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1667 •• 1917 




C| '7 5 


IT the annual Town Meeting, held March 2, 1914, the Rev. 
/\ Otis 0. Wright, Elmer S. Sears, Edwin P. Kershaw, 
■^ ^ Leroy J. Chace, and Lorenzo P. Sturtevant were ap- 
pointed a committee to have charge of the preparation of a 
history of the town, to be published previous to the two hundred 
and fiftieth anniversary of its incorporation, said committee to 
report at the next annual, or at a special meeting of the town, as 
to plans, expenses, etc. 

The committee met in the Frank S. Stevens Public Library 
Building, May 1, 1914, and organized by choosing 0. 0. Wright 
Chairman, and Elmer S. Sears Secretary and Treasurer. Mr. 
Wright was appointed editor and historian of the work. ^ It 
was agreed that since so much has been pubHshed concerning 
the Town, the work should be largely that of editing and 
compiling such records and other material as may be available 
and adapted to the special purpose of the contemplated 
anniversary and its celebration. It was thought that the vol- 
ume should be limited to about 250 pages. 

At the next Town meeting, March 1, 1915, the committee 
reported progress, and it was "Voted — To accept the report 
of the committee appointed at the last annual meeting relative 
to a town history, and to appropriate $200 for the purpose of 
carrying on the work." 

At the annual meeting held March 6th, 1916, the com- 
mittee reported progress, and offered the following Resolutions : 
"Resolved, That the said Committee be authorized to com- 
plete, print and publish said history, of about 250 pages, on or 
before April 1, 1917, the expense of so doing not to exceed 
$1000 for 500 copies bound in cloth, and 100 copies in sheets." 

"Resolved, That the selectmen be authorized to make 
plans, appoint committees, and to have general charge of a 
celebration of the 250th Anniversary of the Incorporation of 
the Town, to be held on two successive days, between the first 
and fifteenth of September, 1917, as they may determine; and 
that all necessary expenses incurred by them for that purpose 
shall be paid by the Town upon their order." 

The resolutions were adopted, and other citizens were then 
appointed to act with the Selectmen as a general Town Com- 
mittee on the Celebration, viz: Charles L. Chace, Thomas 

Editor's Preface 

Pomfret, the Rev. J. Wynne-Jones, Algernon H. Barney, 
Albert Belanger, and Charles A. Chace. 

In accord with the original plan of the comroittee, the 
Editor has made free use of materials found in various works, 
together with Town Records, Plymouth Colony Records, 
Family Histories, Genealogies, and newspaper writings. He 
gratefully acknowledges all these contributions to this work, 
giving credit to each and all the sources from which he has 
borrowed, after the custom of those who edit and compile. 
By special permission, much interesting matter has been taken 
from that great work done by J. H. Beers & Company, of 
Chicago, Representative Men and Old Families of Southeastern 
Massachusetts. Such family records as pertain to the first 
permanent settlers still represented in the Town, have been 
brought to date ; and a few who have been prominent in later 
generations, in public or professional service have been selected, 
as examples of history in the making. Others may have been 
just as worthy of mention, but limits forbade; and we have 
taken that which was most available. So far as practicable 
the sketches have been approved by someone representing 
each family presented. In the nature of the case some of the 
records will be found incomplete and unsatisfactory. 

In some matters referring to this locality I have quoted from 
The Pilgrim Republic, a most interesting and valuable work by 
John A. Goodwin, edited by Wm. Bradford Goodwin. I am 
indebted to Miss Virginia Baker, author of Massasoits Town 
Sowams in Pokanoket, and The History of Warren, R, I. in the 
War of the Revolution. Miss Baker is experienced in genealo- 
gical and historical research. A History of Harrington Rhode 
Island by the Hon. Thomas WiUiams Bicknell, has been help- 
ful not only because Barrington was included in Swansea until 
1718, but for the reason that it is replete with information of 
events of interest to all students. 

The Hon. John S. Bray ton who was born in Swansea, and 
was always personally interested in the Town, secured the 
Muster Rolls of the Revolution, at large expense, and presented 
them, with the documents relating to the incorporation of 
Somerset, to the Swansea Free PubUc Library, where they may 
be found. Other valuable material, prepared or preserved by 
Mr. Brayton, has been kindly loaned by his son, John S. Brayton 
for this history. 

Mrs. W. S. Winter, of Marion, Iowa, daughter of the late 
honored citizen. Job Gardner, has contributed papers left by 
her father, which will be of interest to many. 

Valued assistance has been rendered by Miss Ida M. 
Gardner, Orrin A. Gardner, William J. Hale, Charles E. Allen, 

Editor* s Preface 

Miss Ruth B. Eddy, Miss Martha G. Kingsley, Joseph G. 
Luther, and others. 

Matter pertaining to the Churches of this Town, the most 
of which was prepared by the late Rev. Joseph W. Osborn for 
the History of Bristol County, published in 1883, has been 
revised to date and embodied in this work, together with other 
materials suited to our purpose, from the same volume. 

Mrs. Frank S. Stevens kindly allowed the use of some 
military papers of Col. Peleg Shearman, heirlooms of his 

The following works relating to the Indians of this region 
have been consulted by the Editor: Indian History, Biography 
and Genealogy, by Ebenezer W. Pierce; King Philip's War, 
by Elhs and Morris; Pictorial History of King Philip's War, 
by Daniel Strock Jr. ; King Philip's War, by Richard Mark- 
ham; A History of the American People, by Woodrow Wilson 
Ph. D., Litt., D., L.L.D. Vol. 1. 'The swarming of the English." 

I have also quoted from the Journal of William Jefferay, 
Gentleman, on account of a visit to Thomas Willett; and from 
Prof. Wilfred H. Munroe's, Some Legends of Mount Hope, 
with reference to King Philip. 

The selections from Goodwin's "The Pilgrim Repubhc" 
are used by permission of the publishers, Houghton Mifflin 






An Agricultural People 17 

Sowams in Pokanoket 19 

The Wonderful Cure of Massasoit 25 

Massasoit 29-30 

King Philip \ 31 

Speech of Metacomet 33 

Adventures and Fate of Weetamoe 34 



First Records 51 

Swansea Records 53 

The Prison Ship Martyrs . 53 

Pioneer Schools 57 

Miles' Bridge Lottery 57 

Deputies and Representatives 58 

Revolutionary War Records 60 

Alphabetical List of Roll 61 

Military Record 1861-1865 66 

HISTORICAL ADDRESS (Hon. John Summerfield Brayton) . 69 


First Baptist Church 101 

The Non-Sectarian Christian Church 108 

The Six-Principle Baptist Church 117 

Swanzey Village Meeting House 117 

Catholic Churches 117 

Christ Church 118 

Religious Work on Gardner's Neck 122 

Universalist Society of Swansea and Rehoboth 124 

Swansea Monthly Meeting of Friends 124 


Forges and Iron-works 129 

Swansea Factory 130 

Swansea Agricultural Library Association 132 

Swansea Grange, No. 148 132 

Fisheries 133 

No. Swansea Mfg. Co 133 

Swansea Dye Works 134 

CONTEISTS— Continued 


Allen Family 140 

Arnold Family 142 

Barney Family 143 

Brayton Family 145 

Chase Family 151 

Cole Family 154 

Eddy Family 156 

Family of George Gardner of Newport 157 

Gardner Family 158 

Descendants of Peleg Gardner 161 

The Haile, Hail, Hale Family 165 

Kingsley Family 170 

Joseph Gardner Luther 172 

Horton Family 174 

Slade Family 176 

Mason Family 180 

Pearse Family 181 

Wilbur Family 185 

Heads of Families in Swansea in 1790 187 


Thomas Willett 193 

John Myles 197 

John Brown 198 

Marcus A. Brown 200 

Daniel Edson 202 

Job Gardner 203 

Abner Slade 204 

Valentine Mason 205 

Jeremiah Gray 207 

Daniel R. Child 209 

Rev. William Miller 209 

Rev. Joseph W. Osborn, Ph. D 210 

Stephen Weaver 215 

Joseph Mason Northam 217 

Elijah Pitts Chase 217 

Nathan Montgomery Wood 219 

Five Gardner Brothers 222 

Samuel Gardner 222 

Hon. John Mason 225 

Edward M. Thurston 226 

Dr. James Lloyd Wellington 227 

Mason Barney . 229 

James H. Mason 231 

Hon. Frank Shaw Stevens 231 


Dorothy Brown Lodge 240 

Swansea Free Public Library 240 

SWANSEA TODAY— 1917 248 


Outline and Index Map of Bristol County 4 

Memorial Tablet, Town Hall 56 

Martin House 64 

The Brown Homestead, Touisset 64 

Hon. John Summerfield Brayton 70 

Town Hall 82 

First Baptist Church 102 

First Christian Church 102 

South Swansea Chapel 114 

Old Book of Records 114 

Christ Church 122 

Rest House 126 

Jonathan Hill House 126 

Rev. Obadiah Chase 164 

Mason Barney 164 

Stephen Weaver 180 

Job Gardner 180 

Jas. Lloyd Wellington, M. D. . . 196 

Elijah P. Chase 196 

Hon. Frank Shaw Stevens 212 

Nathan M. Wood 212 

Tree Where Roger Williams Found Shelter 236 

Dorothy Brown Lodge Hall 236 

Swansea Free Public Library 240 

Frank S. Stevens School 241 

Proposed High School Building 244 




* ^ WANSEA lies in the southwestern part of the county, and 
1^ is bounded as follows: On the north by Seekonk, Reho- 
^■^^ both, and Dighton ; on the east by Dighton and Somerset ; 
on the south by Somerset and Mount Hope Bay. 

"A portion of this town was originally comprehended 
within the limits of ancient Rehoboth. It forms a part of the 
tract called by the Indians ' Wannamoisett, ' situated in this 
town and Barrington, R. I. This town was incorporated in 1667, 
and then included within its limits the present towns, Somer- 
set, Barrington, and the greater part of Warren, R. I. The 
town derived its name from ' Swan Sea, ' in Wales, and was so 
spelled in the earliest records. In 1649, Obadiah Holmes and 
several others, having embraced the Baptist sentiment, with- 
drew from Mr. Newman's church, and set up a separate 
meeting of their own. The attempt to break them up, and the 
persecutions they met with, only increased their numbers. In 
1663 they were much strengthened by the arrival of Rev. John 
Myles and his church. In the same year Mr. Myles formed 
a Baptist Church in Rehoboth the first in Massachusetts 
(the fourth in America). It was organized in the house of 
John Butterworth, and commenced with seven members. 
These and subsequent proceedings were considered such an 
evil by the rest of the inhabitants that an appeal was made 
to the Plymouth Court to interfere. Each member of this new 
church was fined five pounds, and prohibited from worship for 
a month. They were also advised to remove from Rehoboth 
to some place where they would not prejudice any existing 
church. They accordingly moved to Wannamoisett. 

"Capt. Thomas Willett, a magistrate, and a man of great 
ability and enterprise, having large possessions at Narragansett, 
near by, came and settled here. Hugh Cole and some others 
followed. Capt. Willett became subsequently the first 
Enghsh mayor of New York. He and Mr. Myles may be justly 
styled the fathers of the town. 

*'In 1670 it was ordered that the lands should be pro- 
portioned according to three ranks. Persons of the first rank 
were to receive three acres; of the second, two acres; of the 
third, one acre. In admitting inhabitants, the selectmen were 
to decide to which rank they should be apportioned. This 
singular division existed nowhere else in New England. 

4 History of Swansea 

"This town is memorable as the place where the first 
English blood was shed in ' King Philip's War. ' On Sunday, 
June 20, 1675, King Philip permitted his men to march into 
Swansea and annoy the Enghsh by kilUng their cattle, in hopes 
to provoke them to commence the attack, for it is said that a 
superstition prevailed among them that the side who shed the 
first blood should finally be conquered. The Indians were so 
insolent that an Englishman finally fired upon one of them, 
and wounded him. The Indians upon this commenced open 
war. As soon as the intelligence of this massacre reached 
Boston, a company of foot under Capt. Henchman, and a 
troop under Capt. Prentice, immediately marched for Mount 
Hope, and being joined by another company of one hundred 
and ten volunteers under Capt. Mosely, they all arrived at 
Swansea June 28th, where they joined the Plymouth forces, 
under Capt. Cudworth. Mr. Miles' house, being garrisoned, 
was made their headquarters. About a dozen of the troop 
went immediately over the bridge, where they were fired upon 
out of the bushes, and one killed and one wounded. The 
English forces then pursued the enemy a mile or two, when the 
Indians took to the swamp, after having lost about a half- 
dozen of their number. The troop commenced their pursuit 
of the Indians next morning. They passed over Miles' Bridge 
and proceeded down the river till they came to the narrow of 
the neck, at a place called Keekamuit, or Kickamuit. Here 
they found the heads of eight Englishmen, that the Indians 
had murdered, stuck on poles; these they buried. On their 
arrival at Mount Hope, they found that place deserted." 

Outline and Injdex Ma 






MANY years ago Gov. Bourne, of Bristol, R. I., accom- 
panied by a Mr. Miller, gave me a call, and after a word 
of introduction humorously asked if I could tell him 
what happened in this section of the town three hundred years 
ago. I rephed substantially that I could not trust my memory 
to state anything that occurred here quite so far back. 

What they wished to learn was the location of the gar- 
risoned house occupied by a Mr. Bourne at the breaking out 
of King Philip's War in 1675. This Bourne was an ancestor of 
Mr. Miller. Mr. Miller seemed much interested in local histor- 
ical matters, was well informed and was the author of several 
valuable papers. I think he wrote the history of the Wam- 

I could not give them much satisfactory information in 
regard to the location of the garrison house, but after a some- 
what extended conversation told them that I would give the 
subject attention, investigate certain matters and report at a 
future time. 

The result of all my labors was that the garrison house 
was located where Mr. Green's house now stands, near the 
old Gardner Cemetery; that this and the first house erected 
here were identical. The proof is almost entirely traditional 
and circumstantial. I know of no positive documentary evi- 
dence. It has been handed down without dissent for several 
generations that the first house on Gardner's Neck was located 
as above stated. The circumstantial evidence is very strong. 
The first settlers, whenever they could, other things being 
favorable, selected sites for building near salt meadows or 
fresh meadows. There were probably but comparatively few 
clear spaces in the whole town; it was doubtless heavily 
wooded. From these valleys and hill sides the maple, the 
chestnut, the pine, the oak towered toward the sky. In my 
old barn there are oak boards nearly two feet wide. The idea 
of meadows, of open pastures, must be left entirely out of mind. 
In places where the trees were scattered, probably underbrush 
and wild shrubbery thickly grew. 

Under these circumstances where would the closely 
observing pioneer most fikely pitch his tent ; not on the hill top, 
but in a partially sheltered place, where the land was a little low 
and water might be easily obtained ; where without much labor 

8 History of Swansea 

salt hay or fresh meadow hay might be procured for his stock. 
These conditions are met in the locality of Mr. Green's res- 
idence. On the west shore of Lee's River there is quite an 
extent of salt meadow, also on the east shore of Cole's River; 
water was obtained probably without digging more than 
fifteen feet. The first house was doubtless located several rods 
farther down the hill than Mr. Green's. We all know the 
Sanders Sherman house was. Had the first settler built his 
house where Mr. Davis' is, he would have failed to find water, 
which circumstance might have proved his settlement a 

From these considerations the site of the first house 
may be safely inferred. Rut was it built of wood or stone? 
This question in itself is not important, taken, however, 
in connection with other historical facts it has some sig- 

Hon. J. S. Rrayton in his address at the dedication of our 
Town Hall uses the following language: "A stone house, upon 
the farm of Gov. Rrenton, at Matapoiset, occupied by Jared 
Bourne, was used as a garrison, which the Rridge water com- 
pany was ordered to re-enforce. This Company reached the 
garrison Monday night and found there seventy persons, all 
but sixteen, women and children." 

Gen. Ebenezer Pierce of Freetown, who wrote a book 
entitled, I think, the "Pierce Family," devotes a chapter — or 
part of a chapter — to the Gardners of this town. His grand- 
mother was Elizabeth Gardner of Swansea. In referring to 
the old cemetery here on the Neck he says : 

"This is the family cemetery of the Gardner family and 
nearly opposite on the other side of the road from the spot on 
which tradition informs us that the first Gardner settler built 
his log house, that was succeeded by a stone one. " 

Who is correct? If Mr. Rrayton is in error I am largely 
responsible for it, for I furnished him with certain traditions 
which I supposed to be according to the facts, and it may be 
they are. 

There is some plausibiHty in the tradition of Gen. Pierce. 
Of what material would the first settler most likely build his 
house, wood or stone? There was plenty of each. Rut the 
stones were mostly underground; those that we see in our 
numerous walls were nearly all turned out by the plow, and 
then it would not be very convenient hauling or dragging them 
amid trees and stumps. Would not the pioneer be as likely at 
first to fell the trees and clear the land for the plow as to go to 
digging rocks and stones? 

Mr. Rrayton states in historical address, to which refer- 

The Bourne Garrison House 9 

ence has been made, that "The Bridgewater troops remained 
at Bourne 's garrison until re-enforced, when the inmates were 
conveyed down Mount Hope Bay to Rhode Island and the 
house was abandoned/' 

The attack on Swansea was made the 20th of June and 
history informs us that by the 23d of the month "half the town 
was burned." May it not be that the first house was wood, 
was burned by the Indians after being abandoned, and when 
Samuel Gardner came here he found no house standing and 
built a log one as tradition has it? 

(Here is an open field for conjecture and every one will 
form his own opinion.) 

A word in regard to the stone house. No one knows when 
it was erected, but it probably stood eighty, ninety, possibly 
a hundred years. It must have been a peculiar structure, 
judging from some of the statements we have heard respecting 
it. Mr. Leonard G. Sherman, an old resident of the town, son 
of Sanders Sherman, told me that it had nine outside double 
doors. I replied that in that case I should not think there 
would be much of the outside left. He said he did not know 
anything about that, but it had nine double doors and no 
mistake, for when he was a boy he worked for Capt. Henry 
Gardner topping onions. After supper Mrs. Gardner used to 
tell him stories about old times on the Neck, used to tell him 
particularly about the old house, that it had nine outside double 
doors, that it was the custom to draw back logs in with the 
horse going out the opposite door. Deacon Mason Gardner, 
who lived in the house in which we are to-night many years, 
often told of seeing, when a boy, the back logs drawn in by 
horses and rolled into the fire. This house, which was often 
called the old stone fort, must have been a study in architec- 
ture and I think if photographs of it were obtainable every 
family in this section of the town would desire one. 

The mistakes of history are often amusing. Let me here 
give an illustration: My pastor preached a sermon several 
sabbaths ago in which he referred to King Philip's War, stating 
that at the breaking out of the war ten persons while attending 
public worship at the Swansea Village church were killed by 
the Indians. After service I reminded him of his mistake, 
saying that there was no church in Swansea Village at the time 
of the out-break — and never was till a hundred and fifty years 
after the war — and that no settler was killed at or in any 
church in town at the time. He said he thought he was correct 
according to history. He went to his house, took down 
"Ridpath's History of the United States, " — a popular history 
and extensively used at least in the Middle and Western 

10 History of Swansea 

states — and found himself correct according to Mr. Ridpath. 
The church in which the people were assembled for worship 
on Sunday the 20th of June, the day of the out-break of the 
war, was located "near Kelly's Bridge on a neck of land now 
lying within the limits of Barrington, R. I.," possibly 5 miles 
in a direct line in a west or northwesterly course from here. 
You will all remember that Swansea embraced in its ancient 
limits the present town, the towns of Somerset, Barrington 
and a part of Warren. 

Mr. Bray ton tells us "that in King Philip's War the first 
blood was shed on Gardner's Neck." Possibly or probably 
this is a correct statement, yet there are those who seem to 
think that it was in the central or west part of the town that 
the first man was killed or wounded. 

It would be interesting to refer more fully to King PhiHp's 
War, but I will not do so and speak more especially of certain 
families who settled on the Neck soon after its close. In doing 
this I shall quote largely from Gen. Ebenezer Pierce of 

So far as is known, Samuel Gardner — Lieut. Gardner as 
he was often called — was the first of that name who settled in 
Swansea or on Gardner's Neck. He was probably an English- 
man. He came from Newport, R. I., settled in Freetown, 
resided there several years, acquired considerable property 
and became a well-known man in this section of the colony. 
Gen. Pierce says of him: "Thus it seems that Samuel Gardner 
became an inhabitant of Freetown in the latter part of 1687, or 
early in 1688; for in addition to the fact that he owned half 
of the fifth lot, and in his deed of the sale of those premises said 
that it was that on which he dwelt. His name appears as 
Clerk of Freetown and also selectman in 1688; and to the last 
named office he was re-elected in 1690 and '92. Assessor in 
1690-91. Town Treasurer in 1690. Representative or Deputy 
to the General Court in 1690 and '92; and one of the town 
council of war in 1690." (First Book of Town Records of 
Freetown is the authority for these statements.) 

The earliest tax lists of Freetown now extant are in the 
handwriting of Samuel Gardner, to whom alone we owe a 
knowledge of the date at which the south bridge over Assonet 
River was erected, who built it and what it cost, together with 
the names of those persons taxed to meet this expense and 
what sum each was assessed and paid. 

It is a singular and significant fact that the town of 
Freetown, which was incorporated in July 1683, had no public 
record until after Samuel Gardner became one of its inhab- 
itants in 1687 or 1688, and the only records of taxes made 

The Bourne Garrison House 11 

after that time for a long term of years were those Samuel 
Gardner helped to assess. 

Of all the town councils of war, and each town in Bristol 
County probably had such a council consisting of three persons, 
Samuel Gardner alone was selected by the General Court as 
the council of war for that county, and the concise, and at the 
same time particular record that he kept of his doings as one 
of the council for the town of Freetown, is the most remarkable 
thing of the kind brought to the writer's notice; and when 
compared with other public documents of that early date, 
emanating from this town, shows Samuel Gardner, in intel- 
ligence and executive ability to have been head and shoulders 
above any other man or men that Freetown could boast. 
From the Registry of Deeds for Bristol County we learn that 
on the 30th of December 1693, or a little more than a month 
after selling out at Freetown; Samuel Gardner, in company 
with Ralph Chapman, a shipwright, bought of Ebenezer 
Brenton of Swansea, for the sum of seventeen hundred pounds 
current money "all that certain neck or tract of land com- 
monly called and known by the name of Matapoiset, situate, 
lying and being in Swansea ; " and on the 14th day of February 
1694 Gardner and Chapman divided these lands, Gardner 
taking for his share the southerly part. A wall running across 
the neck near an old cemetery is said to mark the division 
line then fixed upon between Gardner and Chapman. 

In the Probate Records of Bristol County, we find that 
Samuel Gardner did not live long to enjoy his Swansea pur- 
chase, as the following true copy from that record will serve 
to show. 

An Inventory of the estate of Samuel Gardner of Swansea, 
who, deceased ye 8 Decem br. 1696, taken by the underwrit- 
ten this 15 day of February 1697, and apprized as followeth: 



Dollars Cts. 

Impres the house and land 
CatUe 10, year old, (3.38) 









11, 2 year old, (6.60) 





3, 3 year old, (8.47) 





15 kind, (12.10) 





17 steers, oxen and bull. (18.11) 





10 horse kind, (9.68) 





97 sheep, (.95) 





Husbandry, tackling and tools 





15 Swine, (.64) 





1 Negro 





Armor, 2 guns and sword 





Wearing Clothes 





Beds and bedding 





12 History of Swansea 


Puter and plate 

Brass and Iron 

Glass bottles and lumber 






DoUars Cts 





£1046 05 00 $5305.85 

RALPH CHAPMAN > prizers. 

Bristol this seventeenth of February 1696-7. Then did Elizabeth 
Gardner, widow and relict of Lieut. Samuel Gardner late of Swansea de- 
ceased appear before John Saffin, Esq. Judge of Probate of wills and within 
the County of Bristol and made oathe that this inventory is true and just 
and when she knows more, she will reveal it, whether in the chest or else- 
where that it may be thereunto added and recorded. 

JOHN CORY, Register. 

This inventory of property is at least significant if not 
remarkable. Five thousand three hundred and five dollars 
was a large sum for a man to possess in those days. He had 
comparatively an extensive tract of land not less probably 
than a square mile 640 acres. It may be asked, how was all 
that stock sheltered and fed? As we care for stock now, there 
is not a barn in town large enough to house it, nor a farm that 
produces hay enough to feed it. In the cold weather of Fall, 
Winter or Spring most of the stock lay in sheltered places, in 
thicket or underbrush, or rudely thatched hovels. The horses 
and several of the cows may have been kept in a barn. But do 
not imagine a modern barn : aside from the roof there was not 
probably a shingle on it, and that may have had none. Ah, 
how the winds would whistle through the barns of ye olden 
times. In the winter when the ground was covered with snow 
the stock was doubtless fed largely salt meadow hay — which 
in the season could be procured in abundance on the shores of 
Lee's and Cole's Rivers. 

Corn was raised to some extent, this and the fodder was 
an important element of food. Probably the cultivation of 
grass was so hmited in those early days that very Uttle hay 
was fed. When the ground was bare the cattle roamed through 
the woods, browsed the trees and shrubbery and ate freely of 
the dead grass or old bog as we sometimes call it. 

Mr. Budlong of Cranston, R. I., has become famous all 
through this section of the country for the extent of his farm- 
ing operations. The large quantities of the different vegeta- 

The Bourne Garrison House 13 

bles he cultivates and raises is a surprise to many. But I 
would go farther to view Samuel Gardner's farming establish- 
ment as it was two hundred years ago than I would to view 
Mr. Budlong's of to-day. 

The log-house that Mr. Gardner built as tradition states — 
this was succeeded by the stone one — the shell of a barn, the 
hovels may be, the rude farming implements, — there were 
probably no wagons or carts, none mentioned in this inven- 
tory — the motley crowd of horses and colts, of oxen and steers, 
of calves, heifers and cows, of bleating sheep and lambs, of 
squealing pigs as they come out from the woods and gather 
around their headquarters at the approach of night presents a 
scene, if not for the painter, at least for the photographer. 

You noticed the inventory included a negro valued at £30 
or $145.20. It is remarkable that slavery after its introduc- 
tion into Virginia in 1619 spread so soon through the existing 
colonies. It is probable that the unmarked graves in the 
southwest corner of the old cemetery are those of slaves. My 
great grandfather had slaves, I do not know how many. My 
father used to tell a story about two of them whose respective 
names were Cudy and Pero. They appropriated some nice 
pears ; when called by my grandfather to an account each had 
hard work to prove that the other stole them. 

There is a so-called colored burying ground on my farm, 
but I suppose the graves are nearly all the graves of slaves. 

Of the family who lived at the north part of the Neck, I 
know little or nothing. If I knew its full history I would not 
detain you longer to-night to tell it. I will mention a tradition 
relating to the two families who first settled here on the Neck. 

It is said the respective wives and mothers visited each 
other alternate days throughout the year. What did they talk 
about? That is just what I cannot tell. Possibly the ladies 
can better answer that question. 



An Agricultural People 

THE New England tribes including the Wampanoags 
were an agricultural people, cultivating corn, beans, 
tobacco, squashes and other products of the soil. They 
also subsisted on the wild game of the forests and the fish of 
the fresh and salt waters. The Wampanoags had a rich soil to 
cultivate along our rivers and Bay and obtained a plentiful 
supply of fish from the waters and shores of Narragansett Bay. 
Roger Wilhams speaks of the "social and loving way of 
breaking up the land for planting corn. All the men, women, 
and children of a neighborhood join to help speedily with theu- 
hoes, made of shells with wooden handles. After the land is 
broken up, then the women plant and hoe the corn, beans and 
vine apples called squash which are sweet and wholesome; 
being a fruit like a young pumpkin, and serving also for bread 
when corn is exhausted." Indian corn was the staple food, 
parched, pounded to meal and mixed with water. Wmslow 
speaks of a meal of corn bread called mozium, and shad roes 
boiled with acorns, which he enjoyed at Namasket. Parched 
meal was their reliance on their journey, and of unparched 
meal they made a pottage called "nassaump," whence the 
New England *' samp. " *' For winter stores the Indians gather 
chestnuts, hazel-nuts, walnuts, and acorns, the latter requiring 
much soaking and boiling. The walnuts they use both for 
food and for obtaining an oil for their hair. Strawberries and 
whortleberries were palatable food, freshly gathered, and were 
dried to make savory corn bread." Strawberries were abun- 
dant and the modern strawberry shortcake was anticipated by 
the Indians in a deficious bread make by bruising strawberries 
in a mortar and mixing them with meal. Summer squashes and 
beans were their main dependence next to corn. 

The fur-bearing animals of the forest furmshed both 
food and covering for bodies and wigwams. Shell and finfish 
were very abundant. Clams, oysters, quahaugs, scallops 
could be obtained with little labor and the fish that now 
frequent our bays and rivers were more plentiful than they 
have been known to the whites. The luxury of a Rhode Island 
clam bake was first enjoyed by our Indian predecessors. It 
was the good fortune of the writer, in excavating the ground 

18 History of Swansea 

for a cellar at Drown ville to exhume an oven, used for baking 
clams, about eighteen inches below the surface of the soil. 
The coals and shells on the saucer-shaped oven of round stones 
were evidences of aboriginal use and customs. 

The women cultivated the crops for the most part and 
were the burden bearers of the fish and game taken by the men. 
"A husband, " says Williams, "will leave a deer to be eaten by 
the wolves rather than impose the load on his own shoulders. 
The mothers carry about their infant pappooses, wrapped in 
a beaver skin and tied to a board two feet long and one foot 
broad, with its feet hauled up to its back. The mother carries 
about with her, the pappoose when only three or four days old, 
even when she goes to the clam beds and paddles in the cold 
water for clams. It is evident that in their wild state, no 
large number of them could subsist long together, because 
game on which they principally lived, was soon exhausted, and 
hunger compelled them to scatter. This state of existence 
always forced them to live in small clans or famihes. Venison 
and fish were dried and smoked for winter's supplies. In 
providing the food for the household, the labor was divided 
quite unequally. It was manly for an Indian to hunt and fish, 
but the cultivation of the fields and gardens was wholly 
woman's work, as was the digging of clams and the procuring of 
all other shell fish. The cooking was also woman's perogative, 
so that with the Indian the old couplet was not wholly inapt: 

^* Man's work is from sun to sun; 
Woman's work is never done. " 

The Plymouth settlers described the houses of the 
Indians as follows : " They are made round, like an arbor, with 
long, young sapHngs stuck in the ground and bended over, 
covered down to the ground with thick and well wrought mats. 
The door, about a yard high, is make of a suspended mat. An 
aperture at the top served for a chimney, which is also pro- 
vided with a covering of a mat to retain the warmth. In the 
middle of the room are four little crotches set in the ground 
supporting cross sticks, on which are hung whatever they have 
to roast. Around the fire are laid the mats that serve for beds. 
The frame of poles is double matted; those within being 

These frail houses were easily transported with their 
simple furnishings from place to place, wherever their bus- 
iness, hunting, fishing, or comfort might lead them. Their 
houses were removed to sheltered valleys or to dense swamps 
in the winter, and in the summer were pitched in the vicinity 

The Indians 19 

of their cultivated fields or fishing stations. Roger WiUiams 
says that on returning at night to lodge at one of them, which 
he had left in the morning, it was gone, and he was obliged to 
sleep under the branches of a friendly tree. It can be truthfully 
said of the Indians that they had no continuing city or abiding 
place, but like the Indians of the Northwest of our day, out- 
side of reservations, wandered about from place to place as 
their physical necessities or caprice moved them. As they had 
no land titles, each family was at liberty to go and come, 
within tribal hmits, with none to let or hinder. It is certain 
that there were fixed haunts or rendezvous, inland and on the 
shores of the Bay, called villages, where they spent considerable 
time, either in summer or in winter. Thus Philip passed the 
summer in and about Mt. Hope Neck, and it is popularly 
stated that he lived at Mt. Hope; while in winter his home, if 
we may so call a movable wigwam, was about the inland lakes 
or ponds of his possessions. One of these favorite winter resorts 
of King Philip is said to have been in the pine forests on the 
banks of Winneconnet Pond, in the town of Norton, Mass., 
within the Pokanoket Territory. Banks of clam and oyster 
shells, Indian arrowheads and stone implements of husbandry 
and housekeeping are the best evidences of the localities where 
the Wampanoags made their residences. 

— BicknelL 

SowAMS IN Pokanoket 

At the period when the Mayflower came to anchor in 
Plymouth harbor, Massasoit exercised dominion over nearly 
all the south-eastern part of Massachusetts from Cape Cod to 
Narragansett Bay. The south-western section of his kingdom 
was known as Pokanoket, Sowams, or Sowamsett. It included 
what now comprises the towns of Bristol, Warren, Barrington, 
and East Providence in Rhode Island, with portions of Seekonk, 
Swansea, and Rehoboth in Massachusetts. Though its area 
was only about 500 square miles Pokanoket, owing to its many 
natural advantages, was more densely populated than any 
other part of the Wampanoag country. Its principal settle- 
ment was the village of Sowams, where Massasoit maintained 
his headquarters, and where, without doubt, the greater 
portion of his life was passed. 

For many years the exact location of this village was a 
disputed point, authorities variously fixing it at Bristol, 
Barrington, and Warren. The late General Guy M. Fessenden 
was the first to demonstrate, conclusively, that Sowams 

20 History of Swansea 

occupied the site of the last mentioned place. The results of 
his careful and painstaking investigation of the claims of the 
three towns may be found in the short but valuable historical 
sketch of Warren pubUshed by General Fessenden in 1845. 

One famiUar with the Pokanoket region readily perceives 
why Massasoit placed his capital where he did. Warren is 
situated midway between Barrington and Bristol, on an arm 
of Narragansett Bay, and is bounded on the north and east by 
the State of Massachusetts. A glance at the map of Rhode 
Island will show the reader that, at Warren, which is farther 
inland than either of its sister towns, the Wampanoags were, 
in a great measure, protected from the danger of sudden 
attack by their enemies, the Narragansetts who dwelt upon the 
opposite shore of the bay, and that, in case of hostile invasion, 
they were easily able to retire to less exposed portions of their 

The Indians were always particular to locate their per- 
manent villages in the vicinity of springs of running water. 
Warren abounds in such springs. Its soil is generally fertile 
and its climate agreeable and healthy, as, owing to its some- 
what inland position, it escapes the full rigor of the fierce winds, 
that, during the winter months, sweep the unsheltered shores 
of Bristol. In the days when the Wampanoags inhabited its 
territory, it was well timbered, and grapes, cherries, huckle- 
berries, and other wild fruits grew abundantly in field and 
swamp. Its rivers teemed with fish of many v£U"ieties, and also 
yielded a plentiful supply of lobsters, crabs, oysters, clams, 
quahaugs, and mussels. Flocks of wild fowl haunted its 
marshes; deer and smaller game frequented its woods. Even 
in those seasons when food became generally scarce, the 
dwellers at Sowams probably suffered little from hunger in 
comparison with the inhabitants of many sections of New 
England less favored by nature. 

At Sowams, too, every facility for the manufacture of the 
shell beads used as currency by the aborigines was to be found. 
Any one who chose might become a natouwompitea, or coiner, 
and hterally, "make as much money," as he wished. From 
the rocks at hand the savage artificer shaped the rude imple- 
ments which his craft demanded. The waters gave him 
freely the periwinkle and the quahaug. From the former he 
cut the Wampum or white beads. Of the " eye ", or dark por- 
tion of the latter, he fashioned the more valuable black beads 
called suckauhock. These beads were made into necklaces, 
scarfs, belts, girdles, bracelets, caps and other articles of dress 
and ornament "curiously strung," says Roger Williams, "into 
many forms and figures, their black and white finely mixed 

The Indians 21 

together. " Not infrequently a savage arrayed in gala attire 
carried upon this person his entire stock of ready money. 
Governor Bradford states that the Narragansetts and Pequots 
grew "rich and potent" by the manufacture of wampum and, 
presumably, wealth contributed in no small degree towards 
estabHshing the prestige of the Wampanoags. 

This tribe, properly speaking was a confederation of clans 
each clan having its own headman who was, however, sub- 
servient to a chief sachem. The Wampanoags, or Pokanokets 
as they were also called, were originally a populous and power- 
ful people and it is said that, at one period, their chief was able 
to rally around him no less than 3,000 warriors. The father of 
Massasoit, according to the testimony of his illustrious son, 
waged war successfully against the Narragansetts; and 
Annawon, King Philip's great captain, boasted to his captor. 
Church, of the "mighty success he had formerly in wars 
against many nations of Indians, when he served Asuhmequin, 
PhiHp's father." About three years before the settlement of 
Plymouth, however, a terrible plague devastated the country 
of the Wampanoags and greatly diminished their numbers. 
Governor Bradford, alluding to this pestilence, states that 
"thousands of them dyed, they not being able to burie one 
another, " and that "their sculs and bones were found in many 
places lying still above ground, where their houses and dwell- 
ings had been; a very sad specktacle to behould." The 
Narragansetts who were so fortunate as to escape the plague, 
took advantage of the weakness of their ancient foes, wrested 
from them one of the fairest portions of their domain the 
island of Aquidneck, (Rhode Island) and compelled Massasoit 
to subject "himself and his lands," to their great sachem 
Canonicus. In 1620, the Pokanoket chieftain could summon 
to his aid only about 300 fighting men, sixty of whom were his 
immediate followers. Yet Massasoit, despite his weakness, 
contrived to maintain his supremacy over the petty sachems 
of the various clans of the Wampanoag confederacy. The 
sagamores of the Islands of Nantucket and Nope or Capa- 
wack (Martha's Vineyard), of Pocasset, (Tiverton), Saconet 
(Little Compton), Namasket (Middleborough), Nobsquasset 
(Yarmouth), Monamoit (Chatham), Nauset (Eastham), 
Patuxet (Plymouth), and other places, together with the head- 
men of some of the Nipmuc nation, were tributary to him. 
Undoubtedly some of these chiefs were allied to Massasoit by 
ties of consanguinity or mutual interests; others, probably, 
rendered homage as conquered to conqueror. 

Like the Narragansetts, the Wampanoags were consider- 
ably advanced in civilization. They built permanent villages, 

22 History of Swansea 

and cultivated corn, beans, pumpkins, and squashes. They 
manufactured cooking utensils of stone and clay, and rude 
implements for domestic and war-like purposes from shells, 
stone, and bone. They prepared the greater part of their food 
by the aid of fire and their cookery was, by no means, unpalat- 
able. The famed Rhode Island Johnny cake and still more 
famous Rhode Island clam bake each claim an Indian origin. 
They understood how to dress birch and chestnut bark which 
they used for covering their wigwams, and they constructed 
canoes by hollowing out the trunks of large trees. Of rushes 
and grasses they wove mats and baskets, and they fashioned 
moccasins, leggings, and other articles of apparel from the 
skins of wild beasts. They were very accurate in their obser- 
vations of the weather, and spent much time in studying the 
heavens, being familiar with the motions of the stars, and hav- 
ing names for many of the constellations. In common with the 
other native tribes of North America, they worshipped various 
gods, peopling earth, air, sky, and sea with deities: yet they 
acknowledged one supreme being, and believed in the immor- 
tality of the soul. 

It is obvious that Massasoit possessed mental endowments 
of no mean order, and it is equally obvious that his environ- 
ments were precisely those best calculated to develop a 
character naturally strong. He dwelt in a land, which, if not 
literally flowing with milk and honey, abounded with every- 
thing needful to supply the simple wants of savage life, and 
thus he escaped those demoralizing influences which attend 
the struggle for mere existence. The proximity of a powerful 
enemy rendered him, cautious, alert, and vigilant. His position 
as the chief of a considerable confederacy invested him with 
dignity, and called into activity all those statesman-like 
qualities for which he was so justly famed. Winslow de- 
scribes him as "grave of countenance, spare of speech," and 
this description taUies exactly with our ideal of the man. 
General Fessenden remarks: "This chief has never had fuU 
justice done to his character." Certainly it was no ordinary man 
who, conquered himself, still retained the respect and alle- 
giance of several clans, difi'ering in thought, mode of life, and 
interests. It was no ordinary man who, undaunted by mis- 
fortune, endured the yoke patiently till the opportunity to 
throw it off presented itself, and then quietly taking advantage 
of the auspicious moment accomplished the liberation of him- 
self and his people from a servitude more bitter than death 

Massasoit was familiar with the appearance of white men 
before the arrival of the Pilgrims at Plymouth. Jjx \6,l% 

The Indians 23 

Captain Thomas Dermer, an Englishman, visited the Massa- 
chusetts coast and held an interview at Namasket with "two 
kings" of Pokanoket, undoubtedly Massasoit and his brother 
Quadequina. The EngHsh were regarded with suspicion and 
dislike by some of the tribes of the Wampanoag confederacy, 
owing to the fact that a certain unscrupulous trader had 
kidnapped some of the natives and sold them into slavery in 
Spain. Had the English attempted a settlement at Plymouth 
when the Pokanokets were at the zenith of their power, they 
would, probably, have been either exterminated or driven 
from the country. But, in 1620, Massasoit, whose fortunes 
were at the ebb, stood ready to extend the right-hand of 
fellowship to the pale-faced strangers, in whom he perceived 
the possible deliverers of his nation. The treaty with the 
Pilgrims into which he entered at Plymouth in March, 1621, 
was the bold stroke of a wise statesman and an experienced 
politician. The article in the treaty which stipulated that 
the English should aid him if "any did unjustly war against 
him " makes his position plain. " We cannot yet conceive but 
that he is willing to have peace with us," writes Winslow, 
alluding to this treaty. "And especially because he hath a 
potent adversary, the Narrowhigansets that are at war with 
him; against whom, he thinks, we may be some strength to 
him; for our pieces are terrible unto them." Subsequent 
events proved that Massasoit's policy was not at fault for, 
with the assistance of his white allies, he was finally enabled to 
throw off the galling yoke of Canonicus, and to restore the 
Wampanoags to their old-time position of independence and 

In July, 1621, Governor William Bradford decided to 
send a deputation to Pokanoket, to "discover the country," 
to "continue the league of peace and friendship" which had 
been entered into a few months previous at Plymouth, and to 
procure corn for planting. Provided with gifts, a horseman's 
laced coat of red cotton and a chain, Edward Winslow and 
Stephen Hopkins set out from Plymouth on Monday, July 2d, 
having for a guide Tisquantum, or Squanto, the friendly 
Indian whose name appears so conspicuously in the early 
annals of Plymouth. The trail followed led the travellers 
thorugh Titicut in the north-west part of Middleborough, 
where they spent the night, to Taunton, thence to Mattapoiset 
(South Swansea) and from there to Kickemuit in the easterly 
part of Warren. Undoubtedly the Kickemuit River was 
crossed at a wading-place, often alluded to in the early records 
of Warren, which was at a point a little north of the present 
Child Street bridge. From Kickemuit they continued on to 

24 History of Swansea 

Sowams in the western part of the town on the shores of the 
Warren River, then known as the Sowams River. There seems 
little reason to doubt that, in going from Kickemuit to 
Sowams, they followed a winding trail leading along what now 
constitutes the Kickemuit Road and Market Street in 
Warren, as, in 1621, the westerly portion of Child Street was 
a thick swamp. This visit of Winslow and Hopkins was the 
second paid by white men to Rhode Island, the first visit 
having been made by Verazzano and his companions nearly a 
century before. 

Winslow's party arrived at Sowams on the afternoon of 
July 4th, but Massasoit proved to be absent from home. 
Messengers were immediately dispatched after him, and he 
shortly appeared being greeted by a discharge of his white 
visitors' guns. He welcomed the Englishmen cordially and 
invited them into his wigwam, where they delivered a lengthy 
message from Governor Bradford and presented the gifts they 
had brought with them. The sachem at once donned the coat 
and hung the chain about his neck. "He was not a little 
proud," says Winslow, "to behold himself; and his men also 
to see their king so bravely attired. " 

In answer to the Governor's message Massasoit made a 
long speech in which he mentioned some thirty different 
places over which he exercised jurisdiction, and promised that 
his people should bring their skins to the English. At the 
close of the speech he offered his guests tobacco and then "fell 
to discoursing" of England, King James, and the French 
against whom he seemed to feel a particular aversion. "Late 
it grew," states Winslow in his narrative of this journey to 
Pokanoket, "but victuals he offered none: for indeed he had 
not any; being he came so newly home, so we desired to go to 

Upon the following day many petty sachems came to 
Sowams to pay their respects to their white allies. They 
entertained the strangers by playing various games, the stakes 
being skins and knives. The Englishmen challenged them to 
a shooting match for skins, but they "durst not" accept the 
challenge. They, however, desired one of the two to shoot at 
a mark, "who shooting with hail shot (bird shot) they won- 
dered to see the mark so full of holes." This "shooting at a 
mark" is the first instance of target practice by a white man 
within the Hmits of Rhode Island of which we have any record. 

On Friday morning Winslow and Hopkins took their de- 
parture from Sowams, carrying with them some seed corn 
which Massasoit had given them. The sachem earnestly 
entreated them to prolong their stay; but the Englishmen 

The Indians 25 

"desired to keep the Sabbath at home," so declined the 
invitation. They reached Plymouth, on Saturday night, "wet 
weary, and surbated," indeed, yet with the satisfaction of 
feeling that the object of their mission had been attained. 

Miss Virginia Baker, 

The Wonderful Cure of Massasoit 

Standish and his comrades found Plymouth much 
excited over the report that a Dutch ship was stranded at 
Sowams, and that Massasoit lay dangerously sick at the same 
place. The impending famine made the Pilgrims especially 
desirous of communicating with the friendly Dutch; while 
the Indian custom of making visits of ceremony to prominent 
people in sickness rendered it highly desirable that an embassy 
be sent to the bedside of Massasoit. Therefore, taking Hob- 
omok as interpreter, Winslow was sent as chief messenger; 
for he was familiar with the Dutch tongue, and had already 
been at Sowams to visit Massasoit, with whom he was a 
favorite. Winslow's associate on the journey was, as he says, 
"Master John Hamden, a gentleman of London, who then 
wintered with us and desired much to see the country." Dr. 
Belknap found reasons for supposing Winslow's "consort" to 
have been the illustrious John Hampden. The reasons for 
this conclusion are not given, and many writers doubt its 
correctness. But no good argument has appeared against 
Belknap's supposition, and it is favored by many circum- 
stances. The visitor's title of "Master," his earnestness to 
encounter hardship and danger that he might "see the 
country," and the readiness of the colonists to make him 
Winslow's colleague and adviser on so important a mission, 
all indicate a guest of no ordinary stamp. It was like Hamp- 
den to privately cross over in some fishing-vessel and examine 
for himself the region in which, as many thought, all freedom- 
loving Englishmen would soon be driven to find an asylum. 
Dr. Young thinks that a visit from the great patriot could not 
fail to be pointedly noticed by both Winslow and Bradford; 
but these authors wrote of this expedition before Hampden had 
become famous, though not before he had become odious to 
the Crown. A conspicuous record of his friendship for the 
Colony would have been only an additional obstacle to the 
much-desired royal charter. So long as it cannot be shown 
that Hampden at that time was elsewhere, there is nothing 
improbable in the belief that he was with Winslow. 

26 History of Swansea 

The first night the messengers were kindly entertained by 
the Namaskets. At 1 p. m., on the second day, they reached 
Slade's Ferry (in Swansea), where they were told that the 
Dutch ship was afloat and sailing away, while Massasoit 
was dead and buried. Hobomok, fearing that with Massasoit 
dead there would be no safety for white men, urged an im- 
mediate return; but Winslow, reflecting that they were then 
in the country of the Pocassets, whose chief (Corbitant) would 
be Hkely to succeed Massasoit, and that a visit might strengthen 
the questionable friendship of that sachem, desired to go 
to his dweUing, There was danger in this, for both Winslow 
and Hobomok had been active in the Namasket expedition of 
1621, which was aimed at Corbitant's Hfe in case Tisquantum 
had proved to be slain, and the insincere sachem might take 
this opportunity for revenge. But both of Winslow's cona- 
panions yielding to his desire, the party proceeded to Corbi- 
tant's house (the sachimo-comaco) at Mattapuyst (Gard- 
ner's Neck, Swansea). 

The sachem had gone to visit Massasoit; but his wife, 
the "squaw-sachem," treated the travellers with hospitahty, 
while an Indian messenger went to Sowams for tidings. On 
the journey Hobomok had touchingly mourned for his friend and 
ruler, exclaiming, Neen womasu sagimus ! neen womasu sagimus I 
etc., or," My loving sachem 1 my loving sachem I Many have I 
known, but never any like thee!" Winslow adds that he was 
assured by Hobomok that "Whilst I hved I should never see 
his like among the Indians. He was no liar ; he was not bloody 
and cruel, like other Indians; in anger and passion he was 
soon reclaimed; easy to be reconciled towards such as had 
offended him; ruled by reason in such measure as he would 
not scorn the advice of mean men; and that he governed his 
men better with few strokes than others did with many, truly 
loving where he loved. Yes, he feared we had not a faithful 
friend left among the Indians; showing how he ofttimes re- 
strained their mahce, etc., continuing a long speech with such 
signs of lamentation and unfeigned sorrow as it would have 
made the hardest heart relent. " 

This description gives us a highly favorable opinion of 
Massasoit, and of Hobomok also. Under the circumstances, 
it was doubtless a just tribute to the great ruler, of whose 
character we should otherwise have little positive information. 

Half an hour before sunset the runner returned from 
Sowams, stating that the Dutch ship had just departed, but 
that the king was still living, though he would doubtless die 
before the visitors could reach him. The latter then set forth 
with such speed as they could in the early darkness, and 

The Indians 27 

reached Sowams late in the evening. Massasoit's dwelHng 
was so crowded that while all tried to make room, the strangers 
had great difficulty in reaching the sick-bed. The powahs 
were in the midst of their incantations, making, as Winslow 
says, **such a hellish noise as it distempered us that were well, 
and therefore unlike to ease him that was sick. " During the 
din several women were more sensibly engaged in chafing the 
chief's limbs to maintain the animal heat. The patient had 
not slept for two days, and had become entirely blind. 

When the "charming" ceased, Massasoit was told who 
had come to see him. Upon this he feebly groped with his 
hand, which Winslow took. The chief then twice said faintly, 
Keen Winsnow.^ or "Art thou Winslow?" Winslow repHed, 
Ahhe! or "Yes!" The patient then feebly muttered, Matta 
neen wonchanet namen, Winsnowl which was to say, "I 
shall never see thee again, Winslow!" Winslow then de- 
livered, through Hobomok, a message of sympathy from 
Bradford, and producing "a confection of many comfortable 
conserves, " etc., he took some of it upon the point of his knife, 
and with great trouble succeeded in getting it through the sick 
man's teeth. When the confection had been dissolved in his 
mouth, it was readily swallowed. This greatly astonished and 
delighted the spectators, for nothing had been before swal- 
lowed for two days. 

Winslow then contrived to clean Massasoit's mouth, 
"which was exceedingly furred," and scrape his swollen 
tongue, removing an abundance of foul matter. Next, the 
patient desiring drink, some of the confection was dissolved in 
water and given him. Within half an hour he had visibly 
improved, and soon began to see again. Winslow continued 
his nursing all night. He also sent Indians to Plymouth with 
a note describing the case, and asking Dr. Fuller's advice, as 
well as that some delicacies be returned, especially a pair of 
chickens for broth. 

Before morning, the king's appetite beginning to return, 
he asked for broth or pottage like that he had eaten at Plymouth. 
Winslow was unfamiliar with such cookery, and had neither 
meat, rice, vegetables, nor seasoning. In that early month 
there were no herbs to be found. But setting his wits at work, 
he took the coarse part of some pounded corn and set it on the 
fire in an earthen pot; he then added a handful of strawberry 
leaves and the sliced root of a sassafras-bush. When this 
compound had been well cooked, he strained the liquid 
through his handkerchief and gave a pint of it to his patient. 
The broth was highly relished, and seemed to work wonders; 
the vital organs resumed their duties, his sight became perfect. 

28 History of Swansea 

and gentle slumber soon followed. When Massasoit awoke, 
he persuaded Winslow to go to the different wigwams and 
treat several of the tribe who were sick, the kind Massasoit 
telling Winslow that the poor sufferers were "good folk," 
This labor, though very offensive to the senses, being performed 
with cheerfulness and success, was as beneficial to the people 
of Plymouth, from a political point of view, as it was medi- 
cally to the sufferers. 

In the afternoon, Massasoit desiring some wild fowl, 
Winslow succeeded in shooting a very fat duck, at a range of 
three hundred and sixty feet. When this had been made into 
broth, Winslow insisted on skimming ofiP the fat, fearing its 
effect on a weak stomach; but his wilful patient would not 
allow it. In consequence, within an hour Massasoit, who had 
eaten too heartily of the dish, was again very sick. In his 
straining he brought on the dreaded nose-bleed, which could 
not be checked for four hours. The case for some time was 
desperate, but at length his retching subsided, and then the 
hemorrhage, after which he slept for nearly eight hours. When 
he awoke, Winslow bathed his face and beard; but suddenly 
the chief thrusting his nose into the basin of water, and 
drawing up a large quantity, ejected it so violently that his 
nose-bleed returned. At this sight the Indians gave up their 
renewed hopes and utterly despaired; but Winslow, seeing 
that the bleeding was superficial, soon stopped it. The loss of 
blood had been a benefit. The king now needed only care as 
to diet, and more sleep; by the second morning he was com- 
paratively well, having a good appetite, and being able to sit 
up and converse. 

The supphes from Plymouth arrived in about twenty- 
four hours from the departure of the runners from Sowams 
(fifty miles and back). The medicines were no longer needed, 
and the chickens Massasoit wisely concluded to keep for 
breeding. Visitors continued to come from all the tribes round 
about, and to them a pinese constantly repeated the details of 
the wonderful cure which his English friends had wrought 
upon their good ruler when he was wellnigh "spent." The 
day before Winslow's coming, a visiting sachem had assured 
Massasoit that the Enghsh were no friends to him, and es- 
pecially insisted that they had neglected him in his sickness. 
After his recovery the chief could not too warmly or too con- 
stantly express his gratitude, exclaiming, among other things: 
" Now I see the English are my friends and love me ; and while 
I live I will never forget this kindness they have showed me. " 

Hampden and Hobomok had earnestly assisted Winslow, 
and all three were entertained by the Indians in the best 

The Indians 29 

possible manner, until, after nearly two days from their 
arrival, they were sped on their way with the warmest thanks 
of both sovereign and people. Before their departure Mass- 
asoit, in a secret council with his pineses, charged Hobomok 
with a message to be delivered to Winslow during the journey. 
The sachem Corbitant, who had remained in close attendance 
on his chief, accompanied the messengers, and insisted on their 
spending that night at his home. He proved a genial host and 
a witty entertainer, who, more sensible than many white men, 
was highly pleased when any of his many jokes were "returned 
again upon him." His conversation with Winslow showed 
much intelligence and shrewdness. Inquiring the meaning 
of the "blessing" which Winslow asked on the food, he and 
his followers patiently received a long lecture on divine matters 
and religious observances, taking exception only to the 
seventh commandment. As to the moral theology and reason 
for asking the blessing, and giving thanks for the food after its 
consumption, the Indians, according to Winslow, "said they 
believed almost all the same things, and that the same power 
we called God, they called Kiehtan. " This pleasant scene is 
the last in which Corbitant appears. He probably continued to 
rule his tribe for a long term of years, and be friendly to the 
EngHsh; for if an enemy, he would have been occasionally 

The fifth night after leaving Plymouth the messengers 
spent with their native friends at Namasket, and the sixth 
night found them once more at home, weU but weary. Hamp- 
den's desire to "see the country" and its people had been 
gratified in an extraordinary manner. On the road Hobomok had 
astonished Winslow by delivering Massasoit's parting message. 

From The Pilgrim Republic. 

"Massasoit" was a title, signifying: "great chief." His 
proper name was Woosamequin, meaning, "Yellow Feather." 
He was the principal chief of the Wampanoags. He was intro- 
duced by Samoset an Indian who had been with white men who 
came to trade and fish along the coast of Maine, and was able 
to speak some broken English. It was this Indian who greeted 
the settlers at Plymouth with those memorable words: 
" Welcome, Englishmen. " Massasoit had no doubt met other 
English adventurers, before the coming of the Pilgrims. The 
white man may have been known to the Indians for a long 
period preceding the "Swarming of the English." Capt. 
Thomas Dermer visited Patuxet, (Plymouth), in May 1619, 
and he received kind treatment at the hands of Squanto, who 
probably knew the English to some extent. The Dutch had 

30 History of Swansea 

settled at Manhattan, (New York) in 1614; the English^ 
were at Jamestown in 1607. The Northmen may have win- , 
tered in Mount Hope Bay, and were known in the traditions ;. 
of the Pokanoket tribes. French and Spanish explorers may 
have visited Narragansett Bay, and were talked of in the wig- 
wams of the natives. 

It was fortunate for the Pilgrims that they came when 
they did. We may regard it as Providential. Massasoit's 
warriors were few, the tribes having been greatly reduced by 
pestilence. And the Wampanoags must have been in mortal 
fear of their old enemies, the Narragansetts. Massasoit was 
a wise and good Indian statesman. He was glad perhaps to 
have the English as his friends. He willingly declared him- 
self a subject and ally of the King of Great Britain. He 
appreciated the evident advantages of firearms, of better im- . 
plements of agriculture, and of the simple con,veniences of 
civiHzed life. He did not take to the rehgion of the Christian 
people ; but I believe that he had the foresight and conviction 
that his people would sooner or later give place to the white 
man who would gain the possession of their lands. 

Metacom, (Metacomet,) second son of Massasoit, 1661-2, 
generally known as King Phihp, the name given him by the 
Enghsh, was perhaps the most remarkable of all the Indians of 
New England. Like his father he acknowledged himself as 
loyal to the Enghsh Sovereign, and freely sold his lands to the 
white settlers. But he was not in sympathy with his father's 
policy toward the English, and secretly plotted against them 
as intruders and enemies. Notwithstanding that Massasoit 
and King Philip had submitted to the King of Great Britain; 
and had sold their lands to the white men; and had signed 
treaties of peace and perpetual friendship, war was inevitable. 
The Indians would not, or could not submit and comforn to 
the English. They did not understand evidently what the 
sale of their lands meant to those who bought them. They 
expected to continue to live as before — to hunt and fish and 
occupy at will. And as it has been said; it takes a thousand 
acres of land to support one Indian as a savage. The conflict 
came in 1675-6, with great losses to the whites and the prac- 
tical extermination of the red men. And it seems quite 
probable that but for the treachery of some of the natives, the 
colonists could not have been saved from extinction. 


Morton says of him : " In his person he is a very lusty man, 
in his best years, an able body, grave of countenance and 

The Indians 31 

spare of speech ; in his attire little or nothing differing from the 
rest of his followers, only in a great chain of white bone beads 
about his neck; and at it behind his neck, hangs a little bag of 
tobacco, which he drank and gave us to drink. His face was 
painted with a sad red like murrey; and oiled both head and 
face, that he looked greasily. All his followers likewise were, 
in their faces in part or in whole, painted, some black, some 
red, some yellow, and some white, some with crosses and other 
antic works ; some had skins on them and some naked ; all strong, 
tall men in appearance. The king had in his bosom, hanging in 
a string, a great, long knife." 

He died in 1662, and it was thought by the settlers who 
knew him that he was about 80 years old. 

TREATY, proposed by Governor Carver and signed by Massasoit, 
in the spring of 1621. The first act of diplomacy recorded in the History 
of New England ; and which was faithfully kept for more than fifty years : — 

It was agreed 

"That neither he (Massasoit,) nor any of his, should injure or do hurt 
to any of their people (i. e., the settlers at Plymouth.) 

"That if any of his did any hurt to any of theirs, he should send the 
oflFender, that they might punish him. 

"That if anything were taken away from any of theirs, he should 
cause it to be restored ; and they should do the like to his. 

"That if any did unjustly war against him, they would aid him; and 
if any did war against them, he should aid them. 

" That he should send to his neighbor confederates to inform them of 
this, that they might not wrong them, but might likewise be comprised in 
these conditions of peace. 

"That when his men came to them upon any occasion they should 
leave their arms behind them. 

"Lastly, that so doing, their sovereign lord, King James, would 
esteem him as his friend and ally. " 

King Philip 

By his foes, who were his only contemporary biographers, 
the character of Philip was painted in most lurid colors. It 
was not the fashion of the time to be just, even to a fallen 
enemy. "Danmable wretch," ** hellish monster," *' bloody 
villain, " are some of the epithets they delighted to bestow 
upon him. Later generations, less moved by horrible mem- 
ories of savage atrocities, and so better able to form a dis- 
passionate judgment have viewed the conquered chieftain in a 
different light. Washington Irving concludes his essay on 
"Philip of Pokanoket" with these words. 

(Prof. Wilfred Harold Munroe, L.H.D. in "Some Legends 
of Mount Hope.") 

32 History of Swansea 

"Such is the scanty story of the brave, but unfortunate 
King PhiUp: persecuted while living, slandered and dishon- 
ored when dead. If, however, we consider even the prejudiced 
anecdotes furnished us by his enemies, we may perceive in 
them traces of amiable and lofty character sufficient to awaken 
sympathy for his fate, and respect for his memory. We find 
that, amid all the harassing cares and ferocious passions of 
constant warfare, he was alive to the softer feelings of connu- 
bial love and paternal tenderness, and to the generous senti- 
ment of friendship. The captivity of his 'beloved wife and 
only son' are mentioned with exultation as causing him 
poignant misery: the death of any near friend is triumphantly 
recorded as a new blow on his sensibilties : but the treachery 
and desertion of many of his followers, in whose affection he 
had confided, is said to have desolated his heart, and to have 
bereaved him of all further comfort. He was a patriot 
attached to his native soil, — a prince true to his subjects, — 
and indignant over their wrongs, — a soldier, daring in battle, 
firm in adversity, patient of fatigue, of hunger, of every variety 
of bodily suffering, and ready to die in the cause he had espoused. 
Proud of heart, and with an untamable love of natural liberty, 
he preferred to enjoy it among the beasts of the forest or in the 
dismal and famished recesses of swamps and morasses, rather 
than bow his haughty spirit to submission, and live dependent 
and despised in the ease and luxury of the settlements. With 
heroic qualities and bold achievements that would have graced 
a civilized warrior, and have rendered him the theme of the 
poet and the historian, he lived a warrior and a fugitive in his 
native land, and went down, like a lonely bark foundering amid 
darkness and tempest — without a pitying eye to weep his fall, 
or a friendly hand to record his struggle." 

In 1876 the two hundredth anniversary of the death of 
King Philip was observed, at Bristol, with appropriate cere- 
monies, under the direction of the Rhode Island Historical 
Society. A boulder monument was the next year erected on 
the summit of Mount Hope bearing the inscription. 

King Philip 
August 12, 1676, O. S. 

A granite block was also placed beside "Cold Spring" 
with this inscription : 

In the Miery Swamp, 100 feet W. S. W. from this Spring, according to 
tradition, King Philip feU, August 12, 1676, O. S. 

The Indians 33 

Speech of Metacomet 

Reported to have been made when approached in the 
interests of peace. Taken from The King Philip Country, an 
article by William Adams Slade, in the New England Mag- 
azine of July 1898. 

"The English who first came to this country were but a handful of 
people, forlorn, poor and distressed. My father was the sachem. He 
relieved their distress in the most kind and hospitable manner. He gave 
them land to build and plant upon. He did all in his power to serve them. 
Others of their own countrymen came and joined them. Their numbers 
rapidly increased. My father's counsellors became uneasy and alarmed 
lest, as they were possessed of firearms, which was not the case with the 
Indians, they . should finally undertake to give law to the Indians, and take 
from them their country. They therefore advised to destroy them before 
they should become too strong, and it should be too late. My father was 
also the father of the Enghsh. He represented to his counsellors and 
warriors that the English knew many sciences which the Indians did not; 
that they improved and cultivated the earth, and raised cattle and fruits, 
and that there was sufiicient room in the country for both the Enghsh and 
the Indians. His advice prevailed. It was concluded to give victuals to 
the Enghsh. They flourished and increased. Experience taught that the 
advice of my father's counsellors was right. By various means the Enghsh 
got possessed of a great part of his territory, but he still remained their 
friend tiU he died. 

" My elder brother became sachem. They pretended to suspect him of 
evil designs against them. He was seized and confined, and thereby thrown 
into sickness and died. Soon after I became sachem they disarmed all my 
people. They tried my people by their own laws, and assessed damages 
against them which they could not pay. Their land was taken. At length 
a fine of division was agreed upon between the Enghsh and my people, and 
I myself was to be responsible. Sometimes the cattle of the Enghsh would 
come into the cornfields of my people, for they did not make fences like the 
English. I must then be seized and confined till I sold another tract of my 
country for satisfaction of all damages and costs. Thus tract after tract is 
gone. But a small part of the dominion of my ancestors now remains. I 
am determined not to live till I have no country." 

Note. — Among other incidents in the history of the commencement of 
hostihties at Swansea, it is related that the Indians captured two sons of 
Sergeant Hugh Cole, and carried them to the Indian camp, whereupon King 
Philip ordered no harm should be done to them, and sent an Indian guard 
to shield the boys from danger till they should arrive home; for, as said the 
noble and generous hearted chief, "their father sometime showed me 
kindness. " King Phihp also sent word to Serg. Hugh Cole, advising him 
to remove his family from Swansea, lest it should be out of his power to 
prevent the Indians from doing them injury. Cole took King Phihp's 
advice, and carried his family over to the island of Rhode Island, and be- 
fore they were out of sight of their home the Indians had set the house on 

King Philip would suflFer his warriors to do Mr. James Brown, of 
Swansea, no harm, because as he said, his father (Massasoit,) in his life 
time, had charged him to show kindness to Mr. Brown. 

34 History of Swansea 

Adventures and Fate of Weetamoe 

The death of Totoson was followed by that of Weetamoe, 
the queen or female sachem of Pocasset. Few events have 
elicited more sympathy from modern historians of the war, 
than the fate of this unfortunate woman. 

Weetamoe, as has been elsewhere narrated was the wife 
of Alexander, Philip's brother; and the death of that prince 
made her, as it made Philip suspicious of the English, who she 
believed had poisoned her husband. She was considered "a8 
potent a prince as any around her, and had as much corn land 
and men at her command." After Alexander's death she 
married one Peter Nannuit an Indian over whom she appears 
to have exercised much control. His name appears only 
occasionally in the records of the colony, so that of his charac- 
ter or actions little is known ; but one fact seems well estab- 
lished, which is, that at the commencement of Philip's war he 
deserted his wife, and joined the English. When hostilities 
ceased, he was rewarded with some slight command over the 

A few days before the war broke out. Church obtained an 
interview with Weetamoe, by means of her husband. The 
details of this meeting have been given in a previous chapter. 
Church repaired to Plymouth, fully satisfied that he had 
secured both the queen of Pocasset and the queen of Saconet 
to the colonists. Weetamoe was at this time nearly alone, 
her warriors having left her to join Philip. She is described as 
appearing melancholy and taciturn; nor can there be any 
doubt but that she was at this time in great perplexity as to 
her future course. Church, however, deceived himself when 
he supposed that he could induce her to take up arms against 
her friends, as did the fickle Awashonks. 

Ascertaining the condition of his kinswoman, Philip sent 
an embassy to her, which had the desired effect. The Plymouth 
authorities, as she supposed, not content with killing her 
first husband, had seduced her second one, so that no 
friend was left her but Philip. No longer able to remain 
neutral, she joined her relative, and accompanied him in his 
wanderings abut Pocasset, until his escape from that place 
July 30, 1675. From this time her movements are so iden- 
tified with those of Philip, as to render the tracing of them 
extremely difficult. During that summer she became sep- 
arated from the main body of the Indians, and was received 
by Ninigret as his guest. For the crime of harbouring her, 
this chief was called to account by the Plymouth court, but 
he eluded their demands, and Weetamoe soon after escaped to 

The Indians 35 

the Narragansetts. Intelligence of this reached the colonists, 
and was one cause of their determination to invade the 
Narragansett country. It is not known whether Weetamoe 
was at the fort at the time of the massacre, but the probability 
is that she was. 

About this time Weetamoe joined herself with Quinnapin, 
a famous chief of the Narragansetts, with whom she appears 
to have lived in great amity. Mrs. Rowlandson, during her 
captivity, frequently met with her, and the description she 
gives of the Indian queen, spiced with hatred, and perhaps a 
little of female jealousy, is somewhat entertaining. " My master 
had three squaws living sometimes with one, and sometimes 
with another — one was Weetamoe, with whom I had lived and 
served all this while. A severe and proud dame she was, 
bestowing every day, in dressing herself, near as much time as 
any of the gentry of the land — powdering her head and paint- 
ing her face, going with her necklaces, with jewels in her ears, 
and bracelets upon her hands. When she had dressed herself, 
her work was to make girdles of wampum and beads." 

Such is the substance of Weetamoe's history as handed to 
us by her enemy. She appears to have been a woman of much 
energy, faithful in the cause which she considered right, and 
sincerely desirous of the welfare of her subjects. Her dis- 
position was amiable until soured by misfortune and injury; 
and the affection with which she was regarded by her people 
will appear in the subsequent narrative. The only crime that 
could be alleged against her was attachment to the cause of 
Philip; but for this she was hunted from place to place with 
unrelenting hatred, a price was set upon her head, and whole 
tribes were destroyed who were guilty or were suspected of 
having harboured her. 

Weetamoe had shared the triumphs of Philip; she also 
shared his misfortunes. When, by intestine divisions, his 
power was destroyed among the Nipmucks, the queen Hke her 
ally, seems to have been deserted by most of her followers, and 
like him also, she sought refuge in her own country. On the 
6th of August, 1676, she arrived upon the western bank of 
Teticut River, in Mattapoiset, with twenty-six men, the 
remainder, numbering two hundred and seventy, having 
deserted her or been slain in battle. Intelligence of her sit- 
uation was conveyed to the colonists, as usual, by a deserter, 
who offered to conduct a party to capture her. 

Twenty men immediately volunteered, glad of the oppor- 
tunity of capturing the one who was *'next to Philip in respect 
of the mischief that had been done." The party proceeded 
with caution until, guided by the deserter, they reached 

36 History of Swansea 

Weetamoe's position. The surprise was complete. The 
Indians made no resistance, and had no time to attempt an 
escape. All were captured except Weetamoe. 

Over the fate of this woman there hangs a singular mystery, 
which the investigations of earnest inquirers have not been 
able to explain. Hubbard's account is as follows: " Intending 
to make an escape from the danger, she attempted to get over 
a river, or arm of the sea near by upon a raft, or some pieces 
of broken wood ; but, whether tired and spent with swimming, 
or starved with cold and hunger, she was found, stark naked, 
in Mattapoiset, South Swansea, not far from the water side, 
which made some think she was first half drowned and so 
ended her wretched life." 

Whether she was first "half drowned," whether she was 
murdered by her people, or whether she met her death in any 
other way, equally violent, cannot now be ascertained. 

If the tragic story of this princess ended here, it would be 
well. But the colonists found her naked body by the water's 
edge. Their enemy was taken at last; yet she was dead, and 
more than that, her corpse was the corpse of a woman. Surely 
they would bury it, if not with magnanimity, yet with decency, 
since the manly heart wars not on the dead. On the contrary, 
they indulged in taunts over the body, cut off the head, and 
after carrying it to Taunton, set it upon a pole. Here it was 
recognized by some of the prisoners, who, assembling around 
it, gave expression to their grief in cries and lamentations. 
Mournful proof of the love which these poor creatures bore to 
their unfortunate princess. Yet so bitter was the feeling against 
the Indians, that Mather, several months after this occurrence, 
denominated this act of the Indian captives "a most horrid 
and diabolical lamentation." 

Washington Irving thus comments on the Indian queen's 

"Through treachery a number of his faithful adherents, 
the subjects of Weetamoe, an Ii dian princess of Pocasset, a 
near kinswoman and confederate of Philip, were betrayed into 
the hands of the enemy. Weetamoe was among them at the 
time, and attempted to make her escape by crossing a neigh- 
boring river; either exhausted by swimming, or starved with 
cold and hunger, she was found dead and naked near the water 
side. But persecution ceased not at the grave. Even death, 
the refuge of the wretched, where the wicked commonly cease 
from troubling, was no protection to this outcast female, whose 
great crime was affectionate fidelity to her kinsman and her 
friend. Her corpse was the object of unmanly and dastardly 
vengeance; the head was severed from the body and set upon 

The Indians 37 

a pole, and was thus exposed at Taunton, to the view of her cap- 
tive subjects. They immediately recognized the features of 
their unfortunate queen, and were so affected at this barbarous 
spectacle, that we are told they broke forth into the 'most 
horrid and diaboUcal lamentations!" 

Weetamoe was among the last of PhiUp's friends, and 
although we have no account of the manner in which he re- 
ceived the news of her death, yet there can be little doubt that 
it affected him deeply. Perhaps his subsequent visit to 
Pocasset was occasioned by the grief he felt for one who had 
ever been faithful to his interests. Her death, and the subse- 
quent treatment of the corpse, awaken many reflections in the 
mind; but no one at the present time will attempt to justify 
the conduct of the colonists. Yet this conduct, that we now 
condemn, displays the fearful extent to which the passions of 
man will sometimes bUnd his judgment, leaving him no longer 
willing to listen to the dictates of justice or humanity. More 
than once, during the latter part of Philip's war, must 
the most skeptical reader have been convinced of this 
truth; and the reader of general history need not confine his 
researches to Philip's War, in order fully to establish it. 



The Grand Deed of Saile of Lands From Osamequin 
AND Wamsetto His Son, Dated 29th March, 1653. 

To All People to whome these presents shall come, Osame- 
qiun and Wamsetto his Eldest Sone Sendeth greeting. 
Know Yee, that wee the said Osamequin & Wamsetto, for 
& in consideration of thirty-five pounds sterling to us the said 
Osamequin and Wamsetto in hand payd By Thomas Prince 
Gent: Thomas Willet Gent: Miles Standish, Gent: Josiah 
Winslow, Gent : for And in the behalfe of themselues and divers 
others of the Inhabitants of Plimouth Jurisdiction, whose names 
are hereafter specified, with which said summe we the said 
Osamequin and Wamsetto doe Ackonwledge ourselues fully 
satisfy ed contented and payd, Haue freely and absolutely bar- 
gained and Sold Enfeoffed and Confirmed and by thesepresents 
Doe Bargaine Sell Enfeoffe and Confirme from us the said 
Osamequin and Wamsetto, and our and Every of our haiers 
unto Thomas Prince, Thomas Willet, Miles Standish, Josia 
Winslow, Agents for themselves and William Bradford, Senr, 
Gent: Thomas Clark, John Winslow, Thomas Cushman, 
Wilham White, John Adams and Experience Mitchell, to them 
and Every of them, their and every of their haiers and assigns 
forever: — 

All those Severall parcells and Necks of Vpland, Swamps and Meadows 
Lyeing and being on the South Syde of Sinkunch Els Rehoboth, Bounds 
and is bounded from a Little Brooke of water, called by the Indjans Moss- 
kituash Westerly, and so Ranging by a dead Swamp, Estward, and so by 
markt trees as Osamequin and Wamsetto directed unto the great River 
with all the Meadow in and about ye Sydes of Bothe the Branches of the 
great River with all the Creeks and Brookes that are in or upon any of the 
S£ud meadows, as also all the marsh meadow Lying and Being with out the 
Bounds before mentioned in or about the neck Called by the Indians 
Chachacust, Also all the meadow of any kind Lying and being in or about 
Popasquash neck as also all the Meadow Lyeing from Kickomuet on both 
sides or any way Joyning to it on the bay on Each Side. 

To Haue And To Hold all the aforesaid vpland Swamp Marshes 
Creeks and Rivers withe all their appurtinances unto the aforesaid Thomas 
Prince, Thomas Willett, Miles Standish, Josia Winslow and the rest of the 
partners aforesaid to theme, And Every of them their and Every of their 
haiers Executors And assignes for Ever And the said Osamequin and Wam- 
setto his Sone Covenant promise and grant, that whensoeuer the Indians 
Shall Remoue from the Neck that then and from thence forth the aforesaid 

42 History of Swansea 

Thomas Prince, Thomas Willett, Miles Standish, Josiah Winslow shall enter 
vpon the Same by the Same Agreement as their Proper Rights And Inter- 
ests to them and their heirs for Ever. To and for the true performance of 
all and Every one of the aforesaid severall Perticulars wee the said Osame- 
quin, and Wamsetto Bind us and every of us our and every of our heirs 
Executors Administrators and Assignes fHrmly by these presents. 

In Witness whereof wee haue hereunto sett our hands and Seales this 
twentieth day of March, anno Domini, 1653. 

The marke of 

Osamequin, & a (Scale). 
Wamsetto, W. & (Scale). 
Signed Sealed and DeUvered 
In ye Presence of us 

John Browne 
James Browne 
Richard Garrett. 

This purchase is said to have included the territory of Barrington and 
parts of the present towns of East Providence, Seekonk, Swansea, Warren, 
and Bristol, known to the proprietors and described in their records as 
"Sowams and Parts adjacent." 

Taken from the family Bible of Capt. Henry Gardner. 

"Records of the first settlers on Gardners Neck. — In March 1623 Gov. 
Winslow with the famous John Hampden visited Corbitant a Sachem whose 
residence was on Matapoisett now Gardners Neck, South Swansea, and was 
hospittably entertained. Corbitant was also Sachem of Slades Ferry. 

In June 1664 King Philip conveyed Matapoissett to Wm. Brenton of 
Newport who devised the whole in his will to his son Ebenezer, who con- 
veyed it in 1693 for 1700 pounds to Samuel Gardner and Ralph Chapman. 
Mr. Brenton did not reside there until after the war of 1675 & 6. In June 
1675 there were several houses on the Neck containing about seventy 
persons who collected at a garrion house occupied bu one Bourne and were 
from there conveyed to Rhode Island after the commencement of King 
Philips war. All the houses were subsequently burned by the Indians. The 
first English blood was shed on the Neck in this war it is beheved there were 
no white settlers on the Neck until about 1664. The Indians occupied it 
almost wholly until that period and were again possessors of it during the 
years 1675 & 6. 

Taken from the Plymouth Records by Bennett Wheeler. 

July 1, 1845. 

Henry Gardner." 

"The Two Mile Purchase" 

Page 312 
250th Anniversary of Taunton 

There was therfore much foundation for the statement of 
John Richmond, son of the first purchaser, of that name, made 

Purchases, Deeds, Etc, 43 

in 1698, in a letter from him to Lieut.-Col. Elisha Hutchinson 
and others, dated Taunton, April 30, 1698, to be found in the 
State Archives, Vol. 113, p. 167, in which he says: — 

"We bought it first of Woosamequin in the year '39 or '40 (this was in 
my minority) the sum paid I know not; then we bought all again of Philip, 
and paid him 16 pounds for it; then we bought that very spot of Josiah, he 
claiming some land there as appears by his deed, then we bought that spot 
again, with other land of Maj. Bradford, he had 20 pounds more," etc. 

By the foregoing deeds it appears that the South Purchase, was origin- 
ally about four miles square; but a controversy soon arose between Taunton 
and Swansey as to the new territory, which in 1672 was referred to the 
General Court at Plymouth, which made this order thereon: 

"In reference to a controversye depending betwixt the townes of 
Taunton and Swansey respecting the lands mortgaged to the Treasurer by 
Philip, the sachem, being by the said townes repectiue agents referred to this 
Court for the finall determination and issue thereof, whose pleas being 
heard and duly weyed, this Court orders, that the three miles first purchased, 
for which a deed hath been obtained of the said sachem, shalbe and belonge 
vnto the towne of Taunton, and accoumpted within theire township, 
provided that Swansey men doe pay or cause to be payed theire full part of 
the payment made or to be made for the redeeming of the said lands mort- 
gaged, or for the farther payment of the purchase vnto Philip, according 
both for specie and time equally proportionable to the other lands pur- 
chased as abouesaid; alsoe that Swansey men shall from time to time 
allow convenient ways to Taunton men vnto their meddows lying within 
the line of Swansey and timber to fence them, with such smalle stripps or 
points of vpland to run theire fence on as may be necessary for fencing the 
said meddowes, and that the said meddowes, bee exempted from rates att 
Swansey." (Ply. Col. Rec. Vol. V. page 107.) 

But this adjustment did not apparently prove satisfactory, for on the 
next July the agents of each town made a division by which "the property 
of the two miles abutting on the salt water shall belong to Taunton, and that 
the property of the other two miles, running into the woods shall appertain 
and belong to Swansey, the town of Swansey paying to Taunton thirteen 
pounds ten shillings, (Ply. Col. Deeds, Vol IV, p. 105) This accounts for the 
projection of a corner of Swansey into the southwest corner of Dighton, 
and which has since been called "The Two Mile Purchase." 

Incorporation of Somerset 

As early as Nov. 2, 1720, some of the inhabitants of that 
part of Swansea called "Shawomet," petitioned the General 
Court to set off a new Town — It was voted down in Town 

Again in 1724, the proposition was rejected. And as late 
as 1789, the Town voted against separation. But after sev- 
eral petitions and counter petitions, and various contentions 
and town-meetings, *' An act for incorporation that part of the 
town of Swansey known by the name of Showomett in the 
County of Bristol into a separate town by the name of 
Somerset," was enacted. 

44 History of Swansea 

Showomet was taken by Plymouth Colony Court, in 
1677, as "conquered lands," and sold to a company of pro- 
prietors to help pay the debts, due to King Phihp's War. 

In Somerset will be found the original book of records of 
the Proprietors of the Shawomet Purchase upon whose title 
page we read as follows: — 

"The book of Records of Shawomat Lands Belonging to ye 

Purchasers of ye said Shawomat Neck and ye 

Other lands partaining to ye saud 

Neck Caled The Out Let. 

This Book was Begun in ye yeare 1680. By 

Increase Robinson 

Clark fFor the Said Purchasers. 

The grand deed of the sale of Showamett lands 

is committed to 

Capt. John Willyames to be kept by him 

for the 

use of the proprietors of sd lands 

so long as they see cause, 


Saml. Sprague Clerk." 



A true copy of the grant of this township of New Swansea, 
lying on record at the court of New Plymouth, 1667: 

"Whereas, Liberty hath been formerly granted by the Court of 
Jurisdiction of New Plymouth, unto Captain Thomas Willett and his 
neighbors of Wannamoisett, to become a township there if they should see 
good, and that lately the said Capt. Willett and Mr. Myles, and others, 
their neighbors, have requested of the Court that they may be a township 
there or near thereabout, and likewise to have granted unto them such par- 
cels of land as might be accommodate thereunto not disposed of to other 
Townships; this Court have granted unto them all such lands that lyeth 
between the salt water Bay and coming up Taunton River (viz.), all the 
Land between the salt water and river and the bounds of Taunton and 
Rehoboth not prejudicing any man's particular Interest, and for-asmuch as 
Rehoboth hath meadow lands within the line of Wannamoisett, and 
W annamoisett hath lands within the line of Rehoboth, lying near the south 
line of Rehoboth — if the two townships cannot agree about them among 
themselves, the Court reserves it within their power to determine any 
such controversy. Oct. 30, 1667. 

" 1667, M arch. The Court hath appointed Captain Willett, Mr Paine, 
Sen'r., Mr. Brown, John Allen, and John Butterworth, to have the trust of 
admittance of Town Inhabitants into the said town, and to have the dis- 
posall of the Land therein, and ordering of other affairs of said Town. The 
Court doe Allow and Approve that the Township Granted unto Capt. 
Willett and others, his neighbors, at Wannamoisett and parts adjacent, 
shall henceforth be called and known by the name of Swansea. 

"The Enterys above are a Copy taken out of the Court Records at 
Plymouth, Nath'I Clark. And above Entrys hereof by William Ingraham, 
Town Clerk. 

"Whereas, Capt. Thomas Willett, shortly after the grant of this town- 
ship, made three following proposals unto those who were with him, by the 
Court of Plymouth, empowered for the admission of inhabitants, and of 
granting lots, viz: 

"1. That no erroneous person be admitted into the township as an 
inhabitant or sojourner. 

"2. That no man of any evill behaviour or contentious person to be 

" 3 . That none may be admitted that may become a charge to the place. 

"The church here gathered and assembling did thereupon make the 
following address unto the said Capt.Willett and his associates, the Trustees 

"We being engaged with you (according to our capacity) in the carry- 
ing on of a township according to the grant given us by the honored Court, 
and desiring to lay such a foundation thereof as may effectually tend to 
God's glory, our future peace and comfort, and the real benefit of such as 
shall hereafter join with us herein, as also to prevent all future jealousies 
and causes of dissatisfaction or disturbance in so good a work, doe in re- 
lation to the three proposals made by our much honored Capt. Willett, 
humbly present to your serious consideration, before we proceed further 
therein, that the said proposalls may be consented to and subscribed by all 
and every townman under the following explications: 

" 1. That the first proposal relating to the non admission of erroneous 

48 History of Swansea 

persons may be only understood the e^cplications following (viz.), of such as 
hold damnable heresies inconsistent with the faith of the Gospel, as to deny 
the Trinity or any person therein, (1) the Deity or sinless Humanity of Christ, 
or the union of both natures in him, or his full satisfaction to the Divine 
Justice by his active and passive obedience for all his elect, or his resurrec- 
tion, or ascension to heaven, intersession, or his second personable coming 
to Judgment, or the resurrection of the dead, or to maintain any merit of 
work, consubstantiation, transsubstantiation, giving Divine adoration to any 
creature or any other anti-Christian doctrine, thereby directly opposing the 
priestly, prophetical or kingly office of Christ, or any part thereof; or 
secondly such as hold such opinions as are inconsistent with the well-being 
of the place, as to deny the magistrates' power to punish evil-doers as well 
as to punish those that do well; or to deny the first day of the week to be 
observed by Divine institution as the Lord's day or Christian sabbath, or 
to deny the giving of honor to whom honor is due, or to offer those civil 
respects that are usually performed according to the laudable custom of our 
nation, each to other, as bowing the knee or body, etc., or else to deny the 
office, use, or authority of the ministry or comfortable maintenance to be 
due to them from such as partake of their teaching, or to speak reproachfully 
of any of the churches of Christ in this country, or of any such other 
churches as are of the same common faith with us and them. 

"2. That the second proposall. That no man of any evill behaviour, 
or contentious persons be admitted. 

"We desire that it be also understood and Declared that this is not 
understood of any holding any opinion different from others in any disput- 
able pt. Yet in controversy among the Godly Learned, the beleefe thereof 
not essentially necessary to salvation, such pado-baptism, anti-pado-bap- 
tism, church discipline or the like. But that the minister or ministers of the 
Town may take their liberty to baptise Infants or grown persons as the Lord 
shall persuade their consciences, and so also the Inhabitants of the town to 
take their hberty to bring their children to baptism or forbear. That the 
second proposall relating to nonereception of any of evill behaviour, such as 
contentious persons, etc., may be only understood of those truly so called, 
and not of those who are different in judgment in the particulars last- 
mentioned and may be therefore counted contentious by some, though they 
are in all fundamentalls of faith orthodox in * * * * and excepting common 
Infirmities in conversation. 

"That the proposall Relating to the non-admission of such as may be a 
charge to the Town be only understood so as that it may not hinder a godly 
man from coming among us, whilst there is accommodation that satisfy him, 
if some Responsible Townsman will be bound to see the town harmless. 

"These humble tenders of our desires we hope you will without offence 
receive, excusing us therein, considering that God's glory, the future peace 
and well-being, not only of us and our posterity who shall settle here, but also 
of those several good and peaceable-minded men, whom you already know 
are hked, though with very inconsiderable outweu^d accommodation to 
come among us are very much concerned therein. Our humble prayers both 
for ourselves and you is that God would be pleased to cause us to aim more 
and more at his glory and less to our earthly concernment that so we may 
inprove the favors that hath been handed down to us by our honoured 
missing fathers to the advancement of the glory of God, the interest of 
our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the common benefitt both of the Town and 
Colony, therein he hath providentially disposed of us to serve our gener- 
ation, your brethren to serve you in Christ. 

" Signed in behalf and in the name of the church meeting in Swansea by 

"John Myles, Pastor. 
"John Butterworth. 

Documentary History 49 

"The foregoing proposalls being according to the desire of the church 
aforesaid, fully and absolutely condescended to, concluded and agreed upon 
by and between said Captain Willett, al his associates aforesaid, and the 
church under the reservation and explications above written, and every of 
them, it was sometime after propounded at a meeting of sd town, lawfully 
warned on the two and twentieth day of the twelfth month, 1669, that the 
said agreement might be by the whole town ratified and confirmed and 
settled as the foundation order, to which all that then were or afterward 
should be admitted inhabitants to receive lands from the town, should 
manifest their assent by subscription thereunto, whereupon the following 
order (the said Capt. Willett, al his associates aforesaid being present) was 
freely passed by the whole town nemine contradicenie. 

"At a town meeting lawfully warned, on the two and twentieth day of 
the twelfth month, commonly called February, in the year of our Lord 1669, 
it is ordered that all persons that are or shall be admitted inhabitemts within 
this town, shall subscribe to the three proposalls above written, to the 
several conditions and explanations therein expressed, before any lot of 
land be confirmed to them or any of them. 

"We, whose names are hereunder written, do fully, upon our admission 
to be inhabitants of this town of Swansea, assent to the above written 
agreement, made between the church now meeting here at Swansea and 
Capt. Thomas Willett and his associates, as the sd. agreement is specified 
and declared in the three proposalls afore written, with the several! con- 
ditions and explanations thereof concerning the present and future settle- 
ment of this town. In witness whereof we have hereunto subscribed. " 
(Signed by fifty-five persons.) 

First Signers Admitted to the Town: 

Thomas Willett, Caleb Eddy, 

John Myles, John Myles, Jr. 

John Allen, Thomas Lewis, 

James Brown, Joseph Carpenter, 

Nicholas Tanner, Robert Jones, 

Hugh Cole, Eldad Kingsley, 

Benjamin Alby, John Martin, 

John Browne, John Cole, 

Samuel Wheaton, Joseph Wheaton, 

Thomas Barnes, Nathan'l Paine, 

Thos. Estabrooke, Stephen Brace, 

Richard Sharpe, Gideon Allen, 

Wm. Ingraham, John Dickse, 

Thos. Manning, Wm. Bartram, 

Wm. Cahoone, Joseph Kent, 

George Aldrich, Sam'l Woodbury, 

Nathan'l Lewis, Nehemiah Allen, 

John Thurber, Sampson Mason, 

Jona Bosworth, Job Winslow, 

Joseph Lewis, Obadiah Bowen, Jr. 

Wm. Hayward, Richard Burgess, 

Jno. Thurber, 2d Jno. Butterworth, 

Gerard Ingraham, John West, 

Zach. Eddy, Thos. Elliott, 

Hezekiah Luther, Timothy Brooks, 

John Paddock, Nathan'l Toogood, 

Samuel Luther, Jere. Child, 
Obadiah Brown, Senr. " 

50 History of Swansea 

"At a Town-meeting Lawfully warned ye 19th of May, 1670, John 
Myles Jur., is chosen Clerk for this present year. John Allen, Senr., is 
chosen Deputy, Nathl Chafy constable, Samuel Luther grand jurymem, 
Benj. Alby waywarden, for the ensuing year. 

"Mr. James Brown, Nicholas Tanner, and John Allen, Senr were 
chosen selectmen for ye ensuing year. " 

1670. "It was ordered yt whatsoever inhabitant shall absent himself 
from any Town-meeting to which he shall at any time hereafter be Legally 
warned, he shall forfeit for every such absent four shillings. " 

"It is ordered that all lotts and divisions of land that are or shall be 
granted to any particular person shall be proportioned to the threefold rank 
underwritten, so that where those of the first rank have three acres, those 
of the second rank shall have two, and those of the third rank shall have 
one. " 

(Those admitted to the first rank are recorded as Mr. ; the others with 
no title. These were landholders without rank.) 

At a Town-meeting Lawfully warned on ye 11th of May, 1671, Mr. 
James Brown was chosen Deputy, and Hugh Cole grand juryman, and 
John Martin Constable. Nathaniel Peck, Joseph Carpenter, and Zechariah 
Eddy were chosen waywardens, Mr. James Brown, Hugh Cole, and Samuel 
Luther were chosen selectmen. " 

"At a Town-meeting lawfully warned November ye 8th, 1671, John 
Allen, Snr. Hugh Cole, Nicholas Tanner, and Nathan! Peck are chosen 
Baters for a Town Bate. " 

1671. "Those of ye first rank shaU pay three pounds twelve shil- 
lings apiece, and those of the second rank shall pay two pounds eight shil- 
lings apiece, and those of the third rank one pound four shillings apiece. " 

"At a Town meeting Lawfully warned on ye 21 May, 1672, Mr. Brown 
was chosen Deputy and Thomas Barnes Constable. Thos. Lewis grandjury- 
man, Nathl. Chafy & Jonathan Bozworth, & Hezekiah Luther, Surveyors 
of highways; Mr. Brown, Thos Luis were chosen selectmen. " 

1674. — John Harding Smith, refusing to sign the "Fundamental agree- 
ment, " was deprived of his land, and warned " to go out of the Town. " 

Aug. 28, 1693. " The warrant from ye quarter session was read, requir- 
ing the Town to chuse a minister according to law; after some Debate the 
meeting was adjourned for half an hour. The church by Lieutnt. Cole re- 
turned and replied thus; that they had a minister they apprehended was 
according to Law, viz.. Elder Samuel Luther, and desired the vote of ye 
Town to see their assent and approbation, and after som debate ye meeting 
was adjourned for half an hour, and then againe after a considerable debate 
the Town-meeting was adjourned to ye 3d Tuesday in October, at 9 o'clock 
in the morning at the usual place of meeting. " 

Oct. 17. "Chose Elder Samuel Luther minister for ye Town." 

John Pain and John Cole, son of Hugh Cole, to look after & to prose- 
cute any breache of ye acte made about Horses, the late act published both 
civil and military. " 

1711. Beferring to a petition for division of the town (that a Puritan 
minister could be supported by taxation) by inhabitants of the western 
part, "it passed in ye negative unanimously. " " If any person would sup- 
ply ye selectmen with money for ye present management of sd affairs they 
should be reimbursed. " (£29 2s. were borrowed.) 

1712. " Granted a fund or bank of £500, or as much more as there may 
be occasion of, to maintain and defend ye Town grant and foundation 

1715. Voted that John Devotion should "teach our youth to Bead 
Inglish and Lattin, and write and sifer, as there may be ocation." 

1717. On a petition for a tax of "sixscore pounds" to support a Pur- 

Documentary History 51 

itan minister, "after considerable fayer and loveing converence with sd 
petitioners, it was agreed and voted and concluded that the inhabitants 
should enjoy conscience liberty according to the foundation settlement. " 

The representative was paid £12 12s; school-master, 17 10s; assessors, 

1718. "Every householders shall kill 6 blackbirds or six squirrells, or 
one crow shall count for two squirrells or blackbirds;" or he shall forfeit 
2 pence for as many as he comes short of six. " 

In 1729, "voted 2d to every one that kills a crow, blackbird, jaybird, 
or squirrell. " 

1732. (Capt. Joseph Mason, the Swansea representative, was the only 
member of the General Court who in 1732 voted in favor of fixing a salary 
for Governor Belcher, as required by the British government.) 

In 1740 the premium was increased to fourpence. 

In 1741 the vote of 1708 was reaffirmed ,with a proviso that every one 
above the required number a premuim of fourpence should be paid; for 
killing a grown fox, five shillings; a young fox, two shillings, in 1736. 

1742. Voted that until the King decides whether to annex Swansea to 
Rhode Island the town ought to pay no tax to Massachusetts. 

1749, Oct. 23. " It being a very rainy day, and but few men met, and 
considerable business to be done, it was tho't proper to adjourn sd 

"It was voted that town take all the tickets in the lottery granted by the 
Great and General Court for building the great bridge not sold by Feb. 26. " 

1759. "Voted to hire a house to put the French people in that were 
sent to our town. " 

1764. Appointed Jeruthamul Bowers Esq., to soKcit relief from the 
General Court for the "great sufferance in the smallpox." Appropriated 
ninety pounds for care of patients. 

Three hundred pounds lent to the town by the Province; the money 
was loaned to individuals, and subsequently many of the borrowers re- 
ceived by vote of town the gift of their notes. 

This year and several years in succession committees were chosen to 
prevent the killing of deer out of season. 

1766. Voted the town treasurer five shillings for his services. 

(First Records) 

The Grant for the Incorporation of the Town was made in March 1667, 
and, "The Court have appointed Capt. Thomas Willett, Mr. Paine, Senir, 
Mr. Browne, John Allen, & John Butterworth, to have the trust of Admit- 
tance of Town Inhabitants into the said town and to have the disposall of 
the Land therein And ordering of other the Affairs of said Town. The 
Court doe Allow and Approve that the Township Granted unto Capt. 
Willett and others, his neighbors, at Wannamoiset and parts adjacent, 
shall henceforth ne called & known by the Name of Swanzey. " 

"The Enterys Above are a Coppy taken out of the Court Records at 
Plymouth. Pr. Nath'll Clark Seer. And above Entrys hereof by Wm. 
Ingraham, Town Clerk." 

"On the two and twentieth Day of the twelfth month 1669 the 
proposalls and agreement were "Ratified and Confirmed" "by the whole 

And then, "At a Town meeting Lawfully warned ye 19th of May 1670, 
John Myles Junr. is Chosen Clerk for the present year. John Allen Senr. 
Chosen Deputy Nathanail Chafy Constable Samuel Luther grand Jury man 
Benjamin AJby way warden for the ensuing year. Mr. James Brown, 

52 History of Swansea 

Nicholas Tanner & John Allen Senr. were chosen select men for the ensuing 

(The above minutes are found in the first book of Town Records, page 
6; and also in the Proprietors Records; and in the latter the following is 
also included) : 

"It is further agreed upon yt Captin Thomas Willett, Mr. Stephen 
Pain Senr., John Allen Senr. Mr. James Brown & John Butterworth who 
were formerly appointed by ye Court to act in ye Prudential affairs of ye 
Town be continued for ye next ensuing year & yt Benjamin Alby be added 
unto them." 

Such was the beginning of the organized and formal government of the 
Town, — in Town Meeting assembled, and in the Council of the Proprietors; 
recorded in separate books. 

"Note. — At a Town meeting Lawfully warned ye 18th day of Nov- 
ember 1670. 

Impr. It is agreed upon That a pound be made three Rod square near 
the meeting house & Benjamin Alby is to do it for forty shillings which 
pound is to be up at or before ye first day of may next, which will be in ye 
year of our Lord 1671. " This was a necessary provision for the retention 
and care of straying animals. 

"Note. — At a Town meeting lawfully warned December ye 22d 1670 — " 

"It is agreed upon by ye Town yt a plot of ground lying and being by 
ye hundred acres bounded on ye southwest on ye meadow on ye north by ye 
Run of water yt is by ye house of George Aldridge on ye South East by a 
pine swamp with a httle neck of land to ye East shall be a burying place." 

" Itt — It is ordered by ye Town that Hugh Cole & Samuel Luther keep 
possession of ye Town Lands at Mattapoiset against any that shaU Intrench 
upon the same & yt they shall be defended & warranted by ye Town in what 
they shall do therein." 

Some of the records, as they stand, are not in chronological order, 
perhaps because they may have been made on loose leaves, and afterward 
entered in the books. 

" Note— At a Town meeting Lawfully warned Feb. ye 7th 1670. " 

"Itt — It is ordered by general Consent yt from time to time & at all 
times hereafter a Certain number of ye Inhabitants of this towne be yearly 
Chosen by Paper vote on ye same dayTthat deputies & other officers are by 
order of Court yearly chosen to be a select Committey for ye management 
& ordering of all ye Prudential affairs for ye Respective ensuing year except- 
ing such things as ye Town at their general meeting shall see just Cause to 
prehibit & that Capt'n Willett, John Allen Senr., Mr James Brown, John 
Butterworth & Benjamin Alby be continued Select men to ye end of this 
Present year. " 

At the same meeting, "Ordered that Hugh Cole & Benjamin Alby be 
Surveyors for the Town & yt whatsoever Lands are granted shall be 
recorded in the Town by ye Clerk for ye time being, whensoever ye sd 
surveyors or one of them, and one or more of ye Select men for ye time being 
shall bring a Certificate of ye quantity & bounds appertaining to their 

The records of lands laid out to Proprietors may be interesting in some 
cases though of little practical value in these times. For instance, we copy 
the bounds of "The Lands of Thomas Eastabrooke. " 

Thomas Eastabrooke house lot bounded by Mr. Brintons beginning at 
Mattapoyset river, and there, bounded with a fork in the river round to the 
Eastward to a high way that is to go in to Mr. Brintons farme and there 
bounded with a stone set in the ground and from there to the northward 
along the high way and soe by that till it comes to a stone set in the ground 
and from thence west ward to another stone set in the ground and from 

Documentary History 53 

thence South south west until it comes to Mattapoyset river and on ye bank 
by ye river there is bounded with another stone this lot is 20 a. This lot was 
layd out according to order by Hugh Cole Survr. and James Luther 
Townsman" — 

Thomas Eastabrooke had other lots in different parts of the Town. 
Feb. 12, 1670, 

"To prevent the bringing in of such persons to be inhabitants as may 
be to the prejudice of the town ; it is ordered that whosoever hath taken or 
shall take up any lot therein, and shall let out, give, or sell the same, or any 
part thereof, to any person or persons whatsoever, without the consent ot the 
town, or at least the committee that are or shaU be chosen for the manage- 
ment of the prudential affairs of the town at any time hereafter; then the 
person or persons that shall so let out or sell as aforesaid, shall forfeit their 
whole right in such lot and buildings thereon, from them, their heirs and 
assigns, to the use of the town forever. " 

Itt: Agreed upon & ordered yt Mr. John Dikse shall have out of ye 
Town Lands as much and as good accommodations as is or shall be granted 
to any man within ye Township. 

Itt: Ordered that Mr. John Miles Paster of ye Church of Christ 
Swanzey shall have as good a share of lands given him of ye Town Lands as 
any yt are or shall be granted to any man. 

Swansea Records: 

1759 — "Voted to hire a house to put the French people in that were 
sent to our town. " 

(Newtown, Conn. Hist.) — "When France ceded Acadia, now Nova 
Scotia, to the English the Acadians chose to remain, though they had free 
choice to leave any time within two years. They refused to take the oath 
of allegiance to the British King, though they did take the oath of fidelity. 
They were exempted from bearing arms against their country-men in 
Canada, and allowed to enjoy their own reHgion, which was Roman Catholic. 

"The British government finally decided to remove the Acadians, 
confiscate their property and scatter them among their colonies on the Con- 
tinent, and 300 were assigned to the Connecticut Colony and were landed 
at New London in 1756. The General Court at its January session in 1756 
in New Haven passed an act for distributing and well ordering the French 
people sent into the colony from Nova Scotia. Four were assigned to New- 
town. They were known as the Neutral French and were cared for at the 
town's expense. Every year for six years their records show resolutions 
that were passed for the care of the French family called neutrals. It could 
not turn them off, nor could they go out of town without its consent. The 
boy of the family was finally bound out for a term of years to Zadock 
Sherman, and the man Paul and his wife were allowed by vote (of the town) 
to go visiting their friends, relations or acquaintances. As the town could 
not turn them adrift, they voted to allow them to go visiting, as shrewd 
diplomacy as any of the present day." — E. L. J. 

Were "the French people sent to our town," Acadians? 

The Prison Ship Martyrs 

Years ago, Charles E. West, L.L.D., a man of letters, in 
addressing the pupils of the Brooklyn Heights Seminary on the 
horrors of the British prison ships uttered the following intro- 

54 History of Swansea 

ductory words : "The horrors of the British prison ships of the 
Wallabout have never been revealed to the pubHc eye. The 
muse of history sits silent by the tomb of American martyrs, 
draped in mourning, she cannot sing. The subject for song is 
too sad and repulsive. Better perhaps, that the pall of obliv- 
ion be not lifted. Burning words of indignation would stir 
Gladstone's voice. What are the facts? I copy, he says, from 
historical records." 

So must every one copy from historical records. 

But the searching of them is painful; they reveal the 
darkest side of war and the lowest depths of human depravity. 

Why, however, may not the pall of oblivion be lifted ; why 
may not the canvas and the pen speak and the muse sing 
though in the saddest strains, that the country may know all 
that can be known of the history of the prison ship martyrs 
who suffered so much and wrought so gloriously in the achieve- 
ment of American Independence. 

The Wallabout — Uterally a bend in the inner harbor — is 
a sheltered bay on the west end of Long Island ; it is now the 
location of the Navy Yard. During five or six years of the 
Revolutionary War there were anchored in this bay fifteen old 
hulks, used in part for prison ships and in part for hospital 
ships. Twelve of them bore the names of Good Hope, Scor- 
pion, Kitty, Whitby, Falmouth, Good Intent, Prince of Wales^ 
Stromboli, Hunter, Providence, Bristol and the Jersey. 

The barbarities practiced in these vessels by the British 
and their hirelings seem incredible. The cruelties inflicted 
upon the prisoners confined in the Jersey are hardly equalled 
in history. She was called " hell afloat. '* 

Nor were the prisons located in New York but little less 
atrocious. From the time of the disastrous battle of Long 
Island Aug. 27, 1776, to the evacuation of New York by the 
British Nov. 25, 1783, it was emphatically a city of prisons, it 
was the British prison house. Every available building was 
transformed into a dungeon for the soldiers of the American 
army who happened to be taken prisoners. Those thus taken 
were under the supervision of the infamous provost-marshal 
Cunningham, with his deputy O'Keefe and the commissioners 
Loring, Sproat and others. The buildings used for prisons 
were the North Dutch Church, Brick Church in Beekman 
Street, Friends Meeting House in Pearl Street; Presbyterian 
Church in Wafl Street, Middle Dutch Church, Old Sugar 
House, Liberty Street, Rhinelanders, and the other sugar houses 
in the city were also filled with prisoners; Bride weU in the 
Common, and the Provost jail perhaps the most notorious 
dungeon of all. 

Documentary History 55 

The treatment of the American prisoners by the British 
authorities in New York during the Revolutionary War forms 
the saddest chapter of its history. Th^ prison house, the prison 
ship, and the hospital ship revealed a loftier and purer patriot- 
ism than did any battle field. 

The authors of school histories and other histories have 
rung the changes — and rightly — on the heroism and bravery 
of the men who fought at Bunker Hill, Saratoga, Princeton, 
Yorktown and at other places in the war of the Revolution; 
they have depicted in vivid colors the terrible sufferings of the 
soldiers at Valley Forge in the winter of 1777-8 ; but strange 
to say in not many instances has any extended reference been 
made to the prison ship martyrs. Truly the omissions and 
mistakes of history are remarkable. A certain writer said, 
"history is an approximation to the truth." This definition 
has many illustrations. A veteran statesman is reported to 
have said that most histories are false, save in name and dates, 
while a good novel is generally a truthful picture of real life, 
false only in name and dates. There is often in this statement 
more than a shadow of truth. 

As the Jersey, which embodies many of the worst features 
of the prison and hospital ships, was the scene of such tragedies, 
a brief description of her may be given. 

John Quincy Adams says : *' Posterity delights in details. " 

The Jersey was a sixty-four gun English frigate was dis- 
mantled because unfit for use ; was anchored in the Wallabout 
in 1780, possibly at an earlier date. The port holes were closed 
and secured. 

Two tiers of holes were cut through about two feet square 
and about ten feet apart, strongly guarded by a grating of iron 
bars. Her only spar was a bowsprit; she had a derrick for 
hoisting supplies on board — ^it looked like a gallows — nothing 
more save a flagstaff at the stern and a barricade. 

The barricade was about ten feet high, pierced with loop 
holes for musketry, in order that the prisoners might be fired 
on from behind it if occasion should require. The appearance 
of the Jersey was forbidding, gloomy and dismal. The prison- 
ers when approaching her were horror stricken, knowing the 
treatment they were to receive. No wonder the name "hell 
afloat" was appHed to her. There were two main decks, the 
lower was occupied by prisoners of foreign birth; the upper by 
natives who numbered a very large majority of all the pris- 
oners ; they were mainly from the North and probably not less 
than a third of them from Massachusetts. The cooking 
apparatus for the prisoners consisted of a large copper kettle 
which would contain between two and three hogsheads of water; 

56 History of Swansea 

it was set in brick work. The form of it was square, and it was 
divided into two compartments by a partition ; in one of these 
the peas, oatmeal and such Hke provisions were to be cooked ; 
this was done in fresh water ; in the other compartment the 
meat was boiled in salt water taken from along side of the ship. 
The Jersey was not the first hulk anchored in the Wallabout. 
The Whitby was the first moored there. She was said to be the 
most sickly of all the prison ships ; no medical men attended 
the sick. Disease reigned unrelieved. Many of those confined 
in her were landsmen, who were transferred to the Jersey in 1780. 
The six men taken prisoners in Swansea April 19, 1779, may 
have been first imprisoned in the Whitby. In reference to 
this we have no positive historical data. Two of these men 
were known to be Obadiah Slade and Theophilus Luther. Can 
learn nothing in respect to the fate of the remaining four. 
Their names are unknown. 

Joseph Brown, a young seaman, a native of Swansea, was 
probably captured in a privateer in 1780. No doubt he was 
imprisoned and died in the Jersey. 

It is not my purpose to give a complete history of the 
Jersey nor a minute and detailed account of the barbarities 
practiced in her. She was intended for seamen only, yet a few 
soldiers were confined in her. From the outset there was some- 
thing tragical incidentally connected with this old hulk. The 
Good Hope was one of the first prison ships anchored in North 
River ; her inmates with the hope of gaining liberty or death 
burnt her; another vessel was burnt at the same time for the 
same object. But they did not succeed in making their escape ; 
were recaptured and many of them imprisoned in the Jersey; 
thus was reached a sadder fate. 

Obadiah Slade from what can be learned was a bold fear- 
less man, he did not always stop to count the cost. Had he 
been released from the Jersey and permitted to return to 
Swansea would he have taken on the quiet pursuits of life? 
Might he not rather as he called to mind his burning dwelHng, 
his homeless wife and children, the brutal treatment he received 
in being taken trom his bed in the night and almost naked 
hustled to the shore placed in a boat and borne down the bay 
in that cold chilly April night to the enemy's quarters, calHng 
to mind the horrors of the Jersey, might he not, I say, have 
resolved, that come life or death, he too would prove a most 
bitter enemy. Obadiah Slade hved on what is now Brayton's 
Point in Somerset, Swansea in Revolutionary days. He was 
very active in obtaining supplies for the patriots. He went 
through the towns collecting whatever he could for the suste- 
nance of the army quartered in Rhode Island. His friends 

Documentary History 57 

warned him, for the British in possession of the Island of 
Rhode Island doubtless knew of his operations. He took no 
heed, however, the result was his capture in April 1779. 

Died in Jersey Prison Ship. 
Obadiah Slade 
Josepli Brown 
Theophilus Luther 

of Swansea. 

(See Tablet in Town Hall.) 

Pioneer Schools 

Dec. 19, 1673. "It was voted and ordered, nemine contradicente, that 
a school be forthwith set up in this town for the teaching of grammar, 
rhetoric, and arithmetic, and the tongues of Latin, Greek, and Hebrew; 
also to read EngUsh and to write, and that a salary of forty pounds per 
annum in current country pay, which passeth from man to man, be duly 
paid from time to time, and at all times hereafter, and that John Myles, the 
present pastor of the church here assembhng be the schoolmaster." 

1698. Jonathan Bosworth was employed as teacher at £18, one- 
fourth in money and the rest in provisions at money prices. 

1702. The town was fined £5 for not having a school, and employed 
John Devotion at £12 and diet, and £20 for keeping a horse. (Terms of 
school were kept in diflferent parts of the town.) The next year his pay was 
£16; in 1709 he was employed for six years; in 1715 for twenty years 

(See Districts later, etc.) 

Miles' Bridge — Lottery 

One of the earliest bridges erected in this section of Bristol County was 
the one at this point. It is impossible at this late day to ascertain the exact 
date of the building of the first bridge at this point, but it was doubtless in 
the early part of the last century, for the Provincial statutes of 1736-37 
refer to a bridge called Miles' Bridge in a country road had theretofore been 
constructed and had fallen into decay, and the towns of Swansea and 
Barrington were ordered "to build a good and substantial cart bridge 
across the said river in the country road aforesaid where the said bridge did 

The present iron bridge was built in 1878. It is seventy-five feet long, 
and rests on two abutments with wing walls. 

In 1749 an act was passed allowing the town of Swansea to raise funds 
by lottery for the rebuilding of this bridge, as follows: — 

"The Province of the Massachusetts Bay. 
Dec. 11, 1749. 

"An act to allow the town of Swansea, in the county of Bristol, to set 
up and carry on a lottery for the rebuilding and keeping in repair Miles* 
Bridge in said town 

'* Whereas, by a law of this province mad in the sixth year of the reign 
of his late Majesty King George the First, entitled, 'An act to suppress 
lotteries', and another law made in the sixth year of his present Majesty's 


History of Swansea 

reign, in addition to the aforesaid act, the setting up or carrying on lotteries 
are suppressed, unless allowed by act of ParUament or law of this province; 

"Whereas, The said town of Swansea have represented their inability 
of rebuilding and keeping in repair the great bridge and causway in said 
town, called Miles' Bridge, by reason great part of said town is taken off to 
Rhode Island by the late settlement of the boundary line betwixt the two 
governments, and pray the allowance of setting up and carrying on a lottery 
in said town for that purpose, — 

"Be it therefore enacted by the Leieutenant-Governor, Council, and 
House of Representatives: 

"Sec. 1. That the said town of Swansea be and hereby is allowed and 
authorised to set up and carry on a lottery within said town for the use and 
purpose aforesaid, of the amount of twenty-five thousand pounds, old tenor, 
drawing out of each prize ten per cent., and said town be empowered to make 
rules for the regular and practicable proceeding in said affair, and to appoint 
times and places, and meet persons for managers therein, who shall be 
sworn to the faithful discharge of their trust. 

"And in order to prevent any bubble or cheats happening to the pur- 
chasers or drawers of the tickets, 
"Be it further enacted: 

"Sec. 2. That SEiid Swansea shgJl be answerable to the purchasers or 
drawers of the tickets for any deficiency or misconduct of the managers, 
according to the true intent of lotteries. " 

From records of town condensed. 

Deputies and Representatives, from 1670 to 1899 have 
been as follows : — 


John Allen; 


Captain John Brown; 


James Brown; 


Eph. Pierce; 


Hugh Cole; 


Hugh Cole; 


Samuel Luther; 


Joseph Mason, Jr.; 


Hugh Cole; 


Justice Brandford, 


Obadiah Brown; 



Hugh Cole; 


Justis Mason; 


Lieut. Timothy Brooks 


Wilham Anthony; 

and William Howard; 


Mr. Ezek. Brown; 


Capt. John Brown; 


Perez Brandford, Esq.; 


"Representatives to a 


"Voted not to have a 

great and general court 


or assembly to be held 


Ezek. Brown; 

at ye town-house in 


Mr. Caleb Luther; 

Boston;" Capt. John 


Mr. Ezek. Brown; 

Brown and Samuel 


Wilham Slade; 



John Anthony; 


Ebenezer Brenton; 


William Slade; 


Ensign Joseph Kent; 


John Anthony; 


Epharim Pierce; 


Jeruthamel Bowers; 


Hezekiah Luther; 


"Jeruthamel Bowers 


Joseph Mason; 

and Philip Slead to rep- 


Epharim Pierce; 

resent the Town in the 


John Thomas; 

Provincial Congress, 


John Rogers Esq.; 

and that these two per- 
sons have no more than 


Joseph Mason, Jr. and 

William Salisbury; 

the wages of one;" 

Documentary History 



















Col. Andrew Cole and 
Mr. Philip Slead; 1828, 

Col. Edward Anthony; 
Philip Slead and Israel 1829, (M 

"Israel Barney, del- 
egate to the Conven- 
tion at Concord in Oc- 

"Capt. Philip Slead 
and Mr. John Mason, 
delegates to represent 
the town at Cambridge 
in forming a new con- 1829, 
Jurathamel Bowers, 
"John Richmond to go 
to Boston the first 
Wednesday of June;" 
Voted not to send a 
Representative; 1830, 

Simeon Potter; 1831, 

Christopher Mason; 
Christopher Mason and 1832, 
James Luther; 1833, 

Christopher Mason; 
Daniel Hale; 1834, 

Daniel Hale, and Ed- 1835, 
ward Mason; 

Daniel Hale, and Ben- 1836-37, 
anuel Marvel; 1838-39, 

Daniel Hale; 1840, 

Dr. John Winslow; 1841-42, 

John Mason; 1843, 

Benanuel Marvel; 1844-45, 

Benjamin Taylor; 1846-47, 

Daniel Hale and John 1848-49, 
Bufifington; 1850, 

"Voted that D. Hale 1851, 
be instructed to attend 1852, 
the Legislature, and if 1853, 
in his opinion it is nee- 1854, 
essary for John Buffing- 1855, 
ton to attend, he must 1856, 
write or send to him, 
and he is instructed to 

attend if called for;" 
John Mason and John 
Buffington ; 
ay) "Voted to exonerate 
John Mason from pay- 
ing into the Treasury 
the sum generally ex- 
pended in treating the 
inhabitants of the town 
at a choice of represen- 
tatives,which he agreed 
to at his election in 

Luther Baker and Ben- 
ajah Mason; 
" Voted, That the Reps 
be instructed to oppose 
all R. R. constructed at 
the expense of the 

L. Baker and B. Mason 
John Earl and B. 

Benanuel Marvel; 
B. Marvel and John 

James Cornell; 
J. Cornell and George 

George Mason; 
Artemas Stebbins; 
Jonathan R. Brown; 
Stephen Buffington; 
James Cornell; 
Phihp M. Marvel; 
Jonathan Barney; 
Ezra P. Short; 
WiUiam T. Chase; 
Daniel Edson; 
No Choice; 
Horatio Peck; 
Allen Mason; 
Benjamin S. Earl; 
Voted not to send a 

Representatives from the District of which Swansea was a part, 
residents of this Town: 

1859, Edward F. Gardner; 1878, 

1862, WUliam H. Pearse; 1882, 

1865, Ezra P. Short; 1886, 

1868, Rufus Slade; 1890, 

1871, Job Gardner; 1894, 

1874, Nathan M. Wood; 1899, 

James E. Estabrooks; 
James H. Mason; 
Mason Barney; 
Daniel R. Child; 
Henry O. Wood; 
Edward M. Thurston: 

From 1896 Swansea was included with Somerset and part of Fall River. 

60 History of Swansea 

Revolutionary War Records 

April 21, 1775,—" Voted that 40 guns, 250 lbs. powder, 750 lbs. lead, and 
600 flints be provided. The committee of inspection shall provide provi- 
sions and all other necessaries for the poor upon any special emergency. 
That 50 men be enlisted to be ready at a minute's warning, and pd 3 s. a 
week for exercising two half days a week, and 6 doUs. bounty if called out of 
town. The officers to have the same as Rehoboth pays their officers. " 

"That we keep a post to ride to Boston (and leave it to the selectmen 
how often) for the best inteUigence that can be had there. " 

May 22. Chose a committee of regulation and inspection. "The 
Town will secure and defend the said committee and empower them to 
follow and observe such directions as they shall receive from time to time 
from the Provincial Congress or Committee of Safety. " 

Five shillings penalty was imposed for wasting a charge of powder, and 
the offender's ammunition was forfeited to the town. 

April, 1777. "Voted, in addition to what the General Court pays, 
20 £ to every soldier enlisted in the Continental service for three years or 
the war," subsequently restricted to "those credited to the quota of the 
town." Later the town treasurer was allowed to pay what he chose to 
secure men for the quota, "and the town will make him complete satisfac- 
tion for his trouble therein. " 

Chose a committee to provide for the families of "soldiers in the Con- 
tinental service." 

Jan. 5, 1778. "Voted that inoculation shall not be set up in Swansea, 
by a unanimous vote." 

January 26. "Voted that inoculation shall be set up in Swansea," 
also to provide a hospital. 

Voted to buy one hundred bushels corn for soldiers' famihes. 

Voted six pounds to the treasurer for his services. 

June 1st. "The selectmen shall provide warlike stores for every man 
in the town and distribute the same at their discretion. " 

June 23, 1778. "By unanimous vote promised : 

" 1. To turn out upon all alarms against the enemy. 

"2. To throw aside aU partyship for the future. 

"3. To return humble and hearty thanks to Gen. Sullivan for his 
company and good institutions. 

"Voted, August 3 Is t, to provide soldiers with shirts, stockings and shoes. " 

November. "Requested Gen. Sulhvan to provide a guard against the 
enemy on Rhode Islgmd. " 

May, 1779. " Voted that there be a guard on each of the necks for the 
safety of the good people of the town; that each man have four dollars for 
each night's service on guard. Capt. Philip Slead to go to the General 
Court at Boston to see whether the court would make any allowance to the 
town for those men which the town hired to go on the line. Choce the 
town clerk to draw up something for Capt. Phihp Slead to carry to the 
council. " 

1779. "Voted twenty-two men to guard the shores, who shall have 
four dollars per night, or, if they choose, two dollars with rations and Con- 
tinental wages. 

"Voted a committee to visit Gen. Gates to see if he will provide for the 
safety of the town. 

"The Committee of Safety to go to Concord to meet with the Com- 
mittee of Correspondence in Congress on July 14, 1779. The selectmen 
shall send to Boston for firearms." 

January, 1780. "Voted four thousand pounds to buy blankets, accord- 
ing to the order of the Court, and to pay necessary expenses. " 

Documentary History 


June, 1780. "Voted three hundred pounds Continental money to all 
who enlist for six months. " This was at the next meeting increased to four 
hundred pounds, then to seven hundred pounds, then to one thousand 
pounds. Then "one hundred and twenty silver dollars " were offered, " and 
the selectmen have power to increase the sum if necessary." 

1780. " For gate and posts for the pound and putting up the same, one 
hundred dollars. 

"Voted eleven thousand seven hundred and sixty dollars for the pur- 
chase of horses to send to Taunton by order of the General Court. 

"Voted one hundred and forty dollars Continental money to pay for 
an ax; the selectmen to have fifty dollars a day in Continental money. " 

1783. "Petitioned General Court for a lottery to rebuild Myles* 
bridge. " 

1785. " Chose a committee to divide the school districts to accommo- 
date the children." 

1791. For representative to Congress, one hundred and seventy- 
seven votes were cast, of which Bishop had one hundred and seventy-one 

1804. Presidential election; the electoral ticket headed by James 
Sullivan had one hundred and sixty-one, and that headed by David Cobb, 
four votes. 

Sept. 4, 1804. Election for state officers: 

John Hancock, Esq., for Governor, seventeen votes; 

James Boardman, Esq., Lieutenant-Governor, seventeen votes; 
Thomas Durefey, Esq., Councilor, seventeen votes; 

Walter Spooner, Esq., Councilor, eleven votes; 

Ephraim Starkweather, Esq., Councilor, seventeen votes; 

Nathaniel Leonard, Esq., Councilor, six votes. 

An Alphabetical List of the Names in the Revolutionary 
Muster Rolls. 

Allen, James 
Allen, Jonathan 
Anthony, Asa 
Anthony, Daniel 
Anthony, David 
Anthony, Edward 
Anthony, John, Corp. 
Anthony, Peleg 
Anthony, Peleg 
Arms, Edward 
Arnold, Alexander 
Arnold, WiUiam 
Atkinson, Robert, 
Babbitt, Abijah 
Baker, Jedidiah 
Baker, Joseph 
Barber, Jesse 
Barney, Christopher 
Barney, Daniel 
Barney, Israel 
Barney, Jonathan 
Barney, Joseph 
Barney, Joseph, 2nd. 
Barney, Josiah Jr. 
Barney, Nathan 

Barney, Prince 
Barney, Paul 
Barney, Peleg 
Barney, Wheaton 
Bates, Francis 
Bentelle, John 
Blake, Timothy 
Borden, Joseph 
Bosworth, Benjamin 
Bosworth, John 
Boen, Jeremiah 
Booffenton, William 3d. 
Born, Steven 
Bourne, Francis 
Bourne, Joshua 
Bowers, Baxter 
Bowers, Jonathan 
Bowers, Paldore 
Bowers, Phihp 
Bowers, Nathan 
Bowers, Primus 
Bowers, Samuel 
Bowman, Charles 
Brayton, John 
Brown, David 


History of Swansea 

Brown, Elisha 
Brown, John 
Brown, Samuel M. 
Brown, Seth 
Brown, William S. 
Bryant, John 
Burden, Nathaniel 
Cahoun, Nathaniel 
Cane, Robert 
Carpenter, Benjamin 
Carpenter, Ebenezer 
Carpenter, James 
Carpenter, Jacob 
Carr, Cudbuth 
Carter, Isaac 
Cartwright, Daniel 
Case, George 
Case, Isaac 
Chaffee, Joseph 
Chaffee, Stephen 
Chase, Alen 
Chase, Aaron 
Chase, Benjamin 
Chase, Ebenezer 

Chase, Enoch 

Chase, Ephraim 

Chase, Grindal 

Chase, Henry 

Chase, Israel 

Chase, Jabez 

Chase, Jacob 

Chase, Jeams, Jr. 

Chase, Jerathmrel 

Chase, Jared 

Chase, John 

Chase, Joseph 

Chase, Ohver 

Chase, Ohver Jr. 

Chase, Samuel 

Chase, Seth 

Chase, Silas 

Cilton, Benjamin 

Cobb, Richard 

Cobb, Zenas 

Cole, Benjamin 

Cole, Constant 

Cole, Ebenezer 

Cole, Ephraim 

Cole, Esa 

Cole, Hezekiah, Jr. 

Cole, Job 

Cole, Nehemiah 

Cole, Theodore 

Cole, Parker 

Cole, WilHam 

Cole, Zephaniah, 2Lieut. 

Counel, Thomas 

Comal, Gideon 
Cornal, James 
Cornell, EUsha 
Cornell, James 
Cotton, John 
Cummings, John 
Daggett, Job 
Davis, Nathan 
Davis, James 
Davis, John 
Day, Amos 
Demas, Joseph 
Dexter, Joshua 
Drown, Caleb 
Dyer, Noah 
Eddy, Caleb 
Eddy, EHsha 
Eddy, Michael 
Eddy, Obadiah, Lieut. 
Eddy, WilUam 
Edminster, James 
Esterbrooks, James 
Findley, Charles 
Fisk, Samuel 
Fish, George 
Fish, Jonathan 
Fish, Samuel 

Fitch, Amos 

Fowler, Daniel 

French, Sebe 

Fuller, James 

Fuller, Josiah 

Gardner, Israel 

Gardner, John 

Gardner, Joseph 

Gardner, Samuel, 3d 

Garrettson, Samuel 

Gage, Benjamin 

Gibbs, John 

Gibs, Benjamin 

Goss, Thomas 

Gray, Edward 

Griffith, Abraham 

Hail, Daniel 

Hail, John 

Hail, Jonathan 

Hale, Joel 

Hall, Edward 

Hall, James 

Handy, Russel 

Handy, Thomas 

Harding, Jonathan 

Harding, John 

Hastings, Peter, Ensign 

Haskins, Peter 

Hathaway, Abner 

Hathaway, John 

Documentary History 


Hathaway, Charles 
Hearder, Jonathan 
Higgins, Heman 
Hill, Amos 
Hill, Barnet 
Hill, John 
Hill, Parker 
Hill, Homer 
Hills, James 
Hix, David, Lieut. 
Hix, Daniel 
Hix, John 
Hix, Robert 
Hoar, Gideon 
Holland, James 
Hood, Noble 
Horswell, Luke 
Horton, Jotham 
Horton, Simeon 
Howard, Caleb 
Howland, Josiah 
Hughes, Richard 
Hunt, Nathaniel 
Ide, James 
Johnson, James 
Johnson, Jonathan 
Jones, Simeon 
Jones, Encom 
Kindsman, Thomas 
King, Joshua 
Kingsley, Amos 
Kingsley, Asa 
Kingsley, Benjamin 
Kingsley, Hezekiah 
Kingsley, Jonathan 
Kingsley, Nathaniel 
Kingsley, Peleg 
Kingsley, Simeon 
Kingsley, Thomas 
Law, John 
Law, Samuel 
Lawson, William 
Lawton, James 
Law ton. Job 
Lee, Abiatha 
Lee, Amos 
Lee, James 
Lee, Samuel 
Lee, Stephen 
Lee, Thomas, Jr. 
Lemenshaw, Dennis 
Lewin, John 
Lewin, Thomas 
Lewis, Aaron 
Lewis, John 
Lewis, Joseph 
Lewis, Nathaniel 

Lewis, Peleg 
Lincoln, Nehemiah 
Lintall, Zechariah 
Luce, Samuel 
Luther, Aaron 
Luther, Alanson 
Luther, Upham, Sargt. 
Luther, Simion 
Luther, Caleb 
Luther, David 
Luther, Eddy 
Luther, Eleazer 
Luther, Ellis 
Luther, Eli 
Luther, Ely, Sergt. 
Luther, Ezra 
Luther, Giles 
Luther, Harlow 
Luther, Hezekiah 
Luther, James 
Luther, Jedidiah 
Luther, Jeremiah, Sargt. 
Luther, Job 
Luther, John 
Luthei^, Moses 
Luther, Peleg, Sargt. 
Luther, Preserved 
Luther, Richard 
Luther, Samuel 
Luthec, Silas 
Luther, Stephen 
Luther, Theophilus 
Luther, Abenner 
Lowen, William 

Mackhoon, Jonathan 
Manchester, Isaac 
Manchester, Stephen 
Martin, Aaron 
Martin, Benjamin 
Martin, Daniel, 1st lieut. 
Martin, James 
Martin, Joseph 
Martin, Miltiah 
Martin, Thomas 
Marvel, Benjamin 
Marvel, John 
Marvel, Jonathan 
Marvel, Thomas 
Mason, Amos 
Mason, Benjamin, Corp. 
Mason, Caleb 
Mason, Caleb, Jr. 
Mason, Christopher, Jr. 
Mason, Edward 
Mason, Edward, 2nd 
Mason, Gomer 


History of Swansea 

Mason, Jeremiah 

Marten, Ebenezer 

Mason, Jinks 

Mason, Job 

Mason, Joseph 

Mason^ Nathaniel 

Mason, Noah 

Mason, Noble 

Mason, Peleg 

Mason, Rufus 

Mason, Simeon 

Medbury, Abel 

Merret, John 

Merry, Timothy, 2nd lieut. 

Millard, Samuel 

Miller, Consider 

Molton, Michael 

Morril» Thomas 

Morril, Ebenezer 

Morry, Michael 

Morse, John 

Morse, WiUiam 

Munroe, Archibald 

Newman, Nathaniel 

Newman, Samuel 

NewtoUj John 

Nichols, Nathaniel, Corp. 

Nicholson, Barnabas, 

Norton, Benjamin 

O'Brien, Dennis 

O'Brien, John 

Ormsbe, Asa 

Ormsbe, Jacob, Sargt. 

Ormsbe, Jacob, Jr. 

Ormsbe, Joshua 

Packard, Josiah 

Farce, Benjamin 

Parish, Josiah 

Parsons, Ebenezer 

Pearce, David 

Pearce, Ebenezer 

Pearce, Henry 

Pearce, Isaac 

Pearce, Job 

Pearce, Martin 

Pearce, Mial 

Pearce, Phihp 

Pearce, Preserved 

Pearce, Reuben 

Pearce, Wheeler 

Peck, Ambrose 

Peck, Jonathan 

Peck, Nicholas 

Peck, Paul 

Peck, Peleg, Capt. 

Peck, Thomas 

Peck, William, Corp. 

Peckham, Jonathan 
Peckham, Aaron 
Perry, Matthew 
Pettis, Ezekiel 
Pettis, James 
Pettis, John 
Pinch, Pero 
PuUin, John 
Quare, George 
Robinson, David 
Ralph, Charles 
Randolph, James 
Read, John 
Read, Nathan 
Read, WiUiam 
Rioden, Daitiel 
Robertson, William 
Robinson, William 
Rodgers, John 
Round, Amos, Sergt. 
Sanders, Benjamin 
Sanders, James 
Sanders, John 
Schobel, Thomas 
Shariff, John Peter 
Sherman, Jonathan 
Sherman, Noah 
Sherman, Peleg, Capt, 
Shearman, Daniel 
Shearman, Gideon 

Shorey, John 

Short, Ebenezer 

Short, James 

Short, Shubel 

Simmons, James 

Simmons, Seth 

Sisson, Richard 

Slead, Edward 

Slaid, Daniel 

Slaid, Peleg, Col. 

Slead, John 

Slead, OUver 

Slead, PhiHp, Capt. 

Slead, Philip, Jr. 

Smith, Daniel 

Smith, Ebenezer 

Smith, Seth 

Smith, Thomas 

Snell, John 

Sprague, Coff 

Starkey, Joseph 

Stearns, Isaac 

Stephenson, John 

Stokes, Christopher 

Streeter, Ebenezer 

Stearns, Jack 

Talbot, Caesar 

Martin House 
Built by John Martin, 1728 

The Brown Homestead, Touisset 

Documentary History 


Teary, Philip 
Terry, James 
Thomas, Scipio 
Thurber, Edward 
Thurber, Hezekiah 
Thurber, John 
Thurber, Richard 
Thurber, Seth 
Tift, Joshua 
Toogood, Nathaniel 
Trafford, Gardner 
Tripp, Benjamin 
Tripp, Jonathan 
Tyler, Jonathan 
Verse, George 
Vial, Abraham 
Vial, John 
Vose, John 
Vose, William 
Waldron, Abiather 
Waldron, James, drummer 
Walker, Abel 
Wanton, Charles 
Wardell, Benjamin, Corp. 

Weed, Daniel 
West, John 
West, Oliver 
Wheaton, James 
Wheaton, Jonathan, Jr. 
Wheaton, Reuben 
Wheeler, John 
White, John 
Whittaker, Abel 
Wilbur, William 
Williams, John 
Winslow, Jacob, Sergt. 
Winslow, Job 
Wood, Aaron, Sergt. 
Wood, Barnabas 
Wood, Caleb 
Wood, David 
Wood, David, Jr. 
Wood, Ehsha 
Wood, James, drummer 
Wood, Jonathan 
Wood. Seth 
Wood, Zepaniah 
Wood, Nathan 
Wolders, Abiathar 

SwANZEY August The 2 Day 1788 

A Return of oflScers Laitley Elected In the first Redgt of Melitia In the 
County of Bristol Commanded by Col. Peleg Shearman. 

Berzila Bowen 
James Bullock 
Samuel Carpenter 
Nehemiah Cole 
Joseph Mason 
Jonathan Barney 
Jonathan Slide 
Philip Peck 
Richard Goff 
Comfort Hill 

Capt. Rehoboth 
Capt. Rehoboth 
Captn. Rehoboth 
Capt. Swanzey 
Lieut Do 
Ensine Do 
Ensine Rehoboth 
Lieut Do 
Ensine Do 
Ensine Do 

Nehemiah Cole Capt, 

Berzila Bowen Capt. 
Samuel Carpenter Capt. 

James Bucklin Capt. 
Noah Allen Capt. 
Israel Nicols Capt. 

Philip Walker is appointed Addigent of sd Redgt. 

The above is agreeable to the Returns — 

Peleg Sherman Colo. 


History of Swansea 
Military Record, 1861-65. 

Names of the Volunteers who filled the quota of this Town 
in the war of the RebelUon: 

Allen, Charles C. 
Allen, Theodore H. 
Ashton, Henry H. 
Alden, Joseph 
Bosworth, Otis 
Bosworth, Joseph F. 
Briggs, Edward 
Boyd, Wm. A. 
Barney, W. T. 
Barney, Charles 
Buffington, S. L. 
Buffington, G. O. 
Blanding, Frank 
Brown, Wm. 
Beanboucher, Victor 
Case, D. H. 
Chase, Reuben (2d) 
Chase, Reuben (3d) 
Chase, Christoper 
Chase, F. R. 
Chase, C. D. 
Chase, Wm. P. 
CoUins, Stephen 
CaliUian, Dennis 
Corthell, James H. 
Cassell, Alexander 
David, Joseph J. 
Dempsey, Joseph 
Dilson, John 
Eddy, C. H. 
Eagan, John 
Follet, John J. 
FoUet, Wm. H. 
French, Wm. H. 
Foulds, Robert 
Franke, Joseph 
Fitzpatrick, John 
Graham, Isaac 
Graham, Henry 
Green, Wm. H. 
Gibbs, Horatio 
Godsoe, George 
Hamlin, Wm. 
Heath, Charles 
Hunter, George 
Horton, Horace 
Handy, W. D. 
Hohnes, W. H. 
Hart, F. B. 
Hatch, Grafton 

Hopkins, William 
Hodgdon, Charles 
Knight, B. 
Kingsley, Amos N. 
King, Wm. T. 
Kelley, James 
Lawton, A. J. 
Lansing, John 
Libby, Nelson 
Lyon, J. A. 
Lepo, Andrew 
Ludwig, Charles 
Lufe, Francis 
Locke, C. W. 
Miller, M.L. 
Maker, William H. 
McNeil, James 
Mason, Wm. P. 
Martin, A. F. 
Miller, William H. 
Murray, Edward 
Magrath, Lawrence 
Munsher, E. 
Mowry, C. M. 
Moise, A. D. 
Nolan, Matthew 
O'Chaloner, Henry 
O'Donovan, Michael 
O'Connor, Michael 
Pierce, George R. 
Thurber, Jonathan 
Hanley, Daniel 
Pierce, James M. 
Pierce, Ezra V. B. 
Peck, Joseph T. 
Peck, A. S. 
Peck, George E. 
Perkins. L. T. 
Petra, James 
Piper, Joseph 
Powers, J. P. 
Ray, D. S. 
Ray, T. S. 
Reekton, Thomas 
Ramsey, Michael 
Romeo, John 
Reynolds, John 
Ragan, James 
Shove, George A, 
Snow, C. H. 

Documentary History 


Smith, Solomon 
Smith, John 
Smith, Andrew 
Smith, Newton 
Slade, Alfred L. 
Sherman, Edwin 
Stevens, Peter 
Sweeney, Michael 
Seymour, James A. 
Tompkins, Daniel 
Tripp, John E. 
Thurber, James F. 
Taylor, George A. 
Thompson, Wilham 
West, Edward G. 

Wheaton, Joseph H. 
Wood, Adoniram 
Wallow, Ohver R. 
Welsh, Maurice 
Woodman, Edmund E. 
Tompkins, James 
Tower, Lorenzo 
Taylor, James 
Ueber, WiUiam 
Whittemore, George W. 
Wheeler, Joseph 
Wheldon, Silas H. 
Whitney, Frankhn T. 
Weldon, Henry 

For One Hundred Days: 

Baker, Henry A. 
Bamaby, James C. 
Bullock, Charles H. 
Edwards, Alonzo R. 
Kingsley, Amasa F. 
Munroe, Charles R. 
Read, Herbert 
Rounds, William H. 
Sweetland, James L. Corp. 
Thurber, Jonathan W. Sergt. 
Wheldon, Silas H. 

Corp. Buffington, Samuel Leeland 

Buflfington, Ehsha W. 

Chace, Edward M. 

Kingsley, Myrvin A. 

Read, Albert 

Reynolds, William 

Stebbins, Frank R. 

Thurber, WiUiam G. 

Wheeler, Edward M. 

Wood, Benjamin N. 

Young, John 



Hon. John Summerfield Brayton 


FOR nearly two centuries and a quarter, town meetings 
were held here, but never in any town building other than 

the meeting house. From the first the town meeting was 
regarded as of high importance. In 1670 it was "ordered 
that whatsoever inhabitant of this town shall absent himself 
from any town meeting to which he shall be legally warned, he 
shall for every such absence, forfeit four shillings. '* Affairs of 
the greatest importance were there discussed and settled, and 
it was felt to be every citizen's duty to share in pubHc decisions. 
What was a duty was also generally regarded as a privilege. 

Originally these assemblies were held at the meeting 
house in what is now Barrington, afterwards at North Swansea, 
at private dwellings, in the meeting house at Luther's Corner, 
and recently in the hall at Swansea Factory. The dwelling 
house of Jonathan Hill and his son Caleb Hill, formerly the 
residence of Mrs. Kate F. Gardner in this village, was thus 
frequently used, as were also the houses of James Brown, James 
Luther and of Caleb Slade, the latter now the residence of Mr. 
and Mrs. James W. Henry. For four year just prior to the 
division of the town the house of Capt. Joseph Swazey at the 
north end of Somerset was thus utilized. 

As long ago as 1812 a vote to build a town house was 
passed, but it was speedily reconsidered, and the proposition 
has never since been successfully carried through, although fre- 
quently discussed in town meetings. The contention was 
happily settled in March 1890, when the Hon. Frank Shaw 
Stevens, in Town Meeting offered to build and present to the 
Town, at Swansea Village the present handsome Municipal 
Building which was dedicated September 9, 1891. We con- 
gratulate Swansea upon receiving this tangible proof of the 
loyalty and affection of her adopted son, and we congratulate 
him that by this act he raised in the hearts of this people a 
monument more enduring than the pile he reared. The wise 
man says, "The liberal soul shall be make fat, and he that 
watereth shall be watered also himself. " 

Outline Sketch 

We aim to revive the memories of the old town, to recall 
briefly some of the scenes, and some of the leading actors in its 

72 History of Swansea 

long and honorable history, and to sketch, though it can only 
be in outline, the course of events which have given it 
celebrity, and which merit more elaborate record than they 
have received, or than can now be given. 

Its ancient territory included the home of that justly 
celebrated and honored Indian chief, Massasoit, who became 
the fast and inalienable friend of the English of Plymouth 
Colony, and whose home was at Sowams, within the territory 
now covered by the village of Warren. Its soil was probably 
first trodden by Englishmen when a visit was paid to Massasoit 
in the summer following the Pilgrim's landing, by Edward 
Winslow, afterwards Governor of Plymouth Colony, and 
Stephen Hopkins. The object of the visit was to explore the 
country, ascertain the strength and power of the sachem, pro- 
cure corn, and strengthen the mutual good understanding. 
They reached Massasoit's residence July 4th, having crossed 
the Titicut or Taunton River about three miles from Taunton 
Green, and passed through what is now the town of Swansea 
from east to west. 

The next visit of the colonists was that of Capt. Miles 
Standish and fourteen of the Enghsh to the home of Corbitant, 
a petty sachem under Massasoit, who lived " at the head of the 
Neck, " called by the Indians Metapoiset, formerly Gardner's 
Neck, South Swansea. Corbitant's residence could not have 
been far from Swansea Village. Some historians locate it in 
this village. Capt. Standish and his party came to take venge- 
ance on Corbitant, in case a rumor that he had taken the life 
of Squanto, a friendly Indian, was true. They attacked his 
wigwam in the dead of night, badly wounding three of its in- 
mates. As it was found that Squanto had not been slain, no 
harm was inflicted on Corbitant. The wounded were taken to 
Plymouth for treatment and afterwards returned with their 
wounds healed. 

In March, 1623, Winslow accompanied by John Hampden 
paid his second visit to Massasoit, having been informed of his 
serious illness. They came down the east side of Taunton river 
to what is now Slade's Ferry ; where they were told that Massa- 
soit was dead. Anxious, in that case, to conciliate Corbitant, 
Winslow decided to visit him at Metapoiset. Finding on their 
arrival that he had gone to visit Massasoit, and being assured 
that there was no certain news of the death of the chief, Win- 
slow sent a messenger to Sowams who brought back word that 
he was still alive. Winslow then hastened to Sowams and 
found Massasoit apparently near death, but by the judicious 
use of remedies he was able to save his Hfe. This humane act 
determined the long and effective friendship of Massasoit for 

Historical Address 73 

the colonists, and so proved of the greatest value. Winslow 
and Hampden departed from Sowams followed by the bless- 
ings of the sachem and all his people. At Corbitant*s invi- 
tation they, on their way home, spent a night with him here, 
being treated with most generous hospitality. 

During the twenty years next succeeding, the colonists 
added to Plymouth the six settled towns, Duxbury, Scituate, 
Taunton, Barnstable, Sandwich and Yarmouth. A trading 
post was located in Sowams as early as 1632, in which year 
Massasoit fled for shelter from the Narragansetts "to an 
Enghsh house at Sowams. " But there was no settlement in 
this vicinity suJGBcient to warrant a town organization tifl 1645, 
when Rehoboth was incorporated. The same year John Brown 
bought Wannamoisett Neck of Massasoit. Three years later 
the church of Rehoboth suffered a "serious schism," the "first 
real schism" in rehgion which had taken place in the colony. 
Obadiah Holmes and eight others withdrew, set up "a meeting 
by themselves," and afterwards joined a Baptist church in 
Newport, whither some of them moved. 

The same year a Baptist church was organized in Swansea, 
in Wales, under the pastorate of John Myles, who for the pre- 
vious four years had preached with great success in various 
places. This was in the first year of CromweU's protectorate. 
Under the religious freedom thus gained, the church at Swan- 
sea grew to a membership of three hundred. Mr. Myles be- 
came the leading Baptist minister in Wales. When the mon- 
archy was restored the act of uniformity was passed, which 
drove two thousand of the best ministers in England from their 
places. Mr. Myles, with some members of his church, came to 
America in 1663. Finding that in Rehoboth there were per- 
sons holding his faith, he went thither and formed a church of 
seven members. 

Their *'holy covenant" is a remarkable document, both 
in respect to the piety, and the spirit of Christian fellowship, 
which It evinces. They declare that union with Christ is the 
sole ground of their union, and of the Christian fellowship 
which they seek and will give. 

Nevertheless, as soon as it became known that a Baptist 
church had been organized, the churches of the colony solicited 
the court to interpose its influence against it, and Pastor Myles 
and James Brown were fined each £5 and Nicholas Tanner 20s. 
for setting up a pubHc meeting without the knowledge and 
approbation of the court, to the disturbance of the peace. 
They were further ordered to desist from their meeting for the 
space of a month, and advised to remove to some place where 
they would not prejudice any other church. This colonial dis- 

74 History of Swansea 

favor towards those holding Baptist views is the fundamental 
fact in the origin of Swansea. 

A plain house of worship was at once built, just over the 
southern border of Rehoboth, in New Meadow Neck, the mem- 
bers gradually settling near it. The catholic spirit of Mr. Myles 
drew thither not only Baptists, but others who were tolerant of 
their opinions. 

Being without town government, these settlers thought 
to secure for themselves that measure of civil autonomy. Prev- 
ious to Oct. 3d, 1667, Plymouth granted to Thomas Willett and 
his neighbors of Wannamoisett the privilege of becoming a 
town. On the above date they signified their desire for incor- 
poration. To the new town was given the name borne by the 
place in Wales whence Pastor Myles had been driven, Swansea, 
the Sea of Swans. It lay between the two upper forks of 
Narragansett Bay, south of the Rehoboth and Taunton lines, 
and extended from Taunton to Providence river. It consists 
of a series of five main peninsulas or necks projecting south- 
ward, and separated by arms of the bay and the streams flow- 
ing into them. The first neck on the east is Shewamet, now 
Somerset, lying between Taunton and Lee's rivers; the next 
is Metapoiset, now known as Gardner's Neck, between Lee's 
and Cole's rivers; the third is Kickemuit, between Cole's and 
Warren rivers. This tract is traversed by the Kickemuit river, 
which, where it broadens towards the bay, divides the tract 
into Toweset and Monthaup (or Mount Hope) Necks. The 
fourth is New Meadow Neck, between Warren and Barrington 
rivers; and the fifth is Wannamoisett Neck, between Bar- 
rington and Providence rivers. The area of the old town has 
been three times reduced: first in 1717, by the separate incor- 
poration of Barrington ; second by the settlement of the line be- 
tween Massachusetts and Rhode Island in 1747, whereby Little 
Compton, Tiverton, Barrington, Cumberland and the part of 
Swansea now known as Warren fell to Rhode Island; and third 
in 1790, when the tract known as Shewamet was made a 
separate town by the name of Somerset. 

As we have seen, the motive to this settlement was re- 
ligious. Ecclesiastical freedom was the goal which led the 
founders hither. The church was thus the basis of the town, 
and the town organization was in order that, in gaining eccle- 
siastical liberty, they need not sacrifice the high privilege of 
American citizenship. Some of those who were active in plant- 
ing the church and town were not Baptists. They, however, saw 
that underneath the difference which separates Baptists from 
their fellow Christians, there was a fundamental adhesion to 
the essentials of the faith. Hence they were willing to co-oper- 

Historical Address 75 

ate with Baptists in extending the bounds both of the kingdom 
of God and of the Commonwealth. This diversity of opinion 
resulted in a town where a larger measure of religious hberty 
was enjoyed than anywhere else in the colony. 

Historians agree in caUing Pastor Myles and Capt. 
Thomas Willett the fathers of the town. To Capt. Willett, 
with four others, was given the trust of "the admittance of 
town inhabitants. " The terms of membership which Willett 
proposed were laid before the church, and, after consideration 
by that body, a reply was made by Mr. Myles and John But- 
terworth. This document is a careful "exphcation" of the 
sense in which the proposals are to be understood and accepted, 
and reveals the scholarly and trained mind of the pastor. Like 
all other documents relating to the settlement, this clearly 
shows the religious motive to have been dominant. The "ex- 
plications" made by the chm-ch were agreed to by the trustees, 
and the proposals, as thus explained, were adopted by the 
town February 20th, 1669. 

On the foundation thus laid, Swansea was built. Until 
this time Baptists had been excluded from every colony in New 
England except Rhode Island. The organization of this town 
on the basis of religious toleration was thus an important epoch 
in the history of religious opinions and of ecclesiastical life. 
This church, which still lives and worships at North Swansea, 
was the first Baptist church formed in Massachusetts, and the 
fourth in the United States. Thus this town may justly claim 
to be the cradle of that branch of the Christian church in this 

At the close of King Philip's war, owing to the broken 
condition of his church, Mr. Myles labored three years in 
Boston. Finally the urgent entreaties of his people caused his 
return. As the settlement was mainly broken up, and a new 
one had been started further down the Neck, a parsonage and 
a church were there built. The death of Mr. Myles in 1683 
closed a faithful and fruitful ministry of thirty-eight years. 

Early Public Schools 

In the original partition of the public lands, there was re- 
served a pastor's, a teacher's and a schoolmaster's lot. This 
shows, that, at the outset, the people counted on the estabhsh- 
ment of schools. December 19, 1673, it was ordered "that a 
school should be forthwith set up in this town for the teaching 
of grammar, rhetoric and arithmetic, and the tongues of Latin, 
Greek and Hebrew, also to read English and to write," and 

76 History of Swansea 

"that Mr. John Myles the present pastor of the church here 
assembling be schoolmaster," or *'to have power to dispose the 
same to an able schoolmaster dm:ing the said pastor's life." 
The salary was to be "£40 in current country funds," but on 
condition that Mr. Myles and his successor should accept what- 
ever the people would bestow in a weekly contribution for their 
ministerial services. Mr. Myles accepted the proposition and 
held his school in various parts of the town on successive 
months, to suit the convenience of pupils. Thus he deserves 
grateful remembrance not only as the first pastor but also as 
the early schoolmaster and teacher of youth who laid the 
foundation of the pubHc schools of Swansea. 

After his death no mention is made of a school till 1698, 
when Jonathan Bosworth was employed at £18, one fourth in 
money and the rest in provisions at money prices. He was to 
teach the first month in Wannamoisett Neck, the second in 
New Meadow Neck, the third in Kickemuit, the fourth in the 
Cole neighborhood, and fifth on Metapoiset, and so in succes- 
sion. Later, John Devotion was engaged at £12 and board and 
£20 for feeding a horse, to keep a school in succession "in the 
four quarters of the town. " In 1709 he engaged for six years, 
and in 1715 for twenty years more. At this time it was voted 
that he should "teach our youth to read Inglish and Lattin 
and Wright & sifer as their may be occation. " He was to teach 
five months each year, from October through February, the 
first two months near his own dwelling, and the other three 
in other parts of the town. His compensation was £17 10s. a 
year, three pounds of which was to be paid for the use of the 
schoolmaster's lot. Such were the beginnings of our public 

Division of Inhabitants Into Ranks, 
AND Division of Land 

To the trustees of the town was also assigned the duty of 
dividing the pubHc lands. The method of division was as un- 
democratic as it was unprecedented. The men were divided 
into three ranks, according to the judgment of the trustees as 
to their standing. Promotions and degradations were made 
from time to time by a committee appointed by the town. The 
men of the first rank received three acres to two granted those 
of the second and to one granted those in the third. The major- 
ity were of the second rank, though more were of the third than 
of the first. For ten years this ranking system was in force. 
But it broke down when in 1681 the committee granted to five 

Historical Address 77 

men, their heirs and assigns forever, "the full right and interest 
of the highest rank. " It was all these freemen could stand to 
have a landed aristocracy. But to have it made hereditary 
they would not endure, and so the town by unanimous vote 
repudiated the act of the committee, and from that time the 
practice went into disuse. 

Captain Thomas Willett 

Of Capt. Thomas Willett much might be said. One of the 
last of the Ley den colony to come to Plymouth, he early se- 
cured and always enjoyed the confidence of the colonists. 
Their agent at the Maine trading posts, successor of Miles 
Standish in mihtary command, largely engaged in coastwise 
traffic, long an assistant in the Plymouth government, an 
arbitrator between his colony and Rhode Island on boundary 
disputes, chosen by Governor Stuyvesant of New Amsterdam 
as a man of fairness and integrity to represent the Dutch in 
their controversy with the English. "More acquainted with 
the manners and customs of the Dutch than any Englishman 
in the colony, " and hence the leading adviser of the EngHsh in 
the negotiations which resulted in the surrender of New 
Amsterdam; prominent in organizing New York, its first 
mayor, and who "twice did sustaine the place," trusted 
beyond any other man by EngUsh, Dutch and Indians, a settler 
in Swansea as early as 1659 or '60, and until his death its 
foremost citizen, dying Aug. 4th, 1674, less than a year before 
Swansea was ravaged by Philip's Indians, buried with his wife 
near the head of Bullock's cove in East Providence ; such in out- 
fine was the life of Capt. Thomas WiUett. (See Sketch) 

King Philip's War 

The gradual afienation of their lands to the Engfish, and 
the consequent growth of Engfish settlements, threatened the 
ascendency if not the existence of the Indian tribes. Against 
the latter contingency the colonists sought to guard. When 
the Plymouth authorities gave Capt. Willett liberty to pur- 
chase lands in Swansea, they added the express proviso, "so as 
he do not too much straiten the Indians." But by his land 
sales, Philip, son and successor of Massasoit, became shut into 
Mount Hope peninsula, so that his only land route out lay 
through Swansea. 

We cannot now refer to the events which led to Philip's 

78 History of Swansea 

fierce and fatal outbreak, which, in its course, despoiled New 
England of a dozen towns, six hundred dwellings, and as many 
of its choicest young men. Swansea was destined to suffer the 
first baptism of blood and fire. 

Convinced that war was inpending, Maj. James Brown of 
Swansea, on the 14th of June, 1675, laid the facts of the case 
before Gov. Winslow, and two days later Capt. Benjamin 
Church brought to Plymouth conclusive evidence that war 
was at hand. Measures were at once taken to oppose force to 
force. On Sunday, June 20th, the predicted outburst occurred. 
Some of Philip's men raided Swansea, entering houses, helping 
themselves to food, shooting cattle and committing other acts 
of lawlessness. Most of the men were in church, but one was 
found at home, whose cattle were shot, and whose house was 
entered and liquor demanded. When it was refused, violence 
was resorted to, whereupon the householder shot one of the 
Indians, inflicting a serious, though not fatal wound. 

A son of Major Brown at once bore tidings of the outbreak 
to Plymouth. A fast was proclaimed for Thursday, June 24th. 
The troops of all the towns were ordered to rendezvous at 
Taunton, Monday night, and messengers were sent to Boston 
to urge prompt assistance. A stone house, upon the farm of 
Gov. Brenton, at Metapoiset, occupied by Jared Bourne, was 
used as a garrison, which the Bridge water company was or- 
dered to re-enforce. This company reached the garrison Mon- 
day night and found there seventy persons, all but sixteen, 
women and children. The next day, a part of the soldiers 
having escorted Mr. Brown to his home, on their return 
met thirty Indians, and a little later met some of the men of 
the garrison going to a barn for corn. Though warned of their 
danger, the men proceeded and were assailed, six of them be- 
ing killed or mortally wounded. 

Thus the first blood of the war was shed on Gardner's Neck. 
The Bridgewater troops remained at Bourne's garrison until 
re-enforced, when the inmates were conveyed down Mount 
Hope bay to Rhode Island, and the house abandoned. This 
house stood on the farm long occupied by Mr, Saunders 

On the next day, June 23d, another man was shot within 
the bounds of Swansea, and his wife and child scalped. On 
Thursday, the appointed Fast Day, some of the Swansea 
settlers returning from church were attacked. One was killed, 
another was wounded, and two men going for a surgeon were 
slain. On the same day in another part of the town others were 

" By this time half of Swansea was burned. " By Monday 

Historical Address 79 

night, June 28th, two companies of foot and one of cavalry 
from Boston had joined the Plymouth forces already assem- 
bled at the garrison house of Pastor Myles, which was near 
Myles's Bridge, at Barneyville. This bridge spans what is now 
known as Palmer's river, from Walter Palmer, an elderly settler 
of Rehoboth, its first representative at Plymouth, whose 
farm was on its banks. Across this bridge a detachment of 
cavalry pushed, but were fired upon and driven back with the 
loss of one killed and two wounded. Tuesday morning several 
Indians having appeared, were driven across the bridge and 
five or six of them slain. That night, Philip fearing that he 
should be caught in his own narrow peninsula, escaped to the 
Pocasset country, Tiverton, across the Mount Hope Bay. 
Major Savage, who had been placed in command of the Massa- 
chusetts troops, having arrived, the combined forces marched 
into Mount Hope Neck, in search of Philip. On their way, at 
Kickemuit, near the present village of Warren, they saw, set 
upon poles, the heads of the men who had been slain at Meta- 
poiset. They continued their march down the Neck, but they 
found the wigwams untenanted and no Indians to be seen. 

Thursday the Massachusetts troops returned to Myles's 
garrison, the cavalry going on to Rehoboth for better quarters. 
Returning the next morning they came upon some Indians 
burning a building, and killed four or five of them. On Sunday, 
July 4th, Capt. Hutchinson brought orders for the Massachu- 
setts troops to go to Narraganset country, and seek an agree- 
ment which should hold that tribe back from the support of 

The next two weeks saw the expedition of Capt. Fuller 
and Church to the Pocasset and Seaconnet country, which 
revealed the bitterly hostile temper of these tribes; the two 
expeditions which Church led to the Pocasset Swamp, in one 
of which Philip lost fifteen men, the march of the major part 
of the Plymouth force by way of Taunton toward the swamp, 
the apparently successful negotiation of the Narragansetts, 
their return to Swansea and their junction with the Plymouth 
troops, at Pocasset Swamp, within which Philip had taken 
refuge. Philip eluded his besiegers on the night of the last 
day of July, crossing Taunton river, probably near Dighton 
Rock. Though assailed while crossing Seekonk plain by the 
men of Rehoboth who slew some thirty of his men, he escaped 
into the Nipmunk country. Thus he was launched upon a 
life and death struggle with the colonists. 

With unabated fury the contest raged through the re- 
mainder of 1675 and the first half of 1676. But the sanguinary 
and ferocious conquest of the Narragansetts, the desertion of 

80 History of Swansea 

many of his confederates and the death of many more, left 
Philip in an almost hopeless plight; and after a year's absence 
he seems to have been resolved to meet his fate in the beautiful 
land which held the graves of his fathers, and which had been 
his home. Abandoned by his confederates, betrayed by his 
friends, his most faithful followers fallen in battle, his wife and 
son in the hands of his deadly foes, hunted from wood to wood, 
from swamp to swamp, he had come to his ancestral seat to 
make his last stand. Yet such was his temper that he would 
not hear of peace. He even struck dead one of his own followers 
for suggesting it. A kinsman of the man thus slain brought 
news of Philip's hiding place to Capt. Church, who with his 
soldiers was on Rhode Island. They at once crossed to Mount 
Hope. The informer acting as guide, they made their way up 
the west side of the Neck, toward the swamp within which 
Philip had taken refuge. Creeping stealthily up, in the dark 
of the early morning, the force completely invested the knoll 
on which Philip was encamped. When the alarm was given, 
he plunged into the swamp, only to meet two of his besiegers. 
By one of them, the Indian Alderman, he was shot. Thus the 
renowned chieftain, who had been the terror of New England, 
fell, pierced through the lungs and heart. And thus ended the 
mortal career of the most noted Indian in American history. 

Notable Men of Swansea's First Century 

Among the best known of Swansea's early settlers was 
Maj. James Brown, brother of Capt. Willett's wife. He was 
one of the original members of the Swansea Church, one of the 
five citizens who were to admit to the town, and divide its 
lands, long a leading citizen and ofiicer, representative in the 
Plymouth Court in 1671-2, a local leader in the campaign 
against Philip, and successor of Capt. Willett, as an "assistant 
in Plymouth Colony." 

Another name not to be forgotten is that of Lieut. Hugh 
Cole, an original member of the church, an early selectman, 
representing the town seven of its first fifteen terms in the 
General Court. Like the immortal Washington, Lieut. Cole 
was a land surveyor. 

In 1669 he bought of Philip five hundred acres of land on 
Toweset Neck, on the west side of the river to which his name 
was given. 

When the Indian War broke out, two of his sons were 
captured and taken to Philip's headquarters. Philip released 
them with the advice that their father should seek safety on 

Historical Address 81 

Rhode Island. He at once took his family thither, probably 
down the Bay, but he had hardly gone when his house was 
fired. After the war he settled on the west side of the Neck 
upon Kickemuit River. His farm, and the well which he dug 
the year after PhiHp's death, are still in possession of his de- 

With Willett and Brown as the town's first trustees was 
associated Nathaniel Paine, who afterwards settled on the 
Mt. Hope lands, and became one of the founders of Bristol, 
and the third Judge of Probate for Bristol County. The first 
Judge of Probate was John Saffin, an early proprietor of 
Swansea, admitted to the first rank among its inhabitants in 
1680, a son-in-law of Capt. Willett, a member of the General 
Court for Boston from 1684 and Speaker from 1686 till the 
usurpation of Andros, settling in Bristol about 1688, Probate 
Judge from 1692 to 1702, and also Judge of the Superior Court 
one year. 

An Associate Justice of the first court established in 
Bristol County was John Brown of Swansea, a grandson of the 
first John Brown. 

One of the early large proprietors of Swansea land was 
Governor WilHam Brenton of Newport, who bought Meta- 
poiset Neck of the Indians in 1664. Here he hved for a time 
after King Phihp's War. He had been Governor of Rhode 
Island Colony from 1666 to 1669, having been previously 
Deputy Governor four years. He became a very extensive 
land owner. His Metapoiset land was cultivated by Jared 
Bourne, whose house was garrisoned during the war. He 
bequeathed it to his son Ebenezer, who in 1693 sold it to Lieut. 
Samuel Gardner and Ralph Chapman for £1700. Mr. Gardner 
took the south part and Mr. Chapman the north. Mr. 
Gardner had been a prominent citizen of Freetown, represent- 
ing it in the General Court, and holding the offices of town 
clerk, treasurer and selectman. To the latter office he was at 
once chosen in Swansea, but did not long survive his removal 

In 1779, Col. Simeon Potter, a native of Bristol, one of 
Rhode Island's prominent men, settled on Gardner's Neck. 
His homestead farm extended from Lee's to Cole's rivers. He 
was the owner of other large tracts of land. For more than a 
quarter of a century he was one of the prominent figures of 
this community, a hospitable and generous householder, sur- 
rounded by whatever wealth could command, owning also a 
number of slaves. Col. Potter was representative in 1784, to 
the General Court from Swansea. In 1795 he gave a valuable 
parcel of land in Newport to support in that city a free school 

82 History of Swansea 

forever for the advantage of poor children of every denom- 
ination. A large school house erected in 1880 is called the 
Potter school. He bequeathed a small farm to one of his 
former slaves, in the possession of whose heirs it remained 
until about 1896, when they sold out. His homestead farm and 
the house in which he lived are now owned by Mrs. Macomber. 

Successive Pastorates of the First Baptist Church 

The immediate successor of Mr. Myles in the Swansea 
pastorate was Captain Samuel Luther, a founder and early 
proprietor of the town, in whose affairs he wielded great in- 
fluence, sustaining nearly every civil and military office in the 
gift of his townsmen. He was ordained two years after the 
death of Mr. Myles, and held the pastorate thirty-two years. 
The old meeting house at North Swansea, which was familiar 
to many of you, was built the year after his death, in 1717, 
and stood until 1845, when it was taken down and the present 
house of worship erected. Ephraim Wheaton who had been 
his colleague, became his successor. He was a man of respect- 
able property, of influence and of power, and successful in the 
ministry, adding to the church by baptism about one hundred 
persons in seventeen years. 

"The Church of Christ in Swansea" 

The First Christian Church (See Sketch) 

The distance of the church after its removal to the lower 
end of New Meadow Neck, caused the residents of the central 
portion of Swansea to establish religious services near Luther's 
Corner, as early as 1680, four years after the death of Philip. 
Organization was effected and a pastor ordained in 1693. If 
this be counted a Baptist Church it was the thirteenth in 
America. Its record book styles it a "Church of Christ in 
Swansea. " No doctrinal tests, but only evidence of Christian 
character, were required for admission. Thomas Barnes, one 
of the original proprietors of the town, was chosen and ordained 
pastor at the time of organization, his death closing a suc- 
cessful ministry of thirteen years. His successor, Joseph 
Mason, was a son of Samson Mason, who was a soldier of 
Oliver Cromwell, and who on coming to America settled in 
Rehoboth. Another of his sons was the first deacon of the 
church. John Pierce became colleague of Joseph Mason in 
1715. These two men "continued in good esteem in their offices 

Historical Address 83 

until the death of Elder Mason in 1748 and of Elder Pierce in 
1750, being each of them near ninety years old. " 

Some of the older members of the Second Church, not 
satisfied with the dismission of Elder Philip Slade, left the 
church and held services under his conduct at the house of 
Deacon Ellery Wood, about a mile north of Luther's Corner. 
They were organized as a church by the Six Principle Baptists. 
Deacon Wood bequeathed his homestead for the maintenance 
of worship and it become the home of Elder Comstock, (the 
only pastor after Elder Slade,) and the house of worship as 
well. The proceeds of the property which has been sold, are 
now held in trust for the benefit of the denomination. (See 

The Revolutionary War 

Her contributions for the support of the war for national 
independence constitute an important and honorable chapter 
in the history of Swansea. 

At a meeting held Sept. 26th, 1774, the town chose Col. 
Andrew Cole, Capt. Levi Wheaton, Capt. PhiHp Slade, 
Richard Cornell and Capt. Luther Thurber a committee to 
meet with the delegates from the other towns of the county, 
in Taunton "then and there to deliberate and devise measures 
sutabel to the exigency of the times. *' 

A Hampshire county convention had just been held "to 
consult upon measures to be taken in this time of general dis- 
tress in the province, occasioned by the late attack of the 
British Ministry upon the constitution of said province. " That 
attack had come in the shape of an act of Parliament " For the 
Better Regulating of the Province of Massachusetts Bay." 
The principle of this act, Bancroft says, ''was the concentra- 
tion of all executive power, including the courts of justice, in 
the hands of the royal governor. Without a previous notice to 
Massachusetts, and without a hearing, it took away rights and 
liberties which the people had enjoyed from the foundation of 
the colony" with scarcely an exception. It superseded a 
charter, "which had been the organic law of the people of 
Massachusetts for more than eighty years. " It provided that 
the Governor's Council should be appointed by the King, 
rather than chosen by the representatives of the people. The 
Governor appointed by the Crown, without even consulting 
his council, might appoint and remove all judges and court 
officers. The selection of jurors was taken from the freeholders 
and given to the sheriffs, who were appointees of the Governor. 

84 History of Swansea 

Worse than all, the regulating act sought to throttle the town 
meeting, that dearest of all institutions to New England, whose 
people, as Bancroft so well puts it, "had been accustomed, in 
their town meetings, to transact all business that touched them 
most nearly, as fathers, as freemen, and as Christians. There 
they adopted local taxes to keep their free schools ; there they 
regulated the municipal concerns of the year : there they chose 
their representatives and instructed them: and there most of 
them took measures for the settlement of ministers of the 
gospel in their congregations: there they were accustomed to 
express their sentiments upon any subject connected with 
their interests, rights, liberties, and religion. " 

The new act allowed only two town meetings annually, in 
which town officers and representatives might be chosen, but 
no other matters introduced. Every other assembly of a town 
was forbidden, except only upon written leave of the Governor, 
and then only for business expressed in that leave. Thus the 
King trampled under foot the customs, laws, and privileges of 
the people of Massachusetts. 

This act went immediately into effect, and at once forced 
a choice between resistance and submission. 

In this juncture, the Committee of Boston sent a circular 
letter to all the towns in the province, in which they said: 
"Though surrounded by a large body of armed men, who, 
having the sword, have also our blood in their hands, we are 
yet undaunted. To you, our brethren, and dear companions 
in the cause of God, we apply. To you we look for that advice 
and example which with the blessing of God shall save us from 
destruction. " This urgent message roused the State : William 
Prescott of Pepperell, who in less than a year was to stand at 
the head of a band of American soldiers to dispute with the 
British regulars the possession of the Bunker Hill redoubt, 
expressed the mind of the State, when he wrote for his neigh- 
bors, "We think, if we submit to these regulations, all is gone. 
Let us all be of one heart and stand fast in the liberties where- 
with Christ has made us free." Everywhere the people were 
weighing the issue in which they were involved, and one spirit 
animated the country. 

This was the situation in view of which Swansea sent Col. 
Andrew Cole and his associates "to deliberate and devise 
measures sutabel to the exigency of the times. " And this was 
why in a town meeting which the new regulating act interdicted 
but which was nevertheless held, Swansea chose Colonel 
Andrew Cole, Col. Jerathmiel Bowers and Capt. Levi Wheaton 
as "a committee for said town to meet with other committees 
of the several towns in the province, at Concord to act on 

Historical Address 85 

measures agreeable to the times. " This was why later, they 
chose a Committee of Inspection to execute the wishes of the 
Continental Congress. 

Thus by their votes in town meeting, New England every- 
where bade defiance to Great Britain. In this town twelve of 
these meetings were held in one year. 

Committees of Inspection, Correspondence and Safety 
were appointed by all the towns, composed of their leading 
men. Through them the authorities reached the people at 
large, and secured the execution of their plans. 

The events of the fateful morning of April 19, 1775, are 
known to all. The six companies of Rehoboth are all on 
record as responding to the Lexington alarm. It is not likely 
that the three Swansea companies, which with those of 
Rehoboth constituted the first Bristol regiment, failed to re- 
spond to the call, though no record of such response has come 
to my knowledge. The town, two days later, ordered the 
Selectmen to provide 40 "gons" 250 lbs. of powder, 700 lbs. of 
lead and 600 flints, and directed "that fifty men be enHsted to 
be ready at a minute's warning. " May 22nd a Committee of 
Inspection was appointed, and it was voted "that the town 
will secure and defend said committee and empower them to 
follow and observe such directions as they shall receive from 
time to time from the Provincial Congress or Committee of 
Safety. " At this time five shillings penalty was imposed for 
wasting a charge of powder, and the offender's stock of 
ammunition was forfeited. 

In order to ascertain Swansea's response to the call for 
troops the muster rolls of the Revolution have been examined 
and a book has been placed in the Hbrary into which such parts 
of them as relate to Swansea have been transcribed. An 
indexed alphabetical fist has been prepared which shows that 
not less than four hundred and sixteen Swansea men bore arms 
in the War for Independence, many of them however, only for 
brief periods along our own shores. On this list the surnames 
which occur oftenest are Peck, Martin, Anthony and Bowers, 
which each have seven representatives, Kingsley nine, Wood 
and Pierce each eleven. Cole and Barney each twelve, Mason 
eighteen, Chase nineteen, while Luther leads all the rest with 
a record of twenty-seven. 

From such rolls as are extant the following facts are gath- 
ered: Seven Swansea men served at least five months of 1775 
in CoL David Brewer's regiment near Boston, as did a few in 
other regiments doing duty there. Probably many more did 
actually serve that year. The alarms of war were brought 
close home to this section. From the time when the British 

86 History of Swansea 

took possession of the island called Rhode Island in December, 
1776, till they abandoned it two years later, the milita were 
often called into service. Troops were repeatedly called to 
Blade's Ferry, Rowland's Ferry, (now the Stone Bridge in 
Tiverton) to Bristol, to Warwick Neck, (a part of which is now 
known as Rocky Point) and even to the Island itself. 

In May 1779, it was "voted that there be a guard on each 
of the necks for safety of the good people of the town. " Later 
in 1779 "voted 22 men to guard the shores." Eight Swansea 
men served in the artillery company of Capt. Fales of Taunton, 
at Slade's Ferry in December, 1776. 

Of three militia captains of this town Peleg Sherman, 
afterwards Colonel, was a leading factor in the conduct of 
Swansea's relation to the great struggle. He was often mod- 
erator of town meetings and at the head of important com- 
mittees on military affairs. He was in active service along our 
shore during the British occupation of Rhode Island, e, g. at 
Slade's Ferry from January 6 to June 5, 1777, and at Bristol 
later in the same year. He also served the government as 
commissary for the supply of stores to the troops. His home, 
where at one time troops were quartered, was at Shewamet 
Neck, at what is now known as the Henry H. Mason place, 
where he died Nov. 20, 1811, aged sixty-four. 

Philip Slade, another of the militia captains, was also often 
on important committees. He was selected to wait upon 
General Sullivan, "to represent to him the fenceless condition 
of the town, and pray him to be pleased to order a gard for us 
against our enemies on Rhode Island." He was on July 5th, 
1779, appointed one of the committee "to confer with General 
Gates at Providence upon some measures for the safety of the 
town," and at the same meeting he and John Mason "were 
chosen deligates to represent the town at Cambridge in form- 
ing a new constitution. " 

The same thing can be said in perhaps less degree of the 
third Captain Peleg Peck, whose company served frequently 
along our shores, as for instance, at Bristol, in December 1776, 
on a secret expedition to Tiverton, where it was stationed from 
Sept. 29th, to Oct. 30th, 1777, at Warwick, R. I., from 
January to April 1778, and later in the same year, on Rhode 
Island about six weeks. 

A pay roll for the Continental pay of Capt. Peck's com- 
pany who were called out by an alarm to Tiverton, states that 
"by order of Col. Peleg Slead all the men in Swansea were 
joined in one company under Capt. Peck," to respond to an 
alarm at Tiverton. The roll bears one hundred and seventy- 
eight names, and shows that the men served from four to nine 

Historical Address 87 

days. In the expedition of Gen. Sullivan on Rhode Island, 
Col. Carpenter's regiment of Rehoboth and Swansea men 
distinguished themselves for their bravery, Benjamin Smith 
of Swansea being wounded by a bursting shell. 

Another of the local leaders in this struggle was Col. Peleg 
Slead, one of the largest land owners of the town, who was 
called to fill many important offices of town and State, and 
who proved himself an ardent friend of his country's cause. 
He died Dec. 28, 1813, at the age of eighty-four, and is buried 
in the cemetery on his homestead farm, not far from Swansea 
village. (See Sketch.) 

On a muster roll dated Sept. 16th, 1777, eight Swansea 
men are returned as enlisted for the present war in Col. Henry 
Jackson's regiment, which was probably in service on the 
Hudson. On the 19th of June, 1778, ten men were drafted for 
nine months from their arrival at Fishkill, and about the same 
time three for nine months from their arrival at Springfield. 

April 10th, 1778, the General Court having ordered 2,000 
men to be raised to recruit the State's fifteen battalions of 
Continental troops for service either in Rhode Island or on the 
Hudson, twenty-six Swansea men were sent to Col. William 
Lee's regiment. In 1779, twelve Swansea men were in Con- 
tinental regiments on duty in Rhode Island. During this year 
one-seventh part of the male population was ordered under 
arms in the national service. Swansea was behind on its quota 
only three men, few towns showing a better record. 1780 and 
1781 saw other men in small numbers enlisted for three years 
or the war. 

Thus, with constant drafts for men and money, the war 
wore on to its triumphant close in 1783, when the people had 
the joy of knowing that the last British soldier had left our 
shores, and that through great sacrifice in blood and treasure 
Independence was secured. 

Ship Building 

One of the earlier industries of the colonies was that of 
ship building. 

For several years the immigration of shipwrights was en- 
couraged, and special privileges were given them, such as 
exemption from the duty of training, and from the taxation of 
property actually used by them in their business. These induce- 
ments brought hither a number of good carpenters. In 1694 a 
sloop of forty tons burden was built in Swansea, and in 1697 a 
ship of seventy-eight tons. In the early part of the last cen- 

88 History of Swansea 

tury, Samuel Lee came to this country in the interest of 
English people, to look after timber land. He settled on 
Shewamet Neck and built a house near the residence of Mr. 
Wm. M. Chace, establishing a shipyard at the landing, where 
for several years he carried on a large industry. In 1707 a 
ship of 120 tons, — a large craft for those times — was launched. 
In 1708 a brigantine of fifty tons and a ship of one hundred 
and seventy tons, in 1709 two brigantines of fifty-five tons 
each, and in 1712 a sloop of eighty tons were built in Swansea. 
The river upon which Mr. Lee located his yard soon after his 
advent took and has since retained his name, Lee's River. 

Vessels have been built near the residence of Mr. William 
H. Pearce, on Cole's river. 

Prior to 1801, when he moved to New York, Jonathan 
Barney built several small vessels on Palmer's river. In 1802 
his son. Mason Barney, being then less than twenty years of 
age, contracted to built a ship. Although young Barney was 
acquainted with the nature of ship building, through his 
father carrying it on, he himself did not know the use of tools. 
His courage and self reliance in taking such a contract, when 
so young and inexperienced, foreshadowed the character of the 
future man. By his zeal, enthusiasm and determined will he 
overcame the great difficulties which to most men would have 
been insurmountable. From this beginning sprung up the 
ship building business at Barneyville, and Mr. Barney's sub- 
sequent great prominence in business circles. He sometimes 
employed two hundred and fifty men, annually disbursing 
large sums of money. The sails of the good substantial vessels, 
which in the course of a half a century he built, whitened almost 
every sea. 

During his business career he built one hundred and forty- 
nine vessels, from the small fishing smack to the ship of 1,060 
tons, the largest vessel that had then been launched in this 
section of New England. 

It has been publicly stated, without denial, that Mr. 
Barney built more vessels than any other man in this country 
had then built. 

The financial crisis of 1857 found him with two large ships 
upon his hands, with no market. In them he had invested a 
large part of his fortune, which was thus entirely dissipated, 
and he was compelled to give up business. With him passed 
away the ship building interest of Swansea. 

Mr. Barney died on the first day of April, 1869. The 
house in which he was born in 1782 which dates from old 
colonial times, was destroyed by fire some years ago. 

He was a fine specimen of an earnest, enthusiastic and 

Historical Address 89 

persevering man. He was unaflPected, original in his character, 
simple in his tastes and habits, always genial and hospitable. 
In his death the community lost an enterprising, honest and 
eminent citizen. 

Other Manufactures 

Richard Chase began the manufacture of shoes here in 
1796, and pursued the business for nearly fifty years, employing 
more people than any other man in town except Mr. Barney. 

Other industries have been pursued in a small way, such 
as the making of paper and the manufacture of cotton, which 
last industry was commenced at Swansea Factory in the year 
1806 by Oliver Chace, and it was also carried on at a small mill 
at what is now Swansea Dye Works; cotton was carded and 
spun, and the yarn sent out to be woven into cloth by farmers' 
wives and daughters, as was the case in all cotton manufac- 
tories in those days. 

All these early industries, with others of which I cannot 
now speak, have passed away. 

Post Offices 

The first post-office in Swansea was established on the 
first day of July, 1800. Mr. Reuben Chace was appointed 
post-master. He opened an office at his dweUing-house, for 
many years known as "The Buttonwood," some three quar- 
ters of a mile west of Swansea village. 

On the 17th day of June, 1814, Mr. John Mason was 
appointed post-master, and he removed the office to the 
village, where it has since been located. Mr. Mason continued 
in office until the 12th day of June, 1849, when Mr. John A. 
Wood was appointed post-master, who retained the office 
until the sixth day of June, 1853, when Mr. John Mason was 
again appointed, and who remained in office until the 23d day 
of March, 1864, when Mr. John A. Wood was reinstated as 
post-master. Mr. Wood held the office until the 18th day of 
June, 1867, when his son, Mr. Henry 0. Wood, was appointed 
his successor. Mr. Henry O. Wood served as post-master for 
twenty years, having resigned on the 24th day of May, 1887, 
when Mr. Lewis S. Gray was appointed. The present post- 
master, Miss Fanny E. Wood, has served 21 years. 

A post-office designated " Barney ville" was estabhshed 
at North Swansea, and Mr. Mason Barney appointed the first 

90 History of Swansea 

post-master on the 20th day of February, 1830. The name of 
this office was subsequently changed to North Swansea. Mr. 
Barney was superseded as post-master by Mr. Alvan Cole on 
the 28th day of June, 1836. Mr. Cole retained the office until 
the 28th day of February, 1838, when Capt. James Cornell 
was appointed post-master, and remained in office until the 
24th day of June, 1841, when Mr. Mason Barney was re- 
appointed as post-master. Mr. Barney, Sr., was followed in 
office by his son, Mr. Mason Barney, Jr., on the 15th day of 
April, 1867, who continued post-master until he was succeeded 
on the 12th day of February, 1872, by Mr. WiUiam P. Mason. 

The post-office at Swansea Center was established on the 
29th day of December, 1888, when Mr. Seth W. Eddy was 
appointed post-master, and held that office many years. 

The post-office at Hortonville was established and Mr. 
L. L. Cummings was appointed to that office on the 19th day 
of January, 1885, and served until the office was discontinued. 

On the 24th day of October 1890, a post-office, "South 
Swansea," was established on Gardner's Neck at the station 
of the Old Colony Railroad Company. Mr. Frank J. Arnold 
was appointed post-master, and began the business of the 
office on the 20th day of November, 1890. The present post- 
master is Station Agent Moore. 

The Population of Swansea 

The population of Swansea from the time of the first 
State census in 1765 has never varied greatly. The total at 
that time was 1,840 which was exceeded in 1820, when it 
reached 1,933. The lowest point was touched in 1870, when 
it fell to 1,294. Since that date it has been slowly but steadily 
rising. In 1890 the number was 1,456. 1915 it was 2,558. 

The stationary character of Swansea's population is due 
largely to the fact that its chief industry is agricultural. At 
the last census, though it ranked as low as the two hundred and 
eleventh town in the State in population, it stood thirty-sixth 
in value of agricultural products. 

The fixed tenure of many of its farms is worthy of note. 
Some of them are still owned and occupied by the Hneal de- 
scendants of the first proprietors, having descended from father 
and son to the sixth and seventh generation. The Masons, 
the Browns, the Woods, the Gardners and other families are 
now living on their ancestral acres. 

Though the industry of Swansea has been largely agri- 
cultural, its citizens have had no unimportant agency in the 

Historical Address 91 

development of the cotton manufacture in Fall River. When 
that industry was there begun, a very considerable portion of 
the money invested came from the country towns. 

The Fall River Manufactory, the first cotton mill erected 
there, was built in 1813. Its capital was divided into sixty 
shares, of which William Mason and Samuel Gardner, 2d, of 
Swansea, took two each. Mr. Mason soon added to his hold- 
ings, so that one twelfth part of the stock was held in this town, 
and at a subsequent date a still larger percentage. 

The Troy Cotton and Woolen Manufacturing Company 
was organized a little later, the originator of which was Oliver 
Chace, who had had some experience in a small way in the 
manufacture of cotton at Swansea Factory, and who moved 
to Fall River where he could embark on a more extensive scale. 
He took one tenth part of the stock in the new company, while 
an equal amount was taken here by Benjamin Slade, Moses 
Buffinton, Oliver Earle, Joseph G. Luther and Joseph Buffinton, 
making one fifth of its entire capital. 

Thus Swansea men and Swansea money essentially aided 
in the early development of cotton manufacture. 

Many of Swansea's young men have become the skilled 
mechanics, artisans, and contractors who have been important 
factors in the growth and development of the cities of Taunton, 
Providence, New Bedford and Fall River. Some of the prom- 
inent business men of these cities originated here. Fall River's 
first Mayor, the Hon. James Buffinton, who so long and ably 
represented this district in Congress, spent years of his boy- 
hood in Swansea village. Another mayor of that city, the Hon. 
Samuel M. Brown, was born and reared in Swansea; also the 
Hon. Caleb Earle, who was Lieutenant Governor of Rhode 
Island from 1821 to 1824, and Col. John Albert Munroe, re- 
cently deceased, who filled a marked place in the military and 
professional history of Rhode Island. 

Representation in the General Court 

The first representation of Swansea in the General Court 
was in 1670, when John Allen was sent to represent it at 

Of the long line of men who, in the last two hundred and 
twenty years, have represented the town in the General Court, 
Col. Jerathmiel Bowers had the longest term of service, in all 
nineteen years. Next to him in length of service comes 
Daniel Haile, with fourteen terms; Ephraim Pierce, with 
twelve; Christopher Mason, with eight; Hugh Cole, with 

92 History of Swansea 

seven; Ezekiel Brown, with six, and Joseph Mason, Jr., with 

Several of its citizens have been honored with a seat in 
the State Senate. 

Hon. John Mason, a life-long resident of Swansea village, 
was colleague in the Constitutional Convention of 1820 with 
Daniel Haile, who had then had a dozen terms in the House. 
That year Mr. Haile was defeated by Dr. John Winslow, who 
was a Federalist in politics. In 1821, John Mason was brought 
forward by the Democrats as the only man who could defeat 
Dr. Winslow. The two men were next door neighbors, and 
with their families were on most intimate terms. Mr. Mason 
won by six votes. In the following year he was elected to the 
House, in which he served two terms, after which he was four 
in the Senate and four in the council of Gov. Levi Lincoln. 
Later he was four years a county commissioner, and was town 
clerk fifty of the years between 1808 and 1865, and postmaster 
forty-six of the years between 1814 and 1864. 

At the November election in 1850, three senators were 
elected for Bristol County, one of them being Hon. Geo. Austin 
of Swansea. Soon after the General Court convened in 1851, 
Mr. Taber of New Bedford, resigned his seat and the two 
branches of the Legislature, as then required by the consti- 
tution, met in convention to choose a person to fill the vacancy 
from the two defeated candidates who received the highest 
number of votes at the autumnal election. The choice fell upon 
Hon. John Earle of this town, and thus Swansea had two 
senators, Messrs. Austin and Earle, for the remainder of the 
session, an unprecedented honor. Mr. Austin was a member 
of the Constitutional Convention of 1852. 

The Hon. Frank Shaw Stevens, whose name appears upon 
the tablet on the outer walls of this building, was senator from 
this district in 1884. He modestly declined a reelection, which 
would have been triumphantly accorded him. 


As the Masons have been prominent among those who 
have ministered to the souls of Swansea people, so the Win- 
slows were ministers to their bodily health for three quarters 
of a century, from 1765, when Dr. Ebenezer Winslow located 
here. He became one of the most widely known physicians in 
Southern Massachusetts. He died in 1830, in his ninetieth 
year. His son. Dr. John Winslow, rivalled even his eminent 
father in the successful practice of medicine, to which he 

Historical Address 93 

devoted his entire life, dying in 1838. Though their patients 
were widely scattered, yet these physicians never drove in a 
wheeled vehicle, always travelling on horseback, carrying their 
medicines in saddle-bags, the custom of those days. Dr. John 
W. Winslow, son of Dr. John Winslow, early became well and 
favorably known as "young Dr. Winslow," and gave promise 
of eminence in his profession. But he died at the early age of 
thirty-two in 1836. For several years these three generations 
of physicians were here together in the practice of their pro- 
fession. Dr. A. T. Brown began here, in 1836, a successful 
practice of sixteen years duration. 

For 62 years Dr. James Lloyd Welhngton, a Harvard 
classmate of Gen. Charles Devens, James Russell Lowell, the 
sculptor William W. Story, William J. Rotch and George B. 
Loring, has been the highly esteemed physician of this place. 
By his self-sacrificing devotion to the noble but exacting pro- 
fession he adorns, he has won, what is far better than wealth, 
the gratitude of the whole community which he has served so 
skilfully and successfully. (See sketch). 


Several lawyers, previous to the year 1832, lived and 
practiced their professions here, among whom were the Hon. 
PHny Merrick, for eleven years an Associate Justice of the 
Supreme Judicial Court of the Commonwealth; Hezekiah 
Battelle and Eliab Williams, who moved to Fall River and 
formed there the law co-partnership of Battelle & Williams, 
so long and favorably known is this section of the State. 

Among the present leaders of the Bristol Bar, Swansea, 
by one of her sons, is represented in each of the three cities of 
this county: Hon. Edwin L. Barney of New Bedford, Hon. 
James Brown of Taunton, and Jonathan M. Wood, Esq., of 
Fall River. 

Union Meeting House 

The Town Hall now occupies the site of a Union meeting 
house which was built by the joint efforts of people of seversJ 
denominations resident here. In the dedication which occurred 
Dec. 29th, 1830, Methodists, Baptists, Swedenborgians and 
Universalists participated. The hymns sung were composed 
by Elder Baker, a Six Principle Baptist clergyman. Services 
were maintained some years, but as the building was not owned 

94 History of Swansea 

by any one denomination, timely and needed repairs were 
not made, for want of which it became unfit for use and was 
finally demolished. The site was for a number of years disused . 
Since it seemed impracticable for a private title to be acquired, 
it was finally condemned and taken into possession by the 
town, upon the generous offer of Mr. Stevens to erect for the 
town's use a pubUc building suited to the needs of the place. 

Thus, in the order of occupancy, upon this spot there has 
been reproduced a picture of early New England. The pri- 
mary organization was the church, as we have seen in the 
history of Swansea; after the church the town; so here, we 
have had first the house of religious worship, and now the hall 
for municipal use and the library. 

Universalist Society 

Some of the prominent men of this and adjoining towns, 
who had maintained occasional religious services, were organ- 
ized in 1838 as the First Universalist Society of Swansea^ 

The Rev. Aaron L. Balch, who was a preacher to this 
people before the organization of the society, died in this 
village Nov. 4, 1837, and was buried in the cemetery. The 
society has not maintained regular services for many years, 
and the members have to some extent become connected with 
other religious bodies. 

Christ Church, Swansea 

In May, 1845, Rev. A. D. McCoy, rector of the Church 
of the Ascension in Fall River, opened a Sunday evening 
service here which he maintained till November, 1847. A 
church was organized January 7, 1846. A Sunday school was 
established and superintended by Dr. Geo. W. Chevers, a 
physician of Fall River, afterward a clergyman, who during 
the greater part of 1847 conducted lay readings on Sunday, 
morning and afternoon. 

The services were at first held in the Union meeting house. 
A neat and attractive church edifice was shortly erected and 
dedicated December 2, 1847. The first resident rector was 
Rev. John B. Richmond, who served the church four years 
from January 1st, 1848. The duration of most of the subse- 
quent pastorates has been brief, though that of Rev. N. 
Watson Munroe lasted eleven years. (See sketch). 

Historical Address 95 

The War for the Union 

The war to preserve the Union, on account of its nearness 
to our time, interests us more deeply than does the war which 
made us an independent nation. But in some respects it 
called for less endurance and sacrifice. The clash of arms and 
the alarms of war did not vex these hillsides and echo across 
these bays as they had done in Phihp's and the Revolutionary 
wars. It was not so long continued nor financially so dis- 
astrous as was the war for independence, in which the financial 
system of the country went to wreck, and its promises to pay 
became worthless, insomuch that, even three years before the 
war ended, this town voted $140 for an axe, and $50 a day to 
its selectmen. Let us honor the heroic endurance of the 
fathers, while we also cherish with pride the valor of their sons, 
our brothers, who responded nobly to the call of the nation, 
when threatened with disunion. For it is to be said that in the 
later struggle this town did its full duty. At the close the town 
stood credited with twelve more men than the State had re- 
quired. It is true that some of them were not its own citizens, 
but hired substitutes; but it is also true that from these farms 
and hamlets enough perhaps to balance the hired contingent 
went into Rhode Island regiments and batteries. Her rebeUion 
record contains the names of one hundred and thirty soldiers 
who went from or who were hired by and for this town. 

Swansea's sons were widely scattered among our State 
organizations and were in all branches of the service. One or 
another of them faced the nation's foes on most of the battle- 
fields of the Atlantic slope and of the Gulf. They helped to 
roll back the haughty and desperate tide of rebel invasion that 
was twice shattered on the glorious fields of Antietam and of 
Gettysburg. They fought with Hooker at Chancellorsville, 
with Burnside at Fredericksburg, with Sherman in the 
Shenandoah. They were with McClellan in his march to 
Richmond by the bloody peninsula, and they followed Grant 
through the Wilderness and beyond, to Richmond and to 
Appomattox. Others of them shared the fortunes of the forces 
which captured the coast and river cities of the Confederacy, 
and raised the blockade of the Mississippi. Every man had 
his story. Each looked armed battalions in the face and 
sustained the hostile shock of the assault. They heard the 
whistle of the rifle ball which was seeking their life, the shriek 
of the exploding shell, the clatter of galloping squadrons, the 
clash of sabres, the roar of the cannonade, the cries of the 
wounded, the groans of the dying, the mournful dirge over the 
dead. The blood of some of them was shed, and that of them 

96 History of Swansea 

all was offered, in defense of the Union. Some languished and 
died in hospitals or Southern prisons. 

"When can their glory fade?" 

Write down, so that your children of coming time may 
read, the story of their sacrifices, who perished of diseases 
consequent upon the experiences of camp and field. Such 
Swansea men were Daniel Tompkins, Frank R. Chase, 
Stephen Collins, William H. Hamhn, Martin L. Miller, 
Charles H. Eddy, Josephus T. Peck, Joseph Whalen, Captain 
Edwin K. Sherman, all of whom by death in hospital made a 
soldier's greatest sacrifice. 

Look at the roll of the slain: Andrew S. Lawton, a leg 
shattered at the battle of WiUiamsburg early in the Peninsula 
campaign, and dying within a few hours. Joseph T. Bosworth 
of a Rhode Island battery, killed on the bloody field of 
Antietam by an exploding shell. Oliver R. Walton slain when 
the war was far advanced, at the battle of Winchester in the 
Shenandoah, after nearly three years service. Edward G. 
West, like Lawton, a member of the Bristol county regiment 
raised by Gen. Couch, which followed the varying fortunes of 
the Army of the Potomac and shared its experience of battle 
and of blood. Early in the victorious but costly campaign in 
the Wilderness, West paid the price of his patriotism by a 
soldier's death. Mark the heroism, the valor, the Christian 
resignation of Alfred G. Gardner, of Battery B. of Rhode 
Island, who at the battle of Gettysburg fell beside his gun, 
with his arm and shoulder torn away. With the other he took 
from his pocket his Testament and other articles and said, 
"Give them to my wife and tell her that I died happy," and 
with the words of the soldier's battle hymn, "Glory, glory 
hallelujah," on his lips, his soul went marching on — a striking 
illustration of the spirit which breathes in the immortal words 
of Horace, 

Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori. 

Who can forget the deeds of such men? Let their names 
be written on the enduring granite of the memorial shaft or 
tablet, on the page of the historic record, and on the hearts of 
their grateful countrymen. And let all who, on the blood-red 
field offered their bodies a target to the enemy's assault, whose 
deeds of daring and self-devotion we cannot here recite, be 
also held worthy of our undying gratitude. 

A sketch like this can at best do but scant justice to a 
history such as that of which Swansea can boast. The deeds 
of these two and a half centuries deserve elaborate record. 

Historical Address 97 

Let it be one of the offices of the Library Association, for 
whose Hterary stores and work ample provision has been made, 
to gather all that has been or may yet be written of Swansea, 
to cultivate the taste for historic research, and to collect and 
preserve such memorials as will illustrate the past and per- 
petuate its fame. 

The past is fixed and is amply worthy of record. But 
what of the undetermined and oncoming future? Will it 
reach the height of the standard set by the achievement of 
days gone by? Will it display equal or superior fidelity to the 
eternal principles which alone make a community strong? 
Will the men of to-day and of to-morrow, rise to the level of 
their history and their high privilege? Let them emulate the 
example of the brave and godly fathers of the town who laid 
its foundations in righteousness and in piety — foundations 
more imperishable than the solid boulders which have been 
built into massive walls. 



First Baptist Church 

THE First Baptist Church in Massachusetts was consti- 
tuted at Rehoboth, Bristol County, in the year 1663, in 

the house of John Butterworth. The names of its 
constituent members were John Myles, pastor; James Brown, 
Nicholas Tanner, Joseph Carpenter, John Butterworth, Eldad 
Kingsley, and Benjamin Alby. 

As this is the first Baptist Church formed in this State, 
and as its origin was pecuKar, had the events of its early 
history been preserved, it would have been a matter of unusual 
interest to the Baptists of the present time. Hitherto churches 
of this order had been kept out of every New England colony 
except Rhode Island. An attempt was made to form one in 
1639 in the town of Weymouth, but it was defeated by the 
magistrates, and those concerned in it were scattered. After 
this no further effort seems to have been made for more than 
twenty years. 

The history of this church possesses more than a local and 
temporary interest, as it relates to the religious and secular 
interests of all this region of country for a period of more than 
two centuries. Indeed, its history, with that of some of its 
pastors, connects it with some of the most important move- 
ments in the early annals of these colonies. Several of the 
contiguous towns, including Warren and Barrington, now in 
Rhode Island, and Somerset in this State, formed a part of 
Swansea, and the people were generally interested in the 
church, many of them as members, and most of them as 
adherents and coadjutors. Liberal measures were provided 
for the education of the young, and for the accommodation of 
all the people with the means of religious instruction and 
worship. Among the most active of the men thus employed 
was Mr. Myles and Capt. Thomas Willett, the latter, who at 
a later period of life became the first English mayor of New 
York on its cession from the Dutch. Happy would it have 
been for the social, educational, and moral prosperity of the 
town of Swansea if the same principles could have been carried 
to their maturity which were so nobly acted on in the first 
period of its history. 

It will be seen that the church was, in a manner, the 

102 History of Swansea 

reorganization of an exiled church driven from Swansea, in 
Wales; it will therefore be necessary to go to the history of 
that church. It is known that from the earliest times there 
were many friends of Christ in that country, who were greatly 
multiplied after the Reformation. A little more than two 
hundred years ago a number of men of great power were raised 
who preached with much success, and many people were 
turned to the Lord. Among these men was Rev. John Myles, 
the founder of this church. He began his ministry in South 
Wales about the year 1645, and was instrumental in raising a 
church in Swansea in 1649. This was the first year of the 
Protectorate of Oliver Cromwell, under whose government the 
Dissenters were indulged with greater liberty than before, the 
result of which greatly tended to the prevalence of religion. 
This church was greatly prospered, so that in ten or twelve 
years between two and three hundred were added to it. Mr. 
Myles seems to have accepted a support from the government, 
and his place was registered as thus supported. 

After the death of Cromwell, Charles II. came into power, 
and the "Act of Uniformity" was passed in 1662, by which 
two thousand of the best ministers were ejected from their 
places because they refused to conform to the Church of 
England. Among these non-conformist ministers was Mr. 
Myles. This act, and afterwards the Conventicle Act and the 
Oxford Act, in effect, silenced these men. This was a time of 
terror, and it is said that eight thousand persons were imprisoned 
and reduced to want, and many to the grave. In this state of 
things Mr. Myles emigrated to this country; whether he was 
accompanied by any members of the church besides Nicholas 
Tanner is uncertain. Ry whom and for what reason the 
records of that church were brought here, as also the circum- 
stances of his departure from Wales, and his arrival in this 
country are matters to us unknown. The first knowledge we 
gain of him in this country is that he was in Rehoboth in 1663, 
when this church, now known as the "First Raptist Church in 
Swansea, " was organized. 

As soon as the fact of its organization and that it was 
maintaining the institutions of Christianity became known, 
the orthodox churches of the colony solicited the court to 
interpose its influence against it. This movement was prob- 
ably led on by the same persons who instigated proceedings 
against Holmes, Clark, and Crandal, by which they were 
imprisoned, scourged, and fined in 1651 for holding public 
worship in the town of Lynn. The same sleepless vigilance 
which had followed them pursued this little church, and each 
of its members was fined five pounds for setting up a public 

First Baptist Church 



First Christian Church 

Churches 103 

meeting without the knowledge and approbation of the court, 
to the disturbance of the peace of the place. They were 
ordered to desist from their meetings for the space of a month, 
and advised to remove their meeting to some other place where 
they might not prejudice any other church. Upon this order 
and advice Mr. Myles and his church removed from Rehoboth 
to New Meadow Neck, a place south of Rehoboth, which is 
now Barrington, R. I. Then it was not embraced in any town. 
They appear to have erected a house for worship soon after 
their removal beyond the bounds of Rehoboth. This house 
seems to have been about two and a half miles from the present 
house, west. 

In 1667 the Plymouth Court granted to this church, with 
others, a grant of a town to be called Swansea. The grant of 
this town, that the Baptists might have a resting-place, shows 
that the Plymouth Colony was much more tolerant than the 
Massachusetts Colony. We now find our fathers of this 
church, with their pastor, free from oppression. On the incor- 
poration of the town the church entered into covenant with 
each other, as appears by the covenant itself on record. 
Whether they had a covenant before is not known; neither 
have we any means of knowing whether the church in- 
creased, diminished, or remained stationary. 

In 1675 the Indian war commenced, under King Philip, 
of Mount Hope. This town and this church first felt the 
calamities of that war, which spread such devastation over 
much of New England. Here it first began. While this 
church was engaged in public worship, the Indians were pre- 
paring to attack the people of this new and unprotected town 
on their return home. They killed one and wounded others. 
Here its effects fell with great severity, as it is said one-half of 
Swansea was burned. The house of Mr. Myles was made into 
a garrison. As to the state and progress of the church, we 
have nothing to enlighten us. From the nature of the case all 
must have been gloomy. 

Mr. Myles preached much of three years in Boston, 
previous to 1679, and whether this church was supplied during 
his absence is doubtful. About this time the town voted to 
remove the meeting-house to the lower end of New Meadow 
Neck. It seems this idea was abandoned, and it was voted and 
ordered, Sept. 30, 1679, "that a meeting-house of forty feet in 
length and twenty-two in breadth and sixteen feet between 
joints be forthwith built. " From the above and other records 
it appears the place of meeting was changed, and that the 
minister went there also. 

Feb. 3, 1683, Mr. Myles closed his labors on earth, having 

104 History of Swansea 

been in the ministry about thirty-eight years. His age and 
the place of his burial are unknown, but he left a character 
behind that will be honored as long as Palmer's River shall run. 
He was succeeded by Capt. Samuel Luther, who was ordained 
July 22, 1685, by Elders Emblem and Hull, of Boston. He 
was a man of character and talents, and discharged with ex- 
emplary fidelity the duties of his office for nearly thirty-two 
years. He died Dec. 20, 1716, and was buried at Kickamuit. 
During his ministry, probably about 1700, the meeting-house 
was removed to near Myles' Bridge. Perhaps this might have 
had some connection with the separation of Barrington from 
Swansea, and its formation into a separate town. The church 
seems to have prospered to a considerable extent during the 
whole of Elder Luther's ministry. We cannot say how large 
it was with certainty, probably about two hundred, scattered 
in Rehoboth, Middleborough, Bellingham, Haverhill, Taunton 
and what is now Warren and Somerset. 

In 1704, Mr. Ephraim Wheaton became associate with 
Elder Luther, and at his death sole pastor. In 1718 the church 
records seem to begin. Mr. Wheaton appears to have been a 
man who exerted a great and good influence on the church, 
and on others also. His ministry was eminently successful, 
and the church was highly prosperous. According to the 
records we have, about one hundred were added to the church. 
He died April 26, 1734, in the seventy-fifth year of his age, and 
was buried in Rehoboth. 

In 1733, April 18th, Mr. Samuel MaxweU was ordained 
associate with Mr. Wheaton, and at his death became sole 
pastor. He continued till April 15, 1739, when he was dis- 
missed. About fifty were added to the church during his 

For two or three years the church was without a pastor, 
after the dismissal of their former one, when the labors of 
Elder Benjamin Harrington was obtained, and he was installed 
pastor Aug. 15, 1742. He was dismissed May 3, 1750. 

In 1748, Mr. Jabez Wood, of Middleborough, a member of 
this church, was requested to supply the pulpit. Accordingly 
he suppUed three years and a half, and was ordained pastor 
Sept. 5, 1751. 

At the time Mr. Wood was ordained the church was 
without deacons. Benjamin Cole died in 1748, and Jonathan 
Kingsley in 1750. These men served in this office from 1725 
till they died in old age, having executed important trusts for 
the church in their day. The first notice we find of deacons 
in the records is that John Thomas, Nathaniel Luther, and 
Richard Harding were ordained deacons in 1718, that the two 

Churches 105 

first named died in the discharge of their holy trust, but when 
they died we cannot say. To supply the deficiency of these 
necessary officers, Robert Wheaton, and Thomas Peck were 
chosen Aug. 6. 1752. Deacon Peck served about seven years 
till the time of his death, in 1770. He was a useful man. His 
place was supplied by Nicholas Thomas till 1771, when he 
was removed from his sphere of usefulness on earth to rest 
with God. At the death of Deacon Thomas, David Kingsley 
was elected clerk, and served forty-five years. In 1776 he was 
also chosen to the office of deacon, and served more than fifty 
years. He died Oct. 25, 1830, aged ninety-two. Thomas 
Kingsley was chosen deacon in 1771, and served till his death 
in 1809, aged eighty-three. The two Deacons Kingsley, David 
and Thomas, were men unusually free from fault, and good 
men, but not very efficient. Deacon Wheaton lived to a 
great age, and was highly esteemed. He was the son of Elder 
Wheaton, and died Nov. 22, 1780, aged ninety-two years. 

The interests of the body seemed to droop and decline 
for a length of time, when Elder Wood vacated his office in 
1778 or 1779, the precise date not being on record. The state 
of the church was now depressed and low. The number of 
members when he left is not known, as no list of members had 
ever been kept, and the alterations, except by baptism, were 
not kept with accuracy. The whole country was now in 
perilous circumstances, being involved in the Revolutiongu'y 
war. Those nearest the seashore suffered the most, and this 
people was not exempt. On the 25th of May, 1778, the 
Baptist meeting-house and parsonage in Warren were burned 
by British troops, and Mr. Thompson, the pastor, taken 
prisoner. In this affficted, depressed, and scattered state, the 
church was unable to sustain public worship. It was proposed 
to return to the maternal bosom, till they might be able to 
return to Warren as before. This proposal was accepted, and 
the brethren in that manner joined this church. Mr. Thompson 
became the pastor, and settled with the people Oct. 7, 1779. 

The settlement of a minister so deservedly eminent, and 
the accession of help from Warren, seemed to put new life into 
this body. The Lord evidently came with the new pastor, as 
he baptized one only three days after his election, and two 
more before the 1st of January, 1780. During that winter 
following there was a great revival of religion, not only in this 
church but throughout the country. This has been called the 
year of the great revival. The number baptized here was 
sixty-seven, in 1781 five more, making seventy-five since Mr. 
Thompson became pastor. About this time the remains of 
the Oak Swamp Church joined here in the same manner the 

106 History of Swansea 

Warren brethren had done. These accessions rendered this 
church large, and in some respects strong, though there is no 
means of knowing the exact number. There is probabihty 
that it was nearly or quite two hundred. 

In 1786 the Warren brethren went back, were reorgan- 
ized, built a house of worship, and again had the institutions 
of the gospel at home. The number who returned was twenty- 

In 1789 the Lord was pleased to appear again to build up 
Zion, and fifty-four were baptized, which greatly encouraged 
the hearts of both pastor and people. This was a very inter- 
esting revival, and greatly added to the strength of the church. 

In 1801 the Lord again visited his people, and twenty-six 
were baptized. The last baptism in this place by Mr. Thompson 
occurred Sept. 5, 1802; with the year he closed his 
pastoral relation, after having served with ability, fidelity, and 
success, a little more than twenty-three years. During his 
ministry one hundred and seventy-six were baptized by him 
and added to the church. The first seven pastors occupied a 
term of one hundred and forty years, averaging twenty years 
to each. Perhaps this period of the existence of the church is 
by far the most important, not only for its general historical 
interest, but for the influence of the church upon all the 
surrounding community. 

Mr. Thompson was succeeded by Rev. WilHam Northrup, 
probably in the spring of 1804. He continued four years, and 
baptized twenty-nine and received eight others, in all thirty- 

He was followed by Rev. William Barton, who preached 
two years but without success. He was dismissed at his own 
request in the spring of 1810. 

In 1811, Rev. Abner Lewis became a member and the 
pastor of this church, and preached here till April, 1819, when 
he was dismissed. He departed this life July 7, 1826, aged 
eighty-one, and is interred in the burial ground connected 
with this house. 

After his dismissal the church was supplied by Elder 
Benjamin Taylor, a preacher of the Christian Connection, 
who continued for a part of two years, when he closed in the 
spring of 1821. 

The next minister was Rev. B. Pease, until 1823; Rev. 
Luther Baker, from 1824 to 1832; Jessie Briggs, two and a 
half years; 0. J. Fisk, from Oct. 1, 1835, to April 1, 1836; 
Abiel lisher, from 1836 to 1846; J. J. Thacher, 1846 to 1854; 
Silas Hall, 1854 to 1857; J. W. Horton, 1857 to 1864; Rev. 
A. W. Ashley settled as pastor July, 1864, closed his labors 

Churches 107 

October 1867; Rev. J. A. Baskwell, settled May, 1868; 
closed his pastorate September 1870; January, 1871, called 
Rev. C. Bray to the pastorate, he closed his labors May, 1874; 
the church was supplied by R. E. Barrows and others until 
April 1876 when Rev. J. W. Horton was settled for the 
second time; he closed his labors about the 1st of January, 

The present pastor, Rev. G. W. Bixby, commenced his 
labors in February, 1882. 

Up to 1846 this church occupied, probably, the oldest 
church building in this county, and the oldest Baptist house 
in America. Tradition says it was built the year after Elder 
Luther's death, — that is, in 1717, and in 1723 an order was 
passed by the church for raising money to complete the pay- 
ment for building the meeting-house. It was forty-one and a 
half feet long and thirty-three feet wide, about twenty-two 
feet between joints, unplastered, and open to the roof till 
1802. It will thus be seen that this church, the first Baptist 
Church in Massachusetts and the fourth in America, has 
maintained its visibihty over two hundred and fifty years. 
Four churches have been formed from this. 

The church is now (1883) in a low state, having been 
reduced by deaths, removals, and exclusions, numbering now 
about fifty. Most of these are elderly persons, invalids, or on 
the retired list, unable to do much for the church or cause of 
Christ. The senior deacon, who for many years had been the 
leading spirit in the church, died Nov. 29, 1882, at the age of 

The Rev. George W. Bixby ended his pastorate in 1891; 
and the Rev. Fred E. Bixby became the pastor in 1892 ; and 
was in charge until 1898, when the Rev. Lucian Drury took 
up the work and continued until 1904. From that date to 
1907, there was no settled minister. The Rev. Reuben J. 
Davis began his pastorate in 1907 and remained but one year. 
From 1908 to 1913 there was another vacancy. In 1913 the 
Rev. Frederick J. Dark, the present pastor, began his labors; 
and in October of that year, the Two Hundred Fiftieth 
Anniversary of the Founding of the Church, the First Baptist 
Church in Massachusetts, was commemorated, in Swansea; 
at Warren, R. I., in the Town Hall, Swansea; and in Tremont 
Temple, Boston. 

The programmes, addresses, with much valuable histor- 
ical matter was pubHshed in book form by the Backus Histor- 
ical Society of Boston, 1913, under the title of Elements in 
Baptist Development, 

108 History of Swansea 

The Non-Sectarian Christian Church 

Swansea was settled by men who believed in liberty of 
conscience. Probably it was the only town within the territorial 
jurisdiction of the Pilgrims, which recognized the right of free 
thought. While all desired freedom for themselves, nearly all 
in that age would "use the sword of the civil magistrate to 
open the understandings of heretics, or cut them off from the 
State, that they might not infect the church or injure the 
public peace. " 

John Myles, the first minister of the town, while exposed 
to persecution in his native land, had learned the lesson of 
tolerance. Not only did the town in its organic capacity 
concede freedom of religious opinion, but the church of which 
he was pastor, although composed of Baptists, admitted to 
communion all persons who (the original covenant declared), 
"by a judgment of charity, we conceive to be fellow-members 
with us in our head, Christ Jesus, although differing from us 
in such controversial points as are not absolutely and essen- 
tially necessary to salvation. " The successors of Mr. Myles 
were Calvinistic Baptists, and the church covenant was 
changed to harmonize with their views. That church is the 
oldest congregation of the Baptist denomination in the State 
of M assachusetts. 

Perhaps the erection by the town of the "new meeting- 
house on the lower end of New Meadow Neck" (in what is now 
Barrington, R. I), in 1680, may have been one reason why the 
inhabitants of the "easternmost part of the town upheld a 
religious meeting" at a more accessible place. Although 
services were maintained from "about the year 1680," there 
was no formal church organization until 1693. In the original 
record book (very plainly written and still in excellent con- 
dition) the church is styled simply a "Church of Christ in 
Swansea." No doctrinal tests were made conditions of 
admission, but all Christians were recognized as possessing 
equal rights in the "household of faith." Perhaps there was 
then no other church in all the earth which received as mem- 
bers all Christians irrespective of divergent opinions con- 
cerning the various points of speculative theology. In 1725, 
nearly half a century after the "meeting" was established and 
a third of a century after the church was organized, it was 
decided to receive members only by the ^'laying on of hands." 
The church was then ecclesiastically independent. From the 
year 1803 to 1819 it was represented by "messengers" in the 
"Yearly Meeting of the Six-Principle Baptists." After a 
connection of sixteen years with that body the church with- 

Churches 109 

drew, declaring "the Lord Jesus Christ the great head of the 
Church to be their leader, and the Scriptures a rule to govern 
their faith and practice by, and receive their principles and 
doctrine from." This action was taken Feb. 10, 1820. The 
church thereby regained the freedom, says the record, "which 
it enjoyed under the pastoral care of Job and Russell Mason 
before it was considered a branch of the yearly meeting." 
From that time to the present all persons giving satisfactory 
evidence of Christian character have been welcomed to the 
communion, and also to membership in the church. A few 
years ago the church united with the "Rhode Island and 
Massachusetts Christian Conference," but this relation 
does not restrict fellowship, as the Conference discards doc- 
trinal tests in regard to subjects concerning which Christians 
differ in opinion. 

As there was for thirteen years a congregation without a 
church, so there was a religious service without a clergyman. 
The record book says, "We upheld a religious meeting partly 
by some improving their gifts among us and partly by helps 
from other places." In 1693, Thomas Barnes was ordedned 
pastor. It has been represented that he was a man of some 
note in Plymouth Colony. He was one of the original pro- 
prietors of the town, although a very young man when the 
first settlement occurred. According to the system of "rank- 
ing" adopted soon after the charter of Swansea was obtained, 
Mr. Barnes belonged to the "second class" of the landed 
aristocracy, as did also Samuel Luther, who succeeded John 
Myles as pastor of the Baptist Church. The Colonial Records 
afford incidental but positive proof that the "court" acknowl- 
edged the validity of his claim to be recognized as a clergyman, 
notwithstanding he was a "Separatist." The church record 
says, "Our beloved elder, Thomas Barnes, continued with us 
till June 8, 1706, and then it pleased God to remove him by 
death." When he assumed the duties of pastor the church 
consisted of only seventeen members. There is no statement 
on record of the number received in the thirteen years of his 
ministry, but nine years after his decease the church had one 
hundred and twenty-nine members. Making due allowance 
for losses by death and from other causes, it will be perceived 
that the increase was remarkable. This growth affords 
evidence of the efficiency of both Mr. Barnes and his immediate 

Among the former soldiers of Cromwell who came to this 
country was one Samson Mason. From him are descended 
most of the rather numerous families of that name now resid- 
ing in this vicinity. Six of his sons were living in or near 

110 History of Swansea 

Swansea when the youngest was seventy years old. One of 
the sons, Isaac, was the first deacon of this church; another 
son, Joseph, succeeded Mr. Barnes as pastor; a third son of 
Samson Mason, Peletiah, was the father of three ministers, — 
Job, Russell, and John, — two of them serving as pastors of 
this church, as also did their cousin Benjamin, son of Samson 
Mason, Jr., these prophets not being without honor in their 
own country and among their own kin. 

There is evidence that a considerable part of the increase 
in the numerical strength of the church, already mentioned, 
occurred in the early part of the ministry of Joseph Mason. 
It is assigned as a reason for the ordination of his colleague, 
John Pierce, in 1715, that it "had pleased God to increase our 
numbers. '* 

The first meeting of the voters of the parish of which there 
is a record took place in 1719, the congregation concurring 
with the church in the election of Joseph Mason as pastor. 
He had long served in that capacity, and this action was 
taken to avoid legal difficulties. The town of Barrington had 
not long before been set off from Swansea, that a Puritan 
minister might be supported therein by taxation, repeated 
efforts, beginning about the time of the ordination of Mr. 
Barnes, having failed to induce or compel the undivided 
township to conform to the custom which prevailed elsewhere 
throughout the colony. The inhabitants of the remaining 
portion of the town dishked both the exclusive spirit of 
Puritanism and the system of taxation for the support of 
religious institutions. When Mr. Mason was in due form 
pronounced the lawful pastor, he publicly declared himself 
satisfied with the voluntary contributions of the congregation 
for his subsistence, and expressly waived all claim to support 
by taxation, while recognizing the duty of all "to uphold and 
maintain ye ministry and worship of God in ye severall 
churches or congregations where they respectively belong or 
assemble," "and not in any other church or congregation." 
It was while Joseph Mason was pastor and John Pierce his 
assistant that the meeting-house was built (to be described in 
a subsequent paragraph), which for more than a century was 
occupied for public worship. 

Joseph Mason died in 1748, John Pierce in 1750, each 
attaining "the great age of about ninety years." They had 
"in January, 1737-38" (in January, 1738, "new style"), 
requested the church to provide them a colleague, and Job 
Mason, a nephew of the senior pastor, was selected. Four 
months after the choice was made, in May, 1738, he was 
ordained. A few months after the death of Joseph Mason the 

Churches 111 

legal voters of the parish ratified the action of the church, and 
Job Mason declared that he was satisfied with such support 
as his hearers should "freely and willingly" afford him, "also 
denying any support by way of a tax," regarding the volun- 
tary system "to be most agreeable to the mind of God, con- 
tained in the Scriptures." 

Favored with the ministry of this judicious pastor and 
able preacher, the church attained a great degree of prosperity. 
In later times many of the older members recalled the "days 
of Job Mason" as the "golden age" in the history of the 
church. "She sent forth her boughs unto the sea and 
branches unto the river." In 1753 thirty-three members 
residing in or near Rehoboth were dismissed at their own 
request to constitute a church to meet in that town. Daniel 
Martin, a member of this church, was ordained pastor. It is 
worthy of mention that the gentleman who now — one hundred 
and thirty years after — supplies so acceptably the pulpit of 
that parish is likewise a native of Swansea and a son of this 
church. In 1763 several members, with others from Rehoboth 
and some from Providence, R. I., emigrated to "Sackville, a 
township in the government of Nova Scotia" (now New 
Brunswick). Before removing to their new home the adven- 
turers met at Swansea to be organized as a church, and Nathan 
Mason, of this place, a son of the second Samson Mason, was 
ordained pastor. 

After a useful ministry of many years. Job Mason died 
at the age of fourscore, one month after the battle of Bunker 
Hill, July 17, 1775. Seven of his descendants are members of 
the church at this time. (1916) 

Russell Mason was chosen colleague with his brother Job 
in 1752, and was pastor (and also much of the time clerk of 
the church) until his death in 1799, at the age of eighty-five 
years. The period of his ministry comprehended the stirring 
scenes of the Revolutionary war and all those important 
events connected with the transformation of the American 
colonies into a nation. Undoubtedly the church was some- 
what depleted, perhaps depressed, in "the time that tried 
men's souls," and between July 17, 1775, and Dec. 28, 1780, 
there is not a single entry in the book of records; but the 
record last referred to implies that public worship had been 
regularly maintained. In 1788 members living in Dartmouth 
were organized "for religious worship," and John Mason 
(a brother of Job and Russell) was ordained pastor. He died 
in 1801, aged eighty-five years. The church speedily recovered 
much of its former strength, for within the year 1789 there 
were, it is recorded, "eighty-six persons baptized and added to 

112 History of Swansea 

the church. " The widow of Russell Mason long survived him, 
and (in accordance with a vote of the church after her hus- 
band's decease) continued to occupy the parsonage until her 

Benjamin, grandson of deacon Isaac, like his brother 
Nathan, already mentioned, became a minister. In 1784 he 
was ordained to assist his cousin Russell, and at his senior's 
death succeeded him. He died in 1813, at the age of eighty- 
three years. It will be noticed that the posterity of the sturdy 
soldier evinced by their longevity the possession of some of his 
characteristics. For more than a century the successive 
pastors bore his name, and the one who died youngest attained 
the age of eighty years. 

Increasing infirmities prevented Mr. Mason from preaching 
statedly for several years, although he frequently participated 
in the services when his colleague preached. An aged member 
of the church, deceased, (1883) could recall but one, and that 
the last occasion on which he addressed the people of his charge. 
The venerable man, after alluding to that feeling of loneliness 
which sometimes oppresses the aged pastor when he realizes 
the changes wrought by death, as he misses so many of the 
attendants on his early ministry, and to his consciousness of 
the decay of his own powers, preached on "The Perpetuity of 
Faith, Hope, and Love" from the text, "Now abide th faith, 
hope, charity, these three." 

In 1801, Phihp Slade (ordained as an evangelist fourteen 
years before) became assistant minister; after Mr. Mason's 
death he sustained the relation of pastor until the close of 1819. 
He had been unable, however, to perform all the duties of that 
position for several years, even the Sunday service being 
frequently omitted. For some time the church obtained 
transient "supplies" for the pulpit. Afterward, with Mr. 
Blade's approbation, Benjamin Taylor, then pastor of the 
North Christian Church in New Bedford, was engaged to 
preach at a special service on Sunday afternoons, the pastor 
continuing the stated meeting in the morning. But the great 
congregations which assembled to hear Mr. Taylor so con- 
trasted with the meagre attendance at the forenoon service 
that Mr. Slade, who was not aware of the failure of his own 
mental faculties, became much dissatisfied. Eventually the 
church, by vote, decided to dissolve the pastoral relation, as 
the "beloved elder is out of health both in body and mind. " 

Although this action was taken with much unanimity, at 
least two members, both deacons, sympathized so much with 
Mr. Slade that they withdrew from the church. Some others 
followed their example, but the strength of the parish was not 

Churches 113 

sensibly impaired, for in less than a year afterwards there were 
two hundred and ninety-eight members connected with the 

Soon after the dismissal of Mr. Slade the church (with 
the concurrence of the congregation) made choice of Mr. 
Taylor as pastor. The position was a difficult one, and it was 
with some reluctance that he accepted the call. But his 
ministry was highly successful. He won the esteem of the 
entire community, and often officiated in the pulpits of the 
various denominations in the vicinity. He remained with the 
parish ten years, in which time one hundred and thirty-three 
persons were added to the church. 

In his youth Mr. Taylor made several voyages at sea. 
He always retained an interest in the welfare of seamen, and 
some time after leaving Swansea he established the Mariners' 
Bethel at Providence, R. I. Mr. Taylor was born at Beverly, 
Mass., in 1786, and died in Michigan in 1848. He had three 
brothers who were ministers, and a sister who was a minister's 

Richard Davis became pastor in November, 1830, and 
discharged the duties of that office two years and six months. 
He died at Milwaukee, Wis., in 1868. A few years before his 
death, and a third of a century after the dissolution of his 
connection with the parish, the church sent a liberal sum of 
money to assist him in his old age. The church edifice now in 
use was built while Mr. Davis was pastor, although it was not 
ready for occupancy until the beginning of the ministry of his 

Mr. Davis was succeeded by James J. Thatcher. His 
ordination as pastor was the first that had occurred since 1784. 
He remained with the church nearly eight years. His ministry 
here was very successful, as were his subsequent labors else- 
where. Mr. Thatcher was born in Staffordshire, England, in 
1811, and died in the town of Rehoboth, Mass., in 1874. The 
later years of his ministry were spent with churches of the 
Baptist denomination, and at one time he was pastor of the 
Baptist Church in Swansea. 

In October, 1842, Isaiah Haley was ordained pastor. 
Although a worthy man, his ministry with this church con- 
tinued only a few months. His death took place in 1869 in the 
State of Maine. 

The next pastor was Jonathan Thompson. He was born 
in Vermont in 1794, and entered the ministry at an early age. 
In New York State, in the course of nine years, he organized 
several churches. After leaving New York he was pastor at 
Fall River two years, and at Boston two. From Boston he 

114 History of Swansea 

removed to Swansea, in the year 1843, to take the pastoral care 
of this church. At the end of five years he accepted a call to 
Providence, where he remained until 1850, when he returned 
to this place, and supplied the pulpit to the close of the year 
1851. He died in New York in 1866, at the age of seventy-two 

The Sunday-school was organized in the early part of Mr. 
Thompson 's ministry, probably in the spring of 1844. In that 
year, and for the gratification of the members of the infant 
organization, who marched in procession from the church to 
the grove, each wearing a red ribbon as a badge, was insti- 
tuted the "clambake," still recurring annually on the last 
Wednesday of August. 

In former times this church was known as a mother of 
churches; in later years a large proportion of its young 
members have made their homes in neighboring cities, and in 
this way it has helped to increase the strength of many con- 
gregations. More than twenty of its members have been 

The first deacon of the church, as has been stated, was 
Isaac Mason. Without recording the names of all who have 
served in that position, it may be mentioned that within the 
present century five have borne the name of Bufifinton, — three 
brothers, Gardner, John and Stephen, Martin, a son of John, 
and Benjamin T., a son of Stephen. The last-mentioned 
father and son still survive, although Gardner, the older of the 
two brothers of Deacon Stephen Bufiinton, began to officiate 
three-fourths of a century ago. 

It is of interest to notice in the early records how fre- 
quently occur the names of members which, though borne by 
remote descendants, still occupy a place on the list. 

The reHgious services on Sundays in the olden times 
consisted of a meeting for preaching at eleven o'clock, and a 
meeting for prayer and exhortation at four o'clock. The 
fashion of preaching but one sermon on Sunday, so common 
now but generally regarded as an innovation, has with 
occasional exceptions long prevailed in this church, perhaps 
from the time of the ordination of the first pastor. There is 
a tradition, on which the church records throw no light, that 
at first singing was excluded from the services. It is certain 
that there was opposition to the use of musical notes at the 
time they were introduced by singers. When the "service of 
song in the house of the Lord" came to be regarded as an 
important part of public worship, it was scarcely possible to 
provide books for the congregation. From what was perhaps 
the only hymn-book in the parish the minister read a hymn; 




m siir^.i, 


South Swansea Chapel 

Old Book of Records 

Churches 115 

he then passed the book to one of the deacons (those officials 
then occupying elevated seats near the pulpit,) and he read a 
line or couplet; after that was sung he read as much more, and 
thus the alternate reading and singing continued to the end of 
the hymn. 

At one time there was dissatisfaction on the part of several 
members because the majority "would not approbate women's 
pubHc speaking in the church by way of exhortation." The 
church censured those disaffected members, but subsequently 
the censure was by unanimous vote expressly revoked. 

As was the custom also in the Puritan meeting-houses in 
the former days, the sexes occupied opposite sides of the 

The congregation early built or otherwise obtained a house 
of worship, for in 1719 a parish-meeting was held "in the 
meeting-house near William Wood's," and before the end of 
that year it was proposed to "make some addition to the 
meeting-house. " This project was not carried into effect, but 
"soon after" a new house was built. In the Puritan Churches 
of New England there was (even within a time quite recent) 
a strong prejudice against kindling fires in a house of worship. 
But the builders of the meeting-house of 1720 did not share 
that superstition. Two platforms of brick were constructed, 
each surrounded by a row of bricks turned up edgewise (with 
no outlet for smoke or gas), and in cold weather charcoal fires 
were kept burning upon them. The house was built of oak and 
chestnut, and stood until the church edifice now used was 
occupied. In the " September gale " (1815) the roof was blown 
off. The building was square in form, and when the roof was 
replaced it was so turned that what had been the ends of the 
house became the sides. At one extremity of the audience-room 
there was a pulpit large and high, flanked by the "deacon's 
seats. " These were not merely for ornament but use, for it 
is recorded^that at a regular church-meeting for the transaction 
of business two brethren were chosen deacons, but as some 
members were absent, that action was submitted to an 
adjourned meeting on the following Sunday, when unanimous 
approval was expressed; the deacons-elect (although t^ be 
"ordained" on a subsequent occasion) "then took their seats. " 
What better example can be found of a recognition of both the 
rights of voters and the dignity of office? At the rear end of 
the room and on both sides were galleries capacious enough to 
accommodate a large part of the congregation. 

The spacious and pleasant edifice now occupied was 
dedicated April 10, 1833. The noted Luther Baker preached. 
All the clergymen who participated in the services have passed 

116 History of Swansea 

away from this life. The house was entirely remodeled and 
somewhat enlarged in 1873. 

The land comprised in the churchyard of the former house 
was given " for the accommodation of a meeting-house, " by Dr. 
WiUiam Wood and Capt. John Brown. The portion given by 
the latter is described in the deed as a triangular lot of one-half 
acre. An adjoining lot was given for a parsonage in 1772 by 
Deacon James Brown. The parsonage was bought for thirty 
pounds, and moved to the place where it stood until torn down 
in 1865. Previous to that purchase the church had received 
bequests from Edward Luther, Jonathan Slade, and Anna 
Monroe, and soon after one from Sybil Slade. Borrowers paid 
interest in some cases by "sweeping the meeting-house" and 
in "coals for the meeting-house." The depreciation of the 
currency was such that only "nine dollars and one-eleventh in 
silver" were realized from a debt of "fifty pounds, old tenor. " 
One of the "communion cups of soHd silver" was given by 
Katherine Tilley, and the other by Elizabeth Slade. 

In times more recent the church has been blessed with 
benefactors. Tamar Luther, Candace Brightman, William 
Mason, Joseph G. Luther, EKzabeth Bosworth, the sisters 
Joanna, Lydia, and Hannah Mason, Mary Gardner, Phebe 
Kingsley, Samuel and Patience Gardner, and Betsey Bushee 
Pierce, by will or otherwise, have given money or pews, the 
income of which assists in defraying the current expenses of the 
parish. These generous persons are held in grateful recollection 
by those who enjoy the benefit of their considerate kindness. 

Possibly this is the oldest church in Massachusetts which 
never had legal connection with a town. A brief outline of 
events connected with its history has been given, but the real 
history of a church (and especially of one including among its 
members so many generations, with modes of thought and life 
so divergent) can never be written. The effects of moral forces 
no man can chronicle, for no man can comprehend. 

Lester Howard May 12, 1889 to Aug. 20, 1893, resigned. 
B. S. Batchelor of New Bedford suppfied during the interim. 
Thomas S. Weeks Oct. 7, 1894 -May 1, 1899, resigned. The 
Bicentennial anniversary of the Church was celebrated May 
1895. He died at Bangor, Me. Feb. 15. 1912. 

John MacCalman Sept. 1, 1899— May 1, 1900 resigned. 

W. Parkinson Chase May 1, 1900— May 1, 1901 resigned. 

WilHam J. Reynolds Sept. 15, 1901— Apr. 30, 1906, 

Carlyle Summerbell July 1, 1906— Feb. 29, 1908 resigned. 

Frederick Lewis Brooks October 4, 1908— July 31, 1909 

Churches 117 

Ernest R. Caswell Sept. 15, 1910— Sept. 27, 1914 resigned. 
Weltie E. Baker Jan. 1, 1916— 

The Six-Principle Baptist Church 

In 1820, after the termination of Elder Philip Slade's 
connection with the parish of which he had been pastor, he 
conducted services at the residence of Deacon EUery Wood. 
His adherents were recognized by the Six-Principle Baptist 
Yearly Meeting as a church of that denomination. Deacon 
Wood bequeathed his homestead for the maintenance of wor- 
ship, and for several years after his decease meetings were 
statedly held on Sundays in a room of the dweUing which 
became the residence of the pastor, Elder Comstock. Occa- 
sional services were held after the removal of Mr. Comstock for 
some time, but not in the few years past. The farm is held by 
a trustee for the benefit of the Six-Principle Baptist 

"SwANZEY Village Meeting House" 

This Union Meeting House was built about 1830; and 
was used for rehgious, and various other social interests, by 
the people of the community, until it was no longer usable for 
any purpose, when in 1890, the Town condemned the land and 
made it the site of the first and only Town Hall, the gift of the 
Hon. Frank Shaw Stevens. 

The building committee of the Village Meeting House, 
were: Richard Ghace, John Mason, Artemas Stebbins, and 
Ebenezer Cole, all of Swansea, as appears by a deed of a pew 
given in 1831, to John Gray, "in consideration of forty and 
nine dollars. " The number of the pew was twenty-two. The 
witnesses to the deed were; George Austin and Venoni W. 

Jan. 8th, 1831. 

Catholic Churches 

There are two Catholic Churches in Swansea. St. Francis 
at Barney ville; and St. Dominique's at Swansea Centre; both 
having been established in 1910-11 under the care of Fr. 
Bernard Percot of St. Anne's, Fall River; who ministers to 
both, the French and the Portuguese. 

118 History of Swansea 

Christ Church 

Bishop Eastbum, in his official report of 1846, says: "For 
the establishment of the church in this place we are indebted 
under God to the zealous labors of the Rev. Amos D. McCoy, 
rector of the Ascension, Fall River. ' ' The church record states 
that " Mr. McCoy officiated in this village on Sunday evenings 
and other occasions from the second Sunday in May, 1845, 
until November, 1847. " 

At that time no regular religious services were held in the 
community, the "Union Meeting," which dedicated its house 
of worship about 1830, having disintegrated. There were then 
four communicants of the Protestant Episcopal church 
resident in the town, and they were members of St. Mark's, 
Warren, R. I., and probably it was at the suggestion of the 
rector of that chm-ch (the Rev. George W. Hathaway) that 
services were first held in Swansea. The Rev. Alva E. 
Carpenter, rector of St. Mark's, Warren, says that, "when the 
church here at first organized in the old Union Meeting House, 
there were six members transferred from Warren to this 
church. Their names were Mrs. Elizabeth Slade, Sarah Slade, 
wife of the late Rev. Benjamin H. Chase, Susan Cole, William 
Pearse and wife, and Mrs. Menage, wife of the late Daniel 
Chase, of Somerset. These were the first communicants of the 

The Sunday school was organized and superintended by 
Dr. George W. Chevers, (then a practicing physician in Fall 
River, and afterwards a successful clergyman of the church), 
"who with exemplary self-denial and untiring assiduity devoted 
himself to this labor of love. This man, for nine months 
previous to January, 1848, conducted lay-reading on Sunday 
mornings and afternoons. He also engaged in soliciting funds 
toward the erection of the church," and doubtless his labors 
went very far toward making the enterprise successful. 

Prominent among the first organizers of this parish were 
Hon. John Mason, Capt. Preserved S. Gardner, John A. Wood, 
John E. Gray, Hon. George Austin, WiUiam Pearse and 
Benjamin H. Chase. Of these, only two (the last mentioned) 
were ever communicants. Capt. Gardner was formerly a 
Baptist. But they were all men of integrity, faithful support- 
ers of the church, and regular attendants at its services. 

William Pearse, John A. Wood and Capt. Gardner, each 
at his decease left the parish five hundred dollars as a per- 
manent fund for the support of the church. 

Mr. William Pearse, though residing three miles from the 
village, and perhaps more naturally connected with St. Mark's, 

Churches 119 

Warren, always made it a point of honor to support and attend 
with his family this less flourishing church; and this high 
principle of devotion, characteristic of that old church family 
was faithfully exemplified in Mr. William H. Pearse, who came 
in time to take the place of his uncle. 

Mr. John A. Wood, though never a communicant, was 
devotedly attached to the services of the church, and for many 
years voluntarily assumed the care of the Lord's house with- 
out compensation, and was always particular that it should 
be comfortable and in order. And, after his decease, his son, 
Henry 0. Wood, immediately succeeded him as a vestryman, 
and has ever since served the parish, as warden, 1870-1877; 
treasurer and clerk, 50 years; with a faithfulness worthy of his 
father's example. His son, Mr. John R. Wood, is the third 
generation representing the family in the parish; and his son 
Otis A. Wood is of the fourth generation. 

Mr. William Henry Pearse, at the time of his decease, had 
been "identified with this parish as vestryman 35 years, as 
junior warden for 11 years, as senior warden 22 years. He was 
a devout and regular communicant, a cheerful and consistent 
Christian, fond of society, 'given to hospitality.' 

Mr. Benjamin H. Chase, when about 40 years of age, 
prepared for the ministry and work of the church, to which he 
was ordained by Bishop Eastburn in 1854. The parish record 
under date of June 20, 1897, has the following testimonial: 
*' Mr. Chase was identified with this parish from the time of its 
very beginning until the day of his death, a period of over 50 
years. He was, while still a layman, one of the most zealous 
promoters of the organization of the parish and active in the 
erection of the present church edifice. He was elected clerk of 
the parish in 1848, and served until 1851, when he left the 
town to pursue his studies for the ministry. His devoted life 
as a clergyman in the church took him to other fields, but his 
interest in the parish, which he had helped to found, never 
abated, and when, after more than 30 years of self-sacrificing 
work, he retired from the active ministry and returned to 
Swansea, his one great enthusiasm was for the welfare of this 
church. He was elected a vestryman in 1886, junior warden 
in 1888, and in 1890 was elected senior warden, which position 
he held at the time of his death. This church is largely 
a monument of his life." 

Christ Church, Swansea, was duly organized as a parish 
under the statutes of this Commonwealth on the 7th of 
January, 1846. The first officers of the corporation were 
as follows: William Pearse and John Mason, Esq., war- 
dens: John A.Wood, Joseph D. Nichols, Preserved S. Gardner 

120 History of Swansea 

Benjamin H. Chase and John E. Gray, vestrymen. 

The building committee charged with the erection of the 
first church were John E. Gray, John A. Wood and Wm. 
Pearse. The Ladies Society was organized July 8, 1846. 

The services of the church were held at first in the Union 
meeting house. 

The church edifice was built largely by subscriptions 
taken outside of the community, and was consecrated the 2d 
day of December, 1847, at 10 o'clock a. m., by the Rt. Rev. 
Man ton Eastburn of Massachusetts. There were present of 
the clergy Rev. T. W. Snow, of Taunton ; James Henry Eames 
and John B. Richmond, of Providence; Jas. Mulcahey, of 
Portsmouth; Benjamin Watson, of Newport; and George W. 
Hathaway, of Warren. 

The building was a neat, wooden structure, of simple 
Romanesque architecture, finished to the roof inside, had 
about 200 sittings, and cost about $2,000. 

The bell, which cost $163. was placed in the new sanc- 
tuary. The old pipe organ, which was built to order, in 1867, 
at a cost of $1,000 was given to St. Luke's mission. Fall River. 
The font, of "Pictou stone," which was presented by the 
ladies of St. Michael's church, Bristol, R. I., was presented to 
St. John the Evangelist, a mission at Mansfield. The chancel 
rail and the altar, which were a gift of the Rev. B. H. Chase, 
were donated to St. Luke's mission, North Swansea. 

"Five infants and two adults received baptism, and five 
persons were confirmed during the time Mr. McCoy officiated 
in this parish." 

The first rector was Rev. John B. Richmond, of Provi- 
dence, R. I., who served from Jan, 1, 1848, till the 1st of 
January, 1852. He was succeeded by Rev. Benjamin Austin, 
who, at his request, was released from his engagement after 
the 1st of November of the same year. About the beginning 
of the year, 1853, Rev. Wm. Withington, of Boston, took 
charge of the parish and remained until the first of January, 
1856. He was succeeded by Rev. Wm. B. Colburn, of whose 
term of service the records are not clear. Rev. N. Watson 
Munroe was duly elected rector, March, 1859, and closed his 
official relations with the parish, February, 1864. The church 
was next served by Rev. A. F. Wylie, rector of the Church of 
the Ascension, Fall River, and by his assistant. Rev. A. E. 
Tortat, until April, 1868, when Rev. George Heaton, M. A., 
of Cambridge, England, became the resident minister, and 
remained until August, 1869, when he resigned. In June, 
1871, Rev. N. Watson Munroe resumed the care of the 
parish, and remained rector until Easter Monday, 1877, when 

Churches 121 

he resigned. Rev. Wm. T. Fitch, rector of the Ascension, 
Fall River, soon assumed the charge, and officiated most of the 
time, holding an afternoon service, until about the first of 
July, 1881, when Rev. Otis 0. Wright, of Providence, was 
elected to the rectorship, and began his labors, residing in the 
parish until Feb. 15th, 1888, when he became rector of St. 
Mark's, Riverside, R. I. Rev. Ernest Marriett, rector of St. 
James, Fall River, was in charge from April 2d, 1888, until 
December 12th, 1889, when he resigned to become rector of 
St. John's, Stockport, N. Y. Rev. Percy S. Grant, rector of 
St. Mark's, Fall River, officiated from about the time that 
Mr. Marriett left until he became rector of the Ascension, New 
York City, 1893. Rev. Herman Page, rector of St. John's, 
Fall River, succeeded Mr. Grant, and continued in charge of 
the parish until about 1900. He was consecrated missionary 
Bishop of Spokane, Jan. 28, 1915. 

The membership of the church, which has always been 
small, at present numbers 132, and the Sunday school has 108 

This parish received financial aid from the Diocesan 
Board of Missions during a long period of its history, and for 
many years its various interests have been largely sustained 
by the liberality of the Hon. Frank Shaw Stevens, whose 
generous fortune and good will made the erection of the new 
church possible. 

The parish records show that at a special meeting, held 
March 3d, 1899, it was "Voted to accept the provisions of the 
will of the late Frank S. Stevens, relating to the construction 
of a church building for the Society, " and also the following 
testimonial: "The acceptance of such a gift as the $20,000 
church provided for in the will of the late Frank Shaw Stevens 
to which Mrs. Stevens added $15,000 more, demands more 
than a formal vote of acknowledgment from the parish of 
Christ church. As it is otherwise impossible to show our 
appreciation, it is but fitting that our gratitude should at 
least be expressed upon the records of our parish life. 

The new church will stand as a permanent memorial to 
the life and character of him who gave it. Mr. Stevens was not 
a member of the church, but his interest, and his faith in its 
value, were evinced by his unfailing support of this church 
both in life and death. He was a faithful vestryman of the 
parish for many years, and in spite of his many business cares 
always found time to attend our parish meetings. In all 
financial matters he was our invaluable adviser and friend. 
In fact, it is impossible to see how services could have been 
maintained but for his generosity. The new edifice will stand 

122 History of Swansea 

as an evidence of his faith in the church and of his generosity 
towards it. 

This generosity of Mr. Stevens toward this church, how- 
ever, was but a single instance of that largeness of spirit for 
which his life was conspicuous; so this building will stand as 
a monument to that kindliness of heart in ail the work of life, 
which it is one great aim of the Christian Church to pro- 

To this and to future generations the church, together 
with the public library and the town hall, will be pointed out 
as the chief buildings of the town of Swansea; and the story 
will be told how once there lived here a man of high position, 
and busied with many affairs, who still found time faithfully to 
perform his duties as a citizen of this town, and who gave these 
three buildings, which bear their constant testimony to the 
truth that no man may rightfully live to himself alone. 

Christ church will indeed be fortunate to come into 
possession of so beautiful and dignified a house of worship ; but 
it is more fortunate in having it given by a man of such 
honesty, such generosity, and such public spirit. " 

The last service in the old church was held on the third 
Sunday after Trinity, June 18th, 1899. The building was sold 
by public auction, June 21st, 1899, for the sum of |57, and was 
speedily taken down and removed. Meanwhile the congre- 
gation met for worship in the Town Hall, awaiting the comple- 
tion of the new church. 

The Cornerstone of the New Christ Church was laid 
August 27, 1899, at 3:30 P. M., by the Rev. Henry M. Stone, 
Rector of Trinity Church, Newport. 

The Consecration of the New Church took place, June 6, 
1900, by the Rt. Rev. William Lawrence. 

The Rev. Edward Benedict of Princess Anne, Md., was 
called Dec. 26, 1900; and the Records show that he presided 
as Rector at the Annual Parish Meeting, April 8, 1901. He 
died in the Parish March 8, 1907; and was buried in the 
Church grounds. 

The Rectory was built in 1908-1909, the Vestry together 
with Mr. C. S. Hawkins being the building committee. 

The present Rector, the Rev. J. Wynne- Jones was called 
from Roslindale, Mass., May 17, 1909. 

Religious Work on Gardner's Neck 

The oldest resident in this section of the town, Mr. Samuel 
R. Gardner, can well remember going with his father and 

Churches 123 

mother, also of Elder Burnham going from his home seventy- 
three years ago to preach in the old school house, (then stand- 
ing by the road side a few hundred feet north of the present 
Chapel grounds, and now standing on the place of Mr. Wilham 
Reagan) where were wont to gather from time to time, the 
people, to hold prayer and social meetings. 

In the eighties, meetings were held in the east room of the 
South Swansea railroad station. Outgrowing this room, they 
were held in a building on the grounds of the late Edward M, 
Thurston, who with Job Gardner, WiUiam H. Greene, Elihu 
Andrews, William P. Shepard and many others, was very 
active in the leadership of these meetings, which were still 
later held in the new school house, standing at that time at 
*' Greens Corner, " so-called, and later removed to its present 

More recently, cottage meetings have been held in several 
different houses, Mr. Edward Doane's and Mr. Henry DeBlois' 
being among this number. About six years ago a Sunday 
School was started by Mr. Samuel E. Cole, and it was held for 
some time at his home near Davis's Corner, afterward held in 
a tent at Ocean Grove, and at the present time being success- 
fully conducted by the Superintendent, Mr. Everett Cornell, 
at his home. 

In October, 1914, with the increased population, there 
were many small children, also children of a larger growth, who 
were, from varied circumstances, unable to attend the Sunday 
Schools of the town. A few loyal-hearted mothers, interested 
in the welfare of the children, organized a Sunday School with 
the following officers : — Mr. Abram L. Burdick, Superintendent ; 
Mr. James Mercer, Assistant Superintendent; Mrs. Chester 
R. Gardner, Secretary and Treasurer. They took the name 
of The South Swansea Sunday School. The first year it was 
held at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Chester R. Gardner. During 
this time a society was formed called the South Swansea 
Sunday School Corporation, its object being to buy land and 
build thereon a Chapel. An executive committee of six was 
chosen to solicit pledges of assistance. Mr. Abram L. Burdick, 
President; Mr. A. Homer Skinner, Treasurer; Mr. Chester 
R. Gardner, Secretary; Mr. James Mercer, Mr. Charles 
Howell, and Mr. Frank J. Arnold constituted this committee. 
On November 17, 1914, the ladies formed The Ladies Aid 
Society with the following officers: Mrs. Abram L. Burdick, 
President; Mrs. Chester R. Gardner, Vice President; Mrs. 
Frank J. Arnold, Secretary and Treasurer. The gentlemen 
joining as honorary members, helping the finances to a great 
degree. The object was to assist the Sunday School. 

124 History of Swansea 

Their united efforts enabled them to purchase the land 
for the Chapel, of Mr. Edwin C. Gardner in November 1915. 

In the month of August 1915, an evening service being 
much desired by the community, the home that had cradled 
the Sunday School was offered for this service. In November 
a building just north was obtained and services continued 
there to the present time each Sunday evening, being much 
enjoyed and very helpful in binding the hearts of the people 
in Christian fellowship and love. 

The Sunday School Corporation from its members 
selected five, namely, Mr. Charles A. Chace, Mr. Edward Gross, 
Mr. Chester R. Gardner, and two ladies, Mrs. Sidney K. 
Crittenden, and Mrs. Chester R. Gardner, who should act as a 
building committee in all its details, they considering the plans 
with the corporation. The plans were later given to a con- 
tractor chosen by the committee. The Corner Stone of this 
Chapel was laid May 6, 1916; and the Chapel was dedicated 
September 10, 1916. 

The Universalist Society of Swansea and Rehoboth 

About 1862, the Rev. A. M. Rhodes of Seekonk, Mass. 
began to preach on alternate Sundays, in former school-house 
known as Liberty Hall, Swansea Factory, of late years known 
as Hortonville. Later a Union Chapel was erected there, in 
which Mr. Rhodes continued to officiate once in two weeks — 
for many years. 

The late James Eddy, Esq. a well known and highly 
esteemed citizen of Swansea, was accustomed to contribute 
liberally to the support of this society of which he was a stead- 
fast member from its origin. Mr. Eddy and Nathaniel B. 
Horton were the founders of the Society ; and largely supported 
the services; and since the days of Mr. Rhodes, the Rev. 
William Miller of Swansea, and others have held occasional 

Swansea Monthly Meeting of Friends 

Swansea Monthly Meeting of Friends was established or 
set up by Rhode Island Quarterly Meetings in 9th mo. (Sept.) 

Meetings for worship of the Society were first held in the 
town of Troy under the care of a committee of Swansea 
Monthly Meeting consisting of Benjamin Slade, William 

Churches 125 

Slade, Eben Slade, David Earle, and Oliver Chace in 1818 as 
per record of said Monthly Meeting of 11th Mo. 30th, 1818 
and was held in a building called the Troy Mill Dye House 
located in front of the original Troy Factory of the Troy Co., 
upon the site of the present office building, and were held in 
said place continually until the erection of the first Meeting 
house by the Society in 1822, upon the north side of the present 
meeting house lot where the present Friends Meeting House 
now stands. Which was built in the year 1836, and the first 
meeting for worship was held there on the 12th of 12th Mo. 
(Dec.) of that year, on both morning and afternoon of that 
day, and attended by Murry Lindley Hoag an eminent 
nainister of the Society from 29 years of age. His morning 
discourse occupied one hour and 50 minutes. In the afternoon 
of the same day the funeral of John Buffinton, father of the 
Hon. James Buffinton was held, at which the above minister 
preached, the sermon lasting one hour and fifteen minutes. 

Rest House 

The Rest House was built and generously endowed by Mrs. Frank S, Stevens, of 
Swansea. It is designed as a place for recreation, rest and quiet, in the first place for 
the clergy of the diocese, and then for churchmen and women of this diocese who may 
wish to withdraw for a few days from the pressure of work for a short holiday in the 

Jonathan Hill House 



Swansea, first of all is an Agricultural Town — and as such 
has held a high rank 

Forges and Iron- Works 

4 S early as 1645, works were set up at Lynn, but the people 
/\ objected to them through fear that the use of so much 
charcoal would deplete the supply of wood. In 1646, 
one Dr. Child, at Braintree, produced some tons of castiron 
untensils, such as pots, stoves, mortars, and skillets. But the 
works were soon abandoned, perhaps because of the absence of 
iron-mines to supply material, and the lack of coal, or other 
suitable fuel. In 1652, there came from Pontipool, Wales, 
James and Henry Leonard, with Ralph Russell, and at 
Raynham, they begun the use of "bog-iron." This was the be- 
ginning of the Taunton-Raynham iron-works, which was con- 
tinued by the Leonards during seven generations. 

Other works of this kind were set up, in Kingston, and in 
Middleborough, where considerable deposits of bog-iron were 
discovered; and worked with success and profit; such man- 
ufactures being, of course, very important to the colonies. 

"For generations new deposits of bog-iron were found. 
In 1751, a century from the building of the first works, Joseph 
Holmes, fishing in Jones' River Pond, Kingston, caught a 
fragment of ore on his hook; the bed so revealed was worked 
until it had produced three thousand tons, some of which 
formed balls for Washington's artillery." 

Note. The bog-ore was usually loose on the bottom of 
the ponds. A man with a sort of oyster-tongs could get a half 
a ton in a day; this made some two hundred and fifty pounds 
of good iron, and was worth in the rough state about three 
dollars — a large return for a day's work in Colonial times. 

Pilgrim Republic, 

In the eastern part of Swansea, on a farm now owned by 
John Tattersall is a spot that has long been known as *'the 
iron mine, " probably because traces of iron rust are to be seen 
there; and possibly because deposits of ore may have been 
worked there in the early history of the town. 

That there were forges and iron-works in Swansea, as 
indicated by the deed which follows is not surprising. 

130 History of Swansea 

Deed dated Jan. 29, 1725. 

Thomas Wood, John Wood, Samuel Wheaton, John Wood 
Jr., Thomas Wood Jr., Hannah Hail Widow all of Swansea 
County of Bristol province of Massachusetts Bay, N. England 
yeoman. To Jacob Hathaway of Freetown yeoman and Isaac 
Chase Showanet yeoman, for 196£, seven fourteenths of a 
fourge or iron works, and about three acres of land situated on 
both sides of the matapossete river. Thomas Wood conveys 
2 shares, John Wood 1 share, John Wood Jr. 1 share, Hannah 
Haile, widow 1 share which makes up the 7/14 or the full one 
half of the said Fourge. 

Witness: Signed, 

Isaac Mason Thomas Wood 

Joseph Mason John Wood 

Samuel Wheaton 

John Wood Jr. 

Thomas Wood Jr. 

Hannah Haile 

In the Official Topographical Atlas of Massachusetts 
speaking of geological formations, and the distributions of bog- 
iron ore, it is said — "As well known, vegetation, especially 
the organic acids mixed with marshy water, has the power of 
first dissolving the iron oxides from the soil, and then precip- 
itating them in the form of bog-ore, or the peroxide. As these 
beds would be most abundant where iron was most widely 
distributed, even if the percentage was small, the course of the 
rock is clearly indicated by these alluvial beds. It was chiefly 
their distribution that has enabled us to mark out the area of 
those upon the map." 

Swansea Factory 

Said to be the Second Cotton Factory in this Country 

1804, Apr. 2 Benjamin & Philip Martin sold all their 
farm left them by their honored father Benjamin Martin in 
his will 43 acres together with the dwelling house, barn, com 
barn, blacksmith shop, and corn mill to Dexter Wheeler. 

1806 Dexter Wheeler sold Nathaniel Wheeler half of the 
above farm. 

1806, Oct. 1 D & N Wheeler sold Sabray Lawton 1/3 of 
an acre with third part of a grist mill thereon. 

1806, Nov. 1 Dexter Wheeler, Nathaniel Wheeler, black- 
smith and Sabray Lawton, Gentleman convey to OUver Chace 

Business 131 

the 1/4 part of a certain piece of land purchased of Benjamin 
and Philip Martin containing by estimation one acre with 1/4 
part of a cotton factory thereon standing with all the apparatus 
belonging and the quarter part of a grist mill and as large 
privilege of pondage as it shsdl ever need and of both dams and 
a privilege to pass from the highway to said factory and mill 
with a cart team and horse where the path is now trod. 

The factory and dam was constructed this year by Oliver 

1807 D & N Wheeler sold James Maxwell one fifth part. 

1809 D & N Wheeler sold James Maxwell, of Warren, 
Oliver Chace and Sabray Lawton, of Rehoboth 3/5 of the land 
owned by the factory company. 

1811 Oliver Chace sold 4/5 of half an acre to James 
Maxwell, James DriscoU Sabray Lawton, D & N Wheeler. 

1811 Dexter Wheeler sold 1/20 of the Swansea Cotton 
Manufacturing Company to Joseph Buffington. 

1811 Benjamin Buffington of Somerset bought 1/20 for 

1811 D & N Wheeler & Sally Wheeler sold OUver Chace 
the farm bought of B & P Martin with all their buildings 
thereon except what has heretofore been deeded to O. Chace, 
James Maxwell, James DriscoU, Sabray Lawton and Benjamin 

1813 Nathaniel Wheeler sold John Martin 1/10 part for 

1813 Sabray Lawton sold James Maxwell, James DriscoU 
& Oliver Chace aU right in the Swansea Cotton Manufacturing 

1813 James MaxweU, James DriscoU & OUver Chace sold 
Joseph G. Luther 1/20. 

1818 The Swansea Cotton Manufacturing Company con- 
sisted of James MaxweU, James DriscoU, OUver Chace, 
Benjamin Buffinton, James Martin WiUiam Mason, Joseph 
Buffington and Joseph G. Luther. 

1827 Oliver Chace sold Thomas Wanning 1/20 part. 

1830 OUver Chace sold Thomas Wanning the farm 35 

The factory was burned about 1836 and never rebuilt. 

This privilege had the greatest faU of any on the stream. 
OUver Ames has some negotiations concerning its purchase 

About the year 1805, Dexter Wheeler, mentioned above, 
conceived the idea of spinning cotton by horse power, and for 
that purpose he made two spinning frames, a card, and roving 
and drawing frame, and moved them by horse power making 
as handsome yarn as did Samuel Slater. This he performed on 

132 History of Swansea 

the place of his father in Rehoboth. This experiment satisfied 
those who afterward became associated with him of his rare 
genius; and in 1806, they built a small mill in Swansea and 
placed therein some two to three hundred spindles. 

In the year 1809, our friend with others owning water 
power in Rehoboth, commenced and carried forward the 
manufacturing of cotton, but, not finding that place capacious 
enough for his strength of mind and ambition, in the year 
1813, removed from Rehoboth to Fall River, then called Troy, 
where in company with some of the residents of the town who 
were owners of water power and others from adjoining towns; 
they commenced in the name of the Fall River Manufacturing 
Co., the manufacture of cotton. 

Mr. Wheeler was principal in the oversight in building the 
mill and dam. He also built all the machinery for spinning and 
operated in the mill. He was one of those rare geniuses who 
could build a mill and the machinery to manufacture cotton 
cloth, and operate it. In this mill the first yarn was spun, the 
first cotton picker built, and the first yard of cotton woven in 
said town by water power — all with the exception of the looms 
(which were made by Wheaton Bailey and John Orswell) were 
made by Mr. Wheeler. 

He with his workmen forged his machinery by the use of 
a triphammer in a shop near where the GRANITE BLOCK 
now stands. 

Swansea Agricultural Library Association 

The Swansea Agricultural Library Association was organ- 
ized in January 1866, comprising many of the leading farmers, 
and others who were interested in farming ; and it established 
and maintained an agricultural library. In the Autumn of 1873, 
the Association built and furnished a Hall, in which to hold 
its meetings, located on the land of James E. Easterbrooks, 
one of its active members, at *' Luther's Corners," now more 
generally known as Swansea Centre. The organization dis- 
banded in 1902, and donated its books to the Free Public 

Swansea Grange, No. 148. 

The Swansea Grange, No. 148, was first organized Jan. 
13, 1888; but, after a while suspended its activities. It was 

Business 133 

reorganized, Feb. 28, 1913, with the same name and Number, 
and at this time, (1916) has 280 members; also took the prize 
as having had the largest average attendance in the State 


The shores of Swansea have abounded in shell-fish, 
though at present, having been overworked there is scarcity. 
The tidal-rivers, which make up into the Town used to afford 
good fishing also; but of late years, traps have taken the 
migratory fish before they get to the mouths of the rivers. 
However, *'the fishing-privilege" is still sold at auction, with 
little or no competition, at the annual March meeting. 

As has been mentioned in another connection, there was 
a period, at the close of the war of 1812, when fisheries became 
**more attractive and lucrative than farming," in particular 
to the Gardners of Gardner's Neck, now known as South 
Swansea. The war of 1812 having interfered with whaling 
interests, the manufacture of oil from menhaden was made 
profitable also. And later there was quite a general demand 
for dressed and salted menhaden which were shipped to the 
Southern markets and to the West Indies. 

It is probable that the Indians taught the first white 
settlers to use fish in the hills of corn and other crops as 
fertilizer; and it became a common practice with the Swansea 
farmers. But later, between 1880, and 1890, fish-fertilizers, 
as by-products of the menhaden oil industry, became impor- 
tant in this town, at the works of Wm. J. Brightman & Co., 
on Cole's River, at Touisset, where *'the fishworks" became 
a scientific manufactory. Fish scraps from the oil-works at 
Tiverton, potash from New York, acid phosphates from the 
Rumford Chemical works, and bones from Hargraves of Fall 
River were compounded according to formula, to meet the 
demands of different kinds of soils and crops. C. M. O'Brien 
was the superintendent of the business, and from fifty to 
sixty, or even more, men were in the employ of the Company, 
varying at different seasons of the year. 

The North Swansea Manufacturing Company 

In 1879 Daniel R. Child came from Providence R. I. and 
built a small shop on the old Ship Yard lot at Barneyville 
under the name of D. R. Child Co. He manufactured Collar 

134 History of Swansea 

Buttons and Sleeve Links and employed four or five men. 
After two or three years he moved the building to the spot 
where the present Shop now stands enlarging it and employ- 
ing more hands, both men and girls. 

In 1894 he sold out to J. L. Fenimore who later transferred 
it to Lorenzo P. Sturtevant who enlarged it to the present 

In 1910 John C. L. Shabeck bought it and ran it about 
six months and then sold it to Charles W. Green and Gilbert 
R. Church of Warren, R. I. In 1911 Benjamin F. Norton 
and Jeremiah A. Wheeler were admitted into the firm and the 
name was changed to the North Swansea Manufacturing Co. 
They employ between fifty and sixty hands, making Collar 
Buttons, Sleeve Links, Tie Clasps and Stick Pins. 

Swansea Dye Works Property Covering 74 Years 

With the installation of 20 electric motors at the Swansea 
Dye Works, it may be interesting to note the changes and 
improvements that have taken place at this establishment, 
and the other enterprises that formerly stood on the site of the 
present flourishing plant. About 1840, the first venture was 
a paper mill, where straw paper was manufactured by William 
Mitchell. Wood avenue, the road leading to the Dye Works, 
was then known at the Paper Mill Lane, and occasionally one 
hears that name used now by the older inhabitants. 

After lying idle for some time, a bakery under the pro- 
prietorship of Howard & Mitchell, was carried on for a number 
of years in place of paper manufacture. The firm name was 
afterwards changed to Munroe & Howard. Over the bakeshop 
was a dance hall, where many of the old-timers enjoyed the 
country dances. The next business venture was by Mary I. 
Altham, who, with her son, James, carried on a small bleaching 
concern for a short time, which was subsequently taken up 
and enlarged by Mayall & Hacker, who purchased the prop- 
erty of Mr. Mitchell. Hamlet Hacker eventually came into 
full possession, later taking into company a Mr. Watson, the 
firm being known as Hacker & Watson. During their owner- 
ship the mill, a wooden structure, was burned down, but was 
afterward rebuilt by Mr. Hacker, who later sold out to John 
Monarch, and business was carried on under the name of 
Monarch's Bleachery. Later this was bought by James 
Butterworth, of Somerset, who was joined by James Kirker, 
and it was during their possession that the buildings were 
again destroyed by fire. They were rebuilt by Mr. Kirker, 

Business 135 

who became next owner. Business was somewhat handicapped 
by using old machinery which was constantly in need of 
repairs. After Mr. Kirker, business was carried on for a few 
years by the Eagle Turkey Red Co., after which it came under 
the present corporation of the Swansea Dye Works, with 
Charles Robertson as superintendent for a number of years. 
He was succeeded by Richard Booth, the present superin- 
tendent, who has held the position for about 20 years. The 
company employs between 50 and 60 hands, including residents 
of adjoining towns. With up-to-date interior fixtures, neat 
and artistic grounds, and a setting with Lee's River, banked 
by Horton & Co.*s 50 acre peach orchard for a background, 
and the picturesque rock-banked Bleachery Pond in the fore- 
ground, the Swansea Dye Works is an institution of which 
Swansea may well be proud. 

In the summer of 1916, an addition was made, on the 
south side of the building, 50 x 100 feet, and two stories, 
increasing the capacity of the works about one third, and 
making a department in which a better quality of goods, with 
fast colors will be finished. 



Macaulay, in his history of England, says: "A people which takes no 
pride in the noble achievements of remote ancestors, will never achieve 
anything worthy to be remembered by remote descendants." — 

HISTORY begins with the family; and is outhned in the 
lives of the individuals who are the natural leaders in 
their day and generation. We find the essential ele- 
ments between the blank leaves of the family Bible. Nothing 
can be of more abiding interest than personal biographies 
and family genealogies. . , , i ,.^ r 

The founders of the town give the key-note to the hte ot 
its successive generations — its manners, customs, and institu- 
tions, its politics and rehgion. Their posterities may or may 
not keep up to the standard which their ancestors set up for 
them in the beginning. They may fall below the ideals and 
examples of their forefathers. The pubHc records and the 
family histories will indicate in some measure what the life of 
the people has been, « , t^m • 

Swansea was founded in the spirit of the Pilgrims; and 
has never been a Puritan community; though temporarily 
under the pohtical rule of Massachusetts Bay. The founders 
of the town were men of learning, piety, and large experience; 
who deUberately, and firmly stood for civil and rehgious 
liberty; and it is significant that "Tolerance" is the watch- 
word of our seal. . j j 

We ought to honor our parents as a religious duty, and 
because it is "the first commandment with promise." Our 
highest welfare depends upon it; and indeed, it is the basis of 
all human institutions. 

We need to know our progenitors in order that we may 
understand ourselves; and if each generation could be brought 
up to reverence their ancestors, in the long run there would be 
ancestors more worthy of worship; and descendants more 
worthy of them. . . . 

The most important asset of any community is its 

140 History of Swansea 

Allen Family 

SwANZEY Mass. 

William Allin, Ist. Born in England in year 1640 Died year 1685 

Swansea Mass. May 4, 1680 

Bought by William Allin of Prudence Island. 

Mr. John Saffain of Boston Mass. administrator of the estate of Capt. 
Thomas Willett, of Swanzey Mass, sold for the sum of £55 of New England 
money, to William Allin of Prudence Island, fifty akers of land be it more 
or less, in the North purchased Lands, lying on both sides of the seven 
mile river, lying and ajoyning to the North side of Samson Masons land. 

William Allin settled on Prudence Island In year 1660. He owned a 
large stock farm there; and was Constable of the Island, also surveyor of 
Cattle for a number of years. 

The very cold winter in year 1680 the Bay was frozen over several 
inches in thickness from Providence to Newport, and the ground was 
covered with snow. Mr. Allin taking advantage of this opputinity to 
move his dwelling to Swanzey. With the aid of Indian servants they cut 
down several trees and erected a huge sled of same, after a hard and 
laborous task they finally raised the dwelling off the ground high enough 
to enable the sled to be shoved underneath, 4 oxen were hitched to the sled 
and this bulky freight was drawn over the frozen Bay to AJlins Cove; at the 
head of the cove, it was drawn up an inchne with great diJ0Bculty, they 
finally succeeded in landing it on Swanzey soil before dark. The next 
summer Mr. Allin built on an addition and made other improvements to 
his mansion. 

At one time, the Post Office was established in this house. 

In his WiU— Proved June 29, 1685. 

He leaves to — second Son Thomas, My now dwelling house in Swanzey 

only one half of it to be for wife Elizabeth for fife, and the stock thereon 

equally to Wife and Thomas. He also left to his wife, an Indian Boy, 7 

years old. 

Inventory. Taken the 27th of the 4th month 1685, the following are 

only a few of the items. 

Forty head of Neat Cattle, besides 9 Calves £80 - 0/ - Od 

Thirty Swine £12, one Horse £3 £15 - 0/ - Od 

837 pounds of Sheeps wool at 7d £24 - 8/ - 3d 

656 Sheep and Lambs 135/ and 20 bushell Indian corn £175 - 0/ - Od 
One Indian Boy £46 - 0/ - Od 

Thomas Allin 2nd 
Son of William Ist. 

Lived in the old Homestead in Swanzey, Mass. 
Bom Jan 1668 Died Aug 11 1719 

His daughter Elizabeth, married Mr. Thomas Hill. 

Family Records 141 

His daughter Anna, married Ist Mr. Josiah Brown, 2nd John 

His daughter Rebeckah, married 1st Mr. Joseph Cole, 2nd 
Thomas Hill. 

His daughter Abigail married Joshua Bicknell. 

His daughter Allethea, married Nathaniel Vial. 

His Son Matthew, married Ruth Stockbridge. 

In his will — Proved Sept. 7th 1719 Swanzey Mass. 
He gave to his wife a third of personal and Real Estate in Swanzey. 


Among some of the items mentioned was 3 Negro slaves and an Indian 
Maid servant-£164 His real estate amounted to £1800. 

Swanzey Mass. 

Thomas Hill of Swanzey 1st Elizabeth Allin daughter of Thomas 2nd, 
his Wife Elizabeth died in year 1727, about four years after her decease. 
He became engaged to his Wifes sister, Rebeckah, they were about to be 
married in the town of Swanzey, when the said Thomas Hill was notifyed 
that the Laws of Massachusetts, forbade a man to marry his wifes sister. 
Thomas was not going to give up his sweetheart on account of Laws, so he 
loaded his personal goods and farming tools on his wagon, with his intended 
sitting on the seat beside him, they started off early in the morning on a 
long journey to North Kingston R. I. where he owned a farm, here they 
were married by a justice of the Pease, Mr. Benoni Hall and here they 
finally settled. 

Many of the descendants of William Allin 1st, were very prominent 
men during the Revolutionary war, such as Capt. Matthew Alhn, who 
marched with a Company of soldiers from Swanzey (now Barrington) to 
Bunker Hill in Charlestown Mass. and was on the firing line. 

Another well known man was Gen. Thomas AUin who had a Company 
in Barrington. 

Mr. Charles E. Allen, who is in the 9th generation (of William 1st who 
was born in year 1640) has in his possession an old pocket book, it is told 
by good authority, that this old relic was once the property of William 
Allin, who settled in Swansey in year 1680. Later generations of this 
family belong to the records of Barrington, R. I. 

Mrs. Mary Carpenter died of causes incidental to old age. She was 
born in Attleboro in 1834, the daughter of Square Allen and Elinor Luther 
Allen. The ancestral home was in Swansea near the site of the first meeting 
house erected in 1663. Her two great-grandfathers on the Allen side, Cap'n 
Joseph Allen and Spicer Hews were Revolutionary soldiers from Barrington 
and her maternal grandfather was Serg't Peleg Luther of Col. Christopher 
Lippit's Regiment in the Continental line. The Luther ancestors may be 
traced back to Martin Luther, the names of both Luther and Allen are 
conspicuous in the history of Barrington and Swansea. She was married to 
Mr. Carpenter April 10th 1854 and 50 years later, 1904 in Ehte HaU, 
Providence, they celebrated their golden wedding anniversary. Mrs. 

142 History of Swansea 

Carpenter died Aug. 29th 1915. Ella married Wm. O'Brien. Mabel 
married Albert Neigles. 

Gideon Allen, and Nehemiah Allen were among the first signers 
admitted to the Town. 

Squire Allen married Elizabeth — Dec. 26, 1790. His son, Ira AUen, 
married Rosamond Brightman of Fall River; and their son Theodore, born 
in Barrington, R. I. Aug. 31, 1830, married Harriet A. Hathaway, born in 
Fall River, June 15, 1839. Their children are: 

Bertha L. born in Swansea June 9, 1858. 
Laura E. born in Swansea March 1, 1860. 
Orville H. born in Swansea March 31, 1862. 
Ina F. born in Washington, D. C. May 3, 1865. 
Ellen born in Washington D. C. April 14, 1868. 
Ethelyn R. born in Swansea Nov. 17, 1878. 

Arnold Family 

Franklin Gifford Arnold, of Swansea, Mass., is a descendant of two of 
the oldest families of Rhode Island, tracing his lineage from Gov. Benedict 
Arnold of Rhode Island and Surgeon John Greene. His Arnold line is as 

(I) Gov. Benedict Arnold, of Rhode Island. 

(II) Caleb Arnold, born Dec. 19, 1644, died Feb. 9, 1719. June 10, 
1666 he married Abigail Wilbur. 

(III) Samuel Arnold, was born in 1679. 

(IV) Joseph Arnold, son of Samuel, died in 1776. He married 
Abigail Gifford Nov. 23, 1732, and (second) Hanna Gifford in August, 1737. 

(V) Edmund Arnold married Abby Himes, and their children were: 
Edmund, Mary, John, Charles, Joseph, Nabby, Hannah, Samuel, ShefQeld, 
and Dorcas. 

(VI) John Arnold, born in North Kingston, R. I., in 1778, married 
in 1800 Sarah Sherman, who was born in 1771, and died in 1841. Their 
children were all born in Exeter, R. I., as follows: Abby, March 1, 1801; 
Lucy, May 27, 1802; George, Nov, 26, 1803; Edmund, Feb. 13, 1805; 
Mary, July 23, 1806; John, Jan. 9, 1809; Martha, April 10, 1811; Stephen, 
Feb. 18, 1813; Sarah A., March 31, 1815. John Arnold spent the early 
part of his life in Exeter, but passed his last years with his son Edmund, at 
Portsmouth, R. I., and later in Swansea, where he died in June, 1865. His 
wife preceded him in death by many years. 

(VII) Deacon Edmund Arnold was bom in Exeter, R. I., Feb. 13, 
1805, and spent his boyhood and early school days there. From 1832 to 
1865, he resided on the big Hoppin farm in Portsmouth, R. I., in 1865 
removing to Swansea and buying a farm on Gardner's Neck, a half mile 
south of Swansea Village. A few years before his death he removed to that 
village. He was active in the affairs of the Christian Church in Swansea, 
as he had been in Portsmouth, and for many years was deacon in the 
Swansea Church. He also took an interest in the affairs of the town. Jan. 
1, 1832, he married, in Coventry, R. I., Sally Jencks Greene, born June 18, 
1812, who died Aug. 17, 1864. Their children are as follows: James E., 
born July 29, 1833, died Sept. 13, 1874, married Mary M. Dawley; Samuel 
Greene, born Feb. 9, 1835, is mentioned below; William H., born April 22, 
1837, of Newport, R. I., who married Amarintha Tallman and (second) 
Ruth Hazard; John H., bom April 4, 1839, married Lois Anthony, resides 
in Cambridge, Mass., and is librarian of the Harvard Law School; Sarah 
G., born April 26, 1841, died May 29, 1899, married Charles Field; Abby 

Family Records 143 

M. was born March 26, 1844; married Edwin Cotton Gardner; Willard 
N. born Jan. 14, 1846, married Amanda Eggleston and resides in Fall River; 
George A., born Feb. 26, 1850, died Dec. 29, 1894, married Emma Veazie; 
Mary S., born Jmie 9, 1856, died Feb. 23, 1868. 

(VIII) Samuel Green Arnold, son of Deacon Edmund Arnold, was 
born in Portsmouth, R. I., Feb. 9, 1835. In 1856 he married Hannah H. 
Gifford, daughter of George GifTord of Portsmouth, R. I. For a number of 
years Mr. Arnold engaged in farming in Portsmouth, removing thence to 
Hillside Stock Farm, owned by the late Frank S. Stevens. He remained 
there, managing the farm, seven years, going thence to the Thomas Wood 
place, at that time owned by Leander Gardner. After six years he removed 
to the place just south of Swansea Village, on the Fall River road, where he 
resided the rest of his life, dying Jan. 5, 1902. His wife died July 26, 1915. 

In March, 1891, Mr. Arnold was elected selectman and continued to 
serve in that office until March, 1901. He was chairman of the board from 
1896 to 1901. In the spring of 1901 he was chosen sealer of weights and 
measures. He was a charter member of Oakland Lodge, No. 32, 1. O. O. F., 
South Portsmouth, R. I., and helped to build the Hall for the society. He 
was also a charter member of Dorothy Brown Rebekah Lodge of Swansea. 
The children of Samuel Green and Hannah H. (Gifford) Arnold were: 
Franklin Gifford, born Sept. 11, 1858, Arthur E., born April 29, 1860, Lois 
E., born Oct. 24, 1866, married John R. Wood, Aug. 16, 1887; Abby A., 
born Dec. 23, 1867, married Preston H. Gardner, Nov. 22, 1888, and died 
Jan. 17, 1892; George W., born April 25, 1870, married Nov. 3, 1896, Ida 
M. Gardner, daughter of Stephen M. and Fanny (Slade) Gardner, who 
died Jan. 8, 1900. Their children were: Harold Gifford, born March 13, 
1897, and Grace Gardner, born April 29, 1898; Charles G., born Mar. 31, 
1862, died July 31, 1864, in infancy. 

(IX) Franklin Gifford Arnold, born Sept. 11, 1858, in Portsmouth, 
R. I., married Dec. 14, 1881, Angeline Haile Wood, daughter of Nathan M. 
and Abby M. (Kingsley) Wood, born June 30, 1859, died Dec. 1, 1916. 
Children were born to them as follows : Edmund Kingsley, June 27, 1884, 
(graduate of Brown University, 1904, taught in Bridgeport, Conn., and in 
CoUege in Honolulu, S. I., and is now Supt. of Schools at Wickford, R. I.,) 
married Dec. 16, 1914, Gertrude Morrison, born May 13, 1889 at Vancouver, 
B. C. ; Mary Wood, Oct. 30, 1886, (graduate of Pembroke, 1908, is a teacher; 
Preston Franklin, Oct. 24, 1893, graduate of Brown University 1913, post- 
graduate Harvard 1914, A. M. in History; Isabel Greene, July 24, 1895, 
graduate of Dean Academy 1913, N. E. Conservatory of Music, one year, 
sings in concerts and as entertainer. 

(IX) Arthur Edmund, born April 29, 1860, married Eloise 
Kingsley Wood, bom Aug. 19, 1861, daughter of Nathan M. and Abby M. 
(Kingsley) Wood. Their children are: Howard Samuel, born July 13, 
1889, married Meribah A,,daughter of John and Miimie M. Gifford, born 
Dec. 2, 1888; Abby Almy, Dec. 10, 1890, married Harold R. Negus, July 
17, 1913, and they have one son Russell A., born Jan. 11, 1914; Nathan 
Wood, Feb. 14, 1893; George Albert, Oct. 31, 1894. 

Bari^y Family 

The Barneys of Bristol County, Mass., come from the early Rehoboth 
and Swansea families, in which region of Country the name has been con- 
tinuous for two hundred and more years, during which it has had a credit- 
able and honorable standing among the sturdy yeomanry of New England. 
(I) Jacob Barney, born about 1601, is said to have come from 
Swansea, Wales, to Salem, Mass., about 1630. He was made a freeman 

144 History of Swansea 

May 14, 1634, and represented Salem in the General Court in 1635, 1638, 
1647, and 1655. He was an intelligent man, and often served as selectman, 
deputy to the General Court, etc. He opposed the sentence of the General 
Court against those who petitioned for freer franchise. He followed the 
occupation of tailor. His death occurred at Salem, April 28, 1673, at the 
age of seventy-three years. 

Popes "Pioneers of Massachusetts" says that an Anna Barney was a 
member of the church at Salem, in 1637, and queries whether she was 
Jacob's wife; but in the settlement of his estate, Sept. 30, 1673, the relict, 
Elizabeth, is called the mother of Jacob, only son of the deceased, and he 
is called her son. As he was born in England before 1634, Anna could not 
have been the wife of his father in 1637. There is little doubt that Jacob 
Barney, the elder, was son of Edward Barney of Bradenham, County of 
Bucks, England, yeoman, who bequeathed in his will of Oct. 9, 1643, to 
"son Jacob Barney, if he is living at the time of my death and come over 
into England. " Edward's wife may have been Isabel Rooles, daughter of 
John Rooles, of Turfile, County of Bucks, England. 

The children of Jacob and EHzabeth Barney were: Jacob; Sarah, who 
married John Grover, and died in November, 1662; John, baptized Dec. 
13, 1639; and Hannah who married John Cromwell, who died in Septem- 
ber, 1700. 

(II) Jacob Barney (2) was born in England, and was married Aug. 
18, 1657, in Salem, Mass., to Hannah Johnson, who died June 5, 1659. He 
married (second) April 26, 1660, Ann Witt, daughter of John and Sarah 
Witt, of Lynn. His children were: Josiah; Hannah, born May 30, 1659; 
Hannah (second), March 2, 1661; Sarah, Sept. 12, 1662; Abigail, Oct. 31, 
1663; John Aug. 1, 1665; Jacob, May 21, 1667; Ruth, Sept. 27, 1669; 
Dorcas, April 22, 1671; Joseph, March 9, 1673; Israel, June 17, 1675; 
Jonathan, March 29, 1677; Samuel, Feb. 10, 1679; and Hannah (third), 
Feb. 6, 1681. Mr. Barney was a Baptist minister and founded the churches 
in Charlestown and Swansea, and was probably the one who founded the 
First Baptist Society in Boston in 1668. He removed from Salem not 
earUer than 1673, going to Bristol and Rehoboth. His will was made July 
13, 1694, and probated Feb. 25, 1695, his widow Ann being appointed 
executrix. She died March 17, 1701, in Rehoboth. 

(Ill) Joseph Baraey, son of Jacob (2) and Ann (Witt), born in 
1673, came to Rehoboth in 1690 with Josiah, his half-brother, and married 
Constant Davis, daughter of James and Ehzabeth Davis, of Haverhill, 
Mass. Their children were: Elizabeth, born in 1694, who married Joseph 
Mason, of Swansea; Daniel, born in 1697, who married Alice (or Freelove) 
Wheaton; Joseph, who married Joanna Martin; John, who married (first), 
Hannah Clark, and (second) Keziah Horton; Esther, who married Daniel 
Davis, son of Elisha and Grace (Shaw) Da\'is; Ann; Seu-ah, who married 
John Davis, June 30, 1732; and Anna. 

(IV) Daniel Barney, son of Joseph, born in 1697, married Freelove 
Wheaton, and had chilidren: Mary, born in 1739; Constant, in 1731; Betsy, 
in 1733; Anna, in 1734; Daniel, in 1736; (married Rachael Bowen) ; David 
and Jonathan, 1741; Beniah, 1744; Sarah, March 2, 1737. 

(V) Daniel Barney Jr., son of Daniel, bom in 1736, married 
Rachael Bowen, and had children: Daniel; Nathan; Jonathan; Peleg; 
Reuben; Ebenezer, and Rhoda. 

(VI) Jonathan Barney, son of Daniel Jr., married (first) Elizabeth 
(Betsey,) daughter of Marmaduke Mason, and their children were : Mason, 
Rachael, Hannah, Nathan, Jonathan, Betsey, Mary, Nancy, Anthony, 
Alanson and Matilda. 

(VII) Mason Barney, son of Jonathan, born in 1782, married in 
1802 Martha Smith, who died a few years later. He married (second) in 

Family Records 145 

1812, Polly Grant. His children by the first marriage were: Angeline, 
born in 1802, married John D. Mason; Edwin, born in 1804, married Abby 
Luther; Mason was born in 1808. To the second marriage were born: 
Martha, who married William Franklin; Jonathan, unmarried; Mary, who 
married Enos Conkling; Betsey, who married Charles Smith; Rodman, 
who married Elizabeth Seymour; and Esther and Mason, both unmarried. 

(VIII) Rodman Barney, son of Mason and Martha, married 
Ehzabeth Seymour, and had children: Esther M., who married William 

D. Vose, of Newport, R. I., and has a daughter, Lozetta; Algernon 
HoUister; Rodman, who died aged two years; and Jonathan, who married 
Ida Barker, and Uves in Barrington, R. I. 

(IX) Algernon HoUister Barney, son of Rodman, was born at his 
present residence in Swansea, Mass. His education was obtained in the 
public schools of Swansea, the Warren High School, and Cady's private 
school in Barrington, R. I. When he was sixteen years of age his father 
died, and the care of the farm devolved upon the young son. He sold hay 
and produce to the city of Providence, and at the age of eighteen went to 
Canada to buy horses for that city. For over 25 years he has been the 
holder of the contract for the disposal of the garbage of Providence, and at 
one time had the contract for the same work for Pawtucket, Fall River, 
New Bedford, and Newport. He holds the government mail contract in 
Ptovidence. He has a livery stable on Dorrance street. Providence, where 
he keeps 125 horses. His various contracts necessitate the constant use 
of three hundred horses, and over two hundred men are on his pay roll. 
His Swansea farm contains 1,200 acres. He pays considerable attention 
to raising hogs. He has always been blessed with good health, and his 
happy disposition has won him many friends who have rejoiced in the 
success and prosperity that have attended his efiforts in the business world. 
He was one of the founders of the old Providence Athletic Club. He is a 
member of the Elks, the United Workmen, and the Masons, having at- 
tained to the thirty-second degree in Masonry; and is also a member of 
the Shrine. 

Mr. Barney has been twice married. By his 6rst wife, Madora W. 
Brayton, he had three children: Carrie E., who married Willard C. 
Gardner, of Swansea, and had two children, Madora and Marcia; Rodman 
S., manager of his father's farm, who married Augusta Merriweather, and 
has five children, Mollie, Rodman, Algernon, Augusta and Elizabeth; and 
Ethel, who married Ernest Bell (who has charge of the U. S. mail contract 
in Providence for Mr. Barney) and has four children: Algernon S., Hope, 
Ernest and CaroHne. Aug. 30, 1907, Mr. Barney married (second) Jessie 

E. Sampson, of Fall River, Massachusetts. 

Brayton Family 

The first in America by this name, one Francis Brayton, came from 
England to Portsmouth, Rhode Island, where, in 1643, he was received as 
an inhabitant, in 1655, became a freeman, and to him nearly if not aU the 
Braytons of New England trace their origin. He soon entered into the 
pohtical fife of the country, serving as a member of the General Court of 
Commissioners for the Colony, for many years as member of the Rhode 
Island General Assembly, and frequently during the later generations his 
descendants have held positions of responsibility and trust in the public 
offices of State, and the private offices of the business world. The name is 
found on the rolls of the Unit^ States Army and Navy, and on the pro- 
fessional records of the clergy, the physician, and the lawyer. 

This sketch, however, is confined to one of the branches of the family 

146 History of Swansea 

several of whose members chose the commercial world for their sphere, and 
through which, during the phenomenal growth of Fall River's industrial 
life, the name of Brayton became prominent and influential. In 1714, 
Preserved Brayton, grandson of Francis, purchased 138 acres of land from 
WiUiam Little, whose father was one of the proprietors of the Shawomet 
Purchase in Swanzey, Massachusetts. This farm, since known as the 
Brayton Homestead, borders on the west bank of the Taunton river and 
is located in the present town of Somerset, which, in 1790, was set off from 
Swanzey (now spelled Swansea). 

Preserved had already married Content Coggeshall, the granddaughter 
of John Coggeshall, whose name is handed down in history as that of a man 
foremost in the annals of Rhode Island. To this new home he brought 
his wife and older children, and here was the birthplace of their younger 
children and many of their descendants. At the time of his death, he left 
this farm to his youngest son Israel, while to his other children he left land 
in different localities. 

Israel had a large family, and his children unite the name of Brayton 
with those of Read, Bowers, Winslow, and Slade, all closely identified with 
the growth of Swansea and Somerset. From John, son of Israel, the 
homestead came into possession of his son Israel, whose sons crossed the 
Taunton river and made their abode in the growing town of Fall River. 

The genealogy of this branch of the Brayton family, from its advent 
into this country, is chronologically arranged as follows: 

(I) Francis Brayton, the progenitor of the family in this country, 
was born in 1611, and died in 1692. He and his wife Mary had six children: 
Francis, Stephen, Martha, Elizabeth, Sarah, and Mary. The first three 
generations of the descendants of Francis are given by Austin in his 
Genealogical Dictionary of Rhode Island, and the records below briefly 
trace the hne of his son Stephen. 

(II) Stephen Brayton, son of Francis, married in 1678-9 Ann 
TaUman, daughter of Peter and Ann Tallman. Their children were Mary, 
EUzabeth, Aim, Preserved, Stephen, and Israel. 

(Ill) Preserved Brayton, son of Stephen, was born in Portsmouth, 
Rhode Island, March 21, 1684-5, and died in Swansea, Massachusetts, 
May 21, 1761. He married Content Coggeshall, daughter of John and 
Ehzabeth (Timberiake) Coggeshall. Their children were John, Stephen, 
David, Baulstone, Ann, Content, and Israel. 

(IV) Israel Brayton, son of Preserved, was born in Swansea, Mass., 
Oct. 13, 1727, and married April 19, 1752, Mary Perry. Their children 
were: Israel, born 1754; Preserved, born 1756; Content, born 1758, 
(married Capt. Nathan Read), David, born 1760, (died 1776), John, born 
1762, Mary, bom 1764, (married Phihp Bowers), Bethany, born 1766, 
(married Dr. John Winslow), Perry, bom 1768, and Baulston born 1769, 
(married Mercy Slade). 

(V) John Brayton, son of Israel, was born in Swansea, April 12, 
1762, and died in Somerset, March 12, 1829. He married, Nov. 21, 1782, 
Sarah Bowers, who was born July 13, 1763, and died Aug. 17, 1843. She 
was the daughter of Philip and Mary Bowers, and sister of Philip Bowers 
who married Mary Brayton, sister of John. The children of John and Sarah 
(Bowers) Brayton, were Mary, bom Aug. 16, 1783, who became the second 
wife of Dr. John Winslow; Sarah, bom Dec. 29, 1785, married Benjamin 
Clark Cornell; WiUiam Bowers, bora Feb. 2, 1788, drowned at sea; Nancy 
Jarrett Bowers, born July 18, 1790, who became the second wife of David 
Anthony; Israel, born July 29, 1792; Betsey W., died young; Content, 
died in 1872, unmarried; Stephen, who married, first, Mary H. Gray, and 
second, Abby Gray; Almira, married Captain Jesse Chace; Carohne and 
John, who died young. 

Family Records 147 

(VI) Israel Brayton, son of John, was born in Somerset, Mass., 
July 29, 1792, and died there, Nov. 5, 1866. He married, Aug. 1813, Kezia 
Anthony, who was born in Somerset, July 27, 1792, and died Oct. 24, 1880. 
She, also, was a descendant of one of the early settlers of Rhode Island, 
John Anthony, who came from England in 1634. Her line of descent is 
John and Susanna (Potter) Anthony, Abraham and Alice (Wodell) 
Anthony, William and Mary (Coggeshall) Anthony, Benjamin and Martha 
(Luther) Anthony, David and Submit (Wheeler) Anthony, who were the 
parents of Kezia. 

Israel and Kezia (Anthony) Brayton had nine children, namely: (I) 
Mary, who married, first, Major Bradford Durfee, second, Jeremiah S. 
Young. Her only child, Bradford Matthew Chalonor Durfee, died Sept. 
13, 1872, and in his memory she gave to the City of Fall River the B. M. 
C. Durfee High School. (2) William Bowers, who married Hannah Turner 
Lawton. (3) Nancy Jarrett Bowers, who married Daniel Chace. Their 
only child died young. (4) Elizabeth Anthony, who married the Rev. Roswell 
Dwight Hitchcock. Their children were: Roswell D., Mary B., Harriet B,, 
and Bradford W. Hitchcock. (5) David Anthony who married Nancy R. 
Jenckes. (6) John Summerfield, who married Sarah J. Tinkham. (7) 
Israel Perry, who married Parthenia Gardner. (8) Hezekiah Anthony, who 
married Caroline E. Slade. (9) Sarah S. Brayton, unmarried, who died in 
Fall River September 5, 1915. 

(VII) Mary Brayton, eldest daughter of Israel and Kezia (Anthony) 
Brayton, was born at Foxboro, Mass., May 9, 1814, and for several years 
previous to her marriage was engaged as a school teacher. In 1842 she 
married Major Bradford Durfee of Fall River, who died in 1843. She w^s 
again married, in 1851, to Hon. Jeremiah S. Yoimg, who died in 1861. To 
the first marriage there was born one son, Bradford Matthew Chaloner, 
on June 15, 1843, and he died unmarried in 1872. Mrs. Young died March 
22, 1891. ^^ . 

(VII) WiUiam Bowers Brayton, eldest son of Israel and Kezia 
(Anthony) Brayton, was born April 6, 1816, in Swansea, Mass. He was 
educated in the schools of Swansea, and spent one year at Wilbraham 
Academy. He became a teacher, as did nearly all of his brothers and 
sisters, and taught in Tiverton, Rhode Island, and elsewhere for two or 
three years. In 1832 he came to Fall River. His first commercial venture 
was in the grocery business, and he subsequently became a clerk on some 
of the boats running to Wood's Hole, and finally engaged in the gram 
business with his brother David. He continued in that business until his 
retirement, in 1877. His home was where the Fall River public library now 
stands. He was also engaged in farming in a limited way in the town of 
Somerset; and he was identified with the life of Fall River in various 
relations. In 1864 and 1865 he was a member of the common council; he 
was chairman of the Republican Committee, and for some years served as 
a justice of the peace. He was one of the incorporators of the First National 
Bank, of which he was senior director from the time of its organization. 
He was a man of keen intelligence and wide information. He attended the 
First Congregational Church, of which Mrs. Brayton and daughters became 

Oct. 26, 1843, Mr. Brayton married Hannah Turner, daughter of Capt. 
George and Patience (Turner) Lawton, and to them were born four children, 
namely: Julia Washburn, of Fall River; George Anthony, who married 
Sarah A. Smith and died in Fall River, without issue, Dec. 20, 1899; Mary, 
of Fall River; and William Bowers, Jr., who died June 4, 1875. Mr 
Brayton died in Fall River Aug. 21, 1887, and Mrs. Brayton passed away 
July 4, 1898. 

(VII) David Anthony Brayton, son of Israel and Kezia (Anthony) 

148 History of Swansea 

Brayton, was born in Swansea, Mass., April 2, 1824, and passed the greater 
part of his childhood on the farm in Somerset, that for generations had 
been the home of the Brayton ancestors. His early education was acquired 
by regular attendance at the public schools of Somerset and Fall River; 
and when not at school he worked at different occupations with great 
energy and zeal. Manifesting in early youth a taste for business, he was 
not long in seeking a field larger than that which his boyhood home afforded, 
and when still a minor he made a business trip to Cuba. In later years he 
was extensively engaged in trade with the West Indies. 

The discovery of gold on the Pacific coast intensely interested Mr. 
Brayton, and in 1849 he sailed in the ship "Mary Mitchell," for California, 
where he remained several months. On returning to Fall River, with Silas 
BuUard as partner, he erected the Bristol County Flour Mills, of which he 
later became sole proprietor. 

Not long after the enactment of the National Banking Law, Mr. 
Brayton, with his brother John S. Brayton and their associates, established 
the First National Bank of Fall River. The directors of this corporation 
manifested their appreciation of his faithful and valuable services in its 
behalf when they spread upon its records at the time of his decease the 
tribute that "To his remarkable foresight, energy, and high moral character, 
this Institution owes its origin and its great success. " 

Cotton goods were already manufactured in Fall River, and Mr. 
Bratyon, with his usual foresight, realized the possibility of the growth of 
the cotton industry. In 1865, he conceived the idea of erecting a large 
manufactory, and a site was purchased bordering on the stream from which 
the city takes its name. As a result of his sagacity, untiring industry, and 
acumen, Durfee Mills Number One was completed in 1867; in 1871 
Durfee Mills Number Two, a duplicate of Number One, was built, thus 
doubling the production of the print cloths of this corporation; and in 1880, 
the plant was again enlarged by the erection of mill Number Three. These 
mills, named in honor of Bradford Durfee, whose son, B. M. C. Durfee, 
was the largest stockholder, are an enduring monument to the enterprise, 
energy, and sound judgment of David Anthony Brayton. From the time 
of their incorporation until his demise, Mr. Brayton was Treasurer and 
Manager of the Durfee Mills, which for many years constituted one of the 
largest print cloth plants in this country. 

The results of the business ability and wisdom of David A. Brayton 
were not confined to these enterprises alone, but his knowledge and expe- 
rience were wide spread, and he held many offices of responsibility and 
trust. He was director in eight other corporations in Fall River, and at 
the time of his death was President and principal owner of the Arnold 
Print Works in North Adams, Massachusetts. Deeply interested in the 
welfare of the city, he did not shun the responsibilities of the true citizen, 
nor did he deem it his obligation to accept the honors of civic oflSce, and 
declined reelection after serving one term in the city government. He never 
lost his love of the country, and the freedom of its open life appealed to 
him. He purchased a large farm in Somerset, now known as Brayton 
Point, and this he cultivated with much pleasure and pride. Here he 
found his recreation away from the turmoil of the business world. 

Mr. Brayton was a regular attendant, and an active member of the 
First Congregational Church of Fall River. He gave freely to the support 
of divine worship, was generously benevolent, and guided by his keen, 
quick judgment of persons, he willingly assisted those whom he believed 
worthy of his aid. He was married in Fall River, May 1, 1851, to Nancy R. 
Jenckes, daughter of John and Nancy (Bellows) Jenckes. They had five 
children: Nannie Jenckes, David Anthony, John Jencks, Elizabeth 
Hitchcock, and Dana Dwight Brayton. In 1880 Mr. Brayton, accompanied 

Family Records 149 

by members of his family, crossed the Atlantic in search of health, but, 
although every eflbrt was exerted in his behalf, he died in London, England, 
on the 20th of August, 1881. 

David Anthony Bray ton was a man of courage, endowed with large 
capacity for affairs, with sterling integrity and a vigorous intellect trained 
in the contests of a stirring life, a strong advocate of truth and strict 
honesty, frank and fearless in the performance of duty, prompt in decision, 
firm in action, and loyal in friendship. These were elements of his power 
and success, the characteristics which made him a citizen of commanding 
influence and a recognized leader among men. 

(VII) John Summerfield Bray ton, son of Israel and Kezia 
(Anthony) Brayton, was bom in Swansea Village, Mass., Dec. 3, 1826. 
He attended the district school, and fitted himself for the post of teacher, 
and was enabled to further his studies at Peirce's Academy, in Middleboro, 
and at the University Grammar School, in Providence. He entered Brown 
University in 1847, and was graduated therefrom in the class of 1851. 
Adopting the law as a profession, he prepared for it in the office of Thomas 
Dawe Eliot, at New Bedford, and at the Dane Law School of Harvard 
University, from which he graduated in 1853. He was admitted to the Bar 
of Suffolk County August 8th of the year named, and returning to Fall 
River began the practice of his profession, and within a year was chosen 
City solicitor, being the first incumbent of the office in the newly formed 
city. He was also elected Clerk of Courts for Bristol County. In 1864 he 
reentered the general practice of law, associating himself with James M. 
Morton, who later became one of the Justices of the Massachusetts Supreme 
Bench. He retired from the practice of law to become the financial agent 
of Mrs. Mary B. Young and B. M. C. Durfee, and from that time until his 
death was a prominent business man of Fall River. In 1856 Mr. Brayton 
represented that city in the General Court and served as a member of the 
Governor's Council in 1866-67-68, and 1879-80, under Governors Bullock, 
Talbot, and Long. At home and elsewhere he was active in many chari- 
table and philanthropic movements, and was generous in his donations to 
their funds. 

Mr. Brayton was an ardent historian, a patron of art and literature, 
and a lover of all that beautifies and uplifts. He manifested a deep interest 
in educational affairs; and when his sister Mrs. Mary B. Youngj gave to 
the city the magnificent B. M. C. Durfee High School Building, Mr. 
Brayton devoted to its creation his thought and attention. In 1893, in 
recognition of his accompUshments, Brown University, his alma mater, 
conferred on him the degree of Doctor of Laws, and from 1898 until his 
decease he was a Fellow of Brown University. He was for eighteen years, 
from 1882 to 1900, a trustee of Amherst College. 

Mr. Brayton had historical tastes, and his knowledge of the Narragan- 
sett country was perhaps exceeded by none. He was President of the Old 
Colony Historical Society, for several years, a member of the New England 
Historic and Genealogical Society, and from 1898 to the time of his death 
a member of the Massachusetts Historical Society. 

In sympathy only with the best traditions and highest ideals, he 
entered in a remarkable degree into the successes of his friends and fellow 
citizens in every field of worthy achievement. Their honor was his pride. 
He dehghted to bestow the expression of recognition for work well done, 
and in so doing extended an uplifting influence in the community, which 
•we can ill afford to lose in these days when commercial gain absorbs so much 
of the ambitions of life. As a man of large private responsibihties, and an 
active participant in the conduct of public affairs, Mr. Brayton was a lead- 
ing figure in this section of the Stat^. He had intense interest in, and 
loyalty to those with whom he associated through ties of business or civic life. 

150 History of Swansea 

November 27, 1855, Mr. Brayton married Sarah Jane Tinkham, 
daughter of Enoch and Rebecca (Williams) Tinkham, of Middleboro, 
Mass. They had three children: Mary J., who married Dr. Charles L. 
Nichols, of Worcester (their three children are Charles L. Jr., Harriet, and 
Brayton); Harriet H., of Fall River; and John Summerfield, born in Fall 
River, Sept, 16, 1864, who was married June 20, 1894, to Jessie C. Flint, 
daughter of the late John D. Flint, of Fall River (their children are John 
S. Jr., Flint, Edith, and Anthony). Mr. Brayton died Oct. 30, 1904, at his 
home in Fall River, Massachusetts. 

(VII) Israel Perry Brayton, son of Israel and Kezia (Anthony) 
Brayton, was born May 24, 1829, and died Aug. 10, 1878, in Fall River. 
He followed agricultural pursuits and had a well stocked farm in Swansea. 
Because of poor health he was never able to engage actively in the business 
or political life of Fall River, but for some years served as a director of the 
First National Bank. He married June 18, 1863, Parthenia Gardner, 
daughter of Peleg Gardner, of Swansea. Mrs. Brayton died Feb. 24, 1882. 
To them were born two daughters: Nancy Jarrett Bowers, and Sarah 

(VIII) Nancy Jarrett Bowers Brayton married June 10, 1896, James 
Madison Morton, Jr., of the ninth generation of the Morton family, and 
to them have been born four children: James Madison, June 10, 1897, 
(died May 14, 1908); Brayton, Oct. 28, 1898; Sarah, Sept. 29, 1902; 
Hugh, Sept. 10, 1906. 

(VII) Hezekiah Anthony Brayton. son of Israel and Kezia 
(Anthony) Brayton, was born June 24, 1832, in Fall River, Mass., and 
passed his boyhood days at the Brayton homestead in Somerset, in the 
schools of which town he acquired his eariy education, furthering it at the 
East Greenwich (R. I.) Academy. He taught school one year in the town 
of Seekonk, Mass., then for a time was employed in a railroad ticket office, 
from which he left for Texas in the capacity of surveyor. Returning to the 
North, he was employed awhile in the carding and mechanical engineering 
departments of the Pacific mills in Lawrence, this State. In 1857, in 
company with his brother Israel Perry Brayton, he went to Chicago and 
there engaged in the grain commission business on the Board of Trade, a 
line of business he later continued in, on the Produce Exchange in New 
York City. 

Returning to Massachusetts in 1872, Mr. Brayton was actively and 
successfully occupied in Fall River the remainder of his life. He was chosen 
vice president and cashier of the First National Bank, and some six years 
later, at the time of the failure of the Sagamore mills, he was appointed one 
of the trustees of that property. When the business was finally settled and 
the corporation was reorganized as the Sagamore Manufacturing Company, 
he became treasurer and a director, offices he held up to the time of his 
death. He was also president, and a director of the Durfee Mills, and a 
trustee of the B. M. C. Durfee High School, which was given to the city by 
his sister, Mrs. Mary B. Young. He was one of the most successful miU 
treasurers in Fall River. The Sagamore was among the corporations of 
that city which have paid phenomenal dividends. In this manufacturing 
company, Mr. Brayton, as treasurer made a record in dividends that would 
be hard to surpass. He was devoted to his business, which he carried on to 
the last, and which seemed to be his one pleasure; and for years before his 
decease, he had seldom been absent from Fall River, except to visit his 
farm at the west end of Slade's Ferry Bridge, in Somerset. His judgment 
was usually accurate, and the results in return to his stockholders most 
satisfactory. At the same time he pushed the development of the mills to 
the extreme of possibility. When he took charge, the foundation of only one 
of the mills was laid. He put up the stone building on this foundation, and 

Family Records 151 

later, when the brick mill was burned, he rebuilt it. His son, as treasurer, 
built an entirely new mill as part of the plant. Mr. Brayton believed in 
new enterprises in Fall River, and was willing to back them with his 
means, as in the case of the last cotton corporation formed there previous 
to his death, in which he subscribed for a considerable block of stock. 

March 25, 1868, Mr. Brayton married Caroline Elizabeth, daughter 
of the late Hon. William Lawton and Mary (Sherman) Slade, of Somerset. 
She, with three sons and five daughters survive him. Ten children were 
born to Mr. and Mrs. Brayton, as follows: (1) Caroline Slade was born 
March 10, 1869, in New York City. (2) Abby Slade, born Nov. 10, 1870, 
in New York, married Randall N. Durfee, of Fall River, and they have had 
four children, Randall Nelson (bom March 13, 1897), Bradford Chaloner 
(born Aug. 12, 1900), Caroline (born March 12, 1904). and Mary Brayton 
(born March 4, 1909). (3) William L. S., born Nov. 13, 1872, in New York 
City, is treasurer of the Sagamore Manufacturing Company, having 
succeeded his father. He married June 18, 1903, Mary Easton Ashley, 
daughter of Stephen B. and Harriet Remington (Davol) Ashley, and they 
have had eight children, born as follows: Lawton Slade, June 20, 1904; 
Lincoln Davol Oct. 20, 1905; Constance, March 22, 1907; Ruth Sher- 
man, April 17, 1908; Perry Ashley, May 25, 1910; Mary Elizabeth, 
June 11, 1912; Richard Anthony, June 19, 1913; and Sherman 
Brayton, born July 19, 1915. (4) Israel, born in Fall River Aug. 5, 1874, 
is a member of the law firm of Jennings, Morton & Brayton. (5) Mary 
Durfee, born May 1, 1877, died March 29, 1889. (6) Stanley, born March 
20, 1879, died July 29, 1902, in Caux, Switzerland. (7) Arthur Perry, was 
born May 25, 1881. (8) Margaret Lee was born Dec. 14, 1883. (9) 
Dorothy was born Dec. 9, 1885, and married William Russell MacAusland 
M. D. Feb. 23, 1916. (10) Katherine was born Dec. 16, 1887. 

Mr. Brayton was devoted to his family, and the home life was made 
especially pleasant and happy. His home was always open, and the many 
visitors there were always hospitably entertained. In his business life he 
had formed strong friendships, and did much for those he favored in this 
way. He died suddenly in the evening of March 24, 1908, at home. No. 
260 North Main Street, Fall River, in the seventy-sixth year of his age. 

Chace Family 

Rev. Obadiah Chace, of Swansea, Mass., for about fifty-six years a 
minister of the Society of Friends, was born April 12, 1818, in Warren, R. I. 
son of Anthony and Isabel (Buffington) Chace, the latter of whom lived to 
the age of ninety-three years. The Rev. Mr. Chace was the last survivor 
of a family of six children, two sons and four daughters, and he was in the 
eighth generation in direct line from William Chace, who settled in Yar- 
mouth, Mass., in 1637, the line being as follows: (1) William Chace and 
wife Mary; (II) William Chace; (III) William Chace and wife Hannah 
Sherman; (IV) Eber Chace and wife Mary Knowles; (V) Eber Chace and 
wife Sarah Baker; (VI) Obadiah Chace and wife Eunice Anthony, who 
lived on Prudence Island, engaged in the produce business, and after the 
husband's death the wife carried on the s£une business with great success; 
(VII) Anthony Chace and wife Isabel Buffinton, who moved to the old 
Gardner farm near Touisset. The maternal or Buffinton line is as foUows: 
(I) Thomas Buffinton and wife Sarah Southwick; (II) Benjamin Buffinton 
and wife Hannah; (III) Benjamin Buffinton and wife Isabel Chace; (IV) 
Moses Buffinton and wife Isabel Baker; (V) Benjamin Buffinton and wife 
Charity Robinson; (VI) Isabel Buffinton and husband Anthony Chace. 

The Rev. Mr. Chace was brought up a farmer, and followed that 

152 History of Swansea 

occupation successfully until his retirement at the age of sixty-six years. 
His education was received in a Warren district school, and at the Friends' 
School, Providence. At the age of thirty-four he was approved a minister 
o( the Gospel, and served the Somerset Meeting in that capacity for more 
than haK a century, without salary, and at the same time was a hberal 
contributor to the support of the church. Beginning his work when the 
church was in a relatively low state of Christian life, he was instrumental, 
through persevering efifort and liberal views, in greatly improving its 
condition, and during his ministry many were added to the membership. 
Although very active as an agriculturist he was never too busy to attend 
the mid-week meetings, funerals, and other religious occasions of the Friends' 
Society. Nothing was allowed to come between him and his reb'gious duties. 
Although Uving seven and a half miles from the meeting-house, he would 
drive twice — and when occasion required three and more times — a week 
to the place of worship. Nor was his work confined to the home meeting; 
he made two trips through the West, one in 1856, and one in 1872, travel- 
ing as far as Kansas, and visiting meetings and families of Friends. He 
always preserved an active interest in the affairs of the New England 
Yearly Meeting, and he visited all the meetings within its limits. 

His Uberal views were widely known, and his advocacy of Church 
extension was well understood, for he would not exclude any from fellow- 
ship on account of minor differences of belief. He was wont to quote the 
words of William Penn: "The Word of God without me, and the Grace of 
God within me, is the declaration of my faith; let him find a better who 
can. " He was always young-hearted, and a friend of the young people, 
with whom he mingled in social gatherings, contributing to their enjoy- 
ment by an occasional poem or narrative. During his career he wrote many 
poems for social and literary occasions, the greater number of which were 
brought together in a bound volume. 

As a citizen Mr. Chace was always actively interested in the public 
welfare. He taught school several winters at Warren Neck, and in other 
towns in this locality; was a member of the Warren town council in 1857, 
and for several years immediately following ; and he represented the town 
for two years in the General Assembly. During the Dorr Rebellion in 
1842, he took the side of the party in power. A watch was kept along the 
river that year, when two sailboats anchored in Mount Hope bay. The 
crews, composed of six men, hurried to shore and thence into Massachusetts. 
This aroused suspicion, and several citizens, including Mr. Chace, after 
detaching the rudders and sails, scuttled the boats at their anchorage. The 
authorities approved the action. The crews later returned, and said they 
came from Warwick to escape from the State and avoid military service. 
They were arrested and placed in the Bristol Jail. 

In politics Mr. Chace was first a Whig, then a Free-soiler, and later, 
from the date of the organization of that party, a Repubhcan. He worked 
persistently for good roads and good schools. Desiring a school in his own 
neighborhood, he built a schoolhouse, and hired a teacher himself. He 
always interested himself in useful inventions, and took great pleasure in 
those which assured speedy transit, such as bicycles and automobiles. 
When eighty-nine years of age, he would ride in an automobile, and never 
complain of too great speed, whatever it might be. 

April 28, 1845, Mr. Chace was married to Esther Taber Freeborn, 
daughter of Jonathan and Esther (Taber) Freeborn, and they had a 
mairied life of more than sixty years; their twenty-fifth, fiftieth, and 
sixtieth anniversaries were appropriately celebrated. Mrs. Chace, his 
constant companion in work and travel, died Nov. 20, 1905, aged eighty- 
two years, and he never recovered from the loss he then sustained. In 1884 
he had retired from active work, and moved to Swansea. After his wife's 

Family Records 153 

death he became a member of the household of his son Charles A., and 
there, after a gradual dechne, passed away, May 19, 1907, in his ninetieth 
year. He kept informed on all current topics, and, with a remarkable 
memory, recalled historical facts and statistics with wonderful accuracy. 
He was a member of the American Peace Society, and kept abreast of the 
progress of peace and arbitration movements in all parts of the world. 

To the Rev. Obadiah and Esther Taber (Freeborn) Chace, were born 
four children, as follows: Charles Anthony, born Dec. 22, 1846; Emma 
Rogers, born May 22, 1853, and died Jan. 6, 1906; Walter Freeborn, born 
Feb. 28, 1858; and George Mahlon, born April 3, 1864. 

In 1898, Mr. Chace published a book of poems, dedicated "To 
Augustine Jones, Principal of Friends School, Providence, R. I., where I 
first learned to frame words in Metre." (A copy of this work may be 
found in the Swansea Public Library). 

Charles Anthony Chace, son of the Rev. Obadiah and Esther Taber 
(Freeborn) Chace, born Dec. 22, 1846, was educated in the schools of 
Warren, R. I., and at the Friends' School, Providence. For three winters 
he taught school, and in 1879 moved to the Abner Slade farm, Swansea, 
residing there until 1900, when he built his present beautiful residence, 
" Wannamoiset, " at South Swansea. His son Benjamin Slade Chace now 
resides on the Slade farm. For many years, Mr. Chace and his sons erected 
windmills, tanks, and silos; and in 1902, they incorporated the New 
England Tank and Tower Co., Mr. Warren O. Chace taking charge of the 
factory at Everett, Mass. Mr. Chace was a Republican previous to 1884, 
when he joined the Prohibition party, becoming one of its active and 
leading members. He has been for many years a member of the State 
Committee, has served as a delegate from Massachusetts to three Pres- 
idential Conventions, has been a candidate on the State and local ticket 
several times. For seven years he served his town as a member of the 
school board; and he is a member of the Massachusetts Sunday School 

Sept. 26, 1872, in the Friends' meeting-house, Mr. Chace married 
Adeline Frances Slade, adopted daughter of Abner Slade of Swansea, of 
whom a sketch may be found in this volume. Mr. and Mrs. Charles A. 
Chace have had children as follows: Benjamin Slade, bom Jan. 11, 1875; 
Harold Anthony, born Aug. 13, 1876, who died Feb. 28, 1878; Arthur 
Freeborn, born May 13, 1879; Warren Obadiah, born June 12, 1882; and 
Sarah Slade, bom April 22, 1889. Mr. and Mrs. Chace are life members 
of the American Peace Society. 

Benjamin Slade Chace, son of Charles Anthony and AdeUne Frances 
(Slade) Chace, was born Jan. 11, 1875, married June 19, 1895, to Carrie 
EsteUe Mosher, daughter of Edgar D. Mosher of Mapleton, N. Y. and they 
have had six children: Fenton Mosher, born Aug. 11, 1896; Harold Dean, 
Dec. 22, 1898; Clyde Fuller, Aug. 6, 1908; Carol Ehzabeth, Feb. 21, 1910; 
Beryl, March 8, 1911 (died March 28, 1911) and RusseU Slade, Oct. 8, 
1912. Mr. Chace hves upon his father's farm, and is ably managing the 
extensive work there. 

Arthur Freeborn Chace, M. D., son of Charles Anthony and Adeline 
Frances (Slade) Chace, was bom May 13, 1879, educated at Oakwood 
Seminary, Union Springs, N. Y., Earlham College, Richmond, Ind., from 
which he received the degree of A. B., and also graduated from Harvard 
with the degree of A. B., and from the College of Physicians and Surgeons 
of New York City with the degree of M. D. He was advanced rapidly in 
his profession, and is secretary and assistant treasurer of the New York 
Post-Graduate Hospital, and a member of its board of trustees. Dr. Chace 
married Nov. 2, 1911, Kathleen Sterling Fletcher, daughter of James 
Fletcher Jr. of New York. Their children are Arthur F. Jr., Dec. 12, 1913, 

154 History of Swansea 

and James Fletcher, Jan. 19, 1916. 

Warren Obadiah Chace, son of Charles Anthony and Adeline Frances 
(Slade) Chace, was born June 12, 1882, married Oct. 2, 1907, Mary Flossie 
Mosher adopted daughter of Edgar D. Mosher, and they have two children 
Esther Freeborn, born Jan. 22, 1911: and Warren Fuller, Jan. 15, 1914. 
Mr. Chace has charge of the factory of the New England Tank and Tower 
Company, at Everett, Massachusetts. 

Walter Freeborn Chace, son of Rev. Obadiah and Esther Taber 
(Freeborn) Chace, born Feb. 28, 1858, resides at Redlands, Cal. He 
married Dec. 24, 1880, Celia Perkins Emery, daughter of Elephalet Emery, 
former superintendent of the Durfee Mills, Fall River. They have had 
three children: Emery Perkins, born July 31, 1882, who married April 25, 
1905, Elsie M. Herbst, born Aug. 30, 1882, and has had four children 
Emery Philip (born Jan. 29, 1906, died Nov. 6, 1907) Ruth, (born July 8 
1907,) Chester F. (born Aug. 29, 1908) and Gail P. (born Feb. 2, 1910) 
Anthony F. born May 1, 1888; and Walter Freeborn, Jr., born June 27 

George Mahlon Chace, son of Rev. Obadiah and Esther Taber (Free- 
born) Chace, born April 3, 1864, died Sept. 12, 1907. Sept. 7, 1887, he 
married Emma F. Slade. He was foreman for Beattie & Cornell, con- 
tractors, of Fedl River, Massachusetts. 

The Cole Family 

(I) James Cole, a resident of Highgate, a suburb of London, England, 
in 1616, who married in 1624, Mary, daughter of the noted botanist and 
physician, Mathieu Lovel, who was born in Lille, a son of Jean de LoveU 
a distinguished lawyer. Mr. Cole and his wife, with their sons James and 
Hugh, who were probably born in London, came to New England in 1632, 
and were for a time at Saco, Maine. Mr. Cole located in Plymouth, Mass., 
in 1633, and was there made a freeman in the same year. He was known 
as a sailor. His name appears on the tax list of Plymouth in 1634. He was 
the first settler of, and lived upon what is still known as "Cole's Hill," the 
first burial ground of the Pilgrims. This land probably included the 
ground upon which rests Plymouth Rock. He had various grants of land. 
He was surveyor of highways in 1641 and 1644. He was a volunteer in 1637 
against the Pequot Indians. Mr. Cole kept perhaps the first public house 
or inn in Plymouth, and one of the first in New England. This inn was 
opened soon after Mr. Cole's arrival at Plymouth, and it was continued by 
himself and son James, respectively, until 1698. The children of Mr. Cole 
and his wife were: James, born in 1625; Hugh, in 1627; John, Nov. 21, 
1637, in Plymouth; and Mary, in 1639. 

(II) Hugh Cole, son of James, born in 1627, probably in London, 
England, came to America with his parents in 1632, and with them prob- 
ably went to Plymouth, of which he was made a freeman in 1657. He 
married (first) Jan. 8, 1654, Mary, born Aug. 17, 1635, in Scituate, daughter 
of Richard and Ann (Shelly) Foxwell, of Barnstable, Mass., her father 
having came from England with Governor Winthrop in 1631, and settled 
in Scituate. Mr. Cole married (second) Jan. 1, 1668, Elizabeth, widow of 
Jacob Cook, former widow of William Shurtliffe, and daughter of Thomas 
and Ann Lettuce, of Plymouth. She died in Swansea, Mass., Oct. 31, 1693, 
and he married (third) Jan. 30, 1694, Mary, widow of Deacon Ephraim 
Morton, former widow of William Harlow, and daughter of Robert and 
Judith SheUy. 

At the opening of King Philip's war in 1675, two of the sons of Mr. 
Cole were made prisoners by the Indians. Philip ordered them set at 

Family Records 155 

liberty, because their father had been his friend. He sent word to Hugh 
that for safety he should remove his family to Rhode Island, which he did. 
Perhaps in an hour after he left, his house was in flames. He lived for a 
time at Portsmouth, R. I. According to Savage, Mr. Cole was a sergeant 
in the war. He returned to Swansea in 1677, and built a house within a 
few rods of the home of the late Miss Abby Cole, in Warren, and this land 
on the Kickemuit river has never passed out of the possession of the Cole 
family, unless recently. Mr. Cole died in Swansea, Jan. 22, 1699. Of his 
ten children the first three were born in Plymouth, and the others in 

(III) Benjamin Cole, sou of Hugh, born in 1678, in Swansea, Mass., 
married June 27, 1701, Hannah, daughter of Caleb and Elizabeth (BuUock) 
Eddy. Mr. Cole was a husbandman and lived in Swansea. He was a 
deacon in the church from 1718 till the time of his death, Sept. 29, 1748. 
His wife died May 15, 1768; and both were interred in the Kickemuit 
burying ground. The house he built in 1701 is still standing. 

(IV) Benjamin Cole (2) son of Benjamin, born Oct. 31, 1706, in 
Swansea, Mass., married (first) Nov. 19, 1730, Elizabeth, daughter of 
Thomas and Hope (Huckins) Nelson, of Middleboro, Mass. She died 
March 25, 1748, and he married (second) Sept. 22, 1749, Hanna, widow of 
Job Luther, and daughter of Richard and Mary Harding. Mr. Cole died 
Dec. 20, 1776. 

(V) Isaiah Cole, son of Benjamin (2), born in 1731, in Swansea, Mass., 
married in 1750, Eleanor, daughter of Samuel Nichols, of Kinderhook, N.Y. 
Mr. Cole was a shipwright and lived in Warren, R. I., until after the 
Revolution, when he removed to Middleboro, Mass. He was a soldier in 
the Revolution, but of the several Isaiah's and Josiah's service, and there 
being some conflict between the two names, there is too much uncertainty 
to attempt to assign to each his share. He died Nov. 9, 1811, at Middleboro. 
His widow died Feb. 8, 1827, at the home of her daughter Abigail, in 
Warren, Rhode Island. 

(VI) Capt. Nathaniel Cole, son of Isaiah, born Nov. 20, 1759, in 
Warren, R. I., married Oct. 17, 1784, Nancy Anthony, born Jan. 24, 1762, 
in Swansea, Mass. Mr. Cole was a patriot of the Revolution. He served 
in Capt. Amos Washburn's Company, Col. Ebenezer Sprout's regiment, 
May 6, 1778; also Capt. Elisha Haskell's Company; Col. Benjamin 
Hawe's (Howes) regiment, July 29, 1778, to Sept. 11, 1778. After the close 
of the war Mr. Cole removed to Middleboro, Mass., having purchased a 
farm upon which he lived. He was a shipcarpenter by trade. He was 
Capt. of the 2d Company of Middleboro militia from May 7, 1805, to 
1809. Subsequently he purchased a farm between Windsor and Hartland, 
Vt. He died Jan. 12, 1846, at the home of his daughter, Abigail, in Hart- 
land, Vt. His wife died Dec. 8, 1828. 

(VII) James Cole, son of Capt. Nathaniel, born Nov. 20, 1785, in 
Warren, R. I., married Sept. 9, 1713, Polly Gorham, born Sept. 1, 1789. 
She died Feb. 21, 1864, and he married (second) May 21, 1865, Mrs. 
Beulah Macomber. Mr. Cole was a master miUwright. He owned and 
lived upon a farm Assawamsett, some four miles from the farm of his 
father. He died at Middleboro, Mass., Oct. 16, 1871. His children, all 
born in Middleboro, were: Abigail, born Sept. 4, 1814, married Abram M. 
Cushman; Andrew, born Sept. 1, 1816, married Hanna S. Smith; Mary 
Ann, born Nov. 23, 1817, married Ira Thomas; James, born April 7, 1819; 
Harrison G., born Nov. 4, 1820, married Caroline B. Silvester; Luther, 
born May 20, 1822, married Sarah A. Corsley; Nathaniel, born May 3, 
1824, married Martha S. Foy; Robert V., bom July 14, 182 , married 
Cordelia B. Savery; Judith J., bom Aug. 10, 1828, married (first) Soranus 
C. Bradford, of Attleboro, Mass., (second) Capt. Stephen B. Gibbs 

156 History of Swansea 

(deceased) ; ElcanerT., (?) bom March 26, 1832, married Martin P. Standish. 

The Coles in Swansea today are descendants of Daniel Cole, brother 
of James Cole, the first Cole to come to America, who settled in Plymouth. 

Daniel Cole came to America in 1633 and settled in Eastham. 

WiUiam H. Cole moved to Swansea in 1866 where he lived until time 
of death in 1913. During his life in Swansea he lived on a farm and taught 
school in Swansea and neighboring towns for a period of about 25 years, 
and served as school-committee for 12 years during that time. He died in 
1913 leaving a widow and five sons and three daughters. Three of the sons, 
Albert, Louis and Frank, now live in Swansea and conduct the grocery 
business known as Cole Bros., established in 1903. 

Eddy Family 

(I) William Eddye, A. M., vicar of the Church of St. Dunstan in the 
town of Cranbrook, County of Kent, England, is the English ancestor of 
the Eddy family here recorded. He was a native of Bristol, educated in 
Trinity College, Cambridge, England, and was vicar of Cranbrook, from 
1589 to 1616. He married (first) Nov. 20, 1587, Mary Fosten, who died in 
July, 1611, and he married (second), in 1614, Elizabeth Taylor, a widow. 
He died Nov. 23, 1616. His children, all excepting the last one born to the 
first marriage, were : Mary, born in 1591; Phineas, born in Sept. 1593; John, 
born in March, 1597; Ellen, born in August, 1599; Abigail, born in Oct. 
1601; Anna, born in May, 1603; Samuel, born in May, 1608; Elizabeth, 
born in Dec. 1606; Zacharias, born in March, 1610; Nathaniel, born in 
July, 1611; Priscilla, born in 1614. 

(II) Samuel Eddy, son of William, bom in May, 1608, died in 1685. 
With his brother John, he left London Aug. 10, 1630, in the ship "Hand- 
maid," Capt. John Grant, master, and arrived at Plymouth, Mass., Oct. 
29, 1630 (0. S.), or (N. S.), Nov. 8, 1630. Jan. 1, 1632, he was admitted to 
the freedom of the society and took the oath. He shared in the division of 
land in 1637, and again in 1641. May 9, 1631, he bought a house of 
Experience Mitchell. He was one of the original purchasers of Middleboro, 
Mass. He was a large land owner at other places, and in 1631 his assess- 
ment was half as large as that of Captain Standish. In 1633 it was the 
same. His wife, whose name was Elizabeth, died in 1689. Children: John, 
born Dec. 25, 1637: Zachariah, born in 1639; Caleb, born in 1643; 
Obediah, born in 1645; and Hannah, born June 23, 1647. 

(III) Zachariah Eddy, born in 1639, died Sept. 4, 1718. He married 
May 7, 1663, Alice Padduck, who was born March 7, 1640, and died Sept. 
24, 1692. He married (second) Widow Abigail Smith. He was a farmer, 
and resided in Plymouth, then Middleboro, from which place he moved to 
Swansea. Children: Zachariah, born April 10, 1664; John, Oct. 10, 1666; 
EUzabeth, Aug. 3, 1670; Samuel, June 4, 1673; Ebenezer, Feb. 5, 1675; 
Caleb, Sept. 21, 1678; Joshua, Feb. 21, 1680; Obediah, Sept. 2, 1683; and 
Alice, Nov. 28, 1684. 

(IV) Obediah Eddy, born Sept. 2, 1683, married Dec. 9, 1709, 
Abigail Devotion, and lived in Swansea. Children: Constant, born Sept. 
7, 1710; Ichabod, born June 1, 1713; OHve or Alice, born Feb. 24, 1715; 
Mary, born Nov. 10, 1716; Abigail, born Oct. 14, 1721; Hannah, born Jan. 
23, 1733; Job, born July 23, 1726; Azariah, born June 16, 1742. 

(IV) Job Eddy was born July 23, 1726. His children were Ann and 

(V) Preserved Eddy was born July 1748; died in Somerset 1838. 
Married Lydia Davis, Jan. 1771. His children were: IVeserved C, Wing E., 
Daniel, Lois, Eunice, Mary, Patience, Lydia, Hannah and Da\ad B. 

Family Records 157 

(VI) Wing Eddy was born November 1, 1781 and died March 13, 
1832. He married Phebe Pierce, who was born Jan. 13, 1776 and died Dec. 
16, 1853. His children were David P. born April 3, 1808; Jervis W. born 
July 6, 1810; Charles B. born Feb. 22, 1813; (Phebe); Henry C. bom 
November 29, 1817; Ehza Ann bom March 29, 1822; Willard. 

(VII) David P. was born April 3, 1808 and died April 2, 1875. He 
married Mary Sherman who was born June 14, 1809 and died April 12, 1902. 
His children were Ira Wing, bom July 11, 1830 and died Dec. 20, 1903; 
Sarah Ann, born Oclober 7, 1831 and died Sept. 21, 1886; Robert Sherman 
born October 24, 1833 and died September 29, 1901; Seth Wilbur born 
Jan. 22, 1836, and is still Hving, (1916); Comelius S., born Dec. 25, 1838 
and died in California; Charles H. born April 5, 1842 and died during war 
in North Carohna, 1863 (His name appears on the tablet in the Town, 
Hall); Edwin Brightman born Sept, 15, 1844 (still hving near Hornbine 
Church); Elizabeth B. (married Frederick Richardson of Providence. 
She still is hving) David P. born September 8, 1849 (hving in Providence) 
and Mary Ellen born Aug. 27, 1853, married Jesse K. Chace and they 
reside in Hortonville. 

(VIII) Seth Wilbur Eddy was born January 22, 1836 in Swansea. 
He married Ruth Peck Bosworth November 6, 1859. His children were 
Lloyd Bosworth born March 15, 1860 (lives in East Providence) John 
Baker, born October 5, 1861, Carohne Eliza born Sept. 12, 1863, and Jesse 
born Jan. 9, 1868 and died a few days later. Mr. Eddy died Dec. 1, 1916. 

(IX) John Baker Eddy was born October 5, 1861. He married Ann 
Leavitt Place of Warren, R. I., who was born April 17, 1864. His children 
are Ruth Bosworth born May 3, 1885; Byron Everitt, born July 28, 1886, 
married Oct. 6, 1915, Cora McGowan, born May 14, 1891. Lloyd Place 
born August 22, 1899. 

Sarah Ann (sister to Seth) married Nathaniel Baker. Their children 
were Francis Baker and Nancy Baker. Francis married Silas Pierce and 
they reside in Hortonville. Nancy (dead) married Frank Baker. Their 
children Myron and Preston all reside in Hortonville. 

Carohne Eliza (daughter to Seth) married WiUiam I. Wilbur who Uves 
in Swansea. Their children are: Mary Eddy (Doe) born Nov. 21, 1886; 
and Ehzabeth Sherman (Frost) born July 14, 1890, and resides in Fall 
River. Mary resides in East Haddam, Conn. 

Family of George Gardner of Newport 

George Gardner of Newport married 1st, Herodius Hicks. Children 

1. Benoni m Mary b 1645 d 16 Nov 1739 He d 1731 

2. Henry b 1645 m 1st Joan d 1715 

m 2d Abigail Remington 1656-1744 He d 1744 

3. George d 1724 

4. WiUiam m Elizabeth who d 1737 He d 1711 

5. Nicholas 1654 m Hannah He d 1712 

6. Dorcas m John Watson 

7. Rebecca m John Watson as 2d wife. 

By 2d wife Lydia Ballou 

1. Samuel b 1662 m Elizabeth (Carr) Brown wid. James Brown 

d 8 Dec. 1696 

2. Joseph b 1669 m Catherine Holmes d 22 Aug. 1726 

3. Lydia m 4th Apr. 1689 Joseph Smith 

158 History of Swansea 

4. Mary 

5. Peregrim 

6. Robert b 1671 d May 1731 

7. Jeremiah m Sarah, 

(Note: Some doubt that the Gardners of Swansea are descended from 
this Newport family. Ed.) 

The Occupation of Gardner's Neck by the Gardner Family 

Paper read by Miss Ida M. Gardner, at dedication 

of boulder marking the place of the Bourne 

Garrison House. 

Lieut. Samuel Gardner of Newport, on Oct. 1, 1687, for £250 in silver, 
bought of George Lawton of Freetown, then in the Colony of New Plymouth, 
a farm of 400 acres, situated in the part of old Freetown, which, in 1803, 
became the township of Fall River. 

Soon after this purchase Lieut. Gardner moved to Freetown, and the 
next year, 1688, was made Selectman of the town. He held this office for 
three years; served as Assessor for two years, Town Clerk for three years, 
and Treasurer for one year. He represented the town once in the Colonial 
Legislature of New Plymouth, once in the Province of the Massachusetts 
Bay, and was active and efficient as a member of the Town's Council of 

On Nov. 14, 1693, Samuel Gardner sold his Freetown farm, and on Dec. 
30, 1693, bought, with Ralph Chapman, for £1700, the neck of land, then 
owned by Rev. Ebenezer Brenton, now known as Gardner's Neck, South 

On the 14th of the following February, Gardner and Chapman divided 
their purchase, Gardner receiving the southern part. A wall running across 
the Neck, near the burying ground, marks the line of this division. 

For two years, 1695 and 1696 Samuel Gardner was selectman of Swan- 
sea. He died on Dec. 8, 1696; and on the following Feb. 15, his estate was 
appraised at £ 1046-lOs. 

In the Boston Transcript for April 15, 1907, the will of this Samuel 
Gardner appeared, as it was claimed, for the first time in print. He gives, 
in one clause of it, "unto my beloved son Samuel Gardner and to my 
daughters Elizabeth, Martha, Sarah, and Peacience all ye rest of my 
estates reall and personall to be divided according as my executors shall 
think fitt. " And he gives to his executors, his "loving brother Robert 
Gardner," and his brother-in-law Robert Carr, both of Newport, "full 
power if they se fitt cause, to sell partt or all of my farme I now live op 
being ye halfe partt of ye neck of land called " Matapoysett att Swansey 
in New England. " The will is signed by Samuel Gardner (with no i in 
his name!) 

This wiU was not admitted to probate, and the estate was settled 
according to law. Arthur M. Alger, Register of Bristol County, on July 8, 
1803, authenticated the copy of Samuel Gardner's will from which I have 
quoted, under the seal of the Probate Court. 

Samuel Gardner had married Elizabeth Brown of Newport, widow of 
James Brown, and daughter of Robert Carr, and there were five children: 
four daughters — Elizabeth, Martha, Patience and Sarah, and one son, 
another Samuel Gardner, born Oct. 28, 1685, who married Hannah Smith, 
the wedding ceremony being performed by Gov. Samuel Cranston. Gov. 

Family Records 159 

Cranston's son Thomas married Patience Gardner. He went to sea and 
was never heard from. Elizabeth Gardner married Edward Thurston; 
Martha married Hezekiah Luther; and Sarah married Samuel Lee, a ship- 
builder at Lee's River in Swansea. I mention these marriages of the first 
Gardners of Gardner's Neck, only as showing that from the very first the 
family became allied with families widely known in the annals of our early 

Samuel Gardner, only son of the purchaser of Gardner's Neck and his 
wife Hannah Smith, (b. Dec. 20, 1688 D. Nov. 16, 1768.) daughter of 
Philip and Mary Smith, had ten children; six daughters and four sons. 
The oldest boy Samuel died young, and his brother born five years later, 
was given the name of his deceased brother. This Samuel married Content 
Brayton, and they had thirteen children; but it was the third son Peleg, 
born Feb. 22, 1719 (1718?) from whom most of the later Gardners who 
have lived on Gardner's Neck, take their descent. He became a Lieuten- 
ant-Colonel under the Crown, and was a man of means as his will, a copy of 
which I have in my possession, testifies. 

This Peleg Gardner married Hannah Sweet of Prudence Island, who 
bore him sixteen children: 

1. Sarah, b. Mar, 7, 1741, m. Charles Slade. 

2. Mary, b. Oct. 11, 1742, m. Job Anthony. 

3. Peleg, b. Apr. 2, 1744, m. Lydia Simons. 

4. Martha, b. Sept. 20, 1745, m. Elisha Burr. 

5. Edward, b. Feb. 19, 1747, m. Elizabeth Brown. 

6. James, b. Aug. 27, 1748, m. Prudence Chase. 

7. Alexander, b. Mar. 10, 1750, m. Anne Luther. 

8. Joseph, b. Aug. 1, 1752, d. June 1, 1753. 

9. Joseph, b. Jan. 7, 1754, m. Hannah Slade. 

10. John, b. Apr. 24, 1755, m. Betsey Slade. 

11. Phebe, b. May 18, 1756, d. Oct. 31, 1792.1 

12. Hannah, b. Jan. 11, 1759, m. Philip Luther. 

13. Samuel, b. June 15, 1760, m. Avis Sherman. 

14. Caleb, b. Sept. 27, 1762, m. Sahary McKoon. 

15. Job, b. July 8, 1764, d. Nov. 10, 1787. 

16. Parthenia, b. Mar. 16, 1767, m. Job. Luther. 

Col. Peleg is said to have been born in the old homestead here on the 
Neck; and there these sixteen children grew to man and womanhood. In 
1787, the house was enlarged, and the date is to be seen on a brick in the 
south side of the west chimney. Two years later, on Aug. 10, 1789, Col. 
Peleg died; and his will is so fine an illustration of the way in which, in a 
time of little ready money, a man could leave a large estate and give every 
heir a proper share, that I read a few extracts from it. It also shows the 
disposition made of the homestead to Alexander Gardner, the fourth son, 
who was made executor of the estate. Col. Peleg gives to his wife "my 
negro boy Pero," showing by this will dated 1789, that when our first 
president was inaugurated, slavery still existed in Massachusetts. 

It was impossible in the time given for writing this paper, to trace out 
the immediate descendants of Col. Peleg Gardner who Uved on the Neck in 
the years that followed his death; and I therefore follow only the fines of 
which I know, because of my Own descent from them. This Col. Peleg 
was my great, great grandfather, and his son Samuel, b. June 15, 1760, who 
married Avis Sherman, was my great grandfather. How long he lived in 
the old homestead, I do not know; and I found no one who could tell me 
when he built the house — which in my childhood was the last one on the 
Neck — the second house below the homestead, now occupied by Mr. 

160 History of Swansea 

Crittenden. But as Col. Peleg's wife, who was to have the use of the house 
for life, died in 1792, and by that time her son Samuel had already two 
children, I have thought it probable that his house was built in the 1780's. 

This Samuel Gardner was known as "Lower Sam" — ^from his location 
farther down on the Neck — to distinguish him from "Upper Sam," a 
descendant of Col. Peleg Gardner's son Peleg, the great grandfather of Mrs. 
Mary Ann Gardner who died July 10, 1912 in her ninetieth year, near the 
railroad station. As her father, Henry Gardner, married Mary Ripley, 
she was a hneal descendant, in the seventh generation, from Gov. WiUiam 

Col. Samuel Gardner was living here on the Neck until 1841, and 
doubtless there are those now hving who knew him; they certainly have 
known his children: 

1. Mahala, b. Oct. 19, 1788, m. Paul Ware. 

2. Job, b. June 4, 1790, m. 1 Susan Buffington. 2 Patience (Gray) 
Anthony, a cousin at several removes, of Gen. Robert E. Lee of Virginia. 

3. Peleg W. b. Mar. 21, 1792, m. Martha Buffington. 

4. Preserved S. b. Mar. 12, 1794 m. Ann Maria Gardner 

5. Avis, b. Mar. 29, 1796, m. John Cotton. 

6. Parthenia, b. May 1, 1798, d. Feb. 27, 1854. 

7. Samuel, b. June 17, 1800, m. Lauretta Gardner, whose son, 
Samuel Richmond Gardner is living in the house next below the homestead, 
which his father built for the home-coming of his bride. 

8. Alexander, b. Nov. 24, 1802, d. July 15, 1377, m. 1 Susanna Brown, 
2 Sarah A. Arnold. 

9. Abigail b. Mar. 21, 1805, d. July 15, 1877. 

The five sons. Job, Peleg, Preserved, Samuel, and Alexander, were 
photographed when every one of the group was over seventy years of age; 
and aJU save Peleg were Hving in the town of Swansea; Preserved at 
Luther's Corner, Alexander at the village. Job and Samuel here on the Neck. 
Peleg lived on Somerset Neck. Just when Job Gardner took possession 
of the Homestead I do not know, but his second son was born there and 
possibly the first. His first wife, Susan Buffington, bore him two sons: 

1. Samuel B. b. Oct. 2, 1815, m. 1. Abby C. Potter. 2. Lydia A. 
(Bush) Pratt. 

2. John B. b. Apr. 1, 1818, m. Mary Ann Gardner. 
The second wife. Patience Anthony, was the mother of: 

3. Margaret A. b. Dec. 5, 1819, m. Rev. William H. Richards. 

4. Alfred G. b. Dec. 25, 1821, m. Adeha A. Wood. 

5. Edward F. b. Jan. 21, 1824, m. Ann (Read) Mason. 

6. Job. b. Dec. 27, 1826, m. Marietta Sanders Gardner. 

7. Patience b. Mar. 6, 1829, d. Nov. 1906. 

8. Lucius b. May 13, 1832, m. Marietta Sanders. 

9. WiUiam b. Dec. 9. 1835, m. 1. Mary McFadden. 2, Mary A. Dunn. 

At his death. Grandfather Job left the homestead to his son Job and 
daughter Patience. It was then extended from shore to shore, but was 
later divided ; Aunt Patience receiving the land east of the road, bordering 
Lee's River, while Uncle Job had the house, and the land west of the road, 
bordering Cole's River. This is still held by his two children, Howard, and 
Fanny (Gardner) Winter and his step son Lucius D. Gardner, the son of 
his brother Lucius whose widow he married. 

Of this line of Gardners these are living on the Neck today. Of these: 
Samuel Richmond Gardner and Edwin A. Gardner are without children; 
Lucius D. has one little daughter and Howard S. has one little girl. It 

Family Records 161 

therefore looks somewhat dubious for a continued occupation of Gardner's 
Neck by the Gardners of this hne. There are two other families of our 
name still living on the Neck, — the descendants of Capt. Henry Gardner, 
and the descendants of Jonathan Gardner — all derived from Col. Peleg 
Gardner's son Peleg. But absence from this vicinity for something over 
twenty-five years has left me unacquainted with the younger generations, 
and there was not time to trace them. I shall be grateful to anyone who 
can give me additional information about any branch of the family for I 
have become so interested that I wish to fill 6dl gaps in this story of the 
Gardners of Gardner Neck. 

On May 19, 1910, the heirs of Job Gardner, Jr. sold the old homestead 
to Herbert C. Calef of Providence who platted the land into what is now 
known as Calef Park. The old house with approximately 5 acres of land 
was sold to Robert Van Meter, May 19, 1910, from whom in March 1914, 
it was bought by Ida M. Gardner second daughter of Alfred Gardner. — Ed. 

Descendants of Peleg Gardner 

(III) Peleg, son of Samuel (2), born Feb. 22, 1719, married Dec. 20, 
1739, Hannah, daughter of James and Sarah (Stephenson) Sweet, of 
Prudence Island. He died Aug. 10, 1789, his widow died Oct. 7, 1792. 
Children: (1) Sarah, born March 7, 1741, married June 10, 1760, Charles 
Slade, born June 10, 1736, who died Nov. 14, 1827. (2) Mary, born Oct. 
11, 1742, married Nov. 8, 1761, Job Anthony, born Dec. 8, 1736, who died 
Jan. 15, 1763; she then married (second) Zephaniah Sherman, and later 
(third) Caleb Sherman, and died April 5, 1810. (3) Peleg, born April 2, 
1744, is mentioned below. (4) Martha, bom Sept 20, 1745, married Elisha 
Burr, and died Oct. 20, 1797. (5) Edward, born Feb. 19, 1747, died Nov. 

9, 1820, married Dec. 22, 1776, Elizabeth Brown, who was born Oct. 7, 
1756, and died Oct. 28, 1838. (6) James, born Aug. 27, 1748, married 
Prudence Chase, and (second) Susan (Tripp) Johnson. (7) Alexander, 
born March 10, 1750, died March 27, 1818, married Anne Luther, widow 
of William Chace. (8) Joseph, born Aug. 1, 1752, died June 1, 1753. (9) 
Joseph (2), born Jan. 7, 1754, died March 14, 1838, married Hannah Slade, 
who died July 5, 1832. (10) John, born April 24, 1755, married Betty 
Slade. (11) Phebe, born May 18, 1756, died Oct. 31, 1792. (12) Hannah, 
born Jan. 11, 1759, married Philip Luther. (13) Samuel, born June 15, 
1760, married Avis Sherman; he died Feb. 7, 1841. (14) Caleb, bom Sept. 
27, 1762, married Seabury McKoon. (15) Job, born July 8, 1764, died Nov. 

10, 1787. (16) Parthenia, born March 16, 1767, died May 6, 1851, married 
Job Luther. 

(IV) Peleg Gardner (2), born April 2, 1744, married Jan. 26, 1766, 
Lydia Simmons, of Freetown, daughter of Nathan Simmons. He died Feb. 
27, 1814, and she died May 6, 1826. Children: Nathan, born July 30, 1766, 
married Dec. 26, 1794, Keziah Mason; Lydia, bora Jan. 29, 1769, died May 
27, 1835, married Simeon Jones, July 29, 1789; Peleg, Jr., born May 2, 
1771, married Nov. 22, 1792, Anne Gardner, daughter of Samuel and 
Elizabeth (Anthony) Gardner; Henry, born Jan. 14, 1773, is mentioned 
below; Abraham, born Feb. 21, 1775, married July 8, 1802, Rebecca Brown; 
Jonathan, bom Nov. 29, 1777, died Aug. 1800; Mary, bora Feb. 8, 1780, 
married Varnum Thurston; Hannah, born March 14, 1782, died Aug. 18, 
1828, married Feb. 21, 1805, Jeremiah Brown; Susanna, bom March 20, 
1784, died Dec. 3, 1870, married a Mr. Simmons; Lovice, born Oct. 17, 
1788, died Sept. 1, 1875, married May 26, 1811, Joseph Gardner, son of 
Edward and Elizabeth (Brown) Gardner; Martha, born March 15, 1789, 

162 History of Swansea 

married Thomas Gray and (second) Clark Chase; Jeremiah, born Nov. 8; 
1794, died Oct. 5, 1862, married April 26, 1818, Susan Pierce, daughter of 
Obadiah and Susan (Luther) Pierce. 

(V) Capt. Henry Gardner, born Jan. 14, 1773, died July 15, 1851. 
Jan. 8, 1800, he married Parthenia Gardner, born Mar. 28, 1781, died Dec. 
30, 1844, daughter of William and Zerviah (McKoon) Gardner. In the old 
Bible record her name is spelled Parthany. Children: Henry, born June 
20, 1802, died Dec. 14, 1872; Jonathan, born Oct. 4, 1805, died Jan. 8, 
1862; William R., bom Dec. 28, 1807, died Dec. 28, 1809; WiUiam Rich- 
mond, born Feb. 26, 1810, died April 16, 1886; Charles, born April 10, 1812, 
died Sept. 15, 1843; Seraphine, born Aug. 18, 1815, died May 15, 1843; 
CaroUne, bom March 21, 1818, died Sept. 15, 1843; Parthenia Augusta, 
bora April 18, 1820, died March 26, 1909 (she married John Mason) ; 
Francis B., born Feb. 27, 1822, died Nov. 26, 1880; Sophia Mason, bom 
March 25, 1826, died Feb. 4, 1903 (she married the Rev. Edward Cowley). 
Capt. Henry Gardner was a seafaring man, and was engaged in the West 
India trade. He made his home on Gardner's Neck, now known generally 
as South Swansea. 

(VI) Henry Gardner, son of Capt. Henry, born June 20, 1802, died 
in Dec. 1872. He married Elizabeth, daughter of Benj. and Ann Haile 
Bosworth, of Swansea, and their children were born as follows: Leander 
Everett, April 8, 1838; Evelyn F., Feb. 26, 1840 (deceased); Seraphine or 
Josephine B., July 15, 1841 (died in infancy); George H., March 14, 1843 
(married Elizabeth H. Smith and resides at the Sailor's home Staten Island, 
N. Y.); Sylvester Child, July 2, 1845, (married Mary A. Brightman and 
resides in South Swansea) ; William Francis, May 2, 1847, (married Esther 
M, Cook, and deceased Jan. 17, 1909); (Mrs. Gardner died in 1916); 
Anna B., July 24, 1849; Newton Halsey, July 26, 1850, (married Nancy 
Maple, and resides in Swansea); Caroline, March 27, 1852, (married 
Edward M. Thurston, and both are deceased) ; Harriet Ella, July 27, 1853 
(deceased); Henry, April 22, 1855, (married Caroline H. Hodges, and 
lives in Newton, Kans.); Benjamin B., March 25, 1858 (married Katherine 
F. Gardner, who died April 16, 1914); Dana L., Feb. 10, 1860, (married 
Kate Macomber and deceased, June 23, 1909). 

(VII) Leander Everett Gardner, born April 8, 1838, son of Henry 
and EHzabeth (Bosworth) Gardner, married Feb. 12, 1865, Mary Anna 
Cole, daughter of William B. and Hannah (Wheaton) Cole. She was born 
Oct. 13, 1844, and died June 10, 1901. Children: Daniel, born March 23, 
1868, died March 24, 1868; Willard Child, born Nov. 11, 1869, married Oct. 
26, 1892, Caroline Elizabeth Barney, bora Jan. 27, 1872, and they had two 
children, Madora (born March 25, 1895) and Marcia Elizabeth (born July 
3, 1898, died Sept. 11, 1913) ; Arthur Leonard, born May 6, 1875, died Sept. 
13, 1875; Clarence Irving, born Feb. 27, 1877, died Sept. 4, 1877; 
Roswell C, Bora Feb. 25, 1877, died Sept. 26, 1877. 

Leander E. Gardner was born on the old homestead at G£U"dner's Neck, 
South Swansea, and there attended school. In August, 1857, he went to 
Lee Center, III., where he attended school until March, 1859, when he 
returned home. Feb. 10, 1860, he sailed for California, going via Panama. 
For two years he was on a stock ranch there and after a severe attack of 
pleura pneumonia returned to his home in Swansea, remaining on the home 
farm thereafter until he married. Then for two years he lived on a farm at 
Gardner's Neck, rented the home farm for five years, and then bought a 
place at Woodville. For seven years he was foreman on Frank S. Stevens 
*' Hillside Farm" in Swansea. In 1893 he purchased a farm near 

Following an attack of heart failure in 1897, he retired from active 
business, and died August 27, 1914. 

Family Records 163 

(VI) Jonathan Gardner, son of Capt. Henry, born Oct. 4, 1805, was 
a farmer, and died Jan. 8, 1862. He was a member of the First Christian 
Church, Swansea Centre. May 10, 1840, he married Sarah Slade, who was 
born in 1816, daug;hter of William and Mary (Sherman) Slade, and died 
Sept. 25, 1841. March 9, 1843, he married (second) Rebecca Chase, born 
April 18, 1818, daughter of Samuel and Mary Chase. There was one child 
by the first marriage, born and died in September, 1841. By the second 
union there were four children: Leland, born April 21, 1844; Willard, born 
Oct. 28, 1846, who died April 17, 1847; Charles H., bom Nov. 29, 1848; 
and Mary E., born May 8, 1851, who married Howard Wood, son of Seth 
and Mary (Carver) Wood. 

(VII) Leland Gardner, born April 21, 1844, was educated in Swansea, 
engaged in farming on Gardner's Neck, South Swansea, all his life. He was 
active in putting through the new road to Fall River. He was a member of 
the First Christian Church, Swansea Centre. He married. May 23, 1869, 
Clarissa Hathaway, who was born April 8, 1845, daughter of Anthony and 
Emeline (Pierce) Hathaway, of Somerset. They had two children : Francis 
Leland Gardner and Chester R. Gardner. 

(VIII) Francis Leland Gardner who was born Oct. 25, 1871, at 
Gardner's Neck, South Swansea, was educated in the schools of his native 
town, the Warren (R. I.) High School, and at the Bryant & Stratton busi- 
ness college. Providence. He is extensively engaged with his brother, in 
market gardening; and their greenhouses, built in 1894, have 50,000 square 
feet of glass. The greenhouse produce is shipped to the New York market, 
until about the middle of May, after which most of the shipments are to 
Providence. Mr. Gardner built his present beautiful residence at South 
Swansea, a house which shows culture and excellent taste. He has served 
the town well in public affairs. He served for several years as town auditor; 
and since 1904 has been selectman. In politics a Republican; socially a 
member of Mount Hope Lodge, 1. 0.0. F. ; and active in the Swansea Grange. 

June 27, 1900, he married Etta L., daughter of David B., and Mary A. 
(Eddy) Gardner, of Swansea Centre. 

They have had two children: Emily F., born May 12, 1903, who died 
March 17, 1904; and Rachael L., bom April 26, 1909. 

(VIII) Chester R. Gardner was bom Nov. 10, 1875, at Gardner's 
Neck, South Swansea. He attended pubhc schools at home; the Fall River 
High School, and the Bryant & Stratton business college, Providence; and 
is now associated in business with his brother. He married Alice Cleveland, 
born Dec. 29, 1874, of Somerset; and they have had two children: Ray- 
mond C, bom April 12, 1904, who died Feb. 25, 1905; and Calvin L., born 
May 2, 1906. 

(VII) Charles H. Gardner, son of Jonathan and Rebecca (Chase) 
Gardner, born Nov. 29, 1848, died June 8, 1903. He was a farmer all his 
life. He was a member of the First Christian Church, Swansea Centre 
and of Mount Hope Lodge, I. O. O. F. He married March 25, 1884, Emma 
E., daughter of Benjamin Taylor and Parthenia Chase (Baker) Bufiington, 
the latter also of Swansea, and their children were born as follows : Irving 
J., Nov. 3, 1885; Arthur R., Nov. 26, 1887; Merrill B., Feb. 16, 1889; 
Charles E., Feb. 21, 1890; Helen R., April 19, 1893; Lois Isabel, Jan. 18, 1899. 

(VIII) Irving J. Gardner, son of Charles H., and Emma E. (Buffing- 
ton) Gardner, was born in Swansea, Nov. 3, 1885, and married Oct. 6, 1908, 
Bertha Louise Horton, daughter of Andrew L. of Rehoboth, bom August 
16, 1888. They have one child, Russell Horton, born July 1, 1909. 

(Ill) Samuel Gardner (3), son of Samuel (2), was bora Feb. 17, 1717. 
He married Oct. 30, 1740, Content Bray ton, daughter of Preserved and 
Content Bray ton. Issue: Elizabeth, born June 1, 1741, married Samuel 
Luther; Anne, born Feb. 26, 1743, married Richard Barton; Samuel, bora 

164 History of Swansea 

March 5, 1745, married Elizabeth Anthony; Israel was bom April 14, 1747; 
Israel (2) bom March 29, 1748, married Elizabeth Slade; Parthenia was 
born Sept. 2, 1750; William, bom Sept. 12, 1753, married Zervia McKoon; 
Hannah, bom March 3, 1756, married Capt. Simeon Cockran; Patience, 
bom Nov. 15, 1758, married Dr. Jonathan Anthony; Mary, born Dec. 25, 
1760, married Caleb Mason; Content was bom July 11, 1764; Stephen, 
born Aug. 4, 1766, m. Mary Lee; Parthenia (2), born Aug. 11, 1767, 
married Chas. D. Trafton. 

(IV) Stephen Gardner, twelfth child of Samuel and Content Gardner, 
bom Aug. 4, 1766, married July 22, 1788, Mary Lee, daughter of John and 
Avis (Anthony) Lee. He died Nov. 26, 1819, and she passed away June 
20, 1829. Children: Mary, John, Betsey, Israel, Lydia, Phihp, Ehza and 

(V) Israel Gardner, born May 5, 1797, died Aug. 29, 1882. March 22, 
1827, he married Elizabeth Brown, daughter of James and Elizabeth 
(Kingsley) Brown, born May 15, 1797, died Sept. 23, 1882. They had 
children as follows: David B., bom May 13, 1828; Mary S., bora Dec. 17, 
1829, who married Enoch Chace of Somerset, Mass.; Jerome B., born 
March 17, 1832, deceased, who married Carrie Dale; Ehzabeth R., bom 
Oct. 15, 1833, who died young; Stephen M., born July 2, 1835, who married 
April 30, 1863, Fannie M. Slade, and resided in Swansea; Andrew J., born 
Nov. 1, 1836, died Jan. 14, 1908, who married Elizabeth (Earl) Mason (they 
have a son, Frederick); Rachael L., born Feb. 22, 1840, who married John 
Mason, (second) Daniel C. Mason, and (third) Nathan M. Wood. 

(VI) David B. Gardner, born Mav 13, 1828, died at his home in 
Swansea, Oct. 15, 1908. Feb. 17, 1856, he married Mary A. Eddy, who 
was bom July 13, 1838, daughter of Jabez and Betsey (Sherman) Eddy, 
who outlived him. Four children were born to them: Nora, born Oct. 11, 
1858, married William H. Gifford, Superintendent of a hat factory at 
Wrentham, Mass., and resides at Swansea. They have a daughter, Louise 
J., who married Henry M. Boss, Jr., a lawyer of Providence, R. I., and they 
have one daughter, Betsey. Arnold Douglass, bom March 19, 1862, 
married Edith M. Arnold, daughter of Willard U. Arnold and grand- 
daughter of Deacon Edmund Arnold, Jan. 21, 1886, and they have two 
children, David Brown, born March 2, 1888, and Edwin Clarence, born 
Aug. 10, 1892. Carrie Dale, born Sept. 23, 1867, married Alexander B. 
Gifford, and their children are Earl, Elizabeth, Carrie, Ruth, and Alexander. 
This family Hves in Warren, R. I. Etta Lee, born Sept. 22, 1871, married 
Francis L. Gardner— (See VIII). 

David B. Gardner was bom in Swansea, Mass., where he passed his 
early life, going in 1849 to the Swamps of North Carolina for the purpose 
of manufacturing shingles, receiving for his services at first $10 per noonth. 
He returned to the North in 1850 and engaged in the marine freight bus- 
iness on the Connecticut river, for the late Samuel Gray of Swansea. He 
again went to North Carolina and on his return embarked with Capt. 
John Forrester on the sloop "Artist." In all, he performed service on 
some eight vessels, acting many times as Captain, and during his various 
sails he was not without some thrilling experiences. At one time, while on 
the "Artist," she was caught in a "white squall" while conveying clay 
from Staten Island, and so violent was the storm that the mast was carried 
away off Point Judith. As stated, at times, during the Captain 's absence 
Mr. Gardner was in command. Accompanied by Capt. Davis, Mr. Gard- 
ner made the quickest trip the "Artist" ever sailed; this was from Bristol, 
R. I., to New York, which was made in twenty-four hours. Captain Gard- 
ner and his wife celebrated their golden-wedding anniversary, Feb. 17, 1906. 
Mr. Gardner finally settled down to farming in Swansea, where he took an 
active interest in town affairs, serving at one time as constable. He had a 



Family Records 165 

large circle of friends. He was a member of Christ Church; also of the 
Masonic fraternity, connected with Temple Chapter, No. 3, and Webb 
Council No. 3, both of Warren, R. I. He was at one period, in the middle 
sixties, of the last century, in charge of the ferry boat at Slade's Ferry. 

(VH) Arnold Douglass Gardner spent his school days in Swansea. 
He began farming when a young man, and in 1885 built the house opposite 
his father's home. In 1895 he went to the home farm, where he had lived 
from the age of six years, and during the next five years engaged in the 
dairy business. For 18 years he has been deputy sheriff, was constable of 
the town for several years; and a member of the School Committee 9 years. 
He is a Past Noble Grand of Mount Hope Lodge No. 63, I. O. O. F., Fall 
River; member of King PhiHp Lodge, A. F. & A. M., Temple Chapter, No. 
3, Warren, R. I., Webb Council, No 3, Warren; Godfrey de Bouillon 
Commandery, Fall River; and Palestine Temple, Providence. He has 
taken the Rebekah degree in Odd Fellowship and is a trustee of the 
Rebekahs, Dorothy Brown Lodge. He is a member of the First Christian 
Church of Swansea. A Republican in politics, he has been active in the 
party, serving on the Town Committee for many years. 

The Haile, Hail, Hale Family 
From Hale Genealogy In Re — ^W. J. Hale 

Richard Haile, the ancestor of the Hail, Haile, Hale family of Swansea 
and Warren — as it is variously spelled by his descendants — first appears on 
Swansea records when he was admitted an inhabitant, Nov. 14, 1677, and 
granted a ten acre lot north of ye old fence at Kickemuit; this would 
indicate that it lay between Market street and the highway running along 
the west bank of the Kickemuit river between the bridges. 

He had married probably at Rehoboth, Mary, daughter of Richard & 
Elizabeth (Ingraham) Bullock, born 1652, Feb. 16, in Rehoboth. Their eldest 
son John was probably born there before they came to Swansea. In 1698 
he was chosen fence viewer the only office he seems to have held. Richard's 
occupation is given as taylour in deeds of that period. He deeded his real 
estate to his youngest son Barnard in 1713, it was then bounded on the 
north and west by Elder Samuel Luther's land, east by the highway, south 
by John Wheaton's land. 

Richard died 1720, Sept. 29, his headstone says "aged nere 80 years" 
Mary his wife died 1730, Feb. 15, they and their three sons are buried in 
the Kickemuit Cemetery within sight of their home. 

Their children were: 

Name Born Married Died 

LJohn 1677 Hannah Tillinghast 1718 Feb. 19 

II. Mary Nicholas Power 

III. Richard 1681 Dec. 22 Ann Mason 1705 June 2 1718 Feb. 8 

IV. Elizabeth 1685 July 22 Jonathan Hill 1705 Oct. 23 1756 Sept. 9 
V.Barnard 1687 Elizabeth Slade 1712 Jan. 24 1754 Apr. 16 

/ Robert Carr 1708 Oct. 21 

VI. Hannah 1690 May 8 ] iZu^^fES mO Oct. 29 

( Josias Byfes 1739 7 

VII. Rose 1692 May 30 James Mason 1713 July 30 1748 Mar. 7 
Vm. Patience 1694 July 3 William Turner 1712 Feb. 7 1772 Aug. 5 

166 History of Swansea 

John Haile's (1677-18) right of amendment laid out in 1709, comprised 
four and one half rights, two deriving from Obadiah Bowen, two from 
Gideon Allen, and half one from John SaflSn. The present Hale farm in 
Swansea was all included within its limits, beside much to the East and 
North. At his death he owned three hundred fifty-five acres in Swansea, 
and thirty acres in Rehoboth bordering on the Swansea line, or about 1/38 
of the present town of Swansea valued by the appraisers in 1718 with the 
buildings and one third of a grist mill at about $3300. He was a house- 
wright by trade, and probably built the old house torn down March 4, 
1845. A new house was erected upon the site. 

"At a proprietors meeting 2nd Monday Jan. 17, 15/16 chose John 
Haile one of the committee to lay out undivided lands. " This was the year 
of the ten acre division. He was chosen highway surveyor 1716-17 two 

John Haile married Hannah, daughter of Elder Pardon and Lydia 
(Taber) TiUinghast, of Prov. R. I. date unknown. Their first child John 
was probably born there; the others in Swansea. John Haile died 1718, 
Feb. 19, his wife Hannah, 1731 ; both are buried in the Kickemuit Cemetery. 

Married Died 

1. John 1703 Elizabeth Mason 1723 Oct. 18, 1731 

2. Barnard 1709 Sept. 15 Hannah Wheaton 1738 Apr. 14 
o IT 1 i-io A . Q i Oliver Kingsley 1729 Dec. 31, 1801 

3. Freelove 1^12 Apr. 3 | j^^j^^^ ^al-penter 1748 Mar. 17 

4 T Ml- i-iyi rs ♦ o i Nathan Mason 1731 Aug. 26 

4. Lillis 1 i 14 Oct. 2 \ ^j^i pj^^^ j^g3 j^ 3o« 

5. Hannah 1716 Sept. 17 Peletiah Mason 1733 Nov. 22 

1791 Dec. 15 

(II) Richard Haile Jr. (1681-18), cooper, in 1708, bought of Ephraim 
Pierce his messuage farm of one hundred seventy acres on the east side of 
New Meadow river lying both sides of the road. This place is known to 
the older residents as the Judge Haile place. 

It was owned by the Hailes about one hundred fifty years. 

His son Walter Haile was one of the physiciems of the town, hkewise 
Walter's son Nathan Haile. 

A great grandson, Wilham Haile, was governor of New Hampshire 
(1857-59); his son William H. Haile, of Springfield, Mass., was lieut. 
governor of Massachusetts 1890-93, and the Republican candidate for 
governor in 1892, defeated by the popular Gov. Wm. E. Russell by a small 

Another great grandson Levi Haile, of Warren, was Judge of the 
Supreme Court of R. I. 1835-54, July 14th, the date of his death. 

Drs. Walter and Nathan, Judge Levi, and many of their families are 
buried in the family cemetery opposite the house. 

A grandson Richard (1729-00) lived on the Hailes hill place in Swansea. 

Barnard Haile (1687-54) the youngest son, was proprietors clerk, 
constable, assessor, and Town treasurer between 1719-27. It is said there 
were four generations of sea Captains in this family. Many of his descen- 
dants are living in Warren R. I. 

(III) John Haile (1703-31) inherited eighty acres, and one half the 
house, his double share portion as the eldest son, by the division of his 
father's estate 1729; this lay north of the house to the highway, about half 
the frontage. He married Elizabeth, daughter of Pelatiah and Hepsibeth 
(Brooks) Mason. He died so early in fife there is but little record to be 
found of him. He is buried in the Kickemuit Cemetery. 

Family Records 167 

Their children Married Died 

I. Anne 1724 Sept. 1 Daniel Salisbury 1742 Apr. 16 1770 May 25 
II. John 1726 Aug. 19 Bethiah Bosworth 1747 Nov. 26 1810 Jan. 9 

III. Eli8ha 1728 Jan. 11 | Mary Brown^^^' ^'^^^ ^^^^ ^''^' ^ 

IV. Job 1748 

His widow married Noah Wood 1733 Jan. 4. 

(III) Barnard Haile (1709-38) inherited sixty-eight acres in the division 
of his father's estate including two ten acre lots. This comprised the home 

Elace of Mrs. Julia W. Sherman, on the west side of the road ; where evidently 
e built the house which stood on the Taunton road twenty-four rods north 
from the corner where Mrs. Sherman's house stands. He owned more than 
a hundred acres adjoining in Reboboth. This his children sold in 1759, all 
of whom removed from the town soon afterwards. He married Hannah, 
daughter of Samuel and Experience Wheaton born 1719 Sept. 12. 

I. Freelove 1728 Feb. 11 Nathaniel Bourne 1748 Mar. 2 

II. Hannah 1732 June 16 Samson Mason 1751 Aug. 5 1805 Nov. 5 

III. Comer 1734 Nov. 5 Margaret Ingraham 1757 Nov. 13 1782 Oct. 

IV. Amos 1736 Ruth Easterbrooks 1758 May 18 1818 Aug. 25 

His widow Hannah married John Wood, Jr. 

Amos was the great-grandfather of George Hail the donor of the 
"George Hail Free Library" to the town of Warren, R. I. 

(IV) John Hale (1726-10) received but about twenty acres and one half 
the buildings as his double share portion when his father's estate was divided 
in 1743, by industry and thrift he gradually bought out the other heirs, 
and before his death owned one hundred twenty acres of the original farm. 
He apparently cared less for office than others of the family, for with the 
exception of highway surveyor, and overseer of the poor, he held no town 
offices. He was ordained deacon of the First Christian Church, Wednesday, 
Dec. 11, 1777 and was usually spoken of as Deacon John. He and his 
family were the first to drop the i and spell the name Hale. He married 
Bethiah daughter of Ichabod and Mary (Bowen) Bosworth, born 1724 Nov. 
6, died Sept. 7 1813. Both are buried in the family cemetery on the Hale 

Their children Married Died 

I. Job 1749 Feb. 26 Mary Mason 1774 Apr. 10 1834 May 25 

II. John 1750 May 25 Laurana Mason 1790 Feb. 27 
HI. Mary 1753 Feb. 7 Benajah Mason 1770 Mar. 8 1784 Oct. 25 
IV. Ehzabeth 1756 July 2 Benjamin Kelton 1778 Feb 12 1839 Dec. 25 

V.Daniel 1758 July 30 Cynthia Buffington 1780 May 7 1830 Sept. 5 

VI. Tamar 1760 Dec. 16 \ f^^^^? ^^^'"'i^J^V'^l l^ ^^^^ ^^P** ^ 
} James Luther 1799 Nov. 10 

VII. Anne 1762 Aug. 24 Pardon Mason 1785 1823 Oct. 23 

(V) Job Hale (1749-34) finally settled in Plainfield, Conn, in middle 
life, after owning several places in the Mason neighborhood. 

(V) John Hale saw several months service in the revolution principally 
as coast guard, like all the young men of the town of that period. He was 
afterwards Lieut, of one of the Swansea Companies of Militia. He was 
usually spoken of as Lieut. John Hale. He was a blacksmith by trade. 
John, Job and their brother-in-law Edward Mason owned the sloop 
"Dolphin" which was engaged in the Carolina trade. Later he kept a 
store. He bought in 1779, the farm that his heirs sold the town of Swansea 

168 History of Swansea 

in 1827, it is still used as an asylum for the towns poor. He married Laur- 
ana, daughter of Simeon and Hannah (Thomas) Mason born 1754 Dec. 10 
died 1825 Dec. 1. 

They had seven children, all of whom left town in early life except 
Levi, who built the house now owned by Wm. F. Holden's heirs. John 
Hale and wife Lurana are both buried in the cemetery on the Hale farm. 

(V) Daniel Hale, (1758-30) was the most distinguished of the Swansea 
Hales, at nineteen he served with the revolutionary forces in Capt. Peleg 
Sherman's Co., also with Capt. Peleg Peck's Co. He was commissioned 
Lieut. 1790, and a year later Capt. of a Co. 1st. regt. 2nd. Brigade 5th 
division of Massachusetts Militia. He served about seven years in both 

In 1806, he was elected to the General Court serving fourteen terms. 
In 1820 he was chosen a delegate to the Constitutional Convention. 

He was one of the local leaders of the Republican, or JefFersonian party, 
which later became the Democratic party. All his sons (with a single 
exception) were Democrats, as were most of his sons-in-law and grandsons, 
and many of his descendants to the present time. 

A justice of the peace many years, he married several of his children 
besides settling estates, and serving as guardian in several instances. 

His papers are still in his desk, among them packages of receipts that 
had probably never been opened since tied by his hand, until examined by 
the writer nearly sixty yeeirs later. 

He served as clerk of the First Christian Church many years. He was 
once censured by the church for negb'gence in faihng to record some record; 
this vote is recorded in his handwriting, but notwithstanding this action he 
was continued in the office. 

He learned a shoemakers trade but was engaged in farming during all 
his life. He inherited the buildings and about one third of the farm by his 
father's will, and purchased his brother's rights in the remainder. 

Late in life he met with business reverses through investment in the 
Westport Mfg. Co. and deeded his farm to his son Daniel who had rendered 
him pecuniary aid. The first time the whole of the farm had ever been 

He married Cynthia daughter of William and Phoebe (Luther) 
Buffington born 1761 July 28 died 1822 Oct. 14. 

Daniel Hale who had suffered much from rheumatism and dropsy dur- 
ing the later years of his life died suddenly Sunday morning Sept. 5th 1830, 
while lying on a lounge. Both he and his wife are buried in the cemetery 
on the Hale farm. Their children were as follows: 

Married Died 

1. Mason 1781 Feb. 4 Mary Mason 1806 June 12 1845 June 21 

2. Pheobe 1783 Aug. 26 John Monroe 1809 Jan. 1 1834 Nov. 12 

3. William 1785 Nov. 18 Clarissa Bowen 1820 Aug. 13 1856 Jan. 17 

4. Slade 1788 Sept, 4 Mary Brown 1811 Feb. 3 1811 June 29 

5. Cynthia 1791 Apr. 23 Spencer Rounds 1812 Mar. 16 1841 Mar. 

6. Daniel 1791 Apr. 30 

7. Daniel 1794 June 16 Sarah Mason 1817 Sept. 14 1867 Feb. 5 

8. Nancy 1796 Nov. 26 Samuel Walker 1816 Dec. 19 1821 Jan. 25 

1800 Sept. 28 

9. Jonathan Buffington Rosanna West 1830 Mar. 14 1858 Nov. 4 

10. Luther Baker 1803 Apr. 25 1828 July 20 

11. Betsey 1806 Sept. 4 Asa Peck 1826 Feb. 26 1890 Sept. 2 

(VI) Mason Hale (1781-45) was a shoemaker, and lived on a httle 
place of nine acres near the homestead now owned by Daniel Maher. He 

Family Records 169 

married Mary, daughter of Barnabas and Hannah (BuflRngton) Mason, 
born 1769 Nov. 26 died 1852 Oct. 30. He was selectman, 1842-45, the 
year of his death. Both he and his wife are buried in the Hale cemetery. 
He set out the great sycamore tree which stands near the house in 1791 
when he was ten years old. 

(VI) WiUiam (1785-56) was a mason and successful builder of 
Newport,R. I. Slade (1788-11) died in Havana of yellow fever while mate 
of the brig "Ehza Ann" Capt. Slade Gardner, of Swansea. 

(VI) Daniel (1794-67) was successively carpenter, mill-wright, and 
mill agent for three mills owned by Samuel Mann. He lived in Manville 
and Pawtucket, R. I. He owned the Hale farm over forty years a new house 
and two large out buildings were erected during his ownership. He and 
his family are buried in the Hale cemetery. 

Luther B. Hale (1803-28) learned the trade of a mason with his brother 
William of Newport. He died after a short illness from a singular malady 

(VI) Jonathan B. Hale (1800-58) learned shoemaking and taught 
school Winters for a time. It was his father's intention to leave him the 
farm, but through business reverses it became the property of his brother 
Daniel; however he managed the farm all his life. He married a former pupil 
Rosanna daughter of Benjamin and Elizabeth (Miller) West, of Rehoboth, 
born there Oct. 20; died in Dighton, Mass. 1904 July 26. She spent over 
sixty-five years of her long life on the Hale farm. His death was the result 
of an accident; while on his way to serve a warrant he was thrown from a 
wagon near Cleavelands Corner — and his back broken, after living eighty 
days in a partially paralyzed condition, he died Nov. 4, 1858. Both are 
buried in the Hale cemetery. Their children were 

Married Died 

1. Nancy Walker 1830 Nov. 18 Rensselear B. Waldron 1856 Apr. 27 1899 

Dec. 27 

2. Daniel 1832 Oct. 9 Mary B. Douglass 1859 Jan. 9 1896 July 9 

3. Elizabeth West 1837 Apr. 27 1908 Sept. 29 

4. Lydia Ann 1840 Dec. 18 Samuel R. Gardner 1882 Nov.15 

5. Mary Mason 1843 Jan. 27 Charles S.Chase 1861 Jan.20 1914 June 22 

Nancy W. resided in Bristol, R. I. 

Elizabeth W. became blind at sixteen years of age from scarlet fever. 
Lydia A. married Samuel R. Gardner, of this town, born 1837. 
Mary M. married Charles S. Chase, of Dighton, born in Swansea, 

(VII) Daniel Hale (1832-96) left the farm at an early age and learned 
the trade of a ship carpenter at Mason Barney's yard. North Swansea, later 
he worked at Warren for Chase & Davis, at Bristol, for Stanton & Skinner, 
and in Newport for the Cottrells; where he had a good position when his 
father died after he had promised him to return to the farm and take care 
of his mother and bhnd sister. Both were members of his family as long as 
he lived. He was married a few months after to Mary Beebe daughter of 
John S. and Beebe B. (Lawton) Douglass, of Bristol, R. I., 1859 Jan. 9, 
born 1837 Dec. 1, who survives him. 

After three years he bought two thirds of the farm of his uncle Daniel 
Hale, of Pawtucket, which he mortgaged but paid in little more than 
three years. The other third was sold to James Eddy. 

170 History of Swansea 

Farming was rather distasteful and he worked much of the time at 
house carpentering, March 5th 1877, he was elected selectman, assessor 
and overseer of the poor. These offices he held nineteen consecutive years ; 
the last three as chairman of the boards. He was defeated for a twentieth 
term by Philip H. Manchester. He died very suddenly in the early morn- 
ing of July 9, 1896 passing while he slept without a struggle. Both he and 
his wife were members of the First Christian Church many years. He was 
buried in the Hale cemetery on the farm. 

Their Children Married Died 

1. Daniel Mason 1862 Apr. 19 1874 Aug. 16 

2. WiUiam Jonathan 1866 Mar. 30 Mary A. Douglass 1894 Sept. 25 

(VIII) Daniel M. a handsome boy and brilliant student died at twelve 
years of age of malignant scarlet fever after an illness of three days. 

William J. Hale (1866- ) unlike his father was very fond of the old 
farm and had no desire to leave it. He built a new house near the highway 
in 1894, the date of his marriage. The old house stood on a highway laid 
out to the river, but as it lay wholly within the Hale farm it is probable it 
was never improved. He has been a farmer all his life unlike his ancestors 
having no trade. He served three years as selectman, assessor, and over- 
seer of the poor, 1901-04 scoring three wins out of seven trials, although 
an active Democrat in a town Republican about five to one. He has been 
one of the Democratic candidates for the General Court eight times but has 
yet to win an election although he carried the town in 1903, obtaining the 
highest vote on the ticket. He married at Newport, R. T. Mary A. daughter 
of William H. and Rebecca A. (Winslow) Douglass; born at Bristol, R. I., 
1855 July 13. 

Their children are: 

1. Beebe Douglass 1895 Sept. 25 

2. Daniel 1897 Aug. 23 

3. Harold Winslow 1901 Aug. 21 

Two are graduates, the other a pupil of the Durfee High and Technical 
High, of Fall River, Mass. 

From Kingsley Genealogy by Leroy Brown 
OF St. Paul Minnesota, 1907 

Of the origin of the family and name of Kingsley, tradition says that 
as William II of England or William Rufus the Red King was one day hunt- 
ing in the new forest, he became separated from his companions and attend- 
ants and wandering aimlessly about the forests and glade became hope- 
lessly lost. But just as night was closing in with its darkness and gloom he 
espied a friendly light gleaming from the cabin of one of the yeoman who 
lived on the confines of the forest. 

Hastening thither he begged shelter for the night, without making 
known his identity. He was kindly received and hospitably entertained so 
far as the means at hand in the humble abode would allow. The man of the 
house at once slaughtered a young goat from which with other means at 
hand, his good wife prepared a savory repast whose delightful odors 
reached the nostrils of the hungry King and whose delectable flavors 
greatly pleased his palate. 

The King of course being weary from the arduous sports of the day, 
the humble couch provided him brought most refreshing slumbers from 
which he awoke to partake of another bounteous repast which the wife had 

Family Records 171 

prepared (such as her female descendants have ever since been noted for 

In going abroad by the light of day he discovered he was in his own 
meadow or lea, as it was anciently called in England. 

He was so delighted with the hospitality he had received that he be- 
stowed the whole of that portion of his domain known as the Kings Lea 
upon his host and made of him a Baron. The recipient took the name of 
the land bestowed upon him Kyngesligh (or Kingsley) and the family crest 
and coat of arms contains the King's crown surmounted by a goats head. 
Coat of Arms vert, a cross engrailed ermine, crest, in a ducal coronet gules, 
a goats head argent. Descendants from Randulphus De Kyngsleigh of 
Chester, 1120. 

John Kingsley came from Hampshire England to Boston, Mass. and 
settled at Dorchester, 1635. He was one of the original (7) members of the 
church at Dorchester in 1636 and signed the covenant. Rev. Richard 
Mather the grandfather of Cotton Mather was the first Pastor under the 
covenant. Kingsley was the last of the seven to survive. 

He was a man of strong religious Convictions and was obliged to leave 
England on account of his religious principles. He owned 12 shares in the 
first purchase of Taunton Mass 1637. The later years of his life were spent 
in Rehoboth. He was there and in Swansea at the time of the burning of 
the town. He wrote in 1676 a very pathetic letter to Connecticut appealing 
for help to keep the colony from starving. John Kingsley married Alice 
Jones widow of Richard Jones. From the will of Samuel Jones son of his 
wife Alice it looks probable that John Kingsley had a wife Ehzabeth before 
Alice. He lived in Dorchester until after 1644 and there had born the 
following children. 

A daughter, Freedom 

II Eldad born 1638 

Enos went to Northampton 


A daughter Renewal b. March 1644. 

AUce Kingsley wife of John Kingsley was buried Jan. 14, 1673. 

John Kingsley married 3rd March 16, 1674 Mary widow of Roger 
Maury or Morey & daughter of John & Margery Johnson of Roxbury Mass. 
John Kingsley was buried Jan. 6, 1678-9 probably on his own land in 
Rehoboth now within the bounds of East Providence R. I. His gravestone 
was found on the land of the Minneska Canoe Club and was removed with 
their consent July 4, 1908 to the Carpenter Cemetery East Prov., R. I. by 
Nathan G. Kingsley Providence and Martha G. Kingsley, Swansea. The 
initials "A.K."on the reverse of the stone are undoubtedly those of his second 
wife Ahce. Mary the widow of John Kingsley was buried Jan. 29, 1678. 

(II) Eldad b. 1638 m. May 9, 1662, Mehitable Maury or Morey 
daughter of Roger Morey and Mary (Johnson) Morey. Eldad KJngsIey 
died Aug. 30, 1679 and his widow married Timothy Brooks Senior. 

Children of Eldad and Mehitable Kingsley born in Rehoboth. 
Ehzabeth b. Jan. 29, 1663. m. Jan. 12, 1680 Samuel Palmer. 
John b. May 6, 1665, m. July 1, 1686 Sarah Sabin. 
Samuel b. June 1, 1669. 

(III) Jonathan b. Feb. 21, 1671, m. Nov. 24, 1697 Mary Cole daughter 
of Hugh and Mary (Foxwell) Cole b. 1676. He died at Swansea June 15, 
1750, she died March 10, 1756 in 81st year. 

Nathaniel Kingsley b. Feb. 5, 1673, m. April 25, 1705 Christian Cole 
of Swansea. He died July 7, 1752. He was a deacon of the Church of 

172 History of Swansea 

Christ in Swansea. Now 1st Christian from Nov. 7, 1745-July 7, 1752. 
Mary b. October 7, 1675. 

(IV) Hezekiah b. Sept. 15, 1699 in Rehoboth m. 1st 1722 Hopestill 
daughter of Thomas and Hope (Huckins) Nelson of Middleborough. She 
died Feb. 20, 1724. Married second at Swansea Dec. 3, 1724 Elizabeth 
Thomas. He died at Swansea 1769. She died Nov. 21, 1770. 

(V) Hezekiah b. at Swansea Dec. 5, 1739. Married at Swansea June 
21, 1767, Mary Luther b. Nov. 29, 1749. She was the daughter of John and 
Hannah (Anthony, widow of Job) Luther. She died Oct. 8, 1779. He 
married 2nd Mary Cole. She died Oct. 3, 1824. He died May 20, 1820. 

(V) Hezekiah b. at Swansea January 20, 1768, m. Feb. 19, 1797, Mima 
Phinney daughter of Ehsha and Rebecca (Peck) Phinney b. March 29, 
1773. He died at Swansea January 16, 1842. She died at Swansea Dec. 19 

(VI) Elisha b. at Swansea February 15, 1798 m. Feb. 22, 1825, Mary 
Gardiier Mason daughter of Gardner and Susannah (Vinnicum) Mason 
b. October 13, 1802. He died January 7, 1868. She died May 19, 1880. 

(VII) Gardner Mason Kingsley b. Feb. 21, 1826 m. May 26, 1853 
Rhoda Chace Rogers daughter of Gideon and Azubah (Wordell) Rogers b. 
at Fall River Feb. 3, 1830. He died Nov. 12, 1897. She died Oct. 8, 1900. 

(VIII) Children of Gardner and Rhoda Kingsley, 

1. Edwin Gardner b. at Fall River Sept. 2, 1855 died at Prov. R. I. 
Feb. 22, 1865. 

2. Martha Gardner b. at Prov. R. I. May 11, 1866. 

3. Charles Edwin b. at Prov. R. I. Nov. 20, 1867, m. at Swansea Jan. 
2, 1901 Lena Allen Peckham, daughter of George H. and Edna M. (Cobb) 
Peckham b. Dec. 29, 1874. 

Their Children. 

Edna b. at Swansea June 13, 1903. 

Juha b. at Swansea Feb. 2, 1905. 

Marian b. at Swansea Nov. 19, 1907. 

Esther Gardner b. at Swansea, Sept. 23 1913. 

Joseph Gardner Luther 

Joseph Gardner Luther, one of the best known citizens of this Town, 
where for half a century he was engaged in a mercantile business, and where 
he has given able service as a town official having served also as a Justice 
of the Peace, is a descendant in the seventh generation from Capt John 
Luther, an early settler of Taunton, Mass. And on the maternal side, his 
lineage is from John Howland of the "Mayflower" company as follows: — 
John and EUzabeth (Tilley) Howland; Jonathan and Hannah (Howland) 
Bosworth; Jonathan Jr. and Sarah (Round) Bosworth; Ichabod and Mary 
(Bowen) Bosworth; John and Bethiah (Bosworth) Hale; James and Tamer 
(Hale) Mason Luther; and Joseph G. and Tamer (Luther) Luther. 

(1) The name Luther has been a prominent one, and the family was 
numerous in the towns created out of Ancient Rehoboth, and in territory 
near by since the early settlement here — since the coming of John Luther 
to Taunton, 1637, where he was one of the original proprietors. One 
family record sets forth that he was a native of Germany and came to 
Boston in 1635. Another account states that he was a native of Dorset, 
England, and came to America in 1636, and in 1639 was a purchaser of 
Taunton, Mass. He and some of his men were killed by the Indiana in 
1644, while on a trading voyage in Delaware bay. And on May 22, 1646, 

Family Records 173 

the General Court decreed that the Widow Luther have the balance of her 
husband's wages according to sea custom, after allowing to the merchants 
what they had paid for the redemption of her son. This act no doubt had 
reference to John Luther. 

Through Samuel and Hezekiah Luther, sons of Capt. John, have 
descended the Luthers of the territory to which we have alluded. Of 
these Samuel was born in 1638, probably in Bo ston or vicinity. He is 
referred to as of Rehoboth, Feb. 27, 1661. On Oct. 19, 1672, he made a 
claim or demand for his father's purchase in Taunton. In the year 1685 
Samuel Luther succeeded Rev. John Miles as Elder of the Baptist Church 
in Swansea, Mr. Miles having died in 1683. Mr. Luther is referred to as Rev. 
Capt. Samuel Luther. He continued in charge of the Swansea Church for 
thirty-two years. He died Dec. 20, 1716, and was buried in the Kickemuit 
Cemetery, in what is now Warren, R. I., where also rests the remains of 
his brother Hezekiah, who died July 28, 1723, aged eighty-three years. The 
children of Elder Samuel Luther, according to Rehoboth town records, 
were: Samuel, Theophilus, and Mary; and in the father's will are men- 
tioned also : Joshua, Ebenezer, Susannah, Mehitabel, and Martha, Joanna 
m. Nathaniel Wilmarth May 27, 1704, d. May 31, 1706. 

(II) Hezekiah Luther, son of Capt. John, the settler, born in 1640, 
probably in Taunton, died July 23, 1723, aged 83. He married (first) Nov. 
30, 1661, Elizabeth, in Dorchester, Mass., and (second) Sarah Butterworth, 
who died Aug. 22, 1722. His children were: John, born in 1663; Nathan- 
iel, in 1664 (by the first union); Joseph, Feb. 12, 1669; EUzabeth, Dec. 
29, 1671; Edward, April 27, 1674; Hezekiah, Aug. 27, 1676; and Hannah 
(by the second union). The father was a carpenter and hved in Swansea. 

(III) Lieut. Hezekiah Luther, son of Hezekiah, born Aug. 27, 1676, 
was married March 23, 1704, to Martha Gardner, and died Oct 27, 
1763, survived by his wife only until Nov. 2, 1763. Their children, all born 
in Swansea, were: Robert, born Dec. 13, 1704; Levi, Aug. 4, 1706; Esek, 
Dec. 6, 1708; Constant, Oct. 4, 1711; Lydia, Sept. 19, 1714; Simeon, May 
19, 1717; Edward, Feb. 15, 1719; Martha, Nov. 28, 1721; Sarah, Aug. 2, 
1724; Avis, Dec. 17, 1726; Hezekiah, Feb. 19, 1728; and Calvin, Aug. 9, 

(IV) Edward Luther, son of Lieut. Hezekiah, born Feb. 15, 1719, 
married March 13, 1745, Sarah Sweet, of Prudence, R. I., and died March 
7, 1776. Their children, all born in Swansea, were: James, born Feb. 19, 
1747; Sarah, May 10, 1748; Abner, June 27, 1750; Martha, Oct. 21, 1752; 
Edward, Nov. 10, 1754; Gardner, EUzabeth, and Sweet, triplets, Feb. 19, 
1757; Peleg, Jan. 2, 1760; Freelove, March 15, 1762; Samuel, April 26, 
1764; and Elizabeth, April 15, 1766. 

(V) Samuel Luther, son of Edward, bom April 26, 1764, died Nov. 
15, 1835. He married Rebekah Brown, born April 30, 1763, died April 10, 
1813, daughter of Aaron and Catherine (Bell) Brown, and their children 
were: Joseph Gardner, born Dec. 31, 1789, is mentioned below; Thomas 
Sweet, born March 14, 1792, married Elizabeth A. Taylor, and had two 
children, Virginia B., and Georgia Sweet, both of whom are deceased; John 
Brown, born Oct. 16, 1794; married Lydia Luther, and died Feb. 21, 1823; 
(they had one son, John B., born Dec. 19, 1822, died March 24, 1910, 
unmarried); Samuel Sweet, born Feb. 14, 1799, died Oct. 18, 1823. 
Samuel Luther was a sea captain. His fraternal relations were with the 
Masons, affiliating with the lodge at Warren, Rhode Islemd. 

(VI) Joseph Gardner Luther, son of Samuel, born Dec. 31, 1789, 
died June 13, 1857. March 26, 1821, he married in Swansea, Tamer Luther, 
born Dec. 2, 1800, died Sept. 24, 1892, daughter of (VI) James and Tamer 
(Hale) Mason Luther, granddaughter of (V) James and Mercy (Cole) 
Chase Luther, great granddaughter of (IV) James and Martha (Slade) 

174 History of Swansea 

Luther, great-great-granddaugbter of (III) Samuel and Sarah Luther, 
great-great-great-granddaughter of (II) Samuel and Mary Abel Luther 
and great-great-great-great-granddaughter of (I) Capt. John Luther, the 
settler. Joseph G. Luther was agent for the factory at Hortonville at one 
time, but in 1823 succeeded his brother John B. as a merchant at Luther's 
Corners. He was a Captain in the State Militia. From 1830 to 1836 he 
filled the office of town clerk, and from 1830 to 1835 that of town treasurer; 
he also served as collector of taxes. His four children were: (I) Rebecca B., 
born April 22, 1822, married Jan. 16, 1849, Benjamin Bosworth, and died 
Nov. 7, 1902, the mother of two children, Joseph L. (born March 19, 1850, 
died Dec. 13, 1865) and Annie H. (born May 28, 1857, married April 19, 
1887, Alexander M. Wetherwell, of Fall River,) (2) Elizabeth G., born 
Dec. 14, 1824, died unmarried, May 20, 1909. (3) Sarah Sweet, born July 
28, 1832, married Oct. 27, 1853, Elisha B. Gardner and died Oct. 3, 1905, 
the mother of Martha Tamer (born March 16, 1855, married Dec. 10, 
1890, Herbert H. Horton, and died Sept. 13, 1893), Elizabeth Luther, 
(born Oct. 27, 1857, married Oct. 30, 1890, James H. French, of Fall River) 
and Mary Amanda (born April 21, 1869), (4) Joseph G. 

(VII) Joseph Gardner Luther, son of Joseph G. and Tamer, was 
born Sept. 22, 1837, and was educated at the Warren (R. I.) Classical 
Institute and at a school at Kent's Hill, Readfield, Maine. He succeeded 
his father in the mercantile business, which he conducted with remarkable 
success from 1857 to 1906. He has been a careful business man and an able 
financier. He has ever been keenly interested in the progress of his com- 
munity, and with high ideals of citizenship; has always been a Republican 
in pohtics, and has served his town faithfully as an official, holding the 
offices of town treasurer, tax collector, and (from 1865 to 1880) town clerk. 
From May 22, 1867 to June 2, 1916 and renewed he was Justice of the 
peace, conscientiously performing his duties to the best interests of law and 
order. Mr. Luther's pathway in life has been a pleasant one, and he has 
endeavored by all means in his power to scatter sunshine among those 
whose lives have come close to his. He is the last of his line, and resides in 
the old family home at Swansea Center. 

Horton Family 

The Horton family came early to New England. Thomas of Windcor, 
removed to Springfield in 1638, and died leaving a son Jeremiah, by wife 
Mary, Barnabas Horton, a native of Monsley, Leicestershire, England, was 
at Hampton in 1640, and was of Southold, Long Island, in 1662. Benjamin 
Horton, perhaps a brother, lived at the same place, same time, and Caleb, 
too. Then there was John Horton at Guilford, and Thomas at Charlestown. 
Coming now to the Rehoboth Hortons, one John Horton, said to have 
come from England, settled in Rehoboth, and there married Mehetabel 
Gamzey, and had John, Jotham, Nathaniel, Jonathan, and David. The 
Rehoboth vital records give as the early heads of families there, Thomas 
and Hannah, David, their eldest child, being bom Oct. 8, 1701; and John, 
Jr., and Mary, whose eldest child Ruth, was born July 19, 1720. 

(I) Solomon Horton, of Rehoboth, married there Feb. 18, 1737-38, 
Mary Goff. Their children of Rehoboth town record were: Charles, born 
March 18, 1739; Constant, Oct. 29, 1740; Solomon, Jan. 15, 1742-43; 
Mary, Aug. 10, 1745; Abigail, Oct. 14, 1747; Daniel, Jan. 30, 1749-50; 
and Aaron, March 21, 1752. 

(II) Solomon Horton (2) son of Solomon and Mary (GofF) Horton, 
born Jan. 15, 1742-43, married at Dighton in November, 1768, Hannah 
Talbot of that town. Mr. Horton was a soldier of the Revolution, serving 

Family Records 175 

as sergeant in Capt. Elijah Walker's Company Colonel Pope's Bristol 
County Regiment 1776. He was a resident of Dightpn Mass., and 
he and his wife were the parents of ten children seven of them sons. 

(Ill) Aaron Horton, son of Solomon and Hannah (Talbot) Horton, 
born in 1779, or 1780, married (first) Bethany, daughter of Samuel Baker 
of Rehoboth, and (second) Jan. 3, 1842, Sally, daughter of Cromwell and 
Sarah (Mason) Burr, of Rehoboth. Mr. Horton was occupied m farming 
in Rehoboth, Mass., where he died Dec. 3, 1854, aged seventy-four years. 
His children were: Mason, Danforth, Hiram, Nancy B. (married Jarvis 
W Eddy), Nathaniel B., Angeline (married Levi Baker) and Alvah 

' (IV) Nathaniel Baker Horton, son of Aaron and Bethaney (Baker) 
Horton, was born in Rehoboth July 25 1820. He was educated in the 
schools of his native town, and remained on his father s farm until he was 
eighteen years old, when he went to Fall River There he learned the 
Mason's trade of Earle & Horton, of that city, and worked at that occupa- 
tion twenty years. About 1856 he purchased the old homestead of his 
father, consisting of about one hundred acres m Rehoboth which had been 
in the possession of the family for several generations To this he added 
one hundred acres by purchase. He married Jan. 11. 1844. Mary M., 
daughter of James and Mary H. (Mason) Eddy. She was born in Swansea, 
Aug 25, 1824, and died April 14, 1850. They had a son Arthur, born Jan. 
24, 1847, who died in 1853. Mr Horton married (second) Dec 23, 1854, 
Mkrv J , daughter of Hail and Patience (Bosworth) BufTinton, of Rehoboth. 
She was born July 18, 1832. Four children blessed this umon, namely: 
Adin Baker, born Nov'. 7, 1855; Mary M Oct 31. 1857 (married Frank 
N Martin, and their daughter, Edith M., born Oct. 27, 1882, married Dr. 
Emory C. KeUogg, of Swansea, June 20^ 1905. ,^d they have a son 
Arthur C, born Nov. 1, 1907); Arabella B., born Aug. 20, 1863, (married 
Delmar A. Cummings, and resides in Swansea; they have no children); 
and Arthur E., born Aug. 6, 1870, (married LiUian F. Weaver, daughter of 
Stephen and Ruth (Bufifinton) Weaver, on Dec. 30, 1891; and they have 

no children). . , . , ^ • j 

Nathaniel B. Horton was active, energetic and industrious, and was 
orominently identified with every affair of interest in his town. He held 
every office of importance in the gift of his townsmen. He represented 
Seekonk and Rehoboth two sessions in the State Legislature. During the 
CivU war he was agent for the town in filling its quota for military service; 
was also recruiting and enrolling officer, and placed in service for Rehoboth 
about 190 enhsted men, traveling in that service through various States, 
and as far south as Virginia. Perhaps very few men m the town have ever 
held more responsible positions, or discharged their duties with more 
ability or with more acceptance to their constituents. Formerly a Dem- 
ocrat, later a Freesoiler, he was from 1857 a Republican. Mr Horton was 
connected with various corporations and business interests ol tall lijver. 
being a stockholder in several Banks, and a number of cotton mills, ot one 
of which, the Bourne Mills, he was a director, from the time of its organ- 
ization until his death. He was often called upon to administer estates, 
and had the reputation of being not only an able and upright business man, 
but an agreeable and very social gentleman, with a large following of 
friends. His death occurred Jan. 4, 1900, and he was buried m Gold Brook 
cemetery, Rehoboth. He was almost as well known, and honored m 
Swansea, as in his native town, and in later years his fanuly and social hfe 
centered very largely in the little hamlet, formerly caUed Swansea l^ac- 
tory " on the border of Rehoboth, but generally known these many years 
as HortonviUe, in honor of the subject of the above sketch. ^ , , ^, 

Hail Buffinton, father of Mrs. Mary J. Horton, was born m Rehoboth, 
Mass., son of Benjamin and Mary (Mason) Buffinton, and there spent the 

176 History of Swansea 

greater part of his life. He died at the age of thirty-nine years. He married 
Patience, daughter of David and Ehzabeth (Luther) Bosworth, and they 
had five children: Ruth A., who married John H. Pierce and resides in 
Lawrence, Mass.; Mary J., who married Nathaniel B. Horton; David B., 
deceased; Gardner Luther, deceased; and George Hail, deceased. 

For many years Mrs. Horton resided during the summer at her 
cottage in Tiverton, R. L, overlooking the waters of Mount Hope bay and 
the Seaconnet River. During the rest of the year she hved in a new house 
which she built at Hortonville after the death of her husband, while her son 
Arthur resides at the old homestead. Mrs. Horton died Mar. 24, 1913. 

(V) Adin Baker Horton, son of Nathaniel B., and Mary J. (Bufifin- 
ton) Horton, was born Nov. 7, 1855. On June 26, 1879; he married Hannah 
S. Hale, daughter of William B. and Ehzabeth Hale, and she died in 
October, 1909, the mother of four children: Alvah H., born Sept. 7, 1880 
(married Etta Allen of Assonet, and has one son, John Allen) ; Mary E., 
Oct. 1, 1881, (married Robert Hewitt, of Middleboro, and has one son, 
Bertram Adin); Angie B., April 12, 1883; and Nathaniel B., Dec. 18, 

The Slade Family 

For over two hundred years — during almost the life- time of Fall 
River and its entire industrial history — the name Slade has been contin- 
ually identified with that life, especially in agriculture, from which the 
name was derived and prominent also in other lines of effort in that great 
city of spindles. In 1812-13, when the real substantial pioneer estabhsh- 
ments in the cloth making business of Fall River were projected and com- 
pleted — the Troy Cotton and Woolen Manufactory and the Fall River 
Manufactory — began the Slade name in this connection, Eber Slade of 
Somerset being one of the most prominent promoters of one of the corpor- 
ations; he became its first treasurer and filled the position until in the 
middle twenties. WiUiam Slade of Somerset was one of the owners of the 
site of these first estabhshments, and was himself an original proprietor of 
the Pocasset and Watuppa Manufacturing Companies. The brothers 
Jonathan and WiUiam Lawton Slade were among the founders of the cele- 
brated cotton mills of Fall River, both becoming presidents of the corpora- 
tion. John Palmer Slade, another of Somerset's sons, figured largely not 
only in the industrial life of the city but in other lines, becoming president 
of both, the Shove and Laurel Lake Mills. George W. Slade, one of the 
"forty-niners" of the Pacific coast, was for full fifty years one of the 
extensive and wholesale merchants of Fall River and his name, too, is 
coupled with the city's industrial fife. And of younger generations one or 
more of the sons of some of these are at this time officially and otherwise 
connected with this industrial life and in other fines, notably Leonard N. 
deceased and Everett N. Slade, of the firm of John P. Slade & Son, insur- 
ance and real estate; David F. Slade, deceased, was a member of the law 
firm of Slade & Borden, and active in the affairs of the city and of the State; 
and Abbott E. Slade is now treasurer of the Laurel Lake Mills. 

This southeastern Massachusetts Slade family, while for a brief 
period at Newport, is a full-fledged Massachusetts family, a Swansea- 
Somerset family, prominent and influential here for two hundred years and 
more. There follows in detail from the earhest known American ancestor 
some family historv and genealogy of these Slades, and in England as far 
back as 1350. 

(I) William Slade, the first of the fine in this country, is said to have 
been born in Wales, Great Britain, the son of Edward, of whom nothing 

Family Records 177 

seems to be known more than that he died. This family came from Somer- 
setshire, England, probably being of Wales only a short time. William 
appears of record at Newport, R. I., in 1659, when admitted a freeman of 
the colony. He became an early settler in the Shawomet Purchase or 
Shawomet Lands, which included that part of Swansea which, in 1790, 
became the town of Somerset. Mr. Slade located in Swansea as early as 
1680, the year of the beginning of the first record book, and the meetings of 
the proprietors were held at his house after their discontinuance at 
Plymouth, in 1677. Mr. Slade was a large landholder, his possessions 
including the ferry across Taunton River which took his name, "Slade's 
Ferry," and which remained in the family until the river was bridged in 
1876, and it was last operated by William L. and Jonathan Slade. Mr. 
Slade married Sarah, daughter of Rev. Obadiah Holmes of Rehoboth. He 
died March 30, 1729, at the age of sixty-seven years; Sarah, his widow 
died Sept. 10, 1761, aged ninety-seven, and her descendants numbered, at 
that time, 435. Of their ten children three were sons — Jonathan, Edward, 
and WiUiam. Children are recorded as follows: Mary, born in May, 1689; 
William, born in 1692; Edward, bom June 14, 1694; E^zabeth, born Dec. 
2, 1695; Hannah, born July 15, 1697; Martha, bom Feb. 27, 1699; 
Sarah; Phebe, bom Sept. 25, 1701; Jonathan, born Aug. 3, 1703 (died 
aged about eighteen); Lydia, born Oct. 8, 1706. 

(II) Edward Slade, son of William, born June 14, 1694, married 
(first) in 1717 Elizabeth Anthony, (second) Dec. 6, 1720, Phebe, daughter 
of Samuel and Sarah (Sherman) Chase, and (third) Deborah Buffum. 
They were members of the Society of Friends. There was one child by the 
first marriage, William, born Sept. 25, 1718; by the second union there 
were: Samuel, born Sept. 26, 1721; Elizabeth, born April 29, 1723; Joseph, 
born Nov. 16, 1724; Sarah, born in February, 1726; and by the thurd: 
Edward, Jr. bora Nov. 11, 1728; Philip, born Sept, 19, 1730; Phebe, born 
July 4, 1737; and Mercy, born in 1744. 

(III) Samuel Slade, son of Edward and Phebe, born 26th of 9th 
month, 1721, married Mercy, bom 3d of 5th month 1723, in Salem, Mass., 
daughter of Jonathan and Mercy BuflFum. Their children, all born in 
Swansea, were: Jonathan, bom 13th of 6th month, 1744; Robert, born 7th 
of 8th month, 1746; Henry, born 20th of 6th month, 1748; Edward, bom 
27th of 7th month, 1749; Samuel, born 20th of 11th month, 1752; Caleb, 
born 24th of 4th month, 1755; Buffum, born 31st of 3d month, 1757; 
William, bom 18th of 8th month, 1759; and Benjamin, bom 14th of 1st 
month, 1762. The father of these received from his uncle, Capt. Jonathan 
Slade, who died without issue, the ferry alluded to in the foregoing. This 
he operated and also was engaged in agricultural pursuits and blacksmi th- 
ing. Mrs. Slade died 18th of 9th month, 1797. 

(IV) Jonathan Slade, son of Samuel and Mercy, born 13th of 6th 
month, 1744, in Swansea, Mass., married Mary, bom 15th of 12th month, 
1746, in Swansea, daughter of Daniel Chase and his wife Mary. They 
lived in Swansea, where their children were born. Mr. Slade died 16th of 
11th month, 1811 ; Mrs. Slade died 7th of 9th month, 1814. Their children 
were: Jonathan, born 10th of 2d month, 1768, (died 8th of 12th month, 
1797); Mercy, bom 31st of 6th month, 1770; Mary, bom 15th of 4th 
month, 1772; Anna, bom 20th of 1st month, 1775, (died 19th of 5th month, 
1805); Patience, bom 5th of 5th month, 1777 (died 26th of 10th month, 
1798); William, born 4th of 6th month, 1780; Nathan, bom 10th of 2d 
month, 1783; Phebe, born 15th of 5th month, 1785; Hannah, born 18th 
of 1st month, 1788, (died 23d of 5th month, 1805) ; and Lydia, born 3d of 
4th month, 1791, (died 26th of 10th month, 1804). 

(V) William Slade, son of Jonathan and Mary, bom 4th of 6th 
month, 1780, in Swansea, Mass., married Phebe, born 21st of 8th month, 

178 History of Swansea 

1781, in Swansea, daughter of William Lawton and his wife Abigail. They 
lived in Somerset, Mass., where all of their children were born. Mr. 
Slade was an active, energetic man, influential and prominent in his com- 
munity. He held several offices of trust and responsibility. In the year 
1826 he began to operate a horseboat across the ferry, and in 1846 a steam- 
boat. He was one of the purchasers in 1812 of the land upon which was 
built the Pocasset Company's mill, one of the first two mills in the then 
town of Troy (now Fall River), which were the substantial pioneers in the 
cloth making industry there, established in 1813. He was one of the first 
stockholders in the Fall Paver Manufactory. He was one of the eight 
incorporators, in 1822, of the Pocasset Manufacturing Company, which 
was a great stimulus to the cotton industry of Fall River. He was also an 
original proprietor of the Watuppa Manufacturing Company. He died 
Sept. 7, 1852, and Mrs. Slade passed away 18th of 3d month, 1874, in the 
ninety- third year of her age. Their children, all born in Somerset, were: 
Abigail L., born 22d of 1st month, 1811; Amanda, born 23d of 9th month, 
1815; William L., born 6th of 9th month, 1817; David, born 4th of 9th 
month, 1819; and Mary, born 30th of 9th month, 1821. 

(VI) Jonathan Slade, son of William and Phebe, born 23d of 9th 
month, 1815, in Somerset, Mass., married (first) July 13, 1841, Caroline 
B., born Nov. 24, 1811, daughter of Dr. John Winslow, M. D., of Swansea. 
She died Feb. 1, 1845, and he married (second) May 29, 1851, Emaline, 
born Feb. 23, 1820, in Walpole, daughter of Salmon and Rebecca Hooper, 
of Walpole, N. H. Mr. Slade in youth attended the common schools of his 
neighborhood, and for a time furthered his studies at the Friends' School 
in Providence, R. I. He was reared a farmer and continued in that voca- 
tion through life. After the death of his father, in 1852, he became pos- 
sessed of the old ferry and operated it until it was superseded by the 
Slade's ferry bridge, 1876. Following his father, both he and his brother 
William L. became largely interested in and identified with the industrial 
life of Fall River; he owned stock in several of the mills there and served 
for years as one of the directors of the Slade and Davol Mills; was one of 
the founders of the Slade Mill, and on the death of his brother William L., 
in 1895, succeeded him as president. 

Mr. Slade was one of the prominent and influential men of his town, 
and was often honored by his fellow townsmen as their choice for positions 
of trust and responsibility. He represented Somerset in the General Court 
of Massachusetts in 1849, and in 1850. He also served as selectman. A 
Republican in politics, he was often a member of conventions. He was a 
director of the Metacomet Bank at Fall River. Mr. Slade died Dec. 11, 
1900, and Mrs. Slade died Feb. 7, 1905. One son, William W. Slade, was 
born to the first marriage, and one to the second, David F. Slade, of both 
of whom mention is made below. 

(VI) William Lawton Slade, son of William and Phebe, was born 
Sept. 6, 1817, in Somerset, Mass., and like his ancestors was reared a 
farmer and a ferryman. He attended in boyhood the common schools of 
his locality, and furthered his studies at the Friend's School in Providence, 
R. I. He followed mainly, through life the vocation of farming, and in 
time became possessed of several fine farms. In 1871 he purchased the 
ferry property on the east side, of the Brightman family, and was the last 
to operate the old Slade's ferry which had been carried on by his family for 
more than two hundred years, and which the building of the bridge in 1876, 
did away with. Mr. Slade became largely interested in, and prominently 
identified with the manufacturing concerns of Fall River. He was one of 
the first board of directors, and later president of the Montaup Mills 
Company which was organized in 1871, for the manufacture of seamless 
bags, duck and cotton bags, then a new industry in Fall River. He was one 

Fam ily Records 179 

of the promoters of the Slade Mill, the first to be erected, of the group of 
factories located in the Southern district of the city, the company being 
organized in 1871; of which he was a director and president. He was also 
a member of the board of directors of the Stafford Mills. He owned stock 
in various other manufacturing concerns of Fall River. In 1860 he was 
chosen a director of what became the Fall River National Bank. 

The political affiliations of Mr. Slade were with the Republican party; 
and while never a seeker of political office, his fellow townsmen frequently 
brought him into public service. For many years he was an efficient 
selectman of his town. In 1859, and again in 1864, he represented 
Somerset in the General Court. He served during the first term on the 
committee on Agriculture, and during the second term was a member of 
the committee on Public Charitable Institutions, and was one of the 
committee of arrangements for the burial of Senator Charles Sumner. In 
1863 he was a member of the Massachusetts Senate, and in that body was 
a member of the committee on Agriculture. He was ever a staunch sup- 
porter of the cause of temperance. He had large experience in the settle- 
ments of estates, and served as commissioner for the divison of estates. 

Mr. Slade was married Oct. 5, 1842, to Mary, born Sept. 16, 1815, in 
Portsmouth, R. I., daughter of Asa and Elizabeth (Mitchell) Sherman. 
Their five children were: Caroline E. born Jan. 3, 1846, married Hezekiah 
A. Brayton March 25, 1868; Abigail L., born March 15, 1848 married 
James T. Mihie, of Fall River Jan. 6, 1869 and died Nov. 5, 1872; Mary, 
born July 12, 1852, married Velona W. Haughwout, Sept. 12, 1872, and 
died Aug. 15, 1877, leaving three children: Mary, Alice, and Elizabeth. 
Of these, Mary and Elizabeth died in young womanhood, and Alice is the 
wife of Preston C. West, and resides in Canada. 

Sarah Sherman died young Sept. 26, 1856 as also did Anna Mitchell, 
Nov. 15, 1858; William Lawton Slade died July 29, 1895. 

(VII) William Walter Slade was born at the old ferry house at 
Slade's ferry, Somerset, April 26, 1843, son of Jonathan and Caroline 
Brayton (Winslow) Slade, and representative of the seventh generation of 
the family in America. He was educated in the schools of his native town, 
and at the Friends' School, Providence, R. I. For several years he engaged 
in the wholesale grocery business in Providence; but the last years of his 
life have been spent, for most part as a farmer. For eighteen years he 
resided at Touisset; then since 1900 he has made his home on Brayton 
Avenue, Somerset. 

Feb. 20, 1872, Mr. Slade married Ida Alcey Wilbur, daughter of 
Albert Leonard Wilbur, and they have had children as foUows: Caroline 
Winslow, born Dec. 22, 1872; Susan Wilbur, born Dec. 2, 1874, who mar- 
ried Harry F. Hardy, of Providence, R. I.; Emeline Hooper, born Nov. 9, 
1876, who married Roy G. Lewis, of Fall River, Mass., and has a son John 
Bowker, born Jan. 1, 1904; Jonathan, born Oct. 5, 1878, who died May 18, 
1883; Lydia Ann, born Dec. 1, 1884; and Albert Leonard, born July 14, 

(VII) DavidF. Slade, son of Jonathan and Emeline (Hooper) Slade, 
was born in Somerset Nov. 5, 1855. He was educated in the district schools 
of his native town, and in the Fall River High School, graduating from the 
latter in 1876. He entered Brown University the fall of the same year, hav- 
ing as one of his classmates President Faunce of that institution, graduated 
therefrom in 1880, and graduated from the Boston University Law School 
in June, 1883. He was immediately admitted to the Bristol county bar, 
and formally took up the practice of his profession in Fall River in August 
of the same year, at the outset forming a partnership with James F. 
Jackson, which lasted until 1905. In 1891, Richard P. Borden became 
associated with the firm, and two years later the style became Jackson, 

180 History of Swansea 

Slade & Borden; later it became Slade & Borden. Mr. Slade gave his 
attention to the general practice of his profession, the firm doing a large 
business in "negligence" cases, and its standing, especially in the pro- 
fession, was one that could be gained only by high merit and the most 
honorable practices. 

Mr. Slade was active in matters not altogether associated with his 
legal interests. He was vice president and a trustee of the Five Cents 
Savings Bank. As a Republican he was prominent in the party organ- 
ization in his city and county, and was treasurer of both organizations; 
and was also a member of the Repubhcan State Central Committee. In 
1894, 1895, and 1896 he was a member of the State Legislature, and during 
all three years was a member of the Judiciary Committee, during 1896 
serving also on the Committee on Rules. In 1900, 1901, 1902, and 1903 
he was a member of the Governor's Council, being with Governor Crane 
during three yesirs of his governorship; and for one year with Governor 
Bates. In college he was a member of the Alpha Delta Phi fraternity; and 
he was a member of the Quequechan Club, and of the Randall Club of the 
Church of the Ascension, of which he was a member and a vestryman. 

Mr. Slade married Annie Marvel Durfee, daughter of Walter C. and 
Jane Alden Durfee. They had no children. 

Mason Family 

The Masons of that section of Massachusetts and Rhode Island 
near the boundary line between these States are descended from Sampson 
Mason, the Dorchester-Rehoboth settler. Mrs. Caroline Cole (Mason) 
Gardner is a descendant in the seventh generation from Sampson Mason, 
her line of descent being through Samuel, James, John, Samuel (2) and 
Zephaniah S. Mason. These generations in detail and in order named 

(I) Sampson Mason was at Dorchester, Mass., in 1649. In a 
History of the Baptists in America it is stated (presumably founded on 
family tradition) that he had been a soldier in Cromwell's army, and upon 
the turn of events came to America and settled in Rehoboth. He married 
Mary Butterworth, of Weymouth, Mass., and about this time, 1650-51, 
bought land in Rehoboth, and also sold land there in 1655-56. As early as 
1657 he and his wife and their three children were in Rehoboth, and in that 
town is a record of others of their children, all born there, probably. Mr. 
Mason was engaged in extensive land speculation. He was a land holder 
in Rehoboth North Purchase, which later became Attleboro; and he was 
also one of the proprietors of Swansea, in which town his descendants for 
many years were prominent — and he was an original proprietor on the 
incorporation of the town in 1668. It was about this time, perhaps, that 
he united with the First Baptist Church, but very likely he never moved to 
Swansea. He died in 1676, and at that time was the owner of several 
hundred acres of land. His widow died in 1714. Their children were: 
Noah, bom in 1651-52; Sampson, about 1654, (both in Dorchester); 
Samuel, Feb. 12, 1656-57; John, 1657; Sarah, Feb. 15, 1658; Mary, Feb, 
7, 1659-60; James, Oct. 30, 1661; Joseph, July 15 ,1667; Pelatiah, April 1. 
1669; Benjamin, Oct. 20, 1670; and Thankful, Oct. 27, 1672, (all in Reho- 

(II) Samuel Mason, son of Sampson, bom Feb. 12, 1656-57, probably 
in Rehoboth, married March 2, 1682, EKzabeth Miller of Rehoboth, Mass., 
bora in Oct. 1659. She died March 3, 1718, and he married (second) Nov. 
4, 1718, Mrs. Lydia Tillinghast, probably widow of Rev. Pardon, of 
Pl-ovidence, and daughter of Philip and Lydia (Masters) Tabor. She 

I.&. - 









Family Records 181 

died in 1720. He died Jan. 25, 1743-44, and was buried in the old Kicke- 
muit Cemetery, in what is now Warren, R. I. He was a resident of Reho- 
both, Mass., and also probably of both Seekonk and Swansea. His child- 
ren, all born in Rehoboth, Mass., were; Samuel, born June 9, 1683; James, 
March 18, 1684-85; Elizabeth, May 5, 1689; and Amos, Feb. 18, 1699. 

(III) James Mason, born March 18, 1684-8.5, in Rehoboth, Mass., 
married (first) July 30, 1713, Rose, born May 30, 1692, in Swansea, Mass., 
daughter of Richard and Mary (BuUock) Hale. She died March 7, 1748, 
and he married (second) Jan. 11, 1750, Mrs. Hannah Holden, of Warwick, 
R. I., probably widow of John Holden and daughter of Thomas and Mary 
(Green) Fry. Mr. Mason hved in Swansea, in Massachusetts Bay Colony, 
but some few years before his death the section of the town in which he 
resided was given to Rhode Island. His will is dated in Warren, R. I., his 
death occurred in 1755. The children of James and Rose (Hale) Mason, all 
born in Swansea, were: Nathaniel, born April 6, 1714 (died March 31, 
1716); EHzabeth, March 4, 1716 (died in infancy); Ann, March 4, 1716 
(died June 29, 1748); Ehzabeth, July 25, 1718; James, March 13, 1720; 
Hannah, Sept. 22, 1721; John, Sept. 28, 1723; Rose, Feb. 19, 1725-26; 
Mary, March 5, 1730. 

(IV) John Mason, born Sept. 28, 1723, in Swansea, Mass., married 
April 19, 1743, Sarah Gardner, born about 1726 in Swansea, daughter of 
Samuel and Sarah (Smith) Gardner. Mr. Mason hved at Touisset Neck, 
in Swansea (but now in Warren, R. I.) He died Nov. 27, 1805. His wife 
died Feb. 29, 1808. Their children were: Gardner, born Aug. 28, 1744; 
Edward, born June 22, 1746, who died Nov. 27, 1768; Haile, born Nov. 
12, 1748, who died in Calcutta aged forty; Holden, born Feb. 18, 1750; 
Rose, born Oct. 2, 1752, who died Feb. 13, 1822; Hannah, born Feb. 9, 
1755, who died Dec. 28, 1826; Samuel born Oct. 2, 1757; Sarah, born 
June 1, 1759; Mary, born about 1762, who died Jan. 16, 1803; and Patience, 
born about 1765, who died Feb. 18, 1847. 

(V) Samuel Mason (2), born Oct. 2, 1757, in Warren, R. I., married 
May 12, 1782, Hannah Anthony, born Feb. 2, 1762, daughter of Job and 
Mary (Gardner) Anthony. She died Aug. 14, 1830. He died Oct. 27, 1846. 
Their children were: Lydia, born June 15, 1783, died May 15, 1860; Mary, 
born July 10, 1785, married Joseph Cole Dec. 14, 1806; Haile was born 
March 13, 1787; Esther, born April 7, 1789, married Hanan Wilbur (born 
Aug. 5, 1785, died Sept. 17, 1845; she died April 11, 1866); Sarah was born 
Sept. 2, 1790; Job Anthony, born Nov. 16, 1792, died June 23, 1855; 
Joanna, born Nov. 4, 1794, died July 27, 1856; Aimira, 1798, died March 
29, 1870; John was born May 31, 1800; Samuel born Sept. 8, 1802, died 
May 22, 1803; Zephaniah S. was born Jan. 27, 1804; Samuel (2) was born 
April 22, 1809. 

(VI) Zephaniah S. Mason, born Jan. 27, 1804, died Nov. 11, 1844. 
On Dec. 18, 1828, he married Susan Vinnicum, and they had three children: 
William, born June 5, 1831; Ann Frances, born Nov. 14, 1834; and 
CaroUne Cole, born Dec. 12, 1839 (married Dec. 11, 1864, Henry Augustus 

Pearse Family 

The Pearse family is both ancient and historic in the annals of England, 
the lineage of Richard Pearse, the immigrant ancestor of the New England 
family being traced to the time of Alfred the Great. In later times were 
Peter Percy, standard bearer of Richard III, at the battle of Bosworth 
Field (1485), and Richard Percy, the founder of Pearce Hall. 

For nearly two and a half centuries the Pearse family has been identi- 

182 History of Swansea 

fied with the political, judicial, legislative, social, and business life of 
Rhode Island and South Eastern Massachusetts. During both the Colonial 
and Revolutionary periods the name constantly recurs either in legis- 
lative or mihtary affairs. Capt. Nathaniel Pearse commanded an artillery 
company at the burning of Bristol by the British in the Revolutionary w£ir; 
and covering the period from 1757 to 1849 different members of the family 
represented the town of Bristol R. I. in the State Legislature. The Hon. 
Dutee J. Pearse, in the early part of the last century, served as a member 
of Congress from Rhode Island for more than a decade. 
^r TWs article deals with the ancestry and biography, in particular, of 
WiUiam George Pearse, and WiUiam Henry Pearse, father and son, of 
Swansea, Mass. 

(I) Richard Pearse (name changed from Percy in this generation), 
born in England in 1590, married in England, his wife's name being Martha, 
and was a resident of Bristol, England. He was a son of Richard, who 
resided on the homestead of his father, grandson of Richard Percy, the 
founder of the Pearce Hall, in York, England, where he hved and died; and 
great-grandson of Peter Percy, standard bearer to Richard III in 1485. 
Richard Pearse came to America in the ship " Lyon " from Bristol, England, 
his brother Capt. William being master of the ship. His children were: 
Richard, John, Samuel, Hannah, Martha, Sarah, William, and Mary. Capt. 
Wilham Pearse, of the ship "Lyon," was a distinguished shipmaster. He 
was killed by Spaniards at Providence, in the Bahama Islands, 1641. He 
is credited with being the author of the first almanac (1639) published in 
North America. 

(II) Richard Pearse (2), son of Richard the immigrant, born in 1615, 
in England, married in Portsmouth, R. I., Sus£umah Wright, born in 1620. 
He was at Portsmouth as early as 1654, and was admitted a freeman of the 
Colony from that place. He died in 1678, in Portsmouth, and his wife was 
deceased at that date. His children were: Richard, born Oct. 3, 1643; 
Martha, Sept. 13, 1645; John, Sept. 8, 1647; Giles, July 22, 1651; Susanna 
Nov. 22, 1652; Mary, May 6, 1654; Jeremiah, Nov. 7, 1656; Isaac, Decem- 
ber, 1658; George, July 10, 1662; and Samuel, Dec. 22, 1664. 

(III) Richard Pearse (3), son of Richard (2), born Oct. 3, 1643, in 
Portsmouth, R. I., was a freeman of the Colony of Portsmouth in May, 
1663. He removed to Bristol, R. I., probably soon after his father's death, 
and he and his wife Experience died there, his death occurring July 19, 
1720. Their children, born in Bristol, were: Jonathan, Richard, Abigail, 
Mary, Jeremiah, Annie, Benjamin, and William. 

(IV) WiUiam Pearse, son of Richard (3), was born Sept. 18, 1716, 
and married, April 22, 1742, Lydia Brown. They resided in Bristol, R. I., 
and in 1753, he purchased from Jacob Lawton the property known as the 
Bristol Ferry. There was an old fort located not far from the home at 
Bristol, it being this fort which prevented the British from passing on their 
way to burn Fall River and other places, during the Revolutionary w£ir. 
The Colonists made it so uncomfortable for them, indeed, that they were 
obhged to abandon their fleet, and man their barges, thinking thus to pass 
safely, hugging the south shore, but nearly all their boats were sunk and 
the attempt had to be abandoned. 

At this time, during the war, the Pearse home stood a short distance 
to the northeast of the present house, and in that house two sentries were 
killed by a cannon ball fired from the British fort upon the other side of the 
river, or bay, about one mile distant. The inmates of the house were 
repeatedly warned of the danger, but did not heed. The ball first struck 
the water, then a sharp rock at the foot of the house, then a partition, and 
passihg through the body of one man lodged in the body of the other, 
killing both. Mr. Pearse's son, George, related that one day the cannon 

Family Records 183 

balls were flying so fast that the family was sent to Bristol for safety, and 
that while he was going over the top of Ferry Hill on horseback, behind his 
mother, a cannon ball passed between the horse's legs. People have since 
plowed up grape shot, eight^and twelve pounders, and at one time the half 
of a twenty-four pound shot. The embankment of the fort is plainly to be 
seen, as well as that of the powder magazine. At one time the British had 
entire possession of the island of Rhode island, having a fort at the north 
end of the ferry. In the Old Colony records the name of William Pearse 
appears as assisting about the fort and furnishing rations for the soldiers. 
Members of this Pearse family were wardens of St. Michael's (Episcopal) 
Church, Bristol, R. I., for sixty years. The children of William and Lydia 
(Brown) Pearse were: Sarah, born Dec. 21, 1742; George, Sept, 15, 1744; 
Susanna, Aug. 31, 1746; Ehzabeth, June 20, 1748; William and Lydia. 

(V) George Pearse, son of William, born Sept. 15, 1744, resided at 
Bristol, R. I. His wife's name was Hannah, and their children were: 
Wilham, born March 2, 1766; George, April 28, 1768; Mary, June 4, 1770; 
and Hannah, Dec. 22, 1772. 

(VI) William Pearse, son of George, was born March 2, 1766, in 
Bristol. He married Elizabeth Gilford, born Feb. 27, 1769, and (second) 
Ruth Lake, who survived him and died in May 1861. They were residents 
of Bristol, R. I. Mr. Pearse died June 19, 1834. His first wife, who died 
Jan. 25, 1826, was the mother of all his children: George, born Nov. 14, 
1787; Hannah, Oct. 4, 1790; Polly, July 29, 1794; William, March 8, 
1798; Hannah (2), Aug. 8, 1800. 

(VII) Hon. George Pearse, son of William, was born Nov. 14, 1787. 
Sept. 12, 1812, he married Elizabeth T. Childs, born March 31, 1792. Mr. 
Pearse died at the home of his son, Wilham H. Pearse, in Swansea, Mass., 
May 12, 1862, in his seventy-fifth year. His remains rest in Juniper Hill 
cemetery at Bristol, R. I. He was long prominent in the affairs of the town 
and State. For many years a useful member of the Town Council, and 
represented the town in both branches of the State Legislature. He was 
also a leading member in St. Michael's (Episcopal) Church, and devoted to 
the offices of rehgion. Mrs. Elizabeth Tripp (Childs) Pearse died at her 
home, Bristol Ferry, Dec. 16, 1854. For about forty years she was a worthy 
communicant of the Protestant Episcopal Church, having been baptized 
and confirmed by the Venerable Bishop Griswold, then the beloved Rector 
of St. Michael's Church, Bristol. 

The children born to George and Elizabeth Tripp (Childs) Pearse 
were William H., born June 15, 1813, married Rosanna M. Gardner; 
Elizabeth A., born March 19, 1815, married William Augustus Richmond; 
Mary, born April 10, 1819, married Dr. Charles Gardner; Joseph C. was 
born Aug. 19, 1820; Hannah, born June 23, 1821; married (first) Albert C. 
Robinson and (second) William Kenyon, of Wakefield, George G. was born 
Jan. 25, 1824; Frances C, born April 6, 1826, married Charles C. Chase; 
and Rebecca C, born June 26, 1832, married (first) Daniel Gorham 
and (second) Elisha Watson. 

(VIII) Wilham H. Pearse, son of George, was born at Bristol Ferry, 
R. I., June 15, 1813, and in 1816 came with his parents to the farm in 
Swansea, Mass., which was deeded to his grandfather William Pearse by 
Alexander Gardner, of Swansea. In 1836 he returned to Bristol Ferry to 
run the ferry and take charge of the farm. In 1851, on account of his 
health, he removed to Cumberland, R. I., and in 1857 returned to the farm 
in Swansea. He died May 9, 1892 in Swansea. At the time of his decease 
he had been identified with Christ Church and parish as a vestryman thirty- 
five years, as Junior Warden, eleven years, and as Senior warden twenty- 
two years. He was a devout and regular communicant of the Church, a 
cheerful, consistent Christian, fond of society and "given to hospitahty." 

184 History of Swansea 

In public affairs he was interested and active. He served in the town 
council in Cumberland, R. I., and in 1863 represented Swansea in the State 
Legislature. He was also a volunteer in the Dorr war. Oct. 3, 1836, in the 
Christian Church at Swansea Centre, he married Rosanna M. Gardner, 
daughter of William and Annie L. Gardner, and grand-daughter of Alexan- 
der Gardner, of Swansea. Their children were: Anna Elizabeth, born 
April 1, 1838, married James G. Darling, and died at Woonsocket, R. I., 
April 8, 1895; Lydia Gardner, born March 4, 1840, married George C. 
Gardner, and died in Somerset, March 2, 1904; Isabel Frances, born Dec. 1, 
1842, married Capt. Aaron H. Wood, and died at Santa Clara, Cal., Dec. 2, 
1903; William George was born May 21, 1848; Ruth Ellen, born Nov. 1, 
1849, is unmarried and resides at Touisset; Henry Baylies, born Dec. 7, 
1858, died May 29, 1875. 

Mrs. Rosanna McKoon (Gardner) Pearse was born Aug. 16, 1817, 
daughter of (V) William (born Aug. 23, 1786) and Annie L. (Gardner) 
Gardner, granddaughter of (IV) Alexander and Anne (Luther) Gardner. 
(See Gardner Family). 

(IX) WiUiam George Pearse, son of William H., was bom at Bristol 
Ferry, R. I., May 21, 1848, and obtained his education in the district 
schools of the vicinity. He also attended the Bryant & Stratton Commer- 
cial School in Providence. While he was quite young the family removed 
to Cumberland, R. I. where he worked on his father's farm until 1857, 
when he located in Swansea, Mass., and formed a partnership with Daniel 
Mason under the firm name of D. Mason & Co., to deal in hve stock, 
principally horses and cattle. For ten years he continued in this and minor 
enterprises, and, Jan. 9, 1877, he engaged in the wholesale fruit and produce 
on Second street, in Fall River, associating with himself E. O. Easterbrooks. 
Three years later they added agricultural implements to their stock, as 
weU as a fine of hardware; and still later they dropped the produce business, 
and added harness and horse trappings. At this time Mr. Easterbrooks 
withdrew and his interest was taken by his brother, Charles E. Easter- 
brooks. Soon after, the latter also retired and Mr. Pearse became the sole 
proprietor. In 1897 Mr. Pearse took his son, WiUiam H., into the firm, the 
name being changed to William G. Pearse & Son. In August of that same 
year, George Marvel was also admitted, at which time the firm took the 
name of W. G. Pearse & Co. In 1897-98 Mr. Pearse's health required him 
to take a vacation, and upon his return to business Mr. Marvel retired 
from the firm. 

For more than forty years Mr. Pearse made his home in Swansea, 
where he was active in social and pubhc life, and enjoyed the confidence and 
esteem of his townsmen in a marked degree. In politics he was a Repub- 
lican. For many years he was a member of the South Somerset Methodist 
Episcopal Church, and taught in the Sunday School. He was a busy, 
active merchant, a genial man, and had many personal friends. He died 
June 19, 1912. 

Sept. 21, 1870, Mr. Pearse married Elizabeth M. Slade, daughter of 
Gardner Slade, of Somerset, a descendant of one of the oldest families of 
Southeastern Massachusetts. Two sons were born to this union, WiUiam 
H., and Nathan G., the latter, born Sept. 27, 1874, died Feb. 10, 1894. 

(X) WiUiam Henry Pearse, son of WUham G., was born July 28, 1871. 
He married, (first) Bertha Frances Wilbur, daughter of Daniel Wilbur and 
Marion F. (Brown), of Somerset, and to them were born two children: 
Elizabeth W., Aug. 29, 1890 (graduated from the FaU River High School in 
1908, died Oct. 17, 1911); and Wilfiam Henry, Dec. 3, 1891, a graduate of 
Thibodeau Business CoUege, of Fall River and one of the firm of W. G. 
Pearse & Co., and a 32d degree Mason. 

Mrs. Pearse died May 28, 1902. Mr. Pearse married (second) Mrs. 

Family Records 185 

Mary H. W. Whitehead, Sept. 17, 1907, born Jan. 29, 1871. FraternaUv he 
is a Knights Templar and 32d degree Mason and a member of the I.O.O.F. 

The Wilbur Family 

Since 1680, there have dwelt on their farm in what is now Somerset, 
formerly Swansea, six generations of Wilburs. The family name has been 
variously spelled: Wildbore, Wilbore, Wilbour, Wilbor, Wilber, Wilbar, 
and Wilbur. 

(I) Samuel Wildbore, is of record in the First Church of Boston as 
follows: "Samuel Wildbore, with his wife Ann, was admitted to this 
church bee. 1, 1633. " His wife Ann was a daughter of Thomas Bradford 
of Dorchester, in the south part of York, England. Samuel Wildbore 
married (second) Ehzabeth, who was admitted to the church Nov. 19, 1645. 
He was made a freeman in 1634. He bought land largely in the town of 
Taunton and removed thither with his family. He with others, embraced 
the doctrines of Cotton and Wheelwright, was banished in 1637, fled to 
Providence, and under advice of Roger Williams purchased from the 
Indians the island of Aquidneck, to which he removed in 1638. In 1645 he 
returned to Boston, maintaining also a home in Taunton. He with some 
associates built and put in operation an iron furnace in that part of Taunton 
which is now Raynham, said to have been the first built in New England. 
He was a man of wealth for that period, exerting a wide influence in each of 
the places where he dwelt. He died in 1656. His four sons were: Samuel, 
Joseph, William and Shadrack. These sons spelled the name Wilbor. 

(II) William Wilbor, third son of Samuel, settled in Portsmouth, R. I., 
on lands of his father. His wife's name is not known, but of his nine 

(HI) Daniel Wilbor, born in Portsmouth, R. I., in 1666, was the 
first settler of the name in Swansea, now Somerset, on lands purchased by 
his father in 1680. He was then fourteen years old, and inherited the 
property upon his father's death in 1710. His wife's name wasMary Barney. 

(IV) Daniel Wilbor (2), son of Daniel and Mary, born March 31, 
1697, was a prominent man and held various town offices. He married Ann 
Mason and had Daniel and Elizabeth. His death occurred in June, 1759. 

(V) Daniel Wilbor(3), born in Swansea, now Somerset, April 26, 
1749, died March 2, 1821. He married Mary Barnaby, of Freetown, who 
died Dec. 21, 1826. Children: Daniel, James, Ambrose, EUzabeth, 
Barnaby, Mary, William, Hanan, and Anna. Ambrose and Anna died in 
infancy, the rest living to old age. 

(VI) Daniel Wilbor (4), born Jan. 28, 1773, died Feb. 24, 1844. He 
married Sarah, daughter of Zephaniah Sherman, of Somerset, born in 
January, 1779, died Feb. 11, 1860. Children: Ambrose B., Ehzabeth, 
(married Ohver Mason), Daniel (died aged eight years), Mary B., Daniel 
(2) and Sarah. 

(VII) Daniel Wilbur (5), the fifth of that name in du-ect succession, 
was born Nov. 14, 1818, upon the land where his forefathers had made 
their home, and he died there June 19, 1896. He was educated in the 

EubUc schools, reared a farmer and pursued that vocation all his fife. But, 
is thought and energy were by no means confined to the tilfing of the soil. 
He had an active brain, a very attentive memory, and was a sound logician. 
He had read widely and thoroughly; and no topic of general conversation 
found hun without some knowledge of the subject, or correlated facts. His 
services were always much sought in local affairs, as selectman of his town, 
as delegate to conventions, chairman of town meetings, and of public 
gatherings of all kinds. He was a member of the State Legislature in 1843, 

186 History of Swansea 

and was returned to that body in 1879. In 1854 he was in the State 
Senate and was a member of the Committee on Engrossed Bills, and chair- 
man of the committee on Capital Punishment. Mr Wilbur's services were 
also sought by the financial and manufacturing institutions of Fall River, 
which from the eminence on which he dwelt he had seen developed from a 
small hamlet of less than 2,000 inhabitants to a city of about 100,000 souls. 
He was president of the National Union Bank, and a director of the 
Wampanaug Mills, and of the Slade Mills. In the death of Daniel Wilbur 
the community lost a good citizen, a man upright, honest, and true, one 
respected and trusted by all who knew him, a man who did his own think- 
ing from premises which he had himself investigated, and whose conclu- 
sions were his honest convictions and the basis of his actions in all matters. 
He was president of the board of trustees of the South Somerset M.E. Church. 

Feb. 3, 1845, Mr. Wilbur married Nancy O. Slade, daughter of John 
and Rachael (Horton) Slade. She was born in September, 1822, and died 
March 22, 1860. Their children were: Daniel, born Nov. 13, 1845, who 
is mentioned below; Angelina, born Nov. 13, 1847, died Nov. 30, 1848; 
William Barnaby, born June 30, 1850, died unmarried Sept. 3, 1893; and 
Roswell Everett, born Jan. 21, 1854, died Sept. 20, 1876. Oct. 31, 1861, 
Mr. Wilbur married (second) Sarah E. Mason, daughter of John Mason 
of Swansea. She was born in 1833, and died Aug. 2, 1896, the mother of 
children as follows: Henry E., born March 31, 1864, married Sept. 22, 
1886, Jennie Bushnell, and resides in Swansea; Sarah S., born March 18, 
1870, married Rufus P. Walker, of Fall River, and they have one child, 
Janet Elizabeth. 

(VIII) Daniel Wilbur (6), son of Daniel and Nancy O. (Slade) 
Wilbur, was born at the old homestead in Somerset. He was educated 
in the public schools, the East Greenwich Academy, and Scholfield's 
Business College, in Providence R. I. After his marriage Mr. Wilbur lived 
for a year in the house across the street from his present home, for four 
years in the old house on the home farm on Brayton Avenue, where 
William W. Slade now Uves, and since October, 1898, has resided on the 
old homestead. 

A Republican in politics, Mr. Wilbur has served his town faithfully as 
a member of the school committee, for ten years as selectman, and thirteen 
years as registrar of voters. He is a member of the Board of Trustees of the 
South Somerset M. E. Church, and of Fall River, Lodge No. 219, 1. O. O. F. 

Dec. 24, 1868, Mr. Wilbur married Marion F. Brown, daughter of 
Marcus A. and Maria Frances (Wilbur) Brown. To them was born one 
daughter. Bertha Frances, Sept. 7, 1871. She married June 5, 1889, 
William Henry Pearse, of Swansea, and they had two children: Ehzabeth 
Wilbur, born Aug. 29, 1890, who died Oct. 17, 1911; and Wilham Henry, 
born Dec. 3, 1891. Mrs. Pearse died May 28, 1902. 

Wilham Irvin Wilbur, son of Daniel and Nancy (Lee) Wilbur, and 
grandson of James, the son of Daniel and Mary (Barnaby) Wilbur, (all 
descended from William of Porsmouth, R. I.), was born Sept. 21, 1863, and 
resides on the Warren road, in the house, a part of which was built by 
Hugh Cole 2d. He married CaroUne Eliza Eddy, daughter of Seth W. and 
Ruth Peck (Bosworth) Eddy, who was born Sept. 12, 1863. Their children 
are: Mary Eddy, born Nov. 21, 1886; married Arnold Richardson Doe; 
and Elizabeth Sherman, born July 14, 1890, who married Charles 
WiUiam Frost. 

Grandchildren of Mr. and Mrs. WiUiam Irvin Wilbur: 

Virginia Wilbur Frost daughter of Charles W. and Ehzabeth Sherman 
(Wilbur) Frost born November 16, 1915. 

Wilbur Stanley Doe son of Arnold R. and Mary Eddy (Wilbur) Doe, 
born September 29, 1916. 

Family Records 

Heads of Families in Swansea 

First Census of the United States 1790 


Miller, Charles 
Killey, Edward 
M iller, Elizabeth 
Luther, Matthew 
Luther, Job 
Luther, Peleg 
Chace, Simeon 
Chace, Joshua 
Barney, Jonathan 
Mason, Saunders 
Franklin, Lemuel 
Barney, Josiah 
Smith, Constant 
Peirce, Wheeler 
Barney, Benjamin 
Grant, John 
Barney, Comfort 
Rounds, Betsy 
Rounds, Nathaniel 
Barney, Bethiah 
Bryant, Abigail 
Ormsby, Jacob 
Barney, Daniel 
Mason, Joseph 
Cole, Nehemiah 
Thomas, Hannah 
Saunders, Benjamin 
Robinson, Samuel 
Chace, Royal 
Peirce, Job 
Thompson, Charles 
Peck, Ambrose 
Short, Margaret 
Martin, Hannah 
Jennings, Solomon 
Wood, James 
Bean, Mary 
Cole, Ebenezer 
Peck, Peleg 
Harding, Jonathan 
Kinsley, Peleg 
Bowers, Jeflfry 
Brayton, Pero 
Handy, RusseU 
Martin, Aaron 
Strange, John 
Kinsley, Asa 
Kinsley, Nathaniel 
Kinsley, Benjamin 
Martin, Benjamin 
Mason, Charles, junr. 
Fitch, Amos 

Rude, William 
Cole, Parker 
Martin, Anna 
Martin, Daniel 
Martin, Jonathan 
Chace, Samuel 
Mason, John 
Mason, Prince 
Mason, Noble 
Wood, Barnabas 
Wood, Jonathan 
Wood, Israel 
Mason, Job 
Chace, John 
Mason, Phebe 
Mason, Edward 
Baker, Francis 
Mason, Charles 
Mason, Joseph 
Cole, Edward 
Greenman, Zephaniah 
Loring, Sary 
Wood, Aaron 
Salisbury, Daniel 
Salisbury, Benjamin 
Munroe, John 
Cole, Ephraim 
Cole, Nathaniel 
Anthony, Hannah 
Salisbury, Caleb 
Munroe, Stephen 
Mason, John 2nd. 
Kinsley, Hezekiah 
Mason, Christopher 
Mason, Russell 
Kinicutt, Edward 
Chace, Benjamin 
Chace, Jabez 
Chace, Grindell 
Chace, Mary 
Wood, David 
Gardner, Lucy 
Wood, John 
Mason, Barnabas 
Luther, John 
Wood, Caleb 
Mace, Levisa 
Chafee, Stephen 
Buffington, Sarah 
Wood, Seth 
Wood, David, junr. 
Handy, Thomas 


History of Swansea 

Hale, John 
Hale, Daniel 
Martin, Melatiah 
Mason, Joshua 
Mason, Caleb 
Martin, Benjamin, 2nd. 
Martin, Ehsha 
Hale, Job 
Mason, Jeremiah 
Mason, Peleg 
Mason, David 
Mason, Isaac 
Mason, Edward, 1st. 
Mason, Benjamin, 2nd. 
Wood, Simeon 
Hale, Lurana 
Mason, Edward, 3rd. 
Luther, Theophilus 
Chafee, Thomas 
Mason, Aaron 
Fitch, Hannah 
Mason, Benjamin 
Whealand, Joseph 
Lewis, Nathaniel 
Lewis, Thomas 
Lewis, Timothy 
Lewis, Timothy 2d 
Lewis, Joseph 
Baker, William, junr. 
Baker, Rhoda 
King, Job 
West, John 

Peirce, Miel 

Horton, Job 

Martin, Joseph 

Bullock, Caleb 

Luther, Childs 

Wheaton, Jonathan 

Wheaton, Miel 

Pierce, Miel, junr. 

Chace, Enoch, junr. 

Chace, Enoch 

Chace, Mason 

Lewis, Samuel 

Lewis, Peleg 

Chace, Phillip 

Chace, John 

Chace, James 

Earl, Weston 

Baker, Samuel 

Cornell, Ehsha 

Fish, George 

Chace, Caleb 

Chace, Nehemiah 

Cornell, Elisha, junr. 

Fisk, Aaron 

Chace, Hezekiah 

Eddy, Preserved 
Buffington, John 
Gibbs, John 
BuflBngton, Benjamin 
Chace, WilUam 
Chace, Mace 
Chace, Benjamin 
O'Brien, John 
Hicks, Benjamin 
West, Ephraim 
Peirce, Shubael 
Wood, Nathaniel 
Hicks, Robert 
Luther, Moses 
Hale, Richard 
Chace, Ruth 
Luther, Calvin 
Cartwright, Daniel 
Luther, Simeon 
Lay ton. Job 
Lay ton, Isaac 
Pine, Benjamin 
Luther, Samuel 
Luther, Jonathan 
Layton, James 
Weaver, Peter 
Cole, Esau 
Luther, Nathaniel 
Luther, James 
Sherman, Zilpha 

Sherman, Levi 

Luther, Theophilus, 2d 

Sisson, Gilbert 

Luther, Ezra 

Slade, Peleg 

Traffen, PhiUip 

Traffen, Abiel 

Hill, Barnet 

Stearns, Isaac 

Lee, Warwick 

Mason, Simeon 

Pratt, John 

Luther, Job 

Brown, Zebedee 

Luther, Amos 

Luther, Jedediah 

Luther, Job, junr. 

Jones, Simeon 

Potter, Simeon 

Gardner, Samuel 

Gardner, Stephen 

Gardner, Samuel, junr. 

Gardner, Samuel, 3rd. 

Gardner, Peleg 

Luther, Aaron 

Gardner, Alexander 

Gardner, Hannah 

Family Records 


Wheaton, Jeremiah 
Chace, Samuel, 2d 
Chace, Jerethweel 
Trott, John 
Kinsley, Thomas 
Kinsley, Simeon 
Kinsley, Jonathan 
Luther, Stephen 
Luther, Wheaton 
Luther, David 
Luther, Silas 
Luther, Ezekiel 
Sherman, Margaret 
Lewen, John 2d 
Buffing ton, Samuel 
Cole, Simeon 
Luther, Giles 
Luther, Eddy 
Buffington, Benjamin 2d 
Chace, Royal 
Chace, Sarah 

Luther, Upham 
Luther, John 

Luther, Alasson 

Chace, Elisha 

Luther, Mary 

Brown, Dan 

McCoon, Jonathan 

Kinsley, Benjamin 

Kinsley, Amos 

Luther, Harlow 

Luther, Samuel 

Wheaton, Levi 

Wheaton, Reuben 

Brown, Jarvis 

Brown, Seth 

Brown, Wilham 

Brown, John 

Brown, Ehsha 

Brown, Aaron 

Brown, David 

McCoon, James 

Luther, James 

Luther, James, junr. 

Toogood , Nathaniel 

Woodmaney, John 

Woodmansay, Reuben 
' Sisson, Gardner 

Cole, Constant 

Woodmansse, Squire 

' Sisson, George 

• Sisson, Richard 

■ Sisson, James 

Chace, Sarah 

Luther, Betty 

Brown, Obadiah 
Luther, Barnabas 
Luther, Patience 
Vose, John 
Bayley, Sarah 
Eddy, Job, junr. 
Terry, PhiUip 
Caswell, Nicholas 
Caswell, Richard 
Eddy, John 
Terry, George 
Terry, James 
Johnson, Jonathan 
Eddy, Job 
Eddy, WiUiam 
Pulling, John 
Barney, Prince 
Chace, Samuel 
Earl, Thomas 
Chace, James 
Baker, Daniel 
Chace, John 
Bosworth, David 
Chace, Silvester 
Luther, William 
Slade, Joseph 
Slade, Stephen 
Martin, James 
Robinson, John 
Gibbs, Joseph 
Slade, Benjamm 
Chace, Jonathan 
Brayton, Daniel 
Slade, Edward 
Earl, Caleb 
Lewen, Thomas 
Lewen, John 
Lewen, Nathaniel 
Pulling, WiUiam 
Trott, James 
Luther, Richard 
Brown, James 
Chace, Reuben 
Slade, Philip 
Eddy, Michael 
Reed, Abraham 
Chace, Daniel 
Chace, Stephen 
Baker, Jeremiah 
Neill, James 
Hale, Mary 
Cotton, John 



Thomas Willet 

This worthy leader was probably grandson of Thomas' Will^.^canon 
of Ely, and was son of Dr. Aidrew Willet, that rector of Barley who was 
imprisoned for preaching against the proposed "Spanish match" of 
Charles I. Young Thomas was reared in HoUand, and on reaching Ply- 
mouth in 1630, at the age of twenty, was nearly as Dutch as English in 
language, habits, and sympathies. His exciting experience in the Castine 
affair ended in 1635 (See pp. 387-8); in 1636 he married John Brown's 
daughter Mary; he was for a time employed in the Colony's Kennebec 
trade, but soon engaged in trafiSc with the Manhattan Dutch, whose con- 
fidence he won in a high degree. 

In 1651, Assistant CoUier dying, Willet was chosen in his stead; he 
continued to hold the place for fourteen years, and was succeeded by James 
Brown. In 1648, as leader of the Plymouth train-band, he had acquired 
the title of captain. During these years he joined the Browns at Wana- 

In 1664, when he was taken to New York in the train of the King's 
Commissioners, the Dutch residents urged that if they must be placed 
under English rule, WiUet would be especially acceptable from his knowl- 
edge of their usages, tastes, and language. The Commissioners there- 
fore appointed Captain Willet as the first mayor of the city of New York. 
The place had hitherto been ruled by a trading-company, and was small; 
but already it was acquiring a metropolitan character, for even then in its 
streets the new mayor heard eighteen different languages. How long 
Willet filled this post, or when he took it for a second term, is uncertain. 
In 1667 he was one of the active corporators at Swansea, to which Wan- 
amoiset was transferred from Rehoboth. In the interesting proceedings 
of the next seven years, by which that town was developed as a Baptist 
community with Congregational support, Willet took a hberal and leading 
part as a representative of the latter element. Yet he appears to have been 
at the head of affairs in New York when, in 1673, Evertsen recaptured it for 
the Dutch. Willet then came home to Swansea, and there died in 1674, 
aged sixty-four. His first wife died in 1669, also aged sixty-four. Their 
grave-stones are standing at Bullock's Cove, Riverside, but that of the 
"vertvovs" matron blunderingly records her death as in 1699, — which 
would make her but two years old at her marriage. 

Of Willet's children, the youngest, Hezekiah, was a pubhc favorite. 
At the age of twenty, a few months after his marriage to Andia Bourne, 
during Philip's War, while there was no thought of danger, he had passed 
but a short distance beyond his door in Swansea, when some prowling 
Indians killed him with three bullets and carried away his head. This act 
exasperated the whole Colony, the more especially from the uniform kind- 
ness of the Willet family to the Indians. In all offers of pardon and amnesty 
these assassins were excepted; and when Crossman, their leader, was 
taken,^ he was hanged. Even the hostile Wampanoags lamented young 
Willet's death, and when the head was recovered, it was found that they 
had tenderly combed the hair and decorated it with beads. 

A century after this incident the country was called to another war 

194 History of Swansea 

for its self-preservation. Among her bravest, most loyal soldiers, was 
Colonel Marimus Willet, who survived until 1830, when he died at the age 
of ninety. He was great-grandson of the pioneer of Swansea, and, like him, 
had been a mayor of New York. 

— Pilgrim Republic 

The grave of Thomas Willett, first Mayor of New York, who was 
buried in Little Neck Cemetery, Riverside, more than 200 years ago, was 
marked in a fitting manner there Oct. 18, 1913, when a large, handsome 
granite boulder, the gift of the City Club of New York, was unveiled by 
Mrs. Lewis B. White of Arnold street, Riverside, who was instrumental in 
having the Willet grave brought to the attention of President Strong of the 
City Club. Plans for the erection of the memorial, which includes a huge 
block of granite, with inscription and surrounded by granite posts and 
rails, had been progressing for a year, and the day's event brought the 
matter to a very fitting close. 

When Mrs. White pulled the string attached to the official flag of the 
present Mayor of New York, which was loaned for the occasion and which 
covered the boulder, the latter was disclosed to a very large and representa- 
tive assemblage, which included officials of the city of New York and a 
delegation of 100 members of the City Club, Mayor Joseph H. Gainer and 
other officials of Providence, members of the Town Council of the town of 
East Providence, delegates from the Boston, Plymouth and Flhode Island 
Historical Associations and hundreds of the townspeople. 

The stone itself, is a large, rough field boulder, bearing this simple 
inscription on its west face: 






Served 1665 and 1667 

Erected by the 



The exercises attending the dedication were witnessed by an assem- 
blage of some five hundred persons, and were marked by their dignity and 

New York's First Mayor 

A Movement for a Monument to Capt. Willett 
Points in His Career 

The first Mayor of New York is buried in an ancient ground at the 
head of BuUock's Cove, in the town of East PVovidence, where a rough 

Personal Sketches 195 

stone is erected to his memory, containing the rudely carved and brief 


Here lyes ye Body 

of ye worll Thomas 

Willett Esq who died 

Avgvst ye 4th in ye 64th 

Year of his age anno 

The inscription on the footstone reads: 

Who Was the 

First Mayor 
oF New York 

& Twice did 
Systain yt Place 

According to Mrs. George St. Sheflfield's recent history of Attleboro 
and that part of Bristol County, Mass., Capt. Thomas Willett stood at the 
head of the Attleboro proprietors. His history does not belong exclusively 
to Attleboro, as he took an active part in the original Rehoboth North 
Purchase. Not much is known of him previous to his emigration to 
America. He was a merchant in his native country, and in his travels 
became acquainted with Pilgrims in Leyden, and then in Holland, residing 
with them prior to their exile to America. In Leyden he learned Dutch, 
which came useful in after years. He was one of the last of the Leyden 

He came to America about 1630, when he was twenty-one years old. 
One authority says he came in 1629. Others say he was twenty-four years 
old when he arrived in Plymouth, where he first resided. He became very 
useful in the colony, and on July 1, 1633, he was admitted a freeman of the 
colony and granted six acres of land. He was prominent in surveys and in 
the purchase of land from the Indians. He was a friend of the red men, and 
in deeds now preserved the Indians called him "our loving friend, Capt. 
Thomas Willett. " He was made Superintendent of the Plymouth Colony 
trading-post at Kennebeck, and while there the Indians planned to slay aU. 
the whites. Willett was reading a Bible when the Indians surrounded his 
cabin, and when they entered to take his scalp they thought their plan had 
been discovered in the book. So they did not carry it out. 

In 1647 Willett became successor to Miles Standish, the Pilgrim 
warrior. He was made assistant to the Governor in 1651, and held that 
office until 1665. He was selected at this time by the Plymouth Court, 
agreeably to his Majesty's Commissioners, to attend them at New York 
(which had just been surrendered by the Dutch), for the purpose of 
assisting them in organizing the new government. It is mentioned by 
Davis in a note to his edition of "Morton's Memorial," that" Col. Nichols, 
one of the Commissioners, in a letter to Gov. Prince, written from New 
York in the spring following the reduction of the Dutch settlements, 
requests that Capt. Willett may have such a dispensation from his official 
engagements in Plymouth colony as to be at liberty to assist in modeUing 
and reducing the affairs in the settlement into good Enghsh. " Col. Nichols 
remarked that "Willett was more acquainted with the customs and manners 
of the Dutch than any man in this country, and that this conversation was 
very acceptable to them." 

196 History of Swansea 

Capt. Willett executed his duties there to the entire satisfaction of all con- 
cerned. His services rendered him so popular with the people that, after the 
organization of the government, he was chosen the first English Mayor of 
New York; and he was re-elected. Mr. Baylies, in his "History of Ply- 
mouth Colony," says: "But even this first of city distinctions conferred by 
that proud metropohs did not impart more real honor to his character than 
the address and good feeling manifested by him in effecting the practical 
settlement of the humble town of Swansea. " 

The Dutch had so much confidence in Capt. Willett that he was 
selected as umpire to determine the controverted boundary between New 
York and New Haven colonies. He was a Commissioner of Delegates of 
the United Colonies several years. 

After the settlement of Rehoboth Capt. Willett removed to Wanna- 
moisett, now Swansea. He owned a quarter of a township, and there asso- 
ciated with him was Mr. Myles, the first Baptist minister in Massachusetts. 
He married Mary Brown, daughter of John Brown 1., on July 6, 1636. They 
had several children. One son was killed in King Phihp's war, and one of 
his descendants, Col. Willett, a distinguished officer in the Revolutionary 
war, was also Mayor of New York. After a residence of a few years in 
New York, Capt. Willett returned to Swansea, and there died, August 4, 
1674, aged sixty-three years. Mrs. Willett died in 1669, and is buried 
beside her husband. 

Thomas Willett 

1671, June 15. 

From the Journal of William Jefferay, Gentleman. 

"Set off for Mr. Willett's today, upon my horse, as far as the north 
shore of Portsmouth, which reaching by noon, after pledging in Mr. 
Baulstone's claret, and leaving my horse to be returned, went on in a 
shallop, which, unlaiding at Mr. Willett's will, in a few days, return me to 

"Arrived this evening at Mr. Willett's, and was made most welcome, 
by himself and youngest daughter, who keepeth his house, his wife having 
died these two years since. 

"We had at our supper some exceeding fine oysters, both roasted in 
the shell, and stewed out of it, they abounding here in a mixture of fresh 
and salt water, which they require. After supper we had much discourse, 
such as old men like, he calling himseff aged, though I his elder by near a 
score of years. He hath had employment in weighty affairs of State, and 
wide venturing in trade on his own behalf, having had valuable leases to 
trade upon the Kenebec, by which he hath advantaged so that his estate 
is ample and sufficient for his later years. We talked of his early days at 
Leyden in Holland, where he learned his Dutch, so valued later at Man- 

"June 17. Mr. Willett setteth forth his table with more silver than 
I have mostly seen, in these parts, having, as he telleth one, over fourteen 
pounds weight thereof. There is a large fruit dish, tankard, wine bowl, 
mustard pot, porringer, spoons, snuffers, tobacco box, etc. — 

"He hath shown me his books, by which he setteth much store: more 
especially, 'Smith's Voyages,' 'Pilgrimage in Holland,' 'Holy War,* 
*Heber's Episcopal Policy,' 'Calvin's Harmony,' and, for use upon 
occasion, 'General Practice of Physick,' being not near to any other 

"He hath cattle, sheep, and horses in plenty, and large amount of 
land here, at Rehoboth, and at Narragansett, with dwelling houses, ware- 



Personal Sketches 197 

house and vessels for the sea, in one of which I came, and shall soon return. 

"He hath much interest in the church at Plymouth, Rehoboth, and 
Swanzey, and liketh the minister here, Mr. Myles, who, calling while I was 
there, we advantaged by his talk. Mr. James Brown also called: brother- 
in-law to Mr. Willett, and son of Mr. John Brown, late deceased, of 
Rehoboth, a leading man there. 

"Mr. Willett hath shown mc the graves of his wife Mary, and her 
parents, at the head of the cove near his house, where also he shall lie, he 

"June 18, Sunday. Went to hear Mr. Myles preach, in the Baptist 
way. A good sermon, well set forth. He had a church in Wales, before 
settling here. " 

John Myles 

"This learned preacher of the Church of England, while at Swansea, 
Wales, during Cromwell's tolerant rule, changed his church into a strong 
Baptist body. Ejected under Charles H in 1662, he came to the Massa- 
chusetts Dorchester with several of his flock, and thence went to Rehoboth. 
He was somewhat employed there as an assistant preacher, until in 1667 
he and his friends of the Wanamoiset district set up a separate worship, 
presumably Baptist. The Colony was earnest in securing a learned min- 
istry, and the subdivison of parishes had ever been discountenanced lest 
they become too weak for this purpose. Even the King's Commissioners 
had received no encouragement as to the formation of Episcopal parishes, 
unless an "able preaching ministry" could be insured in a place able to 
maintain two churches. Myles was in the Rehoboth parish, which could 
barely support one learned preacher. 

On complaint to the Court, Myles and James Brown were each fined 
£5, and Nicholas Tanner £1; but their associates, Joseph Carpenter, John 
Butterworth, Eldad Kingsley, and Benjamin Alby, seem to have been dis- 
charged. There was in this no persecution because of religious belief, for 
the penalty was only that which would have been laid on the most orthodox 
of Congregationalists who had in like manner estabhshed a new and poor 
church in an existing parish. The absence of sectarian prejudice was clearly 
shown by the Court, for after prohibiting the new meeting for only a month, 
it advised the defendants, not unkindly, to transfer their church to some 
place "not already in parish relations." 

Acting on the Court's suggestions, Myles and his friends moved into 
the unoccupied region south of Rehoboth. They first settled on the shore 
in the present Barrington, but soon fell back to Warren River, where now 
is Myles' Bridge (Barneyville). The Court then transferred Wanamoiset 
to this territory, and incorporated the whole as a town, named Swansea 
(1667), from Myles' former home. Thus did the Congregational Old 
Colony create a town as the seat of the first legaUzed Baptist Church in 
America outside of Rhode Island. 

Captain Willet and James Brown, the magistrate, still Uved in Wana- 
moiset, and the latter had become a Baptist; they, with Nathaniel Payne, 
John Allen, and John Butterworth, were appointed by the Court to reg- 
ulate admission to the town and divide the land. WiUet, as representing 
Congregationahsm, proposed the exclusion of all erroneous, evil-living, and 
contentious persons; Myles and Butterworth, in behalf of the Baptists, 
asked that these terms be so defined that 'erroneous' mean only the hold- 
ers of such 'damnable heresies' as Unitarianism, transubstantiation, 
merit in good works, denial of Christ's ascension and second coming, or the 
divinity of all parts of Scripture, and belief in 'any other antichristian 

198 History of Swansea 

doctrine;' that the 'contentious' be those alone who dispute the magis- 
trate's authority, the giving of honor where due, 'the laudable custom of 
our nation, each to other, as bowing the knee or body,' or the clergy's 
authority and right to support, or who reproach any of the churches of the 
Colony. Error should not include anything ' yet in controversy among the 
godly learned,' especially infant baptism, but parents be free to present 
or withhold their children, and pastors free to baptize infants and adults, 
or not. These definitions were approved by the committee, and submitted 
to the town-meeting. All the fifty-five freemen signed the document, and 
not one made his mark. 

WiUet and his few Congregational neighbors seem to have hved in 
entire harmony with Myles and his Baptist flock, and to have found open 
communion in the church. A classical school was opened, and the town 
was becoming prosperous, when in 1675 Philip's War burst upon it, destroy- 
ing thirty-five of her forty houses and a larger proportion of her property. 
Still the town preserved its identity, and the voters of the Colony annually 
elected to the magistrates' bench James Brown, one of her leading Baptist 

From 1675 to 1680 Myles was at Boston establishing a Baptist Church; 
but after the rebuilt Swansea had for three years called to him. he returned 
to it, and there in 1683 died. His wife Anne outlived him; his son John 
(a Harvard scholar) was Swansea's first town-clerk; and curious to relate, 
Samuel, the preacher's son or grandson, became the second Episcopal 
rector of King's Chapel, Boston. The descendants of this stock (who often 
spelled the name Miles) are to be found in many honorable positions." 

(Note. It has come to light (1914), that Anne Myles, the second wife 
of John Myles, was the daughter of John Humphrey, the early Massachu- 
setts Magistrate, and that her mother, Mrs. John Humphrey, was Lady 
Susan Clinton, daughter of Thomas Chnton, third Earl of Lincoln, and 
a sister of Theophiius Clinton, fourth Earl of Lincoln. This I have from 
the Commissioner of Public Records of Massachusetts, Henry E. Woods. 

John Brown 

John Brown the magistrate was not of kin to John Brown the Dux- 
bury weaver, who was brother to Peter of the "Mayflower." The John 
first-named was an English shipbuilder, who knew the Pilgrims at Leyden, 
but did not join them there. In 1633-4, when aged about fifty, he, with his 
wife Dorothy and at least three children, came to Plymouth, bringing a 
fair property; in 1635 Brown became a citizen, and the next year began an 
eighteen years' service in the board of assistants. In 1637 he was one of 
the original purchasers of the site of Taunton, and in 1643 was in the 
militia there with his sons John and James; in 1645 they removed to 
Rehoboth, settling at Wanamoiset, now in Swansea, on land scrupulously 
bought from Pvlassasoit. 

For twelve successive years, from 1645, Brown was one of the 
Colonial Commissioners, entering that board in the second year of its 
existence. He was also often employed in settling questions between the 
whites and the Indians, — the latter having great confidence in him. The 
first Commissioners from Plymouth — Winslow and Colher — had assented 
to the act of Massachusetts in extending her rule over Gorton's company at 
Shawomet (now Warwick, R. I.), but the outrageous and cruel conduct of 
the Bay toward the Gortonians enfisted Brown's chivalrous spirit in their 
defence. In 1645 Massachusetts authorized twenty famiUes of Braintree 
to go down and take possession of the Gorton plantations; but Brown 

Personal Sketches 199 

warned off their prospectors and claimed the territory as Plymouth's. 
This counter-claim was in the interest of the persecuted Gortonians, with 
whom Brown was "very familiar." The matter came more than once 
before the Commissioners, who, with sapient vagueness, decided as to the 
tract, that "the right owners ought to have it, " 

In 1651 Massachusetts renewed her claim, and prepared fresh warrants 
for seizing Gorton and his men. Brown, supported by his colleague, Hath- 
erly, boldly resisted the claim before the Commissioners, and condemned 
the officers of Massachusetts. The latter pleaded a waiver in their behalf 
by the Plymouth Government. Brown stoutly re-a£Grmed Plymouth's 
right to Shawomet, and declared any waiver of that right wholly vedueless, 
though made by the governor and magistrates of Plymouth; for not an 
inch of her soil could be alienated except by vote of the whole lx>dy of 
freemen in General Court assembled. So vigorous and fearless were 
Brown and Hatherly in pushing their rival claim that the efforts of Mass- 
achusetts were neutralized, and the Gortonians no more persecuted. When 
at length the demand of the Bay was dropped (1658), so was that of 
Plymouth, its chief object having been accomplished. 

Probably an ill-feeling growing out of this sharp contest of 1651 led 
to an occurrence at the next session (1652). The meeting was to be at 
Plymouth; but on the day set, only five members appeared, — a quorum 
being six. Late the second day Astwood, of New Haven, arrived, having 
been hindered by bad roads. John Brown also came in. That httle con- 
gress had no lack of ceremony, — the Massachusetts members being 
especially given to it, and it was in order for Brown to render his excuse. 
He gravely announced that he had been plagued with a toothache, and 
might not have come sooner if he could have had all Plymouth. This, or 
something else on Brown's part, gave great offence to the ceremonious 
Boston members, — Speaker Hathorne and Bradstreet; and, contrary to 
Bradford's appeals, the unparliamentary decision was forced through, that 
when no quorum should appear at the opening hour on the first day no 
session could be held that year, even though a quorum should come in 

The members dispersed with unpleasantness. The General Court of 
Massachusetts was so unwise as to mix in the affair; for it formally in- 
dorsed the course of its two members, and insolently voted that it should 
expect an apology from one of the Plymouth members for incivility to one 
of hers from the Bay. Plymouth evidently took this as a threat that Brown 
must apologize or be refused his seat, for she manfully re-elected both him 
and Bradford, and voted not only that a Commissioner arriving late was 
entitled to act, but if both her members should be in attendance, and for 
any reason one should not take part, neither should the other. This was 
a bolder action than at first appears. It was quite intelligible notice to the 
Bay men that their position was untenable, and that any interference with 
Brown would be followed by a dissolution of the congress through the 
non-representation of one of the Colonies. The matters involved do not 
seem to have been again mentioned. 

In 1652 the independent ways of the old shipwright called down some 
high-handed censure from his stern and sturdy pastor, Newman. Brown 
sued the minister for slander, and the General Court gave him a verdict of 
£100 damages, and 23s. costs. Brown at once arose in court and, Hke 
Holmes, remitted the £100; vindication was all he wanted. 

In 1655, while Brown sat in the court, certain men of Rehoboth, com- 
plaining of the backwardness of their people in contributing for public 
worship, asked that all the people be compelled by tax to pay their part, 
as in "the other Colonies." Bradford had favored this plan, but Brown 
opposed it. The petition came from his town, he said, but he had not before 

200 History of Swansea 

heard of the matter; and to "take off the odium'* of a forced support of 
religion, he would make this offer; These petitioners favor a tax; let them 
be taxed their proportion, and he would engage that the remaining people 
of Rehoboth should voluntarily raise the remainder of the sum; he would 
secure this by binding his estate to make good all deficiency for the next 
seven years. The Court assented, and sent Standish and Hatherly to 
assess the tax on the petitioners. The latter, however, did not take kindly 
to the plan, for two years later the Court had to coerce them; and for years 
after, this tax was a source of trouble with those meddlers who had pro- 
posed it. 

At the time of this last legislation the grand old man had passed the 
goal of threescore years and ten. He soon left the pubhc service, and his 
remaining days were spent on his estate at Wanamoiset. There he died 
in 1662, aged about seventy-eight. His son John had died before him, but 
his wife lived until 1674, her ninetieth year. 

John Brown's second son James was his father's successor in pubhc 
life. In 1653, when Rehoboth formed a train-band, he became ensign, and 
the town voted that Lieutenant Hunt and Ensign Brown have leave " to 
stand by the honorable bench at Plymouth Court. " In 1665 he succeeded 
his feunous brother-in-law, Thomas Willet, as assistant, and although a 
leading Baptist of Swansea, was re-chosen to the bench some thirteen years. 
He was employed by the Colony in an attempt to avert Philip's War, — the 
Indians having for him as high regard as formerly for his father, and 
Massasoit having enjoined a continuance of it on his people. James closed 
his honored life at Swansea in 1710, aged eighty-seven. His wife was Lydia, 
daughter of John Howland the Pilgrim, and with the Browns Mrs. Howland 
spent her widowhood. The senior Brown had a grandson John, who in 1685 
was one of the associate judges of Bristol County, and was again appointed 
in 1699 at the reorganization under the Earl of Bellamont. In all its 
generations, the posterity of the great pioneer has done credit to its 

— Pilgrim Republic. 

Marcus A. Brown 

Marcus Aurehus Brown, son of Wilham and Freelove (Wood) Brown, 
was bom in Swansea, Mass., Dec. 19, 1819, near what is now Touisset. 
He comes from an old New England family of consequence in the days of 
the first settlements. From old records and historical documents we ascer- 
tain that John Brown, the first of this fine of Browns, had acquaintance 
with the Pilgrims in Leyden, Holland, before the sailing of the " Mayflower" 
in 1620, in which vessel he probably was financially interested. He was 
originally from England, where he was born in 1574, but we cannot defi- 
nitely trace the family in that country. The exact year of his coming to 
America is unknown, but in 1636 he was Hving in Duxbury, and in 1643 in 
Taunton. He was a man of importance in public affairs, and one of the 
leading men of Plymouth Colony. He was assistant for seventeen years 
from 1636, served as commissioner of the United Colonies for twelve years 
from 1644, and died in Swansea, near Rehoboth, where he had large estates. 
Savage gives the date of his death as April 10, 1662, and says that his will, 
made three days before his death, provides for the children left to his care 
bv his son John, and names his wife Dorothy and son James executors. 
This is doubtless the correct date of his death, as his wife Dorothy died 
Jan. 27, 1673, or 1674, aged ninety. John Brown 2, born 1636, died in 
Rehoboth, in 1660. He married a daughter of WiUiam Buckland, and had 
five children, — ^John 3, Joseph, Nathaniel, Lydia, and Hannah, — whom he 

Personal Sketches 201 

left, as above mentioned, to the care of his father, He was a strict Puritan 
and a devout man, standing high in community and colony affairs. John 
Brown 3 was born about 1657 in Rehoboth, married Ann Dennis, of 
Norwich, Conn., and had two children, — John 4 and Samuel. He died in 
1724. He was a man of positive nature, unflinching in the discharge of 
everything he deemed a duty. It is said of him that he was so enraged at 
his son (John) when he joined the Baptist Church that, supposing the 
latter's residence to be partially on his land, he was going to pull the part to 
which he laid claim away from the other, thus aiming to destroy the house, 
but a survey made to ascerteiin the fact showed that no portion of the house 
touched his land. Whether the tradition be true or false, it tells the char- 
acter of the men of that perilous pioneer period. Athletic, strongminded, 
and positive in character, they were well fitted to develop civilization from 
the unpromising and savage surroundings, and to contend ably with its 
foes. Among these settlers the Browns were leaders, and their dilBferent 
generations were prominent in church and local matters. From 1672 to 
1692 the deputy for several years was a Brown. John Brown 4 was born 
April 23, 1675, in Swansea, married Abigail, daughter of James Cole, July 
2, 1696, and died April 23, 1752, leaving at least one son, John 5. The 
lands bequeathed to Mrs. Brown by her father were transmitted from their 
purchase from the Indians to generation after generation for more than 
two centuries, and never were conveyed by deed until their purchase by 
H. A. Gardner, 1874. John 5 was also prominent, held a captain's commission^ 
and was an earnest and consistent man. We extract from church records in 
Swansea: "The Church of Christ in Swansea, soon after December, 1719, 
built a new meeting-house on land given said church by Capt. John Brown 
and William Wood for that purpose. " Lieut. John Brown 5, was born in 
Swansea in 1700, married, in 1722, Lydia, daughter of Joseph Mason. She 
was born in Swansea in 1704. They had five children, one of whom was 

John Brown 5 was a large farmer, owning slaves. He was well to do, 
and was honored with various offices. He is recorded as Lieut. John Brown. 
We extract again from the church records: "June 14, 1753, James Brown 
was on a committee to receive in behalf of the church a deed of some land 
which our beloved brother, John Brown, proposes to give to said church 
for its use and benefit forever. " He died May 18, 1754. His wife died Feb. 
17, 1747. 

William Brown (sixth generation) was born April 14, 1729, in Swansea, 
was a farmer, and much employed in pubUc matters; he surveyed land for 
years, settled many estates, was a man of distinction and ability, and much 
esteemed by his townsmen. He owned a handsome property in land and 
slaves. He married in 1753, Lettice, daughter of Hezekiah Kingsley, who 
was born in 1732. They had eight children, — Elizabeth, married Edward 
Gardiner (they were grandparents of Mrs. Marcus A. Brown); Joseph 
(died aged twenty, a British prisoner on one of the terrible prison-ships) ; 
Luranella, married Reuben Lewis; Amy; Betty, married Aaron Cole; 
Mary, married Benjamin Butterworth; Sarah, William 2. Mr. Brown 
died in 1805. His wife survived him two years. William Brown, Jr. 
(seventh generation), was born on the old home in Swansea, a short dis- 
tance south of Touisset, Sept. 13, 1776. He was reared a farmer, and 
inherited the entire landed estate of his father (about one hundred and 
forty acres). He was an unassuming, hard-working man, very social, with 
a remarkable memory (a faculty possessed by many of the family in a 
large degree). He could repeat whole chapters from the Bible, and had no 
need to refresh his memory of any event by memoranda. He devoted 
himself to agriculture; married Freelove, daughter of Aaron and Freelove 
(Mason) Wood, of Swansea, in 1799. She was born Sept. 28, 1780. They had 

202 History of Swansea 

nine children attaining mature years, — Marcia W., Gardner, Nathan W., 
Mary A., Samuel, Aaron, Mason, Betsey (Mrs. Charles B. Winslow), 
and Marcus A. All are now dead. Nathan, Gardner, and Samuel were 
seafaring men. Gardner became captain, and died in Swansea, May, 1848. 
The others were young men of promise, but died young. Mason was a 
farmer and was a great reader. Of strong memory, he was well versed in 
hsitoric and genealogic lore, and was held in high repute by the community. 
He died Dec. 9, 1882. Mr. Wilham Brown held a high place in the esteem 
of the community, although a plain, unostentatious man of strongly marked 
honesty and fixed principles. He was a Whig, but never sought ofSce. In 
religion he was independent, rather skeptical, but never argued with others, 
and considered every other person entitled to freedom of behef and action. 
He died April 8, 1840. Mrs Brown died Nov. 14, 1855. They, like their 
American ancestors of each generation, are buried in the cemetery in North 

Marcus A. Brown (eighth generation) stayed on the farm until he was 
twenty -four, managing the farm after his father's death, having limited edu- 
cational advantages at the common schools in summer until nine years old 
and in winter until fifteen, the last term being at Warren Academy. He then 
learned the mason's trade and worked at that several years. He then pur- 
chased a farm of forty acres in Somerset and lived there eight years, selling it 
after six years, however. His whole residence in Somerset was seventeen 
years, following his trade after giving up farming. He passed two years in 
Maine, working as a mason. He married, Dec. 7, 1847, Maria Frances, 
daughter of David and Sarah Wilbur. She was born in Warwick, R. I., July 
10, 1828, Like her husband, Mrs. Brown was the youngest of ten children. 
Her paternal grandparents were residents of that part of Swansea now 
Somerset, and resided about one mile west of the village. Their children 
were James, Ruth, Phebe, Peleg, Chloe, Patience, Polly, Thomas, and 
David. David Wilbur was a machinist, married Sarah, daughter of Edward 
and Elizabeth Gardner, and had ten children, — Sarah G, (Mrs. Charles F. 
Brown), Harriet G., David G,, Thomas B., Peleg N., Caroline A., and 
Maria F. Mr. Wilbur lived in Pawtuxet, R, I., and died in 1837, aged fifty- 
three. His wife died in 1856, aged seventy-two. The children of this 
marriage are Marion F, (born Sept. 14, 1848, married Daniel Wilbur, Jr., 
and has one child. Bertha F.); and Clarence A., born June 3, 1850. He 
married Emma L, Frost, and has one child, Marcus R, 

Mr, Brown removed to Fall River in 1866, and resided in the house he 
then purchased. He worked steadily and faithfully at his trade until 
compelled by failing health to relinquish it in 1873. He was an honest, 
modest man; held the even tenor of an industrious, hard-working life, and 
a law-abiding citizen, caring not for nor meddling with ofQcial honors, 
supporting, however, the Whig and Repubhcan tickets. He had been 
successful in business and enjoyed the esteem of his acquaintance, and was 
ever a useful member of society. He died February 10, 1894. 

Daniel Edson 

The subject of this sketch was born in Rehoboth, Mass., Feb. 10, 1791. 
He was the son of Ebenezer Edson, who served in the Revolution under 
Gen. Washington. 

He, Daniel, was a direct descendant, in the 6th generation, from 
Samuel Edson. who was born in England 1612. He, Samuel came to Mass. 
about 1638 or 1639 and settled in Bridgewater and built the first corn mill 
in that town in 1662. 

The mill was erected on Town River, in what is now West Bridgewater. 

Personal Sketches 203 

He became the common ancestor of one of the most numerous, popular and 
respected families in Bridgewater. Some of whose descendants can now be 
found in almost every state of the Union. "He died in Bridgewater, Mass., 
July 20, 1692. " 

Daniel Edson had limited opportunity for attending school but was 
possessed of unusual abihty to learn and by perseverence he acquired a 
good education, which enabled him to serve the town of Swansea as Select- 
man and in other capacities. He represented Swansea in the State Legis- 
lature 1851. 

When quite young he came to Swansea and lived in the family of 
Benajah Mason where he was an apprentice and served seven years to learn 
the trade of a tanner and shoemaker. When 21 years of age he was married 
to Sarah Marvel, daughter of Benanuel Marvel, who kept a store near Mr. 
Mason's shop. It is related that on their wedding day March 5th, 1812, 
both were at work when the mim'ster came to perform the ceremony, 
Daniel removed his leather apron which he wore at the shoemakers bench 
and Sarah left her work and was married in her father's house. Then both 
resumed their work in a very practical manner. A little later Daniel 
served in what is called the war of 1812, for which, late in life, he drew a 
pension. In an old letter written by him to his wife from Fort Phoenix, 
Fairhaven, Mass., we find the date Oct. 2nd 1814. The letter is well 
preserved and we give a few statements from it "Thinking a knowledge 
of my situation would be very agreeable to you I shall inform you in as 
few words as possible. Our rations are a pound of good bread a day, one 
pound and a quarter of beef per day, for four days in the week, twelve 
ounces of pork per day for two days in the week. One pound and a quarter 
of codfish for the other day with a sufficiency of potatoes. We also draw a 
pint of molasses for every six persons, and one giU of rum a day for every 
man. One pound of coff'ee for every fifty men. We lack many vessels for 
cooking. We are in a dehghtsome place and we fare better than I expected. 
I do not consider that we are in danger of being attacked. We have seen 
one ship which we supposed to be an English Frigate. " 

Daniel and Sarah Edson lived for many years in that section of Swansea 
known as the Two-mile Purchase. Ten children were born to them six 
daughters and four sons. (8 lived to manhood and womanhood — 7 of them 
to old age). One son Daniel Edson Jr. served as Quartermaster in the Mass. 
Seventh Regiment, in the Civil War, and died in 1866. 

Mrs. Edson died May 8th 1869. Mr. Edson fived to be nearly 90 
years old and died Jan. 2nd, 1881. (89 years-10 months-16 days.) 

Job Gardner 

Job Gardner was widely known, beloved and respected not only in 
his own town, but in Fall River and elsewhere. He was born in the house 
where he died in South Swansea, then more commonly known as Gardner's 
Neck, December 27, 1826, the son of Job and Patience (Anthony) Gardner 
being one of a large family of children. He attended school in that town 
and later learned the trade of mason. Having a taste and aptitude for 
books, however, he prepared himself for college, entering Wesley an Univer- 
sity, from which he was graduated in 1855. Soon after his return from 
college he was chosen as a teacher in his native town. He taught in the 
village schoolhouse which was burned and was the first preceptor in the late 
village schoolhouse. After a few years he was honored by a place on the 
School Committee, and this he retained for almost half a century. Much 
of the time he was chairmeui of the board, and for not a few years he acted 
as superintendent of schools. 

204 History of Swansea 

Swansea further showed its appreciation of Mr. Gardner's ability by 
electing him as selectman, and in 1870 he was chosen as representative to 
the Great and General Court at Boston. He was a member of that body 
the year that the grant was authorized for the construction of Slade's Ferry 
Bridge over the Taunton River, a structure that is now regarded as anti- 
quated and altogether out of fashion. For many years he was a trustee of 
East Greenwich Academy and superintendent of the Sunday School of the 
South Somerset M. E. Church, both of which positions he was obliged to 
relinquish on account of his health. He was also a trustee and member of 
the official board of that church for a long period up to the time of his death. 
Besides all his other duties, in which he labored with unfailing devotion, he 
was very much interested in the Fall River Deaconess' Home. 

After the death of James E. Easterbrooks, September 8, 1896, Mr. 
Gsurdner was selected as his successor on the Board of Trustees of the 
Swansea Library and also secretary of the body. He served in this 
capacity until March 6, 1899, when he was made chairman, holding that 
position up to the day of his demise. He was the presiding officer at the 
dedication of the library building on September 19, 1900, receiving the keys 
of the handsome structure from the selectmen. He also presided at the 
dedication of the commodious Town Hall on September 9, 1891, and had 
hoped to live until the new schoolhouse then in process of erection was 
finished and ready for occupancy. Deeply interested in local history as 
well as that of the country, he took great pride in reciting the names of the 
participants from Swansea in the various wars. He prepared the lists of 
names of those from the town who fell in battle, for the marble tablet 
placed to the east of the entrance of the main room in the Town Hall. 
Indeed, he was instrumental in having the tablet itself made. On public 
occasions he was often a speaker and in town meetings he took an active 
part. He will be remembered as advocating Swansea's claims at the 
pubhc meeting in the City Hall (Fall River) when the initial arrange- 
ments were being made for the building of the new county bridge, which 
was then being constructed to the north of the old pile. 

Forty-three years ago Mr. Gardner married Mrs. Marietta (Saunders) 
Gardner, widow of his brother, Lucius, who had been drowned. Mrs. 
Gardner died January 5, 1901. A son, Howard S. Gardner, of Swansea; 
a daughter, Mrs. Wfdter S. Winter ,of Marion, Iowa, and a step-son, Lucius 
D. Gardner, of Swansea, survive him, but the daughter was not able to be 
present at the funeral services. These began at 1 o'clock and, as a mark of 
respect to his memory, the hbrary was kept closed until 3 :30 that afternoon. 
The services which were attended by legislative representatives, Swansea 
town officials, friends from his own town. Fall River, Freetown, and 
Somerset, were conducted by Rev. Frederick W. Coleman and Rev. John 
Pearce, pastors of the St, Paul and Summerfield M. E. Churches of Fall 
River. In his eulogy Rev. Mr. Coleman noted how closely Mr. Gardner's 
life had been associated with that of the community, the members of which 
would miss him with a deep sense of loss. He also mentioned the public- 
spirited character of the man and quoted the words, "Well done, thou 
good and faithful servant." 

Abneb Slade 

Abner Slade, son of Benjamin and grandson of Joseph Slade, was born 
in Swansea Oct. 2, 1792, on the homestead of his father, within a short 
distance of which his long life of usefulness was passed. He was in the 
fifth generation from the first of the family who settled in Swansea, and 

Personal Sketches 205 

the Kne of descent is (1) William, (2) Edward, (3) Joseph, (4) Benjamin, 
(5) Abner. 

The first ancestor of the Slade family in America was Edward, who was 
born in Wales, Great Britain. Uttle is known of him except that he lost 
his hfe on a voyage between this country and England. He had a son 
William, born also in Wales, who settled first on the island of Rhode Island, 
where he was admitted a freeman in 1659, and in 1680 he removed to 
Slade's Ferry, in Swansea, now Somerset. 

Abner Slade was reared a farmer and tanner, and succeeded his father 
in business, and made tanning and currying his principal avocation during 
life. When he first began it, the custom was for the tanner to travel 
through the country on horseback and purchase hides, which, when tanned 
into leather, were sold, largely on credit, to the farmers and traveling 
shoemakers of the period. From this primitive condition of the trade Mr. 
Slade built up a business of large proportions, which became very remun- 
erative. He was one of the most industrious, systematic, and persevering 
of men, and looked sharply after the minute details of every transaction. 
He was very successful, and this success may be attributed to his sterUng 
integrity, his good judgment, and his earnest and steady persistency. He 
retired, with a handsome competency as the reward of his apphcation and 
energy, from active business about 1856, and the subsequent years of his 
life were devoted, in a business way, only to looking after his various 

He never accepted nor wished for ofiBce in town, nor had political 
aspirations. He was a director of the Fall River National Bank many 
years, and was interested in the Old Colony Railroad, and to some extent 
in the Providence and Worcester Railroad. He was also a stockholder in 
various corporations and manufactures in Fall River. 

He married, Sept. 30, 1829, Sarah, daughter of Asa and Ehzabeth 
(Mitchell) Sherman, who was born Feb. 20, 1810. (Asa, son of Samson and 
Ruth Sherman, of Portsmouth, R. I., was born Dec. 22, 1779, and died in 
Fall River, Dec. 29, 1863, aged eighty-four years. He was a hneal 
descendant of Philip Sherman, who in 1636, with seventeen others, pur- 
chased from the Indians the islands of Rhode Isand, — Patience, Hope, and 
Conanicut. Elizabeth, his wife, daughter of Richard and Joanna Mitchell, 
of Middletown, R. I., was born Oct. 17, 1782, and died in Fall River, April 
22, 1858, in her seventy-sixth year. They had ten children, of whom Mrs. 
Slade was the third). 

Mr. and Mrs. Slade had no children, but they adopted a little girl of 
about two years, named Sarah Bowers, to whom they gave the care of 
parents until her death in her twentieth year. Afterwards they adopted 
Adehne F. Cole, when she was seven years old, whom they reared and 
educated. She was born March 29, 1849, and married Charles A. Chace, 
son of Obadiah and Esther (Freeborn) Chace, of Warren, R. I., and they 
have four children: Benjamin S., Arthur F., Warren O. and Sarah Slade. 

Mr. Slade was an earnest and unassuming member of the Society of 
Friends, and was held in the highest esteem by his brethren. The Friends^ 
Review gave this just and well-deserved notice of him: "Abner Slade, an 
elder of Swansea Monthly Meeting of Friends, deceased, twelfth month, 
second, 1879, aged eighty-seven. He was truly a father in Israel. " 

Valentine Mason 

Valentine Mason was a native of Swansea, and was born Oct. 7, 1825, 
the son of Valentine and Mary Elizabeth (Cole) Mason. He came of 
Pilgrim ancestry and was in the fifth line of descent from Samson Mason, 

206 History of Swansea 

who by tradition was a soldier in Oliver Cromwell's army, and who after- 
wards owned the tract of land lying between the present residence of Frank 
T. Mason, of North Swansea, and the First Christian Church, Swansea 
Center, a distance of a mile and a half. Samson Mason was also distin- 
guished as one of the 93 men who purchased a mile and a half tract of what 
are now known as Attleboro, Mass., and Cumberland, R. I. The deceased 
was a third cousin of the late Chief Justice Albert Mason, of Brookline, 
also a relative of the celebrated Capt. John Mason, whose exploits in 
Swansea are a matter of history. He was a member of the family in which 
there were several physicians and clergymen of notable attainments. He 
was the last survivor of his parents' household. 

Mr. Mason attended the district school in the town of his nativity and 
at 16 went to Fall River to learn the trade of a mason. He engaged him- 
self to TiUinghast Records and Sylvanus Westgate, then the principal 
masonry contractors in Fall River. After about two years, when he had 
made good progress in his trade, he bought his time of his employers. The 
great fire of 1843, which swept away all the houses and business places of 
the village, prepared the way for a very large field in masonry and other 
construction; and after he had done a variety of smaller jobs, Mr. Mason 
set out by himself as a superintendent of construction. In the following 
year he was married to Miss Deborah Macomber, of Westport, who sur- 
vived until 1900. They settled in Fall River, making their home there 
until 1881, when they moved to Swansea, which was ever after their res- 
idence until the death of Mrs. Mason. In 1894 they celebrated their 
golden wedding. Mr Mason then went to live with his son, Job, of 487 
Hanover Street, Fall River, but for a year was under the care of his 
daughter, Mrs. Bowler, at 136 Franklin Street. 

Mr. Mason's career as superintendent of construction was notable 
from the first, but the earhest work of special note was in connection with 
the city almshouse, in 1857. Through the action of Hon. James Buffinton, 
of this city, representative in Congress, he secured the appointment of 
superintendent of construction of the United States treasury building, in 
Washington, which position he held for four years; until during the civil 
war period, the work of construction was suspended for a time. He then 
succeeded James Wheaton as superintendent of construction of the fourth 
plant of the Wamsutta Mills at New Bedford, which was completed about 

In 1886 Mr. Mason superintended the construction of the first of the 
Durfee mills, on Pleasant Street; in 1868-9, that of the Mechanic mills on 
Davol Street; and in 1871, that of the Stafford mills on County and 
Quarry streets. He superintended the building of the entrance arch at 
Oak Grove Cemetery, on Prospect street; the Troy building, on Fourth 
and Pleasant streets; the United States Custom house on Second and 
Bedford streets, (1875-1880); the B. M. C. Durfee High School, Rock 
street, (1883-1887); the Bristol county Court house. North Main street, 
(1888-1889); the Fall River Public Library, (1896); and Christ Episcopal 
Church, and the Swansea Free PubUc Library, in Swansea, (1899). 

Mr. Mason had other work on hand later, at a distance from home, 
including the Medfield Insane Asylum, the superintendence of the con- 
struction of which was in his hands at the outset and before difficulties 
arose in regard to the acts of the building commission. He was also 
superintendent of the construction of the Ames Memorial Unitarian 
Church of North Easton. In the course of church and school construction 
of which he had superintendence, Mr. Mason put in place seven chimes of 
beUs. His capacity as a superintendent was mainly self -acquired, as he 
enjoyed no opportunities for scholastic training and was under no individual 
direction in his development. A clear head for figures and a natural taste 

Personal Sketches 207 

for calculations and estimates served him effectively as he progressed with 
the work of a building superintendent. 

The deceased was much interested in music, and, having a rich bass 
voice, used it to advantage in religious reform and social gatherings. He 
was the first bass for some years in the choir of the First Congregational 
Church, Fall River, when a relatively young man, and later in that of the 
Unitarian Church, Fall River, and as a member of the Sons of Temperance 
his voice was heard in all the music of the choir of that organization when 
it was flourishing here. 

By reason of his staunch qualities, Mr. Mason was much esteemed 
in both of the communities in which he lived. His long residence in Swansea 
gave him recognition as a Swansea man, although he was so connected with 
Fall River operations that he seemed quite as much a citizen of Fall River. 
He was approachable and genial in conversation, a man of the people, one 
whom all felt they could rely upon and one whose record is thoroughly 
honorable. He was associated in business with a class of men whose 
reputation for square dealing has sometimes been smirched, and by whose 
action employers have suffered money loss, but not even the slightest 
charge of graft or deception was ever laid at his door. 

Mr. Mason was a member of Mount Hope Lodge of Masons, a Mason 
of the 32d degree and a member of Godfrey de Bouillon Commandery, K. T. 
He is survived by a daughter, Mrs. Lydia C. Bowler, widow of George B. 
Bowler, formerly city clerk of Nashua; a son Job Mason, and two grand- 
daughters, Mrs. Charles A. Davis and Mrs. Charles P. Davis, both of Fall 

Jeremiah Gray 

Jeremiah Gray was one of five children: Elizabeth Young, born in 
1816, Jane, Samuel, William. 

His grandfather was Joseph Gray born in 1762. His grandmother 
Avice Anthony, born in 1766. 

Children of Above 

Sam'l Gray born 1791 

Jeremiah Gray born 1 792 

Sally Gray born 1795 

David Gray born 1797 

Mary Gray born 1799 

Hannah Gray born 1802 

Joseph Gray born 1807 

Elizabeth Gray born 1810 

Jeremiah Gray, son of Samuel Gray of Somerset was born in that 
town, March 26, 1818. His mother was Elizabeth ( ) Gray. 

He learned the printer's trade of Noel A. Tripp, in Fall River, in 1835, 
and off and on, followed that business for many years, being employed for 
a time in the office of the Boston Advocate, then published by Benjamin 
Hallett, who was a very rigid democrat in his political views, but recog- 
nizing the abihty and worth of Mr. Gray waived all matters of political 
variance, and promoted him to the position of foreman in the office. 

While a young man he was employed on the New York Tribune, in 
which he became a stockholder. In 1849, in company with several other 
employees of that paper, he went to California seeking gold. His departure 
was signalized by Horace Greeley in an editorial in which he expressed his 

208 History of Swansea 

high regard for him. While in California, Mr. Gray was a regular cor- 
respondent of the Tribune, writing many letters of interest to the readers 
of that paper. After a brief absence he returned to New York, and was 
again employed upon the staff of the Tribune. Six years later he made a 
second visit to California, and purchased an interest in the Sacramento 
Union, the largest newspaper pubhshed in Sacramento at that time, and 
one of the influential journals of the State. On his retirement from the 
Union he was presented with a gold headed cane as a token of the printers* 
esteem. His successful management of this paper had enabled him to 
gather a comfortable property, which he thought might be sufficient for his 

In 1861, he returned to Fall River to live, the ill health of his wife 
requiring a change of residence. While residing in Fall River, he served 
there, as deputy collector of customs for several years. And at one period 
he resided in Washington, D. C, serving as clerk of the committee on 
accounts. Mr. Gray held no public office in Swansea, although he was 
once unanimously chosen as a member of the Board of Selectmen of the 
town. But being employed in Washington, D. C. at that time, he did not 
accept the office. He was once a candidate for Senatorial honors, and 
failed of an election by only four votes. He was a man of public spirit and 
of a social disposition, but of a quiet virtue and honesty of purpose. During 
the last ten years of his hfe he was editor of the Swansea Record, a local 
sheet published from Fall River for the country towns. 

Mr. Gray's death occurred Feb. 23, 1898, at the home of his son 
Lewis S. Gray in Swansea, where he had resided for a number of years. 
His burial was attended by a large and deeply interested company of 
neighbors and friends besides many acquaintances from Fall River and 
other cities, including Hon. Eastwood Eastwood, Mr. C. N. Robertson, 
Mr. George Pierce, Mr. P. E. Ryan, Mr. Dexter and Mr. Dabler of 
Lonsdale, R. L, old friends of the deceased; Hon. Frank S. Stevens, 
Hon. John S. Brayton, John P. Slade, David F. Slade, Ehjah P. Chace, 
Mr. E. M. Thurston, Rev. T. S. Weeks, Job Gardner, David B. Gardner. 
George W. Slade, David A. Brayton, Jr., Thomas D. Covel, and 
F. M. Bronson. 

Mr. Gray was married in 1853, to Miss Avice Cotton (daughter of 
John S. and Avice (Gardner) Cotton of Fall River) who died in 1863. 
Their children are: 

Kate born 1858 died 1858 

EHzabeth born 1854 died 1860 

Mary born 1855 died 1871 

and Lewis Skinkle born in Sacramento, Cal., in 1860, who married 
Henrietta Wilbur, daughter of Philander Gordon and Susan Rhodes 
Wilbur, well known residents of Swansea Centre, in 1881. Lewis S. has 
served the Town as School committee. Town assessor for several years and 
Selectman and overseer of the Poor for more than ten years. 

Henrietta Gray was a pupil of the Prov. State Normal School and a 
teacher in Swansea. Children of Lewis S. and Henrietta Gray: 

Lewis Herbert Gray born in 1881 

Avis Mabel Gray born in 1883 

Clarence Wilbur Gray born in 1886 

Percy Gordon Gray born in 1890 

Isabel Rhodes Gray born in 1892 

Elizabeth Cotton Gray born in 1896 

Franklin Gray born in 1897 

Jeremiah Gray born in 1899 

Personal Sketches 209 

Avis Mabel Gray passed away in 1903, after a week's illness from 

She was a graduate of Thibodeau's Business College. A young lady, 
whose gracious manner and sterling qualities had made her highly and 
widely esteemed. 

Lewis Herbert Gray married Hattie LueUa daughter of Charles Henry 
and Margaret T. Cook, residents of Fall River, in 1902. 

Lewis H. is employed by the government as R. F. D. in Swansea. One 
daughter, Edith Wilbur Gray was born in 1903. 

Clarence Wilbur Gray married Patience Dillon of Fall River, in 1909. 
Clarence Wilbur is in the employ of his father, Lewis S. Gray, who is 
characterized as one of the leading New England horsemen, doing a large 
business in Swansea and neighboring towns and cities. One son, Charles 
Dillon Gray was born to them in 1909. 

Daniel R. Child 

His ancestral line was from Caleb, John, Christopher, Cromwell, 
and he was born in East Smithfield, Pa., on June 23, 1827, the son of 
Edward and Betsey Pierce Child, of Warren, R. I. He received his educa- 
tion in his native town, and at the age of 21 years came to New England, 
apprenticing himself to learn the shipcarpentering trade at Barney\Tlle, 
North Swansea, Mass., which at that time was a ship-building centre. 
Here the young man became acc[uainted with many of the masters of 
vessels sailing from Narragansett Bay and, when the gold fever broke out 
in 1849, Mr. Childs had no trouble in embarking at Warren, R. I., for San 
Francisco, on a saihng vessel, Chario', a famous ship in her time, saiUng 
1849, a voyage of six months. Upon his returning east in 1853, he resumed 
his trade as ship carpenter at Swansea. 

Nov. 30, 1854, he married Elizabeth Mason Barney, of North Swan- 
sea; and they had children as follows: Charles E., Abby B.; Bessie; 
Angelena, and Mary E. 

In 1864, the Civil War having completely destroyed the ship-buUding 
industry along the Narragansett Bay tributaries, Mr. Child decided to 
enter the manufactimng jewelry business, in Providence, 1858; locating 
in Swansea, at a place known as BarneyvUle, in 1878, and continued therein 
until 1893, when he became interested in aluminum and produced a large 
line of small wares, novelties, etc. This he continued until 1905 when he 
retired from active business on account of advancing years and failing 
health. He was one of the old-time manufacturing jewelers, one of the 
sturdy upbuilders of the industry with which he was prominently indenti- 
fied for more than a half a century. 

Mr. Child devoted several years of his life actively in politics while 
residing in Swansea, serving as a Selectman of that town for eight years; 
and he was also Representative for one term in the Massachusetts Legis- 
lature. He was prominently identified with the Masonic fraternity, being 
a member of What Cheer Lodge of Providence which he joined in 1866, 
and of Calvary Commandery Knights Templars, also Providence. 

He died May 23, 1914. 

Rev. William Miller 

Mr. Miller was born in Swansea April 23, 1817, and passed his early 
life in that town, attending the pubhc schools there. When a young man 

210 History of Swansea 

he went to New Bedford to learn the trade of mason, and it was in that city, 
studying at night school, that he continued his education and prepared 
himself during his spare time for the ministry in the Christian Church. He 
was married March 3, 1841, to Miss Anna Buffington of Swansea, daughter 
of Deacon John Buffington. While in New Bedford he was Superintendent 
of the Sunday school of the Bonney Street Church and preached there 
occasionally. From New Bedford he removed to Lynn in 1853, where he 
remained as pastor of the Christian Church for six years. From there he 
went to South Portsmouth, R. I. for a period of 11 years, going next to 
Bristol, R. I. for four years. After being pastor in Westport, Fairhaven, 
Newport and New Bedford, he finally went to Swansea for a permanent 
residence about 1878. He was one of those who went to Cahfornia in 1849. 

His wife died in 1901. Two daughters, Mrs. G. P. Sherman of South 
Portsmouth, and Mrs. J. F. Marden of Newport, survive him. There are 
eight grandchildren and four great-grandchildren. 

Mr. Miller although he had no regular church since his residence in 
Swansea, had preached many times and officiated at a great number of 
funerals and weddings. He had kept in active work throughout his Hfe 
and was a student of the Bible. Two weeks before he died he preached in 
his former pulpit in Portsmouth. He had kept a journal through his life. 
During this last summer he built a boat, which was launched July 15. 

In 1891, he and his wife celebrated their golden wedding, at which 
many were present, a detailed account of which he wrote in his journal. 
He always felt youthful, and kept in remarkably good health. He was 
possessed of a nobility of character clearly reflected in his bearing and 
benign face. His profile was of the Roman type, clear cut and intellectual. 
As a staunch Prohibitionist, a member of the Massachusetts and Rhode 
Island Christian Conference, and as a citizen, his loss was mourned by a 
large number. 

Rev. Joseph W. Osborn, Ph. D. 

Joseph Warren Osborn was born in Pembroke, Maine, July 23, 1836. 
He was named after the Revolutionary hero who fell at Bunker Hill. His 
father, Samuel Osborn, and his mother, Sophia Harding, were both born 
in Barrington, Nova Scotia. I have been able to learn but little about 
them or their ancestry. His grandfather died in Yarmouth, N. S., but 
whence he came, or where he was born, I am unable to say. One of the lines 
on his mother's side came from Nantucket. The name Osborn is found in 
Enghsh history and it is doubtless of English origin. On his mother's side 
were several ministers, one of v/hom. Rev. Theodore Harding, was quite 
noted, traveling a great deal, preaching in school houses and private dwell- 
ings, and carrying the Gospel to the destitute regions of the new country in 
which he lived. 

His father was a sea captain, but owned a farm in Pembroke. After 
his son Joseph — our Bro. Osborn — went into the printing office at Eastport, 
he bought out one of the owners of the Eastport Sentinel, and the business 
was carried on under the name of "Nutt and Osborn. " Subsequently he 
moved there and Joseph returned to and continued in his father's family. 
He was the fourth in a family of six children, three of whom are still living. 

His early boyhood life, until he was fourteen, was spent on his father's 
farm at Pembroke. His school advantages were limited, and he attended 
school less than the average New England boy of that time. But he was 
from childhood a student, and learned very fast, always standing at the 
head of his class. He was a very great reader, and once, when quite young, 
all books were taken from him that he might recover from an illness brought 

Personal Sketches 211 

on by over study. When about fourteen he went to Eastport and entered 
the office of the Eastport Sentinel, where he learned the printer's trade. 
Here he remained until he was twenty, working in the office and studying 
by himself, as books and opportunity permitted. 

He was baptised by Rev. Charles Bugbee, May 20, 1855, being eighteen 
years of age. He united with the Christian Church at Eastport on the 12th 
of July following. Of this church he remained a member until his death. 
His father and mother both belonged to this church and his father was, for 
many years, one of its deacons. From childhood he seems to have had 
marked inclinations to the ministry. His sister says, " I do not think any 
of our family were surprised when he chose it. He was always holding 
meetings and Sunday Schools. When a very little boy he would build 
pulpits and preach from them, the rest of us children the audience. On our 
way to and from school we had to pass a large flat rock. He would gather 
the children on this and preach to them. Our father's farm was worked by 
two Irish Catholics. One day, after being out with them, he came in and 
told us that when he grew up he should be a priest, and that we were all 

Mr. E. E. Shedd, one of his associates in Eastport, says: "The natural 
bent of his mind was the ministry, and he could not help following it when 
circumstances favored. Mr. Bugbee was one of the best of ministers and 
probably by advice and encouragement helped him to accomplish his 

At twenty years of age he left Eastport and went to Andover Academy, 
N. H. The school was then in charge of Prof. J. W. Symonds and was 
intended to be a first-class academy where students might fit for college. 
His first sermon was preached while in this school, at Hill, N. H., during a 
session of the Merrimac Christian Conference. 

After being at Andover one year he received and accepted a call to 
Bradford, Vt., and preached to the Christian Church there for about a 
year. There he made the acquaintance of Martha Ann George, who was 
born Feb. 23, 1834, to whom he was married Sept. 22, 1858, by Rev. SUas 
McKeen, the Congregational minister of that place. Three daughters 
were born to them; Mary G. born Oct. 24, 1863, who has the A. B. of 
Wellesley College 1892, and A. M. of Brown University 1901; Martha 
Sophia, born Oct. 19, 1868, died in Jan. 1871, and Sarah Mabel, born Dec. 
11, 1870, who took the degree of A. B., 1897 and A. M. 1898 at Brown 
University; Mary G. and Sarah Mabel are teachers in the High School of 
Pawtucket, R. I. (1916). 

From Bradford he went to Brantham, N. H., where he preached five 
years. There he was ordained June 9, 1859. 

In the spring of 1864 he came to Swansea, Mass., and there the work 
of his life was done. His first sermon there was preached Sunday May 29th. 
He received a call to settle the same day, and commenced his ministry the 
following Sunday, the first in June. He was only 27 years of age. Young, 
bashful, almost awkward in manner, and with little education save what 
he had acquired by general reading, he commenced a pastorate, exception- 
ally pleasant and profitable, covering a period which lacked but five months 
of a quarter of a century. His transparent honesty and sincerity, his 
excellent spirit, clearly portrayed in every lineament of his face, and the 
good sense of his preaching, commended themselves to the good judg- 
ment of the people, and immediately won their confidence and affection. 
From the outset he was enthroned in their hearts. 

Rapidly he acquired influence in the church, the community, the 
town — an influence always wise and wholesome, and which grew stronger 
and wider until the day of his death. As a teacher and preacher in the 
Sunday School and the Church, he was loyal and laborious, doing con- 

212 History of Swansea 

scientious and thorough work on every lesson and sermon. In the country 
community in which he lived the Sunday School library was largely 
patronized and of great importance. For this he selected the books, and 
thus, and in other ways, gave the community the benefit of his pure 
literary taste and his wide reading. A community of young people excep- 
tionally intelligent and well-read grew up as a result. A generation was 
stamped with his moral and intellectual impress — an impress for which it, 
its children and children's children can only be profoundly grateful. 

It is a thought that should be sufficiently inspiring to ensure fidelity 
in every humble sphere, that good seed perpetuates itself as well as bad, 
and that man is endowed with an earthly immortality. Bro. Osborn's 
personality has become incarnate in the community in which he lived so 
long, and the fruit of those twenty-five years shall grow and bless, it may 
be for centuries. Many a heart, in the ages to come, shall thank him, 
many a little rill of blessed influence shall broaden and sweep on until it 
finds its way to the ocean of eternity, and " he shall see of the travail of his 
soul and be satisfied. " One hundred and forty were added to the church 
during his pastorate. 

For eleven years and a half, from October, 1866, to the spring of 1878, 
he was pastor of the Christian Church in South Rehoboth, preaching there 
every Sabbath afternoon, after preaching at Swansea in the morning. 
Considerable revival interest was manifested there in 1870 and in 1874, and 
several were added to the church. 

In the spring of 1879 he took charge of the church at Steep Brook 
(North Fall River), in connection with the church at Swansea, and retained 
it until his death, wanting three months of ten years. Twenty-two were 
added to the church during this time. Here, as at Swansea and Rehoboth, 
he acquired wide influence and was held in profound respect. 

No one was more thoroughly interested in all kinds of educational 
work than he. Deprived as he was of the advantages of early school 
facilities, he seemed all the more anxious that others should have better 
opportunities. For eleven years he was Superintendent of the Public 
Schools of Swansea and labored earnestly to elevate them to a higher 
standard of excellence. Here as elsewhere his intelligent, practical, master- 
ful mind, made itself felt, and teachers and pupils throughout the town 
felt the inspiring influence of his presence and oversight. Methods of 
work were more carefully systematised, a higher grade of teachers de- 
manded, fuller and more accurate returns secured, and a more careful and 
searching supervision exercised. This work was done thoroughly, con- 
scientiously, laboriously — done, at times, when the pressure of his pastoral 
work made it exceedingly taxing — done, at times, during his vacation, the 
time, always all too short, which he had dedicated to rest, but which was 
thus robbed of its beneficent results. 

The man who had almost continuously for twenty years the care of 
two churches on his hands, the general oversight of about forty churches 
in their Conference relations, and nearly all the time some special work in 
connection with our ministerial associations. New England Convention, 
American Christian Convention, Christian Biblical Institute or Christian 
Camp Meeting Association, and besides all this was constantly pursuing a 
systematic course of study — doing the full work of a student in college — 
could hardly be expected to have much time or strength to devote to the 
public schools. Yet somehow he did find time and strength to do for them 
that which made his superintendency a marked era in their history, and 
that for which the citizens of the town wiU ever be grateful. It reveals the 
profound interest he felt in everything pertaining to the public welfare, the 
prodigious intellectual abilities which he possessed, and alas! it reveals 
also, the fatal overtaxation, — the overstrain that snapped so suddenly the 




Personal Sketches 213 

cord, and took him from us in the meridian of his manhood. 

For fifteen years, from 1873 to the time of his death, he was president 
of the Rhode Island and Massachiisetls Christian Conference. His knowl- 
edge of parhamentary law was accurate, and as a presiding officer he was 
singularly cool and impartial, and had a way of preserving order and good 
nature during heated debates that was exceedingly rare and valuable. 

His care of the churches was fatherly, and his interest in the ministers, 
especially the young, was sincere and profound. His counsels and sugges- 
tions were wise and original, always commanding attention and respect. 
In cases of difficulties to be settled, in exigencies requiring delicate handling 
to avoid suspicion or jealousy, in the examination of candidates for ordin- 
ation, in all the important work of the body, all looked to him to take the 
lead, and followed in the consciousness of a wise and safe leadership. His 
wisdom, his impartiality, his entire freedom from selfish motives were never 
questioned. Through all these years he had been trusted with growing 
confidence, followed with increasing faith and respect, loved with a deep- 
ening affection. 

He was President of the American Christian Convention from 1882 
to 1886, doing much hard work, and helping materially in the perfecting of 
plans for a more complete organization of our methods of work, which are 
producing beneficent results. It was during this quadrennium that the 
question of uniting our people and the Free Baptists was agitated. This 
union he urged with more than his wonted zeal, writing hundreds of letters 
to men of both bodies in all parts of the country. The failure of the project 
at the Convention in New Bedford was a bitter disappointment, and 
disturbed him greatly. 

He was President of the Christian Camp Meeting Association, having 
been elected at the annual session of 1888. For many years he was a 
member of its Board of Trustees. He was also a member of the Board of 
Trustees of the Christian Biblical Institute. 

As a student he was indefatigable and thorough. He loved knowledge 
and never was so happy as when in its pursuit. Most of his time at home 
was spent in his study among his books. Possessed of a good memory and 
great caution, his information was not only full but very accurate. Quick 
to perceive and easy to grasp, he learned rapidly. What, to many, would 
have been dark enigmas, to be comprehended only by long and tedious 
study, were to him intuitious — self-evident — taken at a glance. The 
abstruse metaphysical speculations of a Kant, a Fichte, a Hegel, he read 
with the ease with which many would read an ordinary novel. His favorite 
studies were theology, history, philosophy, language £ind literature. In all 
these he acquired no little proficiency. His knowledge of ecclesiastical history 
was especially noteworthy, and he became a recognized authority in all ques- 
tions pertaining to the history, polity, belief, etc., of religious denominations. 

Nearly all of his studies were pursued alone. To give direction to 
them, as an inducement to be thorough and careful, and as a test of attain- 
ment, he conceived the idea of taking a college course and subjecting him- 
self to examination. As a result of this determination he entered the 
graduating class of 1874 of Lebanon College, Lebanon, Pa., passed his 
examination successfully and received the degree of Bachelor of Arts. 

In 1875 he went to Union College, Mt. Union, Ohio, and after exam- 
ination, was awarded the degree of Doctor of Philosophy. In 1877 he 
again went to Lebanon College and received the degree of Master of Arts. 
These three degrees were taken inside of four years. He went to these 
colleges a stranger; they were in no way connected with our people, they 
had no incentive to grant him any honor which he had not fully earned, 
and so he secured, what he desired, an impartial and trustworthy test of 
his intellectual attainments. 

214 History of Swansea 

It was characteristic of him not to parade his honors, and for several 
years only a few of his intimate friends knew of them, and these under the 
seal of secrecy. It was not until the Presidency of Antioch College (which 
he decHned) was offered him in 1882 that they became known to the 
public. His diplomas were found after his death rolled up and tucked 
away in the back end of a drawer in his study. 

As a preacher he was plain, thoughtful and thoroughly sincere. 
Nothing was said for effect, everything for truth, and with an earnest 
effort to make it plain and effective. His thoughts were put in the best of 
language, and few men could put so much meaning into so few words. He 
was not brilliant but always sensible. His sermons were carefully prepared 
and thought out, and presented with a simplicity and directness that 
carried conviction of his faith in the truth he was presenting. 

He was not a revivalist but a teacher rather. His work was to instruct, 
to so present the truth that it should commend itself to the judgment and 
the conscience — to convince, confirm — to lay foundations. Naturally the 
number of conversions under his labors was not great, but they were 
genuine, they were held. The church generally was kept in good working 
condition; it commanded the respect of the world; the truth was forced 
upon the convictions of the community. A wide-spread, lasting, solid 
influence for good was exerted upon saint and sinner, upon those who 
attended church and those who stayed at home — somehow the entire 
community felt the weight of his character, restraining the evil and stim- 
ulating the good of every heart. His work was the planting of a Paul. In 
due time Apollos will water and the Master give the increase. Years 
hence, under the quickening unfluence of the Holy Spirit, will spring into 
life the seed which he has sown in many a heart which seemed careless and 
unconcerned when he was speaking. 

One of the most conspicuous elements of his character was his thorough 
honesty, his perfect loyalty to truth, his entire freedom from all cant and 
pretense, his fidelity to his convictions of right. He heartily despised 
everything that savored of falsehood, deceit or hypocrisy. He was as 
transparent and open as the light. He carried his character in his face. 
No man need look a second time to know that he was a man to be trusted 
and respected. 

Says Mr. E. E. Shedd: "He came to this town (Eastport), when he 
was about fourteen years of age, a modest, retiring, good lad. I am afraid 
we were a mischievous set of boys that he was thrown in with, and while 
he was ready to join in any of our sports and fun, he would have nothing 
to do with what was not up to his standard of right, which he placed very 
high. We all respected him for his uprightness of character." 

He was exceedingly modest — too modest for his comfort, perhaps for 
his highest usefulness. He never preached on public occasions if he could 
well avoid it, and when he did it was with shrinking anxiety amounting at 
times almost to torture. A less modest man, of his abilities and attain- 
ments, would doubtless have pushed himself into wider fields of usefulness. 
He sought no positions of honor or trust, nor did he accept all that sought 
him. And when he did accept, it was almost invariably with great reluc- 
tance. Many of us remember how difficult it was to induce him to accept 
the position of President of the Camp Meeting Association. 

He was a man of large charity. He always placed the best possible 
construction on the questionable acts of his brethren — never made up 
judgment or expressed an adverse opinion until he had heard both sides of 
the case — ever ready to make large allowance for want of knowledge, 
weakness, or stress of circumstances — ever remembering every good thing 
that could be said by way of offset or mitigation. 

His charity naturally made him broad and catholic in his religious 

Personal Sketches 215 

views, led him to respect aU denominations, and brought him into the most 
friendly relations with them. He was loyal to the principles of the Chris- 
tian Connection. Few comprehended them better or more fully interjDreted 
and exemplified their spirit. He was not a sectarian. Nor was he so 
unsectarian as to be led into an unsectarian bigotry, which is one of the 
worst forms of sectarianism. He sought after those things that made for 

Eeace — that tended to allay suspicion, jealousy, hatred, strife. He felt 
imself above none. The weakest and humblest of his brethren were met 
with open heart, with a sincere and cordial desire to encourage and help. 
He respected every true man, however small. His heart and his sympathies 
were broad enough to take them all in. He was a man of sincere and deep 
piety. The ordinary observer would doubtless say that he was intellectual 
rather than spiritual. In his preaching he addressed himself to the judg- 
ment and the conscience rather than to the emotions. To such a mind as 
his this was the most direct way to inspire devotion. Only those who were 
most intimate with him knew how deep and steady was the current of his 
spiritual life. 

He read the Bible assiduously — read it through by course every year, 
in his family and personal devotions, in his preparation of sermons and 
Sunday School lessons, in the investigation of special doctrines, subjects, 
etc. It would be more correct to say that he studied it rather than read it. 
This appeared in his public ministrations, not so much in quoting its 
language, as in a correct and apt interpretation, delineation and application 
of its spirit. 

He was a man of pure mind and clean lips. During a most intimate 
acquaintance of nearly twenty years I never heard him give expression to 
a low thought or utter an unclean word — nor any of those expressions of 
inpatience or meaningless exclamations of surprise into which most people 
are more or less frequently betrayed. He seemed never to forget himself. 
Notwithstanding his transparent openness of character, yet there was a 
depth not quickly fathomed, and he was constantly surprising those who 
were intimate with him by new revelations of power and knowledge. He 
continuously grew in their estimation. He impressed them with the con- 
sciousness that he had a reserve force which had not been called into 
exercise but which wag ready for emergencies. He died January 4, 1889. 
Mrs Osborn died Mar. 6, 1914. 

—Rev. C. A. Tillinghast, D. D. 

Stephen Weaver 

Stephen Weaver was born Dec. 9, 1826, in Middletown, R. I. He was 
son of Parker and Lydia (Manchester) Weaver. Matthew Weaver, father 
of Parker Weaver, was a farmer in his native town, Middletown, where he 
lived to be quite old, dying about 1830. Parker was a farmer also, and 
quite a successful and active man. He was an industrious, e£irnest, honest 
man, strictly temperate in all things, and noted for purity and strength of 
character. He was prompt and rehable in business, of active, persevering 
nature, calm and dehberate in matters of judgment. He attended closely 
to his own personal matters, never aspiring to office, but avoiding every- 
thing savoring of publicity. He was a member of the Christian Baptist 
church, which he worthily honored until his death, March, 1870, at eighty- 
three years. 

Stephen attended common and select schools in Middletown, studied 
much at home, and when but nineteen was competent to teach, which he 
did for thirteen years with marked success. He studied hard while teaching, 
improving himself greatly while advancing others. The relation of a fact to 

216 History of Swansea 

illustrate the filial love and justice of Mr. Weaver may not be deemed out 
of place here. When he was young his father owned a large farm, but became 
financially embarrassed. Stephen, in order to assist his father, worked on 
the farm during summer, and gave his labor without charge towards the 
clearance of the indebtedness, clothing himself by his wages as teacher in 
the winter, continuing to do this until his twenty-fourth year. He married 
Ruth A., daughter of BarziUia and Ruth (Chase) Buffinton, of Swansea, 
Nov. 3, 1850. She was born April 8, 1830. Their children are Anna A., 
born March 1, 1854, married Rowland G. Buflfinton, had one child, Wallace 
W., and died May 7, 1877; Emma B., born Jan. 8, 1856, married Thomas 
H. Buffinton, has two children, Mabel L., who married Fred S. Clarner, 
they have one child Doris B.; and Arthur H. who married Mary Edwards; 
Arthur W., born June 9, 1859, married Lura R. Peck; Lillian F., born 
Sept. 29, 1869, m. Arthur E. Horton. 

Arthur Wallace Weaver has been selectman 13 years and chairman of 
the Board 12 years; and also Assessor during the period and chairman of the 
Board. Mr. Weaver is a farmer; a trustee of the South Somerset M. E. 
Church of which he and Mrs. Weaver are members ; and also belongs to the 
Swansea Grange. 

Immediately upon his marriage Mr. Weaver rented a cottage near his 
father's residence, and for three years worked on the farm, teaching school 
during the winter seasons. He then rented a farm for himself and worked 
that two years, and discontinued it for one year on account of the faiUng 
health of his wife, he working out by the month. He then removed to 
Somerset, where he rented a farm and remained thirteen years. By 
industry and economy he accumulated some money, and, in partnership 
with his wife's father, purchased a farm and mill in Swansea, continuing 
there only eighteen months. By reason of ill health he was compelled to 
relinquish labor, and selling out his share of the mill, he went and resided 
with Mr. Buffinton. Mr. Weaver suffered from severe nervous prostration 
for two years, and was much broken in health, but finally fully regained his 
health, when he succeeded to the management and possession of the farm 
of Mr. Buffinton. On this he has made valuable improvements, erected a 
splendid barn, and made it one of the best-arranged farms in the town. He 
is a pushing, energetic man of enterprise and thought. While agriculture 
had been his avocation, he kept apace with the thinking minds of the day, 
and grappled with the most advanced ideas. He was well read and thor- 
oughly informed, not only in the events of the day, but in the practical and 
useful improvements in his life-work, agriculture. He cultivated about 
eighty acres of land, and in addition had thirty acres of woodland, and was 
one of the substantial citizens of Swansea. 

BarziUai Buffinton was born in Swansea in 1798, and was son of Job 
and Phebe (Chase) Buffinton. He was a farmer and peddler of earthenware. 
He was a hard-working and self-denying man, accumulated a fine property. 
He married Ruth, daughter of James and Rebecca (Mott) Pierce, of Somer- 
set. They had five children, — Amanda M. (deceased), married WiUiam 
Richardson, of Newport, R. I., had one child; Job (deceased); Rachael P., 
married Benjamin A. Chace, has two children; Phifip, has two children, 
and lives in Warren, R. I.; and Ruth (Mrs. Stephen Weaver). Mr. 
Buffinton and wife began housekeeping at Somerset viUage, but finally 
purchased the place now occupied by Mr. Arthur W. Weaver and removing 
thither, passed the rest of his life there, dying May 7, 1879, aged eighty- 
three. He was a birthright Friend and Mr. and Mrs. Weaver members of 
the same society. He was a selectman for many years, and held other posi- 
tions of pubhc trust. He was a calm, deliberate, reserved man of few words, 
but good judgment and great decision of character. Possessing a robust 
constitution, he enjoyed labor and worked hard. He was a man of great 

Personal Sketches 217 

exactness in money matters, paying for all things on the spot and never 
running a bill. He made deposits in the Fall River Savings Bank for and 
in the name of each of his children, and £d though precise and accurate in 
financial transactions, desiring every dollar due him, such was his justice 
in his dealings with others as to give him the reputation of possessing 
strict honesty and integrity. 

Joseph Mason Northam 

Feb. 26, 1916, the selectmen delivered to Joseph M. Northam, who 
then had the distinction of being the oldest male resident in town, the 
transmittable gift of the gold-headed ebony cane presented by a Boston 
newspaper to the oldest resident in Swansea, which for a number of years 
was in the possession of the late Dr. James L. Wellington. 

Mr. Northam, who was 89 March 20, was the son of the late Stephen 
T. and Hannsih (Houghton) Northam, and lived at the Northam 
homestead, just east of Christ Church, in the house in which he was born, 
and which was built by his grandfather, Capt. Joseph Northam, about 
1791. The carpenter who did the work was James Trott. Mr. Northam 
died Oct. 30, 1916. His sister, Miss Harriet Northam, who was nearly two 
years his senior, lived with him, and died Oct. 13, 1916. 

In his younger days, Mr. Northam was a seafaring man for about 
22 years, starting on his first whaling voyage when 20 years old, sailing from 
New Bedford in July, 1848, with Captain James Allen. He went on six 
long voyages, and on two of them he was chief officer on the ship. The 
longest voyage lasted five years and five months, and on the shortest 
voyage he was away nearly three years. Two voyages were in the Arctic 
Ocean, when he went as far north as 72 degrees. The other sailing trips 
were around Australia and New Zealand. The last trip was made in 1875. 
Notwithstanding the fact that Mr. Northam was fanufiar with many ports, 
Swansea had always been his home town. After retiring from marine 
service, Mr. Northam followed the trades of painter and carpenter for a 
number of years. Although his intimate associates addressed him as 
*'Cap'n, " he emphatically asserted that he was never a captain officially 

In spite of his being totally blind, from a rare disease affecting the 
eyes, Mr. Northam, through long familiarity with his home, was able to 
find his way about the house, also the premises when the weather permitted, 
and in the summer months he would occasionally "feel" his way to the 
piazza of the postoffice, where on pleasant evenings he many times enter- 
tained a group of interested fisteners with accounts of most thrilling as well 
as humorous adventures connected with his life on the sea and in foreign 

Elijah Pitts Chase 

The subject of this sketch was born in Nantucket, Mass., Oct. 1, 1822, 
the son of John and Deborah (Pitts) Chase. He was a direct descendant 
in the 8th generation from Wm. Chase, one of the early settlers of New 
England, who settled in Yarmouth and died there in 1659, leaving two sons, 
Benjamin and William. His grandparents, John and Mary, were prom- 
inent in the M. E. Church, South Somerset. The fine of descent as traced, 
is Wm. 1st,— Wm. 2nd,— Samuel 3d,— Philip 4th,— Caleb 5th,— John 6th,— 
John 7th,— Elijah 8th, (John 9th,— Charles 10th,— Merrill 11th). 

Ehjah P. Chase married Jane Edson born in Rehoboth, Jan. 2, 1819 
daughter of Daniel and Sarah (Marvel) Edson, of Swansea, Dec. 8th, 1851, 

218 History of Swansea 

She died Jan. 9th, 1903. He died Dec. 13th, 1910. On Dec. 8th, 1901 they 
celebrated their golden wedding. She was a direct descendant in the 7th 
generation from Samuel Edson, born in England in 1612, and died in 
Bridgewater, Mass., 1692. 

Their children: (1) Mary Jane and Sarah Frances — twins — were born 
in Providence, R. I., Sept. 12, 1853. Sarah Frances died, in Swansea, Sept. 
12, 1854. Mary Jane married John Baker of Rehoboth, Dec. 7, 1873, in 
Swansea. (One child was born to them, Grace Jane, Feb. 22, 1876) ; second 
Mrs. Mary J. Chase (Baker) married Edwin B. Eddy of Swansea, Nov. 30, 
1887. (2) John Wesley, born in Swansea, May 14, 1856, married Annie 
Westgate Borden Baker, of Rehoboth, Nov. 5, 1878. (Three children were 
born to them: Charles Levi, Aug. 16, 1879; John Edson, Dec. 2, 1883; and 
Abbie Warren Hathaway, May 30, 1888, all in Rehoboth. John Edson 
died Feb. 26, 1886). (3) Sarah Marvel, born in Swansea, June 1, 1859, 
married in Dighton, April 18, 1888, to the Rev. Otis Hurlbutt Bates, and 
(second) Oct. 21, 1909, in Swansea, Richard Hazelhurst of Somerset. 

Charles Levi Chase, son of John Wesley, and Annie Westgate Borden 
(Baker) Chase was married in Providence, R. I., Dec. 10, 1900 to Mabel 
Evans, of that city, and they have one son, MerriU Evans, born Jan. 25, 
1902; Grace Jane Baker daughter of Mary Jane (Chase) Baker, married 
John H. Swanson of Swansea, Dec. 18, 1904. 

Charles L. Chase attended the Bryant & Stratton Commercial school 
in the Class of 1896. Abbie W. H. Chase graduated from B. M.C. DurfeeHigh 
School, and attended the Hans Schneider Music School, and the Hyannis 
School of Music. Merrill Evans Chase is a graduate of the Stevens 
Grammar School. 

Oldest Knight Templar in Rhode Island, Elijah Pitts Chase, native of 
Nantucket and brother of John A. Chase, oldest citizen of Fairhaven, was 
signally honored by the gift of a fifty year medal at the annual meeting of 
Mount Vernon Lodge, A. F. and A. M., Providence, Feb. 22, 1910. The 
recognition of his membership of half a century and more was made at the 
same time as that of others entitled to the same distinction. 

Made a master mason in August, 1856, he became later a member of 
Royal Arch chapter, Providence; Webb council, Warren, and finally in 
1863, of Calvary Commandery ,K. T., Providence. When initiated into his 
lodge, ex-Governor Augustus O. Bourne, of Rhode Island was the worship- 
ful master. Except in 1909, Mr. Chase has attended every annual meeting 
of Mount Vernon lodge. In 1876, he went to the Centennial with other 
Freemasons, and in 1889 to the Triennial conclave of his brethren sir 
knights at Washington, D. C. As far as is known, Mr. Chase was the oldest 
mason in Swansea, Mass., where he resided at that date. 

His residence at Two Mile Purchase, some nine miles northwest of 
Fall River, rendered it impossible for him to attend the communications of 
masonic bodies very often, but he occasionally went to Pioneer lodge, 
Somerset. His interest was just as keen. 

Besides his distinction as senior knight templar of Rhode Island, Mr. 
Chase was in early life sailing-master of a whaler, in the South Pacific, and 
also captain of a "coaster" between Providence and Baltimore. 

How he came to cast his lot with the seekers of the big spouters involves 
a bit of family history. His father, John Chace, was born in Swansea in a 
house the site of which is now south of that occupied i)y William B. Knight. 
He went to Nantucket, and there was Elijah born Oct. 1, 1822. The first 
event of importance was his christening, a unique one, for his last name was 
spelt different from that of his father. The latter wrote his name Chace, 
like most others of that family in Swansea, but in Nantucket, the> pre- 
ferred Chase, so in order to conform with the island mode of spelling, 
Ehjah was thus christened. 

Personal Sketches 219 

His boyhood days were passed in that town. Providence, Somerset, 
and Swansea. His father went west when he was two years old, and the 
boy's schooHng amounted to three months in a " Lancasterian " institution 
on Nantucket. It was called the Coflin school, suggestive, as it happened, 
of one of Mr. Chase's occupations in later life. It was founded and endowed 
by Admiral Sir Isaac Coffin, who married a Nantucket woman, a maternal 
ancestor of Mr. Chase. Since learning the three R's there he secured most 
of the rest of his education on board ship. 

His parents went to Providence to live and left him with a prominent 
Nantucket man. The gentleman was later chosen representative in con- 
gress, and removed to Washington with his wife. Elijah was Uving with 
the man's son, when the latter was married, and so Mr. Chase "enlisted to 
go whaling." 

At the age of 19, in August, 1841, he "shipped" on board the good 
craft Navigator, of Nantucket, brand-new, bound for a four years' voyage 
sperm-whaling in the South Pacific. Captain Elihu Fisher of Falmouth was 
master. Three other Nantucket boys embarked at the same time. 

Three months out in the Atlantic, Mr. Chase remembers distinctly 
when they crossed the line at 27.30 west longitude, that lessons in nav- 
igation began. 

"When I was thirteen months out I took charge of the navigation of 
the ship and navigated her the rest of the voyage and then went out and 
navigated the next voyage. I was also steward on both voyages. " 

His first voyage Mr. Chase kept only records necessary for reference 
on the second, as to whaUng-grounds, etc. About 50 whales besides 15 
blackfish were captured the first time out. 

He says he saw some rough times, and went around Cape Horn both 
voyages, but never lost a spar or a sail. 

Returning from the first quest of the whale in 1845, he remained eight 
weeks, long enough to "recruit" or lay in provisions for the ship. Then he 
set sail July 3 of that year for another four years on the trail of the blubber. 

He came to Swansea in the spring of '57, bought the house where he 
lived for many years, and set up a grocery store. He had several order- 
routes, and one of them he called the California route on account of its 

A few years before came the romance of his life when he first saw his 
future wife. Miss Jane Edson, as passenger on a boat. He met her and 
was married by Rev. Mr. Cady, of the South Somerset M. E. Church, in 
Elmer D. Young's house at Swansea village, December 8, 1851. They 
celebrated their golden wedding, but Mrs. Chase died Jan. 9, 1903. 

Besides his grocery business, he was undertaker and for a number of 
years had charge of two or three funerals a week, and Elder Waterman was 
usually the officiating clergyman. 

Captain Chase has held nearly all the different town offices, being 
selectman, overseer of the poor and assessor of taxes from 1865 to 1869, and 
tax collector in 1879. He has held the office of constable for many years, 
was often elected moderator of town meetings, and in one hot three-cornered 
contest, was chosen by one vote. Besides being chairman of the Repub- 
lican town committee for 22 years, he was for many successive elections a 
delegate to the State convention. 

Nathan Montgomery Wood 

The first of the Wood family who came to America of whom there is 
any authentic record was (1) William Wood, who came from England, and 
after spending some time in the new colonies returned to England. In 

220 History of Swansea 

1634 he published in London a book entitled "New England's Prospects." 
Very meager records were kept in those days, and it is not positive how 
many children this William Wood had, or what their names were, but after 
consulting all available authorities relative to early genealogical data we 
feel justified in stating as most probable that he had at least one son. 

(II) John, who came to Plymouth Colony in the early days of that 
settlement, married and had two sons. (Ill) John and Thomas, who were 
great hunters, and possessed of that hardy adventurous spirit so character- 
istic of our e£U"ly pioneers. In search of a country where game was plenty, 
they first came to Seaconnet or thereabouts, and soon after went to Swansea 
where Thomas settled. John, so tradition says, went still farther west into 
Connecticut, which was then a wilderness. 

(III) Thomas Wood was evidently a man of considerable consequence 
in his town. He was a surveyor, and divided and surveyed much land. He 
held in Swansea a large landed estate containing several hundred acres. 
Records indicate that he had two sons, Thomas and John. 

(IV) John Wood had two sons, Noah and John. By his will he 
bequeathed the mill place to John his son; and to Noah he gave the landed 

Eroperty west of the mill farm, consisting of three farms, one of which, the 
omestead, is now owned by Midwood Brothers, George H. & James. 
Noah had four sons, Nathaniel, Aaron, Levi, and Jonathan. He be- 
queathed the homestead farm and the one adjoining to his son Aaron ; and 
to the others he gave farms in the immediate vicinity. 

Aaron Wood, son of Noah, had children, Nathan, Isaac, Levi, Aaron, 
Noah, Mason, Freelove, Sarah, Elizabeth, Innocent, Mary, and Polly. In 
the distribution of his property he bequeathed the homestead to his son 
Aaron. This Aaron had seven sons, Le\a, John, Nathan, Benjamin, Ira, 
Hiram, and Pardon, and two daughters, Polly and Sarah. Upon his 
decease the homestead went to aU the sons, and to his wife, Polly, the use of 
it during her Ufe. She died March 12, 1883, in her ninety-ninth year. The 
homestead farm is now in the possession of Benjamin N. Wood, grandson 
of Aaron Wood; and it has never been sold out of the family. This Ben- 
jamin Nelson Wood was born Oct. 30, 1842, married Margaret Ehzabeth 
Axford of Oxford, N. J., who was born March 17, 1858, in Scranton, Pa. 
A son, Benjamin Axford was born of this union, Jan. 16, 1888, who died 
Aug. 19, 1890. A daughter was born June 26, 1893, named Jean Isabel. 

(V) John Wood who inherited the mill place from his father John, 
had four sons, John, Isaac, Nathan, and Seth, and two daughters, Bethiah 
and Penelope. 

(VI) Seth Wood upon his father's decease, inherited the mill farm. 
He was a man of consequence in his day; took much interest in pubhc 
affairs, and during the war of the Revolution was commissioned directly 
from the State authorities as collector of taxes. He had three sons, John, 
Seth, and Haile, the latter by a second wife. 

(VII) Col. Haile Wood was born in November, 1788, and inherited 
the ancestral acres. He was one of the leading men of Swansea, holding 
various town offices and positions of trust and honor. He was an enter- 
prising man, and one of the original founders of the Taunton Britannia 
Works, now known as the Reed and Barton works. He was colonel of 
militia, and took much pride and interest in military affairs. He was said 
to be the best horseman in the county. A man of fine physique, he stood 
over six feet high, and weighed over two hundred pounds. He was a Whig 
and Republican in politics, and an ardent Prohibitionist. His wife, Mary, 
daughter of Ebenezer Howard, of Woodstock, Conn., was born in March, 
1785, and died in October, 1872. He died May 6, 1860. They had eleven 
children: Haile N. married Marian L. Chace, and had one son; Mary A., 
deceased, married E. Brayman, and had six children, all of whom are 

Personal Sketches 221 

deceased; William, deceased, married Harriet Burbank, of Taunton, and 
had three children; Seth married Mary Carver, of Taunton and had four 
children; Elizabeth married Nathan Wood, of Swansea, and had two 
children; Adeline, deceased, married Benjamin B. Wood, of Swansea, son 
of Aaron Wood, and had five children; Walter H. married Amanda 
Gardner, and had two children ; Augusta became the second wife of Benjamin 
B. Wood, and they have one son; Laura died unmarried; Nathan M. is 
mentioned below; Angeline died in infancy. 

(VIII) Nathan M. Wood was born in Swansea, Mass., Jan. 16, 1825. 
His education was obtained at the common schools of his native town. His 
father was a farmer and miller, and Nathan was brought up to the same 
business, and, with the exception of about one year passed in Maine, always 
resided at the home in Swansea, which has been in the family so many 
generations. November 7, 1848, he married Abby M. Kingsley, second 
child and eldest daughter of Elisha and Mary G. (Mason) Kingsley, of 
Swansea. She was born April 10, 1828^ and died April 8, 1889. Mrs. Wood 
descended on the maternal side from Samson Mason, who was an English- 
man, and an officer in the army of Oliver Cromwell, until the latter was 
made lord protector of England. About 1650 he came to America, and was 
admitted an inhabitant of Rehoboth Dec. 9, 1657. His children were: 
Samson, Noah, John, Samuel, Bethiah (who became the wife of John Wood), 
Sarah, Mary, James, Joseph, Isaac, Peletiah, Benjamin, and Thankful. 
Peletiah had three sons, all of whom were ministers, Job, RusseU, and John, 
all residing within a mile of each other. They were blacksmiths by occupa- 
tion, and it is said used to "preach with their leather aprons on." They 
preached in a church occupying the site of the present Christian Church 
near Luther's Corners, Swansea Centre. Job Mason had a son Job, who 
occupied the ancestral home, and who had a son named Gardner, who was 
a seaman, and was drowned at Providence, R. I., while his vessel lay at 
that port. His wife's name was Susanna Vinnicum. He left a daughter, 
Mary G., who was the mother of Mrs. Nathan M. Wood. 

Nathan M. Wood was a Republican in politics, but liberal in his ideas 
in political as in aU other matters. He held various official positions, 
including nearly all the principal town offices, and some of them for more 
than twenty years. He was Representative to the Legislature in 1875. 
He was a member of the Christian Church, also a member of Washington 
Lodge, No. 3, A. F. & A. M., and of Webb Council, Warren, R. I., of Royal 
Arch Chapter, Fall River; and of Calvary Commandery, Knights Temp- 
lars, Providence, Rhode Island. 

Mr. and Mrs. Wood had five children: Nathan Howard, born Feb. 15, 
1851, died in infancy; Abby Isabel, born Nov. 16, 1854, married Hiram E. 
Thurston, son of Edward M. Thurston, and they had one child, Louise. 
Mrs. Thurston died April 27, 1912; Mary R. P., born May 28, 1857, 
married Nathan Slade, and resides in Somerset; Angeline H., born June 
30, 1859, married Franklin G. Arnold and died Dec. 1, 1916. Their children 
are: Edmund, Mary, Preston, and Isabel. (See Arnold family) Eloise K., 
born Aug. 19, 1861, married Arthur E. Arnold, and they have Howard, 
Abby, George and Nathan. April 28, 1892, Mr. Wood married (second) 
Mrs. Rachael L. (Gardner) Mason. 

IVlr. Wood was one of Swansea's most prominent and prosperous men, 
in his day and generation, and aside from his farming and milling business 
was largely interested in the cotton manufacturing business of Fall River. 
He was also one of the foremost promoters of the Providence & Fall River 
Street railway and a stockholder in the company. He always maintained 
a deep interest in town affairs; and inclined to be conservative in what he 
thought to be the welfare of his native town. He was an energetic worker, 
and although about eighty years old at the time of his death, was still 

222 History of Swansea 

particularly active both physically and mentally, to the last. In his de- 
cease, which occurred July 6, 1904, Swansea lost a valuable citizen. 

Note. — Benjamin N. Wood has a deed of the Nathan M. Wood farm, 
the "homestead, " now owned by George H. £uid James Mid wood given by 
Nathaniel Toogood to John (II), son of Thomas Wood, dated 1691. 

Five Gardner Brothers 

The Swansea Public Library was presented with a group picture of 
five brothers of the Gardner family of Gardner's Neck, who were among 
the older residents of Swansea. They were all over seventy years of age 
when the picture was taken: Job was born in 1790, and died in 1875, at the 
age of 85; Peleg S., born in 1792, died in 1866, aged 74; Preserved S., born 
in 1794, died in 1873, aged 79, Samuel, born in 1800, died in 1877, at the 
age of 77; Alexander, born in 1802, died in 1896, aged 94. The picture was 
presented, Dec. 4, 1915, by Mrs. Annie R. (Gardner), Eddy, a daughter of 
Captain William Gardner, the son of Job, of the group. 

Samuel Gardner 

(I) Samuel Gardner, son of George and Lydia (Ballou) Gardner of 
Newport, R. I., the progenitor of the Swansea family of that name, removed 
from Newport to Freetown, Mass., in 1687; and in 1693 bought, in partner- 
ship with Ralph Chapman, of Ebenezer Brenton, a farm at Mattapoisett 
(long time known as Gardner's Neck, at this time usually called South 
Swansea), where he died Dec. 8, 1696. He married Ehzabeth, widow of 
James Brown, and daughter of Robert Carr of Newport. She was living 
at the time of his death. Their children were: Elizabeth, born in 1684, 
died Sept. 24, 1754 (on Jan. 16, 1699, she married Edward Thurston, of 
Newport, R. I., who died April 27, 1727); Samuel was born Oct. 28, 1685; 
Martha, born Nov. 16, 1686, died Oct. 27, 1763 (she married March 23, 
1704, Hezekiah Luther, who died Nov. 2, 1763, of smallpox); Patience, 
born Oct. 31, 1687, married Thomas Cranston; Sarah, born Nov. 1, 1692, 
married Samuel Lee. 

The will of Samuel Gardner reads as follows: "In the name of God, 
Amen., I, Samuel Gardner, of ye towne of Swansey in ye Collony of ye 
Massachusetts in New England and America, being very sick and wake in 
body but of good and perfect memory doth declare this prest. instrument 
to be my last will and testament. 

"Impris. I give and bequeth my soul into ye hands of Almighty God 
my Creator & Redeemer & my body to ye earth from whence itt came to be 
decently buried according to ye discration of my executors hereafter named 
& for ye rest of my worldly estate which itt hath pleased God Almighty 
to possess to me with I do order and dispose of in manner & forme following. 

" Item. Whereas share 'was' was a quarter of share of land lying & be- 
ing att a place called Westquidnoag in the Collony of Rhode Island & three 
pounds of money given unto my son Samuel Gardner & my son-in-law Esek 
Brown to be equally divided between them both I do freely give three 
pounds moar for in cordigement toward ye settling of sd quarter of share 
to be divided equally as ye other is. 

" Item. I give and bequeth it my son-in-law Esek Browne ye 'slip of 
land' yt I bought of Robert Carr which joynes on James Browne sotherly 
and on sd Robert Carr notherly when he cometh to lawfuU age. 

" Item. I give & bequeth unto my well beloved son Samuel Gardner & 
to my daughters Elizabeth, Martha, Sarah, & Peacience aU ye rest of my 

Personal Sketches 223 

estates both reall & personall to be divided according as my executor shall 
thing fitt betwixt them to each of them & their eaires forever. 

Lastly, I do appoynt my loving brother Robert Gardner & my brother- 
in-law Robert Carr, both of New Port in ye CoUony of Rhoad Island to be 
my executors of this my last will & testiment & doe give them my sd 
executors full power to actt & doe as they sheJl see fitt to be done for ye 
benefitt of my above sd children be itt to sell lett or dispose of any manor 
of way whatsoever. 

" I do further give them full power if they se cause to sell partt or all of 
my farme I now live on being ye half part of ye neck of land called Mat- 
apoysett att Swansey in New England. 

"In testimony whereof yesd Samuell Gardner hath hereunto set my 
hand & efixed my seal this twenty-eighth year of ye Rain of our Sovarain 
'Lor' William ye third King over England, Scotland, France & Ireland 
Defender of ye faith etc. 

Samuel Gardner, Seal. 

Signed, sealed & acknowledged in presence of: — 

"James Cole — 

"James Brown — 

" 'M.' J. Cole— 

"The X Mark 

"Joanna 'Conant' 

"The X Mark of Mary Earle. " 

"The above written will being not legally proved in regard the mt- 
nesses cannot swear that the testator was of sound memory and of well 
disposing minde but upon their oath have according to their apprehensions 
declared the contrary whereupon the sd will being voyde administration 
is granted to the widow as the law directs as attests. 

Jno. Saffin, 

Feb. 16, 1696-97. J. Probate." 

(This copy was duly authenticated by Arthur M. Alger, register of 
Bristol county, Mass., July 8, 1903, under seal of the Probate Court). 

(II) Samuel Gardner (2), son of Samuel, was born Oct. 28, 1685. He 
was married Dec. 6, 1707, by Gov. Samuel Cranston, to Hannah, born Dec. 
20, 1688, daughter of Philip and Mary Smith. He died Feb. 10, 1773, and 
she passed away Nov. 16, 1768. Issue: Elizabeth, born July 4, 1728, 
Ambrose Barnaby (born April 20, 1706, died April 18, 1775) ; Mary, born 
Oct. 26, 1710, married Jan. 31, 1731, Barnard Hill; Samuel, born Oct. 30 
1712, died young; Samuel (2), born Feb. 17, 1717, is mentioned below; 
Peleg was born Feb. 22, 1719; Patience, born Feb. 1721, married March 30, 
1738, Dr. John Turner; Hannah, born in 1724, died Dec. 24, 1811, married 
Caleb Turner, who died July 20, 1757; Sarah, born in 1726, died Feb. 29, 
1808, married April 19, 1744, John Mason (born Sept. 28, 1723, died Nov. 
27, 1805) ; Edward, born April 22, 1731, died in 1795, married Jan. 11, 1756, 
Esther Mason, born Sept. 2, 1735, died 1806; Martha was married to Job 
Mason on May 10, 1753. 

(III) Samuel Gardner (3), son of Samuel (2), was born Feb. 17, 1717. 
He married Oct. 30, 1740, Content Brayton, who was born April 3, 1724, 
daughter of Preserved and Content Brayton. Issue: EUzabeth, born 
June 1, 1741, married March 18, 1762, Samuel Luther; Anne, born Feb. 
26, 1743, married June 10, 1762, Richard Barton (born Feb. 9, 1738, died 
March 1, 1797;) Samuel, born March 5, 1745, died Sept. 20, 1822, married 

224 History of Swansea 

Dec. 17, 1767, Elizabeth Anthony (died Feb. 14, 1816); Israel, born April 
14, 1747, died young; Israel (2) born March 29, 1748, died Oct. 22, 1783, 
married Nov. 6, 1772, Elizabeth; Parthenia was born Sept. 2, 1750; 
William, born Sept. 12, 1753, married Zerviah McKoon; Hannah, born 
March 3, 1756, died July 16, 1835, married Capt. Simeon Cockran; 
Patience, born Nov. 15, 1758, married May 14, 1778, Dr. Jonathan 
Anthony, (born July 12, 1757) ; Mary, born Dec. 25, 1760, died Dec. 18, 
1805, married Sept. 11, 1785, Caleb Mason (born Feb. 11, 1756, died July 
2, 1812) ; Content was iDorn July 11, 1764; Stephen, born Aug. 4, 1766, died 
Nov. 26, 1819, married July 22, 1788, Mary Lee (died June 20, 1829) ; 
Parthenia, (2), born Aug. 11, 1767, died Oct. 15, 1828, married Feb. 14, 
1790, Ehas D. Trafton. 

(IV) William Gardner, son of Samuel (3), born Sept. 12, 1753, 
married Jan. 17, 1779, Zerviah, daughter of James and Bathsheba (Luther) 
McKoon. He died April 24, 1811, and she passed away Sept. 15, 1824. 
Children: (1) Brayton, born Oct. 7, 1779, died June 7, 1863, married Feb. 
2, 1806, (first) Mercy Wood, born Feb. 22, 1773, daughter of Aaron and 
Freelove (Mason) Wood. She died Oct. 11, 1834, and he married (second) 
Sarah AngeU, who died Sept. 22, 1840. On Dec. 13, 1841, he married 
(third) Mrs. Almira Gardner, who was born Sept. 14, 1796, daughter of 
Samuel and Hannah (Anthony) Mason, and was the widow of Hezekiah 
Gardner. She died Feb. 11, 1875. (2) Partheny, born Nov. 28, 1781, died 
Dec. 30, 1844, married Jan. 8, 1800, Henry Gardner, born Jan. 14, 1773, 
died July 15, 1857. (3) Israel, born Feb. 19, 1784, died April 2, 1864, 
married April 19, 1807, Rebecca Kelly, daughter of Daniel and Elizabeth, 
born June 18, 1787, died March 10, 1832. (4) William, born Aug. 23, 1786, 
is mentioned below. (5) Frances was born May 5, 1789. (6) Samuel, born 
Dec. 14, 1791, died Mav 3, 1873, married March 20, 1820, Patience Hicks, 
born Feb. 21, 1799, died July 6, 1880. (7) Sara, born April 21, 1794, died 
Feb. 27, 1876, married Nov. 16, 1825, Martin E. Borden, born Feb. 2, 1800, 
died July 14, 1870. (8) Zerviah, born Aug. 30, 1796, died May 6, 1882, 
married March 18, 1827, John Mason, born March 31, 1800, died Nov. 20, 
1884. (9) Elizabeth, born May 11, 1799, married Sept. 2, 1827, Nathan 
Bosworth. (10) Joseph, born May 5, 1801, died Oct. 20, 1829. (11) James, 
born Aug. 30, 1806, Lydia Bosworth, born Dec. 30. 1808, died March 26, 1880. 

(V) William Gardner (2), son of William, born Aug. 23, 1786, died 
March 31, 1872. He married Feb. 14, 1813, Anne L. Gardner, daughter of 
Alexander and Anne (Luther), born Jan. 25,1795, died Feb. 3, 1879. Children: 
Slade, born April 4, 1814, died June 1, 1848, married Feb. 21, 1842, Hannah 
M. Luther, who died Oct. 20, 1872; Lydia, born March 19, 1815, died Nov. 
16, 1826; Rosanna MacKoon, born Aug. 16, 1817, married Oct. 3, 1836, 
William H. Pearse, born June 15, 1813, died May 9, 1892; Mary Taylor, 
born April 12, 1822, died Sept. 13, 1893; Charles W., born Sept. 18, 1829, 
died Sept. 20, 1875, married March 15, 1855, Sally Carr Cole, born Sept. 
27, 1830 (deceased) ; Nathan Bosworth, born Jan. 3, 1833, died Oct. 17, 
1903, married Nov. 15, 1860, Mary G. Hicks (born Jan. 28, 1831, died Feb, 
5, 1900) and married (second) Nov. 6, 1902, Susan M. (Rounds) Barton, 
born Sept. 28, 1841; Henry Augustus was born Sept. 12, 1835. Mr. 
Gardner lived at Touisset for many years. He engaged in farming, and 
though he was a shoemaker he did not work at that trade. Mr. and Mrs. 
Gardner were members of the First Christian Church of Swansea. In 
pohtics he was a Whig and later a Republican. 

(VI) Henry Augustus Gardner, born Sept. 12, 1835, lived the early 
part of his life at the old homestead where H. E. Wilbur owner, now resides, 
and for several years has Uved at his present home near Touisset Station, 
"Riverby." Farming has always been his occupation. Dec. 11, 1864, he 
married Caroline Cole Mason, born Dec. 12, 1839, daughter of Zephaniah S. 

Personal Sketches 225 

and Susan (Vinnicum) Mason. Mr. and Mrs. Gardner are members of 
the First Christian Church of Swansea. To them were born four children : 
(1) Orrin Augustus, born July 21, 1867, is mentioned below. (2) Frank 
Henry, born Jan. 16, 1869, graduated from the Warren (R. I.) High School, 
1885, and the Bryant & Stratton Commercial College, 1886, attended the 
Christian Biblical Institute, 1893, Stanfordville, N. Y., and was ordained to 
the ministryof the Christian Denomination 1893. He married May 23, 1894, 
Edith May Buflington, born June 13, 1874, daughter of George O., and 
Ehzabeth (Langley) Buffington, (3) William Wilson, born Jan. 2, 1875, 
graduated from the Warren (R. I.) High School, 1891, the Friends' School 
at Providence, R. I., 1892, and Amherst College 1896. 

He taught in the Newtown Academy, Conn., in the High School at 
South Manchester, Conn., the B. M. C. Durfee High School of Fall River, 
Mass., was Principal of the Hingham Mass. High School, 1914, and is now 
head teacher of the Physics Dept. of the Providence Technical High. July 
24, 1906, he married Josephine H. Cobb of New Bedford, born Oct. 18, 1874, 
and they have one son, Hamilton Mason, born Nov. 7, 1911. Mrs. Gardner 
is the daughter of Thomas H. and Phebe (Hamilton) Cobb, of New Bedford, 
and is a descendant of John Howland and Ehzabeth (Tilley) Howland of 
the Mayflower company. 

(4) Mabel, born Aug. 16, 1876, died Sept. 2, 1876. 

(VII) Orrin Augustus Gardner, son of Henry A., and Carohne 
(Mason) Gardner, was born July 21, 1867. He graduated from the 
Warren, (R. I.) High School, 1885, the Bryant & Stratton Commercial 
Business College, 1888, and attended the Rhode Island State normal 
School. He taught in the pubhc schools of Swansea, Tiverton, Somerset 
and Fall River, was Principal of the Highland School 1901-1908, and of the 
N. B. Borden School, 1908-12, in Fall River; and since 1912 has been an 
agent of the Trustees of the State Industrial Schools for boys. He was at 
one time Supt. of Public Schools of Swansea. 

A member of Christ Church, Swansea, and Junior Warden of the 
Parish and Supt. of the Sunday School during 25 years. 

Hon. John Mason 

He was sometimes called "Colonel," but generally at home he was 
known as " Squire Mason. " He was chosen Town Clerk of Swansea, April 
4, 1808, and held that oflSce a full half century, first and last, though not by 
so many successive annual elections, as some have inferred. It has been 
said of him that having completed the labors of forty-nine years in that 
office, he remarked, "I would like to be elected one year more," and the 
people, considerately, wisely, and kindly elected him the fiftieth time, and 
when that year's services were ended he retired from office, fully satisfied 
and perfectly contented. There were two interruptions in the period of his 
office-holding as Town Clerk, between his first election and his last election. 
Joseph G. Luther, the father of the gentleman now living (1916) by that 
name, held the office for five years, between 1830 and 1840, and after that, 
John A. Wood was Clerk for two years. Mr. Mason retired from the 
office in 1865. 

Mr. Mason was called "Colonel", perhaps because of his connection 
with the local mihtia, when a young man he was an officer — probably 
captain; or it may be for the reason that he had the natural bearing of a 
mihtary man; for he was nearly six feet in height, erect in carriage, well- 
proportioned in figure, and weighing about 190 pounds. He was regarded 
as a handsome man; and as a member of the executive Council, when Levi 

226 History of Swansea 

Lincoln was Governor of the State, he was noted for his manly beauty and 
martial personality. 

He was well known in Bristol County in his time, having represented 
his town in both branches of the General Court of the Commonwealth, 
1821-22; 1828; and was one of the Governor's advisers. And in the latter 
part of his hfe he was fond of speaking of the eminent men he had met in 
pubic life. He had a short interview once with Harrison Gray Otis, an 
incident he always mentioned with much interest and pride. 

His death occurred Jan. 8, 1871, in the 89th year of his age. 

Edward M. Thurston 

Edward Mason Thurston was born in Fall River, Mass., July 18, 1832, 
being the oldest son of Edward and Sarah (Mason) Thurston, and died in 
Swansea, Mass., January 9, 1902. 

His opportunities for an education were very hmited, as his boyhood 
and youth were largely spent in the heird work of the farm, and learning 
the trade of a stone mason. He attended the district school three months 
in the year, which with three terms at the Middleborough Academy, com- 
prised all the schooling he had. One winter was spent in teaching school 
in Carver, Mass. 

In 1851 he left Fall River, going to Providence, R. I. where he entered 
the employ of Fifield and Smith and later became a member of the firm, 
with which he remained until 1870. He then carried on the furniture 
business, either alone or with others, imtil the early eighties, when he 
devoted himself to his place in South Swansea, to which he had removed his 
family in 1870. 

Mr. Thurston was always a pubUc spirited man, active and zealous in 
promoting the welfare of the Town and deeply interested in many enter- 
prises of the County and State. For six years he was the Superintendent of 
Schools in Swansea, and in 1900 was elected representative in the State 
Legislature, where his special service was on the Committee on Railroads. 
He was for three years a member of the State Board of Agriculture. In 
November 1900 he was selected by the N. Y., N. H. & H. R. R. as claim 
agent in settling the land damages ensuing from the abolishment of grade 
crossings, which position he held at the time of his death. He was the 
moving spirit in the building of the road and bridge across Lees River, into 
which enterprise he put a great deal of energy and hard work as well as 
money. He was also well known in connection with the clam bakes at his 
home. Point Pleasant. 

In 1850 Mr. Thurston joined the Franldin Street Church, Fall River, 
and upon going to Providence united with the High Street Congregational 
Church, later becoming the Superintendent of the Mission which grew into 
the Pilgrim Congregational Church in that city. When he removed to 
Swansea he became a member of the Central Congregational Church of 
Fall River, at the same time being much interested in the Sunday School 
of the First Christian Church of Swansea, of which he was Superintendent 
for a number of years. 

On May 1, 1853 he married Mary W. Gardner of Somerset. Four 
children were born to them, H. Edward, Cashier of the Mechanics 
National Bank of Providence, Mary M., wife of S. R. Chaffee, a Providence 
artist and twin daughters who died in infancy. After the death of his wife 
in 1883, he married Caroline Gardner of Swansea who survived him. 

Mr. Thurston was a man of cheery and genial disposition, who 
thoroughly enjoyed hfe and was never so happy as when offering the hos- 
pitahty of his pleasant home to others. His lack of an education in his 

Personal Sketches 227 

youth made him responsive to this need in others and he rejoiced in the 
opportunity of assisting a number of youths in acquiring the education of 
which he himself had been deprived. 

His own hfe meanwhile was enriched by acquaintance with the best 
literature of the day and by the perusal of the books of his large and well 
selected library. 

In his home, community, town and state, he made a place for himself 
by his untiring energy and conscientious devotion in seeking the better- 
ment of those with whom he came in contact. 

Dr. James Lloyd Wellington 

Dr. Wellington, the oldest graduate of Harvard University, and the 
senior alumnus of the Harvard Medical School, 1916, was born at 
Templeton, Mass., Jan. 27, 1818, son of Rev. Charles and Anna (Smith) 
Wellington, and is in the seventh generation of the family founded by 
Roger Wellington, one of the early proprietors of Watertown, Mass. 

(I) Roger Wellington, a planter, born about 1609-10, emigrated 
from Wales, and became an early settler of Watertown, Mass., his name 
appearing on the earhest list of proprietors extant. He joined the church 
at the age of eighty years, and was admitted a freeman in April, 1690, it 
being necessary to be a member of the church in order to be a freeman. He 
was selectman in 1678-79-81-82-83-84-91. He was the owner of a large 
estate, extending nearly to the present Mount Auburn limit. He died 
March 11, 1697-98. His wife was Mary, eldest daughter of Dr. Richard 
Palgrave, of Charles town, Mass., one of the first doctors in that place. 
Their children were: John, Mary, Joseph, Benjamin, Oliver, and Palgrave. 

(II) Joseph Wellington, son of Roger, was born Oct. 9, 1643. His 
first wife, Sarah, died Feb. 5, 1683. He married (second) June 6, 1684, 
Ehzabeth Straight, who bore him four children, Elizabeth, Thomas, Mary, 
and Susanna. 

(III) Thomas Wellington, son of Joseph, born Nov. 10, 1686, married 
Rebecca Whittemore for his first wife, and a Chary for his second. In his 
will he styles himself "of Cambridge." His children were: Rebecca, 
Joseph, Thomas, Susanna, and Elizabeth. 

(IV) Thomas Wellington, (2) son of Thomas, born Aug. 6, 1714, was 
an innholder at Watertown in 1770-71. He is given as of Waltham. He 
died Nov. 4, 1783. His wife, Margaret Stone, died at Lexington. Their 
children were: Thomas, Elizabeth, John, Susanna, Jonathan, Samuel, 
Josiah, William, George, Rebecca, Susanna, Thaddeus, Sarah, and Joel. 

(V) William Wellington, son of Thomas (2), born July 28, 1746, was 
selectman in 1780-1803. He married Mary Whitney, born Dec. 22, 1751, 
and they reared a large family of children, namely: William, bom Dec 11, 
1769; David, born Nov. 1, 1771, who died March 10, 1860; Abraham, 
born March 22, 1774; Polly, bom April 16, 1776, who married Phineas 
Lawrence, of Lexington, and died June 9, 1850; Isaac, born in 1778, who 
was a senior at Harvard University when drowned in Fresh Pond in Novem- 
ber, 1798; Charles born Feb. 20, 1780; Alice, born Oct. 31, 1781, who married 
Jonas Clark, of Waltham; Betsey, born Feb. 4, 1784, who married Isaac 
Childs, and died at Lexington Oct. 10, 1850; Seth, born Nov. 18, 1785; 
Sybil, born Sept. 24, 1787, who mairried Loring Pierce; Marshall, born 
Sept. 26, 1789; Darius, born Jan. 14, 1794; and Almira, born Aug. 1, 1795, 
who married Hon. Francis Bowman, and died Aug. 31, 1872. 

(VI) Charles Wellington, son of William, born Feb. 20, 1780, at 
Waltham, Mass., graduated from Harvard University in 1802, with the 
degree of A. B. Choosing the ministry as his calling he pursued his 

228 History of Swansea 

divinity course at Harvard, and received the degree of D. D, from that 
institution. In 1804 he was made pastor of the Congregational Church at 
Templeton, over which he remained fifty years. He died Aug. 3, 1861. 
His wife, Anna Smith, whom he married June 29, 1807, was born Aug. 29, 
1783, at Halifax, N. S., daughter of Henry Smith, of Boston (born Aug. 7, 
1735, died April 8, 1811), and his wife Elizabeth Draver. The pioneer 
progenitor of the Smith family in America was William Smith, born Nov. 
6, 1675, in Newton, near Hingham ferries, Northampton, England; he 
married Martha Turnstall, of Putnev. Mrs. Anna (Smith) Wellington died 
April 24, 1830. Mr. Wellington married (second) July 27, 1831, Adelaide 
Russell, of Templeton. His children were: Elizabeth Smith, born July 12, 
1808, married Leander Leeland, of Templeton, and died Sept. 23, 1882; 
Mary Whitney, born Dec. 30, 1810, married Jacob Bachelder, of Lynn, and 
died Dec. 31, 1889; Rebecca Smith, bom April 5, 1812, married June 19, 
1834, Artemas Z. Brown, M. D., of PhiUipston, and died June 16, 1867; 
WiUiam Henry, born Jan. 16, 1814, married Susan Gilpatrick, and died at 
St. Louis, Oct. 12, 1843; Anna, born June 9, 1816, married Joseph C. 
Bachelder, M. D., and died Sept. 2, 1905; James Lloyd was born Jan. 27, 
1818; Ahnira, born Dec. 28, 1819, married Joseph C. Baldwin, and died at 
Philipston in January, 1872; Margaret Coffin, born Dec. 10, 1821, married 
Leonard Stone, and died in February, 1893; Charles Woodward Wilder, 
born May 17, 1825, married Eunice Allen Starr, of Deerfield, and died at 
Hyde Park, Aug. 3, 1880; Adelaide, born June 30, 1832, died Feb. 26, 1855. 

(VII) James Lloyd WelUngton, Swansea's faithful physician and 
honored citizen, obtained his education at New Salem Academy, Templeton 
High School, and Harvard University, receiving the degree of A. B. from 
the latter institution in 1838. He bears the distinction (1916), of being the 
oldest surviving graduate of that University. His was the class noted for 
the number of men who became famous, including James Russell Lowell, 
William Wetmore Story, Dr. George B. Loring, and Gen. Charles Devens 
(at one time Secretary of State). He was in college at the same time as the 
late Rev. Dr. Edward Everett Hale, and was a classmate of his brother, 
Nathan Hale. His freshman year in college he occupied a yard room on the 
first floor of HoUis Hall, on the left hand side of the front entrance; his 
sophomore year the southwest corner room of the same dormitory; in his 
junior year the northwest corner of the same floor. His senior year found 
him living on the third floor, west side of the east entrance of Hoi worthy 
Hall, in which in those days only seniors were allowed to room.. During his 
college course the Doctor was elected a member of the Phi Beta Kappa 
Society for his rank in his studies. For diligence in his studies he was given 
a "detur, " two volumes of Burns' poems. At one of the annual class 
exhibitions he read an original Latin Oration, and at another a Latin 
translation ; and he took a prominent part in the commencement exercises 
of his class. While he was a junior he was present the first time that "Fair 
Harvard" was sung. This was at the celebration of the two hundredth 
anniversary of the founding of the college, in 1836. He was also present at 
the two hundred and fiftieth anniversary in 1886 and has attended com- 
mencement whenever he could, being present when his grandson was in 
college in 1900. 

In 1842 Dr. Wellington graduated from the Harvard Medical School, 
where he was a student under Dr. Oliver Wendell Holmes, In the summer 
school of that institution his instructors were Drs. Holmes, Bigelow, 
Reynolds, and Storer. During his course in the Medical School he was a 
member for two years of the Boston Cadets. 

Preferring not to settle in his native town, Dr. WeUington came to 
Swansea in 1842, and was associated with Dr. Artemas Z. Brown, whose 
■wife was Dr. Wellington's sister. At that time there were only six doctors 

Personal Sketches 229 

in Fall River, where now more than a hundred successful physicians are 
located. In the summer of 1846 Dr. WelHngton took the place of a physician 
in Templeton while the latter enjoyed a short vacation, and the 
people there were so pleased with his work that they wanted him to stay, 
but he still did not wish to practice in the town where his childhood had 
been passed, and thus interfere with his friend the Templeton physician, 
so he returned to Swansea, where for seventy-four years he made his home. 
During the first year he rode horse-back carrying the traditional leather 
saddlebags with his stock of medicines ; later he used a chaise, and still later 
a buggy. On the removal of Dr. Brown to Cambridge, Dr. Welhngton 
succeeded to a practice which extended for miles around into the towns of 
Fall River, Somerset, Rehoboth, Seekonk, Dighton, Mass., and Warren, 
and Barrington, R. I., and in all those towns he was the famiUar and wise 
councilor, a true representative of that fast disappearing but beloved and 
useful type, the family physician. He was a natural mechanic, of the 
inventive sort; and to meet the necessities of certain cases in which surgical 
operations were urgent, in the earher years of his practice, before the day 
of perfected instruments, he anticipated some of the later inventions by 
mating for his own use such implements as served his purpose. He con- 
tinued to practice until 1904, having Served most faithfully in his pro- 
fession for sixty-two years; and during the later years of his work, four 
good horses were necessary to take him to his patients. 

August 7, 1845, Dr. Wellington married Charlotte Sisson, a native of 
Warren, R. I., born Aug. 19, 1825, who died June 30, 1881. Their children 
were: Arthur Wellesley, born Nov. 4, 1846; Helen Lloyd, Oct. 31, 1847; 
Julia Russell, Jan. 3, 1849; William Henry, April 9, 1861; and Charles, 
Aug. 27, 1864 (died May 20, 1866). Of these Arthur Wellesley married 
Jan. 17, 1877, Nellie (Ellen) Read Mason, and has a son, Charles Fred- 
erick, born Dec. 4, 1877, who graduated from Harvard University, 1900; 
and William Henry married, Oct. 12, 1887, Ethelyn Rounseville Allen, and 
they have had five children: Charlotte Sisson, (born May 26, 1888, died 
Aug. 26, 1888), Lloyd Allen, (born Oct. 3, 1890, died Sept. 11, 1891), Roger, 
(born June 16, 1894. died Dec. 3, 1900), Rosamond B. (born Oct. 18, 1901), 
and Reginald G. (born Jan. 8, 1905). From 1840 to 1842 Dr. Wellington 
was assistant surgeon to the 7th Massachusetts Infantry; and during the 
Civil war was examining surgeon for recruits. He was a member of the 
Massachusetts Medical Society, and of the Bristol County Medical Society. 
In poUtics a Republican. He was also an honored member of the Harvard 
club of FaU River. Among his treasured relics is his christening cap, em- 
broidered by his mother. He died February 11, 1916, in his 99th year. 

The venerable Doctor left a hst of eleven families which he had served 
four generations; six, for five generations; two six generations, and one 
seven generations. It is estimated that he was present at 3,000 births. He 
had owned 100 horses, sometimes having five in his stable at once; and 
that he had ridden at least 250,000 miles, in his practice; occasionally 
covering sixty miles in a day. November, 1915, he went to the polls, and 
cast his baUot for Governor the 76th consecutive year. On the 98th 
anniversary of his birth, Jan. 27, 1916, he received callers as usual, and was 
the recipient of many tokens of admiration and affection. 

Mason Barney 

Few living can recaU Mason Barney to mind with his peculiar voice 
full of impatient energy, his sharp brusque manner, and his wiry powerful 

In 1802 he built his fiirst vessel a sloop of about 50 tons. He was only 

230 History of Swansea 

19 years of age, a fact which renders his enterprise extraordinary and all 
the more so, as he was not a practical shipwright. No doubt he saw the 
advantage of the situation, surrounded as the place was by a forest of 
heavy timber, from which the entire frame work was easily obtained, and 
for years he used this timber for his vessels, but at a later date he received 
some portion of it from a distance by water. 

His operations extended from the time of his first venture to about 
1861, a period of 59 years, during which he annually sent down stream 
crafts of various sizes — in some seasons only one, but oftener two or three. 
In 1829 he built the ship Warren of 383 tons. This was looked upon as so 
large a vessel that some anxiety was felt as to the difficulty of getting her 
down the crooked channel, and finally got stuck in the draw way of Kelly's 
Bridge (Warren) and lay there a week or two, delaying travel by the old 
stage route between W^arren and Providence. In 1831 the brig "Whim" 
was built and owned by Capt. Lee of Warren and was considered the 
fastest vessel of her time hailing from any Rhode Island port. She traded to 
the coast of Africa and was afterwards sold there. The ship " Luminary " of 
432 tons, owned in Warren and intended for the whahng business was 
launched in 1832. She was regarded as a monster, being the largest vessel 
which the obscure shipyard in the woods had up to that period sent down 
the so-called eel track. But the tonnage of Mason Barney's new ventures 
increased from year to year, and in 1839 he launched the ship "Ocean" of 
566 tons. This was commanded by Capt. Gardner Willard of Bristol. The 
last vessel launched was a ship of 1023 tons, and it appears that while the 
earlier craft, which was much smaller, had great difficulty in getting down 
stream, the later and larger ones went somewhat easier. 

It was interesting to watch the progress of any one of these new vessels 
as they were slowly worked along from day to day, in a channel sometimes 
hardly wider than herself. It might be a Providence ship Uke the Oroon- 
dates, or the Carrington or it might be a Boston or New York craft which 
to the beholder on shore would loom up, morning and evening for a week 
or fortnight apparently in the same position, getting clear from one mud 
bank only to become fast on Euiother. The intricles of the channel were 
generally staked out, but this did not obviate the difficulty, when the ship 
was deeper than the water. 

Finally the big new ship would be floated down to some W arren wharf, 
there to receive her spars and be rigged from deck to truck, preparatory to 
being sent to her owners in Providence, Boston or New York as the case 
might be. 

The only spar which the new vessel brought down with her was the 
bowsprit, all the others being hauled to Warren by ox or horse power. Such 
was the story of many a tall ship, perhaps in a few months to be reported 
off the Naze of Norway or far up the Mediterranean or beating against the 
monsoon in the China Sea. 

So the "Bungtown" ships as they were called, issuing from the marshes 
and making their way to deeper and clearer waters, were to be found in 
every port of the navigable globe and the name of Mason Barney became 
as familiar along the Atlantic seaboard from Boston to New York as was 
his stout sinewy figure to the people of his immediate locality, where he 
hustled about in his " one horse shay. " The names of his crafts sometimes 
suggested their local origin as in the case of the brig MUes, afterwards 
rigged into a ship — a remembrance of the good old pioneer minister and of 
MUes' bridge. There were the Mason Barney, the Esther G. Barney and 
the Mary R. Barney — all of which carried the stars and stripes to distant 

The launching of a ship which was then considered to be so large, drew 
hundreds of spectators from the neighboring towns. 

Personal Sketches 231 

So the ship building went on until the breaking out of the Rebellion, 
when the stirring sounds of axe and maUet that had so long enlivened the 
Barney ville marshes were silenced forever, and there remains nothing now 
to tell of the activity which once prevailed there. 

James H. Mason 

James Harding Mason, son of Olney and Lillis (Pierce) Mason, was 
born in Swansea, August 18, 1817. He learned the trade of wheelwright. 
He married Mary E., daughter of the Hon. George S. and Betsy (Nichols) 
Austin; and their children were Frederick A., George Eugene; and Ellen 
Beed who married Arthur W. Welhngton, and they are the parents of 
Charles Frederick, mentioned in the Wellington family records. About 
1844 he was chosen selectman, and served three years. He removed to 
Taunton soon after, where he resided until 1867, when he returned to 
Swansea Village where he worked at his trade, having a shop near Gray's 
Corner, until an advanced age. He was many years engaged in the public 
affairs of the town, being selectman from March 1869, until March 1891; 
and the last 16 years he was Chairman of the Board — the longest term 
known in the history of the Town. He was also tax-collector several years, 
and in 1882, he represented the (Tenth Bristol) district, of which Swansea 
was a part, in the legislature of the Commonwealth. 

He died in Swansea, June 11, 1893. In his church affiliations he was 
associated with the Universalist Chapel at Hortonville. 

Hon. Frank Shaw Stevens 

On Aug. 5, 1827 there was born in Rutland Vermont to Chauncy and 
Lucinda Stevens a child who in his maturer years became the faithful 
adopted son of this town. 

Frank Shaw Stevens, the subject of this sketch, saw for the first time 
the old ]New England Village of Swansea on Christmas morning 1858 
coming from California with his wife, who was a native of this town, and 
living here until the time of his death April 25, 1898 — a period of nearly 
two score years. 

Varied and unusual influences in the life of Mr. Stevens made a man 
quite unlike a bred New Englander. 

When the great gold fever of '49 swept over the country his young 
blood responded to the challenge and he was among the first of the Argo- 
nauts to cross the Plains leaving his home in Westfield, N. Y., and making 
his way with other seekers of gold over the Lakes down the Mississippi and 
up the Missouri to Omaha in a stream craft — thence across the Plains and 
over the Rockies by saddle and the "Prarie Schooner" to Sacramento — a 
journey of four months. 

Many were the thrilling phases of California life in those days ! Dagger 
and revolver were as essential to a man's equipment as pick and spade. 

Mr. Stevens was a member, probably one of the organizers, of the 
renowned Vigilance Committee of San Francisco, an organization that in 
1851 owed its conception to the absence of effective protective laws. It 
held in its hands legislative, judicial and executive powers. Its history is 
a brief and thrilling one. 

The gold fields did not long hold the attention of our young pioneer. 
His love of horses was a stronger influence^and we find.he drove with his own 
hand the first mail stage between Sacramento and Portland Oregon, and 
in 1854 became the Vice-President of the Consolidated California Stage 

232 History of Sivansea 

Company. Four years later he came to Swansea. The rural village offered 
few opportunities to a Californian of those days and Mr. Stevens' natural 
activity found a field for expression in the neighboring city of Fall River 
and he soon became associated with its business interests, fUUng important 
positions both as banker and manufacturer. 

After a residence of twenty-six yeeirs in this town he was elected to the 
Massachusetts Senate. It was said of him he had a rare combination of the 
qualities which go to the making of a good legislator. He was at the head 
of the committee on Federal Relations and practically shaped the poUcy 
of the other important committees on Banks and Harbors of which he was 
a member. 

A memorial tribute paid him by a vote of the delegates of the fifteen 
corporations of Fall River with which he was identified as President, 
Treasurer and Trustee, perhaps, is a fitting close to this personal sketch : — 

"Mr. Stevens was a man of marked individuahty, strong force of 
character, unconmaon business sagacity and of spotless integrity ; a man of 
generous impulses, of broad hberality and systematic benevolence. 

For a third of a century he had been largely interested in the 
great industries of Fall River. From his wide and varied experience and 
extended business interests he erected in this community a potent influence 
for good and in his death it has sustained an irreparable loss. 

We, his surrounding associates, appreciated the value of his wise 
counsels and were often assisted through troublesome perplexities by his 
cheery and inspiring personality, and have profited by his sound judgment, 
executive abihty — and clear business insights." 

Mr. Stevens' wife died in 1871. In 1873 he was married to Ehzabeth 
Richmond Case, who is living at this writing, (1917). She and her sister 
Mary A. Case, natives of this town are the surviving children of Joseph 
and Eliza Gray Case and the eighth generation from William Case 
who came from England in the seventeenth century and in this locality 
he and many of his hneal descendants have hved. 

The genealogy of the Case family from this ancestor is: William II 
whose wife was Abigail; William III whose wife was Francis Davis; 
William IV (1730-1777) was a resident of East Greenwich, F. I., and his 
wife was Abigail Bell (1735-1836); his son was Joseph Case (1757-1843) 
and his wife was Jane Kelton (1760-1843) and his son was Aaron Case 
(1788-1871) and his mother was Lovina Pierce. (1792-1870). The last 
named were the Grandparents of Mrs. Stevens and Miss Case. On the 
maternal side they are the great grandchildren of Col. Peleg Sherman of the 
Continental Army. His services to the Town are recorded in another place 
in this history. 



THERE are many points of interest in this town which are 
upon the line of the electrics and others which can be easily 
visited in that way, but are more remote. Near the Somer- 
set line is Lee's landing, where shipbuilding was once carried on 
to a small extent. Soon we come to "Eben Sherman's Hill," 
from the summit of which there is a fine view of the river and 
surrounding country. Abram's Rock is a large boulder north 
of the village. It commands a view of Mt. Hope bay with 
Mount Hope in the distance. The rock stands as a sentinel 
over the village. The oaks at its base whisper of the Indians 
who once trod the ground beneath them or rested under their 
shade. Philip himself might have rested here when hard 
pressed by his enemies. Farther than eye can reach were the 
lands of Massasoit. The legend which has been handed down 
to us with other folklore is this : Many years ago a poor Indian 
who deserted his tribe came to this settlement and made his 
abode among the inhabitants. For some time he lived here at 
peace, but King Philip, fearing the Indian was treacherous, 
resolved to take him prisoner and Abram sought this rock for 
a hiding-place. On the west side is a room formed by rocks, 
which is still called "Abram's bedroom." He is supposed to 
have lived here for some months, when the traits of his 
people, perseverance and cunning, proved too much for him, 
and he was captured. Then he was given a chance for his life. 
The verdict was "death at the stake or three leaps from the 
top of the rock to the ground below. " He took advantage of 
his chance and the legend states that the first and second leaps 
were safely made, but the third proved fatal. It is also said 
that a white child was born here in later years. 

This is today a simple New England village. There have 
been many changes in recent years. It would be hard to find a 
locality more pleasant, with its streets bordered by the stately 
elms forming arches overhead. A blessing should be daily 
breathed upon those who planted them. The beautiful church. 
Town hall and library all speak of the generosity of their donor, 
the late Hon. Frank S. Stevens. In the church are many 
memorials to departed friends. In the Town Hall is the tablet 
prepared with so much care by Job Gardner, South Swansea. 
This tablet of white marble with gilt letters bears the names of 
22 patriots of Swansea who served in the Civil war, one who 

236 History of Swansea 

served in the war of 1812 and four who served in the War of the 
Revolution. The record of King Philip's war, 1675, is : *'To the 
memory of the brave men who fell in the war with King Philip. 
Their names are unknown, but their deeds are not forgotten. " 

A shield is placed at the top bearing the motto: "Not for 
conquest, but for country." This tablet was erected by the 
Town of Swansea in 1896, with appropriate ceremonies. The 
public library contains about 8,000 volumes and has a yearly 
circulation of more than 10,000. 

In the village, near Gray's corner, is a house owned by 
Mrs. Frank S. Stevens, said to be over 250 years old. Town 
meetings were held in this house in early days. An old tavern 
once stood near here where the passengers from the stage coach, 
running between Providence and Fall River, were transferred 
for Somerset and Taunton. 

At Milford was formerly an old tavern. The property 
here is now mostly owned by the Braytons of Fall River. 

At Swansea Centre are the Christian church and the car 
bam of the Providence and Fall River street railway. 

Further on is Mason's corner. Nearby was Graham's 
tavern, where a change of horses was made in the time of the 
stage. Next Myles' River Bridge is passed, and in this locaHty 
was the old garrison house of John Myles, in which Mr. Myles 
lived at the time of attack on Swansea by King Philip's 
warriors, June 24, 1675. 

At South Swansea was another garrison house of stone 
which was ocupied by Jared Bourne in 1675. This was about 
one-half mile north from the South Swansea station and was on 
land now owned by Miss Annie Bird. In the meadow is the old 
garrison spring. This locality lying between Cole's and Lee's 
Rivers was in colonial times called Mattapoiset, later Gard- 
ner's Neck. This part of the town once contained only 
ancestral farms, but has in later years been built up by 
summer residents. Some of these, however, have permanent 
homes there now. 

If one has an affinity for the old cemeteries, one is found 
at the east of the bleachery on the brow of a hill where bush 
and briar have over-grown the graves therein. Here he Dr. 
Ebenezer Winslow and Ehzabeth, his wife, also Dr. John 
Winslow, names which have been household words to old resi- 
dents for many years. There also is the name of Peleg Eddy, 
who died in Surinam in 1758, aged 32 years. In the cemetery 
at rear of Town hall is the monument erected to the memory of 
Rev. Aaron L. Balch, who died at the age of 37, and was for six 
years a preacher of the "everlasting gospel." One inscription 
here reads: "In memory of Mr. John Trott, died June 25, 



^.?fe ;^ 


Tree Where Roger Williams Found Shelter 

Dorothy Brown Lodge Hall 

Places of Interest 237 

1824. Aet. 90. Nantucket gave him birth, Warren death, and 
Swansey a grave." 

On visiting Christ Church cemetery we find the graves of 
Col. Peleg Shearman of Revolutionary time and Richard 
Altham, who was a member of the 26 Mass. Regt. Co. C, dur- 
ing the Civil War. On the Wood monument is the name of 
Capt. Levi S. Wood, 10th 111. Cavalry, 1861-1863, who was 
buried at Iron Mt., Mo. In a small cemetery at the rear of 
Royal Fisk's house on the Hortonville road, is a stone. 


to the Memory of 

Col. Peleg Slade, 

who was a kind Husband, 

and tender Parent, and a 

warm friend to his Country, 

he was called upon to 

fill many Important 

Offices of Town and State, 

then died in peace, 
Dec. 28th, 1813. Aged 84 

Near the Baptist Church at North Swansea is an old 
cemetery said to contain some of the victims of King Philip*3 
war. A stone here has the inscription: "Here lies ye son of 
Jerimiah and Submit Pearse died June 20, 1731 in ye 14 year of 
his age and ye first buried in this burying place. " 

Near the Rhode Island and Massachusetts line on the 
Warren road was the boyhood home of Hezekiah Butterworth. 
Here in later years he built a Queen Anne cottage. The poet 
and author was a lover of Swansea. 

A party of Fall River boys who with Orrin A. Gardner 
made the trip to Washington in April 1915, held a reunion tramp 
Saturday afternoon, June, 1916, starting from Touisset. They 
first went to " Riverby, " where they were told about the begin- 
ning of King Philip's war. The house at "Riverby" now 
stands on the spot where the first house burned by the Indians 
in that war then stood. According to traditions, the house 
stood on an old Indian cemetery, and the Indians had become 
very much incensed about it. Hugh Cole, the owner, was a 
friend of King Philip, who had held them back from injuring 
him. FinaUy he told Mr. Cole that he could hold them back 
no longer, and advised him to flee. Mr. Cole and his family 
started down Cole's River on a raft, and when they were about 
opposite the present home of Jefferson Borden, they looked 

238 History of Swansea 

back and saw their house in flames. The old copper kettle 
that was thrown into the well at the time was recovered several 
years after. The farm at "Riverby" remained in the Cole 
family, and no deed, except the one signed by the Indians 
giving the place to Mr. Cole, was ever passed until the farm 
was sold to the present owner, Henry A. Gardner, in 1874. 

At "Riverby" the boys also saw a chair that was in the 
church at Monmouth the day before the battle of Monmouth. 
The chair was removed the night before the battle, and on the 
day of the battle, the church, and everything that had been in 
it, except the chair was burned. 

The boys next visited the noted rocks and other points of 
interest in Swansea, first going to Hiding Rock, where during 
the Revolutionary war some of the Gardners who hved at 
Touisset (the old Indian name for *'Land of Corn") and the 
Luthers, who lived at Swansea Center and who were loyal 
Englishmen, or Tories, hid, as they did not want to fight the 
rebels, and their wives brought them food while they were 
hidden. The next rock was where Uncle Jeremy Brown wrote 
his verses so well known to the men and women of Swansea 
200 years ago. He used to go to this rock and compose his 
poetry standing on its topmost pinnacle, and reciting it in a 
loud voice ; then he would go back to the house and write it. 
The boys went past the old cemetery, where he, with one of the 
passengers on the Mayflower, is supposed to lie buried. 

Stopping at the home of Mr. Maker who is known all over 
the country for his herb medicines, they were shown the old 
house now nearly 225 years old, and in which can be seen the old 
beams hewn from the oak forest that was then in front of the 
place where the house now stands. The old brick oven is still 
there, and the old fireplace, to which yokes of oxen used to draw 
the logs, yawned at the boys as they did at the Indian visitors 
200 years ago. The boys were much interested in the wonder- 
ful collection of Indian arrow heads exhibited by Mr. Maker. 
It is probably the largest one in New England, outside of a 
museum. Their walk then took them to "Devil's Walk." 
Here in solid rock can be seen what is said to be the devil's 
footprints. The boys trie^ their own feet in them and were 
surprised to find that they exactly fitted the marks left by his 
Satanic Majesty. He must have had several feet, judging by 
the difi'erent sizes of footprints. In one place he must have 
forgotten and shown his real self, for they found a hoof print 
instead of the human form. A short walk brought them to the 
"Devil's Table," and while it is immense, one wonders if it 
were really large enough to accommodate all his followers. 
These rocks are on very high ground. In one place one can 

Places of Interest 239 

see the B. M. C. Durfee High School in one direction, and by 
turning around, the top of the Turk's Head building in Provi- 
dence may be seen. On account of its height it was used by the 
Indians, and the soldiers of the Revolutionary war, to flash 
their messages by bonfires from place to place. 

A crawl through the underbrush brought them to " Mag's 
Cave," immortahzed by the story of Hezekiah Butterworth. 
It was in this cave that Margaret entertained the hunted 
preacher, Roger Williams, during that long cold journey when 
he was driven from Salem. To-day there is only a shelving 
rock, but this rock formed the back of Margaret's home. Mr. 
Maker acted as guide through the woods, and told the boys 
how he had found sixty different kinds of wood in this forest, and 
had made a log cabin of them. After a rough tramp through 
the woods the boys came to "King's Rock," where they ate 
their supper on the very spot where the Indians from all over 
New England came to celebrate their victories. In the quiet 
fields where a son of Portugal was planting his peas, the boys 
in imagination saw the victims of war burned at the stake, 
and passing through all the other tortures which the Indians 
themselves tell us actually took place at this very spot. 

In this rock can be seen the old hollow where the Indian 
women ground their corn for the feast, and the actual print of 
their knees as they knelt there for years, can still be seen in the 
rock. There is also a hole in the rock where it is said that the 
Indians pounded corn, but fine as the story is, that will have to 
be attributed to a later date. Another cave, a mile beyond, 
told the sad story of more recent years. In this cave dwelt a 
negro and his wife. They were very pious people, and were 
annoyed at the attitude of the young people at evening meet- 
ings. One Sunday night the old man had been unusually 
severe in his denunciation and the boys, thoroughly angry, set 
fire to his home. The fire started in front, and as there was 
solid rock at the back, there was no possible way for them to 
get out. The last sounds from the ca e were the quavering 
voices of the old couple singing, "Jesus, Lover of My Soul." 
Their walk also led them through a forest of immense oaks 
sown by Levi Bushee, who has been dead nearly 50 years, and 
who was over 80 when he died. He used to tell that when he 
was a small boy he helped to plant the acorns in rows. 

Afterwards the boys visited the old oak on the farm of 
Mrs. A. A. Manchester near Touisset. This oak is the oldest 
tree in this section and according to folk lore Roger Williams 
spent a night in the hollow trunk when a storm overtook him 
on his way from Salem to Rhode Island. The tree stands 
almost on the boundary between the two states. 

240 History of Swansea 

Dorothy Brown Lodge 

Early in the year 1893, a number of Odd Fellows, belong- 
ing to different lodges in the vicinity, but residing in Swansea, 
decided to start a Rebekah Lodge in this town, and began to 
make plans to that end. They gave a clambake and lawn 
party, and raised funds. They were granted a Charter, 
August 11, 1893; and the Lodge was instituted, in the Town 
Hall, December 11, 1893, as the Dorothy Brown Rebekah 
Lodge, No. 122, L 0. 0. F., this name being chosen, on the 
suggestion of the Hon. John S. Brayton, because it was the 
name of the wife of John Brown, one of the early settlers of 
Swansea, and an important man in the Colony. Her son 
James Brown, and her grandson John Brown were also prom- 
inent in the community. She was long resident in this town, 
and died here, January 27, 1674, at the age of ninety years; 
and four direct descendants of hers have been members of this 

The organization began with about sixty charter members; 
and the place of meeting was at first in Case's Hall. The 
present Lodge Hall, built in 1899, was dedicated March 29, 
1900 ; and it is said that this is the only Rebekah Lodge in this 
country that owns its Hall, and has invested funds. The 
present number of members, (1916), is one hundred. 

The Swansea Free Pubuc Library 

A Sketch by its founder, the Rev. Otis Olney Wright, formerly the 
rector of Christ Church, Swansa, 1881-1888 

The Swansea Free Public Library is of humble origin ; and 
of slow but steady growth. 

In September, 1882, the writer being then the rector of 
Christ Church, and realizing the value of good books to read, 
started the " Christ Church Book Circle. " This circle was com- 
posed of twenty-one members whose names are as follows: — 
Mrs. James H. Mason, Miss Ellen S. Austin, Mrs. F. S. 
Stevens, Miss Mary A. Case, Miss Fanny E. Wood, Miss 
Carrie A. Chase, Mrs. Betsy E. Winslow, Mrs. Katharine F. 
Gardner, Miss Helen L. Wellington, Miss Juha R. Wellington, 
Miss J. Blanche Chase, Mrs. Ella A. Jones, Miss Ruth E. 
Pearse, Mrs. A. A. WiUiams, Mrs. Lauretta B. Chase, Henry 0. 
Wood, Miss Sarah L. Gardner, Jeremiah Gray, George C. 
Gardner, Samuel G. Arnold, and Rev. O. 0. Wright. 

Places of Interest 241 

The circle selected and purchased twenty-one books, at 
a cost of $1.12 per member. 

The following is a list of the works, which were passed 
around the circle, in order, as they were read: — 

" Madehne, " Mary J. Holmes ; " Stories from Old English 
Poetry;" "Lost in a Great City," M. Douglas; "Patience 
Strong's Outing," Mrs. Whitney; "Madam How and Lady 
Why,'' Kingsley; "My Study Window," LoM^e/^- "My Winter 
on the Nile," Warner; "Infelice," Evans; "Henry Wads- 
worth Longfellow," Underwood; "Roman Days," Marjory 
Daw." A Wric/z; " Oldtown Folks, " Mr5. >S/ow;e,- "A Reverend 
Idol," 0. W\ Holmes; "His Majesty, Myself," Baker; 
"Rlessed Saint Certainty," Baker; "Warlock, O'Glen War- 
lock," Macdonald; "The Guardian Angel," Holmes; "With- 
out a Home," E, P. Roe; "Unknown to History," Yonge; 
"Thomas Carlyle," Froude; "The White Elephant," Twain, 

The Swansea Public Library Association was organized 
May 9, 1883, according to the provisions of Chapter 40 of the 
Public Statutes of Massachusetts for the organization of 
"Social Library Corporations." 

The Officers and Board of Directors were as follows: 
President, Rev. O. 0. Wright; Vice President, James H. 
Mason; Secretary, Miss Juha R. Wellington; Collector and 
Treasurer, Frank R. Stebbins; Trustees, Henry 0. Wood, 
Frank S. Stevens and Job Gardner; Librarian, Rev. 0. 0. 
Wright; Assistant Librarian, Mrs 0. 0. Wright. 

The warrant for the meeting for this organization was 
issued by James H. Mason, Justice of the Peace, on the petition 
of Otis 0. Wright, H. 0. Wood, F. S. Birch, Thomas J. Jones, 
Henry C. Brown, Joseph H. Northam, Hiram B. Babcock, 
Frank R. Stebbins, Carrie A. Chase, Ellen S. Austin, J. L. 
Wellington, Jeremiah Gray, F. S. Stevens, Jonathan Slade, 
N. R. Wellington, Mary E. Mason, Betsey E. Winslow, Helen 
L. Wellington, JuHa R. Wellington, Job Gardner. 

A constitution and by-laws were adopted, and printed for 
distribution, a copy of which may be found in the records of 
the Association. 

The object of this corporation was: "To provide a 
library and reading-room, and to promote literary and social 
intercourse among its members." 

The book circle donated its books to the Public Library 
Association, June 14, 1883. 

Narragansett Lodge, No. 58, Independent Order of Good 
Templars, having voted to surrender its charter, gave its 

The library was located during its first year, at the res- 

242 History of Swansea 

idence of the librarian, known as the Israel Brayton house, 
owned by Joseph S. Chase. 

Money for the support of the institution was raised by 
means of an annual membership fee of one dollar, a life 
membership fee of ten dollars, and public entertainments. 

The first purchase of books was made November 21, 1883, 
when twenty-two cloth-bound volumes, and nine in paper 
covers were added, at an expense of twenty dollars ($20). 

About the first of June, 1884, the library was removed to 
the vacant store-building owned by Mrs. Katharine Gardner, 
where it remained until October 1, 1885, when it was located 
in the old store and Post Office building, so long occupied by 
Hon. John Mason, at that time the property of Hon. Frank 
S. Stevens. Here it continued until its removal to the library- 
room provided for it by the conditions of Mr. Stevens' gift of 
the Town Hall to the town of Swansea, which was in Sep- 
tember, 1891. 

The following minute, taken from the records of the 
Public Library Association, brings us to the close of the history 
of that corporation, and to the beginning of the Free Public 
Library: — *'In March, 1896, the town voted to establish a free 
public library, and under provisions of the Library Act of 
1890, received $100 worth of books from the Free Public 
Library Commission." In May following, the association 
voted to present its books and other property, with the annual 
interest of $200, "subject to certain conditions" to the town. 

The conditions referred to are these: "Voted, — That the 
Association tranfer to the Trustees of the Swansea Free Public 
Library all its books, money (which must be kept as a fund, 
the interest only to be used), and all effects, on the following 
conditions : 1st. The Library shall permanently continue in its 
present locality. 2nd. In case the town fails to make the 
necessary appropriations for its support, the Library fund and 
all effects shall revert to the Association, the above conditions 
having been accepted by the said Trustees, subject to the 
approval of the town at its next annual meeting, a copy of 
which acceptance is on the records of the Association." 

The gift was accepted, and the Swansea Free Public 
Library was opened September 26, 1896, with a delivery 
station at North Swansea, in charge of Mrs. Mary E. Greene ; 
another at Swansea Centre, in charge of John B. Eddy; and 
a third at Hortonville, in charge of Mrs. Delmar A. Cummings. 

It may be of interest to note here, that this is not the first 
attempt to establish a library in this town. June 26, 1841, at 
four o'clock P. M., a legally notified meeting was held in the 
Union Meeting House, which stood where the Town Hall now 

Places of Interest 243 

stands, and the "Swansea Athenaeum," as it was called, or 
legally speaking ,the "Swansea Social Library" was organized. 

The warrant for this meeting was issued by John Mason, 
"Esq.," as he was usually called. Justice of the Peace, on the 
petition of J. D. Nichols, James H. Mason, Joseph F. Chase, 
Joseph Case and James T. Chase. 

The officers were as follows: John Mason, President; 
J. D. Nichols, Clerk and Librarian; John A. Wood, Treasurer 
and Collector; A. Z. Brown, J. E. Gray, Directors. 

This corporation appeau's to have been a stock company 
of forty-eight shares. 

September 13, 1850, it was voted to divide the funds and 
books equally among the members; and the last meeting of 
which there is any minute was held Sept. 14, 1850. 

It is also worthy of remark that most of the famihes 
interested in this earlier movement were represented forty 
years later by the promoters of the Public Library Association, 
which, so far as we know, is the only other effort which has 
been made in this direction. J. D. Nichols was an uncle of 
Miss Ellen S, Austin; James H. Mason one of the petitioners 
in 1841, was the Justice of the Peace who issued the warrant in 
1882, and Vice President of the Association; Joseph F. Chase 
was father of Mrs. Katherine F. Gardner; Joseph Case, the 
father of Miss Mary A. Case and Mrs. F. S. Stevens; John A. 
Wood, the father of Henry 0. Wood, one of the Trustees of the 
Association, and of the Free Public Library; Dr. A. Z. Brown, 
brother-in-law of Dr. J. L. Wellington. 

Many of the books of the present library were donated by 
individuals residing in the town, or formerly located here, 
natives of Swansea living elsewhere, and occasional visitors, 
especially during the period of the Association. It was the 
custom to make a minute of each gift, and to enter the names 
of donors upon the records. 

For example, Mrs. Mary E. Chase, of New York, gave 
numerous volumes, in the name of her son, the late Frederick 
T. Chase, and Mrs. Sarah C. White, of Pawtucket, left a 
bequest of about eighty volumes. 

A circulating Ubrary of nearly two hundred volumes was 
bought and presented to the Association by the Hon. F. S. 

Money was also donated to the corporation from time to 
time, especially by Mrs. Mary B. Young of Fall River, Elisha 
D. Buffington of Worcester, the Hon. John S. Brayton and 
the Hon. Frank S. Stevens. 

In such wise the library grew, increasing in favor and 

244 History of Swansea 

At first the people at a distance were a little shy, perhaps, 
regarding it as simply a parish, or village enterprise, and of 
little importance in its day of small things; but it gradually 
won its way, and extended its influence into the midst of the 
community at large, until the Town was willing to adopt it as 
its own. 

During the first years, but few new books were added at 
any one time, and yet enough as a rule to meet the growing 
interest of its patrons. Some of the standard works formed 
a part of each purchase, and new publications were carefully 
selected to meet the tastes of the readers. It was, to a certain 
extent, a personal work to lead its patrons on from the desire 
for good to the appreciation of the better and the best liter- 

The practical benefits of a good public library may not 
be easily estimated, and are not quickly appreciated, perhaps, 
but can not be seriously doubted. 

The management of the library was, for a long time, very 
simple. A list of the books with their numbers was the only 
catalogue. An alphabetical list of members was kept by the 
librarian; and each was charged with the numbers of the 
volumes taken, and the numbers were crossed off when the 
books were returned. The volumes were placed on the shelves 
without regard to class, number or author; and each person 
handled them as he pleased and selected for himself. 

The growth of the reading habit, and the evolution of 
literary tastes may be clearly traced along the fine of this 

If sometimes the pretty cover, the striking title, or the 
open form of the printed page determined the choice of the 
book to be taken, it was only the common event known to 
every observing librarian, whose chief delight is to have every- 
body learn to read and appreciate good literature. 

The Rev. 0. 0. Wright was librarian from the organiza- 
tion of the Association, May 9, 1882, until his removal from the 
town in February, 1888. But it is only fair to state that much 
of the care of the library devolved upon others during that 
period. Mrs. 0. O. Wright, frequently during the first year, 
assisted in taking account of the books ; and for several years, 
the children, Henry K. and Lucy Wright often performed the 
duties of librarian ; and, sometimes, the door being unlocked, 
a slate was placed on the table with this notice written on it : 
"Please help yourself, and write your name and the numbers 
of the books returned and taken. " 

Miss Carrie A. Chase, now Mrs. Elmer D. Young, being 
assistant librarian that year, acted as librarian from February 

f H rl n p rllff 


Places of Interest 245 

to May, 1888, and has often rendered valuable service in the 
running of the library. 

Mrs. Thomas C. Chase, another devoted patron and 
helper, has given much care and labor towards the success of 
this good cause. 

Miss Julia R. Wellington, the first and only Secretary of 
the Association, was elected librarian June 2, 1888, and has 
continued to serve in that important office to the present time. 
The catalogues, old and new, have been made by her, the 
later after the Gutter system. Miss Wellington has labored 
with enthusiasm and intelligent zeal to make the library of 
practical use to the teachers and pupils of the public schools ; 
and it is only justice to her to say that the success of the 
Swansea Free Public Library is largely the fruit of her faithful 
and inestimable services. 

It ought to be recorded in this connection that Miss 
Mary A. Case, who has taken a deep interest in this work from 
first to last, has also counted it a privilege and a pleasure to 
make a painstaking study of the selection of suitable books, 
and has done a large share of that laborious service, in these 
eighteen years of the library's growth. 

The first officers elected under town management were as 
follows: Chairman, Henry O. Wood; Secretary, James E. 
Easter brooks, and the Rev. F. E. Rixby. 

Mr. Easterbrooks died previous to the opening of the 
Free Public Library, and Job Gardner was chosen Trustee in 
his place. 

In 1896, the officers were: Trustees, Job Gardner, Chair- 
man; Henry O. Wood, Frank G. Arnold, Miss Mary Case, 
Mrs. Mary E. Greene, and Mrs. Esther M. Gardner. Librarian, 
Miss Julia R. Wellington. 

A few comparative statistics and this sketch is concluded. 

The first report of the librarian of the Association, 1883, 
shows that there were then 229 volumes on the fist bound in 
cloth, and 31 volumes in paper covers not entered. At that 
time there were two life members, and twenty annual members. 
The circulation of books was 407. 

The final report of the librarian of the Association, 1896, 
recorded 40 members, and it was estimated that there were 
103 readers. There were 1733 volumes, including books in 
paper covers and magazines, and the total circulation was 

The first report of the librarian under Town management 
refers to 1,495 bound volumes, and shows that 230 cards had 
been issued for the drawing of books, and that the circulation 
was 2,241. 

246 History of Swansea 

Statistics for the year ending Jan. 31, 1900, shows that 
there were 561 names on the list of cards drawn; that the 
number of books belonging to the library exclusive of mag- 
azines and pamphlets was 2,451; and that the circulation was 

The general character of the library at that date, is indi- 
cated by the classes and numbers of volumes which follow: 
History, 133; Biography, 159; Geography and Travel, 118; 
Science and Art, 185; Poetry and Drama, 56; Literature and 
Language, 64; Fiction, 1,385; Philosophy and Religion, 65; 
Miscellaneous, 238; Reference, 48. 

Throughout the history of the Association, at every stage 
of its progress, one name appears as chief among its generous 
promoters. Frank S. Stevens was ever ready to anticipate its 
growing wants and to rejoice in its increasing usefulness. And 
so, when the time came for its adoption by the Town, as a 
Free Public Library, he was among the first to co-operate with 
the State Librarian, C. B. Tillinghast and E. M. Thurston, to 
secure the necessary action. 

Under the present management (1896) the town makes an 
annual appropriation of $350 for its support; and it also 
receives the interest of the Association fund of $200 together 
with the proceeds of occasional entertainments and individual 
gifts, notably, the "Around Town Dramatic Club" donated 
90 volumes at one time. 

In the event of Mr. Stevens death, which occur ed April 
25, 1898, by the terms of his last will and testament, the Town 
of Swansea received the income of $2,500 for the purchase of 
books for a free public library, and the executors were directed 
to expend $10,000 in erecting and furnishing a public library 
on the lot occupied by the Town Hall, erected by the testator, 
to be known as the "Stevens Public Library Building." 

It seems fitting at this point that brief mention should be 
made of the new building, the corner-stone of which was laid 
Oct. 31, 1899. By the provisions of Mr. Stevens' will, the sum 
of ten thousand dollars was given to the executors, in trust, 
to erect a library Building of stone or brick on the town hall lot. 
For the erection of such building as seemed needed and proper 
it was found that there was not sufficient available frontage. 
To provide for this, Mrs. Stevens deeded to the town the estate 
adjoining, thus furnishing a most desirable site, and added 
$10,000 to the building fund. 

Mr. Henry Yaughan, of Boston, was chosen the architect, 
and by a generous increase of the original sum by Mrs. Stevens, 
the erection and furnishing of this structure was made possible. 
The entire work was done under the daily supervision of a 

Places of Interest 247 

respected townsman, Mr. Valentine Mason; and was ded- 
icated Sept. 19, 1900. 

The executors and those to whom Mr. Stevens was most 
dear, have labored lovingly, faithfully, and, they hope, well, to 
fulfill the trust and erect a fitting memorial. How well, time 
and those who may for years to come use the library, can best 

The library building is the result of a bequest of $10,000 
for the purpose contained in the will of Frank S. Stevens. It 
is understood that Mrs. Stevens, in order to better carry out 
the wishes of her husband had he lived, has given in addition 
a sum equal to the original amount. Mr. Steven's will also 
contained provision for a fund of $2500 which has been 
increased by Mrs. Stevens to $5000 for the purchase of new 
books. The structure is handsomely and substantially built of 
granite, with brown stone trimmings and slated roof. It 
stands back some 50 feet from the street, on which it has a 
frontage of 70 feet. The interior is finely finished and fur- 
nished in complete detail in solid oak. The reading room is 
27x16 feet and has an inviting looking fireplace with antique 
andirons of wrought iron. There is another such fireplace in 
the librarian's and binding room. There is also a room for the 
trustees of the library, a delivery room and a stack room, the 
latter having a capacity for 10,000 volumes. There is also 
ample room on the upper floor for the storing of magazines,etc. 

The town voted, in March, 1896, to establish a free 
public library, and under the library act of Massachusetts 
received books valued at $100 from the State Library Com- 
mission and in May, 1897, the library association gave its 
property to the public library. Delivery stations were 
established at North Swansea, Swansea Centre and Horton- 
ville. In January, 1900, the Hbrary possessed 2,451 volumes; 
there were 561 holders of cards and the circulation was 8686. 
The institution received at that time, an annual appropriation 
of $350 from the town, and the interest from the hbrary fund, 

Miss Julia R. Wellington, after many years of faithful 
service as librarian retired, and Oct. 1, 1912, Otis 0. Wright 
became librarian. In 1913, a card-catalogue was made; in 
1914, the building was lighted by electricity. 

At the present date (1916) the town appropriates $600 
per year for current expenses; and maintains four stations 
where the people receive books: Touisset, Swansea Centre, 
Hortonville, and North Swansea. At last report, (1917) the 
number of volumes catalogued was 8,000, the number of cards 
in force 500 and the circulation was 11,486. 

248 History of Swansea 

Swansea Today — 1917 

The population in 1905 was 1,839, (State Census). In 
1915, (State Census) it was 2,558 showing an increase of 719 
in ten years. In 1910, (the U. S. Census), there were enu- 
merated 1,978 ; and the increase in five years following was 580. 

The valuation of the town : 

















The town has 22 miles of macadamized roads; and main- 
tains 363 electric street lights. 

There are 10 district schools, under Town management, 
two of them having primary and grammar grades, and the 
Stevens School having primary, intermediate, and grammar 
grades. At the Annual Town Meeting, March 1, 1915, it was 
voted — "To establish and maintain a high school as required 
by Sec. 2, Chap. 42 of the Revised Laws." '*Bef ore this vote was 
passed Mrs. Ehzabeth R. Stevens caused an announcement 
to be made that if the voters felt they could bear the expense 
of maintaining and equipping a High School, she would give a 
building for that purpose. " 

Town of Swansea 

(Last available Census) Products 1905. 

Value Percentages 




Dairy products, 



Poultry products, 






Animal prducts. 






Fruits, Berries, and nuts. 



Hay, straw, and fodder, 






Wood products, 



Hothouse and hotbed products, 



Products from mines, quarries, 

pits, etc. 












Machines, implements, etc. 



Domestic animals, etc. 



Fruit trees and vines. 



Mines, quarries, pits, etc.