. In support 
of the widow's a])plication fur a pension, the following state- 
ments were made at Ashburnlurin, xVugust 20, 183U : 

Eunice (Brooks) Metcalf, widuvr of Ezekiel Sliattuck IMetcalf, 
alleged that her husband served as an orderly sergeant and private 
in the war of the Revolution. She thinks that he served thirteen 
or fourteen uionths in all ; and that one term was in Rhode Island 
and one at Roxbury, and that one of said services was rendered 
under Captain Gates and the other under Captain Jackson of 
Gardner. That later he rendered a service at Bennington at tlic 
time of tlie battle there in Captain Edgell's company, and says she 
was in the field with her father and while there ]\Icteali came to 
the field, being on the way to the north part of Ashburnham, to 
warn some of the soldiers to go to Bennington. Says she was an 
inhabitant of Groton at the time when ^letealf rendered his hrst 
services, but that he resided at Ashburnham from early eliildliood 
to his death. 

Margaret (I\Jotcalf) Townsend, widow of the elder Reuben 
Townseud, September 10, IS.Ll'J, says she was a sisler of Ezekiel 
Shattuck Metcalf, and that he being ouh* sixteen years old served 
six weeks at Roxbury. Onl}' four went from .Vsh'ournham and 
her brother and her father were two of them. She remembers of 
preparing clothing for her brother and that he again entered the 
army for six months and served in Rhode Island. He left liome 
then in the spring and while gone his tent was barned and he h'st 
a part of his clothing and sent home for a new supply which we 
prepared and sent by ni}' brother Sanmel. He was an orderly 
sergeant in tliis service. She savs her father and brother left for 

iM': -■ i'r.t '•; 

:;.;.. GdJ 

Mll/1 I I !<'. /■;!»'' 1' ''-. - , : ' >li /.l*i i 

l.M/- I 


Koxbury on t!ie six weeks' tour in llic nionlli of November or 
December, and tliat licr father was ii sergeant in the company at 
home, but not at ]\oxbury. 

Charles Hastings, of Asliburnham, Marcii 10, 1840, alleges that 
he enlisted frorn Princeton, that he served six weeks in Rhode 
Island with Metcalf and was in another cotnpan}' of the sanie regi- 
ment, and that after the war he purchased a farm near Metcalf 
and they often talked over thoir service. lie had heard Metcalf 
say he v/as an orderly sergeant in that service. 

On iilo with these aflidiivits, lliere is an original order 
wliich vras })ut in as evidence in the case. 

AsunuuNHA^t Jan'j- 15 1782. 
To Mr. Capt. Bexjamix Edgkal, 

Sir please to pa3' to the Barer the State pay for the sarvis I did 
in your company in the year 1778 and this Resept shall be your 

distorg for the same. 


SA:\ruEL ]Mktcalf, a brother of Ezekiel, was born Marcli 
15, 17G1, and died December 25, 1822. The widow alleges 
"that he served in Ca})tain Gates' coni}>any of Asa AYhit- 
conib's regiment at the alarm April 111, 17 75." If so, he 
was only fourteen years of age and his name does not appear 
on the rolls of the conijnuiy. She was Ids second wife and 
was born in 177t>, and })()-siI»ly could ho in eri'or in regard 
to tlie events of the war. In the case are tiled nunut(^s from 
muster rolls which prove service of Samuel Mctctdf in 
Captain Joseph Sargeant's comjiany in Ivhode Island, 1777 ; 
in Captain CoM'din's comptiny to rcenforce the continental 
army in 177t> ; and his name appears on list of six months' 
recruits in 1780. In this case there was also filed tin oriijinal 
order, as follows : 

AsiiiiURNUAJi July 3 178-i. 

Sir: Please to pay to Sewill Moore the whole of my conti- 
nental wages that is due me for three months service done in the 


'-' /'■ 

1< > 

' i. 

■iM :■■' 

•. .>;h .( 

7. .: ^li ■yj.'^> 

■■■■ ■:.:' i,-'»"' 


t^ , ,"> '♦ill ot 


; I fti ^■ 


year 1779 and this shall be your Kuflicicnt discharge for tlic same 
as will appear b}' the Captain's books. 

Attest : Rebecca Metcalf 

Sauah Winchester. 

It wPiS represented in llic preceding cbapter tliat David 
Clark and bis sons, David and Benjamin, were in the service 
much of the time during the war. The family removed from 
Concord to Aslibiirnham previous to 1765. 

David Clai;i:, Jr., under date of April 14, 1818, testifies 
to one term of service. It is kno^vn tliat he A^■as in the aiiny 
at other times. He alleges that he served in the continental 
establishment from ]\Iarch, 1781, to December 2-1, 1783; 
first, in the company' of Ca])tain Ivilby Smith in the wSixth 
Massachusetts IJegiment, ;ind then in the same company in 
the Second ^Nlassacluisetts Ivcgimcnt after the reduction of 
the Sixtli, under Major Piurnham, commandant. Clark's 
original discharge, signed by General Henry Knox, is on 
file, with his a})plication for })ension. In Jid}', 1820, Cia.vk 
made an additional statement hi which he asserts, '' he is a 
farmer in Ashburnham, has a wife Sarah, aged tifty-thrce 
years, whose health is good ; a daughter Grata, aged 
seventeen years, who is feeble; a daugliter Sally, sixteen 
years, who is in good lieahh, and a son (ieorge "Washington, 
aged eight years. These," lie says, "are all the children who 
reside with me." 

David Ciiaffix, a son of Timothy ChafGn, was fourteen 
years of age in 1775 when the family removed from Ilaivard. 
Increasing in years and proljably in stature, he became u 
soldier in 1777. Ho says: 

I. He was drafted in August, 1777, at Ashburnham for three 
months [his father was drafted and he went as a substitute], and 
marched to Bennington, thence to Stillwater and there jobicd tlie 

' -M 

r...-; . ■■■I 

.' J . . : 

A !. 

. 'j-ii:'' ,-. <!;v • .■ ■'.M'.ui r .'■''1 ="{ ■ 


main anin- tvnd remained there uutil Ijiirgoyne surreudcred ; then 
went to Half Moon, tlieuoe to Albany, and vrus thei'c taken sick 
and was discharged by Major Rand and arrived home at Ashburn- 
ham, November 1. 

II. lu June, 1778, was drafted at Ashburnham for six months ; 
marched to Providence, and from there into the Island, tlience to 
Tiverton where he was discliargcd by Captain Edgell and arrived 
home January -1 or 5, 1779. 

HI. In September, 1779, at Asiiburnliam, enlisted for three 
montlis, as a fatigue-man, undoi' Captnin Henry, marched to 
Boston, thence to Castle island and Governor's island, where he 
served out the tinK'. 

IV. In 1780, enlisted at Ashburnliam for six months; marched 
under Captain King to Spi-ingfield and there joined the regiment 
commanded by Colonel liradford and went to "West Point and was 
one of the guard and within ten feet of Major Andre when he was 
executed. Ivemained there until discliarged and reached home the 
last of December, 1 780. 

Daniel Bond, then of Claremont, Xew Hampshire, in July, 
1833, testilies that "he served with Chaffin at Boston in 1779 
and also sa^'s tlvdt at one time Challin went for his father who 
had been drafted." 

ChalEn removed to Claremont, New Hampshire, soon after 
the lievolution and was j-esiding there when his application 
foi- pension vras made. 

Knr.XEZEii ]'>exxett Davis, son of Captain Deliverance 
Davis, was horn in Liilletun February 4, 1701. In his 
infancy tlic family removed to this town. His statement is 
brief but it includes three 3'ears of time and the service 
modestly stated was severe in the .extreme. April 14, 1818, 
he alleges that "he enlisted in the conthiental establishment 
^Slay 20, 1777, and served until May 20, 1780, in tlie 
company of Captain Haflield AVhite in the Fifth oVIassachu- 


.';. U . : I ■ ^' 

.;•)!!.! .".' 


..J/T 13<.'l''i"i. 

/.il '•■ 


1/ il.:?-' 


setts Roginiont, connnniided by Colonol Jxufus Putnam in 
<^enoral Xixon's brigtide." 

His original discharge is on file with his application. 

This certifies that Bennett Davis has served three yenrs in the 
fiftli Massachusetts Kcginient Being the full term of his Inlist- 
ment. Has conducted Himself as a good and faithful soldier and 
is hereby Discharged the Service. 

Given under j\Iy hand at Quarters Soldiers foi tune this 2G day 

of May 1780. 


Capt. ConV^' 

He states in expLaiation tli:d' he was discharged in the 
Ilighhinds in the State of ><'e-\v York and that lie enlisted 
under the name of Bennett Davis, but that his full nauic is 
Ebenezer Bennett Davis. 

Isaac ]\Ikrkiam came to Ashburnhani jjj'cvious to 1774 
and I'cmained a resident of this town until after the Revolu- 
tion. In 1833, then a resident of Xorthumberland, New 
Hampshire, alleges that he enlisted at Ashburnham and 
served tlirce months at Boston harbor, docs not remember 
the date. 

II. Again in 1779 enlisted at Ashburnhcwn for six months in 
Captain Fiske's company in Khode Island, aiid thin]<s the service 
commenced in the spring. When he had served tliree months, his 
brother David came and took his place as his substitute. 

III. Again enlisted at Ashburnham, he thinks in 1780, for six 
months ; did not remember whether he was then in the Continental 
or State Service. He marched to Springfield and then to "West 
Point where he remained about a aionth and tlien marched into 
the Jerseys and was there when Arnold attempted to deliver up 
"West Point and when Major Andre was hanged ; was there about 
a month or more and while there marched through a place called 
Topon or Tampacin and a place called English Neighborhood, also 

U.K. ". 

U '.i 

I . .' ' 

t ; r 1 i : ■ • 
• 1 ■'■ . 

I ifi 

,>• I.: ..,r-iii^. ,U-i 

'1 , .a ■ ..'. <i', /• 

;>(v: ,; ;;. ' .if: l Jc 


a place called Haverstraw. Afterwards lie marched back to \Yest 
Point and was there discharged. In this service he belonged to 
General Patterson's brigade and Colonel Bradford's regiment. 
While he was at West Point two men were sentenced to be and 
were shot, lie, does not recollect for what, and two were condemned 
to run tlie gauntlet for forging discharges from General Poor and 
deserting. He saw the sentence executed. 

David Mekimam, a brother of Isaac jNIerriam, presents 
in 1832 the evidence of several enlistments. He was then 
livino; in Brandon, Vermont. 

I. He alleges that in 177C, then living at Ashbnrnhani, he 
enlisted January 27, and marched to Dorclicster and labored on 
the forts. Tlie enemy killed four men while he was at Dorclicster. 
The next day they picked up one thousand four hundred balls. 
It was in jSIarch, a few days before they e^'acnated the place. 
Was discharged at Dorchester. 

II. In 1777, when they heard of Burgoyne's approach, he 
enlisted for two [one] months in Captain Gates' company of 
Colonel Bellows' regiment. We marched to Bennington but did 
not arrive until a da}' or two after the battle, then marched to 
Furt Pxlward where he joined the Rangers and joined the main 
arm\' at Stillwater. He was again at Fort P>dward, where he was 
discharged, at tlie time Burgoyne surrendered. 

HI. In 1779, he again enlisted for three months in Captain 
Fiske's company and marched to Providence, thence to Bristol, 
and wlien the enemy left Newport thej- marched in. Was sick part 
of the time and was discharged after tiiree montlis' service. [The 
name of Isaac Merriam is borne on the rolls from July, 1779, to 
Januar}', 17S0, which includes the service of the two brothers in 
this campaign.] 

It also ai)pears that the attention of tlie claimant was 
culled to the fact that in the first service at Dorchester his 
name was not borne on the roll of Captain ]Manasseh Sawyers 

S.,./! Jiv^lV/ -h 

Ul iit 

.; T:^!) 

(.,..':i ■/■.i;. ( .-•: .-V; i^I 

^^j uTJfiJl 


coriipanv after the In.^t day of February, and that he made a 
su]>seqnent statement in -wdiich he alleges ; 

Thai he must have been iu service at Dorchester in 1776, later 
thau the last day of February and that he ^vas there in service 
when the British left Dostou ; he saw them when they sailed out 
of the harbor and saw ouf officers enter the other side of the town ; 
this was the seventeenth of Maieh. He might have been assigned 
to some other company but recollected that he was certainly there 
then. He rays that one week before the British left he was a 
part}- of three hundred to go at night and build a fort on Dor- 
chester Point, next to Boston, and that the British discovered 
their object and kept up a constant cannonade all night and four 
men were shot dead by his side. 

" His attorney," he says, "put two services iu 1777, for one 
month each together and called it one service of two months. 
That at the time of the battle of Bennington he was out one 
month and immediately after he was out one month and joined 
the army under General Gates, and that his captain in this service 
was Jonathan Gates." 

Ill support of tlie statement of the claimant in regard to 
his first enlistment, Jonathan Samson and Ebenezer Bennett 
Davis, ''both of Ashburnham, alleged that they served Avith 
and were messmates of David ^Nlerriam at Dorchester in 
1776 in the company of Captain Manasseh Sawyer of 
Colonel Dyke's regiment." 

Joiix WiXTETi, a son of Andrew Winter, a name written 
Windrow in the earl^^ records of the town, was born March 
1, 1756, about two years before the family with other Ger- 
mans settled in Ashburnliam. He died in this town June 
19, 1811. The widow made application for pension, pro- 
ducing copies from nmster rolls to prove that he was in the 
continental army three years, having serAed in Captain Hat- 
field White's company of Colonel Putnam's regiment from 

I mI ;• 

>' H;<i 

, , ,7:>:» ••i;i ) 

.1 ''O',.'? 


) vi V -' ::'V :;;'.-. r ' ; 

r ■■<•:■•;/(;? 

1 . .••..:.'■;; ,■ 


?J;iy 2(), 1777, to Dce-ciiiber 31, 1779, and conlinuonsly in 
the Jviglit ]nf;nitiy until ]\I;iy 2(5, 17^0. T]u' principal 
witness ^liirijarct (Motcalf) Towns<Mi(I allcgt's in iSlC), 
"that slie well recollects when John Winter Avent into the 
arim' as lie was a near neighhor of her iathei- and says that 
he with others who were going into (he service attended ser- 
vice the Sahbath before they left for the army and asked 
prayers in their behalf as was the custom of the thue, and 
that when the >aid John AMiitcr with Timotliy Johnson, 
Ebcnezer liennett Davis and 'j'homas lloss returned from 
their three years' serviee, they again attended church and 
their names were read and thanks returiied for their safe 
retur)! which was customary at that time." 

William AVaud was born in Waltham June 5, 17.37, and 
came to this town when tlfteen years of age with his older 
brother Calel) AVard. A few 3-ears later he purchased land 
in the northeast part of the town where he resided until his 
death. In tlie })receding chapter it appears that lie com- 
pleted seven terms of service during the war. In his appli- 
cations for pension made in 1818, 18o0 and 1833, he does 
not refer to his last enlistment and service undcj- Captain 
Sibley in 1781, but his name appears on the muster roll. 
]\Ir. A^ard and other soldiers in the company of Captain 
Gates in 177 7 aflirm that they were in the regiment of 
Colonel Benjamin Bellows, a Xew Hampshire regiment. It 
appears that this statement of ^h\ Ward was questioned 
and be explains, at leng-th, the circumstances of the case. 
This company from Ashburnham is not found in the rolls of 
Colonel Bellou's' regiment. It is probable that Captain 
Gates' company, Ixdng siuldenly called into the field, was 
not included in any regimental organizatioii but was more 
closely allied to Colonel liellows' regiment than to any 

I'.l ■( 

; . ■" V . ' : ' > .J i 

■ n ■^'• 

,... : . .;■.■ ■■'. ■ . y. <■ . ■ ' -''i i '-.r 

. ■ :■- ■ '■ . ' 1 ■*■ I .•'' ' ; 

, ■: , ;i •/, i ■ I, ■■■ . .:■ , '• ■■•';:;':'-ii 

,■,■;■. ■ ' ■ ■ ■ . ' ;,.! VI > 

, r- • ■;,■•'.■ 

: ! 'UJ j;") 


'/.I , ., I I 

I'^ij J 


I. Mr. Ward alleges that he enlisted May, 177G, for two 
months aud served in a militia coinpauj' commanded by Captain 
Sergeant of Princeton ; marched to Providence, thence to Boston 
Neck, thence back to Providence ulicre ho was discharged ; tliat 
while at Providence lie la1)orcd on a fort at Beacon Hill. 

II. That in July, he thinks, 1777, he volunteered to oppose a 
detachment of the British army that was defeated at Bennington 
and at this time marched from Ashburnham to Charlemont, 
Massachusetts, where he remained about one month. He cannot 
recollect his officers for this tonr of duty. [This service was 
under Captain Jonathan Gates.] 

III. That in September, he thinks, 1777, he again enlisted at 
AsubiUTiham for one month and served in a compan}' of militia 
connnanded by Captain Gates of Ashburnham in the regiment of 
Colonel Bellows of 'VN'alpole, ?New Hampshire ; marched through 
Charlemont, "Williamstown, Massachusetts, and Bennington, 
Vermont, to Fort Edward, New York, where he remained until 
his discharge, and where he was at the time of Burgoyne's 

IV. That in the spring of 1778, April, he thinks, he enlisted 
for one month and served at Prospect Hill, near Boston, that he 
was engaged during this term in guarding prisoners, a part of 
Burgoyne's arm}', who were kept in the barracks at Prospect Hill. 
He did not remember his officers at this time. 

V. That he enlisted about the first of June, 177S, for a service 
of rAnc: months in Cnptain William Warner's company of Colonel 
Mar^::hal^s regiment of General Patterson's brigade of Massachu- 
setts line and was discharged March 7, 1779. 

VI. That in the month of September, 1779, he thinks, he 
again entered the service for three months under the following 
circumstances : Francis Lane and Oliver Willard, two of the 
principal inhabitants of Ashburnham, requested him to enlist and 
as an inducement engaged to clear four acres of new land for him. 
He thinks that they vrere authorized by the town to offer such in- 
ducements. He served the three months at West Point in a corn- 
pan}' commanded by Captain Burt of Harvard and Lieutenant 

! in ;-->iv' 

J :-^i '. 

,.1 :;■•;: ■";'>'f (s 

.( 'I -J :'»I: fj i • .'- I'l ; 

, ■ 7 IM ■ 'j ! i .<-■;•! 


Annanias Uaiu^ Lieutenant Rand was cashiered, he thinks, for 
larceny. They marched from Ashburnham through Springfield 
and Hartford to West Point, I\ew York. 

In tlie last statement explaining liow lie rcnK'niljcrs about 
his service of thirty days at the time of the cajjture of 
Burgoyne in 1777 and how ho remenihers the name of 
Colonel Bellows of Walpole, New Hampshire, "I have 
good reason for remembering the name " which is as 
follows : 

" Ou the night previous to the surrender of Burgoyne, I was on 
guard with a young man, about my own age, in the woods nearly 
half a mile from Fort Edward, at a quarter where it was feared 
the Indians might make an attack. In the coui'so of the night I 
swapt guns with said young man. The next morning he came to 
see me wishing to ' SAvap back,' which I declined and he left me ; 
but fearing I might lose a good bargain I immediately exchanged 
the gun with one Gates, a brother of m}- cajttain. It was not long 
before this young man came with an oOicer who desired me to 
return the gun, and not being pleased with the replies I made, he 
left, and in a few minutes returned with a file of men and ordered 
me to the guard-house. This I remember was early in the after- 
noon and the news of Burgoyne's surrender was received while I 
was thus confined. Our company was imraediatel}- dismissed and 
I was relieved from confinement by order of Major Bridge. The 
officer wlio came M'ith the young man aforesaid, was Colonel Bel- 
lows, and he it was who ordered me to the guard-house. "When 
we arrived at Fort Edward, Captain Gates told us we were to 
serve under New Hampshire officers and that the Colonel's name 
was Bellows. We were quartered in brush huts a short distance 
from Fort Edward, and were allowed to follow our inclinations 
with a few salutary restraints. I cannot remember that we were 
ever paraded or exercised with Colonel Bellows' regiment." 

Charles Hastings of Ashburnham, 1832, corroborates the 
statement of Ward in regard to the service in Captain Sar- 

,• '/ .: '}0 I 

•J .■■•{■ ; ni; ■!;iv,- •• 

:•'* •"'j.d 


,,v Vi'i'.i'jrr.r 

;.f . : -,-,:; '.■■■ i>»^ .,;• 1 C. 

jniio/ Mi] (jji .'/ 

a ill 1 ■.■:.^. ii:.;j.' 



•.font's comjiany in 177G and pays tluit he (Hastings) served 
in the same company. 

Jonutliau Samson of Aslibuniham, 1832, corroborates as 
to tlic last service of William Wai'd and says that he served 
at the same thuc and adds that about twenty men then 
volunteered from Ashlmrnham and served without pay or 
rations, volunteered for one month but served onl}' about 
three weeks. 

Xicholas Whiteman of Ashburnham, 1832, corroborates 
the statement as to service at Fort Edward in 1777 under 
Captain Jonatlian Gates, and says he (AVhiteman) was in 
the same service, and also coiToborates A^"a]■d's last state- 
ment and adds that he thinks about thirty volunteered fi'om 
Ashburnham ; also says that they were paraded before 
Colonel l^ellows and ]\Iajoi' Bridge who furnished them with 
refreshments, said to ha\'e been taken from Ihirgoyne's 
boats as they were attemptuig to pass down the I'iver. 

Edwahd Whit:^[OI{E, 3-oungest son of Joseph AVhitmore, 
was born in Leominster, August 12, 1763. 

Soon after the reml.l^'al of the family to this town he 
entered the Avmy at the age of sixteen years. In the 
following statement he has given an intelligent account of 
his service. . . . 

He says that in September or October, 1779, he enlisted at 
Ashburnham for three months with William Kendall, David 
Chafiin and Abraham Samson [it was probably Nathaniel Kendall 
and David Samson], being the nmnber called for from Ashburn- 
ham. He marched directly to Boston Avith written instructions 
from his captain or from the selectmen (he could not say which), 
to go to the State House in Boston ; when they arrived there they 
were ordered to Castle island ; tlicre remained a short time, then 
went to Governor's island in the harbor of Boston, there en)ployed 
in repairing the fort on Castle William and clearing the trenches 

,:( : !.'i '.■' i::' 

i(.t^.■<--■ !■ 

... • r^ 

)'->1r,')'! f ■-'' 

/. ;> 'J I ii! 


&t Governor's island uml^T tlie coniinniid of Captain ^Yilson, Tlie 
eugincor's name who had charge of the vrorks was Burlmnks. He 
next enlisted for six nioiiths with six others, David Chafiin, Samuel 
Metcalf, Isaac Merriam, Jacob Eodiman, Simon Eodiman and 
Elijah Mason, in the inonth of June, 17S0, marched from Ashburn- 
han^ to Leicester ; there mustered, from thence to Springfield ; again 
mustered and put under command of one Captain I'arker ; from 
thence to "West Point ; tl^ere stationed a few days and then divided 
and sent to the scvei'al companies in which they were to serve. 
He was put into Captain King's company, Colonel Bradford and 
Lieutenant-Colonel Bassett, Fourtccnlh Massachusetts Regiment, 
Major Smith, General Patterson's l)rigade. Soon after he was 
placed under Captain King, the troops were called for to march to 
"White Plains, cross from White Plains to Robinson's Farm ; there 
received counter-orders, and from thence to Yerplank's Point, 
there one or two days, and from there across ]ving's Ferry to 
Orangetown, he thinks; from there to Totoway, Tunic Plains, 
Peramus and other places, and in the month, of October or 
November marched to a place called New "Windsor, above "\Yest 
Point ; there employed in taking care of what was called the Park, 
military stores and arms ; tl)ore about one month and then joined 
his regiment at the Highlands ; remained there about one week 
and then received his discharge. He well recollects Arnold's 
leaving West Point. Saw Major Andie executed, wliich he thinks 

took place at l*aramns. 

• io ■-•■1 ..■■> ■ ; ■ 

.» Isaac Whitmore of Ashburnliam, a brother of Edward 
Whitniorc, says that Edward loft their father's family in 
June, 1780, to join the continental army, and that about the 
first of January, ITS], "I went from home for tlie purpose 
of assisting my In-cjihor on his return to my fatlior's and met 
him at Simsbui'y, Connecticut, as near as I can recollect." 

Reubex JiiCE was born in Ivancaster, now Boylston, 
August 10, IT.")?. lie served one term in tlie army after 
his removal to tin's town in IT.'SO. 

]• -•• 

. : '. / 

■ i'.'-l- 

'-;■> 111 ..lO 
1 : ri)y.:. 

'i : J' 

>.■ 0'-. ■ -'Vijdi 

.: • ..',M'.>T 

>i ji .) - ■'. ■':':[ :':MI : ■-' ItU /'' 

• , ... . ... -! -V': -;!]';. ./I'U) 

, 1;;::.) I )!' 


I. Ho alleges he vras diafted at Lancaster iu November or 
Doccmber, 1770, for tlu\'c months and sei'ved in the eompraiy of 
Captain Enger of Sterling. They proceeded to Bound I'rook, 
New Jersey, by way of Worcester, Daubury and Morristowu, 
crossing the river at King's Fei-ry. That their duty was to protect 
the i)erson and property of the inhalntants from plunder and insult 
by detachnients from the British army which lay near b}'. They 
also had about a dozen prisoners of war under guard. 

n. In September, 177 7, again enlisted in the militia company 
of Caiitain Boynton of ^Vinchcndou, where he then resided, for 
the term of one month. They marched to Saratoga by way of 
Northfield and Bennington, then went up the river to Fort 
Edward, then down the river a few miles. This last move was 
near the time of Burgoyne's surrender. He saw the arms of the 
enemy stacked on the field after the}' had marched off and saw a 
party of Canadians start for Canada after the surrender. 

III. In July, 1780, again enlisted iu a militia com|)an3' of 
Captain Boutelle of Leominster, of Colonel Rand's regiment. 
Marched to West Point where he remained during this term of 
three months' service. During this service, Arnold attempted to 
betray the American army. 

Eliakiin Kice of Ilariland, Vermont, a brothci' of Tvcuben 
Hicc. testifies that " both vrere in the sen'ice at abont the 
same time but not in tlie s;une company." 

Tliomas Gibson of Ashburnham testifies to service with 
Keubeu liice at AVest Point in Caiitain ]5outelle's com})any. 

Dii. x\.BKAiiA>[ Lowe gives an intelligent outline of his 
s"erviee under date of October 16, 1832. 

I. lie alleges that about December 1, 1775, he entered service 
as a volunteer in the militia company of Captain William Pope, 
the lieutetiant being Thomas Hartwell, he thinks. He enlisted 
from Lunenburg and marched to Dorchester and remained in that 
service for two months, although the enlistment was for six weeks 


. "If 

1 }■■■ ••M" '^iii ^^^■ * ■•-.:'' ■ l^r '.;(l,!(lOi 

r . 


ir. He enlisted about Jul}' 1, 177G, for five months, from 
Lunenburg in militia company of Captain Jabez Keep of Harvard. 
He marched to Xew Ilaviu, wont thcuce bj' water to Ncvr York 
city ; was there when the city was taken by the British under eoui- 
luand of General Fellows. He ^'as on guard near the Bov.ery on 
the morning when the British landed above there and took pos- 
session of the city. General Putnom came to their assistance and 
took tliem away. He was discharged about December 1, 177C. 

in. In summer of 1777, it being reported that the Hessian 
troops were marching on Bennington, he volunteered under Daniel 
or David Carlisle of Lunenburg. They marched to Charlemont, 
where the}- heard of the battle of Bennington and went no farther. 
After a service of about a month, he returned home. 

JoSEPii Jkw'ktt in his ai)pIication for pension only asserts 
one enlistment and that in concise terms. lie savs that 
vvliile residing in Bolton he enlisted in the month of May or 
Jmie, 1778, in Captain John Dnir\''s company of Colonel 
Woods' regiment. lie })roceeded to White T*lains witli a 
small party and there joined his ciinpany ; was on dnt\' at 
Fishkill and AVhite Plains and emjdoyed during the winter 
in building l)aiT:icks and drawing timber, lie was dis- 
missed at Peekskill after lie had completed his tour of eight 

ATrer his dea<]i the widow m;ide a rer.ewed application for 
pension and said her husband did not state all of In's service 
wlien he applied for pension. At that time she presented 
proof of other service which is staled in a former paragraph. 

REUJiEX TowxsEXO ^vas born in Shrewsbury xVugust 23, 
1758, where lie continued to reside until he removed to this 
town about 1780. 

I. He alleges that in June or July, 1776, he enlisted in Cap- 
tain Newton's company of Colonel Smith's regiment, for five 
months, and was discharged at Philips Manor, New York, in 
December, 1776, or January, 1777. 

• :jf't;i 

■,\\ li: /. >: / 


•i ,; ;1, i'i VM J.V. ■ l;' -■■ '-.' "I'l 'I' 

,'. .A .,:.• ,...., •,,,•; ^ '.■■'■ 



IT. In ] 777, he enlisted iu Captain William Gates' company 
of Colonel Bigelow's regiraeut — the Fifteenth Massachusetts — 
for eight months, and v>'as discharged at Valley Forge Tiith an 
allowance for pay for nine months. 

Lieutenant Joseph Pierce certifies that lie enlisted Reuben 
Townscnd about the first of May, 1777, in the continental 
service for the term of ciglit months and that he was allowed 
one moiith's extra p;iy for helping build the barracks at 
Valley' Forg-c and that after discharge the said Townsend 
had to march nearly four hundred miles before he reached 
his home. ,1 

Lemuel Stimsox was born in "\\"'eston, July U, 1758, 
and removed to this town in 1780. In his application for 
pension dated October 10, 1832, — 

He alleges that he enlisted while residing in Weston, in May, 
177a, for eight months, in the company of Nathan Fnller of New- 
ton, in Colonel Gardner's regiment; tliat he was stationed at 
Cambridge during the entire service, and was engaged in the 
battle of Bunker Ilili, and that Colonel Gardner was wounded 
iu said bottle rrud died the third day after, and Colonel Bond of 
Watertown succeeded Colonel Gardner. >. r : 1 ,. 

II. He enlisted again in June or July, 1776, for five months, in 
the company of Captain Cluirles Miles of C'oncord, in Colonel 
Reed's regiment, and raarch(^l to Tieonderoga, by way of Fitch- 
burg, Winchendon, Keene, Charlestown (No. 4) and Rutland; 
was stationed at Ticonderoga nearly all of the service, often era- 
ployed in transporting wood across the lake for the use of the 
army, and was discharged at Albany in November, was alsa 
residing at Weston at time of last service. 

JoxAS Rice, a son of Zcbulon Rice and a brother of 
Reuben and Eliakim Rice, was born in Lancaster, now 
Boylston, February IG, 1754. At the time of his first ser- 
vice he was residing iu Salem and the subsequent service 



■>■ f<\:-yt '::i\i 

■n,;': -,;:r, 

, \ : •; .'TTi /^j: ., ., f i.: ,- ,.., ],..- .r;;.-"^ Ol[ 

;i' !:<;>lt;')Oi\ U> \i " j; '. ..i!'.! -•'7 


was i)erforinc'd Avbilc lie ^vas a rc-^idcnt of Storling. lie 
removed to this toMii, 1779. 

J. He alleges that lie enlisted April J9, 1775, in a company of 
volunteers, at Salem, commanded hy Captain Derby and marched 
to Cambridge. After a week of service he enlisted at Cambridge 
for eight months in the compan}- of Captiun Juhn Bachelor of 
Colonel Bridge's regiment. ['J^'his company wus engaged in tlie 
battle of Bunker Hill.] He was stationed during all of this ser- 
vice on Cambridge common at the house of one Hastings ; that he 
was employed under General Putnam in an attempt to construct a 
fort on Lechmere Point, from which they were driven by British 

II. He again enlisted in the summer of 177G, for five months 
in militia company of Captain Samuel Sawyer. Marched from 
Sterling through ^^'orcester, Hartford and New Haven to New 
York city ; remained a few days in New York and then moved up 
the Hudson about two miles ; was on duty at Fort Prescot when 
the city of New York was given up to the British. He then 
moved up to Harlem Heights where he remained through the rest 
of this service. 

III. He again enlisted about July 1, 1777, for six months in 
militia company of Captain Francis Willson of Holden, Colonel 
Ivej'cs' regiment. He marched to Leicester, thence to Providence, 
thence to a place about two miles south of Greenwich, thence 
through "Warren to Tiverton and thence back to Providence. 
During this term of service he v/ent to Point Judith to assist in 
collecting boats to be used in an attack on Newport. In sailing 
around the point many of tlic boats were destroyed, eight men 
drowned and the contemplated attack was abandoned. 

Eliakim Rico, brother of Jonas, of Ilavtland, Ycnnont, 
but formerly of Salem, testifies that he .served with his 
brother in the first service named commencing April 19, 

.j.. ,.•:•>■•/ V .i.l r, 

ii]i-L' .■■^ •■i'l ''»'.' '' 

.:,,.,.^ ;':, • <':■■: y.:--r'i: ■:■'■■■ 

' ! ■ .' I . 

,-.i.<l il. 1" -Uh.:-. i . ■I/)' ll-t; 

:(.■.•.■: I 

I-,, l^v .,;ii 


Jaeez and Oi.ivku Mauiile were twins niicl their scrvico 
in the firniy i-sirtook of the close alliance of their lives. 
They were hoiii in Stow September 15, 1755, and removed 
to Ashburnhani 1780. 

I. Jabcz Marble alleges that in the fall after the British left 
Boston ho went to Roxbury and look the place of his brother as a 
private soldier in Captain Caleb Brooks' company of Colonel 
Benjamin Dyke's regiment, and served a tour of three months at 
Boston and was verball}' discharged on the seventh of March, 

II. In jNIay, 1777, he enlisted for two months in Captain John 
Gleason's companj'. Marched from Stov/ to Providence where he 
was stationed until abont seventeen days before his time was out, 
when his compan}" and Captain Ilodgman's marched to Greenwich 
for the defence of the coast ; remained there about two weeks and 
then returned to Providence where he was discharged. 

HI. He again enlisted at Stow in August, 1780, in compau}- 
of Captain Moses Brintnall of Sudbur}^, Colonel Howe's regiment. 
He went to Bhode Island and was stationed the entire three 
months at Butt's Hill and was employed on fatigue duty buikVmg 
a fort. 

In a subsequent statement explaining his service as sub- 
stitute for his brother he says that his brother's name was 
Oli'/ev ]\Iarble ; they were twins and that about two months 
prior to the end of Oliver's term of service his brother 
became sick and he took his place for the balance of the 
term and always answered to bis brother Oliver's name 
when it was called. 

Thomas Ginsox was born in Lunenburg, uoav Fitcliburg, 
1753, and resided there until the close of the war. After a 
temporary residence in Ashl)v he removed to this town, }n"e- 
vious to 1787. 

I. He alleges that he enlisted in the spring of 1775, for five 
months in Captain Stearns' militia company in Colonel Doolittle's 

'■. si vnjir: .'.'■: ^'^ ": 

J.': ; I? ' ' 

..;):■:■. !:jr u ill 

':i \.\/ .-, ,1-- ■r.y -i .:! i':-"?-^ '"-••'''■:. •■':^ 

i«l ; '•'; ••!!'! • J 


regiment. He lived at Fitcliburg and marched tlience to Winter 
Hill near Chai'lestown where he remained during the term of 
service. Theni were also continental troops at Winter Hill. 

11. lie again enlisted in September, 177G, at Fitchbiirg for 
two months in Captain Jonathan Woods' militia company of 
Colonel Converse's regiment. He marched to Dobb's Ferry, near 
West Point, passing through New Haven. ]\Iade several marches 
from Dobb's Ferry, one to Fairlield, Connecticut, towards New 
York city, etc. There were continental troops at Dobb's Ferry a 
part of the time while he was there. He remembers that on one 
occasion tliey brought a ficld-picee to bear upon a vessel at anchor 
off Dobb's Ferry and drove her down the river. 

HI. Again in July, 1780, he enlisted at Fitchburg for tiiree 
months in the militia company of Captain Boutelle of Leominster 
of Colonel Rand's regimvut. Marched through Worcester, 
Hartford and Fairlield to West Point. Arnold's treachery was 
discovered during this term of service, which enables him to fix 
the year as 1780. He saw Washington at West Point shortlj' 
after Arnold's treason was made known, that he was on guard 
when Washington rode up. 

IV. In September, 1777, he thinks, he enlisted and served 
thirty days at the taking of Burgoyne in the militia company of 
Captain Tiiurlow of Fitchburg ; was posted first at BatterskiU and 
after at Fort Edward to prevent the British crossing the Hudson. 

V. In April or ]May, the year he does not recollect, but thinks 
it was towards the close of the war, he enlisted for three months 
in the militia con^pany of Cajilain Joshua IMartiu of Lunenburg 
and served at Casllo William in Boston harbor, in the regiment of 
Colonel Jones. There were continental troops on the island who 
were quartered in the fort and militia were outside in barracks. 

Keubcn ]^ico of Ashbuniham testifies that he served with 
Thomas Gibson from July, 17^0, in Captain Boutelle's com- 

Ebenezer AVallis of Ashbuniham testifies tliat he served 
with Thomas Gibson in the tour from September, 17bO, at 
West Point. 


T ■'.■■[ ■•: c) ". <• 

, ,,.„ .^_,: ',-r ■■' ,, . .^ ■■:■: ....j.ic") 

1. ..1. . ,;■ '■■>:^>.i '^'i 'li'-fiT 



CiiAKLES Hastings was born in Pi'inccton, Xovember 2(), 
1760, and removed to this town, 17N3. While a resident of 
Princeton, he entered the army live times. Scptend^er G, 
1832, he gave the following intelligent account of his 
ser^-ice : 

I. He alleges that he enlisted in May, 177G, for two nionlhs 
in a rnilltia com})aDy commanded hy Captain Sargeant of Princeton 
in the regiment of Colonel Josiah Whitney. He marched to 
Leicester, thence to Providence, thence to Greenwich, Rhode 
Island, thence to Boston Xcck, and thence back to Providence. 

II. He again enlisted at Leicester in June, 1777, for six 
months in Captain Willson's company of Colonel Keyes' regiment. 
He marched to Providence, thence to Greenwich, he thinks, thence 
to Bissell's mill, about two miles from Providence, and thence 
back to Providence. That during these two terms, there \fere 
only a few troops in Rhode Island and they were employed in 
guarding the coast. 

ni. lie again enlisted about April 1, 1778, in militia company 
of Captain Nathan Harrington. Marched to Roxbury and thence 
to Watertown where they were employed in guarding a part of the 
prisoners from Burgoyne's army. Marched from \Yatertown with 
prisoners to Rutland, where the^-remained guarding said prisoners 
to July, 1778, when he vras discharged. Tlie guard was com- 
manded by Majo} Reuben Ixcecl. 

IV. He again immediatch" ciillsted Jul}', 1778, for six months, 
in the militia company of Captain Belknap of Colonel Wade's 
regiment. Marched to Providence, thence to Obdike Newtown, 
or a place of some similar name ; thence to Newport where they 
joined a continental brigade. Engaged in the battle of Newport 
in October, 1778, and retired from there to Tiverton, thence to 
Obdike Newtown and thence to Providence. 

V. He again enlisted about July 1, 1780, for six months for 
service in continental army. He was ordered to Springfield aud 
then marched to West Point and joined a company in Colonel 

t li 


.•; .ill 

'I •■or; .'1 

•■•: ' ■lifiiU OlU til 

.;> i:i 


Greaton's ro^j,iinent of Geiicral Nixon's brigade. Soon flftor was 
transferred to the Light Infautr}' uudcr General Lafayette, Cap- 
tain Haskell's coiupauy and Colonel Giminatt's regiment with 
wliieh he continued to tlie fail of 1780, when he returned to his 
former conijniny from wliich he was discharged. 

AVilliaiii ^Vard testifies to service with Cliurles Hastings 
from ^lay, ]77G, in Captain Sai'gent's com[)any. 

Jonas Iviee of Asblmrnliam testilics to scr\ice with Charles 
Hastinirs in Captain Willson's couj[)any from June, 1777. 
Savs tliat while at Providence they were (quartered in the 

Josf:pji Giniis, son of .loseph and Ilaniiah (Howe) Gibbs, 
was born Octol:>er 12, 17,30. During the Kevohition, he 
resided in Princeton and removed to tliis town previous to 
1780. Connuencing in May, 1775, he served eight mouths 
in the siege of Boston in the company of Captain Adam 
Wheeler in Colonel Doolittle's regiment. Seven companies 
of Colonid Doolittle's regiment, including the comptiuy of 
Gaptain AMieeler, were engaged in the battle of Bunker Hill, 
and of the regiment nine were wound(;d. The name of 
Joseph Gibl)S, of Princeton, is borne on the rolls of those 
who served eight months in the siege of IVjston. ^Nlany in 
this service reenlisted and served under "Washington at Xew 
York, but the date of his return to Princ»'ton does not appear. 
In July, 1780, he enlisted for three mouths in the company 
of Captain Ephraim Stearns in Colonel John Rand's regiment. 
This service was at West Point and King's Ferry and a part 
of the time under the iuuuediatc conunand of Washington. 
In the same service was Jonathan Samson, Andrew Winter, 
Jr., Thonuis CTibson, Ebcnezer Wallis and Reuben Rice, who 
were subsequently his neighbors in Ashburnham. 

David Wallis was born in Lunenburg October 1.5, 1700. 
He removed to this town about 1795, ^here he resided until 
his death. 

.M : ■•• ;.■'.; ■/ (J 


) 'to 

: .; ' ;:V' ■ ■';::' !-./•:••■. Imhi J.-J^^i;;!.. ■■. ••,>;;:•' 
■...■ ,:■>; . .,ii':M ■•' ;;;.'• •( ^:.! ■'>: :}]■■,< ■ i^i J>J'I 



I. lie alleges that iu Septonber, 1777, he enlisted iu a com- 
pany of militia under Captain Bellows and he thinks Colonel 
Ijellows of Walpole, Xew Hainpshiie, -.vas in command of the 
regiment. He enlisted for one month, marched to Fort Edward 
via Northfield and Bennington and was thei-e when Burgoyne 

II. In April, 1778, he enlisted at Lunenburg in militia coni- 
pau}^ of Captain Mericlc of frincoton of Colonel Stearns' regi- 
ment for three months. IMarchcd to Dorchester and then to 
Castle William iu Boston harbor. There were two companies of 
militia and one of continental artillery on the island. 

III. In April, 1779, he enlisted at Lunenburg for three 
mouths iu Captain Joshua Martin's company of Colonel' 
regiment and served at Castle A\^illiam. They were employed in 
building foi'tifications. During this service the artillery company 
was ordered to Khode Island for a few days. He was ordered 
several times to Governor's island. 

Nicholas Whitcjuaii of Ashbunibam tcstitles that lie served 
with David Wallis, on Castle island from April, 1778. 

Thomas Gibson of Ashburnham testifies to service with 
David AValli.-' in Captain Martin's compan}- iu 1779 at Castle 

Cvi^us FAiHUAyivS was born iu Harvard, '^Liy 20, 1752, 
and removed to Ashburnlinm, 1788, where he died at the 
advanced age of one hun^'aed years, June 18, 1852. He 
gives an account of three terms of service while residing in 
Harvard. ^ . 

I. He alleges that on April 19, 1775, then residing in Harvard, 
he volunteered to oppose the British then marching on Concord. 
He proceeded to Concord and thence to Cambridge. After 
reraainiug there about a week enlisted as a drummer for eight 
months in the Massachusetts militia company of Captain Jonatlum 
Davis in Colonel Asa Whitcomb's regiment and served out full 


K; (.■ --{'U'} 


^.'■;^:'I c ', 


■' I'- U r- f 

•;■•.!. Ill MflK' I'"' r-i; b 

■..■..R .1 

■d'jt I hiv.i ■■ ■:■ -tlyj , 

; f! ;r-;,.t^:;K .'i'i /.A 


term. He wa? first quartered on Cambridge river about <i mile 
from the college and afterward on Prospect Hill. 

II. In the month of September, 177G, he again enlisted at 
Harvard for two months as a drummer in the militia company of 
Captain Hill of Colonel Converse's regiment. Marched via Worces- 
ter, New Haven, Fairfield and White Plains to Dobb's Ferry, 
where he remained until his time was out. He says he served as 
•drum-major during this term. The regiment was employed in 
transporting supplies up tlie river. 

III. In the mouth of September, 1777, when Burgoyne was 
advancing he enlisted at Harvard for one month. Marched to 
Petersham where his company was organized and he chosen 
•corporal in militia company of Captain Hill, he thought. He 
marched to Fort Edward passing through Bennington ; remained 
ill service entire term of his enlistment. 

Joshua Fletciier was l»orn in Wcstford February 22, 
1760, and removed to this town about 1810. He ^vas a 
resident of Westford during the following service : 

I. He alleges that he first entered service for seven months 
iu Captain Abisha Brown's company of Colonel Whitney's regi- 
ment of Massachusetts forces and served at Nantasket island in 
the harbor of Boston to the end of his term. 

II. He next served at Boston three months under Captain 
John IMinot. 

III. He next entered the army on the continental establish- 
ment, February, 1777, for three years and was mustered at 
Boston and proceeded in Captain Philip Thomas' company of 
Colonel Marshall's regiment of Massachusetts line to Ticonderoga 
iind was at Fort Miller, Saratoga, Valley Forge and White Plains. 
He served one year and eight months vrhen he was taken sick 
with a fever and a sore on his breast and was furloughed until he 
should recover. He did not recover until after the close of the 
war and was never able to rejoin the army. The following is a 
copy of the leave granted. 

(,,'.■ .1 


: oK .1 


f'l ji'J ■'':■ 


I ,«• 

- I'JB 


Camp at Wiiitk Plains, August 29, 1778. 
His excellency approves that Joshua Fletcher, soldier in Col. 
Thomas Mfirshall's rcglraent of Massachusetts Bay State shall 
have leave of absence until the recovery of his health and spirits 
and then to return to his duty. 

The Bakox de Kalb 
M. G'. 

Joseph Mej;t:iam avjis born in "W'ol)!!™ February 3. 17(53, 
and lived in Lexington and ])cdford during the war. It 
ap])ea)'s that lie removed from Bedford to Asbburnham 1781, 
and remained several years when lie removed to Teinpleton 
and subseqncntly retui'ned to Ashl)urnbam. 

I. He alleges that in the fall of 1779 he enlisted for two 
months in company of Captain Samuel Heald of Carlisle in 
Colonel John Jacob's regiment. He marched to Providence 
■where they encamped about three ■weeks and then marched to 
Tiverton and ■when the British left Khode Island the}' went over 
Howland's Ferry to Butt's Hill ■where he remained until dis- 
charged in November, 1779. 

II. In 1780 he enlisted for six months in Lieutenant-Colonel 
Thompson's company as it v/as called, but it was commanded by 
Ensign Thaj'er, in Colonel Marshall's regiment — the Tenth Massa- 
chusetts. He joined the regiuicnt at West Point wlicre they were 
encamped for i!oarly three weeks, when he was detached with 
several others to King's Forjy and put under the orders of 
Colonel Brewer and employed iu conveying troops and baggage 
over the river, after which he joined his regiment at Verplank's 
Point and proceeded with his regiment to New Jersey and after 
serving out his six months was discharged at West Point in 
January, 1781. 

III. In 1781 the town of Bedford hired him to go into the 

continental service for three montlis. He was mustered in, he 

thinks, by Colonel Brown of Tewksbury and then proceeded to 

New York State and joined the army at Gallows Hill. He was 


).'i ^i/ii oi !!•)!■: rf 


* ;; 

, .-,( 

Si ,.J 

;.' >■! .1 no).bOri iu I. , '■ ,' ■■.!; l-ri .'i 

1 ..J .1 !-/..■!<,•, 

,/ YM 

210 IlIS'l'OiJY OF ASlinLRNflAM. 

irnmcdia' eh' put under orders of Colonel Procter, a militia ofilcer, 
and went about seven miles to one Captain Knapp's farm to 
guard cattle, where be remained about three weeks when he 
returned to camp and was taken by I\[ajor Keyes, wlio was a 
deputy-quartcrniastcr-general in care of forage, as his waiter. He 
was stationed at Peekskill and his quarters were near General 
Hcatlr s. lie remained on this duty during the ren)ai)tder of his 

Some of the revolutionary sohllers to wliom ])cnsions were 
granted Inid died before tlie dale of any com[)letc li'^t that lias 
been discovered. la 1840 there were remaining in this town 
tlilrtecii revolutionary soldiers and three widows of soldiers 
who were i)cnsioned. 

Cyi'us Fairbanks survived his vcneral)le associates. 

Lemuel Stimson died September 22, 1840 

Charlotte Lowe, widow of Dr. Lowe, " May 5, 1811 

Thomas Gibson " June 11, 1841 

David Clark " July 5, 1841 

Joshua Fletcher " April 14, 1S4.> 

Jabez Marble " December 23, 1843 

Joseph Jeuett " May 3, 1847 

Zilpah Rice, widow of Jonas Kice, " July 22, 1847 

John Bowman " October 22, 1847 

William Ward " Decembers, 1847 

Jonatlian Samson " December 9, 1847 

Margaret Townsend, widow of Reuben 

Townsend, " March 20, 1848 

Isaac Whitmore " Slay 2, 1848 

Joseph INIerriam " April 4, 1840 

Charles Hastings ' •' November 28, 1850 

Cyrus Fairbanks " June 18, 1852 

, • i'rJ ■! .:';'}V 

r '-'A V> v/.:,b; 

. iMT. '' I!J 








At the close of the Ticvolution the situation of ilie country 
Avas perilous and critical. The diiijculiies of a public nature 
"vverc changed in character by the close of the Avar but "svere 
not removed and peace broufrht no immediate relief to the 
financial difficulties which had attended the prosecution of 
the war. The resources of the State were exhausted while 
the towns were groaning under the l;>urden of debt. In the 
exti'emity of the hour, the most oppressive systems of taxa- 
tion Were adopted, and if strenuous measures were demanded 
b}' the necessities of the tiujos they did not put money in the 
purse of the tax-])a3'cr. In contimied efforts to pay the taxes 
incident to the times, individuals liad suffered their lial.uHties 
to accumulate and creditors, seizing upon the ageiicy of new 
laws and reestablished courts, resoiled to legal process in the 
collection of debts. The tax collector had scarcely drained 
the scanty income of the farm before the sherifV armed willi 
executions demanded the remaining cow and frequently the 
homestead. For a season the wisdom of .statesmen and a 

multitude of laws brought no relief. 


'-■\-):.,^'y\'.'' '-/;(■>'■ ,>-:tO ■".:■''' ' •>■>'' 

W'Xi^ I. ■ •' 

■f i:i V' 

■ ill /I,: 'I ■_•]•. '; '-ii-' ■ ': '>■ 
; ,; ;! :■■[ . ■/■■ ■.-."; 'ii»; i"' - 

yj-i :::; -:';/:j 

.^,. , '■.,.. i >(:'M 

,•',', . . !.■,'■■■,■;)' '..1 


During- the contiiiuimco of tlio v;ar, ^vithollt uinturcd forms 
of government or systems of hnvs, tiio peo])le lirid been 
united and held together in a connnon purpose. AVilh free- 
dom eame new responsibilities and gi-ave embarrassments. 
Tlic government was new and unfaniDiai- to the peoj/le, and 
at first tljey came in contact wilh the liarslier and more 
exacting features of tlie laws. 'J'o ijicm tlie new laws were 
little more than a code for the colleetioii of debts and the 
courts were an agency for the o])pression of the poor. Feel- 
ing the Aveight of tlieir burdens and not apprehendiiig theii' 
cause, the people became dissatisiied witli their government 
and the otiicers chosen to administer it. The murmur of 
discontent Avas heard on ever3^ hand, but the unsatisfactory 
state of pulilic aflairs and the uneei'tainty of the future -were 
only shado^^^s in the deeper gloom of the poverty and debt in 
their homes. The people had l)ravely endured extreme 
hardships and now victorious in tlie field they were sadly 
disappointed with tlie earl}^ fruits of a freedom which had 
been secured by their service and sari'itice. For a season the 
destiny of the repul)lic was evenly bahinced between revolt 
inviting anarchy and liberty restrained by law. In common 
with tlie people at large the inhalnlants of this town shared 
in thf' gloom and bui-dens of the hour, Imt tlirouo-h discour- 
agement they did not lose faith in the Ihial success of the 
government or countenan-'c any disorderly conduct. The 
revolt under the leadershij) of Sliays, Day and Shatiuck was 
encouraged by the active and ojxni support of many in this 
vicinity, but there is no evidence tliat any citizen of this town 
was ever found within the ranks of 0})en revolt. 

The theatre of Shays' rebellion -was wholly outside of 
Ashburnham. A complete histoiy of that ill-advised and 
irrational revolt would contain little, if any, reference to the 
people or the sentiment of this town. The compliment is 

.I'i' 'thiO-jfi ,; ( i ■'■' lirOi 

) ; V 

^^f> ,;,; Y b 

j;>i . , a:\{nwA 

il.:),."|-. '-iF ■!' 

'yy'ArW-yWAnyi MO t 

tf .... 

-. r;f.rr. " 



almost reciprocal, and these pages would contain no vei'er- 
ence to the riotous proceedings if it could be sboAvn tli;it the 
inhabitants of Ashxluirnhani, surrounded Ity the same diffi- 
culties and suli'ering tlie same hardshi})S, did not give any 
expression of symiiatliy to the movement, or utter any com- 
plaints against the heavy burdens ^vhicll oppressed the 
Commonwealth. It is reasonal)ly certain that none from 
this town joined the revolt. And wln'lc there is no })roof 
that any considei-able })ortion of the inhabitants were in 
sympathy "with it, there is evidence tliat they seriously 
considered the state of existing aH'airs. Yet their voice was 
not rai.ed until the re])ellion was crushed and the govern- 
ment left at liberty to answer their complaint. On the 
fourteenth of ^Nlarch, 17S7, a full month after, the only 
remaining remnant of the revolt was dispersed, at Petersliam, 
the town met in a legal meeting. 

To see if the town ■uill take ai]y method to become acquiiiuted 
with the minds of our follow citizens in this eommonwealtii con- 
cerniug the choice of our oflleers to he employed iu governracnt 
the present year or pass any vote or votes that the town shall 
think proper under said article. 

To see if it is any mind of the town that there is any matter of 
grievance worthy of notice which we sutler by reason of the 
present administration of government, and if it is the minds of 
the town that diere is maitor of grievance to see what method the 
town will take for redress of said grievance. 

Voted to send a man to Worcester to meet other towns and 
chose IM"' Jacob Willard. 

It was moved to see if it was the mind of the town that there is 
matter of grievance that the people labor under and it passed in 
the affirmative. 

The town having chosen Jacob Willard to represent thcni 
at the approaching session of the Gcjieral Court, met again 


■_ ■,■:. . .•■•r=iu;i 

', ./ir.'rr'/i 

•: ^. : .:-.!:..!) 

,, ., ; •:' ,..- oT 

, . :-;:if:! j'li .'L'ivf 

• . : Ml!' y-rfi'^O 

-■. I'l 'Jifl 

:. .; ■■,, .-.uijlJ 

; ;:1 :i ''i ft'X 


in May to give Ihoir represoutativo instruction, whorcupon 
it was ordered tlnit lie bo instructed : 

1" To liavc the general court moved out of 15ostou. 

2'^ To Endeavor that the Courts of Common Pleas be 

3'^ To Endeavor that the salary men be lowered. 

4"^ To prevent if possible a i)aper currency. 

S"" To continue the Tender Act for another 3'ear. 

6'-' To Endeavor that a free pardon be held out to all those 
persons that have taken up arms against the government. 

These instructions are simply a l)ricf statement of the 
most prominent measures that were being advanced by 
many as a remedy for existing grievances. And while the 
Lcgishiture was' not removed from Boston, the salary of one 
officer, the governor, was reduced and a bill providing' for 
a new emission of paper money was ciefeated. On the last 
of these instructions the town again took action at the next 
meeting. "Chose Jacob Willard, Joshua Holden and 
Captain Daniel Putnam to draft a petition requesting the 
governor and council to further reprieve or pardon Captain 
Job Shattuck and others n^iw imder sentence of death and 
that the petitiori be signed by the inhaliitants individually." 
There were fourlecn persiins under sentence of death and 
among them Job Shattu<'k who was ca})iured in the early 
progress of the revolt at his home in Groton. 

In all of these proceedings of the town tliere is no exhibit 
of temper nor any apparent failure of candid consideration. 
The instructions to their representative are moderate and 
from their standijoint not unreasonable, and their request 
for an amelioration of the sentence of Shattuck and others 
might have been attended with censure of their riotous 
conduct. At all events the persons under sentence were 

I 'U,; >:■!'!: •t'v.'^i 

' \- 

1 r 

■V lit.'; 

, ,'ri-. 

: , ,■■ ■ Vi. ■■■■: ■■'/,,..;; ■ ^^■■! ^>''- 

:| 1 


pardoned by those who hud h'.ss reason for the exercise (>t' 

In the records for tlie yeai' 1787 and again the following 
yea]' is entered at length the formal oatli of allegiance i)rc-- 
scribed in the Constitution of the State and to it is sub- 
scribed tlic names of the selectmen, assessors, treasurer and 
constables of e:ich }-ear. The town that took this precaution 
to restrain insubordination tuid to secure a lirmer loyalty to 
tlie State and the men who voluntai'ily subscribed their 
names to that form of an oath will never be susj^ccted of 
being in sympathy with the revolt. If they petitioned for 
the pardon of the rebels it was more in the spirit of forgive- 
iiess and charity than frc>m any existing or former approval 
of their conduct. The vote of the town for governor for 
four years commencing 1783 was substantially unanimous 
fo)' James Bowdoin who was the representative of tlie law 
and order party, louring these disturbances it is evident 
that the controlling element and the voice and intluence of 
the town did not fail in the maintenance of an orderly con- 
duct and of a firm loytdty to the State. "While the revolt 
was sustained in other places our fathers assembled in the 
meeting-house "Wednesday, January 17, 1787, and listened 
to a sermon l>y ]Mr. Gushing from the text, "That there be 
no l>reaking in nor going out, that there be no complaining 
in our streets. Happy is that people that is in such a case." 

This was a season of great excitement. The laws were 
openly violated and defied in many places. The inhabitants 
of Ashburnliam, impatient of the delay of a legal meeting, 
held intbnnal meetings the following Friday and ]\ronday. 
A- company of thirteen men marched to the assistance ot 
the militia. The details of this voluntary service are 
recorded in a diary kept many years by Isaac Stearns trom 
"which the followinfr extracts are transcribed. 

■••.{ ' rrC'.' 

-h\: -0:^0.1 

' , \. . ;.M. ,■. 

MV 1.(1 

"• a: !/'» .irr;-" ■■. (' 

li:lU li-j:.l M •■• liiiT ''' { ■■■ 


Thursdaii^ January IS, 1787. I went to toWu to tnxininjj or 
rather to try to got man to go to Worcester. 

Friday. I wont up to town raceting. 

Monday. I went to town meeting. 

Thursday. I went to town to see about getting men to go 
against the insurgents. 

Friday, Januajy 2G, 1787. 1 set out with thirteen men and 
lodged at Ivicliardson's in Leominster. 

Saturday. Lodged at Patcii's in Worcester. 

Sabbath ninl.t. Lodged in Spencer at one Jenks. 

Monday ni'jLt. At Rugbee's in Brimfleld. 

Tuesday n>ghf. At Burt's in Spiingfiekl and 

Wednesday ni'jht, also at Burt's. 

Thursday, Februar}' 1, We marched through Chicopee, a 
parish of Springfield, to South Hadley and lodged at one 

Friday night. I was on guard. 

Saturday night. About ton o'clock we niarehed from South 
Hadley to Amherst and made a little' halt. 

Sabbath, Feby 4. Marched tlirough South Barre and lodged 
in Petersham. 

Monday. ]\Iarched to BaiTO and lodged at Capt. Henrj-'s, 

Tuesday. Marched to Oakhftm and back to Ileiny's in Barre. 

Wednesday. We exercised. 

Thursday. I wont about four miles after in>urgents. 

Friday. I chopped wood for Capt. Henry, at night I mounted 
guard. ' 

Saturday. Came off guard. Afterwards did some writing. 

Sabbath, February 11. I went to Carre meeting. Mr. Dana 
preached from Psalms 97:1. In the afternoon we marched from 
Capt. Henry's to Dr. Strickland's who lived in one Nurse's house 
in Barre. 

Monday. I walked down to P'.sqr Caldwell's. 

Tuesday. I went on guard. 

Wednesda//. I came from guard. At eight o'clock at night 
we marched from Barre to Hardwick in water up mid leg and ia 


,/;i;f.;/:. .^.M- 


f ;> 

.Mii'J /' '".1 

)■; ';;- ' 1"',' ''"'.. .1 . 1 I ",' ■ ::ir'''tv 7 


the rain and came to one Ilaskeirs in Harchvick and tliere remain- 
ing part of the niglit, tarried Tiairsday ; and Frid;iy in the fore- 
noon I chopped wood for Mr. Haskell. In the afternoon we 
marched back to Barre. 

Saturday. I looked after Dr. Strickland's cattle. 

Sabbath, February IS. I went on guard ; came off Monday. 

Taeschiy. I went to Esqr Cald-sveli's and read in Worcester 
Magazine; aftcr'ivards drinked some cider and returned to m}' 

Wcdiicsday. We marched to lUitland ; there we were dis- 
missed, about noon we sot out and came through Princeton, a 
part of ITubbardstoa and through Westminster to Col. Eand's 
where the men lodged, but I came to Lieut. jNIunroe's in 

Thursday. I came home. 

This was a Woodless yet an industrious canipniga. From 
a military standpoint the results, so far as wo know, -were 
not particularly decisive, but as an exponent of the prevail- 
ing sentiment of tlie town at a season of discontent our little 
army of invasion made a most cheerful campaign, and as 
volunteers in the cause of law and order their service must 
bo accredited to a patriotic impulse which commands our 
willing esteem. 

In 1778 a Constitution for "the State of ^Massachusetts 
Bay" was submitted for the approval of tlic })Coplo and by 
them rejected, 'i'he necessity for a more stable and com- 
prehensive form of govenmient remained. In 1779 t!ie 
General Court passed a resolve calling upon the voters to 
decide whether they" woidd instruct their representatives to 
call a State convention to prepare and subu-iit for their 
approval a form of Constitution. A convention was ordered 
and tlie Constitution then pre})ared was ratified by the peoi>le 
in 1780. In these proceedings the following votes wiU 
reflect the sentiment of this town. 

■} ]\ '.: ' li 

;> ■':>\v.U}'::i-' 

.■XIV ■.>■':• 

I <-'(•> J _ ./ ■ i ! ■ I 

' I : ' .' 

218 iiiSTor.Y OF asiiburniia:\i. 

May 7, 1779. Voted to have n new form of goverunient ns 
sooQ as iiiu}' be. Also that our representative vote to have a 
State convention called for that purpose. 

Willitmi Wliitcoiiib was the rcpreso^ttitivc at the time this 
vote was parsed. There is no record of the choice of a dele- 
gate to tlie constitutional convention. 

Ma}- 31, 1780. Voted to accept of tlie form of government as 
it now stands all except three articles. Accepted unanimously. 
The articles accepted against are the following : The third in the 
bill of rights, forty-seven for it as it now stands, and twelve 
against; — Chapter 2, Section first, article seventh, accepted with 
this amendijicnt : — That the Governor b}' advice of his council 
have power to march the militia to any one of the neighboring or 
adjoining States in case of invasion in the recess of the General 
Court. Chapter first, section third, article fourth : — Two persons 
against it as it now stands. 

The persons dissatisfied witli the tliird article of the bill 
of rigiits were the ]japtists who contended tliat there vras 
injustice in the conditions wliicli required them to contribute 
to the support of the standing or Congregational order unless 
they were nieni1.)ers of some other society. 

A convention of delegates was assonbled in Boston in 
January, 178^', to cast tic- vote of ^Massachusetts on the 
question of the acceptance of the ConsticiTtion of the United 
States. The town of Ashlnirnham was re})resented in that 
distinguished body by Jacob AVillard. ^Vhile a majority of 
the convention finally cast the vote of ^Massachusetts in favor 
of the adoption of the Constitution, only seven of the fifty 
delegates from Worcester county voted in the atlirmative. 
The name of ^Iv. ^Villard is found with the majority from 
tjiis county. 


... : : '■. ..., : - . ' '. ' .■..-..■■■' ^i ' ! I 
' ^ . •''■'11 I,.- I I, •'.! , : •>! :/■.,' 


1)1 179o, tl'C toNvn voted nnaiiimously tlial it was iuex- 
])odicnt to ivvific tlic ConMitntion of the Slate, but in 1820, 
the town l>y a vole of sixty-tliree to scvenieen deemed 
it expedient to eall a eonventioii for revision. In both 
instanees the town voted witli a majority of the vhole vote 
of the State. In the convention wliich was assembled at this 
time the town ivas represented by Sihis AVillard. Of the 
fourteen proposed amendments the people of the State ratified 
nine. They are the numbers I to IX of amendments to the 
Constitution. The town of Ashburnham voted in the aflirma- 
tive on all the proposed amendments except the fifth. This 
was one of the five wliich was rejected. The amendment-, 
numbered X, XI, XII and XIII, were proposed by the 
Legislature and ratified l\y the people T\-it]iout the interven- 
tion of a convention. The votes of the people of this town 
"were as follows : 







Negative, 2 













In 1851, a proposition to call a convention for revision 
Avas sul)mitted to the people and defeated. The vote of this 
towi\ was 183 in favor of a convention and 138 opposed. 
The tliird conveiUion of dek^gates was assembled 18.33. In 
the pieliminary vote 220 desired to call tlie convention and 
118 were willing" to continue the constitution without chaniie. 
The measure having received a sufficient number of votes, 
the town was called upon to make choice of a delegate. 
Shneon Merritt was elected, receiving 1.53 votes to 118 for 
Reuben Townsend. This convention submitted to the people 
eight propositions. X'one of them were ratified. The vote 
of xVshbuniham was 203 in favor and 146 opposed. By a light 

10 /. 

•:•■■■,■. ';y> :•.: 

I I :■■>: i 

! -'.IT 


/. .>-i .j) ..:. ... ;■- ■ . JJ.-J"'i^. 


vote the town voted ^vitli the nitijorily in the State in ratify- 
ing t])e six aniendineuts tJiut were added in 1855 and no 
sidtsequent anieiidnient lias elicited a full vote or a very 
decided expression of o}>inioii. In laier 3'ears, the sentiment 
of the tovrn has been expressed by printed ballots. But on 
the pending amendments in 1S20, tlie vote was taken in a 
more captious nianncr. The warrant calling upon the inhal)i- 
tants of Ashburnhain to assenil)lc announced that the ^'ote 
would be taken in the iollo^ving manner ; "All the voters to 
be seated and when called upon to vote then all that vote to 
rise and stand up with their heads uncovered until they are 
counted and then sit do\\n in their seats again with their 
heads covered." It was a rare display of brains both in tiie 
record and in the ^ote. 

The relations of Ashburnham to the temporary forms of 
government, existing from 1774 to 17.'::^0, have been noticed 
in the Revolutionary History of the to\vn. The first election 
under the Constitution in the autumn of 1780 was for a short 
term. At this election the town voted not to send a repre- 
sentative and continued of the same mind at tlie annual 
election the next spring. In fact, until the close of the 
century, Ashburnham ^\'as represented in only eight sessions 
of the Legislature, ha^'ing voted thirteen times "not to send 
a representatiN'e this year." Jt should be 1,'orne in mind that 
until 1881, tlu^ State otlli-ers and the Legislature were elected 
iu the spring, and that the General Court was con\ ened the 
last Wednesday in 3[ay. To Jacob A^'illard was reserved 
the honor of being the first representative from this town 
under the Constitution. lie was elected in 1782 and again 
in 1787, 1791 and 1702 ; William AVhitcomb 1783 and Sanuiel 
Wilder 1788, 170G and 1798. Every other year the town 
was not represented in the popular branch of the Legislature, 
and in 1798 ]Mr. Wilder died before the Legislature con- 

:■/. 'h 

/ ■<• ' '. ' !r,'].;i>-i:.' •u. •'il' 1o 


Beginning -with the present century, Jocob Willavd was; 
again elected in 1801, and following a familiar precedent the 
next seven year.-; tlie to^vn voted not to send a representative. 
Jn 1800, Joseph Jewett Avas first chosen and reeleck'd in 
1812, 18ia, 1814, 181G, 1821, 1820. lie Avas also elected 
in 1810, 1>nt immediately after the declaration of t1ie vote 
the town from a chronic halMt "voted not to send a ]'ej)re- 
sentative this year." Notwithstanding the vote of the town, 
JVlr. Jewett, having been elected, assumed the duties of the 
office. Elisha "White represented the town 1815 ; Stephen 
Corey 1819; Ivers Jewett 182-1; Abraham T. Lowe 182 "> : 
Charles Barrett 1828 : Xathaniel Pierce 1830. 

Simultaneous with tlie ainendment of the Constitution in 
1831, changing the tinu' of election from the spring t(^ 
November and continuing until the auKjudment of 1810, the 
town having 375 or moro rataltle polls was entitled to send 
two representatives. Commencing with the fall elections 
and winter sessions and coni inning until the adoption of the 
district system in 1857, the town tailed ten times to be 

The earlier failures to elect a representative arose as much 
from a sentiment of indiflerence as from any other cause, 
but al this tune there was a livelier interest in political atlairs 
and party lines Mere shari^ly defined. The attem})t was 
annually made and an election failed only v. hen the combined 
vote of the Democrats and anti-slavery party deleated the 
Whigs in securing a majority which was then necessary to 
elect. In 1850 tlie AVhigs were not only prevented from 
sending a representative l)ut witnessed the election of :i 
political opponent. During this period the following persons 
were elected for the session of the years ensuing : 

1831. Nathaniel Pierce, Hosca Stone. 

1832. Nathaniel Pierce, Hosca. Stone. 

1833. Ilosea Stone, Asahel Corey. 

I ^ .1 


. ■ -•■ . ■ . -Lcr 

. , ••»,;; ■'(■II ' " I ' 

!", '.-• r 

;. i . ■ f 



Kilburu Harwoocl. 
Kilburii Harwood. 
Roubeii TowDsend. 
Stephen Ciishing. 
No clioice. 

183i. Asuhcl C'oi'cy, 

1835. Asahel Corey, 

I80G. Asabc'I Corey, 

1837. Heubcn Townsend, 

1838. Ivoiibeu To^ynsclld, 
1810. George G. Parker. 
1841. George G. Parker. 
1845. JohnC. Gh/.ier. 

1850. Ivers Adams. 

1851. Joel Liteh. . ■ 

1854. Edward S. FliDt. 

1855. Ohio Whitney, Jr. 
1S5G. Joseph P. Pice. 

In tlic district sj'stcin of represcntnliou Asliburnham -was 
classed with Wiuclieiidon until 187G. The representatives 
have been as t'ollows : 

1857. Jacob B. Harris 

1858. Josiah D. Crosby 

1859. William Murdock 
18G0. Albert II. Andrews 
18G1. Nelson D. White 
18G2. Thomas Bontelle 
18G3. Giles II. Whitney 
1SG4. George C. Winchester 
1865. Giles II. Whitney 
18GG. George E. Fisher 
1SG7. Windsor N. White 

1868. George H. Barrett 

1869. William L. Woodcock 

1870. Orlando Mason 

1871. Albert G. Sinclair 

1872. Austin Whitney 

1873. Charles A. Loud 

1874. Wilbur F. Whitney 

1875. Charles A. Loud 

of Wiuchendoii. 
of Asliburnham. 
of Winchendon. 
of Ashburnham. 
of Winchendon. 
of Ashburuham. 
of AVinchendon. 
of AsLiburnham. 
of Winchendon. 
of Ashburnham. 
of Winchendon. 
of Ashburnham. 
of Winchendon. 
of Winchendon. 
of Winchc!ulon. 
of Ashburnham. 
of Winchendon. 
of Ashburnham. 
of Winchendon. 

,; .:' .:; :!(.•;: 

:;■... .^'^-Si 

'/■'■ 'o 

' ?•■; 7 

:^. :rJ ^' .:^i'. 

;!■ . '. , >«\ vl" 



Under a revision (»f llie di.-tricts Ashburnliani was classed 
witli Gardner, AA'incbcndon, AVcstuiinstcr and Princeton and 
privileged to send t>vo repvcsontatives. 

1876. Simeon ]\Ioiritt of Ashburnbani and ^Vikler P. Clark of 


1877. C. Webster Bush of Gardner and Arternas Merriam of 


1878. Wilder r. Clark of Winchendon and William PI. Brown 

of Princeton. 

1879. Edwin J. Cashing of Gardner and George W. Edd}' of 


1880. Giles H. Whitney of Winchendon nud J. Henry Miller of 


1881. John D. Edgell of Gardner and John B. Fay of Princeton. 

1882. Walter 0. Parker of Ashburnham nnd Wilder P. Clark of 


1883. Eoderick 11. Bent of Gardner and Edwin L. Burnham of 


1884. Eoderick R. Bent of Gardner and Charles J. Bice of 


1885. Charles J. iJice of Winchendon and Herbert S. Stratton 

of Gardner. 

The vote for governor at one hundred and live elections 
presents many -nggestions concerning the growtli and senti- 
ment of the town. The voic for presidential electors being 
substantially a repetition ot the vote for governor the same 
year aflbrds no additional information. If, for a few years 
early in tlic present century, the tow^n evinced an unsteadi- 
ness of purpose, the political sentiment of Ashburnham has 
been mainly in sympathy v.ith the Federal, ^Vhig and Ib'- 
publican parties. 


'vrT"; .'! 

7^' '-!-.•; ;;*-.].(■;■;.".■.:'./ In 


•>■ ) '. 

t O/M'rf; - 

/'.'.';' .ti .- ■ ' 

. 1 Vl" •/ 

:, ^!?r^-" V 


■:-/i .W .'r.< 

■ l-u:j 

fr .J^r 

'ri):0 ''■:• 

'*'!bfii'S! I'lri 'i; (Ofi'ri .'■■>\.- '•! '■^.V. 

l" ' •," 

iU/^.l.-, M. 

' 1 1 : ' ; ' ; 




Name of 

"3 g 

Name of 

d o 

Name of 


Name of 


"A > 


6 p 



^ > 




Bo^^ doin 








Xo record 
of a vote. 




























































































































Gore ~ 














































]i rooks 






















































































H-r^ Ou I 

• t-.i;., r, :. 

.1 , 1 

, I ' ^;..-.f'1. 




<»- 1 

'<- n> 

Xame of 

o 7, 1 of 

■^ ij 

K;inie of 


Xamo of 

O 5 





~ o 

Ciiiididiitc ,5 ^ 












103 ! 






Lincoln i 

152 > 





87 1 







127 i 





98 1 






130 j 





141 1 



., ^ 








1S31> j 














100 j 





1812 1 


100 ; 





' \ 



159 j 







104 ; 








130 ' 








127 1 








123 ! 








102 1 
























Bout v.- ell 




































18 \ 

















5 I 





























A:; drew 








i S3 





! 32 





! 40 





1 130 





' 89 




, Adams 


r-:- ■; 




; Adams 

; 111 





i 30 

■ ' ' 




! Bird 

! 71 




j Gaston 

i 97 




j Gaston 






i Gaston 

j 130 




1 Adams 

1 107 






1 Gaston 

' 77 




i Biitlei* 

i 90 



1 Long 


1 Butler 

; 80 

1 sso 



1 Thompson 

I 05 




1 Thompson 

! 24 




' Butler 

• 97 





; P.utler 





j Endicott 






I Prince 








I f 

226 iiiSTOiiY or ASI^JUK^"llAM. 

The county of Worcester was incorporated when the 
territory of Ashburnhnin was an unnamed wilderness. The 
relations of tliis toAvn to the county was an inheritance in 
wliich tlie inhabitants had no voice, l)ut ihoy did not long- 
remain silent after they became members of tlic corporatiori. 
Situated on tlie borders of the coimt}' and remote from the 
shire toA\n, the voters of Ashl>urn]iam liave debated many 
projects concerning a change of county lines or the creation 
of a new county. Some of tlicse have been enterlahicd with 
considerable lavor. The discussion began one hundred ye;irs 
ago and has been renewed at fre(iuent intervals. The old 
county remains unchanged and so do tlie advocates of a new 
one. One movement began in 1784 and extended through 
several years. To the iirst convention this town voted not 
to send a delegate, but in a convention iield in Lunenburg 
in 1785, the town was represented b}' Samuel "Wilder. At 
this time it was finally proposed to create a new county 
comprising towns in AVorcester and Middlesex counties. 
To this projwsal Asldnirnluun iinally dissented and witlidrew 
from the movement. - .■■■ ■-. > 

In 178G, the toAvn voted not to join with the petitioners 
of Petersham for a new county but were found ready to 
encourage the movement for a division of AVorcester county 
which occiUTed soon after. To a convention held in Leom- 
inster in 1794 the town sent Samuel "Wilder. The con- 
vention recommended the creation of a new counfy and this 
tow^n chose Abraham Lowe, Sanuiel Wilder and Jacob 
"Willard to petition the General Court. As a result of the 
solicitation of this and other towns the General Court in 1708 
submitted the question to the votei-s of the county. The 
vote of this town was sixty-four in favor of a division of the 
county and live opposed. Inmiediately after the vote was 
taken in the county a convention was held in Templeton in 

;;/■;: ;:(:}!(<a, 'M . ;:(i) i';^iif 

. ,'.1 : ' 

[v.:.--. .'Jio^ !!/.'</) -mIj l^^Vf ;]' ')'?,)*ni 


which tho town was represonlccl hy Joseph JcmcU, but the 
Dieasure in the mean time was defeated and the town took no 
action on the report of the delegate to the convention. Con- 
cerning" the sul>sequerit cllbrts tliat liave been made to divide 
the county of Worcester the sentiment of the towji of Ash- 
burnham was divided but the count}' remains ^vitll its 
generous domain and extensive boundaries. 

]NrAGiSTi{ATES. — In colonial tinics the Justices of the Peace 
were commissioned in the name of tlie king and the oflice 
was regarded as one of marked distinction. I^])0)i the 
adoption of the State Constitution the appointment was 
vested in the governor, yet the duties and prerogatives of 
the ofHce were not materially changed and a peculiar dignity 
continued to attend the office. In later years, appointments 
liave been bestowed with greater freedom and the number of 
persons qualified for the position, both by education and a 
knowledge of legal forms and pi'oeeedings, is so numerous 
that the magistrates of the present time, surrounded l)y men 
of equ;d inlluence and eminence, do not enjoy tlic distinction 
that once attended the })Osition. The only ]terson appointed 
to this office in this tow n by I'oyal favor, was Samuel Wilder. 
For many ^'cars he was the only magistj-ate in Ashburnham. 
Joshuii Smith, who came lo this town in 1785, was styled 
Esquire Smith and 1)cforc he removed li'ther he had been a 
Justice of the I'eace in S(")uthl)orough, but no record of his 
appointment after his removal to this town has been found. 
In the following list of the Justices of the Peace the tirst 
column gives the date of the first appointment. At the close 
of seven years the commissions generally have been renewed. 

1772. Samuel Wilder died May 9, 170S 

1796. Jacob Willard died February 22, bS08 

179S. Abraham Lowe died October 23, 1831 

1811. George R. Cushiug died FebrLiary 2, 1851 

!)' \trff\y '-r/i 


>">< ;)'(;: -.uv: ■ 1 

[.-•■: .: t. 

-■ . _i ■ ■■:■ .'•■■- ■^' ,'•. r ■'•'.■':''■■.' > 

'•>k; -'.i;t'. 

■■'.J I.' 






































Joseph Jewett 
Elisba "White 
Stephen Core}' 
Ivers Jewett 
Sihis Willavd 
Hem-}- Adams 
Hosea Stone 
Nathaniel Pierce 
George G. Parker 
Kilburu IlaiwooJ 
Reuben Townscnd 
Enoch Wliituiore 
Cliarles Stearns 
John Pctts — Trial Justice 
Jerome W. Foster 
George Rock wood 
John L. Cuuimings 
Charles W. Burrage 
William P. Ellis 
Albert II. Andrews 
Daniels Ellis, Jr. 
Ohio Whitney, Jr. 
Ivers Adams 
William F. Burrage 
Alfred Miller 
Wilbur F. Whitney 
Alfred Whitmore 
Marshall Wctlierbec 
George W. Eddy 
Austin Whitney 
Melvin O. Adams 

died May 3, 1846 

died June 14, 1817 

died October 7, 1823 

removed from town 1827 

commission expired October 1, 1852 

removed from town 1830 

commission expired Fein-navy 1, 1841 

" " June 12, 1851 

died December 14, 1852 

rerjioved from town 1845 

commission expired Feb. 3. 18G0 

died September 13, 1860 

died July 11, 1874 

commission expired 1857 

died March 23, 1871 

died December 20, 1864 

removed fron town 1859 

entered army 1861 

died February G, 1879 

commission expired May 16, 1872 

removed from town 1867 

removed from town 1863 

died January 4, 1873 

commission expired .January 7, 1880 
removed from town 1876 
John 11. Wilkins, Notary Public 

S. Joseph Bi'adlee removed from town 1884 

Samuel G. Newton , ;. ,. ., . ; died July 23, 1884 
George C. Foster 

!>■■ vSH ^1 

'\:^y.iri'M ">' 

"t >T, ',;; .,i 

; (-^ ■,.■.;! 

h ,,:.;. ;; s; .;^i.ii; 


A list of Modero.lors of the Annual March meetintj, Toivn Clerl\s, 
Sde':'tinen. and Assessors^ from (he incorporation of the town 
to the preseni time. 

1765. jModeiator, Samuel Fellows. Cierk, William Whitcomb. 
Selectmen, Samuel Fellows, Tristram. Ciienej', JoIid Rich, 

James Colemaa, Jonathan Gates. 
Assessors, Samuel Wilder, William Joyner, John Bates. 
17G6. jM.oderator, Samuel Fellows. Clerk, William Whitcomb. 
Selectmen, William Whitcomb, Tristram Cheney, John 

Rich, Elisha Coolidge, John Jones. 
Assessors, the Selectmen. 

1767. Moderator, Tristram Cheney. Clerk, William Joyner. 
Selectmen, Tristram Cheney, Jonti. Gates, John Kiblinger? 

John Jones, Sanjiiel Wilder, 
Assessors, William Wliitcomb, Samuel Wilder, Tristrajn 

1768. Moderator, Samuel Fellows. Clerk, William Joyner. 
I ; ■ , Selectmen, Tristram Cheney, William Whitcomb, Sauuiel 

Assessors, the Selectmen. 

1769. Moderator, Samuel Fellows. Clerk, Samuel ^Vilder. 
Selectmen, John Kiblinger, Nathan Melvin, Samuel Fel- 

Assessors, Samuel Wilder, William Joyner, "\Mlliam 

1770. Moderator, Samue' I'\'l!ows. Ch.rk, Samuel Wilder. 
, , Selectmen, Samuv4 FcUov^s, John Kiblinger, Ephraim 

' Assessors, Samuel Wilder, William Whitcomb, Nathan 

1771. Moderator, Samuel Fellows. Clerk, Samuel Wilder. 
Selectmen, Ephraim Stone, Samuel Wilder, John Kib- 
linger. V'l ;;■:•' .. \- ' A ■ , '. 

Assessors, Samuel Wilder, William Whitcomb, Nathan 

!• ■; •...(1 ..r-)/-r.-. ;-A 


1772. Modev.ilor, William Wliiteomb. Cleric, Samuel Wilder. 
Seleetmeu, Samuel Wildi'i', Ephraira Stoae, John Kib- 

Asses.sois, Samuel Wililei-, Williaui Whitcomb, John 

1773. Moderator, William Whitcomb. Clerk, Samuel Wilder. 
Selectmen, Samuel Wilder, Ephraim Stone, John Kib- 

linger. , - 

Assessors, Samuel Wilder, Vrilliam Whitcomb, Jonathan 

177-1. Moderator, William Whitcomb. Cferk, Samuel Wilder. 
Selectmen, Samuel Wilder, John Wilhird, Jonathan Taylor. 
As.oessors, the Selectmen. 

1775. ]\[oderator, Deliverance Davis. Clerk, Jacob Willard. 
Selectmen, John Kiblinger, Samuel ""sichols, Jonathan 

Gates, Oliver Stone, Amos Kendell. 
Assessors, John Adams, John Conn, p]!>onezer Hemen- 

1776. Moderator, William Whitcomb. Clerk, Samuel Wilder. 
Selectmen, William Whitcomb, John Kiblinger, Oliver 

Assessois, Samuel Wilder, Jacob Willard, John Adams. 

1777. Moderator, William Whitcomb. Clerk, Samuel Wilder. 
Selectmen, Samuel Wilder, John Willard, Jonathan Sam- 
son, Jonathan Taylor, Abijah Joslin. 

Assessors, Samuel Wilder, William Wilder, Enos Jones, 
Joseph IMetcalf, I-'rancis Lane. 

1778. Moderator, William Whitcomb. Clerk, Samuel Wilder. 
Selcctmcu, John Conu, Oliver Willard, William Beujamin. 
Assessors, Samuel Wilder, William Whitcomb, John 


1779. Moderator, William Whitcomb. Clerk, Samuel Wilder. 
Selectmen, John Conn, Oliver Willard, Amos Dickerson. 
Assessors, Samuel Wilder, William Whitcomb, Jacob 


1780. Moderator, Joseph Whitmore. Clerk, Samuel Wilder. 
Selectmen, Samuel Wilder, Isaac Merriam, Francis Lane. 


''■ ;:;iv.i- , 

' ■ ' ' I ' 

,1 . M ■■ ; H , (■ (;.|. 

!^ 111.'' ,:i-jnil\)''r?f< 

•■'•■• y' ) .aril', .■:.rv^ :tr^;nr' ■ . ■mj,/k.i.o]/[ .8. 

. .■■.•;'( -.7 . 



Assessors, Samuel Wilder, Jacob Harris, William Pollard. 

1781. ^Moderator, George Dana. Clerk, Samuel Wilder. 
Selectmen, .Jacob Harris, Hezekiah Corey, Enos Jones. 
Assessoj's, David Stedmau, Jacol) Harris, William Pollard. 

1782. Muderator, Jacob Vrillard. Clerk. Samuel Wilder. 
Selectmen, Samuel "^''ilder, Hezekiah Corey, Ebene^er 

Assessors, Jacob Harris, Samuel Wilder, David Stedmnu. 

1783. Moderator, Jacob Willard. Clerk, Samuel Wilder. 
Selectmen, Samuel Wilder, Hezekiah Corey, Jacol) Wil- 

Assessors, Samuel "\rildcr, Jacob Harris, William Pollard. 

1784. Moderator, Jacob Willard. Clerk, Samuel Wilder. 
Selectmen, Samuel Wilder, Hezekiah Corey. Francis 

Assessors, Samuel Wilder, Francis Lane, Jacob Harris. 

1785. Moderator, Jacob Willard. Clerk, Samuel Wilder. 
Selectmen, Saninel Wilder, Samuel Foster, John Conn. 
Assessors, Jacob Harris, William Pollard, Jacob Willard. 

178G. Moderator, Jacob Willard. Clerk, Samuel Wilder. 

Selectmen, .Joshua Smith, Samuel Wilder, Samuel Foster. 

Assessors, Jacob Harris, Williain I^olhird, Oliver Hough- 
1787. ^foderator, Jacob Willard. Clerk, Samuel Wilder. 

Selectmen, -John Adams, Amos Dickcrson, Jacob Iviblinger. 

Assessors, Jacob Vriiiard, Jacob Harris, .John Adams. 
17S8. ^Moderator, .Joshua Smith. Clerk, Samuel Wilder. 

Selectmen, John Adams, Jacol) Kiblinger, Samuel Foster. 

Assessors, John Adams, John Abbott, Oliver Houghton. 

1789. ^Moderator, Jacob Willard. Clerk, Samuel Wilder. 
Selectmen, John Adams, Jacob Kiblinger, Samuel Foster. 
Assessors, John Adams, Jacob Harris, Jacob Willard. 

1790. Moderator, Jacob Willard. Clerk, Samuel Wilder. 
Selectmen, Samuel Foster, Samuel Wilder, Jacob Willard. 
Assessors, the Selectmen. 

v-^-'i « <.;i: 

I. •■":!, .:■!', ' :' 

<! , 

■ \, . It f •'""• '.. . S' 

..ill! ::■ .■ .•-■y..\ 

; ! ./•j y.WAiy ,/i 

232 • HISTORY OF A;--;in'>u];x][A^r. 

1791. Moderator, Jacoh Willard. Clerk, Samuel Wilder. 
Selectmen, Jacob "Willard, John Gates, Jacob Kiblhigcr. 
Assessors, Jacob ^7ilIa!•d, Jncob Harris, Jaco]> l\"ibliiiger. 

1792. Moderator, Jacol» "Willard. Cleik, Abraliiun Lovre. 
Selectmea, Samuel Foster, Francis Lane, Knos Jones. 
Assessors, Jacob Harris, Sanraol AVildor, "William Pollard. 

1793. Moderator, Samuel "Wilder. Clerk, Abraham Lowe. 
Selectmen, S:uniiel Wilder, Joseph Jcn'ett, Jacob Kib- 

Assessors, the Selectmen. 
1791. Moderator, Samuel Wilder. Clerk, Abi'aham Lowe. 

Selectmen, Francis Lane, I'nos Jones, Ebenezc)' Munroe. 
Assessors, Samuel AVilder, Jacob Harris, Jacob Willard. 

1795. Moderator, Jacob Willard. Clerk, Abraham Lowe. 
Selectmen, Jacob Xibllnger, Joseph Jewett, John Conn. 
Assessors, ^Matthias Mossman, Joseph Jewett, Caleb 


1796. Moderator, Jacob Harris. Clerk, Aliraham Lowe. 
Selectmen, Jacob Yvlllard, Samuel Wilder, Caleb Ward. 
Assessors, Matthias Mossman, Jacob Harris, .John Adams. 

1797. Moderator, Jacob Willard. Clerk, Abraham Lowe. 
Selectmen, Jacob Kiblinger, John Gates, William Stearns. 
Assessors, jNTatthias ]Mossman, Abraham Lowe, Elisha 

179S. IModerator, Jacob "Willard. Clerk, Abraham Lowe. 

Selectmen, John Ca/u-s, W^illiam Steariis, Abraham Lowe. 
Assessors, Samuel Wilder, Joseph Jewett, Jacob Harris. 

1799. Moderator, Joseph Jewett. Clerk, Elisha White. 
Selectmen, Elisha White, David Cashing, Jacob Kiblinger. 
Assessors, David Gushing, Joseph Jewett, Jacob Kib- 

1800. Moderator, Joseph Jewett. Clerk, Jose[)h Jewett. 
Selectmen, Joseph Jewett, Jacob Kiblinger, John Adams, 

Hezekiah Coiey, Caleb Ward. 
Assessors, Joseph Jewett, John Adams, Jacob Kiblinger. 





) . .), /' Ul 


180i. Moderator, Jacob Willard. Clerk, Joseph Jewett. 

Selectmen, Jacob "Willard, Ebenezer Miinroe, Jacob Cou- 

Assessors, Jacob Willard, Jacob Constantiue, Elislia 

1802. i>Ioderator, Ji^beiiezer Muuroe. Clerk, Joseph Jewett. 
Selectmen, lilbcnezer ]\Iiinroe, John Gates, David CushiiJg. 
Assessors, Joseph Jev/ctt, David Gushing, Sanuicl Cotting. 

1803. Moderator, Ebenezer Munroe. Clerk, Joseph Jewett. 
Selectmen, David Gushing, Jolni Gates, Caleb Ward. 
Assessors, Joseph Jewett, David Gushing, John Adams. 

1804. Moderator, l-^benezcr Munroe. Cleik, Joseph Jewett. 
Selectmen, Ebenezer Munroe, Amos Pierce, Hezekiah 

Corey, Jr. 
Assessors, Elisiia White, Ilczekiah Corey, Jr., Silas 

1805. Moderator, Jacob Willard. Clerk, Joseph Jewett. 
Selectmen, Amos Pierce, Hezekiah Core}', Jr., Tliomas 

Hobart. ,..•;■; 

Assessors, Elisha White, David Gushing, Samuel Gates. 
180G. Moderator, Jacob W^illard. Clerk, Joseph Jewett. 

Selectmen, Thomas Hobart, Joseph Jewett, Lemuel 

Assessors, Elisha White, Silas Willard, Samuel Gates. 

1807. Moderator, Jacob Willard. Clerk, Joseph Jewett. 
Selectmen, Thomas Hobart, Joseph Jewett, Lemuel 

Assessors, Elisha White, Silas Willard, John Adams, Jr. 

1808. Moderator, Caleb Wilder. Clerk, Joseph Jewett. 
Selectmen, Joseph Jewett, Thomas Hobart, Lemuel 

Assessors, Elisha White, Silas Willard, John Adams, Jr. 

1809. Moderator, Elisha White. Clerk. Joseph Jewett. 
Selectmen, Joseph Jewett, Thomas Hobart, Lemuel 

Assessors, Elisha "White, Silas Willard, John Adams, Jr. 

jT. " '^.' ■■■■ 



;; i , !ui>}.c(/? OOJ^l 


1810. Moderator, Caleb WiUlcr. Clork, Joseph Jevrett. 

Selectmen, Elisha AVIiitc, Silas "Willard, Samuel Gates. 

Assessors, the Selectmen. 
ISll. l\[uderator, iLlisha \Vhite. Clerk, Joseph Jcv.-ett. 

Selectmen, Ellslia White, Silas "Willard, Stephen Corey. 

Assessors, Joseph Jewell, Silas Willard, Ebenczer 

1812. ]\ioderator, Caleb Voider. Clerk, Joseph Jcwett. 
Selectmen, Joseph Jcwett, Sihis Yv' illard, Stephen Corey. 
Assessors, the Sclcctraen. 

1813. Moderator, Caleb AVilder. Clerk, Joseph Jewctt. 
Selectmen, Silas Willard, John Willard, Asa Woods. 
Assessors, the Selectmen. 

1814. ]Moderator, Caleb Wilder. Clerk, Joseph Jewett. 
Selectmen, Elisha White, John Willaid, William J. 

Assessors, the Selectmen. 

1815. Modeiator, George Tv. Cashing-. Clerk, Joseph Jev/ett. 
Selectmen, Joscpli Jcwett, John Willard, John Adams, Jr. 
Assessors, Elisha White, Silas Willard, Stephen Corey. 

1816. Moderator, Caleb Wilder. Clerk, Ivers Jewett. 
Selectmen, Joseph Jewett, John Willard, John Adams, Jr. 
Assessors, Elisha AVliitc, Stephen Corey, Jacob Harris, Jr. 

1817. ]\roderator, Caleb Wilder. Clerk, Ivers Jewett. 
Selectmen, Jolni AViIlard, John Admus, Jr., Stephen 

Assessors, Elisha AN hitc, Stephen Coroy, Jacob Harris, Jr. 

1818. ivrodcrator, George R. Cashing. Clerk, Ivers Jewett. 
SeU'ctmen, Joscpli Jewett, Stephen Corey, John Adams, Jr. 
Assessors, the Selectmen. 

1819. IModcrator, Jose[>h Jewett. Clerk, Ivers Jewett. 
Selectmen, Stephen Corey, John Adams, Jr., Thomas- 

Assessors, Stephen Corey, Silas Willard, Joel Foster. 

1820. Moderator, George R. Cashing. Clerk, Ivers Jewett. 
Selectmen, Joseph Jewett, Thomas Hobart, John. 

Adams, Jr.' 






Assessors, Joseph Jewett, John Adams, Jr., Silas "Willard. 

1821. Moderator, Joseph Jewett. Clerk, Tvers Jewett. 
Selectmen, Joseph Jewett, Thomas IIoLart, John 

Adams, Jr. 
Assessors, Joseph Jewett, Silas Willard, Hezeklah Corey. 

1822. IModerator, Joseph Jewett. Clerk, Ivers Jewett. 
Selectmen, John Adams, Jr., Hosea Stone, Timothy 

Assessors, the Sclectaien. 

1823. Moderator, George R. Gushing. Clerk, Ivers Jewett. 
Selectmen, Joseph Jewett, Silas Willard, Rcnhen Town- 
send, Jr. 

Assessors, the Seleetnieu, 

1824. Moderator, Joseph Jewett. Clerk, Joseph Jewett. 
Selectmen, Silas Willard, Ilezekiah Corey, John 

Adams, Jr. 
Assessors, Silas Vrillard, John Adams, Jr., Enoch 

1825. Moderator, George R. Cashing. Clerk, Hosea Stone. 
Selectmen, Charles Barrett, Elias Lane, Oliver Marble. 
Assessors, Joseph Jewett, Hosea Stone, Benjamin Barrett. 

1826. Moderator, George R. Cashing. Clerk, Hosea Stone. 
Selectmen, Charles Barrett, Elias Lane, Saranel Dunster. 
Assessors, Hosea Stone, Enoch Whitraore, John Wil- 
lard, Jr. 

1827. Moderator, Joseph Jewett. Clerk, Hosea Stone. 
Selectmen, Charles Barrett, Reaben Towusend, Jr., P2noch 

Assessors, the Selectmen. 

1828. Moderator, Joseph Jewett. Clerk, Hosea Stone. 
Selectmen, Charles Barrett, Reuben Townsend, Jr., 

Asahel Corey. 
Assessors, the Selectmen. 

1829. Moderator, Joseph Jewett. Clerk, Hosea Stone. 
Selectmen, Asahel Corey, Thomas Bennett, Joseph Jewett. 

ii;->.:'''T^O ; 

t.:.:\-. ..T 1. ,. 'fu. 

n ::: :> 

,•1 1.-. 


J" ■:.■..: 

I • • 1 ' i ' ■ 

M, . ■.■J,jt;j* 

' '<'".'•' 




Assf'ssors, the Sclectnieu. 

1830. jVlotlerator, George 1\. Cnshiug. Clerk, Hosca Stone. 
Seleetinen, Asahel Corey, Amos Tierce, Jr., Charles 

Assessors, the Selectineu. 

1831. Moderator, I^beuezer Frost. Clerk, llosea Stone. 
Selectmen, Asahel Corey, Amos Pierce, Jr., Cliarles 

Assessors, the Selectmen. 

1832. Moderator, Ebonezer Frost. Clerk, Ilosea Stouc. 
Sclectnieu, Asahel Core}', Amos Pierce, Jr., Charles 

Assessors, tlic Selectmen. 

1833. IModerator, Ebenezer Frost. Clerk, Charles Stearns. 
Selectmen, Amos Pierce, Jr., Jehiel "Watkins, Kilburn 

Assessors, Asahel Corey, Amos Pierce, Jr., Charles 

1834. INfoderator, Ebenezer Frost. Clerk, Charles Stearns. 
Selectmen, Kilburn Ilarwood, Peuben Towuseud, Jr., 

Charles Davis. 
Assessors, the Seleetinen. 

1835. IModerator, George K. dishing. Clerk, Charles Stearns. 
Selectmen, Asahel Corey, Charles Duvis, Ebenezer Frost. 
Assessors, the Sck'Ctmen. 

1830. Moderator, Kilburn Ilarwood. CKik, Charles Stearns. 

Selectmen, Asahel Corey, Ebenezer I'rost, Jehiel "Watkins. 
Assessors, the Selectmen. 

1837. Moderator, Kilburn Ilarwood. Clerk, Charles Stearns. 
Selectmen, Asahel Corey, Kilburn Ilarwood, Charles 

Assessors, the Selectmen. 

1838. Moderator, Kilburn Harwood. Clerk, Charles Stearns. 
Selectmen, Kilburn Ilarwood, Reuben Townseud, John C. 

Assessors, Nathaniel Pierce, Ebenezer Frost, Stephen 

■'.'■■' I' ^ > 

,'. .^i-..!!;: 


• t ■•< 

; ,.-r,.:l i„,ov ..u^^ ■;!•.<:.! :tM;Tl'y,l-Kl 


^fr?i^r 'J .:! 

f .-. 


; J .!'"<.i7 

II 1 



*" i 

1839. Modcrntor, Kilburn Harwood. Clerk, Charles Stearns, ! 


Selectmen, John C. Glazier, Ebenezer Frost, Ohio Whit- | 

Assessors, the Selectmen. | 

1840. Moderator, Reuben Townsend. Clerk, Charles Stearns. ! 
Selectmen, George G. Parker, Renben Townsend, Elias I 

Lane. | 

Assessors, the Selectmen. f 

1841. Moderator, Reuben Townsend. Clerk, Charles Stearns. | 

Selectmen, Georfjfe G. Parker, Reuben Townsend, Elias i 


Lane. | 

Assessors, the Selectmen. | 

1842. Moderator, Kilburn Harwood. Clerk, Charles Stearns. | 
Selectmen, George G. Parker, Elias Laue, Ilarvey Brooks. ] 
Assessors, the Selectmen. | 

1843. Moderator, Ebcnezer Frost. Clerk, Charles Stearns. | 

Selectmen, Ilarvey Crooks, John C. Davis, Charles Bar- i 

rett. \ 


Assessors, Ilosca Green, Walter Russell, Jerome W. I 

Foster. | 

1844. Moderator, Ebenezer Frost. Clerk, Charles Stearns. | 
Selectmen, Charles Barrett, Kilburn Harv\ood, Ohio Whit- | 

ney. ] 

Assessors, the Selectii:ieu. | 

1845. Moderator, Ebenezer Frost. Clerk, Charles Stearns. | 
Selectmen, George G. T'urker, Ohio Wiiitncy, Emery Fair- 

Assessors, the Selectmen. | 

1846. Moderator, Gilmau Jones. Clerk, Charles Stearns. | 
Selectmen, Emery Fairbanks, Ohio Whitney, George G. I 

Parker. j 

Assessors, the Selectmen. | 

1847. Moderator, Ebenezer Frost. Clerk, Charles Stearns. j 
Selectmen, George G. Parker, Ohio AVhitney, Jerome W, | 

Foster. | 

Assessors, the Selectmen. j 

., 'J 


; , •' 1 

. , /- 


238 IIISTOKY OF asiibu];nh.\m. 

1818. ■\rodorator, Ohio Whitney, Jr. Clerk, Charles Stearns. 
Selectmen, Jerome W. Foster, Cliarles Stearns, Aiitipas 

Assessors, the Selectmen. 

1849. Moderator, Ohio Whitney, Jr. Clerk, Charles Stearus. 
Selectmen, Jerome W. Foster, Antipas Maj-nard, John A. 

Assessors, the Selectmen. 

1850. Moderator, Enoch Whitraorc. Clerk, Charles Stearus. 
Selectmen, George G. Parker, John A. Conn, I vers Adams. 
Assessors, Ohio Whitney, Enoch Whitmore, Pyam Burr. 

1851. jNloderator, Ohio Whitney, Jr. Clerk, Charles Stearus. 
Selectmen, George G. Parker, Ivers Adams, Jerome W. 

Assessors, the Selectmen. 

1852. Moderator, Ohio Wliitney, Jr. Clerk, Charles Stearus. 
Selectmeu, Antipas Mayuard, Joseph P. lliee, Walter 

Assessors, the Selectmen. 

1853. Moderator, Enoch Whitmore. Clerk, Charles Stearus. 
Selectmen, Antipas Mayuard, Joseph P. Pice, Jerome 

W. Foster. 
Assessors, the Selectmen. 
185'1. Moderator, Enoch Whitmore. Clerk, Charles Stearus. 

Selectmeu, -Jerome V.', Foster, John A. Conn, Ohio Whit- 
ney, Jr. 
Assessors, the Selectmen. 

1855. Moderator, Ohio Whitney, Jr. Clerk, Charles Stearus. 
Selectmen, Jerome W. Foster, Ohio Whitney, Jr., Henry 

Assessors, the Selectmen. 

1856. Moderator, Joel H. Litch. Clerk, Charles Stearus. 
Selectmeu, Johu A. Conn, Elliot Moore, Ohio Whitney, 

Assessors, the Selectmeu. 

if .V's!" i's t. , !,' 'ji .'■ i-j'ji-^iri 

-I'.V r^ ./■■' 

■> •>. 

0.'...^ .<;e?- 

■i ' ' 




. r 
'1.' ,- I, :..■•_..-; .f. 


1857. Moderator, Enoch Whitmorc. Clerk, P, Ellis. 
Selectmen, Elliot Moore, George S. Barrage, Gcoii;e 

Assessors, John A. Conn, Daniels Ellis, Jr., Ezra Randall. 

1858. Moderator, Oliio Whitney, Jr. Clerk, T/illiani P. Ellis. 
Selectmen, George S. Barrage, Joel IL Litch, Addison A. 

Assessors, John A. Conn, Joel IE Litch, Pcrley Howe. 

1859. Moderator, Ohio Whitney, Jr. Clerk, William P. Ellis. 
Selectrncu, Addison A. Walker, Elliot Moore, Leonard 

Assessors, John A. Conn, Perley Howe, John G. Wood- 

1860. Moderator, Ohio Whitney, Jr. Clerk, Jerome W. Foster. 
Selectmen, Addison A. Walker, Leonard Foster, Simeon 

Assessors, Pcrley Howe, Jerome W. Foster, John G. 

ISGl. Moderator, Ohio Whitney, Jr. Clerk, Jerome W. Foster. 
Selectmen, Simeon Merritt, Jesse Parker, Isaac D. Ward. 
Assessors, Jerome W. Foster, Perley Howe, Charles 


1862. Moderator, Ohio AVhitney, Jr. Clerk, Jerome W. Foster. 
Selectmen, Jesse Parker, Isaac L>. Ward, William P. 

Assessors, the Selectmen. 

1863. Moderator, Ohio Whitney, Jr. Clerk, Jerome W. Foster. 
Selectmen, Isaac D. Ward, Perley Elowe, Elbridge Stim- 

Assessors, the Selectmen. 

1864. Moderator, Ohio Whitney, Jr. Clerk, Jerome W. Foster. 
Selectmen, Ohio Whitney, Jr., Marshall Wetherbee, 

Nathaniel L. Eaton. 
Assessors, William P. Ellis, Joel II. Litch, Perley Howe. 

1865. Moderator, Joel II. Litch. Clerk, Jerome W. Foster. 

I u..-.-^^'!^ .-'--^^ 

) . ••i. i\ 


1 ; . .' I I 


'/ .a 

v,-i:';'' ^' o';in 


')r!l,::'^'" ■^':''' 

, /'/(j.'ii " 

; '. r ft . ■ • I 


Selectmen, Chailes F. Rockv.ood, William F. I'urrage, 

John G. Woodwanl. 
Assessors, Perle^' ITovro, Joel II, Litch, Joel F. Mctcalf. 
18C6. Moderator, Ohio Wliitnoy, Jr. Clerk, Jerome W. Foster. 
Selectmen, Chailes F. Rock^-ooJ, "WiHiam F. Biurage, 

John G. "Woodward. 
Assessors Joel H. Litch, Joel F. I^Ietcalf, Marshall 

Wetherbee. ~ 

1867. Moderator, Harvey D. .Jillson. Clerk, Jerome W. Foster. 
Selectmen, Charles F. Kockwood, Elbridge Stimson, 

Francis A. Vriiitney. 
Assessors, Joel H. Litch, Williaui P. Ellis, Europe H. 

18G8. Moderator, Ohio Whitney, Jr. Clerk, Jerome W. Foster. 
Selectmen, Elbridge Stimson, Jerome W. Foster, Addison 

A. Walker. 
Assessors, John L. Cnmmings, Austin Whitney, Luke 

1SG9. Moderator, John B. Thompson. Clerk, Jerome W'. 

Selectmen, Franklin Russell, Simeon Merritt, Nathaniel L. 

Eaton , 
Assessors, Newton Hayden, John L. Cummings, Theodore 


1870. Moderator, Ohio Vi'liitney, Jr. Clerk, Jerome W. Foster. 
Selectmen, Franklin Russell, Jesse Parker, Addison A. 

Assessors, Austin Wiiitney, John L. Cummings, TliL-odore 

1871. Moderator, Ohio Whitney. Clerk, Jerome W. Foster. 
Selectmen, Franklin Russell, Jesse Parker, George E. 

Assessors, Austin Whitney, John L, Cummings, Theodore 

1872. Moderator, Ohio Whitney. Clerk, Newton Hayden. 
Selectmen, Simoon Merritt, George E. Davis, Addison A. 


i-' lli'-'l- /<^ 

1 .. .M. .-i'iO.;: 




'!(:•;• ) ,. ^ 'idOtv .11 

.. .r ''.rl' 

r. , ■ • t / 

■| . •(; 

5 n.^z-^-^'.-u; 



Assessors, John L. Cummings, Theodore Greenwood, | 

Georp-c C. Foi;ler. I 

1S73. Moderator, Ohio VriiitDev. Clerk, Newton Ilayden. < 


Selectmen, Simeoii Merritt, John L. Cunrmings, George E, j 

Paris. J 

Assessors, John L. Cummings, Theodore Greenwood, J 

Jesse Parker. s 

1874. Moderator, Melvin 0. Adams. Clerk, Newton Ilayden, j 


SelectDien, Simeon Merritt, Austin Whitney, Martin B. '/ 


Lane. f 

Assessors, Austin Whitney, Walter R. Adams, Marshall | 

Weiherbee. | 

1875. Moderator, ]Melvin 0. Adams. Clerk, Newton Ilayden. | 
Selectmen, Simoon JMerritt, Austin W^hitney, Martin B. I 

Lane. { 

Assessors, Walter li. Adams, Marshall Wetherbec, John 1 

L. Cummings. j 

1876. Moderator, Melvin 0. Adams. Clerk, Newton Hayden. | 
Selectmen, Simeon Merritt, Nathaniel Pierce, Benjamin E. ' 

W^etherbee. I 

Assessors, John L. Cummings, Marshall Wetherbec, I 

Franklin Bussell. | 

1877. Moderator, John 11. Vv^ilkius. Clerk, George F. Stevens. | 
Selectmen, John L. Cummings, Nathaniel Pierce, Benja- 1 

miu E. Vretherbce. I 

iVssessors, the Selectmen. I 

1878. Moderator, John II. ^V'ilkins. Clerk, George F. Stevens. I 
Selectmen, John L. Cummings, Nathaniel Pierce, Benja- ] 

min E. AYetlierbee. j 

Assessors, the Selectmen. I 

1879. Moderator, John H. Welkins. Clerk, George F. Stevens. j 
Selectmen, John L. Cummings, Nathaniel Pierce, Benja- 
min E. Wetherbec. | 

Assessors, the Selectmen. i 

1880. Moderator, John II. AVilkins. Clerk, George F. Stevens. 

16 i 


.; ) 

'/ .1. ; M..1 O.;/: 
> '' '• 

/ ;^ 


■■:. .I'/r 

;!? >! ,(;V.;in: utjO 

III J;-/ •!■ 



Selectmen, Simeon IMonitt, Ciiavles T. Litch, Oj-ange 

As?csi;ois, Yf alter 11. Ad:iu)s, Francis A. "Whitney, Charles 

W. Whitney, 2d. 

1881. Moderator, John H. Wilkius. Clerk, George F. Stevens. 
Selectmen, Simeon Merritt, Charles T. Litch, John M. 

Assessors, Walter R. Adams. Francis A. Whitney, Charles 
W. Whitney, 2d. 

1882. Moderator, John 11. Wilkin s. Clerk, George F. Stevens. 
Selectmen, Simeon Jlerrilt, Charles T. Litch, John M. 

Assessors, Francis A. Whitney, Charles F. Kockwood. 
Charles E. Woodward. 

1883. Moderator, Jolm IL Wilkins. Clerk, George F. Stevens, 
Selectmen, Charles T. Litch, Edward S. Flint, Charles H. 

Assessors, Benjamin E. Wetherbee, Daniels Ellis, Jr., 
Charles E. AVoodward. 

1884. Moderator, John H. Wilkins. Clerk, George F. Stevens. 
Selectmen, Charles T. Litch, Edward S. Flint, Charles H. 

Assessors, John L. Cummiugs, Walter R, Adams, Henry 
C. Newell. 

1885. Mode: ator, John II. Wilkins. Clerk, George F. Stevens. 
Select MU'.u, Charles T. Litch, Charles H. Pratt, Edward S. 

Assessors, John L. Cummings, Walter R. Adams, Henry 
C. Newell. 

!(' .{' 

.■->:^:~^ .: -i./^,!// 

• 1 ,''.■<■ -r 

.'■•.-■i! I 

A i. 

. . ■ ■•■':,,;, 'r 


.f.I/ ,.. 




















IVexty teaks the meeting-house in Dorcliestcr Canada | 

invited oceupanc}" l^'fore tliere was a settled minister. ] 

During this period there >vere oceasional supplies but moi-e I 

frccjuf nl]\- the .sel tiers attended chnreh iji Lunenhuro", where 1 

Mose< I'oster, Jaincs Coleman, Unity Ih-own, John IJates, i 

Thonuis "\'\lieeler and otlnT- Avere in full or covenant rela- | 

tions. The church record- of Lunenburg represent that | 

many of the children born in Dorchester Canada preWous to | 

1760 were bapti/ced there. It is not known who preached \ 

or who assembled to hear the first sermon in the towns!) ip 1 

and previous to the adA'ent of ]\Ir. Winchester the name of j 

only one minister is found in the records. It is probable | 

that the settlers sought and on week days sometimes enjoyed ! 

ihe friendly services of the clergy of Lunenburg, Townsend j 

243 i 

a I / :»:■■ r , / 

■1 . ■. 

U .!. 

! - .'■),!: ■. i - ' ■ 


■<■•:_. t ■i-O ■ 

■u: ! 

■■<[': I XO 


and ^\''c.stininstor. Any other sii])p1y thai was secured by 
the settlors -withoat the hiterventiou of the pro})rietors "would 
escape inentiou in the records. 

The humble plans of the settlement to secure preaching 
and the accumulating purpose retlecled in the successive 
votes on tlie subject allbrd a renewed illusti-ation of the fact 
that all our present privileges Iiavc sjn-ung from unpreten- 
tious beginnings. Their ih-st proposals were scarcely more 
than the suggestion of a ))rophccy of what has been accom- 
plished. In 1750 the proprietors decide " not to prosecute 
the atfair of calling a minister," but the following year they 
are found ready to order "that an Orthodox minister be 
applied to, to agree to preach the Gospel every foui' weeks 
if suitable ^veather." No money or connnittce was provided 
to carry the vote into ell'ect. It was a tinjid proposition. 
Possibly they viewed their proceedings in this light, since 
in 1753, an earnest purpose is reflected in the vote '' that 
:Mr. Joseph Wheeloek, Mr. Caleb Wilder and .Air. Benja- 
min Bigelow be a connnittce to see that a Crospel minister 
preach in said townsln'p until further orders of the pro- 
priety." None of the committee resided in the township 
and it is quite probable that they failed to meet the desires 
of the proprietors and particularly of tho-e who had removed 
to the settlem<:nit. At tl;"- succeeding iiu-eting the language 
becomes more emphatic. It assumes the dignity of a com- 
mand. "Voted that eighteen pounds be put into the hands 
of ]SIr. Foster to be applied by him to secure preaching." 
Moses Foster had I'esided in the township several years. If 
he did not secure a minister it was not through a failure of 
personal interest or of his instructions ; but to j-rovide 
against every emergency there was a supplementary vote 
that Natlran ■ Alelvin, also a resident, cooperate with Air. 
Foster. In 1755 an appropriation was made for current 


•1 r'i ; 1..I ", r- - 

> . 

, ! i ■ >■"> 

.i; i-V:i 

i- ,'! ill. ■ . r ii,.K] ;r 

'r. ..1 I . 'I/?/ 


ox[)cn.sos inchidiug prcacliing l)iit no spccilic sum av;is sot { 

a})urt for lliis ]:>iirpose. Between tliis d;iie and tlie settle- f 

nient of Mr. "Winchester several i)ayinents were made on | 

this account, but the records only preserve the name of j 

]\ev. ]'vli>ha Harding, wlio received four jjounds "for preach- 1 

ing in Doi'chester C;inada." Mi". Harding was settled in I 

Bi-ooldield, ^lassachusctts, September 13, 1749, and dis- 1 

missed ]\Iay 8, 1755. In ]\Iay, 1759, anothcu- a})})ro})riation j 

of eighteen pouiids was jnade and Ca])tain Calel) Dana of I 

CVnnbridge and John ]>ates and Elisha Coolidge of Dorches- ] 

ter Canada were selected '' to provide preachijig in said ] 

township." The early eflbrls of this conmiittee introduced I 

to the settlement Ilev. Joruithan Winchester. The candi- | 

date was favorably received. A call was extended Novem- j 

ber 27, 1759, and he was ordained April 2o, 17G0. The | 

story of the call and the ordination is briellv outlined in the I 

records. | 

1759 Oct. 22. To appoint a committee to treat and agree with I 

Mr. Jonathan AYinehcster, who has been | 

preaching the Gospel there for some time ] 

past, concerning his settling iu the work of j 

the miuibhy there. I 

1759 Nov. 22. Voted thai tlieir should l-o twenty shillings I 

lawful money Laid as a tax upon each Com- 
mon Eight yearly as a salary for Mr. Jona- | 

than Winchester provided he shall settle in | 

said township as a Gospel minister. One 
moitie tliercof to be paid at the end of six 
mouths from the time he shall be agreed with 
to settle there and the other moietie in 
twelve months, annuall}', for the term of 
seven years or till such time as said town- . . 
ship shall come into some other method of 
Raising said sum of money for his support. 

■ J : . ; .'; 

:; .7 : ;;■; 

, , , . , I . , , ■ ; 
■ ■>.-,'. ■ 1 : ■ , ' - i i ... 

: .ft .;(lwl, f.; 
< . I ,■ i^i'' 

■■■v. t 

•h ■. ), 'uu; 1I;;0 o:M 


,'.' ;: .--,1 ,:■ .■■ ■■ . :' ■> 7,/ 
- 'i '.' -If.. ;'. •*;■ -^ ,:'j7"i!J 

246 iirsToiJY OF ASURriixirA^r. 

Vulct,! that tlicie be t\veiit\' shillings Lawfiill 
money Laid as a t;ix upon each Common Ivight 
as a Settlement for the above said Winchester 
if he shall settle as aforesaid, and to be paid 
to tlie treasni-cr by the time the said "Win- 
chester shall be ordained in said township. 

Voted that Cai)*" Caleb Dana, Nathan Iley- 
wood, Cap'-^ Caleb Wilder, W John Moffat 
and Mr. Ik-nj'' Church be a Committee to 
treat and agree with ]Str. Winchester cou- 
cerning his settling in said township. 
17G0 Feb. 18. To hear tlie Tiepoit of the Committee appointed 
to treat and agree with JNP Jonathan ^Viu- 
chester concerning his settling in the work 
of the ministry tliore. 

To grant and raise money for the expense of 
his ordination in case of his acceptance of 
the invitation given him. 
17G0 jNIarcb 25. Voted that the place for ordination of M' Win- 
chester shall be in the township of Dorches- 
ter Canada. 

Voted the time for ordaining M' Winchester 
shall be on Wednesday the twenty-third day 
of April next. 

Voted tliat we appl}' to five churches to assist 
in ordaining ]\P Winchester, that we send 
to the first Church in Cambridge, to the 
Churcli in Lunenburg, to tlie Church in 
Acton, to the Church in Lancaster and to 
the Church in Brookline to assist in said 

Voted that each proprietor pay three shillings 
to defray the Cost and Charge of the ordi- 
nation to be paid forthwith into the hands of 
the treasurer or other person or persons as 
the i)roprietors shall a[)point to receive the 

',/i ;.- 

■ ' ■ ' ■ ' ■ - -^ I ■''' ' ; ' ■ ■• ■ 
■■:-•', '':'i i •':! ;', 'l' •■'-■•., . 

. ■■•>;! ■:'■•'■ ' ■'■ 

■j''' ;i;....-'iof..M;, ti:' ■,-> iii::r^ 
.. >. -V' ■■■ ■ ' '\ 1 > 

. :■■ jv . • ^ '•/■•]<!*: ■■■"■ ^^ ' •' ■>■/ 

.JOici.' ''liH 

1 .1 


Voted that M'" Moses Foster, Cap'" Caleb 
Wilder and Cap'" vSamucl Hunt be a Com- 
' mittce to provide for said ordination in as 

couvenieuL a place as may bo and that they 
or au}' of them be itnpowered to receive the 
money granted for that purpose. 

Voted that ]\P Winchester may fence in and 
improve the meeting House Lot being forty 
rods square wliere the meeting House now 
stands, provided he doth not incommode tlic 
County road nor obstruct or hinder the 
Burrying of the dead, the burying place 
being in that lot. . 

The ordination, us appears in those votes, was arranged 
by an exterior organization but the minister was settled ovcv 
the people. If the propi'ietors directed the proceedings tlieir 

duties ended with them. The future comprehended only \ 

the new relations between the pastor and Ids flock. An j 
agreement was made \vith ^Iv. Winchester in January. 

Probably the ordination was intentionallv deterred until the | 

close ot the winter season. | 

Beyond the mention of the cluirchos invited there is no I 

record of the council, '.rho records of the church in Brook- I 

line contain the following entry under date of " April 13, | 

17G0. — Lord's Day. The pastor conmnuiicated to the | 

church a letter from the comnu'ttce of Dorchester Canada j 

desiring the assistance of this church in the ordination of | 

]Mr. Jonathan Winchester, whereupon the church voted to | 

comply with this request and cliose Messrs. AMiite, Aspin- i 

wall, Croft, Isaac and Joseph Winchester to represent them. ! 

''Upon the request of ]\[r. Winchester the church dis- j 

missed and recommended him to the fellowship of the ; 
Church in Dorchester Canada." 


< ; . ' J 

.^ '.(■•I') 

1: \ .1 - ■/ 

■ . . ;, ;, 

^ I' •;!"? 'ii. -,.'■;■■■•.) ,:'•' !.;i ;'';■■ 0(J !o i.iiO\JVI 
:■<'•". '■.\:'::.:-i loi'i'Cj -'ill' .7 j;< I oM/JO.l — 

%.-■ ■•■■ .'.,; •. , ■■ • ■ ■' ■■' •'■; ■■■^'- ..\f 


The pastor of the Brooklinc church at this time was Kcv. 
Joseph Jackson. Josepli Winchester was a Ijj-otlier of the 
candidate and ]Mi'. Croit, probably, ^vas a rehitive of Mrs. 
Wincliester. Kev. John Swifl, pastor of the church in 
xlcton, was one of the projmetors of the townshi}). Tlie 
invitations inchided the venerabk^. Ivev. Dr. Nathaniel 
Ap])leton of C:nul)ridge and He v. Thnothy Harrington of 
Lancaster. Cale!) Dana was a member of the church in 
Cambridge and tlie AVilders of the churcli in Lancaster. 
The records of the churches last named are incomplete, and 
while they contain no rel^renee to the ordination of ]Mr. 
Winchester it is probable that all the churches invited were 
re[)resented on the occasion. The invitation to the church 
in Lunenburg was significant. It was the voice of the 
settlement. ]\Liny of the settlers had been accustomed to 
worship there and He^ . David Stearns was the only 
minister they had known for many years. AVitliout his 
presence the council would have been incomplete. The 
original letter of ^Ir. Winchester accepting the invitation of 
the proprietors, vrritten in plain round characters, is 

To Messrs. Calkb Dana, Calkb Wildi.i:, Natiiax Haywood, 
Jonx MoFFATr aud Ijkk'amik Ciickch, a committee of the 
prourietors of the township calked Dorchester Canada in the 
county of Worcester, to communicate to said proprietors: 


Whereas you have given me, the subscriber, tlic most unworthy 
and undescrvlug, an invitation and call to settle in the important 
work of the Gospel iMinistry at Dorchester Canada, I thank you 
for the respect aud favour therein discovered to me. 

After due consideration, asking advice, and especially seeking 
to the great Head of the Chureii for direction in so momentous 
and weighty an affair, esteeming your offers for my settlement 

. O '.1 1 1" « ' 

:.; ,-"m; ■ lis ''■) • i'1<>^ 


,) >il'ir ^'.. J i:^:'!i 


and support reasonable and generous and relying upon this 
(>Yliieh ^Yill be of very great consequence Avith respect to my 
temporal interests and the comfortable subsistance of m^' family) 
viz. : that the right of land, which the first settled Gospel 
minister in the place is entitled to by the grant of the gi-eat and 
general court, be good and convenient for m}' settlement and that 
if the lots already appropriated to that purpose are not so, they be 
changed for lands more commodious, I have determined to accept 
your call and hereby do manifest my acceptance thereof. Asking 
your prayers and depending on Divine Grace for assistance that I 
may be enabled faithfully to discharge so important a trust and 
that my settling as a Gospel minister may be a means b}' the 
blessing of heaven of furthering the growth and prosperity of the 
place and promoting pure and undefiled religion in the hearts and 
lives of the inhabitants is the desire and pra^-er of, Gentlemen 
Your devoted and most humble servant 

Brookltxk, January 23, 17G0. 

The cbuvcli was embodied the same da v. Endorsinsj the 
prevailing creed of New EngUmd and desiring to enjoy the 
fellowship of the churches, it became necessary to adopt a 
covenant embracing the essential features of their faith . It 
would ])o expected that coir.mon forms of expression would 
be f )und in the covenant -. but it further appears that the 
covenant approved by the church in Gardner in 1786 is 
substantially a copy of tlu- declaration adopted at this time. 
The original covenant is still preserved and on the back are 
written the names of the thirteen male members, who were 
admitted at llie embodiment of the church. The covenant 
and the names are as follows : 


We, whose names are hereunto subscribed, being as we appre- 
hend called of God to enter into the Church State of the GosdcI 

I , ,(•■,,' l' 

■ i ' : ( ■ 1 1 

;.i=-,;.i>,:).'- I' 


r... „fv 


for tl.iG free and constant enjoyment of God's Worship and Ordi- 
nances, do in the first phice aclcnowledge our uuworthiness to be 
so highl}- favored of God at the same time admiring and adoring 
the rich and free Grace of God that triumphs over so great 
innvorthiness, with a humble dependence upon the Grace of God 
to enable us to do our duty, we would thankfully lay hold on his 
Co\enant and choose the things that please Him. 

"We declare our serious and hearty belief of the Christian 
Religion as contained in the Sacred Scriptures and as iisuall}' 
embraced by the faithful in the Churches of New England, which 
is summarily exhibited (in the substance of it) in their confession 
of Faith ; heartily resolving to conform our lives by the rule of 
Christ's holy Religion as long as we live in the world. 

"We give up ourselves to the Lord Jehovah who is the Father, 
the Sou and Holy Spirit, we vouch him this day to be our God, 
our Father and our Savior and Leader and receive him as our 
portion forever. 

We give up ourselves to the Blessed Jesus acknowledging His 
true Deity resolving to adhere to Him as the head of his people 
in the Covenant of Grace, and we do rely upon Him as our 
Prophet, Priest and King to bring us to eternal blessedness. 

"We acknowledge our everlasting and indisputable obligation to 
glorify God in all the Duties of a sober godly life and very par- 
ticularly in the duties of a church state and a body of people 
associated for an Obedieiice to Him in all the ordinances of the 
Gosp'!l and we hereupon depend on his Grace as suflicient for our 
faithful discharge of the Duties thus incumbent upon us. 

"We desire and also promise and engage with assistance to walk 
together as a church of our Lord Jesus Christ in the Faith and 
Order of the Gospel, so far as we do know the same, faithfully 
and conscientiously attending the Public "Worship of God and the 
Sacrements of the New Testament. And that we will be observ- 
ant of the rules and laws of Christ's Kingdom which regard the 
Discipline and Government of the Church as they have in 
general been administered among the churches before mentioned. 
And that we will attend all God's holy institutions in communion 

I ..'.'.V. |. •'! 

;-■?•! :ilJ 

;l ■■ /v • J' 

1 r. J 

■;.) ;-■:; .''^ :i c; .-' 'Au-^ri 

.■■ '■. ('v ;m: ••.'1 I ... ';(' ''_,Hea 

II, >fir.! -. .i t>;' I L'.ij lo 

■,f,. •/.'/ 

, u./ 


v,\[h oue anotiier, wntciiing over one iiuother with a spirit of 
meekness, love and tenderness eareftiUy avoiding all sinful 
stumbling bloeks, strifes, contentions and that we will endeavor to 
keep the unity of the spirit in the bond of Peace. 

We do also present our Offspring with ourselves unto the Lord 
resolving v.-ith Divine Help to do our part in the ]Mcthod of a Relig- 
ious Education, that they may be the ]^ords, and that we will 
particularly be careful in our endeavor duly to sanctifie the Sab- 
bath and to keep up Religion in our Families. And all this we do 
flying to the Blood of the everlasting Covenant for the pardon of 
all our sins, praying the glorious Head of the church who is the 
great Shepherd of the Sheep Avould prepare and strengthen us for. 
every good work to do his will working in us that which will be 
pleasing in his sight, to whom be glory forever and ever. 

Jonathan- \YiNcnESTER, Pastor 

Philip Vouback 

Christian Wm. Whiteman , 

John Rich 

Jacou Schoffe 

John Kiblinger 


Unity Peow^n 

John Oi'.culock 

MosES Foster " • . 

Thomas Wheeler 

James Cot.eman 

John Bates 

In th.' transcript of the covenant and signatures made by 
'Mv. Gushing tlic name of Unity Brown is written Unight 
BroATu probably from tlic fact that his Christian name was 
sometimes n-ritton Unite and incorrectly pronounced in two 
syllables. The wives of the original members united with 
the church at this time or soon after, Imt their names do not 
appear in the records. ]Mr. "Winchester and his wife brought 
letters from the church in Brookline. ^Nloses Foster, James 

• v / . ! >'v. .: . .-•• •>" ' 

': 'J.i 

'' . "i.T 

',i ■•,?■ 

■.-■■< I ■ jit r;l 

•i' V:/ ' ■) " '^ 

T .vtf.,),-. 


Coloni.'iu, Uiiity IJrcnvii and Iheir wives were r(!cci\C(.l on 
letter-^ from the ehurcli in Lunenburg wliere tliey hud niain- 
t;uned relation.s dui'ing Ihoir early re.sidenee in the settkMuent, 
and it is prob;d)]c that some oi" the Germans presented letters 
from eliurehes in their natiN'e land. 

The additions to the chureli duriuLC the ministry of ^Iv. 
Winehestor wove Jeremiah Fosttu' 1)y pi-ofession, 1761; 
Samuel Fellows and Avife, AA'illiam A\'hiteomb a))d vrife and 
Sarah Dickerson l\y letters from ehureh in Harvard and 
Stephen Ames and wife by profession,- ]7(J2; Ti'istram 
Cheney and wife and Hannah Joyncr In' letter from ehureh 
in Sudl.')U;y', l-^benezei' Conant and m ifc from church in Con- 
cord, 17{)3 ; John ]\[artin and wife, Samuel Fellows, Ji'., 
and Avife and Ebenezer Ilemcnway by profession, 1764 ; 
Jerenn*;di Foster, Jr., and Abraham Smith and wife by 
profes.-^ion, 17G5 ; Deliverance Davis arid wife and Ma^-y 
Wl'iitman, wife of John AVhitman, by profession, 17GG ; 
Daniel ^L?rrill and wife, Sarah Foster, wife of Jeremiah 
Foster, Jr., and Job Coleman and wife, 17G7. The whole 
mimber is forty-two, to which should be added the names of 
the females who were received at the organization of the 
churcli. The lirst deacons were ^Moscs Fostc]' and Samuel 
Fellow.> lint a reccu'd of tlieir election is not found. r>eyond 
this outline of the ivsult-- of his ministry, little is known of 
the labors and characteristics of Mr. Winchester. Tliat he 
secured the love and respect of his jM'oplc and was regarded 
as a most worthy and upright man is reflected in the measure 
of their sorro-w at hi'^ death. Tlie proprietors also manifested 
their esteem in a vote to make him a gratuity in addition to 
his stated salary. "Voted that the proprietors will grant 
Rev. ]\Ir. Arincliester £18 as a consideration of the extraor- 
dinary expense, he has been put to for two years past, on 
account of the high price of provisions." This action 

:; :■.,;■. ,.[. \- 


1 J 

:!: i .v-:*'..;:if!; ;'ii 't.. - 

■'■'■' ■■■: y'li'i 'iv '.. ..■, 

^ ■•■]>■ 

• i'.] ")f, 

\ ••lit ! ;j{' 

■ "■■ '<'■{'.'/.'. 


occuiTod January 2(), 17(!3, niul is sucrgostive of the Imi-d- 
ships and trial.-? attcndinii:: l>ot]i the pastor and hi-; people in a 
new settlement. 

The death of Mr. "Winehester, Mdiie]i occnri-ed on A^'ednes- 
day, Xovember 2G, 17(>7, was a serious loss to tlie young- 
parish. At once they A'>'ere bereft of a iaithful p:istor, a 
judicious comisellor and a sincere fi-iend. Their established 
relations, their mutual plans, their briglitest hopes of the 
future were ended l)y the sad event. That the people 
realized tlieir lo-.s and gave unmistakable expressioii of the 
deepest sorrow is announced in the records and continued by 
man}" traditions. The widow continued to reside in tliis 
town where she died Juh' 27, 1704, and tlie name has never 
faded from the registers of the town. 

Rev. Jonathan AVinchester, sou of Henry and Frances 
A^inchester of Brookline, was born April 21, 1717. He was 
graduated at Harvard University 1737, and for sc\eral 
years was a school teacher in Brookline. He married ^lay 
5, 1748, Sarah Crofts, an educated and talented lady, of 
Brookline, where six of Iheir ten chihli-en were born. If 
]\Ir. Winchester preached anj'where previous to his removal 
to tliis town the fact has not appeared. Yv'hcn he began 
preaching here he had not been ordained and consequently 
this was his first settlement in the ministry. If little has 
been f.umd concerning the life and characteristics of ]Mr. 
Wincht'stery- there is abundant evidence that he was a man 
of singular purity of cliaracter, a kind neighbor and an 
earnest and eflective preacher. That he was respected and 
greatly beloved by his })eople is clearly retlected in the 
records, and that he was a man of earnest, steadfast pur- 
poses, of generous and friendly impulses, restrained by a 
firm adherence to the connnands of duty, is supported l)y 
many traditions. 

;ii nit 'Ui 

.<;!.•> .'^ ;i'. ir 

'.iff .■'. 

■).'J. ,'.-'1 'i 

^'t »Yi;: J ] 'J' '••? ' ^ 5;^ 

|1 •■ 

,.) .ruVr '.(■ 

.-Mi- : ■■ 

"■ ; ;'■•:,,- T' Li; . !! 

,;j ■■i -rj. 


It is tlio to^timon}' of Dr. Cusliiiig that ho lived in peace 
and ^^as res]:»ee(ed and beloved and ^vlien he died was nmcli 
lamented. And liis ))aris:li soon after his death engraved 
upon the talilct that mark-; his grave tlieii' appreciation of 
the minister wliom the}-" had loved. , ■ 







Intcfjer vitcr, scelerii^que jnn'us. 

A newspa})er of the time, The Boston Post Boy and 
Advertiser , in the issue of December 28, 1767, announces 
the death of IMr. "Winchester in these terms : "The latter end 
of November died at Ashburnham, long known b}' the name 
of Dorchester Canada, the }\ev. ]Mr. Jonathan Winchester, 
^Minister of tlie church in tliat town. A sensible, worthy 

After the death of ]Mr. AVincliester, the churcli " chose 
Deacon Moses Foster moderator while destitute of a pastor." 
'^ June 16, 176S, the clmicli met and made choice of John 
Gushing for thi^ minister svitii a iull vote and chose Deacons 
Foster and Fellows and lUv^ther Cheney as a committee to 
acquaint him of it." In this action of tlic church the town 
on the fourth of July unanimously concurred. " September 
21, 1768, the church met and voted that the ordination of 
the pastor elect, John Cushing, should be on the second 
day of November following, and voted to send to seven 
churches." "Chose Deacon Fellows, Eli.-ha Coolidge and 
Tristram Cheney to sigji the letters missive." To this 
decision of the church the town promptly assented and made 
ample arrangements for the occasion. 



-■■■'■: '.■;• ■ ■ ■"' 1- 


. i'.'; '!''.■',■ . 

; i ' ■ ' ■ ■ I '.■.;■: 

;,ii.;- .,!. 1-;] ;:; 

I ,i!: 


; ■>dt 


The council, if til] the iiivitiilions were accepted, was com- 
posed of Re^'. Joscj^h Sumner of Shrewsbury, the successor 
of the father of ]\Ir. Cuslii))^ ; ]'(^v. Ebenezer ^loi'se, pastor 
of the Xortli Parish, no^\" Boylston ; Uev, Ebenezer Parlc- 
man of Westl)oro', the fatlier of the lutui-e wife of Mr. 
Gushing; Eev. Jacob Gushing of AValtliam, a brother of 
the candidate: Itcv. Asaph Rice of ^^'estminster ; Rev. 
Stephen Farrar of XeT\' Ipswich, at whose ordination 
Mr. Winchester had assisted and Rev. John Payson of 

In full sympathy with this sombre day in autumn and 
with hearts heavy witli sonow for tlieir tlrst minister, ■nhum 
they had loved, the churcli and parish look to his successoi" 
with lioi)e and courage. Many trivial alTairs liavc made 
more display on the pages of the records but in its pei-vading 
and salutary influences in directing and moulding the senti- 
ment of another generation, in the full measure of its results, 
the ordination of ^Ir. Gushing was a most memorable event 
in the annals of Ashl)urnham. The minister, in the robust 
strength and courage of early manhood, assumes the laboi-s 
and burdens of a lifetime ; while the people, entering an 
era of concord, willingly comply with the mild yet unyield- 
ing influences of his faithful ministrations. 

The years of a successful ministry crowned with the 
reward- of peace and hatinony are only the links in a con- 
tinuous chain of similar events. They are so alike in 
outline, so connected in record, they cannot be regarded 
separately. The labor of Mr. Gushing began with his 
ordination and ended with his death. It admits of no 
divisions. For fifty-live and one-half years the course of 
his labor, like the flow of a river, was uninterrupted and 
onvN'ard. To measure the flood emptied into the sea ^\e 
must notice the duration as well as the volume of the 

•■:• I , 

1 ! , I : 

l.l .w'.i:;' ■ .:: ;■;', ■)^^r: ,1 

., „ .f;..,.-, 

I , ', ! - / 'I'll 

■ IP i ;..'-■ !i - .. -,! r- : 

, , I :: .'i f 'n'- ■■■,!■ 

:T ;i, -..•:. 7;;;':.; 

V-.'i ' .v I.'-'-. • i: ' ! . 'I' . 

: - f .MY 

'; ( I" u^ /' 

II -w:: .o:: 


current. Before his allotted v\'ork was scarce begun those 
aged at the time of liis orduuition had faded away ; the 
middle-aged and those in the strength of early manhood 
gre\v' old and al>o died ; while 3^et with vigor unahuted lie 
ministered to their children and beneath his sight the youth 
he tlrst beheld passed the stages of life and sunk l)eneath the 
weight of years. Without a change of scene his charge and 
congregation were many times renewed. 

The registers of the church during his ministry are a 
continued record of Avisdoin in administration and freedom 
from any serious contention. At the beginning the town 
was uniled in religious opinions and in harmony with the 
creed of the church. At -a later period the pastcu- and the 
church found frequent employment in dealing with an 
inci'easiiig number of dissenters. First, a tV'W announcing a 
change of opinion on the doctririe of baptism desii'cd ti) with- 
draw and unite with those of kindred faith, and early within 
the ]:)resent century a larger number Avithdrew and united 
with the ^Methodists. Compared with the prevailing usage 
and practice of the times a liberal policy was pursued and 
a cojunicndable measure of forbearance and toleration was 
exercised. In a review of the position of the church in 
these proceedings Mr. Gushing says, — ''There has geuerally 
been manifested a dis]:)osiiioti that each ^.liould enjoy lil)erty 
of ctuisc ience. I have unitbrmly endea\ored to exercise 
cliavity towards dissenters and to avoid asperity and cen- 
soriousness. And the reflection that I have thus endeavored 
affords satisfaction. In exercising the discipline of Christ's 
kingdom I have aimed to avoid severity. I have offer 
thought of an observation of the bishop of St. Asaph as 
worthy of regard : ' Tlie art of government consists in not 
governing too much.' " 

The great embarrassment of the church rested in the fact 
that each measure of discipline on questions of faith was 

■I'l '!:'■■ 

,.:.? o( 

t' , /. 

^ho-l -.M'l 

■ ( .■ ' 1 1. 

: -,. ,-vt ^.(i! :-"':' ■••-■'■■ •■^■"' "*>^ 

• '! )!) ' .r 

t ■ ; ■ •!•»!■> .! 


answered by a request for a letter of dismissal and recojw- 
mendation. This they could not gi'ant Avithout officially 
recognizing a church of another denomination and that, for 
many years, tliey would not do. The church also main- 
tained that a withdrawal v\iihout leave was amenable to 
discipline and that a dismissal coidd not l.)c granted until the 
ojflcnding persons had given satisfaction to the church. A 
candid review of these proceedings must lead to iho conclu- 
sion that the church in fact vras laid inider the sternest 
discipline and vriscly profited by it. With a laudable 
degree of justice and in advance of the practice of the 
churches in this vicinity the chiu'ch in Ashburnham began 
to grant dismissals when requested and to give a general 
certificate of good moral character. This procedure at once 
freed the churcli from a perpetual season of discipline and 
left the dissenters, armed with a commendation "to whom it 
may concern," at full liljcrty to follow the loadings of duty 
or inclination. 

In 1778, the following persons ^vere dismissed uj)on their 
declaration that they had changed their sentiments in 
respect to Infant Baptism, the manner of supporting the 
Gospel, and of admitting church members : Elisha Coolidge, 
Ebenezcr Conant, Ebenezer Conant, Jr., and wife, Nathan 
Putnam and wife, Nathan liigelow and ^\iie, Jacob Willard 
and wife, Jacob Constantino and wife, Joliu .Martin and wife, 
and John Bigelow. Upon their dismissal tiioy were favored 
with the following letter : 

Whereas Elisha Coolidge and others, members of this church, 
have withdrawn themselves from this church and plead their 
chaugiug their religious sentiments with respect to Infant Baptism, 
etc., as the reason, and that they can't in conscience hold com- 
munion with us as heretofore and desiring a dismission from 
their relations to this church, TJiese are to signifj' that we would 

'■■ 1/ 


■i^:f';^f ' ' i iv'j.: -:■•; ^n \- 

i i . ; 1., ■,\-^!V^ y-, ■ I 

'J r- fi. 


not forcibly cletaiu them or bold them against their consent, but 
do dismiss them from their rchitions to us and certify withal that 
before they withdrew from communion with us they were free 
from scandal and while thoy appeared bef(»re the church, to give 
their reasons for absentujg, they conducted iu a brotherl}- and 
christian manner. 

AVhilo tbc persons who Aritlidrew at tliis time were styled 
Baptists on account of a featuro of tliclr creed they furtlier 
contended that it "was sinful and unscriptural to maintain a 
salaried clergy, or in their own words, "-we are against those 
that preach for hire or those that ask }iay for hindling a fire 
on God's altar." T]ie case of Mary Glieney who joined the 
Baptists without requesting a dismissal was attended with 
more difhcult^' : 

The Church of Christ in Ashhurnham to Mary Cheney : 

At a meeting of the church regularly held, your conduct in 
leaving this church without leave or notice given Mas taken in 
considerotion and, after maturely weighing the matter, judged that 
it was a breach of covenant and that you ought to be admoriished 
for 3"0ur disorderly conduct. When you was admitted among us, 
you solemnly promised to walk in communion with us as far as 
you knew your duty, and we promised to watch over you and are 
now endeavoring to perform cvur engagement by sending you this 
letter of admonition. Wh'^'n you Avas dissati-.fied with us and could 
not ill conscience have con^muDiou with us, why could you not 
have manifested your mind? We do not v^-ant to debar any 
from enjoying liberty of conscience, but how can the purity and 
order of the church possibly be kept up, if members, contrar}- to 
solemn engagements, break away from one church to another with- 
out the least notice given? Your change of opinions can't justify 
your conduct, for God is a God of order and not of confusion. 

We therefore admonish j'ou for breach of covenant and earnestly 
entreat you to consider seriously of what you have done and of the 
bad and dangerous consequences of such disorderly behavior and 

•\'ll '. ■'■"1 

:,■ r ,'1 1,; •■■■■' 

VMMj ■•' 'i : t 

, I ^ ; ti.- 

,:"> ''■■ '■■■..r <-.f h-i... ,••■:'; : "' '>n" .;':;f- ;:;:•(; 


to give the cbiirch you have justly offended christinn sfitisfaction 
without whieli we cannot at an}' lime admit you to any privilege 
among us if }'0u should desire it. And we judge also that the 
church to which you have joined are disorderly and ought to be 
admonished. Wc pray tlie great Shepherd would lead and guide 
you b}' his spirit, make you fully sensible of your evil couducl and 
dispose you to make that satisfaction wl)ich we must suppose your 
conscience upon mature deliberation will readily dictate. 

"We subscribe ourselves your offended brethren, yet read}- to be 
reconciled u})on rcasonal.»le and christian terms. 

The defection of a few from the church to the Methodists 
occurred at a hiter })eriod and under tlic warmth of a more 
charitable and tolerant s])irit. The followir.g letter truthfully 
reflects the pacific policy vrhich pervades the records at this 

Ajtril 1, 179G. — Whereas our brother vStephen Eandall, Jr., has 
requested that he may be dismissed from this to the Episcopal 
Methodist Church because he finds he is better edified than to 
continue with us and is not fully satisfied with the custom of dis- 
ciplining members, we would say, we wish not to deprive him of 
any good which he thinks he mn}' gain for his soul, we are free 
and willing that every one should have liberty of conscience. 
Also a letter of dismission vrould introduce him into the Methodist 
Church, from the principle of christian charitv and communion vre 
should readily grant it, certifying that his moral character is good. 
"We desire and pray that he may adorn the doctrine of Jesus 
Christ with those of his denomination, though we would not be 
understood as fully approving all their doctrines and discipline. 

In other cases of discipline, with limited knowledge of the 
facts and surroundings, it would be folly to inquire if the 
church had been severe or if the offenders had sinned. Only 
one case evincing the breadth and tenderness of brotherhood 
will be cited. This report of a committee delegated to visit 

'>^5 VJ; ;(> \ tl 

ui!V) ■:/''■'' "w.i 

''• ' i. '■■-'' 

. > ' ,> J 

!J:_jo-: :--^:.;, 

■io];j ",. ■ ■;. 

:■:'■: •;; v'!<f^ :->s.. 

,■ 111 ..!■//.' ,■;;;"•■' ' 

.1-:. V,. ,.,,;,. 

) ' ?v;l,rr'v;/- ■;>*+ 'i; ■■., 

:^ . : .;,-■.?':■•-.; ::.{;„, " 

: . ' v • i ,: i . 

.- / t ,: ' ' "■. : 'v ■ . M' 

':/ <rT „;.:,.. 


cue of the most i)romineiit citizens of the low)i is in tlie 
language of ]\Ir. Gushing who was one of the conimittee and 
is dated January 1, 1818. 

We waited upon Lim soon after oui* appointment and after say- 
ing everything v.'c eould on the one hand to dissuade him from the 
excessive use of spirit, and on the other to encourage him to a 
reformation, at leuglh Jic told us that he had come to a resolution 
to refrain entirely for one month. At the end of which we might 
visit him again and if we found he had broken over the resolution 
we might do with him as wc thought best. Accordingly at the 
end of the month we all visited him again and he .declared he had 
not taken a drop of spirit, and upon being asked what his purpose 
was for the future he told that it was his determination to per- 
severe, so that M'e were relieved from the disagreeable work of 
leaving the letter of admonition with him, and we rejoiced together 
at the pleasing and happy prospect of a reformation. He seemed 
to have uncomfortable apprelicnsions that he should not be able to 
remove the offence he had given the church. But we answered 
him that the ofTencc would cease innnediatel}' upon his reformation, 
that the church would rejoice , that his family and connections 
would rejoice, yea and the angels in Heaven would rejoice. 

It is within the memory of many of the aged among us, 
that ]\rr. Gushing maintained an advanced position on the 
question of temperance and tliat in tlic pul])It, more fre- 
quently than in:iny of ln"s contemporaries, he boldly preached 
the error and evils of intemperance. If his views on this 
subject were presented with a characteristic rigor of opinion, 
they wei'c attended in his daily walk among his people with 
that spirit of forgiveness and brotherly love and tenderness 
which pervades the report we have cited. 

The church in Ashburnham was among tlic fir--?t to 
abandon the custom of administering the rites of baptism to 
the children of parents who were not members of the church. 


'A'" ', f)ij 

: ) !- -H, 

: I lif! 

ij -iH 

■I IJ'l! .f? 

y <; Ji 

:'\j ' '. ':'•) 


S'..'!'!-- • 



'^"' ■,' 


' . : ' 1 : i 


f .:r\ 



This custom of very ctirly origin pi'cvailcd in many of the 
Xew England churclics until a compnratively recent period. 
Q'he ])arents %Yho thus desired to present tlieir ollspring for 
baptism were required to '' own the covenant," or in other 
words, to publicly express a general belief in the creed of 
the church. They were not required to profess, and it is 
reasonably certain they did not always possess, the moral 
qualification of membership and they were only expected to 
express an intellectual assent to the general truths of the 
church covenant. The persons who had only owned the 
covenant were not admitted to communion nor were they 
amenable to church discipline, but being admitted to the 
privik-ge of presoiting their children for baptism on an 
equality vntli those in full communion they were frequently 
styled "half way members." This practice continued 
throughout the ministry of ^Nfr. Winchester, but it never 
fully met the approval of Mr. Gushing. With an habitual 
conservatism in regard to measures, and mindful of the vigi- 
lant tendency of his people to oppose any abridgment of 
their privileges or accepted customs, he presented the follow- 
ing proposition which was adopted without evidence of 
opposition : 

We the church of Christ in Ashhurnbara, being desirous of pro- 
moting practical religion in U'is place, taking into consideration 
the geneial practice in the churches of persons owning the cove- 
nant, and ho-viug reason to fear that such are left to ran too mnch 
at large without being watched over and not seeing the consistency 
of their solemnly owning the covenant and then not paying 
regard thereto as is the case too much with respect to some it 
appearing too evident that the main design of some is for the sake 
of enjoying the ordinance of baptism only : We have come into the 
following vote : 

That we will not for the future admit any to the privilege of 
baptism except members in full. And that we might not be 

ii ' \r- 

:' '-. . -i 


i : • ^o 

;j ' . , • ! : ' I a' ( J ' ' I 


tbonght too severe — if there should be rniy (Avhich ~svg hope will 
not bo the case), who nre so full of doubt aud fear, that they dare 
not approach to the table, but yet are desirous of enjoying the 
privilege of baptism and putting themselves under the care and 
watch of tlie church, we shall not insist upon their participation 
under such a situation of their mind, nor proceed to censure them 
if they do not immediatel}' partake of the ordinance. 

Inasmuch as there are several that are in covenant that are not 
members in full, this vote is not to ])e coasidered as cutting them 
off from a privilege granted to them heretofore. However we will 
consider them as under the inspection of the church, and we 
engage that we will watch over them as though they were mem- 
bers in full. 

This action occarred A}n"il 7, 177H. There were some 
precedents for it nt this, date, but it was twenty or more 
years in advance of very many cluu-clies situated nearer the 
schools of tlieology and the centres of infhience. 

]^fot\vitlistanding the disintegrating intiueuces which were 
felt at times not only in tliis town but throughout Xew 
England, the membership of the cluirch slowly increased in 
numbers throughout the ministry of Mr. Crushing. The loss 
occasioned by death, by removals from the town and by a 
transfer of relations Avas more than compensated by an 
increas<^ in population tmd the fruit of several seasons of 
unusual religious interest. The registers of the church in 
the handwriting of iNIr. Cushing represent that, at the time 
of his death, there were about one hundred and thirty 
resident members. In one small volume tlie statistics of 
more than fifty years are carefully entered. The summary 
includes the names of three hundred and thirty-one persons 
admitted to the fellowship of the church ; the Iniptism of 
nine hundred and sixty-three children and twenty-four adults 
and the record of three hundred and twelve marriaires. 


■:1J .i! 

: -M ■u.--:\ 

■, . J <-fs ')'' ' i • ( 

■ ■ ;.; r 
A '/ ;..•!).■■ 


■■.J fi: 

' "•• ' i ■ . ! . 

;,;,( lo 


-:•■ .^rr 

. . J. -w'l tJ(i 


Key. John Cusliing, D. 1)., was bom in Sbi'ewsLujy, 
jNIassaoluisetts, August 22, 1744. A desceudtuit of tlie 
Gushing family of Ilinghani he inherilcd the strong and 
vigorous traits of character wliich have distinguished many 
generations, lie was a son of Kcv. Jol) and ]\Luy (I'ren- 
ticc) Gushing. Ilis father was the first nn"nister of Shrews- 
bury where he died August G, IT GO. JTis inother was the 
daughter of llev. John and IMary (Gardner) Prentice of 
Lancaster and an honored name in the annals of that town. 
She died at the age of ninety years May 24, 1798. 

]Mr. Gushing entered Harvard l^'niversity where he main- 
tained an honorable standing and was graduated 1764; 
exactly fifty years after his father had received a diploma 
from the same institution. At the age of twenty-four years 
he was ordained and settled over the clnu'ch in this town, 
November 2, 17G8, and died April 27, 1823. From his 
alma mater he received the degree of Doctor of Divinity 

The most fitting tribute to the memory of ^Ir. Gushing is 
found in liis works. For many years he was the only 
minister in the town, lie stood in the midst of an increas- 
ing pari>h scattered over a large township, yet his influence 
peiwaded every portion of it. He wa^> faithful in every 
service. Two sermons Avjre regularly prepared for the 
Sabbath, frequent discourses were written for week-day 
lectures and his ministrations to the sick and the bereaved 
were prompt and unfailing. He was constant in his attend- 
ance upon the schools and in all social relations with his 
parish. At ever}" fireside the serenity of his countenance, 
the wisdom of his speech and the purity of his life and 
example were continually deepening the impression and 
enforcing the influences of his public ministrations. PTe 
gladly welcomed all the moral and benevolent enterprises 


. ; I . 

I . - « •'* 

i .1-:" 

•^ ■•':! 

I f 

.,,; I 

i i ' 

•J, .'; ,• : *■ ' •/ ■■..■..Y,f ;■■.;•;:■. ■,' I'i ':?'.!.)•■■■■■■' I ,iil 

(it ImIi. !■ 

W f. I 

!;• ■., ) 


of his time. The cause of temperance and the early mission- 
ary organizations received from him a warm and cfiicient 

In stature, Mr. Gushing was tall and portly; in bearing 
dignified and erect. He moved witli })recision and with the 
incisive mark of strengtli and vigor. As the infirmity of 
age grew upon him, his step was slower but never faltering ; 
his form became slightly bowed but lost none of its original 
dignily and commanding presence. His mild blue eye and 
the serenity of his countenance were undimmed even when 
his whitened and flowing locks were counting the increasing 
furrows of age in his fiicc. 

As a preacher he adhei'ed to the fundamental doctiiues of 
his creed and suppoi-ted them with frequent quotation from 
the Scriptures. The plan of his discourse was hicid and bis 
methods of reasoning direct and losrical. If he Avas tenacious 
in the use of set terms and forms of speech he invariably 
applied them with aptness and precision. He did not rely 
on the abundance of words or the exliibitlon of emotion, but 
upon the weight and sequenc(; of the central truths ^s"hich 
formed the theme of his discourse. His voice was clear, 
strong and pleasing. He read his sermons closely and 
without gesture. In deliAery he was moderate, earnest and 
impressi\ e. At home and abroad he was justly regarded as 
an able, instructive preacher. The ability of Mr. Gushing 
in an intellectual sense was conspicuous. Measured by men 
of acknowledged power and a))ility he was not deficient. 
He held a foremost rank among illustrious compeers in his 
profession and was an equal in mind and character of Rev- 
erends Payson of Rindge, Farrar and Hall of New Ipswich, 
AYaters of Ashby, Rice of Westminster and Pillsbury of 
Winchendon. ■ • . — 


I,,-- -yfi-^^; V\| .,, 


:: , .;■!..■' i Ml: ';,. ..J i >^- '•' ■''<- 

,;■ 'tiv r-c ■; -^'^ '::*■ ''i';.^ ■ ••■ ■-^' 
, ,; vior •;T!: .m;,.^ ,:^i?« ^'-l !w -u;.'/:;! Milt T 

;,j! I Hi 


As a ooinisoUor ho av:is ))rudeiit and jiulicial. Possf^ssinnr 
a tliovough kiiONvlodgc of ecclesiastical hr>v and skilled in llie 
usages of the church, his advice "was frcquentlv souiihl in 
the settlement of contention in other churches. In such 
service his counsels Avere invaluable. If his associates were 
exacting and harsh in tlicir conclusions, his judgments were 
always tempered with nicrcj' and his decisions fragi'ant Vvitli 
forgiveness and reconciliatioii. In the midst of every form 
of contention, his goal was peace and seldom was he moved 
from his accustomed paths by the passions of contending 
Dien. In ecclesiastical councils of a more pacific character 
his services were frequently solicited and cheerfully ren- 
dered and for many years a council was seldom convened in 
a circle of many miles to which he was not invited. 

In his daily life Mr. Gushing was la])orious. Ilis dis- 
courses were carefully written, his parochial visits were 
reoT.ilarly made and the schools were familiar with his 
presence. "With these uninterrupted ministrations and the 
care of his fanii he found time in some wa^-^ for reading and 
music. He was regaj-ded by his associates in the ministry 
as a man of liberal knowledge and varied acquirements. 

lie ^vas preeminently a. minister of the olden time. His 
parish was his field of hiboi- and no one was neglected. His 
charge was his constant thought and ihity, and while he 
watched for the fruit of his labor, he toiled on with unfail- 
ing hope and courage. Even in the decline of life and 
under the weight of nearly eighty j'ears his service was 
acceptable and his parish united in their love and respect 
for their venerable teacher. It seems that their aflection for 
him increased as he paled and grew feeble in their service. 
And when death came and stilled the pulsations of his warm 
and generous heart, his people paid a fitting tribute in the 
lines of sorrow engraved on every countenance. From that 

M , |i---i|':!-^ 

:i -.y; ■,'!; ^;> .i; 

-1,1 ,; - 

'.'■ Wv 

j. ;;.!;:? i>' 

ii" :i' . (■■■ 




hour the yuice of Inidiiioii began to assert tliat liis gciihis 
was solid; his uiiderstniidiug clear: his jiidginent strong; 
his memory faithful; his emotions cool and restrained yet 
his sym})athies tender and his atlections warm ; that his 
resolution and perscvei'ance wei'e unusual, that lie vras 
foithful to every trust and tJiat his heart was so honest, his 
friendshi[) so sincere and his tongue under such control, tliat 
his smile Mas a benediction and his speech a sermon. 

]\[v. Cusliing married September 28, 1700, Sarah I'ark- 
man, daughter of Kev. Ebenczer and liaintah (iJreck) Park- 
man of AVestboro, who survi^■ing her husl);ind died in tlds 
town ]\Iarc]i 12, 1S25. The j-ecord of the family is con- 
tinued in the ii-enealoo-ical registers. 

f^ o o 

After these many years the church and the parish were 
without a minister. There were several families in town 
that had removed hither soon after the settlement of ]Mr. 
Gushing, but very few were living who witnessed his ordi- 
nation. Tiie only groAvn persons li\'ing in this town in 1708 
who remained here and survi^'cd Mr. Cushing were Enos 
Jones, Eebccca (Foster) AA'ard, widow of Caleb AA'ard, 
Judith (Foster) Brooks, widow of Dr. Peter Brooks. 
, The tbllosving June the town chose AVilliam J. T/iwrence, 
Thoma- Jlobart, Peubeii Townsend, Jr., Jose})h Jewett and 
Benjamin Barrett to sujif*)}' the jxdpit. At a, meeting early 
in Oein1>cr the commit! ce reported that "they had hired 
Mr. Geo]-gc l*erkins to preach four Sabl)aths." Three 
weeks later the town votcnl to hear Mi\ Perkins four addi- 
tional Sabljaths and on tlie iirst day of December insti-ucted 
the committee to emi)l()y Afr. Perkins until further orders 
from the town. Decemlier 24, eight months after the death 
of ]Mr. Cashing, the churcii extended a unanimous call, in 
which the town concurred in a vote of sixty-eight to sevtm- 
tceu. The town instrutted the connnittee formerly chosen 

: : < 

!:. ■ 'jj ' •";■■ 

I-'! :.'in; 

-I <:, :J 


I ;s ' -r, ■' ! 

1 i 

, : ■ ' 

..' ■;...•! A 

>- ..'iv/' 

I ■ ' ; ■ • 

: ■ ' • ; / ■ 1 ; 

r. 1,.:; i ff.Ht 


' :,.' ' ■ ' ' ' ' 

1 . > ; , . ! 

.■'. i \ I'-- 

, 1 M 1 

''if .'•: . 

, , ■' :;■'•.;;, 

n i;'> i'M'fjfl 

1 ' ' ■ 

!•-'■: \ y: rt 

1 ;-; . i ^ !■. 

>< ! .»:/'(/ 


to notify tlic candidate and tlie church joined Deacon Hunt, 
Dr. Lowe and Doddridge Gushing. The letter of accept- 
ance is su1)joined : 

AsiiDURNHAM, Jfln3\ 24, 1824. 
To the Cougrcgatioanl Churcli and Society in Ashburuhara : 
Chridian Brethren and Friends — 

Having been presented by your committee with the votes of 
this church and eonL!,regation giving rne a call to settle "svdth you 
as jour Gospel nnuister aud having, as I trust, attentively and 
prayerfully sought to know my dut^' in a case of such vast 
importance in its conseqaences, both to you and to myself, I have 
come to a determination to accept of the invitation contained in 
your votes, subject to tlie conditions specified therein. I am also 
ready to unite witli the church and society in such measures as 
may be necessary to carry 3'our votes and this answer into effect. 
As there may be occasions which will render it necessary for me 
to leave this place for a longer period than one week at a time, 
I think it reasonable to claim the privilege of being absent two 
Sabbaths in each year, without abatement of compensatiou, — this 
being the least num^ber usually granted. The church and society 
will also expect me to make such exchanges as are customary 
among neighboring ministers. 

Feelir.g. as I do, my unworthincss of so importtint a trust and 
my utter insufficiency in my own strength, to lead a life of use- 
fulness amongst you, I cannot close without making the further 
request that I may at all times have your fervent prayers to God 
that lie would make me a zealous, faithful and successful minister 
of the New Testament to the souls of this people. 


Mr. Perkins was ordained February 2."), 1824. 'i'ho 
council comprised the Eevercnds Baseoni and Putnam of 
Asbby, Putnam of Fitchburg, Mann of Westminster, \\ di- 
ington of Tcunpleton, Estabrook of Atliol, Sabin of Fit/- 
william and Deacon Georije Coffin of AVincIiendou. 

,u'.X. .>.' 

r^^^^ . .") S-V 


'\ r i: 

■1 •; i'.-_.; 

• '^ |i/ I'll 

':/. •■■;.:. ill-. 'i-t't ; ;';;•: J; 

268 iiiSTony of asiiblkniiam. 

The niinistiy of ]\[r. Pcrkiii.s was successful :iud unusually 
acceptable to the church and congregation. Entci'ing the 
Diinistry without pursuing a prcsci'iljed course of study he 
had not acquired the conventional manners of the schools, 
yet in him vrcve combined dignity with affability and 
umisual plainness of speech with equal kindness. In the 
pulpit he was ofiott colloquial, sonictin\es eloquent and 
always instructiye. A few lines from a letter written by 
Sar;di Jcwelt in December, 18i^3, will be accepted as 
authority in regard to his characteristics. " Mr. Perkins is 
our candidate. I am certain you will like- him much, as 
you like unassuming maimers. He is an unconnnonly 
interesting man. His manner in the jjulpit is easy and 
natural ; his composition chaste ; and his reinarks original, 
and we seldom witness such urbanity of manner." It is 
the united testimony of all who remembc^r him that he was a 
deyoted minister and a kind, sympathizing friend. By his 
ready sympathy and his cxemplaiy walk and conyersation 
he secured the alfections and respect of his peojjle. In his 
public ministrations he v,as discreet and faithful. At a 
season of controyersial discussion, which was rending many 
cliurcli(^s, his flock was united and by avoiding doctrinal 
preachini; he persuaded hi- peoi)le to drown dissension in 
forget fub.i ess. The mini>try of ^Ir. Perkins in this place 
was interrupted by the fLtbleness of the aged parents of 
his wife who souirht his care and assistance. Obtaining a 
dismissal from his charge he returned to Connecticut. 

A mutual council was convened July 3, 18o2, and after 
formally assenting to the desire of !Mr. Perkins to be 
released from his charge the record proceeds : 

The council are happy to state that in the dissolution of the 
pastoral relatious of the Kev. George Perkins to this church and 
people the most mutual good feeling has prevailed and we wish to 

'i l\:'j. 

\ 1 ■. (. 

1 ^■■.'\\'.\ 

A ,0ft 

''■ ")<•> .'<•?'(.'■(•..? :.\] -:,\ fvMr 

f' :. 

■■J'.)-li •>!'? 

Ill IK' j] 

' ;. i •> ■■•■ 

■/ T ■■;'» 'to ^' 


state explicitly that the reasons assigned for a dissolution of this 
relation arc such as do not show any dissatisfaction of the church 
and people towards their pastor nor an}' dissatisfaction on his 
part towards them. 

Rev. George Perkins, son of Dr. Elislia and Sarah 
(Douglas) Perkins, was l^orn in Plainiield, Connecticut, 
October 19, 1783. lie ][)ursued a preparatoiy course of 
study at the Academy in his native town and was graduated 
at Yale College 1803. After reading law in the office of 
Hon. Charles ^Slarsli of Woodstock, Vermont, he soon 
became a prominent lawyer in Xorwich, Connecticut. In 
the continued practice of his profession he earned an excel- 
lent reputation as a safe and prudent counsellor and an able 
advocate. Such was his integrity and conscientious adher- 
ence to his idea of right, he was familiarly styled by his 
brethren in the profession and often ])y the public as 
" Plonest George," In 1821, and soon after the death of 
his first wife, closing his office in Xorwich and with little 
remark conccrninir his intentions, he sous^ht tlie home of his 
brother, Rev. J. Douglas Perkins, in Coatesville, Pennsyl- 
vania, and under his tuition he pursued the study of tlieology 
a year or more. Entering the ministry at the age of forty 
years and after preaching a few Sabbaths in Ashby, his first 
contiiuied pastoral labor was in this town. After his dis- 
missal from this church he was installed in 1832 over the 
church in Jewett City, Connecticut, where he remained six 

Of his ministry in that place, Pev. Thomas L. Shipman, 
his successor, has written, "He preached elocjuently seven 
days in the week by the power of a holy life." Later he 
was occupied some time in the settlement of the estate of 
Dr. John Turner, tlie father of his wife, and residing in 

.■-: I' 

•7 ' 

.If: ;<•' 

'A'd/i •(.' 

: . , :h/' .1:- 

1. .; .■■■'• 

:, :-'U; ! 

. .K .M !i-. 

li •n>//04 

■•^ li. v 

I , .•.;r!( I 


Norwich lie supplied in llic vicinil}' from time to time until 
death ciiinc to abide with him Scptem1.)er 15, 1852. 

Mr. Perkins, after a l)rief interval, was succeeded hy Kev. 
George Goodyear. lie avus the last minister who jn-cached 
in the meeting-house on the hill and the first who ministered 
in the new house in the village. He was installed October 
10, 1832, and dismissed at his request Xovember 16, 1841. 
This was a pastorate of pleasant and enduring memories and 
a season of temporal and s])iriturd prosperity. The new 
meeting-house was built soon after tlie labors of ]Mr. Good- 
jeai' began. The congregation was large and many names 
were enrolled on the registers of the church ; one lumdred 
and ten members being received in a single year, of whom 
seventy-seven were adriiitted the tirst Sal^bath in July, 1834. 
DuriuiJ this memorable season the r»astor was assisted bv 
Horatio Foot, the evangelist, ^lany who read his name 
will recall his earnest words and impassioned manner as they 
wonder if his ai)peal to the emotions was as enduring as the 
address of abler men to the intellect. 

In the discharge of miiiisterial duty, ~Sh\ Cioodyear was 
faithful and in all his relations with his fellow-men he was 
kind and sympathizing. Xo one approached him as a friend 
without feeling an answei'i ng kindness ov in sorrow without 
"being comforted. His sermons were the expression of an 
earnest })urpose and a sincere desire to im])rove his hearers, 
and when he came down from the pulpit mingling with his 
people his religion, his gentleness, his alfability did not 
forsake him. In an eminent degree he secured the love of 
his people and the respect of the community. 

Rev. I. Sumner Lincoln, now living at an advanced age 
in Wilton, X^ew Hampshire, has paid an appreciative tribute 
to his friend and neiirhbor. 


' rri 


■:■ I . 


jNIy ncquain l:\uce with ]Mr. Goodjear commenced in 1821 when 
he entered Yale College, of which T became a member in 1818. 
After completing his academical and theological studies at Yale, 
and vrhile preacbiugin pursuit of a place of settleraeut, he visited 
my settled home in. Gardner and preached for me on Sunda}- a 
good seriuou. Ashburaham Avas then destitute of a j^astor. On 
INIoriday morning I carried him there and introduced and recom- 
mended him to the parish committGO. From tliat time he became 
their minister and my good neighbor for nine years. During that 
tinie he made fuU proof of his gospel ministr}' both as a good 
.preacher and pastor. lie sustained a good reputation as a man 
and a minister and made many most worthy friends. After he 
left that place and I left Gardner we were widely separated for 
some years, but for the last fifteen years we have been happy 
neighbors again, he in Temple and myself in Wilton, where our 
friendly intercourse was renewed and continued to the time of his 
recent departure to his celestial home. Full of Christian faith, 
virtue and hope he has passed into the personal presence of his 
Lord and Savior. 

Key. George Goodyear, son of Simeon and Ilannali 
(Beadsly^) Good^'car, was liorn in Ilamden, Connecticut, 
Becembor 9, 180i. The Goodyears of Connecticut have 
been distinguished in many "vvalks of life. Charles Good- 
year, the patentee and manufacturer of ru1">l»cr -wares, was a 
first cousin of the fourtli minister of Asiilnirnham, lSh\ 
Goodyear prepared for college under the tuition of Rev. 
Edward Hoolcer, D. D., and at Bacon Academy in Col- 
chester. Ho was graduated at Yale Colleo-e 1824 and at the 
Theological Seminary in Xew Haven 1827. Ordained with- 
out charge July 22, 1828, Previous to his installation in 
tlils town he preached as stated supply at Gaines, Xew Y'ork, 
and at East Windsor, Conneclictit. Upon his removal from 
this town after supplying nearly two years at Benerville, 
Xew York, he was installed over churches in Truro, 181G-9, 

I'-:'. I'.C ',. 

... , , I ,■ 

y.u'j .'i^i- '■'^' ■•■ •■ ■"' V!-''*ii 


. i ! I' •■ I 


South lioyahUm, 184i'-5i and Temple, New ILunpsliire, 
185-1-65. ]\lr. Goodyear was a member of the Kcw 
Ilampsliire Legislature 1865 and 18G6. Ills last f1i.--mi.ssal 
wa.s at lii.-^ earnest desii-e and on aecount of his fuilir.g heallh.' 
lie died in Temple, ^Ybere he liad continued to reside, 
XoYcmbcr 18, 188-1. 

After hearing two or more candidates, the cbureh and 
.parish united in a decision to liirc liev. Ed^in Jenaison for 
two years. This action was soon modiiied. A call was 
accepted and ]Mr. Jenui^on was instaUed May 12, 1842, or 
within si.\: months after the dismissal of ^iv. Goodyear. In 
the first year of this pastorate the cbureh in North Ashl)urn- 
ham was organized to which twenty-five niembers of the 
clmrcb transferred their relations. ^Ir. Jennison entered 
upon bis laliors under fa\'orable auspices. He was an 
acceptable preacher and Avas justly regarded as an earnest, 
devoted mini.ster. His bealtb soon failed, but with fading; 
strength he continued his labor until the close of the fourth 
year. I'he relation was dissolved May 12, 184G, and from 
the record of the proceedings it appears that "The couiicil 
regard 'Mr. Jennison with high esteem and confidence as a 
worthy Christian brother, an able and fiiithfid ])reacher of 
the gorjicl and an aflcctionate pastor." 

Rev. Edwin Jenni.son, a son of Major William and Phabc 
(Field) Jennison, was born in ^\'alpolo, New Hampshire, 
August 2G, 1805. He vras graduated at Dartmouth College 
1827, and at Andover Theological Seminary 1830. Previous 
to his labors in this toA^'n IMr. Jennison had been settled over 
churches in AValpole, his native town, 1831-5, ]Mont Ver- 
non, New Hampshire, 1836-41. Subsequently he was in- 
stalled at Hopkinton, New Hampshire, January 6, 1847, and 
dismissed September 5, 1849. In each in.stance the relation 
was dissolved on account of his feeble health. For twentv- 

u:iUJ:r; > 

i. 01 


:y} ■'' ' I 

U^: i- t! !■ •!, 

.! (. 

.;l^ r^/lo 

;.; '-til :'':.: .i. ,. 

. ;{ ■'! 


five ycnrs he litis been incapucitatccl from labor and has 
resided in Winclieatci-, Xcw Ilainp^hiie, and of late in Con- 
way, jNIassachusetts. 

The dismissal of Mr. Jcnuison had been anticipated. His 
failing health had prepared his charge for the event and a 
successor was soon chosen. To Rev. Elnathan Davis a call 
Avas extended by the church ]\Iay 25, vrhich was ratitied })y 
the pai'ish June 27, 184G. For some reason, not now 
apparent, the installation .was deferred and in the mean time 
Mr. Davis continued to preach with unqualified acceptance. 
A council being convened early in Septemljer exce].)tion was 
taken to the views of the candidate on tlie doctrinal question 
of infant baptism. The solemnities w^erc postponed. The 
council was recalled Sei)tember 3 0, 184.6, and recognizing 
the merit and abib'tvof the candidate, and findins: the church 
and sociot}' tenacious in their increasing desire to have tlie 
pastor of their choice settled over them, the insttdlation was 
consummated. The minutes of the council are evidence that 
all the proceedings were conducted , in a friendly spirit and. 
that the only embarrassment was found in a diflerence of 
o[)inion on a single question of doctrine. ; ■ . 

]Mr. Davis Avas a man of j^ositive ideas and enduring con- 
victions, lie was an able preacher and an active pastor. 
His labor \vas incessant, knoAving CA'ery member of his flock 
he kindly and faithfully ministered to thoni. The church 
and the parish Avere united, the social meetings Avere fully 
attended and the influences of this pastorate haA^e been per- 
manent and salutary. In the dawn of many golden promises 
of a long and happy ministry, ]\Ir. Davis was invited to 
attend the World's Peace Congress held in Paris in 1849. 
Knowing that this overture, if not refused, Avould inA'ite a 
continued connection Avith the American Peace Society and 
consequently lead to a dissolution of his relations to the 


,.■ \yi:\jKl '■.. 

.r> •>■')■:,^. 

■',1 1 ' )i:ni 'ny. 

'i • > -J ■ 


.,, I.,..;.' ' I . »li<'n ■■■!■■ ;• il-- 

*t . l-.l 

■7,/; !■■' I .7);!V- ,; -. 

! ' V ,. / : ■ i . ■ ■ I : 

; ..,,i ) .'i 

■; ■■.:■<■','; ■■■ ";;• ?*••-;■ 


clniivli ;{i!d ]')eo):>]c of Ashbuvnliam, he aeeeplcd Iho protlered 
mission witli great, reluctance. Soon afler bis return from 
Europe Mr. Davis l>ecanie tlic sccretaiy of the Peace Society 
and tendered his resignation as pastor of this church. He 
was foi'niall^^ dismissed ^lay 21, 1851. 

Key. EInathan Davis, son of Ethan and Sarah (IIu))bard) 
Davis, was born in ITolden, August 19, 1807. Gra(hiaiing 
at WiUiams College 1831, East AVitidsor (Cojmeeticut) 
TheoloiTJcal Seminary ISot), he was ordained as an evanijelist 
at Holden in November follo^ving. He labored in the cause 
of Home Missions several years in Indiana and ^Michigan. 
Keturning to the East in 1815 ho was settled in Ashburnham 
the follovring year. Later he vv-as pastor of the Trinitarian 
cluirch i]i Fitchburg fourteen years. In 1869 he was elected 
to the Legislature from the Fitchburg district and imme- 
diately after this service he removed to Auburn and preached 
there until 1870 and there resided until his death, April 9, 

The seventh pastor was llev. Frederick A. Fiske who was 
installed December 30, 1851. This was a brief pastorate. 
Mr. Fiske came at a season of inactivity in the church and 
indirVerence in the pari-h. If he did not mingle with the 
people vrith the brotherly and ready sympathy that attended 
the walk of ^fr. Davis aii'l ]\Ir. Goodyear, he set before them 
the cxam})le of a well orcieved h'fe and conversation. In the 
pul})it he was unemotional but instructive ; earnest but never 
eloquent ; his sermons were carefully written but delivered 
with little animation. At the close of two years of lal)or he 
made a request for an increase of salary. It came at an 
inopportune moment. The failure to accede to the request 
• was chargeable more to the temporar}^ condition of the parish 
than to the general impulses of the }^eople. AVith fraternal 
sentiment on other points the relation was dissolved April 
17, 185d. 

!.■<!■ i 

' ) ..-::ii 

,(f ■!'■ 

di n? v 

< . , ! 

,-r t;. 

7 : ^i' •' ) .(! K 

■. y I l^i;i' )ii<' 

» I [■?'/; ,i: l<i -ill [r:;./- 

i ;i' . . j;-(';'i,, :■ •{! o. 


l\ev. Frederick Augu.stus Fiskc, the sou of tlio Kev. 
Elisb:i and ^Miirgaret (Shepard) Fiskc, Avas born in ^^ren- 
tliam, ^lassachnselts, April 15, 181G, and was prepared for 
college at Day's Academy in his native town. After his 
£rraduation, he at once eno-ao^ed in teaohins;; tirst as assistant 
in Washington Institute, New York city, then in Xorwalk, 
Connecticut, next as principal of ]\fonson Acadeui}" (1833-4), 
later in Fall River, and finally as principal of the High School 
in Clinton. After taking the full course of three years at 
Yale Theological Seminary (from 1817 to 1850), he entered 
upon the work of tlie ministry, being ordained pastor of this 
church. For about three 3'ears from November 16, 1854, 
he was pastor of the Congregational church in East Marsh- 
field, ^Massachusetts ; for the next eight years, principal of a ; 
boarding school in Newton; from 18G5 to 1868, Superin- 
tendent of Education for North Carolina, under the Freed- 
men's Bureau ; and fj'om January 26, 1869, to November 28 
of the same 3^ear, pastor of the Congregational church in 
Raynham. The remaining years of his life were spent in the 
service of the Protestant Episcoiml church, his ordination as 
a deacon occurring June 25, 1870, and as a priest, November 
0, 1870. From July, 1870, to ^lay, 1873, he was rector of 
Trinity church, Van Deusenville ; from May, 1873, to 
September, 1876, rector of St. Paul's church, Prookfield, 
Connecticut; from Septei!ii>er, 1876, till his death, rector of 
Grace church, North Attleborough. He died December 15, 

]Mr. Fiske was succeeded by liev. E. G. Little, who was 
installed August 22, 1855. This was a memorable pastorate. 
In the autumn of the first year ]Mr. Day, an evangelist, 
was joined with the pastor in a scries of meetings which were 
fully attended. The visible fruit of their labor is found in 
the record of forty-two admissions to the church before the 

•I'l" 'hi ,f'V^ M;*i ,■ 

i !''!'( 

Vij!' j/r I. :•!.)' .^'i; ,, (.iji-^-nicj 

,, r 

io; ,7! I/. .»r ,';..•'[ ,-.•'-[, ii\\->{{ .ir,C'l 
(.: 1 ,>".':! ,I'»i!f,i .;oor' 'i;':'!"' ^ tr 

. .■■' 7 1..'} 'K- f>.;V: 


close of the year. 'Mr. Litlle vras'. a diligent pa:^lor. His 
sermons Avcre v\Tonalit "svith care, logical in aiTangemcnt, 
sometimes glowing with tlie warmth of an ardent nature and 
always teaching the fundamental doctrines of his fiith. His 
brief ministry in this town was terminated at his request 
May 13, 1857. • 

Elbridgc Gerry Little was born in Ilampstcad, Xew^ 
Hampshire, Xo^eraber 11, 1817. He was a sou of Joseph 
and Eebecca (Webster) Little. At an early age he com- 
menced teaching. ]Mainly meeting the expenses of a liberal 
education by his own elToris, he fitted for college under the 
instruction of Prof. Benjamin Grecnleaf of Bradford and 
entered the college of Nassau Hall at Princeton, New Jerse}^ 
iu sophomore year, graduating in the class of 1845. He 
pursued a full course of study at Princeton Theological 
Seminary and was licensed to preach in April, 1848. His 
first charge was at ]Manayunk, I'ennsylvania, a suburb of 
Philadelphia. Eeturning to New^ England in 1850, he was 
installed over the church in ^Merrimack, New Hampshire, in 
September of that year. After his dismissal from this 
church and after preaching a year or more in ]Middleborough 
he was installed over the church in that place April 13, 1859, 
and dismissed Septemb; v 15, 18()7. ]\lr. Little then removed 
to A\'eUesley where ho amis mainly engaged in secular and 
literary' pursuits until liis death which occurred December 
29, 1809. - -^ ■ ■■ ^ • ■ - - - '^^'^.i'' • ■■' '^ ■ ■ 

Succeeding Mr. Little, Rev. Thomas Boutelle supplied the 
pulpit nearly six years, from the spririg of 1857 to January, 
18li3. His health was not firm and atlbrded so little assurance 
of continued service that a call was not extended. The friend- 
ly offices of an ecclesiastical council were not invoked and the 
neighboring churches were permitted a brief respite from 
attendance upon the accustomed solemnities in this phice. 



\'V^I .■ 

> , Mur ^;!l:;i/ 

r. Ml 

I I'ff 



,/ : ; I r 



]Mr. Boutclle was greatly beloved. Hi.s pj'mpathics Mere 
Avanu and constant, bis f'riendsbip was enduring and bis 
interest in tbe bigbest welfare' of bis cbarge was unabated. 
Tbe memories of tbis pastorate are savory and imperisbal)le. 
"AA'itb generous impulses was joined tbe consttmt force of 
superior mental endowment guided l)y wisdom and prudence. 
Always instructive, sometimes eloquent, be was at once an 
iible and a popular preaeber. In 18G2 be was elected to tbe 
Legislature from tbe Wincbendon and Asbburnbam district. 

Kev. Tbomas Boutelle, son of James and Abigail (Fau-- 
banks) Boutelle, was born in Leominster, February 1, 1805. 
He completed bis preparatory- studies at Xew Ipswicb and 
entering Amberst College at tbe age of twenty years be Avas 
graduated in tbe class of ]829 and at Andover Tbeological 
Seminary 1832. After a sbort engagement witb tbe Ameri- 
can Fducational Society, be was ordained and installed over 
tbe Congregational clmrch in Plymoutb, ]May 21, 1831; 
dismissed ^larcli 23, 1837. His next cbarge was at Wood- 
stock, Connecticut, Avbere be remained twelve years. From 
1850 to 1856 be labored at Batb, Xew Ilampsbire. At tbe 
close of bis })astorate in tbis toAvn be removed to Fitcbburg 
and tberc conducted a bookstore, preacbing occasionally as 
opportunity was otlered. lie died suddenly of beart disease 
Xovember 28, l^GG. 

Tbe sup})ly of ]Mr. Bout«'ile Avas succeeded by tbe settle- 
ment of Ilex. George E. Fisber Avbo Avas installed INIay 21, 
1863. It was a successful nrlnistry. Tbe cburcb was 
united and increased in membersbip and tbe parisb strengtb- 
ened. His sermons Avere tbou2;btful and instructive and bis 
social relations were firmly supported by enduring friend- 
ship. In 1867 be represented tbe district in tbe Legislature. 
His request for a dismissal reluctantly granted by tbe cburcb 
Jind parish Avas approved by a council conA'ened September 
2, 1867. 

.; •. '11 

witr > nJir 



Rev. Gooi'ge E. Fis]]or, .<oii ol' llov. Goorgo and M;uy 
(Fiske) I'^islior, was lK)rii in JTarvaid Jaimaiy 22, L'^23. 
Pursuing liis preparatory sludy under llic tuition of his 
lather and at the Lawrenee Aeademy in Groton, lie ^vas 
graduated at Amherst College 18iG, and :it Andover Tlieo- 
logical Senn'nar\' 1841). He was sueeessively settled over 
the ehureh in JIutland Feltruary 27, I'SaO ; the North ehureli 
in Amherst September 10, 1852 ; the ehui-eh in !Mason 
Village (now Greenville), Xe^v Hampshire, June 22, 1850. 
Following his removal from this town ^Nli'. Fisher was 
installed over the ehureh in South ITadley Falls September 
2, 18G7, and over the Hast ehureh in Amherst Deeend^er 10, 
1879, where he remains an aetive and >ueeessfal pastor. 

Leaving Mr. Fisher, the ninth and last minister who 
received installation, the ehureh :uid ])arish entered an era 
of supply as yet unl)roken. The ministry has been eon- 
tinuous and not without a character of stability. 

Rev. ^Nloody A. Stevens was employed three years com- 
mencing in 1867. During this ]M'riod the meeting-house 
was thoroughly rej^aii-ed and it is ])rol»able the })rogress of 
his labor was considerably intcrru})ted by the activities of 
the ])arish. lie was a devoted m;in ;i!id he earnestly and 
faithfully labored Ibr the I'iuhest good "<' his people. He was 
singularly free from ostentation, prudint in his methods and 
manifested a friendly iiiun'est in the \\elfare of his parish. 
Being a eultured musi('i;;ii he took a livtdy interest in church 
music and enlivened tlie soeial meetings with the spirit of 
sonij. His ministry Mas successful. 

Kev. Mood}' A. Stevens, son of ]>avid and Elizalieth 
(Eyder) Stevens, was born in liedford, New Hanip-hire, 
February 7, 1X28. He titt.'d for college at ]'hillii)s Acad- 
emy, Andover, and at Exeter, New Hampshire, and at 
twenty ye:irs of age he entered Dartmouth College' JJlr:, 

■t; i .!' ::• '^ 


..; ! , :: III ;/! i>'-'',<> IK 

•i! )• .MimJ '" 

;.ii> i'. "ilr 

ill . 

M :-J"i! 

I'.'", -t' 


I .,.. ,.,-, .1 


Lealtli failed and ho did not coin|)lote a course of study at 
that time. For seven years lie made a tliorough study of 
music and Avas a student and instructor in Boston and in 
St. Johns, New Brunswick. Subsequently he comjjleted 
his academical studies at the University of New York and 
is a graduate of Union Tlieological Seminary. In 1861 
he was chaplain four months of the Second New York CMly 
Volunteers. He was ordained and installed over the church 
in Plymouth December 9, 18G2. Since his labors in this 
town he has supplied at Anoka, Michigan, and at Minne- 
apolis, Minnesota, and is now tempoi'arily residing in 

The following six yeai-s and until 1876 the pulpit was 
supplied by lie v. Leonard S. Parker. He is a man of 
sti'ong convictions but generous in all his relations to his 
fellow-men. A diligent })astor, a frequent A'isitor in the 
schools, a willing supporter of every laudable enterprise the 
pastorate is a record of labor and substantial results. The 
Gushing Academy was opened while ]\Ir. Parker was 
preaching in this place. June 10, 1874, he was elected a 
trustee of that institution and is now in duration of service 
the fourth memlier of the board. 

Kov. Leonard S. Parker, son of 'William and Martha 
(Tenney) Parker, was born in Duubarton, New Hampshire, 
December G, 1812. He pursued his preparatory studies at 
the academies in Hampton and ilopkinton. New Hampsliire, 
and at the Boston Latin School, and is a graduate of 
Dartmouth College and Oberlin Theological Seminary. In 
early life he enlisted in the anti-slavery movement, and his 
public etTorts elicited the favorable notice of Giddings and 
other pioneers in the cause. He has been settled over 
churches in Mansfield, Ohio; I'rovidence, Rhode Island; 
West Brookficld and Haverhill; and Derry, New Hampshire. 

'-:'JJ '.• 

.,!•■;. li- 

i- />-t. 


. ■ !■•!.';- 


•: .^ ,' . ..■/■■ •(•>,i'M;-l 
) U.,i Mil .-[''{ A ■ 


Mr- ■.i\*.i,'.<.V 

: i^r -;.;:]. 


Following bis liiinistry in this town ho supplied at ]\[iller's 
Falls and Turner's l^^ills, preaehing eaeh Sabbath at 
churches four miles dislujit and having a class in each 
Sunday-school. At the connnencenicnt of these labors both 
were niission churches, l)ut during the ministry of ]Mr. 
Parker both l>ecame self-supporting and erected houses of 
worshij:). xVt present Mr. Parker is acting pastor of the 
Congregational church in Berkley. 

]\fr. Parker was immediately succeeded 1)}' Pev. Daniel E. 
Adams, who was acting pastor from July IG, 1876, to Jul}' 
5, 188o. In duration the ministry of ]\Ir. Goodyear exceeds 
that of Mv. Adams by only a few Sabbaths ; and, except the 
prolonged ministry of Dr. Gushing, no other pastorate of 
this church has been continued an equal length of time. 
Assuming without he.-:itation the prerogatives of his sacred 
calling, ]\]r. Adams preached the whole truth but with a 
sincerity and kindne>s tliat provoked neither bitterness nor 
controvers.y. In his administration of the alTairs of the 
church he pursued a pacific policy and his ministry was an. 
era of concord and harmony. The memory of the fraternal 
relations continuously maintained in the church and parish is 
a living tribute to his judicious ministiy in the pulpit and 
among the peoi)le. Of the one hundred and tifty funerals 
attended l)v ^Ir. .Vdams \\l;ile in this town, the extreme acfe 
of l\\»i <'f the deceased i- remarkable. The funeral of ]\[rs. 
Ernmn (AVillard) Skeltun, aged 103 yeai's and 10 months, 
occurred November 7, 1881, and that of Golonel Gharles 
Barrett, aged 07 years and 4 months, June 10, 1885. 

l^ev. Daniel E. Adams, son of Kev. Darwin and Catherine 
(Smith) Adams, was born in Ilollis, Xew Hampshire, June 
22, 1832. His grandfither was Daniel Adams, the author 
of Adams' Arithmetic and other popular school-books, and 
his mother was the daughter of Pev. Eli Smith of Ilollis, 

I .nr I ^ I 

I' ! 

-. ; '. J .■ : i 
.•,1-1'..: !' 

. ::.;..:;> -'ft 

•. , .■■(.i.lao') 
. ,, ■; :■ ■ ' -i.^'jiii^''! 

, ;^^!f1P^^ 

/ 1 




' -^^ :i 


,M/t^'<) bt, . 

\ r ■y-.r i \ 

X A) 

\ u 


!Ncw llampsliirc. Gradu.iiting at Bangor Theological Semi- 
nary 1800, Mr. Adani.s was ordained and installed over the 
Second Congregational church, AVilion, Xew Ilampsliire, 
December 5, ISOO, and dismissed ^la}' 5, 187G. Since 
December 5, 1885, lie has been acting pastor of the Pilgrim 
Oongreaatioiial church of Soutldjoro.' 

During several of the intervals belweun the pastorates and 
when called upon by the sickness or absence of the stated 
supply, liev. Josiali D. Crosby of this town has been a 
present hel}) in every time of need. He sup})lied contin- 
uously during the absence of ^Ir. Davis in Eui'ojie and in 
tlie aggregate he has preached more Sal^baths than son\e of 
the pastors who have been in charge. Any record of tlie 
ministry' of this cliurch ^voiild be incomplete without a 
generous recognition of his willing service. His interest in 
the pros})erity of the church and parish has been unfailing, 
and in matters of moment his advice frecjuently lias been 
solicited and cheerfully given, and to the sick and the aged 
he has been an attentive friend. 

Rev. Josiah Davis Crosby, eldest son of Fitch and Rebecca 
(Davis) Crosby, born in Ashburnham, ]\iarch 1, 1807. 
He pur.-ued his preparatory .studies at Xew Ipswich Academy 
and uridor the tuition of l^jjhraim ]M. Cunningham, Esq., 
then a lawyer in xVshburrjham. At tlie age of fifteen years, 
he enter- -d Amherst College and not completing the course 
in that institution he entered senior year at Union College 
graduating in class of 182G. He studied theology at An- 
<lover and was licensed to preach by the North ^^^orcester 
Association in 1830. October 4, 1837, he was installed 
colleague to the venerable Rev. Laban Ainswoilh over the 
churc:h at Jaflrey Centre, Xew Hampshire, and was dismissed 
jMay 18, 18-15.. He supplied at Xew Butlalo from Ociober 1, 
1857, to July 1, 1858, and from Sei)tember 1, 1801, to 
September 1, 1802. 

f ■::.ii- 

'.'A >m\ 

:-,.ri ;',i "p)"ii;!:' 

ll. ■■■ )/>!) 


. , 'J ■ • ! ! <: '^rliiS •■:!) 

•.,■.■.!■.'/ ,)^v.m!ii!/- !•■• 

tj: ;<.'tY 'foifl')^' 'r'l' i'"' ''.1 ..' ' ..; ' ■■■-' 

. -v. vy ■'• i .'■■.■ ' ; • ':■: ■■■■■■)■' '■■ i'' -''; 

-1. .v'^fT 

;ii-: -U 


Here at the close of one hundred and Iwenty-five }'ears 
the record ends. Xinc niinislei's have heen instaliiM.! o\ er 
the church and five have sn])plied about twentv-five veai-s. 
The ministry of Mr. Cushing was a continent of time and in 
comparison the shorter pastorates were litUe islands in an. 
adjacent sea. Yet each of tliem, influenced in some measure 
by its climate, has produced fruit in accru'dance willi the 
tillage of the vineyard. The ministry has been continuous 
and in its character it has been able and sid^stantial. If the 
pulpit has been graced by none who have electrified audiences 
and by the power of eloquence have swayed ihe passions of 
men, each in his sjshere has lieen an accept-djle pj-eacher and, 
apparently, more concerned to secure the approval of his 
Master than tlie ap])lause of men, has faithfnlly discharged 
his dut}' to the church and to the parish. 

The offices oj' the church in forming and inoulding character 
and in its ]ninistrations to the souls of men foi"m a })art of the 
un^vi'Ittcn history of another world. The ^'isible results of 
the record aggregate the admission of one thousand and 
twenty-six to its membership, l.)eside the few names that 
escaped record during the ministry of ]Mr. AVinchester. Of 
these, four hundred and t^vo have died in full relations 
and four hundred and forty have been dismissed, a few 
with censure but genertdh' with reconu-nendation to other 
churches. There have been convened sixteen ecclesiastical 
councils for the settlement and dismissal of ministers and 
only one in ar])itration upon a proceeding of discipline, and 
this church has been invited to meet in nearly one hundred 
councils upon the allairs of other churches. 

Through all these years the church in Ashbiu'nham has 
remained steadfast to its early priirciples, yet ready to accept 
the enlargement of its creed which has attended the })rogres5 
of the age. In the succession of worshi}ipers they have 

■A I't-w' -r 


: P .' I 

- - ! ■ 'I. . ; 

. .:■!),',[ ^,;j 

,H \y\^ '■■.<A ■,':■) '■ ,■■ -.vti: ' ,^ -J.'! . 


I ii-) 'H -I'-f 



borne tlic prayer arA the praise of four generations. In 
blameless lives, in self-denial, in devotion and in courage 
they have honored the fathei'S ^viio planted tlie vine in the 
vrilderness. As a thousand tender memories warm the heart, 
the inHucnce of their faitli and devotion, as reflected in the 
record, will become the enduring inheritance of their suc- 

Since the organization of the church the following persons 
have ofliciatcd as deacons : 

Moses Foster, 17C0, 

Samuel Fellows, 1700, 

.Tmtrani Cheney, 17C9, 

John Willard, 1772, 

Samuel Wilder, 1773, 

Peter Stone, 1788, 

Jacob Harris, 178S, 

Elisha Vrhite, 1798, 

Sherebiah Hunt, 1708, 

Samuel Ward, 1817, 
William J. Lawrence, 1819, 

Daniel Jones, 1824, 

John G. Glazier, 1830, 

Amos Taylor, 1843, 

John A. Conn, 1849, 

William P. Ellis, 1849, 

Harvey Brooks, 1862, 

Diivld Laws, 1805, 
J. Newton Hastings, 18 70, 
Ch:^r!o3 E. Woodward, 1870, 

resigned 1709, died Oct. 17, 1785. 

removed to Shelbuine 1772. 

removed to Antrim, N. H. , 1773. 

died July 4, 1793. 

died May 0, 1798. 

removed to Townsend 1799. 

died in Windham, N.H., Sept. 20, 1826. 

died June 14, 1817. 

died March 0, 1820. 

resigned 1843. 

died July 8, 1844. 

dismissed to Union Church 1843. 

dismissed to Methodist Church, 1857. 

removed to Ashby 18ol. 

removed to Fitchburg 1805. 

resigned 1802. 

removed to Tlardner. ; 

removed to V.'orcester 1871. 

resigned 1877. 

resigned 1877. 

Since 1877 the deacons have been elected for a limited 
term but are eligible to reelection. The new system com- 
prises the election of two deacons every other year for tlie 
temi of four years. Under this arrangement the following 
persons have been chosen and are continued in office : 

J. Newton Hastings, 1877. 

Charles E. WoodAvard, 1877. 

jNIortimer M. Stowo, 1877. 

George W. Eddy, 1883. 

,m:- T. 

;',:t T n-r,.':;7/' 

. .0,'-'; i. 

.;.M,o ■'/ 'I ,h;.;, 


il •- .]: il^- ■ Of'.M ''■■^ 

I . '^i ' ■ f^'' ., > 












Coxsricuous in the annals of A.^hburnliam are tlie veiy 

early measures coneerning the location and huikling of the 

first meethig-housc. The worship of God in a stated form 

was a subject of earnest concern and solicitude. "J'he ''hill 

Avith a very fan- prospect " was fitly chosen for the site of 

the temple in the forest. The work was not suflered to 

sleep. At a date which excites no small measure of sur})rise 

and far iii advance of other settlements a meeting-house was 

built iu 1739 or possibly very early in 1740. At a later 

period, the abandonment of the gettlement and, owing to 

disturbance excited by continued war, the tardy return of 

the settlers did not permit its use for many years ; but tlie 

edifice inviting occui)ancy remained as a monument to the 

enterprise and faith of its builders. True it was a long time 

before it was completed to the satisfaction of the proprietors, 

but through all the period of repairs and amendments it 


ri ^1!" > 

■'1 •'i;i ^1. y, -r: i^'i.r /);■•: 

■ ■ ' ■ ■ ■.,:>AX--^ ■:i:J\ J.itr — 
r :'_ : '). ' w ■-.'.' •/.''.' • •, ■ T. .u. .i--;;;j,„.<i.;i ]■ 

■ -■ .-("' r^■•• •!/.'■ ':'' ,'• ■'- ' ;p'l f"M'. 'rj' 


could be used, and in tlic light of the times Aviih some 
degree of comfort. 

Iiev. Dr. Cu.sbing speaking midway hotAVCcn the event 
and the pre.seut has preserved the information tliat tliis was 
the first framed building c]'eeted in Ashburnham and that 
it was raised by only sixteen men. It may be inferred that 
an event like the raising of a meeting-house invited the 
whole settlement to tlie scene of action. It is more proba- 
ble that some came from Lunenburg than that any settler 
remained at home. At this time the proprietors would not 
be sustained in tlie declaration that there were thirty men 
residing here. The vote of the proprietors instnieting Mr. 
Mossman to nail up the -windows and doors, and their com- 
mittal of this meeting-house in the wilderness to the care of 
Him in whos^' service it had been reared and its wonderful 
preservation during the French and Indian "War, add new 
interest to its history. Reversing the traditions of the 
temple of Janus, whose gates were thrown open in time of 
war and only closed under the mild commands of peace, our 
fathers closed their temple in this season of danger and 
opened it not until the kmd was quieted and messages of a 
sweeter peace were spolccn beneath its roof. The records 
relate the progress of the impro-\'emcnts made upon the 
building in the early years of its occupancy and convey 
impressions which would be lost if stated in other languao-e ; 

1752. Voted that all the wiudovrs saving the four lower windows 

in the south side of the meeting-house, which four win- 
dows arc to be glazed, the others to be fully boarded up 
for the present. 

1753. Voted that a tax of ten shilJings on each right lawful money 

be paid by the third Wednesday in May next towards 
finishing the meeting-house. 

Il ■■ , ••lli 

•Ji !.. M 

• ■•1 iihfii 

.11 rV 

'I / I", ,■•• i!' '•.• J.:- >. 

ft ■.-,)> 

rl )f^ -i: 1 .. 


175-'.. Voted that a tox of three shillings l3.wful money lie laid on 
each right for doing soiiiething for the meeting-house to 
secure it from the v,-eather. 

1759. Voted that IVIr. Elisha Coolidge be appointed to bord np 
the wiudoAv places iu the lueeting-house with rough 
bords to keep out the wet and to make window shuts for 
two of the windows that are most convenient to let iu 
the light when there shall be preaching there. 

In 17G0 ;i miuister was settled aixl in commemoralioii of 
the cYent the sura of forty pounds, to which eight pounds 
was added the following year, amounting to more than tlie 
original cost of constrnctiou, was expended, and now for 
the first time was the house referred to as fmished. 

jMoses Foster, Caleb Wilder and Caleb Dana, one resi- 
dent and two non-resident proprietors, were chosen to 
conduct the repairs and assign the several pevrs to future 
owners. The worlv was substantially completed before July 
31, 1700, for at that tune the committee report the assign- 
ment of a part of the pe^vs. The ponderous pulpit of the 
past century Avas built upon the north side of the room, stairs 
were erected to the unfinished galleries and there were 
doors ill the centre of the three remaining sides. On the out- 
side of tlie room, nineteen rectangular pows or enclosures, 
constructed after the cu-tom of the time, occupied the spaces 
between the pulpit and the doors. Possibly there were 
two additional pews on tlic south side, making twenty-one 
iu all. The central space surrounded by the pevrs was not 
occupied at this time. First west of the pulpit were the 
stairs, and next was the pew assigned to the ministry. The 
next was in the corner and was given to Caleb Wilder of 
Lancaster, and between that and the west door were the 
pews of llicliard Dana and Moses Foster, Jr. The first pew 
south of the west door was assiirned to Jeremiah Foster. 


<i'r .r 

. ■;->l'i, f 


.sol' >C-i i'!i- li'iii'ilf 'JlP 


Passing l>y four, ])ossil)ly five pews not assigned, the firsl 
one west of tlie south door is given to Caleb Dana of Caiu- 
bridgc who then owned eight I'iglits in the township. Xo 
other pews were then dis[)0sed of exeept the five whieh 
filled the spaee between tlie west door and tlie puljiit and 
these were given to Jonathan Samson, Jonathan Gates, 
John Motiatt of Bosto'i, Elisha Coolidge and Deaeou ^tfoses 
Foster. The pew of ]Mr. JNIoftatt was in the northwest 
corner and lliat of Deacon Foster was nearest the pulpit. 
The rcj)ort of the committee, each of them having secured 
a good pew for himself, concludes with the remark, ''the 
remaining pew ground we have not dis})osod of no other pro- 
prietors appearing whoiii we thought had the best right to 
pews there." This information explains the omission in their 
report of tlie names of James Coleman, Thomas AVheeler, 
John Bates, Wright Brown and other residents. 

The German settlers, a majority of whom M'ere members 
of the church, and others living on the independent grants, 
not being proprietors, could only come into possession of 
pevrs by purchase from some proprietor to whom one had 
been assigned. Further proceedings of the proprietors 
were obstructed by tlie act of incorpoi'ation and in this 
condition the meetino-h.juse was transferred to their lonal 

Assuming the powers and duties of a towu, the inhabi- 
tants of Ashburnham in 17G.') came into possession and 
control of the first meeting-house, and in accordance with 
the laws and usages of the times the town in its corjiorate 
capacity began to exercise the functions of a parish. In the 
settlement and dismissal of a minister the church had a con- 
current vote, but the control and re})air of the meeting- 
house, the salary of the minister and all other parochial 
afiairs were debated and determined in open towu meeting. 


> u.- 

( M ,7 

, :...(;'! 

1- ..!;■;] 


■ .; V I'. , '"'■'i -■./■tf| 
/^ . ' , i- '■ -'-- ' '' .;-J-y(I 

■ <;-'i ^''if' ''.if ■" nil-iUyo 

, t; .'. I - : i; 

■.r>;l>i:j i,!-' 
. ■. (.■■'■I i u! 

J -r !.■ 

■mU .•>. 


Tlic maintenance of the slated ministration.s of llie Gospel 
imolved an ouiev and an innei' organization ; the first em- 
braced all ilie citizens of the toAvn, ^dule the latter Avas 
limited to tlie mem1>ership of the church. If, in the present 
light, such relations appear inconsistent it should be remem- 
bered that the people generally were in full S3"m})athy with 
the creed of the prevailing churcli and that few, if tin}-, wei-e 
unwilling to pay their proportion of the tax assessed upon 
all for the support of the ministry. Wliatever opposition 
the system finally provoked in this town, no suggestion of 
discontent was heard for many years. The early records 
are a continued narrative of concord and harmony. Witli 
unusual unanimity the people mourned the loss of their first 
pastor and joined in the selection and settlement of his 

During the many years the town continued to discharge 
the ofiices of a parish the settlement of ]\Ir. Gushing was the 
only occasion it was called upon to assume the bustle and 
parade incident to an ordination of the olden time. That 
the tovrn realized tlie solenmity of the occasion and was fully 
equal to the emergency is fully demonstrated. First, they 
chose one of the deacons to jn-eside over llie town meeting 
at whicli tlie important }>reliniinaries were arranged, and 
then graciously admitted all the freeholders to the privilege 
of voting on the pending (juestions. The records portray 
the gravity of these proceedings. 

Y^ town Chose ]Mr. John Cashing to settle in y^ nainistry by a 
unaniTnons vote, also voted y' all y*" freeholders Should vote in 
sum y' they Should Give to y*" minister. Y* town voted to give 
Mr. John Cushitig one Iluudrcd thirty-three Pounds, six shillings 
and Eight Pence for settlement to be Payd in money and Labour. 

It was eventually paid with great labor. After voting 
that the annual salary of ^Mr. Gushing should be sixty pounds 

T;.- ': 

'- . -i IV 

'<) 'fiUtTl jIII'j^ 

1 . •:/■? 

I, ;,;''• r.r. I.-: ^,r; . :.1)J 

■>: "^I J'' 


and :it the eiiJ of seven years it slioukl 1<o iuereased to 
sixty-six and t\\'o-tl)irds pounds, the town made elioice of 
Sanmel Wilder, Elisha Coolidge and Jilphraim Stone to eoiu- 
innnieate these propositions to ^Nlr. Gushing. At a subse- 
qut-nt meeting it -was ordered "y' y" lirst wcdnesda}' of 
november next Shouhl be y*^ ordination" (Xovember 2, 
17GS). "Y" town voted to send to scveu ehurches to y'' ordi- 
nation." '"Y"" town voted to Give Capt. AVilder four Pounds 
to Provide for y'' Counsel with tliis Proviso y* y Cap^" Sliould 
Keep an cxaet aeonipt of y^ Cost and if y" town sliall think 
y' lie l)cars too big a Proportion y' they Mill Consider him." 

The town further sti[)ulated that the salary should be [)aid 
amnially and that one-fourth of the settlement sliould be 
paid in labor and direeted that '" ^Nlr. Keperlinger and Mr. 
Ephraim Stone and "William Joyner should bo y" Committee 
to see y* y^^ work be done as Mj-. Cushing wants it." The 
financial problems being solved, there was remaining an 
artiele '' to Chuse men to Keep y'^ Doors and Seets of y'- 
meeting-house till y° Church and Counsel have taken their 
Seets," and a committee was chosen to carry into effect this 
res})ectt\d impulse of the town. It is not a duty, however, 
to conceal the fact that a majority of the voters on this 
occasion were members of the church and consequently in 
this })oli;e attention to the church and council they were 
tender!] ig an acceptable compliment to themselves. 

The gratuity granted Mr. Cushing as a settlement in addi- 
tion to his stated salary was in contbrmity with the customs 
of the time. It will be remembered that by the conditions 
of the original chaiier of this township, a right of land was 
bestowed on the first settled minister and another reserved 
for the use of the ministry. While Mr. Cushino- continued 
to enjoy the use of one reservation the other had been given 

unconditionally to Mr. W^inchester. The conditions were 



I U:.J ,i: > / I'.) 

; /.,'!> 

■ ,1'. • -n.i )i' >.■'■.'"(.■■ ^* 

■■'■■■ ■■mW-. ;■ ;i, ■ '. 


) lY lif! /; 

•> • . -nj ';.' 


similar in ether t(^wns, 'I'ho custoin of oraiitiiig- settloincnts- 
was clesigiK'd to bestow on ilic sneccssors ilie same d(\aro(' of 
favor they had granted to the tii'st settled minister. To ])ay 
the gratuity granted ^[r. Gushing the town borrowed the 
greater part of Colonel Caleb Wilder of Lancaster and sul)- 
sequently cancelled the debt by clearing land with la])or 
which was accepted in })ayinpnt of taxes. 

It is impossible to determine what benefit ]Mr. Cashing 
received from the use of tlic ministerial lands. One lot was 
sold in 1794 and in consideration of his consent to the sale 
the town thereafter furnish(^d him thiHy cords of wood 
annually or paid an eciui\alent in money. It is wortliy of 
note that during the loni^; ministry of Mr, Cushing the 
annual salary proposed in ITG-'^ Mas never chauged. On 
one or more occasions an increase M'as ordered but the vote 
Avas reconsidered before another payment was made. At 
the close of the Revolution remuneration was made for the 
depreciated currency and later the |)ayments were rendered 
in Federal money, but from the close of the first seven years 
to the end of his ministry the salary was neither lessened 
nor increased. The salaiy of Mr. Winchester was sixty 
poun<ls which was paid hy the proprietors until the date of 
incorporation. The town assumed the original contract and 
continned to pay the same amount. 

Scarcely had the town succeeded to the control of allairs 
before a storm came and beat upon the meeting-house. 
Contrary to either scri[)tural precedent it neither stood nor 
fell. The gale in the summer of 17GG moved the building- 
from its foundation but the injury was re})aired. IJefcrring 
to this event, Dr. Cusliing states, "that in the sunmier of 
1766 a hurricane passed over this hill and made a wreck of 
the meeting-house, and moved it to the north and to the east 
two or three i'Qct. It Avas thouirht at first that it could not 

^■i■|■• '■'■ 

■ i •a- 

• !■!((!■''' .''■): (•; 

' ■ ; ■ ^ • ( > ! ■ 

1 ' 'I'll).) . ,.; 

!; '^ 

,,.j,, ;, -o)-.!'-!'.!-: , ■,■♦ { '' '■■■ ■ I '• 

.. ■,- ,, ;' . .. • :. , . r I . :.' .• ■■■■' V ,Ti: 


he I'opaired but it ^v;is :nid stood until 1791;" or in tlie 
language of Tristram C'honey, ''The house of public ^vorship 
has lately been struck l)y a hurricane and the cost to icpair 
cannot be less than £30."' The following year and about 
three months before the death of ]Mr. AVinchester, Sanuiel 
Fellows, Tristram Cheney and Elisha Coolidge were in- 
structed to brace up the galleries and to repair the roof. A 
corner of a leaf of the records is gone and an account of these 
repairs is partially lost, but Jeremiah Foster, Jr., was paid 
four shillings and eight pence " for peeling the bark for the 
meeting-house," which probal:»ly was used in re])airing the 
roof. The next rcp:iirs v:ere under a vote to lay the Hoor 
in the front gallery, build a pair of stairs in the southwest 
corner and mend the glass. This was followed by an order 
in 1771, "to give Jacob Harris, Daniel Priest, Peter Joslin, 
Samuel Joslin, Oliver \\'ilder, Francis l^ickerson and John 
Oberlock, Jr., the room in ihe front gallery, behind the seats 
that are now built, to build a long pew on."' At the same 
meeting a committee was appointed "to seat the meetii>g- 
house according to age and pay." 

In 1772, the meeting-house was underpinned in a sub- 
stantial manner and to keep }vace with the increase in popu- 
lation acl'l'tional acconnuodations were arranged in the un- 
occupied portions of the galleries. At this time the glass 
was set in the remainder of the windows and the following 
year it was decreed that " eight persons that will be at the 
cost of finishing ofl' the room behind the seats on the west 
side of the gallery may have it," and " likewise eight other 
persons may have the east side at the same rate." 

Xotwithstanding those repeated measures "'to finish the 
meeting-house," it is probable that even in the estimation of 
our fathers it never was fini>hed and that further work was 
delayed liy the Revolution and later by the contemplation of 

1.' . 

ti j;jM ! 

J ,< 

1 ..• u 

if ;/.. .-'ii'*' 


: ir-i ., lii,;,. 
jr.- I 'illl I..' 


I -cu 

■292 IIISTOKY or ASIllU.'l.'NIlAM. 

a new ;i!Ki more coiuniodious house. ]n tlie c-ouditioi) sot 
forth in tlio rei-ouls and coiitiriiK'd by tmditioii the town con- 
tinued to occupy it and to compensate in ^onie measure the 
decay of years until near the close of the century. Beneath 
its nnpretentious roof I\Ir. "Winchester was accustomed to 
meet his iiock and he]-e Mr. Cusliing ex]3ounded the doctrines 
of liis faith during the first t\vent\-threo years of his pi'o- 
louged ministry. Before its humble altar two hundred or 
more were admitted to the church and over six hundred 
children were presented for the ordinajice of baptism. It is 
supposed that none arc no^^• living M'ho ever entered within 
• its primitive wal]<. Jt humt)ly served its day and generation 
J and tlie first meeting-jjouse in Ashburnliam will ever remain 
a conspicuous figure in the annals of the settlement. Actu- 
,' ated b}- this sentiment, the town, in 1882, erected an ap})ro- 
^ pi-iate tablet on the ground where it stood, both as a memorial 
;'. of the past and as an index directing future generations to a 
, locality around which the earliest and most sacred memories 
of the town will linger with unfailing delight. The cere- 
... monies occurred July 4, and an appropriate address was 

delivered by ^Melvin O. Adams, Esq. 

[:• - The inference is just and honorabh: to our fathers that a 

•-1 decision to remove the old house was not reached until the 

= \ increasing wealth and p-opulation of thr town demanded a 

more pretentious and connnodious structure. How \o\vs or 

how earnestly the question of building a new meeting-house 

was debated, what arguments were presented on either side, 

with what reverence tliey regarded the old, or w'lih Avhat 

anticipations they contemplated a new liouse, cannot now be 

determined. The decision was not reached without serious 

conference and debate among individuals, but so far as the 

town is concerned, the decisive blow was struck without a 

note of warning or any bustle of preparation. A warrant 

■yuty / •! 

:i; ■•);({ --M 

t .11 w , . : ) 

;. .1 ■■ '■■!j;M >: 


lor ;i town meeting!: is.sucd Oc-tol)er ]'">, 1789, con(:iin> the 
Hrst reference to the siibjeet. Tt was then })roposed ''to see 
if tJie Iowa are ^\illin(i■ to build a new Meeting House and to 
pass such votes as shall ])e necessary for that purpose, viz. : 
to agree upon a s])ot of land to set said House and to choose 
Committees that may a}>pear to be necessary to carry on the 
Avork,"' The meeting was assembled Octobei' 30 and tlic 
record })roceeds : '' The question being \n\t Avhether the Town 
are Avilling to build a new meeting-house and it passed in the 
affirmative. Also voted to set the new house as ]iear the 
other mecting-liouse as may l)e and not to })lace it on the 
same gi'ound. Also voted to choose a committee of seven 
persons to make a draft of a meeting-house and chose Mr. 
Caleb Kendall, ^Mr. Samuel Foster, ]jieut. ^^lunroe, Samuel 
Wilder, Col. Lane, ]\Ir. Joseph Whitmoi-e and Lieut. John 
Adams for said committee and then said meeting was 
adjourned to the ("Jth day of November next." This com- 
mittee is charged with grave responsibilities. To present a 
single phin that woidd be accepted by a majority' of their 
toAvnsmen is no ordinaiy imdertaking. 

While they are studying the models found in the older 
towns, we are left at liberty to notice tiic measure of respect 
shown th'.'iu in i)relixing lilies to their names, ^^'ith one 
exception ;dl are honored with a title, and in the solitary 
omission Samuel Wilder modestly annomices that he was the 
clerk who made the record. Formerly, the law of usage in 
regard to civic, militar\' and ecclesiastical titles was inex- 
orable. Whenever an individual was advanced from the 
plane of mediocrity to the honors of a deacon, a justice or 
military conmiand, his name was subsequently spoken and 
written in connection with the distinuuishino; title which 
announced the rank and new importance of the individual. 
Sanuiel Wilder was a captain and a deacon but he was never 
styled Captain Wilder after he had reached the honors of :i 


■^'.r.\ ■■■i:i. •*;- t 

'. (I ill. 


■ -IJ. 

U it r^ ,. i'l ci' ■'. •'■■■! ^'"Ji; •'■" t?""'' 

,..!■ [> 

■ . ,, •■■.r \.\y. .1:-^'! -^! '^ 

29-4 111ST(;»1!Y OF ASIIIUKXIIAM. 

deacon; Init avIkmi Ir- was roiniiii-sidiu'd a jiistii-o of Uu- 
poace, l']si|uu'o AA'ildcr rose in lriuiii})h over his fc^vnier ^elf. 
Th(^ t"o]]<n\ing se]ioliiini< are appaj-enl. In the fornicr em- 
ployment of titles many nice discriminations Avere made A 
deacon uas next in honor and importance a1)0ve a ca})tain, 
"wliile an esquire easily ranlced both tlie deacon and the 
captain and even contested honors with the major a.nd the 

The i(n\\\ beinu" asseml^led according to adjourimieut a 
matured })lan was presented for the consideration of the 
to"\\'n : 

The Coraanttee chosen the 30"' of October last have made the 
foUowing draft of a meeting-house viz : tliat said House be sixty 
feet in Icngtli and forty-fivo feet in width, twenty-six feet between 
joints with two porches and a cover over the front door ; with an 
elder's seat for people who ai'c liard of bearing between the 
deacons seat and the pul[)it ; 70 Pewes : 4() below and twenty-four 
nbove. The Pewes to be sold at Vendue to the highest bidder. 
Boards and Shingles and Clapboards to be got in the same way. 
The Committee propose to begin to fraim the house on the 20--'' 
of May in tlie year of our Lord 1791. Tlic question was then 
asked wlietlier the report should be accepted and it passed in the 
alllnuativc. It was then voted to choose nine men to be a com- 
mittee to direct tlie builllug of the new meeting-house. Also 
voted t') set the nev/ mecling-house back s.,> far as the burying 
yard wall and that the east end of the hou:se be placed six feet 
east of the west end of the old house. 

The length of both meeting-houses extended from east to 
west. The new liouse was u short di.-taiu'C north of tlie old 
and extended westerly tifty-four feet beyond it. 'J'here is no 
record of the choice of the conmiittee of nine ordered by the 
town, but incidental referenees to the ])rogrcss of tln^ work. 
under the direction of a l)uihling conmiittee, I'endcr it 
certain that such a committee was clioscn. And at a subse- 
quent meeting it was '" voted to dismiss the old committee 

1 • ,!-)o ; <i''r'< 

'V. .' •■! ■ '.■(.. 

<.'l:-i i '■ 1 

■<■ \\u\. U),.i Hj;«' 

■•;.;■ - I ■;-;'•-; "■ ■ -t\ ■■.'' '.<' 

;■:.■; , ■ :. ::•■ ';'i'(.M-; .■; ■ i\ •■■■»!! 

..'.I'll!, 'ii ]•■'■' 

' .:^ -.!• I-. /-Ml) <•'! 

..,■ : (.m; 1 1 " -;■■■:' >( ;ji'ir'-!i:i ■ 


lor I)iiildi)m" the iueotinu-l!OU-;o and olioso Sanuu'l "\^'il'l^.'l•, 

.1().-lm;i Siuitli, Es(|.. and Saiimel Foster a coivmiittee to 
coiiij»leat the ^',ork/' 

t- -v^ ,-^.. 

The Skconk ^lEKTiN<,-HorsK ix Anhhl-rnham, Erkctk.u 1791. 

The now comiiiittec vigorously tbrwarded the work. The 
frame was raised ]May 24 and the house ^vas completed 
Xovemher 4, 1701. Three days later the town aeee})tcd the 
tinal re}>>n-t of the committee, and the new mceting-hou-^e 
was dedii-ated with approjiriate ceremonies on the tenth of 
the same month. ]n anticipation of the com[)h?tioii of the 
house the pews Mere sold and the proceeds of the sale was 
applied to the cost of construction. The records ailbrd very 
little information coneerning the cost of the house. The 
town appropriated in all one hundred and sixty pounds, and 
added to this sum the amount received from the sale of tlio 
old house ^\liich was torn down in October. It is therefore 
<ipparent that the greater part of the cost of the new meeting- 
house was })aid with money receiNcd from the sale of tlie 

.1 , , ' .' 

1 -11, . .•■ J ■ I,-,! ;■ .■ ; 

•V ■•( 111) 

f .('.in-,:! ■: 

■ !f :(JJ! 

I .;■,( • 

.. 1 .hi, ' . . 7, 

29G HlS'J'ni;Y dV ASHlirilXlIA.M. 

Ill ISOS, llu- town i);ikl J;i':--_)li Fiiirhanks for buildinii; four 
additional pows on the uroinul lloor. These were sold at 
anction for tlic sum of three hundred and ninety-two dollars. 
The proeeeds of this sale was the origin of lh(^ p<,'W notes 
which became a bone of contention l)etwecn the town and 
the parish. 

'J\) paint the new nieetinu-housc in l)econiing color next 
demanded the attention and united wisdom of the town. 
Kverv citizen vras jM'ivilcged (o vote and it was the coneui- 
rent taste of the town that "the color should be a pea green." 
The meeting was asscndiled at a season of the year when the 
vernal sun first begins to >varm Ihe brown and russet fields 
which gayly respond with the Sj'jringing l)Lide and burstings 
leaf, and in warm sympatliy with nature as she paints the 
eaii:h in the fresh liveries of green, the town produces its 
first poem. For some reason there was a delay in carrying- 
the vote into ei^Vet. At a meeting assembled ]Mareli 2, 1798, 
having escaped an inspiration to copy the yellow of the 
liarvest or the crimson and gold of the autumn, and behold- 
ing the earth covered with the sno\s' and ice of winter, they 
consistently resolve to reconsider the former vote and to 
paint the meeting-house white. 

The town continued in the faithful }H'rfoi-)nancc of the 
auxiliary otlices of a [)aiisli. until 1^21. d'he causes ^\hich 
led to the dissolution of the long estal)lish»Nl relations between 
the town and the church are apparent. The system was not 
in harmony with the spirit of our Goverimient. In the dual 
organization, the mem])ers of the church and those in full 
sympathy with them were a majority of the town, and hy 
their controlling voice the minorit}" were aimually taxed 
under a continued protest. The spirit of tolerance some- 
times abated :i resisted tax, l>ut it presented no argument in 
support of the general princi[)les involved. Indeed, the 

!■' I. 

I i'. ' 

; .-.<~t '.'\ 


I '. ''I i-in /■■■' ■ . . ': 

,v ; ;-j<i'Mii •(! 

: -,Mi;.-: Vf:.>-, 

■ ,■[; ■ J i.;i:i/«)K 

!' : . ■.. .-■-:?( iU 

iiIm)'/;:] ,' 
. I 1,'. >'\ '. 

I if V, [■ 


majoriiy, conscious of the itijnstice of the system, secured 
its contimumce many years by (he exeivise of a commend- 
able degree of tolerance to those mIio stoutly resisted, yet 
excusing the act in a plea of the sacred use to which the 
mone^' was devoted, they exacted triliute from all who only 
passively objected. Like every revolution of a system the 
beginning was remote from tlie end and early eiforts produced 
no immediate effect. Manifestations of discontent and the 
rcspou'^ive answei'S of a s{)irit of tolerance gradually led to 
the abatement of so considerable a part of the taxes assessed 
that the system was practically overtlirown some years before 
tlie outward forms were abandoned. During the last year 
of this nominal connection, warrants for town meetings for 
the transaction of parochial business were addressed to all 
the inhabitants qualified to vote Avho are membei's of the 
Congregational societv. The town clerk attended these 
meetings and recorded the proceediiigs in the town I'ecords. 
Under this amended system, the town only assessed those 
for the support of the jwi'ish whose consent was tu'st obtained. 
This procedure viiiually created a volimtary parish for which 
the town was only an agent and in such capacity continued 
to call meetings and to assess and collect the annual taxes. 
In principle it was an amendment on tlie former system, con- 
taining the germ which speedily developed in the organization 
of a permanent religious society. 

Among the many votes of the town expressive of public 
sentiment on the subject of the preceding paragra})h is an 
order adopted in 1781 that Jacob ^nilard, Jacob Kiblinger, 
John Kiblinger, Nathan Bigeliow, Jacob Constantine, Joshua 
Ilolden, Elisha Coolidge, Ebenezcr Conant, Jr., and Jonathan 
Taylor be excused from the payment of a minister tax for 
that year. In 1797 Colonel Francis Lane was excused from 
the payment of the same tax. Immediately after the com- 

! io I'.v! ■; ■■' 'I*- 

it-.; •' 


J. . 'iiii t-'i' 


■ .7 I 

'.,1 ■.■]. I jv • )_<>/ /i 1 ■ .:; '..i"! 

, , , I I ■1.; ■ .', ■'< ■ '•> 'n ■ 

298 lirSTOUY OF AS [I urn XII AM. 

jjlotion of tlie .scooiul luei'linu-liouse, in to the 
rfiquest of ceit:iiii iiidividiuils, tbo town " A^olccl tlint ilie 
Baptist Society h-AVv leave to meet in the new jnectinu-liouse 
on week days for religious woi'sliij) by a])[)]yiiiu- lo the dooi'- 
kecper tor tlie keys. Also wlien it shall so happiMi that the 
Church and Cona."reu"ation usually nieetini;' in said house are 
destitute of a jireacher and d<j not vrant to Use said house on 
the Sabbath that said Jkiptist Society shall have leave to 
meet in said house."' }'hicoui'aged by this ])roeeedinu" the 
town was requested ''to abate the minister tax laid on tlie 
non-resident lands owned ])y the ]iaj)tists." Upoji this 
pro})osition the toAvn voted in the neuati\e. 'J'lie linal paro- 
chial service of the town occurred in iN'i.) and 1S24. The 
town assumed the exj^cnses ol" the funeral of Kev. J)y. 
Gushing amounting to $Ik").45, and continuctl the salary until 
the following Xovembei'. It aNo joined Nviih the church in 
extending a call to Rev. George Perkins and directed the 
nrrangements for his ordination. These offices at the eve of 
ji dissolution of the relations between the town and the churcli 
were a litting conclusion of a eontinueil and honorable service. 
So far as the town was concerned, the oidy )-emaining topics 
of a kindred nature were th'.' custody of the meeting-house 
and the control of the ministerial funds. U'he debate on 
these points between the town and the GonuTcgational society 
€aii be presentt>d more clearly after the other part}' to the 
controvei-sy has been introduced. 

The causes which suggested the organi/tition of an inde- 
pendent parish consecutively follow those wdiich led to the 
tci'mination of the former relations. In the early history ot 
the town nearly all the inhal)itants were united in matters of 
religion and thev adoi)t»'d the readiest and most feasible 
method of sustaining [Hiblic worshij). The removal into 
town of families of other dtuioniinations and the alienatii;)n 

i 1 ,.■'■'*■[:■■ i< ' J 

I'M.' 'Hm /I 

' i' ^ ' / - .. : 

" ■ '■ i . ■) 

,,rv, , ; ,, ,;• ^ ;( .■•:-■:'■• ' ■- '■ ' '■' ' ' ■■-■ ■■"" 
• .• i-i' ,,; ' ') , ' ! i_ J i ,.'*:, I •••i'> ■'/ ;> I ;f.ii li ' ■ 

■'t .')■)!; v!-!.. . 1m •'.'in'i jv.iir •'•i<| 'icf II 

) ■ ; , * 

, ir ; • -I ' Itp N'M 

{' ji:''ii 

f,.;I.M,.. ■). 


of as in;niy from the slandiiig church and particuhirly tli(^ 
ra])id growlh of tlie ^.L'thodist society, and Ihc boKler inde- 
pendence of tho>e ^vho adhered to neither tlie Orthodox, 
^Methodist, Baptist nor any otlier creed, made it clearly 
apparent that e^'ery dcnominatio)i should assume the control 
and manau'cment of its ])rudential all'airs. The ex])ediency 
of such an organization wa.s seriously debated during the last 
years of the ministry of Dr. Cushing. Indeed, an association 
at that time M'as formed l)ut '' The Congregational Society or 
First Parish" did not have a legal existence until April 27, 
1824, a short time after the sefllemcnt of ]Jev. George 
j^erkins. At that date the society assumed the ollices of a 
parish and has continued an ctlicient ally of the churcli with 
which it has been connected until the ])resent time. The 
petition for a meeting of organization, dated ,\})ril ''^, 182-1, 
Avas signed by Ivers Jewett, Oliver >hirl)le, Charles Barrett, 
Elisha AVhite, Fitch Crosby, Asa AVoods, Grover Scollay, 
Joshua Townsend, Abraham Lowo, Joseph Ivice and Dod- 
dridge Cushing. That eighty-one or more members were 
present at tlie Ih'st meeting is slunvn by a statement in the 
records that "the whole number of votes for a clerk of the 
parish Mas 81 and all for Charles J>arrett." At tlie same 
meetiiiL': over whicli 'J'iniothy Stearns was called to preside, 
Josejih tiewett. Est]., Elias Lane ;ind A\'alter liussell were 
seh'ct(>d for assessors. 'J.'he duties of this otlice were more 
onerous than the term suggests. In addition to the assess- 
ment of taxes the assessors were expected to oversee all the 
prudential concerns of the society. At this meeting the sum 
of four hundred and tifty dollars was raised to pay the salary 
of tlie minister and b}' the follo'wing vote the unsettled 
questions with the town were inti'oduced. "Voted that the 
assessors l)e a connnittee to look up the funds of the society 
laving in the hands of the selectmen." • 

■I 1 1 • • I . 

fl •■;: I! !i 

■ : ^ .'i ■.•.:••;■■■ ::;■!_-!:;; vfiv'Vi;" _,;M:i." !-•- 

, - - ,'...■■•: . - ••'.■■'.' ''■■.■ ;"-^'tl 

; . . . ; 1 ■;].'•' :.,ii ■ ■>] u.i:m ' ') 

' :U!.Mi' I I. )' '•''>- 


Tiiis fund consisted of certain inoney and credits derived 
from the sale of the rninisteiial lands and th ■ residue of the 
sale of the pews in tlie second nieeting-house. This action 
of the society explains in a measure a vote of the tov.n on the 
tlrst day of Xo^'ember '' to choose a committee of four to join 
vrith tlie selectmen to meet ^vith the committee of the Con- 
gregational Society or Fii'st Parish to regulate the ministerial 
fxmd.^ and the })e\v notes if they belong to said society and 
give tlicm u]^ to said society, ('hose George E. Gushing, 
Dr. Abraham Lowe, Oliver Samson vSL Capt. John Willard. 
Voted to choose two more men to add to the connnittee and 
cliose Joseph Jewett and Ivers Jewett." The selectjnen for 
the time beinii' Avere Silas Willard, Hezekiah Gorev and 
John Adams. Jr. 

This vras an able committee and it represented both sides 
of the pending question. ^Vfr. Gushing, Dr. Lowe, Joseph 
and Ivers Jewett were active memlicrs of the Gongregational 
society, A\-bile Silas A\'illard, John AVillard, Mr. Samson and 
]\[r. Gorcy were equally prominent in the ^lethodist society. 
Jolm Adams, Jr., held the balance of power in case the 
deliberations of the committee were influenced by selfish 
motives or denominational proclivities. It was undoufitedly 
at the suggestion of memboi's of the Gongr'-gational society 
that tlie Jewett'^ were added to the comndttec in order to 
secure a stronger represenlation in its councils. The result 
of their deliberations was laid before the town at a meeting 
asseml)led April 4, 1S2."), in the following report: 

The committee chosen at the town meeting on the first day of 
November last for the purpose of making a division of the uiinis- 
teriul fund and property belonging to the first parish met at Jewett 
& AV^oods' store, and beg leave to report viz: ehosc L Jewett 

2'' On motion voted that all votes passed by said connnittee 
be laid before the town at their next annual I^Iarch u^eetintr. 

rfi (;:••":' i-,n;-./ ■[■! j \->'f-<:n 

.1. I 

, I • m; '.',;,"» (• 


^: ,.ny::i .ill ■!..> 
; i. - 1 );! 1)1(8 

;:, r,M •;(! > 

,; ^ I'.iM ■:' ^,! ,'''!^' I'-" 

<■'■ .', . 


o'^ Voted tliat tlio Fil•^<t Parish in said town of Ash1)uinliam 
shall draw the interest of the Pew Notes. 

4*''' Voted that the said First Parish shall draw the interest of 
■one half of the ministerial and school funds. 

5"" Voted that the clerk and chairman sign the above report. 

'siLAS WlLLAPvD, \ ,P^''f}''''''\''^ 
J the Conumttee. 

I. Jkwett, Clerk. 

To the school fund the parish laid do claim and it is prob- 
nble through careless methods in the conduct of town busi- 
ness it had been united so long witli the ministerial fund 
that tlie identity of each was lost. Since the two funds were 
deri\ed from the sale of equal parcels of land, iieither would 
greatl}^ exceed the other in value. It appears to have been 
the intention of the committee to reserve the interest of the 
school fund for the town and to bestow the interest of the 
ministerial iund on tlic parish. To these reconnuendations 
the town Avas not favorably inclined and refused to adopt 
any of tlic votes suggested by the committee. In the mean 
tiui.c the following petition had been presented to the select- 
men and a town meeting had been called to consider the 
same questions in anothci' form. 

To tliL C'ntlemen, Selecfi,i"n of the tovm of A.shhurnlunn : 

We the undersigned iuljabiiants of the said town request you to 
insert an article in your next Mr'rch meeting warrant " To see if 
the town will give up to the Congregational Society or First Parish 
in said town the ministerial fund belonging to said parish it being 
for what the ministerial land was sold for, Also the notes that are 
in the Treasury which were given for pews sold in the meeting- 
house belonging to said Society or Parish with the interest on the 
^foresaid notes for one year last past." 

1 (,^: 

n ,.r 

.1 ^.^ ,;Mii.-',' 

'I'Uil <y^ 

f ! ■ 

< ' ' ■ rr.U' ■ ■.,'1 ':■■? nii: 

!■ 'ili'lli' 111 ^:itnli-:vi.t;' '.'1 " 


AsiToL-RNiiAM, Feb. 12, 1825. 

Jos i: I'll Je^vktt 
Am-wMiAM T. LuwK 
David Ccsiuxct 
d. cusiiixg 
Olivi:r Gkkex 
Jonas Ki tjixg 


John Caldwkll 

An article was duly inserlcd in the warrant an<l a decision 
was iinally I'cachcd : 

Vc'lod to give the ministerial fuiul and the pew notes to tbe First 
Parish in said town of Ashburnhani agreeable to the request of 
Josepli Jewctt and others and the selectmen are required to give 
orders according! \- . 

In pursuance of this liberal course on the part of the tow n 
the fmids were transfei-red to tlu; custody and jJO'^session of 
the Congregational society. For ten years the decision was 
accepted as final and so fa)- as evidence is found it wa^ 
generally regarded as just and proper. From ^^■hat motive 
the question was oi)ened and the controversy renewed would 
be difllcult to determine, lii a warrant for the annual meet- 
ing in 1S;').'» the heralds declare that the armistice is ended 
and the cdutestants who liave rested on their anns for a 
decade are again sunimoned to renewed hostilities. 

To see if the town will reconsider the vote that was passed in 
1825 ; the town then voting that the pew notes and other property 
in fund, originally belonging to the town, into the hands of the 
clerk or treasurer of tlie First Parish and also to choose a com- 
mittee to examine into all those fimds and to see what part thereof 
rightfully belongs to the first parish and have the other put riglit. 

..1 . rv:.} 

' ' ' '■'>!; ,< i U'^wri : • '■ ■■Ml'''!:,;; ,'!.'::; -.'),: 

1) >■( I 

■ 'o o'l' 

■ I't"' 

I' ' '■'.'M ; ■, ■! • 'ij 


On the lir^l clause, tlie town took no iiction but chose :i 
coram itteo of five to make the speciried exannnation. This 
connnittee consisted of Geori:-e 1\. Cushing, Cliarlcs Hast- 
ings, Jr., Dr. Xathaniel Tierce, Sihis '^Vil]ard :ind Kljcnuzcr 
Frost. ]Mr. Cusiiing was tiic only earnest friend of the 
parisli and he refused to join with the others in the follow- 
ing report : 

Your committee, chosen at the March meeting to investigale the 
state of tlto funds arising from the sale of school and niinistr\- 
lands and oilier property &e, have attended to that duty and ask 
leave to report. Your cotnmittee find hy the Proprietors Book of 
Kecords that the tract of land nov,- called A?;hburnham was granted 
to sixty soldiers or individuals or their heirs who served in the 
Canada Expedition as a bounty for their services hy the General 
Court of the Province of jNIassachusetts r>ay, and said Court in 
their grant reserved lots of land viz : one to the first settled 
Minister, one for the Ministry, one for tlie sciiool ; and the sixty 
Proprietors of tlie Tovvusliip six miles square tlien called Dor- 
chester Canada, gave one lot in each division (as it appears they 
made four divisions) it being four lots in all for the Minister, four 
for the Ministry and four for tl\e school witli Equivalents. Also 
the Proprietors granted one lot of ten acres where the meeting- 
house stands, provided the town build and keep a house thereon 
for Pul>Iic Worship. The lots granted to the first settled minister 
seem {u liave been disposed of by the Rev. ?dr. Winchester. Your 
comnii' ICO find by the records that the town Aoted and chose agents 
to sell the public lands and we find by the records that some of 
the Ministry and School lots ^ere sold and tlie interest applied in 
buying the Kev. ■Mr. Cushing's fire wood, and tlie said funds have 
ever since, except a small part, been retained in the hands of 
agents or persons then belonging to the first parish but have since 
alienated themselves from the old meeting-house Elsewhere for 
public worship and the\' have seized upon the school fund or a 
part thereof contrary to any vote of said town and carried it away 
with tliem. Therefore your committee, after due consideration, 

' •-'-,j1-.| 'ul 


f -• 

•u ,.r, 


j'l'solvos that tlie Ionvii p:i.>.s ii vote to retiirii tlic fiiiult; that Avas 
givoii to siiiAl town Ibr the use of the ministry to the hund.s of the 
town trcnsuroi', there to remain a fmid according to the ap])ropria- 
tiou. Ixesolvod as we fitid by records and a parchment plan of 
said town, that tin? common land that has been sold and deeded 
for ministry land the amonnt of sncli should be rctnrncd to the 
treasury for its proper use. liesolved that as the town sold Pews 
in the old meeting-house on conditions that the amount Uiey sold 
for should be funded and the interest of said f uiid be appropriated 
to repair the meeting-house, that tlie principal with the interest be 
returned to the treasury to be kept for that purpose. Ecsolved 
that those members or agents that have alienated from the old 
meetir.g-house elsewhere for public worship delivei- to the hands of 
the lo'vn treasurer the amount of monies that accrued from the 
sale of school lands with the interest that it may be applied 
agreeable to the appropriation, liesolved that the town pass a 
vote aad iigree ^vith some per;;on residing ne:ir said meeting-house 
to take and keep the key of said house so that the Baptist-i may 
occupy the same for I-'eligious Yv''orship agreeable to a vote of 
said town. 

Should the agents or members, belonging formerly to the first 
parish or old meeting-house, but have since alienated themselves 
with monies or property belonging thereto, refuse to compl}' with 
these terms, 

liesolved that the town jc^ss a vote authoiizing the committee 
or agents to prosecute forthwith to final judg;r;:at. 


SILAS ^Vll.LARD, / Committee 



May 4, 1S35. 

The report was accepted but none of the recouimcndations 
wore adopted. The town clerk found employment hi its 
entry npr-n ll'c records but no other result ensued. How- 
ever, tlie general issue, which was crushed beneath the 




:■[ c r:;'!'>in 

i.iU lf\[)y] vi .'■• 

; :.^i/: 

(;•• ''>r IK . i'l'/l") 1- ;">) 


weii^bt of 11) is ponderous report, was rcfoiTod to Chnrlos 
Stoarns, Asaliel Corey and Kilburn Ilarwood, with instnie- 
tions to meet a like coinniitt<^e of the Congregational society 
'■ with the view to ascertain more fully the rights of the 
town and parish in said funds." 

An early re])ort from this committee was also accepted 
but uo trace of its recommendations has been found. At 
the succeeding meeting the tow)i '' voted to accept of the 
ministei'ial fund," but through a failure of the society to 
pass a responsive vote to give it up, the vote at once ex- 
pressed the willingness and the inabilit}' of the town to 
secure it. Through the last stage of the controversy' the 
society had the advantage of possession and during the pro- 
lor\ged demonstrations of the town they continued to fortify 
their position with a dignified silence. At other times the 
subject was debated in town meeting, but the remaining 
votes of the town were only repetitions of those that have 
been noticed. ]f any one desires to learn more of this 
dispute between the worthies of the town and the olhccrs of 
the parish lie may fan the embers of the controversy found 
in another eha])ter in connection with an account of the 
removal of the second meeting-house to its present location. 

In l'So2 the Methodist society completed its first house 
of worshi}) in the village. Actuated we inist more from a 
spirit of emulation thtm of rivalry, the I'ii-t Parish began to 
consider the expediency of removing its house from the old 
common to the centre of the village, and to rebuild the 
interior after a more modern i)lan. Xo sooner was the 
project proposed than a decided o])})osition was developed. 
The owners of the pews in the old house demanded pay- 
ment for their property interest, and the to^^ n asserting an 
undefined control of the house frowned upon the society 
in the pretence of any right to remove it or to exercise 


.ii \\^ ^^di'l- 


) ■ .a 

'I ■■■'■■: S/-^! 'Vi :---:.f.'fii- 

' ' "' ■ ■ ' ' '■•' .III J 'i'> ft, /oiii'ya 

, .1,. , .' , .,: - 

ii': ( li; .: ',■■)■ 

M|1K.;[ 't 

';i) i> /O ■ ;,''I : > 


any control over it bojond ^l^i tiecustomed use Mlicro it 
stood. And tlio fact tliat the town had )io clear idea of its 
o\Yn authority in t]je premises, left it free to assert -Any pi'e- 
tcn.^ion and to 0})pose the society' at every })oint. J^^oresec- 
ing the difficulties that would attend any other course of 
proceeding, the society early and wisely decided to huild a 
ncw^ house and subsequently (o sun-endei' the old house and 
the pending demands of the ])ew owners to the town. 

In Septenibei-, 1832, tlie society ].)os(poncd but did not 
abandon the enterprise, aiid while the iutenlions of tlie^iarish 
were beginning to ripen into an early execution a voluntary 
association of its menibei-s })roposcd to build the house on 
their own responsibility. It only remained for the society 
rts an organization to grant the gentlemen leave to proceed 
and to select a location for the new meeting-house. In 
Feln'uary, 1833, the following proposilions were adopted: 

. Voted that certain indiviiUials who are disposed may build a 
new meelingdiouse agrceahlc to their pioposition which is that 
the expense of buiUbng be divided into twenty shares and after 
the house is completed to sell or lot the pews as tliey have oppor- 
tunity. . ■ 
■ Voted to choose a committee of five to £c!eet a suitable location 
for said meeting-house and chose 


''.."■' '" ■ Samuel Ward, 

-•■'■-■■'<■ - - ••■•••.. ■:. Jonx Caldweli,, ) Committee. 

:.--': '.,.-.:■ : /..v.: . IIosea Gueex, 

, . .. . . ; ■ John C. Glazier, 

Voted to adjourn for one week from this day at one o'eh^ck in 
the afternoon. 
> Feb. 11, met according to adjournment, the committee presented 

their report wliich was read. 

Voted that the meeting-house may be built on either of the two 


■>■' ;);[(;? 

'J^ I J - V : ; 

'j'v'^ o; s /it % 

■ Vj-;; ^il'vMji. 

,(Aj;lyi'.)'V'., iMjr . U' .(-/'■ 





lots — Sawyer's or the one George R. Cnsliing proposes. The 
Siiwver lot was selected. 

Othet* locations Averc considered by the committee but 
were not embraced in their report. One of these -svas on 
the opposite side of Main street ; anotlicr a short distance 
south of the Powder House ; another at the junction of the 
road from Xoith Asliburnham and Main street ; and another 
whei'e tlie barn of Nathaniel Pierce ]iow stands. The 
an.iouut paid 'Mv. Sawyer for the lot ^\'as two hundred 
and twenty-five dollars. The addition to the lot on tlio 
noi'th -was jjrcsented in 1869 by Colonel Charles Barrett. 
The names of the persons who assumed the responsibility 
and proceeded to build the meeting-house do not appear in 
the records. The tvrent}' sliares were taken as follows : 
Thomas Hobart, two shares ; Peuben I'ownsend, Charles 
Barrett, Ebenezer Flint, George G. Parker, Dr. AYilliam 
H. Cutler, Joseph Jewett, Harvey M. Bancroft, Pliilip R. 
Merriam, Philip E. Merriam, Jr., Harvey Brooks. Elijah 
Brooks, Samuel AVoods, Samuel S. Ste^'ens, Joel Brooks, 
Horatio J. Holbrook, Hosca Green, Levi Kice, Edmund 
Sawyer, one share each. 

Under the direction of this efficient organization the present 
meeting-house was begun in the summer of 1833 and speedily 
completed. It was dedicated February 19, 1834. The 
cost of construction exceeded the amount received from 
the sale of the pews, but the loss was sustained by the 
organization that had volunteered to build the house. The 
heavy, clear-toned bell which still hangs in the belfry Mas 
purchased by subscription in January, 1834, at an expense 
of five hundred and seventeen dollars. 

The new meeting-house being completed, and the former 
entangling alliances with the town dissolved, the parish 

ry.! |-'i;;. 

-jv,., I ,■ 

'"M '< >'■''■■ i )'■ ) ■.-■'■ti:;,-. 1.; I '[ ..;J:;;';ii j^;. ' ^ :,■ 

1 .i,n> , 11 ; 

lie ;v ■■;•■ v.M 1 i»\ ■■; ,/> V (• 'I' .' (!•'' 



entered upon an era of concord and quietude. Occasionally 
called upon to join willi tlie cLurcli in the dismissal or settle- 
ment of a minister, its chief and successful employment has 
been to raise money for the payment of current expenses. 
At times the money lias been secured ^vith dilUcuUy but the 
parish, by a conciliatory policy and by consulting- its mem- 
bers in regard to methods of taxation and voluntary sub- 
scriptions, has met its obligations and has seldom suffered 
its fortunes to be dimmed by the cloud of debt. Through 
the inditlerence of many the burden has rested more heavily 
upon others, yet at all times a reliant purpose has met every 
obstacle and overcome every difficulvy. During the past 
sixty years the salary paid the minister has been increased 
from time to time from four hundred and lifty to twelve 
hundred dollars. 

The meeting-house was thoroughly remodelled in 1.^09. 
After an ineffectual discussion of many plans and several 
inoperative votes of the parish a number of gentlemen gen- 
erously volunteered to become responsible for the expense 
of rebuilding the house. The repairs were innnediately 
made under the direction of Ohio Whitney, Jr., William 1'. 
Ellis, Jerome AV. Fostei-, George C. Winchester and Addi- 
son A . Walker. The anu^unt expended about thirteen 
thousand dollars. The d./tlcit, after the sale of the pews, 
was asauucd and soon paid by the parish. At this time 
a supeiior pipe organ ^s•as purchased by subscription. The 
parsonage was purchased in 1864, and in it arc invested the 
ministei^al fund received from the town and the legacy of 
Mrs. Lucy Davis. 

'// <Hi 

/' ■(:,: '-n 


■'I. i' 

^*';u fjfi 'j'J'^A 



THE METHODISTS. — THE field axd tuf. siTnATioK. — the 



TIffi UNION CHURCH. — the elements collected. — the meeting- 





ADVENTISTS. — THEiK belief. —no church organization. 

THE CATHOLICS. — FIRST services in this town. — purchase a 


; jVTethodist Churches were orgauizt'd in niuiiy of the 

towns in this vicinity in rapid snccossion. It was during 

the hist decade of the past century. In its outline features 

the history of the introduction of ^Nlctliodism and of the 

growth and progress of the churches |)Ianted by the early 

preachers is the same tlu'oughout New Enghmd. Until the 

arrival of the pioneer preachers of a new faith, in every town 

there was one church of the standing order which, founded 

soon after the settlement of the town, had remained the sole 

occupant of the field. Over eacli of these churclies tlie 

"learned orthodox minister" was settled for life and lahored 

without a rival. The orthodox minister of the olden time 

was an earnest and solemn laborer, austere in n)anner, 


V in ;■" / ,V;{r (If ,;''1 /'/'OJ 

I "■' ■ '"■ -■■''•' ■'■ 

.(I'M-: ■■ ■•.,:- .',f; 

I / ■■. .. 

I\-Jl.l ' . ' 

310 HISTORY or asiibukxiiam. 

dignified in bearing; initltful and diligent tis a pastor lie 
labored for his people M-'itli singleness of pui-pose. AVilh 
formal precision he visited the siek and eoniforted the 
mourner in learned ])h]'ascs. His counsel was the voice of 
wisdom, "while liis sympathies were congealed in the solem- 
nity of bis presence. Standing half way between God and 
man, there was a li.vedness .about him tbat invited the rever- 
ence and commanded the homage of the people. His 
sermons, logically ai-i'anged, were earnest and solemn 
appeals to the reason of his hearers. Froni the lofty pulpit 
of the olden time he maintained his accustomed eminence 
amoniT his ilock and throuoh the week he walked in even 
lines above them. They respected him, addressed him, 
thought of him with reverence, and if ariy loved him they 
loved him with an admixture of awe that sulfered no passage 
of the gulf that separated the minister froni tbe hearts of the 
people, lif neither the example of his life nor the spirit of 
his discourse invoked the emotions or aroused the sudden 
impulse, he moulded and solidified the character and per- 
suaded men to live under the guidance of principle and a 
rational sense of duty. ■ .i- . 

The n)inister of that day is a character prominent and still 
honored in the annals and traditions of the past. In the 
midst of his supremavy came ihe pioiicer preacher of 
Methodism. These herrdds of a new creed announced their 
message ^vith plainness of s})eech and sinij)licity of maimer. 
Their early success sprang more from the manner of the 
man than from the matter of their discourse. They lived 
among the ))eoplc and when not engaged in exhortation they 
con\ersed and mingled with them. They neither s[)oke from 
pulpits nor held themselves aloof from their fellow-men. 
They preaclied in dwellings, in barns and in the groves. 
AVhile preaching they stood on a level with their hearers. 

!'" .■ J ' '' ,! ' ' ; .1 !''■■. .'' ..'''• {■,'<,! '<",■■:'. 1' 

! , 

o ■'l(][i'r/.'i 

; ■ -■■■"' ;'•■;!.■ 'wvoiitifj 
, ;r;> "•' ■>'i. .,-. !':('!-') nrr 

\\\ // 


"Wisely assuming thul tlic el('r<rv of the standing order had 
faithfully instructed the niasses and inculcalcd anjong IIk-ui a 
general knoAvledge of the Christian i-eligion they asserted 
the tenet.-- peculiar to tluur sect. If liiey ap[)caled to tlie 
emotions of men they satislled a hunger of tlie soul that the 
teachings of tlie older school could not a})pease ; and if they 
became earnest and im})assioned in manner they felt a 
responsive echo in the \vorshi[) of the multitude. 

Witli such labor ar.d under such conditions the early 
Methodist preachers found adherents in every comnmnity. 
They rapidly planted clmrches and confiding them to the 
S(df-sustaining influences of the class-meeting they passed on 
to new fields and to renewed conquests. Over these infant 
churches a preacher was not assigned for a stated time. 
Indeed the earlier i)reachers were not fixed in their fields of 
lai)or, but were transferred so rai)idly Itoiu one station to 
another tliat we gain but glimpses of tluir approaching or 
retiring presence. When assembled for worship, mysteri- 
ously there came a minister to preach to them ; from whence 
he came, or where he went, or the name of the roving 
preacher, is dilficult to determine. 

The introduction of ]\rethodism into .Vshburnham in method 
and in the attending conditions was similar to the general 
M'ork and success of the youthful clnircli throughout the 
country. In a historical discourse deli\cred at .\shburnham 
July 0, 16S2, Itev. Stephen Gushing ha.-, succinctly stated the 
prominent events connected with its growth and progress. 
To that discourse is credited many of the events in the 
following paragraphs. Within five years from the inti'oduc- 
tion of ^Methodism into New England, liev. John Hill 
preached the first ^lethodist sermon at 'the house of Lmnuel 
Stimson in the north part of the town. This was in the 
autumn of 1703. Earlv in the followinir vearasocietv of 

f;-. ,. ... ': 'I 

.'; W 

•/l^ )■> 

^/ w.rJ 

A) '.; 

.'"»/■' ,>;l 
■;!'. [.■,;,< 



; ■ ' ' '■'• '-'II. iii'/i'tH', \ .1. ;,'. atii* 
■ ■-nil,. i/;'',.,(;'vi/' ),-■'. ^! ' !• rr!<r>\v,ri- 


eight members was conslLtutcd and soon meetings began to 
be hold with considerable regularity at the house of Silas 
yrillard, Esq, In the autumn of 179G Lorenzo Dow 
preached to the infant society in this town. This ftunous 
preacher was then nineteen 3'ears of age. The following 
extract from his journal refers to this occasion : '' October 
23, 179G, I spoh'c in Hard wick to about four hundred people : 
thence to Petersham and "Winchendon, to Fitchl)urgh and 
likewise to Xotown where God gave me one spiritual cliikL 
Thence to Ashburnhtan, where we had some po"s\ erfid times." 

In 1800 a quarterly meeting attended by Rev. John Broad- 
head, a presiding elder, was held in the town. At this time 
the church embraced a membeiship of fifty or more. Three 
years later Bishops Asbury and Whatcoat preached at the 
house of Mr. Willard by whoni they were entertained. 
Preaching was maintained in the north part of the town and 
a society' v^ith increasing numbers was in existence thiity- 
eight years. The preachers were frequently transferred to 
other fields in the intervals between the formal assignments 
by the Conference. From the records of such ap[)0)ntments 
and transfers it is found that during this thue sixty-five 
preachers had been designated for Ashbundiam and depend- 
ent societies. A society was organized in Westminster in 
1814 and a few families in the south part of the town were 
included in its membership. . , . : 

In 18.j1 the Ashburnham and AVestmiuster societies were 
made a station and a pastor assigned them. This arrange- 
ment was of short duration and only one appointment, that 
of Rev. Xathan B. Spaulding, was made. The following year 
the Ashburnham society, having proposed to build a meeting- 
house at the centre of the town, was made a station and 
has continued to the present tinier an independent organiza- 
tion. It was durino; the vear of the union with the West- 

. .'. / . 

^4h o\ ■■)-.,; 

''{'''■ I'i ./'" 

^, ,'/'■),(, .M^, ' ■' , j S-i!' 

'■■ • 'fJ' ''■■- -J' '■, 'r'(>j,;hl3f 

■ ' >''■' ' !'• ■',:.';.''-' ;; 'ti,.noi 
■ ' ' ' " '■'- '''..'' .i'lir*;')'] 

<■ ' ''' "' '■' * '' '■'■ .<■ ■'» ' ■ '< 'y.J . ^;, 

'11 j If' ) (., 1' r; 


minster society, and perhaps sup:gested by the inconveiiioiu'c 
of that aiTtiiiacnieiit, that active measures foi- bialdiiiij; a 
meeting-house were proposed and favorably oitertained. At 
that time the trustees were Joshua Burgess, Luther Barrell, 
Jolin Kibling, Lemuel Wliitney, John ^Villard, James 
Pufier, Silas Willard, Lemuel wStimson, Stephen Cushing, 
Oliver Samson and Ilezekiah Corey. A considerable sum 
of money "was I'aised by subscription and the work fairly 
begun in the. autumn of 1831. The house was completed 
without suspension of the work and was dedicated July 4, 
1832. The dimensions were fifty-six by forty-one feet. 

Again, thirty-eight years is an epoch in the history of the 
Methodist church of Ashburnham. The present commo- 
dious house of worship was erected in 1870. It was then 
seventy-six years since the organization of the church in this 
town. Dividing the time in Uvo equal portions, was the 
building of the lirst meeting-house in 1832. The first span 
of time had witnessed the 2i'o^"*^tli of the church from a class 
of eight persons to one hundred members. Through many 
discouragements they had existed and had increased. At 
all times their ardor had been unabated. Through all these 
years of their early history they found many occasions for 
devout gratitude for the past and buoyant hope for the future. 
During the second peri(^><!, or while occupying the first meet- 
ing-house, they were attended with continued prosperity. 
The visible results are witnessed ])}' many seasons of spiritual 
power and by frequent and considerable addition to the 
membership of the church. 

At the close of the second epoch, the erection of the 
present church edifice was undertaken. In 18G9 the site 
for the propo^eil building was purchased and the foundatiinis 
were laid. From the board of trustees Keuben Puller, 
Xathaniel Eaton and Andrew J. Smith were chosen a build- 


'rvr>/ U: 

'':'':;•-.: ■r',!;;/J 

I .: ' ■> 

it;.. / =i.>^-i'(; ,^:';'■. v>.'< 'Ir r-fnVf 
' ■ ' ''i' ' :'( )'Uyr^'\ ;,.!ii'Y,' .w , ,,,:,; ,.:,, ,,1'. ,•;.,...; .,h " 

'■>i •»':■! Tm 


..'I '.J vnr:f;r ;"(' ' ': > 'it! 


,C'; 7vVr 

I /,•;; ;-j.'.i . -ti 

31-1 iiiSTOiiY OF ASirBrnNi!A:\r. 

ing coujiiiitlee, to Avliicli Charles Wineliosti'i' was joined. 
Under the managcincDt of ll)ese geutlcmeii the work upon 
the building was begun in the spring of 1870 and the house 
was substantial!}' eomplctevd during that year. The interior 
deeoration and furnishing were completed the foHowing 
summer and tlie house was dedicated July 20, 1871. The 
cost of construction was about thirty thousand dollars which 
far exceeded the tirst estimates and the burden fell heavily 
upon the society. The organ, from the factory of Hook and 
Hastings, was })resentcd by Charles Winchester. During the 
Kucceedinii' ten years the debt contracted in constructino" an 
expensive edilice was gradually reduced, but was not fully 
paid until during the ministry and through the eilbrts of 
Eev. Xathaniel B. Fisk. Two members of th.e church con- 
tributed at this time a sum exceeding the entire cost of the 
first meeting-house. ..j... . ,■ . li 

From 1870 to the present time the outward history of 
the church has been uneventful. The stated ministrations 
have been maintained and commendable donations have been 
credited to the benevolence of the society. The spiritual 
history of all these years and the iutluences of the church 
over the souls of men are among the unwritten revelations 
of another world. The miiuites of the Conferetice contain 
the names of sixty-five preachers who were assigned pre- 
vious to 1832 to the stalion to which Asiiburnham belonged. 
It is evident tliat several of them after a brief labor here 
were transferred to other stations ; and, possibly, a few of 
them did not even arrive here before they received new 
appointments to other places. Xor wei-e any of them 
assigned um-eservedly to the Asiiburnham church but to the 
circuit to which this church belonged. A'ery few of them 
•Were temporarily resident here. Their labors were divided 
among several societies of which this was the strongest and 
most prominent. 

! i 'A ', 

■ ) ru«'^'!'Hin 

t : u '.. ':: 


i . I 'i? '■ fi I; ■fr^.r:;- 

.: {. 

^. / '^wf-: ."ill; );: ')i.'J(i(U'lJI 

^.; -.-i'ii fi ilii; fiflj t..r:i' ; j,-.',; , --^i;! ! ;;.':• ■,' 

■■ ■ u' 'io ■•.'';^!!n(^-■"!i'^:' ■ ■ ■.■J')! fvi-,v- tc"-^ - ■ '•- 

■^ iw'ii: ;ir.ji> '';.; i.;j^j/£»' I'.'ii i;'J'i/; ■•ji Xl 


Since Asliburnliani became a station in 1832, a pa-^tor lias 
been assigued without rescrvatiou and lias lived during the 
term of his appointment among his chai-ge. The number of 
these appointments is thirty-four. Of these seventeen, 
including the present pastor, have remained one year, foui'- 
teen two years and under the modern revision of tlie rules, 
tliree have received a third a})pointmcut. After an intervtd 
of several years Ilev. Pliny "Wood and Eev. Austin F. Iler- 
rick "svere returned to this to^vn and are twice enumerated, 
but the brief pastorate of Rev. 11. B. Skinner who filh.d an 
unexpired appointment is not included. All v\'ere worthy, 
exemyjlary pastors. With varied gifts and acquirements, 
none have failed in duty to their charge, and -all have been 
fellow-laborers with men of tbeir own and other denomina- 
tions in tlie reforms and benevolence of their time. 

'J'he names of the pastors and tlie membership of the 
church since Ashburnham was made a station are as follows : 

'T'f «, 




Nathan B. Spauldiug 



Hebron Vincent 



John W. Case 




Charles Noble 



William R. Stone 



"WilHain P. White 



Horace Moiilton. H. P. 

Skiinier, <j months 



John W. Merrill 



Newell S. Spaulding 



Howaid C. Dunham 



William P. Olds 



David Kilbura 



Pliny Wood 



Jonathan L. Esty 



Moses P. Webster 



Cyrus L. P>astnaau 


'?.;m L 

'.'-'<! r- ; 

/I' ':>y'<f.i )■).;,; 

,1 / Ir 

^■'■i }l:^ ': 

' f (.) .' '! . 'U 

I/'J .:j ir'-i)];7»' 


1855-6. Austin F. Ilerrick 180 

1857. Lorenzo White 138 

1858-9. Pliny Wood 135 

-1860-1. Ichabod Marcy 131 

1862-3. William Pentecost • 137 

1864. Jonas M. Clark 122 

1865-6. John A. Lansing . 153 

1867-8. Walter Wilkie ..•--. 1^0 

1869. Nathan D. George 170 

1870. Joseph W. Lewis 149 

1871. L. P. Causey 140 
■ 1872-1. Austin F. Ilerrick 171 

1875-6. James W. Fenno 165 

,, 1877-9. William H. Cook ' 159 

; 1880-2. Nathaniel B. Fisk ' 149 

1883. John H. Mansfield • . 149 

; 1884. Emory A. Howard 153 

1885. Austin IL Herrick 147 

The L^xion Church. — The causes which led to the 
buildiuo: of a meetinsr-house and. -the embodiment of a church 
at North Ashburnham are mainly apparent at the present 
time. It is probable :ind it is reasonable to presume that the 
controUinfT motives were sustained and encouraged by many 
minor impulses which are neither reflected in the record nor 
preserved in tlic memory of the few now li\'ing wlio were 
active in the initial proceedings. A half century ago that 
portion of the town was more populous than at present and 
in that community were several men of influence and enter- 
prise. The families residing in that vicinity for a long time 
had been sensible of the burden of the distance that 
separated them from the church at Ashburnham Centre to 
which they belonged. These, for many years, had frequently 
yet timidly suggested some measures of relief. Among them 
were a few families who were not in full sympathy with the 


f ■■-' I 

'itifr/;'") -'I .J- 



controlling influences of the parent church, and joined Tvith 
these were others not allied to the church at the Centre nor 
were they Congregationalists. 

The latter class, actuated both by conscience and conven- 
ience, were ready to join in the organi;^ation of a union 
church with tenets invithig an evangelical alliance. There 
were many meetings and conferences of which no record was 
made, and concemins^ which very little accurate information 
can be secured. The work Avhich met them at the outset 
was the buildino; of a meetino:-house and to this undertakius: 
they directed their efforts with courage and enthusiasm. 
The edifice built for the proprietors by Ohio AVhitney, Jr., 
and Samuel Howard was completed in 1842 and dedicated in 
December of that year. In the new house preaching was 
maintained by voluntary eflbrt for several months. The 
church was embodied February 21, 1843. The creed was 
evangelical and while it omitted any declarations upon doc- 
trinal questions that were the distinguishing tenets of the 
Congregational, Methodist and Baptist faith, it was an un- 
equivocal expression on all points entertained in conmion by 
those churches. The original membership was fifty-live, of 
whom a majority was of Orthodox Congregational ante- 
•cedents and the remainder were iNIethodists and Freewill 
Baptists. Of this membership twenty-five were received by 
dismissal and recommendation from the parent church ; a few 
from the Freewill Baptist church and several from the 
Methodists. During the earl}' years of its existence the 
church and parish had no settled minister. 

The earlier preachers were Kev. William Hills, who 
remained several months, and Rev. Samuel Cole, who was 
acting pastor three years. Early in the year 184G Elder 
Edward B. Rollins was hired to preach one year. This 
ministry introduced an era of discord. The season of har- 


' &■-->. 

.;]V;' .-,; u.> 

'•'', ' :> 


1 ^ I 'f' I 

' !■, ! 

■ ^ i'IhH \)i! 

I n': 

■'■ ■. '/''.'MU/i- ft 


raoii}' and fraternal relations, -which crowned the early 
history of the church with continued blessmgs, was abruptly 
ended and for many years the bitterness of feeling then 
engendered was frequently the cause of renewed contention. 
Following ]Mr. Rollins, llev. Josiah D. Crosby preached one 
year and he was succeeded by Rev. A. A. Whitruoi-e, who 
remained four years and was the first minister installed over 
the church. Succeeding ^Slr. AVhitmore was a prolonged era 
of supplies and at times the records atibrd ample evideilce 
that the salary of the minister was raised with great labor 
and eflbrt. During this period the pastors were Rev. Josiah 
W. Brown, Rev. Woodbury and Rev. Asa Barnes. 

In 1860 the original church, known as the Union Church, 
was disbanded. The few members remaining, who were 
found prepared for continued effoi-t, at once proceeded to 
organize a new church, to be known as " The Second Con- 
gregational Church of Ashburnham." The creed was 
amended and the church was embodied June 19, 1860. 
The number of members received at the time of reorganiza- 
tion was eleven. The nunil>er was small and the burden 
comparatively heavy ; yet, aided by the Congi'egational 
Home ]Missions, they succeeded in overcoming many obsta- 
cles and for several years in maintaining the stated ministra- 
tions of the gospel. 

Rev. Samuel H. Peckham supplied the desk for a season 
and in 1863 Mr. George H. Blake was made pastor in charge 
and engaged for one year with an understanding that, unless 
for cause, the relation should be continued indefinitely. 
Soon after ]Mr. Blake began his labors he was ordained in 
the ministiy but was not installed over the church and the 
existing relations were abruptly terminated before the close 
of the first year. 

Rev. Daniel Wight, having supplied a few Sabbaths, 
accepted a call extended with great unanimity and was 


.^■r. ):»•! /i--'a^-r J(^ 

■! "J':ri;':';" f/'l.Kl.': «l)^iDO<j'!: ',jV' : ■'*;!;.: .hv hu;: 

' : . ■ . .1 )■:■ • I -.1* ;. 'ilO'l ' :.''r I '■''':'• •■'l' , . ''' ,'.|V 

. -. ' -'! ■■ .}'::\ ■']■: r,':::-^i\ v ■.'.■!■! -■lU. V'f)'; ,;m.>0'^ 
• ' ; ■;■■ / ■ ; ■ /!i:l'' i :.''i -..; -■' -C'l '{••) ',;'',;.; 


installed June 22, 1864. The relation was "profitably and 
fraternally continued until April 1, 1871. Immediately pre- 
ceding this ministry the creed and rules of procedure M'ere 
amended, and during its continuance the ati'airs, both of the 
church and the parish, were promptly and prudently admin- 

Succeeding Mr. Wight, Eev. Charles Peabody was made 
an acting pastor and continued his labors until May 16, 1875. 
He was succeeded by Rev. "William T. Lewis who main- 
tained a dual relation with this church and the church in 
AYinchendon Centre. 

I'he preliminary conferences in regard to the maintenance 
of stated preaching at North Ashburnliam led to an early 
decision to build a meeting-house. A society was immedi- 
ately formed and under its direction the meetinjj-house was 
soon erected. In 1847 the society became a legal corpora- 
tion under the name of " The Proprietors of Union Mecting- 
House." Of this organization. Colonel Enoch Whitmore 
was clerk for many years and until the organization was lost 
through a failure to hold annual meetings and elect ofiicers 
as required by law. In 1868, and during the ministry of 
Mr. "Wight, the organization was revived and assumed the 
nome of the " North Parish of Ashburnham." It is apparent, 
however, that there was an active society durhig the years 
immediately preceding the new organization, but there is a 
hiatus in the records from 1857 till 1868. The new parish 
held annual meetings for a short time and then suffered the 
organization to lapse and at this time it has not been revived. 

The bell was purchased by subscriptions obtained in the 
autumn of 1867 and was placed in position January- 23, 
1868, by Ohio Whitney and Samuel Howard as a part of 
their original contract for building the meeting-house. The 
bell soon fiiiled, but a new one was furnished by the makers, 
without charge, which was hung in the belfry January 28, 

'J [ K 

u (•■ 


/•;, :■•.',•!. 

"•' ',i'',)U! >^*;V' r':'fr.,v 


1869. It is a steel couibinatiou bell aud weighs about eight 
himdred pounds. The expense attending its purchase and 
hanging was $205.51. 

During the existence of this church and parish only two 
ministers have been installed and no eftbrt has been made to 
4\nnounce the names of all who have been acting pastors for 
^hort periods of time. The church and society are indebted 
to Isaac D. Ward for the careful preservation of the files and 
records from which the information in these paragraphs was 
mainly secured. . < 

Rev. Alfred Alonzo Whitmore, son of Luke Hayden and 
Phoebe (Cowing) Whitniore, was born near Geneva, Ontario 
•county, Xew York, July 7, 1817. The family removed in 
1825 to the Territory of Michigan and settled near Ann 
Arbor. Attending the local schools in youth, ]Mr. Whit- 
more entered the school at Oberlin, Ohio, in 1838 and was a 
student in the several departments eight and one-half years, 
graduating from the academical department 1843 and the 
theological school in 1846. After a brief supply in several 
places he began his labor with this church in 1848 and was 
installed October 18 of that year. lie was an earnest, faith- 
ful pastor and a plain and acceptable preacher. He was 
dismissed at his request August 25, 1852. After supplying 
a few months at Richmond he removed to Ohio, in 1864 to 
Illinois, and since 1875 he has resided at Anita, Iowa, where 
he completed a successful ministry in 1880. 

Rev. Daniel Wight, a son of Daniel and Zillah (Gould- 
ing) Wight, was born in Xatick, September 18, 1808. He 
is a graduate of Harvard University, class of 1837, and of 
Andover Theological Seminary 1840. His first charge was 
in Scituate where he was ordained and installed September 
28, 1842. Here he labored successfully sixteen years. 
•Commencing 1859 he was stated supply two years at 13oyl- 
ston, and subsequently labored for the American Board 

q b 

•t'AT -jj 

:^/;J!:M ^'^^- il' .in 


vl,M- -..■?'>.,. 


. - ' 

■n: 1 Mi,; -.-/^ !>; I 

i';>!) ■>!.•, ' 

• ', t 

■.'•'A ,.';t.fT/. )/; iy}hi-<.*n i'.y.d :»i; cTt:''!, o-xii;?. hue ,>jOij 

't 'i '1 , •: i''fii;I vii.i'i:'!! /;''liif' itnti ,, 


uiiiong the Seneca Indians. On account of the failing health 
of his wife he returned to Natick in 18G3 and immediately 
after he was called to preside over this church. His prudent 
councils, his untiring interest for the welfare of his charge 
and his earnest labor in this town m ill he held in grateful 
remembrance. At the com})letion of his ministry here he 
returned to Xatick where he continues to reside. 

Durincj the history of the church iiye have been called to 
serve as deacons. Daniel Jones was chosen deacon at the 
organization of the church. Soon after, under the adoption 
of a rule to choose one deacon each year for a term of two 
years, Gilman Jones and Joseph Wetherbee were chosen. 
Except one year Deacon Jones was continued in office by 
reelection until his removal from town, and in 1845 John C. 
Davis was elected and was continued in office until his death 
June 19, 1883. After 1849 the officers were elected for an 
indefinite period. Upon the reorganization of the church in 
1860, Deacon Davis was continued in service and Horace 
Balcom was also elected to the office. 

TitE Baptists. — At an early date there were several fami- 
lies in this town who were styled Baptists. Others of the 
same faith were residing in Ashbv and in Fitchburg. They 
maintained preaching with considerable regularity during the 
closing years of the past and the early years of the current 
century. Professing an mibelief in the maintenance of a 
salaried clergy they derived their religious instruction from 
voluntary labor, and in the absence of a minister, which was 
usual, they enjoyed the exhortations of their own number. 
Stephen Gibson of Ashby was gifted in this direction and 
for many years he preached to them with more acceptance 
than compensation. In 1795, when this sect was most 
numerous, there were twenty fomilies in this town and as 
many in Fitchburg connected with this society. They held 

•','.}\ iL' '■ ■■"■ i ;vi;r>';)H 

,1h> V 

•i'// r. 

' ■''.;:'''? 



I ; 

' ' ■■■ 'm '■ ■ ■ • 1,: ■ :it ',» ' ,:;• .-cm' ;' 

• 'i' '^ .'i ' >J *»"^ ( ■■(;! 'II'' '• ■ ',i ■■■- :v'' / .' ,"'r.ii\ « 



their meetings in dwelling-houses iind in sehool-liouses near 
the limits of the adjoining towns, but they never erected a 
church edifice. The meeting-house built in the north part 
of Fitchburg, about 1810, was erected and occupied by 
an organization of Freewill Baptists with w^hom the older 
society had little sj'mpathy. The families who waited 
upon the ministrations of Stephen Gibson and other laymen 
belonged to a sect which, one hundred years ago, found a 
few adherents in many New England towns. Professedly 
they were Calvinistic Baptists and, doubtless, their adher- 
ence to the cardinal doctrines of that church fully sustained 
their ria'ht to the name. But the distiuij^uishino- feature of 
their iuith, and one in which they were not in harmony with 
the Baptist church, was an unyielding hostility to the pre- 
vailing custom of providing a stated support of the ministry. 

Professing that it was " a sin to preach for hire " they 
relied upon itinerant and local preachers who labored with- 
out compensation. Xo doubt this feature of their creed was 
fostered and intensified b}^ the intolerant laws of the State 
wliich compelled all to contribute to the support of the 
standing order. Those belonoino- to this societv were 
excellent people. Some of them were influential and prom- 
inent citizens. As soon as the spirit of toleration repealed 
the com{)ulsory statutes in relation to the support of the 
clergy, in a great measure the ground of their ofience was 
removed and they gradually became absorbed in other 
religious societies. In later years there have been Baptists 
of the modern school in this town but there has been no 
other organization. 

Secoxd Adventists. — For several years there have been 
a number of families in this town who are known as Second 
Adventists. They have occasional preaching at South 
Ashburnham but have no church organization. In religious 

^ ■-•!„ 


'(.li Jiiii I 


belief they are closely allied to the Evangelical churches and 
are uot in full sympathy with the Seventh Day Adventists 
whose annual conference is held at Battle Creek, i\[ichigan. 
The members of the denomination in this town observe the 
first day of the week and cordially unite with the other 
denominations in the Sabbath-school and ii> forwarding 
every good work. 

The Catholics began to maintain religious service in 
this town in 1851. xVt that time the number of lamilies 
was small and they assembled at private houses. With the 
progi'ess of years the number has increased and for a number 
of years service was held in the Town Hall with consider- 
able regularity. In 1871 they bought the house they now 
occupy of the Methodist society. The interior has been 
remodelled and thoroughly repaired. The congregation is 
steadily mcreasing and the visible influence of the service is 
in the support of good morals. The church is under the 
spiritual direction of Rev. John Conway who is also in 
charge of the church in Winchendon. The Catholics, 
having no cemetery in this town, bury their dead in Fitch- 
buriT and in AVinchendon. 

'..-' -lit :V -;. 


(y;ii3i,5.i;;r!,T *:,'| 

V ;' ;■;■ ' fi '/? '"J i 

'-'■;-■■' (■'■: 

;ffr-,tr .; 

'')!:■' J rtfi>i 

:i>r. Vi:;;| 


( ■.'. ,' 








The men of Ashburnham haye produced their most stir- 
ring music in tlieir frequent town meetings, but being of a 
character unsuited to waft, on the wings of praise, the sen- 
timent of sacred sons: it cannot be considered under the head 
of church music. Holding an easy rein over their proclivi- 
ties in the arena of debate they have made ample amends in 
curbing opposition to the innovations which have marked 
the progress and elevation of sacred music in this place. 
The first reference in the records to this subject occurs at an 
early date : 

To see if the town are willing that the singers should sett 
together in the Public Worship in any part of the gallery that shall 
be thought proper. 

' Voted that the singers shall have the front gallery to set in, in 
time of Public Worship viz : the men's side as far back as the 
long pew. 

Thus, as far back as 1773 and as far back as the long 
pew, the town provided for the accommodation and recog- 
nised the existence of a choir. That the singers increased 


■Hi. fr^.n TiArft ,\.,r.,,h..x' 

3 1 t'«JS 

:r :w, rv.'f ir:) > 



in numbers is seen in a vote a few years later " to let tlie 
singers have the front part of the gallery to set in that they 
may not be so crowded." 

In 1774 the church by vote consented to the use of the 
pitch-pipe '■ if the chorister please to pitch the tunc " and at 
the same time it was ordered, the records say by a consider- 
able majority, " that no new tunes should be introduced for 
twelve months and that they should be confined to the tunes 
that are already in use." There was opposition to the last 
vote and the records explain that to relieve the minds of 
many on this point the pastor was requested to name a 
proper tune for every psalm that was sung. The same year 
and in connection with these votes a proposal to introduce 
the verse of Dr. Watts was defeated. The version of Tate 
and Brady remained in use until near the close of the cen- 
tury. This version, a literal arrangement of the Psalms and 
some other portions of the Old Testament, with modest 
pretension to metrical composition, was employed in the 
Presbyterian and Reformed churches of Great Britain for a 
long time, and until eventually supplanted by the psalms 
and hymns of Dr. Watts it was in general use in the 
churches of Xew England. In that version our fathers 
found the familiar lines of the Scriptures and they regarded 
with gi-ave suspicion the same sentiments expressed in new 
forms of speech. A copy of the ancient version is seldom 
found and many of the present generation have little idea of 
the poetry which the fathers were accustomed to sing. A 
part of the fifth and the sixt3--tifth Psalms, in the version 
of Tate and Brady, will afford some idea of the general 


" Lord, in thy wrath, rebuke me not, 
Nor in thy hot wrath chasten rae, 
Lord, pity me, for I am weak ; 
Lord, heal me, for my bones vex'd be, 

fi •[''r;u:,r! 

^ ■••^'''' ■'■-■'■-> 1'^ '—'■■--'■■■•I b,:!i: •»..- 

' . >■ -1 (" i^'JO".' "!i ■)i-ji.'); 'Hit 'jo 7_'n fi /, , rl'. '>./'- 'M ::V'!rrcv> 
''•'I '':iJ:i •'.';:.; m. ■.i('-i';)n^« t;;v<^)';M 'mM "■■■ ■;f\.'.:c ; ,;j,: f, 

■'■ ■■■'■■ < : • ',1 ''M;: - J r,/,' ■., I ' M .; ,]-\i^ • ■ ' 


, .- Also my soul is vexed sore ; 

How long, O Lord, wilt thou rue forsake? 

"Return, O Lord, luy soul release; 
O, save rae for thy mercy's sake. 
In death no mem'ry is of thee 
And who shall praise thee in the grave. 
I faint with groans ; all night my bed 
Swims : I with tears my couch wash'd have, 
Mine eyes with grief is dim and old, 

Because of all mine enemies, . . 

But now depart away from me 
All ye that work iniquities. 

" Silence to thee; thy praise O God, 
In Sion, paid shall be. 
The vow to thee, who hearest prayers, 
All flesh shall come to thee. 
Works of iniquity prevail 
Against me sore do they. 
But as for our transgres-si-ons, 
Thou shalt them purge away." 

The opposition to the introduction of new tunes is easily 
understood and was prompted by an impulse \Yhich com- 
mands resi)ect. For many years our fathers had reverently 
sung their praises in the familiar strains of York, St. ]Mar- 
tin's, Mcav and a few other substantial compositions. By 
constant use these tunes had become sacred to them and a 
sentiment of reverence triumphed over their musical taste 
and the allurements of new compositions. The earliest 
chorister, of whom there is any certain information, was 
William Benjamin. He was a resident here at the settle- 
ment of ]Mr. Winchester and remained until 1785 when he 
removed to Vermont. He led the choir several years and 
was succeeded by Joseph Jewett, Esq., and Lieutenant 
John Adams. Amos Dickerson, Ebenezer Wood, Levi 
Whitney, ^Mrs. Joseph Jewett, Betsey Dickerson, after- 


.,i;^.;W ,>J. 

:f',fM ' ''.iij;.'!^ !■! ■ .' .'."ii 

!'/;;■; :.'t,| /:»«(•)! HhiSf. ModT 

KIt/lj i«-)l 

• ' ■ '' !•:■•■•>'. \'ul'.' ..-{'; \i'A m\ . /ii'.'iM i'vV ui 

It,/// • .....:,,■ .; ,. 

A :r'. ' . -■ ■'• M 


wards the wife of Isaac Jackson, were prominent singers in 
the first meeting-house, and some of them are found m the 
choir at a later period. Jacob Kiblinger M'as a famous 
singer, but he generally worshipped with the Baptists and 
was not a constant member of the choir. 

Although led by a choir, for many years the singing was 
mainly congregational, and on account of the small number 
of books in the possession of the worshippers the practice of 
readinjji: or lininir the hymns was continued about thirty 
years. After the hymn had been read by the minister one 
of the deacons would read one or two lines. When that 
passage had been sung in the animated manner of the time, 
and while the singers were regaining breath, the deacon 
read another line or couplet and by this alternating process 
the longest hymns were fully rendered. In 1788 the church 
voted that no hymn should be sung without reading if any 
deacon was ju-esent to read it, except the last hymn in the 
service, but the following year at the request of the town the 
practice was discontinued altogether. 

At the time the congregation began to worship in the 
second meeting-house a bass viol was introduced, but there 
is no reference in the records to other instruments until 
several } ears later, but it is certain that from an early date 
the singers were accustomed to select a chorister and to 
nccept the sup})ort of any musical instrument that was avail- 
■able. For these reasons very little mention of the conduct 
of church music is found in the records. For one hundred 
years an interest in the subject and a commendable pride in 
home talent has been manifested by the town, and later 
by the parish, by frequent and liberal appropriations ^' for 
the encouragement of sino:in£j," and schools of instruction 
under efficient teachers have been numerous. 


ill jfii -rx^nk 



•. - ■. T M 

■■■• ^-/' ":(■;■: ^ .'I •<.i!;rrt-.jii j«':,i:^.0f;i! //n: 'fi) hcK|qr*'j •_ 

' ""■' '"' '■ ■'' ■ ')->!^«' ■^♦liiil 71;^^ en'.j-:u'.-i ■i,^-:-. *a Vol 

'. > ''>"('. .7.i/',:(! 


More than any other, musical ability is a gift of inheri- 
tance. In every community can be found families of 
musicians. This faculty may present different phases in 
succeeding generations but the musical ability of the parents 
is ever renewed in their cliildren. This town has counted 
among its residents many excellent musicians and many 
natives of the place have been famous, while others, more 
remotely associated, can trace their musical inheritance to 
an Ashburnliam parentage. In the follo\ving paragi-aph it 
will be discovered that many of the prominent members of 
the choir through all these years were descendants from 
some of the earliest singers in this town. Catherine, wife 
of John Kiblinger the emigrant, is distinguished in tradition 
for qualities of voice and skill in music, and the choir has 
been indebted to her descendants through several genera- 
tions. The musical talent of the Adams, Kice, Barrett and 
the Charles Stearns families has been conspicuous through 
succeeding generations. As the voice of the parents grew 
feeble in age or was silent in death, the unbroken song has 
been sustained in the tuneful notes of their children. ]Many 
of these have been prominent in the choir where their 
services have been appreciated. 

Among the singers in the second meeting-house on the 
old couunon, whose voices are still heard in the traditions 
of the choir, were Colonel Charles Barrett, Benjamin 
BaiTctt, ]Mr. and ]\Irs. Charles Stearns, Mr. and ]\[rs. 
Reuben Townsend, ]\[r. and ^Nlrs. Charles Hastings, the 
brothers John, James and Walter R. Adams, George Law- 
rence, Josiah White, Harvey ^I. Bancroft, ]Mrs. Benjamin 
Gibbs, a daughter of Reuben Rice, ]\Irs. James Russell, 
assisted by the violins of Colonel Charles Barrett and Jonas 
Rice, the clarionets of "Walter R. Adams and Samuel Foster, 


IV;;: 'IM7 i(^ ;,,<,, 

]i"'>llr: --),//■ -so 

iji ■>/h /fi i. 


i: . -i>f iru',,,.H 1 . .,1,1:.,,.;,, 


tlie bugle of James Barrett and the bassoon of James 

Several of these continued with the eboir in the new 
meeting-house in the village, and from time to time were 
reenforced bj' Amos Taylor, Josci)h Kibling, Colonel Joseph 
P. Eice, Colonel Francis J. Barrett, Colonel George H. 
Barrett, "v\lio entered the choir at an early age, Harvey I\I. 
Bancroft, Stephen A. Miller, Mr. and ^Irs. Josiah E. 
White, ]Mrs. Sally (Thurston) Phillips, Mrs. Shepherd, 
David and Harvey Laws, Dr. and Mrs. Miller, Mrs. 
Josephine (Stearns) Tenny, Julia and Caroline Barrett, 
Mrs. Pebecca (Stearns) Walker, whose cultured voice led 
the choir several years, and the viols and violins of Deacon 
J. A. Conn, Haiwey M. Bancroft, George H. Lowe, Stephen 
A. Miller, Horace Samson, the flute of J. E. White and the 
clarionet skilfully played by Captain A. A. Walker. In 
this choir ^Irs. Julia Plouston West began her public singing 
and C. C. Stearns, when a lad, accurately played the bass 
viol. The present choir, under the eiEcient direction of 
Colonel George H. Barrett, with ]Miss Augusta Ames 
organist, is well sustained by the leading voices of ]Miss 
Lizzie F. BaiTctt, Mrs. Georgie S. (Whitney) Greenwood, 
Mrs. Theresa (Rockwood) Litch and Homer T. Rice. 

In the early seiwice of the Methodist church sacred song 
was the voluntary praise of the congregation, rather than the 
skilled performance of a choir. In this style of music any 
failure of culture was fully compensated by fervor and ani- 
mation. Since the occupancy of the meeting-house in the 
central village a good choir has been quite generally sus- 
tained and very many acceptable singers and several cultured 
voices have participated in this feature of public worship. 
Mr. and Mrs. Charles Stearns, who had been teachers of 
music, were prominent in this choir many years and later 


I ■^■'''■'■:i\i:: i 

fiH.'.i'T ;:.:)• .;.'•:.;:, '\;Ji 

'(«'., ; ; , . r. .■■ 

■Uir ,■...'■■■::> J: 

■'ii'Cl ,'j.' 

■' '■'/'■ ■ ." '-> ''ni\ to ')':';j'!-:!!| / a;liu:.i)ov '( 

■'■ " '"'■■'. . -I .'V-j\i'\ 'i '^> ■' ■■.i'.uriol'i-H] 

' ■■■■'I- II ■ ''li/l ■ ,.■: :r,!,jl;l,'.i ');; 

"I '/■■■':' >:! :' !■' . • 'j'i > •r'H' i'-l 

■ ■'- '.!'■ i - ■' .111'' '.i['.' i\U\".:yy.i '-'J):''''!. r"yf hiTi' 


their duugliter, Mrs. "Walker, was leader of the choir and 
leading soprano thirteen years. The strong and not untune- 
ful voice of Antipas Mayuard is well remembered and his 
daughters have rendered efhcient service. Mr. and Mrs. 
Charles Hastings, Sawyer liice, Li.'wis Sabin, Nathaniel F. 
Cutter, Sarah A. Cutter and many others, are often named 
in the traditions of the Methodist choir. At the present 
time Mr. and Mrs. Xathan Eaton are leading singers and 
Miss iSIabel W. Tenney is organist. 


■ . '; r 

..-?- . / 

• ' I .- : 

' r^ 

■[ 7/ 




No sooner had a few families, at remote distances and 
connected by rude paths through the intervening wilderness, 
secured the stated ministrations of the gospel, than means 
were provided for the education of the young. During the 
early years of the settlement, in which there were no public 
schools, the young were not suffered to grow up in ignorance. 
The parents were generally people of intelligence and not a 
few of considerable culture. They personally attended to 
the education of their children and there were as many 
schools in the settlement as there were families. Whatever 
may have been the measure of instruction in the home circle 
the results are unmistakable. Xone grew up in ignorance, 
and the many evidences of a fair education, made known m 
the lives of those whose only schooling was at the fireside, 
aie the substance of our knowledge of the instruction of that 
early period. A part of the children of the Winchester, 
Foster, Coolidge, Kibling, Whiteman and Coleman families 
were advanced youth when the first public school was estal)- 
lished in this town ; yet, compared with the standard of their 


■-"-■.• ,y 


times, they were educated, inlelliuciit men tind women, and 
it is clearly evident that the edueation of tlie youth of that 
period was not neglected through a failure of pu])lic support. 
The date of the first entries found in the records on this 
subject is 17G7. Compared with the schools of to-day it 
was a humble beginning : " Voted to Keep a School and 
voted Eight Pounds for y*' school." 

At a meeting assembled a few months later and before any 
of the appropriation had been expended under an article, 
"To see where y*^ Town will keep their School, whether in 
y* middle of y® Town or Divide it into Quarters or Pass any 
votes on s^ article," it was "Voted y' y*" School Should be a 
moveing School, voted to leave it to y*' Select men to make 
y® Quarters where ye school Shall be Ccpt, voted it to bee a 
free School." The terra quarter was here employed in the 
sense of district or division and this use of the word per- 
mitted the selectmen to divide the town into an accommo- 
dating number of quarters, which was frequently done, with- 
out defiance of mathematical terms. During the early 
existence of the schools the town was divided into three 
districts, a school being maintained at the centre of the town, 
another at the Dutch farms and the third in the south part of 
the town. In 1774, in accordance with the existing arrange- 
ment of the disti'icts, the town voted to build three school- 
houses. This action was promptly reconsidered, and an 
order was adopted that the town be divided into five quarters 
and that five school-houses be erected at the expense of the 
town. At this point tliere is found no reference to any new 
districts, but in some way there were seven in the following 
year. For several years, commencing with 1780, there were 
ten districts ; in 1786, there were nine ; in 179-4 the number 
of districts was reduced to eight ; but in 1801 a new ninth 
district was established in the southeast part of the town, 


•.'■.■juTri. -^ili i 

ini'.-) .; „ i o \ i. 

<{<: l:.\B IU:>V 



includino: the estates of Joshua J>illinus, Reuben BilHno's, 
Eeubeii Eiee, Jomithaii Wiiiehoster, Thomas Gibson, Joseph 
Gibbs, Calel.) Wilder, Jr., and Sanuiel Dunster. 

Thus, at the close of the century, we find the town divided 
into nine districts, and in each, as will appear, tliere was a 
comfortabL.' school-house. While tlie boundaries of these 
districts have been subject to frequent changes, and the 
tenth and eleventh districts ha\ e been created by a division 
of the sevoith and first districts, the remaining numbers were 
bounded substantially as they exist at the present time. 
From the beginning changes in the boundaries of the dis- 
tricts and requests of individuals to be transferred to an 
adjacent district have been a prolific source of leoislation. 
In 1805, the subject of a general revision was referred to a 
committee of one fi'om each district who reported the follow- 
ing year " that it is their unanimous opinion that a general 
rearrangement throughout the town cannot be advisaltle, but 
some alterations, in the southern part of the town, may be 
attended with good eflect." This action did not pacify the 
town, and many petitions were renewed. In May, 1808, 
the whole subject was referred to a committee, consistiu«^ 
of Dr. Abraham Lowe, Captain Caleb Wilder, Captain 
George 11. Cushing, Lieutenant John Adams, Mr. Timothy 
Crehore, ]Mr. Lemuel Stimson, Captain John Willard, Mr. 
Caleb Ward and ]Mr. William ]Merriam. On the twentj'- 
ninth of Xovember following the committee made a report 
dividing the town into eight districts, as follows : 

District Noiber Ose. — To consist of Rev. John Cashing, 
Mo3es Tottinghara, Abraham Lowe, Horatio Hale, David Cushing, 
David Cushing, Jr., Joseph Jewett, Grover Seollay, Wm. J, 
Lawrence, Ephraim Cobleigh, Fitch Crosby, Hosea Stone, widow 
Nancy Stone, Joseph Miller, widow Brooks, Luther Brooks, 
Sewell Brooks, Phinehas Stimson, Cyrus Fairbanks, Jacob Fair- 



fi .ai.' 1'"' •■' 

'''''■ iJi'V!,!!.,. /' 

(1 :.:(■> i^:t;-.i; ' "li'l 

i,..ji-v' .'):■(?'•'. ii,,iv>,ii. 


banks, Oliver Samson, David Russell, Caleb Ward, Jr., Nathan 
Jones, Stephen Randall, Phineho.s Randall, Jonas Randall, Joel 
Barrett, Oliver Marble, Oliver Marble, Jr., Thaddeus Brooks, 
Jonas Robbing, Shebuel Ilobard, Deacon Jacob Harris, Ezekiel 
S. Metcalf (35). 

District Number Two. — Oliver Green, Jesse Ellis, Jonathan 
Brooks, John Winter, David Wallis, "William Ward, Henry Hall, 
Lemuel Whitney, Nicholas AVhitemau, John Hall, David Taylor, 
Nathan Taylor, George R. Gushing, Jacob Willard, Jacob Con- 
stantiuc. Wait Broughton (16). 

District Number Three. — Lieutenant John Adams, Walter 
R. Adams, James Adams, John Adams, Jr., Thomas Russell, 
Isaac Hill, Ebenezer Adams, Isaac Reed, William Gates, John 
Hadley's place, widow Ruth Conn, James Cowee, Jabez Marble, 
Jonas Rice, Peter Policy, Asa Woods, Asa Sawiu, Joshua Bil- 
lings, George Wilker, Josiah Fletcher (20). 

District Number Four. — Reuben Rice, Jonathan Winchester, 
Joseph Gibbs, Thomas Gibson, William Merriam, Samuel Gates, 
Samuel Dunster, Nehemiah Maynard, Stephen Maynard, Thomas 
Hobart, ^Irs. Sarah Earle, William Whitne}', Samuel Whitney, 
.Stephen Bemis, Deacon Sherebiah Hunt (15). 

District Number Five. — Reuben Townsend, widow Conn, 
Caleb Wilder, Jr., Captain Silas Whitney's place, Samuel Clark, 
Heni-y Gates, Ebenezer Munroe, Samuel Phillips, John Gates, Jona- 
than Samson, Stephen Corey, Deacon Elisha White, John Willard, 
Joshua Smith, Grover Scolla}', Joseph Burgess, Ebenezer Burgess, 
Simeou Brooks, John Corey, Joseph Stone, Ezra Stone, Elial 
Bacon, Jonas Reed, Daniel Knight, Jonathan Haven, John Haven, 
Nathaniel Adams, James Haynes, Phinehas Taylor, Hezekiah 
Corey (30). 

District Number Six. — Timothy Crehore, Benjamin Angler, 
Joseph Merriam, Moses Sanderson, Timothy Crehore, Jr., 
Frederick Crosby, Adam Stone, J. Hayden, William Holbrook, 
Jonah Rice, Nathaniel Foster, David Clark, William Harris (13). 

Di-^TRiCT Number Sevex. — Samuel Cotting, Ithamer Fair- 
banks, James Weston, Colonel Francis Lane, Caleb Ward, Ezra 


ij -i' • •'-.:'• .<:'!;i a>i.^',;L 

T ^i;: 

.,ui,-: ' v..-:i.(:i.^ .,.zi ■:■ 

.:.r,. .; v!,w /». .1," ■ ,v '.;. ;■ 
1.1 , :v) . I' ,<:h . :"'. ';v 'if.. , 


La^vrenee, Enos Joues, Joseph Fenuo, Baruabas Baldwin, Abra- 
ham Cummings, Grant Houston, Moses Lawrence, Isaac Whit- 
more, Edmund Jones, Ebenezer B. Davis, widow Kezia Hobart, 
Captain Silas Willard (17). 

District Number Eight. — Simon Willard, Amos Pierce, 
Daniel Benjamin, Daniel Benjamin, Jr., Nathan Jones' place, 
William Stearns, Jesse Stearns, Joshua Barton, James Stearns' 
place, Joseph Steele, Daniel Mclntire, Ezra Hastings, Lemuel 
Stimson, Benjamin Lane, Josiah Lane, Captain Charles Hastings, 
Henry Willard (17). 

At a previous meeting the same year, on the petition of 
several families residing in the vicinity of Eice pond, a new 
district had been created for their acconnuodatiou. Under 
the aiTangement embraced in the report of the committee 
these families were restored to the first district and their new 
district was annulled as soon as organized. Immediately 
they renewed their solicitations for an independent district 
and were again successful. In ^May, 1810, after several 
hearings the town " Voted to grant the rec]uest of Jacob 
Hanis and others, which is to set off the following pei'sons as 
a school district by themselves, viz. : Jacob Harris, Shebuel 
Hobart, Oliver Marble, Ezekiel S. Metcalf, Charles Hastings, 
Joel BaiTctt, Thaddeus Brooks, John "Winter, Jonas Eandall, 
Josiah Lane, Oliver Marble, Jr., and Jonas Eobbins." 

These radical changes in the district organizations did not 
restore tranquillity. The continued petitions of individuals 
to be annexed to a contiguous district were sometimes 
gi'anted but more generally denied. After several refusals 
the inhabitants of Lane Village were permitted to organize 
the tenth district, but the boundaries were not defined by the 
town until 1829. The vote of the town was as follows : 
''That Samuel Foster, Ezekiel ^Nktcalf, Francis Lane, Henry 
Kibling, Henry Ivibling, Jr., David Hadley, Caleb Ward, 


';■:');.: J ■■■■a 
1 ■:■','/ '-..' 

f .1; 

'j-'i •'• i; In: , :^ .) = 

.'. .-,.'5'i«-.T, .i^ij,^'' >i :i H 

'il '-x:;l;)i, ■<■•'; , . : I. /iUiT.;j[A 'i^, /•;]( ) ..f 

.< [ 


John Kihlina-, Frnncis Kiblin^', Ricliard W. Houiiliton, Elias 
Lane, Alvin Ward, Henry Gipsoa, Moses Lawrence, 
Ebeuezer B. Davis, Charles Davis, John C. Davis, Joseph 
Davis and Humphrey Harris, togetlier with their estates and 
all the non-resident lands lying within the Ihnits (together 
with Joel Foster and his estate if he wishes) , shall constitute 
school district Number Ten in the town of Ashburnham." 

Again, in 1832 the boundaries of all the districts were 
definitely established and several changes were made. Many 
now living were attending school when this order of the town 
was executed. Those whose former relations were ruthlessly 
severed, who were thus compelled to attend school in new 
places, who trod no more the old familiar paths to the school- 
house, nor met the familiar faces of their former playm^ates, 
will even now recall the proceeding with vivid recollection. 

A committee, consisting of George G. Parker, John Hall, 
Asa Woods, Elijah J3rooks, Elisha White, Timothy Crehore, 
Jr., Enoch Whitmore, Jonas A^^illard, Charles Hastings, 
Elias Lane, — one from each district, — made the folio wins: 
recommendation which was adopted : .,• ,^ 


Your committee, appointed at the last March meeting to deter- 
mine and define the limits of the several school districts, having 
attended to that duty, would respectfully recommend that the 
several territories as hereafter bounded and described, with the in- 
habitants at an}- time residing thereon, should constitute different 
districts in this town, to wit : 

\ District Number One. — Beginning at the southeasterly cor- 
ner of William Whitney's farm and ruuniog northerly to the 
central point iu the road between Reuben Townsend, Jr., and 
Mrs. Hunt ; theuce northerly so as to cross the county road lead- 
ing through the village at the north end of Dr. Pierce's east wall 
near Thomas Ilobart's laud ; thence northerly to the junction of 
the Ashby road and the road leading to Emery Fairbanks' ; thence 

'•^■:..^'' ■'•! -jiu;!!! ,]".'l }i.-'ih (i )/::> ;:[,) tl v,,;o 


:,fi'/f '■;• ,.,vv 

<;y .).: 

a J,) j.:. 

I'Mii'wi ;;'ui/ir 


northwesterly to a stake and stones on the west side of New 
Ipswich road north of Corey & lioss' mill ; thence in the same 
direction to a stake and stones on the west side of the road 
between Jonas Robbins' and the said bank ; theuce westerly to the 
south end of Meeting-house pond ; thence to the centre of the road 
fifty rods south of Ezekiel Metcalf ; thence northerly* in the [line] 
of said road five rods north of Joel Foster's ; thence westerl}- so as 
to meet the county road at the east side of the French farm ; thence 
southeasterly to the junction of the roads leading by Oliver Sam- 
son's and Josiah Eaton's ; thence to a stake and stones on the 
north side of the road between Samuel Whitney's and Stephen 
Corey's at the division line between their farms ; thence south- 
easterly so as to cross the road leading by Joseph Harris' at the 
east end of his south wall near Captain Willard's land ; thence 
north of Mr. Barrett's to the southwest corner of "William AVhit- 
ney's farm at the line of the town of Westminster ; thence ou said 
town line to the bounds first mentioned. 

District Nujiber Two. — Beginning at Wilker's new road at 
the line of the town of Ashby ; thence running northerly on said 
Ashby line to the northwest corner of Elnathan Lawrence's farm ; 
thence southerly to the north end of Brooks' pond ; thence to the 
junction of the roads leading by Salmon Rice's and Joseph Dud- 
ley's ; thence southerly to the east side of Mount Hunger ; thence 
on District Number Three to the bounds first mentioned. 

DiSTTaCT Number Tukee. — Beginning at the junction of the 
Ashby road and the road leading by Emery Fairbanks' ; thence 
easterly to a pair of bars across a pathway leading to Nathaniel 
Cutter's ; thence easterly to the southeast corner of Joshua Bil- 
lings' farm ; thence north on the line of the town of Ashby to 
Wilker's new road ; thence westerly to the side of Mount Hunger ; 
thence westerly to the northwest corner of Stephen Lane's 
pasture ; thence southerly to the bounds first mentioned. 

District Nu3iber Four. — Beginning at the southeast corner 
of William Whitney's farm ; thence on District Number One to 
the central point in the road between Reuben Townsend, Jr., and 
Mrs. Hunt's ; thence northerly crossing the county road at the 

'' ' ) 

I );ii: 

V..U»j.J;;-'r. "r.M!/iJt ;"n 


' 'M "I' I'. :■: , ;? 

f - . .'.../. njf -;^ 


north end of Dr. Pierce's east wall to the junction of the Asliby 
road and the road leading to Emerj' Fairbanks' ; thence easterly 
on District Number Three to a pair of bars across a passway 
leading to Nathaniel Cutter's ; thence easterly to the southeast 
corner of Joshua Billings' farm ; thence southerly and -westerly on 
the line of the towns of Ashby, Fitchburg and Westminster to the 
bounds first mentioned. 

District Number Five. — Beginning at the southwesterly 
corner of "William Whitney's farm ; thence northwesterly on the 
north side of William Barrell's and on District Number One to 
the junction of the roads leading by Oliver Samson's., and Josiah 
Eaton's ; thence westerly so as to cross the turnpike leading to P. 
K. ]\rerriam's at Sanderson's corner ; thence to the line of Gardner 
on the north side of Ilezekiah Corey's farm ; thence southerly and 
, easterly on the town line of said Gardner and Westminster to the 
bounds first mentioned. 

District Number Six. — Beginning at the line of the town of 
Gardner on the north side of Hezekiah Corey's farm ; thence 
easterly on District Number Five to Sanderson's corner ; thence 
on Districts Number Five and Number One to the county road 
leading from Ashburnham to Winchendon at the east' side of the 
French farm, so-called ; thence to the northeasterly corner of 
James Laws' land ; thence westerly to the line of the town of 
Winchendon at the northwesterly corner of William Harris' farm ; 
thence on the town lino of said Winchendon and Gardner to the 
bounds first mentioned. 

District Number Seven. — Beginning at the line of the town 
of Winchendon at the northwest corner of William Harris' farm ; 
thence easterly on District Number Six to the northeast corner of 
James Laws' land ; thence easterly to the southwest corner of 
Asa Tottingham's land ; thence easterly to the southeast corner 
of William Houghton's land ; thence northerly- to the northeast 
corner of said Houghton's land ; thence westerly to the southeast 
corner of Silas Willard's land ; thence north on Silas Willard, 
George Wood, Daniel Jones and Rial Cummings to the line of the 
State of New Hampshire ; thence westerly on said State line to 

'■i --lb U , 

iX'ir ^'-^i '• i"V^ V.%i\. 

r■■■<^\ ''y-y>-nO' 

ivi ;'(,,] ■■./; 

■;^n ~ - .:.. 


■'■''/ K--.- ;:,.:- -..lil n; ydji'Rf.M .*w[:j. 'i.y ,{,r!P,l '^>'N1%1 

*; :. :;' i- :. t 


the northwc'^it corner of Ashburnham ; thence southerly on the 
line of the town of Winchendou to the bounds first inentioned. 

District Number Eight. — Beginning at the northwest corner 
of Captain T. Stearns' farm at the line of New Hampshire ; thence 
westerly on Rial Cummings, Daniel Jones, George Wood and 
Silas Willard to the southeast corner of Silas Willard's farm ; 
thence on District Number Seven to the southeast corner of 
William Houghton's land; thence southeasterly to the northwest 
corner of Lewis Willard's farm ; thence to the southeast corner of 
said Lewis A\'illard's farm ; thence easterly to land of Charles 
Hastings ; thence to the northwest corner of said Hastings' land ; 
thence southeasterly to land of Oliver Marble or Oliver Green ; 
thence easterly to land of Jesse Ellis ; thence north to the State 
line at land of EInathan Lawrence ; thence on said State line to 
tlie bounds first mentioned. 

District Number Nine. — Beginning at the junction of the 
Ashby road and the road leading to Emery Fairbanks' ; thence 
westerly on District Number One to the south end of Meeting- 
house pond ; thence northerly on District Number Ten to John 
Lane's land ; thence easterly to Jesse Ellis' land ; thence southerly 
to the north end of Brooks' pond ; thence on District Number 
Two to the east side of !Mount Hunger ; thence westerh' to the 
northwest corner of Stephen Lane's pasture ; thence on District 
Number Three to the bounds first mentioned. 

District Number Ten. — Beginning in the centre of the road 
five rods north of Joel Foster's; thence westerly to the south- 
westerly corner of Captain Francis Lane's farm ; thence to the 
northwest corner of Caleb Ward's land ; thence easterly and 
northerly on the pond to the northwest corner of Jacob Ward's 
farm ; thence easterly to the northwest corner of Lewis Willard's 
farm ; from thence to the southeast corner of said Lewis Willard's 
farm ; thence south to the Meeting-house pond ; thence south on 
the west side of said pond to the south end ; thence westerly and 
northerly on District Number One to the bounds first mentioned. 

Few changes in the boundaries of these districts are noted 
until 1850, when, by the division of the tirst district, the 

.p.a^)OU')h 0'C}'\'.i'i- 

■ ■■) T ,, 

' .■' 1.', ' [■:':' 
; ;: 'C ;-'iV; ''»' I y,- '. ■ ."'. :,. ";'.-■ I '•;, "lit?' 

).:, 'A- 

■ r. .::.:•■; v-:,tv:„f-,, . j:;,:, ^ ,-:-w"-vi> 1<.. *t'v(^!0■■ 

:■ ' . • '. ,,:. ...J ,, ,, 


elevt'Tith was organized. This measure was warmly debated 
and was carried by a small majority and at best it must be 
regarded as a measure of doubtful expediency. 

Under the pi-ovisions of the recent school laws of tlie State, 
with Avhich all are jiresumed to l)e familiar, sev^cral attempt* 
to vacate the district system were defeated by a majority of 
the town. In the mean time the measure was fully debated 
and was met with accumulating support. In 1878 the 
school district system was abolished and the a})})rnisal of the 
houses and other school property was referred to the select- 
men. Since then the employment of the teachers and the 
prudential afl'airs of the schools have devolved upon the 
committee of supervision. For half a century, under the 
school code of 1827, the districts were organized corpora- 
tions, assuming and exei'cising the control of tlieir prudential 
afiairs. Previous to that date the town, in the choice of the 
piiidential and superintending committees and in building 
school-houses, maintained a control over the schools which 
was renewed in 1878 when the district system was abolished. 
In the early history of the schools the town chose two com- 
mittees instead of one, yet in theory, and so far as the source 
of authority is concerned, the ancient and the modern sys- 
tems, separated by fifty years, are practically the same. 

Very little information of the first school-houses is found 
in the records, and in some instances the action of the town 
appears contradictory. In 1782 it was ordered "that each 
school quarter Imild school-houses by themselves if they are 
willing to have houses and that each quarter assess them- 
selves for that purpose." Within three months from the 
foregoing vote the town " gi-anted one hundred and twenty 
pounds to be laid out in building school-houses and voted 
that each quarter draw their proportion of it," and at the 
same meeting permission was granted to build a school-house 


TO Yui,, . 

-'If ^>':=; <',■ :■ 


on the common. In 178G sixU' pounds and in 1793 seventy- 
live poimds AViis ''granted to tinish the scliool-houses." In 
171)1,» the to^Yn appropriated seventy-tive dollars ''towards 
building a school-house in Lieut. John Adams' ward in room 
of the one lately burned." Three years later it was voted 
to give Joseph Gibbs' school district tifty dollars towards 
building a school-house. This vote is connected with the 
reorganization of a ninth district which subsequeuth' l^ecame 
kjiown as the fourth district. At this date the districts were 
not numbered and were distinguished by the name of some 
prominent citizen. In 1800, when many of the school-houses 
were found too .small or in need of repair, the town asserted 
its independence of continued responsibility in the premises 
in a declaration that "each school district should build its own 

It is apparent from the records and confirmed by tradition 
that a school-house was built on the northwest part of the 
<;ommon at the close of the Revolution. In 1809 a new house 
was built on the common north of land of Moses Tottingham 
and east of the highway leading south from the old meeting- 
house. It was removed, to the village in 1818. The site 
then selected has been occupied to the present time. At an 
early date there was a school-house at the foot of the Charles 
Lawrence hill, but changes in the boundaries of the districts 
joined the families in that vicinity to the second and the 
eighth districts. A school-house, which was burned in 1810, 
stood many ye;irs on the ledges, east of the residence of 
AVaiTen E. ^Marble and not far from the house of Nathan and 
Oliver Taylor, and a second building was erected on the 
same site. This was removed sixty or more years ago and 
stood several years across the road from its present location. 
The flowage of the meadow caused the last removal. It has 
been repaired frequently and is yet a comfortable school- 


\J-iM.r I . '• 

,'. "' ■ '!' 

,i MV-,I»' iiri,;r;, :.; 

'.>'A''. '«-'rK>'.*i 


!i' "'--■ i: J ',.1 ''. |S rj. 

, ■■; 1 'i if^wl \n!' /'I'l,' I, ill, ,. 


house. Ill the third district, iifter the tii-st house was burned 
another was built near the residence of Xewell ]Marble which 
was succeeded In' a brick house which proved too licavy for 
the moist groiuid on which it stood, and was repLiccd by the 
present frame buikling- al)out forty years ago. 

An early house in the fourth district, built above eights^ 
years ago, stood in the mill-yard of Cyrus A. Jefts. The 
present house was built in 1838. A few years before the 
close of the past century, a school-house was erected about 
two hundred yards north of the residence of Benjamin E. 
Wetherbee. The next house in this vicinity was located 
about ;is far west of the residence of Mv. AVctherbee and was 
burned almost forty years ago. In 1848 a two-story brick 
house was built on the present site. This house was burned 
in 1865. The new house, commodious and substantial, was 
built in 18G7. Another ancient school-house was erected on 
the old road to AVinchendon and near the Frederick Crosby 
place. Many years ago it was removed or a new one built 
near the Astor House. Later the centre of population was 
in Burrageville where rooms were rented for the accommo- 
dation of the school. In 1882 the present house was built. 
A portion of Number Seven has formed a part of several 
geograpfiical districts. Tradition stoutly afhrms that in very 
early tunes, for the acconunodation of a large section of the 
town, there was a school-house west of the saw-mill of Isaac 
D. Ward and on an old road leading from and north of the 
meeting-house in Xorth Ashburnham. The tradition is prob- 
ably in accordance with the fact and it is also certain that 
one hundred years ago a house was built on a road long 
since discontinued, and about eighty yards north of the 
residence of Xathaniel R. Butler. The house was burned in 
1812. Immediately another was built north of the village 
of North Ashburnham at the junction of the llindge road 


. (■' It 

'•i M'-i i'/'.:-, • ■■■■•■/'; ,'.ir^'l/. •.■:,-;;i,v ••11. /mv, 

!v.' ' J !/n- /■/,»..- 'xi' '!'■ )t^'i7(' f.'^ M'yJ-i'.A-ii i" I, ;-nv,' 

.' ' r ■'.■.-, imI i, 1 '■ ■ ; ■•■.'M;'» / ; 


and a road now discontinued. In response to changes made 
in the boundaries of the district the house was removed to a 
point on the road leading from the Deacon Jones' place to 
the present site. The house near the residence of Henry 
Tuckerman ^yas built in 1850, and is situated two miles from 
the centre of the original district. The first school-house in 
the eighth district, built at an early date, was located on 
the Stearns road, a short distance from the present house. 
It was burned in 1814 and its successor built the follow- 
ing year. The school-house in the ninth district was so 
thoroughly constructed at the organization of the district that 
attentive repairs have continued its preservation. The school- 
house provided in Lane Village at the organization of the 
district was continued until 1852 when the present substan- 
tial house was erected. 

The commencement of the present century w^as the begin- 
ning of a new era in the cause of popular education. The 
efibrts of the past had taken root for a more vigorous growth, 
and many happy changes occurred within a few years. In 
most cases, to learn to read, write and spell, with some 
knowledge of the rules of arithmetic, was all that had been 
attempted. The text-books in use previous to 1800 were 
not numerous, and of a most primitive character. Dil- 
worth's and Perry's Spelling-Book, and Pike's Arithmetic 
would cut a sorry figure in the school-room at the present 
time. Late in the past century, Webster's Reader found its 
way into the school-room, as well as a small abridgment of 
Morse's Geography, which gave the briefest description of 
the earth's surface, and contained many startling facts. 
Alexander's Grannuar was in the hands of only the most 
advanced and ambitious pupils. In any mention of the l>ooks 
of the period, the Xew England Primer must not be omitted. 
This volume of diminutive size, filled with wholesome truths, 

/_ ■-, r;r 
f . ■ , ' -; 

;,).-ri :^.-' \' 

I...." :'j. 

/ . r^'i ;■.;,,. .,.,„.,.;i ;.,, ill. ;■,.-; . ■ „ ;•,/;■ ; , , 

• ^ .; I 

-r ■•/ 

I '-"!'■( 

:.!-r .,>.,fv 


was found tit every iiroside, and was received in the school- 
room as a reavding-book and safe .counsellor. Every Satur- 
day, and sometimes more frequentl}^ the entire school was 
required to "say the catechism," as found in this little volume. 
These exercises, and the truths inculcated, are not forgotten 
by the aged among us, but are shining brightly in their 
Avaning years. To them education, in an intellectual sense, 
w^as simply the measure of mental force, furnishing facilities 
to action, while these moral instructions were seized upon to 
direct and be the guiding principle of their lives. 

From an early date the most successful teachers in the 
public schools have been nati\'es and residents of this town. 
Within the limits of this chapter it would be impossible to 
name even those who secured an enduring "reputation in the 
traditions of the town. As early as 1790, Hon. Samuel 
Appleton, then of New Ipswich, was an instructor one term 
at least in the first humble school-house on the old common. 
Captain Caleb Wilder, portly in form, genial in manner, yet 
firm in discipline, was a successful teacher many years. 
Master Jesse Stearns, the physical counterpart of ]Mr. 
AVilder, upright in bearing and incisive in mtmner, was em- 
ployed in several districts. Ilis fame as a teacher is familiar 
to the traditions of several towns in this vicinity. These 
worthies were succeeded I)y Hosea Green, Eleazer Flint of 
Winchendon, Stephen ^Vyman of Ashby, Artemas Longley, 
Ebenezer Frost, lion. William B. Washburn, Hon. Amasa 
Norcross and many natives of Ashburnham whose dis- 
tinguished labor will be noticed in the family registers. 

It has been stated that the first appropriation made for 
schools in 1767 was eight pounds. With the exception of 
the years 17G8, 1709 and 1776, in which no appropriation 
was made for this purpose, the town raised twelve pounds 
annuallv until and includinsf 1777. In 1778, £10; 1779, 

.'-,. i 

>i!r ii-1 

l}!j-l^--^ii> )t;l Uf" , rv.jj !',;,'■ ;-;i',, s.'f:)i;!? i:!' 

:■£•. J.; ■';;•}; 



£200; 1780, £1000; 1781, £4000 were respectively voted, 
but on account of the rapid depreciation of tlie currency 
dnriniT the Kevohition, the schools did not receive any sul)- 
stantial benefit over the former years. For several years 
after the Revolution £50 was annually raised and then the 
amount was increased from year to year until in the year 
1800, S300 was appropriated, and the gradual increase to the 
present time is brietiy represented in the sums raised through 
the decades of the present century : 1810, $400 ; 1820, 
$500 ; 1830, $500 ; 1840, $900 ; 1850, $1400 ; 18G0, $1700 ; 
1870, $3000; 1880, $2800. From 1872 to 1875, $3500, 
and from 1880 to 1884, $3000 has been appropriated for the 
schools of the town. ^ ' ■ .. • . . /. .i- -, 

From the first the amount of school money was determined 
by the town, but the vote was only the united voice of the 
districts. The tax was assessed and collected by the ofiicers 
of the town because they could most readily and accurately 
proportion the amount each person should pay, but the 
school money was received and expended by the agents ot 
the districts. Beyond the slender assistance of the towns, 
the public schools, in their infancy, were not the growth of 
public support nor the creation of State legislation, but w^ere 
spontaneous in the several communities to meet the demands 
.of each. Our common school system has clearly originated 
with the people. The perfection of our code of school laws 
rests in the fact that it is not creative but that it has rather 
seized and solidified the most advanced methods and the 
fullest measure of public sentiment. The law has seldom 
introduced new forms and unfamiliar methods, but has been 
content in the encouragement and support of those at once 
familiar and approved by the people. The schools have con- 
tinually been in advance of the statutes. 

.". r :: 

T,;'\ I: 

Vjt .;,.;. 

■M"'.! 'vyfo 

i» i 

' .tu^ iiA-':VM ';)<,..;>; ;'^ j-'O' IJC"-;.; -r;; J.,,; ;.,.,| 

'f "tl'x. .'5.'l|U*)<( '-^f! 


I. : \\iis'\<'\ 

■ . J;) ..<; ' 


Tho settlers in the towns in this vicinity divided them- 
selves into commnnities of convenient })ro[tortions, which 
existed upon the slender authority of the town for sixty 
years before the law vested these school districts with cor- 
porate power. The towns, in behalf of the districts, con- 
tinued to raise money for the establishment and maintenance 
of schools a long- time before there was any statute compel- 
ling an appropriation which had been imiformly and cheer- 
fully made. The town, and later the several districts, built 
school-houses and subsequently the law gave them permission 
to continue a laudable practice. The people in the capacity 
of a town chose " committees to visit and ins})ect the 
schools "' many years before the statute*^ made mention of a 
superintending school committee. True, law has given uni- 
formity and perfection to our school system, Imt the whole 
of it has sprung from and has first been tested and approved 
by the people. 

Various methods for the division of the schodl money 
among the districts have been employed. A few years each 
district has received an equal share of the annual appropria- 
tion without regard to the tax paid by the district or the 
number of scholars attending school. This system was 
succeeded by a division according to the number of scholars 
and also on the basis of the wealth or the tax paid by each 
district. After a trial of one and then another of these 
antagonistic systems for several years, a compromise was 
adopted which led to an absolute division of the greater part 
and a discretionary division of the remainder of the school 

From 1868 to 1875 the town maintained a high school 
one or more terms each year with a reasonable measure of 
success. The schools were assembled in the basement of 
the armorv and in the school-houses in the first and eleventh 


■.Vi\'.) I ■. i: ln\:y-iv i:'r>«i ^(.«,; ii'\f\''' (I'M )J:r','v;'j! 

't *='"■" 

". :>-::- ;} 

'■' !.'l 

' -.On;'-;'' 'iii f :M i'T 


districts. The touchers were Saiuuel J. Bullock, Melviii O. 
Adam^, Charles E. Woodward, Fred AV. Russell, Fniucis 
A. Whitney, Martin II. Fiske, F. T. Beede, Mary A. 
Sawyer and E. A, Hartwell. 

Coramencini!: with the inauouratiou of Gushing Academy 
in 1875, the youth of tliis town have enjoyed the benefit of 
a permanent high school. For several years the town paid 
cue thousand dollars and at present is l)aying seven hundred 
dollars annually to the academy for the nmintenance of a high 
school department without tuition from resident pupils. 

The prudential affairs of the districts, including the 
emplopnent of the teachers, were conducted by the select- 
men until 1778. At this date the town proceeded to choose 
a prudential committee, or agent, for eacli district and con- 
tinued to exercise this authority for fifty years. Not until 
1828 were there any district organizations. The laws of 
1827 introduced many suljstantial improvements. By it the 
districts were permitted to assume the control of their local 
affairs, and towns were required to choose annually a com- 
mittee of supervision. Previous to this date the choice of 
a superintending committee was optional with the towns. 
Commencing at an early date three or more persons, styled 
"a committee to visit the schools," were chosen nearly every 
year, but under the operation of the new law the committee 
of supervision was vested with increased authority and 

The tirst committee " to view " the schools was chosen in 
1793. It included the minister, the selectmen and Joshua 
Smith, Stephen Randall, John Adams, Jacob Willard and 
Enos Jones. In the years immediately following, to Joseph 
Jewett, William Pollard, John AVhiteman, Ezra Dana, 
William Stearns, Elisha White, Dr. xVbraham Lowe, 
Thomas Adams, Timothy Crehore, Isaac Whitmorc, Francis 

■ '-Ml!- 1 

.'? VM."..::!/. 

^■.%i .-.'r 

/t..' r: :i'f;> 

■ 1 i . ' V 


'iliJir .:-;.m:-7','I|! ;(j,;v/ \,' 

.-. it 

'' ) •lil'-iClf'; ,.'■! i';h/i 


L:ine, Joshua Townsend, Amos AVelberbeo and Samuel 
Wilder was committed tlie supervision of the schools. 

During the first decade of the present century there is no 
record of the election of a superintending committee. Com- 
mencing in 1811, with the exception of four years, from 
three to nine persons have been annually elected ; introduc- 
ing new names each year the roll of the committee is the 
reo-ister of a legrion. The names of those who have served 
two or more years, the date of their tirst election and the 
term of service are appended : Eev. John Gushing, 1811 
(4) ; Caleb Wilder, 1811 (7) ; Jesse Stearns, 1811 (5) ; 
Ivers Jewett, 1811 (6) ; Dr. Abraham Lowe, 1811 (3) ; 
Jacob Harris, 1812 (2) : George R. Cushing, 1813 (9) ; 
Caleb Ward, 1815 (3) ; Jacob Harris, Jr., 1816 (2) ; Dr. 
Abraham T. Lowe, 1818 (2) ; Jonas Willard, 1818 (2) ; 
Charles Stearns, 1820 (3) ; Hev. George Perkins, 1826 
(4) ; Hosea Green, 1826 (2) ; Thomas Bennett, 1826 (2) ; 
Colonel Enoch AVhitmore, 1826 (3) ; John C. Glazier, 1828 
(3) ; Gihnan Jones, 1829 (2) ; Ebenezer Frost, 1829 (12) ; 
Kev. George Goodyear, 1833 (4) ; George G. Parker, 1833 
(2) ; Rev. eTohn A^^ Cast-, 1835 (2) ; Dr. Nathaniel Pierce, 
1835 (3) ; Dr. William P. Stone, 1838 (3) ; Jerome 
W. Foster, 183!» (S); John A. Conn, 1841 (10): Elliot 
Moore, 1841 (3 ) ; AVilliani P. Ellis, 1845 (3) : Rev. Elna- 
than Davis, 1847 (3); Dr. Alfred Miller, 1848 (10); 
Eev. Jo.siah D. Crosby, 1850 ( U) ; Francis A. Whitney, 
1850 (16) ; Edward S. Flint, 1855 (3) ; Levi W. Russell, 

1856 (2) ; Hosea F. Lane, 1857 (3) ; Charles W. Burrage, 

1857 (3) ; Albert H. Andrews, 185-^ (4) ; Dr. L. L. AVhit- 
more, 1860 (4) : Henry Tuckerman, 1860 (3) ; John W. Fay, 

1860 (2): Asher Moore, 1860 (4); Ohio Whitney, Jr., 

1861 (3) ; Samuel Howard, 1862 (3) ; Dr. Theron Temple, 
1864 (3) ; Charles E. AVoodward, 1865 (11) ; Dr. Harvey D. 


O'T a ■i-.>' -J ; v'i::i 

,,,'(, ' 

i' \ ,<.; 

1 M'»' 

.J . ; i 



Jillson, 1867 (.3); Rev. Daniel Wight, 1870 (3); Xathaii 
Eatou, 1870 (8); Wilbur F. AVhitney, 1870 (10); Kev. 
Leonard S. Parker, 1872 (5); :\rarsball Wetherbee, 1873 
(3) ; Charles F. Rock wood, 187r) ( (1 ) ; Prof. James E. Vose, 
1878 (3) ; Fred D. Lane, 1880 (5) ; Mrs. :\[ary S. Barrett, 

* ' <- z 

• ^."'O'^'ilOr; r>!.TH,';''I 

'Tr -r:'. 






AXD PRESENT. . .. . ' 

The causes, which led to the endov/ment of Gushing 
Academy and its establishmeut in Ashburnham, are not 
adventitious. 'In the mission of the school the ministry of 
the father is renewed in the munificence of the ^on. Illib- 
eral and ungenerous would be the thought that by a single 
act of beneficence on the part of Thomas Parkman Gushing 
the academy bearing his name was founded. An impulse 
of princely benevolence without the means to sustain it, or 
the wisdom to direct its course, is unavailing. The pre- 
requisites to the endowment of Gushing Academy were a 
life of toil, supported by habits of frugality, and the wisdom 
displayed, in the conditions of the bequest, was the fruitful 
thought of a sagacious mind. When the youth left the 
parental roof engaging at an early age in the activities of 
life, the seminary was deferred only by the measure of a 
lifetime, and as often as his thought returned to the place 
of his nativity and the familiar scenes of his childhood, its 
location in Ashburnham was assured. 


i«.fX AJV-i/AV.) 

'j: :'fi'j ;. 

; I ,,, 

> iO',.'>p 


' ;/-!* •;.ii:-':fi- 

■Kli r.ii 


The events of the p:ist, the utility of the present and the 
possibilities of the future can be most clearly presented in 
an unpretentious narrative of what has been done and what 
is contemplated by the trustees who have faithfully and suc- 
cessfully executed the express desire and have created in 
substantial form the image of the matured thought of 
Thomas Parkman Gushing. With meteoric splendor, the 
Gushing Academy did not spring into existence. Like the 
sturdy oak its growth has been slow and solidified. Its 
character and features, cemented and hardened by the lapse 
of years, are strong and enduring. The visible origin of the 
institution is the will and testament of Mr. Gushing, dated 
July 30, 1850. In its provisions it is a most happ^^ alliance 
of wisdom and philanthrop}', of liberality and pi-udence. 
There is no shadow of an impulse. It is the language and 
it carries the impress of a conclusion. It is apparent that 
every clause of this beneficent document was formulated and 
clear in the mind of its author before it was written. Xor 
need we invoke the license of imagination to presume that 
on some of the hills in Ashburnham he was accustomed to 
behold in the clear lines of reality the completed edifice on 
which the thought of his mind wa- so vividly inclined ; that 
he beheld the established seats of learning shedding their 
beneficent rays of light and kno\vledge over a wide expanse 
of country, and that with his mind thus allied to the future, 
his appeal for the cooperation of others was the prayer of 
an earnest purpose that these influences should not fade with 
the lapse of years. • 

The launaiaiie of the testator in the eighteenth item of his 
will is evidence that his plans were fully matured and "that 
he was earnest upon the subject of education as the saving 
grace of the republi*." 

,>'l'.:.''* I. ».':>./ ."r/is;i>-. t ."» ■■iMi !' 


•■■I,i', mI-. 


f w , ,^ 

'/'i; , 

-■ ■■ • ^ -■ ■'^- ' ■ "' . '.-/it.:',; -;,;■ /'TliA.* jl 

" ^''' '■■ '■' ' '■' • -.'^ ' '' 'rib ^^'-■:t!i i/!'- [i'i-^n 

■' ■'■' '-J-'-'-'''' ''■•■' ■••■'^ i>i;«<:: ^J^f '' ) '•■■'iur.fli -jdi rrmiff 
'■■■'■" ■;■■'■■■ '' '* *'> '"''i-'"^ ii,>i!-.ij'; ' :■■■ iiait f i^mI'-c^ 5tl 

'- •'•'■"'■ •- '■ ■ ... .,;-» biw. . J 

! "'■;•, r*!^/- ■■■'■■• '!■! ":,. ;;vi):;r'.. ,.,,.,•> •,,;; -vvr ,] 


And, where.'is, it is my opinion that tlie stability of our Laws, 
and the safety of our Government, the right direction of our 
Republican Institutions, the preservation of virtue, and of good 
morals : and, in short, the well-being and happiness of society, 
depend in a great degree upon the general ditfusion of practical 
and useful knowledge among the people, I am particularly desi- 
rous of using a portion of the estate with which God has blessed 
me, for the promotion of so important an object as that of 
improving the education, and thus of strengthening and enlarging 
the minds of the rising and of future generations. Hoping that 
others having similar views and opinions, will hereafter cooperate 
with me towards effecting the same great and desirable end : my 
"Will, therefore, further is. That two schools or seminaries of 
learning, shall be established and forever continued in my native 
town of Ashburnham, in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts ; 
entirely distinct, and separated from each other by a distance of 
at least a quarter of a mile — the one for males of over ten years 
of age, and the other for females of over ten years of age. And 
for the foundation and endowment of these schools, I give to the 
Executors hereinafter named, and to their successors forever, in 
trust only, as follows. 

Following with unfailing precision of statement and having 
appealed to the cooperative philanthropy of others, the donor 
enumenites several specific becpiests " for improving the 
education and thus strengthening and enlarging the minds of 
the rising and of future generations." lu regard to the 
magnitude of the bequest it is sufficient in this connection to 
state that in round numbers ninety-six thousand dollars was 
placed to the credit of the Gushing Academy immediately 
after its organization Under the charter of 1865. The founder 
of our academy did not fail to provide for the future. With 
implicit confidence in "the judgment and discretion of the 
trustees " and in " the wisdom and foresight of the Legisla- 
ture " his advisory wishes are clearly set forth. 


^'/J (<>■>:'''{.: 

^''■CQ'.':.,-^' '-iai -;-•■:(- 1: 

'!■ -.'i Iff ;fl' 

■?n../f{V, (■,!>(;:, i (It? ('^))::(:.]„iii:i] -aH-^ 

V 'ir^;'' > ,^'! ':,^ ,/:,.'•;■;■. Mil! .,1 


And, in order to render the seminaries of learning herein estab- 
lished more efficient and extensively useful by an enlarged founda- 
tion, it is my further 'W'ill that the Trustees hereinafter named, 
shall diligently and promptly invest the several sums herein given 
to them, in trust, as they may be realized, for the foundation of 
said seminaries in such funds and securities as they in their dis- 
cretion shall think best, and reinvest the income of the same during 
the period of ten years after my decease. "When that period shall 
have elapsed, my further Will is, that the Trustees, hereinafter 
named, shall apply for, and obtain from the Legislature of this 
Commonwealth, a suitable Act of Incorporation or Charter, under 
which all the business and affairs of the schools herein founded 
may be conducted forever. The details of the Act, such as the 
number of Trustees under it, how the}' shall be appointed or 
elected, so as to insure as far as possible in perpetuity, a succession 
of honest, honorable, judicious and intelligent men ; the guai-ds 
to be adopted to prevent the waste or loss of the property belong- 
ing to the institution, etc., etc., I leave to the good judgment and 
discretion of the Trustees hereinafter named, and to the wisdom 
and foresight of the Legislature. 

The trustees selected by the testator were Rev. Dr. Francis 
Wayland, a brother of his wife ; Hon. Heman Lincoln, wlio 
married his sister ; "William D. Sohier, Esq., for many years 
his legal adviser ; and Hon. Charles G. Loriug. Mr. Sohier 
resignifio', the appointment of the remaining gentlemen was 
approved and the will confirmed by the Probate Court 
December •2Cy, 1854. The immediate control of the fund was 
committed by his associates to Mr. Loring. In accordance 
with the express desire of Mr. Cushing, ten years having 
elapsed, an act of incorporation was secured in 1865, and the 
trustees of the will were succeeded by a board of trust 
created by the charter. 

The trustees, thiileen in number, with power to fill 
vacancies were as follows : Eev. Dr. Francis Wayland of 


;-:■ :r^>.ti a'-, ivrn ii- 

1 J -. , 

ii' .i-Tft'c,; -lo 

'.■'•J, •■' ;=>): CI- 

>t:^-' 'o-;::}- 

1 Ml 'nv-:(.':ot /,P: 

.(■/ '»lf;rio-f"I •J) Vf* Lsf:r'r -'■::. ffl;; ;■»;]:: bili: !■ 


Providence, E. I. ; lion. Alexander H. Bullock of AVorecster ; 
Kev. Josiah D. Crosby ; Iiev. Asa Rand ; Hon. Ohio Whit- 
ney, Jr. ; Jerome AV. Foster, Esq., and George C. Win- 
chester of Ashburnhani ; Dr. Abraham T. Lowe of Boston ; 
Ebenezer ToiTey, Esq., Hon. Alvuh Crocker and Hon. 
Amasa Norcross of Fitcbburg ; Rev. Abijah P. MarWn and 
Isaac M. Murdock of Winchendon. At the organization of 
the board, September G, 1865, Rev. Dr. Waylaud was 
chosen president, Mr. Torrey treasnrer and Rev. i\Ir. 
Crosby secretary. Upon the death of Rev. Dr. AVayland, 
he was succeeded by Governor Bullock July 10, 1867. 
As none of the original fund could be used for building 
purposes, the board of trust early decided to build whenever 
the accumulations would be found sufficient. Under the 
sagacious management of Mr. Loring and his able successor, 
Mr. ToiTey, the fund accumulated beyond the most sanguine 

In the mean time the trustees clearly perceived that the 
school could be organized earlier, by several years, if only 
one edifice was erected. After mature deliberation, and 
mindful of the provision of the testator that while there 
was to be only one institution but accommodated in two 
school buildings, separated from each other by a distance at 
least of a quarter of a mile, they obtained the uncjiialified 
consent of the heirs and of the executors of the will to a 
modification of the plan of the founder in a single provision. 
The separate education of the sexes in schools and seminaries 
was more warmly advocated at the time the bequest was 
made than in later years. The tendency of public sentiment 
which probably influenced Mr. Gushing with equal force 
appealed in another direction to the board of trust. 

In 1873 the accumulation of the fund was found sufficient 
to meet the expense of a suitable school edifice, and while 

'i.; ---'>il -ill k>_ .;o 

' f 

'y'i;\ ,?( 

'''■'',•■ 1 1 .■ ((va'C.'.-ii 


the location of the building Avas under consideration, the 
<juestion wtis happily solved ]>}' the liberality of George C. 
AVinohester Avho presented the corponition the site of the 
institution with ample grounds for the accommodation of the 
school whicli, in appreciative recognition of the donor, has 
received the name of "AVinchester Square." 

The academy and the square having other names would be 
held iu less esteem. The |)ark and the building are a memo- 
rial of the first and the second ministers of Ashburnham. 
The analogy is complete. Eev. Jonathan "Winchester kid 
the foundations of a church and defined a lield of labor. 
Rev. John Gushing builded in fair proportions on a site 
selected and a structure begun. These venerable names, 
living in the memories and history of the town, are together 
perpetuated through the thoughtful tributes of their 

"SYTiile under the general control of the board of tmstces, 
the construction of the school edifice was referred to George 
C. Winchester, Ebenezer Torrey and Jerome AV. Foster. 
In 1871 Ohio Whitney, who was the efficient superintendent 
of construction, was chosen to fill a vacancy caused by the 
death of Mr, Foster. The entire cost of the building and 
the furniture was $92,011.75. 

The material of the building, one hundred and thirty-two 
feet in length and fifty-two feet in width, is gi-anite and 
brick. Above a light and commodious basement of granite 
are two spacious stories of brick with gTanite trimmings, 
surmounted by a ^Mansard roof which encloses a principal 
hall extending the length and breadth of the building. 
There are projecting tui-rets at the corners and a lofty 
central tower which contains a heavy bell and an expensive 
clock. In synmietry of outline, in elegance and thorough- 
ness of construction and in the convenience of all its appoint- 

'!]r-i:<:i-L':)f: .:iv.T;f.':".)'.> ;nv 


iJ'' ^'Vt! M;J 

", ,'')'' / fr V 

•A.! . 


mcuts, tho edifice of the Cashing Academy is equalled by 
none in this vicinity. Faciuu,- the rising sun, and overlook- 
ing the vilhige and tlic spreading valley below, it occupies a 
commanding site and will long remain a conspicuous tigure 
in the landscape and in the continued annals of the town. 
The building Avas mainly completed during the year 1874. 
It was substantially furnished the following season and 
dedicated September 7, 187.3. Addresses were delivered by 
Governor Bullock, jiresident, and by Rev. Mr. Crosby, 
Eev. J^Ir. !Marvin, Hon. Amasa Xorcross and Professors 
Hubbard and Thompson of the board of trust. A liberal 
course of stud}' had been arranged and the school was opened 
the following day. 

The accumulating Cushins: fund, after meetins; the cost of 
construction of the school edifice, was found in November, 
1876, to be $120,542.34, and since that date the fund 
remains unimpaired, the income only being used for the 
maintenance of the school. 

The spacious dwelling, appropriately named Jewett Hall, 
and now employed in the accommodation of instructors and 
pupils connected with the school, was presented to the cor- 
poration by Charles Hastings, and the Crosby house on Cen- 
tral street was donated by Rev. Josiah D. Crosby to found, 
in memory of his wife, the Elvira W. Crosby scholarship. 

A library of nearly two thousand volumes, including 
generous donations from Dr. A. T. liowe of Boston and 
from several residents of this town, has been collected and 
will become of inestimable service to the school. The 
apparatus for scientific illustration and experiment is annu- 
ally increasing. Prominent in this department is a valuable 
telescope, presented by J. H. Fairbanks of Fitchburg. 

The mission of Curbing xVcadeniy is scarce begun. Its 
brief history, if conspicuous and honorable, fades in the 


•M'J u 

:l'.ll .. 

; ■ '' v; ■•;■'•,>(:■'., r-t-rj. ,>;:!!:['» frf' ^';;.r'- 
lUi.'/ i/ill;vr.ioxij <,.//j| vJ'JKo-ii 'to 

" '■./'"'-.I, . •' .A .'iU iTnn'i -.Liv' M'tivAi.) 


, / 'hi (I ■ 
■■) U 

' ''- i' 'V 'lis 






^' ',■' .*'^'*"i^' 

'■-■■' r^'^- 

■ ■ - ' ^*r 

>;-Vf^% -a«.3 , 2X31 

- ',"-4.v'-^U " 

'^-%'-'_,- . • • r'=-#i^" = ^ .„,-,"''■ 


•'-■ '•' >; - V-'V^ ■ - '^ ■:flifA 


:/:-' : ;,^:"" J,^f ^ ' '^ 

-'."•■■' - ' -.V'. . ■ ": '^ -^'vi" 

4;\'- .■■. :.';'J 

f -'■ ^ V v-v" i::^.;-1* ::--.. . ft^ 

^^"•- -^y . 'li 

/:>^:--^7i^ ,;^1fe ■" ^^ 

■. ...^j*^ ~ -- -■■—-,. ..v'X.'- 

,• - • • ■"•' 

■ g?'- -'^""' '■ -V 1:'^^; > 

V ' " V" -"■"- '---■'• ^ - • tr* ■ ■- ' *." 

"5 v^':^;\v ;;:"'-■, .. ^^■■>;''>^ 


^ .v'^. ': '^..w^: 

#" '< T f 


li^ht and warmth of its hopes and its aspirations. These 
pages are annals of the past. The face of this youthful, vig- 
orous institution is turned the other way. Situated in a 
broad tield, with a rapidly increasing patronage, and bear- 
ing the confidence of the public, it enters upon its second 
decade with hope and courage. 

The tirst principal of Gushing Academ}" was Edwin 
Pierce, A. M., who continued in cliargc four years, and 
whose name is honorably associated with the initial history 
of the institution. The excellent reputation of Professor 
Pierce as a scholar and an able instructor led the board of 
tiiistees to solicit his services and to his care they confided 
the school with unlimited confidence . In character, in purity 
of motives and in faithful, earnest endeavors to carry the 
school through the exacting ordeal of its inauguration, the 
confidence of the trustees was not misplaced. In the prog- 
ress of his labors in this institution it gradually became 
apparent to Professor Pierce and to the board of trustees 
that they were not in full sympathy in regard to discipline 
and that there was a failure of cooperation on the part of 
all the friends of the academy. With the universal confi- 
dence and respect of the community, Mr. Pierce retired 
from labors auspiciousl}' begun in June, 187!). From the 
first he "uas recognized as a cultured gentleman and in all 
his relations with the school and with the peo])le he was 
frank, sincere and honorable. 

Edwin Pierce, son of Dana and Diadema (Paul) Pierce, 
was bom at Barnard. Vermont, eTune 2.'), 1826. He pur- 
sued a preparatory course of study at Woodstock, Vermont, 
and at Kimball Union Academy, Meriden, Xew Hampshire, 
and was graduated at Dai-tmouth College 18.52. The suc- 
ceeding four years he was instructor of Latin and Greek at 
Seneca Colleiriate Institute, Ovid, Xew York. From 185G 

'!' ' .;i. 

•J ■ . ■: :■ 

.)^" 'I! 


vci' V;;,r 


to ISi'i?) he w:is professor of Latin and Greek at Yellow 
Spring College, Iowa ; his connection Avith that institution 
was severed by its decline at the outbretdc of the Rebellion. 
During the succeeding eight years he successfully taught a 
private school in Jersey City, Xew Jersey, and later he 
taught the classics in the High School of Clevehmd, Ohio, 
until he became connected with Cushing Academy. He 
now resides at West Xewton, ^Massachusetts. 

Professor Pierce was succeeded by Professor Vose who 
has been a member of the faculty since the opening of the 
academy. During the past six years he has continued the 
efficient principal of the school and his successful administra- 
tion has been a continued season of prosperity. His service 
to the school and to the cause of education cannot be esti- 
mated until the remaining chapters are added and his labor 
is completed. 

Prof. James E. Vose, son of Edward L. and Aurelia 
(Wilson) Yose of Antrim, Xew Hampshire, was born July 
18, 183G. His life has been devoted to educational pursuits. 
He has had charge of several institutions of learning and 
' was ]H-incipal of Francestown (Xew Hampshire) Academy 
two years immediately preceding his removal to this town. 
He is the author of an English Grammar, and in 1877 he 
delivered the Centennial Address at Antrim which is pub- 
lished in the History of that town. 

Of the persons who constituted the original l)oard of trust 
only four now remain. The term of service and the date of 
appointment of the trustees are brietiy stated : 

Francis \\'aylaiid, 1865, died 1SG7. 

Alexander II. Buliock, ISOo, resigned 1876. . 

Josiah D. Crosby, 1865. 

Asa Rand, 1865, died 1871. 

Ohio Whitney, Jr., ' 1865, died 1879. 

•;?:•'';;. > oiU 



Jerome W. Foster, 
George C. Winchester, 
Abraham T. Lowe, 
Ebenezer Torrey, 
Alvah Crocker, 
Amasa Norcross, 
Abijah P. Marvin, ' 
Isaac M. Murdock, 
George H. Barrett, 
Leonard S. Tarker, . 
Eli A. Hubbard, 
■ Charles O. Thompson, 
. . B. K. Pierce, 

George E. Stevens, 
Francis A. Whitney, 
Orlando Mason, 
Charles Winchester, 
Henr>- M. Tyler, 
George P. Davis, 
Preside nis : 

Kev. Dr. Wayland, 
Gov. Bullock, - 1 

Dr. Lowe, 
Vice-Presidents : 
- Gov. Bullock, 

Hon. Amasa Norcross, 
Treasurers : 

E. Torrey, Esq., 
Hon. Ohio Whitney, 
G. F. Stevens, Esq., 
Clerks : 

Rev. J. D. Crosby, 
Col. Geo. H. Barrett, 

1865, died 1871. 

1865, resigned 1882. 



1865, died 1874. 


1865, resigned 1880. 

1865, died 1875. 


1874. " ' 

1874, resigned 1879. 

1875, resigned 1882. 


















Encroachment upon the borders of this town has been a 
favorite pursuit of our neighbors. Four considerable tracts 
of land h'Lve been severed from the original township, and 
other attempts have been successfully resisted. Our fathers 
could spare the land such as it was, and no doubt both the 
donors and the recipients wished it had been better, but the 
loss of several worthy citizens was a more serious considera- 
tion. According to the surveys of the several grants the 
original township contained twenty-seven thousand one 
hundred and ninety acres. The early surveys were of liberal 
proportions. The wilderness from which the grants were 
severed was large and there was no one to protect the 
province from excessive measurements. The actual area of 
this township was very nearly thirty-one thousand acres. 
The first encroachment upon our domain of fair proportions 
was by the province of New Hampshire in 1741. By this 
act eight Imndred and seventy-seven acres were severed from 
Dorchester Canada. The incorporation of Ashby severed 



13- l.» 'U--'H: 

r.Th ,>T i_'/aJ 

;.,:* < I 'rr-- 

ill,;.'' i';-"; 


11 bout lifteeu hundred acres from the area of this town. 
The proceedings were so iutimtitely connected with the in- 
corporation of Ashburnhani that they were admitted in an 
earlier chapter of these annals. 

The erection of a new town out of parts of Ashburnham, 
Westminster, Templeton and Winchendon was earnestly 
debated and the preliminaries arranged as earl}" as 1774. 
In the intent of the petitioners, in the generous impulse of 
the remaining portions of the several towns, in the general 
policy of the General Court to increase the number of the 
towns in the province, in the spirit of the event, Gardner is 
a decade older than the number of its 3'ears. The Revolution 
delayed but did not defeat the project. In the dawn of 
returning peace it was successfully renewed. So far as the 
action of Ashburnham is concerned, the suggestion of a new 
town near the close of the Revolution was not presented as a 
new measure, but as a continuation of the proceedings 
begun several years earlier. In 1774, or eleven years before 
Gardner was incorporated, the town ''voted that the 
petitioners from Westminster and other towns be so far 
answered in their petition as to take the lands, after named, 
from this town beginning at the northwest corner of Kelton's 
lot, number 4G, second division, and running from thence on 
a straight line to the southeast corner of William Ames' lot, 
number 55, in the second division, and the said corner of 
land is voted ofi' to join with the other towns to be incor- 
poi^ated into a district." 

Referring to this vote it was proposed in 1781, "To see if 
the town would vote otT t^^'o ranges of lots in addition to 
what was foi-merly voted off in the southwest corner." 
Whereupon the town. May 21, 1781, amended the former 
vote but added only a small part of the two ranges included 
in the proposition. 

ly liif, 

■I ■•'! ■'?.]( 


Voted that the southwest corner of this town be set off to join 
with a part of Vv''estrainster and Winchendon iutij a separate town 
as far as the following lots viz. : beginning at the northwest 
coruijr of lot number 45, second division ; from thence by the 
north line of said lot to the northeast corner of said lot ; from 
thence straight to the northeast corner of lot number 55, second 
division ; thence by the east line of said lot to Westminster town 
line. Including 2:348 acres. ,■■••■ ..'^v >- 

The point of beginning, as defined by this vote, is about 
eighty rods nortli of the point established in 1774. The 
other terminus in Westminster line is the same in both votes. 
"V\Tien Gardner was incorporated four years later the land 
severed from Ashburnham, and consequently the line then 
established between the two towns, coincided at all points 
with the line defined in the last vote of this town. In later 
years the line has been broken at two points, at least, for the 
accommodation of individuals. The records of Ashburnham 
. in this connection define only one of the boundary lines of 
the territory severed from this town. If the existing lines 
between Ashburnham and Winc^hendon and between Ash- 
burnham and Westminster be extended, the former southerh' 
and the latter southwesterly, they will meet at Gardner 
Centre, and with the former line will enclose the triangular 
area that, until 1785, was a part of Ashburnham. Con- 
cerning: the number of acres inchided within these lines the 
doctors disagree. Rev. Dr. Cushing, in his historical dis- 
course, estimates it at four thousand acres. To the record 
of the vote the town clerk has ap])ended, " including 2348 
acres." This amount is too small but it is much nearer 
exactness than the more liberal conjecture of Mr. Cushing. 

Ashburnham, still rich in the extent of its territory, could 
easily afford the lands donated to the new town, Init the loss 
of several worthy citizens from the municipal connnunity 

;? M-^T ■, ' 


I: ,.■.),, 

••11,1 .,. 

■>'V;': ■'■•.'(■ 


w:is Ji more important consideration. The families residing 
on the area severed from this town were in themselves and 
have continued in their descendants a material element of the 
chai'acter and population of Gardner. 

Captain Samuel Kelton came from Xeedham to this town 
1778, and settled on land belontjino- to the heirs of Edward 
Kelton who was an early proprietor of right number 47, and 
afterwards of right number 49. The eminent services of 
Captain K','lton are noticed in another connection. He 
resided on the northern part of the land set off to Gardner 
and near the line of Winchendon. In 1785 his family com- 
prised a wife and three or four children. One child died in 
this town November 30, 1780. 

iMarvi'ick Hill, from ]Medway, and five sons, three of whom 
had fiimilies, resided in this town several years before their 
farms were annexed to Gardner. Moses Hill, the eldest son, 
had four children in 1785, and in the family of Jesse Hill, 
another son of Marvrick, were three or four children. ]\Ir. 
Cushing has left the record of the baptism of James ]Marvrick 
and Thomas Adams, sons of Moses Hill, and Enos and 
William, sons of Samuel Kelton, baptized at the house of 
Mr. Hill, at a lecture. In another connection Mr. Cushing- 
refers to "the lecture at ^Iv. Hill's in the southwest part."^ 
In these families there were probably twenty-two persons. 

Josiah Wilder removed to this town from Sterling about 
1776. His wife and one child died in 1782, and he married, 
second, Febi'uary 4, 1784, Joanna Baker. He was a distant 
relative of other fomilies of same name in this town. Three 
children were living in 1785. 

Jonas Richardson came from Shrewsbury in 1781, and was 
admitted to the church in Ashburnham October 21 of that 
year. In 1785 his family consisted of his wife and eight 
children, the eldest thirteen years of age. 


-*;ri J' 

II"; .'j ' ■ 


Jolai AYhito ^vas born in Lexington, June 1, 1748, and 
settled in the east paii: of the tract annexed to Gardner about 
six years before the incorporation of that town. There were 
three children in 1785. 

Peter Goodalc was born in Shrewsbury, December 12, 
1751. He was married in the north parish of Shrewsbury, 
now West Boylston, March 9, 1775, and their eldest child 
was born there December 23, 1775. Soon after the last 
date the family removed to tlds town. They had four 
children when Gardner was incorporated. 
. , Scarcely had Ashburnhani generously and good-humoredly 
contributed materially to the creation of Gardner before 
another draft was made upon its domain and inhabitants. 
This time, the attack was made upon the opposite corner of 
the town. In the end it was vigorously opposed. The 
original line of Ashby extended from an existing town 
bound on Blood or Prospect hill, nearly due north to the 
State line. For twenty-five years the northeast corner of 
Ashburnham was nearly two miles east of the present corner. 
A number of families in this part of the town for several 
years had not been in sympathy with a majority of the town 
in the support of the ministry. And as soon as a new meet- 
ing-house was proposed their slumbering discontent was 
fanned in open revolt. In the spring of 1791, under the 
leadership of John Abbott, they signified to Ashby a desire 
to be annexed to that town. Ashby promptly responded in 
a vote " to receive Isaac Whitney, Josiah Burgess, James 
Pollard, James Bennett, Josepli Damon, Jeremiah Abbott, 
John Hall, Daniel Brown, John Abbott, Amos Brooks, 
John Shattuck and others with their lauds together with the 
non-resident land within the bounds of a plan that they shall 
exhibit to the town if they can be legally amiexed to this 
town." The following month a meetinir was convened in 

'l.-w .'-.[A 

IX •'- 

, ,ij;:Ml .-f 

' ,"'•1' ■';.; J'i '■,,ii";'T-; 

■'<Ij »{',*[' 


this town "To bear the petit iou of Ensign John Abbott and 
others requesting to be voted off with fourteen hundred 
acres of land to be annexed to Ashby if the town see fit." 
The town did not see fit. The petitioners were answered 
with a cold and unqualihed refusal. Undaunted, they 
renewed their solicitation and caused another meeting to be 
called in the autumn of the same vear. At this stage of the 
proceedings the town attempted to crush the revolt by paci- 
fying the lender of it and proceeded to "vote off" about five 
hundred acres including the homestead and other lands of 
Mr. Abbott. The proposed compromise was a failure. 
The petitioners refusing to accept the proposition renewed 
their original demands and secured another town meetinir 
early in the spring of 1792. Again the town refused to 
grant their petition. It is plain the petitioners were depre- 
ciating in the good opinion of the town. The gentleman, 
whom they styled at the outset as Ensign John Abbott, is 
now called Mr. John Abbott and soon after he was degraded 
to plain John Abbott. Another town meeting was called 
in May, 1792, at which the town "voted to oppose any 
families or land being taken from this town and annexed to 
Ashby more than was voted off at a former meeting and that 
the representativ^e act in behalf of the town in that matter 
at the General Court, — the vote being unanimous except 
seven persons and those were petitioners for being set off."' 

The issues were now sharply defined and the controversy 
was transferred to the Legislature. Samuel AVilder, Abra- 
ham Lowe and Jacob Willard were chosen to remonstrate 
with the Legislature against this encroachment upon the 
territory of the town. Jacob Willard, also, was the repre- 
sentative at this time. The earnest effort of the town and 
its agents in opposition to the measure was met w4th defeat. 
The act, severing the land of the petitioners from this town. 

"li ,'0 v>t- 

1. '-ur 

;(■ ■*., 


• .- I,' 


a;( .■;:•,;. 'tj 


w.-is passed November 10, 1792. By the terms of the net 
the nortlicast corner of Ashburnham on the State line was 
established live hundred and four rods west of the former 
bound and at land of James Spaulding. The dividing line 
from the new corner extended southerly by the east line of 
James Spaulding one hundred and forty-five rods, and 
thence sonthcasterlj^ eight hundred and seventy rods to the 
line of Ashby. Henry Hall, Sen., who lived within these 
limits, did not join in the petition. His fann was divided 
by this proposed line and by a special clause in the act all 
his land remained in this town. 

If the purpose of the Legislature had been faithfully 
executed the div'iding line between Ashburnham and Ashby 
^ould have been located between Ward and Watatic ponds 
and would have annexed to Ashby a larger area than was 
subsequently included within the established bounds. 
AVhen the line was run southeaster!}'' from the State, line, 
local attraction at the base of Watatic mountain caused a 
variation of the needle, deflecting the course to the east. 
Giving a liberal construction to the act of the Legislature, 
the line was run straight to Blood or Prospect hill. The 
selectmen of Ashburnham and Ashby in a joint repoi-t 
informed their respective towns, "That when we came to 
the easterly corner of Potatuck hill a mine draAved the 
needle and ran between Henry Hall Jr.'s house and barn 
and came to the old line between Ashburnham and Ashby 
on a hill called Prospect hill and erected a stake and stones." 
The line here described, which was nm according to the 
needle and not according to law, has been maintained to the 
present time ; the only exception being a slight change to 
restore to Ashburnham a part of the farm of I^emuel ^^'hit- 
ney, formerly of Henry Hall, Jr., which had been divided 
bv the new line. The hidden mine at the base of Watatic 

Kl '^■•■■. t . 

!^ ; 


I '/ 


saved the town many acres of land. It is the only mine in 
Ashburnham that has been successiully operated. At the 
beginning it was worked for all it was worth and possibly 
its resource:; were early exhausted. 

The fiimilies transferred to Ashby included those of John 
Abbott, five children ; Jeremiah Abbott, two children ; 
Daniel Brown, three children; James Bennett, two children; 
John Hall, one child; Amos Brooks, eight children; Isaac 
Whitney, four children ; Judah "Whitney, one child ; the 
widow of Ephraim Whitney, two children ; James Pollard, 
John Shattuck and Joseph Damon. 

The remorseless knife of the General Court, which three 
times had clipped a considerable tract from the corners of 
the township, was next brandished over the peaceful hamlets 
in" the southeast pail of the town. These depredations on 
the borders were becoming a most serious matter. The 
original pentagonal township, with its sharp, projecting 
corners, would soon be trimmed to a diminutive circle if 
the process was not stayed. The project of creating a new 
town out of adjoining portions of Ashburnham, Westmin- 
ster, Fitchburg and Ashby, now buried beneath tlie accu- 
mulating dust of ninety years, was bold and aggi-essive. 
The measure was forwarded with ability, but was crushed 
beneath the united opposition of the four adjoining towns. 
A list of the names of the persons engaged in the enterprise, 
and living within the limits of the proposed township, has 
been preserved. It bears the names of thirty citizens of 
Fitchburg, sixteen of Westminster, six of Ash])urnham and 
two of Ashby. Eight, and possibly more, names were 
added previous to 1791 and one or more of these resided 
in Ashburnham. The movement originated in 1785. 

The petitioners continued their solicitations and the town 
a persistent opposition until the beginning of the present 


; !r;:'\ ?)[;((■> n.uif 

.':».::■' iii>o:r;' 

r.i:/.'. ji'.i ii"'^.:..;.i ;':-)■■• ' ;.'., ..,;i^ ,■■.>: , ■'"'(.,■; j'. ;',;,.;• ■■;/■>:;:-. al.; 
- '.,' -: :','-'i':i i/ ■'•■'!■', '■-v.: ■■l':i J^ •'.■ M;? ■,';'] i,';:„,;vv:' 'v''' 

:r'. :l , 

'*. ) ■»•(',; I ■■' 

-f ':d ! 


ceutiuy. In the mean time the petitioners adopted a limited 
organization and built a meeting-house and laid out a com- 
mon in anticipation of securing from the liCgislature the 
desired act of incorporation. The meeting-house was built 
by voluntary contributions. The long list of pledges for 
the material presents a bewildering assortment of sills, 
beams, posts, girts, rafters, boards, shingles, nails, a little 
money, and other donations, to forward the underttiking. 
There was also a special subscription in labor and stimulat- 
ing material to assist in framins^ and raisino^ the buildinir, — 
containing pledges for one hundred and fifty-eight days labor 
at framing, sevent3^-five at raising, a few modest sums of 
money, twenty-four bushels of rye, one hundred and fifty- 
eight quarts of rum and forty-tive gallons of cider. With 
Landlords Cooper and Upton living hard by in case of a 
failure of any of the supplies, these douglity church builders, 
surveying their situation with complacency, entered on their 
records, " enough has been subscribed to raise and cover 
the meeting-house except a part of the boards and shingles." 
In 1780, with spirit and understanding, as long as the last 
requisite remained, they raised a frame forty-five feet square. 
Two years were consumed in fitful eftbrts in completing the 
outside. The interior was never fully completed. The 
building, profanely called the Lord's barn standing in plain 
view on Cooper hill in Westminster, was a fiimiliar ol»ject 
for many years. At a late day, it has been suggested that 
the impulse which led to the building of this house was a 
failure of sympathy with the creed of the surrounding 
churches. The most reliable information leads to the con- 
clusion that they were adherents to the prevailing creed and 
could not fairly be considered as an association of dissenters. 
Their first ellbrt to obtain preaching was a vote extending an 
invitation to the Orthodox ministers in Ashburnham, AVincli- 

'!(. '■■<! 

V •! ,;;,■• , ■.,.., ( J, j.» ]/• 


cikIoh, "Westminster, Fitchbuvg and Lunenburg to preach 
to tbeiii. ]Many of the leading men in this enterprise were 
members of the standing order in the several towns in which 
they lived. Xot organizing a church as they anticipated at 
the outset, tlieir original relations were continued until dis- 
soh cd by death. 

Joshua Billings, Joseph Gib])s and Reuben Eice were 
members of the church in Ashburnham, and so was John 
Ward wlio lived over the line in Westminster. Even under 
the unyielding discipline of the time, their association with 
this movement did not provoke the censure of the church. 
Tlie Lord's barn and its builders were orthodox. Of itself 
the old meeting-house in Westminster has little coimectiou 
with the history of this town ; but as a part of a more com- 
})rehensive project, as the first step towards the incorporation 
of the proposed town of Belvoir, it caused our fathers great 
alarm. The erection of an unpretentious building was of 
little moment, but this persistent attempt to slice a corner 
from the town greatly irritated the good citizens of Ash- 
burnham. Four town meetings were called at an early date 
to oppose the movement. Samuel Wilder, Jacob AYillard 
and John Adams were chosen to confer with the other towns 
;ind Joseph Jewett, Jacob Willard and John Adams were 
instructed to oppose the petitioners at the General Court. 

The residents of Ashburnham included in this movement 
were Joseph Gibbs, Joshua Billings, Reuben Rice, Jonathan 
Winchester, Thomas Gibson and Silas Whitney. The 
?i'heme was revived in 1815 when forty-two petitioned for a 
town to be culled Yernon. The following year a new 
petition bearing ninety-eight names was considered by the 
General Court and a public hearing was ordered. This 
lime the petitioners suggested the name of Belvoir for the 
proposed town. Town meetings were promptly called and 


-. f 

-,T ■■ :r. ,^r...;A 


-« ' .-t. ,. 

/';.; i-:u{k:i 


Elishii White, George R. Cushiiig and Joseph Jewett were 
selected to oppose the Vernon petition. The Bel voir 
petition was successfully resisted by Elisha White,' Thomas 
Hobart and Abraham Lowe, and thus ended a contest which 
had been contiimed over thirty years. From beginning to 
end the arguments of the petitioners were the same and 
stated with little change of language. The last petition 
was as follows : 

The petition of the undersigned inhabitants of Filchburg, West- 
minster, Ashburnham and Ashby humbly sheweth that whereas 
your petitioners are situated quite distant frorn the meeting-houses 
in tlie towns to which we respectively belong (especially in West- 
minster and Fitchburg, some in the former town living at the 
distance of seven miles from the meeting-house), and the land on 
which we live formed as if nature itself intended it for connection, 
and the interests of those living in the remaining parts of the towns, 
especially in Fitchburg and Westminster, being in many and most 
respects totally different from ours, it is therefore the prayer of 
your petitioners that the General Court would be pleased to incor- 
porate us into a distinct and separate town by the name of 

But Vernon and Belvoir fouud little support on Beacon 
hill. The little town with euphonious titles, so clearly out- 
lined in the hopes and imagination of the petitioners, was 
destined to slumber in the gloom of defeat. Ashburnham 
was not only successful but recovered cost with the verdict. 
About this time the farms of John Ward and William Bar- 
rell and a considerable tract of non-resident land was severed 
from Westminster and annexed to this town. 

Only one attempt to secure a change of the boundaries of 
the town occurred after this date. In 1827 George Wilker 
and twelve others, residing in the eastern part of the town, 
petitioned the Legislature to annex to Ashby all the land in 



•;)'i'r.- -P 


I"' J 

' ,)' 


Ash<iurnhaiii lyinir cast of a straia^hi line extcndins; from the 
nortlnvest to tlie southwest corner of Ashby. Henry Adams, 
Charles Barrett and Hosea Stone were chosen to remonstrate 
in the name of the to\^•n. The following year the petition 
was renewed and the Legislature sent a committee to view 
the premises. The town chose Joseph Jewett, Charles 
Barrett and Ste})hen Marble to confer with the committee. 
The measure was defeated, at an adjourned session of the 
Legislature, 182S. 


''nr- invOT :i;.'^ 









Like the veins in the human system centring at the heart, 
the i)rimitivG roads of every town had a general tendency 
towards the meeting-house. It was not until the movement 
of surplus production gave additional employment to the 
roads that much attention was jiaid to any outward facilities. 
The early roads of Ashburnham ^vere for the benetit of the 
settlers within the town. The only roads which otlered any 
suo-o-estions for the accommodation of the surrounding; towns 
were built imder the commands of the court and in opposition 
to the will of a majority of the inhabitants. These roads 
from the tirst were styled County roads, and to keep them 
in repair a separate tax was assessed and special surveyors 
were chosen. The family of Jeremiah Foster rode into town 
in a cart drawn by oxen. The chaise in which rode the wife 
of Rev. Mr. Cushing on her wedding journey from West- 
borough to her future home could proceed no farther than 
Fitchburg and the remainder of the way was performed on 
horseback. But a general knowledge of these early times 
will present a good idea of the first roads in this town. So 


. '-i;; \.>'\n f.'A Mv:/. ,•<(/,( ii 

- n •■ i'l 

•••I - - :.; fi ; M. .>!,.;,,. : 

I'. 'f''.^ * 



far as any have been better or poorer than the average road 
oi" ihe time the fact will ap}>ear. If the number of roads in 
the early history of the town excites surprise, it should be 
I'emenibered that every settler demanded one leading from 
bis clearing to some existing road. With a reasona1)le 
-ii^niute of those built -svithin the independent grants previous 
to 17(55, of which there is no record, it appears that no less 
tlian forty-five roads were laid out in this town previous to 
the Revolution. ]\Iauy of these were only a continuation of 
an existing road or the substitutioii of a more feasible route, 
and in the mean time a considerable number were discon- 

While Ashburnham remained a part of the vast wilderness 
of unappropriated land, boundc^d on the south by Townscud, 
Lunenburg and Westminster, and on the east and west by 
the settlements in the valleys of the Merrimack and Connec- 
ticut rivers, the road from Lunenburg to Xorthfield was cut 
through the forest. The distance was forty-two miles and it 
was constructed about 1733. John Fitch, in a petition to 
the General Court, states that in 1739 he settled on the 
Xorthtield road seven miles above Lunenburg. Mr. Fitch 
settled where Paul Gates now resides, in the southern part 
of Ashby. The petition establishes the location of the road 
at that point, and the account of the Cambridge and the 
Bellows or Bluetield grants in Chapter I. atibrds additional 
information in regard to its course through this town and 
the date of its construction. This ancient road entered Ash- 
burnham north of Russell hill and near the point where the 
new road from Riudge to Fitchburg crosses the Ashbv line. 
It continued throuixh Lexinirton farm and north of Mount 
Hunger and northwesterly through the Bluetield grant into 
the north part of Winchendon. A\Tien the proprietors of 
I>orchester Canada established the boundary lines and came 

■•'T ■;-: JIUU - .h 

i;f I'i 


•! .::;:.r 

>!'■ \ ' ' ■' 


into possession of tlie township, they found this road ahetidy 
opened and extending through tlieir grant. 

In 1752 a road was proposed from a point now in Ashby 
"along to the southward of AVatatuck hill to the Blueiield 
road so called." Other mention of the Bluetield road gives 
no additional information in regard to its location at any 
point in its course through this town. In its westward 
course through the northern ]iart of Winchendon it was 
sometimes called the Earlington road, for the reason that the 
grant of land adjoining Northfield was frequently called 
Earlington, or more correctly Arlington, now Winchester, 
Kew Hampshire. The road was constructed by the Wil- 
lards. Bellows and Boyntons of Lunenburg to forward the 
settlement of that grant. The tirst road pro})Osed by the 
proprietors of Ipswich Canada was " from Earlington to the 
meeting-house lot," meaning from some point in the Earling- 
ton or Northfield road to the meeting-house lot. xVt the 
next meeting they otfered six pounds " to such proprietor as 
shall cut a horse way from Earlington road to the meeting- 
house lot." These two votes are parcels of the same })roject. 
The magnificent suggestion in the History of Winchendon 
that the tirst vote contemplated a road from Northfield to 
Ipswich Canada is extravagant. In the tirst vote supply the 
omission of the word ""road'' after Earlington, then the two 
votes are consistent. In iiny other light the worthies of 
Winchendon are found build ins: a road from the ' meetino- 
house lot to Earlington and supplementing it with a road 
from the same point to the Earlington road. 

The records do not define the location of some of the 
earliest roads in this town, but a considerable sum of money 
was expended for this purpose during the infancy of the set- 
tlement. The first road, wdiich can be definitely located, 
was between the saw-mill and " the place where the meeting- 

ni ■':•,■-'..;.,/(.•! !,.,i.;-,l -I '.ij 

,1 » ;;,'-■ I ; 

■'''l 'I. 

1^; .fidii- 

*' 11 

:■ I ." ■!:■' :1 .-■,,? ,j, 

'.' . ■! 


liouse is to stand as strait as the land will allow of." The 
first road of considera])Ie lono'th would naturally be some 
inlet from the lower towns. In 1742 a committee was 
chosen "to clear what is ahsolutely necessary in the eastei'n 
road already laid out and to see if a better road could be 
found out to Lunenburg." In 171o " Edward Hartwell, 
Esq., and jNIr. Andrew ^Viluer" Avere paid for marking out 
a road from the meeting-house to the west line. 

In 1753 increased sums of money were paid to committees 
and laboreis on account of the rotids, but without reference 
to their location. The same year ap})ears an article "to see 
if it would be agreeable to the proprietors to have the great 
road leadinii- to Ipswich Canada and Rovalshire six rods 
wide, as it is likely to T)e the principal road to the upper 
western towns and Albany." However agreeable it might 
have been to secure a road of such ambitious proportions, 
the proprietors voted they would not do it, and it is possible 
Albany never heard of it. The truth is, the proprietors so 
long delayed the building of any suitable road to the line of 
Ipswich Canada, that soon after this date the aid of the 
court was invoked and a county road wns built. In the 
midst of these proceedings, with a buoyancy of spirit that 
approaches audacity, the proprietors vote to perfect all the 
roads in the township. 

In 1758, and in succeeding years, with little change in the 
form of expression, an agent is chosen "to oversee those that 
shall be employed in working at the road, that they are 
ftiithful in their service and have no more allowed them than 
they deserve." In 17G1 it was ordered "that the same com- 
mittee, that laid out the road from the meeting-house to !Mr. 
^Vinter's, proceed to lay out said road till it comes to the 
road by Mr. James Colman's house, excepting where it 
goeth through Stouer's farm, so called." Stoger's farm is 

■nil}.'. ;j:. -r V, .!,(; .:., 

r- i,'. 

, I -.',., f «: i 1 I 


another name for liOxington gnmt or the Dutch forms. The 
propj'ietors were unable to tax the settlers on this or the 
other grants and were justly excused from building any roads 
through them. Andrew "Winter ll\'ed near the west line of 
Lexington grant and James Coleman's house was near the 
Stacy mill in Ashby. In 17G1 there was a division of the 
highway tax ; six ])ounds was expended on the county road, 
nine pounds in the south })art and four and one-half pounds 
in the north part of the township. ' 

• Xo sooner had the settlement assumed the dignity of a 
town than the building and maintenance of the roads became 
familiar subjects of legislation. Witliin two years fourteen 
roads were laid out by the selectmen and accepted by the 
town. Others followed in rapid succession. While many 
of these original roads noAV constitute a })art of the existing 
highways they have been so many times extended and 
amended that their identity is buried beneath the weight of 
continued record. The first road laid out by the selectmen 
was from a point now in Ashby to meet a I'oad south of the 
Reservoir |)ond : • ' . . - 

June 27, 1765. We then Laid out a Road from Fitchburg Line 
through Bridge Farm and then the marks are on the West and 
South side of the Road to Stephen Ames'es. 

N. B. The above said Road Runs through Lexington Farm, 
so C'aled. ' ■ ..... 

■ The bounds are generally stated in very indefinite terms, 
.but a majority of them were said to end at the meeting-house 
or in some road leading to it "w hich assists in locating veiy 
many of them. . , ■_ . ; , . . ,• , 

Laid out a road from Samuel Fellows Juner to the meeting 
House Running North Through Wetherbees Land and Williams 
Laud and Stones Land and Turning Northerly on Stones Laud 

( ;' ■;;i-->;:n- 

■ J}i) 


';:J,K ) 

■Ml- -l., 


,1 ■' , 1-. 


aiul Dickersons Land a.nd Sampsons Land and Oaks Laud and 
AVheelevs Land and Common Land till it comes to the publick 
Dieeting House, is two Rods Avide and marked ou tbc easterly side 
of said Koad. ; ■ ^ ■ 

The eeneral course of the above road recorded in 1765 is 
stated, but like many others its location at intermediate 
points cannot now be determined. In some instances, like 
the following, the care of a road was assumed by the town 
without the intervention of the selectmen : 

■ The toAYU excepted Mr. Melvius Road, sd Road runs from 
Nathan ^Melvin's by Willi'" Benjamins and through Creehor's Lot 
and through Simeon Willards Lot & Oliver "Willards Lot, and 
through Mr. Whitemoor's Lot through Elisha Coolidge's Lot to 
Bhiefield Road sd. Road is two Rod wide and marked on y' 
I^ortherly side. 

The first county road was not a voluntary enterprise, and 
probably it was not maintained with any degree of enthu- 
siasm. In 1773 parties residing in adjoining towns secured 
its indictment. The town "chose Samuel "Wilder, Esq., to 
make answer to the Court of General Sessions of the Peace 
to be holden at Worcester the last Tuesday of March instant 
to an Indictment found against the said Town by the grand 
Inquest for the body of said county, for not mending or 
keeping in repair the County road or King's Highway from 
Winchendon Town line to the meeting-house in Ashburn- 

The descriptive portion of the indictment allbrds some 
information of the condition of the road. The Court liecords 
declare that it "was founderous, miry and rocky, encum- 
bered with great stones, deep mud, stumps and roots and 
destitute of necessary bridges whereby the travelling that is 
necessary in c*c through the same road is greatly impeded 

iVriv.' ',,'.-,!' 

-'■■'f ■■ 


and hi.s ^Injesty's Liege Subjects who have occtision and 
right to pass and repass in and tlirough the same road by 
themselves and with their horses, teams Sz carriages cannot 
conveniently and safely pass in & OA'cr the same road but in 
so doino- are in orre-at daniier of losinii' their own lives &. the 
lives of their cattle iS. of breaking and destroying their 
Carnages. " 

Mr. Wilder, clothed with plenary }>ower, went to AVorees- 
ter to make answer to the court, ))ut when he heard himself 
addressed in such terms it is impossible to imagine what he 
had to say. To f^ice a court breathing anathema and making- 
such assault upon himself and his town required great cour- 
aire and fortitude. Whether fear aaye strength and coura^'e 
to the ambassador or his utter discomforture appeased the 
temper of the court is uncertain. In any event the case was 
continued, and then the court, possibly in sorrow for an 
assault upon innocence, calmly reviewed the field and came 
to the conclusion that inasmuch as the road, meanwhile, had 
been repaired the town should be forgiven on the payment 
of five shillings and costs. 

In 177(3 the maintenance of a new county road was added 
to existing burdens. For several years after this date a 
special surveyor was chosen for the " south county road." 
It extended from the centre of the town past the school- 
house in the first district, and thence, nearly by the present 
road, past the Jose[)h Harris' place to the Westminster line. 

Soon after the Revolution the project of a county road from 
Winchendon to Westminster, passing through the south- 
west corner of the town, was revived. With its usual 
{ilacrity in such cases, the town instructed the selectmen to 
oppose the road. The following year the incorporation of 
Gardner intervened and with other legacies the town trans- 
ferred all responsibility in the premises to the young town. 

-/" . ■' '- ■-'•■J I Oi .'J',/'-.,))} ■=■ 



'.'■ 'i',t 

I ' 'I .. 

1 ■ .' .1 

; ' ■,'■;'> 


Tnit xVslilmrnbum was scarcely relieved from one vexation 
concerniug county roads before others of a more weighty 
character demanded attention. 

In 1790 a county road in amendment of the old tliorough- 
fare from Winchendon Centre was ]:»roposed. An agent was 
scut to 'NYoreester, but his eftbiis were attended with limited 
success. Three years later the }>etition was renesved, and 
Samuel AVilder, A])rahani Lowe and Colonel Francis Lane 
were selected to continue an active opposition to the project. 
The town instructed their committee to measure all the 
county roads in the town and to ask the court if any 
additional burdens would be reasonable and just. Again, a 
delay was etfected, but the suspension of hostilities was only 
for a brief season. The petition was renewed in 1798. 
Samuel "Wilder, on whom the to\sn relied for council and 
service in every emergency, was dead. ' The town sent 
David Cusliing, Joseph Jewett and Hezekiah Corey to the 
rescue, but without avail. The road was laid out and a 
majority of the town was greatly discomforted. Before the 
fate of this road, of which mention will be made again, was 
decided another of greater proportions was proposed. The 
preliminary proceedings were brief. Before the town had 
fairly set its face against it, a county road was laid to com- 
plete a line of travel from Winchendon Centre to Leominster. 
passing through this town b}- the town farm and on sub- 
stantially the same route as the Fifth Turnpike was subse- 
quently built ; and, in fact, the county road influenced the 
location of the turnpike which was tinally accepted in room 
of it. One of the advocates of this county road was Joseph 
Stone who lived on the farm later owned by the town. In 
this proceeding Mr. Stone was strongly opposed by a large 
majority of his townsmen and public sentiment upon this 
subject is reflected in the records. At first, the road was 

-^ :i.- 

If ;w .; ■ >■ 

•f' ,■■■■ •:,■// [■• 

' ! :' ! 



styled Captain Stone's road, but as the controversy grew 
warmer it was called Stone's road, and there is a tradition in 
this town that the popularity of ~Mv. Stone faded as rapidly 
tis the fortunes of the road were advanced. 

After the road was laid the town selected Abraham Lowe, 
Joshua Smith and Josc})!! Jewett to draw up a remonstrance 
in support of an appeal to the General Court. The proposed 
construction of the turnpike otVered the town some relief, and 
measures were introduced to inlluence the location of the 
turnpike in a manner that would lead the court to discontinue 
the original road, l^benezer Munroe, Joseph Jewett and 
John Gates were chosen to confer with the directors of the 
turnpike, and upon hearing their report the town, 1802, 
"Voted to make the road from the foot of the hill below 
Abraham Foster's, so on to the county road by Oliver Sam- 
son's, at town expense on condition that Stone's road, . 
so called, can be discontinued and the town be at no more 
cost or expense on or about said road. Also the town voted 
to put in one thousand dollars in the road on condition that it 
be made a turnpike road to run from AVinchendon line by 
jS'athaniel Foster's mill, so on to the foot of Abi-aham Foster's 
hill, so out by Oliver Samson's. Also voted to put in five 
hundred dollars on condition that they go with the road 
where they think best in the town. Stone's road, so called, 
to be discontinued and the town be at no further expense on 
account of Stone's road." 

The following year the town made a fourth proposition, 
offering the corporation $1500 if the turnpike was constructed 
■oyer the old common. The corporation accepted the smallest 
sum otl'ered and reserved the right to "go with the road 
where they think l)est in the town." The turnpike was 
built in 180.3 and 1800 and the county road was discon- 

7tb;u(r" I'.n iyoiuil 

■l':- 't:> , M.J! !<;■..;:' -MiT 

•\;;. J' 

.'i.M ^;:m..': or 


The town next directed attention to an amendment of the 
tirst county road "svhich had been ordered by the court. To 
this date the travel from Winchendon was compelled to 
make the ascent of ]\Ieeting-lioiise hill, and thence abruptly 
down into the valley as it ])roceeded to Fitchburg, A more 
feasible route had been debated for several years, but the 
town steadily refused to divert any travel from the old com- 
mon uutil the authority of the court had been invoked. A 
section of new road was now built, commencing at a point 
on the old road, one and one-half miles west of the old com- 
mon and meeting the road again in front of the present resi- 
dence of Seth P. Fairbanks. This road was built in 1817 at 
a cost of $10()(). It was clearly a benetit to the public, but 
the dwellers around the old common, and many others, who 
shared v.ith them a commendable regard for the centre of 
their town, its meeting-house, its cemetery, its pound and 
its aristocracy, were greatly discomforted. "When this 
entei-prise was completed it was the most thoroughly con- 
structed section of road in the town. The conditions 
required it "to be sixteen feet between the ditches, crowned 
eighteen inches in the centre and all stones to be removed 
that come within six inches of the surface." Before this 
road ^vas completed measures were taken to secure the 
indictment of the road leading from the centre of the town 
to the guide-board near the house of Calel) "Ward who then 
resided west of Lane Village and near Lower Xaukeag lake. 
At a special town meeting some one proposed to repair the 
road by subscription and escape an indictment. Thirty days' 
labor were immediately pledged, and then the town com- 
placently directed that the labor be performed at once, 
and after that the complaint be defended by the town if 
prosecuted. ■ ■ . ' . 

:'!l^;rr"*- '^n — ilj 

'■'I'?',.) "•■);■' 

V '::■'■; -■ .■;( 1. 

.' .■■ ■'. , f ., 

I. f'l '■ ,'■■ •;; 'M'l 

;:v<- '' T''. 


Coiiimoncing with the present centiny there Avas an era of 
turnpikes. After the extreme depression in business, which 
Avas the natural consequence of the drain of the Eevolu- 
tionary War, the countr}'^ made substantial progress in 
wealth and development. A moderate accunmlation of cap- 
ital began to seek channels of investment and everj' enter- 
prise which promised a fair return for the capital employed 
failed not for want of money or the encouragement and support 
of business men. Stimulated by an increasing travel and 
traffic to and tVom the centres of trade, turnpikes built and 
controlled by corporations were extended into every field of 
supply. Towns on tlie lines of these throroughtiires were 
greatly benefited, and great efibrts were made to influence 
their location. Taverns, stores and blacksmith shops were 
multiplied and many of them were mainly dependent on the 
patronage of these roads. 

An early line of travel from the north and west was from 
Iveene through Jatirey and New Ipswich and thence to 
Boston by way of Townsend. It was incorporated in 1799, 
and built without delay. Another turnpike incorporated 1802, 
fi'om Keene through Winchendon and Leominster, passed by 
on the other side. This Levite came nearer and indeed was 
located through the southwest part of the town, but it was 
of little local benefit. It is now included in the town roads, 
and the houses of John ]M. Pratt, John V. Platts and 
Stephen Wood are on the line of it. The next turnpike in 
this vicinity came no nearer. It was incorporated in 1807 
and completed 1811. It was an important line of travel 
from Iveene through Kindge, Ashb}^ and Groton. This 
tunipil-ce entered Ashburnham near the residence of Edwin 
J. Stearns, and the present road from that point, where there 
was a toll-gate, to the Ashby line at Watatic pond, marks 
its course throu^rh the corner of the town. While this turn- 

i:./?:^ IM<:«1 f>^4;. ri;-,,.; 

■1 i.'i 1 1-; ;■'.»' 

lIj; ■■,. » <c' '/'i!:; _- ' . x 

,M Im;j- 


pike was patronized considerably by the inhid^itants, it was 
of little benefit to the town. If Ashburnluim was not highly 
favored by this era of turnpikes, the inhabitants generally 
escaped the losses which ultimately attended the deprecia- 
tion of stock. 

In other towns many men of comparative wealth were 
financially mined, and the savings of the poor, which were 
allured by golden promises from the scanty accumulations 
of continued toil and many self-denials, were lost in the 
general ruin which ensued. If these early turnpikes were 
not successful from a financial standpoint they greatly 
encouraged the growth and development of the country, 
and by competition and example they did much to improve 
the general condition of the other roads. - . . 

About the time of the decline of the turnpikes a large 
amount of money was expended in building and repairing 
roads. A new line of travel, in which this town had a lively 
interest, was opened through the valley of ^Miller's river and 
from Winchendon through the centre of Ashburnham to 
Fitchburg and the lower towns. For many years long lines 
of teams and a great amount of pleasure travel passed 
through the central village. Very many now living are 
fond of telling of the heavy wagons, drawn by four, six and 
eight horses, laden with produce for the market and return- 
ing with merchandise for the country stores, or of the four 
and six horse stages that daily passed each way. The 
scenes of life and activity that attended their arrival and 
departure and other features of those days are well remem- 
bered. The active landlord answered the demands of mau}^ 
guests, while the busy hostlers in the spacious barns grew 
wearv' in attendance upon the overflowing stalls. The 
hamuier of the smith awoke the stillness of night and the fire 
in the forge scarcely burned out before the beginning of a 



new diiy. A much Lirgor business to-day is done with one 
tithe of the noise and confusion of the olden time. Then, 
the newspapers, unuidcd hy the telegraph and other modern 
facilities, gave little information of passing events. Items 
of intelligence were noisily communicated by word of mouth 
wliile bustling crowds around the taverns and the stores 
gathered the latest news from the passing traveller. Xow, 
the current price of commodities and the records of the 
world are gleaned from the papers in the quiet retirement of 
home. Then, orders for goods and the general intercourse 
of trade ^yel•Q often verbal messages transmitted through 
man}' mouths. The message of to-day, silently committed 
to the mail, or to the swifter transmittal of the telegraph 
and the responding shipment of merchandise, left by the 
passing train. , are in happy contrast with the noisy methods 
of the olden time. 

During the construction of the Fitchburg railroad from 
point to point, the teams and stages in that direction made 
shorter journey's, but the condition of affairs at this point was 
not materiallj^ changed : but the building of the Vermont and 
Massachusetts and the Cheshire railroads which soon followed 
drove the stages and the teams from the road. 

The amount expended for the annual repair of the roads 
during the early history of the town conformed to the in- 
crease of population and secured highways that reasonably 
met the requirements of the times. The appropriation in 
1770 was £?,') ; in 1773, £80 ; in 1790, £120 ; in 1800 the sum 
was increased to $900. For many years the town chose one 
and sometimes two suiweyors for the county roads and com- 
mitted the town roads to the care of from two to ten persons, 
the number being gradually increased as the roads were 
extended and more thoroughly repaired. In 1818 the town 
was divided into twenty-one highway districts. The county 

'■''iv.;,-. ,h'}ilj: 

■i-- „!l-K 

'',r'-i;i I. 

i^ii ■'/>;,! 

! I ' 



roids :incl turnpikes, gniduull}* losing their individual cbarac- 
ter, "svere included among the several districts. In 18-45 the 
number of highway districts was increased to twenty-tlve, 
which, with slight changes, were continued luitil a recent 
date. From the tirst, and until the present system was 
adopted, a surveyor was annually chosen for each district. 
In 1832 and 1837 the town voted to raise one-half the usual 
amount in money, but before the tax was assessed the action 
was reconsidered and the former system of a labor tax was 
continued until a comparatively recent period. The amount 
annually expended for the repair of the highways was gradu- 
ally increased from $900 to $1500 ; the last sum was deemed 
sufQcieut until 1865, when $1800 was raised, and since that 
date the amount has ranged from $2500 to $4500. In 1870 
the town committed the care of the highways to the select- 
men and the following year a board of commissioners was 
established. The members arc elected for three years. On 
this board Simeon Merritt has served eleven years ; Samuel 
Howard, nine years ; Jesse Parker, two years ; Stephen 
^Vood, three years; Frederic E. Willard, three years; 
Charles II. Whitney, one year; Robert W. ]McIntire, six 
years ; Charles W. Whitney, 2d, five years ; Justin W. 
Berais, one year. The three last named constitute the 
present board. 

Railroads. — The charter of the Vermont and Massachu- 
setts railroad, now operated by the Fitchburg raOroad, is 
dated March 15, 1844, but the road was graded from Fitch- 
burg to South Ashburnham in the summer and autumn 
preceding and in anticipation of an act of incorporation. At 
this point there arose an animated contest over the continued 
location of the road. For two years it was an even question 
whether it would be extended through Gardner or throui^:!! 
Winchendon. In this controversy the town of Ashburnham 


;•,">■ I )iu\ 

';! -iU'l , -1' 

'! ■-' 'Vi, I 

; I / 


was an inditreieut spectator, as in either event it would not 
materiiilly cluingc its course tlirough this town. The busi- 
ness men early perceived that the route through Gardner, 
which was linally adopted, would accommodate this town as 
well as the other, and it would also leave an invitation to the 
Cheshire railroad, then in contemplation, to build from 
Winchendon through Ashburnham Centre to Fitchburg. 
For a seasori the town was so deeply engrossed with this 
project that little attention was paid to the controversy over 
the location of the first railroad that was built within the 
to^^^l. The causes and influences which controlled the loca- 
tion of both of these roads were wholly outside of Ash- 
burnham, and while a considerable portion of the town were 
disappointed neither of them approached the central village. 
Both of the roads have been of material benefit to the town. 
The AsTiBURXiLur Railroad lies wholly within this town 
and materially contributes to the general prosperity of the 
place. It is young in years and limited in length, yet it has 
more history to the linear mile and in certain years of its 
duration has developed more stratagem than has attended the 
fortunes of many older and longer roads! The difiiculties 
which surrounded its construction and early manai>:ement are 
fortunately settled and only the exterior history of the road 
demands attention. In May, 1871, a charter was obtained 
for a line of railroad from the junction of the existing roads 
to the central village, a distance of about two miles. A com- 
mittee, consisting of George C. Winchester, Austin Whitney, 
William P. Ellis, Ohio Whitney and George II. Barrett, 
was immediately chosen to solicit subscriptions to the capital 
stock which, at this stage of the proceedings, was limited to 
one hundred thousand dollars. To aid and encourage the 
enterprise the town of Ashburnham, on a vote to invest five 
per cent, of its valuation, purchased shares to the amount of 

'1 :ll 

• ;.:ri-/,- K 


'i/M. .)':,>■' j 

-,- .I-., 

"'■''■ ■<''• Mtr'i; 

'i;/r; ^wd^ 


forty-eight thousand dollars. EloAcn thousand five hundi-ed 
dollars was subscribed by three men residing in Fitclilmrg 
and in Boston and the remainder of the stock 'was taken by 
residents of this town. At the o)-ganization of the corpora- 
tion which promptly ensued, George C. AVinchester, Ohio 
Whitney, Austin Whitney, Addison A. Walker of Ashburn- 
ham, Daniel Xevins, Jr., Hiram A. Blood and Otis T. 
Rnggles were chosen a board of directors. George C. 
Winchester was subsequently chosen president and Colonel 
George II, Barrett clerk and treasurer. 

The construction of the road was prosecuted with energy 
and without any unreasonable delay. About the first of 
January, 1874, the road was completed and a turn table and 
engine house were built at the northern terminus, but the 
depot was not erected until the following year. At the 
annual meeting in the summer of tliis year, the following 
board of directors was chosen : Austin Whitney, Addison A. 
Walker, Walter R. Adams, Simeon IVIerritt, Ohio Whitney, 
Daniel Xevins, Jr., and Thomas H. Clark. William P. 
Ellis was chosen clerk and treasurer and was continued in 
office until the corporation was dissolved. He was also 
station agent and to his care was confided the details of the 
operation of the road. In 1875 Mr. Xevins declined a 
reelection and the board was increased to nine members. 
The new members elected were George C. Winchester, 
Franklin Russell and George G. Rockwood. The only 
chauo^e in the board of directors in 1876 was the election of 
Wilbur F. Whitney, in room of Austin Whitney. From 
1874 to 1877 the road was equipped and operated by the 
stockholders under the immediate management of the board 
of directors. In the adjustment of claims against the corpo- 
ration the debt was gradually increased and the earnings did 
not exceed the current expenses to an extent that aflbrded 

k f\< 

if. il, 


, 1 ,-, 

^( ■;' •{■ 


any relief. The. covponition issued mortgage bonds for 

tAvelve thousand dollars and at that time it was generally 

presumed that ultimately all the debts would be licjuidated 

by the net earnings of the road. In 1877, and after the road 

had been in operation three years, George C. Winchester 

demanded payment of a claim of eleven thousand five 

hundred dollars for personal service. This demand was 

unanswered for a season with a spirit of resistance and a 

consciousness of inability to pay it. A linal settlement was 

subsequently made, and in the summer of 1877, the franchise 

of the road and the rolling stock were conveyed to Mrs. 

"Winchester and the corporation was dissolved. To this 

enterprise the town and the inhabitants of Ashburnham have 

contributed eighty-eight thousand five hundred dollars. 

The loss was serious to a few. Had the burden been more 

equally distributed, it is probable that in the general utility 

and convenience of the Ashburnham railroad, every one will 

find ample compensation for the loss sustained. Mrs. 

Winchester continued to own and operate the road in the 

interest of the public until 1885 when it was sold to the 

Fitchburg railroad corporation. s , r i.; ;•- ' :, 

.!•'!/-. If 

I'M TM- 

0';i;^ / 

■-.■' -- ir,r 

7 ''. ■ ■•: ;t 











Inxs or taverns were uumorous in the olden times, and a 
fictitious prominence is frequently assigned them. Around 
these ancient hostel ries tradition is wont to linger and prone 
to crown them with a dignity they did not enjoy and to 
regard them with a j)eciiliar charity especially reserved for 
the dead. In fact, a large majority of them were simph' 
farm-houses in which the traveller was entertained. The 
proprietor was more a farmer than a landlord and the busi- 
ness was only sup[)lementary to his stated avocation. And 
often in the pursuit of gain the license of the innholder was 
secured more for the sale of spirituous liquors than for a 
rational enteitainment of man and beast. 

The first inn of this town, of which there is any record or 

tradition, was built upon the old Bluefield road extending 

from Lunenburij: to Xorthfield. It was situated on the Bel- 

low's grant in the northwest part of this town, and was not 


• I • ( ■ ■ ■ ■ / , 

; » 

-' ' . i ; ■' i i 


ocoupicd after 1741:, when the settlement was abandoned. 
The Court llecords represent that ]\Ioses Foster was a 
licensed innliolder hi 1751 and through several succeeding 
yeai-s. lie lived at tirst in the northeast part of the town 
and at an early date removed to a lot adjoining, south of the 
common. His house after he removed was an inn, but it is 
uncertain at which place he was residing when first licensed. 
The next landlord who appeared on the scene was Xathau 
Dennis wIjo lived at Lane Village and owned the mill. He 
was here only two years, 1753 and 1754. In 17 50 Thomas 
Wheeler in the northeast part of the town was an innholder 
and was succeeded by James Coleman who was included 
within Ashbv in 17G5. For several vears, commenciu<r with 
1759, Elisha Coolidge Avas licensed. He probably resided 
in the house previously occu[)ied by Nathan Dennis. In 
1767 Nathan Melvin who lived near the Amos Pierce place, 
in the eighth school district, received permission from the 
court to entertain the solitary traveller who might acciden- 
tally pass that way. Captain Deliverance Davis was a 
licensed innholder in 17<!7 but he did not continue in the 
business many years. Among the ancient hostelries in this 
town none were so popular as " Uncle Tim's." Tradition 
assigns no other name to the public house kept by Timothy 
Willard. He was probably the first landlord in this town 
who ever gave his undivided attention to the business and 
his house was known "from Canada to Boston." On his 
tables often were fresh pickerel which an hour before were 
sporting in the clear waters of Upper Naukeag. At this inn 
Dr. Lowe was entertained the first years of his residence in 
this town. The house was on the old road from Ashburn- 
ham to Winchendon, on the site of the residence of Mrs. 
David W. Russell. In 1798 David Russell, Sen., pur- 
chased the hotel and farm and continued the business. lie 


'>'.Ui .lii.i" -i>f<U ,!>, 

•' ^^o:,; fit J, ,•; , 

)u....\ \<i ;i-/"! 

'.' r. 7:;',; . .' .;■. ) :/■, 

1 ' . >' -J 

( r ; , . 1 

*" • ■.■;•!;. I II 


",'.■ i!' ,.., ,;v.' .,.,;.;,( .^,rf', ,^.,^,,.,5 

',.■ I'll-? 


procured a new sign on which was piunted ti profile of a 
chanticleer in the constant occupation of crowing over the 
fame of the place. In a few years, so fickle is fame, the 
name of "Uncle Tim" was heai'd no more. The inn Avas 
known as the "Cockerel Tavern." 

About the close of the century two hotels were opened on 
jMain street, — one by Captain David Cushing, where Xahum 
Wood now lives, and one on the opposite side of the street, 
over which Joseph Jewett presided when not engaged in 
other pursuits. Commencing with about 1815, and con- 
tinuing with a Asaning patronage until about thirty years ago, 
there was a hotel on the. north turnpike, and either the 
hotel or the locality was familiarly known as Children of the 
AVoods. The travel on that once busy thoroughfare has 
been diverted into other channels and the old hotel has fallen 
with the weight of years. There was a hotel several years 
where the brick store now stands. It was built by John 
Adams, son of the centenarian, about 1826. Hobart F. 
Kibling and Merrick Whitney were the landlords. In the 
same building there was a store which is mentioned in 
another connection. This hotel was built soon after the 
road from' Winchendon to Fitchburg had been thoroughly 
repaired and many teams from Vermont and the valley of 
Miller's river passed through this town. The new hotel was 
successful and its prosperity led to the building of another 
on the opposite side of the street, now known as the Central 
House. The hotel last mentioned was built by Captain Silas 
Whitney in 1829, but it was not finished until 1832. It 
was called the Washington House and in front, leaving space 
for the passage of teams, there was a huge sign suspended 
between two posts. The sign bore a supposed likeness of 
George Washington who proclaimed that he, at least, was a 
cold water man by having beneath him a huge watering- 

"■ <j'*)i'i u,!''* -Um. 

'MVli:.U.-' ' ••' 

' 1; .1 

■ v' , ; 

■/ !-/,iS 

; 'f-i^; lij'. 

■' ' u': 

■i I, 

< - -'•;•/! 


trongli which occupied all the space between the posts. In 
this house, also, Ilobart F. Kibling was the first landlord. 
He was succeeded by Samuel AVhitney and his sons who had 
acquired possession of the projierty. Later, the house was 
conducted by Stinison and Howe and by Knight and Forris- 
tall who were succeeded by Israel AV. Knight, a son of one 
of the preceding landlords. ^h\ Knight conducted the 
business many years and until his death, September 5, 1858. 
His son, James ]M. Knight, succeeded him, remaining in the 
business two or three years, Ferdinand Petts was the 
next landlord. The property was purchased by Walter R. 
Adams, 1866, who assumed the ntanagement of the business 
until 1879 when he was succeeded by John C. Stone. Mr. 
Stone has thoroughly repaired the Iniildings and built a block 
of stores on the site of the driveway. The a])pcarance and 
convenience of the buildings are mnch improved and the 
house is well conducted. 

The Frye Ta\'ern, more recently known as the Astor 
House, was a prosperous hotel fifty years ago. The land- 
lords were James Frye, ^Ferrick Whitney, James Barrett, 
Orin Morton and Otis Metcalf. It has been owned many 
years by the Cheshire railroad and occupied by tenants. 

About the time the Frye Tavern was opened, Norman 
Stone had a hotel at Factory Village for several years. 
Public houses on the main lines of travel Avere numerous in 
those days and many at intermediate points between the 
villages were successful. 

Stores. — Until the close of the Eevolution there were no 
stores in Ashburnham. If any one returned from the centres 
of trade with goods, which were ofiered for sale, the business 
was not of sufficient mai^nitude or duration to secure the 
appellation of merchant or surround his abode Avith the 
dignity of a store. In the mean time the store in Luneu- 

tffC'' ■-^■^■l(). 

>) l.i.K-,. -/})! 

,.: r 

',1 .« 

f,'. .,i...-i; vi. 





burg was frequently visited, and upon an old ledger of 
Moses AVhitney, who had a store in Kindge in 1772, are 
extended accounts with several residents of this town. It is 
prol)al>lo, however, that, for many years, the greater part of 
the home supplies were procured in tlie lower towns in 
exchange for the product of the farm, or for shingles, split 
and shaved from the stately pines which were abundant at 
that time. 

Josepli Jewett, Esq., removed to this town in 1783, and 
immediatel}'^ opened a store in his dwelling-house which 
stood at the corner of Main and Gushing streets. In a few 
years he built a store near by which remains to this time 
and is a part of the building owned and occupied by Charles 
Hastiness. Associated in trade with ]\Ir. Jewett for one 
year, about 1790, was Sanuiel Applcton, the generous bene- 
factor of several educational and charitable institutions, and 
in later years General Ivers elewett was admitted to a part- 
nership with his father. The Jewetts were men of enter- 
prise, and succeeded in building up a prosperous business 
which was ex'tended into the surrounding towns. They 
exchanged goods for every product of the farm, sending 
annually many tons of pork, butter, cheese, gi'ain and wool 
to the seaboard- Ashes, too, with them, were an acceptable 
tender for goods from the store. These they converted into 
potash and forwarded it to the market. In later years they 
received yarns from the Slaters of Rhode Island and other 
manufactures of the time. At that time the power loom 
was a sleeping dream in the soul of invention. This yarn 
was distributed among the families who wove it in hand- 
looms, returning the cloth to the store and receiving their 
pay in goods. In this and many other ways these enter- 
prising merchants invited trade. They oflered every facility 
for the payment of goods. They entered into close relations 

!i-'rffo[_ _',,i\'''--:- ".U m. 

;/i , * ".;'// 

■■:■ -.'iiy ,i 

-MO '■'■,-■; r f ".; i!, , ; ,;" r. [ 



with the people of Ashburnhain and many others in the 
adjoining towns. "In accordance with a custom of the times 
they sold wines and liquors in (piantity and by the glass. 
They supplemented their business with an inn, and mixed 
and vended grog from the ramparts of the store and the 
skirmish line of the hotel. They clothed the naked, fed the 
hungry, relieved the thirsty, and in their more substantial 
trade provided all against future want. The " Jewett Store" 
was an institution which suticred no rival and has witnessed 
no successor. ■ : 

Joseph Jewett retiring from an active interest in the busi- 
ness it was continued by General Ivers Jewett. For a short 
time Colonel Hosea Stone was associated with General 
Jewett, and in 1824 Samuel Woods, who had been a clerk 
in the store nine years, bought a half interest and the firm 
became known as Jewett and Woods. Soon after, the new 
firm bought a store and a cotton-mill in Fitchburg and sold 
the store in this town to Samuel Barrett. The Fitchburg 
enterprise was not successful. General Jewett, in this and 
other speculative transactions, met with less success than 
had attended his career as a merchant. In 1828 Samuel 
Woods bought the store of Mr. Barrett and returned to 
Ashburnh:un and in company with George H. Lowe he 
continued in trade until 1831. Samuel S. Stevens suc- 
ceeded ]Mr. Lowe, and soon after Jonathan O. Bancroft and 
Elbridge Stimson were admitted to the firm then known as 
Woods, Stevens & Co. In 1833 they sold to George PL 
Lowe who continued in trade until 1842. ]\[r. Lowe sold 
to Jacob Osgood of Weston, whose son, Charles, had an 
interest in the business. The Osgoods were succeeded in 
1851 by James Learned who was in ])usiness sixteen years 
when he sold the store and goods to Henry Yanness, who, 
with unrutiled placidity, fostered a waning trade until 1877, 

r, ■) i-:fH ;/ 

; '■•(.■it; 

I, ., 

t:i;/M. , 


when the curtain fell. The fastened door and the boarded 
windows shut out the light of day but not the memory of 
many years. 

The second store in order of date, and the tirst in the 
elevation and tlignity of its surroundings, was on the old 
common. Here Mrs. Gushing, assisted In' her sons, con- 
ducted a small trade several years. The modest store was 
at the east of the common and was established about 1795. 
A few years later Deacon Ilenum Lincoln, on this site, 
erected a dwelling-house and enlarged the store. For a 
short time ho conducted the business and was succeeded by 
Doddridge Gushing, who continued in trade several years, 
when the Jewetts purchased the goods and removed them to 
the foot of the hill. Subsequently, Leonard Stearns, from 
Xew Ipswich, was in trade a year or more, and later Charles 
Hastings purchased the real estate, enlarged and repaired 
the buildings, bought new goods and continued in trade until 
1829. He sold to Lemuel Stimson, and in the spring of 
1830 the business was assumed by his sons, Elbridge and 
Mirick, who closed out in 1833, and since then no one has 
engaged in trade at this place. 

About the time the Jewetts withdrew from an active 
interest in trade three small stores were opened in this town. 
William Brooks in the Ikjusc of his father, Thaddeus Brooks, 
in the ninth school district conducted a limited business 
several years ; and Reuben Rice, who lived in the fourth 
school district where Alfred D. Kinsman now resides, had a 
store in his house an equal length of time. Neither of these 
securing a monopoly of the trade, Asahel Corey and Salmon 
Rice opened a store on A^"ater street. Later Mr. Rice sold 
his interest to Levi Corey. The Coreys were succeeded in 
1839 by Charles Winchester, and it was in this store of 
modest pretension that ]Mr. AVinchester outlined the first 

'.iri v,b b:;n 

(»j., 'fU; 




!■» .;■ l.-,,-i. ■ 1; 



chapter of iiu active, saccessful career. Asaliel and Levi 
■Corey, having sold their Ijusiuess iu Water street, opened a 
new store in tlie hotel buikling on the site of the brick store. 
After a few years they were succeeded Ijy Philip R. ]\Ierriain 
Avho removed fj'om a small store ou the south turnpike. ^Nlr. 
Merriam and his son were followed l)y Horace C. Crehore 
who continued in trade several years. 

In 1842 Charles Winchester sold the store he had out- 
grown on Water street and bought this store. Six years 
later he admitted his brother, (leorge C. "Winchester, to an 
equal partnership. The}' were eminently successful. For 
the accommodation of an increasing trade, and to provide 
accounting rooms for their other business they erected, in 
1855, the substantial building now occupied l)y Adams and 



The Bricic Stoke, now of Adams & Gkkknwood. Ekectkh bv 
C. &. G. C. Winchester, 1855. 

Greenwood. The iinn was dissolved in 1870, and George 
C. Winchester continued the business until 1879. This 

i' ■ " ' 

''•'•j'l'^ '■" ''V^tM- ■'_;;-ii,,' -iJ, ',;i (fu.-f'V' i , ',- r»^i'- 

'I! u;. ,.'! •Ill t I-' 1 ■,! Iiiv 

hotp:ls and stokes. 397 

store was reopened in 1881 by Adams and Greenwood, llie 
partners being AValter 1\. x\.dams and ]Moses P. Greenwood. 
"With a full line of miscellaneous goods, they at once secured 
an extensive trade and are reaping the fruit of merited 

The store now occupied by Parker Brothers was built by 
Ivers ^^^lite in 1855, and leased to William P. Ellis for 
eight years. Mr. Ellis formed a partnership with Martin B. 
Lane, and under the name of Ellis and Lane they conducted 
a trade in stoves, tinware and groceries for several years. 
The firm was then dissolved by the retirement of Mr. Lane, 
who removed the stove and tinware department to the store 
in the Town Hall. Xewton Hayden being admitted to a 
partnership with ]Mr. Ellis, the business was enlarged and 
included the wares usually displayed in a country store. In 
1866 Mr. Ilayden became sole proprietor, and he was 
succeeded by several firms which included Hon. Ohio 
Whitney, Walter K. xVdams, ]\loses P. Greenwood and 
Captain Walter O. Parker. In 1876 Captain Parker and 
his brother, Frank H. Parker, under the firm name of Parker 
Brothers, assumed the business. Lender their judicious 
management, the demands of the community have been fully 
answered and a good trade has been firmly established. 

After the removal of ^Nlr. Lane to the Town Hall, he was 
associated with Joel P. ^Marble, and in 1876 he was succeeded 
by Frank B. Gilson. The business was continued under the 
firm name of Marble and Gilson. In 1880 they built a new 
store on Central street and added a line of groceries to their 
former tiade. They continue in the management of a pros- 
perous business. There were earlier dealers in stoves and 
tinware than any named in the preceding paragraphs. Ben- 
jamin iSIerrJam was an early dealer in this line of ware in 
the old store on Water street, and Elliot Moore, for a few 


■J -'i^iul/ ,vv; 

■ '... [ 

■'i-'^.a,;.,: :-:iJ 




years, was in this line of trade iu the George KockM-ood 
store . 

George Ivockwood opened a store about 1833, where 
Marshall Wethcrbee now resides. lie continued in trade 
several years and a part of the time Dr. William II. Cutler 
had an interest in the business. He was succeeded ])y the 
Union Store, which was continued four years, and later Elliot 
Moore continued the business a few years. 

After Asahel Corey had been in trade on AYater street and 
in the hotel building on the south side of the street, he built 
in 184G a store on the site of the residence of George C. 
Winchester. In this building his son, Jonas Corey, opened 
a store and was succeeded immediately by George Rock- 
wood and Austin Whitney. Then the firm of Corey, Barrett 
and Ivibling, comprising Jonas Corey, Colonel Francis J. 
Barrett and Joseph W. Kibling, was actively engaged in 
trade at this place for a few years. They were succeeded 
by Austin Whitney, and while his brother, Samuel Y. 
Whitney, was postmaster, the post-office was located here. 
The building was purchased by George C. Winchester in 
1856 and remodelled soon after. 

George W. Kibling, who lived in Lane Village, where 
Merrick Hadley now resides, had a store in his house a few 
years, commencing about 1835. There was no other store 
in this village until Mirick Stimson began trade in 18G8. 
Mr. Stimson has continued without inteiTuption to the 
present time. In North Ashburnham, Asa E. Lovell was in 
trade about three years, commencing in the autunm of 1845. 
The goods were owned by several gentlemen who lived in 
that vicinity, and who sustained the stpre as a local enter- 
prise. The goods were subsequently sold at auction. 
Except the trade in groceries conducted b}' Daniels Ellis, 
there have been no other stores in this village. 

';,..; ' 

■'•'■'4 '■ 

■; !.• iVV ^;' J..;rf v>-ni: ) ■■iJr -^ 

:- lir, _,.,,..!. 

•r"i ;'.,,fJi_./'! 

■.- r. -.1 


Stores ill the Tillage of South Ashhunihain have l)eeu 
numerous. In 1822 Jonas ^Nlunroe opened a store and eon- 
tinned in trade several years. The building occupied by 
Mr. jNIunroe was later the ell of the Deacon Glazier sho}). 
Mr. Benjamin E. Wetherbee, the present owner of the 
premises, tore it down a year ago and completed its history. 
Hosea Hosley, in 183G, began trade in a building still known 
as tlie red store, opposite the residence of Hezckiah 
Matthews. After a vacancy of several years, the next 
trader in this store was Lewis G. Matthews, who, with a 
line of groceries and patent medicines, began business in 
1852, and continued until 1874. Oliver A. Raymond, in 
the autumn of 1846, began business under favorable 
auspices in the May store. He died the following year and 
the goods were sold out by his brother. The Protective 
Union Store was opened in the ]May l)uilding in 1848. 
Stores established on this plan were found at this date in 
almost every village. Generally conducted by men un- 
skilled in the arts of trade, very few of them were successful. 
This proved no exception, and was closed before the expira- 
tion of a year. The May store, which, like the temple of 
Janus, has been sometimes open and sometimes closed, was 
occupied a year and a half, commencing August, 1863, by 
John B. D;iy, who displayed a line of dry goods and 
groceries. In 1868 Mr. T)ay resumed business in the same 
building. The following year he was succeeded by Stephen 
V. Ware, who remained tAvo years and again the doors were 
closed. The next occupant was Luther Osborn, who con- 
tinued about three years, and from that time until 1876, the 
store was unoccupied. In the autumn of that year Stephen 
V. Ware resumed trade with a line of dry ijoods and irro- 
ceries. In March, 1884, he sold to John Davis, who moved 
the followins; summer into the store under Union Hall where 



i '. > .,«'Jj:o/ .i>:j-:>V'i-. '■;, 


7 ■:' 1 .-li, 


he was iveeiitly succeeded by Alfred E. Garlick and James 
H. Long, who have built up a prosperous trade. 

More to accommodate his employes thau to solicit a 
general trade, Edward S. Eliut dealt in stajde groceries 
about nineteen years, commencing 1857. In 1860 ]\Ir3. 
Mary Blodget iitted a room in her dwelling ioi- the accom- 
modation of a limited stock of ladies' furnishinir ijoods. 
The business was successfully continued eight years. Near 
the depots, Sumner H, Upham, Francis Eaton, Sewell vS. 
Lane and Stephen V. Ware have each been in trade a short 

.; t, =/.|-»i 

loJ'.- :; •jj;'"'' i:t .(rv;-.; ,1; 

■J ■'■■m;'!ii! 

: I "'OJiJ-O^' iH.l 













The genius of Ashburnham shines forth most conspicu- 
ously in a variety of manufactures. In the employment of 
capital and in the daily toil of a large number of artisans and 
mechanics, the town maintains a commanding position. The 
frequent seats of power along the courses of the brooks and 
rivers have invited the people from the cultivation of a rugged 
soil to mechanical pursuits. The number of mills, past and 
present, in this town is unusually large. There are fifty 
mill sites in this town where at some time the water power 
has been utilized. These enterprises have offered employ- 
ment to the mechanic and have augmented the wealth of the 
town. If the first mills were rude affairs they v/ere neces- 
sary to the progress of the settlement, and in their weakness 
^'as found a living suggestion of improvement. If brought 
into comparison with modern mills and modern machinery, 

the primitive saw-mill, with rheumatic movements laboring 
26 iOl 

i .::-■;:!'( ■ .>' 

^ 1 ■;■' o=-.''! 


slowly through a log, grunting, meanwhile, as if in pain, 
presents a vivid picture of the progress and triumph of 
mechanical skill. Xo eftbrt is made to name every mill that 
has been erected in this town. Many of them in the whole 
extent of an uneven existence have not materiall}' increased 
the product of the town nor stimulated its energies. Among 
this class are included several saw-mills ui)on the smaller 
streams that, at best, were employed but a small portion of 
each year and were early suffered to present a picture of 
dilapidated old age. 

The modern industries have been more fortunate and are 
the life and activity of the town. The first mill in this town 
was built at Lane Village in 1737. This mill, erected by 
Hezekiah Gates, during the municipal administration of the 
proprietors of Dorchester Canada, and in itself a conspicuous 
fioaire in the record of the settlement of the town, was men- 
tioned in a preWous chapter. In the same connection was 
o-iven an account of the second mill which was built in 1752 


and near the site of the first mill. 

The third mill, within the limits of the original township, 
was also built at an early date. The proprietors located the 
first and second mills, over which they assumed a nominal 
control, as near the centre of the town as the conditions 
would permit. The numerous settlers within and north ot 
the Dutch Farms were far removed from the only mills in 
the township and caused one to be built in their vicinity 
previous to 1758. It w^as owned at that time by ]Moses 
Foster, Jr., and Zimri Hey wood, and was situated near the 
outlet of Watatic pond. The site of this mill is now in 
Ashby and was a part of the substantial contributions of 
Ashburnham when that town was incorporated. Previous 
to the Ile\olution, a saw and grist mill was built at the out- 
let of Rice pond near the site of the reservoir dam. In the 


I ■:(' 

;!;'■* ■l-MVji'M.i fT 

'.(■//u^ '.W.j 

'" * ■>, 

,'i •;. -Il^.-v ,..■,■ tq 

M ", ' .-'.I/I 

'-■; '.r 

' ' I ' > I .':. 

; ( ' ': ' 


first division of lots, the eighth lot was oneof tho ministenal 
lots and subsequently was under the control of the town. It 
included the mill privilege and extended southerl3\ In 1772, 
for eighteen dollars, the town sold the north part of the lot 
to Ebenezer Conant, Ji., for a mill site, and for some reason 
subsequently refunded the money. j\Ir. Conant, however, 
built the mill and in 1778 a road was laid from near the 
village "passing over the mill-dam of Ebenezer Conant, Jr., 
and between said Conant's house and barn and through lots 
seven and eight, until it strikes the old road." At the age 
of forty years, Mr. Conant died August 3, 1783. The mill 
Mas afterwards owned b}' Jonas Randall, Jonathan Brooks 
and others. About seventy years ago it was removed to 
Water street. 

Philip Oberlock, who assumed the name of Locke, owned 
a saw-mill at an early date in the south part of the town. 
It situated near the shop of Reuben Puffer. In 1778 
Mr. Locke sold the mill to Daniel Gibbs who owned it 
several years. The early proprietors of the mill property, 
now owned by Elijah Gross and Son, were Simeon Brooks, 
Caleb Wilder and Jason Mead. In 18 IG it was purchased 
by Peeks Gross. The mill was burned in 1844 and rebuilt 
the following year. For many years there has been a saw 
and grain mill at this site. The present proprietors have 
gi'ound and sold a large quantity of western corn. At 
times a portion of this mill has been occupied by tenants. 
Chairs have been made here by Liberty Holt, Charles But- 
trick, James Blodget, Ira Brooks and Irving E. Platts. 
Samuel J. Tenney, William Tenney and Henry Lawrence 
have manufactured tubs and pails, and John Davis has pre- 
pared excelsior at this mill. 

Ezra Dana removed to this town about 1790. He did not 
remain here many years, but he found employment in build- 

■ij!'! ;^ '-, !'. i-:<.''? ■<:! > -.i:;;; --r^i'it:.' ','j JjtQ.v „V 

■ jn: 'iii! 


.()'■-• i.v 

^ ■ ; i ■ ' 

■^(',11 J.t: .1 

' ! ',.,,. r> 

''' '- I' 'i;;il ,, •'■•i:',>V />i/;ii, 


ing the ihst mill on the river at Burrageville. The ancient 
•dam and also the evidence of the sudden tlood which occurred 
under his administration still i-emain. To irrigate a field of 
corn suffering: from a drought, he cut a small channel throuirh 
the banks enclosing his mill-pond. The treachery of a sandy 
soil suddenly drained the pond and ruined the corn. No 
subsequent trace of Dana is found, yet it is more probable 
that he removed from town than that he was washed away in 
the sudden current. The second mill in Lane Village, which 
was built by Caleb Dana and Elisha Coolidge, was removed 
by Colonel Francis Lane. Li 1786 he built a new mill 
whero the upper mill of Packard Brothers now stands. In 
1805 he enlarged the building and continued to maintain a 
saw-mill and a grist-mill until 1822, when he sold the 
pro})erty to John Kibling, and four years later it was pur- 
chased by Samuel Foster, who sold it to Enos Emory in 
1830. In 1846 Francis Lane, Jr., and his sons became the 
proprietors, and in 1854 the buildings were renewed. Mil- 
ton Lane, who had acquired possession, sold it to C. and G. 
C. Winchester about twenty years ago. Charles F. and 
Albert D. Packard, the present owmers, bought it in 1881. 

About forty rods below Packard Brothers' upper mill is 
an unoccupied mill site. Here Francis Kibling built a mOl 
in 1832. Dr. Stillman Gibson of Xew Ipswich subsequently 
o>viied it until it was removed about thirty years ago. It 
was occupied as a saw-mill and shingle-mill. On the same 
stream near Packard Brothers' lower mill is the ancient 
Gates dam, and near by are found traces of the dam where 
Francis Lane, Jr., built a saw-mill and turning shop in 1833. 
In 1846 it was purchased by Enos Emory, and was burned 
about tvventy years ago. The lower mill of Packard 
Brothers was built by Elias Lane for a turning shop in 1822. 
It was sold to Eaton and Harris in 1855, who occupied it 

<i{> 'I'y, 

" Vi^-i-iiWO'fi .•■: 


7 .'> 

■ I m 


about seven years, Passini^ through several owners it was 
bought by Packard Brothers in 1874. 

If the power of the stream in North Ashburnham was not 
occupied a's earl}'^ as at Lane Village, forty years ago it was 
quite thoroughly utilized. There are four mill sites within a 
short distance and all of tlioni at times have been quite fully 
emplo3''ed. The lower one was built and occupied many years 
by Alvin AYard. It was burned in 1860. The second mill 
in order of location was owned, and is said to have been built 
by ]Moses and Ezra Lawrence. The next owner was Daniels 
Ellis w^ho held it several years. It was subsequently owned 
by W. I-. G. Ward, and later by Isaac D. Ward. The 
present owner is Joseph H. Small. The unoccupied mill 
was built by Deacon John C. and Joseph Davis in the 
autumn of 1820. It is owned by Isaac D. AVard. The first 
mill on the fourth privilege was built by Alonzo L. Willard 
about 1842, and has been occupied in the manufacture of a 
variety of wares. The successive owners were John Bald- 
win and Daniels Ellis, Jr. Mr. Ellis removed the original 
and built the present mill about 1863. He sold it when 
completed to LaKoy A. Butler. Isaac D. Ward now owns 

The iir>;t mill on the stream flowing from Rindge, in the 
order of location, was built by Eliphalet Eddy about fifty 
years ago. About 1845 he was succeeded by Corey, 
Barrett and Kibling, and later by Jonas Corey. It is now 
owned and occupied by Roljert W. Mclntire. Daniels Ellis, 
Jr., built the next mill on this stream nearly forty years ago. 
Edwin Hayward has owned it about ten years. The next 
mill was built by Daniels Ellis, Jr., and Avas owned several 
years by Air. Ellis and Horace W. Houston and later by Mr. 
Houston. The dam was destroyed by the freshet in the 
autumn of 1869. Three mills have been erected on the 

■■-,'■ r 

■ i ' ■'' r 

406 HISTORY OF AsnnunNiiAM. 

'\^^litlno^c rnd Jones privilege, and are mentioned in another 
paragraph.. The first mill on the privilege of Leonard 
Foster was built al)0ut the commencement of the present 
century. It was owned many years by Nathaniel Foster 
who died in 1826. After a few years it came into the pos- 
session of Thomas Bennett, and for many years has been 
owned by Leonard Foster, who built the present mill about 
1850. A large quantity of lumber has been sawed at this 
mill. Two mills have been burned on this site. 

The saw-mill at Burrageville was built and owned man}' 
years by George L. Beals and later it was a part of the 
property of the Burrage Brothers. Later, J. H. and E. L. 
Hodge owned it several years, and manufactured chairs as 
well as coarse lumber. For seventeen years it has been 
owned by C. L. Beals and occupied by rreorge L. Beals, Jr. 
There have been several saw-mills in the central village, 
but generally they have been connected with manufacturing 
establishments and are incidentally mentioned in such con- 
nection. A saw-mill was built in 1835, on the site of the 
chair factory of AVilbur F. ^7hitney, by Joshua B. Burgess. 
A few years later ]Mr. Burgess sold it to Europe H. Fair- 
banks and Colonel Ivers Phillips, who annually sawed a large 
quantity of lumber. The subsequent owners were Bailey, 
Spaulding and Sherv\-in, who sold it about 18 B2 to Charles 
and George C. Winchester. The dam was destroyed by the 
freshet in 1869 and was not rebuilt until 1882, when Mr. 
Whitney purchased the premises. On the Xorth Turnpike 
, there have been two saw-mills and one is still standing. 
They possessed all the requirements for business except 
water. Failing in this essential requisite they were in 
operation only a small })ortion of the time. 

Samuel Dunster removed from Mason, Xew Hampshire, 
to this town, in 1801, and here found employment for many 

■ i't /. 


.,..^i -^ SKW...-V,,,: 

1 ■ - .'■.::■ 1. . 


■f ^ " ") 



r"i..|Mv;r. ' '-i.: S'l ■?:,(! 


ye;irs in building, selling and excluiuging mills. First, he 
built a saw-mill and grain-mill at Factory Village, "which he 
sold to Benjamin Gibbs about 1816 and then removed to the 
central village, where in 1817 he built a grain-mill on the 
site of the mill of Colonel George II. Barrett and soon after 
he became interested in other manufacturing enterprises 
which are mentioned in another connection. Mr. Dunster 
removed to Factory Village in 1830 and bought the mill of 
Mr. Gibbs which he continued to own until his death. For 
man}' years it was under the care of Elijah and Joel Brooks 
and at last it was washed awav bv the freshet. The o-rain- 
mill on ^lill street has been owned by many individuals and 
firms. Among them are included Josiah Lane, the Cald- 
wells, Piam Burr, Colonel Charles Barrett, ]Mirick Stimson, 
Charles and George C. "Winchester, John Pladlcy, Moses P. 
and Theodore Greenwood. The present owner, Colonel 
George 11. Barrett, has conducted an extensive business in 
grinding western corn and in the sale of grain. The present 
saw-mill and grain-mill at Factory Village Avas built by 
Ebenezer Frost in 1855. Mr. Frost sold it in 18GG to 
Cyrus A. Jefls, Tiieodore Greenwood and Frank "W. Wal- 
lace, but the firm was soon succeeded by Mr. Jefts, who is 
in possession at the present time. The lower mill of Warren 
E. Marble was built by Jacob "\Miiteman about 1825. The 
saw-mill was built by his father, Luke Marble, in 1863. On 
this stream and at an early date there were two other mills. 
The first one was built by Plenry Hall, a son of the emigrant, 
immediately after the Revolution. It stood between the 
cwo mills of Mr. Marble. After several years, ]Mr. Hall 
removed his mill to the outlet of Watatic pond and near his 
residence. It was not kept in repair many years and no 
other mill has been erected on the same site. The other 
mill on the stream falling into Ward pond was built by 


ilr' ■:-■-: '''■'\rr::/r 

1 - ' . •- 1 ; ■'■ ' 

, , , ,':';-",/ ' 

1 i.-. !,*>•• .',. 


Nicholas Whitemau and was subseciuently owned by his son 
Jacob AVhiteman. It was burned about 1820. During the 
past twenty years, Luke ]Marl)k^ and his sons have lyanufact- 
ured a considerable quaiitit}' of lumber and chair stock. 

CiiAiKS. — The monkey for ages has sat upon the ground. 
In this way he enjoys his rest and consumes his leisure hours 
in the contemplation of the simplest philosophies. Assuming 
that the Darwinian theory is correct, there is ample evidence 
for the conclusion that the progressive development of man 
and the stages of his civilization and enlightenment have 
been marked by his use of seats, and by the genius displayed 
in their design and construction. The chairs of the present, 
in o-race of outline, and in a practical adaptability to the use- 
for which they are designed, are a sure exponent of the prog- 
ress of the times in the art of mechanism. In this manu- 
facture, both in the nuaiber and the value of the annual 
product, Ashburnham yields the palm to Gardner and 
surveys the remaining field without a peer. In the early 
manufacture of chair stock in this town the conditions re- 
quired only a small room in some part of the dwelling-house, 
a saw, a frow and a shave, while a foot-lathe introduced the 
owner to the front rank among the chair makers of that 
period. The terms of admission to the business were so 
simple and the outlay of money so small that the number 
who supplemented their other emi)loyment with the manu- 
facture of chairs or chair stock, was only exceeded by the 
tax list. To make an entire chair was an early ambition of 
Ashburnham, while to turn a good chair leg was only the 
simplest inspiration of intuition. Ask the aged man of Ash- 
burnham who were lievolutionary soldiers, and beginning 
with his father and his uncles he slowly names a few. Ask 
him who were early Federalists or Orthodox or Methodists 
and his memory fails. But ask him who were chair makers 


ti> fHi 

-■;i ''•■■;0;(i'> 'I ^' .■>•■!■!' 

1 ^*;f)"S 

; '-■' '.I'll 


when he was young and instantly his eye brightens with the 
light of returning memories. He becomes loquacious. He 
counts the names of all he knew, traversing his finger-tips 
over and over again, and if in the pauses of enumeration the 
reckless instigator of the proceedings essays to retire, he 
calls him back and names every son of these chair-making 

If not the first to entraire in this business, certainly amono: 
those who early made the manufacture of chairs an occupa- 
tion, was John Eaton, a native of Lancaster, who removed 
to this town in 1805 from Asliby, where he had learned his 
trade. Here he remained four years when he removed to 
Royalston. It is said that Enos Jones persuaded Mr. Eaton 
to locate in Ashburnham, and that he agreed to purchase a 
stipulated lunnber of chairs. Some of the daughters of iNIr. 
Jones were recently married and others were seriously con- 
templating a similar event, and in order that he might add a 
certain number of chairs to the marriage outfit of his daugh- 
ters, he engaged the services of IMr. Eaton who not only 
answered the demands of his employer but supplied the 
wants of other families in the neighborhood. While thus 
engaged, and possibly to stimulate his business by creating 
a new demand for his wares, Mr. Eaton married the youngest 
daughter of his patron. For several years, commencing 
about 1820, Charles and Deacon John C. Davis, at North 
Ashburnham, and Charles Munroe at South Ashburnham, 
were actively engaged in this business. In the course of a 
few years water power was employed in turning stock and 
Joshua Burgess, Deacon John C. Glazier, Alvin Ward and, 
probably, others were engaged in some branches of the 
business. These pioneers were soon joined by John Conn, 
Iiai-\-ey M. Bancroft, Lyman Conant, Thomas E. Glazier, 
Moses Koss, James Blodget, Joseph Rice, Josiah Eaton, 


• i i'n: i|i;m' rr 

'I / ■' 

■I. -;■[;■;■ J,': 


'.'» i' 


Jes.'^e Ellis, Sumner May, Hezckiah ^Matthews, Samuel S. 
Stevens, and many others. A feature of the l)usincss at this 
time -was the sale of turned stock in the lower towns and, in 
fact, many persons named conducted no other business, and 
few of them were engaged in the manufacture of finished 

In 1833 Philip R. Merriam began the manufacture of 
chairs where the extensive factories of the Boston Chair 
Manufacturing Company now stand. He was also engaged 
in teaming chairs to Boston and other places and hauling 
freight of all description. From the little mill and small 
beginning of ]Mr. ]Meri'iam has been developed an industry 
which has added fame and wealth to this town. To this 
date the development of the business had been slow and un- 
productive of substantial results. Even in sanguine dreams 
the possibilities of the future had never been suggested. 
Upon the clumsy methods and tedious processes of the early 
days the genius which has attended the later years had shed 
no light. Yet, if slow, the early growth was solid. The 
foundations were laid in patient toil and upon them the 
modern stnicture has been safely reared and supported. At 
this date, and in a field inviting conquest, Charles and George 
C. "Winchester began an intelligent study of the business. 
Charles Winchester bought the shop of Philip li. Merriam 
and, subsequently, joined in the enterprise by the younger 
brother, an important bushiess was soon established. In the 
ardor of sanguine temperaments, and the hope and courage 
of young men, they quickly comprehended a measure, at 
least, of its future possibilities. At once, rebels against 
antiquated methods and patrons of every approved innova- 
tion, they increased the capacity of their works as rapidly as 
the profits of the business would permit. With unwearied 
application they directed their energies to the accomplish- 

Ifi i' 

i() Tr 

;i':;t ';•> '•>: 





nient of a denned purpose until the images of their early 
dreams became material forms. AVith them in their active 
days every success was an incentive to renewed conquest. 
They held every point for which they had contended and 
fought their way to the foremost rank. To these men the 
town of Ashburnham is indebted. If the Winchesters have 
retired from an active participation in the business the fact 
remains, that it was fostered by them and that it was the 
force of their genius and energy which ably assisted in 
assigning to xVshburnham an important position among the 
manufacturing towns of the Commonwealth. The facts are 
not at hand nor is it possible to state the details of the 
^owth and magnitude of the business, while under the 
•direction of the Winchesters. They were building and 
•enlarging continually. The record of advancement enlivens 
the trans;" ctions of every year. A few of the dates and a 
summary of the results are briefly stated. 

In 184i' the small shop and the business of ]\lr. ]\[erriam 
was purchased by Charles Winchester ; in 1848 George C. 
Winchester was admitted to an e<iual interest in the business. 
The mills, from time to time, were enlarged to nearly their 
present capacity and chairs of their manufacture of every 
style and design were found in every domestic and foreign 
market. Tliey purchased and erected many tenement 
houses, and many mills in the surrounding towns were under 
their control. At the dissolution of the firm in 1870, the 
number of men employed in the manufacture of chairs was 
iibout two hundred and at times this number was considerably 
exceeded. From 1870 to 1878 the Imsiness was continued 
by George C. Winchester. At the first he assumed the 
burdens and conducted the enterprise with his accustomed 
energy, and the volume of the business for several years was 
fully sustained, but it gradually became apparent that his 


i " : I, 

, •!■ '■;■.( 

,'''''- ' '■ s ' "J !l''' .■;'.| r-:.,i 

'^ii '.'.' ,!>r;v; 

■ fi . ,' :/,',- rv. I ' )i 


bri'.m w:;s overworked and his uativc forces were failing him. 
After a few years of partial, and finally of entire, suspension 
of business, the property' was purchased in 1880 by several 
individuals who organized a stock company. 

The value of the })Iant, exclusive of stock and personal 
property, is $75,000. The capital stock is $150,000. In 
the manutacture of chairs the corporation owns and occupies 
thirty-four buildings, having a total ilooring of 300,000 feet 
or about seven acres. The main factory is of wood, four 
stories, and ground dimensions of 160 by 48 feet; the saw- 
mill is briclv, two stories, 100 by 50 feet; the main paint 
shop of wood, four stories, is 1(30 by 40 feet. The works 
are driven by an engine of 200-horse power and the river 
rated at 35-horse power is fully utilized. The accompanying 
illustration faithfully represents tlie number and the relative 
location of the buildings. The number of men now em- 
ployed is 200, beside 100 inmates of the Hampden County 
Plouse of Correction and as many women and children in this 
vicinity who are engaged in tilling cane chairs. The present 
annual product is 3(30,000 chairs, which yield an income 
from sales of $200,000. The facilities will accommodate an 
annual business of $400,000 and arranirements are maturins" 
to employ every resource at command. With one, and 
possibly two exceptions, this is the most extensive chair 
manufactory in New England. In addition to the manufact- 
ure of the standard lines, and following a series of success- 
ful experiments, this company is now making chairs com- 
posed in part, and in some patterns wholly, of bent material. 
With ingenious appliances the wood is shaped into graceful 
forms and swiftly directed into circles and all manner of 
curves. These chairs of many patterns, presenting no right 
lines or angles, are graceful and attractive in outline, and are 
admitted to be superior in strength and general appearance 

I • - ; ■ ,(■ 

7 V, 

M ; , 



to the foreign chair from wliicli they hfivc been copied. The 
process of this jnanufacture originated in Austria, and skilled 
mechanics from that country were here employed in perfect- 
ing the required machinery and patterns. The present facili- 
ties "uill produce 30,000 chairs of this kind annuall}^ and in 
the markets there is an increasing demand. AV. G. Whcil- 
don, whose office is in Boston, has been treasurer of the 
company from the date of its incorporation. Luther B. 
Adams was the manager until 1885 when he was succeeded 
by F. S. Coolidge. 

Prominent among the chair manufactories of this town and 
in this \'iciuity are the extensive factories of Wilbur F. 
Whitney at Ashburuham Junction. Mr. Whitney has been 
schooled in the business from boyhood. He is in the prime 
iind strength of life, yet within his experience all the modem 
machinery' in general use has been tested and approved. In 
mechanical skill, in a prompt and clear comprehension of 
the growing demands of the trade and in the adoption of 
new methods to meet the changing requirements of the 
business, he has advanced to a prominent position among 
th,e manufacturers of the present time. The business was 
originally established by his father, John Whitney, in W^est- 
minster nearly sixty years ago. In 1865 Mr. Whitney 
purchased an interest in the Glazier mil] in South Ashburn- 
ham where he was eniraged in active business three years. 
In 1868 he sold his interest in the Glazier mill and boug-ht a 
mill of Merriam and Allen, situated one-fourth mile east from 
the depot. Here he remained fouiteen years and was suc- 
cessful. A part of the time he was in partnership with 
Irving E. Platts. Sustaining and constantly enlarging his 
operations with the profits of the business and with the 
erection of a new building, he increased the capacity of his 
works until he gave employment to eighty men and manu- 

.■;ja i^c !.. 

'Vih -;f; 

'<"':;;j;n'i,i.a< -f;; 



factured chairs to the amount of $150,000 annually. In 
March, 1882, the factory was burned. The loss above in- 
surance vras heavy. To build again was an early and for the 
town a fortunate resolve, ^fr. Whitney purchased a site 
near the depot and immediately erected a factory of three 
and one-half stories, 136 by -40 feet, and a paint shop 100 
by 30 feet. The chairs made in these works are the modern 
styles of cane-seat chairs. The wood material includes all 
varieties of native hard wood and black walnut, which is 
procured in the AVest. Ilavmg built a new mill for its 
accommodation, GO by 40 feet, and three stories above the 
basement, he supplemented his business in 1884 with the 
manufacture of rattan chairs. In 1886 this factory was 
enlarged by the addition of fifty feet, and it is now 110 by 
40 feet, with a flooring of 17,600 feet. At the present time 
Mr. Whitney employs 140 men. His manufacture yields an 
annual product of $175,000. The full capacity of his 
factories at prevailing prices is about $250,000. The rattan, 
from which the cane for chairs is taken, is a product of 
Sumatra and the adjacent islands. The improved machinery 
employed by Mr. Whitney in splitting and shavmg the 
material was made under the patents and is operated under 
the immediate supervision of George W. Lombard. 

Orange Whitney, who occupies the Burgess mills, gives 
employment to thirty men and manufactures chairs to the 
amount of $50,000 annually. Since 1881 he has resided in 
Winchendon. The first mill on this site in which there was 
a saw-mill and a irrist-mill was built by Joshua B. Bur^ress 
in 1844. The building was burned in 1850 and immediately 
rebuilt. Mr. Burgess was also engaged in the manufacture 
of chairs. In 1856 he was succeeded by Edward S. Flint, 
Jonathan II. I*Iper and James Blodget under the fiiiu of 
Flint, Piper and Blodget. In 1861 Mr. Flint became 

'. id V '. 

T.' ■-; i 





— i 








■ W - 

V/if--?^" . 1 ^ 55 E -: 

y,--;^,"-i4*v^ •■ ^^'^ ^^ '^ i 


proprietor of the business which he continued alone and with 
partners until 1873. Abner White succeeded Mr. Flint and 
continued the manufacture until 1878. At this time Benja- 
min E. AVetherbee purchased the propeily and leased it to 
Mr. Whitney. 

Irving E. Platts has been actively engaged in this manu- 
facture several years. He occupies the Glazier mill and 
usually emploj^s about fifteen men. There has been a mill 
upon this site many years. In 1824 Deacon John C. Glazier 
bought the premises of Charles Munroe and after his death 
in 1861, the property had several owners and was purchased 
by Benjamin E. Wetherbee in 1868. The new mill, on the 
opposite side of the highway, was built in 1872. It is 
occupied by ]SIr. Wetherbee in the manufacture of bent 
chair stock. He gives employment to several men. 
Another chair shop in South Ashburnham was built in 1856 
by Sumner and Charles S. ^lay. They were engaged in the 
business until recently when the premises were leased to B. 
Duane & Co., the partners being Bernard Duane and Orange 
Whitney who manufacture towel racks and cradles. 

From about 1837 to 1848 chairs were manufactured on the 
site of the Xaukeag Cotton Factory by several individuals 
and firms, includins; James Osgood, Samuel S. Stevens and 
Alvin Kendall. From thirty to forty years ago, for some 
reason, nearly every merchant in the central village was 
also a manufacturer of chairs, and while Corey, Barrett and 
Kiblingf were selling staple floods at their store thev were 
making; chairs in a mill which stood on the site of the 
morocco shop. ' • • 

Burrage ville , once the scene of a promising and active 
enterprise, was founded by chair makers. George S. Bur- 
rage, then of Leominster, about 1848, bought of George L. 
Beals a saw-mill, dwelling-house and a large tract of timber 


<"'^(--,<: i.-fvi; 7 t-; 

i- :.J r:'i)L r 

i 1 f 

''!■•; ''^t 

I '.'■' 


land. The price paid was thirteen thousand dolhirs. The 
saw-mill was burned about that time and rebuilt in its 
present form and chairs were made in the u}>per story. The 
company, including George S., William F. and Charles W. 
Burrajje, was formed, and under the firm name of Burrage 
Brothers they built in 1853 the paint shop, 40 by 80 feet, 
which still remains, and the following year a chair factory, 
40 by 100 feet, was erected on the sti'cam above the saw- 
mill. For a number of years the firm was actively, engaged 
in the manufacture of chairs and gave employment to a large 
number of men. In the mean time they built several 
tenement houses and were conducting a store in another 
building which they erected. In the midst of these scenes 
of activity and promise, in 1858 the chair factory was burned 
and the enterprise was crippled beyond recovery. William 
F. Burrage retired from the firm in 1857 and returned to 
Leominster where he died November 11, 1873. Charles W. 
Burrage sold his interest to his brother, George S. Burrage, 
who again became sole owner of the premises in 1859. The 
■ younger brother, Charles, completed his studies, which had 
been interrupted by the allurements of business, and gradu- 
ated at Yale College 1861, and since that date he has resided 
in Portland, Oregon. George S. Burrage removed to 
California where he died ^lay 16, 1876. AVhile residents 
of this town they were useful and prominent citizens and 
occupied many positions of trust. 

From about 1864 to 1868 a limited business was con- 
ducted in the saw-mill by J. II. and E. L. Ilodge who came 
from Templctou. The property was purchased by Charles 
L. Beals of Winchendon in 1869, and is occupied by 
George L. lieals, Jr. 

Tubs and Pails were made in this town a few years, 
beginning about 1825, by Joshua Townsend. His shop was 

' « ;' ) 

'■; y' I! 

ft;;; !»i-:. . 


ou Mill street. The quantity made at this early date did 
not materially exceed the demands of a limited market. In 

1839 Oliver G. Caldwell and Elbridge Stimson began the 
manufactare on a more extensive scale, which, under succes- 
sive firms, has been continued to the present time. In 1848 
Mr. Stimson sold his interest to William P. Ellis and the 
firm of O. G. Caldwell & Co. was continued until 1853 when 
the mill and machinery were jjurchased by George Rockwood 
and Addison A. Walker. Mr. Ivockwood sold his interest 
to his son, George G. Eockwood, in 18GG, but the name of 
the firm was not changed. The firm was dissolved by the 
retirement of Mr. Walker in 1876, and the mill was burned 
m 1883. Mr. Eockwood })uichased the "Winchester mill and 
has continued the manufacture to the present time. The 
business has been successfully conducted through these 
many years a)id is an im|X)rtant feature of the manufactures 
of this town. 

From about 1843 to 1851 this manufacture was conducted 
by two or three firms which included William Tenney, 
Samuel J. Tenney and Henry Lawrence. They occupied a 
part of the mill of E. Gross and Son and were successful. 
In 1856 Colonel Enoch Whitniore began the manufacture of 
tubs and continued the business several years. 

Thread Spools were foi-merly made in this town, and 
the manufacture was a prominent industry for many years. 
About 1830 Colonel Enoch Whitmore and Deacon Gilnian 
Jones, under the firm of AVhitmore and Jones, built a mill 
in the northwest part of the tow^n on the western border of 
the Bellows grant, and established an extensive business in 
the manufacture of this ware. Their mill was burned in 

1840 and another in 1850. The large mill, now unoccupied, 

was erected in the autumn of 1850 and the business was 

continued by Colonel Whitmore until his death. The water 


■I': i\i-?.A'K\ "o- 



power was su[)plemcntcd by steam and in the last mill there 
was ail eni;"iiio of forty-horse power and for several years the 
full capacity of the mill was emj>loyed. This manufacture 
has been controlled of late by the proprietors of the thread 
mills and has been conducted near the centres of the trade. 
Xathaniel L. Eaton and Lysander Harris also manufactured 
spools in the lower mill, now of Packard Brothers, from 
1855 to 18G2, In 1859 Leonard Foster purchased new 
machinery and prosecuted this industry with success several 

FincTiOX Matches have been made in this town quite 
extensively. In 1837 AVilliam Brooks bcijanthe manufiict- 
ure in North Ashburnham in a small shop built for the 
purpose and from time to time enlarged the business until a 
new sho}) was built for its accommodation. In itself the 
business of ]Mr. Brooks was successful, but he became 
involved in litigations concerning infringements of patents 
which oftset the legitimate income of the enterprise. ]Mr. 
Brooks was succeeded by Eliakim T. Kussell who continued 
the manufacture until 18G5. 

Byam, Carlton it Co. of Boston, for a few years, made a 
part of their matches in this town. They occupied a shop 
now owned by Daniels Ellis. Francis Kibling and Daniels 
Ellis were also engaged in the business. Another industry 
has been the manufacture of match stock or cards prepared 
for dipping. Those engaged in this business were Alvin 
Ward, Leonard Foster, Alonzo L. Willard, Eaton and 
Harris, ^Nlilton Lane and others. 

Baskets have been made by John M. Pratt in South 
Ashljurnhara during tlie past thirty years. His shop, 
formerly a ]\Iethodist parsonage, was moved from West- 
minster. He has steam power, a trip-hammer and 
machinery adapted to the business. Fomierly, the baskets 


ii'f' ii-cn. 

;rv . ;!,:,'■ 




for fjirni and household use were made entirely of ash. Of 
late, rattan has been used for filling and new patterns of 
baskets for a variety of uses have been niauuftictured. 

Doors, Sasii axd Blinds have been manufactured by 
Reuben Putter in South Ashburnliam. Like all other mills 
in this town, some parts of it have been used in the manufact- 
ure of chairs. In this mill there has been a number of 
tenants but none of them have conducted a very extensive 

Miscellaneous wood- ware, not included in the foregoing 
paragraphs, has been manufactured in this town by Colonel 
Whitmore, Warren F. Sawtell, Isaac D. Ward, LeRoy 
Butler, F. H. Rideout, William P. Ellis, Fletcher Brothers, 
and in 1884 Samuel N. Noyes began the manufacture of toys 
on Water street, giving employment to ten or twelve men 
and producing a variety of miscellaneous wares. 

Wool Cardixg axd Cloth Dkessixg. — Thomas Park 
removed to this town in 1779 and about 1790 he built a 
small mill on the east side of the river and nearly opposite 
the present site of the blacksmith shop. In this mill he was 
the first to engafre in fullins: and dressing the cloth which 
had been woven in hand looms. He sold in 1800 to Fitch 
Crosby who conducted a prosperous business until about 
1840. This mill was subsequently owned by Horace Black, 
who was engaged in the manufacture of furniture. It was 
finally destroyed by the freshet in 1850. Commencing 
about 1815 Mr. Crosby and Joshua Townsend began wool 
carding by power. Their cards were in a shop that stood on 
the site of the morocco shop. 

Samuel Dunster, about 1820, built a shop for wool carding 
where the tub shop of Rockwood and Walker was burned. 
In this business he was succeeded by Dr. Nathaniel Pierce. 
Mr. Dunster built another shop for this business, below his 

I l.'J'. 

, ; • r'M 



grist-iiiill, :it Factory Village. This building was waslicd 
away by iho, freshet l)ut the cards had not been run for 
several years previously. In 1825, or about the time card- 
ing machines were introduced on Mill street, Joshua, Moses, 
and Jorcnjiali Stowell, from Temple, New Hampshire, built 
a shop on the North Turnpike and began wool carding and 
spinning. With the aid of hand looms they manufactured 
broadclotli of a firm texture and substantial character. In 
this business the}" were succeeded about 1830 by Charles 

CoTTOX Factoiues. — Cotton spinning by power and the 
manufacture supplemented by hand looms was begun in this 
town as early as 1811 or 1812. Samuel Dunster of this 
town owning three-fourths and Roger Chandler of ]Mason, 
New Ilampshii'e, ownimj; one-fourth, were the first to ensjajre 
in this business. Their mill was at Factory Village. It was 
subsequently owned by Samuel Barrett, Jewett and Woods 
and George Blackburn & Co., who purchased it in 1843. 
The mill was burned in 1816 and a larger mill was built 
immediately after. The last mill was burned in 1877. The 
factory on Water street was built by an incorporated com- 
pany in 1849. The stock was held by residents of this 
town who, without previous experience in the business, run 
the mill a few years and until the debt of the cori)oration 
was equal to the value of the plant. The mill was sold in 
1856 to George Blackburn and Ohio Whitney, Jr. The 
amount received from this sale paid the indebtedness of the 
coi'poration and thirteen cents on one hundred dollars of the 
capital stock. It will be observed that the corporation could 
have run the mill about eight hours longer without an assess- 
ment. Mr. Whitney continued his interest in the mill and 
the business about ten years when he sold to George Black- 
burn & Co., who have continued to the present time. 

r;'" '1 . .' ( , 

uiu Jy:^l,.-^.. 

'i;:- ■:■'%?'■ V'.,:) 

1 ';•,;' 'Ml 

• rrr 

t;v ::: 

' 1i.-',; ■ 


Tanneries. — Following a custom of the time, the hides 
of domestic animals were tanned on shares or for stipulated 
compensation and the leather returned to the owner. The 
operation of tanning hides and. dressing leather consumed 
time and often the leather fell into the hands of an admini;^- 
trator or the heirs of the orioinal owner of the hides. In all 
the old New England towns there were numerous little 
tanneries located near a convenient brook where without 
machinery of any kind the process was slowly conducted. 
Mention will be made of some of the old locations where this 
business was formerly conducted, and if, by any chance, one 
or more of them have not been discovered in this review of 
the past no immediate prejudice against the industry of a 
former generation will be encouraged thereby. 

Near the close of the Eevolution, AVillard Lane commenced 
this business where now is the residence of AValter O. Parker. 
He sold in 1797 to Deacon William J. Lawrence who en- 
larged the facilities and for the time conducted an extensive 

Captain David Gushing divided his thne between tanning 
and other employments. He lived where Nahum Wood now 
resides. His vats were north of the house and part of them 
are now covered by the highway. Levi Adams succeeded 
Mr. Gushing but soon closed out the business. 

Stephen Corey had a yard where George F. Corey now 
resides and was engaged in tanning a number of years early 
in the present century. In one of the vats his daughter was 
drowned. The business was later conducted by Stephen 
Corey, Jr. On his farm on Eusscll hill James Adams had 
several vats and conducted the business a number of years. 
This farm was subsequently owned and occupied by Joseph 

•'■'. r : .'11 ■/?•.> 'V,; 

I--.,.-.. ,r:_- ^ 

^ *•.»-■ 

■■ /;/o». -,-.7 --'.-..;,VT 


John Caldwoll was also a taiinor as well as a farmer. lie 
lived on the farm now of Alden 13. Marble and was succeeded 
by his son, Oliver G. Caldwell. The father and son con- 
ducted a limited business about thirty years, commencing" 
early in the present century. The Caldwells were the first 
in this town to employ water power in grinding bark. 
Formerly it had been ground in a crude mill turned by a 
horse which described the same circle many times in the 
labor of the day. The horse was spoiled for other work and 
literally died in the harness. So slowly did he move even 
under the lash, and so gradually did his energies waste away, 
that it required nice discrimination and keen exercise of a 
sound judgment to determine with accuracy the precise time 
to transfer the half-tanned hide from the dying animal to one 
of the vats. 

Fletcher and Warren of Stow once had a yard where the 
pail shop of George G. Rockwood now stands. The yard 
was formerly conducted b}* Deacon AVilliam J. Lawrence 
who was owner of the yard at the foot of Lawrence street. 
The yard was badly injured and the buildings destroyed by 
the freshet in 1850 and the business was never resumed on 
this site. 

From 1855 to 186G Elbridge Stimson conducted the 
business in the old morocco shop which was recently burned. 
At the time he Avas the only tanner in the town and no one 
has succeeded him. 

The ^VIoFtocco BrsixESS. — Thomas Russell began the 
morocco business in this town about sixty years ago. His 
shop was on Russell hill in the third school district and 
opposite the farm of Ward Russell. After about five years, 
he sold the business to "Walter Russell, who was succeeded 
by Frank Russell and Samuel V. Whitney. In 1852 they 
removed the business to Water street, occupying the old tan- 

.If -.■■^'iT 

■ i -It 

,. A,;! 

■■" .ill 


,'.■ I 


iierj- buildings where the factory ol" George G. Eockwood 
now stantls. xVliout thirty years ago they erected tlie build- 
ing familiarly known as the morocco shop. At this time the 
busmess was enlarged, becoming an important factor among 
the industries of the town. In the new shop they were 
succeeded by Austin "Whitney who with several partners 
continued the business until the shop was burned in 1882. 

Ivers and Thomas Adams were successfully engaged in 
finishing morocco on Eussell hill from 1838 to 1800. In 
1833 James Adams built a shop on the site of the mill now 
of Cyrus A. Jefts. In connection with pulling wool and 
tanning he finished morocco until he removed in 1849 to 
Pennsylvania. He was succeeded by Luther B. and Andrew 
J. Adams. The following year the property was destroyed 
by the freshet and Luther B. Adams. Elbridge Stimson and 
Austin Whitney built the shop on Brown brook where they 
conducted the same business a few years. 

Among the possibilities of this town should be mentioned 
the business and residence here of John and Salmon W. 
Putnam, who removed from ^Mason, New Hampshire, in 
1837 and commenced business as machinists in the old 
cotton factory at Factory Village. Here they remained 
three years when they removed to Fitchburg where they 
established an important industry which still bears their 
name and continues to contribute to the fam.e and wealth of 
that citv. 








Entiiusiasiii ill milit;ay affnirs for many years succeeding 
the Revolution was spontaneous. The man of middle age, 
familiar with the manual of arms and the school of the soldier, 
was fond of the pomp and display of military pageants. The 
youth, listening fi'om childhood to the stories of battles and 
campaigns in which the eloquent narrators had been engaged, 
were earl}' imbued with a kindred zeal in these pursuits. 
1'hc old soldier, debarred by the indrmities of age from 
active participation in the exercises of the tleld, was ever 
present with words of encouragement and support. In 
those days, either in deed or in spirit, all were soldiers. 
Encouraged by public sentiment and fostered by the laws of 
the Commonwealth, a military establishment was easily 
maintained, and in addition to other incentives there was 
associated with rank and with military titles an acknowledged 
dignity and honor which firmly appealed to the ambition of 
men. With such surroundings every military parade was 
conducted with enthusiasm and was witnessed by a crowd of 


iiV/; -)VA !'•!>, J !".) 

1 ' *'•■!., I '■'.'■ I'/.rj-^'tVnr;. ::n'ir 

".'i-i ',1'i "I'jjy i r 

- >•.:'■ i\i ■ i,;m, '': 

■' , ->; 'J ,'^ ' .r^rfr; ■/■;: ;• 

( I, 

!.;>'-'. ') ,J J 


a})plaiidiii2' people. On thc^e occasions the drum, the fife- 
and the attending juvenile suflered no restraint. The stated 
trainings and the musters were scenes of bustle and activity 
in which a Quaker would ha^•e been regarded with contempt 
and supremely pitied in his loneliness. 

The town of Ashburnham, eagerly participating in the 
prevailing sentiment of the times, manifested a lively interest 
in the local military organizations which for many years were 
sustained w ith a steadtast enthusiasm. In addition to all the 
requirements of the State, an independent military organiza- 
tion has been maintained in this town, almost w^ithout inter- 
ruption, since the Revolution. 

In a fomier chapter it appears that the minute-men of this 
town were under the command of Captain Jonathan Gates 
from 1775 to 1781. Upon a reorganization of the militia, 
the company in this town became knovrn as the seventh 
company of the Eighth Regiment. July 1, 1781, Francis 
Lane was commissioned captain, Ebenezer Conant, Jr., first 
lieutenant, and Daniel Putnam, second lieutenant. Lieuten- 
ant Conant died in 1783 and Captain Rand was promoted to 
major, and to lieutenant-colonel, 1787. In connection with 
these events, other officers of the Ashburnham company 
probably were appointed, of which no record has been found. 
May 2, 1787, Daniel Putnam was commissioned captain, 
Ebenezer ]Munroe, lieutenant, and John Abbott, ensign.. 
Lieutenant Munroe and Ensign Abbott w-ere not promoted. 
These titles became permanently affixed to their names. 
The next conmiander of the company probably was Josei)h 
Jewett. No record of his first commission has been dis- 
covered, but he was in command of the company in 178!>, 
and about this time John Adams was an ensign and a 

y;- i'Y. 

:ii) ■''■) • i'V:y 

:;■.» ; .;•%./ It 




Until a later date there was only one company of militia 
in this town, and, until 1791, it does not appear that the 
company organization was privileged or distinguished from 
any other militia company organized under the general laws 
of the State. But in Jane, 1791, the General Court granted 
the petition of the military men of this town, presented by 
General Timothy Xewell, and under the rights and privileges 
thus secured the Ashburuham Light Infantry was promptly 
organized. Its legal existence properly dates- from the issue 
of the tirst commissions to its officers, July 13, 1791. The 
petition and the proceedings of the General Court were as 
follow.s : 

SENTATIVES IX General Court Assembled : 

The petition of Timothy Newell Major Geueral of the seventh 
division of Militia in said Connuonwealth humbly sheweth : — 

That a number of persons, in the town of Ashbarnham in the 
4'^ Regiment in the 2*^ Brigade of said Division, did (when under 
the command of the Hon."'' Maj."" Gen.' Warner) agree to form 
themselves into a Company of Light Infantry and as doubts have 
arisen whether said persons can be formed into any other than an 
independent company and as it is not the wish of said persons to 
be thus established, your petitioner therefore prays that liberty be 
granted to raise a Company of Light Infantrj- within the aforesaid 
Regiment to be considered as a Company of Regimental Light 
Infantry nnder the command of the Colonel or Commanding 
ofiieer of said Regiment. 

The foregoing petition was presented June 18, 1791, and 
in response the Legislature passed the following resolve : 

• Resolvfd, That His Excellency the Governor be and he is 
hereby empowered and requested to issue orders for forming a 
Company of Light Infantry in the town of Ashburuham, provided 
they do not reduce the standing company of militia in said town 

i .:.: ■:' ,' 


to a less number than sixty privates of the train band ; the ofliccrs 
of said Light Infantry company to be appointed and commissioned 
in the same way and manner as is provided b^' hiw for the appoint- 
ing and commissioning other militar}' ofliccrs. Said company 
when so formed to be under tlie command of tlie Coh^nel or com- 
manding otlicer of the fourth regiment of the second brigade in 
said division. 

Under the privileges extended by this proceeding the 
Ashburnham Light Infantry was promptly organized. The 
first officers, commissioned July 33, 1791, were Joseph 
Jewett, captain, Caleb Kendall, lieutenant, and Charles 
Hastings, ensign. The following; year Captain Jewett was 
promoted to major, and Charles Hastings was commissioned 
captain, August 27 , 1792, and consequently was the second 
commander of the company. 

Concerning the names or the numl)er of men who belonged 
to the company during the first twenty years of its legal 
existence there is no complete record. Beginning with the 
command of Ivers Jewett in 1813 the Ashburnham Light 
Infantry entered upon an era of prosperity. A book of 
enlistments, containing the names of all who were members 
of the company in 1813, with dates of original enlistment 
and the names of all who enlisted from that date to 1815, is 
carefully preserved in the archives of the company. At the 
close of the year 1813, the number of rank and tile, including 
non-commissioned officers and musicians, was fifty men. 
The only original member of the company was James Laws, 
Jr., of Westminster, who enlisted first in the militia in 
April, 1789, two years before the company was organized 
under pemiission of the Legislature. The next in duration 
of service was Joseph F. Burgess who joined in 179G, and 
following with a record of seven years or more of service are 
the names of Joseph Miller, Jonas Holden, John Gates, Jr., 

■■\ii\-"^ ■1-1 

'■J'J -^I't,-) l',l ,;/■,;;.■,'■! I V 

') . -'.'■) I 

■> :\' )/-■ ■; il, 

' >'} 


Jacob Vrard, James Adams, Ebenezer jNIunroe, Jr., Charles 
Muiiroe, John Hastings, Ebenezer Adams, Ivers JeAA'ctt, 
Walter K. Adams, Timothy Crehore, Jr., Dickerson Brooks 
and Jonathan Samson, Jr. Including the existing company 
iu 1813 and the subsequent enlistments to 1845, the record 
contains three hundred and ninety-eight names. 

The obligation to which each recruit subscribed, copied on 
the first page of the book of enlistment by the hand of Ivers 
Jewett, is probiibly a copy of the obligation adopted in 1791. 
It is here transcribed nnd will be familiar to many now 
living : 

To facilitate the perforujance of the duty, which we owe to our 
couutr}', of adding to our character as citizens some portion of tlie 
skill of the soldier, to increase our usefulness as militia men by 
adding to the zeal which is excited by patriotism, the ardor which 
is inspired by emulation and to give to each one of us who exert- 
ing himself for his own and his State's defence that confidence in 
the zealous and skilful cooperation of each other which can result 
only in military discipline ; We do hereby, agreeable to a resolve 
from the General Court of this Commonwealth, passed June the 
eighteenth, A. D. seventeen hundred and ninety-one for the 
raising of a Light Infantry company iu the town of Ashburnham, 
voluntarily enlist as meuibers of the Ashburnham Light Infantry 
company and to govern us in the pursuit of these objects we agree 
to equip ourselves according to the laws of this Commonwealth, to 
uniform according to the uniform of said company, which is per 
according to the clerk's book, and to submit to the rules and 
regulations of said company. All of which we pledge our honors 
to perform. 

In the war of 1812, the Ashburnham Light Infantry was 
held in a state of suspense thi-ough the summer of 1813 and 
a part of the following } ear. The indifference of ^Vlassa- 
chusctts to the prosecution of the war is a part of the general 

•f ; ■■■ i:\) .;.-•> 


liistoiy of the times. So far as individual opinion was con- 
cerned the general sentiment of the town was in support of 
the position of Governor Strong. But the spirit of the 
soldier arose in triumph over the prevailing sentiment of the 
town. During the progress of the war, the compan}^ was 
frequentl}^ disciplined in the exercise of arms and expectantly 
awaited the summons to march. 

During the summer of 1814 the presence of an unusual 
number of the armed vessels of the enemy caused frequent 
and grave alarm on the sea-coast. At this time several 
regiments of State militia were called out and wei'e stationed 
in Boston and vicinity. The Ashburnham Light Infantry 
was ordered into the service early in the month of Septem- 
ber. There are several now living who remember the 
hurried preparation and departure from this town. It was 
on the Sabbath. The company assembled at the Jewett 
store and after brief words of counsel and fervent prayer for 
their safe return by Rev. Dr. Gushing, the arms, ammunition 
and equipage were on a long line of \\agons hastily engaged 
for the occasion. The soldiers were in uniform but in the 
general features of the day there was only a faint suggestion 
of a military demonstration. The highway was tilled with 
vehicles of all descriptions which were employed to transport 
the army on its way. The wagons were unloaded at Lan- 
caster. The men were ordered un.der arms and they pro- 
ceeded on their way in a more warlike demonstration. They 
arrived in due thne at Boston and were mustered into the 
service September 0. The company was stationed at South 
Boston and Dorchester fifty-one days and was discharged 
October 30, 1814. Soon after their safe return to their 
homes, Rev. Dr. Gushing preached a sermon addressed 
particularly to the soldiers, congratulating them and the 
public on the prospect of peace. The sermon contains some 


;r;,r..:;! -..[■! 

■ i ■■■' ^ (>?%,:!/■ ' 

'f •..!■ 



wholesome advice. "Let mc caution you to take heed that 
yon rejoice without infringing ujion tlie ruhis of tenipciance. 
The pk^isure of this da}' is marred if anything takes phice 
inconsistent with your characters as men and Christians." 

The following is the roll of the company at this time. 
The three last names were enrolled a few days before the 
compan}- was ordered into service. The remaining names 
are transcribed from the ollicial roll at the annual inspection 
in May preceding. Four of the company — James Laws, 
Jr., Jonas Holden, Joseph PoUey and Adam Butler — were 
residents of AVestminster. , , ,, 

Ivers Jewelt, Captain 
Timothy Cvehoxc, Lieu' enant 
Walter 11. Adams, Ensign, 

Ebenezer Adams, Sergeant 
John Gates, Jr., " 

Eeuben Townsend, Jr., " 
Elijah Brooks, " 

Jamos Adams, Fifer 

EcDJarniu Barrett, " 
Oliver Barrett, Drummer 
Amos Stone, " 

Labaa Cushiog, "• 
Jonathan Samson, Jr. 
Josiab AYhite 
Reuben Rice, Jr. 
Luther Bigelow 
Joseph F. Burgess 
James Billings 
Ebenezer Flint 
James Laws, Jr. 
Charles Munroe 
Ebenezer Munroe, Jr. 
Joseph Miller 

Stephen Marble 
Joseph Rice 
Joseph Townsend 
Ephraim Taylor 
Jonas Holden 
Humphrey Harris 
Henr}' Gipson 
Joel Marble 
George Wilker, Jr. 
Adam Butler 
Thomas Howard 
Charles Stimson 
Asahel Corey 
Caleb WiUard , 
Elisha Garfield 
Ellas Blodgett 
Enoch Whitmore 
Charles Barrett 
Asia Phillips 
Dickerson Brooks 

'-■'^'-•i ' ^'•' ■- (^'^ .--tv'''^ ':;^r;■c.-l ,Mr:J,^,u 

, ..',■"> :;rVvi. 



•' -i^rrri/r-) 


Edward Mayuard John Hastings 

Joseph PoUey , Reuben Slimson 

Jacob Ward He man II arris 

Stephen Adams Jabez ]Marble 

For many years succeeding the war of 1812 the independ- 
ent company^ was maintained with full ranks. In proficiency 
of drill and standard of disci] )line it was among the first 
companies of the regiment. The officers were frequently 
promoted to command of the regiment and the citizens of 
the town evinced a reasonable pride in the organization. In 
the progress of years the military spirit was suff'ered to 
decline, the laws of the State were frequently amended and 
proffered a diminishing support and encouragement in the 
maintenance of a military organization. In an hour of 
despondency^ the company appealed to the town for assist- 
ance, but in this direction they were met with a cold refusal. 
In 1838 a proposition to make a small appropriation for the 
benefit of the company and another to loan them a small 
amount of mone3\ were promptly denied. The sentiment 
of inditTerence which pervaded the community as a natural 
consequence was disseminated among the ranks of the com- 
pany. From about 1845, the record is gloomy and often 
overcast with inactivity, but the compan}^ maintained a legal 
existence and occasionally manifested a spasmodic effort at 
resustication until December 1, 1851, when the remaining 
ofiicers were officially discharged. From that date until 
1855, the company remained beneath the surface. The last 
captain was Nathaniel F. Cutter who resigned November 14, 
1846, and no successor was commissioned. Lieutenant 
Clarence M. Proctor remained lieutenant commanding until, 
as stated, December 1, 1851. In the mean time orders for 
the choice of oiEcers were issued, and in 1847 Colonel 

f '. : 

■Ml ii.]" 

u:i.:. It',, (Vii .• ; ■7,- 

'"'"';'/)') 'J I 

' • ■,.!'.■■ 



Francis J. Barrett was choseu captain, but he declined to 
<]u;dify and assume command of the companv. 

From 1791 to 1^51 the following officers of the Ashlmrn- 
ham Light Infantry have been commissioned. The absence 
<^f a date in connection with a very few of the names indi- 
cates that no official record of the commission has been 
found, yet no name has been admitted without ample proof 
■of service in the capacity indicated. 



Joseph Jevrett, 
Cliarles Hastings, 
"Willard Lane, 
John ScoUay, 
Phinehas Kandall, 
Silas Willard, 
Caleb Wilder, 
Grovener Scollay, 
Henry Willard, 
Moses Lawrence, 
Ivers Jew( tt, 
TimotliyCrehore, Jr. 
Ebenezor Adams, 
Hosea Stone, 
Charles Barrett, 
John Willard, Jr., V\iC'-, 
Ktul)en Rice, 
Samuel Foster, 
Emery liice. 
Asa Merriam, 
Kilburn Hirwood, 
Alvin Kendall, 
Henry Kibliiii;, Jr., 
John'W. Mossman. 
Asahel Wheeler, 
Jonas Corey. 
Natlianiel F. Cutter, 






Caleb Kendall, 17',»1 

Willard Lane, 1702 

John Scollay, 1795 

Phinehas Randall, 17'J7 

Silas Willard, 1798 

Grovener Scollay, 1^05 

Henry Willard, " 1807 

Ivers Jewett. 1811 
Timothy Crehore, Jr. 181.^. 

P^benozer Adams, 1815 

Charles Barrett, 1817 

John Willard, Jr., 1820 

.Joseph Rice. 1822 

Enoch Whitmore, 1^24 

Reuben Rice, 1820 

Samuel Foster. 1827 

Oilman Jones, 1828 

Enjery Rice, 1830 

.Vsa Merriam, 1831 

Lewis G. Houghton, 1832 

Asahel Corey, is33 

John W. Mossman, 1838 

Asahol Wheeler, 1841 

Jonas Corev. 1844 

Nathaniel F. Cutter. 1845 
Clarence M. Proctor, 184G 


Charles Hastings. 1791 

: John Scollay, 1792 

. Phinehas Randall, 1795 

! Silas Willard, 

Grovener Scollav, 1802 

Henry Willard, ' 1805 

' Moses Lawrence, lf;07 

Samuel Gates, 181U 

, Walter R. Adams, 1813 

John Gates, Jr.. 1815 

; John Willard, Jr., 1817 

Joseph Rice, 1820 

Reuben Rice, 1S22 

I Sanuiel P'oster, 182C 

Gilfuan Jones, 1827 

Emerv Rice, l><2s 

Asa Merriam, 1830 

i Lewis G. Houghton, 1.^31 

I George Woods, 1832 

! Alvin Kendall, 1834 

■ Henrv Kibling, Jr., 1S.37 

'Asahel Wheeler. I,s38 

I Francis J. Barrett, 1841 

Jotias Corey, IS41 

1 Nathaiuel F. Cutter, ls44 

Clarence ^L Proctor, is}5 

i Alonzo P. Davis, ISJ'I 

During the last liv<> yeais of this period there were more 
than two lieutenant-. After isll there was a tliird lieu- 
tenant and the ollieers who held rliis eonmiission were 
Nathaniel F. Cutter, lsH-11; Clarence .M. Proctor, 
1.S44-45 ; Alonzo P. Davis, 1,S45— M', ; Joseph P. Kice, 
1846-51. The only fourth lieutenant was Samuel \'. AVhit- 

;'rj;"iii;; :,>• 


iicy who was in cominissiou IVom 184(3 to 1851. From the 
officers of the Ashlnirnhaui T>iglit Infiintiy, there were many 
jM'omotions in the service. 

Colonel Joseph Jewett was commissioned major, June 28, 
17i)2, and lieutenant-colonel, April 13, 1795. General Ivers 
Jewett, major, April 24, 1815 ; lieutenant-colonel, June 20, 
181G ; colonel, August 12, 1817 ; brigadier-general. May 11, 
]819; major-general, June 10, 1822; resigned, ]May 30, 
182G. Colonel Timothy Crehore, Jr., major, August 12, 
1817; lieutenani-colonel. May 7, 1818; colonel, June '28, 
1819. Colonel Ilosea Stone, major, March 23, 1820; lieu- 
tenant-colonel, :March 19, 1822. Colonel Charles BaiTctt, 
major, March 19, 1822; lieutenant-colonel, April 15, 1822; 
colonel, ]\Iarcli 2, 1824. Colonel Enoch AVhitmore promoted 
from lieutenant to major, July 1, 1820: lieutenant-colonel, 
July 23, 1827 ; colonel, August 31, 1829. Colonel Kilburu 
Ilarwood, major, ^lay 13, 1837, and colonel, July 24, 1841. 
Colonel Francis J. Barrett promoted from ensign and 
adjutant to major, August 20, 1842 ; lieutenant-colonel, 
September 2, 1843; colonel, August G, 1844; resigned, 
February 26, 1846. 

It w^ill be remembered that in the resolve of the General 
Coui-t creating the Ashburnham Light Infantry- , there was a 
provision that from the men in this town liable to perform 
military duty, sixty or more should be reserved for a militia 
company under the general laws of the State. This service, 
upon those not legally exempt, was compulsory, yet for many 
years it was rendennl with apparent alacrity. The company 
of militia was continued and it maintained a visible organiza- 
tion until the annual trainings and musters were abolished. 
The officers of the militia company from 1792 to 1834 were 

as follows : 


;:iv-0 -/,.:*.vrrr 

J 1 1 J:< : '.• ; I 

. i ■ '^ ) ■■ 

I ■:;:• n 

" I , I " " 




Jonathan Merriam, 1702 
Silas Whitney, 1705 

EbenczerT. Adams, 17'.<!> 
Henrv Kiblinsier, 1801 
John'Willard', 1802 

Samuel Cottinjr, ISO.". 

George K. Cushing. 1807 
Philander J. Willard,lSll 
Lemuel Wliitney, 1813 
Jacob Fairbanks, 1814 
Elias Lane, 181 1! 

Timothy Stearns, 1818 
Francis Lane, Jr., 1821 
Benjamin Gibbs, 1S22 
Jonas Munroe, 182-1 

John C. Davis, 182G 

Jehiel Watkins, 1827 

Henry Kibling. Jr., 1828 
Jonas Nutting, Jr., 1830 
Asa Merriam, 1832 

Josiah L.Wetherbee, 1834 


Isaac Whitniore, I7'.*L' 

KlicnezerT. Adams, 17'.'j 

Henry Kiblinger, 17'J7 

Nathaniel Foster, ]7'.''.> 

Caleb Wilder, 1802 

Silas Whitney, 1803 

Itliamer Fairbanks, 1805 
riiilander J.Willard,180'.t 

Lemuel Whitney, 1811 

Elias Lane. " 1814 

Timotliy Stearns, 18 It! 

Francis Lane, Jr., 1818 

Benjamin (jibbs, 1821 

Jonas Munroe, 1822 

Jolm C. Davis, 1824 

Jehiel Vv'atkins, 182(1 

Henrv Kibling, Jr., 1827 

Jonas Nutting, Jr., 1828 

Charles Davis, 1830 
Josiah L. W etherbee, 1833 


Henry Whiteman, 1792 

l.lolu/Adams, Jr., 17'.l5 

I John Willard, Jr., 1707 

Nathaniel Foster. 1708 

i Saumel Cotting, 1701> 

i Ithamer Fairbanks, 1803 

I Lemuel Whitney, 180S 

iFliasLane, 1813 

iTinu)thy Stearns, IS 14 

I Francis Lane, Jr.. 181fi 

i Charles Stearns, 1818 

'Jonas Munroe, 1821 

:,lohn C. Davis, 1822 

[Jehiel Watkins, 1824 

j Henry Kibling, Jr., 182G 

I John Leathers, 1827 

iCIiarles Davis, 1828 
i Josiah L.Wetherbee. 1830 

In 1814 this company, then under the command of Cap- 
tain Jacob Fairbanks, contained seventy men, inckiding 
officers. In the summer of this year a draft of two men was 
made. Tradition asserts tliat the lot fell on Deacon AVilliam 
J. Lawrence and Thomas Ilobart. Both of these men were 
Federalists and opi)Osed to the prosecution of the war and 
the administration party greatly rejoiced over the result. In 
regard to Deacon Lawrence the tradition is correct. He 
was drafted at this time and furnished a substitute, but the 
name of Thomas Ilobart does not appear on the roll of the 
company. Jesse Ellis was the other man drafted and Henry 
Whiteman was his substitute. From this company Colonel 
Benjamin Gibbs was promoted to major, March 2, 182-1, and 
to lieutenant-colonel, ^larch 2, 1825. Colonel Jehiel 
Watkins was promoted to major, August 7, 1841 ; to lieu- 
tenant-colonel, September C, 1841, and to colonel, Septem- 
ber 2, 1843. Among the regimental officers several were 
adjutants. Dr. Abraham Lowe was appointed regimental 


surgeon. Octol>er 3, 1805 ; Dr. Abriiliain T. Lowe, surgeon's 
mate, !\rarch 24, 1821, and ]Melzer Pludson was appointed 
quartermaster, July 5, 17^>7. 

The Ashburnham Light lulantrv did not h^ng remain 
beneath the surtaee. The second epoch of its history 
extends from 1855 to 18G2. If it faded from existence 
through the tardy processes of disintegration it sprang into 
life with spontaneous and vigorous animation. The slum- 
bering military' spirit was swiftly kindled into flame. The 
occasion was found in a Fourth of Jul}^ celebi'ation at Fitch- 
bun^ in 1855. The reviving; sentiment of tlie town invited 
Captain Henry Kibling to call together the remaining mem- 
bers of the company and to fill the ranks with new recruits. 
The men were drilled and participated in the celebration with 
credit to themselves and to the town. The spirit of former 
years was fully aroused. The company was reorganized and 
continued in a flourishing condition until the war of the 
Rebellion. A eonspicuous record of service in the field is 
continued in another chapter. Under authorit}- of the 
following general order the old company Avas revived : 


Head Quarters, Boston, July 13, 1855. 
Special Order No. 30. 

Whereas, AlonzoP. Davis and fifty-eight others of Ashburnham 
have petitioned His Excellency the Governor and Commander-iu- 
Chief for liberty to organize a company of Infantry in the town of 
Ashburnliam and vicinity, 

The Commander-in-Chief giants the prayer thereof and directs 
that orders be issued for the choice of ofllcers immediately ; the 
notification thereof bo addressed to Alonzo P. Davis of Ashburn- 

The Commander-in-Chief further orders that when said Com- 
pany is organized it be known as Company G, Niutli Regiment of 


<\ 10 T 

'f.i' ' ) 


Infantry. Upon the application of the Captain when duly quali- 
fied, and a certificate from the Selectmen of Ashburnham that they 
have provided a suitable armory, the arms and equipments will 
be furnished by the Adjutant-General. 

By command of His Excellenc}', 

Governor and Commander-in-Chief. 
Ebeneakh W. Stone, 


The company promptly organized with Joseph 1*. Kice, 
captain, and four lieutenants. This number of officers was 
continued until 18G1. Tlie number of men on the company 
roll at the close of the year was sixty-five, nearly all ot 
whom enlisted immediately after the order and before the 
choice of officers. 

The petitioners met in the Town Hall July 26, 1855, and 
completed an organization. At this time the regulations 
prescribed four lieutenants for the company. The officers 
chosen at this time were conunissioned under same date as 
ibllows : . 

~ Captain, Joseph P. Kice; First Lieutenant, Addi- 
son A. ^Valker ; Second Lieutenant, Jonas Morse ; 
Third Lieutenant, Alonzo P. Davis ; Fourth Lieutenant, 
George IL Barrett. Fifty-five men were included in the 
original enlistment and eleven were added innnediately after 
the organization. With full ranks and ably commanded, tlie 
company attended the division muster at AVest Brookfield in 
September. At this date Colonel Edwin Upton of Fitch- 
burg was in command of the regiment. From 1855 to 18G1, 
it Avas known as Comp:iny G of the Tenth Regiment, and 
until all companies of militia were depleted by individual 
enlistments in the service, the Ashburnham Light Infantry 
was in a prosperous condition and was maintained with full 

i, O' 


i\ i 



ranks. The whole number of enh'stnieuts from the date of 
reorganization to April, 1861, -svas one hundred and forty- 
three. After this date many members of the company 
entered the service and a large number joined the com})any, 
but they were enlisted for service in the army, rather than as 
members of a local company of militia. During this period 
there were few changes in the otlicers. Late in December of 
the same 3'ear Jonas ]Morse resigned. Lieutenants Davis 
"and Barrett were promoted and Silas Xims was commissioned 
fourth lieutenant, February 28, 1857. At the promotion of 
Captain Eice Lieutenant Walker was commissioned captain, 
August 11, 1860. Lieutenants Davis and Barrett were 
promoted May 7, 1860. Lieutenant Nims resigned and 
Samuel A. Taylor was commissioned third lieutenant, and 
James W. Gardner, fourth lieutenant, June 15, 1860. On 
the occasion of the resignation of First Lieutenant "Walker 
in March, the company was under command of Lieutenant 
Davis from June to August, 1860. Colonel Joseph P. Eice 
w^as promoted to colonel, June 19, 1860. On his staff Dr. 
Alfred ]Miller was surgeon and ^Marshall Wetherbee was 

At the close of the war the independent organization in 
this town was revived. ]Many of those who were members 
before the war desired the establishment of the old company 
and a greater number who had served in the war eagerly 
seized a favorable opportunity" to continue in this manner the 
companionship and association of arms. Early in the year 
1866, the contemplated movement was earnestly forwarded 
and in response to a petition numerously signed the decisive 
order was issued August 11, 1866. 

Special Order, No. 99. 

Asahel Wheeler and fifty-nine others of Asbburnham, having 
forwarded to the Adjutant-General a roll of enlistment for the 

< A 


->:'■"■ ■> 'I"' ''■ ."I :. ■,.] ;»-'!!• 


Voluutter Militia of the Commonwealth, agreeably to the lav/s of 
this Commonwealth governing and regulating the militia, 

It is ordered that a company be organi/:ed of the men thus en- 
listed and that a captain and one first lieutenant and one second 
lieutenant be immediately chosen. The order to assemble the 
men for the election will be directed to Asahel Wheeler of Ash- 
burnham who will furnish the presiding olficer with an attested 
copy of the enlistment roll previous to the meeting. 

The chairman of the board of Selectmen of Ashburuharn will 
preside at the election. The company when organized will be 
designated and known as Company E, First Battalion Infantry, 
M. V. U. 

By order of the Commander-in-Chief. 



Tlie conii)any ^vas promptly organized and the commis- 
sions of the first ollicers bear date of September 3, 186G. 
Tie past twenty years have been an era of prosperity. The 
organization owns the armory which was purchased 1883, and 
liave camp property valued at about three hundred dollars. 
The present number of men, including ofCeers, is fifty-eiirht, 
and sustained by public sentiment the future of the compan}- 
is secure. 

Soon after the reorganization of the company in 18GG, 
■vvith unqualitied unanimity of sentiment and in memory of 
the gallant Colonel Joseph P. Rice, the organization assumed 
the name of The Rice Guards. The official designation 
is Company P]. From LS(J(! to 18(10, the company composed 
a part of the first battalion, tirst brigade, and first division; 
from 1860 to 1878, the company was in tlie Tenth Regiment, 
third brigade ; and since the reorganization of the militia, 
December 3, 1878, the company has formed a part of the 
Sixth Regiment of infantry in the tirst l)riuade. The officers 


'. .1-' ,•• 

I .'/j;i':: o 

■■^\ .U'->U'. Ik-' 1: -iT'l 

fO-ijl >^',', 


( -■' 

THE .\SI^5Ul,•^•iIA^^ light ixfantki' 


of Company E, and the date of comuiission, from LSHH to 
the present time, are given as foiloNs^s : 




Asahel Whpoler. 


Georjrc E. Davis. 


Harrison C. Chenev 


George E. Davis. 

18 OS 

Samuel C. Lesure, 


Samuel C. Lesure, 


William 11. Liudkn- 


Geor^re E. Davis, 


James M. Garnet. 


Walter 0. Parker, 


William H. Litidlev 

, 1868 

Georce E. Davis, 


Josiah W. Bride, 


Walter 0. Parker, 


Leander W. Libbv, 


Walter H. Laws, 


Euizene A. Putier, 


Harrison C. Clienev 


Charles H. Pratt, 


C. Edir^r Wilhird. 


Miehael FitzGibhon 


Josiah W. Bride, 


John H. Stoddard. 


Walter 1 1. Laws, 


C. Edi,'ar Willard, 


Cliarles H. Pratt, 


Daniel F. Kvan, 


Alvah S. Fullford, 


Lucius R. Hodunnan 
Charles H. Pratt, 
Alvah S. Fullford, 
Charles H. White, 


Major €To8iah W. Bride was commissioned major, Feb- 
ruary 7, 1^82 ; resianed ]March 2b, 1684. 












Mas.^achusett.-, for many years preceding the War of the 
Rebellion, had occnpied an advanced position among the 
Northern States in the maintenance of an organized and dis- 
ciplined militia. At the first call for men to suppress the 
Eebellion, no State responded with less delay. The regi- 
ments from this State Avere not only early in the field, but 
they entered the service in a better state of discipline than 
was a majority of the army hastil}^ gathered at ^Washington. 
In these measures of military preparation the town of Ash- 
burnham maintained a foremost rank, and during the earl}' 
progress of the war the influence and the mission of the 
Ashburnham Light Infantry was clearly revealed. The 
military spirit fostered by the organization, joined by a 
stronger force in the patriotic impulse of the people, was 
represented by over eighty men from this town in the army 
durintr the first eiuht months of the wtu-. To present the 
names of the volunteers from this town, with the date of 




enlistment, the regiment and duration of service and ;i record 
of casualties and disability, will be the province of this chap- 
ter. A faithful account of the service of each soldier would 
fill a volume. 

In the spring of 18G1, the Ashburnham Light Infontry, 
under the command of Captain Addison A. "Walker, was in 
a good state of discipline and promptly tendered service to 
the governor as an organization. The disciplined companies 
were held in reserve by the State authorities to be dis- 
tributed amon£r the regiments that were soon to be recruited. 
For this reason the company from this town was not called 
into the service until the Twcnty-tirstlvogiment was organized. 
This delay, complimentary in itself to the company, was the 
prolific source of embarrassment, and several men impatient 
of delay enlisted in other organizations. 

Joseph H. Whitney, George P. Xuttiug and Martin V. B. 
Grimes enlisted ]May 22, 18G1, in Company A, Fourth 
Regiment, ;md were discharged at expiration of term of 
service in July of the same year. 

The Second liegiment was mustered, for three years. 
May 2o, 18iJl, and by reenlistment was continued in the 
service until July 14, 1865. In this regiment, which 
rendered gallant service in Virginia, participating in the 
historic battles of that State, and later formed a part of 
General Sherman's army in the grand march to the sea, 
Ashburnham was represented by six men : Charles H. Heald 
was promoted to second lieutenant, July 3, 18G5 ; Sergeant 
Allen A. Xuttiug was killed June 9, 18G3, at Beverly Ford, 
Virginia ; Ilarvey A. Cheney was discharged Septeml)er 13, 
18G1 ; Benjamin F. Fay was killed at Cedar ^Mountain, 
Virginia, August 9, 181)2 ; Charles W. Kendall was trans- 
feiTed August G, 18G3, to the Veteran Iveserve Corps, and 
Augustus ^Idntosh was dlschariied with the reoinicnt after 
four years of service in July, 18G5. 



I ..',.. 1 ■. , :i:i 



In the Fifteenth Ivegnnent there were two originiil enlist- 
ments from this town. They were mustered July 12, 18G1. 
Their record is as follows : John K. Walker was killed at 
Ball's Blutr, Virginia, October 21, 18G1, and liobert J. 
Elliot was transferred to the regular army, September 24, r 

In the Sixteenth Begiment was Patrick McCoolif who 
enlisted Jul}- 2, 1861, and completed three years of service. 
In the Twentieth Begiment was Francis Sacket who was 
discharged on account of disability, a month after his enlist- 

John Finan enlisted in First Begiment of Cavalry in 
September, and was discharged on account of wounds in 
February, 1863. 

During the early montlis of the war, and while the soldiers 
already named were enlisting into the service, the thought 
of the people and the action of the town related more par- 
ticularly to the home compan}- which was momentarily 
expecting a summons to march. In a town meeting held at 
this time it was voted to raise the sum of eight hundred 
dollars to procure a uniform for the company, and a short 
time after an additional sum of six hundred dollars was 
appropriated for this purpose. The material was purchased, 
a tailor was employed and a hundred Avomen of Ashljurnham 
promptly volunteered to assist in making the military suits. 
This action of the town, prompted by a generous impulse, 
was of little benelit to the company. When the men were 
called into service they were required to uniform in accord- 
ance with the regulations of the army. 

The generosity of the town was unappeased with this act 
for the comfort and appearance of the soldier. The enthu- 
siastic liberality of George C. Winchester furnished each 
member of the company with a knife of otfensive and 

i- }i- '■■■■- :J i'-'-'. ,■!.' ■•' . fi. ■r'^^^y^t■■^:)- 


■.\<r I '■);./ 

'; ;.:rt 


defensive pi"0]:)ortions and se^ oral of thorn are still pi-eservod 
among the treasured relics of the Avai'. There "svas con- 
.sideral)le talk of procuring a revoh'er for each man of the 
company, and indeed, suggested l\v emphatic votes [)assed 
at an informal meeting of the citizens, a large numl)er Avas 
purchased before it became apparent that a military'' company 
could not enter the field of active service in the capacity of 
a movable arsenal. One levolver Avas finall}' presented to 
■each ofiicer :ind the remainder v>-as sold. In this proceed- 
ing the to\vn in its corporate cai>acity took no part except to 
express an emphatic dissent ; l)ut with greater wisdom and a 
more attentive regard foi- the future necessities of all con- 
cerned, the selectmen ^vere instructed to provide for the 
needy families of the men in the service. During the con- 
tinued progress of the war, this proposal was faithfully 
executed and large sums of money from the treasury of the 
town and of the State were expended in the relief of the 
families of the soldiers. 

The Twenty-first Eegiment was recruited in July and 
August, 18G1. Com})any G of this regiment, composed 
largely of men from this town, entered Camp Lincoln in 
Worcester, July 19, and with the regiment left for the seat 
of war August 23. The record of this gallant regiment is a 
prominent feature of the re})orts of the Adjutant-General and 
its history has been published in an interesting and authentic 
narrative by Captain Charles F. Walcott. The regiment 
was assigned to the Burnside expedition to North Carolina 
and there participated in the l)attles of Roanoke, Newbern 
and Camden. In the summer and autunm of 1862 they 
participated in the cami)aign in Virginia and there inscribed 
on their colors the sanguinary lines of ^lanassas, Chantilly, 
South Mountain, Antietam and Fredericksburg. The 
casualties in these enuairements will be noted with the 


:t' ['I ■^: 

- 1 \ , . ■ f 


several individual records. In the spring of 18Gii tlie regi- 
ment rendered efficient service in Tennessee tind in this 
campaign the battles of Blue Springs and Canipbell'vS Station 
and the siege of Knoxville were inscribed on their banners. 

About the time Genoi-al Grant assumed command of the 
armies of the United States, the regiment joined the army of 
Virginia and shared tlie arduous service and honors of that 
decisive canjpaign. In August, 18t!4, at the expiration of 
the term of service, those who had not reenlisted were 
honoiablv discharojed and the veterans wlio had enoaued to 
serve durino- the war were transferred to the Thii-tv-sixth 
and subsequently to the Fifty-sixth Eegiment. They re- 
mained with the army in ^'^irginia and shared the glory of 
the capitulation of the rebel army. 

The following list contains the names of the men from 
Ashburuham who served in the Twenty-tirst IJegiment. 
Nearly all of them were members of the Ashburuham Light 
Infantry, were mustered into the service in July, 18G1, and 
w^ere members of Company G. 

Captain Addison A. Walker, the senior ca})tain of the 
reo-iment, was the couuijander of the Liiiht Infantry at the 
beginning of the war. To the governor he promptly tendered 
the service of a disciplined and ellicicnt company. In Janu- 
ary, 18i>l^ the regiment sailed for North Carolina. Captain 
"Walker, on account of sickness, was left at Annapolis. Sul.i- 
sequently he was detailed on recruiting service for several 
months. He then joined the regiment at Xewbern, Xorth 
Carolina, ))ut being detailed on special service he coidd not 
be assigned to the conunand of his com[)any. At tliis time 
General Burnside tendered him a position on his staff, but 
impatient at the restraints and embarrassments of the situa- 
tion he resigned ]May 13, 18G2. From the tirst he enjoyed 
the respect of his men and tlie confidence of his superior 

. '' I",' !■ 'IjJ ^ 

:,^'l ■i.<.^ 

I'M^i/i; ;';,.■; 

'j; .--I'lJ:;-' 

,< V. i: 

'.r.U' : ^C) 

■ 'Ml 'H.-.M '') ,'0' 
L'.' ' ' 'i!r;;' .'I 


First Lieutenant Alonzo P. Davis was a veteran in the 
Liglit Infantry, of whicli he had been an officer several years. 
He resigned in January, 18(32. 

Second Lieutenant Samuel A. Taylor was promoted first 
lieutenant, January 24, 18G2: captain, ISTay 2S, 1862; 
resigned. January 13, 18G3. He was subsequently a second 
lieutenant in the Fourth Heavy Artiller}'. 

Sergeant Asahel Wheeler was promoted second lieutenant, 
January 24, 18G2 ; first lieutenant, ]\[ay 28, 1802 ; captain, 
January 14, 1863 : resigned, April 25, 1863. He was sub- 
sequently a ca})tain in the Sixty-first Regiment. 

Sergeant Charles II. Parker promoted first lieutenant. 
May 28, 1862 ; resigned, March 2, 1863. Wounded 
severely while in command of the company at the battle of 
Antietam, September 17, 1862. 

Coi^ioral George E. Davis was an adjutant and sergeant- 
major ; lu'omoted first lieutenant, April 26, 1863; he reen- 
listed and was honorably discharged, August 30, 1864, at 
the reduction of the regiment. 

Sergeant Joseph II. Whitney promoted to sergeant-major, 
July 21, 1862, and second lieutenant, October 30, 1862; 
resigned, February 23, 1863. 

Sergeant Samuel C. Lesure reenlisted, and in a reorgani- 
zation of the regiment was discharged as a supernumerary, 
September 24, 1864. " 

Sergeant M. Thomas Russell was discharged on account 
of disability, May 8, 1862. 

Corporal Lorenzo II. Gilbert promoted first sergeant, 
January 2, 1864 ; reenlisted and was honorably discharged, 
September 24, 1864. He was wounded in the service. 

Corporal Harrison C. Cheney promoted sergeant and 
acting sergeant-major and discharged at expiration of term 
of service, August 30, 3 864. 

!<; --■' ;, Vjl^'^ff 


'■'i" ;:,r;i'!*!;l. 

n-i;;i . ,: ,t, ■■( 

if:'').: i 

' / 


,;! ',.:' 


Corporal Charles G. Lawrence reenlistod ; was wounded 
at Spottsylvania, May 12, 18G4. 

Corporal Charles Henry Putler reenlisted ; was jiromoted 
to serireaut and killed at Sj)ottsylvania, May 12, 18G4. 

Corporal Henry 11. ]\lartindale reenlisted. 

George F. Puller promoted corporal and sergeant ; •reen- 
listed and was honorabl}' discharged, September 2-1, 18(54. 

Jonas "W. Dwinnell pron:ioted to corporal and discharged 
on account of wounds, January 22, 18(53. He was wounded 
and sutfered the loss of an arm at the battle of Fredericks- 

Erastus Mcintosh promoted corporal ; reenlisted. 

Alfred Piper promoted corporal ; discharged on account 
of disability, October IC, 1862. 

Frank J. Litch, wagoner, discharged at expiration of term 
of service, August 30. 1861. 

Peter Archambeau discharged on account of disability, 
May 25, 1863. 

Joseph B. Brown discharged on account of wounds, May 
7, 1863. 

Merrill Farwell discharged on account of disability, 
August 4, 1862. 

James M. Garnet was transferred to Company II, Octo- 
ber 20, 1861 ; promoted to sergeant ; reenlisted and honor- 
ably discharged, September 24, 1864. 

George G. Iladley was wounded at Camden, Xorth Caro- 
lina, and discharged on account of wounds, December 4, 

James P. Hare was wounded at Chantilly ; discharged on 
account of woumls, January 16, 1863. 

George W. Lawrence reenlisted. 

"VYashburn Lewis discharged on account of disability, 
March 18, 1864. 

•h] V-H'fT 

);f. --rh^jr; '■'.' I'M 

•^ l^ vfijiii' ;>::>!■ i: 

' i^io ffi; to .-',•:■ ^i(i ; 


■':„.-'';i:" '.: i] ' ^'m ■! w,; 

''L '''«■''•■; -f 


James ^Mclntirc died at Xewbcni, North Carolina, April 
21, 18G2. 

Ezra ]\I. Merritt dischai-ged 011 account of disability, 
August 9, 1862. 

George E. Page killed at Fredericksburg, December 13, 

Calvin Pindar reenlisted. 

Wilb'am Pratt wounded at Antietam and discharged on 
account of wounds, Xovember 25, 18G2. 

Eugene A. l\ilicr wounded at Antietam : discharsrcd on 
account of wounds, ]March 27, 1863. 

Pobert X. Shaw discharged on account of disability, 
Xovember 29, 1862. 

Ransom G. Stowell discharged on account of disability, 
May 8, 1862. He subsec]uently served in the Fifty-third 

George M. "Wetherbee discharged at expiration of tenn 
of service, August 30, 1864. 

James E. Whipple reenlisted. ■ ' : 

Charles H. White, musician, reenlisted. 

Frank B. AV hit more discharged at expiration of term of 
service, August 30, 1864. 

!Mcn'ick Whitney, Jr., discharged on account of disability, 
January 26, 1863. 

George W. Wilson discharged on account of disability, 
September 20, 1862. 

Waldo Dwinuell enlisted January 5, 1864, and was 
assigned to this company ; he was taken prisoner at tlio 
battle of the Wilderness, ^lay 6, 1864, and died in Ander- 
sonville Prison in September. 

Frank G. Kibling enlisted Januaiy 4, 1864, and died in 
hospital at Cauip X'clson, Kentucky, Febniary 22, 1864. 

Sylvester F. Oliver enlisted January 5, 1864, and was 

•^.. !r:Iii:rv:-;'i .a. 

■>1DM . /../ .vIm:: 

K'^ ]- 

.^.,,^,M,-- -M 

r '..'! .'•'Vl:*-^ 

■•',.. -J. 

■!■,'',!;! i.i:', I )''" 

, J ' ' ' ■■;,"' 


tmnsfi'iTod t(» Thirty-sixth Regimenl. lie died Jiuuiaiy 20, 

Henry E. Thomas enli>ted Dcceni1)cr 31, ISBo, and was 
killed in battle of Cold nav])or. June 2, 1864. 

Hosea Wallace enlisted July 2P>, 18(i2, and was discharged 
with the regiment, August 30, 1864. 

Lenaiel Whitney enlisted in Company A of the same regi- 
ment, August 14, 1862, and was discharged -with the regi- 
ment, 30, 1^864: 

James H. Willard Mas an original member of company IT, 
and was discharijed, August 30, 1864. 

Fernando C. L. "W. Thayei" enlisted in January, 1864, 
and was assigned to Company A. He was transferred with 
the veterans to the Thirty-sixth Kegiment. 

While the regiment was in Tennessee in December, 1863, 
a large part of the men reenlisted for the war. The vet- 
erans wore granted a furlough of tliirty days and were per- 
mitted to visit their homes. When the regiment was dis- 
missed at the expiration of term of service, the veterans were 
transferred to the Thirty-sixth IJegiment. In this connection 
their continued service is stated. They remained with the 
army in Virginia until the regiment was disbanded at the 
expiration of term of service. They were then transferred to 
the Fifty-sixth Kegiment and were honorably discharged with 
that regiment, July 12, 186.5. The service was long and 
the record honorable. The veterans who counted twice on 
the quota of Ashburnham were, George E. Davis, Samuel 
C. Lesure, Lorenzo IT. Gilbert, Charles Henry Pufier, 
George F. Putfer, Charles G. Lawrence, Erastus Mcintosh. 
Charles IT. White, George W. La^vl•encc, Henry TI. ]Martin- 
dale, James M. Garnet and James E. Whipple. 

Calvin Pindar enlisted on the quota of Ashburidiam and 
reenlisted on quota of Clinton. Lynian F. Thurston of 

-inc: .;:'>■ 

i ,■,(. 

'i'f^ --■■.':;:! -li: 

,. ,r,- 

f i ,■;• :i':\:U<if'1' 


IToldcii, Luther E. Ste^Yal•t of Clinton, Henry C. Perkins 
of Fitzwilliaiu, New Hampshire, Frank liumerzettc of 
Hoklen and Timoth}' Donovan of AVoreestcr, on rcenlist- 
jnent, were assigned on the. quota of Asliburnham. The 
veterans wlio wej-e credited to the quota of this town antici- 
pated a bounty which they did not receive. 

After the transfer to the Thirty-sixth Eegiment in 18G4 
there were several casualties which have not been stated. 
Sylvester F. Oliver died January 29, 180,3 ; Waldo Dwin- 
nell was taken prisoner at the ])att]e of the Wilderness, 'May 
G, 18()4, and died within the rebel lines in September fol- 
lowing ; Frank Lumerzette died of wounds. August 12, 
1864 ; Henry C. Perldns was transferred Fel)ruary 11, 18G.3, 
to the Veteran Reserve Corps, and James Id. Whipple was 
discharged on account of di>-al)ility, January li», 18G.3. 

In the Tweuty-tirst Regiment, associated with and one of 
the men of Ashburnham, was Colonel Joseph P. Rice. He 
early manifested a military spirit and ability to command. 
He had been an able and po})ular connnander of the Ash- 
burnham Light Infantry, and at the outbreak of the war he 
was colonel of the Ninth Regiment of militia to w^hich the 
Light Infantry belonged. In this service he had enjoyed 
tlie respect and contidence of his associates. In the begin- 
ning of the war he early tendered the service of his command 
to the governor and was greatly disappointed that his regi- 
ment was not accepted. Ready to enter the service in any 
capacity he was commissioned a captain in the Twenty-first 
Regiment and assigned to the command of Company H. In 
Febi-uary following he was })romoted to major and to lieu- 
tenant-colonel. May IG. He "svas a soldier in the best use 
of the term, and to bravery and courage he united manliness 
ot character and c^enuine kindness of heart. At the battle 
of Chantilly, September 1, 18G2, while advancing beyond 


■ {.'. /.-i i ■,':.•'• I I 

,\':' 'r '■ 

] -■ 



his comiuiiiRl, to dctevinine whether a force in his front ^vere 
friends or enemies, he was shot through the body hy a 
musket-b;dl and died instantly. llie intelh'gence of his 
death was received with sudden grief and unfeigned expres- 
sions of personal sorrow. At a meeting of the town, 
November 4, 1862, the following resolutions were unani- 
mously adoj)ted : . 

Besolved, That as citizens of Ashburnham we desire to express 
our deep sense of the loss wc have sustained in the recent death 
of Lieutenant-Colonel Joseph F. Rice at the battle of Chantilly, 
and our appreciation of the lasting obligations under which we 
rest for the great service he has rendered us and his country in 
the time of need, and to show, as far as in us lies, a becoming 
respect for his memory. 

Resolved, That in the death of Colonel Rice we mourn the loss 
of one who has been to us a friend and a townsman faithful to 
every delegated trust, discharging all the duties imposed upon him 
with a generous disregard of self and in such a manner as to 
entitle him to our warmest admiration and respect. 

The best and wisest laws that have governed and fostered 
civilization often have been the crystallization of some rule 
of action which the people practised by choice a long time 
before th-.-y were required to yield a willing obedience to 
statute. In the same manner an humble and subordinate 
officer in the discharge of duty in a limited field has often 
employed methods of procedure which subsequently have 
been grasped and dignified with the authority of a policy in 
the conduct of national affairs. The officers of the army, who 
were the first to come into immediate contact with the institu- 
tion of slavery and the attending embarrassments, originated 
and early put in practice the liberal policy which was finally 
adopted by the Government. 


\i\V.: ■tvjii 

( ■- . : ) ■: 

, ,.,,.) 



In the autumn of 18(U, while the Twenty-tirst Rei;-inicnt 
was in Maryland, in accordance v, irh a practice theii prevail- 
ing and encouraged in the arm}-, the officers were expected 
to return to the owner any slave who might be found in their 
vicinity. Captain Walker, faithfully rc})rcsenting the .senti- 
ment of the men from Ashburnham under his comnjand, was 
the first officer who refused to perform this service. On an 
occasion when Captaiii AValker was officer of the day, the 
dignified personage of Governor Plicks applied to him for 
the recovery of a slave then within the lines of the regiment. 
The governor was met with a decided refusal, from which he 
appealed with etfect to the colonel of the regiment. The 
colonel ordered Captain AValker to hnd and deliver the 
fugitive to the expectant owner. To this Captain Walker 
replied that he did not enter the service for an opportunity 
of hunting slaves and politely requested his superior officer 
to detail some other captain to perform this servile duty. 
Then every captain in the regiment was in turn detailed for 
this work and every one followed the example of Captain 
Walker. The negro finally escaped. Had the fortunes of 
this slave been less fortuitous, the events of the day were 
the harbinger of the freedom of his race. 

The large number already named, who entered the service 
in 1861, did not exhaust the patriotic impulse of the town. 
Immediately after the departure of Company G, Tsventy- 
first Regiment, twenty men enlisted in Company F, Twenty- 
lifth Regiment. They were mustered into the service at 
Worcester in September and left for the seat of war, 
October 31, 1861. This organization has an excellent 
record. It was a part of the Burnside expedition and was 
retained in North Carolina until the decisive campaign in 
Virginia. It then participated in the battle of Cold Harbor 
and other engagements near Richmond. In October, 1864, 



the recnlistcd vcteiaiis luul the later recruits formed a bat- 
taliou of four companies and remained in the service until 
July 13, 18G5. Tluee recruits, credited oii the quota of 
Ashbiirnbam, subsequently were assigned to this regiment 
and will be named in later paragraphs. 

Frank A. Davis, ^Michael FitzGibbon, Francis PI. Morion 
and Carlos P. Ward were veterans in this regijnent. Davis 
and FitzGibbon were discharged at the close of the war in 
July, 18(55. ]Vlorton was transferred to the Veteran Reser\-e 
Corps, and Ward, whose original enlistment was not credited 
to the quota of this town, died at Xewberu, North Carolina, 
Xovember 14, 1804. 

Corporal Augustus S. Eockwood, Corporal John A. 
Spaulding, Octavius W. Brown, Harvey Clark, Lincoln 
Wallace and Martin Burgess were discharged at expiration 
of term of service in October, 1SG4. Burgess was a member 
of Company I, and Ilockwood was wounded. 

Stephen C. Hastings, musician, was honorably discharged 
August 30, 18G2, at the reduction of the band, and Francis 
J. Barrett was killed at Cold Harbor, Virginia, June 3, 

The remaining eight were discharged on account of dis- 
ability as follows : Sergeant Oliver D. '\A''ilder, March 12, 
1863 : James L. Walker, April G, 18G3 ; Luther Clark, 
March 12, 18G3 ; Parley :McIntire, May 20, 18G3 ; Orin 
Morton, January 31, 1863; Charles E. Smith, May 26, 
1862; Joshua T. Stowell, August 7, 18G2, and Michael 
Thompson, April 27, 1863. 

In this regiment and in Company I, was Henry K. Samp- 
son who was originally credited on the quota of Royalston. 
He recnlistcd on the quota of this town in January, 1864, 
and was discharged in July, 1865. 


The remaiiiin2: enlistments, during the year 18C1, included 
Samuel D. Holt who enlisted on the quota of Readville in 
the Twenty-fourth Regiment. December 4, IStil, and 
reenlisted on the quota of Ashburnham and was promoted 
corporal in Jainiar}^ ISivl ; he continued in the ser\ice 
mitil January, 18G6 ; Bartliolomew Coughlin, who enlisted 
December 6, in the Twenty-ninth lieginient and died ]Si>2: 
Pascal Brooks enlisted Xovernber 1, in Thirty-second Regi- 
ment and died October 1, 1802, at Sharpsburg, Maryland; 
Francis S. Wilhird enlisted Xovernber 1, in Thirty-second 
Regiment and died in Virginia, February 0, 1863 ; Leroy 
A. Howe enlisted X^ovember 6, in Thirty-second Regiment 
and was discharged on account of disability, Xovember '20, 
1862 ; Charles F. Leathers, a veteran, enlisted X'ovembcr 4, 
in Thirty-se(!ond Regiment, promoted to corporal, reenlisted 
January 5. 1864, and was dismissed with his regiment, June 
21t, 1865: Marcus L. Ward enlisted October 30, 1861, in 
Thirty-second Regiment and was discharged on account of 
disability, February 26, 1863 ; John Hare enlisted Xo\'em- 
ber 7, 1861, Thirtieth Regiment, died at Ship Island, 
Mississippi, ^Nfarch 8, 1862 ; George G. Farwell enlisted 
X'ovember 2, 1861, on the quota of Fitchburg, in Thirty- 
second Regiment: he reenlisted Jamiary 4, 1864, on (juota 
of this town and was killed June 18, 1864. 

lu 1862 there was a call for three hundred thousand men. 
The quota of Ashburnham was twenty-seven. In the 
Thirtv-fourth Regiment, which left the State August 1.'), 
there were live men from this town. They enlisted in rluly. 
Sergeant Charles "Wood was promoted to second lieutenant, 
^lay 15, 1865, and discharged with his regiment; Walter 
O. Parker, musician, was discharged with his regiment, June 
16, 1865 ; Sumner AV. IMack died at Harper's Ferry, 
Virginia, X'ovember 10, 1863 ; xVlfred Castle was discharged 

iv ^-'uir 

1' ■;. 

■if • ■■ ' ': '■ y-- 


on account of disability, Fdn-uary 11. 1805, and Martin V. 
B. Grimes was dischavged on account of wounds, February 
16, 18(^5. 

The Thirty-sixth licgiment was recruited in July and 
Auo-ust and left the State September 2. This organization 
contained, at this time, twenty-three men from this town. 
It will be noted that a few of them were tem})orary resideuts 
at the date of enlistment. 

Of tlie twenty-three in this service, nine were honorably 
discharged with their regiment, June 8, 1865, as follows: 
Sergeant Charles AV. Whitney promoted to second lieu- 
tenant, Xo\ember 13, 1864, Sergeant George N. Duncan, 
Sergeant Charles I. Fish, Chester B. Gale, Francis H. 
Perkins, Frank S. Learned, John C. Lawrence, Cyrus W. 
Xickerson and Joseph Oaks. 

On account of disability the following six were discharged : 
Thomas H. Ryan, :March 11, 1863; Sergeant Waldo A. 
Foster, May 30, 1863; Corporal John B. Harty, date 
unknown; John L. Finney, January 13, 1865; Mitchell 
Larby, no record; Edward Sibley, April 12, 1865. 

The individual record of the remaining men is as follows : 
Sergeant Joseph Ilames died of wounds, June 4, 18<U : 
Cori'oral Frederick Biron died of wounds at Knoxville, 
Kentucky, January 11, 1864; Corporal ^lax Hotlman was 
killed at Petersburg, Virginia, June 17, 18t)4 ; Otis Metcalf 
and Edward B. :Srerriam were transferred to the Veteran 
Reseiwe Corps; Dennis :\Iurphy rei-nlisted and was trans- 
ferred on the quota of Hardwick to the regular army: 
Charles W. AUard was left in the hospital at A\'orcester and 
there died, September 15, a few days after the regiment 
left the State. The record of the remaining man from Ash- 
buruham is exceptional. Charles Sherbert deserted April 

..u: 1 


The Thirty-sixtli Regiment "was an organization of good 
repute. In the army in Virginia, in IMissis.sippi and the 
siege of Vicksburg and later in Virginia, in the closing 3'et 
sangiiinar}' service of the war, it has left an honorable and 
gallant record. 

In the autumn of this year tlie Fifty-third Ivegiment was 
recruited under the call of the President for men to serve 
nine months. In this organization Ashburnham was repre- 
sented by twenty-seven oHicers and men. Of this regiment, 1 
Oeorge II. Barrett, who had been an otficer of the Light 
Infantry, was lieutenant-colonel. The regiment was ordered •' 
to the South and rendered eiHcient service in Louisiana 
under General Banks. The organization was mustered out 
Septembers, l<S6o. 

In this service four died of disease, one was killed in 
action and U\o were discharged on account of disability. 
Henry A. M:irble died at Xew Orleans, May 19 ; Rinaldo 
Shattuck died May 8, at Brashear ; Stephen C. Whitney 
died February '20, at Xew Orleans ; James ]M. AVoodell died 
June 7, at Xew Orleans; Kussell AVhipple was killed at 
Port Hudson, June 14 ; Corporal Orange E. Howe was dis- 
charged February 25 and AVilliam M. Young was discharged 
March 12, l^iVo. The remaining twent3--one completed the 
term of enlistment and were returned to their homes in 
September, 1863 : Lieutenant-Colonel George II. Barrett, 
Sergeant William D. Capron, Corporal Spencer Frost, Cor- 
poral William Wallace, Corporal Ransom G. Stowell, 
Francis S. Balcom, :Marshall II. Bourne, Aaron G. Buttrick, 
David M. Gushing, Edwin J. Gushing, Lewis Glazier, 
Thomas M. Howard, Charles B. Jones, James F. Lincoln, 
Horace O. :\I;mstield, Augustine :May, Francis 11. Merriam, 
Francis A. Munroo, Hobart W. Piper, Harvey J. Kice, 
Frederick R. Whipple. 


Colonel Barrett w:is coninii.s.sioiied euptain of Company 1, 
and promoted to lieutenant-colonel, Xovember lO. He was 
in command of the regiment at its departure from the State 
and remained in tlie service until the reo-iment was dis- 

These numerous enlistments tilled the quota of 18(r2. At 
this time the town met and passed the following resolution : 

Resolved, That we recognize the devotion and disinterested 
services of all our fellosv-townsmeu who have gone out from among 
us to engage in the service of the country, and that the town clerk 
be requested to collect and enter upon the town records the names 
of all oui' tov.-nsmen who have been or may hereafter be killed or 
otherwise lose their lives in the service of their country in putting 
down the present unholy rebellion. 

The generous impulse of the several towns which tendered 
temporary relief to the families of the soldiers was sustained 
and continued by the State and through the war the generous 
measures adopted by the Commonwealth were faithfully 
executed by the towns. The continued action of the citizens 
and of the town otlieers of Ashburnham was in full accord 
with a generous and comprehensive system of benevolence. 

The enlistments of 1^61 and 18(32 called a large propor- 
tion of the men of suitable age into the service. The quota 
of 18G3 was filled with less alacrity and a draft was ordered. 
This peremptory demand for troops was general throughout 
the North, and Ashburnham shared with other towns a new 
experience of the war. Sixty-four men from this town were 
drafted. Of these a considerable number were discharged 
on account of disability and of those held for service, several 
furnished substitutes or paid commutation. The names of 
those who entered the service in response to this imperative 
command will appear in the subseijucnt paragraphs in the 

uiJ "U 
ui 1: 




list of those who entered the service, 
drafted men ure tis follows : 

The names of the 

John D. Hapgood 
Charles F. Rockwood 
George A. Stone 
Austin Brooks 
Granville B. Gilchrist 
Samuel E. Stone 
Albert F. Johnson 
Willard P. Drury 
William Dah-ymple 
Hiland Hall 
Orrin N. Bennett 
William Briggs 
Alexander Morse 
WiUiam W. Lane 
George L. Beals, Jr. 
Asah'jl Wheeler 
Earl Richel 
Merrick Hadley 
Nazzar Dane 
Charles W. Lane 
Stephen Sawin 
Edwin .J. Russell 
Henry Pelky 
Jonas P. Sawin . 
William Franklin 
Thomas Doolan 
William L. G. Ward 
Alexander Grout 
Jesse W. Goodwin 
Hosea S. Whitney 
Charles H. Wallace 
Rodne}' King 

Frankhn S. Oliver 
Osmore A. Brigham 
Timothy O'Keif 
Walter Lawrence 
Irving Brooks 
Jona. E. Goodwin 
David S. Brown 
Wendell P. Clark 
Frederick Wilder 
Benton Adams 
Robert N. Shaw- 
Ed. W. Weston 
George F. Potter 
Joseph L. Brigham 
George G. Hadley 
Chai-les C. Eaton 
Orange S. Ma}- 
iNIartiu B. Lane 
Patrick Mulchy 
John M. Baldwin 
Augustus G. Nutting 
Edward G. Newell 
Henry W. Ward 
Charles S. Keyes 
Fred M. Stanley 
Edwin A. Whitney 
Osman Casvant 
William C. Marea 
Mark Dunlap 
Theodore Ban-on 
Peter Sherbert 
Cyrus D. Hortou 

■:ia t: 

livi. .,■/.'/ 

„ . :,") ■//• 


The immediate effect of the draft was depressing. The 
gloomy days of the war and the season of discontent were 
durino; the s])rin£r and early summer of 1863. The 
spontaneous enthusiasm among the masses wliich attended 
the early progress of the war, reflecting the warm colors of 
hope and courage, began to wane and a general sentiment of 
depression was instant and pervading. Presently the victory 
at Gettysburg and the success of the army in the West in- 
vited the pec>ple to ralh^ for the closing struggle. The finu 
command of General Grant and a unity of movement and 
purpose, which controlled tlie separate armies, restored the 
■couiideuce and elicited an enthusiasm scarcely less exultant 
than that which tlirilled the loyal North at the fall of Sumter. 
During these fluctuations in the general sentiment of the 
North, the people of Ashburnham, unmoved b^'the influences 
of the hour, maintained a record unstained by the shadow of 

The men who entered the service in 1803 were generally- 
assigned to regiments already in the field and very few of 
them were in any one organization. In July Rodney King 
was assigned to the Nineteenth and transferred to the Twen- 
tieth Reiriment : John ]M. Baldwin was assisrned to the Thirty- 
ninth and transfeiTcd to the Thirty-second Regiment ; John 
E. Valentine, a corporal, to the Fifteenth Regiment; and 
John Fitzgerald to the Nineteenth and transferred to the 
Twentieth Regiment. These men remained in the seiwice to 
the close of the war and were honorably discltarged. 

In July and August the quota of the town was credited 
wnth the nttmes of Charles Lepond, John Shaffer, James 
Burke, Charles A\^ilson and Thomas Andrev.s. These were 
hired recruits and all of them deserted soon after, and to 
secure additional bounty, undoubtedly, they enlisted and 
deserted aiiain before the close of the war. 


,1 li' 


George F. Potter enlisted July 14 and was assiirned to 
the Sixteenth Ivegiment. He was subsequently transferred 
to the Eleventh Regiment and was discharged in ]\Iay, 18«)5. 
In the Second Regiment Heavy Artillery was Harvey P. 
Brooks and Edwin A. Pollard ; the former enlisted in July 
and served to the end of the Avar ; the latter enlisted in Octo- 
ber and died at Newbern, North Carolina, November 16, 
1864. Francis Sacket, who enlisted in November, was 
assigned to the Twenty-seventh Regiment and in January, 
18()5, was transferred to the Veteran Reserve Corps. Pat- 
rick Doolan enlisted in December and served to the close 
of the war in the First Battery Light Artillery. John 
Cassidy enlisted in August in the Sixteenth and was trans- 
ferred to the Eleventh Regiment. He was discharged after 
a service of eighteen months on account of disability. 
Archibald ^IcMahon enlisted December 25 and deserted from 
the Twenty-fifth Regiment after a service of eight weeks, 
and Theodore A. Dodge enlisted in the Veteran Reserve 
Corps in November. 

From January 1, 18(54, to April 1, 1865, eighty-throe 
enlistments were credited to the quota of Ashburnham. 
This number includes four entries into the Twenty-first 
Regiment, twenty-six reenlisted men and fifty-three new 
enlistments. A few of the men who entered the service 
during this period were hired recruits who received the 
bounty oftered by the town without reluctance or conscien- 
tious scruple, and with equal alacrity deserted at the first 
opportunity. Others were residents of this town and all of 
these earned an honorable record. In the following list will 
appear the names of several who had previously been honor- 
ably discharged from a foniier service. Unless otherwise 
.stated all of the following were honorably discharged on 
account of expiration of term of service or at the close of the 

■VrMj-l-yA ii 



"Vrilliam S. White 
John Fre.iieau 
Louis C. E. Coderre 
Morris Smeddy 

Dennis O'Neill 

Josiah Thomas 
Job Foster Doolan 
James Kelley 
Frank B. Sawtelle 

Henry T. Lane 
Charles T. Chamberlain 

Charles L. Starkey 

Albert H. Tuckerman 

Hobart W. Piper 

Frank W. Berais 

Irving Brooks 
Harlem E. ^\ ard 

Alexander O'Brien 
Samuel A. Tavlor 

Asahel Wheeler 

Joseph H. Whitney 

Oliver I). Wilder 
Theodore Greenwood 
Ebenezer Hart 
Frederick Hammond 
Jaraes Farjjjo 
William H. Smith 
Geortre O. Whitney 
Joseph Hanwart 
Etiene Lechu^a 
Sereno Newton 
Richard C. Chase 
David O. Williams 
Charles H. Whipple 
Walter C. Clark 

Harlem E. Ward 

Michael llorritran 
Geor-e G. Hadley 
Isaac Call 
Michael Mulloy 


Jan. 4, 1864 

Jan. 18, 18C4 

Jan. 5, lg64 

Jan. 29, 18&4 
May 13, 1864 

June 2, 1864 
June 14, 1SG4 

June 14, 1SG4 
July 20, 1864 

July 20, 1S64 

July 23, 1864 

Aug. 6, 1864 

Aug. 6, 1864 

Aug. 11, 1864 
Aug. 16, 1864 

Aug. 20, 1864 

Aug. 20, 1864 

Aug. 20, 1864 

Sept. 21, 1864 

Feb. 6, 1865 
Feb. 21, 1865 
Feb. 2, 1865 
Feb. 2.3, 1865 
Feb. 6, 186.3 

Jan. 3, 1865 
Ftl). I.H, 1865 
.lune 28, 1^64 
.\ug. 29, 18i>4 
Aug. 27, 1864 

Mil itai;y 


57th Regiment 
7th Regiment 

25th Regiment 

5th Cavalry 
19th Regiiiient 

2d H. A. 

2d H. A. 

60th Regiment 

5th Regiment 


29th Regiment 
4th H. A. 

4th H. A. 

4th H. A. 

4th H. A. 

30tli Regiment 

2d Cavalry 

IstH. A. 
14th Artillery 
19th Regiment 

4th C.ivali-j' 
19th Regiment 
V. R. C. 

Discharged July 30, 1865 
Died .May 30, 1864 
Deserted A jail 1, 18r.4 
Transferred to 37tli aii<l to 
20th Regt.; discharged 
June 10, 1865 
Died in Rebel J'rison Aug. 

6, 1864 
Discharged Oct. 1,1^65 
Discharged :Mar. 25. 1865 
Dischargetl Julv 20, 18';5 
Dischari;ed June 30, 1865 
Discharged May6,1805. He 
had previously been in 
Regimental Band 20th 
Died Oct. 29, 18C4 
100 days service; dischar'd 

Nov. 30, 1864 
100 days service ; dischar'd 

Nov! 30, 1864 
100 (lays service ; dischar'd 

Nov. 16, 1864 
Proiuoted corporal ; dis- 
charged Nov. 14,1864. He 
formerly served in 53d 
Discharged Nov. 14, 1S64 

This name is repeated in 

a later service 

Discharged July 29, 1865 

Formerly a captain in 21st 
Regt. In this service he 
was a lieutenant ; resig'd 
March 8, 1865 

Formerly a captain in 21st 
Regt. He was commis- 
sioned a captain in this 
service find assigned to 
the 61st Regt. Mu.stered 
out at expiration of term 
of service 

This was his third enlist- 
ment. He was formerly 
a lieutenant in 21si Regt. 
Promoted in this service 
to sergeant-major, Oec. 1, 
1864 ; ilischarged June 17, 

Discharged June 17, 1865 

Discharged July 5,1866 

Discharged May 18, 1865 
nischargrd July 20, 1865 
Deserted Oct. 4. 18t;) 
Discharged June 15, 1865 
Di.scharged Kel..20, 1865, on 

account of disability 
Discliar-icd \uc. 12, ls05 
Discharged .lune 3ii, 186.J 
Discharged Aug. 31, 1«''6 
Discharged Nov. 15, 1865 
Deserted Sept. 29, 1864 









James Walker 

Sept. 1,1864 

V. R. C. 

l)ischarpred Nov. 14, 1864 

Newton 15. "\\ hitman 

Sept. 2, 1864 


No record 

William Pfaflle 

Feb, 20, ISflo 


Charles W. Keudall 

Dee. 20, ise4 

Hancock Corps 

Michael Murphv 

Jan. IS, 1865 


John E. "Waliaiit 



John Rebel 

Feb. 6, 1865 

N.C. Regiment 

William G. Davenport 

Sept. 14.1864 

U. S. A. 

Geor>:e H. Litch 

Nov. 11, ISiM 


Charles W. l<ri>;ham 

Mar. 2, 1865 

Francis il. Ihighani 

Mar. ,3, i?65 


William Jiutler 

Feb. 4, 1665 


lu the midst of the Liter enlistments and accounting 
for a few of them the following persons were drafted ]May 
16, 1SG4 : Patrick O'Brien, Martin N. Ward, Thomas Ham- 
mond, Thomas Mahan, Amos F. "Willard, Patrick J. Hare, 
Timothy A. Tenney, INIerriek Iladley, George A. Stone, 
Job Foster, Orange S. Whitmore, Hezekiah Matthews, 
Joseph L. Brigham. Frederick Pelky, George G. Rockwood, 
Aaron Rice, William Doolan and Ilartwell Tenney. Xo 
official statement of the several quotas of this town has been 
found and the records of the town afibrd no information. 
The number of enlistments in 18G1 was eighty-tive ; in 1SG2 
fifty-seven; in 18G3 eighteen and in 1804 and the early 
months of 1865, including the veterans, there were eighty- 
three enlistments, making an nggregate of two hundred and 
forty-three entries in the service from this town during the 
war. The whole number of individuals who entered the 
service from Ashburnham, so far as found in this record, is 
two hundred and thirteen. Joseph H. Whitney is credited 
with three enlistments and the following persons were 
counted twice upon the (juota of the town : Charles II. 
Heald, Martin V. B. Grimes, Charles W. Kendall, Francis 
Sacket, Augustus Mcintosh, Samuel A. Taylor, Asahcl 
Wheeler, George E. Davis, Samuel C. Lesure, Lorenzo II. 
Gilbert, Charles G. Lawrence, George W. Lawrence, 


imAI - .'■■: 




Charles 11. Putrer, George F. Putl'er, Ileiuy JI. Martindale^ 
Charles II. AVhite, Erastus ]\Icliitosh, James ^I. Garnet, 
George G. Iladloy, Pansoui G. Stowell, James E. Whip[)le, 
Frank A. Davis, ^Michael FitzGibbon, Francis H. Morton, 
Oliver D. ^Vilder, Charles F. Leathers, Hobart W. Piper, 
Harlem E. AA'ard. 

Several, vi-ho were residents of Ashburnham at the time 
they entered the service, enlisted on the quota and their 
names appear in the records of other towns. It is not pre- 
sumed that the following list is complete. 

Noyes B. Herrick, Clarence D. Proctor and Alden W. 
Parker, on the quota of Fitchburg, served in the Fourth 
Eegiment Heavy Artillery from August 20, 1864, to June 
17, 18G5. . 

Lieutenant George M. Munroe, on the quota of Boston, 
was an original member of Company G, Twenty-tirst Pegi- 
ment. He was promoted from first sergeant to second lieu- 
tenant, September 26, 1862, and to first lieutenant, ]March 
3, 1863. At the battle of Antietam, after Lieutenant 
Charles H. Parker was removed from the field on account of 
wounds, he assumed command of the company and was 
wounded in the knee and the arm. 

Charles L. Stimson was in Company E, Tweut^^-fourtb 
Pegimeut, on the quota of Boston. He was detailed as 
military secretary to General Burnside and subsequently was 
commissioned a lieutenant in the First Ohio Cavaliy. 

George Henry Stearns, credited to Bridgewater, was a 
member of the Brigade Band, Twentieth Army Corps. 

William H. Pichardson, Otis Pratt and Aaron Pratt 
served in Phode Island regiments. 

Aaron B, Bixby enlisted from Fitchburg in Company A, 
Thirty-sLxth Regiment, and was transferred in September, 
1863, to the Veteran Reserve Corps. 

'■■ V .'1 

1 ' . ' '' 


Corporal Charles M. Whitney, assigned to quota of Fitch- 
burg, was a member of Company D, Tweut^^-first Jxegiment. 
lie was killed September 1, 18G2, at the battle of Chantilly. 
Ephraim "W. Moore enlisted from Boston in Company F, 
Second Keghnent. He died August 20, 1802, from wounds 
received in the euo;ao;ement of Cedar Mountain. 

Xewton Brooks, on the quota of Gardner, was a member 
of Company G, Fifty-third Eegiment. 

Patrick Fitzgerald, there known as James Fitz, was a 
member of Com])any K, Sixth Xew Hampshire Regiment. 
He serv^ed from November, 1861, to July 17, 1865. 

AYebster W. AVallace, on the quota of Lawrence, enlisted 
in First Regiment Heavy Artillery, August 1, 1861. He 
was promoted a sergeant and died of wounds, July 2Gy 
1864. v.- . ■ ■ - ■ -.- 

In other regiments are found the names of Henry Memam, 
George Willard, Charles Stone, John L. Cook, Reuben A. 
Buzzell, George O. Metcalf and George P. Ward. 

A large number of the sons of Ashburnham who removed 
from their native town previous to the war were in the 
service and several were ofhcers of rank and distinction. So 
far as the facts are ascertained, a record of service will be 
given in the l^imily registers. 

* ■■'.^ /'Onp «■••> 












Physicians. — Ashburnham has been fortunate iu the 
character and ability of the resident physicians. The follow- 
ing list includes several men of superior ^skill and professional 

Dr. Peter Brooks was the first physician of Ashburn- 
ham, and during the greater part of his practice here he had 
no competitor. Dr. Senter was here a sboit time, but his 
practice was not of sufficient duration to disturb him in the 
full possession of the field which he held until the arrival of 
Dr. Lowe. Dr. Brooks lived on the old AVinchcndon road, 
between the common and the David Russell farm. About 
1792 he loft town and nothing is known of his subsequent 
histor\'. His family remained permanently and his descend- 
ants in this town have been numerous. Of the native ability 
and professional skill of Dr. Brooks little is known. From 
the fact that he remained here twenty years it is reasonable 




1o })rcsumo that lie enjoyed some measure of puldic conti- 

1)k. SKNTrn was here a short time immediately preeeding 
the devolution. In 1774 he was chosen one ol' a committee 
to amend the Boston Covenant l)efore it was signed, but his 
name does not appear again in the records. Tradition ])re- 
serves his name and compliments him wath good ability and 
a liberal education. His stay was Ijrief and his connection 
w'ith this town unimportant. 

De. AniiAHAM Lowe, son of Jonathan and Sarah (Per- 
kins) T^owc, was born in Ipswich, February 31, 1755. The 
homestead of his father was in the parish of Chebacco, and 
is now a part of the town of Essex. In his infancy the 
family removed to Lunenburg. If Dr. Lowe did not pursue 
a lilyeral course of academical study at the schools he was a 
<?lose and attentive reader and an accurate scholar. His 
professional studies were pursued under the tuition of Dr. 
Abraham Haskell, a justly fomed physician of Lunenburg. 
At this time Dr. Lowe became acquainted with Dr. Peter 
Snow, who was a fellow-student, and subsequently a dis- 
tinguished physician and esteemed citizen of Fitchburg. 
The acquaintance ripened into a mutual friendship which was 
sustained through life. In 1786, or the year preceding, Dr. 
Lowe removed to xVshburnham and here began the labor of 
a Ions: and useful life. In an eminent deirree he was trusted 
as a physician and esteemed as a citizen. He was frequently 
chosen to positions of trust and in professional employment 
he had no rival for many years. Among his minor euq'loy- 
meuts Dr. Lowe was town clerk seven 3'ears, transcrii)iug 
the records in a clear hand and in well-chosen language. 
i'Ut for municipal service he found little leisure. His active 
years were devoted to his profession and few physicians have 
practised with less criticism and greater success. Among 



•;•.!•) ; I i!i,!^-. Mihi; 

>Ci <;; <t '' 

>'. y:l ■ ■•> -ol I , ■• '•, ■ , . ;, ,7 


: his fellow-men he Mas accorded a supremacy which h only 
surrendered to superior abilities and unchallenged character. 
The aged who remem])er him are familiar with the courtesy 
of his manner, the kindness of his heart and the impress of 
trutii and wisdom which attended his speech. He died 
October 23, 1834. 

De. Abraham T. Lowe, a son of Dr. Abraham Lowe 
and Charlotte (Kale) Lowe, was born in this town, August 
15, 1796. The influences of his home invited study, and 
at an early age he attended the acadeniy in Xew Ipswich, 
and at twenty years of age he was graduated a Doctor of 
Medicine at Dartmouth Medical College. At the. solicita- 
tion of his father he commenced practice in this town where 
he was successfully employed nine years. His circuit ex- 
tended into ^Westminster and other adjoining towns. Of his 
professional labors at this time Dr. Lowe has said, "^fy 
duties called me, I believe, almost without exception, into 
every house and family in town. I knew the direction and 
condition of every road, bridle path and passable cross-cut 
way. I never, while in health, declined a professional visit. 
I rode on horseback, in a light-wheel carriage, or sleigh, to 
meet the requirements of the season or state of the travelled 
ways; but there were times when travelling in either of 
these modes was impracticable ; then I took to my rackets, 
or Indian snow-shoes ; and I have frequently in this manner 
made visits, both in and out of town." 

In the midst of this arduous; professional employment 
Dr. Lowe took an active interest in the schools of this town 
and was a member of the committee of supervision. He 
was popular with all classes and is held in grateful rcmen\- 
brance by the aged who were his associates. In 182') or 
182G he removed to Boston and engaged in the business of 
a wholesale and prescription druggist. In this business he 
was successful and retired with a comi^etency in 1839. 

■r -.■:':: 

.■:r, , ._ i\n 


Dr. Lowe bus been a director in several monetary institu- 
tions and in this direction bis service has been conspicuous. 
In 1859 he was chosen president of the Safety Fund Bank 
which subsequently became the First National Bank of 
Boston, and under liis sagacious management this institution 
has maintained a prominent position among its energetic 
rivals. Dr. Lowe was an able advocate-, and was promi- 
nently identified with the construction of the Boston and 
Lowell railroad. At that date many regarded the project as 
experimental, but the substantial results are a tribute to the 
foresight and judgment of Dr. Lowe and his associates. He 
was one of the early directors of the road trom ^Vorcester to 
Albany and for several years a director of the Boston and 
Worcester railroad and also the Fall Biver railrotid. He 
early and clearh' comprehended the importance of these 
gigantic enterprises and with energv and courage he labored 
for the future interests of his city and Commonwealth. 

In addition to efhcient ser\nce for the public schools of 
Boston, he has repeatedly served in the Board of Aldermen, 
and beginning in 182-1, he has been a member of the ]Massa- 
chusetts Legislature several years. In this service he 
disclo.-ed the rare traits of mind and of character which 
distinguish his successful career in business. 

In early life Dr. Lowe compiled the Columbian Orator, a 
school-book which was favorabl}' received, and subsequently 
he puljlished the Second Class Book, for younger pupils ; 
but he is better known as the author of several papers upon 
scientific and medical subjects. He is one of the original 
trustees of Cushinir Academy and durin<j' the past ten years 
he has been president of the board. 

Dr. Lowe at the age of almost ninety years has earned a 
respite from active employment. Without ambition or 
ostentation he has conscientiously met every responsibility 



anfl faithfully directed every interest contlded to his eare. 
His industry, his integrity .and his purity of eharae(er, which 
attended him through life, now crown his age with blessings 
and honor. '^ 

Dn. Xathaxiel Pkikct:, a son of Oliver and Mary 

(Smith) Peirce, was born in Lunenburg, October 8, 1778. 

He pursued his preparatory studies at New Ipswich Academy 

and was a teacher in the public schools several years. He 

entered HarA'ard University, but on account of MYuvj: health 

did not graduate. Later he pursued a course of prolessional 

study and received his diploma at the Medical School, then 

in Wcathersfield, Vermont, and in that town he practised a 

short time. Leaving M^eatherslield he removed to his native 

town where he was engaged in the manufacture of ^n ool or 

felt hats, at that time one of the home industries of Xew 

England. He removed to this town in IS'25 and immediately 

entered upon the practice of his profession. From the first 

he secured and maintained the coniidence of the people and 

for many years his practice was large and remunerative. In 

the mean time he purchased many acres of land and became 

a prosperous farmer, and as the infirmities of age invited 

him to less active pursuits he gradually retired from practice 

and gave his attention to the supeiwision of his farm. 

A tall, commanding man, his head towering above the 
multitude, ho was dignified in manner and deliberate in the 
use of words. Li method he was direct and aggi-essive, and 
if he was sometimes blunt in his speech he wis generally 
just. His opinions were well matured and when^-equired . 
they were expressed Anthout evasion or concealment. If he 
honestly ditlered with others in opinion and expressed his 
own views plainly, he tolerated no contention and conducted 
no quarrels. He was a kind neighbor, an honest man and a 
foithful citizen. He was frequently chosen by his townsmen 

J' ■' ' i:: 

4, -V. >^ 




.^-^ t.. -^ 







v-y^ /y. 





to local ofBce and was a member of the Lejrislatiirc 1831 
and 1832. He died September 3, 18G2. 

Dr. Otis Abekcrombie, a native of Deei-field and a grad- 
uate of tlie Yale Medical School, came to Ashburnham in 
1827. He was favorably received and was chosen a member 
of the school committee soon after his arrival. At this time 
the field was occupied by members of the profession who 
had become established in the confidence of the people. In 
1829 he removed to Fitchburg. After a successftd practice 
of nine years, on account of failing healtli, he retired from 
business and removed to Lunenburg where he died Jai\uary . 
24, 1851, aged forty-nine years. 

Dr. AVileiam H. Cutler, son of Jonathan and Iveziah 
(Hutchins) Cutler, was born iu Plainfield, Connecticut, July 
2, 1787. After attending school at ,the academy in Plain- 
tield he pursued his professional studies with Dr. Darius 
Hutchins of Abington, Connecticut. His first professional 
labors were in Winchendon where he practised about seven 
years. In 1820 he removed to New Salem and was there 
successfully employed until lie removed to this town in 1829. 
In AVinchendon he was a member of the school committee in 
1819 and in Xew Salem he was frequently chosen to positions 
of ti'ust, among which he was for many years one of the 
trustees of the New Salem Academy. In this town Dr. 
Cutler rode a wide circuit many years and was justly i"e- 
garded as a conscientious, skilful physician. As a man, 
he was upright, sincere and honest, and was held in high 
esteem. As the infirmities of age grew upon him he retired 
from active practice and removed in 18G4 to Audover where 
he died July 16, 1867. ■ ' '■ " .;...■'-■ 

Dr. AVilliam P. Stone, son of David and Lydia (Per- 
kins) Stone and a brother of Rev. Benjamin P. Stone, D. D., 
late of Concord, Xew Hampshire, was born in Reading, 

.!/ V.r;')i:T'T 

'/i(t';!>;t\: - t 

•f •;lTn^'-> 

if, 3/ 


Vermonf, July 23, 1809. A few years after this date 
the family removed from Keadiug to Eiiosburg, "S^enuont. 
Dr. Stone graduated at Dartmouth :Medical School in 1835 
and came to this to^yn in 1837, where he was successfully 
emi)loyed eight years. From the first he was well recei^'ed. 
Beneath a modest and unassuming manner, there was no 
failure in the discovery of an intelligent mind and a iaiihful 
and competent physician. lie had many friends and no 
enemies. In the spring of 1845 he removed to Boston and 
previous to 1850 he removed to Danbury, Xew Hampshire, 
.where he remained several years. In October, 18G2, he 
was commis..ioned assistant surgeon of the Second Xew 
Hampshire Volunteers, and was promoted to surgeon of this 
regiment, July 6, 18G4. He remained in the s^ervice until 
the regiment was mustered out, December 19, 1865. Soon 
after the war he removed from Danbury to AVestminster, 
Vermont, where he continued the practice of his in-ofession 
a few years. He died in Burke, Xew York, 1872. 

Dr. Alfred Miller, son of John and Betsey (Kobinson) 
Miller, was born in AVeslminster, Vermont, March 15, 1815. 
He pursued his preparatory studies in the schools of AVest- 
minster and Bernardston and graduated at :\Iiddlebury 
College ]840. AVhile reading for his profession he taught 
school several years and completed bis study Avith Dr. 
Alfred Hitchcock and at the Medical School in Woodstock, 
Vermont, where he graduated in 1844. In the following 
year he entered upon the practice of his profession in this 
town where he was successfully employed until he removed 
to Fitchburg in 18G3. 

He was a skilful physician and was highly respected by 
all who knew him. Afilible and kind in his manner, atten- 
tive to the calls of his profession, he was a popular physician 
and a valued citizen. Dr. :\Iiller was repeatedly elected a 

, i. 


Lieniber of the school committee and to other positions of 
trust. In Fitchhurg he was eminently successful. He con- 
tinued in active practice in that city until his death, Novem- 
ber 15, 1877, aged sixty-two years. He was a member of 
the Legislature 186G and 187G. 

Dr. ]\Iei:rick Wallace, a son of Kahum Wallace of 
Oxford, was born Api'il 12, 1808, In 1847 he completed a 
course of study at the Botanical ^Medical College then in 
"Worcester, and to this school of medicine he closely adhered 
in his practice. His remedial methods were tlien compara- 
tively new and he early secured a liberal patronage. Ills 
practice extended into the adjoining towns and frequently he 
made long journeys in response to demands for his profes- 
sional attendance. Dr. "Wallace was also a successful farmer 
and in this jmrsuit he manifested a constant interest. He 
died May 22, 187. i. 

Dr. Lorenzo Locke Whitmore, a son of Colonel Enoch 
and Clarissa (Willard) Whitmore, was born in this town, 
July 2, 1823. AVith the exception of Dr. Abraham T. 
Lowe, he is the only physician in this town who was born 
•within the iield of his professional labor. He pursued a 
liberal course of academical and professional study, gradu- 
ating at the Harv^ard ^Medical School in the class of 1852. 
After a brief practice in AVarwick, he returned to this tov/u 
and assumed the management of a large farm which for more 
than one hundred years has been the homestead of his 
ancestors. For several years he rode an extended circuit in 
this town and in Ilindge, and fully maintained the confidence 
of his pati'ons. ]More recently he has found full employ- 
ment in the management of his farm. 

Dr. Joirx Orlando ]\LvrrooN (eclectic) was a native of 
Vershire, Vermont, born October 10, 1837. He w^as 
educated at the academy in Chelsea, Vermont, and the 


..<^ 1 ■- 1 i *x> 

i'. ;('( f 


AveI]-known institution in New London, Xow Hampshire, 
lie read for lii.s profession with Dr. George Iv. Bagley of 
Chelsea, Vermont, and graduated at a medical school in 
Cincinnati in 1858. The same year he located in this town 
and practised with a fair measure of success until his early 
death which occurred January 13, 18(i2. 

Dit. TuEROX Tejiple, son of John and Sally (Taylor) 
Temple, was horn in Heath, April 20, 18oo. He is a gradu- 
ate of Berkshire Medical College in class of 1856. In 1857 
ho entered upon the practice of his profession in Bolchertown 
and M-as there successfully employed until 18G1, when he 
was commissioned assistant-surgeon in the Twenty-fifth 
Massachusetts Volunteers. This regiment Avas assigned to 
the Burnside expedition. In this service Dr. Temple con- 
tracted malarial fever and resigned in the spring of 1802. 
The same year he removed to this town where he connnanded 
the respect of the community and secured a lucrative prac- 
tice. While residing in this town he was examining surgeon 
by appointment from Governor Andrew. In the autunm of 
1861, he removed to Amherst and continued in active prac- 
tice until 1875. During the past ten years he has been 
employed in the customs seiwice at Boston with a residence 
in Waltham. 

Dk. Harvey D. Jillsox (eclectic) pursued his pro- 
fessional studies at Harvard Medical School and at Worces- 
ter. Adopting the theories of the eclectic school, he 
entered upon the practice of his profession in Leominster in 
1860. He removed to this town in 1864. He was elected 
a member of the school committee for three years but 
removed to Fitchburg in 1868 before the completion of the 
term. For two years he was president of the Worcester 
North Eclectic Society, and ele\en years its secretary, and 
was a vice-president of the National Eclectic ]Medical Society. 

't, ;. .^<.\ ■' 

> ; , ■ r 


Jle died September 25, 1877, aged forty-three year?. 

Dk. Charles L. Pierce, son of John F. and Abigail 
•Fiske Pierce, was born in Derby, Vermont, ^lay 17, 1810. 
He attended school at Newbury, Vei-mout, and at INIerideu, 
New Hampshire, and gTaduatcd at the New York College of 
Physicians and Surgeons. He practised his profession a 
short time at Charlestown, Xew Hampshire, and removed to 
this town in 18().5. Dr. Pierce was generally regarded as a 
skilful physician and was employed by a considerable part 
of the community. He removed to Xatick in 1871, and 
from thence to San Francisco, California, where he died 
May 11, 1885. 

Dr. Aeonzo Lawrence Stickney, son of Alvah and 
Eebecca ("Wright) Stickney, was born in Townsend, ^lay 
26, 1835. He attended the academies at Milford and Xcw 
Ipswich, Xew Hampshire, and graduated at Harvard 
Medical School in the class of 1862. His lirst professional 
labors were at Sutton. In the spring of 1864 lie was 
appointed assistant-surgeon in the regular army and served 
to the close of the war. Returning to Sutton he was there 
successfully employed in the practice of his profession until 
his removal to this town in 1871. In an unusual degree, he 
early secured and has merited the confidence of his patrons. 
His success as a physician and his usefulness as a citizen will 
elicit prompt recognition in future reviews of completed 

Dr. Amory Jewett, son of Amory and Lucy E. (Die- 
waide) JcAvett, was born in Boston, January 17, 1833. He 
attended the public schools of Boston and graduated at the 
Eclectic ^Medical College, Cincinnati, Ohio. xVfter a brief 
practice in Boston, he removed to this toAvn in 1868 and 
remained in successful practice until 1873. Since he re- 
moved from this town he has practised in Clinton, Fitchburg 


1 . • ( 


and Hiibl.aidston. On account of fiiilinii- healtli he has retired 
from active practice and mnv resides in Somerville. Dr. 
Jcwett, while residing in this town, was successively secre- 
tary, councillor and president of the "Worcester Xorth 
Eclectic Medical Society. "., 

. Dn. Xathaxiel Jewett, a brother of Dr. Aniory Jewett, 
was born in Boston, March 10, 1.S41. lie gi-aduated at the 
Boston High School in 1858 and pursued a course of pro- 
fessional study under private tuition. He graduated at the 
Boston Dental College 18G9, and at the New York Eclectic 
College 1871. In the mean time Dr. Jewett attended 
lectures^ at Harvard Medical School and at the College of 
Physicians and Surgeons, Xew York. He removed to this 
town in 1871 and has maintained a lucrative practice to the 
l-)resent time. He has l)een president of the Worcester 
Xoi-th Eclectic Medical Society, and for many years the 
secretary and treasurer. He has been councillor and presi- 
dent of the Massachusetts Eclectic ^Medical Society and is a 
member of the National Eclectic Medical Association. Dr. 
•Jewett is the eighteenth resident physician who has practised 
in this town and among this number none has been more 
constantly employed. 

Dk. Ciiakles Kxowltox was here a few mouths in the 
autumn and winter of 1830-31. 

Dr. Milks Spauldixg, now of Groton, practised in this 
town from April to September, 1845, supplying the time 
between the practice of Dr. Stone and Dr. Miller. 

Dpw. Joiix Pett.s, who resided in this town for many 
years, was a physician, but he did not engage in practice 
after he removed to Ashburuham. 

.• Lawveus. — Of the four resident lawyers of this town 
only one remained any considerable length of time. If the 
good people of Ashburuham have not been wholly free from 

■/^ ■■•1) i:; ?,«J'-; .' 
'( 'i ■ 


I ■ , , ( ? 

■• ''C' V f, 


" '' ■'\ I*' 


■*-■ ' 








• i 




, ■■if 






■ri' I 







'ill UJ 













strife and contention, they lune seldom appealed to the 
courts for arbitration. And in some instances it is })ossii)le 
the contestants have found more entertainment in a continued 
prosecution of some domestic quarrel than could be realized 
in any possible terms of legal adjustment. May CrNNixGHAM, Esq., practised law in this 
tovrn from about 1818 to 1821. He i-emoved to South 
Eeadinij, now "Wakefield. AVhiic in this town he boarded 
with the Jewetts, and by tradition he is furnished with the 
credentials of a f>of)d character and respeetal)le abilities. 

Hexky, Esq., came to this town in 1825, or early 
in 182(), and remained four or live years. He was a man of 
fair abilities and met with a reasonable measure of success. 

Geouge G. Packer, Esq., was born in Coventry, 
Connecticut, May 10, 180Q, and was graduated at Yale in 
the class of 1828. He pursued his professional studies in 
the office of ]Myron Lawrence, Esq., of Belchertown, and 
began the practice of law in this town in 1831. He was 
quite deaf and labored under great embarrassment, yet he 
was successful and was highly esteemed by the profession 
and by his townsmen. He served two years in the supervi- 
sion of the public schools and for many years he was a mem- 
ber of the board of selectmen. In 1840 and 1841 he ably 
re})resented the town in the Legislature. He died Decem- 
ber 14, 1852. 

Albert Haynes Andrews, Esq., son of Jeremiah and 
Abigail Anna (Flaynes) Andrews, was born in Waltham, 
December 29, 1829. He attended the schools in Ashby and 
Fitchburg and the Academy at Westminster, and pursued 
his }n"ofessional studies in the office of Judge Thornton K. 
Ware of Fitchburg. Pie was admitted to the AVorcester 
county bar in 180(). "With a view of entering upon the 
practice of law in the West, iVIr. Andrews went to Chicago 

-(!■■:> >(r')> 



and there becomiuir interested in the controversy attendiuf 
the political situation of Kansas he raised a coaipany of sixty 
meD and hastened to tlic relief of the Free State party in this 
memorable conflict. Eeturning to the East he entered upon 
the practice of law in this town in the autunni of 18^)7. He 
was the fourth and last resident lawyer in Ashburnhani. 

While a resident of this town he was a member of the 
school connnittee and in 1860 and 1861 he represented this 
district in the Legislature, and was adjutant of the Xinth 
Eegimeut of Militia, then under conmiand of Colonel Joseph 
P. Rice. In May, 1861, Mr. Andrews was commissioned a 
first lieutenant in the regular army and assigned to the 
Nineteenth Infantry. He continued in the service about 
nine years and during this time he was in fact a citizen of 
Ashburnham. For gallant and meritorious service at the 
battle of Shiloh he was breveted captain and at Stone River 
he won the brevet rank of major. In the antnmn of 1863 
Major Andrews was ordered Xorth on recruiting service. 
After enlisting two hundred and sixty-five men he remained 
with his regiment in Tennessee and Georgia until the sur- 
render of the Confederate army. Subsequently, Major 
Andrews was with his regiment in Arkansas and Louisiana 
until he resigned January 1, 1870. During this time he was 
commandant of military posts much of the time and was 
frequently assigned to important trusts. 

During the past seventeen years Major Andrews has 
resided in Fitchburg, in Kansas and in San Francisco, Cali- 
fornia, and since Xovember, 1879, he has been Inspector of 
Customs at Boston. In a life of diversified employment, 
Major Andrews has been faithful and efficient in the dis- 
charge of duty and has commanded the respect and confi- 
dence of his associates. 

r ' 

• If. :•,':'■ ) 

> , ■ .'* 

' 'I 1;, 


Deacon Samukl AVildeu was born in Lancaster, ]M:iy 7, 
17o9. He was a son of Colonel Caleb AVildor and a irrancl- 
son of Judge Joseph Wilder. Colonel Caleb Wilder owned 
many acres of land in Dorchester (Janada and was much 
employed in forwarding the settlement. His name frequently 
appears in the records of the proprietors, but he never re- 
sided in this town. Samuel Wilder settled here previous to 
1765. At the tirst town meeting under the act of incorpora- 
tion, March 25, 17G5, he was chosen collector of the land 
tax. Before the close of the year he temporarily removed 
from the town and in November following Sanuiel Nichols 
was chosen in place of Mr. Wilder who was, as the record 
asserts, '' out of the province.'' He soon returned and in 
1767 he vras a selectman and received other mention in the 
proceedings of the meetings. From this date he resided in 
Ashburnham continuously until his death. In early life he 
was a captain in the colonial militia, but he was never honored 
with the title after he was chosen a deacon. The records 
assert his popularity and the unlimited confidence of his 
townsmen. He was several years a member of the General 
Couii ; ^\ as the town clerk t^venty-two years, a selectman 
fifteen years and an assessor twenty years. In addition to 
this extended sei^vice he was fre(|uently chosen on important 
committees and in every emergency his service was invoked. 
For many years he was justice of the peace and in his time 
few legal paj^ers were executed in this town which did not 
bear his tamiliar signature. 

The advancement of Mr. Wilder was attended by no for- 
tuitous circumstances. His honors were merited and his 
position among his townsmen Avas the voice of mature senti- 
ment. If not brilliant, his qualities were solid, and if he did 
not win the applause of his fellow-men, he enjoyed in an 
unusual degree their trust and confidence. At fifty-nine 
years of age he died suddenly May 9, 1798, but he lived 


M-1 ■.■;■.' 


until Josejib Jewott b;id been advanced to bis assi^tancc in 
town affairs. Leaving bis muntlc, like tbc propbet of old, 
upon tbe slioulders of bis successor, be closed u record full 
of bonor and unstained witb an ignoble deed. 

Joseph Jeavett, son of Edward and Sarab Jev,ett, was 
born in Stow, May 10, 17G1. Tbe family had previously 
resided in Concord, wbere some of tbe older cbildren were 
born and subsequently removed to Bolton. Deacon Ed^ aid 
Jewett, a man of superior ability and a prominent citizen of 
Ivindge, was an older After serving in tbe Ke volu- 
tion, of which mention is made in another chapter, .Joseph 
Jewett removed to this town in 1783. lie was a merchant 
and a farmer and for many years the leading business man in 
the place ; but in other employments be was even more in- 
timately identified with tbe town's history. In this con- 
nection his record as a citizen, and the sterling qualities of 
bis character demand more than a passing notice. At tlie 
age of tu'cnty-two years he entered upon the scene of bis 
future activity and immediately the town recognized the 
qualities of the man. The proof of his popularity and the 
measure of tbe confidence reposed in him are witnessed by 
the records. He was a member of the board of selectmen 
fifteen years, an assessor fifteen years, town clerk eighteen 
years and was ten times chosen to preside over tbe annual 
March meeting. 

In the midst of these accumulating honors and responsi- 
bilities he was a member of tbe Legislature seven years and 
was frequently chosen to serve on committees an<I render 
other service to tbe town. ]>ut no numerical statement of 
his official service will fairly express tbe measure of confi- 
dence reposed in him, or the unanimity in which he was 
called to these posts of duty. In militarj- affairs he evinced 
a lively intere.->t. Tradition asserts he was the first captain 
of the Ashburnham Li<rht Infantrv. It is certain that he 

:- .,-.->:i;i . . J.!'^ ;^i' "h: 


coramanded a company in this town as early as 1789 and was 
commissioned a captain of the independent comjiany in this 
town, July 12, 1791, and the following year was promoted 
to major. He was lieutenant-colonel in 1795 and colonel 
of the regiment, to which the Ashburnham companies 
belonged, in 179G. For many years he was a justice of the 
peace and was frequently called upon to act in this capacit}'. 
A rear room in the store building was styled the court-room 
and there manj' official pa})ers were executed and many 
minor suits were adjudicated. 

In these outlines of a life work, if other evidence failed, 
there would remain the inference of capacity, honesty and a 
measure of urbanity through which his fellow-men clearly 
recognized these sterling qualities. 

In civil aflairs Josej)!! Jewett is the most conspicuous per- 
sonage in the town's history. He was the oracle of his time 
and an autocrat among his townsmen, yet his ambition was 
limited and he wisely exercised authority when thrust upon 
him. The aged who remember ]\Ir. Jewett are united in the 
testimony that he was a man of rigid integrity, — that the 
distinguishing qualities of his mind were an intuitive per- 
ception and a sound judgment, and that he was kind and 
considerate to his fellow-men. He died May 3, 1846. 

Geneijal Iveks Jewett, a son of Colonel Joseph Jewett, 
was born in this town, May 7, 1788. His record as a mer- 
chant in his native town has been stated in another chapter. 
In 1827 he removed to Fitchburg and was interested in 
several manufacturing and other enterprises. ^lany of the 
business ventures which he forwarded with enthusiasm and 
supported with his money and credit were unfortunate for 
him and his friends. General Jewett was of buoyant, ardent 
temperament, of attractive, personal appearance and com- 
manding presence. He was aliable, kind-hearted and gener- 
ous. Popularity was his birthright and the record of his 

'.• .■ f- 

•>'. (■'■•; 

I'. ■«, 

■ ; v. 


i r. 

') n::r 

...! >'i 


early lift' is attractive and inspiriting. At thirty-four years 
of age he had risen from the ranks of the Ashlturnliani Li2;ht 
Infantry to the i-auk of a general of tlie State ]\filitia. At 
every step in this rapid transition he had been an eUicient 
and po})ular officer. He had been a successful merchant and 
had enlarged the business established by his father. lie had 
been employed in town affairs and had exercised unusual 
sway and command among his fellow-men. 

Few men at this age and in a rural community of limited 
population have made a more brilliant record. In mental 
capacity, in fitness to lead and ability to command among 
men and aptitude in the routine transaction of Inisiness, he 
resembled his father in an eminent degree. In boldness of 
conception, in power to persuade and in originality of project 
he was his superior ; but in ripeness of judgment, in pni- 
dence and caution, he failed at the threshold of his fathei"'s 
success. Of his later life little is known. He removed to 
the South and there accumulated a handsome property which 
was swept away by the fortunes of war during the Ivel)ellion. 
He died at Mobile, Alabama, April 2G, 1871. 

The Willards. — The brothers Deacon John and Jacob 
Willard removed from Harvard 1768. They were men of 
ability and occupied prominent positions in public affairs. 
Deacon Willard died July 4, 1793, having been in feeble 
health for several years. He was a man of most estimable 
character and was highly respected. Had he been sustained 
by health it is probable that very few in the history of the 
town would have been more conspicuous. 

Jacob Willard was a strong, aggi-essive character. His 
sei'vices in behalf of ijrood government during the disturb- 
ances succeeding the llevolution, and especially during the 
excitement attending the revolt of Daniel Shays, were instant 
and effective. He was a delefjate to the Law and Order 

r.- .',■■ 

ti ' '. \ 

• ■ ; '\ '[■■(:. 
1 ■ ■ 1 ■ ■ \ ■ . ■ 


("oi'voutiors hold ;it th:it time, and was a tinu supporter of 
the Government. He "svus a rei)resentati"S'e to tlie first 
Legishiture convened under the Constitution of the State, 
and was four times elected suhsequently. His name fre- 
quentl}' appears in the list of town officers in another chap- 
ter, and few men have exercised a stronger or more salutary 
influence in town atlairs. He died February 22, 1808. 

Silas "Wlllaiid, Esq., son of Deacon John "Willard, was 
another prominent citizen of this town. In 1820 he was a 
member of the Constitutional Convention and was frequently 
chosen to positions of trust. For twenty-eight years he was 
a justice of the peace and through a long life he commanded 
the esteem and respect of all ^vho knew him. He died June 
14, 1855. 

John ADA:Nrs, son of Captain Thomas and Lydia (Chad- 
wick)^ Adams, was born, January 22, 1745. In 17G6 he 
began a clearing on Cambridge farm, on land purchased of 
his father, and here he was ena'aoed each summer in clearing 
land and in building a house and a barn until 1770, when he 
became a pennanent resident of this town. That John 
Adams was a man of unusual vigor of body is an easy infer- 
ence from the fact that he lived to the advanced age of one 
hundred and four years, one month and four days, and that 
he was a man of superior mental endowment is swiftly wit- 
nessed by the record of a prolonged and useful life. He was 
frequently elected assessor and selectman, and in other 
municipal afhiirs he was much employed. In an unusual 
degree he commanded the respect and good will of his towns- 
men. The fruit of a life of industry and frugality he dis- 
tributed, while living, among his children, and when over 
ninety years of age, with a horse and light wagon, he 
journeyed to Harford, Susquehannah county, Pennsylvania, 

and back to Ashburnham. His son, James, had previously 

■) .- Mi; : 

\ ; 


removed to Harford and tioon after his visit there he re- 
turned to that phice and there resided until his death. 

In the elosing years of a ]'cniarka])h^ life he passed through 
no t\vili<Tht of mental decay and feebleness. "When over one 
hundred years of age, in a letter to Mis. Samuel Gibson, 
who durlno; many years was a near neighbor, he writes of 
himself in these clear, intelligent sentences, — " ]My eyesight 
remains much as it has been for many years. 1 can see with 
"•lasses to read an hour or two at a time which answers in 


the room of hearing." Not until he had closely approached 
one hundred years did his hearing fail, and to the end he 
was able to converse with his friends, although his hearing 
was considerably impaired. Under date of February 7, 
1846, he writes to his grandson, John Adams, as follows : 

Beloved Grandson: — This morning I received the kindness of 
your letter, and among other things it brought the sorrowful and 
melancholy tidings of the death of your venerable grandmother 
Gibson. The news has struck me with uncommon feelings of 
sorrow. I presume you are not unacquainted with the friendship' 
that has for many long years subsisted between the old lady, your 
grandmother, and myself, and hope you will not wonder at my 
being overpowered. My mind is too much distiu'bed to be able to- 
write. 0, what a vale of tears is this pilgrimage, — this worldly 
state in which we are placed ! And how are we excited to sym- 
pathize with each other under tlie bereavements which we have 
sustained since I saw you last, when we look around and see what 
slaughter the King of Terrors has been permitted to make in our 
family. O, how many of our nearest relations and even bosom 
companions are no more ; — and last of all your beloved grand- 
mother, my friead and sister. And where now shall we look for 
consolation? To God and to the Gospel of his Son. There, and 
there alone, shall we find relief. 

Love to your children and all enquiring friends, your uncle 
Samuel's [Gibson] family in particular. With the affections of a 
parent, I remain 




111 :i l.-ttei" to tlool Foster, sou of Samuel and grandson of 
Jeremiah Foster, an early settler in this town, vivid evidences 
of an unimpaired memory are apparent. The letter was 
written at Harford, February 3, 1846. 

Respected Friend : — I am now with a weak and faltering hand 
attenpting to comply with your request hy writing a few lines to 
you, hoping this will find you and your family in healtli and 
prospering. I would inform you that my health is as good as may 
be expected by a person like myself under the infirmities of old 
age and the deca}- of mental faculties. Dear sir, I received your 
friendly letter b}' my son James and took much pleasure in read- 
ing the contents of it ; it always gives me much pleasure to receive 
a letter from my Massachusetts friends, but especiall} from a 
family where I have been so agreeabl}- acquainted as I was with 
your honored father and his family. It reminds me of by-gone 
days wh.en we were doing town business together. If ever I took 
satisfaction in that business it was when I was connected with 
your fatlier. True, he was not a ready writer ; but his candor, his 
judicious and sound judgment and unprejudiced mind and ex- 
tensive knowledge of the town and its affairs, qualified him for the 
business in which he was often engaged. I presume you remember 
me often at your house, and I knew something of its afl'airs ; and 
truly I thought your father and his faiuily was a worthy example, 
and on his farm a pattern of industry, dilligence and economy ; 
in the town, a pillar to the community a blessing to all, an honest 
man, which is the noblest work of God. But his God whom he 
served saw fit in the midst of his days to call him hence, and shall 
not the Lord of heaven and earth do right? And who shall say 
to the Almighty, what doest thou, or why doest thou so? 

I understand by your letters that in years past you have been 
visited by sickness and the loss of friends, even your bosom friend. 
In this I can feelingly sympathize with you, having been tried in 
the same furnace of affliction, losing the wife of my youth with 
whom I lived fifty-three years, every year adding strength to the 
tic of affection. But under these trials it becomes us to cultivate 

• ■■' ■■■.■ «;'■ 

,'•.' h 


a spirit of resignation whereby we raay be enabled to &ay from the 
heart, — " Xot my will, henvonly Father, but thine be done." 

Dear friend, I now take the liberty to congratulate you on the 
happ3' connexion which you have formed with the once jNIrs. 
Cobleigh, a lad}- with whom I have in time past had some acquaint- 
ance, and view her to be a lady of virtue, intelligence and benefi- 
cence, and with whom I wish you to enjo}' a long, pcacefnl. J03'ful, 
prosperous and happy life. 

I must write one sad piece of news, if you have not heard of it. 
Our C()al mine, aliout eighteen miles from here, about a fortnight 
ago broke in and covered seventeen men which have not yet been 

Give my respects to all your surviving family and enquiring 
friends. When I think of Ashburnham, it seems as though I was 
at home, being the place where I spent the prime and vigor of my 
days, and where there are now many of m\' near relations and 
dear friends sleeping in the dust. Peace to their ashes ; and 
peace to the town ; long may it continue to prosper ; and ma}' 
tiuth and righteousness grow and flourish. 

Divine Providence, it seems, has so ordered that my body must 
return to dust in a strange land, that is, in a land far distant from 
where rest most of the ashes of my beloved relatives. Truly such 
would not have been my choice ; but wh}' should we be anxious 
about the clay when the spirit has taken its flight to God who gave 
it? And blessed be God for the hope which is the anchor of the 
soul sure and steadfast, that we iu his own time shall meet and 
worship him and his son Jesus Christ our Kedecmcr, joining in a 
new and never-ending anthem and song of redeeming love. 

And here, dear sir, I must conclude my broken epistle ; and 
bidding you goodby, I remain 3'our sincere friend, 

JOHX ADAMS, aged one hundred and one years. 

Mr. Joel Foster. 

Other letters and writings, treasured by his descendants, 
assert the vigor of an active mind, and tliose written when 
this aged man had lived an hundred years are without a 


■. =f 











'^': ^^^i 


parallel. He died Febniai'v 26. 1840. Ilis descendants in 
this town have been and still are numerous and have ever 
been useful and prominent citizens. 

CoLOXEL Enoch Whit^ioke, son of Isaac and Rebecca 
(Foster) Whitmore, was born in this town, September 8, 
J 796. He >vas a farmer and a manufacturer, and resided in 
the northvrest part of the town. In early life he was an 
efficient officer in the militia and rapidly rose to the connnand 
of the regiment. ILning held the commissions of lower 
rank he was commissioned colonel of the Fourth Regiment 
in 1829. In town aiTairs he was frequently called to positions 
oftini-tand was chosen to nearly all the offices within the 
gift of the town. / ■• - 

The anti-slavery cause early enlisted his sjinpathies and 
found in him an intelligent and steadfast support. With 
him the sentiment was not the oftspring of emotional 
sympathy, but a living principle of human right and justice. 
In this and in all questions of moment. Colonel "Whitmore 
was a radical but not a fanatic. In his view the institution 
of slavery was wrong, and to oppose it with the force of a 
persistent nature was a natural sequence. For many years 
he was in the minority and during an age of strong political 
prejudices, his political views were a bar to promotion in 
public service ; yet his frequent election to office was a spon- 
taneous recognition of his worth and ability. In his daily 
life he was above reproach, and in his social relations he was 
generous and afiectionate. He died September 13, 1860. 

Jerome 'W. Fostek, Esq., son of Joel and Dolly 
(Wetherbee) Foster, was born in this town, December 15, 
1810. He was a great-grandson of Jeremiah Foster, one of 
the earh- settlers of this town, and inherited in an eminent 
degree a firmness of character and t^oundness of judgment 
which had distinijuished his ancestors. Mr. Foster was a 

'x.:\ uAi. 

M,'TiH i;- 

■ I y; 


man of varied em])loyinciits and many ti-usts were safely 
confided to liis efficient management. He Avas a civil 
engineer, a justice of the peace, for many years the superin- 
tendent of the post office and was frequently employed in the 
conduct of town aftairs. lie was also a trustee of Gushing 
Academy and a member of the committee of construction, 
and to his prudent and sagacious counsels the Academy is 
much indebted. For eighteen years he was town clerk. 
The records by him transcribed are expressed with precision 
and orderly arrangement. In every labor of an industrious 
life, Mr. Foster has left the impress of mature judgment and 
integrity of character. If he never sought the applause of 
his fellow-men and never suggested his own advancement he 
did not fail to receive the spontaneous confidence and un- 
qualified respect of all who knew him. 

Mr. Foster was reserved in manner and conservative in 
his habits of thought, yet he never failed in the discharge of 
important trusts, nor in courage to maintain his convictions 
of right and duty. He was prominent in all measures per- 
tahiing to the welfare of the town and on questions of 
moment his advice was frequently sought, and in his loyal 
service the best interests of the community were encouraged 
and advanced. He died ]March 23, 1871. 

Hon. Ohio ^Viiitney, son of Ohio and Mary (Bolton) 
Whitney, was born in Ashburnham, June 9, 1813. 
He was honorably connected in direct and collateral 
branches of his ftmiily. In early life he was an apprentice 
■with Josiah White, a carpenter of this town, and sub- 
sequently he was foreman with Mr. Tower of Worcester, a 
few years. Returning to his native town at the age of 
twenty-six years, he was mainly employed as a contractor 
and builder tlu-ough the earlier years of an active and useful 
life. He was engaged at different times in manv business 

1. .} 

hi;* 1 



}^^ '^P 










enterprises, nnd especially those in v.liieh the prosperity of 
the town was more innncdiately involved. But he M'as best 
known and is more eonspicuous in the annals of this town as 
u public-spirited, loyal eitizen. With him the fame and 
growth of Ashburnham was not merely a series of sudden 
impulses, enlisting his energies for a day, but rather a con- 
trolling and ever renewed inspiration which neither failed 
under discouragement nor suflered abatement under oppos- 
ing obstacles. 

Every commendable enterprise has found in ]Mr. AMiitney 
unfailing encouragement and to the aid of very many his 
willing service has been summoned. For many years he 
was a trustee of the Fitchburo; Savini^s Bank and a vice- 
president of the Ashburnham Savings Bank, and an original 
director of the Ashburnham National Bank. He was presi- 
dent of the Worcester North Agricultural Society in 186-1 
and 186.5, and an active member of the Fitchburg Board of 
Trade. His etTicient service in behalf of Gushing Academy, 
is mentioned in another chapter. 

In the afl'airs of the town he was much employed. His 
service in this direction was efficient and cheerfulh' rendered. 
Eighteen years he presided over the annual ^Nlarch meetings 
and was frequently elected to the board of selectmen and 
assessors and upon important committees. In 1856 he 
represented the town in the House of Kepresentatives, and 
the following year he was a member of the Senate. 

But such enumeration of public services fails to suggest 
the characteristics of the man. In this direction others have 
earned equal honors, but few have served tlie public with 
equal acceptance and efficiency. In his intercourse with his 
fellow-men he was atlable and charitable. He bore malice 
to none. In the inner walks of his daily life his atl'ections 
were constant and his friendships enduring. He died 
February G, 1879. 


•I •'!!■ 


Personal Xoticks, — To the following notices are 
nppeiided lirief sketches of Governor Isaac Hill, Thomas 
Parknian Gushing and Hon. Milton AVhitney. AVhile they 
removed from this tov.n in early life they were members of 
Ashburnham families ; Mr. Gushing and Mr. Whitney were 
natives of this town. 

Hox. Isaac Hill, eldest son of Isaac and Hannah (Rus- 
sell) Hill, was born in Gamln-idge, now Arlington, AY)rii 6, 
1788. The family removed to Ashburnham in 1798 and 
here found many ties of kindred. The mother of this dis- 
tinjruished man was a <rrand-dauo-hter of Gaptain Thomas 
Adams who removed to this town in 1775 and a sister of 
Thomas ]-usseil who removed here about 1790. The parents 
continued to live and died in this town, anci three of the 
daughters became the Avives of Ashburnham men. Assist- 
iu2: in the manafrement of a farm and attending: the prhnitive 
schools of this town a few weeks in each year, ]Mr. Hill 
remained here until December, 1802, when he was appren- 
ticed to Joseph Gushing, the pul)lisher of the Farmers' 
Cabinet at Amherst, New Hampshire. ^Mr. Gushing was 
a son of Captain David Gushing of this town. 

Having improved every opportunity for the acquisition of 
knowledge, he left the employ of 'Mv. Gushing and went to 
Concord, Xew Hampshire, April 5, 1809, the day before he 
was twenty-one years of age. In the autumn preceding the 
American Patriot, a small weekly paper, had been 
established in Goncord and at this time 'Mr. Hill purchased 
the establishment. On the eighteenth of April he became a 
citizen of Goncord and entered upon a career enlivened by 
many weighty and brilliant achievements. He was an able 
controversial writer and for many years the vigorous editor 
of the New Hami^shire Patriot. Through the colunms of 
this paper he v,on a national reputation and became th& 

I. A.".: 



ackiiowledgrd lojidor of the Deuiocrallc parly of tlie State. 

Ho was a rigid pai-tisan, ready at all times to give and to 

receive viiiorous blows ; and if he was stronir and some- 

tmies scathing in attack he was generous and noble in all his 

personal relations with his fellow-men. His friendship was 

i unfailinij, he was frank, sincere and honest and his character 

i was above reproach. It is easily within the limits of con- 

; servative estimate to assert that Isaac Hill had a more 

i nmnerous personal following and firmer adherents than has 

I fallen to the lot of any man in New Hampshire. 

i In the course of an active life lie was called to numerous 

I positions of trust and responsibility and in this varied service 

: his integrity nnd ability were conspicuous. He was a di- 

I rector of several local monetar}' organizations ; twice the 

clerk of the State Senate, a member of both branches of the 

\ Legislature and in 1829 he was appointed by President Jack- 

I son second comptroller of the Treasury department. He 

I was chosen United States senator for a full term commencing 


I March, 1831. Having been elected governor of New Hamp- 

I shire in the spring of 1836 he resigned his seat in the Senate 

!. a few months before the completion of the term. In 1837 

\ and 1838 he was reelected governor, and in IS-IO he was 

; appointed sub-treasurer of the United States at Boston. 

Tho3ias Pathoian Gushing was born in this town, Octo- 

! ber 7, 1787. He was the youngest of the eight children of 

Rev. Dr. John and Sarah (Parkman) Gushing. In lineal 

descent this family is not represented in this town at the 

present time, but the name is crystallized in the annals of 

Ashburnham. It will live for ages and will be read in fair 

characters, both in the prolonged and useful pastorate of the 

father and in the life and benevolence of the son. At the 

age of thirteen ye:irs he entered the store of an elder brother 

in Boston. This ensfaijement was interrupted bv the death 


. f ► 


of his hrotior. In 1800 he became one of the linn of Tuek- 
erman and Eogers, subsequently known as Tuckennan and 
Cushins; and as Cushinfr and AVilkinson. In this firm lie 
was actively engaged until he retired from business a few 
years previous to his death. 

In an address delivered by Rev. Josiah D. Crosl)y at the 
dedication of Gushing Academy, 1875, appears the following 
outline of the business life of Mr. Gushing. 

"The knowledge, varied, extensive and valuable, necessary 
to conduct such establishments successfully, is almost an 
education of itself. Besides, the habits of the man of busi- 
ness in respect to order, punctuality, observation, large 
generalization of facts, of close and consecutive thinking, of 
decisive and instant action, conjoined with honorable dealing, 
are of hiiih value. 

"Not unfrequently men, so trained, have stepped into the 
highest offices of the country, and have tilled them with 
great profit to the people, as well as honor to themselves. 
Mr. Gushing seems to have applied himself with a clianicter- 
istic enthusiasm to a thorough mastery of all the knowledge 
connected with his business, and much more than this, as 
w^ill appear farther on. He went abroad for business pur- 
poses early in life, uud made good use of his opportunities 
for general improvement. But all this was incidental to his 
main purpose, that is, success in business. Al)Out 1812, he 
formed the purpose of going to FAirope to purchase goods 
to be put upon a bare market after the war. He was 
defeated in his first attempt, but finally reached England 
through Halifax. He remained in Europe to the close of 
the war. He bought his goods, and they came upon the 
market at a favorable time, with nmch advantage to himself 
from his venture. 

11' ,/'.i.. ,'i' '>d> "^ 

^'A '. 

■i . :..;:i /' 


" Mr. Cu>hing was an upright and lioiioraljle merchant of 
the old school. He guided his conduct b}' principles, and 
not impulses. Ilis gains were not from speculation, dash or 
reckless movements, but were the results of fair trade. His 
morals v.ere pure and his habits good. Though a man of 
great energy and persistency, yet he was a quiet, noiseless 
man, especially pleased with home and domestic scenes. 
His relief from toils of business was not in the gatherings of 
men, but in reading, many times till late at night. It may 
suffice to say, that by good conduct, untiring industry and 
excelK-rit judgment, he gained for himself an ample fortune 
in the sense of his time, and achieved a place among the 
solid men of Boston.'' 

In his youth the exterior educational advantages of ^Slr. 
Cusliing were limited, but the influences of his home in 
childhood gave direction to his habits of thought and his 
maimer of life. He was a student always and with an ex- 
acting employment of his leisure hours he ])ecame a master 
of English literature and acquired a fair knowledge of French 
and Spanish. 

By attentive reading, by observation and through the asso- 
ciation with persons of similar tastes, Mr. Gushing fully 
comprehended the enlargement of education and the progress 
of ail and the sciences that have attended the age in which 
he lived. In these habits of thought and in such employ- 
ments, stimulated by a thirst for knowledge which his early 
advantages could not satisfy, the foundations of Gushing 
Academy were wisely and firmly laid. 

Goncorning his manner in his daily life the affectionate 
hand of a daughter has written : 

"My father had a remarkably even temper, and rarely 
gave way to anything like excitement in tone or look. He 
had a quick sense of humor and enjoyed telling and hearing 

. •'' - •• -cv- ■'(» 


a g<^od story. His muimers were ever tliose of a highly 
bred goutlemun, his voice uaturally low, and uniform urban- 
ity and courtesy diotinguished him in his family as abroad. 
He had a line musical ear; in younger days Avas a good 
singer and played the flute well. Even to the last year of 
his life, it was a delight to him to accompany the piano with 
his favorite instrument, and our evenings were often spent 
in music and singing. 

"He was also fond of art, and though never in Italy, was 
familiar with lier treasures of sculpture, architecture and 
painting, and possessed many tine engravings of the same." 

Thomas Parkman Gushing died Xovembcr 23, 1854. His 
will which had been written a few years, making ample pro- 
vision for an institution of learning in his native town, was 
then announced. The wisdom and the liberality of the 
bequest have received willing tributes of commendation, but 
no one can present a clearer picture of the man or give a 
bettei" interpretation of his thought than are revealed in the 
pages of his will. 

MiLTOX WiiiTXEV, Esq., son of Captain Silas and 
Hannah (Gushing) AVhitney, was born in this town, 
October 9, 1^2'o. In an exact use of an ambiguous term, 
Mr. AVhitney was a self-educated man. His only educa- 
tional privileges were found in the })ublic schools in this 
town and at a time before high schools and academies 
presented an opportunity for an advanced course of study. 
At an early age he entered the law office of Torrey and 
Woods, Esqs., of Fitchburg. He was an attentiA e student 
and was admitted to the Worcester county bar about 1845. 
After a brief practice in Fitchburg, he removed to Baltimore, 
:Maryland, in 1850. There, as if awaiting his arrival, the 
laurels of conquest abundantly crowned his industry and 
earnest eflbi-ts. His ability as a lawyer and his power us an 

. U I 

,1 ;'■'• -vf- ,> f ■::Ui; j -"y '-ru' 



udvocato -were promptly recognized, and he early secured a 
large aud lucrative practice. In 1854 he was chosen county 
attorney for the county of Baltimore, and at the completion 
of his term in 1858, he was reelected. In the conduct of 
this office, he manifested botli ability and courage, lie in- 
stituted a fearless and vigorous in-oseciition of a disorderly 
element of the popuhition, and liberated the city from a 
reign of terror which had prevailed for many years. With 
unrelenting energy he brought men of high and low degree 
to feel the power of offended law, and gave to human life 
and property a security unknoAvn in former years. In this 
direction his success was brilliant and substantial. Often he 
labored in the midst of an adverse public sentiment and 
wrested a verdict against crime from a sympathizing jury. 

In 1860 he resigned an office in which for six years he liad 
won unusual distinction and had secured the merited regard 
of his fellow-men. During the remaining years of his life he 
conducted many trials that are historic in that State. 

The national government recognizing his ability, contided 
to his care several important cases. In one of these he 
secured a verdict of three million dollars on a claim of the 
Post Office Department against a delinquent contractor. 
This successful issue attracted considerable attention from 
the fact that the defendants had successfully resisted all 
former proceedings against them. But he was best known 
and won the highest distinction as a criminal lawyer. With 
the training he had received as a prosecuting attorney, with 
an intimate knowledge of criminal law and the ability to 
summon every energy for instant use he was as successful in 
defence as he had formerly been in the prosecution of persons 
accused of crime. He was frequently brought into com- 
petition with men of the highest legal attainments and 
ability as advocates, but on all occasions he sustained 


^j,, , ••; ■■- --: —^i f- 

;ii". I-, i; 

.1 . , ,- 1 


liimself with credit and houor. His intellect brigbtcued in 
the contest and each encounter added to his fame. 

In the midst of his greatest achievements his strength 
failed him and he sought his native town for rest and in the 
hope of amended health. Surrounded by friends and visited 
by the acquaintances of his youth, his courage triumphed 
over his weakness, yet he found no relief and lived only a 
few weeks. 

Mr. Whitney was of medium height and of slender fonn. 
Sudden and nervous in his movements, he Avas yet atlable 
and inviting in his manner. In his clear blue eye beamed 
the light of restless force and the tone of his voice gave 
acciQ'ate expression to the ardor of his emotions. ]Modest 
and unassuming, he seldom referred to his achievements or 
appeared conscious of the magnitude of his labor. He died 
in Ashburnham, September 3, 1875, and was buried in 
Baltimore, ^Maryland. 

College Graduates. — The following list of college 
graduates both in number and ability is highly creditable to 
the town. All of them are either natives of Ashburnham Op 
removed hither in early childhood. A few arc included who 
did not graduate, although they substantially completed a 
collegiate course of study. 

Asa Steaijxs, son of William and Lydia (Davis) 
Stearns, was born in Ashburuhaai, October 14, 1784. 
Graduated at Harvard University, 1807. He was a young 
man of promise. His early death is recorded by Eev. John 
Gushing: — Asa Stearns, A. B., a candidate for the gospel 
ministry, died December 19, 1809, ^E. 25." 

Rev. Oliver Gkeex, son of Oliver and Dorothy Hildreth 
Green, was born in Pepperell, July 4, 1781. Oliver Green, 
Sen., was a native of Pepperell and resided there until about 
1782 when he removed to Ashby. The year 1790 he 

:,:■>■, ■ n( ■■■' 

■ I '*•.'.■'■'. '}'' 


,■ ! , . < f 

1 ; , < ; 

r , 

'. i;:fi :)';,. ^ Tr 


),'l-/. .1. 

' V 

,,,.;.,■{ ,, 


resided in AVcstlbrd, and in 1800 Le removed to this town 
where he died May 15, 1834. Oliver, the son, was nineteen 
3'ears of age when the fomily removed to Ashhurnliam. He 
graduated at Dartmouth College, 1807, and studied divinity 
with Rev. Dr. Samuel Austin, of Worcester. He taught at 
New Salem from June, 1807, to October 1808, and at 
Saratoga Springs, New York, from October, 1808, to 
September, 1809. In the autunm of the last year he 
removed to Sparta, New Jersey, where he was pastor of the 
Presbyterian church and a teacher. He died at Sparta, 
October 24, 1810. 

De. Samut:l ScoIvLAY, son of Grover and Rebecca 
(Harris) Scollay, was born in Harvard, January 21, 1781. 
The femily removed to Ashburnham when he was a child of 
three or four years of age. He fully improved the public 
schools of this town and labored upon the fann of his father 
until he became of age and was at full liberty to direct his 
future course. He then pursued a liberal course of study 
and was graduated at Harvard University, 1808. After 
teaching a short time, he studied medicine with Dr. Samuel 
J. Cramer, of Charlestown, Virginia, and in the spring of 
1816, he received his degree from the University of Pennsyl- 
vania in Philadelphia. He entered upon the practice of his 
profession in Smithfield, Jetlerson county, Virginia, now 
West Virginia, and there remained in active labor until his 
death. He was a man of superior ability, and in his pro- 
fession he merited and enjoyed an excellent reputation. He 
acquired a substantial estate, but the memory of his spotless 
character and excellent r|ualitics of mind and heart was the 
richer inheritance of his children. He died January 11, 

JIev. Jonathan David Winchester, son of Henry and 
Lois (Phelps) Winchester, and a grandson of Rev. Jonathan 


;w- 'C^ 

•- -.1 ,.-'1 n 

'] If:,..- •■;■, iv; 



Winchester, was born in Ashburnham, April 2S, 1781. 
Graduated at Middlebiuy College, 1800. He read theology 
"with Rev. Holland Weeks, of Abington. After preaching a 
few years at Madrid, Xew York, he was pastor of the First 
Presbyterian church in Madison, Ohio, from 1826 to 1828, 
and of the Second Presbyterian church in that place 1830-31. 
He was a noted biblical student and devoted considerable 
time to a critical stud}', but a literal interpretation of the 
prophecies concerning the restoration of the Jews. He 
believed in their early return to Jerusalem with their 
Mosaic rights and ceremonies and that their conversion to 
Christianity would immediately follov\'. Until his death he 
labored assiduously to direct the attention of the Christian 
public to this subject, and also to convince the Jews of the 
general truths of Christianity. Imbued with these senti- 
ments and improving every opportunit}^ to give them ex- 
pression, he travelled extensively in this country and also 
visited England where he was engaged several months in 
active labor. "With a lofty faith and courage unabated, he 
was contemplating a journey to the shores of the ^Icdi- 
terranean, in a hope that he might render more signal service 
in preparing a way for the return of Israel to their ancient 
Jerusalem, when death overtook him. He died at Madison, 
Ohio, August 17, 1835. 

Hexry Ckosby, son ot Frederick and Martha (]Maynard) 
Ci'osby, was born in Shrewsbury, July 18, 1785. The 
family removed to this town 1795. He graduated at Dart- 
mouth College, 1810, and read for the profession of law in 
the State of Xew York, where he practiced several years. 
Subsequently, he removed to Middlebrook Mills, Mont- 
gomery county, ^Maryland, where he was engaged in teach- 
ing many years. About 1838, it is supposed, he removed 
to Missouri and his subse^^uent career is unknown. 

\>- 1 

■ I . . ■>•;) !'••!; 

., J 1- ' ■!i"' 


:ri . {, 


Asa Gkekx, :\r. D., son of Oliver and Dorothy (Hil- 
dretli) Green, was born in Ashby, Fe])ruary 11, 17S9. He 
entered sophomore ehiss of Williams College and graduated 
1813. In college he held a good reputation as a scholar and 
was distinguished for wit and vigor of thought. lie 
]>ractised medicine in Lun<'nburg, Townsend and North 
Adams, and while residing in the last named place he con- 
ducted a paper for a short time. Later, he removed to New 
York city and published a readable work of fiction which 
was intended to ridicule quackery in medicine. He received 
his degree of Doctor of ^Medicine from Brown University, 
ilc died in New York, 1839. 

Hox. PiiixEHAS Randall, son of Phinehas and Sarah 
(Crosby) Randall, was born in Ashburnham, June 5, 1787. 
About 1810 the fomily removed to AVillistou, Vermont, and 
while a resident of that place he entered the University of 
Vermont where he graduated in the class of 1813. He was 
principal of the academy in Cherry Valley, New York, for 
a short time and was early admitted to the bar. He was 
successfully engaged in the practice of his profession at 
Bowman's Creek, later known as Ames, in ^Montgomery 
county, New York, until 1851, when he removed to 
AV'iukesha, Wisconsin, where he died 1853. 

In 1828-9, he was a member of the New York Legislature 
and was appointed Judge of the Court of Common Pleas for 
the county of Montgomery 1839. Among his children are 
included Hon. Alexander AV. Randall, governor of Wiscon- 
sin, and Hon. Edwin M. Randall, Chief Justice of Florida. 
The family record is continued in the Genealogical Register. 

Rev. Joilv Stearns, son of Isaac and Mary (Crosby) 

Stearns, was born in this town, May 11, 1791. Graduated 

Jit Union College, 1821. lie studied divinitv and was 

ordained in the ministry without charge. He was a teacher 


r . ■ . . »■■< / -.1 

/ -M,: >• f 


in AVashington, D. C, Avlier*^ he died September 10, 1824. 

Rev. ]\[ekkick Augustus Jewett, D. D., youngest 
son of Colonel Joseph and Sarah (AVoods) Jewell, was born 
in this town, August 2G, 1798. He is remembered as a 
youth of excellent qualities of mind and heart, and was held 
• in high esteem as a pupil and subsequently as a teacher iu 
the public schools of his native town. He pursued his 
preparatory studies at Phillips Academy, Andover, and 
graduated at Dartmouth CoUcire iu class of 1823. Durino- 
the ensuing two or three years he assisted in the store of an 
elder brother who was established in Baltimore, ]\Iaryland, 
and while there he studied theology under the direction of 
Ecv. Dr. John McKim Duncan. After preaching nearly 
eight years in Bedford county, Pennsylvania, in the sum- 
mer of lSo4, while journeying to St. Louis where a field of 
labor was inviting him, he tarried for a day at Terre Haute, 
Indiana. The labor of a lifetime now met him on his way. 
Ke was cordially invited to remain and preach the ensuing- 
Sabbath. The first sermon determined the future relations 
between the preacher and the settlement. Terre Haute, 
now a city of thirty-fi\'c thousand inhabitants, was then a 
village of twelve hundred. At their earnest solicitation 
jSlr. Jewett remained and preached to them through the 
week, and early in December, 1834, a Congregational 
church was organized with eleven members. '\\'ith an 
ardent, eloquent preacher and a respected and beloved 
pastor, the church grew with the town. In 1841, during a 
scries of revival meetings, Mr. Jewett was assisted by Bev. 
Henry Ward Beechcr and over one hundred names were 
added to the roll of the church. 

An incident connected with his early labors in Terre 
Haute was never forgotten by the pastor or his sympathizing 
flock. After he had preached a few weeks he returned to 

' 1 




B:iltinK)ve to attend his faiiiily on the journey to their future 
liome. Returning they arrived at Terre Haule Christmas 
eve. The foHowing morning liis little son "was instantly 
killed by the accidental discharge of a gun in the hands of a 
servant. If his labors were begun •with tears, the sorrowful 
event awoke the tender sympathy of his people. 

In 1860, and after a successful and able pastorate of nearly 
twenty-six years, Mr. Jewett resigned his charge. AVithout 
charge, "though frequently engaged in religious labor, he 
continued a residence in that place until a few months pre- 
ceding his death. AMiile journeying in the South for the 
benefit of impaired health he died at Paris, Texas, April 3, 
1874, aged nearly seventy-six. 

In regard to the ministry of Eev, Dr. Jewett, one who 
knew him through all the years of his devoted labor in 
Terre Haute, pays him a cheerful tribute: "He was a man 
of great ability, bearing a high reputation as a pulpit orator 
and as a faithful, sympathetic pastor." "Added to his social 
qualities and to his strong sympathy and to his broad 
catholicity were his superior talents. He was an earnest 
preacher of the truth. He was a man of thought, a man of 

Eev. Josiah Davis Crosby, Union College, 1826. 
Vide Chapter VIH. 

Rev. Jesse George Davis Stearns, son of Jesse and 
Lucinda (Davis) Stearns, was born in this town, February 
24, 1812. The family removed to New Ipswich in 1829 
where he pursued his preparatory studies and graduated at 
Amherst College, 1836. He was principal of Hopkins 
Academy in Hadley 1836-8, and tutor in Amherst College 
1839-41. Mr. Stearns pursued a full course of theological 
study at Andover, 1838-9 and '41-2. He was ordained at 
Billerica, the home of his ancestors, May 29, 1843, and was 


.-/ ■ i 

, ,.!j 

; ■ J ■ «■ 

)■ '> 


dismissed ^Iny 8, 1867. He was subsequeDtly ucling pastor 
at Znrabrota, Minnesota, from 1876 until his death Avhich 
oceniTcd November 1, 1882. 

Of bis pastorate iu Billcrica, Rev. Henry A. Hazen 
accords the follo^ving merited tribute : " The long and faith- 
ful pastorate of Mr. Stearns deserves especial recognition. 
A scholar of exceptional diligence and culture, modest and 
devout and active in every good word and work, he com- 
mended himself to the citizens of the town as well as to his 
own charge. As a teacher of a useful private school and 
superintendent of the schools of the town, he exerted no 
little influence and represented the town in the Legislature." 
Mr. Stearns is the author of "INIeaning and Power of 
Baptism," and of several printed discourses and pamphlets. 
E.:v. AA'iLLi-Oi Raymond, son of Daniel and Sally 
(Green) Raymond, was born in Ashby, October 27, 1815. 
The family removed to this town in 1822. He entered 
Amherst College in 1834 and remained two years. Subse- 
quently he was an academical and theological student at 
Oberlin College but did not graduate. Having been 
appointed to the ^leudi ]Mission, Africa, under the auspices 
of the American :Missionary Association he an'ived with his 
wife at Freetown, Sierra Leone, January 15, 1842, after a 
passage of fifty days. During tlie voyage they experienced 
considerable sickness and buried their ordy child. They 
immediately returned to their native land, but again sailed 
for Africa,* November 21, 1843. In this service he died in 
Africa, November 20, 1847. 

Rev. William Saffoed Spaft.dixg, son of Isaac and 
Lydia (Brown) Spaulding. was born in this town, March 4, 
1809. He was a student at New Ipswich Academy and 
graduated at Marietta College 1830. He was principal of an 
academy iu East Brooklyn, New York, 1841-2 ; of Brooklyn 

li 'i 

'I] ■ ■ 'ir .. .:.J \: 

I ■ '' 


Fein.ile Collegiate Institute 184?>-4 ; of Salisbury, Ne\v 
Ilanipshirc, Academy, 1845-6; of lloscaweu, Nc\y Han:ip- 
shirc Academy, 1847-8. AVbile residing in »Salisbury he 
studied divinity with Rev. C. 1^. Tracey rmd was ordained 
in the ministry Septem1)er 18, 1848. During the succeed- 
ing ten years lie was engaged in teaching and in the ministry 
in Ohio, Commencing in 18JI) he was two 3'^ears acting 
pastor of the Congregational church in Bristol, New Hamp- 
shire, and agent of the American Tract Society from 1867 to 
1870. He died in Lynn, June 10, 1884. 

Genkkal PlATausox C. Hop.akt, a distinguished lawyer 
and politician of Wisconsin, was born in this town, January 
31, 1815, He was a son of Peter and Keziah (Hobart) 
Hunt and at the solicitation of his maternal relatives he 
assumed the name of Hobart. In his youth he served an 
a})prenticeship of three years in a printing-oflice at Haverhill, 
Xew Hampshii'e. Through his own etlbrts at his trade and 
in teaching school he pursued a liberal course of study grad- 
uating at Dartmouth College 1842. He studied law in the 
office of Hon. Kobert Rantoul of Boston and emigrated to 
the Territoiy of Wisconsin in 1846. Mr. Hobart entered 
upon the practice of his profession in Sheboygan. His 
talei'ts and sterling qualities commanded immediate recog- 
nition and on the year of his arrival he was chosen to the 
territorial legishiture from Sheboygan and Washington 
counties. On the organization of the State government he 
was the first senator from his district. In this service he 
was appointed chairman of the Committee on Judiciary, a 
most important position, and many of the early statutes of 
the State were drafted by liim. The following year he was 
returned to the Assembly and was elected Speaker of the 
House. In the years iumjediately following he was twice 
nominated for Congress and conunanded the full support of 
his political party which was in the minority in his district. 


■!'■ •; i t:n 

.. ■ .-. >, ■ .' , r, 

• »''. 

,,;,! ;.,;{■ 

' ) 


In 1855 he'removed to Chilton in Caiiuilot count}' and from 
that district ho was elected to the Assembly iu 1859. The 
followiuii' year he was the standard hearer of the Democratic 
party in the gubernatorial contest. In this canvass the town 
of Ashburnham was exclusively and honorably represented, 
the Eepublican and successful candidate being Hon. Alex- 
ander ^V. Kandall whose father was a native of this town. 

During these years, crowned with many and substantial 
honors, Mr. Hobart has been a successful lawyer and has 
been thoroughly identified M'ith the prosperity of a vigorous 
State and the Avelfare of its public institutions. At the first 
call for troops in the Spring of 18(31 he closed his office and 
enlisted as a private. In the organizcition of the Fourth 
Wisconsin Regiment he was commissioned captain. Having 
l)oen stationed several montlis near Washington, in ^Nlarch, 
1862, the regiment was ordered to Xew Orleans under com- 
mand of General Ikitler. In this ctimpaign the regiment 
rendered gallant service. Captain Ilobart, then at Baton 
Eouge, was promoted August 21, 18G2. to lieutenant-colonel 
of the Twenty-first Wisconsin Regiment. Colonel Ilobart 
joined his regiment in Kentucky in October. The colonel 
being absent on account of wounds, Colonel Hobart was in 
command of the regiment from the time of his arrival in 
Kentucky. At the battle of Stone River which ensued soon 
after. Colonel Hol)art and his command received honorable 
mention in the report of General Rosseau. On the evening 
of the memorable battle at Chickamauga, General Thomas 
ordered a retreat ; in this movement, Colonel Hobart who 
had been holding a forward position was taken prisoner. 
With many other Union prisoners he was incarcerated in 
Libby prison. At tlie end of four months he with many 
others escaped through a tunnel which they had excavated 
under the street and a distance of sixty feet. He returned to 

• '^. ;■':>. 

■ f ^>^r■rw'•■ 

:■) ':i;i'^ 

' I i ; I- 

. .."■ I • 


X-^ Q_ \^^\r.W^V~^- 



his regiment and participated in the siege of iVtlanta, Georgia, 
und in the "^^larch to the Sea." In the closing scenes of the 
war he %vas in command of a brigade. At the request of 
General Sherman and dating from the capture of Atlanta, he 
was brc vetted brigadier-general for meritorious service. On 
his return to civil life in 1865 General Hobart removed to 
Milwaukee and there renewed the practice of his profes- 
sion. In 1865 he was again a candidate for governor and 
was defeated by Hon. Lucius Fairchild on party issues. 
Two years later finds him again in the Assembly when> his 
service was conspicuous. Through several succeeding years 
he was a member of the city council and in 1878 its 


His career has l)een brilliant and honorable. As a lawyer, 
tm orator, a legislator and a soldier, he has won many laurels 
and has secured the confidence and respect of his fellow-men. 
Kev. Josiah Milton Stearns, son of Jesse and Lucinda 
(Davis) Stearns, was born m this town, June 17, 1818. He ' 
fitted for college at New Ipswich Academy and entered 
Amherst College in class of 1843 but graduated at :\rarshall 
College, Pennsylvania, in class of 184-1. He studied theol- 
ogy at Cincinnati, Ohio, and was ordained over the Congre- 
gational church at Lunenburg, Vermont, June 6, 1849. 
From his first charge he was dismissed February 3, 18-)2. 
After a brief pastorate at Brentwood, Xew Htmipshire, he 
died in that town June 12, 1853. 

Rev. Danfoutii Leandeu Eaton, son of Josiah and 
Mary (Reed) Eaton, was born, July 4, 1822. Entering 
Oberlin College he graduated in regular course 1843 and 
remained in the theological <lepartment of that institution 
the ensuing two years. During a prolonged and a.tive 
career he has been a successful preacher in Michigan. (All 
the places named in the following paragraphs are in that 

'Hi;; •!!>.;! 1 , .;■■■ -H'.t 

) ■ ' ■ ■. i 

i. :. .♦ • ,: 

'■}:,■■■ ■). I 

i :; !• I ,• . 1 ( ;■ 

'...,', . 1 

(!).•; ,'if: 


Stafe.) He was ordained in the mini.stiy at Farmersi Creek, 
]\Iarch 1, 1848, and the same year he was installed over the 
Conizrcgatioual church in Oakland, where he remained until 
185G. Sul)se(]uently he labored four years at Howell and 
•at Brighto