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This volume should have been written fifty years ago, during 
the lifetime of many men who were familiar with the early 
history and traditions of the town, which they had learned 
from older men with whom they had conversed in their younger 
days, who, in turn, had learned these stories from the early 
settlers. These men were Wilkes Wood, Zachariah Eddy, his 
son Samuel Eddy, Colonel Thomas Weston, Alfred Wood, and 
others. Wilkes Wood delivered an historic address in 1815; 
Zachariah Eddy wrote the history of the First Church ; Sam- 
uel Eddy gathered many important facts not before recorded ; 
Colonel Weston was especially familiar with the genealogy and 
traditions of the settlers, and John Bennett left a number of 
valuable papers relating to their conveyances of land ; but 
when these men passed away, much of the early history which 
might have been preserved was lost forever. General Ebenezer 

. fence, wh ■ ' mterested in the military affairs of the town 

and the early hisiv./y of Lakeville, wTote an account of Middle- 

. boro and Lakeville for the "History of Plymouth County," a 

genealogy of the Peirce family, and many articles which were 

published in the Middleboro "Gazette." 

We have transcribed what could be obtained relating to the 
early history from the records of Plymouth Colony and the 
Massachusetts Archives ; but it is unfortunate that in King 
Philip's War the records of the town and many ancient docu- 
ments were burned. There have been kept, however, many of 
the records of different purchases from the Indians, the original 
or early copies now being in the possession of the town clerk. 

The traditions here given have come down uniformly from 
father to son through generations, so that they may be regarded 
as trustworthy and correct statements of facts. Many of the 
incidents were told to the author in his boyhood by those men 


before mentioned. For the account of Judge Oliver and the 
various stories connected with his life, the author is largely- 
indebted to his father, who learned them from Mrs. Mary Nor- 
cutt, Judge Oliver's housekeeper. Many years ago, Granville 
T. Sproat published the same in the Middleboro " Gazette." 
Family genealogies have given more or less information con- 
cerning some of the individuals whose lives are recorded in 
the following pages. 

We desire to make special acknowledgment of the assistance 
rendered by Joseph E. Beals, chairman of the publication com- 
mittee, for many valuable suggestions and facts. The author 
also acknowledges the aid he has received from other members 
of the committee, from many interested in the preparation 
of this work, and from his daughter Grace, who examined and 
transcribed many historical documents, and from her researches 
added many facts not heretofore published. Most of the illus- 
trations are from photographs taken by Walter L. Beals, and 
the plates and designs have been made by or under the super- 
vision of Herbert S. Sylvester. 

In this volume we have adopted the shorter spelling of 
Middleboro instead of Middleborough. 

This book is submitted with the many imperfections and 
mistakes which, with the utmost care, a work of this kind must 
necessarily contain, but the author has endeavored to set forth 
the story of this ancient town, and something of the lives and 
character of the men, that they may not be forgotten amid the 
stirring scenes of the present age and generation. 

































Indi.a^xs . 


, xvii 
I - 

• 15 

• 29 

Praying Ixdiaxs 

middleboro as first known to the english 
Early Settlers before King Philip's War 

Kjng Philip's War 

The French and Indian W.\rs, 1689-1765 

Slaves in Middleboro loi 

The Re\-olution ic6 

The Loyalists of the Revolution . . . .145 

Middleboro in the War of 181 2 157 

Middleboro in the War of the Rebellion . . 168 

Local Militia 193 

S0CI.A.L Customs of the Eighteenth Century . . 206 

L.A.WYERS 225 

Physicians 238 

Education, Libr.aries, Nevvsp.\pers, Post-offices . . 245 

Four Corners 272 

Mad Mare's Neck, Waupaunucket, Fall Brook . . 303 

The Green 309 

Tho-mastown, Rock, Rocky Meadow, R.A.YiioND Neigh- 
borhood, France, South Middleboro . . . 329 
Eddy\tlle, Waterville, Soule Neighborhood, Hali- 
fax 342 

Muttock 355 

Thompson' Road, The Lowlaxds, Warrextown, Pur- 
CHADE 386 

TiTICUT 398 

L.\ke\ille 419 

ecclesla.stical history . . . 439 

Town Meetings, Herring Fisheries, Ixdiax Paths, 
Roads and Highways, Fire District . . . 495 

Town Officers, Public Officers 517 

CI^^L History 544 

Early Purchases from the Indians .... 582 

Fraternal Organiz.\tions 631 

Cemeteries 634 

Descriptive Catalogue of ^Iembers of the First 

Chu'rch from 1695 to 1846 639 

Index 687 


Town Hall, High School Building, Soldiers' Monument, Frontispiece 

Map of Middleboro in 1853 vii 

Map of Middleboro in 183 i xvii 

Proposed Division of the Town of Middleboro to form a New 

Town with a Portion of Taunton xix 

View of the Four Corners in 1832 from Barden's Hill . . xx 

Map of Middleboro in 1855 i 

alex.4nder about to embark on the river 8 

Indian Monument 14 

The Beginning of the Lord's Prayer 16 

Samuel Barrows's Autograph 36 

Joseph Bumpus's Autograph 37 

The Mayflower 42 

Is.\.\c Howland, Sr.'s Autograph 46 

John Miller, Jr.'s Autograph 48 

John Morton's Autograph 48 

John Morton, Jr.'s Autogr.aph 49 

Samuel Pratt's Autograph 51 

Da\is Thomas's Autograph 53 

John Tomson's Autograph. 55 

A Halberd of the Time 58 

John Tomson, Jr.'s Autograph 59 

George Vaughan's Autograph 59 

Joseph Vaughan's Autograph 60 

Samuel Wood, Sr.'s Autograph 63 

S.\MUEL Wood, Jr.'s Autograph 63 

Billington Sea 64 

John Cobb's Autograph 65 

The Stutitevant Plough 67 

A View of Assawampsett Pond, where the Body of Sassamon 

was concealed . . 72 

Facsimile of John Sassamon's Letter to Governor Prince, while 

Secret-^vry of Philip 72 



King Philip's Lookout 

John Tomson's Gun 

A View of the Rock upon which Isaac Rowland shot the Indian 

AT THE Beginning of King Philip's War 

View of Danson Brook, Thompson Street 

Captain Benjamin Church's Autograph 

Site of the Encounter at the Bridge, Lakeville 

Indian Hatchet, Pipe, Mortar, and Pestle .... 

A Copy of one of the Stamps under the Stamp Act 

Ichabod Tupper's Autograph 

Musket and Powderhorn 

DoGGETT House 

Ransome House 

Soldiers' Monument 

Kitchen Fireplace 

A Family Loom of the Eighteenth Century . 

The Attic of the Backus House .... 

Samuel Prince's Autograph 

Elkanah Leonard's Autograph 

Wilkes Wood 

Zachariah Eddy 

Eliab Ward 

William H. Wood 

Everett Robinson 

Judge Wood's Office 

Dr. Arad Thompson ....... 

Dr. Morrill Robinson 

Dr. Ebenezer W. Drake 

Dr. William W. Comstock 

Dr. George W. Snow 

High School 

Old Baptist Chut^ch, Chapel, and First Academy. 
Baptist Church and Second Academy .... 

Professor J. W. P. Jenks 

Enoch Pratt 

Pratt Free School 

Public Library 

Thomas Sproat Peirce 

The Silas Wood House 








The Old Morton House 273 

The Dr. Clark House . 275 

The Old Barrows House 277 

Judge Wood's House 278 

The Old Bourne House 278 

Joseph T. Wood 279 

Rev. Charles W. Wood 280 

Rev. Henry C. Coombs 281 

Ebenezer Pickens 282 

Major Levi Peirce 283 

Peirce Academy 284 

Colonel Peter H. Peirce 285 

Home of Colonel Peter H. Peirce 285 

Colonel Peter H. Peirce's Store 286 

Branch Harlow 286 

Elisha Tucker 290 

Bank Block 292 

Site of B.a.nk Block in 1875 292 

Peirce Block 293 

Site of Peirce Block in 1875 293 

Albert Alden 294 

Nathan King 295 

Horatio Barrows 296 

The Four Corners 297 

Four Corners in 1850 from Barden Hills ... 298 
Four Corners at the Present Time from Barden Hills . . 299 

Four Corners 300 

The Old Barden House 302 

Old Methodist Chut^ch of Fall Brook ..... 303 

Colonel Benjamin P. Wood 304 

Site of the Old Fall Brook Futrnace 305 

Abishai Miller 306 

The Old Miller House ........ 307 

Rev. Saml'el Fuller's Autograph . . . . . . . 309 

Second Meeting-house 311 

Rev. Peter Thacher's Autograph 313 

Rev. Sylv.anus Con.\nt's Autograph 3^4 

Sturtevant House 3^5 

House of Rev. Sylvanus Con ant 315 


John Bennett's Autogr.\ph 317 

Nehemiah Bennett's Autograph 318 

Old Sproat Tavern 319 

Signboard of the Old Sproat Tavern 321 

Colonel Ebenezer Sproat's Autograph 322 

Colonel Ebenezer Sproat 323 

Deborah Sampson 330 

Deborah Sampson's Home 331 

View of the Rock 334 

Stillman Benson 340 

Samuel Eddy's Autograph 343 

Captain Joshua Eddy 344 

Residence of Zachariah Eddy 346 

Office of Zachariah Eddy 347 

Residence of Samuel Eddy and Dr. Powers .... 347 

William S. Eddy 349 

John Soule's Autograph 350 

Jacob Tomson's Autograph 352 

John Morton's Autograph 354 

John Tomson's Pistol 354 

Oliver's Walk 360 

Peter Oliver 363 

Peter Oliver's Autograph 363 

Plan of Judge Oliver's Estate and Works .... 365 

Peter Oliver's Book-plate 366 

Stairs in Sproat House 373 

Residence of Peter Oliver, Jr 374 

James Bowdoin 375 

James Bowdoin's Autograph 375 

William Tupper's Autograph 376 

Thomas Weston 380 

Abiel Washburn's Residence 381 

Ritchie House 382 

Backpiece in Fireplace at Oliver Hall 384 

Captain Isaac Thomson 386 

George Thomson House 387 

Shipyard from Woodward's Bridge 388 

Cephas Thompson 389 

John Weston House 391 



Colonel Thomas Weston . 

Old Weston Tavern .... 

Residence of Mrs. Tom Thumb 

John Alden 

Site of the Old Indian Fort . 
House of Rev. Isaac Backus 
House of Rev. Mr. Gurney 

Elijah E. Perkins 

Site of Shipyard 

Solomon Eaton 

Oliver Eaton 

First Congreg.ational Church 

Jared Pratt 

Isaac Pratt 

Map of the Ponds .... 
Thomas Nelson's Autograph . 
Captain Job Peirce House 

Sampson's Tavern 

Major Peter Hoar's Residence 

The Washburn House .... 

The Ward House .... 

George Ward 

A Broadside of the Time, by Hannah Sproat 

Sprague S. Stetson 

Town House 

Cudworth House 

Elkanah Leonard House 

Thomas Palmer's Autograph 
Ebenezer Tinkham's Autograph 
Pulpit of First Church .... 

First Congregational Church at the Green 
Rev. Israel W. Putnam, D. D. 
Rev. David Gurney's Autograph 
Congregational Church, North Middleboro 
Central Congregational Church 

Rev. I. C. Thatcher 

Old Baptist Church, North Middleboro 

Rev. Isaac Backus 

Rev. Isaac Backus's Autograph 





Baptist Church, North Middleboro 473 

Rev. Ebenezer Hinds 47^ 

Baptist Church, Rock 478 

Rev. Ebenezer Briggs 481 

Central Baptist Church 483 

Rev. Hervey Fitz 484 

Rev. Ebenezer Nelson 485 

Methodist Episcopal Chltich, Four Corners . . . 488 

Methodist Episcopal Chltrch, South Middleboro . . . 489 

Unitarian Church 491 

Episcopal Church 492 

Roman Catholic Church 493 

Square Pews of the Olden Time 494 

Old Town House 497 

View of Herring-Weir, Muttock 499 

Stick of Herring 5°° 

Railroad Station 512 

Se.'VL of the Town of Middleboro 519 

Map of Early Purchases of Lands from Indians . . . 582 

The Old Oak Tree, Titicut 583 

John Howland's Autograph 589 

George Soule, Sr.'s Autograph 590 

Constant Southworth's Autograph 591 

Thomas Southworth's Autograph 592 

John Alden's Autograph 593 

Thomas Prence's Autograph 598 

Thomas Savory's Autograph 602 

George Bonum's Autograph 604 

John Chipman's Autograph 622 

Isaac Cushman's Autograph 623 

Thomas Doggett's Autograph 623 

Entrance to Hill Cemetery 635 

Gr.westone of Rev. Samuel Fuller 637 


HE history of Middleboro is that of an inland town of 
the Old Colony, remote from any business centre, a 
simple story of events, not so stirring as to seriously 
affect the history of the commonwealth, a story of 
men, thrifty, intelligent, and able, who have contributed their 
share to the advancement of the best interests of the country. 
By an act of the Colonial Legislature, June i, 1663,^ the 
inhabitants at Nemasket " were accounted to belong to the 
town of Plymouth," and continued under that jurisdiction until 
the year 1669, when that portion of Plymouth was incorporated 
under the name of the Town of Middleberry. This name may 
have been given on account of its location, midway between 
Plymouth and the residence of the Pokanoket chief, or it may 
have come from the town of Middleboro in North Riding of 
York, England. It included what had been known as Assa- 
wampsett, Nemasket, the Titicut land of the Indians, the west- 
ern portion of the town of Halifax, and the whole of Lake- 
ville. Before the later division, but after that portion of Hali- 
fax was set off, it was, excepting Plymouth, the largest town 
in the state, measuring from north to south over eleven miles, 
from east to west fourteen miles, and containing an area of 
more than one hundred square miles. 

In 1 718 the proprietors of the Sixteen Shilling Purchase, 
with those who were in possession of much of the land in Taun- 
ton formerly owned by Miss Poole and her associates, desired 
to be incorporated into a separate township. Jacob Tomson 
drew a map, the original of which is now in the Massachusetts 

• " 1663 — I June — Prence, Gour. 

" It is ordered by the Court that those that are 

sett downe att Namassakett to belonge to the towne of Plymouth vntill the Court 
shall see reason otherwise to order." Plymouth Colony Records, vol. iv, p. 41. 


Archives, and a copy on the following page. This project was 
principally urged by those living within the bounds of Taunton, 
but as there were few inhabitants at this time in that portion 
of Middleboro, it was soon after abandoned. 

In 1734 the northeasterly part of the town, included in the 
territory between its present boundary line on the northeast 
and that on the Winnetuxet River, was set off to form a por- 
tion of Halifax. 

The setting off of North Middleboro was for a long time 
the subject of much discussion. At a meeting held December 
23, 1741, "The town taking into consideration the petition 
of Jabez Eddy and others respecting there being set off a sepa- 
rate township ; and after the same was fully debated, upon a 
question being asked the town whether they would grant their 
request, the vote passed in the negative." In 1743 a petition 
was presented to the General Court signed by thirty-six sub- 
scribers and heads of families, asking that the northern por- 
tion of the town be set off from Middleboro to become a new 
town with part of Bridge water. This, however, was never acted 
upon. In 1744 a similar petition was presented to the General 
Court, which resulted in their separation as a parish distinct 
from that worshipping at the Green. In 1792 a petition was 
presented to the General Court, but this was also refused. 
The last petition was presented in 1821 ; since then there has 
been no further attempt at a division of this part of the town. 

In 1853 the legislature incorporated as a separate town that 
part which was substantially included in the Sixteen Shilling 
Purchase, under the name of Lakeville. 

By the act of incorporation, the boundaries of some portions 
of the town were indefinite ; this gave rise to not a little con- 
troversy, which extended over many years, and in the case of 
the adjoining town of Bridgewater, was attended with consid- 
erable bitterness. The eastern boundary, which in the early 
history was the township of Plymouth, as well as the south- 
ern boundary, which adjoined Rochester, was settled by agents 
of that town in 1695. The dividing line between Middleboro 
and Bridgewater was settled by the agents of the two towns 



•si'li '^tr-^X f^" ■'^'^'ify'W 



(Drawn by Jacob Thomson in 1718) 



(From an old picture) 

in 168 1, and since that time the Taunton River has remained 
the northern boundary. The line between that portion of 
Taunton and Middleboro between Baiting Brook and Trout 
or Poquoy Brook was indeiinite, the boundary having been 
the Indian Reservation, whose western limit was not settled 
until the year 1686. This has remained as then established, 
although the older inhabitants of the town claimed that Taun- 
ton had acquired a much larger amount of territory than the 
original act of the legislature authorized. That portion of the 
western side of Lakeville bordering upon Freetown has been 
changed ; in the year 17 18 the boundary was a straight line. 
It was not until after that time that the indentation as indi- 
cated upon the present map of Lakeville was made, but when 
or by whom authorized, we have been unable to ascertain. 
On the east a small portion of the town was given to Plymp- 
ton, and in 1842 a narrow strip of land at the southeastern 
part of the town was annexed to Carver. The Taunton River 
has always been the boundary line between Middleboro and 

Most of the early settlers from Plymouth and the neighbor- 


ing towns who came to occupy the lands they had previously 
purchased were farmers, whose prudence and industry soon 
enabled them to live in comparative independence, their farms, 
with the rivers, ponds, and forests, supplying them with the 
necessaries of life. 

The Lakeville lands were very productive, yielding large 
crops of corn and rye ; those bordering on the ponds were usu- 
ally exempt from the early frosts which proved so disastrous 
in other localities. Flax, at one time raised extensively, is not 
now cultivated. Fruits were abundant, especially apples. The 
census of 1781 gives the number of "581 houses, 18 Distill 
houses, 608 oxen, 1521 cows, 338 horses, 584 coaches, chaises, 
etc., and 2144 barrels of cider" for that year. 

For two generations the only mills were the sawmill, the 
grist-mill, and the fulling-mill, which have now almost entirely 
disappeared, and in place of the sawmill there are a few box- 
board mills. In the early part of the eighteenth century the 
deposits of iron ore in the larger ponds gave rise to the estab- 
lishment of six blast furnaces for the making of cast-iron ware. 
There was a large forge and one slitting-mill, both of which 
were used for the making of nail-rods, out of which hammered 
nails were made. In the early part of the last century there 
were four shovel factories, two cotton mills, and one tack fac- 
tory, all of which have long since disappeared. In 1837 the 
two cotton mills had two thousand three hundred and eighty- 
four spindles, and made about half a million yards of cloth 
annually. The building of a few ships along the Taunton 
River entirely ceased after the embargo of Jefferson in 18 12. 
The public houses, or ordinaries, which in early times were 
scattered throughout the town, are no longer to be seen. Early 
in the settlement Muttock, Titicut, Eddyville, then connected 
with Waterville, and Fall Brook were places of business im- 
portance for more than a century, but of these villages 
Titicut alone has retained its population and industrial posi- 
tion, while the Four Corners, which a hundred years ago was 
sparsely settled, is now one of the largest and most prosperous 
villages of the country. Social, business, and religious interests 


have been drawn to this centre. The outlying churches, once 
so flourishing, have decreased in attendance and importance. 

The First Church, which was organized in 1694, was for 
generations one of the largest and most influential in the col- 
ony ; in 1800 there were more than fourteen hundred people 
included within its parish. As the town has grown in size, 
various societies have been formed, and now the churches are 

Next to the Four Corners, a greater change has occurred in 
Lakeville in one hundred and twenty-five years than in any 
other section of the town, there probably being not as many 
houses and inhabitants there by one third. 

Between the years 1772 and 1787, more than fifty families 
moved from Middleboro to Woodstock, Vt., led, probably, by 
Dr. Stephen Powers. Among these may be named : — 
Dr. Stephen Powers, 1774 Eleazer Wood, 1779 

Joseph Darling, 1776 Caleb Wood, 1779 

Isaac Tribou, 1776 Nathaniel Wood, 1779 

Jabez Bennett, 1776 William Raymond, 1780 y 

Jacob Churchill, 1778 George Sampson, 1783 

Joseph Churchill, 1778 David Thomas, 1787 

Others moved to various parts of Vermont, and not a few 
emigrated into that part of the state then known as the dis- 
trict of Maine. It was considered noteworthy that these 
families should go so far into the wilderness. This tide of 
emigration seems to have continued up to 1800, so that the 
descendants of Middleboro men in various pursuits and profes- 
sions are to be found all over the country, and their records 
indicate that they have not forgotten the ancestry from which 
they sprang. 

In the early part of the last century the town was noted for 
the general health of its inhabitants and their remarkable lon- 
gevity. Dr. D wight. President of Yale College, in his letters 
containing an account of the towns in Massachusetts which he 
visited, has the following table, showing the mortality in the 
first parish between 1802 and 1812 and their ages, namely r^ — 

1 Dwight's Travels, vol. ii, p. ii. 



Above 90 





Under 20 
















































































From this table it appears that the average number of deaths 
in this precinct was 23.5. Of the whole number 235, seven, one 
thirty-third part, lived to be above 90 ; and twenty-four, a tenth 
part, above 80 ; thirty-seven, nearly a sixth part, above 70 ; and 
sixty-eight, the whole number that died above 70, was a little 
less than one third of the total. One hundred and seven died 
above 50, not far from one half ; while those who died under 
20 were eighty, a little more than one fourth of the whole. 

The population has not materially increased during the past 
one hundred years as compared with some other towns of the 
commonwealth. There were not as many inhabitants in 18 10 
as in 1790. Since i860 the population has steadily increased. 

No official census was taken of any of the towns in the 
province or in the commonwealth until 1765. The following 
table giv^es the population of Middleboro from that time to the 
present : — 




1S40 State 50S5 

























' 6065 






1 The town of Lakeville was set off from Middleboro in 1S53, thus reducing its 

^ i^ ^ "^ 


This fold-out is being digitized, and will be inserted at 

future date. 




HEN the pilgrims landed at Plymouth in 1620, Middle- 
boro was occupied by the Nemasket Indians. ^ From 
them the place took its name until the incorporation 
of the town in 1669. They were a part of the great 
nation of Pokanokets,^ under the sachem Massasoit, whose rule 
extended over all of the tribes in southeastern Massachusetts ; 
these, with the exception of the Nemaskets, had been greatly 
decimated by the plague which swept through this region.-^ 
The principal settlements were at Muttock on the Nemasket 

^ The word " Nemasket " is probably derived from two Indian words, " Ne- 
mah," meaning " a fish," and its terminal " et," meaning " the place of," and at 
this place the Indians from time immemorial had a fish weir, and from this the 
surrounding country was named. In the old records it w-as spelled Namasket. 

2 The Pokanoket race was composed of the Wampanoags of Bristol County, 
in Rhode Island, the Pocassets at Rehoboth, Swansea, and Tiverton, the Saconets 
at Little Compton, the Nemaskets at Middleboro, the Agawams at Wareham, 
the Manomets at Sandwich, the Sakatuckets at Mashpee, the Mattakees at 
Barnstable, the Nobsquassets at Yarmouth, the Monamoys at Chatham, and the 
Nausets at Eastham. The islands at the south were also included. 

3 " The devastation wrought by the disease was horrible . . . and strange to 
say, the Namaskets, who were in the centre of the path followed by the pesti- 
lence, were spared, the deluge of death dividing at that point and depopulating 
the country on each side of them." Goodwin's Pilgrim Republic, p. 136. 

See Isaac Backus in vol, iii of the Mass. Hist. Soc. Coll. p. 148. 

" When Edward Winslow and Stephen Hopkins sent out their two messengers 
to visit Massasoit at Mount Hope, in July, 1621, they lodged the first night at 
Namasket, where so many Indians had died a few years before that the living 
could not bury the dead, but their skulls and bones appeared in many places 
where their dead had been." Prince's Chronology, p. 106. 


River, upon the borders of Assawampsett Pond, and Titicut, not 
far from where the Nemasket empties into the Taunton River. 

It was a characteristic of all of the North American Indians 
to select for their settlements the most sightly and beautiful 
locations in the country, where there was plenty of water for 
fishing and a broad outlook over their hunting-grounds. This 
seems to have been especially true of the Nemasket Indians. 
Their principal settlement was at Muttock, on the bank of 
the high hill on the westerly side of the river. There was an 
abundance of fish in the river below, across which they had 
erected a fish weir near the site of the present dam. Numer- 
ous springs of sweet water were at the base of the hill, and 
the land adjoining was fruitful and well adapted for their corn 

The settlements at Assawampsett were upon the borders 
of the beautiful inland lakes and upon the high ground sur- 
rounding. At Titicut they extended along the banks of both 
sides of the river ; the site of the wigwam of their sachem was 
probably upon what is now known as Fort Hill. The Indians 
living about Middleboro ponds were in the habit of going to 
New Bedford for the purpose of obtaining shellfish, and their 
path was the old pond road leading from Assawampsett Pond 
to New Bedford. 

At this time the Indians lived in wigwams, built of poles, 
which, fastened together at the top, formed a circle from fif- 
teen to twenty feet in diameter. These poles were covered 
with skins of bear or deer, and a hole was left in the top for the 
smoke to escape. The ground upon which the wigwam stood 
was usually hollowed some three or four feet in the centre, and 
in the middle a fire was built for cooking purposes ; the earthen 
floor was covered with mats or skins, while at the doorway hung 
a skin which was drawn back during the day, but dropped at 
night and secured by placing a stick against it. In the centre 
of the village stood the wigwam of the chief, painted with his 
totem, and others were placed around it, so near that conversa- 
tion could be heard from one to another. This continued to 
be the home of the Indians for almost a century, until they 

i62o] INDIANS 3 

adopted many of the customs of civilized life and it gave 
place to the cabin, or hut, which formed a much more com- 
fortable shelter from the storm and snow of winter. The site 
of the chief's wigwam at Muttock may still be seen upon the 
top of what is known as Oliver's Walk. 

The dress of the Indians consisted of moccasins made of 
the skins of animals caught or killed in their hunting expedi- 
tions, breeches made of deerskin, and a kind of blanket made 
of deer or bear skin, which they threw over their shoulders. 
They wore nothing upon their heads, and as they gradually 
adopted the ways of civilized life, they were accustomed to wear 
whatever clothing could be obtained from the whites. 

From the earliest times they secured much of their food by 
fishing^ and hunting. Maize or corn,^ raised in corn gardens, 

1 They used nets made of bark from a species of wlllovv-tree, and of rushes and 
strong grass. 

2 The following legend of the first growth of corn is interesting : — 

" Mon-do-min, an old hunter of the Wampanoag tribe, sat one night alone in his 
wigwam, on the shores of the Nemasket River. The night was dark and stormy, 
for Ke-che No-din, the Spirit of the Wind, was very angry, and threatened to tear 
up the oaks on the banks of the river and scatter them on the ground. Mon-do- 
min was old and lame ; his wigwam stood far apart from all the others ; he could 
no longer hunt the wild deer, or bear ; he was very weak, and fainting with hunger, 
for he had not tasted food for many days. Then he looked up to the Great Spirit 
for help, and said, ' Oh, Great Spirit ! Shah-wain-ne-me-shin ! Have pity upon 
me, and look down out of your window in the southern sky, and send me help 
from your home in the ish-pe-ming [heavens].' Presently he heard a fluttering 
among the long poles at the top of his wigwam. He looked, and, lo ! a partridge 
[be-nah-nah] was caught among the poles, and could not escape. Mon-do-min 
took the partridge in his hand, and said, ' Now has the Great Spirit had pity 
upon me, and sent me food, that I may not die of hunger.' So he kindled a fire 
and prepared to dress the partridge for food. Presently, amid the pauses of the 
storm, Mon-do-min heard cries of distress. It was a woman's voice, crying bit- 
terly ; she had lost her way in the forest, and was crouching, for shelter, beneath 
the cover of the Great Rock, close by the door of his wigwam. Mon-do-min has- 
tened, with all the strength that his old and trembling limbs would permit, and 
found the woman. He raised her up, brought her into his wigwam, laid her on 
his own bed of bearskins, and chafed her bruised limbs (for she had fallen from 
the rock), and tried to restore warmth to her shivering frame. He then took the 
partridge he had prepared for his own nourishment and said, ' My sister, this 
is what the Great Spirit had given me to eat, when I was perishing with hunger. 
Take it ; it is thine ; there is not enough for thee and for me. Thou wilt live ; but 
I must die. Thus has the Great Spirit spoken. But remember me, when thou 


was an important article of diet, and the woods of the country 
abounded with wild cherries, wild plums, beach-plums, wild 
gooseberries, strawberries, huckleberries, raspberries, and black- 
berries. The soil was loosened by a sharp wooden stick ; a fish, 
usually a herring, was buried at a depth of five or six inches, 
covered by about two inches of soil, then a few kernels of 
corn were planted, pressed down hard, and this, being fertil- 
ized by the decayed fish, produced an ' abundant crop. When 
ripened it was shelled and dried, then placed in baskets and 
stored in pits in the earth, called "caches." It was pounded 
to meal in the stone mortars with pestles. Their food was 
often prepared in this way : — 

" It is generally boiled maize or Indian corn, mixed with 
kidney-beans, or sometimes without. Also they frequently 
boil in this pottage fish and flesh of all sorts, either new 
taken or dried, as shad, eels, alewives, or a kind of herring, 
or any other sort of fish. But they dry, mostly, those sorts be- 
fore mentioned. These they cut in pieces, bones and all, and 

seest one alone and perishing, as thou wert, and do to them as I have done to 
thee. Farewell, I shall not see thee again till we meet in the Country of Souls.' 

" Mon-do-min said no more. He laid himself down on the cold earth for his 
couch, and that night the Great Spirit took him to his dwelling, in the Country 
of Souls. 

" In the morning the woman awoke from her slumbers calm and refreshed, and 
looked, and saw Mon-do-min dead in the bottom of the wigwam. Then she arose, 
and went and called the chiefs of the tribe, and they came and buried Mon-do- 
min on the bank of the river, close by where his wigwam had stood. 

" When the Moon of Leaves [June] had come, they went, and behold ! the 
ground around the grave of Mon-do-min was covered with fine, springing shoots, 
like grass ; only the leaves were broader, and more beautiful in the sun. Then 
they wondered, and said, ' What is this that we see .' this that is growing around 
the grave of Mon-do-min?' And while they wondered, lo ! from a bright cloud 
that stood just above them, the Great Spirit spoke and said, ' My children, listen 
to what I have to say to you to-day. This that you see shall be food for you to 
eat, when it shall be ripened into full ears of grain. It shall be called Mon-do- 
min [corn]. It shall be called by his name, for his kindness to the poor and perish- 
ing one, that stormy night, when he brought her into his own wigwam, and gave 
her of his own food to eat, when he was himself perishing with hunger. And 
you shall tell it to your children, and your children's children, in all your tribes, 
when you see the green corn waving by the Lake of White Stones [Assawamp- 
sett] and the river of the Nemaskets.' " 

i62o] INDIANS 5 

boil them in the aforesaid pottage. Also they boil in this 
fermenty all sorts of flesh "they take in hunting, as venison, 
beaver, bears flesh, moose, otters, raccoons, or any kind that 
they take in hunting, cutting this flesh in small pieces, and 
boiling it as aforesaid. Also they mix with the said pottage 
several sorts of roots, as Jerusalem artichokes, and ground 
nuts, and other roots, and pompions, and squashes, and also 
several sorts of nuts or masts, as oak acorns, chestnuts, 
walnuts ; these husked, and dried, and powdered, they thicken 
their pottage therewith. Also sometimes they beat their maize 
into meal, and sift it through a basket, made for that purpose. 
With this meal they make bread, baking it in the ashes, cover- 
ing the dough with leaves. Sometimes they make of their 
meal a small sort of cakes, and boil them. They make also a 
certain sort of meal of parched maize ; this meal they call 
nokake. It is so sweet, toothsome, and hearty, that an Indian 
will travel many days with no other food but this meal, which 
he eateth as he needs and after it drinketh water. And for 
this end, when they travel a journey, or go a-hunting, they 
carry this nokake in a basket or bag, for their use."^ 

" The Indians have an art of drying their chestnuts, and so 
to preserve them in their barnes for a daintie all the yeare. 
Akornes, also, they drie, and, in case of want of Come, by 
much boiling they make a good dish of them ; yea, sometimes 
in plentie of Corne doe they eate thes Acornes for a novelty."^ 

Women were held in great contempt, and were obliged to do 
all of the hard work. The wife had to skin and dress the deer 
killed by her husband, prepare the food which he devoured, 
leaving for her only what he did not care for, and work in the 
field while he smoked comfortably at home. 

The men were brave, courageous, fierce, and revengeful, 
"much addicted to lying ^ and speaking untruth," with little 

^ Xew England Historical and Genealogical Register, vol. iii, p. 216. 

^ Roger Williams's " Key into the Language of America," in R. I. Hist. Coll. 
vol. i, p. 90. 

^ The following is an Indian account of the origin of this trait of character : — 

" When the Pale Face came across the Big Waters [Te-che Gah-me], there 
were straight paths running all through our forests. Our warriors walked in them. 
They were very narrow. But our warriors' feet went straight forward. It did not 
hurt them to walk in straight, narrow paths. But the Pale Face could not walk 
in them. His toes turned out ; he was trying to walk two ways at once. He 


regard for honor. With few tools, they were yet ingenious 
and skilful. They kept time by the sun and moon, and were 
observers of the stars. They were superstitious, submitting to 
their priests or "powahs " in their worship of many gods, the 
chief of whom were Kiehtan, the creator and giver of good 
hereafter, and Alamacho, the evil spirit. They believed that 
evil spirits always settled where the dark spirit Death, whom 
they called " Pau-guk," had been. They burned the wigwam 
to send away these spirits, and if they thought him near, 
would do their utmost to drive him away, beating drums, 
throwing hot water into the air, and making unearthly noises. 
The whip-poor-will was believed to be a messenger from the 
other world, and on hearing his mournful note they would cry, 
"Be still ! it is the bird from the Spiritland." 

Their principal burying-ground was on Muttock Hill. At 
sunset they would carry the body of the dead, wrapped in 
furs or mats, to the grave. A basket of meat was placed at his 
head, a pot of water at his feet, and his moccasins were in his 
hand. If he were a rich man, his jewels and wampum were 
buried with him. They then marched around the grave, chant- 
ing in solemn words, " Go on thy journey, brother. 'T is late 
and the sun is set. We will keep the fire for travellers burn- 
ing to light thee on thy way. We have put food before thee 
for thy journey and moccasins for thy feet. Fear not, for the 
dark roaring river thou must cross. Step lightly over and go 
on thy journey." 

After filling the grave, they built afire at the head and kept 
it burning four days and nights. They believed his desolate jour- 
could not walk straight. His ways were crooked. He taught our people to steal. 
He came creeping into our wigwams at night. He crept in like a mouse that nib- 
bles the children's corn. He had long fingers — so long that they would reach to 
the bottom of the sugar mo-ko-ks [birch-bark boxes]. He stole all the women's 
sugar out of them, made of the juice of the maple-tree. And when our people 
told him of this, and he opened his mouth to speak, we saw that he had two 
tongues. One tongue laid very still ; the other moved very fast. The lying tongue 
walked very fast. The Indian no longer walks straight, he has learned to walk two 
ways at once, like the Pale Face. The tongue that spoke the truth stands still. 
The lying tongue walks very fast. It is like the brook that runs over the stones. 
None can stop its babblings." 

i66o] INDIANS 7 

ney through a prairie, where he was hable to lose his way, was 
without Hght save from this fire. If he had been a murderer, 
he was attacked by snakes, wild beasts, and evil spirits until 
he reached the banks of the Spirit River. This he crossed on 
a floating pole, guided by Meno Manito, the Master of Life, to 
the Happy Hunting-Ground. The wicked spirits could not 
follow, but the current took them away from him to the prairie. 

For half a century after the landing of the pilgrims at Plym- 
outh, the friendly relations which had been established be- 
tween the whites and the good king Massasoit continued. The 
two races for the most part lived together in peace and har- 
mony, the white settlers being careful to see that exact justice 
was done to the Indians, and that all of their rights of person 
and property should be fairly protected. Whenever a white 
man offended an Indian he was immediately brought to jus- 
tice, and compelled by the laws of the colony to make ample 
and full reparation, or suffer punishment for the offence com- 
mitted, and the Indians were obliged to submit to the same 
laws that governed the whites. 

Massasoit died of the plague in the year 1660, and was suc- 
ceeded by his son, Wamsutta. There is a touching incident 
related by Mr. Hubbard, that not long before the death of 
Massasoit, the aged chief came to Mr. Brown, who lived not far 
from Mount Hope in Rhode Island, and brought his two sons, 
desiring that there might be love and amity between them, as 
there had been between himself and the whites. It seems, 
however, that upon the accession of Alexander he failed to 
obey his father's injunction, and Mr. Hubbard further says 
that " he had neither affection to the person nor to the reli- 
gion of the whites." ^ 

In the year 1656 his two sons presented themselves before 
the court at Plymouth and desired that English names might 
be given them. Wamsutta, the eldest, was afterwards called 
Alexander, and Pometicon was then given the name of Philip. 
Some two years after the death of his father, although Alex- 
ander had become a party to the league with the whites and 

^ Hubbard's Indian Wars in New England, Drake's edition, pp. 46, 47. 



had received many benefits therefrom, rumors came that he 
was plotting with the Narragansetts against the EngHsh. At 
length these rumors became so numerous that he was sum- 
moned to Plymouth for an explanation. He was said to have 
been temporarily visiting on the shores of a pond in Halifax, 
but as he did not immediately respond, Governor Bradford and 
some others of the colony sought an interview. He had some 
excuse for not earlier obeying the command, but consented to 


(From Harper's Ttlonthly Mii^azine, vol. 71, p. S15. Copyrighted, 1SS5, by Harper & Bros.) 

return with them. A little later, a satisfactory interview was 
held in Duxbury, and the party returned to Plymouth, Alex- 
ander informing them that he was to go to Boston. A few 
days after, he stopped at the house of Winslow, in Marshfield, 
where he was taken sick. From here he was carried by his 
attendants to Governor Bradford's house in Plymouth. His 
sickness continuing, his people bore him across the country 
through Plymouth and Middleboro to the wading-place, then 
along the Titicut path a little below the weir at Pratt's bridge, 
where they embarked in canoes, but he died before reaching 


his homc.^ It was alleged that his death was hastened by ill 
treatment which he received at the hands of the English 
while in Marshfield and Plymouth, and that this was one of 
the causes of King Philip's War, which occurred some years 
later. There is, however, no proof of this charge. 

On the death of Alexander, which occurred in July, 1662, 
Philip became the chief sachem of all of the Pokanokets, and 
one of his first acts was to appear before the court at Plym- 
outh and earnestly request a continuance of the amity which 
had existed between the whites and his father, promising to 
endeavor in all things to carry himself inoffensively and peace- 
ably toward the English. This compact was witnessed by five 
of his chiefs. It is said that this was undoubtedly an act of 
treachery on the part of Philip, but it had the effect of allaying 
the suspicions which had been for some time excited in the 
colony. (See chapter on King Philip's War.) 

The territory ruled by King Philip was the greater part 
of southeastern Massachusetts, including a portion of Rhode 
Island. This was divided among various sub-chiefs, who held 
sway over the different local tribes. Among these was Paman- 
taquash, or, as he was familiarly known, the pond sachem, 
whose domain was the country near the ponds. 

About six years after Philip's accession, in 1668, this pond 
sachem, by an instrument which was recognized as binding by 
the court at Plymouth, bequeathed his rulership to Tispequin, 
the black sachem, a chieftain of great power and notoriety, 
of whom we shall speak hereafter. This will was written by 
Nathaniel Morton, secretary of the colony, and Samuel Spray. 
It is as follows : — 

" Witneseth these presents, Pamantaquash, the pond Sachem, 
being weak in body but of perfect disposeing memory, declared 
it to be his last will and Testament, concerning all his lands at 
Assawamsett, or elsewhere, that he is now possessed of, that 

he would after his desease leave them unto his , Tuspe- 

quin, alius the black Sachem, for his life, and after the sd Tus- 
pequin his decease unto Soquontamouk, alius William, his sone, 

1 Between June 13 and August 26(N. S.). Plymouth Colony Records, vol. iv, 
pp. 16,25. 


and to his heires forever, and desired several 1 of his men that 
were then about him to take notice of it and be witnesses of it 
if he should not live himself to doe the writing under his owne 

This instrument was witnessed by Paempohut, alias Joseph, 
Sam Harry, alias Matwatacka, Wosako, alias Harry, and Felix, 
alias Nanauatanate. 

The following is an interesting copy from the records in 
Plymouth : — 

"The land that the said Pamantaquash challenges, the names 
of the places . . . said witnesses have made description . . . 
followeth Pachamaquast, Wekam, . . . Nekatatacouck, Set- 
nessnett, Anec . . . path that goes from Cushenett to . . . 
goes through it : 

" Wacagasaness : Wacom . . , Quamakeckett, Tokopis- 
sett ; Maspenn . . . Wampaketatekam : Caskakachesquash 
Wachpusk, ester side of ye pond : p . . . Pachest ; soe or 
Namassakett riuer Pasamasatuate. 

" Harry and his sone Sam, Harry, desiers that neither Tus- 
paquin nor his sone be prest to sell the said lands ... by any 
English or others whatsouer. 

"The lands Mentioned which Tuspequin posesseth. Ha . . . 
Wosako, wch is long as he lives. 

" 29 October, 1668. 

" Wapetom, his mark. 
" Wasnukesett, his mark." 

Chickataubut was one of the " great sachems " among the 
Massachusetts Indians. He was styled the " greatest sagamore 
in the country." " His territory did extend from Nishamago- 
guanett, near Duxbury mill, to Titicut near Taunton and to 
Nunckatateset, a pond of considerable size in the southwestern 
portion of Bridgewater adjoining Raynham and from thence in 
a straight line to Wanamampuke which is the head of Charles 
River." ^ Who was his father, or how he obtained this rule, 
has not come down to us. He was one of the nine sachems who 
signed the Articles of Submission to King James on the 13th 
of September, 162 1, and Governor Dudley said of him, in 163 1, 

1 New England Historical and Genealogical Register, vol. iii, p. 332. 

1631-69] INDIANS I I 

that " he least favoreth the whites of any of the sagamores that 
we are acquainted with by reason of the old quarrel in Plymouth 
wherein he lost seven of his best men." However, the whole 
intercourse of this chief with the Massachusetts colonies seems 
to have been friendly. He, with his squaw, visited Boston as the 
guest of Governor Dudley, and presented the governor with a 
hogshead of corn. He died of smallpox in the month of Novem- 
ber, 1633. His favorite resort was Titicut, and his land com- 
prised three miles on each side of the river, which was granted 
by his son Wampatuck to the Indians in Titicut before 1644. 

Wampatuck, called Josiah Wampatuck, succeeded him in his 
rule. During his minority, Mr. Gookin says, " he was bred up 
by his uncle Kuchamakin, a sachem, who resided at Nepon- 
set." He is mentioned as one of three sachems who, on the 5th 
of February, 1643-44, came to the governor of Massachusetts 
Colony in their own name, and " in the names of all the sachems 
of Watchusett and all of the Indians from Merrimack to Tecti- 
cutt, and tendered themselves " to the Massachusetts governor, 
and gave him thirty fathoms of wampum and promised to come 
to the court when it next met. The governor agreed " to 
accept their presents until the court came in, and if the court 
and they did agree then to accept them." Upon the coming in 
of the court, this was approved, it being stated that they desired 
"to be received upon our protection and government upon the 
same terms that the other Indians had been." The subsequent 
conduct of his uncle gave much anxiety to the colony. Under 
his influence, Josiah Wampatuck seems to have acquired much 
of the impetuosity and fickleness which characterized his after 
life. He at one time professed to be one of the praying In- 
dians, but afterwards turned apostate and separated from them, 
although he seems to have been a faithful friend of the whites, 
and in 1662 made extensive grants of land in Middleboro. We 
find him, however, in 1669, joining in the war between the 
Indians of New England and the Mohawk Indians as the chief 
sachem. This, however, proved a failure, and the Massachu- 
setts warriors were obliged to retreat, leaving a large number of 
their slain upon the different battlefields. He was among the 


dead, and left a son Jeremy, who became a sachem in 1671. 
He left a son Charles Josiah, who was the last of his race.^ 

Tispequin, the black sachem, who inherited the lands from 
the pond sachem, made many conveyances in Middleboro to 
the early settlers of this and adjoining towns. (See chapter on 
Early Purchases.) He was a fearless and able chieftain, one of 
the leaders in King Philip's War, upon whom Philip relied more 
than upon any of the sagamores of the country. He had mar- 
ried a daughter of Massasoit, and was a brother-in-law of Philip. 
Notwithstanding his numerous dealings with the whites, he 
never became accustomed to their ways or accepted their re- 
ligious faith. In the later years of his life his residence was 
outside of Middleboro, and from his personal relations with 
King Philip, it is not surprising that he became his confidant 
and most trusted warrior. It is a little remarkable that, con- 
sidering his influence and position, he did not succeed in in- 
ducing more of the Indians of the town to join Philip in the 
Indian war for the extermination of the whites in 1675. He had 
all of the malignity and cruel disposition of the most savage 
and bloodthirsty of his race, and notwithstanding all of the 
dealings he had had with the white settlers within his domain, 
it is not improbable that during the years in which these con- 
veyances of land were so freely given, he was meditating a 
plot in connection with Philip for the utter extermination of 
the whites, hoping thus eventually to regain the land conveyed. 
Upon the breaking out of the war he was the leader of most, if 
not all, of the savage exploits and terrible massacres in the old 
colony. (See chapter on King Philip's War.) What became of 
his son William, who would have been his legal successor as 
chieftain of the tribes of southeastern Massachusetts, is un- 
known. His other son, Benjamin, died from the effects of a 
wound received in battle during this war. One of Benjamin's 
daughters, it is said, married an Indian by the name of Ouam, 
whose daughter received sufficient education to be at one time 
a school-teacher among the few remaining children of her tribe. 

1 Drake's Book of the Indians, Book II, pp. 44-45 ; N'eio Englattd Histoi-ical 
and Genealogical Register, vol. iii, pp. 339-340. 

1673] INDIANS 1 3 

In a deed dated 1673,^ wherein he made a gift to John Sas- 
samon of certain land at Assawampsett, he is called Old Tis- 
pequin. The descendants from Tispequin were called Squins, 
a corruption of the great sachem's name. 

In 1793 the tribe had so diminished that there were but 
eight families living in their Indian houses at Betty's Neck. 
There were in these eight families between thirty and forty 
Indians, who were poor and improvident, and who became very 
intemperate, the corn and rye raised on their land being usually 
sold for liquor. They obtained a meagre subsistence by the 
sale of brooms and baskets which they manufactured.^ This 
tribe is now reduced in numbers to a single family. 

Beside the Indian burial ground on Muttock Hill there was 
undoubtedly an ancient place of burial at the Four Corners, near 
the site of the house of the late Allen Shaw on Main Street, 
and a little to the east of the residence of the late Colonel Peter 
H. Peirce on the other side of the street. In 1826, in making 
an excavation for the cellar of Mr. Shaw's house, Indian remains 
were found in a sitting posture. One of the skeletons had a brass 
kettle over his head, and his body had been profusely deco- 
rated with beads and other ornaments. These evidently were 
of English manufacture, and had probably been procured at 
Plymouth. Upon the farm of the late Ellis Weston, about half 
a mile from the Lower Factory, was an Indian settlement, which 
is indicated by the very rich black soil in circular spots, as 
though it had been under the wigwams. In ploughing fields in 
this neighborhood numerous arrowheads, battle-axes, and spears 
have been found. 

Some few years ago the water was drawn off from a pond 
made by an artificial dam, leaving exposed a large number of 
tree stumps in a perfect state of preservation ; against one of 
these stumps was found leaning a skeleton of an Indian chief 
with the remains of various implements of warfare, which had 
probably been buried with him. The skeleton was given by 
Mr. Weston to Professor J. W. P. Jenks, and was afterwards ■ 

1 History of PlytnoHth Colony, Lakeville, p. 292. 

2 From notes of Nehemiah Bennett, Mass. Hist. Soc. Coll. vol. 35. 


moved to the Museum of Brown University. A large number 
of arrowheads, spears, and stone axes have also been found 
about the high ground on the east of Assawampsett Pond. 

Ben Simonds was the last of the full-blooded Indians who 
lived at Assawampsett. Upon his death he was buried in a 
cemetery in the westerly part of Lakeville, and a small gran- 
ite obelisk was erected by Mr. Levi Reed, which bears this 
inscription : — 

" In Memory of Ben Simonds, the last male of the native 
Indians of Middleboro. He was a Revolutionary soldier. Died 
May, 183 1, aged eighty years." 




NE purpose of the early settlers in both Massachu- 
setts and Plymouth Colony m leaving the old coun- 
try and enduring the hardships of the New World was 
to teach the gospel to the Indians of America. The 
Massachusetts charter takes notice of it, and letters from the 
settlers to their friends frequently refer to this purpose, show- 
ing that not a little was done in their endeavors to christianize 
the Indians in that province. The submission of the five great 
sachems to the jurisdiction of Massachusetts did much towards 
preparing for this laudable undertaking. Some of them had 
expressed the wish "to suffer their children to learn God's 
Word ; " "To worship Him aright and worship Him in their own 
way." An order was passed November 13, 1644, that the col- 
ony should take care that the Indians residing in their several 
shires should be civilized, and instructed in the knowledge of 
the Word of God.i 

In Plymouth Colony we find the same high motive in the 
reasons set forth by the pilgrims for leaving Holland, the 
country which had protected them from the persecutions of 
their native land. " Fifthly and last and which was not the 
least a great hope and inward zeal they had of laying some 
good foundation, or at least to make some way thereunto for 
the propagation and advancement of the Gospel of the King- 
dom of Christ, although they should be but as stepping stones 
unto others for the performance of so great a work." ^ 

In order further to carry on this work, Governor Winslow,^ 
in July, 1649, was instrumental in forming a society for propa- 

1 Barry's History of Massachusetts, vol. i, p. 350. 

2 Neiv England Memorial, p. 12. 
^ Ibid., Appendix, p. 3S0. 


NcDskurfKesukqjur q.. utt i 6 n ata m u n a'ch -keo-AM 5 n o n k- 
"^Peu nmooutch_J^iikkeH:a33u4;arriooK~ kiii^nan4:dmeen 

(From Eliot's Indian Bible) 

gating the gospel in New England, while ministers in the 
mother country stirred up their congregations to contribute 
liberally for its support. A correspondence was held with the 
commissioners of the United Colonies as agents, and at one 
time over seven hundred pounds a year was raised for the use 
of this society. As a result of these contributions, which were 
carefully distributed, not only was an attempt made to intro- 
duce a change in the customs and dress of the natives, but 
teachers were appointed to carry out the work of instruction. 
How well this work was done may be inferred from the fact 
that in 1674^ there were in Plymouth Colony four hundred 
and ninety-seven praying Indians. Of this number, seventy- 
two could write, one hundred and forty-two could read the In- 
dian language, as it had been reduced to writing by Eliot, and 
nine could read English. In addition to this number, there 
were about one hundred children in the Indian schools in the 
colony, who were being taught not only to speak English, but 
to read and write. 

The Indians who early embraced Christianity were from the 
smaller tribes about Boston, the Cape, and Plymouth Colony, 
while the larger tribes and the prominent chieftains of New 
England were never in sympathy with this work. Massasoit, 
although always friendly with the whites, cared nothing for their 
religion, and was much opposed to its being introduced among 
his tribes; when the whites were negotiating for lands in 
Swansea, he endeavored to have them promise never to con- 
vert any of his subjects to Christianity. The successful Indian 
missionary, Eliot, at one time tried to make a convert of Philip, 

1 Winsor's Duxbmy, p. 75; also Gookin's "Historical Collections," in Mass. 
Hist. Soc. Coll. vol. i, p. 141. 


but he, taking hold of a button of his coat, said, " I do not care 
for your religion more than I care for that button." 

Of the Indian teachers and preachers whose names have 
come down to us, John Sassamon ^ was by far the ablest and 
best educated. He taught for a while at Natick, under the 
apostle Eliot, with such success that Eliot advised that his ser- 
vices should be paid for by the London society. He was settled 
as pastor and teacher over the church at Nemasket, and often 
taught and preached at Assawampsett and Titicut. His grave 
is supposed to be in an old Indian burial-ground on the south- 
ern shore of Assawampsett Pond. 

The membership in the Indian churches shows how earnest 
and faithful must have been the labors and the exemplary 
christian character of the descendants of the pilgrims living in 
Middleboro, who without a pastor themselves, did such effective 
missionary work. These churches adopted a form of church 
government ; deacons and officers were appointed by the differ- 
ent tribes to adjust and settle matters of dispute and difficul- 
ties between them ; they had their own schoolmaster, and con- 
stables to enforce the orders and the decrees of their officials.^ 

^ For further account, see chapter on King Philip's War. 

2 Whether the attempt to establish a local government by the Indians for their 
own protection, which was instituted by Eliot for the Indians of Natick and Nonan- 
tum in connection with his schools and the establishment of christian churches, 
ever was adopted in Plymouth Colony may be a matter of doubt, but the employ- 
ment of the more intelligent christian Indians as teachers and preachers was al- 
ways acceptable to them and esteemed a great honor. They probably held courts 
in Barnstable for the adjustment of their rights and the punishment of crimes. 

Some amusing anecdotes of Indian justice and its administration have come 
down to us. The following warrant from an Indian court in Barnstable County 
was issued by one of the Indian magistrates to an Indian constable, and its con- 
ciseness and absence of unnecessary words are quite noticeable. 
This was the form of the warrant : — 
"I Hihoudi, 
You Peter Waterman, 
Jeremy Wicket; 
Quick you take him. 
Fast you hold him, 
Straight you bring him, 
Before me, Hihoudi." 
Davis, ed., New England Memorial, p. 415. 


There were three churches, one in Nemasket, one in Titicut, 
and one in Assawampsett, with about thirty members in each ; 
the membership of the church at Assawampsett is said to have 
numbered thirty-five.^ They had places of worship of their 
own, although only the site of that in Titicut on Pleasant 
Street, near the centre of the parish, can now be identified ; 
the Nemasket meeting-house was burned, with the larger por- 
tion of the dwelling-houses, at the time of the war ; the Old 
Pond Church was probably on the site of the Assawampsett 
meeting-house. Their pastors were devoted christian men, with 
a good knowledge of the scriptures, whose teaching and influ- 
ence were so beneficial in promoting friendship between the 
tribes and the whites that at the outbreak of the war most of 
them remained loyal to their white friends ; many following 
them to Plymouth and some joining the different companies 
against King Philip. Without this friendship, the entire colony 
must have been wiped out, and yet, in spite of this fact, they 
were distrusted by many. 

In 1689 Rev. Grindal Rawson of Mendon and Rev. Samuel 
Danforth of Taunton were appointed by the society to visit 
the several Indian settlements in the old colony. They re- 
ported " 20 houses and 80 persons at Assawampsit and Ouit- 
taub [probably Nemasket] John Hiacoomes preacher and 
constant schoolmaster at Kehtehticut are 40 adults to whom 
Charles Aham preaches also Jocelyn preacher." ^ After the 
war and abandonment of their church organization, the pray- 
ing Indians of Nemasket worshipped with the First Church, 
where a place was provided for them in the gallery. We have 
no further records of the church at Assawampsett, although 
it probably continued for some time. The church at Titicut 
was apparently well sustained until after the middle of the 
eighteenth century. Rev. Mr. Treat occasionally visited the 
Indians of this section, and labored earnestly for their spiritual 
welfare. Rev. John Cotton, pastor of the church at Plymouth, 
instructed them from the scriptures of the Old and New 

1 Goodwin's Pilgrim Republic, p. 536. 

2 Mass. Hist. Soc. Coll. vol. x, p. 134. 


Testament. Most of the Indians at this time had learned to 
read the Bible and the books which the apostle Eliot had 
translated into their language. Some of them could write, and 
not a few could speak and even write the English language. 

Richard Bourne of Sandwich, another minister, who often 
visited them, wrote on the ist of July, 1674,^ of the Plymouth 
Colony Indians : — 

"There is good hopes of diverse of them. Some of them 
being lately dead, having given a good testimony of their being 
in the faith, and so lifting up their souls to Christ as their 
Saviour and their All in All, as diverse of the well affected 
English know, and have been present among some of them 
that departed this life. I was with one of them, the last sum- 
mer, that had been sick for a long time, and I staid with him 
near one whole day, and there came from him very heavenly 
and savory expressions. One passage I will make bold to in- 
sert, the which is this : That he, being very sick, not expecting 
the continuance of his life, told me that his wife did much 
solicit him to forsake God and live, forasmuch as many that 
were not praying Indians were not so afflicted as he was. But 
he, using those words in Job II : 9, 10, gave her this answer: 
That he would cleave to God, altho' he died, rather than live 
and forsake Him." 

Governor Hinckley, in a report made by him concerning the 
praying Indians of the colony, says : — 

"Their manner is not to accept any to be praying Indians 
or Christians, but such as do, before some of their magistrates 
or civil rulers, renounce their former heathenish manners, and 
give up themselves to be praying Indians ; neither do they 
choose any other than such to bear any office among them. 
They keep their courts in several places, living so far distant 
one from another. Especially the four chief places often de- 
sire my help amongst them, at their courts, and often do 
appeal from the sentence of the Indian Judges, to my deter- 
mination, in which they quietly rest, whereby I have much 
trouble and expense of time among them, but if God please to 
bless my endeavours to bring them to more civility and Chris- 
tianity, I shall account my time and pains well spent. A great 
obstruction whereunto is the great appetite many of the young 

^ Mass. Hist. Soc. Coll. vol. i, p. 198, ist series. 


generation have after strong liquors, and the covetous evil 
humour of sundry of our EngHsh, in furnishing them there- 
with, notwithstanding all the courts orders and means used to 
prohibit the same." ^ 

In 1746 the praying Indians in Titicut had given lands for 
the meeting-house, although at that time no action had been 
taken by the General Court to confirm the grant, which by a law 
of the colony was necessary, and no title could be confirmed 
until those steps had been taken. 

These three Indians, James Thomas, John Ahanton, and 
Stephen David, contributed thirty-eight and three quarters 
acres to the parish in Titicut, and the land included the site 
of the present meeting-house and parsonage, the public green, 
and the cemetery.^ These grants were afterwards duly con- 
firmed by the General Court. 

Mr. Joshua Fobes has left on record that one at least of 
the three Indians was buried in the village cemetery, and he 
remembered the spot pointed out to him as the grave of James 
Thomas. Those connected with these churches were desirous 
of receiving spiritual instruction, and in their deportment 
showed that they were endeavoring to lead a godly life. They 
had great respect for the christian men and women living in 
that community, and seemed to look to them for an example 
of what their conduct and behavior should be. 

When Rev. Isaac Backus came to Titicut as preacher, 
Nehemiah Abiel, Thomas Felix, and John Simons were pastors 
there, of whom he writes, " John Simons was the minister of 
the Indian church and continued for nearly ten years," ^at the 
end of which most of the Indians had disappeared, and their 
remaining land was sold in 1 760. 

1 Mass. Hist. Soc. Coll. vol, v, p. 134, 4th series. 

2 Emery, History of North Middleboro Church., p. 15. 

3 Ibid. p. 8. 



N 1619 Sir Ferdinand Gorges sent an expedition to 
look after certain fishing and fur interests which 
Captain John Smith had established two years before. 
Thomas Dermer, one of Smith's captains, was in 
charge of the expedition, with instructions to join one Rocroft 
on the Maine coast. On arriving, he found that Rocroft had 
gone to Virginia. He sent his ship of two hundred tons home, 
laden with furs and fish ; then with a few men and Tisquan- 
tum, or Squanto, as guide, proceeded to explore the country 
in a small boat from the Kennebec to Cape Cod. He went 
to Tisquantum's native place, Patuxet, and of this he says, 
" When I arrived at my savage's native country, finding all 
dead I travelled almost a day's journey westward to a place 
called Namasket, where finding inhabitants, I despatched a 
messenger a day's journey west to Pokanoket, which border- 
eth on the sea, whence came to see me two kings attended 
with a guard of fifty armed men, who being well satisfied with 
what my savage and I discoursed unto them, and being desir- 
ous of novelty, gave me content in whatsoever I demanded." 

On this trip he rescued two Frenchmen, who had been 
wrecked several years before. They had been subjected to a 
life of slavery since their capture ; a third had lived with them 
for a time, then had married, but soon after died and was 
buried with his child.^ Of the two survivors, one was found 
in Nemasket, the other at Massachusetts Bay. The natives 
were hostile to the Englishmen, and later would have killed 

1 " The pilgrims discovered the grave of this man. On opening it, they found a 
bow between two mats, a painted board shaped like a trident, bowls, trays, dishes, 
etc., and two bundles which proved to be the bones of a man with fine yellow 
hair and a child. This caused much interest, as it showed them that white people 
had been there before them." Goodwin's Pilgrim Republic, p. 78. 


Dermer had not Tisquantum interfered. After varied adven- 
tures he set sail for Virginia with the two Frenchmen, leaving 
Squantoat " Tawahquatook " Satucket, now Brewster. 

Two years later Sqiianto's services were required as guide 
by the pilgrims, who sent two of their number to Massasoit, 
"the greatest commander among the savages." They desired 
to ascertain where these Indians under the rule of Massasoit 
were, discover their strength, and make amends for any inju- 
ries which had been done. They also wished to continue their 
league of friendship and peace. Stephen Hopkins and Edward 
Winslow were chosen for this purpose. With Squanto as inter- 
preter, and a gift consisting of a coat of red cotton and lace 
to propitiate the chief, they set out at nine o'clock on the 
morning of July 13, 162 1. They planned to spend the night at 
" Namaschet, a Town under Massasoyt," which they thought 
but a short distance from Patuxet, but found to be about fif- 
teen miles away. They fell in with several men, women, and 
children, who insisted on following them, much to their annoy- 
ance. At about three o'clock they reached " Namaschet," and 
were most cordially entertained by the inhabitants. They gave 
them an abundant repast of Spawn of shad, a kind of bread 
called " maizium," and boiled musty acorns. As their journey's 
end was still more than a day's travel, Tisquantum advised 
their going a few miles further that night to a place where 
they would find a larger store of food. At sunset they reached 
a camp, where they halted and prepared to spend the night 
in the open fields, as there was no shelter. They found the 
Namascheuks (the name given to the people of Namaschet) 
fishing upon a weir they had made on the river (probably the 
old Indian weir at Titicut on Taunton River). Winslow wrote 
of this river,^ " The head of the river is reported to be not far 
from the place of our abode. Upon it are and have been many 
towns, it being a good length. The ground is very good on 
both sides, it being for the most part cleared. Thousands of 
men have lived there, which died in a great plague not long 
since ; and pity it was and is to see so many goodly fields and 

1 Young's Chronicles of the Pilgrims, pp. 204-206. 


SO well seated, without men to dress and manure the same. 
Upon this river dwelleth Massasoit. It cometh into the sea at 
the Narrobigganset Bay, where the Frenchmen so much use." 
The messengers reached Massasoit on July 4, faint and 
weary. They had given generously of their food to the natives 
on the way, expecting to find an abundance with the chief. 
Unfortunately for his guests, he had little or nothing for them, 
so, worn and hungry, they sought rest with their royal host. 
Massasoit shared with them his bed, which consisted of a 
wooden platform a foot from the ground covered with a thin 
mat ; the guests slept at one side, he and his wife at the 
other, with two of his men close by. In such uncomfortable 
quarters they passed the night. The Indian custom of singing 
themselves to sleep was not as conducive to slumber for the 
whites as for the natives. The next day Massasoit gave them 
fish to eat, and early in the morning of the day following they 
set out for home. Winslow writes : " That night we reached 
to the wear where we lay before ; but the Namascheuks were 
returned, so that we had no hope of anything there. One of 
the savages had shot a shad in the water, and a small squirrel, 
as big as a rat, called a neuxis ; the one half of either he gave 
us, and after went to the wear to fish. From hence we wrote to 
Plymouth and sent Tockamahamon before to Namasket, will- 
ing him from thence to send another, that he might meet us 
with food at Namasket. Two men now only remained with us ; 
and it pleased God to give them good store of fish, so that we 
were well refreshed. After supper we went to rest, and they 
to fishing again. More they gat, and fell to eating afresh, and 
retained sufficient ready roast for all our breakfasts. About 
two o'clock in the morning, arose a great storm of wind, rain, 
lijrhtnino: and thunder, in such violent manner that we could 
not keep in our fire ; and had the savages not roasted fish when 
we were asleep, we had set forward fasting ; for the rain still 
continued with great violence, even the whole day through, 
till we came within two miles of home. Being wet and weary, 
at length we came to Namaschet.''^ On their arrival they were 

1 Young's Chronicles of the Pilgrims, p. 212. 


urged to spend the night, but in spite of the weather they passed 
on, and reached home in safety. 

A month later startHng news came to New Plymouth, Mas- 
sasoit, their friend and ally, had been driven from the country 
by the Narragansetts, and one of his sachems, Corbitant, chief 
of the Pocassets, was in command. He was known to be hostile 
to the white men, and did all in his power to break the treaty 
made between Massasoit and the settlers. At this time Ne- 
masket again became the scene of a meeting between the 
Indians and the English ; for this sachem lived here, and in his 
chieftain's absence sought by every means to weaken Massa- 
soit's influence, destroy his new allies, and raise himself to power. 

As soon as the colonists heard the news, they sent Hobomok 
and Squanto to ascertain Massasoit's whereabouts, and to ob- 
serve carefully the plans and actions of Corbitant and his fol- 
lowers. These emissaries proceeded as secretly as possible to 
" Namaschet," planning to spend the night there, but Corbi- 
tant, discovering their hiding-place, attacked the house, seized 
Squanto and his companion, and threatened them with death 
on account of their friendship with the white men. He had 
said that if Squanto were dead, " the English had lost their 
tongue," and was about to kill them both, when Hobomok, 
owing to his great strength, escaped from them, and dashed 
past the guard out of the wigwam. Making his way as rapidly 
as possible toward Plymouth, he related his experience and the 
manner of his escape, as well as his fears for Squanto's life. 

On hearing this news, realizing the hatred and fury of their 
enemy, the governor called a council to consider what was best 
for them to do. They took it for granted that Squanto had been 
killed, and appointed Miles Standish, with a little company of 
men, to avenge his death at Nemasket and quell the insurrec- 
tion against their ally, Massasoit. Standish and his men, with 
Hobomok as guide, set out for the "kingdom of Namaschet" 
on the 24th of August. They marched through the woods, 
in spite of a heavy rain, to within three or four miles of Ne- 
masket. Here they had been ordered to wait until night, that 
they might approach the town unobserved. While they rested. 


Standish called them together to plan their method of attack 
and to give each man his orders. His instructions had been 
to surprise the town at night and take all who had been con- 
cerned in the seizure of Squanto. If it was found that he had 
been killed, Corbitant was to be beheaded at once, and his 
assistant, Nepeof, a sachem, who had joined in the rebellion, was 
to be held as hostage until Massasoit was heard from. 

Midnight seemed the best time for the attack. They had not 
advanced far on the march when they discovered that the guide 
had lost his way. They were weary and drenched with the rain, 
and well-nigh discouraged, but one of the party, who had been 
to the place before, was able to lead them in the right direction. 
Before they reached there, they ate what food they had, threw 
away their knapsacks and baggage, and advanced to the house 
where they knew Corbitant had been staying. The sound of 
the wind and rain completely concealed the coming of Standish 
and his men, the Indians at this time having no thought of the 
pursuit of one of their chieftains. In the middle of the night 
they surrounded what was supposed to be the wigwam of Cor- 
bitant. It was filled with a large number of his braves, and 
Standish, with his known courage, suddenly burst open the 
door and rushed in among them. As they awoke at the sound 
of his voice and footsteps, they were paralyzed with fear and 
terror, and some endeavored to conceal themselves by hiding 
under the skins of the wigwam. Others attempted to escape 
through the door, but were intercepted. Some of the Indians, 
having heard that Standish never made war upon their squaws, 
most piteously cried out, " Don't hurt me, I am a squaw, I am 
a squaw ! " While they were making a fire and searching the 
wigwam, Hobomok climbed to the roof and called for Squanto 
and Tockamahamon, who came with many others, some having 
weapons, which were taken from them, to be returned later, 
and the object of the journey was explained to them. Standish 
then released all the savages whom they had seized, after hear- 
ing of Corbitant's departure. The next day they took breakfast 
with Squanto, while all of the friendly Indians gathered near, 
and again they spoke of their intentions against the hostile 


Indians, threatening to destroy Corbitant and his followers if 
they continued to instigate trouble against them and against 
their friend and ally, Massasoit, or if he should not return in 
safety from Narragansett, or if Squanto or any other of Massa- 
soit's subjects should be killed. 

After renewing their offers of friendship, even agreeing to 
take with them those who had been wounded, that Dr. Fuller, 
their physician, might dress their wounds and care for them, 
they returned home the next day, accompanied by Squanto and 
other friendly Indians with the three who were hurt, having so 
impressed the natives with their bravery that ever afterward 
Standish was an object of especial terror. This first warlike 
expedition of the pilgrims in New England thus becomes the 
first event of importance in Middleboro history. 

In January of the next year Governor Bradford found it 
necessary to buy corn, and an expedition was sent to Mano- 
met and to Nemasket. The Indian women were prevented by 
sickness from carrying all the corn from Nemasket, and the 
remainder was taken by the pilgrims to Plymouth. 

In March news came to Plymouth that Massasoit was on 
his death-bed. In accordance with the Indian custom of friends 
visiting the sick one before his death, the pilgrims decided to 
send one of their number to the chief's home, and Edward 
Winslow was chosen. He was accompanied by an Englishman 
desirous of seeing the country, Hampden by name, and by 
Hobomok as guide. With numerous medicines and cordials for 
the chief, they set out, and spent the first night at Nemasket. 
After visiting Massasoit, they remained a night with Corbitant 
at " Mattapuyet," and then proceeded to Nemasket, where 
they again stayed over night. 

In the year 1633 Sir Christopher Gardner lived on the banks 
of the Nemasket, after his departure from England in disgrace. 
He had sent a petition to the king alleging various charges 
against the Plymouth and Massachusetts Bay colonies, which 
were denied by the governors, and the petition was dismissed 
by the king. In England he had been a gentleman of influ- 
ence, a knight of the Holy Sepulchre at Jerusalem, and a 


connection of the Bishop of Winchester, but a zealous papist 
in disguise. When he came into the colony he was accompa- 
nied by one or two servants, and it was understood that he had 
given up all worldly pursuits and would live a godly life in hum- 
ble circumstances. He had applied for admission to several 
churches, but was refused on account of his questionable char- 
acter. The authorities of Massachusetts Bay had attempted to 
arrest him, but he had eluded their pursuit, and was living 
with the Indians at Nemasket. Becoming suspicious, they gave 
information to the governor, who authorized his seizure, and 
directed that he be brought uninjured to Boston. The Indians 
saw him near the river and attempted to capture him, but he 
escaped in a canoe. Armed with a musket and rapier, he kept 
them at bay until the canoe was upset upon a rock and his 
weapons lost. He continued to defend himself with a small 
dagger, which they finally succeeded in knocking from his 
hands, and he was made prisoner. He was taken to Governor 
Winthrop, in Boston, who afterwards sent him to England to 
meet the criminal charges there pending against him. 

The settlers in Plymouth undoubtedly passed through Mid- 
dleboro on expeditions to Taunton and elsewhere, but until 
about ten years before the Twenty-six Men's Purchase there 
were probably no permanent residents. 

John Winthrop, Jr., who accompanied an expedition from 
the Narragansett Bay up the Taunton River in 1636, sailed up 
the river as far as Titicut, as appears by the following letter 
to his father : — 

Saybrook, Pasbeshuke, April 7, 1636. 
From John Winthrop, to the Right Worshipful and Much 

Honored Father, John Winthrop, who dwells in Boston. 

Sir: — My humble duty remembered to yourself and my 
mother, with love to my brothers and all of our friends with 
you. I suppose you have heard of our arrival at Titiquet, an 
opportune meeting with our vessels. Concerning that place I 
conceive it is about 22 or 23 miles from Waliston. Very fer- 
tile and rich land and so far as we went down it grew wide 
into Sachems Harbor and a ship of 500 tons may go up to 
about ten or twelve miles. There is no meadow or salt marsh 
all the way. The first of the month we set sail from Naragan- 


set and in the evening about six o'clock arrived there. Thus 
craving your prayers and blessings I commend you to the 
Almighty and rest, 

Your obedient son, 

' John Winthror. 

He evidently sailed up the river as far as the wading-place 
at Pratt's Bridge, as the river is navigable for small ships of 
not more than five hundred tons up to that point. There is 
no record, however, that he and his party did more than make 
a temporary landing at this place. 

In 1637 a settlement was made at Titicut, bordering on 
the westerly side of Middleboro, by Miss Elizabeth Poole and 
her associates. She was the daughter of Sir William Poole, a 
knight of Colcombe, in the parish of Coliton, Devon, England. 
The records of the parish say that she was baptized August 25, 
1588. This land was sometimes called the Titicut purchase, 
not because it was bought of the Indians residing there, but 
from the fact that it was within the original Indian reserva- 
tion, which had been conveyed to her and her associates be- 
fore it had been reserved for the exclusive use of the Indians. 
Her purchase was between the bounds of Cohan ett (the former 
name of Taunton) and the Titicut weir, and bordered upon 
what subsequently became the western boundary line of Mid- 
dleboro between Poquoy Brook and Baiting Brook. Those who 
settled here about the time of Miss Poole's purchase were 
her brother, William Poole, Mr. John Gilbert, Sr., Mr. Henry 
Andrews, John Strong, John Dean, Walter Dean, and Edward 
Case, who, the ne.xt year, were made freemen in Plymouth 
Colony. The territory which she purchased was known for 
some time as Littleworth farm and Shute farm, and the re- 
cords state that it was here Miss Poole lost many cattle. The 
original purchase of Miss Poole ultimately became a portion of 
Taunton, and other farms purchased by her and her associates 
were often referred to in the early records as Meerneed, Bare- 
need, Cotley, and Pondsbrook, in accordance with the English 
custom. Bareneed was given to the farm of Edward Case and 
Pondsbrook to that of John Gilbert. . 



LTHOUGH Middleboro was only fifteen miles from 
Plymouth and halfway on the Indian Path to the 
Taunton settlement, it was more than forty years 
after the landing of the pilgrims before the whites 
came to dwell there in large numbers. There were from fifteen 
to twenty thousand Indians within forty miles of Plymouth, 
and probably more in Middleboro than in any other part of the 

For fifteen years after the early settlers came here to live, 
the territory was a part of Plymouth, and they were described 
as residents of that town ; but after its incorporation in 1669, 
they were known as "residing in Middleberry." They were 
mostly the sons or the grandsons of the pilgrims, and united 
their sturdy virtues and habits of industry with their enter- 
prise and courage. Their fathers had conquered many of the 
difficulties attending the first coming, and had become ac- 
customed to the new life on these western shores. 

Many of them had not only engaged in trading with the 
Indians in different parts of the country, but had purchased 
large tracts of land, which were being occupied, and there were 
not a few among their number who had already acquired a 
competence. The colony had been settled long enough for 
the people to begin to be attached to the place where they 
had been born and reared ; this younger generation knew no- 
thing of the luxuries, turmoil, and political distractions of the 
Old World, except what they had learned from their fathers 
and grandfathers. 

The population was increasing, although not as rapidly as 
that of Salem and of the Bay. The settlement of Middleboro 
was unlike that of other places, in that these men supposed 


that the town was to be occupied in common with the abo- 
rigines, who were then the owners of much of the land. We 
can but note what must have been their heroism in thus choos- 
ing homes among the red men of the forest, well knowing, 
as they did, their characteristics, and the inevitable dangers 
which would continually confront them. 

Their manner of living is of interest. Although many 
frame houses had been built in Plymouth and the older parts 
of the colony, all houses in Middleboro prior to the breaking 
out of King Philip's War were of hewn logs. The doors were 
made of plank, either sawed by hand or hewn, and logs were 
hewn upon three sides to form a level floor in the house. The 
fireplaces were usually built of stone laid in clay, and some 
of the chimneys were of green oak logs plastered with clay. 
The latches and hinges of the doors were made of wood ; the 
former were raised by a string extending through the door 
outside. The windows were usually small and placed high up 
from the ground. Oiled paper ^ set in a wooden frame admitted 
light into the windows, although in the better class of houses 
in Plymouth they had commenced using window-glass in small 
diamond shapes set in lead. 

For generations they obtained from their farms all that 
was necessary for the support of their families. Most of their 
clothing was made of flax and of wool from the sheep, the 
women being skilled in spinning and weaving, and the men 
often wore trousers made from skins of sheep, deer, or bear, 
which they tanned. 

Their simple food was served from the table, a long, nar- 
row board on standards not unlike sawhorses, called a table 
board, and the linen covering was called a "board cover," not a 
table cover till later. Napkins were many and necessary, as 
they had no forks. The food was frequently "spoon meat," 
i. e. soups, hashes, etc., which could be easily managed with 
spoons and knives. The pewter platters usually contained the 

1 Edward Winslow in his letter to George Morton, writing from Plymouth under 
date of December 11, 1621, says, " Bring paper and linseed oil for your windows, 
with cotton yarn for your lamps." Young's Chronicle of the Pilgrims, p. 237. 


meat and vegetables, and this metal was used for drinking- 
cups and porringers. One of the most important articles for 
the table was a trencher, a block of wood ten or twelve inches 
square, hollowed out three or four inches. A man and his 
wife ate from one trencher ; an old Connecticut deacon made 
a trencher for each of his children, but was condemned by his 
neighbors as extravagant. Myles Standish and others of the 
"first comers" used trenchers in their homes. In the centre 
of the table was placed the salt-cellar, and guests were seated 
" above the salt," near the host, who sat by his wife. No 
china ^ and but very little silver was used in the colony. The 
native corn meal became a staple article of food ; the morn- 
ing and evening meals for one hundred and fifty years were 
commonly of boiled Indian meal, "ye Indian porridge," with 
milk or molasses. The Indians taught them how to plant and 
raise the corn, and how to grind it between stones, or with the 
pestle and mortar. This method gave way to rude hand-mills, 
called quernes, and grist-mills. Corn was so highly regarded 
that it was often used for ballots in voting. Suppawn, a coarse 
porridge of corn and milk, samp, and succotash, an Indian 
dish, were favorite foods. Roger Williams wrote that " suts- 
quttahhash was corn seethed like beans." 

Squashes and beans were native vegetables. The former 
was spelled in various ways, " squanter-squashes," " squontor- 
squashes," "isquonker-squashes." They had not been accus- 
tomed to drinking much water, and at first feared it might be 
dangerous. Home-brewed ale and beer were drunk freely, and 
liquors and wines were brought to the town from Taunton 
and Plymouth ; later, as the orchards grew, cider became a 
popular drink, and Middleboro cider was famous. In spite of 
the free use of all these, a writer from Massachusetts in 1641 
said, "Drunkenness and profane swearing are but rare in this 
country." For coffee they used a substitute, made either from 
barley or from crusts of brown bread. For sugar they used 

^ "As tea and coffee were unknown to the Forefathers, the many Delft-ware 
tea and coffee pots and cups preserved as Pilgrim relics are to be regarded as 
anachronisms." Goodwin's Pilgrim Reptiblic, p. 5S8. 


sweet apples and the syrup obtained from beets and pump- 
kins. Herring, or alewives, were always abundant, and largely 
took the place of meat at their family meals. 

Although there were no schools in town until after the 
Indian War, the children were taught to " read, write and 
cipher ; " the Bible and a volume of Sternhold and Hopkins's 
Hymns, with the Bay Psalm Book and a few other books, 
could be found in almost every family. A study of their old 
primers well repays one interested in old books. At first the 
" good King Charles " was referred to, but after the Revo- 
lution we find books for children with the statement, " Kings 
and Queens are gaudy things." The New England Primer and 
their other books were as severe in binding as was the dress 
of the colonists, without decoration or ornament. 

Nearly all travel was on horseback. Women and children 
rode seated on a pillion behind a man. If several people were 
to make a journey, the ride-and-tie system was used. Certain 
ones would ride a distance, then tie the horse and walk on. 
The others would then take the horse and ride ahead, again 
leaving the horse for the two who were afoot. 

Many of the settlers brought with them from Plymouth 
articles of furniture which had either been made there or 
brought by their fathers from the old country. The bureaus, 
chests of drawers, etc., were on legs, so no dust could accumu- 
late underneath. Their homes were comfortable, neat, and tidy, 
although in the forests with savage surroundings. 

They often attended church at Plymouth, a distance of six- 
teen or more miles, going and returning the same day, until 
Samuel Fuller settled among them as preacher. They were 
honest, God-fearing men and women, having a clear know- 
ledge of the teachings of the scriptures, and a strong, abiding 
faith in the religion for which their fathers had suffered, leav- 
ing comforts and luxuries of the Old World. (See chapter on 
Social Customs.) 

In our review of these times we are never to forget the 
hardships which these men and women endured, without mur- 
mur or complaint, for more than a generation. The nearest 


settlements were Plymouth, Bridgewater, Taunton, and Dart- 
mouth, reached only by the narrow Indian paths for the most 
part through dense forests. Their houses were remote from 
neighbors and distant from friends, the usual communication 
being only by foot ; they were liable at any time to unexpected 
visits from the savages, who might not be friendly and who 
were addicted to thieving ; they had neither medical skill nor 
scientific knowledge, when sickness, as a result of hardship 
and exposure, so often entered their dwellings ; they had none 
of the luxuries, or what we consider to-day comforts, of life ; 
there was also the extreme danger from hostile Indians before 
King Philip's War, and the constant annoyance and depreda- 
tions from wolves and bears, which attacked not only their 
crops, but sometimes the settlers themselves. They were con- 
tented and happy in their simple habits and mode of living ; 
honest and industrious, frugal and thoughtful, many of them 
men of character and enterprise, whom their posterity, remem- 
bering their virtues, ever do well to honor. 

By the laws of the colony " none shall vote in town meetings 
but freemen or freeholders of 20 pounds ratable estate and of 
good conversation, having taken the oath of fidelitie."^ Those 
who had taken the oath of fidelity in town up to the uniting of 
the colonies in 1692 were but few, so that many of the expendi- 
tures and public acts were undertaken by the voters in connec- 
tion with the proprietors of the "liberties of the town," as the 
owners of land were then called, who were not all of them resi- 
dents. In 1677, after the return, a meeting was held, at which 
sixty-five of the proprietors and residents were present.^ 

As the town records were destroyed in the war, it is impos- 
sible to give an exact list of men living in Middleboro before 
1675. The number has heretofore been variously stated as 
sixteen, twenty, and twenty-six, but it is hardly probable that 
the court at Plymouth would have incorporated a town unless 
there had been a larger number of inhabitants. We give 

1 riyniouth Colony Records, Laws, vol. ii, Part III, p. 223. 

2 Old Middleboro Records, copy, p. 17. See also chapter on Civil History for 
list of names. 




below a list of forty-one who are known to have lived here, as 
the names are to be found in Plymouth records, in deeds, as 
office-holders and freemen, from records of births and deaths, 
as well as from reliable family note-books, and seven who were 
here according to generally accepted tradition. 

Samuel Barrows 
Edward Bump 
John Bump 
Joseph Bump 
Gershom Cobb o 
Francis Coombs x o 
William Clark 
George Dawson 
John Dunham x o 
Samuel Eaton x 
Zachariah Eddy 
Obadiah Eddy o 
Samuel Fuller 
John Haskall 
William Hoskins o 
Isaac Howland o 
John Irish o 
John Miller 
Francis Miller 
John Morton o 
John Morton, Jr. x 

X Freemen in 1670. 

John Nelson o 
William Nelson x 
Samuel Pratt 
Andrew Ring 
John Shaw 
David Thomas 
David Thomas, Jr. 
Ephraim Tinkham o 
Ephraim Tinkham, Jr. 
Ebenezer Tinkham 
John Tomson o 
John Tomson, Jr. 
George Vaughn o 
Joseph Vaughn 
Francis Walker 
Adam Wright 
Henry Wood x 
Samuel Wood o 
Jonathan Wood 
Joseph Wood 

o Office-holders before 1675. 

Of the seven following, four were in the fort, and are men- 
tioned in the "History of the First Church" in the list of those 
" who were here when the war broke out and who probably 
returned after the war : " — 

Francis Billington 
John Cobb 
John Holmes 
William Nelson, Jr. 

Jabez Warren 
Joseph Warren 
David Wood 

The following list of men in the fort was obtained from an 
old Eddy note-book quoted from Mercy Bennett, " whose grand- 
father was on the list and she had her information from him. 
This was confirmed from other sources : " — 


Commandant's Council 

John Tomson, Commandant 

Isaac Howland 

Francis Coombs 

Samuel Fuller 

John Morton 

Nathaniel Southworth ^ j 

Ephraim Tinkham 

Henry Wood '^ 

William Nelson 

David Thomas 

John Cobb 

Jabez W^arren 

Edward Bump 

Moses Simmons ^ 

Samuel Barrows 

Eaton {Samuel f) 

Francis Billington 
George Soule ^ 
Obadiah Eddy 
Samuel Pratt 
George Vaughan 
John Shaw 
Jacob Tomson 
Francis Miller 

Holmes {yohn f) 

John Alden ^ 

This list differs slightly from that given in the "History of 
the First Church :" Samuel Eddy ^ is mentioned in place of 
Obadiah, and John Howland ^ in place of John Holmes. 

Samuel Barrows was one of the early settlers of Middleboro, 
and before the breaking out of the war had built a dam across 

1 We find no record that these men were permanent residents of Middleboro. 
They were extensive land-owners and probably in town at that time. George 
Soule, Samuel P2ddy, and John Howland had children living here, and John Alden 
had a son in Bridgewater adjoining the Twenty-six Men's Purchase. For a 
sketch of their lives, see chapter on Early Purchases. 

Not a few of the inhabitants of the different towns of the colony lived for a 
longer or shorter time in other places without changing their legal residence, and 
this may account for some of the early settlers being in Middleboro before King 
Philip's War who at that time were citizens of other towns. 

2 As Henry Wood was not living, this probably refers to one of his sons. 


the Nemasket River some fifty rods above the present Star 
Mills, and erected a grist-mill, in which he worked. On the 
morning of the attack upon the town, after the Indian had 
been shot, he saw a band approaching the mill and fled to the 
fort uninjured. The records of the First Church of Middle- 
boro show that he had acquired a share in the Twenty-six 
Men's Purchase before the breaking out of the war. 

The pilgrim ancestor of the Barrows families in this country 
was John Borowe, or Barrow, from Yarmouth, ^ England, who 
came to Salem in 1637, at the age of twenty-eight years, with 
his wife Anne. In 1665 his name appears in the Plymouth 
records, in which town he resided from that time, and perhaps 
earlier, until his death in 1692. The Samuel Barrows above 
referred to was probably his son. Although his name does not 
appear in any of the published genealogies which we have 
examined, it has come down in so many ways that there can 
be no doubt that he resided in Middleboro at this time, and 
was among those who returned from Plymouth on the re-settle- 
ment of the town. 

Robert, the oldest son of John, married, in 1666, Ruth Bo- 
num, and later married Lydia, daughter of John Dunham. 
He had a son Samuel, born in 1672, who about the year 1700 

built a garrison 
house which is . 
still standing 
and known as 
the old Barrows house. He was elected deacon of the First 
Church in 1725. He married first, Mercy Coombs, who died in 
171 8, and then he married Joanna Smith. He died December 
30, 1755, aged eighty-three.^ 

Edward Bumpus. This name was originally spelled Bom- 
passe, now spelled Bumpas or Bump. He arrived at Plymouth 
in the Fortune, November 10, 1621, and moved to Duxbury, 
where he bought land of Mr. Palmer at Eagle Nest Creek and 

1 I\Tainc- Hist, and Gen. Register, vol. vii, pp. 136, 199. 

2 History of the First Church of Middleboro, p. 53. 

^^;^ -mcM^35<a.'^?'^^^«i^ 


built a house and palisado, which he sold in 1634, and moved to 
Marshfield. He resided in Middleboro in the latter part of his 
life, and was in the fort at the breaking out of King Philip's 
War. He was the father of several of this name who became 
permanent settlers in Middleboro. He was one of the original 
owners in the Twenty-six Men's Purchase and in the Purchade 
Purchase, and was among the proprietors of the liberties of 
Middleboro in 1677. He died February 3, 1693, and was then 

called "old Edward Bumpas." He married Hannah while 

living in Du.xbury. His children, as far as can now be ascer- 
tained, were Faith, born 163 1 ; Sarah ; John, born 1636; 

Edward, born 1638; Joseph, born 1639; Jacob, born 1644; 
Hannah, born 1646; Philip ; Thomas, born 1660.^ 

John Bumpus, the oldest son of Edward, was born in 1636. 
Few facts are given concerning him. In Church's " Enter- 
taining Passages Relating to King Philip's War," ^ an Indian 
by this name is mentioned as killing horses with Tispequin, 
and in a note we find, " There are respectable white people in 
Middleboro by this name from the ancestors of whom he may 
have derived his name." His children born in Middleboro 
were Mary, born 1671 ;'John, born 1673 ; Samuel, born 1676; 
James, born 1678. Other children were born in Rochester, 
where he lived later. 

Joseph Bumpus, son of Edward, was born in 1639, and 
lived in Middleboro later as "a. principal settler." His wife 
Weibra was one of the ori- 
ginal members of the First ^ ft n 
Church in 1694. Their chil- Q^^^fPfi V'lJlJYlf^^Q 
dren were Lydia, born 1669 ; rg^ 
Weibra, born 1672 ; Joseph, 

born 1674; Rebecca, born 1677; James, born 1679; Penelope, 
born 1681; Mary, born 1684; Mehitable, born 1691-92. He 
died February 10, 1704.^ 

1 Ba7-nstable Families, pp. 85, 86. ^ Page 144. 

3 Barnstable Families, p. 86. 


William Clark. Few facts are known concerning him. 
The Eddy note-book says his house,^ with that of Mr. Coombs, 
was burned in 1675, ^^^ ^^^^ William Hoskins lived with him 
as keeper of the records. 

There was a William Clark whose name appears on the 
treasurer's account for Plymouth Colony in 1660 and 1667, 
and there was a person by that name capable of bearing arms 
in 1643 in Duxbury and Plymouth ; he was on a committee to 
take the treasurer's account of the colony, June 7, 1674. He 
died in 1687. In 1655 a William Clark was constable of Dux- 
bury, surveyor of highways in 1659, admitted as a freeman 
in 1658, and was a constable in Plymouth in 1669. This may 
have been the Clark who subsequently moved to and lived in 
Middleboro in 1675, ^^^ of those for whom the Five Men's 
Purchase was made. 

Gershom Cobb, a son of Elder Henry Cobb of Barnstable, 
was born the loth of January, 1644-45, and at one time lived 
in Plymouth. He married Hannah Davis and became a resi- 
dent of Middleboro, but the date of his settling here is uncer- 
tain. He was constable in the year 167 1, and a member of the 
Grand Inquest in 1674. He was one of the settlers for whom 
the Sixteen Shilling Purchase was made. He was in Swansea 
at the first attack of the Indians upon that town at the begin- 
ning of King Philip's War, where he was killed with eight 
others, and was buried with them June 24, 1675. His brother 
John administered his estate, which was divided in equal por- 
tions to the children of Mr. Henry Cobb of Barnstable, except- 
ing John, the elder son, who had a double portion. ^ 

Francis Coombs was the son of John Coombs, who was in 
Plymouth in 1633 with his wife Sarah, a daughter of Cuthbert- 

1 In the records of the General Court in 1734, we find a petition of Cornelius 
Bennett and Lydia Miller, where it is stated " That about the year 1675 the 
dwelling house of the said Coombs and also the house where the keeper of the 
records in Middleboro lived was burned and the Indian deed was and is sup- 
posed to be burned also." Massachusetts Archives. 

2 Bariistable Families, p. 171, Cobb Genealogy. 


son. They had other children, but probably Francis was the 
oldest. He was in Middleboro as early as 1670, and was one of 
the men who took the inventory of the estate of Henry Wood. 
On July I, 1674,^ he exchanged four acres of land on the 
south of the Indian Path " which goeth from Namasket to 
Munhutehet Brook at the southerly end of land which he sold 
to Benjamin Church with Samuel Wood for the i6th lot on 
the west side of Namasket River, near the wading-place which 
was formerly Henry Wood's land, deceased." 

After the close of the war, he probably did not return for a 
year or two, but in 1678, when he was in Plymouth, he bought 
of Edward Gray for thirty-six pounds the i8th, 19th, and 20th 
lots on the west side of the Nemasket River between the stone 
weir and the wading-place. 

He also owned the 185th and i86th lots in the South Pur- 
chase and the 169th lot in the Sixteen Shilling Purchase. His 
inventory, which was taken January 5, 1682, by Isaac Howland 
and Samuel Wood, shows that he owned considerable real 
estate in town. 

He was a man of influence in Middleboro, and was a free- 
man in 1670. He was a selectman of the town in 1674, 1675, 
and 1680. In 1676 and 1677 he and Isaac Howland were ap- 
pointed commissioners to distribute charities from Ireland to 
such as were impoverished during King Philip's War. He was 
married twice ; his first wife was Deborah Morton ; his second 
wife was Mary Barker of Duxbury, who, upon the decease of 
Francis Coombs, married David Wood of Middleboro, in 1685. 
She was living in 17 11. He died in Middleboro, December 31, 
1682, leaving a wife and several children. 

The license to Francis Coombs to keep an ordinary or an 
inn was granted in 1678, and after his death was renewed to his 
wife, Mrs. Mary Coombs, July i, 1684. It was probably the 
same tavern which was kept seventy-five years ago or more by 
Captain Abner Barrows, and it is said that part of that house 
was perhaps a portion of the identical building of the Coombs 
tavern. 2 

1 Eddy Note-Book. ^ History of Plymouth County, p. 947. 


June 5, 1666, " liberty is granted by the General Court unto 
Francis Coombs as by right of his father who was an ancient 
freeman, to look out for land for his accommodation and to make 
report thereof to the court that so a competency thereof may 
be allowed unto him answerable unto other ancient freemen." ^ 

His children were Deborah, born 1673 ; Mercy, born 1674 ; 
Lydia, born 1679; Ruth, born i68i ; Francis, born 1682. 

George Danson lived in that part of Middleboro known 
as Thompson Road, somewhere between Danson Brook and 
the home of John Tomson.^ 

At one time he was "fined forty shillings^ for doing servill 
work on the Lord's Day." 

He was one of the original proprietors of the Sixteen Shil- 
ling Purchase. There is some uncertainty about his name. 
Hubbard speaks of him as Robert Dawson or Danson. In 
Plymouth County Records he is called George Danson of 
Middleboro.* In the Thompson book he is called William 
Danson. In Middleboro Records he is called George. The 
references are probably all to the same person.^ 

He was the owner of the 6th lot in the apportionment of 
the Twenty-six Men's Purchase before the breaking out of 
the war, as appears in the early records of the town, although 
his name is not among the owners of this land in the " History 
of the First Church of Middleboro." His name also appears 
on the list of proprietors who met, June 28, 1677, ^o take 
measures for the resettlement of the town. The clerk of that 
meeting evidently failed to record his death, and probably no 
administration had been taken upon his estate. 

He was shot by the Indians upon the breaking out of King 
Philip's War, at the brook which bears his name. He had 
been urged by John Tomson the night before to go to the 
garrison, but waited until morning. After starting, he stopped 
for his horse to drink, when he was shot. 

1 Plymouth Colony Records, vol. iv, p. 127. 2 Thompson Genealogy, p. 7. 

3 Plymouth Colony Records, vol. v, p. 156. * Ibid. vol. vi, p. 70. 

^ Hubbard's Indian Wars, vol. ii, p. 41. 


John, or Jonathan, Dunham, Jr., was a son of Deacon John. 
Dunham (generally spelled Donham) of Plymouth, who was a 
deputy to the General Court, and served in various offices in 
the colony^ of Plymouth ; he died March 2, 1669, at the age of 
eighty. His will bears date January 25, 1668. 

The son John, or Jonathan, bought into the Twenty-six Men's 
Purchase, and was a resident in 1670, his name appearing on 
the list of freemen of Middleboro for that year ; he was one of 
the Grand Inquest in 1671, and often served as one of the 
jurors in the trial of causes. He represented the town at the 
General Court "holden at Plymouth" in the month of Sep- 
tember, 1673, and was a constable of the town the same year;, 
he was one of the selectmen in 1674-75. I^ 1671 he was 
appointed as an inspector of ordinances in Middleboro "to 
prevent selling of powder to Indians and extensive drinking 
and report violence of this to the General Court, and to take 
notice of any abuse as may arise in reference to the premises 
or otherwise and make report thereof to the court." 

In 1656 he, with John Morton, Richard Wright, Samuel 
Eddy, and Francis Billington, "desired some portion of land to 
accommodate them for their posterity, and the court gave lib- 
erty unto them for that purpose. If found convenient, it shall 
be confirmed unto them for the ends aforesaid." 

He had a share of thirty acres of land on the western side 
of Nemasket River assigned to him by order of the court, June 
7, 1665. He owned land in different places in the Twelve 
Men's, Five Men's, Little Lotmen's, and Sixteen Shilling Pur- 
chases. In 1 67 1 his lands at Nemasket were laid out by Wil- 
liam Nelson and William Crow. 

His first wife was Mary, a daughter of Philip Delano, whom 
he married November 29, 165 5. ^ His second wife was Mary, 
a daughter of Elder Henry Cobb, and a sister of Gershom 
and John Cobb. 

Some time after the resettlement of the town, he probably 
moved to Plymouth, where he became a minister to the In- 
dians, and afterwards to Edgartown, previous to 1684. He was 

1 Savage, vol. ii, p. 81. '^ Barnstable Families, p. 171. 


not installed over the church there until October 11, 1694, 
when,i it is said, he came from Plymouth, and the pastor of 
that town, with a delegate, was present at his installation. His 
.salary was thirty pounds per annum, in addition to which the 
town made him various grants of land for his cattle, and half 
share on the common land. He was highly esteemed for his 
piety and his personal qualities, and died December 17, 171 8, 
at the age of eighty-five years. On his tombstone behind Tower 
Hill are these quaint lines : — 

" With toil and pains at first he tilled the ground; 
Called to God's Vineyard, and was faithful found; 
Full thirty years, the Gospel he did dispense, 
His work being done, Christ Jesus called him hence." ^ 

Samuel Eaton was a son of Francis Eaton, a passenger in 
the Mayflower, a carpenter by trade, who moved from Plymouth 
to Duxbury, where he died in 1633, insolvent. 

Samuel was born in England or 
Holland in 1620, and was one of 
the two passengers in the May- 
flower who became residents of 
Middleboro. Governor Bradford, 
in the appendix of his "History 
_ of the Plimoth Plantation," m a 

J^^ note concerning Francis Eaton, 

THE MAYFLOWER ^^^^ spcaks of Samucl : " His 

sone Samuell who came over a 
suckling child is allso maried and hath a child." He was ap- 
prenticed for seven years to John Cook the younger. Before 
moving to Middleboro he resided for some time in Duxbury. 
He was a resident of the town before the breaking out of 
King Philip's War, and returned after its close. He was admit- 
ted as a freeman in 1670, and was among the purchasers of 
the town of Dartmouth in 1652, and of Bridgewater. In 165 1 
"the court admonished Samuel Eaton and Goodwife Hall 

1 Barber, ITisL Coll. p. 152. 

2 Historical Discojtrse, by Rev. John H. Hall, November 6, 1878 ; Barber, Hist. 
'Coll. p. 1 52. 


of Duxbury for mixed dancing." ^ He died at Middleboro in 
1684. His estate was appraised at thirty-seven pounds, eleven 
shillings.^ He was twice married ; his second wife was Mar- 
tha Billington, a daughter of Francis BiUington ; his son, 
Samuel Eaton, was one of the original members of the First 
Church, and married a daughter of the first pastor, Rev. Sam- 
uel Fuller. 

Zachariah Eddy^ was the second son of Samuel, born 
in 1639. H!e married Alice Paddock, May 7, 1663, and for 
his second wife, Abigail Smith. During his boyhood he was 
apprenticed to Mr. John Brown, a shipwright of Rehoboth, 
until he was twenty-one years of age. He was propounded for 
admission as a freeman by the court at Plymouth, June 16, 
1 68 1, but there is no record of his ever having been admitted. 
He was living in Middleboro in 1665. His house stood on the 
twelve acres granted him by the court near what was known as 
Eddy's Furnace.'^ This house afterwards came into possession 
of Dr. Palmer's family. In 1670 his name appears with fifty- 
four others upon an instrument by which they consented to 
become inhabitants of Swansea, according to the terms pre- 
viously agreed upon between the church and Captain Thomas 
Willett, the original patentee of the land included in the town- 
ship, and in the allotment of this land under the peculiar plan 
the settlers there adopted, his name appears under the second 
rank entitled to receive two acres of land, but when he removed 
his residence to that town is unknown. He died in Swansea, 
September 4, 171 8, at the age of seventy-eight years. 

1 Goodwin, Pilgrim Republic, p. 598. "^ Eddy Note-Book. 

3 Eddy Genealogy, p. 115. 

* " June the 7"^, 1665. The Court hauegraunted vnto Sachariah Eedey a smale 
gussett of land Iving betwixt his land and the brooke from his house below the 
path to Namassakett vnto the aforsaid brooke vnto a bridge or way neare vnto 
Willam Nelsons house ; the said psell of land soe bounded as aforsaid is graunted 
vnto the said Sachariah Eedey, to him and his heires and assignes for euer, with 
all the appurtenances belonging thervnto, on condition that the said Sachariah 
Eedey doe continew a bridge neare his house, in the place where it is needed, for 
horse and cart, for the vse of the country, for the full tearme of twenty years from 
the date heerof." Plymouth Colony Records, vol. v, p. 128. 


Obadiah Eddy, a son of Samuel Eddy/ inherited that por- 
tion of his father's land assigned from the Twenty-six Men's 
Purchase, where he was living at the breaking out of the 
war. He with his children took refuge in the fort, and when 
the garrison was abandoned, moved to Plymouth, where he 
remained for a short time. He was one of the first settlers to 
return, and rebuilt his house near the site of the first house (in 
that part of Middleboro now Halifax, near Winnetuxet River, 
in the field of Nathan Fuller), the cellar of which can be seen. 
He was admitted a freeman, June 3, 1683 ; was a constable 
in 1679, 1681, 1683, and 1689. In 1673, 1679, and 1681 he was 
a member of the Grand Inquest; in 1692 was a surveyor of 
highways, and in 1690 one of the selectmen. He was one of 
the jurors to lay out a road from Middleboro, Bridgewater, 
and other places toward Boston in 1683. 

He died in 1722, aged seventy-seven years, and divided his 
estate among his seven children. 

Samuel Fuller. — See chapter on Ecclesiastical History. 

John Haskell was born about 1640, and married Patience, 
a daughter of George Soule, in January, 1666. In the will of 
George Soule, bearing date August 11, 1677, it is stated : "I 
have formerly given to my daughters, Elizabeth and Patience, 
all of my lands in the township of Middleberry," and in a cod- 
icil, bearing date the 20th day of September, he refers to the 
lands he had given "his daughter Patience at Namasket allies 
Middleberry." vSome portion of the estate of George Soule 
was evidently owned in common with Francis Walker, who 
had married his daughter Elizabeth. 

He lived in Middleboro before the year 1670, as the town 
records show birth of children between that time and the year 
1684. He was one of twelve who were freemen before the 

1 There is a tradition that the name Eddy originated in the fact that a person 
by the name of John lived near the eddy of a river and was familiarly known as 
John of the eddy or John by the eddy. The name occurs in the early records of 
the colony spelled variously, as Edy, Edye, Eddie, Edie, and Eedey. 


year 1689, and was a large owner of real estate in the Twenty- 
six Men's Purchase and other purchases. At one time he 
owned, with his brother-in-law, Francis Walker, a tract of 
land bounded by Raven Brook and the Indian Path, which 
included the pasture land and swamp later owned by Joshua 
Eddy, Esq.^ 

He died May 15, 1706, aged sixty-six years. His wife, Pa- 
tience, bought the old meeting-house in 1701. She died March 
15. 1705- 

William Hoskins came from England about 1633, and 
was one of the freemen that year. He married Sarah Cush- 
man, and as a second wife, Ann Hynes, or Hinds. 

There is but little doubt that upon the incorporation of 
Middleboro as a town, in 1669, he was chosen town clerk, and 
continued in that office until 1693, although there is no official 
record of his election before May 24, 1681.^ At that time he 
was unanimously chosen to that office. His first election can- 
not be verified, as all of the town records were destroyed dur- 
ing the Indian War. He lived in Middleboro before the Indian 
War, in the house of William Clark, and kept the original 
deed and records of the Prince and Coombs Purchase, and 
probably the records of the town. He is one of the soldiers 
" from Middleboro " who took part in the war, and was pro- 
mised a grant of land for his services at Narragansett. 

His name is on the list of those who, on June 3, 1662, applied 
to the General Court at Plymouth in reference to a grant 
to be made to them as being the first-born children of this 
government, and for disposing of two several tracts of land 
lately purchased, the one by Major Winslow and the other by 
Captain Southworth. He was on the jury with John Tomson 
and Sergeant Epb^'aim Tinkham to try an Indian for murder 
in 1674. February 6, 1665, he was appointed administrator of 
the estate of Nicholas Hodgis, alias Miller, deceased. He had 
received a grant of land in Lakenham. 

1 Eddy Note-Book. 

2 Eddy A'ote-Book says he was town clerk, 1674-75. 


He was one of the men in the Twenty-six Men's Purchase 
and also in the Purchade Purchase, but at the breaking out of 
the war he does not appear to have been an owner in any 
portion of that land. His name is among the former proprie- 
tors of the liberties of Middleboro, but before 1677 his interest 
therein passed to George Vaughan, Sr. He lived in Scituate, 
Plymouth, and Taunton, and in 1680 was "grown old and 

His children were Sarah, born September 16, 1636; William, 
born November 30, 1647; Samuel, born August 8, 1654. 

Isaac Howland, the youngest son of John Howland of the 
Mayflower, lived on the western side of the road, opposite the 

house of the late Thomas 

/I /fy /pC\ /) c Pratt. He was a leader of 

Jf/OjXC Ji OVU COJW^f^.. public affairs, and town meet- 
ings were often held at his 
home. He owned land on which the present town house 
stands, and also in the Sixteen Shilling and Twenty-six Men's 
Purchases. When the families moved to the fort, Isaac How- 
land was ordered by Lieutenant Tomson to shoot the Indian 
who appeared upon the rock on the other side of the river. 
He was the first in the commandant's council, probably the 
man upon whom Lieutenant Tomson chiefly relied for advice 
when the garrison were in the fort, and he served with great 
bravery under Captain Church during the war. 

He married Elizabeth, daughter of George Vaughan, and in 
1684 kept an inn.^ His name is one of the most prominent in 
the early history as holding many offices, tie was representative 
in 1689, 1690, and 1691. He died March 9, 1724, aged seventy- 

His children were Seth, born November 28, 1677; Isaac, 
born March 6, 1678 ; Priscilla, born August 22, 1681 ; Eliza- 
beth, born December 2, 1682; Nathan, born January 17, 1687; 
Jael, born October 13, 1688 ; Susanna, born October 14, 1690; 
Hannah, born October 16, 1694. 

^ Savage, vol. ii, p. 479. "^ Eddy Afemora?ida. 


John Irish, the son of John and Elizabeth Irish, in his youth 
lived in Duxbury, and was the servant mentioned in the last 
will of Captain Myles Standish. In 1640 his father had a " mear- 
stead"^ granted to him, and in 1641 a tract of land at Stony 
Brook. In the Pequot War he was a volunteer, but was not 
called into active service. His business seems to have been 
that of a roper. As one of the proprietors of Bridgewater and 
an owner in the Sixteen Shilling and Eight Men's Purchases, 
he was a resident of Middleboro as early as 1671, and con- 
stable of the town in 1672. He lived on land now known as 
the Sturtevant Place, and in the division of the Twenty-six 
Men's Purchase he was assigned the nth lot, which was on 
the north side of Taunton Path. In May, 1708, he married a 
sister of Captain Church. ^ He passed the later years of his 
life in Little Compton. 

Francis Miller is mentioned as one of the men who were- 
in town when King Philip's War began, and in the garrison, 
but we find no trace of his history before or after that, except- 
ing that he was killed by the Indians, probably during the war. 
There is a monument erected to his memory at the Green 
Cemetery, on which is written : — 

" Francis Miller was one of the householders driven back to 
Plymouth from Middleborough by the Indians in 1675." 

John Miller was born in England, in 1624, and died May 
II, 1720, in the ninety-seventh year of his age. His monu- 
ment is at the Green Cemetery. He was a member of the 
Grand Inquest in 1672, and was among the proprietors of 
the Twenty-six Men's Purchase at their meeting in 1677. 
He bought a house-lot of Edward Gray previous to April 29, 
1678 ; he owned lot 154 in the South Purchase, and was one 
of the owners in the Sixteen Shilling Purchase. He lived on 
Thompson Street, not far from the brook, near the house of 
the late Elijah Shaw; the site of his house is still pointed out. 

1 Winsor's History of Duxbury, p. 273. 

2 Savage, vol. ii, p. 525. 


John Miller married ^ Mercy . Their son John was 

born in 1669, in Middleboro, 

^^c^'n^ yi^^'^ety^ f>ujt^- and died in 1727. He mar- 
ried Lydia Coombs. 

John Morton was the second son of George Morton, who 
lived in Austerfield, Yorkshire, the home of Governor Bradford. 
George early joined the pilgrims at Leyden, and came to 
America in the Anne, landing at Plymouth in 1623 ; he mar- 
ried Juliana Carpenter,^ a sister-in-law of Governor Bradford, 
and died in Plymouth, June, 1624. His eldest son, Nathaniel, 
was a secretary of Plymouth Colony for more than forty years, 

until his death in 1685. John, his third 
fj<'n^ '■^yiX/Of^^''^^ child and second son, was born at 
Leyden, 1616-17, and came with his 
parents in the Anne. He was admitted a freeman of the 
Colony June 7, 1648, was a constable in Plymouth in 1654, a 
member of the Grand Inquest in 1660, a deputy of the General 
Court from Plymouth in 1662, assessor in 1664, selectman in 
1666, and a collector of taxes in 1668.^ He was a freeman of 
Middleboro in 1670. 

He moved from Plymouth to Middleboro a little before 1670, 
and soon after became a proprietor of the land in the Twenty- 
six Men's, the Sixteen Shilling, the Little Lotmen's, and the 
Five Men's Purchases. In 1670 he was the first representa- 
tive to the General Court from the town, and held that office 
until his death, October 3, 1673. -J^l^ 

He married, in the year 1648, Lettice .* She after- 
wards became the second wife of Andrew Ring, and died Feb- 
ruary 22, 1691. Soon after he moved from Plymouth to Middle- 
boro, he built a house near the river, the site of which is still 
pointed out, and aside from the large amount of real estate in 
the vicinity of his house, he held a tract of land of about fifty 
acres not far from the house of the late Dr. Sturtevant. 

1 Gen. Register, 51, p. 192. 2 Jlfo7-ton A/emora7ida, p. 17. 

3 Ibid. p. 25. 

* She may have been Lettice Hanford, widow of Edward Foster of Scituate. 
Ibid. p. 26. 


The inventory of his estate was taken in 1673 by George 
Vaughan and two other residents of the town. He was a man 
much esteemed for his intelligence and good judgment, and 
left numerous descendants prominent in the various walks of 
life, among whom was the Hon. Marcus Morton, a judge of 
the Supreme Court and governor of the commonwealth, and 
his son, Marcus Morton, Jr., chief justice of the Supreme Court. 

Volume viii, Plymouth Colony Records, page 35, speaks of 
him as follows : — 

" John Morton, Senir. of Middleberry, died on the third of 
October, 1673 ; hee was a godly man, and was much lamented 
by sundry of the inhabitants of that place. It pleased God, not- 
withstanding, to put a period to his life, after a longe sicknes 
and sometimes som . . . hopes of recouery." 

Lot 8 in the Sixteen Shilling Purchase was assigned to his 
wife, Lettice Morton, in the original apportionment of this 
purchase in 1675. 

John Morton, Jr., the oldest son of his father, was born at 
Plymouth, December 21, 1650, and with his father probably 
moved to Middleboro not far from the 

year 1670. He was remarkably well edu- '^CvC* ^-yjXf^'y-t*''^ 
cated for a man of the period, and it is 

said kept the first public school in America at Plymouth, in 
i67i,for the education of "children and youth." ^ He lived 
with his father in the house near the river which was proba- 
bly burned during the Indian War, and was in the fort, one of 
the Commandant's Council. There is a tradition that he saw 
the Indians coming one evening, and fearing to remain in the 
house, he took a pail as if to get some water, but passed the 
well and did not stop until he found shelter in the fort. 

Soon after the return of the settlers to Middleboro he built 
the southeastern part of what was known as the old Morton 
house, additions to which were made at different times by his 
descendants until it assumed the size which was well remem- 
bered by many of the people of the town. 

^ Eddy Memoranda. 


At the time of his removal from Plymouth he was a mem- 
ber of the church there, and never removed his membership, 
although in full sympathy with the church in Middleboro. He 
died in Middleboro in 17 17. 

John Nelson, a son of William Nelson, was born in 1647. 

He, with Samuel Wood, was appointed to administer the 
estate of Henry Wood, October 29, 1670. By an order dated 
1671, with Lieutenant Peregrine White, he laid out one thou- 
sand acres of land near the old Indian way, where the Nemas- 
ket River runs into Titicut. He was a constable and surveyor 
of highways in 1669, and laid out land near the old Indian 
way at Titicut in 1673 ; he was one of the Grand Inquest in 
1675, an owner in the Sixteen Shilling Purchase, constable in 
1684, and was one of the selectmen in 1681, 1682, 1683, 1685, 
and 1686. He was appointed guardian of Isaac Fuller in 1695. 
He probably lived with his father, William Nelson, until the 
house was burned by the Indians, but after the town was re- 
settled he returned, and built a house which he occupied until 
about the year 1687, when he sold the farm to Deacon John 
Bennett and moved to Lakeville. His first wife, Sarah Wood, 
daughter of Henry Wood, he married November 28, 1667, 
and after her death he married Lydia Bartlett, the widow of 
James Barnaby.^ His third wife was Patience Morton, daugh- 
ter of Ephraim Morton. 

William Nelson, Sr. Several authorities state that Wil- 
liam Nelson was a passenger in the Fortune and landed at 
Plymouth in 162 1, but his name does not appear in the list of 
passengers. He was probably among the first settlers in the 
town, although it is impossible to state when he first came 
from Plymouth, or how long he lived in Middleboro. He was 
married October 27, 1640, to Martha Ford, the first girl born 
in Plymouth. His name appears in 1643 on the list of those 
able to bear arms in Plymouth, and he was there admitted as 

1 Plymouth Colony Records, vol. v, pp. 18-50, 140, etc. 

2 .Savage, vol. iii, p. 267, and Plyjnoiith Colony Records, vol. v, p. 247. 


a freeman in the year 1658 and took the oath of fidelity the 
next year, and in 1670 he was a freeman of Middleboro. He 
was one of the original purchasers in the Twenty-six Men's 
and Purchade Purchases, and an owner in these purchases at 
the breaking out of King Philip's War. His name is among 
those in the fort at that time, and in the list of proprietors of 
Middleboro of June 26, 1677, his name appears as William 
Nelson, Sr. In the plan showing the allotment of lands to the 
purchasers in the Twenty-six Men's Purchase, the house of 
William Nelson is on lot 18, and the only one shown on that 

In 1672 he, with Lieutenant Peregrine White, was appointed 
by the court to lay out or divide certain meadows belonging to 
Pachague Neck, and the enlargement of upland on the Bridge- 
water side of the river. In 1669 he and John Tomson were 
appointed by the proprietors for running the line " between 
the Namassaketts land, called the Major's Purchase, and the 
towns of Marshfield, Duxburrow, and Bridgewater." 

When he built the house occupied by his son John, he 
planned an orchard near by. His children, William Nelson, 
Jr., and John Nelson, were of age, and were both probably 
residents of the town at the breaking out of the war. 

Samuel Pratt, one of the earliest of the settlers of Mid- 
dleboro, came from Scituate about the year 1659, and is men- 
tioned as one of the owners in the 

Twenty-six Men's Purchase who ^Ct^l/f^ ^^"^Z- 
were in the fort. At the breaking J 

out of the war he "sojourned in Scituate," where he was 
" pressed " into the service in accordance with an order of 
court issued early in 1676. He was a member of Captain 
Michael Pierce's company of soldiers from Scituate, and was in 
one of the fiercest contests in this war, known as the Pawtucket 
fight, "where he, with his captain and nearly all his company 
who had been trepanned into an ambushment of the enemy, 
was killed on Sunday, March 26, 1676." ^ He married Mary 

^ Descendants of Phineas Pratt, pp. 59, 60. 


Barker, who after his death married Francis Coombs, and later 
David Wood.^ 

He had a son Samuel, born November 15, 1670, v^^ho died 
about the year 1745. He is mentioned in Middleboro records, 
and was a wheelwright by trade. He had two daughters, 
Susanna Pratt, who married William Thomas of Middleboro, 
before 171 1, often styled " gentleman," and Patience Pratt, who 
married Ebenezer Lincoln, in October, 1703. 

The father of Samuel Pratt was Phineas Pratt, one of the 
company of about sixty who were sent to Massachusetts to 
found a colony by Thomas Weston, the London merchant. ' 
He sailed from England in the Sparrow, and after touching at 
several places on the coast, landed at Plymouth in May, 1622. 
In 1630 he married Mary Priest, and was classed among the 
old settlers. In 1648 he left Plymouth and moved to Charles- 
town,^ where he died April 19, 1680, at the age of eighty-seven 
years. He was the author of an interesting paper, known as 
the " Declaration of Affairs of the English People that First 
Inhabited in New England," which was printed by him in 
1662, and published in the fourth volume of the Massachu- 
setts Historical Society, page 476. 

Andrew Ring came to Plymouth in 1629, and upon the 
death of his mother was entrusted to the care of Dr. Samuel 
Fuller. He was admitted as a freeman in 1646, and was a man 
of influence in the colony. He was among the first settlers of 

1 " His widow afterwards married a Woode, and fearing tliat her son Samuel 
might be compelled to serve as a soldier in the French and Indian War, wrote the 
following remonstrance : — 

" These lines may give information that Samuel Pratt's Father, my first husband, 
was slain by the heathen in Captain Pierce's fight. He was pressed a Souldier 
when I sojourned att Sittuate, having then noe place of my own, and have brought 
him up with other small children, and I shall take it very unkindly, Iff he that is 
the only son of his father that was slain in the former warr should be compelled 
to go out againe, itt being contrary as I am informed to the law of England and 
this country, therefore I desire itt may not be. 

(No date.) Soe petitions Mary Woode 

from Middlebury [Middleboro]." 

^ Descendants of Phiueas Pratt, p. 38. 


Middleboro,^ and in King Philip's War his name appears as 
one who served from Middleboro. He was included among the 
Twenty-six Men's, Purchade, and Sixteen Shilling purchasers. 
He married first Deborah, daughter of Stephen Hopkins, in 
1646, and in 1674 the widow of John Morton. He died in 
Middleboro in 1692, in his seventy-fifth year. 

John Shaw, whose name appears in Plymouth Colony Re- 
cords as John Shaw, the Elder, settled in Plymouth before 
1627. He had bought into the Twenty-six Men's Purchase 
prior to the breaking out of the war, and was one of the inhab- 
itants of Middleboro in the fort at that time. He was a free- 
man of Plymouth in 1636-37, and in 1645 ^^^s one of the eight 
men who went out against the Narragansetts. He had sold 
his interest in the Twenty-six Men's Purchase before 1677 to 
Samuel Wood. He was one of the purchasers of Dartmouth in 
1665, and one of the original owners of Bridge water and of the 
Purchade Purchase. Mr. Savage, in his Genealogical Diction- 
ary, vol. iv, p. 34, says, " he became one of the first settlers in 
Middleboro in 1662." He brought a complaint against Ed- 
ward Dotey before the General Court at Plymouth in 165 1. He 
died October 24, 1694, and his wife, Alice, died March 6, 1655.2 

David Thoma.s and his wife came from Salem to Middle- 
boro soon after 1668, the date of his selling his land in Salem. 
They settled in Thomastown, ^.^^ ^ 

where their descendants are UJ^V i 0^ (fj A o^'^ ^'^ 
still living. He bought into the 

Twenty-six Men's Purchase, and was an original owner of the 
Eight Men's Purchase. He had several children, David, Joanna, 
William, Jeremiah, and Edward, the last born February 6, 
1669, the first birth in the early records of the town. 

David Thomas, Jr., was probably born in 1649, ^^ in the 
records of the First Church we find that he is spoken of in 

^ Savage, vol. iii, p. 542. 

2 American Ancestors of Alo7izo and Sarah W. Kimball, p. 51. 


1 7 10 as being "about sixty." He married Abigail, daughter 
of Henry Wood, between 1670^ and 1675. 

Ephraim Tinkham. There is a tradition which has come 
down from the earhest settlers that Ephraim Tinkham and 
Henry Wood were the first settlers in town, the former having 
built a house a short distance from Henry Wood, about fifty 
rods north of the house now occupied by Lorenzo Wood on 
the other side of the road. He was a man of prominence in 
the colony, and was known as Sergeant Tinkham. 

In 1634 he was a servant of Thomas Hatherly of Plym- 
outh, under an indenture ; on the 2d day of August, 1642, this 
indenture was transferred to John Winslow, when he received 
for his services thirty-five acres of land, and on the 22d day of 
April of the same year he had conveyed to him ten acres of 
upland by Thurston Clark. He married Mary Brown, a daugh- 
ter of Peter Brown, one of the passengers of the Mayflower, 
before October 27, 1647, and in that year he, with his wife, sold 
to Henry Tomson of Duxbury one third part of a lot of land, 
with the dwelling-house and buildings thereon, which belonged 
to Peter Brown. 

He often served in the trial of cases, and in 1666 he laid 
out the bounds of land of Zachariah Eddy with Henry Wood, 
but the instruments assigning these bounds were signed by 
him with his mark. He was a freeman of Plymouth in 1670, 
in 1676 a member of the Grand Inquest, and in 1675 ^^^ of 
the selectmen of Middleboro. In 1674, with William Hoskins, 
he was appointed on a jury to try a murder case, and in 1668 
he was a commissioner with William Crowe and Edward Gray 
to settle the bounds of the governor's land at Plaindealing. 
He died in Middleboro in 1683. His will bears date January 
17, 1683, and was admitted to probate June 5, 1685. 

His children 2 were Ephraim, born August i, 1649; Eben- 
ezer, born September 3, 165 1 ; Peter, born December 25, 1653 ; 
Hezekiah, born February 8, 1655 ; John, born June 7, 1658 ; 
Mary, born August i, 1661, who married John Tomson, a son 

^ Eddy Memoranda. ^ £,ddy Note-Book. 


of Lieutenant Tomson ; John, born November 15, 1663; Isaac, 
born April 1 1, 1666. • 

Ephraim Tinkham, Jr., and Ebenezer Tinkham were the 
eldest sons of Sergeant Ephraim Tinkham, and lived in Mid- 
dleboro in the house occupied by their father. Whether this 
house first occupied by them was rebuilt upon the same spot 
after the resettlement of the town is unknown. They were not 
married until after the return from Plymouth. 

Ephraim Tinkham, Jr.,^ was born in 1649, and married 
Esther after the resettlement of the town. He was a con- 
stable in 1 68 1, and propounded as a freeman in 1682. He died 
October 13, 1714. 

Children: John, born August 22, 1680; Ephraim, born 
October 7, 1682 ; Isaac, born June, 1685 ; Samuel, born March 
19, 1687. 

His brother, Ebenezer Tinkham, was born September 30, 
165 1, and married Elizabeth Liscom before 1679. He was one 
of the original members of the First Church, and one of its 
first deacons. He died April 8, 1718, aged seventy-three years ;^ 
his wife died on the same day, and they were buried in the 
same grave. 

Children: Ebenezer, born March 23, 1679; Jeremiah, born 
August 7, 168 1 ; Peter, born April 20, 1683.^ 

John Tomson, the most prominent of the first settlers, was 
a carpenter, and lived on land which was afterwards set off to 
form a part of Halifax. He was of Dutch 
origin, and came to Plymouth, a lad of six »u 

years, in the month of May, 1622. He, *v "''1- Tq^w 
with Richard Church, built thefirst^rneet- 

ing-house in Plymouth in 1637. Before settling in Middleboro 
he had purchased land in Sandwich, where he lived for a few 
years. In common with many early settlers of the country, 

1 Eddy Note-Book speaks of him as Ephraim of Middleboro. 

2 History of the First Church of Middleboro, p. 53. 
^ Eddy Memoranda. 


he soon desired a larger area of land, and preferred to live in 
what, at that time, was considered a remote region ; he came 
to occupy a portion of the Twenty-six Men's Purchase, which 
was assigned to him, and was one of the purchasers of several 
tracts of land from the Indians, by order of the court at Plym- 
outh. In the expedition against the Narragansetts, August 15, 
,1645, h^ w^s o^^ of the first company, and was away sixteen 
days. He was a man of great physical strength and unusual 
stature, being six feet, three inches in height. He married 
Mary, daughter of Francis Cook. 

The log house which he built was situated about twenty 
rods west of what was then the Plymouth line. There he and 
his family resided until the house was burned by the Indians, at 
the breaking out of King Philip's War. This was probably the 
first house burned in the town. At the time of his settlement 
he was surrounded by the Indians, and suffered much from 
their stealing his cattle and the products of his farm. It is 
related that at one time his wife was cooking fish, when In- 
dians came in and, brandishing a knife over her, attempted to 
take some of the fish out of the kettle. She repelled them by 
a vigorous attack with a splinter broom, and such were her 
courage and bravery that she drove them from the house and 
they disappeared. When her husband returned, she told him 
of her adventure, and suspecting treachery among the sur- 
rounding Indians, they immediately left the house and retired 
to the garrison, eight miles distant. At another time a large 
number of Indian squaws came to the house and manifested 
unusual interest in her affairs, offering to assist her in gather- 
ing vegetables for the next day, and volunteering their services 
generally about the house. She kindly refused their offers of 
assistance, and on the return of her husband he remarked : 
** We must again pack up and go to the garrison," which they 

Mr. Tomson was in constant peril for his life and property 
from the savages during these years. It is related that as a 
matter of protection he, with his nearest neighbor, Jabez Soule, 
who had settled in that part now included in the town of 


riympton, induced an Indian to come to learn English ways 
of living and cultivating the soil. He lived and worked with 
Mr. Tomson and Mr. Soule alternately. They did everything 
they could to win the confidence and affection of this Indian, 
who was industrious, and apparently quick to learn the new 
ways of the settlers. After a little time, although he showed 
great fondness for them, they noticed that he would absent 
himself for several days. This looked suspicious, as frequent 
visits were made by chiefs and others from a distant part of 
the country, so it seemed more prudent to go to the garrison 
for the night, the men returning to cultivate the fields in the 
daytime. Soon after this the war broke out, and they saw but 
little of their Indian servant. After the close of the war, when 
asked by one of the neighbors why he never showed any hos- 
tility to his employers, Mr. Tomson and Mr. Soule, he replied 
that many times he had loaded his gun and raised it to fire 
upon them, but that he loved them so dearly, and they had 
done so much for him, that he never could make up his mind 
to shoot. 

There is a tradition that one Sunday morning, as the family 
were about to start to Plymouth to attend church, they noticed 
a large number of Indians in the vicinity, who seemed to be in 
an angry mood, and whose bearing was quite different from 
usual. They continued, however, on their way, but on their 
return concluded it would be better to go to the garrison 
house, and after hastily burying their valuables in a secluded 
place, they left their home. It was none too soon, for they 
had not gone more than two miles when, looking back, they 
saw a bright blaze, and realized that their log house was in 
flames. As they were on their journey, they passed the house 
of George Danson and urged him to join them and seek 
shelter, but he refused, thinking there was no danger. The 
next morning, as they returned to their farm, they found 
everything destroyed and Mr. Danson killed. He was the 
first killed during King Philip's War. Mr. Tomson received a 
commission of lieutenant, and commanded a company of six- 
teen men, who were in the habit of marching in four columns. 




of four men each, and he was the command- 
ant of the fort and of military operations 
until the garrison retired to Plymouth and 
the house was burned by the Indians. 

In I G^T, after the General Court had granted 
permission to the colonists to resettle Middle- 
boro, he rebuilt, on the old site, a garrison 
house, filled in between the posts and beams 
with brick and mortar ; it had several small 
windows like portholes in the walls for de- 
fence from any attack, but as a matter of 
fact, after the close of the war there was no 
hostility. This house stood until the year 
1838, when it was taken down. It had been 
occupied by five generations of the descend- 
ants of its illustrious builder. Before the 
Indian War, and until religious services were 
held in Middleboro, Mr, Tomson's family at- 
tended church at Plymouth, a distance of more 
than twelve miles, starting very early every 
Sabbath morning and returning late at night. 
At one time in the winter the family were 
obliged to start before sunrise. As they were 
proceeding on their journey, near the swamp 
not far from the house of the late Isaac 
Sturtevant, they heard the barking of a pack 
of wolves, and sought refuge upon a high rock 
on the side of the road. There they remained 
until after sunrise, when the wolves retired 
and they proceeded on their Sabbath day's 
journey in safety. Mr. Tomson held many 

important ofifices in the town and colony during his lifetime. 

The following epitaph is on his tombstone : — 




This is a debt to nature due ; 
Which I have paid and so must you. 



Mary, his wife, died March 21, 17 14, in the eighty-eighth 
year of her age, and was buried with her husband. 

He left numerous descendants, who have lived at Middleboro, 
Halifax, and adjoining towns. The first two generations and 
sometimes the third spelled the name Tomson or Tompson ; 
the fourth and fifth spelled it Thompson. 

John Tomson, Jr., was born November 24, 1648, and mar- 
ried Mary Tinkham, a daughter of Ephraim Tinkham. He was 
propounded as freeman in 1682. He was 
a carpenter by trade, and in the early part ^itr^iA^ y^^S*^*^ 
of his married life lived with his father, 
Lieutenant John Tomson. He, with his wife and father's 
family, went into the fort at the time of the attack upon the 
town by the Indians, and upon the resettlement of the town, 
he returned and probably lived not far from his father. He 
was one of the builders of the church in Plymouth. 

He inherited much of the land that belonged to his father, 
and died November 25, 1725, in his seventy-seventh year. 
His wife died in 1731, in her seventy-sixth year. 

George Vaughan was a resident of Scituate in 1653, and 
was among the first settlers of Middleboro. He married Eliz- 
abeth Henchman (or - 
Hincksman), who died [/ ^jiTT^ -1. x^ "VfT ^^ 
June .4, .693, aged ^^ ^ ^jK<i\_ 
sixty-two. At the Gen- ^ 

eral Court of Plymouth, on the 5th of June, 1658, a suit was 
brought against him by John Sutton for detaining his prop- 
erty, wherein the jury found for the plaintiff and costs, which 
amounted to one pound, ten shillings, and six pence. He was 
then living in Marshfield, and, on the ist of June, he seems 
to have been fined ten shillings for not attending public wor- 
ship on the Lord's Day. 

He was a resident of Middleboro in 1663, and, for some cause 
which does not appear, was fined by the court ten shillings. 
On the 1st of March, 1663, he brought a suit against William 


Shurtliff for molesting and taking away an animal for the debt 
of one Charles Hopkins of Boston. The jury found for the 
plaintiff, with the charges of court to be paid by the defendant. 

June I, 1669, William Crow and George Vaughan, with John 
Tomson and William Nelson, were appointed commissioners to 
lay the line between the " Namasket Men's Land," called the 
Major's Purchase, and the towns of Marshfield, Duxbury, and 
Bridgewater. He was the first person granted a license to keep 
an ordinary for the entertainment of strangers in Middleboro 
by the General Court in 1669. On the 5th of July, 1670, the 
General Court conferred twelve acres of land in the Major's 
Purchase on the south side of Nemasket River, which had not 
been recorded, and which was ordered at that time to be re- 
corded. In 1671 he and John Morton were appointed by the 
Court of Commissioners to view damages done to the Indians 
by the horses and hogs of the English. He was constable of 
the town in 1675, and at that time bought part of the land in 
the Twenty-six Men's Purchase, and he was in the garrison at 
the time of the breaking out of the war. 

His daughter married Isaac Howland. He died October 20, 
1694, aged seventy-three. 1 His will, dated June 30, 1694, was 
proved November 10, 1694, and the inventory was taken by 
Samuel Wood and John Bennett. His property amounted to 
forty-three pounds, eight shillings, and four pence. 

He and most of his descendants for several generations 
resided in that part of the town known as Wappanucket. 

Joseph Vaughan, son of George Vaughan, was one of the 
selectmen of Middleboro ; he was first elected to that office in 

1689, and continued to serve for 
'^o^^2^ ^^^'^^ ^ ^^^^ twenty-five years. At one time 

he commanded a guard, which 
embraced all the local militia of the town. He was ensign 
in 1706, and lieutenant in 1712. 

He lived in the house ^ owned at one time by Captain Na- 

^ Eddy Memoranda. 

2 From Bennett's Mevioi'anda. He is spoken of as from Middleboro. 


thaniel Wilder, and had much land in Middleboro, being an 
owner in the Sixteen Shilling Purchase. 

He married Joanna Thomas, May 7, 1680, and Mercy, widow 
of Jabez Fuller, as his second wife, in 1720. He died March 2, 
1 734, aged eighty-one years. 

Francis Walker married Elizabeth,. a daughter of George 
Soule. He is spoken of as living in Middleboro in 1668, but 
moved to Duxbury in 1672, returning later to occupy the land 
left to his wife by her father.^ 

Henry Wood. The first mention of Henry Wood is in 
September 16, 1641, when he, residing in Plymouth, purchased 
of John Dunham, the younger, his house and land lying in 
Plymouth for seven pounds, but the time of his arrival and the 
time of his birth are unknown. 

He married Abigail Jenney, a daughter of John Jenney, who 
at one time owned land in Lakenham, now Carver, April 28, 
1644. At or about the time of his marriage, he moved to Yar- 
mouth, where his daughter Sarah and his son Samuel were 
born. He moved to Plymouth before 1649, where his other 
children were born, and to Middleboro about 1655.^ 

Tradition has placed the site of his residence as not far from 
that of the late General Abiel Washburn. He was not among 
the Twenty-six Purchasers, but received the share that was set 
out to John Shaw, a portion of which subdivision has always 
been in the possession of his descendants. He was an original 
proprietor in the Little Lotmen's Purchase. 

He was propounded as a freeman in 1647, and admitted in 
1648. Before the incorporation of Middleboro he was a member 
of the Grand Inquest in 1648, 1656, 1659, and 1668, and often 
served as a juror in different trials in the colonies. He was 
a surveyor of highways in Plymouth in 1655 and in 1659, and 
was one of the complainants to the General Court against 
the rates which had been established in Plymouth. In 1665 he 

1 Savage, p. 392. 

2 Middleboro was not set off from Plymouth until i66g. 


had one share of the thirty acres of land on the westerly side 
of Nemasket River. He was one of the ancient freemen to 
whom land was granted in Taunton "which should be here- 
after purchased, which purchase should not be prejudicial to 
the Indians." He is mentioned as one of the freemen of 
Middleboro in 1670, with the mark "deceased" after his name. 
One of the records of Plymouth Colony refers to him as Henry 
Wood, alias Atwood. His name occurs as one of the com- 
mandant's council for the garrison in Middleboro, and evi- 
dently by a mistake, the name was continued on the list of 
those who took refuge within the fort upon the breaking out 
of the war. He died in 1670, and John Nelson, his son-in- 
law, and Samuel Wood, his son, were appointed administrators 
of his estate, October 29, 1670. His inventory, taken under 
the oath of Abigail Wood, his widow, by John Morton, Jona- 
than Dunham, Francis Coombs, and George Vaughan, amounted 
to sixty-three pounds, three shillings, and three pence, and is 
recorded in Plymouth Colony Records, vol. vi, p. 142. 

March 4, 1673, four of his children, with his wife Abigail, 
were summoned into court to dispose of his lands that they 
might contribute to the support of the widow. 

His children were : Samuel, John, David, Joseph, Benjamin, 
Abiel, James, Sarah, Abigail, Susanna, and Mary. 

His sons were probably in the garrison house, although no 
mention is made of them, and they were not married until after 
the resettlement of the town. Abiel and Samuel were among 
the original members of the First Church. 

John or Jonathan Wood, a son of Henry Wood, was born 
January i, 1649-50, and died at John Nelson's in 1675. He 
always lived ^ in Middleboro, but his name is sometimes con- 
founded with Jonathan Wood, alias Atwood, of Plymouth. The 
Jonathan Wood of the Sixteen Shilling Purchase was undoubt- 
edly the son of Henry, and not the Jonathan Wood of Plym- 
outh. He made a noncupative will in April, 1673, and two or 
three days after, he gave the town right of way through his land. 

1 Eddy Memoranda. 


Joseph Wood was a son of Henry Wood, who married 
Hester Walker in Taunton, January i, 1679. Upon his death 
his son Josiah was given to Daniel Vaughan and wife to adopt 
as their child. He was one of the proprietors of the Sixteen 
Shilling Purchase, and always lived in Middleboro. 

Samuel Wood was a son of Henry Wood, born May 21, 
1647. He probably moved from Plymouth to Middleboro as 
a young man with his father, and 

lived with him as one of the first ^A-/**-^ urcrtT^ ^^<2^ ' 
settlers of the town. He was a sur- 
veyor of highways in Middleboro in 1673, and held the office 
of constable in 1682 and selectman in 1684 and 1689 ^"^ at 
different times for fifteen years, and was one of the original 
members at the organization of the First Church, December 
26, 1694. Upon the death of his father an agreement was 
made between him, his brother, and mother that he should 
have thirteen acres of upland, this being the place where his 
father had lived, and a portion of the Tispequin purchase 
known as Wood's Purchase. He was an original owner in the 
Sixteen Shilling Purchase. He died February 3, 1718, aged 
seventy years. His wife's name was Rebecca Tupper. They 
were married probably before 1679, and she died February 10,. 
1 7 18, in the sixty-seventh year of her age. She united with 
the First Church March 27, 17 16. 

His children were Ephraim, born in January, 1679,^ who was 
one of thedeacons of the First Church, ordained July 25, 1725, 
and who died July 9, 1744, in the sixty-fifth year of his age ; 
Samuel, Jr., who was born in .^^^ 

1 684 and died before 1754, who oCkm^^^pC 0<^^o<J~ 
was also chosen a deacon of the 

First Church January 30, 1735 ; Rebecca, born 1682 ; Anne,, 
born 1687, and Jabez, born 1690. 

Adam Wright was a son of Richard, who lived at one time 
in that part of Plymouth afterwards Plympton. In a record 

1 Eddy Memoranda. 




of deeds in 1672, we find "George Vaughan of Middleboro 
.sells to Adam Wright of the same place, blacksmith, land in 
the Major's Purchase at, or near, Namasheesett Ponds." His 
name occurs in list of the " Proprietors of the Charters of the 
township of Middlebery," June 12, 1677, as "Francis Cook 
now Adam Wright." He married Sarah, a daughter of John 
Soule of Duxbury, and for a second wife, Mehitable Barrows. 
He died in 1724, aged about eighty years. 


Francis Billington was a son of John Billington, who 
was a disreputable passenger of the Mayflower, the first settler 

of Plymouth publicly 
executed in October, 
1630, for lying in wait 
and shooting a young 
man named John 
Newcomb. Francis 
was about fourteen 
years old when he 
landed at Plymouth 
with his parents, and 
was one of the two passengers of the Mayflower who settled 
in Middleboro. He is remembered as the discoverer of Billing- 
ton Sea in Plymouth, in 1621, although Goodwin thinks his fa- 
ther deserves that credit. While climbing a high tree, the week 
before, he had seen what appeared to him a great sea, and on 
that day, with the mate of the Mayflower, set out to examine his 
discovery. After travelling about three miles, they found two 
lakes, with a beautiful island in the centre of one, about which 
the early writers were lavish in their praise. He volunteered 
in the Pequot War, but was not called into active service. He 
was one of the twenty-six men who made the purchase of 
land from the Indians in 1662, as well as the Sixteen Shilling 
Purchase. He married, July, 1634, Christiana Penn Eaton, the 
widow of Francis Eaton. " They proved a thriftless pair and 
were forced to bind out most or all of their eight children."^ 

1 Goodwin, Pilgrim Republic, p. 344. 


He died December 3, 1684, aged eighty years. His son, Isaac 
Billington, was one of the original members of the First 
Church, and died December 1 1, 1709, aged sixty-six years.^ 

John Cobb, son of Henry, was in the fort at the breaking 
out of King Philip's War. He was born June 7, 1632. He 
moved from Barnstable to Plymouth, 

Taunton, and possibly to Middleboro, /^y RTt. ( o o 
then to Scituate. He took the oath of 

fidelity in 1689. If he was not an actual resident of Middle- 
boro before the war, he probably dwelt here without changing 
his legal residence, as did a few of the early settlers, living on 
their lands within the borders of the town but not becominor 
citizens. The "History of the First Church" gives his name, 
among others, as being here at that time. He married Martha, 
a daughter of William Nelson, April 28, 1658.^ 

John Holmes was one of those in the garrison at the break- 
ing out of the Indian War, but it is impossible to tell at this 
time which of several who bear that name was one of the 
first settlers of Middleboro. There was a John Holmes in 
Plymouth in 1633, a freeman of that year and often a messenger 
to the General Court, and among the list of men who were 
able to bear arms in 1643. His son John, who had a grant of 
land in Duxbury in 1663, married Patience Faunce, November 
20, 1 66 1, and died in 1667. Their oldest son was born March 
22, 1663, and settled in Middleboro, where he died in 1728, 
at the age of sixty-eight years. The early records show that 
he had children born in Middleboro in 1690. He probably 
lived in that portion of Middleboro which was set off in 1 734, 
to form a portion of the town of Halifax. His son became an 
inhabitant of the town by the following vote passed on April 
19, 1682 : — 

" At a town meeting held at Isaac Howland's house, the town did jointly agree 
to receive John Holmes, Jr., to be an inhabitant amongst them." 

1 Eddy Note-Book. 

- Barnstable Families, p. 171 ; History of the First C/iurck 0/ Middleboro, p. 4. 


William Nelson, Jr., lived ^ and died in the house which 
stood near the old Sproat tavern at the Green, probably built 
and occupied a few years by his father. But little is known 
concerning him, and the only record extant ^ is, that on the 
5th of July, 1671, he, with Adam Wright, was ordered by the 
General Court to pay ten shillings, and the Indian William, 
son of the black sachem, to pay twenty shillings, for the use 
of the colony, for taking a certain mare and marking and de- 
taining her to the damage of the owner. He was the father 
of Thomas Nelson, the first settler in Lakeville. 

He married Ruth Foxel, daughter of Richard Foxel. The 
gravestones of William Nelson and Ruth, his wife, were recently 
found by his descendant, Dr. Abiel Nelson, in the cemetery 
at the Green, and contain the following inscriptions : " Here 
lies ye body of William Nelson aged seventy-three years, 
died March, ye 22nd, 1718 ; " and " Here lies ye body of Ruth 
Nelson aged eighty-six years, died September, ye 7th, 1723." 

Jabez Warren was the grandson of Richard Warren of 
the Mayflower, one of the nineteen signers of the compact 
who survived the first winter. His son, Nathaniel, the father 
of Jabez Warren, was at one time the owner of lot number 5 
in the Twenty-six Men's Purchase, which was occupied by 
Jabez and his brother Richard, who some time after the close of 
King Philip's War removed with his family from Plymouth to 
Nemasket. Jabez Warren, born in 1647, was probably a resi- 
dent of the town before the breaking out of the war, and was 
one of the land-owners who was in the fort at the time Mid- 
dleboro was threatened by Tispequin's forces.^ There is no 
further record concerning his life ; it is said that he was 
drowned at sea April 17, 1701. 

Joseph Warren was one of the proprietors of the Little 
Lotmen's Purchase, also of the land purchased by Josiah 

1 MS. Genealogy of Descendants of William Nelson, Sr. 

2 Plytnouth Colony Records, vol. v, p. 69. 

3 Roebling, Richard Warren, Descendants, p. 12. 


Winslow and Edward Gray, called by the Indians " Wopa- 
nucket." In the apportionment of this land among the differ- 
ent owners he received two hundred acres, which he probably 
occupied, as at a meeting of the proprietors of the town on the 
1 8th of May, 1675, he was appointed, with others, a committee 
" to devise measurements for the support of some one to teach 
the word of God, etc." ^ 

He was born at Plymouth in 1627, and died May 4, 1689. 
He was a prominent citizen of Plymouth and filled many 
of^ces, a member of the council of war of the colonies in 1675, 
and a representative to the General Court of 1681 to 1686. He 
was a man of enterprise, and an owner of large tracts of land 
in the different towns in the colony. His lands in Middleboro 
and Bridgewater were devised to his children, Joseph and Benja- 
min, and his three daughters. He married, in 165 1, Priscilla, 
the.daSg£tte¥ of Thomas Faunce, ruling elder of Plymouth. He 
was at one time called an " Ancient Freeman of Taunton." 
While he may have been a resident of Middleboro before the 
breaking out of the war, there is no record that he returned 
with the other residents at the time of the resettlement of the 
town in iGyj-yS. 

David Wood was born October 17, 1651, and on March 5, 
1684, he married Mary, widow of Francis Coombs. Their chil- 
dren were John, born 1686; David, born 1688 ; Jabez, born 1689. 

^ See note in chapter on Church History. 

(Owned by Moses Sturtevant) 



ING Philip's War, which lasted but little more than 
a year and a half, in 1675 and 1676, was by far the 
most disastrous event in the early history of New Eng- 
land, and was attended with all of the horrors of sav- 
age barbarity. About six hundred of the white settlers perished, 
and their houses were in ruins. Many towns were utterly 
destroyed, and it is said that there was scarcely a family in 
the settlements but had lost one or more of its members. All 
of the dwelling-houses and outbuildings of Middleboro were 
burned. Although it was not the scene of many of the bloody 
atrocities which occurred in not a few of the towns in New 
England, the murder of an Indian by the name of John Sas- 
samon had much to do with the origin of the war, and here was 
the home of Philip's most powerful chieftain, Tispequin. A 
history of the part that Middleboro had in this fearful struggle 
would be incomplete without entering into some details of the 
origin of the war, and the more prominent events connected 
with it. 

In 1660 Massasoit died, leaving two sons, Alexander and 
Philip, who had none of the regard for the English which their 
father had entertained. They evidently foresaw the results of 
the white man's civilization in extending their settlements, and 
that the time would not be far distant when the native rule 
would be destroyed and their tribes become extinct. Philip, the 
sachem, had acquired a fame far beyond his deserts. In 1675 
his immediate tribe consisted of about three hundred men, wo- 
men, and children. His cunning and cruelty, his hatred of the 
whites, inspired in him a sagacity and ability unexpected in so 
mean a character. He succeeded by his intrigues in stimulat- 
ing the Indians in the adjacent tribes, but Palfrey says, "The 

16/5] KING Philip's war 6g 

public documents of that time do not indicate a belief on the 
part of the English of any such comprehensive and far-sighted 
scheme as in later times has been attributed to Philip. The natu- 
ral conclusion from their language is that his outbreak was re- 
garded as prompted by the vindictiveness and caprice of an 
unreasoning and cruel barbarian." On the other hand, we find 
authorities who speak of his talents as "of the highest order," 
of him as "a great warrior," etc. Goodwin i says, "Philip is 
not known to have taken part in any one of the fights of the war, 
nor even to have been in the immediate vicinity of any of them 
after the initial skirmish at Pocasset Swamp." But his traits of 
character were such that he always had a very strong influence 
over the smaller tribes of his territory. They admired his bold- 
ness, and not a few sympathized with him in his ambition to 
expel the English from his borders, and to surpass the great 
chieftains who in power and authority had ruled over his terri- 
tory before the coming of the English. He had no sooner com- 
menced his reign than he began his scheming in the most se- 
cret manner with all of the sachems whom he could influence. 
With the characteristics of the savage, he frequently renewed 
the treaties which his father, the good Massasoit, had made at 
Plymouth, affecting the strongest friendship for the whites. 

He so far ingratiated himself with all of the settlers of the 
colony that they believed in his sincerity, and doubted the 
reports of his intrigue which came to them from time to time 
through friendly Indians. He made complaints that the whites 
had injured his crops, but these were proved false. There were 
frequent meetings of Indians ; they began to repair their guns 
and sharpen their hatchets, all tending to arouse the suspicions 
of the colonists, until it was deemed necessary to call a council 
at Taunton. The governor and his deputies assembled to 
examine Philip's conduct. For a long time he would not come 
to the town as promised. When he came, it was with a large 
band of his warriors fully armed, but he would not go into the 
meeting-house where the council was held until it was agreed 
that his men should be on one side of the house and the men 

1 Pilgrim Repiiblic, p. 551. 


who accompanied the deputies on the other. It was one of 
the most dramatic and interesting scenes which ever occurred 
in the colony. On one side was a large company of the whites, 
dressed in the garb of the period, with close-shaven heads and 
solemn countenances, fearless, and confident that their God 
who had so guided and shielded them in the years past would 
deliver them from the present dangers. On the other side of 
the meeting-house were the Indians, with their fierce, savage, 
angry looks, their tomahawks, bows, and arrows conspicuously 
displayed under the feathers and war paint with which they 
were decorated. They had belts of wampum and the skins 
of the bear or deer ornamented with glowing colors, indicat- 
ing their readiness for the conflict. On examination, Philip 
strongly protested against having any designs upon the Eng- 
lish, but said that his warriors had been armed to prevent 
any hostile attacks of the Narragansetts, which had been often 
threatened. The delegates were enabled from testimony in 
their possession to deny this statement, and at the same time 
to show that he had endeavored to induce the Narragansetts 
to join him in his plans to attack the English. It was also 
proved that he had meditated an attack upon Taunton, which, 
at last, he was compelled to confess. The proofs of these 
charges astonished Philip, and the consequences which he feared 
might soon be visited upon him induced him again to deny 
them and to assert his innocence. As a guarantee of this, the 
delegation insisted that he should deliver up all of the arms 
in the hands of his warriors as an indemnity and security for 
the good faith he then professed. To this he consented with 
great reluctance, and gave up about seventy guns, with a 
promise that the others should be brought in. He, however, 
never complied with his promise, but the surrender of this 
number of guns, then scarce with the Indians, evidently so 
embarrassed him that he delayed carrying out his plans. 

For the next two or three years Philip endeavored to cause 
other tribes to engage with him in the plot of utterly destroying 
the English in New England, but when the war finally broke 
out, in the year 1675, he was evidently not fully prepared for 

i67sJ KING Philip's war 71 

it, which undoubtedly in some measure contributed to his 
defeat and the complete overthrow of the Indian power. He 
had secured the Narragansetts and the Pequots, about four 
thousand warriors, and had fixed upon the spring of 1676 
for a united attack upon all of the whites in the colonies. The 
murder of John Sassamon precipitated the war before his 
plans were mature.^ 

John Sassamon was a Punkapoag. Mr. Gookin calls him 
the first martyr of the christian Indians. Increase Mather 
says he was born in Dorchester, and his parents lived and 
died there. In his boyhood he was a very bright and intelli- 
gent lad, and as a child early became acquainted with John 
Eliot, the great Indian apostle, who exerted a most benign 
influence over him and was for many years his instructor. He 
accepted his religious teachings and was baptized by him, 
making public profession of his Christian faith, and was one of 
the most influential and gifted preachers among the Indians. 
Sassamon was taught to read and write the English language, 
and aided Mr. Eliot in the work of translating the Bible into 
the Indian tongue. He was a student at Harvard, and in his 
early manhood was a teacher of the Indians in Natick. 

He had, in 1637, served with the English in the Pequot War. 
In 1664 Philip desired a teacher of reading, and Eliot sent his 
son and later Sassamon. His service in this capacity has led 
to much that is erroneous. Munroe called him Philip's " secre- 
tary," and says that as such he was entrusted with all Philip's 
plan. Goodwin says ^ there is no evidence to support this, nor 
is there any truth in the statement that Sassamon once abjured 
Christianity and went to live in heathenism with Philip. He 
says : " He also ignores the fact that Sassamon owed Philip no 
allegiance, but that he did owe it to New Plymouth, and was by 
every sense of duty, legal as well as moral, bound to reveal any 

1 Bancroft, History of the United States, Part II, chap, v, says : " There exists 
no evidence of a deliberate conspiracy on the part of all the tribes. The com- 
mencement of the war was accidental ; many of the Indians were in a maze, not 
knowing what to do and disposed to stand for the English ; sure proof of no 
ripened conspiracy." 

''■ Pilgrim Republic, p. 538. 




plots coming to his knowledge." Whether he was secretary or 
not, he was authorized to write Philip's letters on public affairs. 
After serving as a teacher to Philip, he returned to his 
Natick home. Later, through Eliot's advice, he moved to 
Nemasket, and was there settled over the Indian church. He 
owned twenty-seven acres of land at Assawampsett, and to 
his daughter Betty the sachem gave fifty-eight and one half 
acres (called Squawbetty). In 1675 he learned of the great 
conspiracy against the English, and it seemed to him a chris- 
tian duty to the whites who had so befriended him to secretly 
inform the governor at Plymouth of what he suspected were 
the designs of the chieftain. At the same time he expressed 
to the governor his danger in giving this information, should 
it ever come to the knowledge of Philip. Concerning this 
several other Indians were examined, who denied all know- 
ledge of any such conspiracy and were dismissed, but the court 
at Plymouth generally believed that there were grounds for 
the statement that Sassamon had made. A week after this 
Sassamon disappeared, and general search was made, which 
resulted in finding his hat and coat upon the ice of Assawamp- 
sett Pond, and his 
body was soon 
after discovered 
under the ice. A 
Titicut Indian by 
the name of David 
noticed bruises 
upon his body, 
which led to the 
belief that he had 
been killed. He 
was, however, bur- 
ied by his friends 
without further 
investigation into 
the circumstances of his death. A native by the name of 
Patuckson was a witness of this murder as he stood on King 





philip would intreat that fauer of and axin of the magistrats if aney 

english or engians spak about aney land he preay you to give them 

no ansevver at all the last sumer he maid that promis with you that 

he would not sell no land in 7 years time for tha he would have no 

english trouble him before that time he has not forgot that you 

promis him 

& just come asune as possible he can to speak with you and so j ^ 'k^ 

grest your verey loveng frend philip 

dewlling at mount hope nek 


t#/^e ^^^ £*^^ ^€a/ -^-i^ yn^ 


(Written by John Sassamon, as secretary ; copied from the original in Pilgrim Hall) 



Philip's Lookout, and in the spring testified to it. An Indian, 
after meeting Sassamon on the ice as he was fishing in the pond, 
commenced a friendly conversation with him. He then attacked 
and killed him by a blow on the head, and with the assistance 
of two others put the body through a hole in the ice, but with 
the savage instinct, tried to evade suspicion by leaving his 
hat and coat to give the appearance of an accidental death. 

The three whom he named as the murderers were Tobias and 
his son, with Mattashinnay, Philip's counsellor. After these 
three were arrested, a jury of twelve white men and five In- 
dians tried them and heard Patuckson's testimony. All three 
were convicted, and sentence was passed upon them. Tobias's 
son then confessed that the other two had committed the 
murder. Tobias was bailed out by Tispequin for one hundred 
pounds, with security on land at Nemasket.^ The two guilty 

1 At the General Court, March i, 1674-75 : — 

" The Court seeing cause to require the psnall appearance of an Indian, called 
Tobias, before the Court, to make further answare to such intergatoryes as 
shalbe required of him, in reference to the suddaine and violent death of an In- 
dian called John Sassamon, late deceased, the said Tobias and Tuspaquin, the 
black sachem, (soe called,) of Namassakett, and William, his son, doe all joyntly 
and seuerally doe heerby bind ouer off theire lands, to the vallue of one hundred 
pounds, vnto the Court, for the psonall appearance off the said Tobias att the 
Court of his matie, to be holden att Plymouth aforesaid the first in June next, in 
reference to the pmises." Plymouth Colony Records, vol. v, p. 159. 


men were executed at Plymouth in June, 1675, and young 
Tobias would probably have been pardoned, had not Philip 
begun hostilities in the attack on Swansea. The trial and 
execution of the murderers of Sassamon so enraged Philip 
that he determined to postpone no longer his threatened at- 
tack, and the bloody scenes of that terrible encounter which 
spread death and devastation throughout the colony soon after 

The proximity to Plymouth had for some time kept the 
early settlers here informed of the danger feared by the au- 
thorities. In accordance with the requirements of the laws of 
the colony, 1 the Middleboro men had built a fort ^ for their 
protection on the western bank of the Nemasket River, not 
far from the old Indian wading-place, on the land owned in 
later years by Colonel Peter H. Peirce. No description of this 
has come down to us. It was evidently something more than 
a garrison house, and was large enough to accommodate, for 
more than six weeks, the inhabitants of the town, who, with 
the men, women, and children, probably numbered seventy-five 
or more. It was enclosed with a wall strong enough to have 
deterred the many roving bands of hostile Indians from at- 
tempting to attack or to surround it. 

There was a general alarm throughout the colony, and many 
precautions were taken to guard against any unexpected attack. 
All male inhabitants between sixteen and sixty years of age 
were ordered to be in readiness to take the field to repel any 

1 Judge Wilkes Wood, Historic Address in 1815. 

2 The fort was probably built by the settlers soon after the incorporation of the 
town in 1669, in accordance with an act of the General Court holden at Plymouth 
on the 9th of June, 1653, which was as follows : — 

" It is ordered by the Court, That betwixt this present day and the first Tues- 
day in October next the townesmen of every towne within this government shall 
make and fully finnish a place or places for defence of theire said towne one 
or more as reason shall require videlicet, a brest worke with flankers unto every 
such work as shalbee made ; and in case any p.son or p.sons shall refuse to worke 
att the said worke when the major pte of the townsmen of such townes where 
they live have agreed for the time and mannor and have given notice thereof ; 
theire names shalbee then returned to the court or counsell of warr ; and if any 
towne shall neglect to performe the worke according to this order they shall for- 
feite the summe of ten pounds to the use of the country." 


assault whenever such should occur, and boys under the age of 
sixteen years were required to act as watchmen to keep a look- 
out for the sudden approach of the Indians from any quarter. 
The court at Plymouth issued the following : — 

" It is ordered that every man that comes to meeting on the Lord's day 
bring with him his arms, with at least six charges of powder and shot, and that 
whosoever shall shoot off a gun at any game whatsoever, except at an Indian 
or a wolf shall forfeit five shillings." 

The war began on the 24th day of June, 1675, ^^ the then 
frontier town of Swansea. The Sunday previous, the Indians 
had killed many of the cattle belonging to the settlers. Nine 
men were killed on the highway, and shortly after eight more. 
Gershom Cobb, a resident of Middleboro, was among the num- 
ber. It was a butchery attended with all of the horrors of 
sav'age warfare. Encouraged by the success of their first en- 
counter, they extended their operations to other parts of the 
colony, stealthily hiding in woods and swamps, behind fences 
and bushes, killing the whites as they came upon them, and 
burning their houses. 

Shortly before this, many occurrences had served to confirm 
the fears of the Middleboro settlers. Some of the Indians were 
sullen and morose, manifesting unusual boldness and eagerness 
in procuring firearms and powder at almost any cost. This, in 
addition to officiousness in many acts of friendliness with the 
evident design of covering some plot, did not deceive the 
settlers, who found their cows milked, and occasionally some 
animal missing. Most of the inhabitants, especially those 
living far from the centre, thought it unsafe to remain about 
their farms and came to the garrison, some taking their pro- 
vision and household furniture, others in such haste that 
they left everything, on hearing of the attack on Swansea. 
They were unable to gather any of their crops, and no aid 
could be sent from Plymouth, as all of the available forces in 
the colony had been despatched to towns where the danger 
was even greater than at Middleboro. George Danson had 
neglected the warning of John Tomson as he was hastening 
to the fort, and had been shot near Danson Brook. 




After the fort had been built, Isaac Rowland, Fran- 
cis Coombs, John Morton, Nathaniel Southworth, 
Ephraim Tinkham, Samuel Fuller, and Henry Wood 
were chosen as council,^ with John Tomson, com- 

John Tomson formed ^ sixteen able-bodied men into 
a company for their protection. He applied to the gov- 
ernor and council of Plymouth for a commission. They 
considered the company too small for a captaincy, and 
gave him a general commission as ensign commander, 
not only of the garrison, but also of all posts of danger 
within the town. The company was equipped, beside 
the ordinary gun,^ which every settler possessed, with a 

1 The council was selected in accordance with a provision of the 
law of the colony passed in 1658, which was as follows : — 


In regard of the many appearances of danger towards the Countrey 
by Enimies and the great nessessitie of Councell and advise in which 
respect the Court thought meet to make choise of a Counsell of warr 
consisting of eleven psons whose names are elswhere extant in the 
Records of the Court which said eleven being orderly called together 
theire acte to be accounted in force and they to bee continewed in theire 
places untill others bee elected to bee orderly called together is ment 
being sumoned by the prsedent or his deputie or in case of theire ab- 
sence any two majestrates of the Councell of Warr. 

The number of these, considering the few in the garrison, was un- 
doubtedly deemed sufficient. 

- This company does not represent the number of men in town 
capable of bearing arms. Many were away taking an active part in the 
^. war. We have definite record of at least three, and 

there were probably others. 

3 In addition to the armament of the fort by a pro- 
vision of the law passed by the General Court for 1636, 
each male must have provided himself for his own 
defence in accordance with this provision of the law 
of the Old Colony, passed November 15, 1636, which 
S!®\k was as follows : — 




That each person for himselfe &c. according to Jan. 
JOHN TOMSON"S GUN 2d 1632 have peece, powder and shott vizt a sufficient 




long gun, evidently made for other purposes than hunting. It 
was seven feet, four and a ha4f inches long ; the length of the 
barrel, six and one half feet ; the size of the caliber twelve 
balls to the pound, and the length of the face of the lock 
ten inches. This gun, weighing twelve pounds, was probably 
brought from the old country. Besides these, they had a hal- 
berd, a brass pistol, and a sword. The sword was three feet, 
five inches long ; the length of the blade two feet, eleven and 
three eighths inches. 

Early in June a band of warriors was seen from the fort 
on the opposite bank of the river, near the "hand rock," 
so called from an im- 
pression of a man's 
hand upon it. Here 
for several days an 
Indian came and of- 
fered insults in ges- 
tures and words to 
the garrison to pro- 
voke an attack. John 
Tomson deemed it 
advisable to call his 
council together, and 
after careful consid- 
eration it was determined that they should attempt to shoot 
him. The gun of the commander, especially adapted to a long 
range, was brought out, and Isaac Rowland was selected for 
his skill as a marksman. He fired, resting the gun upon the 
shoulder of a comrade, and the Indian fell, mortally wounded. 
The shot was considered remarkable at the time, as the dis- 
tance was one hundred and fifty-five rods, much beyond the 
range of the ordinary musket. The Indians, raising a yell, bore 




musket or other serviceable peece for war with bandeleroes sword and other 
appurtenances for himself and each man servant he keepeth able to beare armes. 
And that for himselfe & each such person under him he be at all times furnished 
with two pounds of powder and ten pounds of bullets & for each default to for- 
feit ten shillings. 


the wounded man away to the house of William Nelson, about 
three miles and a half distant, where he died, and was buried 
in the field near by with the ceremony for a departed brave. 
The house was then burned. Immediately after the fall of the 
Indian, the warriors who were about him sought revenge and 
attacked the grist-mill of Samuel Barrows. They crept along 
by a fence to within gunshot, but Mr. Barrows saw them 
approach and, suspecting their design, ran to shut down the 
mill, and then fled for his life. The bank of the river between 
the mill and the fort was lined with alders ; through these he 
ran, holding his coat and hat upon a pole above his head. They 
fired upon him as he iled, but mistook the coat for the man, 
and he escaped unharmed to the fort with some bullet-holes in 
his coat. 

After the mill was burned, many of the houses were destroyed 
by fire ; ^ among them the houses of John Tomson, William 
Nelson, Obadiah Eddy, John Morton, Henry Wood, George 
Dawson, Francis Coombs, and William Clark. 

In July, 1675, a man by the name of j. Marks, while walk- 
ing through a field of Indian corn in Middleboro, was shot by 
an Indian, breaking his thigh-bone, and lay in the place where 
he fell forty-eight hours before he was found. He was yet 
alive, but his wound was so severe that he died soon after 
from its effects.^ 

The inhabitants who had found refuge in the fort remained 
about six weeks ; then it was deemed wise to go to Plymouth. 
With the small amount of provisions, arms, and ammunition, 
they would have been wholly unable to resist a siege or an 
attack from as large a band of warriors as had destroyed 
Swansea and other towns in the colony. 

On the lOth of July Ensign Tomson sent a letter to Governor 
Winslow, asking for an additional guard. 

1 In a note to Hubbard's Narrative, p. 41, we find that the town's guard was 
stationed in a mole and was not strong enough to act on the defensive, and thence 
the Indians swept around and burned most of the houses. Towards night they 
returned to Tispequin with great triumph and rejoicings. 

2 Hubbard's Jndiafi Wars, vol. ii, p. 46. 




(Where George Danson was shot by the Indians at the beginning of King Philip's War) 

Honoured Sir, — My request to you is, that you would be 
pleased to send sufficient guard, to guard our women and chil- 
dren, with what goods is left, down to Plymouth, for we are 
every day liable to be a prey to our enemies, neither can we 
subsist here any longer by reason of want of provision and shot, 
for we are almost out of them both. And now our rye and other 
English grain, which is very considerable, is all laid open to 
creatures to destroy, the rye being almost ripe, which had we 
some considerable help to preserve, we possibly might have 
a considerable quantity of it, which might be to the saving of 
our lives ; therefore my earnest request to your honor is, that, 
if it be possible, with as much brevity as may be, to relieve us. 
Sir, I conceive this place to be a very convenient place to 
keep a garrison, by reason the enemy makes Assawamsett and 
Daniel's Island his place of retreat, as we conceive. Sir, I doubt 
not, but if God by his providence spare my life till I see you, 
I shall be able to give a good account of our acting to your 

The town's "Court of Guard," as it was termed, stationed 
at a mole, was overawed by numbers, while scattered parties 
of the Indians ranged about the settlement and burned most of 
the houses. "Towards night," says Sergeant Tomson, "they 
returned to the top of Tispequin's hill with great triumph 
and rejoicing, with a shout ; but we firing our long gun at 
them, they speedily went away. To such extremity was a 


settlement, only about twelve or fourteen miles distant from 
Plymouth, reduced, in a few days after the commencement of 
hostilities." ^ 

After the abandonment of the fort, it was burned by the In- 
dians. The inhabitants remained in Plymouth till after the 
close of the war, as did also the inhabitants of Dartmouth 
and Swansea. The town of Scituate was attacked by a com- 
pany of warriors, probably under the lead of Tispequin, and 
suffered severely ; it was without means of defence, as Cap- 
tain John Williams, with a company of thirty Scituate men, was 
absent endeavoring to intercept or waylay the enemy supposed 
to be somewhere in the woods of Nemasket. 

July 19, 1675, a conflict took place at Pocasset, from which 
Philip escaped, and for several months the fighting continued 
outside of the old colony. In the most severe battle of the war, 
which occurred in Rhode Island, in December, 1675, John 
Raymond, later of Middleboro, took part, and Samuel Pratt, 
one of the early settlers, was killed. 

On March 12, 1676, a massacre took place near Plymouth; 
eleven men were killed, and Mr. Clarke's house was attacked. 
This was followed by the destruction of a band of Scituate 
men at Pawtucket. At this time a body of three hundred 
additional men was raised, and was ordered to march on the 
nth of April. They went through Middleboro, and some re- 
fused to march further and returned, it being a time of gen- 
eral insubordination throughout the colonies. On April 20 
Scituate was atta,cked, and nineteen houses were burned. 

On the 8th of May, 1676, some three hundred warriors 
under the leadership of Tispequin made a second attack upon 
Bridgewater, which was repelled by the inhabitants, and after- 
wards renewed upon that portion of the town bordering on 
the Taunton River which included Titicut, where they burned 
two houses and one barn; but it does not appear that they 
crossed the river into that portion of Titicut at present in- 
cluded in Middleboro. Philip had given orders that Bridgewater 
and Taunton should not be destroyed until the last. 

^ New England^s Memoi-ial, Davis edition, p. 430. 

1676] KING Philip's war 81 

On or about the nth of May ^ Middleboro was again visited, 
and the houses which had not been burned in the summer and 
fall before were totally destroyed. 

About this time Captain Benjamin Church had charge of a 
number of vokmteers for i\ t a 

the purpose of more vigor- ^v ^ViX^te^Tf-f^^jIpi^y-tf^ 
ously prosecuting the war. ^^ 

The following was the order from the governor and council of 
the colony r^ — 

Captain Benjamin Church, you are hereby nominated, or- 
dered, commissioned, and empowered to raise a company of 
volunteers of about two hundred men, English and Indians ; 
the English not exceeding the number of sixty, of which com- 
pany, or so many of them as you can obtain, or shall see cause 
at present to improve, you are to take the command, conduct, 
and to lead them forth now and hereafter, at such time, and 
unto such places within this colony, or elsewhere within the 
confederate colonies, as you shall think fit ; to discover, pur- 
sue, fight, surprise, destroy, or subdue our Indian enemies, or 
any part or parties of them, that by the providence of God 
you may meet with, or them, or any of them, by treaty and 
composition to receive to mercy, if you see reason, (provided 
they be not murderous rogues, or such as have been princi- 
pal actors in those villanies.) And forasmuch as your com- 
pany may be uncertain, and the persons often changed, you 

^ In a letter supposed to be written by Governor Josiah Winslow to Thomas 
Hinckley and John Freeman, under date of May 23, 1676, referring to Philip's 
War on the towns of Plymouth Colony, he says : — 

" The people in all our towns (Scituate excepted) are very desirous to be 
ranging after the enemy. Last Saturday, about four, afternoon, a second post 
came from Bridgewater, informing that they had that morning discovered a party 
of about two hundred of the enemy at Teeticut, very busy killing cattle and 
horses, as if they intended some stay there ; and that Taunton and Bridgewater 
had agreed in the night to advance towards them with about sixty men, to fight 
them in the morning, and requested a few men from us if possible. The warning 
was very short ; yet we obtained from Plymouth, Duxbury, and Marshfield about 
forty smart lads, and sent to Bridgewater that night, but have not as yet heard 
of or from them. They knew of your intended march ; and, if they miss of those 
Indians, may very probably meet and join with yours to range towards Dart- 
mouth and Seaconet." The Hinckley Papers, Mass. Hist. Coll. vol. v. Fourth 
Series, p. 9. 

2 Church, History of Philip'' s War, Part I, p. 100. 


are also hereby empowered with the advice of your company, 
to choose and commissionate a Lieutenant, and to establish 
Sergeants, and Corporals as you see cause. And you herein 
improving your best judgment and discretion, and utmost 
ability, faithfully to serve the interest of God, his Majesty's 
interest, and the interest of the colony ; and carefully govern- 
ing your said company at home and abroad. These shall be 
unto you full and ample commission, warrant and discharge. 
Given under the publick seal, this 24th day of July, 1676. 

Per Jos. WiNSLOW, Governour. 

July 25 Captain Church, again on the march with a com- 
pany of eighteen English and twenty-two Indians, reached 
Middleboro before daylight in pursuit of a party of Narra- 

They were led by Philip's warriors, who for some time had 
been making depredations in Middleboro and other towns. 
Friendly Indians had reported their supposed whereabouts, 
and Captain Church, upon receiving his commission, marched 
immediately to Middleboro. During the night of the first day 
he reached Thomastown, where these warriors were encamped 
not far from the residence of the late Perez Thomas, in a 
swamp which he surrounded. They were accustomed to hide 
on an island in the middle of the swamp in the daytime, and 
to carry on their devastations during the night. Some of his 
Indian scouts brought the information that they had seen the 
smoke of their fires. Captain Church immediately ordered his 
forces to approach the swamp, and to be careful that none 
should escape. Before the sun rose, tracks were discovered in 
the dew on the grass on a narrow strip of land that led from 
the high ground on the edge of the swamp to the island. See- 
ing that there was no possible means of escape, and that they 
had been so completely surprised, the whole force of the Indians 
surrendered,^ and were conveyed to Plymouth as prisoners 
of war. Captain Church hastened through the woods back to 

1 Baylies's New Plymouth, Part IH, pp. 152-153. 

2 " Upon examination, they agreed in their stories, that they belonged to Tispa- 
quin, who was gone with John Bump, an Indian, to kill horses." Church, History 
of Philip's War, Part I, p. 176. 


Plymouth, where he left them to be dealt with by the governor, 
with the exception of one Jeffrey, a Narragansett, who had 
proved a faithful guide, and had been of great assistance to 
him after the Indians surrendered. 

Middleboro men had all moved to Plymouth, and undoubt- 
edly, as this expedition was in part to capture these Indians, not 
a few of them took part, but of this we have no record. Later, 
Captain Church's command reached Nemasket in the early 
morning and discovered another company of the enemy, whom 
they approached and surprised, capturing sixteen. Upon exam- 
ination, they informed him that Tispequin was at Assawamp- 
sett with a large company. It is to be noted that during this 
campaign some of the Indians who were taken by Captain 
Church proved so friendly that they assisted him in capturing 
the enemy. 

Captain Church was in charge of a number of wagons 
laden with provisions, bound to Taunton, which he had been 
ordered to protect. He was therefore obliged to lose the 
opportunity of seizing Tispequin and the warriors with him. 
Upon reaching Taunton, he was indignant to find Major 
Bradford, the commander of the forces, idle at the tavern, 
and asked that the latter's soldiers might be sent over the 
river to guard the provisions, while he continued on his expe- 

After leaving Taunton, he hastened to Assawampsett Neck, 
where he proposed to camp that night. As soon as they came 
to the brook 2 which runs into the great pond through a swamp, 
the Indians fired, but no one was injured. Those in his com- 
mand ran into the swamp where the enemy were supposed to 
be and fired upon them, but it being in the edge of the even- 
ing, they escaped. 

Captain Church then moved his company to Assawampsett 
Neck, where, being exceedingly fatigued, he concluded to 

1 The route which Captain Church probably took with his train was over what 
is now known as Summer Street. 

- This place is probably at the bridge over the stream that connects the two 
ponds, a little south of the house of Mr. Perry. 




encamp and rest for the remainder of the night. He placed a 
guard about the camp, a part of his men holding his horses 
while they ate. In the middle of the night, Tispequin's scouts 
having fired upon them, he stealthily moved away by another 
route and proceeded to Acushnet, some three miles to the 
south, where the Indians had previously burned the houses 
after the inhabitants had fled. Neither party seems to have 
been willing to risk an encounter, as both were well pre- 
pared and acquainted with the country, and, well knowing the 
strength of each other, they withdrew without further engage- 

On July 30 another force of Indians was reported to the 
authorities, and the " Governor hastened to Plymouth, raised 

what men he could by the 
way, came to Plymouth 
in the beginning of the 
forenoon exercise, sent 
for Captain Church out of 
the meeting-house, gave 
him the news. . . . The 
Captain bestirred him- 
self but found no bread 
in the storehouse and so 
was forced to run from house to house to get household bread 
for their march." ^ They went to Bridgewater, where Philip, 
with some of his followers, desiring to escape, had cut down a 
tree to serve as a bridge across the Taunton River. Church, on 
reaching this temporary bridge, saw an Indian sitting, and was 
about to iire, but was restrained by one who thought him 
a friendly Indian. He proved to be Philip, and Church, with 
Isaac Howland, pursued him to a swamp, where they captured 
several, but not the wily Philip. On returning to Plymouth, 
the captain received the governor's thanks for this victory, in 
which one hundred and seventy-three were killed or captured. 


1 This encampment was probably upon the farm of Sidney T. Nelson. 
Indian History, p. 200; Baylies's New Plymouth, Part HI, pp. T54-I5S' 

2 Church, History of Philip'' s War, p. I2i. 


1676] KING Philip's war 85 

Again he started in pursuit, and finally, on the 12th of 
August, surrounded and captured Philip ^ at Mount Hope. 

"They let him come fair within shot, and the Englishman's 
gun missing fire, he bid the Indian fire away and he did so to 
the purpose ; sent one musket bullet through his heart, and 
another not above two inches from it. He fell upon his face 
in the mud and water, with his gun under him." 

An old Indian executioner was commanded to behead the 
dead king. Ere he raised his hatchet he said, Philip " had been 
a very great man and had made many a man afraid of him, but 
so big as he was, he would now chop him." 

Eighteen days later, Church captured another great leader, 
Annawon, who surrendered, saying, " Great Captain, you have 
killed Philip and conquered his country : for I believe that I 
and my company are the last that war against the English, so 
suppose the war is ended by your means ; and therefore these 
things belong unto you." Then, opening his pack, he pulled 
out Philip's belt, " curiously wrought with wompom, being nine 
inches broad, wrought with black and white wompom, in vari- 
ous figures, and pictures of many birds and beasts." This, 
when hung upon Captain Church's shoulders, " reached his 
ancles." ^ 

Captain Church seems to have been more or less embar- 
rassed by instructions which he had received from the col- 
ony, and evidently some jealousy existed concerning him. The 
insubordination which manifested itself probably grew out of 
the fact that after the death of Philip it was believed by most 
of the men that the war would end, and they were desirous of 
dev'Oting their time to saving what had been lost. 

Middleboro, as an outpost of Plymouth, was the nearest 
town which suffered, as it was visited often by the whites, 
either in pursuit of the enemy or hastening to the defence of 
other towns in the colony. The fact that the inhabitants of 
Middleboro were enabled to reach the fort in safety, and thus 
escape massacre, which attended other towns of the colony ; 

1 Church, History of Philip's War, Part I, pp. 148, 1 51. 

2 Ibid. pp. 148, 151. 


that the fort was not attacked ; and that its inmates, so poorly 
protected, were allowed to escape to Plymouth, are evidences 
of the way in which the inhabitants of Middleboro were re- 
garded by the Indians. 

Tispequin was the commander-in-chief at the various con- 
flicts with Captain Benjamin Church about the great ponds of 
Middleboro. After Church had taken his wife, children, and 
attendants upon the promise that if he would surrender he 
would spare his and their liv^es, Tispequin went to Plymouth, 
and gave himself up to the governor and his council. He was 
soon after tried and publicly executed. This action on the part 
of the governor and council has led to perhaps more severe 
criticism than any portion of the public administration at New 
Plymouth. It may, however, be truthfully said that Captain 
Church had received no authority from the governor to make 
this promise to Tispequin, nor did the authorities know of it. 
He was brought to trial when it was learned that he was the 
leader of all of the massacres in the colony, and particularly 
in the burning of the houses of the settlers in Middleboro to 
whom he had sold land. The exigencies of the times and the 
perils to which they were still subject did not warrant any 
other disposition of so treacherous a chief than the death which 
he received, and which he so justly merited.^ 

In King Philip's War, so far as relates to Plymouth Colony, 
the decisive battle was the engagement at Scituate. If the 
Indians had not been defeated at that battle, it was their in- 
tention to go down along the coast, burn all of the houses, and 
destroy the inhabitants. Plymouth was not sufficiently fortified 
to have escaped the general massacre. The able-bodied men 
in the western part of the colony had joined the forces of Cap- 
tain Church to meet the Indians, and their families had gone to 

1 " It had always been held by the Indians that Tispequin could not be shot by 
any bullets from the English, and after the capture of his wife and children, Cap- 
tain Church sent word to Tispequin that he should be his captain over the Indians 
if he were found so invulnerable a man, as they said he was shot twice, but the bul- 
lets glanced by him, and could not hurt him. He afterwards surrendered and was 
sent to Plymouth, but upon trial, he was found penetrable to the English gun, for 
he fell down at the first shot." Hubbard's Indian Wars (Drake), vol. i, p. 275. 




Plymouth. A defeat at Scituate would probably have rendered 
the rest of the towns in the colony defenceless, and they would 
have been destroyed in accordance with the plan of Philip and 
his warriors. The little fort at Middleboro was the only one 
on the west, and there was nothing to have prevented the 
Indians, had they passed Scituate, from continuing their march 
of destruction to Plymouth. 

The war lasted nearly two years. About thirteen towns were 
destroyed, and many others were attacked ; about six hundred 
whites were killed in battle, beside the many unknown who 
perished from starvation and in massacre. 




T the close of King Philip's War, the old colony was 
not threatened by attacks of Indians, and suffered 
nothing from any of the hostilities which were occur- 
ring in the remote parts of the country. Middleboro 
was represented in all of the campaigns fought against the 
Indians or the French and Indians, in the expeditions organ- 
ized in defence of the colonies in behalf of the mother coun- 
try, and in resisting the aggressive attacks of France to obtain 
possession of the various strongholds ; but the names of the 
soldiers enlisted in these campaigns have most of them been 
forgotten, about one third of them being Indians. 

News of an invasion of England by France reached Boston 
in the winter of 1688,^ and on the loth of January, 1689, a 
proclamation was issued by Sir Edmund Andros, commanding 
the officers, civil and military, and all other of his Majesty's 
loving subjects, to be ready to use their utmost endeavor to 
hinder any landing or invasion that might be intended ; but 
so bitter was the feeling against Governor Andros that this 
proclamation was generally disregarded. The colonies of New 
England had enjoyed a period of peace from the close of King 
Philip's War until the year 1689, when the Indians on the north 
and western frontier settlements, instigated by the long and 
bitter enmity of the French against the English, commenced a 
series of barbarous attacks. 

In August, 1689, the court at Plymouth appointed commis- 
sioners to confer with the other colonies as to the course of 
conduct that they should take in repelling these assaults, and, 
as a result, there was a general Indian war, in which all of the 
New England colonies engaged, known as King William's War 

1 Barry's Histo>'y of Massachusetts, First Period, pp. 499, 500. 


(1689-97). The troops from Plymouth and Massachusetts col- 
onies were placed under the command of the celebrated Captain 
Benjamin Church, who had achieved such renown in King 
Philip's War. Middleboro was required to furnish one soldier 
and one musket, and to raise the sum of fourteen pounds by 
taxation towards meeting the expense of this threatened war. 
The tax was to be paid on or before the 26th day of Novem- 
ber, 1689, one third in money, one third in grain, and one third 
in beef and pork. It is interesting to notice the price at 
which these articles were then rated ; namely, the grain was to 
be received and credited as follows : corn, two shillings per 
bushel; rye, two shillings and sixpence per bushel; barley, two 
shillings per bushel ; wheat, four shillings per bushel ; beef, 
ten shillings per hundred, and pork twopence per pound. 

Early in May, 1690, a congress of delegates met in New 
York to consider means of defence. Plymouth ^ and Massa- 
chusetts colonies, with Connecticut, were to furnish three hun- 
dred and fifty-five men. The militia were to meet at Albany 
and then proceed to Montreal. Middleboro's quota was one 
soldier. An expedition had been planned to sail to Quebec, 
and extensive preparations were made for combined attack on 
that stronghold of the French. On June 5, 1690, Middleboro 
was ordered to send three soldiers, and to raise twenty-one 
pounds, sixteen shillings, and sixpence as her proportionate 
part of the expenses. Of the three soldiers drafted, Thomas 
Tomson and James Soule, for reasons which do not appear on 
record, declined to go, and were sentenced to pay a fine of 
four pounds each, or be imprisoned until the fines were paid. 
Benjamin Wood, John Tomson, and John Allen took part in 
this expedition. Port Royal and Acadia were conquered, but 
the combined attack on Quebec was a failure, owing to the 
jealousy and disagreement of the officers in charge of the cam- 
paign. Captain Church, in a second expedition into Maine, was 
to threaten the eastern Indians, but this was also a failure, and 
a crushing mortification and sorrow ensued to Massachusetts.^ 

^ Parkman's Frontenac and New France, chap, xii, pp. 235, 236. 
2 Palfrey, History of A''ew England, Book IV, chap. ii. 


The next call for troops in Middleboro was in 1722, for 
defence against another threatened Indian attack. This war 
lasted until 1725. A number of men from Middleboro, with 
friendly Indians, joined this expedition. Of the company 
raised, William Canedy was an ensign, and was afterwards 
promoted to the rank of lieutenant. He was placed in com- 
mand of a small fort at St. George's River, which was attacked 
on the 25th of December, 1723, by a large force of French 
and Indians. He so bravely defended this fort until reinforce- 
ments arrived, and the enemy ^ was repelled with such great 
loss, that he was rewarded with a commission as captain. 

The following is a list ^ of privates and officers : — 


William Canedy, capt. Robert Stanford, ens. 

Benjamin Wright, lieut. 


Joseph Bowdin, sergt. Richard Pomeroy, corp. 

Joseph Studson, sergt. Joseph Braydon, corp. 

Joseph Meeds, sergt. John Oliver, corp. 
■^ Benjamin Durfee, corp. 


John Attamon Henry Pesent 

Thomas Tainor Josiah Crook 

Daniel Chislen Isaac Phillips 

Joshua Tripp EHsha Sachem 

Benjamin Solomon Peter Washonks 

Joel Daniel Joshua Hood 

John Pechue Samuel Copeluck 

John Pepeens Ned John 

Abraham Jones Josiah Popmemanock 

Joseph Wood Eliakim Quacom 

Nehemiah Nahawamah Amos Stanks 

Abel Obediah Joshua Wicket 

James Queich David Job 

Simon Tremmetuck Jacob Paul 

1 The Peirce Family, p. 106. 

2 These lists are taken from the History of Plymouth County, p. 994. 


Thomas Daniel John Comshite 

Abel Tom Mose Peig 

Isaac Hassaway Tom Wily 

Eben Cushen Abel Blinks 

Job Mark Peter Dogamus 

Samuel Oliver John Boson 

John Quoy Roban Jenney 

Another roll bore the following names : — 


p William Canedy, capt. Stephen Whitaker, ens. 


Daniel Elenthorp, sergt, Edward Bishop, corp. 

Francis Pmichard, corp. 


Peter Parrey Philip Butler 

Thomas Lawrence Daniel Ross 

Stephen Morrells John Murphy 

John Norris Josiah Meeds 

Benjamin Speen Daniel Griffin 

John Church Thomas Dan 

Jeremiah Belcher John Pelkenton 

Elkanah Topmon William Thomas 

Isaac Chamberlain William Kelley 
John White 

Middleboro men were at the siege of Louisburg, the 
strongest fortress in the New World, captured and destroyed in 
1745. General Shirley had proposed to the General Court an 
expedition to capture Louisburg, and a circular letter was sent 
to all the colonies as far south as Pennsylvania. Massachu- 
setts furnished three thousand two hundred and fifty men.^ 
The commander-in-chief was William Pepperrell of Maine. 
On June 17 Louisburg capitulated.^ A thanksgiving day was 
appointed on July 18, and Thomas Prince preached a sermon 
on this at the Old South Meeting-house. 

1 Barry, History of Massachusetts, Second Period, vol. ii, p. 141. 

2 Hildreth, History of United States, vol. ii, chap, xxv, p. 397. 


In 1755 occurred the French and Indian War, which lasted 
eight years, and was by far the most important campaign which 
up to that time had been carried on by the EngUsh against the 
French, who had succeeded in inducing the Indians in the 
northwest of the English possessions to join with them. This 
included most of the Indian troops in New York State, and a 
few in Vermont and New Hampshire. The English outnum- 
bered the French fifteen to one,^ but the French controlled 
the two large rivers. General Braddock, sent over in 1755 by 
England, was defeated at Fort Duquesne, which was recap- 
tured two years later. In 1759 General Wolfe and General 
Montcalm were both killed at Quebec, but the fall of this city 
was the turning-point in the war. From that day France lost 
her territory in America. 

Middleboro furnished one company under command of Cap- 
tain Benjamin Pratt, and parts of another under command 
of Captain Samuel Thatcher for this year. The names of the 
officers and privates in Captain Pratt's company were as fol- 
lows : — 


Benjamin Pratt, capt. David Sears, 2d lieut. 

Sylvester Richmond, ist lieut. Nelson Finney, ens. 


Seth Tinkham,^ sergt. Archippas Cole, corp. 

Lemuel Harlow, sergt. Seth Billington, corp. 

Silas Wood, sergt. Jesse Snow, corp. 

Abiel Cole, sergt. John Miller, corp. 


Perez Tinkham Jacob Tinkham 


Jacob Allen Joseph Bent 

Jesse Bryant Abner Barrows 

1 Montgomery, History of United States, p. 134. 

2 Seth Tinkham left a diary of this campaign, which has been published in the 
History of Plymouth Cotcnty, p. 995. 




Abner Barrows, Jr. 
'Isaac Bennett 
John Bennett 
Samuel Bennett 
Benjamin Barrows 
Abraham Barden 
William Barlow 
Eliakim Barlow 
John Barker 
Perez Cobb 
Onesimus Campbell 
Gideon Cobb 
Gershom Cobb 
William Cushman 
Peter Crapo 
Thomas Caswell 
Jesse Curtis 
Ezekiel Curtis 
Counselor Chase 
Jabez Doggett 
Simeon Doggett 
Ebenezer Dunham 
Adam David 
Elkanah Elmes 
John Elmes 
John Ellis 
John Eaton 
Asa French 
William Fuller 
Simeon Fuller 
Jedediah Holmes 
John Harlow 
Zuril Haskell 

Jeremiah Jones 
Jeremiah Jones, Jr. 
John Knowlton 
James Littlcjohn 
Robert Maktun 
Thomas Miller 
David Miller 
Noah Morse 
Jonathan Morse 
Jacob Muxom 
Isaac Nye 
Thomas Peirce 
Job Peirce 
Paul Pratt 
Francis Pomeroy 
Samuel IVatt 
Samuel Pratt, Jr. 
Henry Richmond 
Nathan Richmond 
Moses Reding 
Job Richmond 
Noah Raymond 
Barnabas Sampson 
Jabez Sampson 
Jacob Sampson 
Obadiah Sampson 
John Sampson 
Crispus Shaw 
Perez Shaw 
Zebedee Sears 
Peleg Standish 
Robert Seekel 
Benjamin Streeter 

The Rev. Ebenezer Hinds, pastor of the Second Baptist 
Church, was the chaplain of this regiment, and accompanied 
them during the entire service. 

Captain Abiel Peirce,^ a young man of remarkable courage 
and enterprise, early noted among the people of the town for 
his character and devotion to the interests of the mother coun- 
try, served as a private soldier under General Winslow in the 

^ The Peirce Family, p. 102. 


expedition to Acadia in the summer and fall of 1755. For his 
prudence and bravery he was afterwards promoted to the rank 
of lieutenant, and still later to the rank of captain. He was 
in the expedition to Canada, and present at the battle of Que- 
bec, "the key of Canada," ^ September 13, 1759. Before the 
attack on Quebec he was detailed to serve as a temporary aide- 
de-camp on the staff of General Wolfe. He saw General 
Wolfe receive his fatal wound, and heard him say as he fell, 
" Support me, let not my soldiers see me drop." Then came 
the shout, "The day is ours ! " "They run! They give way 
everywhere ! " A light came into the eyes of the dying hero, 
who eagerly asked, "Who fly.''" and being told it was the 
French, exclaimed, " Now, God be praised, I die happy." 

The company under command of Captain Thatcher probably 
consisted of many who had served under Captain Pratt, and 
the following are the names of the officers and privates, most 
of them Middleboro men i^ — 

" Samuell Thacher Capt. 
John Peirce Lieut. 
Ignatious Elmes Insign 
Abner Barrows 
Robert Barrows 
Samuel Bobbitt 
William Barlow 
Ruben Barrows 

Joshua Caswell Sick at Albany 
Joseph Drake Desarted 
David Delano Died the 8 of Septm 
Remembrance Donham 
Ebnezer Donham 
James Fance 
Isreal Felix Sick at Albany 

1 Barry, History of Massachusetts, vol. ii, p. 238. 

2 The above names are from the diary of Abner Barrows, a son of Coombs 
Barrows, now in the possession of Miss Sarah T. Barrows, his great-granddaugh- 
ter. It is a small book, about 3I inches wide by 5^ inches long, which was proba- 
bly carried in his pocket and the entries made from day to day. The list of the 
officers and privates in this company are in his handwriting at the end of the diary. 
He was from twenty-three to twenty-five years old at the time he was in this ser- 
vice, and lived afterwards in the old Barrows house. 


Samuel Hunter 

Peter Hulburt Desarted 

Ebenezer Norcutt at Albany 

John Reed 

Barnabas Raymond 

William Ransom 

Gibbin Sharp 

Ephraim Thomas 

Oxenbridge Thacher Adj 

Perez Tinkham 

William Terry Sick at Albany 

William Tupper 

Nathan Thomas 

Lemuel Wood 

Benjamin Washburn Sick at Albany " 

Abner Barrows kept a diary of his service in the French and 
Indian War from 1756 to 1758. This diary is dated, "Boston, 
May II, 1756," the day they left Boston, and contains records 
of the events during their march, — the places w^here they 
encamped, the number of miles travelled each day, with the 
incidents of their camp life. They reached Albany on the 
23d of May, taking twelve days to travel a distance which can 
now be done by cars in a few hours. After arriving at Albany 
they proceeded to Saratoga, and to Fort William Henry. The 
regiment to which this company belonged performed no spe- 
cial service, and the men were discharged and returned to 
their homes. Mr. Barrows enlisted again in 1757, and served 
during the campaign of 1758. 

The following is a copy of a portion : — 

1758, July 2. D Nothing Remarkable hapnd Kept about 
our Incampment Our army consists of about twenty two thou- 

July 3 this Day thair Was a Generial muster through the 
Whole Incampment Every Regement mustered by them selves 
and was Desmised about middle of the after Noon. 

July 5 this Day the Whole Incampment by about half way 
betwext Brake of Day & Son Rise Struk thair tents and 
marched Down to the Lake thair Shipt in Battoes & in Whail 
Botes Rowed Down the Lake about Sixteen miles made Some- 


thing of a halt about three ours or Better then Rowed in our 
Botes again Sometimes Rowed Sometimes Layd on our ores 
Till after Day Light by the Son about three hours high then 
our men Viz Regulars Landed about half a mile above the 
advanced Guard of our Enemys Major Roggers With his 
Rangers Went tords them and they perceiving they Was an 
army they hauled Down thair Tents Ran of With all Speed 
Left bag and baggage for a prey thay fired a good many Guns 
which Did no harme Several of the Enemy Wair kild or Taken 

July 6 this morning about Eight o Clock the army Landed 
our Regulars fired on a few french men and Indians & killed 
two or three ye french that Wair att the advance Guard Ran 
off with all Speed all and all thair Things behind allmost be- 
hind them Soon after We Landed thair Went out two or three 
parties of men after thay had bin out an our or two we heard 
a Very smart Firing which Lasted about an hour & toward 
Night thay brought the prisoners that thay had taken Which 
amounted to the Number of about 150 thay had upwards of 
fifty or 60 Slain this Day we Reckned that our men had up- 
wards of fifteen or 20 Slain Som Wounded & brought In to 
the C mp our Lord how Was Slain this Day 

July 7 this morning Severial Regments marcht from Whair 
We Landed ours with them then after we had travled three 
or fore miles thay all Returnd to the Camp then our Regment 
took meet for two Days & no Bread then about two or three 
ours after we came in our Regment & a Good many more 
Regments marcht towards the Enemys fort & made Several 
Brest works for our own Safegard Whair our Regement Loged 
in the Night 

Saturday July the 8 this morning all the Regements that Lay 
in their Breast Works travled about a mile then our Regment 
and one more Viz Colo Bayleys Regment Lay a long two Deep 
In order for combat the Light Infantry Regment Lay advanced 
before Us we Lay thair two or three hours Divers Guns Wair 
Fired in our front Till all In a Sudden thair Was a very Brisk 
fire in our front We Lay a Short Time Prepared for the Enemy 
But perceiving thay Did not Come then the Regment that 
Lay Before Us advanced forward and our Regment marched 
Briskly the fire Continued in one Continued Volley the Biggest 
Part of five hours the french that we thus Ingaged wair in thair 
Brest Work & in thair Intrenchments our Regulars Began the 
fire With the Enemy thair Was abundance of them Slain Som 
Conclude thair was two or 3 thousand of them Slain thair Was 


som Slain of Every Party that Belonged to Every Province 
Slain and Wounded a great over Sight that We had Not our 
Cannon two of our Cannon Got allmost to Us but thay wair 
ordred Back by What Reason I know not O, to See the Slain 
how thick thay Lay on the Ground when our men Retreated 
from them We Carred of the Wounded men about a mile 
to Whair our Brest Work was Made the Night after the Battle 
was fought the Regement Retreated Back som to the place 
Whair We Landed Som of the Regments Came No further 
than the saw mill about two miles they brote thair Wounded 
men as far as thair Next morning the army Gott Into thair 
Battoes made What Speed thay Could away I fear a great 
many Wounded men fell Into the hands of our Enemy & the 
Slain all Lay on the spoot. 

July 9 D this Day the army Returned Back again to the 
head of the Lake whair We Set out from. We Sett out from the 
Place Whair We Landed about teen of the Clock in the morn- 
ing Reacht the head of the Lake about son sett and thairabout 

July ye 16 this Day the biggest Part of our Regmt marcht 
from Lake George Down to Fort Edward Severial of our Com- 
pany Was Very Poorly this Day Capt Pratt Came to us he 
mett us about 7 miles below- Between fort Edward and the old 
Camp att a place caled the half Way Brook our Camp Campt 
at fort Edward 

July ye 17 this morning Sett out from a Little Below fort 
EDWARD travded to Saratoga by about two of the Clock in the 
after Noon thair Drawd Stors in our Company Sett out again 
Crosed a Little River travled about a mile Down the River 
thair Picht our tents. 

July ye 18 this morning our Company Sett out from Sara- 
toga travled to the half Way house thair made a Small Halt 
and it began to Rain It Rained and it made the Way Plxtroda- 
nery bad traveling traveled to the Half Way House Thair 
Picht our tents and Loged 

July ye 19 this morning our Company Sett out from the 
half Way house travled to the half moon by about Eleven of 
the Clock thair Picht our tents by the upper Sprowt &c. . 
this after Noon a Great many of our Regment travled off Crost 
the River this after Noon Without orders about Soon Sett thair 
Came a Reagular ofificer Who Commanded the men back he 
Struck one man Several blows about thirty men Cockt thar 
fier Locks on him he past of With Speed 

July ye 21 this Day Nothing Remarkable hapned in our 


Camp our Company begun to Recrute from thair Illness this 
afternoon the Whole of the Regt that wair hear wair ordered 
under armes our Colo made a Speech to us Told us the Dan- 
ger of Desarting he Said that he had Wrote to the Cort to 
Know what to Do he said if the Cort sent for us We mought 
then go hom and not other Wise after the Collo had Walked 
Round & talked to us then our Chaplain Went to prayer With 
ye Regment & We wair Dismissed 

July ye 23 this morning about Teen o Clock the Regt 
Under Colo Thos Dotys Comand being ordered to march about 
three Score men belonging to the Same Regment Clobed thair 
fier locks & Was maching off two Sergt headed them the Rest 
of ye Regt Was Ordered to Load thair fier Locks Emediatly 
and fix on thair Bayonets then We wair ord to march. We 
marchd Round them our Colo & adjutant took thair armes 
from them Putt all under Guard thair they wair kept about 
two bowers then the Ring Leaders of them Wair took and 
Penioned Six of them wair sent Down to be Putt in the prison 
at Albany the about fifty or so men that Wair put under guard 
for the same Crime wair Released by making Good promises 
for the futur &c 

July 31 D this morning sett out from the place Whair We 
Loged Set Up the falls as Well as We Could about teen 
oClock our boat Reacht up as far as Whair our Regt Stopt 
then sett out again Some Times We Rowed then We out 
Waided hailed our botes by hand a grate Way Grate falls bad 
going Up the River Went by a Grate many Dutch Settle- 
ments on both Sides of the River Exceeding Large fealds of 
all Sorts of Grain 

this Night Went off four men belonging to the Batto that I 
Went in 

The different regiments which served in the French and 
Indian War were probably called out for a single campaign, 
of short duration, and upon its close were dismissed and after- 
wards reenlisted as required by the governor of the province. 
Captain Pratt's company was in the campaign of the summer of 
1757 in and about Fort Henry, some of his former men enlist- 
ing in other companies as well as in that under the command of 
Captain Thatcher. The roll of officers and men under Captain 
Pratt shows the first enlistment, while that under Captain 
Thatcher is the second enlistment. 


.In the campaign about Fort Edwards, Ticonderoga, and 
Crown Point in 1761, Captain Jabez Snow enlisted the follow- 
ing Middleboro men under Colonel Jonathan Hoar's regiment 
of the Massachusetts Bay forces : — 

" Nath" Alden Simeon Fuller 

Th^ Barding Nath^ Rowland - 

Abraham Barding Jeremiah Jones 

Benj" Barding Abial Leach 

-Nath" Bennett Nath^ Maybe 

Batchelder Bennett Gibens Sharp 

Zebulon Bryant Jabez Samson 

Nath^ Covil Reuben Snow 

John Calloge John Thomas ^- 

Theop^ Crossman James Willis 

Richard Dwelly Abner Wood 

Isaac Dunham Josiah Wood 

Lot Eaton Jabez Vaughan " 


In the struggle between France and England for supremacy 
in the New World, an expedition in 1755 was planned for the 
conquest of Nova Scotia by General Winslow, a native of 
Plymouth and a grandson of Edward Winslow. Here dwelt 
for generations the French Neutrals, better known as the 
Acadians, who took no part in this conquest, but were sus- 
pected on account of their intense attachment for France and 
their devotion to the Catholic faith. Their priest taught that 
fidelity to King Louis was inseparable from fidelity to God.^ 

The English Crown issued an order, through the influence 
of Governor Shirley, that they should be deported to preserve 
the rights of English subjects. Middleboro furnished a few of 
the men who took part in this campaign. Abiel Peirce served 
as a private, and Alexander Canedy accompanied the troops, 
but was unable to serve on account of illness. The manner 
in which this order was carried out gave rise to perhaps the 
severest condemnation of any act of the British government in 
reference to her dealings with her colonies of America. Fam- 

1 Parkman, Alontcalm and Wolfe, vol. i, p. 235. 



ilies were scattered^ and separated throughout the EngHsh 
possessions in America. About one thousand were landed in 
Boston, and distributed among the towns of the province in 
proportion to the inhabitants. They were usually treated well 
in the different towns of the state, but were supported as 
paupers, and were called "cadies." Of this number, Middle- 
boro's quota was nine, but we have no definite trace of their 
permanent settlement, although the names of some families 
would indicate that they may be their descendants. All that 
now remains of their history is the record of three bills 
for their support, which were sent by the selectmen to the 
treasurer of the province ; the legislature cheerfully attempted 
to alleviate their sufferings by passing a resolution to pay the 
different towns for their support.'-^ 

1 See Longfellow's ETmtgcliue. 

2 The following is a bill copied from the 23d volume of A/ass. Archives: — 

Purfuant to an act of the Grate & General Court of this province, Relating to 
the Inhabitants of nova Scotia brought to this province, we the Subscribers 
selectmen of middleborough, by order of the General Courte Committee and had 
the cear of 9 of Said Inhabitants and have kept an Exact account of the necesary 
and unavoidable Charge we have been at in Suporting said inhabitants beginning 
at the 15th day of January to the 4th day of April 1756 Which we humbly sub- 
mitt; the account is as followeth : — 

To 14 1/2 bushels of corn at 2/8 p bushel 
To — bushels of Rie at 3/4 P bushel 
To 180 pound of good pork 
To 88 pounds of beef 
To 29 1/2 pounds of hog fat 
To tier wood & houfe rent 

Paid to Noah Thomas for turnups portators \ 
and hogs fat ( 

Paid to Thomas Fofters Eggs \ 
For beens Codfifh and molafes \ 
To beens portators & Candels c — 4 — 10 

To five P Shoes i — i — 51/2 

To fifh o— 6— o 

To keeping m' Fofters Teem that carted sd 

inhabitants o — 2 — 2 

n — 12 — 3 1/2 
Dated at Middleborough April 15th. 1756. 
about 2/ a week. 

Elias Miller ) Selectmen 

[ of 

Joseph Tinkham ) Middleborough 


18 — 


I — 



2 — 



17 — 




10 — 



II— 5 



RIOR to the Revolution, a few slaves were held in 
many of the towns in this commonwealth.^ There is 
the record of the sale of but qne in Middleboro, and 
those that were held, upon the death of their owner 
either passed to some member of the family by will or were 
given their freedom, and in some cases received a little tract 
of land with a house in which to live. Upon obtaining their 
freedom they rarely left their masters, but remained with 
them, serving in the same capacity as before. Very amusing 
incidents have come down by way of tradition of the bright 
sayings of some of them and the innocent pranks they played 
upon different members of the family. 

In 1755 there were at least twelve slaves owned in Mid- 
dleboro. Rev. Peter Thatcher owned a slave by the name 
of Sambo, who was imported from Africa, and, not speaking a 
word of English when he came to live with the good minister, 

1 Slaves were never as numerous in Massachusetts as in Rhode Island and 
Connecticut, and were always treated with great consideration. As early as the 
" Body of Liberties, printed in 1641, the General Court declared, there shall 
never be any bond of slaverie, villenage or captivitie unless it be lawful captives 
taken in just wars and such strangers as willingly sell themselves or are sold to 
us; "and it seems that all slaves always had the right to come into any public 
court either by speech or motion for the redress of any wrongs that they may 
have had. 

The slaves of Massachusetts were not held under a rigorous servitude. 
They were generally instructed in the teachings of the Bible, and were often 
members of the church and subject to the same rules as their owners. They had 
their legal rights, which, however, were never enforced against those of their 

Among the laws passed by the General Court in 1703, "It was enacted that 
slaves shall not be absent from the families to which they belong or found 
abroad in the night after nine o'clock." The early newspapers frequently had 
advertisements for the sale of slaves. 


could be communicated with only by means of signs. It is 
said that one day, soon after his arrival, Mrs. Thatcher asked 
him to bring in some wood with which to kindle the fire. 
Sambo brought it in, but when he saw the flames going up 
from the mouth of the oven, looked aghast, and darting through 
the door, was not seen for several days. After a long search 
by the neighbors, he was found in a swamp and brought home 
nearly dead from cold and hunger. When he could speak 
a little English he said, " In my own country, away dar in 
Af'ica, we hab slaves, we hungry, we kill 'em, we roast 'em, de 
meat bery good. When I see de fire roarin' in de oben I tink, 
' Sambo, you days all ober wid you now, dem white foks roast 
you in de oben and eat you.' De sweat run down my angles ; 
I lib wid de coons ; I cold ; I hungry — I go home dey roast 
me in de oben, which best.-' I dunno, all de same I tink." One 
day he came to his mistress bringing a loaf of bread in his 
hands, his eyes aglare, and his lips extended in a most peculiar 
manner. " Look, Missy, look haar, de crus' lef bread and gone 
up trough de oben ; I believe de debil 's been here and is 
tryin' to run away wid de bread." She told him his oven was 
not hot enough, and therefore his bread fell. " Oben not hot 
enuf, de bread fall .'' How could de bread fall, was it not on 
de bottom ob de oben ? Dis nigger no understand," said he, 
scratching his head. Afterward, his mistress, going into the 
kitchen, saw loaves of bread around the floor, and Sambo 
running from one to the other sitting on each one of them. 
" Look, Missy, is not dis a charmin' way to keep de crus' from 
risin' .'' " he said. Sambo became a christian, and joined the 
First Church in 1742. While Whitefield was in this vicinity, 
it is said that Sambo walked to Plymouth hoping to hear him 
preach, but Whitefield did not come, and the people were dis- 
appointed, an itinerant minister supplying. During the service 
Sambo was very much affected, and cried aloud so that one 
of the deacons went to him and asked him to be still. He 
said, " I cannot be still ; Massa Whitefield preach so, he nearly 
break my heart." "But," said the deacon, "it is not White- 
field." "Not Massa Whitefield? den I hab made all dis 


hubbubboo for nothing." Another of Mr. Thatcher's slaves, 
Callininco, burned the mansion house by his carelessness in 
placing a wooden vessel filled with coals in an adjoining out- 
house. Mr. Thatcher owned two others, named Anna Kolton 
and Nannie. 

Cyrus Wood, a worthy and influential man, who resided at 
the Four Corners, kept a country store upon the site where 
stands the house formerly owned by Deacon Abiel Wood. 
He owned a slave by the name of Elsie, who was industrious, 
frugal, and neat. She was very fond of display, and wore a 
great red handkerchief for a headdress. She was a worship- 
per in the old church, but acquired a taste for strong drink. 
Her fault reaching the ears of some of the members of the 
church, she was summoned before them, and with much fear 
and trembling, she made this confession : " Bredren and sis- 
ters, all dat you hab heard about Elsie is true ; it is all true. I 
did go to de store, I did buy me a bottle of whiskey to cure 
de rheumatics. A-comin' home trough de woods de bottle 
was in my hands. I could see de whiskey in de bottle, it looked 
bery gude. I tink I would take out de stopper and smell of 
him a little ; maybe, I says, maybe it will do my rheumatics 
gude, so I takes out de stopper and smell of him a little. It 
smelled very gude. I just tase him one drop, den de debil, he 
Stan' right at my elbow. He says, ' Elsie, tase him a little 
more ;' den de debil he pleased, he did not speak to me any 
more. I did all de res' myself, de debil did not help me. I 
tase him and tase him and kep' a-tasin' him, till I tase him all 
up. Now bredren and sisters, if I hab done you any harm, 
I am much obliged to you." She afterward was restored into 
the church, and she used to say, when tempted, " Get you 'hind 
me, debil, you make one big fool ob me once, I will neber tase 
de whiskey agen, if de debils be as thick as de huckleber- 
ries in massa's pasture." After Elsie had been given her 
freedom, the family built her a little cottage in the pasture 
land in the rear of the Morton house, where she lived until 
her death. 

Madam Morton had two slaves, Shurper and Aaron ; both 


of whom lived to be very old, and remained in the family of 
their mistress until their death. Shurper in his old age used 
to spend much time in prayer, in which he was very gifted. 
One of the members of the family, listening at his chamber 
door, heard him mention his kind master and mistress and the 
children, and conclude his prayer by saying, " Lord, bless de 
white foks, ebery one of dem, but bless de poor nigger in 

Aaron was also very devout ; he had all of the superstition 
of the negro, and he used often to say, " Now, here is de ring 
wid old Aaron in de middle, de Lord is wid him here ; de debil 
is on de outside, now keep your distance, Massa debil, and do 
not dare to come into dis ring," Then with a heavy blow with 
his cane he would say, " Go your way, Massa debil, and do not 
come hangin' 'bout here to eat old Aaron up." Some one would 
banter him by asking how the devil looked, and he would say 
that he "had a head like a nigger's, only with the horns, and 
eyes that kep' a-rollin' an' a-rollin' like dis [rolling his own], 
and a mouth dat would eat you up m a minute. He go about 
to ketch wicked niggers ; he ketch white foks too, some 0' 
dem," casting a significant eye on those who were taunting 
him. " Mistress read about him in de Bible, and Aaron has 
seen him hisself." 

All of the negroes at this time seem to have been brought 
from Africa, and as a part of the old fetish worship the devil 
was prominent in the theology of the devout old negro. He 
used to say, " When I die, bury me near de house, dat I may 
hear de little chillun's voices when dey be playin'." 

The Morton family had one other slave, by the name of 
Prince, of whom there is no record except that, like the others, 
he was pious, and united with the church in 1742. 

Judge Oliver had a slave by the name of Quassia, full of fun 
and drollery, who always made sport for the guests at Oliver 
Hall. After Judge Oliver left the country. Quassia lived in 
the family of Colonel Watson of Plymouth, and not a few anec- 
dotes have come down of his genial wit. Judge Oliver had one 
servant, Cato, who was probably a slave. 


Governor Hutchinson, while he hved in Middleboro, had a 
slave by the name of Phyllis. 

Dr. Stephen Powers had a young slave named Cato Boston, 
purchased in Middleboro for twenty pounds, before 1772. He 
was very mischievous, and was thought to have set one or 
two fires in the neighborhood. 

Elkanah Leonard had a slave named Tom. 

Captain Job Peirce owned two slaves, a man and woman. ^ 
At the time slavery ceased in Massachusetts, one of these, 
though free, continued to live with him as his servant until his 

Isaac Peirce, Jr., of Lakeville, in his will dated 1756, pro- 
vided for the emancipation of his negro slave, Jack.^ 

John Montgomery, in January, 1769, freed his negro man- 
servant. Prince, certain parties giving bonds that he should 
not become a charge to the town. 

July 18, 1764, Ebedmelech, a negro servant to Madam 
Mary Thatcher, published an intention of marriage with 
Betty Conant, an Indian woman of Plymouth.^ 

In the house built by Judge Oliver for his son, Peter Oliver, 
Jr., now known as the old Sproat house at Muttock, apart- 
ments were fitted in the attic for the slaves of the family, 
traces of which are still noticeable. 

John Alden, a grandson of the pilgrim, settled in Titicut, and 
brought with him the first slave ever owned in town. Her 
name was Margaret,* and she united with the First Church 
January 22, 1710. In his will ^ he bequeaths to his wife 
"my negro man to be at her own disposing." 

Before the Revolutionary War, many of the well-to-do citizens 
of the town had slaves in their families, of whom no record has 
come down to us. After it, without any legislative act, but 
from a sense of moral wrong in the holdins^ of human beinofs 
in bondage, slavery practically disappeared from the town. 

1 The Peirce Family, p. 277. 2 /^/,/ p ^^ 

^ Davis's Landmarks of Plymouth, p. 109. 

■• History of the First Church of Middleboro, p. 82. 

^ Alden Genealogy, p. 14. 



P OR many years the people of America had lived in 
peace, with growing prosperity and a closer union of 
the thirteen colonies. With the accession of George 
III, a change occurred; their profitable commerce 
in fish and furs was interfered with, and Parliament began to 
consider unjust legislation for the oppression of the colonies. 
In 1765 the Stamp Act was passed, requiring them to use 
stamps on law and business papers as well as on pamphlets 
and newspapers. These stamps cost from a half-penny (one cent) 
up to fifty dollars. Upon the enactment of this statute the 
indignation of the people blazed out in an unmistakable manner. 
James Otis had already declared, " Taxation without repre- 
sentation is tyranny." 

The people of Middleboro were well informed of the arbi- 
trary measures of the British Parliament, 
and in various ways expressed their senti- 
ment in regard to the unwarranted action 
against the rights and privileges of the 
American colonies and the inalienable 
rights which belonged to them as loyal 
subjects of George III. The following let- 
ter of instructions to Daniel Oliver,^ their 
THE STAMPSUNDER^ representative in the General Court at 
THE STAMP ACT Boston, iudicatcs their attitude : — 


At a Town meeting Held by adjournment at the Proprietors meeting House 
within the first Precinct in Middleborough on Monday the 21 Day of October 
1765 at said meeting voted the following Instructions to Daniel Oliver Esq. 
there Representative. 

^ Daniel Oliver was a son of Judge Oliver. 


To Daniel Oliver Esq Representative of the Town of Middleborough. Sr. Every 
Person of Observation must be Sensible How Extreemly Disagreeable the Late 
act of Parliment whereby Certain Stamp Duties are Laid on the Several Colonies 
on this Continent Has been : and Still is to the People of this Province, we Do 
acknowledge ourselves To be True and Loyal Subjects to our King, and to Have 
the Highest Esteam and Regard for both Houses of Parliment. Notwithstanding 
which we Look upon the aforementioned act to be a Grevious and Litollirable 
Burden upon us, and an Infringment on our Charter Rights and Priveledges, 
Granted to our fore Forefathers & continued To us there Posterity and as we 
Humbly Conceive Has not been Forfited nither by them nor us. and fearing 
the Daingerious Consequences that may follow To this Province if the General 
Assembly Should by an act of there own Bring upon us a Burden So Insuport- 
able as the operation of the Stamp Act will be. we the free Holders and Other 
Inhabitants In Town Meeting assembled do Earnistely "Recommend and give it 
as our Instructions To you Sr. not to Comply with any measures That may be 
Proposed For the Court to take. In order to make way for a Compliance with 
the above mentioned act, and that by all LawfuU means Consistent with Loyalty 
To the King you oppose Its Taking Place Till we Can Know what will be the 
answer To the Prayers, Tears, Petitions of this whole Continent for Relief, and 
we further Recommend To you not to Consent To any measures for the counte- 
nanceing or Pertecting Stamp officers or Stampd Papers. 

The Laws of the Land if Duly Executed we Immagine Sufficient to Suppress 
any Tumultuous & Disorderly Practices. 

And in Consideration of the Scarcety of money and the Difficulty most People 
are put to pay there Tax we must Enjoine it upon you Sr. Not to Consent to any 
Extroydinary Grants, being made (or any Draughts on the Publick Treasurer of 
this Province) Except it Be for Defraying the Necessary Charges. 

The Sons of Liberty in Boston had destroyed the building 
where stamps were to be sold, and riotous demonstrations took 
place all over the country, so that the following year Parliament 
deemed it wise to repeal this act, but soon after (1767) imposed a 
tax on glass, paint, paper, and tea. The colonists pledged them- 
selves "to eat nothing, drink nothing, wear nothing" imported 
from England, although the price of tea was placed so low that 
even with the tax it cost less than that smuggled from Holland. 

A larger number of troops were sent to Boston from Eng- 
land, and this menace aroused the people to call a convention 
of delegates from more than a hundred towns in the province. 

The following vote shows Middleboro's action : — 

"At a town meeting held Sept. 20-1768 — in Middieboro Capt. Ebenezer 
Sprout & Capt. Benjamin White were chosen a Committee to join in a conven- 
tion to be held at Faneul Hall Boston, on Thursday Sept. 32 at 10 o'clock before 


noon. Said Convention to be held on account of the divisions in the Provinces 
& other difificulties as being destitute of a General Court & the daily expectation 
of two or three regiments of Kings Troops to be kept at the Castle & in Boston 
& the said consequences thereof & the Town unanimously voted that the select- 
men be a committee to wait on the several Ministers of the Gospel of the Town 
defining that the next Tuesday may be kept as a day of solemn fasting & prayer 
for the above mentioned ocation." 

The governor refused to receive the petition drawn up by 
these delegates, and declared their convention treasonable. 
This was the first of those popular conventions, destined within 
a few years to assume the whole political authority of the 

Middleboro men believed that ere long the oppressive mea- 
sures would be repealed, and that the British government 
would yield to the wise counsels of Chatham and Burke and 
other strong men who sympathized with the rights of the 
American colonists. They loved the mother country ; many 
of them had cheerfully rendered great services for the defence 
of the Crown in resisting encroachments of the French power ; 
they had served as officers in the French and Indian War; 
they had volunteered to be led by British officers in maintain- 
ing the power and authority of the Crown ; they were brave, 
intelligent men, proud of the names on the pages of English 
history so illustrious in statesmanship, in war, and in litera- 
ture ; very many of them had friends in the old country, and 
had received special favors from the government. The second 
ofificer under the Crown, chief justice of the highest court in 
the colonies, had been an honored and revered citizen for 
almost a generation. The most brilliant governor was a fre- 
quent visitor in town, and it is not surprising that, with regret, 
all but a few citizens sooner or later abandoned their alle- 
giance to the mother country and cast their lot with the patriot 
cause. The struggle was severe, but the step once taken, no 
braver nor better soldiers in the Continental army were found 
than those who had enlisted from the town of Middleboro. 
Her citizens were found on almost every important battlefield 
of the Revolutionary struggle. 

Probably few of the colonists, at the beginning of the 


trouble with Great Britain, contemplated that this opposition 
would terminate in armed resistance, with the ultimate inde- 
pendence of the colonies. Governor Hutchinson,^ as early as 
1773, said that from his personal knowledge he had no appre- 
hension that the people of the province desired a separation 
from the Crown, and at this time, when the colonists were sin- 
cere in their opposition to the wrongful acts of Parliament, he 
made appointments with his usual sagacity. Their turbulent 
spirit began to manifest itself in the House of Representatives 
and in many of the leading men. He very shrewdly chose for 
the various officers, both civil and military, those w^io were 
supposed, in the event of a conflict, to side with the Crown. 
The only surprising thing is that among all of his appoint- 
ments so few followed the wishes of the English government. 

Long before the battle of Lexington, the leading citizens 
were alarmed at the recommendations of the governor and the 
course of Parliament, fearing serious difficulties in their polit- 
ical rights and privileges. Meetings were held in the different 
neighborhoods, at which the acts of the loyal officers in Boston 
were discussed pro and con. 

In 1770 occurred the Boston Massacre, and in 1773 the 
famous Tea Party. 

"At a Town Meeting held in Middleborough Jan. 17-1774, It was put to vote 
whether the Town would take action upon the articles contained in the warrant 
for said meeting which is to see if said Town would act anything relative to the 
Teas lately destroyed in the Town of Boston, which was sent by the East India 
Company and it passed in the negative." - 

In 1774 the port of Boston was closed, and the colony was 
placed under the control of General Gage. 

The following records, under date of June 20, 1774, show 
the first decisive action taken in Middleboro. Other towns 
had appointed a Committee of Correspondence with the officials 
of Boston and other parts of the colony, and letters had re- 
peatedly passed between them, but it was not until this time 
that the town cast its first vote in reference to the matter. 

1 Hutchinson, History of Massachusetts, vol. iii, p. 390. 

2 Book III, p. 23. 


June 20, 1774. Town voted and made choice of Capt. Ebenezer Sproutt, 
Capt. Benjamin White, Mr. Nathaniel Harlow, Mr. Nathaniel Samson and Mr. 
George Leonard, their selectmen to be a com. of correspondence for said Town, 
to correspond with the town of Boston's correspondence Com. and Committees 
of other Towns relative to the late acts of the British Parliament which bare so 
hard against our Charter rights and privileges. Also Voted and made choice of 
Messrs. Ebenezer Wood, Samuel Clarke, John Miller, Abner Kingman, Zacha- 
riah Eddy and John Weston as an addition to the above Com. and to have the 
same power with them, and that the aforesaid Committee shall on the adjourn- 
ment of this meeting lay their transactions before the Town for the Towns appro- 
bation or disapprobation of the aforesaid Committees proceeding on the aforesaid 
mentioned affair. Memorandum The aforesaid last mentioned Committee men 
personally appeared in Town meeting and declared that they would serve the 
Town in the afore mentioned affair of correspondence free and clear of any cost 
or charge to the Town as also the first chosen five selectmen of said Town and 
then said meeting was adjourned until the third Monday of October next at one 
of the o'clock in the afternoon. 

Sept. 28, 1774. Town voted and made choice of Messrs. Elder Mark Haskol, 
George Leonard, Ebenezer Wood, Jonah Washburn and Abner Kingman as a 
Com. to draw up instructions for Capt. Ebenezer Sproutt, their Representative, 
relative to these times of trouble, which instructions are as followeth and the 
Town by vote accepted the same. 


MiDDLEBORO, Sept. 28, I774. 

This Town having made choice of Capt. Ebenezer Sproutt to represent them 
at the Great and General Court or Assembly of this Province which is appointed 
to meet at Salem the 5th day of October next, do give him the following instruc- 
tions to guide his general conduct in that assembly. 

Sir — Reposing confidence in you as a friend to our Country and the Charter 
Government and Constitution of this Province, we commit to you the important 
trust of representing us as above named and we advise you and direct you in the 
first place. 

To observe a just allegiance to our Sovereign Lord the King agreeable to the com- 
pact made with our venerable progenitors. 

To exert your self for the recovery of Union good affection between Great Britain 
and these Colonies on a Constitutional basis. 

To fall in with every measure that tends to promote and establish harmony, 
friendship and good agreement among all the English Colonies on the Conti- 

To have a particular regard in all your consultations and actions to the 
due interest and salvation of this injured province and of its distressed Me- 

To rtz/^V/ joining or acting in conjunction with those enemies of our Charter Gov- 
ernment, the Mandamus Councellors unto their assembly be not thou united, 
guard also against everything that tends to carry into execution any part of the 
late acts of Parliament for regulating the Government of this Province. 


To use your utmost endeavors that the money and other public properties of the 

Province be lodged in safe and faithful hands. 

To use every lawful and reasonable method in conjunction with the honorable 

house for preventing the late act of Parliament formed against this Province, 

from taking place and for restoring the Charter Government of this Province in 

its first and full latitude. 

Fortherviore by these instructions we impower and authorize you to join with the 

rest of the Deputies from the several Towns in the Province, who are or shall be 

appointed to form a Provincial Congress and there to conduct and act those 

things which have the best tendency to serve and promote the benefit of this 

Province and to recover and confirm the Charter Rights of this Province, that so 

the Courts and course of public justice may be open and operate freely and that 

we may live in peace and safety under the extensive influence of a righteous and 

good government. 

Also to acknowledge the Hon. Board of Councillors elected by General Court at 

their session in May last as the only rightful and Constitutional Council of this 


/« the last place we direct and caution you not to act anything rashly or hastily, 

neither come to any final determination in public matters until the result of the 

great Congress of the Colonies be made known, from which result we do hope to 

receive light and direction in this day of darkness and perplexity, touching our 

future conduct in civil and commercial and governmential affairs. 

And we devoutly wish that the wonderful Councillor may preside in the Assem- 
bly of the Province and guide and direct their Consultations and measures unto 
a good and happy end. 

Mark Haskoi,, George Leonard, Ebenezer Wood, 

T ^\r A Tr ( Committee 

Jonah Washburn, Abner Kingman ) 

and then the meeting was dismissed. 

Subsequently Mr. John Weston was made clerk of this 
committee. The following correspondence has come down 
to us : ^ — 

Oct. i8, 1774. 
Gentlemen & Fellow Citizens, — Deeply impressed with 
a sense of your uncommon sufferings from the operation of an 
Act of the British Parliament, which for cruelty and injustice 
is unparalleled in history, we have the honor of receiving your 
resolves, and the Towns contiguous to Boston, respecting the 
supply of the troops. We are well pleased with the contents, 
and cheerfully co-operate with you in that and every other 
rational measure, to the last penny of our fortunes, and the last 
drop of our blood. We have sent by the bearer about eighty 
bushels of grain for the use of the industrious poor, with the 

1 Mass. Hist. Coll. vol. iv, p. 120, 4th series. 


Resolves of the Town, in which, if anything amiss, please to 
correct, in order for the press. 

The painful sensations that constantly afflict us for the losses 
of your merchants, shop keepers, and mechanics, and all your 
inhabitants, in stopping your port, induces us to desire you to 
take an exact estimate of your estates as you conveniently 
can, and we make no doubt of the generosity of your American 
brethren, on your receiving an ample indemnification. We 
regret the decay of God's image in man, when we behold the 
inhabitants of the other continent, so entirely sunk in luxury 
and despotism. The eyes of all the friends of liberty are now 
fixed on America and chiefly on your illustrious Town. Stand 
firm in the glorious cause of liberty, which is the principal 
thing that can make life desirable here, and promises to her 
pious votaries a glorious immortality hereafter. 

Gentlemen, we subscribe ourselves your affectionate friends 
and fellow sufferers. 

Per order of the Committee of Correspondence, 

John Weston, Clerk. 


Boston, Oct. 25111, 1774. 

Sir : Last week Mr. William Cooper, the Town Clerk, 
handed to the Committee of Donations, your acceptable favor 
of the 1 8th inst. Our good friend, Mr. Billington, of Middle- 
borough, has delivered us fifty-one bushels of rye and thirty 
bushels of corn ; a generous present from the worthy inhab- 
itants of that patriotic Town. The ... of the industrious 
pen, suffering by means of that oppresive and cruel Act, the 
Boston Port Bill, commonly called, will doubtless be greatly 
refreshed, and many thanksgivings go up to God on account 
thereof. May the Lord reward our kind benefactors a thou- 
sand fold into their own bosoms. Please to present the thank- 
ful acknowledgments of this Committee, in behalf of the 
Town, for this instance of their Christian sympathy and 

It affords much satisfaction that the conduct of this Town, 
hitherto, has met with the approbation of our brethren at 
Middleborough as well as elsewhere. We have great difficul- 
ties and dangers to encounter, and they seem to be increasing, 
but we may set up an " Ebenezer " and say "Hitherto hath 
God helped us." In all our darkness, we are not without 
some rays of light ; but what is in the womb of Providence, we 


cannot say. " It is not for us to know the times or the sea- 
sons, which the Father has put in his own power." Duty is 
ours, events are God's. To him let us look for all that wisdom, 
meekness, firmness and resolution which our peculiar circum- 
stances call for ; and may we be enabled to pray and faint 

Your letter breathes a glorious spirit, and becoming zeal 
and ardor in the glorious cause of American freedom, both 
civil and religious. It serves to encourage and animate us to 
persevere, in a manly steady opposition to all tyrants, their 
abettors, and iniquitous measures. We may not boast of our 
own strength, but we may and ought to hope and trust in God. 
None were ever ashamed who put their trust in him. If he be 
for us, no matter who or how many are against us. By his help, 
and that only, we shall be enabled to persevere. 

The generosity manifested in your proposal for taking an 
exact estimate of our estates, is very striking, and endearing, 
and is a superadded instance of the benevolence of your hearts. 
It would be matter of no small difficulty, especially as many 
of this Town are from day to day so engaged in affairs which 
concern tJie general interest in this day of trial, as that all our 
attention and time is required, and all little enough. We 
would hope we should never be reduced to such a necessity ; 
if we should, we must do the best we can. 

However this may happen, our obligations and gratitude 
to our brethren are not a little increased, by so kind and char- 
itable a proposal. It is not easy, and we do not know that it 
is possible, to determine with any degree of precision what 
loss and damage this Province and Town have sustained, by 
the almost annihilation of their trade and commerce. Some 
doubt whether two hundred thousand pounds sterling would 
be a compensation even to the Town. 

But when we take into consideration the anxiety and distress 
of mind the inhabitants have endured, we question whether 
even the wealth of Great Britain could countervail the damage. 
And for what } What has the Province, what has Boston done 
to deserve the carrying into execution measures, so unjust, so 
oppressing, so cruel, so destructive .'' It greatly stands in hand 
the promoters and favorers of such a pernicious plan, instead, 
to have a satisfactory answer ready, when it shall at another, 
an infinitely more important day, be inquired of them, " What 
have the Bostonians done to merit such cruel treatment .^ " But 
we forbear. 

Inclosed is a printed half sheet, giving an account of the 


proceedings of this Committee relative to the charitable dona- 
tions committed to their trust. If it shall be satisfactory to 
our kind benefactors, our end will in a good measure be an- 
swered ; but we cannot expect, in this corrupt state of things, 
to escape the censure of our foes. We hope our brethren will 
not place undue confidence in the inhabitants of this much 
abused and distressed Town, nor raise their expectations too 
high concerning us ; but if our gracious God shall afford us 
strength equal to the day, we trust our brethren will not be 

We are with great esteem and much affection. Gentlemen, 
your much obliged friends and fellow countrymen. 

T->.,.r^ T^^^^r r, i Per order of the 
David Jeffries { ^ .^^ r t>. ^• 

■' I Committee of Donations. 

To the Town Clerk and Committee of Correspondence at Middleborough. 

A few months after these objectionable measures, a Con- 
tinental or General Congress was called to meet in Philadelphia 
to consider what action the colonies should take. They de- 
manded among other privileges the right to levy all taxes and 
make laws in their own colonial assemblies. 

Massachusetts set up an independent government with John 
Hancock at its head to aid the cause of the liberties of the 
people. Twelve thousand volunteers were enrolled, of whom 
one third were "minute men." ^ Among this number were 
many men from Middleboro, where the tide of patriotic feel- 
ing was strong. The news of the battle of Lexington, April 
19, 1775, spread like wild fire through the country, and the 
patriots began to arm and organize their forces, as it was 
generally believed that the time for a peaceful adjustment of 
the difficulties had passed. 

The news of the battle was brought to Thomas Ellis by 
Caleb Bryant, who came riding in great haste ^ over fences and 

1 " The Provincial Congress ... on the 26th of October adopted a plan for 
organizing the militia. ... It provided that one quarter of the number enrolled 
should be held in readiness to muster at the shortest notice, who were called by 
the popular name of minute men." Frothingham, History of the Siege of Bostott, 
p. 41. These were later reorganized, so that one out of every three were minute 

2 From Eddy Note-Book. 


fields, there being no direct road between their houses. Upon 
hearing of this battle, Mr. Ellis took down his gun to repair it, 
put a long handle to his hatchet, and made preparations to go 
immediately to engage in the fight. He did not go, however, 
but sent his son soon after. A number of other men in the 
neighborhood started with him. The lieutenant of the com- 
pany in which he enlisted, during the first engagement, saw 
some of his neighbors dodging and exclaimed, " Don't ! don't ! 
I will tell you when to dodge." 

In May Ticonderoga and Crown Point were captured, fol- 
lowed soon after by the battle of Bunker Hill, and in July 
Washington took command of the army. The following year 
was a memorable one : the country realized that the time for 
independence had come. We find the following from the town 
records showing Middleboro's attitude : — 

May 20, 1776 said town did then give their vote and signify their mind 
whether if the honorable congress should for the safety of the united colonies 
declare them independent of the kingdom of Great Britain, they the said inhab- 
itants will solemnly engage with their lives and fortunes to support the measure. 
Voted and allowed by the town to support the above said measure, and then the 
moderator declared the meeting to be dissolved.^ 


MiDDLEBOROUGH 24th June 1776 
At a Legal Meeting of this town it was agreed and Voted to Send the Follow- 
ing Instructions to Dea" Benj" Thomas our Representative at Court 
Sir the Alarming Situation of affairs Between Great Britain and the United 
american Colonies Renders it In our opinion highly Necessary for all the People 
towns and Societies of Said Colonies to be as Explicit and particular In Declar- 
ing their Sentiments on Som Important Points Especialy of Independancy as 

It is with Surprise and Deep Concern we have observed the Unrightous Cruel 
and Destructive Sistem and Measures of Administration adopted and Prossecuted 
by the British Ministry Monarch and Parliment against these Colonies and for 
no other Cause that we can Discern but to gratify Their Enormous Pride and 
avarice and to feed a Swarm of Idle useless and hungry Pensioners His majesty 
has Rejected with Disdain all the Remonstrances and humble Petitions Sent him 
from the Colonies both Jointly and Seperatly we have Prayed for Peace but he 
has sent us a Sword ; we have asked for the Restorations of Charter Priviledges 

1 Book III, p. 52. 



but he has sent us Fleets and armies to crush and Ruin us and to Crown the 
whole he has sent for Large Numbers of foreign Troops to aid in Executing his 
tyranical Purposes These things Considered we have no alternative left us but 
Abject Submission to Arbitrary Power and Slavery or Vigorous Self-Defence 
We Deliberately Choose the Latter and therefore Relying on the Mercy and 
Providence of God to Pity our Miseries & to Plead our Cause we Direct you to 
make open Declaration for us and on our Behalf That in Case the Continental 
Congress in whose Wisdom and fidelity we firmly Confide Shall think it for the 
Safty and welfare of the United Colonies to Declare them free and Independent 
of the Power Government & Authority of the King and Parliment of Great Brit- 
ain and thereby open the way for a Republican or free State Reserving to Each 
Coloney the Power and Proviledige of Governing themselves by Laws of their 
own Making Consistantly with the good of the Whole we Seriously Declare we 
will Support them in so Doeing With our Lives and Fortunes 

Furthermore we Direct you to do all in your Power in Conjunition with the Rest 
of the Hon-ble Members of Court For the Defence and Protection of our Sea 
Coast also to Use your Best Endeavours that Person or Persons Who have High 
and Lucrative Places in the Executive Part of Government Should have a Seat 
in the Legislative Part thereof and further if any measures are or Shall be Pro- 
posed in Court for Better Regulating the Prices of things in General and of the 
Necessaries of Life in Particular the high Prices of Which affect the Poor and 
for keeping up the Just Credit of the Paper Currency we Direct you to Join with 
and Promote Such motion as to What further Concerns the Internal and Civil 
Reglation of the Coloney we Advise you to Prudance moderation and frugality 
always Resarving in ourselves a free Representation 

jvj^.j.j^LL Wood Chearman 
Attest Abner Barrows Town Clerk 

At the commencement of the Revolution, the militia of the 
province had been apportioned by an act of the General Court 
among the various counties. It included all men between the 
ages of sixteen and sixty, divided into regiments, the governor, 
appointed by the Crown, being the commander-in-chief. The 
town was set apart into four military districts, with a company 
in each district. The commissioned officers were Ebenezer 
Sproat, major; Nathaniel Wood, captain of the first company ; 
Nathaniel Smith, of the second company ; Benjamin White, 
of the third company ; William Canedy, of the fourth com- 
pany. The officers of these four companies held their commis- 
sions from the king, to whom they had sworn faithful alle- 
giance ; therefore it was not thought prudent to ask them to 
join in the forces which were being raised. More than that, at 
least one of the captains was known to be in strong sympathy 


with the Crown, and many of the rank and file were in doubt 
at this time what course they ought to pursue. We have no 
record of the attempt on the part of these companies to engage 
in any active service, or even to hold any meeting, after the 
alarm at Lexington ; the organization was undoubtedly lost 
after that time. 

On April 19, 1775, at the famous Lexington Alarm, a com- 
pany was formed by reorganizing the four companies of the reg- 
ular militia. Nathaniel Wood, who had been captain of the first 
company, was its commander. 

First Company of Local Militia ^ 
commissioned officers 

Nathaniel Wood, capt. Joseph Smith (2d), ens. 

Amos Washburn, lieut. 


Zebedee Sproutt, sergt. John Pickens, corp. 

Jesse Vaughan, sergt. Amos Wood, corp. 

- Ebenezer Thomas, sergt. Joseph Ellis, corp. 

Barney Cobb, sergt. Solomon Dunham, corp. 


Zebedee Pratt, drummer William Clapp, fifer 


Caleb Thompson Zurashada Palmer 

William Bennett George Richmond 

Nathan Wood George Leonard 

Seth Miller Eleazer Thomas 

Ephraim Thomas, Jr. Samuel Pickens, Jr. 

William Armstrong Joseph Vaughan, Jr. 

Isaac Bryant Benjamin Leonard 

Israel Rickard Nathan Leonard 

Elisha Cox Jacob Miller 

William Raymond Nathaniel Thompson 

Joseph Redding Jonathan Sampson 

John Darling Jonathan Ryder 

Ebenezer Smith Samuel Raymond 

1 These lists are taken from the History of Plymouth County, p. 1000. 


James Thomas Solomon Thomas 

Perez Thomas Seth Peirce 

Andrew Cushman Caleb Tinkham 

Micah Leach Joseph Richmond, Jr. 

William Wood Samuel Rickard 

David Shaw David Vaughan 

John Hackett Edmund Wood 

As no one seemed willing to raise another company, Cap- 
tain Abiel Peirce, who had served with distinction in the old 
French and Indian War, realizing the need, enlisted the fol- 
lowing men : — 

Second Company of Local Militia 
commissioned officers 

Abiel Peirce, capt. Benjamin Darling, ensign 

Joseph Macomber, lieut. 


Josiah Smith, sergt. Bachellor Bennett, corp. 

Richard Peirce, sergt. Jeddediah Lyon, corp. 

Elias Miller, Jr., sergt. Samuel Eddy, corp. 

Job Macomber, sergt. John Bly, corp. 


Caleb Simmons, drummer Nathaniel Foster, fifer 


Job Peirce John Fry 

Samuel Hoar John Douglas, Jr. 

David Thomas (2d) Ebenezer L. Bennett 

Michael Mosher Samuel Miller 

Jesse Pratt Isaac Canedy 

Jacob Hayford Daniel Reynolds 

Job Hunt Rufus Weston 

Henry Bishop Ziba Eaton 

Consider Howland Isaac Miller 

Noah Clark Nehemiah Peirce 

Cornelius Hoskins Samuel Bennett 

John Rogers Joshua Thomas 

Lebbeus Simmons Calvin Johnson 


Caleb Wood Joshua Read 

John Boothe Cryspus Shaw 

Ithamer Haskins James WiUis 

John Reynolds Sylvanus Churchill 

Nathaniel Macomber Samuel Macomber 

Levi Jones Richard Omey 

Josiah Smith, Jr. Israel Thomas 

Malachi Rowland, Jr. Ichabod Read 

Zachariah Paddock, Jr. Samuel Ransom 

Rufus Rowland Daniel Jucket 
Sylvanus Perrington 

Three companies were organized as " minute men," con- 
sisting of a few of the members of the regular militia, but 
mostly of the young men of the town. They were apparently 
enhsted but for a short term of service, and held themselves 
in readiness to respond to any orders which might be issued 
from the Committee of Safety in Boston. Their names were 
as follows : — 

First Company of Minute Men 
commissioned officers 

William Shaw, capt. Wm. Thompson, ensign 

Joshua Benson, Jr., lieut. 


David Thomas Job Randall, corp. 

Ebenezer Cobb (2d) John Soule, corp. 

James Smith, sergt. Peter Bates, corp. 

Caleb Bryant, sergt. James Cobb, corp. 


Sylv. Raymond, drummer Samuel Torrey, fifer 


Elisha Thomas Samuel Raymond (2d) 

Nelson Finney Eliphalet Thomas 

Lemuel Harlow Sylvanus Bennett (3d) 

Isaac Thompson Joseph Thomas 

Edmund Wood, Jr. William Le Baron 




Zenas Cushman 
Joseph Pratt 
X Phineas Thomas 
Caleb Thompson, Jr. 
Elisha Paddock 
Nathan Bennett 
John Soule, 2d 
Gideon Cobb 
Eliakim Barlow 
Ephraim Cushman 
Barnabas Cushman 
Ichabod Benson 
Ebenezer Raymond 
Solomon Raymond 
Thomas Bates 
Asa Benson 

John Perkins 
Joseph Shaw 
Joshua Eddy 
Seth Eddy 
Joseph Chamberlain 
Ebenezer Bennett 
Ebenezer Briggs (3d) 
Asa Barrows 
Benjamin Barden 
Jacob Thomas 
Nathan Darling 
John Sampson 
Thomas Shaw 
Japheth Le Baron 
Abiezer Le Baron 
Joseph Bennett 

Second Company of Minute Men 
commissioned officers 
Isaac Wood, capt. Abram Townsend, ens. 

Cornelius Tinkham, lieut. 


Abner Bourne, sergt. 
Joseph Holmes, sergt. 
John Benson, sergt. 
William Harlow, sergt. 

Samuel Wood, corp. 
P"oxel Thomas, corp. 
Abner Nelson, corp. 
Joseph Churchill, corp. 


Peregrine White, drummer Seth Fuller, fifer 


Robert Sproutt 
George Sampson 
Josiah Harlow 
Gershom Foster 
Ebenezer Elms 
Consider Barden 
Consider Fuller 
John Barrows 
John Townsend, Jr. 

Samuel Ransom 
James Peirce 
Job Smith 
Seth Sampson 
Levi Peirce 
George Williamson 
Abiel Chase 
John Tinkham, Jr. 
Nathaniel Holmes (3d) 




Gideon Southworth 
John Smith (3d) 
Samuel Wood, Jr. 
I'^lisha Clark 
Abraham Parris 
Noah Holmes (2d) 
Ebenezer Barrows, Jr. 
Elisha Peirce 
Abishai Sampson 
Samuel Barrows 
Peter Miller 
► George Thomas 
Thomas Wood (2d) 
Eb. Rowland 
Moses Sampson 
Daniel Tinkham 
Elisha Rider 
Isaac Cushman 
Abraham Shaw 
Samuel Muxum 
James Shaw 

Peleg Hathaway 
Peter Hoar 
Andrew Cole 
Aaron Gary 
Bartlett Handy 
Arodi Peirce 
John Hollo way 
James Ashley 
Levi Jones 
Jotham Caswell 
William Read (3d) 
Ephraim Reynolds 
Jonathan Hall 
Joseph Hathaway 
Samuel Parris 
Ebenezer Hinds 
Philip Hathaway 
Isaac Hathaway 
John Townsend 
Henry Peirce 

Third Company of Minute Men 
commissioned officers 

Amos Wade, capt. Lemuel W^ood, ensign 

Archipus Cole, lieut. 


Isaac Perkins, sergt. Joseph Tupper, sergt. 

Ichabod Churchill, sergt. Isaiah Keith, corp. 

Isaac Shaw, sergt. Lot Platon, corp. 


John Shaw, drummer Daniel White, fifer 


Zebulon Vaughn 
Abner Pratt 
Nathan Pratt 
Joseph Leonard (5th) 
Elnathan Wood 
Joseph Hathaway 

John Drake 
Levi Hathaway 
Moses Leonard 
Solomon Howard 
Nathaniel Richmond 
Jonathan Washburn 


Michael Leonard Thomas Cobb 

David Weston Edmund Richmond 

Samuel Pratt Seth Richmond 

William Fuller Asa Richmond 

James Keith Joseph Leonard (3d) 

Silas Leonard Solomon Beals 

Stephen Robinson Jonathan Richmond 

Daniels Hills Zephaniah Shaw 

Stephen Richmond Elijah Alden 

Lazarus Hathaway Joseph Clark 

Peter Tinkham Benjamin Hafferd 
Thomas Harlow 

The term of service for the five military companies was not 
long, and they were not included in the regular Continental 
Army, but probably served for a short time in and about Bos- 
ton, The first company of militia and the second and third A 
company of minute men marched to Marshfield in consequence 
of the Lexington Alarm to suppress what was feared might 
be a rising of the tories, to whom Governor Gage had sent one 
hundred standard of arms. After two days' service, they re- 
turned to their homes. Nathaniel Wood, who had been captain 
of the first local militia, enlisted another company for Colonel 
Simeon Gary's regiment, which was included in the patriot 
army then upon duty in Roxbury. This company was sent to 
Roxbury some time in the month of April, 1776, for eight 
months' service. Its officers and privates were as follows : — 


Nathaniel Wood, capt. Job Pierce, 2d lieut. 

Joseph Tupper, ist lieut. Jesse Vaughan, ensign 


Caleb Bryant, sergt. Benjamin Reed, corp. 

Andrew McCully, sergt. Josiah Jones, corp. 

William Bennett, sergt. John Sampson, corp. 

Joseph Holmes, sergt. Nathaniel Sampson, corp. ' 


. Sylvanus Raymond, Daniel White, fifer 






Joseph Aldrich 
Philip Austin 
Isaac Bryant 
Stephen Bryant 
Ebenezer Bennett 
Ebenezer Barden 
David Bates 
Benjamin Cobb 
Gideon Cushman 
Robert Cushman 
Abel Cole 
Abel Cole, Jr. 
James Cobb 
George Caswell ~ 
Jonathan Caswell 
Zeb. Caswell 
George Clemens 
Nathan Darling 
Paul Dean 
Ephraim Dunham 
Sylvanus Eaton 
Zibe Eaton 
Thomas Ellis 
Ephraim Eddy 
Andrew Fuller 
Thomas Foster 
Edward Gibsby 
John Holmes 


Joshua Rowland 
John Jones 
Consider Jones 
Thomas Johnson 
Jonathan Morse 

John Macomber 
William Pecker 
John Raymond 
Samuel Raymond 
Isaac Rider 
Nathan Richmond 
Daniel Shaw 
Nathaniel Shaw 
Aaron Simmons 
Josiah Smith 
Ezra Smith 
'James Soule 
Barnabas Sampson 
John Strowbridge 
George Strowbridge 
Samuel Thatcher 
Samuel Thatcher, Jr. 

" Eliph. Thomas 

-Eleazer Thomas 

-David Thomas 
•Benjamin Thomas 
Silas Townsend 

John Thomas 
Amos Wood 
Peter Wood 

-Abner Vaughan 
Ephraim Wood 
Robert Wood 
Jacob Wood 
Samuel Wood 
David Shaw 
Thomas Shaw 
Andrew Warren 

Captain Abiel Peirce, who had been the captain of the sec- 
ond company of the militia, soon after raised a company for 
Colonel Nicholas Dike's regiment on duty near Boston. This 
was composed of men from Middleboro, Bridgewater, Ware- 
ham, and Abington, and served for one year. 

The names of men enlisted from Middleboro were as 
follows : — 





Abiel Peirce, capt. 


Josiah Harlow, sergt. James Peirce, corp. 


Joseph Booth 
William Bryant 
Ebenezer Borden 
James Bump 
Isaac Ballinton 
Ichabod Cushman 
John Fry 
Nathan Hoskins 
Jonathan Leonard 
Timothy Leonard 
John Harlow 

Nathan Peirce 
John Redding 
Joseph Richmond 
Benjamin Reynolds 
Samuel Snow 
Jacob Sherman 
Ichabod Wood 
Andrew Warren 
Abner Washburn 
Solomon Thomas -- 
Japhet Le Baron 

Although news travelled very slowly in those days, the sign- 
ing of the Declaration of Independence on the 4th of July, 
1776, seemed to spread throughout the country almost by 
magic. As soon as the report reached Boston, the bells were 
rung, and as the news was conveyed from town to town, it was 
received with joyful exultation. 

Ichabod, a son of William Tupper, living several miles away, 
hearing what had taken place, got up in the middle of the 

night and hurried to 
his father's house. On 
reaching the house, 
{y-y/^ he rapped at the win- 
dow and shouted, 
" Father, all the bells 
are ringing between here and Boston, and we are free ! we 
are free ! " The old man jumped out of his bed, rushed to the 
window, and, throwing it open, shouted at the top of his voice, 
" The angels will sing for joy ! " This is but one instance of the 
great gratification with which this news was received by the 
patriots of Middleboro. 


The moral gain of this position of independence was fol- 
lowed by military disaster. The colonists were defeated at 
Long Island, August 27, White Plains, October 28, but in 
December, after crossing the Delaware, Washington won the 
battles of Trenton and Princeton, In the summer and fall the 
Americans won the battles of Bennington and Stillwater, lead- 
ing to the surrender of Burgoyne, October 17, 1777. 

In the south events were less fortunate ; the defeats at 
Brandywine and Germantown were followed by a winter of 
suffering for the army at Valley Forge ; after the battles of 
Monmouth and Stony Point occurred three years filled with 
victories and disaster. 

In the early part of the Revolutionary struggle Rhode 
Island^ was a theatre of activity on the part of the patriot 
army against the British forces. Although no great battle was 
fought, there were continual skirmishes between the opposing 
parties, and the whole surrounding country was menaced by 
the forces of the enemy. This lasted for about three years 
after the commencement of the struggle. The minute men and 
the reorganized militia of Plymouth and Boston were often sent 
there for short terms of service, and these calls were known 
as the " Rhode Island Alarms." As Middleboro men took part 
in these frequent expeditions, it is necessary to follow this local 
aspect of the war more in detail. 

Among these troops there were four companies from Mid- 
dleboro, which were enlisted some time during the year 1776. 
They were as follows : — 

First Company of Infantry 
commissioned officers 
Jonah Washburn, ist lieut. James Smith, 2d lieut. 


Joseph Smith, sergt. libenezer Pratt, corp. 

Francis Thompson, sergt. Benjamin Cobb, corp. 

Caleb Bryant, sergt. Ebenezer V^aughan, corp. 

1 Arnold, History of Rhode Island, vol. ii, p. 390. 




*> Isaac Thomas, sergt. 
Jacob Thomas, sergt. 

Nathaniel Wood, corp. 


Sylvanus Raymond, drummer Francis Bent, fifer 


Samuel Smith 
Ebenezer Cobb 
Jacob Thompson 
Silas Tinkham 
William Thompson 
John McFarlin 
Isaac Soule 
Nathan Darling 
Jacob Soule 
Abiel Leach 
Ebenezer Bennett 
John Cobb 
Zenas Cushman 
Luther Redding 
Nathaniel Billington 
Samuel Raymond 
John Raymond 
John Soule 

^Ephraim Thomas 
Jacob Miller 

'^Daniel Thomas 
Joseph Cushman 
Job Thomas 
John Perkins 
Joseph Holmes 
Edward Wood, ]r. 
Gideon Cobb * 
Nathan Cobb 
Elisha Freeman 
Job Randall 
Elisha Cox 
Ichabod Cushman 

Robert Cushman v 
Samuel Torrey 
Jonathan Porter 
Thomas Foster 
Jesse Vaughan 
Sylvanus Harlow 
Thomas Ellis 
Charles Ellis, Jr. 
Samuel Eddy, Jr. 
Ebenezer Briggs 
Joseph Briggs 
Daniel Ellis 
Willard Thomas 
Samuel Snow 
John Redding 
James Tinkham 
James Soule 
Elkanah Bennett 
Solomon Thomas 
Noah Thomas 
Ephraim Wood 
Benjamin Thomas. 
Elisha Thomas. 
Cyrus Keith 
Thomas Bates 
William Soule 
Charles Ellis 
Zachariah Paddock 
Isaac Thompson 
Apollos Paddock 
Joseph Ellis 

Third Company of Infantry 

commissioned officers 

William Tupper, capt. John Murdock, lieut. 





Samuel Eaton, sergt. 
''Nathaniel Wilder, sergt. 
Benjamin Leonard, sergt. 
Sylvanus Warren, sergt. 

Abner Pratt, corp. 
Joseph Leonard, corp. 
Peter Tinkham, corp. 


Theophilus Crocker 
David Watson 
Joseph Bumpus 
Perez Leonard 
Elnathan Wood 
Ziba Eaton 
Jabez Cushman 
Zephaniah Morton 
Micah Bryant 
Lemuel Wood 
Benjamin Darling 
Benjamin White 
Cornelius Ellis 
Jepthah Ripley 
Isaiah Washburn 
Archipas Cole 

Jesse Bryant 
Ebenezer Williams. Jr. 
Zebedee Pratt 
Joseph Burden 
Ebenezer Wood 
Joseph Leonard 
Joseph Bumpus 
Samuel Reed 
Joseph Bates 
William Cobb 
William Cushman " 
Philip Leonard 
Phineas Pratt " 
Ezra Tupper 
Elisha Tinkham 

Fourth Company of Infantry 
commissioned officers 

Samuel Hoar, 2d lieut. 

Job Peirce, capt. 
Josiah Smith, ist lieut. 


Ebenezer Hinds, sergt. 
Abraham Peirce, sergt. 
Ezra Clark, sergt. 

Enos Raymond, sergt. 
Seth Ramsdell, corp. 


Roger Clark, drummer 


Henry Peirce 
Isaac Howland 

John Allen 
Samuel Parris 




Enos Peirce 
James Peirce 
Isaac Parris 
Stephen Hathaway 
Moses Parris 
John Hinds 
Braddock Hoar 
Abiel Chase 
Zebedee Boothe 
Eseck Hovvland 
Seth Keen 

John Haskins 
Joshua Caswell 
William Canedy 
Noble Canedy 
George Peirce 
Benjamin Reynolds 
Ephraim Reynolds 
Lebbeus Simmons 
John Boothe, Jr. 
John Douglas 

Fifth Company of Infantry 
commissioned officers 
Consider Benson, ist lieut. Sylvanus Cobb, 2d lieut. 

George Shaw, sergt. 
Phineas Thomas, sergt. 


Benona Lucas, corp. 


Roland Benson 
Asa Benson 
David Bates 
Josiah Bryant 
John Clark 
Japhet Le Baron 
Elijah Le Baron 
Joseph Lovell 
Thomas Shaw 
Eleazer Thomas 

Seth Thomas 
Sylvanus Thomas 
James Raymond 
Stephen Russell 
Stephen Washburn 
John Bennett 
Ebenezer Cobb 
Samuel Hackett 
William Raymond 
Mark Shaw 

These last made eight military companies which had been 
formed in Middleboro in the latter part of the year 1776. They 
were organized into a regiment, of which Ebenezer Sproat was 
the colonel, Ebenezer White of Rochester, lieutenant-colonel, 
Israel Fearing of Wareham, senior major, and John Nelson of 
Middleboro, junior major. This regiment was, in December, 
1776, ordered to assist in the temporary defence of Rhode 
Island. They were mostly young men, who had seen no ser- 

1776] THE REVOLUTION 1 29 

vice, were without military discipline and uniforms, and dressed 
in their ordinary citizen's clothes. They were armed with the 
king's arm, — one of which was found in almost every house in 
town, hung, as was the custom for years, over the fireplace in 
the kitchen, — a powder-horn, and a few bullets which had been 
moulded from the family bullet mould. They had no tents, 
but were obliged to find shelter at night in outbuildings or 
dwelling-houses on the line of march, or near their place of ren- 
dezvous. No provision was made for their supplies ; they 
depended largely on what they took with them, or what could 
be gathered from the country through which they marched. It 
was a matter of doubt whether they would receive anything 
for their services, but their patriotic spirit induced large num- 
bers of them to enlist for what had been demanded of them 
in and about Boston. Many of them were unwilling to take 
up arms for the defence of Rhode Island, and there was great 
reluctance on the part of many of the Middleboro men to 
respond to this order, as appears from the letter of Major 
Fearing to Colonel Ebenezer Sproat, the commander of the 
regiment, of which the following is a copy : — 

Headquarters Fourth Regiment, 

FoGLAND Ferry, 15th. of Dec, 1776. 

Sir, — In consequence of your orders the Towns of Roches- 
ter and Wareham have mustered the whole of their military 
and marched them accordingly to the place required by you. 

Being actuated by the most generous and noble motives, 
the said Towns are generally turned out to the assistance of 
their Sister State. 

But to my surprise I find the several Companies from 
your Town officered in part, but almost entirely destitute of 

One whole company have quitted their post without pay- 
ing any regard to the orders of Col. Cook, the commander 

But what is still more surprising to me, I found myself 
obliged to take the command of the Regiment, which, consid- 
ering my abilities is arduous and disagreeable, and which I 
determine to avail of if you or Col. White do not appear to 
take the command of. 


We are amazingly in want of men to guard this coast, 
therefore most seriously desire you to send your whole military 
force from Middleborough immediately. 

I have wrote to Col. White to send the other part of the 

If any person hereafter return home without a furlow, I 
hope you will send them back to their duty. 

Your humble Servant, etc., 

Israel Fearing, 


Their term of service, however, was short, and the Middle- 
boro companies soon after returned home. 

The calls for troops for the defence of Rhode Island seem 
to have been very frequent during the years 1776 and 1777. 
Captain Levi Rounseville of Freetown raised a company for 
the Ninth Regiment, which was designated as a part of the 
Massachusetts army, and the following officers and men were 
enlisted from Middleboro : — 


Henry Peirce, lieut. 


Joseph Macomber, sergt. Hilkiah Peirce, corp. 

Job Hunt, sergt. Richard Peirce, corp. 

David Trowant, sergt. 


Leonard Hinds, drummer 


William Armstrong Anthony P'ry 

Joseph Boothe Levi Simmons 

Ephraim Douglas Nathan Trowant 
Henry Evans 

The General Court had passed several laws ^ affecting the 

1 The General Court ordered a tax of ;^ioo,ooo in February, 1777, and of 
^(^240,000 in November. Bradford's History of Massachusetts, i773-Sq,^\}. 134, 152. 


people of the state, and an act for raising a sufficient sum for 
carrying on tiie expenses of the war. Middleboro and some of 
the other towns sent in petitions and requests calling for the 
repeal of these acts. They in no way objected to providing 
for the necessary expenses of the war, and urged that every- 
thing should be done by the legislature for that purpose, 
but doubted the expediency of this measure. As a result of 
these petitions, the act was so changed and modified that its 
objectionable features no longer remained upon the statute 

Following the capture of Burgoyne's army in New York in 
1777, it was determined to drive the enemy from Rhode Island, 
and what was known as the secret expedition ^ was organized in 
September of that year. This expedition, attended with great 
expense in the colonies, was in charge of General Spencer. A 
force of some nine thousand men was collected in Tiverton 
near the stone bridge (which at that time had not been built), 
and boats had been provided for ferrying the troops across the 
river. There were many hindrances which prevented the ad- 
vance, and the men became so disaffected by what appeared 
to them the unnecessary delay and shiftlessness on the part of 
the commander, that nearly one half of them withdrew and 
returned home. The plan of attack was again changed, and the 
remaining troops finally embarked in boats to cross the river 
and make attack upon the island. But no sooner had the troops 
boarded the transports than General Spencer countermanded 
the order.2 He suspected from the delay in the attack that 
the British had been apprised of his intentions, and seeing no 
opposition to his landing, he feared that if they allowed his 
troops to march into the country, they would then capture his 
whole army after having cut off their retreat and destroyed 
their boats. This afterwards proved true ; but great was the 
indignation of the patriot army because of the failure of this 
expedition, and General Spencer was summoned before a court 
of inquiry. He was afterwards acquitted, but was so offended 

1 Bradford's History of Massachusetts, iTj^-Sg, p. 143. 

2 Lossing, Ficld-Book of the Revohdioii, vol. ii, p. 80. 


that he resigned the command, and General Sullivan was ap- 
pointed in his place. Thus ended the expedition which upon 
its organization had promised so much.^ 

There were two companies from Middleboro represented in 
this expedition. The one from Lakeville, enlisted December 9, 
1776, by and under command of Captain Job Peirce, was as 
follows : — 


Job Peirce, capt. Samuel Hoar, 2d lieut. 

Josiah Smith, ist lieut. 


Ebenezer Hinds, sergt. Enos Raymond, sergt. 

Ezra Clark, sergt. Seth Ramsdell, corp. 

Abraham Peirce, sergt. 


Roger Clark, drummer 


Henry Peirce Samuel Parris 

*-Isaac Howland John Hinds 

Stephen Hatheway John Haskins 

Enos Peirce Joshua Caswell 

James Peirce William Canedy ' 

Isaac Parris Noble Canedy 

Abiel Chace Benjamin Reynolds 

Braddock Hoar George Peirce 

Moses Parris Libeus Simmons 

Zebedee Boothe Ephraim Reynolds 

Eseck Howland Joseph Booth, Jr. 

Seth Keen John Douglas 
John Allen 

Captain William Tupper had a company, which had enlisted 
for six months' service in Rhode Island in May and June (1777). 
Their names were as follows : — 

1 Arnold's History of Rhode Island, vol. ii, p. 40S ; I.ossing's Field-Book of the 
Rcvohitioit, vol. ii, p. 80. 

^ History of Plymouth County, Lakeville, p. 310. 




Joshua Wood 
Francis Wood 
Ezra Thomas 
James Cobb 
Sylvanus Raymond 
Ephraim Wood (3d) 
William Wood 
Peter Tinkham 

James Barrows 
Robert Cushman 
Homes Cushman 
Zenas Leach 
Perez Cushman "^ 
Elisha Thomas - 
Thomas Bates 

Captain Henry Peirce had a company enlisted from Lakeville 
which served in Rhode Island in the campaign of 1777. 


Henry Peirce, capt. 
Peter Hoar, lieut. 

George Shaw, ensign. 


Amasa Wood 
Daniel Ellis 
Joseph Wood 
Roland Leonard 
George Hackett 

I Churchill Thomas 
Jeremiah Thomas 
Andrew Cobb 
Samuel Sampson 
James Palmer 
Elijah Shaw 
David Fish 

■'Jacob Soule 
Hazael Tinkham 

""Jabez Vaughan 
Samuel Barrows 
Joseph Bennett 
John Morton 
John Morton (2d) 
Roland Smith 
Rounseville Peirce 

'Peter Thomas 
Edmund Weston 
Joseph Tupper 
Lemuel Lyon 

William Halt 
James Le Baron 
Nathaniel Cole 
Israel Eaton 
Hazael Purrinton 


Ebenezer Howland 
Josiah Kingman 
Jacob Perkins 
Luther Pratt 
Seth Wade 
Noah Haskell 
Lemuel Raymond 
Manasseh Wood 
Francis Le Baron 
Asaph Churchill 
Samuel Thomas 
Nathaniel Thomas 
Edward Washburn 
William Bly 
Joseph Macumber 
Lemuel Briggs 
Jonathan Westcott 
Ephraim Dunham 
Isaac Harlow 
Nathaniel Cobb 


William Littlejohn Andrew Ricket 

Daniel Cox Jonathan Porter 

Thomas Pratt James Porter 

David Pratt James Sprout 

Abiel Bothe John Thresher 

A large number of British remained ^ at Newport through 
the spring and summer of 1778. In addition to the troops 
already in the field, special calls were issued for the militia to 
assist in driving them out.^ 

To meet this emergency, Captain Perez Churchill enlisted a 
company whose service commenced August 25, 1778 : — 


Perez Churchill, capt. James Weston, 2d lieut. 

James Shaw, ist lieut. 


Samuel Smith, sergt. Stephen Clark, corp. 

'^ Samuel Nelson, sergt. Luther Redding, corp. 

Amos Wood, sergt. John Holmes, corp. 
Nathaniel Thompson, sergt. 


Eliab Alden John Phinney 

Abner Barrows John Pratt 

Isaac Bumpus Jesse Nichols 

Robert Barrows James Raymond 

Ebenezer Burdin John Raymond 

Ichabod Burdin Elections Reynolds 

Joseph Briggs Jepthah Ripley 

Barnabas Clark James Soule 

Elijah Dunham Joseph Richmond 

John Ellis P^benezer Thomas - 

John Ellis, Jr. Caleb Thompson 

Eliphalet Elms David Weston 

Benona Lucas Perry Wood 

John McFarlin Ephraim Wood 

John McCully Robert Sturtevant 

Nathaniel Macomber Micah Bryant 

1 Bradford's History of Massachusetts, lyj^-Sg, p. 160. 

2 Arnold, History of Rhode Island, vol. ii, p. 421. 



In September, 1778, a l^ritish force landed in what is now 
New Bedford ^ and Fairhaven, burned buildings and ships, and 
threatened the destruction of the place, when among other 
forces sent to their relief from Lakeville was a company en- 
listed by Captain Amos Washburn: — 


Amos Washburn, capt. 
Elisha Haskell, ist lieut. 

Andrew McCuUy, 2d lieut 


Samuel Nelson, sergt. Abraham Shaw, sergt. 

Job Townsend, sergt. James Pickens, corp. 

Robert Strobridge, sergt. Josiah Jones, corp. 

John Townsend 
-Job Rowland 
John Peirce 
John Blye 
Andrew Perkins 
Henry Strobridge 
Ebenezer Briggs 
.Thomas Nelson 
Roger Haskell 
Zebulon Haskell 
Davad Lewis 
Silas Peirce 
Jonathan Phinney 
Benjamin Smith 
Zephaniah Briggs 
Darling Shaw 
Andrew Cole 
Noah Clark 
Nathan Peirce 
John Blye, Jr. 
William Blye 


Cryspus Shaw 
Thomas Wood 
Thomas Pickens 
Alexander Pickens 
John Pickens 
William Pickens 
Andrew Pickens, Jr. 
William Strobridge 
Hugh Montgomery 
Solomon Dunham 
John Jones 
George Hackett 
• Nathaniel Thompson 
John Sampson 
Samuel Pickens 
Joseph M acorn ber 
John Macomber 
Samuel Macomber 
Abner Townsend 
Nathaniel Shaw 

In 1778 there were seven Middleboro men enlisted for eight 
months' service in Colonel Jacobs's regiment. Their names 
were : — 

1 Arnold, History of Rhode Island, vol. ii, p. 431. 


"•-Robert Cushman Isaac Billington - 

Perez Cushman Timothy Cox 

Homes Cushman Jonah Washburn, Jr. 
Ezra Leach 

In August, 1780, great was the alarm over a British fleet of 
sixteen ships laden with troops which appeared off Newport. 
The militia of the entire state of Rhode Island was called out 
to repel the threatened invasion. At the urgent request of 
General Heath, the militia from Connecticut and Massachu- 
setts came to the rescue. After this force had assembled, the 
hostile squadron suddenly disappeared, and the troops were 
dismissed to their homes. They had no sooner reached home 
than they were recalled by the unexpected reappearance of 
the enemy. Another week of the most intense excitement fol- 
lowed, and then again the English withdrew, and the troops 
so hastily gathered were finally dismissed. In this expedition 
Middleboro furnished four companies. The second company 
was commanded by Captain Abner Bourne. 

Third Company 
commissioned officers 

William Tupper, capt. James Weston, 2d lieut. 

John Murdock, ist lieut. 


Samuel Eaton, sergt. Peter Tinkham, corp. 

Benjamin Leonard, sergt. Joseph Leonard, corp. 

Abner Pratt, sergt. David Weston, corp. 

Nathaniel Wilder, sergt. Silas White, corp. 


Joseph Barden, drummer. Lemuel Bryant, fifer 


Joseph Bumpus (2d) Robert Cushman 

Joseph Bumpus William Cushman 

Jesse Bryant Zebadee Cushman 

Archipus Cole Joseph Darling 




Eliphalet Elms 
Israel Eaton 
Robert Green 
Jabez Green 
John Hey ford 
Joseph Jackson 
Archipas Leonard 
Perez Leonard 
George Leonard 
Samuel Leonard 
Joseph Leonard 
Roland Leonard 
Ichabod Leonard 
Lemuel Lyon 
James Littlejohn 
Andrew Murdock 
John Norcutt 
Ephraim Norcutt 
Samuel Pratt 
Zebadee Pratt 
Ebenezer Richmond 
George P. Richmond 

Joseph Richmond 
Ezra Richmond 
Joshua Reed 
Jepthah Ripley 
Hushai Thomas 
Elisha Tinkham 
Joseph Tupper, Jr. 
Israel Thomas 
Levi Thomas ■■ 
Jabez Thomas ' 
Edward Thomas • 
Enoch Thomas - 
Daniel Tucker 
Seth Tinkham 
David Turner 
David Wilson 
Elnathan Wood 
Lemuel Wood 
Ephraim Wood 
Ebenezer White 
Edmund Weston 

Henry Peirce, capt. 
Peter Hoar, ist lieut 

Fourth Company 
commissioned officers 

Ezra Clark, 2d lieut. 


Ebenezer Hinds, sergt. 
Robert Hoar, sergt. 
Nathaniel Macomber, sergt. 
Joseph Boothe, sergt. 

Ebenezer Heyford, sergt. 
Benjamin Boothe, corp. 
Henry Edminster, corp. 


Daniel Collins 
Roger Clark 
John Church 
Ebenezer Howland 
.Samuel Howland 
John Howland 
Joshua Howland 
Eseck Howland 

John Hoar 
John Holloway 
Josiah Holloway 
Samuel Parris 
Richard Parris 
George Peirce 
Uriah 'Peirce 
Ezra Reynolds 


Electious Reynolds Earl Sears 

Benjamin Reynolds Seth Simmons 

John Reynolds Lebbeus Simmons 

Enos Reynolds Isaac Sherman 

Isaac Reynolds Nathan Trowant 

Fifth Company 
commissioned officers 

Perez Churchill, capt. George Shaw, 2d lieut. 

Consider Benson, ist lieut. 


Daniel Smith, sergt. Ezra Harris, corp. 

Benona Lucas, sergt. Japhet Le Baron, corp. 

Joseph Thomas, sergt. William Shaw, corp. 

Perez Churchill, sergt. Eleazer Thomas, Jr., corp. ■ 


Josiah Thomas, drummer 


-Benjamin Thomas -Solomon Thomas 

Ichabod Benson Hosea Washburn 

James Le Baron, Jr. Zeb Thomas 

James Raymond Nathan Muxom 

William Churchill William Holmes 

Mark Shaw ''Sylvanus Thomas 

Barnabas Shurtliff Isaac Morse 

Joseph Bessie Asa Barrows 

David Bates Isaac Benson 

*Seth Thomas "^Samuel Thomas, Jr. 

"Zephaniah Thomas George Howland 

Joseph Lovell Caleb Benson, Jr. 

Nathaniel Shaw James Raymond, Jr. 

Abel Tinkham Isaac Shaw 

Samuel Hackett Nathan Burden 

John Raymond Ichabod Atwood 

John Le Baron, Jr. Samuel Thomas' 

Robert Sturtevant Nathan Thomas - 

Caleb Atwood David Thomas - 
Stephen Washburn 

1777] THE REVOLUTION 1 39 

In addition to these companies of local militia which were 
enlisted for a comparatively short term of service in and about 
Boston, New Bedford, and in Rhode Island, there were many- 
others who were in the continental army for a much longer 
term than the militia, many for the entire war, whose names it 
is now impossible to give. We learn of them in following the 
various family genealogies. In 1777 there were one hundred 
and seven men from Middleboro in the continental army for 
three years or during the war, some of whom have been men- 
tioned in other chapters. At one time there were over sixty- 
four from the First Church absent in active service. 

Captain Joshua Eddy ^ raised a company for three years from 
the adjoining towns for the regiment of which Gamaliel Brad- 
ford was colonel ; their first service was on the Hudson to 
resist the progress of Burgoyne. 

The final victory at Yorktown and Cornwallis's surrender 
brought the war to a close, and the final treaty of peace was 
signed at Paris, in 1783. Then followed the struggle for a union. 
The nation had no President, no money, a congress destitute 
of power. Well did Fiske call this the " Critical Period of 
American History." But the soldiers returned to their farms, 
and Middleboro soon settled into its regular routine of life. 

The following memoranda are taken from the Eddy Note- 
Book : — 

1777 Ja"- 31 

Gamaliel Bradford Esq. Colonel 
Baracciat Bassett Esq. Lt. Col. 
Samuel Tubbo Esq. Major 
Joshua Eddy Capt. Cushman ist. Lt ; David Peterson 2d. Lt 

Jonathan Haskell, Ensign 
Barnabas Bates of Warehani afterwards Lt. 
J. Eddy Capt. Amt. of wages from Jan. 1777 to 258 lbs. 

Paid by the Continent 95 — 5 — o ; by the state 162 — 15 — o 


Enlisted between Feb. and April 177- in obedience to an order of 
Council of Nov. 7, 1777 for the Continental service for 3 years or 
during the war (Bradford's Regt.) 

^ For further service of Captain Eddy, see chapter on Eddyville. 




Samuel Thacher of and for M 

Ebenezer Raymond " 

Simeon Prouty " 

Joseph Chamberlain 

James Sampson 

William Maxwell of Tisbury 

h. — ag. 19, — April i, 1778 
3 yrs. 
Scituate ag. 30 — Feb. 23 " 
Plimpton ag. 34 Feb. 21, 3 ys. 

Kingston Jan. 7, 1780 service to end 
for Rochester 17, Feb. 19. 3 yrs. or 
during war 

Isaac Wilson 
John Clark 

John Hyller 

Joseph Hatch 

Samuel Green 

Emanuel Doggett (" Doged ") 

William Conant 

Joseph Samdin 

Jonathan Sanders 

Samuel Bates 

Salisbury Hichmond 

David Surges 

Benjamin Swift 2d 

Lt. Sturtevant 

Nathaniel Sturtevant 

Abel Suspason 

Abner Morton 
John Tolman jr. 
John Hosea 
James Morris 
Charles Anthony 

na lor riymourn - 

-21 3 yrs. or 
during war 


23 pd cost bounty 

50 Jan. 15. 3 yrs. or 

during war 


24 3 yrs. or 
during war 


Jan. 15 

20 " 


31 May 9, 1777 










16 " 












Feb. 21 
iril 28 

Plymouth ag. 18 Feb. 21, pd. cost bounty 
" "17 enlist Feb. 21 ) , 

Rochester 35 (of John Cottle's Co.) 3 yrs 
for Pembroke ? 


Samuel Green 
Samuel Eddy 

of Middleboro 
for Bridgewater 



By Isa Hatch from 
June 10 to July 9 1777 

Nehemiah Curtis 



"Moses Standish 
Joshua Prouty 
Pollipus Hammond 





pd. the cost bounty 

Rowel Foot 




Able Suppossen 

for Pembroke 


Feb. 78. 

James Newport 
Nathan Cobb 



(for N. Wood's Co.) 

Elisha Paddock 

" (for N. 

W.) 2: 

3 yrs. or during war 




Stephen Cobb 

Middleborough (for N. W.) ag. 19 3 yrs. or 

durnig war 

Zachariah Eddy 



Thomas Eddy 


U 2Q 

Nicholas Wood 



Thomas Cushman 



Joseph Bump 


"enlisted," not draught, 

May 26, 1777 to serve till 

Jan. 10, '78 

Isaac Willison 


for 3 yrs. to end in 1780 
Alden's reg't. 

Thomas Cole 


Feb. 19, 78 from Capt. 
White's Co. in Col. 

Benjamin Simmons jr. 
Benjamin Hacket 


Sprout's reg't. Cont'. 

Lewis Harlow 


during war 

Moses Sturtevant 


ag. 19 

Nathan Faunce 


" 33 (from N.Wood's Co.) 

(Jonah Washburn ist. Lt.) 

3 yrs. or 

during war 

Seth Cobb 


Zebedee Caswell 


ag. 22 " 

Benjamin Raymond (; 

1 noted drummer) 

20 " 

Carver Bates 


17 " 

Stephen Bryant 



Jona or Joshua Eattoi 






Ephraim Eddy 


Ebenezer Smith 


William Ellis 




William Paddy 


William Randall 


ag. 21 

Barzillai Nicholson 


" 29 (or 20) 

Cuff Perry 


" 28 

Solomon Doty 


Sampson David 

Andrew Warren 
John Billington 

^ FROM Capt. Wm. Tupper's Co. 

Francis Billington 

Pelham Wood 


Shubael Bump 


ag. 18 Feb. 19 

Samuel Philips 


" 19 Jan. 13 

Joseph Bump 3d 


8 months 

John Mefrick Cary (a 



" 22 

John Morris 


" 29 


Perez Simmons Middleborough ag. 16 3 yrs. 

Gideon Cobb till Jan. 10, 1778 

Simeon Cotton Rathem " 17 

Micah Leach " 21 

Thomas Gannet " 39 

A. Fuller, an officer afterwards a capt. 

Prior to 1778 the maintenance of the soldiers who were serv- 
ing in the different campaigns had been left to their families 
and neighbors. While the men were absent in service, the 
work on the farm was done by the old men, by the women, or 
by those too young to enlist. The long continuance of the 
war resulted in great hardship to many of those who were in 
the field. Accordingly we find that from time to time the town 
provided for their necessities by votes : — 

At a town meeting held January 5, 1778, it was voted that " the town treasurer 
hire the sum of $200. for the use of the committee to enable them to procure 
necessaries for the families of the soldiers in the continental service." 

And on the 9th of March, 1778, at a town meeting it was voted " to choose a 
committee of 7 persons to take care of the families of the soldiers that are in the 
Continental army, and that said committee deal out provisions to the families of 
the soldiers agreeable to a former act of the town. 

" Committee is as follows : — 

" Edmund Wood 
Edward Shairmin 
Zaddock Leonard 
Francis Thompson 
George Leonard 
Isaac Peirce 
Ichabod Wood." 

At a town meeting held May 5, 177S, it was voted that "the selectmen hire 
the sum of 626^ and 13 shillings in order to purchase clothing for the soldiers 
in the Continental army. 

" Voh'd to choose a committee of 5 persons to set a price to said clothing. 
" Voted that the select men and company of inspection assist the above said 
committee relating to the price of said clothing." 

May 5, 1778, committee reported on the price of clothing as follows : — 

"Shoes I pound, 16 shillings a pair. 

Shirts I " 7 " a piece, 

one shirt to contain 3 yards of one yard wide of linen and tow cloth. 

Stockens i pound a pair." 

The town voted to accept said report. 

1778] THE REVOLUTION 1 43 

May i8, 1778: — 

" Voted to pay the 26 Continental men now raising for Gen. Washington's 
army the sum of 30 pounds to be paid to each man," and also voted that 
" the town treasurer give his note for 30 pounds payable to each man in 
behalf of the town, said note to be paid in nine months from that date without 

" Voted to deal stores to the families of soldiers of the Continental service to 
one fourth part of their wages, the committee to deal out said stores," 

7th of July : — 

" Voted that the town treasurer give his note for 14 pounds in behalf of 
the town to each of the 19 men now raising for the service of the state of 
Rhode Island, said notes to be on interest to be paid on the first day of Jan. 

January ist, 1779: — 

" Voted that those soldiers that continue at home, with or without furlow, have 
no supply from the committee while absent from the army." 

" An Order sent out by the Great and General Court of the state of Massachu- 
setts Bay, dated June 8, 1779. 

"That the Town of Middleboro have 10 men to raise for the Rhode Island 
Service, to serve until the ist. day of Jan. next, and said men are to be paid 
3c lbs. each out of Treasury of said Town of Middleboro. Voted that the 
Town Treasurer give his note of 30 lbs. to each of said 10 men with interest till 

June 14, 1780: — 

" Voted to raise men to reinforce the army, 55 the number assigned to this town 
for the term of six months. 

" V^oted that the town treasurer give his security to the men that engage in said 
service or that were held in said service, the securities, if any are demanded to 
be given, are to be given in farming produce or silver money or lumber or paper 

On June 14, 17S0, at a town meeting it was voted that the town treasurer hire 
money for the help of raising the men if wanted. 

" Voted that there be paid to each man that engages in the service as a soldier 
200.^ of bloomery bar iron per month or farming produce in proportion to said 

" Voted that 400 Continental dollars be paid to the men that engage in said ser- 
vice instead of 100 of iron, the said sum to be paid to him that demands it and 
cannot do without the same." 

July 3, 1780, it was voted according to an order sent out by the Great and 
General Court of this stale to raise 65 men for the term of 3 months for the 
present service of war. 

By resolve of the General Court December 4, 1780, the town of Middleboro was 
required to furnish 49,733 pounds of beef for the use of the army or money suffi- 
cient to purchase the same. The town remonstrated to the General Court that 
they were unable to meet such requisition for several reasons : that they had 
recently complied with a similar requisition with great difficulty; that the lumber 
in town which furnished money for inhabitants had failed ; that the men engaged 
in farming had been absent during the season for planting crops ; that a large 




number had been in service and had not had «^he pay which was promised them, 
and that the town was not as fertile as many other towns, so that they were unable 
to realize either the money or the beef to meet with that requisition. 

What action was taken by the General Court upon this requisition does not 
March 14, 1791 : — 

" Voted to loan all the old Continental paper money now in the Town Treasury 
to the United States and that the Town Treasurer be the person to put said 
imoney on loan in the Town's behalf." 





T the commencement of and during the struggle for 
independence, Sabin, in his "American LoyaHsts," 
estimates that there were in the province of Mas- 
sachusetts Bay more than two thousand loyaHsts, 
for the most part wealthy influential and professional men of 
the colony.^ Many of them had held commissions under the 
Crown, and had served with distinction in the army of George 
III, during the French and Indian and other wars. Others had 
held various civil appointments, which were then regarded as 
positions of honor. They were familiar with the history and 
the traditions of the mother country, and had the love and 
enthusiasm for England of loyal British subjects. While mind- 
ful of the wrongs and injustice that the colonies had suffered, 
the claims of the Crown were so strong that they could not 
readily throw them off. 

Many of the inhabitants of Middleboro had a great struggle 
in choosing the side of the patriots and taking up arms against 
the mother country. In the neighboring towns, many of the 
prominent families of Plymouth, Halifax, Freetown, Marsh- 
field, Rochester, and Taunton early espoused the cause of 
the king. The loyalists '^ all over the country were banished 

1 John Adams was inclined to believe that in the colonies at large not more 
than two thirds were against the Crown at the breaking out of the Revolution. 
The last vote that showed the strength of the loyalists in the town of Boston 
was in 1775, when the vote stood five against two. Of the three hundred and ten 
persons who were banished from the country and their estates confiscated, over 
sixty vt'ere graduates of Harvard College. Memorial History of Boston, vol. iii, 

P- 175- 

^ " Upwards of eleven hundred retired in a body with the royal army at the 
evacuation of Boston. This number includes, of course, women and children. 
Among the men, however, were many persons of distinguished rank and consid- 
eration. Of members of the council, commissioners, officers of the customs, and 
other officials, there were one hundred and two ; of clergymen, eighteen ; of in- 


and went to England, Canada, New Brunswick, and Nova 
Scotia, and their estates were confiscated under the statutes 
of 1778 and 1779. The EngHsh government paid fifteen million 
dollars for their relief. Popular feeling early in the struggle 
was intense against them ; Washington was most severe in his 
expression of contempt. The term *' tory " was applied to them 
as the most opprobrious epithet that could be used, and the 
position which many of them had held in the colony seemed to 
be no bar against the treatment they received. 

The following instances show to what lengths the popular 
feeling went in neighboring towns : Daniel Leonard of Taun- 
ton, an attorney and barrister of wide reputation, a graduate of 
Harvard College, and a member of the General Court, had been 
appointed a mandamus councillor ; against him the feeling 
was so strong that bullets were fired into his house by a mob, 
and he was obliged to take refuge in Boston. In 1776 he, with 
his family of eight, left for Halifax and England, and was ap- 
pointed chief justice for the Bermudas. Daniel Dunbar was an 
ofificer in the militia when in 1774 a mob demanded of him 
that he surrender the colors of his company, which bore the 
insignia of the British Crown. When he refused to do this, 
they carried him from his house, put him upon a rail, and held 
him there until he was exhausted. He was then beaten until 
he was forced to give up the standard to save his life. Jesse 
Dunbar bought some cattle of a mandamus councillor in 1774, 
and drove them to Plymouth for sale. So great was the indig- 
nation of the patriots that, on learning that Dunbar had pre- 
sumed to have business relations with such a hated ofificer, 
they commenced punishing him for his offence (after the 
animals had been slaughtered). He suffered great indignities 
at their hands. He was carried to Kingston and there delivered 
to a mob, which carted him into the town of Duxbury. Here 
another mob seized him, and after beating him severely and 

habitants of country towns, one hundred and five ; of merchants and other per- 
sons who resided in Boston, two hundred and thirteen ; of farmers, mechanics, 
and traders, three hundred and eighty-two." Sabine's Loyalists of Ai7ierican Revo- 
lution, vol. i, p. 25. 


offering him many gross insults, they took him to a house and 
compelled him to give up the money he had received ; then 
he was left in the road with the remains of his slaughtered 
animals, to recover and return home as best he could. 

At the breaking out of the Revolution, Middleboro was one 
of the largest towns in the commonwealth, and contained many 
persons of influence who were well known throughout the 
colony. It was hoped that Judge Oliver, by reason of his long 
residence and the universal respect in which he was held, 
would induce the town not only to resist the tide of patriot- 
ism which was sweeping over the country, but to join the loy- 
alists of Marshfield.^ There a company of one hundred men 
had been formed, and arms were sent to them to defend the 
rights of the Crown. Judge Oliver labored faithfully to induce 
prominent men of his acquaintance to side with him and to 
resist the growing sentiment against the English nation, but in 
vain. At one of these interviews Zachariah Eddy asked the 
judge if the king had done right. The judge replied, "As to 
that I cannot say, but he has the power." 

The people of Middleboro, however strong in sentiment 
and sympathy with the patriot cause, refrained from many 
outbreaks of violence toward the tories. A committee had 
been appointed to confer with them in the early stages of the 
war, but the most that could be obtained was a promise not 
to assist the enemy. The only indignity that was offered was 
burning the house of Judge Oliver at Muttock, in 1778. Judge 
Oliver, however, had left the colony with his family, with the 
avowed intention of never returning until the rebellious spirit 
of the British subjects in America should be subdued and the 
power of the British throne again reestablished. 

There were but two citizens of Middleboro who were ban- 
ished by acts of the legislature ; these were Judge Oliver^ and 
his son, Peter Oliver, Jr. Ebenezer Spooner, a former citi- 
zen, was not then a resident of the town. Judge Oliver's son 
Daniel was a graduate of Harvard University in 1762, and 

1 See account of minute men in the Revolution. 
^ For life of Judge Oliver, see chapter on Muttock. 


Studied law. In 1765 he had been a representative to the Gen- 
eral Court from Middleboro. Later he settled in Worcester 
County and went to England with his father. He died in the 
year 1826 at the age of eighty-two. 

Peter Oliver, Jr., a graduate of Harvard University, was 
a physician, although he did not practise long in Middleboro. 
He was one of the eighteen country gentlemen who were 
driven into Boston in 1775 to address General Gage. In the act 
proscribing him, he was called " the Middleboro physician." 
After leaving the country, he resided in Shrewsbury, England, 
where he died at the age of eighty-one years. He had none 
of the regard towards his native land which his father showed 
in his later years, but was very bitter towards everything which 
reminded him of his former home. In his father's library was 
the only perfect manuscript of Hubbard's " History of New 
England." In 1814 the Massachusetts Historical Society de- 
sired to publish that work, and applied to Dr. Oliver to give 
or loan them this copy for that purpose, or to permit a tran- 
script of such parts of the manuscript as were missing in the 
American copy which we now have. His spirit of animosity 
against the country was shown in the very curt and surly 
answer which he sent, refusing to comply with either request, 
and in consequence, Hubbard's " History of New England," 
one of the earliest and most authoritative histories we have, 
is incomplete at the beginning and at the end. 

Portions of his diary may be of interest : — 


Abt. the 1st. week in Oct. I got home to Middleborough. 

In Novr., about the second week, I went to Boston with 
my father & mother, lodged at Milton at G. Hutchinson's, who 
was then only Mr. Hutchinson, or, perhaps Lieutenant-Govr. 
I remember it was of a Saturday evg. & the ist. time I ever 
saw his eldest daughter, Sally, who was afterwards my wife. 
I went to meeting the next day with the family. 

In this month I was examined at Harvard College, Cam- 
bridge, & was admitted into the Freshmen's class under Mr. 
Handcock, the tutor, my elder brother, Daniel, being then a 
Senior Sophister. 


In July my brother took his degree of B. A. and went home. 
Nothing very particular while at College, only I spent most of 
my time very agreeably, became much acquainted with Mr. 
Hutchinson's family (Elisha and I living together the greater 
part of my last two years), & especially with Sally. She had a 
very agreeable way in her behavior which I remember pleased 
me beyond any other of my female acquaint^, though I had 
not the least thought of any connection with her. 

While I was at college I lost a favorite uncle, Clarke, who 
was a physician in Boston, & likewise some cousins. 

In July, 1761, I took my deg«^ of B. A. - 

In Aug* 21, follows, I went to live at Scituate with Dr. 
Stockbridge as an apprentice. Here I enjoyed a many happy 
& more happier Hour than I ever experienced in my life before, 
I had no care or trouble on my mind, lived easy, & became 
acquainted with an agreeable young lady in the neighbor- 
hood but only on a friendly footing. 

In March 21, 1764, I left Dr. Stockbridge's and went to 
Boston to reside at the Castle, to understand the nature of the 
smallpox under Dr. Gelston. I staid there till the last of Ap' 
follows, when I cleared out, as they term it ; went to Middle- 
borough in May ; and in June set up for myself in the practice 
of physic amidst many difficulties & obstructions. My father 
built me a small shop near his house. I gradually got a little 
business but poor pay. 

In June, 1765, first pay''^ my addresses to Miss S. H., and 
obtained leave of her father in Aug* follovvg, being just before 
his House was tore down, he losing everything he had in his 
House ; his Daughters & rest of the family likewise shared 
the same fate. 

I went down in a few days after to see the family ; found 
Miss S. H. most terribly worried and distrest. 

I found that courtship was the most pleasant part of my 
life hitherto ; the family were very agreeable.^ 

At a later date, we find these entries in his diary : — 

June 1st 1774. — The Gov*", Elisha, and Peggy, sailed for 
England, just as the Mandamus Counsellors were ordered to 
take their oaths by G. Gage, who succeeded the Gov*" H. — 
Nothing but mobs and riots all this summer. Wednesday the 
14 of Sep"" I was mobbed. 

Aug. 23. — Well Col. Watson is sworn in to be one of His 

1 An account of his wedding reception is given in the chapter on Muttock. 


Majesties Council ; he has got home ; they left the Meeting to 
the number of 40. The first Sunday they passed him in the 
street without noticing him which occasions him to, to be very 
uneasy. Some of our pupies in town are coming to wait on 
the judge [Peter Oliver, Sen.] You will hear more of it by the 
time you finish this letter. 

Sept. 2. — 3 men deputed from 40 Middlebg. brutes came 
to the Judges house the 24th to know ab^ these difficulties, and 
they went away as dissatisfied as they came. 

Col. Ruggles, Murry, Willard and some others are obliged 
to retire to Boston to get rid of the mob. The Judge is now 
in Boston. We have been threatened and whether we shan't 
be mobbed is uncertain. I dread to think of the consequences 
that must follow our behavior here whether ever so mild mat- 
ters are struck upon by the ministry. If the ministry give way 
to us we are an undone people ; and if they set out to punish 
us according as we deserve it there will be bloodshed enough 
before they can reduce us. The Middleborough people and 
indeed the Province in general, declare solemnly never to sub- 
mit to this new plan of government. I wish I was safe with 
my family out of the reach of threats and insults. I never 
knew what mobbing was before. I am sick enough of confu- 
sion and uproar. I long for an asylum, — some blessed place 
of refuge. 

Sept. 10. — The Judge is in Boston yet for safety, and 
will be this one while. You have no idea of the confusion we 
are in ab* the Counsell and new mode of government. 

Sept. 14. — To-day I was visited by about 30 Middlebor- 
ough Puppies, who obliged me to sign their Articles. They 
proceeded and increased their number to 80, and attack'd 
Mr. Silas Wood, carried him off, and threatened his life if 
he would not sign their paper to stand by the Old Charter, and 
give up the Protest he had then in his pocket. He finally 
yielded. The next day they visited ab* 10 or 12 people who 
are called Tories, and made them resign to their unwarrantable 
demands. M. R. Spooner among the rest.^ 

The following letters refer to this period : — 

Middleborough, Aug. 11, 1774. 

Sir, — We have just heard of the arrival of the Acts of 
Parliament by a Man-of-War, last Saturday or Sunday. Tues- 
day the General sent an express to the Judge, Col. Watson, 

1 Diary and Letters of T/iomas Hutchinson, pp. 246, 459. 


Daniel Leonard, Col. Eden [doubtless should have been Edson], 
N. Ray, Thomas [Hutchmson], and a number of others in the 
Province, as we imagine as His Majesty's Council, upon the 
new Establishment. Col. Watson says he bids farewell to all 
peace and comfort in this world. I never see him so uneasy 
in my life. He will refuse, and if he does he will do the Tories 
more dishonor than ever he did them good. There are num- 
bers in the Province that swear they will never consent to this 
new plan. By next fall, the last of October, the whole matter 
will be decided." 

To his brother-in-law, Elisha Hutchinson : — 

Boston, June ist, 1775. 

Dear Brother, — 

We are besieged this moment with 10 or 15000 men, from 
Roxbury to Cambridge ; their rebell sentry s within call of the 
troops' sentrys on the Neck. We are every hour expecting an 
attack by land or water. All marketing from the country stopt 
ever since the Battle. Fire and slaughter hourly threatened, 
and not out of danger from some of the inhabitants within, 
of setting the town of [on] fire. All the interest the Judge and 
I ound [owned] in Middleborough exposed to the ravage of 
a set of robbers, M"" Conant at the head of them. Poor Jenny 
and Phoebe, and children, we can't hear of, or get any word to, 
whether they are all living or not, or whether the works and 
buildings are left standing is rather a doubt with me, for we 
have heard since the Battle, that a number set out to destroy 
and burn our interest, but that the Selectmen interposed and 
saved them. 

James Bowdoin, Esq., is very ill in health, and has desir'd 
leave of the Judge to live in his house, and improve his land 
till he shall want it himself. lV//at consiimviate impudence ! 
It is more than I would consent to, but the Judge will consent 
to it. 

loth Instant. — Yesterday I heard from Plymouth : all 
well at present : can't send your letters. 

The rebells, I hear, have put out our Farm, to take the 
profits themselves : they have serv'd every friend to govern- 
ment in that way. 

O tempora ! O viores ! Y*^ as usual, 

Peter Oliver, Jun^ 


Boston, Deer 7, 1775. 

Sir, — This by Nath^ Coffin Jun"". I determine to write you 
by all the opportunities for the future, when I have anything 
to relate. 

This once happy country must for the future be miserable. 
Most of the Governments, especially these 4 Governments of 
N. England, are inevitably forfeited to His Majesty. All we 
poor Refugees must be made good our losses and damages. 
Hanging people won't pay me for what I have suffered. No- 
thing short of forfeited estates will answer : and after damages 
are sufficiently compensated, then hang all the Massachusetts 
Rebels by dozens, if you will. 

You may remember our Wilder, the Blacksmith : he has 
turn'd Rebell. Neighbour Tupper, on the hill as you turn to 
the Meeting House, or Boston Road : in fine, but a very few 
in Middleborough but what are Rebells or Devills. The Parson 
stands foremost in the list : he must be looked up one of the 
first. The rest of this matter in my next. 

Sally [his wife, the Governor's daughter] sends her love to 
you. — I am Y^^ Affectionately 

Peter Oliver, Jun"". 

In a letter from Thomas Hutchinson, Jr., to his brother 
Elisha under date of September 22, 1774, he writes : — 

" It is become mighty fashionable here for the people to wait 
on any person who has done anything that they are pleased to 
look upon as unfriendly to the cause of liberty, and oblige them 
to confess, and promise reformation. D'" Oliver was visited last 
week by about five hundred, who assembled at some distance 
from his house, and sent a Committee to confess him for having 
promoted some Address or Protest some time agoe, which 
penance he readily underwent, to get rid of his unwelcome 
guests, and I suppose may now remain at Middleborough with- 
out molestation." 

Others who were put under surveillance by the town author- 
ities were also men of property and of the highest respectability. 
Such was the confidence in the integrity of these men that 
although they were known to be in full sympathy with the 
British cause, they were not proscribed, or banished, neither 
were their estates confiscated as were those of other tories of 
the province. 





The house in which Simeon Doggett Hved is still standing on 
South Main Street, Lakeville. He came from Marshfield in 
1742, and was with his brother in the French and Indian War 
in the company of Captain Benjamin Pratt. He was a skilful 
cabinet maker, living upon thfe farm which he cultivated. He 
was generally known as "the tory farmer," and as a staunch 
Episcopalian he differed from most of the townspeople in his 
religious opinions. He was conscientious in his belief that 
it was wrong for the colonies to rebel against the mother 
country, and he took no pains to conceal this. Although no 
treasonable acts were ever proved against him for his opinions 
freely expressed, he was imprisoned in the New Bedford jail, 
but was afterwards released upon a promise that he would not 
leave his farm without permission. One of his contemporaries 
said that he and his tory neighbor, Lemuel Ransome, while 
under the injunction of the town, obeyed it carefully, but 
availed themselves of the privilege of walking daily to the 
bounds of their adjoining farms, discussing the turbulent state 
of the times and freely expressing their sympathy for the king 
they loved so well. When the war was over they regained 
the esteem and confidence of their fellow citizens. Mr. Dog- 
gett was the father of Rev. Simeon Doggett, a clergyman 
of reputation, at one time principal of the Taunton Academy. 
His daughter, Abigail, married Judge Weston. He was the 
grandfather of the Rev. Thomas Doggett and William E. 
Doggett, an eminent business man of Chicago. 

John Doggett, a minor and resident of Middleboro, sympa- 


thized with his relative, Simeon Doggett, in the latter's political 
opinion, and left the country soon after coming of age. He 
moved to New Brunswick and settled on the Isle of Grand 
Menan, in the Bay of Fundy, where he died in 1830 at the 
age of seventy years. 

Lemuel Ransome lived upon the farm recently occupied by 
Clark Bump. He was one of the few men in town against 
whose character no one was ever known to speak, and his 
influence was very great until it was known that he espoused 
the cause of the Crown. Although the feeling was so intense, 
the community never lost confidence in Mr. Ransome, and 
regarded him as one of the most upright and honest of citi- 
zens. He was known throughout the country as " the honest 
farmer," receiving that name from the following incident : At 
one season there was a great frost and heavy drought in 
some portion of the state, so that almost the entire crop of 
corn ^ was ruined and yielded but little more than had been 
originally planted. Mr. Ransome (probably on account of the 
peculiarity of the soil and the nearness of his farm to the 
neighboring ponds) was able to gather a large crop during 
that year. Speculators came to him, offering the highest prices 
for his corn, two or three dollars per bushel, but he would 
not sell. "This corn," he used to say, "belongs to the poor 
people of the town, and they shall have it at the ordinary price 
of fifty cents a bushel." Such unusual generosity won for 
him the love and respect of all. Elkanah Leonard said of him, 
" I have seen an honest man." This trait of character made 
him conscientious in his loyalty to England. This was his 
argument: " We must honor the king. Does not the Bible 
say we must honor him ? I cannot go contrary to the Bible." 
Part of a conversation has come down to us, in which he said 
to Mr. Doggett, " Does it not make you feel sad to see all 
our people rising against their king ? " " I know not how it 
will end, but I tremble lest some great calamity should come 

1 It was at this time that part of Scituate received the name Egypt, as corn 
could be obtained there, and men went long distances, as of old, " to buy corn in 


upon the colonies for their treason against the royal Crown 
of England." He, as well as his neighbor, had been indicted 
for his public utterances, yet on September 2, 1779, the Com- 
mittee of Inspection petitioned the General Court that 

The indictment against Lemuel Ransome, an inhabitant of 
Middleboro be stayed for the reason therein given, and that 
all proceedings in said indictment be and hereby are stayed 
until the further order of the court, and the Superior Court of 
Judicature be ordered to stay proceedings. 

(Signed by) John Hancock, Speaker. 

Mr. Ransome lived to a good old age, and died respected by 
all. The attendance at his funeral was the largest Middleboro 
had ever seen. 

At the commencement of the Revolutionary War, Captain 
William Canedy, an influential man in that part of the town 
now Lakeville, had served with distinction in the French and 
Indian War. When questioned concerning his loyalty, he re- 
plied that he had fought for his king, had held a commission 
as captain from his Majesty's governor of the province, and he 
could not be a traitor in his old age. 

Stephen Richmond lived on Vernon Street, in the house 
now occupied by Daniel Aldrich. His temperament and dis- 
position were such that he had nothing of the position and 
esteem which the other loyalists received. He was known as 
the "d — d old tory." He died of smallpox in 1777, and was 
buried on the other side of a stone wall, opposite the grave of 
Mr. Paddock, the owner of the field positively refusing to 
allow such a man to be buried on his land. 

One George Gye was committed to jail by the committee of 
safety of Middleboro, January 14, 1777. He was brought be- 
fore the committee and fairly examined, and 

" Found to have been secretly moving about for several 
months past among the worst of our Tories who, we find, are 
all acquainted with him, and have received repeated visits from 
him, and that no other person but Tories have had the plea- 
sure to be acquainted with him and further we find him firmly 


engaged in his mind for government against our liberties and 
many other things that might be proved against him." 

Upon a petition, the legislature paid the expenses of his being 
kept in jail. Soon after the battle of Lexington, the town took 
decisive action in its endeavor to suppress any influence which 
the loyalists might seek to exert in favor of the Crown. 

At a town meeting held July 3, 1775, " Com. of Inspection reported that Silas 
Wood, William Strowbridge 2nd., Simeon Doggett, Josiah Vaughan, Thomas 
Paddock, Zebulon Leonard, Lemuel Ransom, Joseph Bates Jr., Jacob Bennett 
and Peter Vaughan, have not given satisfaction to them that they are friends to the 

" A Committee of five men were appointed to see what measures should be taken 
relative to these persons ; Adjourned for an hour and reported that said persons 
be confined to their own homes from the date hereof until such time as they shall 
make satisfaction to the town or Committee of Inspection excepting that on the 
Lord's Day they shall be allowed to attend public worship." 

At a town meeting held July 17, 1775, the following vote was passed : "Voted 
that the Committee of Inspection go and inquire into the conduct of William 
Canedy and John Montgomery Jr. and if they don't give satisfaction to the said 
Committee of Inspection, that the town have ordered that the captains of each of 
the military companies are ordered to keep on the homestead farm and not go off 
until such time as they give the said committee satisfaction, unless it be to attend 
public worship at the society to which they belong, on the penalty of being carried 
to the camps at Roxbury and delivered up to some military officer." 

At a town meeting held June 17, 1777, " the Selectmen reported the following 
persons as being enimically disposed toward the United States, Zebulon Leonard, 
William Strobridge, Lemuel Ransom, Simeon Doggett and Stephen Richmond. 

" Each person being called on, the vote put whether they were enimically disposed 
passed in the affirmative at said meeting. Moved by Isaac Perkins and seconded 
by Joseph Leonard. Voted and seconded that Stephen Richmond is enimically 
disposed towards the United American States, the vote being called passed in 
the affirmative and his name was entered upon the selectmen list." 

At a town meeting held July 28, 1777, " the following warned persons were re- 
ported as being enimically disposed toward the United States — Capt. William 
Canady, John Howland, John Montgomery Jr., Josiah Vaughan, James Keith, 
Thomas Paddock 2nd., and John Clark. Town examined and acquitted by vote 
John Howland, Josiah Vaughan, James Keith, Thomas Paddock 2nd, and Capt. 
William Canady and that the others be brought to trial by a court for that pur- 

At a town meeting held December 29, 1777, "Article in the Warrant, To see 
if the Town will approve or disapprove of measures taken in carrying Simeon 
Doggett & Lemuel Ransom out of Town. 

" Voted not to act anything relative to this article." 



/^■^ HE War of 18 12 was not generally popular with the 
people of Massachusetts. They believed the causes 
which led to it might have been adjusted by diplo- 
macy, and the declaration of war was too hasty, the 
long extended coast of the state not being sufficiently pre- 
pared for defence.^ The non-intercourse law came to an end 
in 1 8 10 without having produced any effect. France's attitude 
was such under Napoleon's deception that this law was revived 
against Great Britain. Her vessels watched the whole east- 
ern coast of the United States, and captured many American 
merchantmen. A conflict seemed unavoidable. With the new 
Congress, "submission men," who wished to avoid a struggle, 
were defeated, and "war men" elected, so that on June 18, 
18 12, war was declared. The British navy numbered one thou- 
sand vessels, the American twelve, inferior in tonnage and 
armament ; the army was poorly equipped and disciplined ; 
money was scarce, most of it being in New England. The 
government endeavored to raise money by loans, but with such 
poor success that at the end of the war there was hardly 
enough to arm, feed, and clothe the soldiers. 

The principal theatre of the war was in the wilderness near 
Canada. In 18 12 Detroit surrendered, and Canada was in- 
vaded with great loss. In the mean time the navy, which had 
not been expected to take a prominent part, won important 
victories, causing intense excitement. For twenty years Great 
Britain had been at war with almost every nation of Europe, 
and out of hundreds of battles between ships of equal force 
had lost but five. In six months the little American navy had 

1 Bradford, History of Massachusetts, vol. ii, p. 174. 


captured five vessels, and had not lost a battle.^ The war- 
fare was carried on on the lakes, where both sides bought 
and built, to add to the power of their respective navies there. 
The Americans held their own on Lake Ontario, and won 
complete success on Lake Champlain, and in Perry's famous 
victory on Lake Erie, when he sent the official despatch, 
" We have met the enemy and they are ours, two ships, two 
tugs, one schooner and one sloop." The blockade of the Atlan- 
tic coast was enforced by British vessels from the beginning 
of 181 3. Early that year they took possession of the mouth 
of Chesapeake Bay as a naval station, and the government 
then ordered all lights to be extinguished in neighboring light- 
houses. At first they were inclined to spare New England, 
which was supposed to be friendly to Great Britain, but it 
too suffered with the other places on the shore. The entire 
coast was kept in a state of alarm, as British boats landed at 
exposed points to burn and plunder the towns, and private 
property was seized everywhere in the general pillage. The 
coast of Massachusetts was especially exposed to the ravages 
of the ships of the enemy, and the people justly complained 
to the general government that it was left without protec- 
tion. This war destroyed the fishing industries of the state. 
Its extensive commerce was paralyzed, and all business was at 
a standstill. 

While Middleboro had no shipping interests, the entire busi- 
ness of the town suffered. When war was declared, the people 
acquiesced in the action of the administration, and responded 
to the call for troops to defend the commonwealth. A gen- 
eral order 2 was issued by the governor on the 3d of July, 1812, 
requiring that all officers and soldiers enrolled in the militia 
of the commonwealth should hold themselves in readiness to 
march at the shortest notice, wherever their services might be 
needed ; but few of the militia were called into active service 
at that time. The town early made suitable provision for her 

1 Johnston's Hisiorv of United States, p. 182. 

2 History of Plymouth County, p. 1006. 

icSi4] MIDDLEBORO IN THE WAR OF 1812 1 59 

At the town meeting held July 27, 18 12, it was voted that "the detached soldiers 
of the town of Middleboro be allowed by said town in addition to their pay 
allowed by the government an amount sufficient to amount to the whole $13. a 
month whenever they are called by government into active service of the country." 

Also voted that " the non-commissioned officers have an additional sum in 
addition to their army pay allowed by said town which shall be in proportion to 
the soldier." 

Also voted that " the select men be directed to furnish a set of equipments for 
one soldier and if Rodolphus Barden, one of the detached soldiers be called into 
service of the country that the town turn out to him said equipments." 

Many of the ship-owners of New England, upon the decla- 
ration of war, manned their ships and fitted them out as pri- 
vateers. These were active and troublesome to the enemy ; 
numerous battles were fought on both sides. Middleboro's part 
in the war was in the coast defence of neighboring towns. In 
the summer of 18 14 the English ships, Superb and Nimrod,. 
were hovering about the eastern shores of Massachusetts. 
They had sent detachments of soldiers, who had inflicted great- 
damage at Scituate and Wareham ^ and were threatening an 
attack at Plymouth. A fort had been erected upon the Gurnet 
for the defence of Plymouth, Kingston, and Duxbury. Men 
from Middleboro were in Wareham at the time of the attack 
by the British soldiers in June, 18 14, but only the name of 
Joseph Le Baron has come down to us. 

During this war the militia of Plymouth County were under 
one brigade, which was composed of four regiments of infantry, 
a battalion of artillery, and a battalion of cavalry, which were 
under the command of Major-General Goodwin. On the 27th 
day of May, 18 14, General Nathaniel Goodwin issued the fol- 
lowing order : — 

" It is absolutely and indespensably necessary at this time 
when our shores are daily invaded by the enemy that every 
man should do his duty and all concerned will be responsible 
for any neglect. Upon any alarm being made at the approach 
of the enemy on or near our shore Towns or Villages within 
the limits of the 5th Division, the officers and soldiers of the 
militia of said Towns and Villages will immediately repair to 
their respective alarm posts completely equipt for actual ser- 

^ Lossing, Pictorial Field-Book of War of 18 12, p. 889. 


vice, and there wait for their orders from their superior officers, 
if timely to be obtained, but should the necessity of the case 
be such that it would not admit of delay in the opinion of the 
commanding officer present, he will march immediately with 
the troops to the place or places in danger ; and afford all the 
aid and assistance in his power and repel by force and arms all 
such hostile invaders. When so marched the commanding offi- 
cer will give information thereof to the nearest superior officer." 

There is no record that any of the troops from Middleboro 
were in any engagement with the enemy during the war, but 
in response to this order from General Goodwin the companies 
were held in readiness. Three companies were sent to New 
Bedford under Major Levi Peirce. 

At this time (June, 1814) New Bedford was blockaded by 
the Nimrod and La Hogue,^ which continually threatened to 
land troops for the devastation of the city and the surround- 
ing country. There was gathered in compliance with this 
order for the defence of New Bedford and Fair Haven about 
one thousand men. The people of New Bedford were strong 
federalists and opposed the war^ from the beginning, while 
those of Fair Haven were democrats and heartily endorsed 
the administration in its declaration of war and preparation 
for a vigorous assault on the enemy. They were glad to shel- 
ter the privateers and all other enemies of the British, and 
had built a fort on a strip of land at the entrance to their 
harbor. It was well fortified and guarded by Lieutenant Selleck 
Osborne. The enemy had planned an attack on the fort and 
the destruction of the village ; everything was ready for the 

1 Lossiiig, Pictorial Field-Book of War of 1812, p. 889. 

2 "On July 21, 1814, the town of New Bedford voted unanimously as the e.x- 
pressions of the feelings of the inhabitants of the town that we have considered it 
our duty to abstain and have scrupulously abstained from all interest and concern 
in sending out private armed vessels to harass the enemy and which have appeared 
to us an encouragement to prosecute and increase the ravages of the unprofita- 
l)le contest; that we have seen with disapprobation several private armed vessels 
belonging to other ports taking shelter in our peaceful waters and regret that we 
have not the authority of law wholly to exclude them from our harbor where they 
serve to increase our danger, where they incite disorder and confusion." New 
Bedford Records. 




Nimrod to commence the attack before daybreak. Just before 
that time the tin horn of a mail-carrier and the galloping of his 
horse across the Acushnet bridge and causeway were heard. 
This was mistaken for the advance of a large number of Ameri- 
can forces. The Nimrod hastened to withdraw to a safe dis- 
tance from the fort, and New Bedford and Fair Haven were 
spared what might have been a bloody battle. The known 
friendliness of New Bedford to the British cause did not save 
the inhabitants from the general alarm. 

The names of the officers and soldiers of the three companies 
which Middleboro furnished were as follows : ^ — 

C.APTAiN Wilder's Company 


Nath'l Wilder, Jr., capt. Calvin Shaw, ensign 

Linus Washburn, lieut. 


Joseph Haskell, sergt. 
Isaac Stevens, sergt. 
Sylvan us Warren, sergt. 
Benjamin White, sergt. 

George Leonard, corp. 
Abner Leonard, corp. 
Abner Leach, corp. 
Stephen Burgess, corp. 


Isaac Tinkham, drummer Joshua Haskins, fifer 


Benjamin Hayford 
Israel Keith 
John Perkins 
Daniel Snow 
Daniel Warren 
Jacob Bennett 
Jacob Stevens 
Andrew Warren 
Nathan Reed 
Benjamm Tinkham 
Calvin Dunham 
Ziba Eaton 

Willis Sherman 
Sylvanus S. Wood 
Ira Tinkham, Jr. 
Peter Winslow, Jr. 
Ichabod Wood (2d) 
Joseph Paddock 
Alby Wood 
John Barden 
Cushman Vaughan 
Rodolphus Barden 
Lemuel South worth 
William Southworth 

1 For the list of men in these companies, see Histo}y of Plymouth Colony, p. 1008. 




Hosea Aldrich 
Thomas Washburn 
Fran. K. Alden 
Alfred Eaton 
Silas Hathaway 
Solomon Reed 
Elisha Shaw 

Israel Eaton, Jr. 
Cyrus Nelson 
George Caswell 
John Shaw, Jr. 
George Vaughan 
Samuel Leonard 
Joshua Cushman 

Captain Cushman's Company 


Joseph Cushman, capt. 
Pelham Atwood, lieut. 

Ebenezer Vaughan, ensign 


Zenas Cushman, sergt. 
Nathan Barney, sergt. 
Ezra Thomas, sergt. 
Joseph Barker, Jr., sergt. 

Levi Tinkham, corp. 

Soule, Jr., Corp. 

Cyrus Tinkham, corp. 
S. Fuller, corp. 


Geo. Thompson, drummer Samuel Bent, fifer 


Jacob Covington 
Caleb Tinkham 
Cyrus Ellis 
James Thomas, Jr. 
Joshua Sherman (2d) 
T. Wood 
Samuel Shaw 
Obed King (3d) 
Consider Fuller 
George Cushman 
Isaac Bryant (2d) 
Levi Bryant 
Darius Darling 
Zebadee Pratt 



Joshua Swift 
Ezra Eddy 

Joseph Farmer 

Isaac Briggs 

Enoch Tinkham (2d) 


Josiah Robertson 
Joshua Shaw 
Merchant Shaw 
Cyrus Thrasher 


Luther Washburn 
Edmund Hinds 
Leonard Hinds 
Thomas Sampson 
Amos Washburn 
Lemuel Robbins 
Abram Skiff 
George Peirce 
Bennett Briggs 

i8i4] MIDDLEBORO IN THE WAR OF 1812 163 

Captain Shaw's Company 

commissioned officers 

Gaius Shaw, capt. Abiatha Briggs, ens. 

Alden Miller, lieut 


Warren Clark, sergt. Earl Alden, corp. 

Jonathan Cobb, sergt. Caleb Washburn, Jr., corp. 

Abiel P. Booth, sergt. James Sturtevant, corp. 

Japhet Le Baron, sergt. Zenas Raymond, corp. 


Joshua A. Bent, drummer Martin Keith, Jr., fifer 


Clothier Allen Eli Peirce 

Stephen Atwood Eliphalet Peirce, Jr. 

William Barrows Elisha Peirce 

Judson Briggs Enos Parris 

Malbone Briggs Enos Peirce 

Bumpus Henry Pickens 

Samuel Cole William Nelson 

Elnathan Coombs Robert Rider, Jr. 

Isaac Cushman (2d.) Henry Strobridge 

Daniel Gifford Silas Shaw 

Nathaniel G. Hathaway Andrew Swift 

Eliphalet Hathaway W^inslow Thomas 

Samuel Hall Thomas Wood 

Branch Harlow Lemuel Wood 

Aberdeen Keith Jonathan Westgate 

Samuel Lovell Jonathan Westgate, Jr. 

Ziba Lebaron Joshua Lebaron 
Elijah Lewis 

The company under command of Captain Shaw served until 
July 8, 1814; the companies under Captain Wilder and Cap- 
tain Cushman, until July 10, [814. Captain Cushman received 
a ten days' leave of absence, which had not expired when the 

following order was issued : — 

New Bedford, July, 1S14. 

Capt. Nathl. Wilder : 

Sir, — You will consider yourself discharged from the pre- 
sent detachment, together with the officers and soldiers recently 




under your command, and those officers and soldiers recently 
under the command of Capt. Joseph Cushman, whose absence 
from service had caused his officers and soldiers to do duty 
under your command. 

You will accept my thanks and also those of Major Levi 
Peirce, and through you to the Officers and Soldiers under your 
command, for your and their good conduct and prompt atten- 
tion to orders. 

Benjn. Lincoln, Col. 

Another order had been issued that regiments and battalions 
should be in readiness to march at the shortest notice to any 
point within the district. On the 17th day of September, 18 14, 
a battalion of two companies was sent from Middleboro to re- 
enforce the coast guard, stationed at Plymouth. This battalion 
was under the command of Major Ephraim Ward, who after- 
wards became a brigadier-general, with Captain Peter H. Peirce 
in command of one company, and Captain Greenleaf Pratt the 
commander of the other. 

The names of the officers and soldiers in Captain Peter H. 
Peirce's company are as follows : — 


Peter H. Peirce, capt. 
Luther Murdock, lieut. 

Orrin Tinkham, ensign 


Thomas Bump, sergt. 
Hercules Richmond, sergt. 
George Shaw, sergt. 
Ezra Wood, sergt. 
Ichabod Wood, sergt. 

Daniel Hathaway, corp. 
Abner Leonard, corp. 
Daniel Thomas, corp. 
Andrew Warren, corp. 

Oliver Sharp 

Jeremiah Wood 
Levi Wood 
Cyrenus Tinkham 
Gideon Leonard 
Peter Vaushan 



Paddock Tinkham 

Thomas C. Ames 
Unite Kinsley 
Levi Haskins 
George Ellis 
Cornelius Tinkham 




Joseph Clark 
Edmund Ellis 
Eliphalet Doggett 
Oliver L. Sears 
Nathan Perkins 
Josiah D. Burgess 
Joseph Waterman 
Isaac Thomas, Jr. 
Joshua Atwood, Jr. 
Andrew McCully 
Daniel Norcutt 
Seth Weston 
Abel Howard 
Benjamin Leonard 
Cyrus White 
Benijah Wilder 
Levi Thomas (2d) 
Calvin Dunham 
Caleb Tinkham 
Abraham Thomas, Jr. 
Rufus Alden, Jr. 
Daniel Weston 
Joseph Paddock 
Nathaniel Macomber 
William Ramsdell 
John C. Perkins 
Edward Winslow, Jr. 
Isaac Cole 

Samuel Cole 

Thomas Southworth 
Daniel Vaughan 
Cushman Vaughan 
Sylvanus T. Wood 
Cyrus Nelson 
Augustus Bosworth 
Lorenzo Wood 
Jacob Bennett (2d) 
Andrew Bump 
Josephus Bump 
Nathan Reed 
Benijah Peirce 
William Littlejohn, Jr. 
Warren Bump, Jr. 
Francis Billington 
Joseph Standish 
Earl Bourne 
George Caswell, Jr. 
Israel Keith 
Sylvanus Vaughan 
Leonard Southworth 
James Bump 
Elijah Shaw 
James Cole 
Rodolphus Barden 
Sylvanus Barrows 

The regiment containing the Middleboro companies was 
under command of Colonel Lazelle, and troops from different 
sections of southeastern Massachusetts were hastening to the 
defence of Plymouth with all possible speed. The battalion in 
which were companies from this town was under command of 
Major Ward, but as they had not arrived or sent any word at 
the time they were expected. Colonel Hector Orr, one of the 
officers under ]\Iajor-General Goodwin, was detailed to go out 
and ascertain the cause of the delay and hasten their approach 
to Plymouth. Colonel Orr met them in what was called the 
Bump neighborhood, which, at this time, did not have a good 
reputation, and found that they were marching in broken ranks 
without military order. The morning was wet and the roads 


muddy, and their guns and accoutrements had been taken into 
the baggage wagons accompanying the regiment. He noticed 
that the men had no guns, and, approaching Major Ward, 
asked, " Where are your men's guns?" He replied, " In the 
baggage wagon." The colonel exclaimed, " What have you got 
them in the baggage wagon for .'' You are in more danger from 
the Bumps in this neighborhood than from any British that 
you will meet." 

The names of the officers and soldiers under command of 
Captain Greenleaf Pratt are not known. The muster roll is not 
among the archives of the State House in Boston, and no copy 
of that roll is known to exist. 

No attempt was made by the enemy to pass the fort at the 
Gurnet or to land their troops, and after several months the 
men were dismissed and returned to their homes. 

On the 5th day of December, 1814, it was voted to make an 
addition to the pay allowed by the government to the soldiers 
who were called out by Major-General Goodwin for the defence 
of Plymouth : — 

Voted " to allow the non-commissioned officers and private soldiers who were 
detached from the town of Middleboro for the town of Plymouth in September 
last an addition of wages together with what is allowed by the government of this 
commonwealth which will raise their wages to $15. per month." 

It was many years before the town recovered from the great 
blow its business enterprises received during 1812 and 18 14. 
Many of the inhabitants were employed in other towns, where 
they enlisted and served in the war, but their names can be 
ascertained only from tradition or genealogical records of vari- 
ous families. 

A company was organized, a portion of which was from 
Middleboro and did service on the frontier of New York, but 
the names of the Middleboro men in that company are not 

During the entire war the New England states were dissat- 
isfied. At first the army commanders had not been wisely 
chosen and suffered defeat, the coast defences were neglected, 
and the government seemed unable to protect them. Late in 

i8i4] MIDDLEBORO IN THE WAR OF 1812 1 67 

1 8 14 they sent delegates to Hartford ^ to consider the difficul- 
ties. The meetings of this Hartford Convention — held in secret 
— alarmed the government, which feared it might be a plan 
of the federalists to break up the Union. They made a public 
report recommending that New England be allowed to protect 
her coast without waiting for the federal government. Peace 
was, however, soon declared, and no further steps were taken 
in this matter. The battle of New Orleans, January 8, 181 5, re- 
sulted in so complete a victory that in twenty-tive minutes the 
whole British line was in retreat, having lost the commander 
and two thousand five hundred men, while of the Americans 
eight were killed and thirteen wounded. Peace negotiations 
had been going forward,^ and a treaty was ratified at Ghent in 
Belgium on December 24, 18 14, but the word did not reach 
America in time to prevent the last disastrous battle. One 
result of the war was the growth of power of the United 
States. The accurate aim of the American gunners had done 
much to win the victory. While the gunboats built in such 
large numbers for the coast defence proved a failure, the naval 
successes won for the country the respect of other nations, and 
never again did Great Britain attempt to enforce her " orders 
in council" or the impressment of seamen, which had caused 
the war. 

1 Bradford, History of Massachusetts, vol. ii, chap. 13. 

2 Montgomery, History of United States, p. 219. 


|IBERTY and Union, now and forever, one and in- 
separable," were the closing words of that " most 
remarkable speech ever made in the American Con- 
gress," when Daniel Webster replied to Hayne. 
Later, in his reply to Calhoun, " There can be no secession 
without revolution," his words found an echo in the senti- 
ment so widespread over the North. Middleboro was too close 
a neighbor to Marshfield, Webster's home, too close a neigh- 
bor to Plymouth, the home of liberty, too deeply imbued with 
the spirit of patriotism and loyalty to that Union for which 
her fathers had fought, not to be stirred to her depths as 
the murmurs of a great struggle began to be heard. Thirty 
years after Webster's famous speech, when the Civil War 
threatened to destroy the Union, thousands all over the land 
were willing to die to save it. 

It is beyond our province to trace the history of those thrill- 
ing times, how with the new discoveries, new inventions, new 
territories, came new problems, or old ones under a new guise. 
The Compromise of 1850, the Fugitive Slave Law, the strug- 
gle between North and South for the possession of Kansas, 
the Dred Scott Decision, the John Brown raid, the election of 
Lincoln as President, all led the way to the secession of the 
southern states from the Union (1861). On March 4, 1861, at 
his inauguration, Lincoln said, " I have no purpose directly, or 
indirectly, to interfere with the institution of slavery in the 
states where it exists. I believe I have no lawful right to do 
so, and I have no inclination to do so." At the same time he 
felt it his duty to " preserve, protect, and defend " the Union. 
On April 12, 1861, the first gun was fired at Fort Sumten No 
longer was it possible to settle the slave question by a peace- 


ful arrangement ; war had begun, and the next day the Presi- 
dent called for seventy-five thousand volunteers, 

Middleboro furnished readily her full quota of men, and 
contributed most liberally to supply the varied necessities 
occasioned by this great national struggle. Few of the north- 
ern statesmen were more active or energetic than John A. 
Andrew,! the illustrious war governor, by whose foresight and 
alacrity Massachusetts was perhaps better prepared to meet 
the exigencies of the war than any of the northern states, and 
was the first to send her troops to the front.^ Middleboro's 
patriotism is shown by the promptness with which she re- 
sponded to the first call. The order from the governor reached 
the town at six o'clock at night, requiring the company to re- 
port for duty on Boston Common at nine o'clock the next morn- 
ing. Captain Harlow lived eight miles from the station, and 
the members of the company were scattered through Middle- 
boro and the adjoining towns, covering an area of about fifteen 
miles, and yet such was the readiness with which the men 
responded, that when the morning train at twenty minutes past 
seven left the station in Middleboro, more than three quarters 
of the company were present. 

Of the seventy-five thousand men called to serve three 
months, Massachusetts,^ on the 15th day of April, received 
an order for two regiments, and later for four, and so the 
Third, Fourth, Sixth, and Eighth were sent. The state system 
of organization of these regiments required but eight compa- 
nies, while the United States standard demanded ten, hence 
a reorganization was necessary where it was possible. The 
departure of these regiments for three months' service aroused 
the people to form recruiting companies, so that the call on 
May 3 for regiments to volunteer for three years met with 
a ready response. On August 4, 1862, the President called 

^ hossing, /^iWd-Book of the Civil War, vol. i, p. 203. 

2 " Before the lapse of forty-eight hours a Massachusetts regiment, armed and 
equipped, was on its way to Washington." Nicolay and Hay, Abraham Lincoln, 
vol. iv, p. 85. 

3 Bowen, Massachusetts in the War, i86i-!86j. 


for three hundred thousand additional men to serve for nine 
months. These were organized on the plan of the Massachu- 
setts militia. Other regiments were sent to the field later. 

Before we sketch the history of these regiments in which 
men from Middleboro served, let us take a brief glance at the 
events of these four years, that we may be better able to follow 
our men in their brave struggle to defend the Union. 

The first great battle at Bull Run resulted in the defeat 
of the Union forces (July 21, 1861). In February, 1862, Fort 
Henry and Fort Donelson were captured by the Union forces; 
in March occurred the famous battle between the Monitor 
and the Merrimac ; in April the victory at Pittsburg Landing 
and Island Number Ten. The greatest military achievement of 
that year was the capture of New Orleans (April 25), when 
Farragut passed the forts and destroyed the Confederate fleet ; 
the second battle of Bull Run, in August, was shortly followed 
by the battle of Antietam (September 17). From the Procla- 
mation of Emancipation on New Year's Day, 1863, the North 
strove to make the nation free — to restore the Union — with- 
out slavery. In the spring General Hooker met Lee and 
Jackson at Chancellorsville (May, 1863), where a fierce battle 
raged for two days, resulting in a dearly bought Confederate 
victory, and in the fall of their brilliant general, Stonewall 
Jackson. A month later Lee again attempted to pass to the 
North and was defeated at Gettysburg (July), while another 
great battle of almost equal importance was being fought at 
Vicksburg, followed by the surrender of Port Hudson. In the 
southwest the Union forces had been successful after severe 
battles at Chickamauga (September), Missionary Ridge, and 
Lookout Mountain (November). In May, 1864, occurred the 
battles of the Wilderness and Spottsylvania ; in June the Con- 
federate victory at Cold Harbor and the siege of Petersburg, 
followed in August by Sheridan's raid in the Shenandoah Valley. 
At the same time Sherman was marching through Georgia, 
finally taking Atlanta (September 2), whence he marched to the 
sea. Meanwhile, Admiral Farragut's last great battle resulted 
in closing Mobile to Confederate supplies. Then Sheridan cut 


off Richmond on the west and south. Grant captured Peters- 
burg (April 2, 1865), and on the 9th of April Lee surren- 
dered to Grant at Appomattox Court House. 

In order to give an adequate conception of the service which 
our men rendered in this great rebellion, we have found it 
necessary briefly to outline the history of the different regi- 
ments in which the companies from Middleboro served. In 
the various engagements, it often happened that some of the 
companies were detailed to perform other duties than those in 
which the regiment was engaged, and in many cases it has 
been impossible to trace their movements in detail.^ 

Second Regiment 

The Second Regiment was the first volunteer organization 
in the state to begin to form after the order for Massachu- 
setts militia, in April, 1861. 

Only one Middleboro man was in this regiment. 

Second Regiment of Infantry (3 years' service) 

company i 

Alfred S. Thayer 

Third Regiment 

The Third, for the three months' service, like so many other 
Massachusetts regiments, was ready almost immediately after 
the call. It left Boston harbor on the 18th of April, 1861, 
and its first work was at the Gosport Navy Yard. The order 
had been given that the navy yard should be evacuated, and 
against the protest of Colonel Wardrop, the measure was car- 
ried out with the assistance of this regiment. It soon after 
arrived at Fortress Monroe, where it was made a part of the 
garrison, and engaged in some scouting duty in the vicinity of 
Yorktown, with a little skirmishing, but the regiment's main 
duty was to strengthen the fortress. It returned to Boston, 
and w^as mustered out on July 23. 

1 For a complete sketch of all these regiments, see Bowen, Massachusetts in 
the War, 1861-1863. 


In the summer of 1862 Middleboro's men were again called 
out, and the nine months' troops responded. Company B of 
this regiment was composed in part of Middleboro men. It 
was encamped for a while in Camp Joe Hooker, at Lakeville, 
and started on the 22d of October for Newbern. The regi- 
ment was not well equipped, the Austrian rifle musket being a 
poor weapon. The first expedition in which it took part was 
toward Goldsboro (December, 1862), where it assisted in tear- 
ing up the railroad track under fire of the enemy, and sup- 
ported the artillery during the repulse of the Confederate 
attack. It had before this taken a slight share in the engage- 
ments at Kinston and Whitehall. In January, 1863, it moved 
to Camp Jourdan, near Fort Totten. On the 6th of March it 
went on a five days' expedition into Jones and Onslow coun- 
ties, where it won the thanks of the commanding officers for 
the faithful discharge of duties. It then returned to camp 
near Newbern, and later joined General Prince's Division in 
the reconnoissance at Pollocksville ; it took part in the skir- 
mish at Blount's Creek and later at Core Creek, and was en- 
gaged with other troops in raising the siege at Washington, 
but was not in any of the decisive battles of the war. After 
some picket duty, it was mustered out on June 26. 

Third Regiment of Infantry (3 months' service) ^ 

company a 

Joseph S. Harlow, capt. Opher D. Mitchell 

Oreb F. Mitchell, sergt. William M. Tinkham 

James W. Bryant, corp. 


S. Loring, 2d lieut. Thomas Morton, Jr. 

William C. Alden Robert Parris 

Lorenzo L. Brown Lucius S. Raymond 

Seth E. Hartwell Francis S. Thomas 

1 For the names of men from Middleboro enlisted in all regiments in this 
war, I have used the lists published in the History of Plymotdh Coutity, pp. 



Asa Shaw, ist sergt. George N. Gammons 

Elbridge A. Maxim, corp. Martin F. Jefferson 

Eben A. Shaw, corp. Henry L. McFarlin 

EH At wood, Jr. Leven S. Morse 

John S. At wood Thomas W. Sampson 

Third Regiment of Infantry (9 months' service) ^ 

company b 

William S. Briggs, 2d lieut. Adoniram B. Lucas 

Asa Shaw, ist sergt. Cornelius Ramsdell 

Gideon Shurtliff, corp. Ezra Shaw 

James Briggs Benjamin Shurtliff, Jr. 

Allen Cobb Marcus M. Willis 

George Darling Henry Wrightinton 


Samuel Jones 

Fourth Regiment 

The Fourth Regiment was the first organization to leave 
Boston (on April 17, 1861) for three months' service. It was 
ordered for duty at Fortress Monroe, where it remained until 
its dismissal, July 22. 

Company C of the nine months' troops of the Fourth Regi- 
ment was mustered into service on the 17th of September, 
1862 (the day of the battle of Antietam), was ordered to Camp 
Joe Hooker, at Lakeville, and started for the front on the 
30th of December of the same year. It joined General Banks's 
corps in New Orleans, and was for a short time in camp at 
Carrollton. It was attached to the First Brigade, Third 
Division, and on March 7 was sent to Baton Rouge, where it 
encamped for two or three weeks, taking part in skirmishes 
near Fort Bisland and in the assault at Port Hudson. The 
company was engaged in one or two skirmishes at Indian 
Bend, but no Middleboro men were killed or wounded. After- 

1 The following men were killed : Company B : Asa Shaw, ist sergeant. 
Company K: Samuel Jones, May 26, 1863. 


wards it was ordered back, and with the army went up Red 
River, and returned to Port Hudson in May, 1863. During 
the siege at this place it was for the most part engaged in 
skirmishing, the plan being to make a demonstration to aid 
Admiral Farragut, in order that his fleet might come up the 
river. On the 14th of June a fierce battle took place, in which 
the company lost most of its men. A large number left in 
charge of supplies were taken prisoners and sent to Texas. 
Among them were the following Middleboro men : ^ — 

William W. Abbott Joshua M. Jenney- 

Andrew Alden Andrew Osborne 

Isaac Alger Morton Robbins 

William Barney Horatio N. Sampson 

George W. Barrows James M. Sampson 

Earle Bennett Dennis Shaw 

Grover Bennett E. Howard Shaw 

Augustus N. J. Buchel Winslow B. Sherman 

Edwin M. Cole Alfred O. Standish 

William H. Cole Henry Swift 

William A. Coombs Sergeant S. Swett 

Erastus E. Gay Sylvester R. Swift 

Jonathan L. Hall Winslow Thomas 

Daniel Handy James H. Waterman 

Reuben Harlow Thomas E. Waterman 

George H. Hermann Dura T. Weston 

These men were paroled soon after ; some of them reen- 
listed, joining other companies. During service the regiment 
suffered severely, one hundred and eighteen of its number 
dying from disease. It was mustered out at Lakeville on the 
28th of August, 1865. 

Fourth Regiment of Infantry (3 months' service) 

company e 

Thomas Taylor 


Daniel F. Wood Isaac S. Clark 

^ These names were furnished by Mr. John Sullivan, Register of Probate. 


Fourth Regiment of Infantry (9 months' service) ^ 


Seneca Thomas, capt. 
Daniel F. Wood, ist lieut. 
Sargeant S. Sweet, sergt. 
Frederick E. Wood, sergt. 
Orlando H. Shaw, sergt. 
J. Horace Soule, sergt. 
Davis S. Weston, sergt. 
Erastus K. Gay, corp. 
Sylvanus Mendall, corp. 
Dennis Shaw, corp. 
Isaac E. Macomber, corp. 
David A. Tucker, corp. 
George W. Barrows, corp. 
Francis S. Thomas, corp. 
W. W. At wood, musician 
J. M. Jenney, musician 
Asa B. Adams 
Andrew Alden 
Isaac Alger 
Miron E. Alger 
Elisha Benson 
Earle E. Bennett 
Grover Bennett 
Sylvanus Bisbee 
William B. Bart 
Augustus N. J. Buchel 
David H. Bursress 

Daniel Handy 
Reuben Harlow 
Reuben A. Harlow 
Levi Hathaway 
Conrad J. Herman 
George H. Herman 
Charles H. Holmes 
William N. Keith 
William Mitchell 
Harvey C. Pratt 
Cornelius Redding 
Morton Robbins 
Andrew P. Rogers 
William H. Rogers 
Howard E. Shaw 
Henry L. Shaw 
Joseph B. Shaw 
Ephraim Simmons 
Stillman S. Smith 
Rodney E. Southworth 
Alfred O. Standish 
John C. Sullivan 
Henry A. Swift 
Andrew E. Thomas 
Joseph Thomas 
Stephen F. Thomas 
Winslow Thomas 

^ The following were killed in battle or died from wounds received : — 
Corporal Francis S. Thomas, d. at Carrollton Hospital, March 9, 1S63. 
Miron E. Alger, d. at Brashear City, Louisiana, July 10, 1863. 
David H. Burgess, d. August 28, 1863. 
Daniel Handy, d. at Centralia, Illinois, September 10, 1863. 
Levi Hathaway, d. at Indianapolis, Indiana, August 20, 1863. 
Henry L. Shaw, d. (from wounds received at Port Hudson) October, 1863. 
Ephraim Simmons, d. at Brashear City, May 24, 1863. 
Andrew E. Thomas, d. at Brashear City, June 27, 1863. 
Joseph Thomas, d. at Port Hudson, Louisiana, August i, 1863. 
Stephen F. Thomas, d. at hospital in New Orleans, May i, 1863. 
Williams S. Eaton, Jr., d. (from wounds received at Port Hudson) at New 
Orleans, June 21, 1863. 

Alva C. Tinkham, d. at Brashear City, July 15, 1863. 


Edwin M. Cole Alva C. Tinkham 

William A. Coombs James H. Waterman 

Richard Cox Thomas E. Waterman 

Williams S. Eaton, Jr. Dura Weston, Jr. 

Thomas W. Finney Charles M. Wilbur 

Asa M. Franklin Edward W. Wood 

Jonathan L. Hall Jacob Wood 

Ninth Regiment 
The Ninth Regiment was mustered in on June 11, 1861. 
In the Peninsular Campaign of 1862 it was part of the Second 
Brigade in the Army of the Potomac. 

Ninth Regiment of Infantry (3 years' service) 
Thomas B, Burt 

Eleventh Regiment 

The Eleventh Regiment was the third in the state to be 
mustered in for three years' service. It was ordered to Fort 
Warren, and left for the front on the 29th of June, 1861, its 
destination being Washington. As it passed through Balti- 
more, the regiment was ordered to load with ball cartridges, 
remembering the reception which the Sixth ^ had met the 
April before. However, its passage through the city was 
without molestation, and it reached Washington on July 3, 
where it remained ten days, marching on the 14th to Alex- 
andria, where, with the Massachusetts Fifth and others, it 
formed the First Brigade, Third Division, McDowell's army, 
under Colonel Franklin, and on the 21st took part in the 
battle at the first Bull Run engagement. It suffered severely 
in this disastrous battle, sustaining a loss of eighty-eight in 
killed, wounded, or missing. 

Later, it joined General Hooker's Brigade, taking part in the 
siege before Yorktown (April 1 2), and was one of the first to 
engage in the battle at Williamsburg. In this engagement it 
sustained a loss of sixty-seven men, and for gallant conduct 
received a new standard from Governor Andrew. Although 

1 Lossing, Field-Book of the Civil War, vol. i, p. 413; Comte de Paris, Civil 
War in America, vol. i, Book II, chap. 4. 


not taking part at Fair Oaks, it did skirmish duty at Oak 
Grove, with a loss of eighteen, and took part in the recon- 
noissance and skirmish at Malvern Hill. On August 27, as 
it was leaving Catlett's Station, it came under fire of the 
enemy ; and on the 29th it was engaged in the second battle 
of Bull Run. In this terrific fight the loss was very severe ; 
the regiment had been so depleted that there were but two 
hundred and eighty-three men taken into action, and within 
twenty minutes, one hundred and twelve were either killed, 
wounded, or missing. 

On May 2, 1863, it reported to General Hancock and was 
directed to reconnoitre, and at once engaged in repulsing the 
enemy at Chancellorsville, receiving the thanks of the general 
for gallantry. Here it lost seventy-nine in killed, wounded, 
and missing. It arrived on the night of July i for the battle of 
Gettysburg. In the terrible struggle of July 2 this regiment 
again lost more than half of the number taken into action, 
a total of one hundred and twenty-nine. It was in the Mine 
Run campaign (November), and suffered a loss of twenty-nine 
men. In the battle of the Wilderness it lost seventy-five, and 
at Spottsylvania, forty-three. It took part in the various skir- 
mishes at Cold Harbor, and on the 12th of June, the term of 
enlistment having expired, the regiment returned to Massa- 
chusetts. Eight of the officers and three hundred and thirty- 
six of the men reenlisted, forming a battalion of five companies 
under the original name ; these were in active service until the 
close of the war. 

Eleventh Regiment of Infantry (3 years' service) 

company b 

Albert Dubois 

company c 
Jackson Donahue 


Robert King James Thompson ' 

John Pilkerton 



John Foley Robert J. Jennings 


John Cunningham John Flanery 

Twelfth Regiment 

The Twelfth, or Webster Regiment, took its name from its 
colonel, Fletcher Webster. It left Fort Warren on July 23, 
1 861, and was attached to Abercrombie's Brigade under Gen- 
eral Banks ; then became a part of General Pope's Army of 
Virginia, and later was under McClellan and Hooker. At the 
battle of Manassas it met with the heavy loss of one hundred 
and thirty-eight. At Antietam, for four hours, a terrible con- 
flict took place, in which, of the three hundred and forty taken 
into action, only thirty-four accompanied the colors to the rear. 
In the march south McClellan was succeeded by Burnside. 
In the battle of Fredericksburg the regiment suffered severely, 
as well as at Gettysburg, and later in the Wilderness. 

Twelfth Regiment of Infantry (3 years' service) 

company a 
C. G. Tinkham, ist sergt.^ Andrew B. Morton 

Sixteenth Regiment 

The Sixteenth Regiment left Boston August 17, 1861, and 
joined the Army of the Potomac, Grover's Brigade, Hooker's 
Division, Heintzelman's Corps, with the First and Eleventh. 

The first test of valor was in a reconnoissance at Gosport 
Navy Yard. At Oak Grove, Malvern Hill, and Centreville it 
did valiant duty, engaging in various campaigns and marches 
during the rest of the year. At Gettysburg it lost one third 
of the men taken into action. It took part at Chancellorsville, 
Spottsylvania, and Petersburg, and after various movements in 
skirmishing and fortifying weak places, it was mustered out 
July 27, 1864. 

1 Died October i, 1862, from wounds received at Antietam. 


Sixteenth Regiment of Infantry (3 years' service) 

company d 

Benjamin McLaughlin 

company' I 
Thomas Murphy 

Eighteenth Regiment 

More Middleboro men served in this regiment than in any 
other. It joined the First Brigade, Porter's Division, and was 
a part of the Army of the Potomac. At the siege of York- 
town it was on picket duty, but was in no general engagement. 
After the evacuation it went to Hanover Court House, assisted 
in burying the dead, and on the 29th of May returned to the 
camp at Gaines's Mills. After this, it was in the reconnois- 
sance at the Chickahominy, and took an important part in the 
second battle of Bull Run, where Company D was detailed to 
support Burdan's sharpshooters. Captain Thomas was in com- 
mand of the regiment, and under him it won high praise for 
gallantry. It lost most severely, — forty killed, one hundred 
and one wounded, and twenty-eight missing. The morning 
this battle commenced, Company D was cut off from the 
Seven Days' Fight, and was obliged to fall back at White 
House Landing. During the battle of Antietam it supported 
the battery on the west side of the creek, and was afterwards 
sent to relieve Burnside. At this battle word came that Burn- 
side was out of ammunition, and everything had been taken to 
reenforce different parts of the army. Mr, Howes, a member 
of this company, was close by McClellan and General Porter 
when McClellan said, " What have you in reserve. Porter.''" 
Porter answered, " I have the Eighteenth Massachusetts Regi- 
ment, but that regiment is a brigade." "Would to God," said 
McClellan, "it was a division; send it to relieve Burnside." 
It was in the fight from four o'clock in the afternoon until 
morning, and the next day was engaged in burying the dead 
slain in this battle. It was in the skirmish at Shepherdstown, 
which was a short but sharp fight, meeting with a loss of three 


killed, eleven wounded, and one missing. After various experi- 
ences it arrived opposite Fredericksburg. In this battle Com- 
pany D was in two charges which Burnside ordered, and was 
in the fight for three days. The loss to the regiment was thir- 
teen killed and one hundred and twenty-one wounded. So 
severe was this fight that every member of the color guard 
was wounded. These companies took an important part at the 
battle of Chancellorsville, were active through the whole of 
General Grant's campaign, and under fire in several battles. 
They were in the battle of Gettysburg, but did not suffer 
severely ; they occupied a position near Little Round Top ; at 
another time they supported the heavy artillery ; on the first 
day's fight they were on the extreme left ; the first night they 
lay back in the woods, and the next morning started farther 
on toward the left of the line down a ravine. Several men in 
this company were wounded. The regiment was regarded as 
one of the best in the service, and was held as a reserve 
force for emergencies. It was at Laurel Hill and near Spott- 
sylvania, in an engagement not far from Pamunkey River, and 
was in the fearful battles before Petersburg until the explosion 
of the mine. Major Weston, who had been promoted from 
captain to major, was in command of the regiment the latter 
part of the service. 

The term of enlistment of the men in Middleboro com- 
panies expired just before the battle of Petersburg, when 
some twenty-four of them reenlisted in the Thirty-second 
Regiment, and were in most of the battles with the Army of 
the Potomac until the final surrender of General Lee and the 
close of the war. 

Eighteenth Regiment of Infantry (3 years' service) 

S. Thomas, lieut.-col. R. H. Holmes, sergt. -major 

Thomas Weston, major C. M. Vaughan, drum major 

Charles F. Edson, capt. R. F. Barrows, musician 


George F. Atwood, sergt. 



Eli Atwood, sergt. John S. Raymond 

John S. Atwood, corp. Marcus M. Raymond 

George H. Swift, corp. Martin V. Raymond 

Frederick E. Atwood Thomas F. Shaw 

WiUiam M. Atwood Earl T. Smith 

Francis B. Cushman Watson N. Smith 

Josiah W. Dean Adoniram Thomas 

William M. Dexter Arad Thomas, Jr. 

Isaac Harlow Nelson Thomas 

Simeon Harlow Edwin J. Wrightinton 

John K. Maxim George W. Paul 
Charles A. Paul 


Solomon F. Beals, sergt. Edgar Harrison, sergt. 

William H. Carle, sergt. John T. Haskell, sergt. 


Corporal George H. Swift, d. in 1863 from wounds received at Chancellorsville. 
Frederick E. Atwood, killed in battle, August 26, 1862. 
William M. Atwood, killed at Bull Run, August 30, 1862. 
Francis B. Cushman, d. May 13, 1862. 
Isaac Harlow, d. in camp, March i, 1862. 
John K. Maxim, d. in hospital, January 27, 1865. 
Charles A. Paul, d. May 31, 1862. 

Martin V. Raymond, killed at Bull Run, August 30, 1862. 

Adoniram Thomas, d. from wounds received at Bull Run, September 29, 


Corporal Darius B. Clark, killed at Fredericksburg, December 13, 1862. 

Corporal Henry M. Warren, d. December 20, 1862, from wounds received at 

Peleg F. Benson, d. November 17, 1862. 

William H. Brightman, d. in Libby Prison, September 28, 1862. 

Cyrus Hall, d. in hospital at Washington, October 19, 1862. 

Charles E. Hunt, killed at Cold Harbor, June i, 1864. 

Samuel Mellen, d. at Hall's Hill, January 10, 1862. 

Cyrus Perkins, d. January i, 1863. 

Morrell Perkins, d. December 20, 1862, from wounds received at Fredericks- 

James C. Record, d. in hospital at Alexandria, November 25, 1864. 

Samuel M. Ryder, d. December, 1862, from wounds received at Fredericksburg. 

James H. Wade, d. in hospital at Philadelphia, August 7, 1862. 

Charles W. Wilmarth, d. in Andersonville Prison, July 18, 1864. 



George N. Johnson, sergt. 
George W. Jones, sergt. 
John W. King, Jr., sergt. 
George B. Thomas, sergt. 
Charles I. Brown, corp. 
Darius B. Clark, corp. 
Nehemiah D. Davis, corp. 

Charles A. Howes, corp. 
James W. King, corp. 
Albert H. Pratt, corp. 
William B. Shaw, corp. 
Charles H. Smith, corp. 
Harrison O. Thomas, corp. 
Henry M. Warren, corp. 


James S. Shaw 


Erastus M. Lincoln 


Daniel W. Atwood 
John S. Baker 
Peleg F. Benson 
William Benson 
William H. Brightman 
Phineas Burt 
Ezra S. Clark 
Ezra S. Chase 
Charles A. Churchill 
Meletiah R. Clark 
James E. Cushman 
Timothy M. Davis 
Ichabod S. Dean 
Lysander W. Field 
George L. Finney 
Gilmore Fish 
Benjamin Gammons 
James Gammons 
Bernard Glancy 
Edward P. Gore 
Cyrus Hall 
Theodore P. Holmes 
Charles E. Hunt 
Ephraim A. Hunt 
Henry E. Johnson 
Ira O. Littlejohn 
Henry H. P. Lovell 
William H. Marshall 

James E. McMann 
Charles C. Mellen 
Samuel Mellen 
John R. Merrick 
Emerson P. Morse 
Henry S. Murray 
Robert Parris 
Francis J. Peirce 
Cyrus Perkins 
Edwin Peirce 
Morrell Perkins 
Nathan A. Perkins 
Thompson Perkins 
Thomas B. Pratt 
James H. Ramsdell 
Christopher C. Reading 
Milton Reed 
James C. Record 
Samuel M. Ryder 
Stephen C. Ryder 
Albert Shaw 
Charles D. Shaw 
Henry Shaw 
Charles H. Smith 
Cornelius Sullivan 
Elbron F. Taylor 
Benjamin L. Thompson 
William F. Thompson 


Charles T. Tillson Henry F. Whitcomb 

Charles Tinkham William R. Whitcomb 

George B. Tinkham Charles W. Wilmarth 

Charles R. Tripp William T. Withington 

James H. Wade John Young ' 

Calvin B. Ward 


Orien E. Caswell Marcus Soule 

William H. Dunham Erastus Wallen 

Charles L. Morse William Walley 

Levin S. Morse Thomas P. Weatherby 
Hercules Smith 


Albert F. Mellen John T. Whitcomb 


Marcus Bumpus ^ Cyrus White 


Preston Soule, sergt. Thomas P. Young, 

unassigned recruit 

Nineteenth Regiment 

This regiment was sent August 28, 1861, for three years' 


Charles H. Gibbs 

Twentieth Regiment 

Early in July, 1861, this regiment was sent to the front. 
Many of the men were captured ; fifty died in Confederate 
prisons. It has an unusual record for the number of general 


Cyrus White, d. November 19, 1S62. 


Sergeant Preston Soule, d. May 14, 1862. ; 


officers which it gave to the service ; eleven became brigadier- 

Twentieth Regiment of Infantry (3 years' service) 
Henry H. Mathewson, corp. 

Twenty-second Regiment 

This regiment was raised and first commanded by Hon. 
Henry Wilson, the senator from Massachusetts. Company C 
was mustered in in September, 1861. After reaching Wash- 
ington, it joined Martindale's Brigade of Fitz-John Porter's 
Division with the Eighteenth. 

Twenty-second Regiment of Infantry (3 years' service) 

company c 

Alexis C. Dean, corp. Peter Fagan 

Vanzandt E. Smith, corp. Joseph E. Tinkham 

Charles W. Clark 

Twenty-third Regiment 

This regiment, mustered in December 5, was part of the 
First Brigade with the Twenty-fourth under General Foster 
and later under Burnside, and took an active part with other 
Massachusetts regiments. It suffered loss at Roanoke Island 
in February, 1862, but pursued the Confederates through a 
swamp which had been considered impenetrable. In April 
this regiment formed part of the First Brigade, First Divi- 
sion, doing picket duty at Batch elder's Creek, and engaging in 
battle at Newbern and at Goldsboro. At Arrowfield Church 
it was called into more active service, and met with loss at 
Drewry's Bluff and at Cold Harbor. Yellow fever decimated 
the ranks while in camp, and after serving at Kinston it was 
sent back to Newbern, and on June 5 was mustered out. 

Twenty-third Regiment of Infantry (3 years' service) 

company d 

Leonard B. Haskins Benjamin O. Tillson 



Warren Chubbuck Marcus F. Maxim 

Elbridge A. Maxim ^ 

Twenty-fourth Regiment 
The Twenty-fourth, known as the New England Guards^ 
joined the First Brigade. 


Sergeant George N. Gammon ^ 

Twenty-eighth Regiment 

This regiment was mustered in in December, 1862, for 
three years' service. 


John Bergen 

Thirtieth Regiment (3 years' service) 

This was one of the regiments raised by General Butler,, 
first known as the Eastern Bay State. 

company f 
John Grady 

Thirty-second Regiment 

This was the outgrowth of the First Battalion of Infantry at 
Fort Warren. In November, 1862, it went south and joined the 
brigade with the Ninth. After guard duty and loss from fever, 
it moved toward Manassas, where, as part of the Army of the 
Potomac, it was in the second battle of Bull Run, It took 
part in the battles of Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, Gettys- 
burg, the Wilderness, Spottsylvania, Cold Harbor, Preble's 
Farm, and Hatcher's Run, besides many skirmishes and en- 
counters ; it marched to Sheridan's assistance near Appomat- 
tox Court House, and later was in the grand review at Wash- 
ington. During its three years of service this regiment engaged 

1 Died July 25, 1S64. - Died March S, 1862. 


in thirty battles. Its history has been so often told that it need 
not be repeated here. 

Thirty-second Regiment of Infantry (3 years' service) 

company a 

Charles H. Smith, corp. Thomas Morton, Jr. 


Nehemiah D. Davis, sergt. 


Orrin E. Caswell Meletiah R. Clark 

Ezra S. Chase 


Charles I. Brown, corp. George L. Finney 

Josiah W. Dean 


Jennison Morse Joseph Westgate 

Edward S. Westgate William Westgate 

Ezra T. Westgate ^ 


Francis J. Peirce 


James C. Record 


Marcus Soule William F. Thompson 

Elbron F. Taylor 


Henry F. Whitcomb 


John T. Haskell, sergt. George B. Thomas, corp. 

Solomon F. Beals, sergt. Charles W. Wilmarth 

1 Killed at Cold Harbor, June 4, 1864. 


Fortieth Regiment 

The Fortieth Regiment was stationed for some time in Vir- 
ginia. It was at Alexandria, at Williamsburg, at White House 
Landing, and at Baltimore Cross Roads, where it had a lively- 
skirmish, in which this regiment won all the credit of the 
attack. On the 7th of August, 1863, the regiment embarked 
for Charleston Harbor, and served in the trenches at Fort 
Wagner until that stronghold was evacuated by the Confed- 
erates. In February it took possession of Jacksonville without 
opposition, and after some skirmishing captured Gainesville, 
where there was a large quantity of stores, and gained dis- 
tinction by repelling a force three times its own number, 
killing and wounding several without any loss to itself. Olus- 
tee Station was the scene of a severe fight of two or three 
hours. Retreating to Jacksonville, it was stationed at the 
Three Mile Run, then ordered back to Virginia. Upon joining 
the Army of the Potomac, it was in the expedition against 
Richmond and Petersburg, and was engaged in the battle of 
Arrowfield Church. In the advance on Richmond this resfi- 
ment led the right wing, and was skirmishing for most of the 
first day's fight. At Drewry's Bluff it suffered a loss of ten 
killed, forty-two wounded, and twenty-two missing. The killed 
and wounded were left in the hands of the Confederates. At 
the battle of Cold Harbor the regiment suffered severely, and 
on the 27th of August, so great had been the loss by expos- 
ure, sickness, and fire of the enemy that but two officers and 
forty-five enlisted men in the whole regiment were able to 
report for duty. They were sent to Bermuda Landing for 
rest, where they remained until the sick and wounded had 

In the engagement soon after at Fort Harrison, Lieuten- 
ant J. Arthur Fitch of Middleboro was killed. On March 6, 
1865, the regiment performed provost-guard duty for the city 
of Fredericksburg, while others who were on this expedition 
destroyed the railroad at Hamilton Crossing. After this the 
regiment was before Petersburg, where it remained until its 


fall and the evacuation of Richmond. Its last service was hold- 
ing the lines near Signal Hill while the rest of the army were 
operating upon the left of the city. 

Fortieth Regiment of Infantry (3 years' service) ^ 

James W. Bryant, capt. Southworth Loring, lieut. 

Oreb F. Mitchell, capt. 
J. Arthur Fitch, lieut. 

Edwin P. Holmes 


William E. White, sergt. J. Addison Shaw, Jr. 

Henry A. Eaton 


W. H. Harlow, sergt. 
H. L. McFarlin, sergt. 
A. M. Perkins, sergt. 
William E. Bryant, corp. 
F. O. Burgess, corp. 
Albert F. Finney, corp. 
Francis M. Hodges, corp. 
Sidney B. Wilbur, corp. 
Benjamin W. Bump 
James Carter 
Oramel H. Churchill 
Ansel A. Cobb 
Robert V. Cole 
James C. Fessenden 
Hazen K. Godfrey 
Harrison Haskins 

George Hinckley 
Edward Jennings 
Henry F. Maxim 
Benjamin S. McLaughlin 
Silas H. Murdock 
Darius M. Nichols 
John J. Perkins 
Albert G. Pratt 
John Scanlin 
William N. Shaw 
Christopher C. Smith 
Timothy J. Sullivan 
Charles G. Tinkham 
Thomas E. Wilmot 
Asaph Writington 

Fifty-eighth Regiment 
This, called Third Veteran Regiment, was ordered to the 

1 Lieutenant J. Arthur Fitch, killed at Fort Harrison, September 30, 1864. 
Corporal Francis M. Hodges, d. at Beaufort, October 27, 1S63. 
Corporal Sidney B. Wilbur, d. June 2, 1864, from wounds received at Cold 

Oramel H. Churchill, d. September 11, 1863. 

George Hinckley, d. February 24, 1863, from wounds received at Olustee. 

Edward Jennings, died. 

Timothy J. Sullivan, d. August 22, 1864, from wounds received at Petersburg. 


front in April, 1864, was assigned to the First Brigade, and 
was engaged in the battles at Chancellorsville, Cold Harbor, 
Petersburg, "Battle of the Crater," and at Poplar Spring 
Church. It took part in the grand review at Washington, May 
2% 1865, and on July 26 was mustered out. 

Fifty-eighth Regiment of Infantry 

company b 

David W. Deane, corp. Richard Cox ^ 


John L. Cobb 2 


David S. Pason 


Henry Fitsimons 

Fifty-ninth Regiment 

This regiment left the state earlier than the Fifty-eighth for 
three years' service. 

company g 
Benjamin Chamberlain ^ 

Cavalry Regiments 

Middleboro was represented in several regiments of cav- 
alry : the First, mustered in during the autumn of 1861 ; the 
Third, which was organized from troops actually in the field 
(Mass. Forty-first), travelled fifteen thousand miles, and en- 
gaged in more than thirty battles ; and the Fourth, which, 
not organized till 1864, was almost annihilated in the several 
battles in which it took part. In a company of unattached 
cavalry, several Middleboro men were enlisted, but it is impos- 

1 Killed June 3, 1864. 2 Died August 12, 1864. 

2 Died December 10, 1864. 


sible to trace in detail the varied and brave services of these 

First Regiment of Cavalry (3 years' service) 
company i 

R. S. Capen, sergt. William A. Smith 

Francis O. Harlow 


Thomas Doran Washington I. Caswell ^ 

John E. Smith 

Third Regiment of Cavalry (3 years' service) 

company h 

George Cummings^ 


T. p. Benthuysen, sergt, 


John Grant Charles F. Smith 


James E. Nichols 

Fourth Regiment of Cavalry (3 years' service) 
Robert S. Capen, sergt.-maj. 

company a 
Horace S. Flagg 


Andrew P. Rogers, sergt. 


Albert Eddy, sergt. ^ Thomas S. Ellis 

Jeremiah Callihan, corp. 

1 Died August 29, 1863. ^ Died at New Orleans, July 28, 1864. ^ Died. 




James G. Nichols 
Thomas ElHs 
Louis Phinney 

Thomas P. Vanbenthuysen 
Sanford Weston 


/..■■- ■•Ki:',' 

During the war Middleboro furnished about four hundred 
and sixty-five men, thirteen of whom were commissioned offi- 
cers, and had a surplus of 
twenty-one after filling its 
quota upon every call made 
by the President. The 
town expended, exclusive 
of state aid, $31,915.57. 
$6633 was also raised by 
private subscription, $7821 
was raised by a club, and 
55000 by persons liable to 
draft to procure substi- 
tutes, making the total 
amount raised by and in 
the town, $51,326.90. Of 
this amount there was 
repaid by the common- 
wealth for state aid which 
had been purchased, $36,- 

Great sacrifices for the 
defence of the Union were 
made by the men of Mid- 
dleboro, and in no instance 
was there ever reported 
any lack of bravery or 
want of discretion on the 
part of the officers or pri- .. 
vates who went out from 
our town. Not a few of soldiers' monument 


the inhabitants enlisted in companies in other parts of the 


This monument, erected by the citizens of Middleboro to 
perpetuate the memory of her soldiers who fell in the War of 
the Rebellion, stands on the lawn in front of the town house. 
It is built of selected Quincy granite, nine feet at the base, 
rising to the height of forty feet and eleven inches. Action 
was first taken towards its erection by the E. W. Peirce Post 8 
of the Grand Army of the Republic, and those who served in 
the quota raised by the town. It was completed at a cost of 
about five thousand dollars, and dedicated May 30, 1896, with 
appropriate exercises and an address by Ex-Governor John D. 
Long. The monument is a beautiful structure, and will stand 
for all time to perpetuate the lives, the valor, and the sacrifices 
of Middleboro men in the War of the Rebellion.^ 

1 The town first acted upon matters relating to the war on the 6th of May, 
1861, when it was voted to raise a company for three years, and to guarantee each 
man $26 a month while in service. At the same meeting it was voted to raise 
^5000 for war purposes, $2000 of which was to be expended in uniforming and 
equipping the company, and each recruit was to be paid $1.25 a day while drilling, 
not to exceed three days in a week for four weeks, and when the company was 
-called into service, each volunteer was to receive a month's pay in advance. 
July 28, 1862, it was voted to pay a bounty of $125 to each volunteer to the 
number of 56 who should enhst for three years, to be credited to the quota of 
the town within twenty days. 

The 25th of August it was voted to raise a company for nine months' service, 
and to pay each volunteer for that term a bounty of $150, when mustered in 
and credited to the quota of the town. 

The 2ist of September, 1863, the town voted that the selectmen should continue 
the payment of said aid to the families of soldiers who had been discharged for 
wounds or sickness the same as they had before received, this to be continued 
ior six months, and to borrow money to pay the same. 



ILITARY affairs of the towns in the old colony form 
a very important place in their history. Next to the 
church and the town meeting,* more interest seems 
to have centred about the militia than any of the organ- 
izations of the times. Few persons qualified to serve presumed 
to neglect that duty, and the most important men were se- 
lected to fill the various ofBces. In the early history of these 
towns they occupied so important a position in the defence 
against the attacks from the Indians, and were so efficient an 
arm of the government in resisting the encroachment of the 
French against the English sovereignty in the New World, and 
later performed such heroic service in establishing the liberties 
of the country, that their power and influence were always felt 
in all public affairs. 

The first account of a military drill was during the struggle 
of that small but brave band to maintain life on the barren 
lands of Plymouth. Early in 1622 rumors reached the pilgrims 
of hostile bands of Indians, and Canonicus, king of the Narra- 
gansetts, sent to Tisquantum, the pilgrims' interpreter, some 
new arrows tied with a rattlesnake's skin. Bradford, filling 
the skin with powder and bullets, sent it back, but as the 
messengers feared to carry it, it was passed along from one 
to another, finally returning to Bradford, having served its 
purpose of quelling Canonicus's revolt. Immediately, however, 
they began to fortify the little village, and Standish formed 
four companies of all those able to bear arms. The captain of 
each company in turn was to hold the command in his ab- 
sence. His military skill was such that he realized fully the 
value of drill and training, and the men received special instruc- 
tion in the tactics of the soldiers of the Old World, with which 


he was familiar. The early record is that each company took 
its place for the defence with a discharge of musketry, then 
accompanied the captains to their houses, where " again they 
graced them with their shot and so departed." In a note to 
Young's " Chronicles of the Pilgrims," we find this was the 
first general muster in New England, and the embryo of our 
present militia system. Bradford says :^ — 

" They agreed to inclose their dwelling with a good strong 
pale, and make flankers in convenient places, with gates to shute, 
which were every night locked, and a watch kept, and when 
neede required ther was also warding in y'' day time. And y** 
company was by y* Captain and y* Gov'' advise, devided into 4 
squadrons and every one had ther quarter apoynted unto them 
which they were to repaire upon any suddane alarme. And if 
ther should be any crie of fire a company were appointed for a 
gard, with muskets, whilst others quenchet y" same, to prevent 
Indian treachery. This was accomplished very cherfuliy and y^ 
tovvne impayled round by y* beginning of March." 

This little battalion of fifty strong was a garrison sufficient 
to defend the town, and with Standish's discipline and mili- 
tary tactics may well be called the first volunteer militia. 

By the old militia laws the men were required to give six 
days' 2 duty each year. The companies chose their own cap- 
tains. After the union of the two colonies the militia of each 
county was commanded by a lieutenant, and under him was a 
sergeant-major. ^ 

In the Plymouth Laws of 1683 * we find : — 

"This Court doth order that Swansey and Middlebery shall 
chose some for Officers To lead theire Milletary Companies 
and Instruct them in Marshall disiplyne and that orders to 
each of those Townes to send such to the Court as they shall 
see Cause to choose." 

1 History of the Plimoth Plantation, p. 134. 

2 Plymouth Colony Laws, p. 36 : " That the Inhabits of euery Towne w""!]! the 
Gouerment fitt & able to beare armes be trayned (at least) six tymes in the year." 
September i, 1640. 

3 Palfrey's History of Ne-w England, vol. ii, p. 51. 
* Plymouth Colony Laws p. 201. 


The first organized regiment of Plymouth Colony militia was 
commanded by Major William Bradford of Plymouth. At this 
time there were not men enough in Middleboro capable of 
bearing arms to form a full company, only sufficient for an 
ensign's command, and Isaac Rowland was then in charge, 
holding such commission from the governor at Plymouth. 

One third of the company was required to be armed with 
pikes and the remainder with matchlock muskets, called snap- 
hances. The pike had been substituted for the halberd, which 
at first was brought from England, it being found that the 
pike was as efficient a weapon and much less difficult to manu- 
facture. In the matchlock musket the powder was placed in 
a pan similar to that in the flintlock, but exploded by a 
coal of fire or by a lighted string ; the end of this string was 
placed in the powder by hand, or by a simple device behind 
the pan. The muskets used in hunting were fired by sparks 
communicated to the powder from a flint ; they were not 
allowed in military drills, and were not used in war until after 
King Philip's time. The Indians would use no other, and they 
became very proficient in aiming and firing, which accounts 
for the large number of whites killed in King Philip's War. 
So cumbrous were the match and flintlock muskets of those 
times that they required as a support, when used, a forked stick 
about five feet in length, with an iron point at the other end, 
which was placed in the ground. 

For fifty-eight years after the incorporation of Middleboro, 
there was but one company. In 1727 the population had so 
increased that this was divided into two, known as the First 
and Second Foot Companies. The town was divided into two 
precincts, and this division formed the basis for the companies. 
The increase in number of inhabitants caused another division 
to be made soon after, and again in 1754. 

While ]\Iassachusetts remained a colony of England, all 
commissions in the militia expired at the death of the reigning 
sovereign, and were renewed on the accession to the throne of 
the next monarch. 

Governor Hinckley, in 1689, said that besides the commis- 


sioned officers there were in the train band five hundred and 
ninety able, effective men of the colony, and in the town of 
Middleboro there were forty-four, but their names are not 

From 1754 until the commencement of the Revolution, there 
were four companies in Middleboro, and their assembly and 
parade were matters of considerable importance. These com- 
panies and their officers at that time exerted a strong political 
influence, and to be a captain was regarded as the introduction 
to any public office. John Adams said in a letter, " The Amer- 
ican States have owed their existence to the militia for more 
than two hundred years. Neither school nor town meetings 
have been more essential to the formation and character of the 
nation than the militia." In 1741 the First Cadet Corps grew 
from the state militia, and until 1777 attended the provincial 
governor upon all state occasions. 

The colonial law was that all from sixteen to sixty should 
serve in the local militia ; the only men exempt were " timorous 
persons." By act of the Continental Congress, July 18, 1775, 
it was provided that " all able bodied, effective men between 
sixteen and fifty in each colony should form themselves into 
regular companies of militia." It was also suggested that one 
fourth of these should be " minute men." ^ The whole state was 
organized under this provision of law into companies called the 
" train band." ^ Citizens from the age of fifty to sixty-five were 
included under the "alarm list." These two bodies of train 
band and alarm list were required to be ready for service upon 
the call of the governor. All former officers in the militia 
under sixty-five years of age were included in this alarm list. 
The equipment required was : a good firearm with steel or iron 
ramrod and worm, priming-wire and brush, a bayonet fitted 
to the gun, a cartridge-box holding at least fifteen rounds of 
ammunition, six flints, one pound of powder, forty leaden bul- 
lets, a haversack, blanket, and a canteen which would hold one 

1 Hinckley Papers, Mass. Hist. Coll. vol. v, p. 1 1, 4th series. 

2 See chapter on Middleboro in the Revolution. 

3 This term comes from the famous train bands of Cromwell's army. 

1717-1812] LOCAL MILITIA J 97 

quart. In 1781, after the stirring events of the Revohition, the 
local militia of Massachusetts was reorganized. There were 
in this enrollment, in Middleboro, in 1782, 566 persons liable 
to perform this duty, of whom 42 1 were in the train bands and 
145 in the alarm list. (There were probably over one hun- 
dred more, but the list of one company is lost.) In 1786 a new 
uniform of white faced with scarlet was adopted for the state. 

So important was the military organization of the town that 
in the year 1717 a training-green was provided near the grounds 
of the First Church, and for more than a century the Training 
Day was one of the holidays, and the citizens generally came 
from all parts of the town to witness the drilling and manoeu- 
vring of these companies. This parade ground was given to 
the town by James Soule, who conveyed about two acres of 
this land " to the proper use, benefit and behoof of the mili- 
tary company of Middleboro forever successively." * With the 
decline of the military spirit before the middle of the last 
century, the parades were held in other parts of the town, and 
were not as largely attended as formerly. One of them was at 
Muttock, in the field bordering upon the pond and Nemasket 
Street, adjoining the shovel shop ; another, in Warrentown, 
on grounds opposite the residence of the late James Bump, 
and another at the Rock. 

After the close of the War of 18 12 more attention seems to 
have been paid to the uniform and equipments of the local mili- 
tia. Each company usually had a fife, drums, and sometimes 
clarinets and bugles. It consisted of commissioned officers, 
petty officers, musicians, privates, with some six or more in 
peculiar uniforms, called pioneers, who preceded the musicians 
as the company marched through the streets. At the time of 
their parade, it was often the amusement of the boys and spec- 
tators to erect barricades along the highways or at the gates 
through which the company was supposed to pass from differ- 
ent parts of the town, and then witness with delight the mas- 
terly exertions of the pioneers in clearing a way for the troops 
to enter the training-grounds for their military evolutions. 

1 See chapter containing account of The Green. 




One of the most interesting days of the year was the annual 
muster of the regiment or brigade, which sometimes was held 
on the level tract of land in Lakeville, not far from the school- 
house in the Upper Four Corners, and usually lasted one or 
two days. These annual musters drew together many from the 
surrounding towns, for the parades, drills, and reviews attracted 
much attention, and the music from the bands was always 
entertaining. The grounds were carefully guarded by sentries, 
and it was impossible to come within the military lines without 
a pass from the commanding officer. It required not a little 
tact and many men to keep mischievous intruders from the 
camp grounds. Upon the outskirts were booths for refresh- 
ments and various shows in tents, which never failed to interest 
the assembled multitude. Confectionery was then rare, and 
was sold in small quantities at large prices, but sugar ginger- 
bread was the staple article, and was eagerly purchased. 

The following is a bill of the expense at "the Militia Mus- 
ter," 1783, of Colonel John Nelson : — 

20^ gallons rum 
29 Dinners 
23 Bottles Wine 
12 Bowls of Punch 
17 Mugs of Punch 
^ Bowl of Punch 

at 2s 8d per gallon 2 — 14 — 8 
at IS 8d each 2 — 18 — 4 

at 2s 5d " 2 — 15 — 7 

at 3s 4d " 2— 3—4 

at IS 6d " I — 5 — 6 

o — o — 9 

II— 8— 3 

The earliest record of the first military company of Middle- 
boro,^ taken January 19, 1710-11, is as follows : 

Captain, Jacob Tomson. 

Sergt. Jeremiah Thomas 
" Samuel Eddy 
" Seth Rowland 
" Samuel Barrows 

Corp. Samuel Eaton 
" John Tinckom 
John Alden 

Corp. Thomas Darling 

Samuel Pratt, drummer 

James Soule 

Abiel Wood 

John Miller 

John Soul 

Elmer Bennet 

^ From Eddy N'ote-Book. 




Josiah Connant 
Henery Wood 
Joseph Bumpus 
Ebenezer Tinkham, Jr. 
Ephraim Wood 
Jeremiah Tinkcom 
Elisha Vaughan 
Jonathan Alorse 
John Raymond 
Jonathan Thomas 
John Barden 
Stephen Barden 
Abraham Barden 
Joseph Barden 
Samuel Warren 
James Bumpus 
Jabez Vaughan 
John Tomson 
Wilham Hascol 
Samuel Wood 
George Vaughan 
William Reed 
Ebenezer Fuller 
Isaac Rowland 
Jonathan Smith 
James Smith 
Ephraim Tomson 
W^illiam Thomas 
Benjamin Barden 
Samuel Cob 
Aaron Simmons 
William Barden 
Samuel Sampson 
Ebenezer Hall 
Josiah Hascol 
Ebenezer Redding 
Isaac Tinkcom 

Ebenezer Vaughan 
Shubael Tomson 
John Wood 
Nathaniel Thomas 
Nathan Hovvland 
Jonathan Cob 
Elnathan Wood 
Thomas Raymond 
Nathaniel Southworth 
Samuel Tinkcom 
David Wood 
John Fuller 
Josiah Thomas 
Nathaniel Barden 
James Raymond 
Thomas Tomson, Sr. 
Rodolphus Elms 
Thomas Tomson, Jr. 
John Cob 
Isaac Renolds 
Ebenezer Cob 
Joseph Thomas 
Joseph Vaughan 
Jeremiah Thomas, Jr. 
John Wood 
Experience Bent 
Benjamin Eddy 
Edward Southworth 
Joseph Bennett 
Shubael Tinkham 
Edward Hacket 
Jonathan Fuller 
John Vaughan 
Joseph Cob 
Peter Tomson 
Isaac Billington 
Abiel Wood, Jr. 

The captains of this First Company^ were: — 

Jacob Tompson, to 17 16. 

Joseph Vaughan, March, 17 16, to . 

Peter Bennett. 

^ These lists are from the Histoy of Plymouth County. 


Ebenezer Sproutt, 1762 to 177-. 
Nathaniel Wood,i 1776 to July i, 1781. 
William Shaw, July i, 1 781, to . 

The captains of the Second Company were : — 

Ichabod South worth, 1727 to 17 — . 

Nathaniel South worth, 17 — to 17 — . 

Ebenezer Morton, 17 — to 1754. 

Nathaniel Smith, July 23, 1754, to 1762. 

Gideon Southworth, October 27, 1762, to 1772. 

Robert Sproat, June 12, 1772, to 1774. 

Nathaniel Smith, October 10, 1774, to September 19, 1775. 

Nehemiah Allen, May 9, 1776, to 1778. 

John Barrows, April 8, 1778, to 1780. 

Abner Bourne, June 2, 1780, to July i, 1781. 

Ezra Harlow, July i, 1 781, to 1790. 

George Vaughan, April 12, 1790, to 1793. 

Peter Hoar, June 6, 1793, to January 4, 1797. 

Jabez Thomas, January 25, 1797, to 1799. 

John Morton, May 7, 1799, to 1802. 

Sylvanus Tillson, May 4, 1802,- to 1805. 

Nathaniel Cole, May 7, 1805, to 1809. 

Abner Barrows, Jr., July 27, 1809, to 181 [. 

Ephraim Ward, March 18, 181 1, to 1814. 

Peter H. Peirce, February 18, 18 14, to 18 16. 

Orrin Tinkham, September 10, 18 16, to 18 17. 

Enoch Haskins, April 14, 18 17, to February 25, 18 18. 

This company was disbanded by order of the governor, 
February 25, 18 18. 

The captains of the Third Company were : — 

Joseph Tinkham, 175- to 17 — . 
William Tupper, 1776 to July i, 178T. 
Nathaniel Wilder, July i, 1781, to 17 — . 
• Nathaniel Wilder, Jr., April 6, 1802, to 1817. 

The captains of the Fourth Company ^ were : — 

Joseph Leonard, 17 — to 

William Canedy, 177- to September 19, 1775. 

1 At the breaking out of the Revolution the four companies of local militia 
were reorganized, and Nathaniel Wood was the commander of the first company 
to respond to the Lexington alarm. 

2 I'hg lYiej^ j,^ this company were from the part of the town now Lakeville. 

1776-1S30] LOCAL MILITIA 20I 

Job Peirce, May 9, 1776, to 1778. 
Henry Peirce, 1778 to 1787. 
James Peirce, July 17, 1787, to 179-. 
Abanoam Hinds, August 15, 1796, to 1802. 
P^lkanah Peirce, May 4, 1802, to 1806. 
Elisha Briggs, September 29, 1806, to 18 11. 
Sylvanus Parris, March 20, 18 11, to 18 15. 
Etiian Peirce, June 6, 181 5, to 182-. 
Apollos Reed, 182- to 1827. 
John Strobridge, May 19, 1827, to 1829. 
Samuel Hoar, June 6, 1829, to 1831. 
Silas P. Ashley, August 15, 183 1, to 18 — . 

The captain of the Fifth Company was : — 
Perez Churchill, 1776 to July i, 1781. 

The captains of the Sixth Company were : — 

James Shaw, July i, 1781, to 1784. 
John Miller, June 3, 1784. 

The captains of the Seventh Company were : — 

Amos Washburn, 177- to 1781. 

Abraham Shaw, July i, 1781, to 1787. 

John Smith, July 17, 1787, to 1794. 

Ebenezer Briggs, Jr., August 4, 1794, to 1801. 

Elias Sampson, August 31, 1801, to 1807. 

Daniel Smith, May 5, 1807, to 1810. 

Ebenezer Pickens, September 21, 1810, to 1814. 

David Sherman, May 2, 18 14, to 1820. 

Abiel M. Sampson, October 17, 1820, to 1827. 

Richard B. Foster, April 28, 1827, to 1828. 

Horatio G. Clark, July 19, 1828, to January 28, 1829. 

James Pickens, May 29, 1829, to May 30, 1830. 

The captain of the Eighth Company was : — 
David Vaughan, July i, 1781. 

There was a company of cavalry, consisting of men from 
Middleboro, Rochester, and Wareham. The captains of this- 
company were : — 

William Bourne, May 22, 1797, to September 12, 1803. 
Thomas Bennet, 1804 to April 10, 1807. 


Seth South worth, August 2, 181 3, to 181 5. 
Nehemiah Leonard, June 3, 1818, to 1823. 

In 18 18 the second company of militia was disbanded, and 
two companies of light infantry were organized in Middle- 
boro, the captains of which were : — 

Isaac Stevens, April 3, 1818, to 1823. 
Sylvanus Barrows, September 9, 1823, to 1827. 
Job Peirce, April 24, 1827, to 1829. 
Rufus Alden, June 8, 1829, to 1830. 
Josiah Tinkham, April 28, 1830, to 1833. 
■ Abiel Wood, May 7, 1833, to 1835. 
Morton Freeman, April 2, 1835, ^o 1840. 
Jacob T. Barrows, April 30, 1841, to 1842. 
Amasa J. Thompson, May 12, 1842, to 1844. 
Daniel At wood, 1844 to July 10, 1844. 
Andrew J. Pickens, August 3, 1844, to 1846. 
Dexter Phillips, March 20, 1846, to 1847. 
Arad Bryant, February 20, 1847, to 1849. 
Albert Thomas, May 20, 1849, to 185 1. 
Joseph Sampson, Jr., 185 i to November 28, 1851. 

The other company of light infantry was formed a little 
later, of which the following persons were captains : — 

Jonathan Cobb, June 16, 18 18, to 1824. 

Darius Miller, May 19, 1824, to September 12, 1828. 

Jacob Thomas, to 1830. 

Lothrop S. Thomas, April 24, 1830, to 1834. 

Levi Morse, September 27, 1834, to 1837. 

Sylvester F. Cobb, September 20, 1837, to 1842. 

Ichabod F. Atwood, July 26, 1842, to 1847. 

George Ward, March 12, 1847, to May 4, 1850. 

Stephen Thomas, May 29, 1850, to April 3, 1852. 

Lothrop Thomas, May 26, 1852, to 1853. 

Thomas Weston, July 6, 1853, to July 12, 1856. 

Robert M. Thomas, August 2, 1856, to August 6, 1857. 

Sylvanus Barrows, September 5, 1857, to September 25, 1858. 

This company was disbanded September 25, 1858. 

The captains of the train bands and alarm lists and the 
numbers in each company were as follows : — 



William Shaw, Train Band, 68. 
, Alarm List, 13. 


Ezra Harlow, Train Band, 68. 
Abner Bourne, Alarm List, 39. 


Nathaniel Wilder, Train Band, 71. 
Lemuel Wood, Alarm List, 32. 


Henry Peirce, Train Band, 45. 
, Alarm List, 8. 


James Shaw, Train Band, 66. 
, Alarm List, 17. 


Abraham Shaw, Train Band, 53. 
Amos Washburn, Alarm List, 20. 


David Vaughan, Train Band, 50. 
Josiah Carver, Alarm List, 16. 

The following is a list of officers residing in Middleboro 
who attained in the service of the local militia a higher rank 
than that of captain from 1741 : — 

General Officers 

Abiel Washburn, brigadier-general, September 4, 18 16, to 

Ephraim Ward, brigadier-general, January 27, 1825, to 

Darius Miller, brigadier-general, July 20, 1831, to 1833. 

Eliab Ward, brigadier-general, April 8, 1850, to 1855. 


Field Officers 

first regiment of infantry 

Elkanah Leonard, major, 1741 to 1745. 
Ebenezer Sproutt, major, 17 — to 1776. 
Benjamin Drew, Jr., February 14, 1835, ^o April 24, 1840. 


Eliab Ward, colonel, July 10, 1844, to April 8, 1850. 

Elnathan W. Wilbur, colonel, May 4, 1850, to 1853. 

Stephen Thomas, colonel, March 12, 1853, to 1858. 

Lothrop Thomas, lieutenant-colonel, August 23, 1834, to 

Eliab Ward, lieutenant-colonel, September 15, 1843, to July 
10, 1844. 

Daniel Atwood, lieutenant-colonel, September, 1845, to 1850. 

Ebenezer W. Peirce, lieutenant-colonel, April 3, 1852, to 
November 7, 1855. 

Thomas Weston, lieutenant-colonel, July 12, 1856, to 1858. 

Daniel Atwood, major, July 10, 1844, to 1845. 

Joseph Sampson, Jr., major, 1845 ^o 1849. 

Elnathan W. Wilbur, major, 1849 to May 4, 1850. 

George Ward, major. May 4, 1850, to 185 1. 

Ebenezer W. Peirce, major, August 2, 185 i, to April 3, 1852. 

Stephen Thomas, major, April 3, 1852, to March 12, 1853. 


Ebenezer Sproutt, colonel, February, 1776, to 1781. 

John Nelson, colonel, July i, 1781, to 1787. 

Edward Sparrow, colonel, October 29, 1793, to April i, 1796. 

Abiel Washburn, colonel, July 22, 1800, to September 4, 18 16. 

Ephraim Ward, colonel, April 25, 1817, to January 27, 1825. 

Benjamin P. Wood, colonel, September 7, 1826, to 1829. 

Darius Miller, colonel, August 31, 1829, to July 20, 183 1. 

Thomas Weston, Jr., colonel, 1832 to 1834. 

Edward G. Perkins, colonel, February 4, 1837, to 1839. 

Nathan King, colonel, February 7, 1839, to April 14, 1840. 

William Tupper, lieutenant-colonel, July i, 1781, to 1784. 

Edward Sparrow, lieutenant-colonel, July 17, 1787, to Octo- 
ber 29, 1793. 

Abiel Washburn, lieutenant-colonel, January 4, 1797, to 
July 22, 1800. 

1776-1840] LOCAL MILITIA 205 

Ephraim Ward, lieutenant-colonel, 181- to April 25, 1817. 

Peter H. Peirce, lieutenant-colonel, April 25, 1817, to 1823. 

Benjamin P. Wood, lieutenant-colonel, October 10, 1823, 
to September 7, 1826. 

Southworth Ellis, Jr., lieutenant-colonel, September 7, 1826, 
to 1829. 

Thomas Weston, Jr., lieutenant-colonel, August 31, 1829, 
to 1832. 

Olivier Eaton, lieutenant-colonel, 1832 to 1834. 

Edward G. Perkins, lieutenant-colonel, May 1834, to Feb- 
ruary 4, 1837. 

Nathan King, lieutenant-colonel, February 4, 1837, to Feb- 
ruary 8, 1839. 

Peter Hoar, senior major, July 22, 1800, to 1807. 

Jacob Cushman, senior major, November 27, 1807, to 1809. 

Levi Peirce, senior major, 18 12 to 18 16. 

John Nelson, major, May 9, 1776, to July i, 1781. 

Edward Sparrow, major, July i, 1781, to July 17, 1787. 

Abiel Washburn, major, May i, 1794, to January 4, 1797. 

Peter Hoar, major, January 4, 1797, to July 22, 1800. 

Levi Peirce, major, June 8, 1809, to 18 12. 

Ephraim Ward, major, 18 14 to 18 16. 

Peter H. Peirce, major, 18 16 to April 25, 18 17. 

Branch Harlow, major, April 25, 1817, to 1823. 

Philo Washburn, major, September 7, 1826, to 1828. 

Darius Miller, major, September 12, 1828, to August 31, 

Oliver Eaton, major, August 31, 1829, to 1832. 

Isaac Fuller, major, February 8, 1839, ^o April 24, 1840. 


William Bourne, major, September 12, 1803, to 1807. 
Thomas Bennett, major, April 28, 1807, to November, 1811. 
Harry Jackson, major, January 29, 1823, to death, in 1823. 


William Thomas, major, August 23, 1834, to 1.836. 

Since the middle of the last century there have been many 
changes in the militia law of the commonwealth and the inter- 
est in that service seems gradually to have declined, so that at 
the present time there is no military organization in town. 




HE people of Middleboro, like all of the colonists, 
were taught to employ every moment of their time. 
Children knew the value of everything in the house ; 
they knew how each article was made and its use. 
It was the natural outgrowth of their life that they should be 
thrifty and economical ; they had come to a new country, where 
much, if not everything, had to be made by hand. With the 
wealth of primeval forest, it is not to be wondered at that many 
a farmer's boy worked long and hard to obtain a jack-knife, 
and then what marvels he could make ! Daniel Webster said 
that these Yankee jack-knives were the direct forerunners of 
the cotton-gin and thousands of noble American inventions. 
We have spoken of the trenchers used in early times, cut out 
of wood ; sleds also were of home manufacture, the runners 
made from saplings bent at the root. Most of the farm imple- 
ments were of vvood,^ — ploughs, shovels, yokes for the oxen, 

1 " The importance of locating near a spring of never-failing water, instead of 
attempting to dig wells, is apparent when we consider that shovels and spades in 
those times were made of wood instead of iron ; wooden shovels were used by the 


cart-wheels, scythes, and flails. The making of these occupied 
the spare time of the men. No wonder the people devel- 
oped skill as well as sturdy, independent characters. They 
were their own masters,^ dependent on no one ; their lives 
were a training for the test of independence which came in 


The frames of the dwelling-houses and barns of this period 
were of oak timber hewn with broadaxes, the sills, posts, and 
beams being often from nine to ten inches in diameter, 
fastened by tenons fitted into a mortised cavity and held in 
their place by oak pins. The raising of the frames of these build- 
ings was attended by a large number of friends, whose services 
were required to lift the heavy timbers into their proper posi- 
tion. It was customary for the owner of a building to furnish 
an ample supply of New England rum for the refreshment of 
his guests.^ There are a few of these houses still standing in 
different parts of the town, and the massive oak frames have 
kept them in the same position as when first built. 

third and fourth generations from John Tomson. When Ebenezer, a grandson of 
his, had a wooden shovel pointed or shod with iron, it was considered a very- 
great improvement, and was borrowed by the neighbors far and near. The ancient 
practice of building dwelling-houses near springs and running water accounts for 
the very crooked roads in many localities of the old colony." Desccndaiits of 
John Thomson, p. 23. 

^ " It is interesting to observe how little the character of the gentleman and 
gentlewoman in our New England people is affected by the pursuit, for genera- 
tions, of humble occupations, which in other countries are deemed degrading. 
Our ancestors, during nearly two centuries of poverty which followed the first 
settlement, turned their hands to the humblest ways of getting a livelihood, be- 
came shoemakers, or blacksmiths, or tailors, or did the hardest and most menial and 
rudest work of the farm, shovelled gravel or chopped wood, without any of the effect 
on their character which would be likely to be felt from the permanent pursuit of 
such an occupation in England or Germany. It was like a fishing party or a hunt- 
ing party in the woods. When the necessity was over, and the man or the boy in 
any generation got a college education, or was called to take part in public affairs, 
he rose at once and easily to the demands of an exalted station." Autobiography 
of Seventy Years, by George F. Hoar, vol. i, p. 41. 

- At the raising of the house of Colonel John Nelson, about 1800, " A man 
stood on his head upon the roof-tree or ridge-pole, rum was drunk by the barrell 
by the best people, the better the people, the more the rum. With its painted 
inside walls this fine old house is still occupied by his descendants." N^elson Gene- 


For a few years after the close of King Philip's War, dwell- 
ing-houses were sometimes covered with two-inch oak plank 
to render them bullet-proof against attack. The windows were 
small and placed high up in the wall, so that the family would 
not be exposed to the shots of any hostile Indian. The roofs 
and walls of these houses were covered with shingles, pre- 
pared by sawing logs about fourteen or sixteen inches long, 
which were split with a long iron knife into pieces about half 
an inch in thickness, and then shaved upon a bench, which 
every farmer had, to hold the shingles in their place. The 
shingles so prepared from the original growth of pine and cedar 
were very durable ; some which were put on the old Morton 
house at the time it was built retained their place when it 
was taken down, although they were not much thicker than 

The kitchen was such an important part of the house that 
it deserves special mention. The huge fireplaces ^ were often 
built with seats on the sides. The back bar of green wood was 
fixed across the chimney, several feet from the floor. On this 
hung the many pots and kettles needed. Later, this back bar, 
or "luge-pole," gave place to one more practical of iron, and 
a hundred years after the first settlement, cranes were in use 
everywhere. Over the fireplace frequently hung rows of dried 
apples and pumpkins. The large brick ovens were at one side 
of the fireplace, and had a smoke "uptake" into the chimney. 
The door was of iron. Once a week a great fire of dry wood, 
or "ovenwood," was kindled in the oven and kept burning for 
several hours until the bricks were thoroughly heated. The 
coal and ashes were then carefully swept out, the chimney 

1 " In the coldest weather the heat did not come out a great way from the 
hearth, and the whole family gathered close about the fire to keep warm. It was 
regarded as a great breach of good manners to go between any person and the 
fire. The fireplace was the centre of the household, and was regarded as the 
type and symbol of the home. The boys all understood the force of the line : — 

' Strike for your altars and your fires !' 

" I wonder if any of my readers nowadays would be stirred by an appeal to 
strike for his furnace or his air-tight stove." Autobiography of Seventy Years, by 
'George F. Hoar, vol. i, p. 46. 


draught closed, and the oven filled with brown bread, pies, etc. 
In earliest days, the bread was baked on leaves gathered by 
the children. Later, Dutch ovens were used ; these were ket- 
tles on legs and with a curved cover, which were placed on the 
hot ashes and then covered with ashes. 

By the oven hung a long-handled shovel, called a "peel " or 
^' slice," which was used to put dough on the leaves, and, when 
the bread was baked, to remove it. A " peel " was always 
given to a bride as a good-luck present. Thanksgiving week, 
the oven was kept hot in preparation for the greatest day of 
the year. Christmas day was too closely associated with the 
frivolity of the Old World to be observed as it is at present. 

At first pails were of wood or brass without bails ; tin was 
not used, but utensils were made of latten-ware, a kind of 
brass ; pots, kettles, gridirons, and skillets (made later in the 
blast furnaces of the town) had legs, as it was necessary to 
have these raised above the ashes. The first fork brougfht to 
America was in 1633 for Governor Winthrop. It was in a 
leather case with a knife and bodkin. " Probably not one of the 
Pilgrims ever saw a fork used at table." ^ The spoons were 
of pewter, and every family of importance owned a spoon 
mould, in which these could be made from the worn-out plat- 
ters and porringers. The large platters for holding the meat 
and vegetables were of pewter, — very little silver was to be 
seen at first. Later, handsome silver was found in the houses 
of the wealthy. Cups without handles were used till the early 
part of the last century.^ 

1 Goodwin, Pilgrim Republic, p. 589. 

2 From these old inventories we learn some of the articles in use : — 

September: the 5. 1695. 
this is a tru inventary of the Estate of m"" Samuell fuller Teacher of the church of 
Middlebury Lately deaseased prised by us whose names are under written 

his wearin cloathing woollen and linnen 09 — 00 — 00 

his books 04 — 00 — 00 

to beds with bedin 07 — 00 — 00 

puter with table linnen 01 — 04 — 00 

a still or — 00 — 00 

the brase to kittells and a spise mortler 00 — 14 — 00 

A. iron pot and kittell and mortler 00 — 16 — 00 


The kitchen served as dining and sitting room, usually be- 
ing the only comfortable room in the house. The bedrooms 

tramells tongs and pot hooks oo — 08 — 00 

chests and trays and dishes and chairs 00 — 15 — 00 

tubs and pails 00 — 08 — 00 

Earthen ware and glases 00 — 02 — 00 

runlets and barells and a churn 00 — 07 — 00 

a siften trof and a frien pan 00 — 04 — 00 

a loom and taklin 01 — 05 — 00 

hors taklin 00 — 18 — 00 

taklin for a teem and old iron . . . . . . . . 00 — 12 — 00 

a pare of oxen 05 — 00 — 00 

3 Cowes 04 — 10 — 00 

3 heifer 03 — 10 — 00 

2 calves 00 — 12 — 00 

swine . 01 — 15 — 00 

a hors and a mare 03 — 00 — 00 

3 swarm of bees 00 — 08 — 00 

at middlebury his dwellin hous and 20 Akers of Land and A full share of his six 
and twenty mens purshas only twenty-five Akers and twelf Akers of Land near 
John haskels and a parsell of Land commly called the sixteen shillin purshas and 
A hous and Land plimouth 

more to books and a bibell 00 — 15 — 00 

tow pare of scalles 00 — 06 — 00 

three wheells and a pare of cards 00 — 10 — 00 

A pot and a Spoon 00 — 07 — 00 

A gun 00 — 08 — 00 

tone yarn 00 — 02 — 00 

The widdows Bed not apprised 

josepth vaughan 
Samuell wood 

M". Elizabeth ffuller Relict & widdow of m^ Sam^ ffuller above named made 
oath in plimouth September 25: 1695 that y'' above written is a true Inventory 
of y" goods chattels Rights & credits of y<^ sd Deceased so far as she knoweth & 
that if more shall come to her knowledge she will make it known 

Before me 

Wm. Bradford Esqi" &c. 
Attest. Sami- Sprague Register 

Recorded in Plymouth County Probate Ofifice, vol. i, p. 223. 

In the inventory of " Peter Oliver, Esq. late of Middleborough who is fled to 
our enemies " we find, among other things, " one gold mourning ring, picktor of 
Charlotte, Two umbrillos, green Camblet Skirt, White firstin Skirt, 12 pr Linnen 
Stockens, Ironin Blanket, Two Cracket Bowls, Medison Case, Small Chease 
press, Puter Basons, One Shays Wheel," etc. 

In another old inventory a " Brass Platter, a Brass Kettle," " for the use of my 
daughter," and " Brass Candle sticks, one bell-metal Skillet, two pairs of strong 
Iron Dogs, a Brass Mortar, a brass basting Ladle, a brass Chafing Dish, a true 
Looking Glass, a dozen Cane Chairs, Curtains and Vallurs for Bed, Tester and 
Camlet and Chintz Quilt," etc. 


were so cold in winter time that the huge feather-beds were 
very necessary, and the heating of the sheets by a warming- 
pan made them more comfortable. 

The problem of lighting was solved in the earliest days by 
the use of pine knots. To avoid smoke in the room, these 
knots were usually burned on a fiat stone in a recess made in 
the side of the fireplace. Ministers all over New England 
wrote their sermons by this light, and every family laid in a 
supply of " light wood " for the winter evenings. Candles at 
four pence apiece were considered costly luxuries, and the 
making of them was part of the work of every household. Bay- 
berry was used for the nicer ones ; for the others, grease or 
fat from meat was carefully stored away to be tried out into 
tallow. The wicks were of loosely spun hemp, tow, or cotton, 
sometimes of milkweed, the silk down of which was " spun 
grossly into candle wicke." Two large kettles two feet in 
diameter, called seventy kettles, were hung over the fire on the 
hearth, half filled with boiling water and melted tallow, which 
had two scaldings and two skimmings. The candle-rods with 
six or eight wicks attached were dipped into the pot of melted 
tallow, then allowed to cool gradually, then dipped again and 
again until they were of the required size. Candles were after- 
wards made by turning the melted tallow into moulds, which 
were groups of metal cylinders with the wicks in the inside 
fastened by small wooden rods at the top and small pegs at 
the bottom. Later, itinerant candle-makers went from house to 
house, taking charge of the work, each autumn. Wax candles 
were made by hand by pressing pieces of heated wax about the 
wicks. Bees were kept for the wax as much as for the honey. 
Candlesticks, at first rough, grew to elegant metal standards, 
and later sconces, called candle arms, were an ornamental 
part of the house furnishings. 

For many years the method of striking a light was very 
primitive. If the fire went out, a small boy of the family was 
sent to a neighbor's (it might be at some distance) for coals 
to relight it. The tinder-box, a necessary part of the house 
furrrishings, was usually a small, circular box containing flint, 


Steel, and a tinder of some vegetable matter ; scorched linen 
or cambric was the usual tinder to catch the spark. Another 
method of starting the fire was by flashing powder in the pan 
of a gun. It was not until 1827 that friction matches were 
made in England, and they cost twenty-five cents for eighty- 
four, a contrast to our time, when seventeen million can be 
made in a day, and the expense is trifling. 

Aside from the making of candles, there was the preparing 
of apples for winter use. Days were spent in drying apples 
and peaches, making apple sauce, which was stored away in 
barrels, and apple butter, which was made from apples boiled 
down with cider. 

An uninteresting, but necessary piece of work was the mak- 
ing of soft soap. All the refuse grease was stored through the 
winter as well as wood ashes from the fireplaces. Lye was first 
made from ashes and water in huge barrels (these barrels were 
frequently made from birch-trees) ; then the grease and lye 
were boiled together in a huge seventy kettle over the fire. It 
took twenty-four pounds of grease and six bushels of ashes 
to make one barrel of soap. A hard soap was made from bay- 
berry for the toilet, but the soft soap was used for the great 
monthly washings. For over a century, all the New England 
housewives allowed the family washing to accumulate for a 
month, and there was no weekly wash-day till a short time 
before the Revolution. 

We treasure the spinning-wheel as an ornament and an 
heirloom ; it was no ornament two hundred years ago, but a 
practical necessity. Every spring, as soon as the ground was 
prepared, flax and hemp were planted as regularly as the corn 
and beans. In June or July they were carefully dried. To 
accomplish this, " pulling or spreading," or turning the flax 
in the sun for several days, was done by the men and boys 
in the Middleboro fields. Then a heavy wooden or iron comb, 
called a ripple comb, was fastened on a plank. With this, 
the flax was "rippled ; " it was drawn through the comb, thus 
pulling off the seeds, which were kept for the next year. The 
flax was tied up at the seed end in "bates" and stacked, — 


the base of the stalks spread out tent-shaped, — and then was 
well watered, to soften the fibres, for four or five days. It 
was then broken with a flax brake to separate the fibres ; on 
a dry, sunny day it was " scutched " or " swingled " with a 
block and knife to get rid of any bark. The clean fibres were 
made into bundles, " swingled " again, then " beetled " (i. e. 
pounded) until soft, then " hetcheled " or pulled through a 
comb or rows of fine, long wire bristles. After this wearying 
and dusty process, the fibres were spread and drawn to various 
finenesses of threads. After passing through twenty manip- 
ulations, the flax was at last ready for spinning on the small 
wheels. The spinning of two skeins of linen thread was a good 
day's work ; for it, a spinner was paid eight cents a day and 
"her keep." Is it to be wondered at that linen sheets, etc., 
were handed down from one generation to another and trea- 
sured with care .'' 

Flaxseed was used extensively. The flax was allowed to re- 
main in the ground until it grew yellow, and the seed was then 
made into oil. In 1640 the court of Massachusetts passed 
two orders, for the growth of flax and for the teaching of boys 
and girls to spin, and a bounty was paid for linen grown, spun, 
and woven here. 

Deborah Sampson was one of the best-known spinners of 
linen and worsted. She was engaged to do the finest work at 
many a house, and frequently spun at the Morton, the Bourne, 
the Clarke, and the Sproat houses. In 1749 the fair spinsters 
of Boston met on the Common, and spun on a wager from 
sunrise to sunset. Spinning became very popular ; not to be a 
" spinster " was a disgrace. Neighbors frequently carried their 
wheels to each other's houses to work together ; classes were 
formed that young and old alike might learn, for each family 
must contain at least one skilled worker. 

Preceding the Revolution, so loyal were the women all over 
America that homespun goods were in great demand. They 
agreed to wear no imported linen or woollen. Prizes for spin- 
ning and weaving were given. Not only was linen made into 
garments, but wool goods were also home-made. In " New 



England's First Fruits " is written : " Linnen fustian we are 
making already ; sheep are coming on for woollen cloth ; — 
deer, seal and moose skins are to be had plentifully which will 
help this way, especially for servants' clothing." As early as 
1664 there were in Massachusetts about three thousand sheep. 
When Middleboro was resettled, sheep-raising was encour- 
aged, and the wool was much used. The fleeces were opened 
and cleansed, the coarser parts were spun into yarn, the finer 
were carefully prepared, tossed, and separated, then tied in 
bags to be " dyed in the wool." For this, indigo was in great 
demand, peddlers carrying it from place to place ; pokeberry 
boiled with alum made a crimson dye, and many flowers and 
vegetables were used in this art of coloring. 

After carding, the wool was rolled deftly, ready for spin- 
ning. The wool spinning was done on large wheels, the " spin- 
ster" standing, stepping a few 
steps forward and back, grace- 
fully guiding the threads to the 
motion of the wheel. The spin- 
ning of six skeins of yarn was 
considered a good day's work, 
and it is estimated that in do- 
ing that amount she must have 
walked backward and forward 
almost twenty miles, and all that 
by her wheel in her own room. 
The work easily furnished occupation for an entire family by 
the firelight, one carding the wool into rolls, one spinning it 
into yarn, one sitting at the clock reel, one filling quills with 
woollen yarn for the loom, one placing new teeth in a wool 
card, etc. Weavers (or websters) frequently went from house 
to house as well as spinsters. 

With the hand loom of early days, we must not forget other 
important industries showing the thrift of our mothers. No- 
thing was wasted ; old rags were carefully gathered and used to 
make rag carpets. The warp of these was frequently strong, 
coarse flax thread, while the filling was of narrow pieces of 



rags cut about half an inch wide ; the different colors were 
sewed together in one long strip and rolled into a ball. A ball 
weighing a pound and a quarter would make about a yard of 

Bed coverlids of remarkable and varying design can be found 
in many an old attic in town. Girls were taught to knit as 
soon as their fingers could control the needles, — one little girl 
of four knit a pair of stockings. All stockings, mittens, and 
scarfs were made at home. As a variety, scarfs were sometimes 
"pegged" or crocheted. The bead purses and bags now so 
popular called forth all the ingenuity and skill of our early 
grandmothers. They had landscapes and figures ; memorial 
bags in black and white with purple beads had " mourning 
designs " of weeping willows, urns, and gravestones. Some- 
times mottoes or initials were wrought in. 

Samplers were to be found in every family. Each girl proudly 
worked her name, age, and some appropriate motto on a strong, 
loosely woven canvas. With their love of needlework, we 
must not forget the patchwork quilts of varying design and 
color. So great was the interest in neatly sewing bits of wool, 
calico, or silk together that much skill was shown. Neighbors 
exchanged patterns of different names, such as " log cabin," 
^'rising sun," "blue brigade," "fox and geese," "old maid's 
ramble," etc. When the patchwork was completed, it had to 
be quilted, and many a merry-making was held at these quilting- 
parties. The patchwork was placed on a lining, with layers of 
wool or cotton wadding between, and stretched on four bars 
of wood ten feet long, — the quilting-frame. Around this out- 
stretched quilt several would sit, fastening the whole together. 
At first, woollen pieces only were used ; calico was a later 
luxury, and still later silk. Netting and lace work was another 
industry, as well as straw braiding for hats. Lace veils were 
made by mothers and daughters for street wear, and the pre- 
paring of the bridal veil was of great interest to all. 

The work of the men was largely out of doors on the farms. 
In the winter they made and mended their utensils by the 
firelight. The crops had to be gathered and stored for the 


winter, or prepared for sale and exchange. They had no white 
bread ; the barley, corn, and rye had to be taken to the mill 
to be ground. Threshing was done by huge hand flails made 
by the farmers. The apple crop was gathered, part dried 
for winter use, and part made into cider, for which Middle- 
boro was famous. Roads had to be cleared from one place to 
another in winter days, and all the farmers in the neighbor- 
hood joined in the " breaking out " with ploughs or sleds and 
oxen. Four-wheeled vehicles were but little used until after 
the Revolution. Before this, chaises had been used somewhat^ 
but the usual mode of travel was by horseback. 

One of the most welcome visitors was the peddler, who 
made at least one annual tour through the villages of the town 
with his various wares. As stores were few, his coming was 
looked for with interest, with the possibility of buying some 
article necessary for the home work, a jack-knife for the boys, 
a needle, or a pin (rare in the early days) for the industri- 
ous housewife. Another visitor was the tailor, a woman who 
helped in the dressmaking as well as in the suit-making for 
men and boys. 

In early winter, if they did not raise the cattle and tan their 
leather, a family would purchase a calfskin, a "side of upper" 
and a side of sole leather, and a travelling shoemaker went 
from house to house making shoes. Calvin Dunham's name 
has come down as one of Middleboro's shoemakers of a few 
generations ago. He would bring bench and tools with him, 
the family would have the shoe thread on hand from the yearly 
spinning, and seated in a warm corner by the kitchen fire, he 
would make and mend the shoes for the family and neighbors 
who dropped in for a social evening. Hannah Reed was an- 
other shoemaker, noted for her energy and strength,^ her wit 

1 Hannah Reed's great strength can best be illustrated by the fact that she fre- 
quently walked to Boston — and back the next day — to purchase leather, etc., for 
her work. She made "good substantial shoes, well fitting to the feet." 

At one time two clerks in the store were talking, and one said, " There comes 
Hannah Reed. I bet you five dollars you don't dare to kiss her." He took the 
bet, and stepping up as she was making her purchases, kissed her. The indignant 
shoemaker turned, seized him by the collar and seat of his trousers, dragged him 


and cheery disposition. Another travelling workman was the 
wheelwright or wagon repairer. Frequently men repaired 
their carts from the stock of wood kept on hand, but John 
Paddock was sent for in case of a serious break in axle-tree 
or other parts of wagons and sleds. 

When Franklin spent a few days here,^ he gave them many 
practical suggestions in their domestic economy, as he told of 
his " Franklin stove," of an improved water trough for horses, 
of the corn broom in place of the stiff old birch broom. His 
visit was one of the great social events, as life was not filled 
with the excitement and rush of modern times. Aside from 
the gay assemblages at Oliver Hall and a few of the larger 
houses, there was none of the modern so-called social life. 
Card playing '^ and dancing were frowned upon by some ; the 
old-fashioned games were enjoyed by all ; quilting-parties, 
husking-bees, tea parties, were the occasions of merry-making. 
The old singing-school should be mentioned as one of the 
festive gatherings for the young people. At the tea parties, 
the guests frequently sat in little groups. Small tables were 
placed near them, and the tea was passed on large trays with 
gingerbread, cookies, and such dainties as the housewives of 
Middleboro knew so well how to prepare. Neighborliness was 
cultivated, — women would carry their work to others' houses 
for sociability. Frequently they would have what was called 
"change work:" if two were to make soap, candles, or sew,, 
one would spend a day helping the other. In a few days the 
visit would be returned. Even house-cleaning days meant social 
pleasure, for then they usually had a "whang," a gathering 
of the neighbors, and on the principle that many hands make 

to the door, and pitched him out. He won his bet, but never tried that trick 

^ See chapter containing an account of The Green. 

2 In Plymouth Colony Laws, Part III, p. 250, we find : — 

" Be it also Enacted, That no person in this Government, shall play at Cards, 
Dice, Cross and Pile, or any suc+i unlawful Game, wherein there is Lottery, at 
any private house, or elsewhere in this Government on penalty of ten shillings 
fine, to be paid by every one that so playes, and twenty shillings by the Master 
or Head of a Family that shall know of and suffer such Gaming in his House or 
where he hath Command." 


light work, a house was soon cleaned. This sharing of burdens 
helped much in accomplishing a task quickly. 

The dress of the early settlers was of the simplest all through 
the colony.^ The court forbade the purchase of woollen or silk 
garments with silv^er or gold thread or lace on them. " Cut 
works imbroid or needle or capps bands & rayles," ruffs and 
beaver hats, were forbidden. In Plymouth Colony the dress 
was simpler than at the Bay or at Salem. From some of the 
old inventories which have come down we can judge of their 
clothing. Leather was used, — tanned buckskin breeches and 
jackets for out-of-door work. Before the Revolution dress had 
become very showy and elegant in some parts of Massachusetts. 
The gay dresses worn at Oliver Hall were frequently imported, 
and were equal to court costumes in their elaborate trimmings. 
In the country places, while silks were used somewhat, there 
was a marked difference. The pilgrim quietness in dress had 
not been altogether outgrown. Mrs. Rebecca Scollay Clarke 
wrote of a visit to the old church at Middleboro : — 

" I stood on the steps and saw the men and women come 
riding up — most of them on horseback ; the women sitting 
behind the men on pillions. They dismounted at the horse 
block at the door. The sight was strange to me just from the 
city where we all walked our short distance to meeting. The 
women's dresses too looked very queer. They were nearly all 
dressed in linsey-woolsey of their own weaving. It was very 
handsome cloth, well pressed and glossy, almost as silk, but 
very different from what the Boston women wore, of foreign 
make and manufacture." 

At about that time the calash, a curious form of bonnet with 
a bridle in front to prevent its shutting up, was much worn. 

1 One of the early members of the Bennett family was a well-to-do farmer, who, 
although having more money than many of his townsmen, dressed in a simple 
suit of homespun made from the undyed wool of his own sheep ; the buttons 
were of leather cut from the hide and sewed on with a stray piece of home-made 
cord. In this costume he stopped at one of Boston's old taverns for supper and 
lodgings. The landlord, fearing he might be a tramp, inquired if he had money to 
pay for this, at which the farmer drew from his pocket a rough piece of sheepskin, 
and unrolling, it, took out a hundred dollars, with the remark," If this is not enough, 
I will send out to Middleboro and get more, so I think you will be satisfied." 


Long cloaks, or capes, called capuchins or pelisses, beautifully 
embroidered skirts,^ and silk petticoats with daintily draped 
overdresses, thin-soled shoes which necessitated the wearing 
of overshoes, known as " goloe shoes " ^ and " pattens," mits knit 
or made of kid, are in the list of women's apparel, as well as 
" Sad Grey Kersey Wascote, blew Apron, Greene Searge Was- 
cote and Linsey Woolsey petticoats. Whittle that is fringed, 
Jump, fine Neck Cloath," etc. In the chapter on Muttock there 
is a description of the gowns of some of the ladies and the 
elaborate costumes of the men. 

When the early colonists came, they wore their hair shaved 
in contrast to the long hair of the cavaliers. This soon gave 
place to the wigs, which, uncomfortable as they must have 
been, lasted in fashion for a century and a half. The old men 
wore their hair braided in a queue, as shown in many of the 
old portraits in town. 

Jewelry was little worn at first, — a few rings, bracelets, pins, 
and sleeve-buttons were seen. Watches were rare luxuries, 
and clumsy at that. Time was frequently kept by sun-dials in 
front of the houses of the wealthy, but in the simpler homes 
"noon marks " were the time-keepers. These marks were usu- 
ally small cuts made in the window frames where the sun rested 
at high noon. 

There was a curious custom of collecting mourning rings, 
which were given to chief mourners at a funeral, and families 
of prominence all had them. They were usually of gold enam- 
elled in black or black and white, and ornamented with a 
death's-head, a cofifin, a skull, or a lock of hair. Mottoes were 
frequently engraved, such as, "Prepare for Death," "Death 
Parts United Hearts," etc. So universal was this custom that 

1 Fine embroidery was a source of great pride to the New England women, and 
in many of the old attics in Middleboro can be seen embroidered quilts, scarfs, 
and dresses. Miss Susan Hayes Ward has studied some of these dainty pieces, 
and revived the quaint stitches and designs from a bride's petticoat found in the 
Sampson family and from curtains in the Stetson family. These beautiful stitches, 
of old Persian coloring and pattern, have been restored as an important addition 
to the modern art work under the name of the New England stitch. 

2 Thoreau calls them "glow-shoes." 


many rings can be found among the old colony heirlooms, 
and such was the expense entailed that a vote was passed in 
1767, in Boston, "not to use any mourning rings but what 
are manufactured here." Other gifts usual at the time were 
gloves, fans, white linen scarfs, etc.-^ As far back as 1633, in 
Samuel Fuller's will we find that his sister should have gloves 
worth twelve shillings ; "John Jenny and Job Winslow each 
a paire of gloves of five shillings." 

Funeral " baked meats " and drinks were an important part 
of the preparation on these occasions. Rum, cider, beverage, 
and beer were freely dispensed until a change in the cus- 
toms of drinking brought an end to this phase of hospitality. 
One old gentleman remarked, " Temperance has done for 

In the earliest times it was the custom to make the coffin 
from the trunk of a tree. This was hollowed out, and the body 
placed inside, then pieces of plank were nailed on the ends. 
John Tomson was buried in the Nemasket cemetery in this 
manner. Gravestones with inscriptions cut upon them were 
imported from London until about 1700. Before that, the sim- 
ple stones without inscriptions were used if the families were 
unable to meet the expense of imported ones. 

It was not the custom in early days to have any religious 
service at the burial. An address was made when Captain 
Jonathan Alden was buried, in Duxbury, in 1697, and this was 
considered a decided innovation. Not until 1720 did the custom 
become general. 

The church bell was tolled, and the mourners walked by the 
side or followed the body. On the death of any one in Middle- 
boro, the bell at the First Church tolled the number of years 
of his age. Before tolling it would strike three if a child had 
died, six if a woman, and nine if a man. 

A description of the church and its service has been given 
elsewhere. The sermons were long, and people frequently 
stood when they felt tired of sitting on the straight, wooden 
seats. One minister of the First Church is described as wear- 

1 New England Historical and Genealogical Register, vol. iv, p. 33. 


ing black gloves with the fingers partly cut off, that he might 
the more easily turn the leaves of the Bible. 

Isaac Backus, writing February 20, 1794, says, speaking of 
the people in the old colony of Plymouth : — 

" There are very few men who are very rich, but the people 
are more upon a level than in most parts of our country, and 
the people retain many of the excellent qualities that were 
possessed by their fathers, and capital crimes are less known 
here than in many other places." 

There was but little money in the inland towns of the col- 
ony until some time after the beginning of the last century. 
Payments for work and other things were usually made in pro- 
ducts of the farm, wood, and lumber, the prices of which were 
fixed by a general understanding in the community ; contracts 
and promissory notes were often made payable in so many 
pounds of pig iron. During the Revolutionary War, to supply 
this want of money, the Continental Congress issued paper 
bills to pass as a circulating medium, which, however, soon so 



depreciated in value as to become comparatively worthless. 
This money failed to supply the want of a standard value in 
currency, and served merely to embarrass people in the pay- 
ment of taxes which had become burdensome. Under an act 
of the legislature in 1777, standard prices were fixed by the 
selectmen of the town, which continued in force for many 


Pursuant to an act of the General Assembly of the State of Massachusetts Bay 
in the year of our Lord 1777 — to prevent Monopoly and oppression it is hereby 
Enacted By the Selectmen and Committee of Said Middleborough That from and 
after the 24th Day of February 1777 — that the Goods Labor and Every Neces- 
sary and Convenient Article of Life herein after particularly Enumerated or 
otherwise included Shall not in said town of Middleborough Exceed the Price 
hereinafter particularly Enumerated or otherwise Proportioned to Said Goods 
and articles mentioned or included. 

Common Farming Labour in the Summer season From the middle of aprel to 
the middle of October at 2s 6d a Day Common Labour From the middle of Octo- 
ber to the middle of Aprel at as a Day mowing and Reaping at 3s 4d a Day Good 
Indian Corn at 3s 4d a bushel. Good Merchantable Wheat at 6s-4d a Bushel 
Good Merchantable Rye at 4s-2d a Bushell Good Merchantable Sheeps wool at 
2s a Pound Good Merchantable Flax at is a Pound Good Beef at 2d| a Pound 
Good Fresh Pork at 4d a lb and Salt pork in proportion according to its Good- 
ness and the price of Salt Raw hides at 3d a lb and Calf Skins at 6d a lb Good 
Cheese at 6d a lb Good Butter at lod a lb potatoes at is : 4d a Bushal Small Tur- 
nips at is-8d a bushel mens Best Yarn Stockings at 5s : 4d a pair and so in Pro- 
portion for a meaner Quality Mens Shoes made of neats Leather of the Best 
Common Sort at Ss a pair and so in Proportion for a Lesser or Meaner Quality 
Salted Beef at 3f-i2s-od a Barrel oats at is-8d a Bushel Good tried tallow at 
7dj & Good yard wide tow Cloth at 2s a yard and so on in proportion for other 
tow or Linen Cloth according to its widths and quality Good yard wide flannel 
Cloth Striped at 3s : 4d a yard and other flannel or woolen Cloth in proportion 
according to its width and Quality, good oak Wood Delivered at the Door of 
the Byer at 7s a Cord tanned hids at is : 3d a lb and Currid Leather in usual 
Proportion according to the Price of oil home Spun yard wide Gotten and Linnen 
Cloth at 3s : 4d yeard and other widths and Quallities in Proportion 

Mutton & Lamb at 3d : J a lb Veal at 2d : | a lb 

Horse Keeping or one Yoke of oxen one night or 24 hours with English hay 
is: 2d Good English hay from the meadow at 2f :os:od a Load and in Winter 
or Spring at 2f : los : od a Load and so on in Proportion for a meaner Quality or 
Sort of hay Teaming Work one yoke of oxen one Day Equal to a man in Com- 
mon Labour and a Horse one day Two thirds as much as a yoke of oxen Excepting 
in plowing alone, and then equal to oxen : Horse hire at 2d i a mile for a single 
man and to Carry Double in proportion Milk in the Winter Season at 2d a quart 


Charcole at los : a Load or one third Part of a 100 of Good Bloomd Iron : nail 
Rods at 2f : 5s : od a 100 allowing an addition Sufficient for the Extraordinary 
Price of Sea Coal Common Good White pine or pitch pine Merchantable Bords 
at 2f : 5s : od a 1000 and so in proportion for other Qualities and Sorts : Common 
Good Board Nails and all other Sorts and Sizes of Nails at a price in Proportion 
to the price of Nail Rods Now Equal to What nails and nail Rods were in the 
former Usual proportion Oak Bark for Tanners at 13s : 4d a Cord Delivered the 
tan yard Hemlock Bark in proportion according to Usual Custom a Good Din- 
ner at a Tavern is : od and Supper or Breakfast at : gd : and Lodging at 3d * pr 
Night Good Sider at the press at : 6s : a Barrel and at other times at : 8s : a bar- 
rel Drawdoff Shoe Making at home at 3s a pair from mans or womans Shoes or 
Pumps and so on in proportion for Smaller Shoes or Pumps, and Shoe making 
abroad at two thirds the Price of that at home to be proportioned as above Linen 
foot Wheals at 13s : 4d a Pair Clover Sead at : gd : J a lb Hards Grass Seed 
at is: 2d a Quart. Shoeing a Horse with plain Shoes all round at 4s: 4d : J 
and so in Like proportion for Steel Corks Consider the Price of Steel and all 
other Black Smith Work in Proportion to the above Said Shoeing Comparing 
The Same with former Smith work and the former prices of Plain Shoeing all 
Round at : 3s : 4d miling & masons work at 4s a day men Tailors Work abroad 
at 2s : 4d a Day Carpenters Joiners and other trades men not above mentioned 
at 3s 4d a Day and the Home Labor machaies and Tradesmen such as wheels 
plows yokes Carts Bedsteads Chairs and all other necessaries for Common Use 
not above mentioned are set at a price in proportion to farming Labour Compar- 
ing the former Price of Each article W^ith the former price of farming Labour 
and all other Articles of Trade not above mentioned Common or Necessary 
among us not to be sold at a Greater Price Than in proportion with the present 
Price of the Articles above Mentioned Compareing the former price of Said 
articles of Trade with the former price of the Said articles Whereto a Price is 
now Set 

Given at Said Middleborough February ye 20th : 1777 

Wishing Love and Unity Peace and Plenty Fortitude Strength and Victory to 
be Constant Portion of all the Geneuine Friends to America 

attest Zebedee Sprout By order of 

Said Selectmen and 
attest Abner Barrows Town Clerk 

Notwithstanding the act of the legislature fixing the prices 
of all commodities, the depreciation of the currency issued by 
the Continental Congress deranged every branch of trade. All 
pecuniary obligations could be met by this depreciated money, 
which added to the great financial distress throughout the 
country. Middleboro, being generally a farming community, 
did not suffer as much as other towns, and to meet this con- 
dition, contracts and promissory notes were here often given, 


payable in so many pounds of pig iron or other articles for 
which there was a constant demand, instead of money, although 
all taxes were to be in specie.^ In 1780 pig iron was worth 
four dollars a pound in continental money. 

^ The following bill of items and prices shows the value of the continental 
money in 1781 : — 

Captain A. M'Lane, 

Bo't of W. NiCHOLLS, 

January 5th, 1781. 

I pair boots $600 

6 "3/4 yds. calico, at 85 ds 752 

6 yds. chintz, at 150 ds 900 

4 1/2 yds. moreen, at 100 ds 450 

4 hdkfs., at 100 ds 400 

8 yds. quality binding, 4 ds 32 

I skein of silk 10 

If paid in specie ;i^i8 los. 

Received payment in full, 

For Wm. Nicholi.s. 
Jona. Jones. 
Lossing's Fteld-Book of the Revolution, vol. i, p. 319. 



FTER the resettlement of the town, although the 
purchases of land had included almost the entire 
township, transfers of the different allotments were 
very numerous, and questions were continually aris- 
ing therefrom. There was no one in town who had sufificient 
knowledge of the necessary forms and requirements of law to 
enable him to engage in its practice until about the year 1723. 
While there must have arisen various disputes over the bounds 
of lands bought and sold and questions of property rights, we 
have records of only two such controversies between the early 

One of the first cases on record was that of trespass, March 
5, 1691, on the cedar swamp owned by the proprietors of the 
Twenty-six Men's Purchase, and a committee consisting of 
Lieutenant Tomson, Benjamin Bartlett, John Doggett, Isaac 
Rowland, and Thomas Delano was appointed to prosecute the 
suit. The trespassers chose John Soule, John Nelson, and 
Adam Wright to defend them, and the tribunal so constituted 
decided that the trespassers should pay to the constable for 
the use of the proprietors : — 

The widow Thomas, trespasser by Edward Thomas 

William Thomas 
John Miller 
Phillip Bumpus 
Samuel Eaton 
James Wood 
John Holmes 

The proprietors of the South Purchase held a meeting on 
the 17th of May, 1698. John Soule and Jacob Tomson were 
chosen agents by the inhabitants and proprietors to defend their 













2 " 






title in Assawampsett Neck, giving them "power to choose 
one or more attorneys to be helpful to them in the premises." 

In January, 1662, Josiah Winslow of Plymouth recovered 
forty pounds damage in an action of trespass against Nathan- 
iel Warren for felling timber upon lands included in his pur- 

These are the only accounts which appear in the early 
records of disputes between the inhabitants. Whatever ques- 
tions might have arisen seem usually to have been amicably 
settled without the aid of attorneys, or by reference to the 
selectmen, who had authority by statute to act in a judicial 
capacity. As the business of the various towns increased and 
necessarily became more complicated, it was found necessary 
to obtain professional assistance. Soon after the union of the 
colonies, the need of men learned in the law was recognized, 
and by statute of 1701 they were regarded as officers of the 
court, and an oath of office was required when they were ad- 
mitted to practice ; various enactments were passed regulating 
their practice, fees, etc. By the province laws of 1708, only 
two sworn attorneys were allowed to one party in any case. 

The distinction between attorneys and barristers recognized 
by the English courts continued here until after the Revolu- 
tion.2 Barristers alone could appear and try cases in the highest 

1 Records of Plymouth Colony , vol. vii, p. 106. 

2 By rule of the Supreme Court of Judicature for Massachusetts Bay in 1761, no 
one was admitted as a barrister who had not practised three years in the inferior 
court, and no one but a barrister could appear before that court either in the trial 
of causes or arguing questions of law. It was the practice for them to wear the 
black silk gowns, bands, and wigs used by the barristers of England. This prac- 
tice seems to have been discontinued for a few years, but was resumed at the close 
of the Revolution and again given up a few years after. In John Adams's diary, 
this appears : " The bar has at last introduced a regular progress to the gown and 
seven years must be the state of probation." 

At that time three years' study in the office of a reputed attorney was required 
for an admission to the office of attorney at law. After the admission as attorney, 
two years' practice was required before the practitioner became ^ counsellor at 
law, and after two years' practice as a counsellor he attained the rank of barrister. 

In 1806 the profession was divided into two ranks, attorneys and counsellors ; 
but a few years after, all distinction between attorneys and counsellors was abol- 
ished by the revised statutes. 

1723] LAWYERS 227 

court ; the duties of attorneys were to prepare causes for trial, 
draft the pleadings, advise clients, draw contracts, make deeds 
and wills, and do other work of lawyers, excepting the trial 
of cases in the higher courts. The office of barrister was 
regarded as one of great dignity, and while he might do the 
work of an attorney, it was rather beneath him. There were 
no barristers in Middleboro, and only three in the colony. 
They were James Hovey, Pelham Winslow of Plymouth, and 
Oakes Angier of Bridgewater. After the Revolution, those 
who had been known as barristers assumed the title of coun- 
sellors, and it was not until the early part of the last cen- 
tury that those admitted to the bar were called attorneys and 
counsellors at law. Samuel Prince began the practice of the 
law about the year 1723, but as a counsellor rather than as an 
advocate. Elkanah Leonard was much employed in the courts 
until his mental condition forced his retirement. 

The following is the list of lawyers who have been, or who 
are now, in practice in Middleboro : — 

George D. Alden Dennis D. Sullivan 

Bert J. Allan John C. Sullivan 

Hercules Cushman George Fox Tucker, 

Zachariah Eddy Francis M. Vaughan 

Elkanah Leonard Eliab Ward 

Samuel Prince James Washburn 

Everett Robinson Nathan Washburn 

George W. Stetson Wilkes Wood 

Isaac Stevens William H. Wood 

Samuel Prince was the first lawyer who ever lived in the 
town of Middleboro. Before taking up his residence here, he 
practised law in Sandwich and 
in Rochester, and in 1723 he ^ ^^ — . 

moved to Middleboro, where ^ '** /^>'*vtd^ 

he resided with his son-in-law. 

Rev. Peter Thacher. While a resident of Sandwich and 
Rochester, he successively represented these towns in the Gen- 
eral Court. He was one of his Majesty's justices of the peace, 
and a man of great ability and influence throughout the colony, 


but no record has comedown to us of the extent of his practice. 
He was probably a man of considerable means, and did much 
to promote the best interest of the colony in different ways. 

He was twice married ; the second wife was a daughter of 
Governor Hinckley of Barnstable. He was the father of the 
Rev. Thomas Prince, the celebrated pastor of the Old South 
Church of Boston, and the author of Prince's "Chronology," 
a notable book of the time. Mr. Prince had the reputation of 
being an eminent scholar, well read in literature, a man of 
excellent judgment, whose advice was always safe and reliable. 

He died July 3, 1728, at the age of eighty years. At his 
funeral, five of the justices of the county and an ancient cap- 
tain of the town were bearers. 

Elkanah Leonard, the second practising lawyer in Mid- 
dleboro, was born in 1703. The house in the "Tack Factory 

Neighborhood," Lake- 
dlle, in which he lived 
is still standing, and al- 
though it has seen many 
changes, it still retains much of its original appearance. Mr. 
Leonard was a man of unusual ability, and acquired a repu- 
tation as a successful lawyer in southeastern Massachusetts. 
The Rev. Dr. Forbes, speaking of him, says : " He possessed 
strong powers of investigation, a sound judgment, and an 
uncommon brilliancy of wit, and his inventive powers were 
not surpassed, if equalled, by any of his time. His assistance 
in the defence of criminal prosecutions was much sought for, 
and his abilities were never more conspicuous than in these 

He represented the town of Middleboro in the years 1735 
to 1743, with the exception of 1738, when the office was filled 
by John Bennett. He held the office of his Majesty's justice 
of the peace from 1736 until his death, and was one of the 
selectmen from 1733 to 1742. He was major of the first regi- 
ment of Plymouth County militia. In 1740 he was mterested 
in the famous land bank which proved so disastrous to all who 

Um^nJt^MneJ^ !s 

iS2i] LAWYERS 229 

had invested. Some thirty years before his death, his mind 
became so impaired that he was obHged to give up all profes- 
sional labor. He died July 24, 1777, in the seventy-fourth year 
of his age, and was buried in the cemetery of the Taunton and 
Lakeville Congregational Society, a brown stone marking the 
place. He was a member of the First Church under the half- 
way covenant. 

James Washburn, a practising lawyer in that part of Mid- 
dleboro now Lakeville, was the son of Amos Washburn, and 
was born about the year 1767. His house stood not far from 
the town house in Lakeville. He was the first postmaster in 
Middleboro, being appointed by President Adams in 1804. He 
continued in that office and in the practice of his profession 
until the year 181 1, when he moved from Middleboro to New 
Bedford. While living in New Bedford he was chosen to the 
House of Representatives. He died November 19, 18 15, and 
was buried in his native town. 

Wilkes Wood, a descendant of Henry Wood, always lived 
in the house of the late Joseph T. Wood. He was graduated 
from Brown University in 1793, and forty years after he 
was elected a fellow of the corporation. He studied law with 
Judge Thomas at Plymouth, and was admitted to the bar 
of that county in 1796. He began the practice of his profes- 
sion in Middleboro, where he continued until his appointment 
as judge of probate, and later was elected president of the 
Bar Association of the county. He was a state senator for 
two years, and a member of the Electoral College which cast 
its vote for William H. Harrison. Upon the death of Judge 
Thomas in 1821, he was appointed his successor as judge of 
probate for Plymouth County, an office he held at the time of 
his death. 

As a lawyer he was respected throughout the county, having 
the reputation of adjusting differences between those who 
should be friends, never resorting to litigation unless the best 
interests of his clients demanded it. He was an able judge. 

2 30 



well read in his profession, a man of sterling integrity, and 
conscientious in the discharge of all his public duties. He died 
October i, 1843, ^^ the seventy-third year of his age. 

When he commenced practice, the lawyers were scattered 
over the country and were sought out by clients, who often 
made long journeys in order to obtain advice and counsel upon 

matters of inter- 
est to them. The 
sessions of court 
were generally 
attended. It was 
the custom of 
lawyers in town 
to go to Plym- 
outh at the open- 
ing of the session 
and remain there 
until the court 
adjourned. With 
the change which 
has come over the 
country, this cus- 
tom has passed 
away, and the 
sessions of court 
have nothing of the interest, wit, and humor in which both 
judge and attorneys participated a century ago. Many men^ 
commenced their professional studies with Judge Wood while 
in practice in Middleboro. 


Zachariah Eddy, one of the most prominent lawyers in 
southeastern Massachusetts, was born in 1780. He was grad- 
uated from Brown University in 1799 with the second honors 

^ Among them were Alexander Wood of Hanover, Thomas and Harry Stur- 
tevant, sons of Dr. Sturtevant, Hercules Cushman, Isaac Stevens, Seth Miller, 
William R. P. Washburn, Abram G. Randall, and William H. Wood, his son, 
who afterwards occupied the position held by his father as judge of probate. 

1833] LAWYERS 231 

of his class, and taught school before he commenced the study 
of law in the office of Joshua Thomas, one of the leading law- 
yers in Plymouth. He was admitted to the Plymouth bar in 
1806, and as a counsellor in 18 10. He was noted for his stu- 
dious habits, and early showed remarkable powers of memory. 
Such were his talents that soon after his admission as coun- 
sellor he was acknowledged the leader of the bar in southeast- 
ern Massachusetts, and in the intricacies of special pleading, 
he had no equal in the state. He was a personal friend of 
Daniel Webster, and was often associated with him in differ- 
ent cases. The late Chief Justice Shaw said he was one of 
the ablest lawyers in the state. Among his intimate friends 
were John Quincy Adams, Judge Hubbard, Timothy G. Coffin, 
William Bayles, Marcus Morton, and other prominent men. 
Not a few of the briefs used by Mr. Choate were prepared by 
Mr. Eddy. Something of the extent of his practice may be 
inferred from the fact that more than three hundred cases 
which he argued in the Supreme Court are given in the 
Massachusetts Reports. In a letter to a friend in 1833 he 
casually remarked that he had just returned from Plymouth, 
where he found that he had seventy-one cases on the docket 
of the court. His active practice continued for a period of 
forty years, and such were his ability and reputation that, 
although his office remained in the small village of Eddyville, 
clients and lawyers from all parts of the state were fre- 
quently there for advice or consultation. It used to be said 
of him that by his judicious counsel he settled many more 
cases outside than in court. At the height of his practice he 
was offered a place in the Supreme Court of Massachusetts, 
but declined. 

He was a lover of literature, a great reader, and owned a 
well-selected library. His ready memory and knowledge of 
books supplied him with argument and precedent in illustra- 
tion which made him a difficult man to defeat. He was author- 
ity on the history and polity of the church of the pilgrims of 
Plymouth, was often consulted by clergymen in ecclesiastical 
matters, and his opinions were taken without question. In the 




latter part of his life, he was a frequent contributor to religious 
and historical journals ; his extensive knowledge made the 
articles of great value, and added not a little to our present 
knowledge of the early history of Plymouth Colony. The 
notes to the edition of the " New England Memorial " issued 
by the Congregational Publishing Society in 1855 were largely 

from his pen. He 
was the author of 
the "History of 
the First Church 
of Middleboro," 
published in 1852. 
While he was 
in practice, more 
than twenty men, 
who afterwards 
became promi- 
nent lawyers, were 
students in his 

He retired from 
the practice of law 
about 1850, and 
the remainder of 
his years were 
spent in the quiet of his country home and in the enjoyment 
of his large circle of friends. He died February 14, i860. 


Hercules Cushman was, in the early part of his life, the 
principal of Peirce Academy. After leaving the academy, he 

1 The following is a list of students who studied law in the office of Zachariah 
Eddy: — 

Samuel Atkinson, Samuel Briggs, Benjamin F. Hallet, Mr. Wright, Boston. 
Joseph Clark, Charleston, South Carolina. William Miller, Milton. Charles 
C. Burleigh, Conn. Jacob Atkinson, Amesbury. William A. Latham, David 
Perkins, Bridgewater. Southard Bryant, William H. Eddy, Samuel Eddy, John 
Eddy, A. H. Tinkham, Everett Robinson, Windsor Briggs, — all of Middleboro. 
Russell Hathaway, Ephraim Ward, Lakeville. John S. Holmes, New Bedford. 
Samuel S. Chase, Thomas F. Anthony, Fall River. 

1830] LAWYERS 233 

entered the office of the Hon. Wilkes Wood as a student of 
law, and was admitted to the Plymouth bar. In 1810 and 181 1 
he was elected as a representative to the General Court. He 
was appointed justice of the peace in 181 1, and from 181 1 to 
18 1 3 served as clerk of the courts in Plymouth. In 18 14 he 
moved his residence to Assonet Village in Freetown, and while 
residing there represented the town in the General Court, was 
a member of the governor's council, and a collector of the 
customs when Assonet was a place of considerable business 
activity. He returned to Middleboro about the year 1828, and 
was elected representative to the General Court in 1830 and 
183 1. He married Mary, daughter of General Abiel Washburn. 
At the time of his death in 1832 he was a storekeeper in the 
building which stood upon the present site of the American 

Isaac Stevens was born in Wareham in 1792, and admitted 
to the bar in 1818. After practising law for a few years in 
Middleboro, where he built a one-story house,^ he moved to 
Athol, Mass. He was captain of one of the companies of light 
infantry in Middleboro. 

Eliab W' ard, the son of General Ephraim Ward, was born 
in Carver, July i, 1805, and moved to Middleboro, now Lake- 
ville, in 1806. He entered Amherst College, and soon after 
his graduation studied in the office of Jacob H. Loud of Plym- 
outh, a well-known lawyer, and was admitted to the county 
bar in 1836. He at once opened an office in Middleboro, where 
he commenced practice. He had the confidence of a large 
clientele, but the active duties of his profession were distaste- 
ful to him, and he preferred to serve his clients in matters of 
advice and counsel rather than to appear often in court. In 
the local militia he rose from one office to another until he 
reached that of brigadier-general, which he held from April 
8, 1850, to 1855. '^^ ^ prominent member of the Democratic 

^ This was later raised to two stories, and here Mr. Joseph Jackson recently 

2 34 



party he was representative to the General Court in 1838- 

42 and 1852, and was 
elected to the state Sen- 
ate in 1843. He was trus- 
tee of Peirce Academy 
from 1843 until his 
death. About 1855 he 
retired from active prac- 
tice and from politics, 
spending his last days 
with family and friends. 
He was a gentleman of 
the old school, was much 
interested in the early 
history of the town and 
Plymouth Colony, and 
had a large circle of 
friends in southeastern 
Massachusetts, where he 
was widely known and 
revered. He married, October 17, 1852, Prudence K., daugh- 
ter of John Holmes of Middleboro. He died May 12, 1885. 


William H. Wood was born October 24, 181 1, and died 
March 30, 1883. He was a son of Wilkes Wood, and at the 
time of his death held the same office that his father had 
filled for twenty years. He fitted for college at Peirce Acad- 
emy, and at the age of nineteen years entered Brown Univer- 
sity, from which he was graduated with honor. After leaving 
college, he was principal of the Coffin School at Nantucket for 
one year, when he resigned for the purpose of entering the 
Harvard Law School. After pursuing his studies there for 
three years, he was graduated with honor, and immediately 
afterward formed a copartnership with John T. Eldridge, who, 
at that time, was president of the Hartford and Erie Railroad, 
They commenced practice in Boston, but in 1840 the copart- 
nership was dissolved, and Mr. Wood moved to Middleboro, 




where he opened an office. He filled many positions of trust 
in town with great credit. He was one of the original found- 
ers and ablest advocates of the Free Soil party, and by his abil- 
ity and political sagacity maintained a high rank among its lead- 
ers ; such were his eloquence and popularity that he was much 
sought after at political gatherings. In 1848 he was a member 
of the Massachusetts Senate, and served on the judiciary com- 
mittee in that body. He was an able and effective debater, and 
most of his speeches were reported in full in the Boston papers. 
In 1849 he was defeated because of his fearless and unflinch- 
ing advocacy of the doctrines of his party. In 1850 he was 
reelected, and by his influence did much towards securing the 
election of Charles Sumner to the United States Senate. In 
1853 he was a dele- 
gate to the Constitu- 
tional Convention, and 
in 1857 was a repre- 
sentative to the Gen- 
eral Court, and a year 
later a member of the 
executive council. In 
1858 he was earnestly 
solicited to accept the 
Republican nomination 
for Congress from this 
district, but was obliged 
to decline on account 
of feeble health. Soon 
after, he was appointed 
by Governor Banks 
judge of probate and 
insolvency for the 
county of Plymouth, 
which position he re- 
tained until the time of his death. In 1873, upon promotion 
of Judge Devens, he was offered a position upon the bench 
of the Superior Court, but his ill health forced him to de- 





cline the appointment. He was an able judge, and those who 
applied to him for help without the aid of a professional ad- 
viser found him a sympathizing friend, ready to render all 
assistance in his power. He was remarkable for his conscien- 
tiousness, his patient industry in matters connected with his 
office, he was courteous and affable in his relations to all, am- 
bitious to discharge faithfully all duties placed upon him, a 
man of unusual literary ability, and a lover of good books. 

Everett Robinson was born in Middleboro, January 22, 
1 8 16. His father was Josiah Robinson, a farmer, who lived in 
the northern part of the town. Mr. Robinson was educated 

under private teachers, in the 
public schools, and at Peirce 
Academy. His legal studies 
were pursued in the office of 
Zachariah Eddy, and he was ad- 
mitted to the Plymouth bar in 
1846. He at once opened an 
office at the Four Corners, and 
continued practice until the time 
of his death, August 5, 1897. He 
was noted for his knowledge of 
human nature, his shrewdness, 
good judgment, and remarkable 
memory, which, with diligent ap- 
plication to his profession, made 
him one of the most successful 
lawyers in the county before a 
jury. He was a man of simple habits, most scrupulous in his 
integrity and professional honor, and commanded the confi- 
dence and respect of the entire community. Few lawyers at the 
Plymouth bar were more dreaded by opposing counsel than 
Mr. Robinson. His wit and sarcasm at times were most severe, 
and yet he was a man of the kindest heart, generous, and 
thoughtful for his friends. He filled many offices in town ; was 
town clerk, selectman, assessor, collector of taxes, member of 


1870] LAWYERS 237 

the school committee, member of the House of Representa- 
tives for four years, a senator three years, and president of 
the Middleboro Savings Bank. He married Sarah W. Taylor 
of Dartmouth. 

Francis M. Vaughan was a lineal descendant of George 
Vaughan, one of the first settlers of the town. He was born 
in Middleboro, March 30, 1836, fitted for college at Peirce 
Academy, and entered Brown University in 1857, where he 
remained for two years. On account of ill health, he was obliged 
to leave the university, and soon after commenced the study 
of law with Hon. William H. Wood. He was admitted to the 
Suffolk bar November 8, 1861, and was in practice for a few 
years in the West, but soon returned to Middleboro. He was 
elected a representative to the legislature in i860, and was 
at that time the youngest member of the House. Upon the 
dividing of the commonwealth into judicial districts in 1874, 
he was appointed a justice of the Fourth District Court of 
Plymouth, the sessions of which were held alternately in 
Middleboro and Wareham. He held this office until the time 
of his death in 1891, and was regarded as a most impartial 
judge, who administered the duties of his office to the general 
satisfaction of the entire district. 




no profession has there been greater change in meth- 
ods and practice than in medicine. In olden times 
doctors were dentists, surgeons, and physicians. 
If a tooth needed piilHng, a rough, powerful instru- 
ment with a handle like a gimlet was used, and a strong man 
had to hold the patient's head. The story is told of Dr. Stur- 
tevant that, when called on to extract a tooth in haste, he got 
hold of two, pulling out a good one as well as the aching mem- 
ber. When the youth naturally remonstrated, he remarked, 
" I only intended to pull one, but never mind, the other one 
will never have to be pulled again." While they could extract 
teeth, doctors had not the art of supplying artificial ones ; once 
out, they were gone for all time, no false ones were to be had. 
Prescriptions to be filled at drugstores were unheard of, 
but drugs and herbs were used extensively and generously. 
The usual method of practice was for the doctor to examine the 
patient's tongue, feel his pulse, let his blood, then dose him 
with calomel, jalap, senna, etc. 

In the discoveries of modern times, probably as much ad- 
vance has been made in medical science and in the treatment 
of disease as in any other department of human progress, and 
we to-day can scarcely appreciate the difference in the care 
of the sick as compared with that which the early settlers of 
the country received at the hands of those who were then con- 
sidered able physicians. 

Dr. Isaac Fuller, the son of Rev. Samuel Fuller, was 
the first physician, 1 and his practice extended into the neigh- 

1 He was called " mountebank," a title which in those days was given to a 
skilled physician, although to-day the meaning of the word is far different. 

1752] PHYSICIANS 239 

boring villages. He lived in that part of the town now 

Rev. Thomas Palmer became proficient in medicine after 
he had been deposed from the pastorate of the First Church. 
He reformed his habits of drink, and practised with success 
until his death. 

Dr. Peter Oliver, Jr., was a physician (see chapter on 
Loyalists), and had an office in a small building at the corner 
of the lane in front of his home (the Sproat house). 

Dr. Samuel Clark. (See chapter on Four Corners.) 

At the time Dr. Clark was in practice there lived here two 
"botanical " or herb doctors, named Lunt and Bryant. 

Dr. Joseph Clark. (See chapter on Four Corners.) 

Dr. Thomas Sturtevant,^ who lived on the Sturtevant place 
at the Green, was contemporary with Dr. Joseph Clark. He was 
born in Halifax in 1749, and died in Middleboro, November 14, 
1836. He married Sarah Soule of Halifax. At his death, after 
sixty years of practice in Middleboro, he left eleven children. 

Dr. George Sturtevant, the youngest son, succeeded his 
father, residing at the homestead until his death in 1852. He 
had a large practice in this and adjoining towns. 

1 Dr. Thomas Sturtevant was a son of Dr. Josiah Sturtevant, a physician in 
practice in the town of Halifax before the Revohxtionary War. He early espoused 
the cause of the king, and on account of his pronounced utterances against the 
patriot cause, was compelled to leave the town and flee to Boston. He was there 
appointed a surgeon in the British army, but died soon after, and was buried under 
the Old South Meeting-House, Boston. The following letter illustrates the feeling 
that e.xisted at the time on the part of the loyalists : — 

August 18, 1775. 

My dear husband departed this life at Boston in his fifty-fifth year where he 
was driven by a mad and deluded mob for no other offence but his loyalty to his 
sovereign. God forgive them and grant that his death may be sanctified to me 
and our children for our souls everlasting good. Lois Sturtevant. 




Dr. Stephen Powers practised as a physician in Eddy- 
ville from 1760 to 1774. During his residence in town he was 
prominent in its affairs, and for a time was the leader of the 
choir in the First Church. He was so influenced by the general 
talk of the better opportunities for enterprising young men in 
what was then known as "up country," that with many other 
citizens he moved to Woodstock in 1774. While a resident of 
Middleboro he lived in the Harrison Clark house, and was then 
and ever after an earnest supporter of liberty in the stirring 
events which preceded the Revolution. After the battle of 
Lexington he came to Boston, and at the battle of Bunker 
Hill he rendered great assistance in caring for the wounded. 
He married Lydia Drew in 1760, and died in Woodstock, 
November 27, 1809, aged seventy-four years. He was the 
grandfather of Hiram Powers, the sculptor. 

Dr. Arab Thompson was born December 30, 1786. He 

was the son of Wil- 
liam Thompson, a large 
land-owner in Middle- 
boro, and a brother 
of Cephas Thompson, 
the celebrated portrait 
painter. He married 
Mercy, a daughter of 
Hon. William Bourne, 
in December, 18 16. 
He served for some 
thirteen years as ad- 
jutant of the Fourth 
Regiment of the mili- 
tia of this district. He 
was representative to 
the General Court ^ in 

He died April 23, 1843, at the age of fifty-six years. 

1 Dr. Arad Thompson was for many years the moderator of the town meetings. 





Dk. Morrill Robinson was a much-beloved physician, 
who practised 
forty-five years 
in North Mid- 
dleboro. (See 
chapter on Titi- 

Dr. George 
King was born 
in Rochester, 
July 5, 1822. 
He received 
his medical ed- 
ucation in New 
York, and suc- 
ceeded to the 
practice of Dr. 
Hitchcock in 

Middleboro, in 1849. ^^ practised from 1848 until 1857, 
when he moved to Franklin. In 1852 he married Lucy Ann 
Eddy, a daughter of William S. Eddy. August 14, 1862, 
he was appointed assistant surgeon of the Sixteenth Mas- 
sachusetts Regiment, and continued to serve in that capacity 
until March 18, 1864, when he was appointed surgeon of 
the Twenty-ninth Massachusetts Regiment by the War De- 
partment. He was taken prisoner at Fort Stedman and con- 
fined for a short time in Libby Prison. He died in May, 


Dr. Henry D. Hitchcock was born in Westminster, Ver- 
mont, in 1820. He was in practice but a short time, as he 
was killed in a railroad accident, February 23, 1847. 

So sure was he of being chosen to this office, which he always expected, that 
a wag suggested that it would be appropriate for him to call the town meeting to 
order and request the voters to bring in their votes for Dr. Arad Thompson as 




Dr. Ebenezer W. Drake was born in Sharon, Mass., in 
181 5. He entered Brown University in 1839, remaining tliere 

three years, then 
entered the medi- 
cal school in Balti- 
more, Md. After 
pursuing his studies 
there for a while, 
he continued them 
with Dr. Winslow 
Lewis of Boston, 
and was graduated 
in 1846 from the 
Harvard Medical 
School. He mar- 
ried Mary E. Capen, 
a daughter of the 
late Dr. Robert 
Capen of Boston. 
He practised in 
town from 1847 to 
the time of his death in 1887. Dr. Drake was influential in all 
town affairs, religious, educational, and political. He was a 
member of the school committee of the town for twenty-five 
years, and one of the first appointed medical examiners for 
southeastern Massachusetts, holding the office during his life- 


Dr. Henry Sutton Burgess Smith was born in Bridge- 
water, Maine, July 12, 1838. After graduating from Bowdoin 
College in 1861, he taught school in Brunswick, and on August 
26, 1862, he married Ophelia, daughter of Jason and Mary 
Cheney Ripley of New Hampshire. His ambition was to become 
a physician, and in the midst of school duties he studied hard. 
In April, 1864, he was commissioned as assistant surgeon of 
the Thirty-second Regiment Maine Volunteers, and started 
with the regiment for active service in Virginia. He was in 




battles at the James, Petersburg, Cold Harbor, and the Wil- 
derness, where he rendered valuable service. At the close of 
the war he attended a course of lectures at Berkshire Medi- 
cal College, then settled in Bowdoin, Maine, where he had a 
large practice. On the death of Dr. Comstock he moved to 
Middleboro, and continued in practice till his death, October 
31, 1894. 

Dr. William W. Comstock was born in Smithfield, R. I., 
March 23, 1801. In 1826 he married Saba, daughter of Thomas 
Sturtevant. In 1829 he went to Buckfield, Maine, and at one 
time was elected 
as its representa- 
tive in the state 
legislature for a 
year. At the death 
of George Sturte- 
vant, he settled in 
Middleboro, where 
he remained until 
his death. In the 
early part of his 
practice he lived 
in the Sturtevant 
house, and after- 
wards moved to the 
Four Corners. He 
was a member of 
the Massachusetts 
Medical Society, of the American Medical Society, and of the 
Bristol South District Medical Society. 

He was a man much respected and esteemed, not only as an 
eminent and skilful physician, but as a good citizen. Before 
his death he had the following motto printed for his grandchil- 
dren, " Power of thought is the only true measure of intellect, 
as force of principle is the only true measure of moral great- 
ness." He died October 20, 1878. 





Dr. George Walter Snow was born in Rochester, Sep- 
tember 30, 1800, and was in active practice at the Rock and 

South Middleboro 
until his death, 
May;, 1867. His 
parents died when 
he was young, and 
he was brought up 
in Providence in 
the home of his 
uncle, Hon. Tris- 
tram Burgess, then 
a member of Con- 
gress. He stud- 
ied medicine with 
Dr. John Perkins 
of South Middle- 
boro and surgery 
at Harvard. He 
married Jane H. 
Hines, August 23, 
1832, but left no 
children. He was a member of the Rock Baptist Church and 
is buried in that cemetery. 


The following is a list of physicians who have been in prac- 
tice recently in Middleboro : — 

Joseph C. Baker, William Chamberlain, Chapin, 

C. S. Cummings, Benjamin Eldridge, George L. Ellis, Winsor 

F. Fryer, Gilman, Edward I. Hall, Thomas S. 

Hodgson, Daniel S. Holmes, C. S. Jackson, E. C. Knight, 
Amos B. Paun, John Perkins, J. H. Sherman, James F. Shurt- 
leff of Highlands, A. Vincent Smith, William K. Wells, A. C. 



ITH the exception of the professional men, there were 
few, if any, residents of the town who had received 
a college education up to the year 1750, yet the early 
settlers appreciated the value of sound learning. As 
early as 1663 the General Court at Plymouth recommended 
that the several townships within its jurisdiction should take 
some course by which every town should have a schoolmaster 
for the training of the children in reading and writing. 
In 1677 it was enacted,^ — 

"That in whatsoever townshipp in this Govment consist- 
ing of fifty families or upwards ; any meet man shalbe obtained 
to teach a Gramer Scoole such townshipp shall allow att least 
twelve pounds in currant merchantable pay to be raised by 
rate on all the Inhabitants of such Towne and those that have 
the more emediate benefitt thereof by theire Childrens good 
and generall good shall make up the resedue nessesarie to 
maintaine the same and that the profitts ariseing of the Cape 
Fishing ; heertofore ordered to maintaine a Grarner Scoole 
in this Collonie, be destributed to such Townes as have such 
Gramer Scooles for the maintainance therof ; not exceeding 
five pounds p anum to any such Towne unless the Court 
Treasurer or other appointed to manage that affaire see good 
cause to adde thereunto to any respective Towne not exceed- 
ing five pounds more p"" anum, and further this Court orders 
that every such Towne as consists of seaventy families or 
upwards and hath not a gramer scoole therein shall allow and 
pay unto the next towne which hath such Gramer scoole kept 
up amongst them, the sum of five pounds p annum in currant 
merchantable pay, to be levied on the Inhabitants of such 
defective townes by rate and gathered and delivered by the 
Constables of such Townes as by warrant from any Majestrate 
of this Jurisdiction shalbe required." 

^ Plymouth Colony Laws, p. 185. 


In 1706 we find by vote of the town John Bennett^ was "to 
keep a free school and he doth engage to teach all to read, 
write and cast accounts as shall come to him to be taught." 
His service as schoolmaster could not have been long, as in 
1709 the grand jury found a bill against the town for not hav- 
ing, or not being provided with, a schoolmaster according to 
law. What course they pursued in reference to this action on 
the part of the grand jury does not appear. A town meeting 
was held on the ist of March, 1709, probably as a result of 
that action, and Ephraim Wood was employed to be the school- 
master. His salary for such service to be "as the selectmen 
and he can agree for the year." The next mention we have of 
a school in town is that recorded on the ist of March, 171 1, 
when the town agreed with Eleazer Lewis " to teach all that 
shall come to him to be taught upon the same terms as was 
agreed with the schoolmaster for the last year." In 1713"^ a 
committee was appointed to choose a teacher; again, in 1715, 
we find a Mr. Gardner was employed " to keep school at the 
meeting house this ensuing quarter of the year." The grand 
jury, in 1716, found a bill against the town for not being pro- 
vided with a teacher, and on May 18, 1716, " Mr. John Morton 
was chosen to answer the town's presentment for want of a 

1 John Bennett, who taught school in 1703, made the following entries in his 
note-book : — 

Scollers com to begin the scole 

Elizabeth Voge - - - May 10, 1703 


William Ring May 17 

George Barrale 16 weeke October y^ 18- 1703 

Captain Warrens Children 6 weeke October 18 

M"^ Tomas 2 Children 2 weeke October 18 

3 days 

M' Shirtlife weeks October 18 i week 3 days 

3 days 

M' Barnabie weeks October 18 i week 3 days 

2 At the town meeting March 8, 1713-14, the town made choice of Mr. Ro- 
dolphus Elms, Mr. Nathaniel Winslow, and Mr. Nathaniel South worth, "to be a 
committee in the town's behalf to seek out a schoolmaster to serve the town for 
this present year, or so much of the year as they shall agree for, and the town 
voted to pay said schoolmaster what said committee shall agree with him 
for which schoolmaster shall be removed four times a year for the benefit of the 
several neighborhoods in the town." 

175°] EDUCATION 247 

school master." As a result of the action of the grand jury, 
four schools were appointed to be kept in different parts of the 
town. These were taught by Thomas Roberts, who spent two 
or three months in each school.^ It appears, however, that 
there were no schoolhouses, but it was the teacher's habit to 
gather the children in different neighborhoods at some dwell- 
ing-house and instruct them for a few weeks during each year. 

Among the teachers we find Mr. Foster, a relative of Madam 
Morton, Nathaniel Morton, the father of Governor Marcus Mor- 
ton, and Miss Anna Dilley, a quick, self-reliant little woman, 
who wrote poems, and lived by herself in the schoolhouse 
surrounded by an orchard near the residence of Deacon Abiel 
Wood. The low ceilings were covered with unpainted pine 
boards, and a large open fireplace occupied one corner of the 
schoolroom ; the desks were arranged upon three sides, and 
the older scholars sat with their backs to the master. Some 
of the older inhabitants remember the little red schoolhouse 
in Muttock opposite the house where Asaph Churchill lived. 
This was probably one of the oldest in town, built before 
the Revolutionary War through the influence of Judge Oliver. 
Not long after, others were erected, at least one in Eddyville, 
and possibly one within the bounds of the present town of 
Lakeville. Soon after the Revolutionary War there were 
schoolhouses in many neighborhoods, and before the middle 
of the last century there were forty, possibly more than within 
any other town of the size in the commonwealth. 

Schools were held in the summer and winter months, the 

1 At a town meeting May 18, 1716, the town voted that Mr. Thomas Roberts 
" shall be the town schoolmaster for one year next ensuing, and that the town will 
pay him for the same £20 a year and find his board, and that he shall keep school 
each quarter of the year at a several quarter of the town, that so the whole town 
may have the benefit thereof in the year's time, and that the town shall be divided 
into quarters by a committee appointed by the town, and that each quarter of the 
town shall have the privilege of keeping the school in such places as they shall 
find to be most for their general benefit, and also for boarding said schoolmaster 
at such place as may be most convenient. The men appointed for the aforesaid 
committee are John Morton, Samuel Eaton, Peter Bennet, and Jacob Thomson, 
which said committee shall also determine which quarter of the town the school 
shall first be kept in." 


summer schools being taught usually by young women, while 
the winter schools were invariably taught by men. There were 
always a number of men and women who were well equipped 
to teach the rudiments of education as required in the district 
schools, so that the teachers were usually residents of the 
town. The winter school commenced on the first Monday 
after Thanksgiving, and continued from two to four months, 
as the number of pupils in the different schools warranted. 
The summer schools commenced about the first Monday in 
May, and continued during the summer. On the first day of 
the winter term, the names of pupils were taken, their places 
in class determined, and a " fire list " made out. This list con- 
tained the names of the larger boys, whose duty it was to see 
to the building of fires each day. After school closed at night, 
the boy appointed gathered wood, locked the schoolhouse door, 
and took the key preparatory to early work there in the morn- 
ing, — that the fire might be in readiness, a bucket of water 
drawn, and the room swept. Wood was furnished by those 
living in that district in pieces from eight to ten feet in length. 
The larger boys would cut it ; the smaller ones would pile it 
neatly, ready for use. 

There were various methods of punishing the unruly ; the 
simplest, but effective, was to make a small boy sit with the 
little girls. The children were not spoiled, if sparing the rod 
was the cause, for the white birch rod and ferule were used 
frequently on the larger boys to maintain discipline, and the 
teacher was usually respected for his strength. The teacher 
" boarded round " with the parents, a certain number of days 
for each pupil in part payment of wages. The average pay of 
the men who taught the winter schools was about the same as 
that received by skilled mechanics of the time, while the women 
who taught the summer schools received very much less. 

One of the most intelligent and honored men in the early 
history of the town said, " The only instruction I ever received 
was the six weeks' schooling during the winter months of the 
school at Muttock." In considering this seemingly meagre 
education, it must be remembered that these men read care- 

i8oo] EDUCATION 249 

fully and with thought the few books they had. This gave 
them a mental discipline and grasp of affairs which enabled 
them to fill positions with honor and credit. 

As the population increased and the business of the diifer- 
ent neighborhoods changed from time to time, the boundary 
lines of the school districts were subject to frequent altera- 
tions ; in many instances the population so diminished that 
the district was abolished, the schoolhouse removed, and the 
children were sent to adjoining neighborhoods for their edu- 
cation. These changes have been frequent, and in the latter 
years have been radical, so that, by a provision of the legisla- 
ture of Massachusetts, the towns were authorized to transport 
scholars from one part of the town to the other to save expense, 
rather than maintain a school in the respective districts. In 
each of these, school agents were chosen by the districts and 
approved by the next town meeting ; they were authorized to 
engage the teachers for the ensuing year and to look after the 
various interests of the school in connection with the com- 
mittee. The teachers, before entering upon their duties, had 
to pass a satisfactory examination. 

Before high schools were established, children desiring to fit 
for college, or to continue their studies in the higher branches 
of learning, were sent to some of the numerous academies 
which at this time existed all through New England. 


The New England academies had for many generations 
done much to foster a more extended education than could be 
acquired in the district schools. The advantage to be derived 
from such a course of study was apparent, and it was felt that 
the state should furnish means so that all should have the 
advantages which academies afforded for advanced study. This 
idea so generally prevailed that the legislature had passed a 
general law that 

" Any town containing five hundred families shall, beside 
the common schools, maintain a school to be kept by a master 


of competent ability and good morals, who shall, in addition 
to the branches of learning already mentioned, give instruc- 
tion in History of the United States, Book-keeping, Surveying, 
and Algebra, and such schools must be kept for the advan- 
tage of the inhabitants of the town ten months at least in each 

P'or many years this law had been a dead letter in our town, 
until the establishment of the high school, for which we are 
specially indebted to Mr. Thomas Covington, who for years 
had been a noted teacher in the district school. He was a man 
of superior intelligence, appreciating the value of learning, and 
was desirous that his own children should be further instructed 
without going to the great expense of sending them to an 
academy. He had for some time made a strong appeal that 
the town should establish a high school. His endeavors seem 
to have been disregarded, until at last he threatened to com- 
mence legal proceedings against the town unless they estab- 
lished such a school as the law required. He followed this mat- 
ter with such persistency that an article was inserted in the 
warrant for town meeting to be held the 6th of August, 1849, 
and, after much opposition, the town voted "to establish a 
high school as the law directs." 

In the school committee's report for the years 1849 ^"^ 1850, 
which was the first printed, they make this statement : — 

" Your committee have attended to the duty assigned to them 
by the town in relation to the high school and report as follows : 
The first term commenced in the vestry of the church at the 
Green, which was under the instruction of Ephraim Ward, Jr. 
Number of scholars twenty-one. The results were very satis- 
factory. The second term was taught in the school house, 
District Number Twenty, Titicut, with the same teacher, num- 
ber of pupils iifty-five." 

The committee, however, did not regard the establishing of 
a high school under compulsion with much favor, as appears by 
another clause in this report wherein they say : — 

" Your committee share in the prevalent feeling of the town 
that the money expended for this school might be more use- 

1865] EDUCATION 251 

fully appropriated to the use of the other schools. The probable 
expense of the school will be about four hundred dollars for the 

The high school was continued with apparently but little 
success, and after the year 1853, when Lakeville was set off as 
an independent town, the requisite number of families had so 
diminished that they were not obliged by law to maintain such 
a school. No further action was taken until the year 1865, when 
the legislature enacted that " every town having four thousand 
inhabitants should maintain a school for all, having a teacher 
qualified to teach the higher branches and the languages." 
The committee recommended that such a school be supported, 
and urged that it would "raise the standard of the town, as the 
scholars would be ambitious for the honor of being members 
of the high school." They further suggested that it would be 
much the better way to have it located in some place near the 
centre, as the idea of a movable school was not practicable. 
This was the first definite action taken towards establishing 
and maintaining a permanent high school. In the year 1867 the 
town appropriated one thousand dollars for that purpose, and 
the committee were instructed to locate such a school in four 
different sections. For lack of pupils, but two such schools 
were established, one at the Rock, and later an arrangement 
was made with the trustees of Peirce Academy that that build- 
ing should be secured for a high school. In March, 187 1, 
the town voted three hundred dollars for travelling expenses, 
and one central high school was held in the Academy build- 
ing, taught by Professor Jenks ; he so reorganized the course of 
study that it was completed in three years. It was not until 
the building of the new town house in 1873 that suitable 
accommodations were provided, four rooms being set apart as 
a high school, with Mr. J. H. Willoughby, a graduate of Dart- 
mouth College, as its principal. Under his management the 
school was systematized, and at the close of the year, in June, 
1876, the first class was graduated. In 1886 the present com- 
modious building was erected. Since Mr. Willoughby with- 
drew from his position, the principals have been Dr. Charles 




S. Ober, A. K. Potter, Jr., and Walter Sampson. Under the 
latter's management the school has grown, and every year has 
sent pupils to the various colleges and professional schools of 
the country. The fondest hopes and expectations of the early 
founders have been more than realized in the success it has 


The history of Peirce Academy has been interesting, and 
under the management of Professor J. W. P. Jenks it did much 
for the cause of education. During the middle of the last cen- 
tury there were more than four hundred students who came 
from all parts of the United States, and some from foreign 
lands ; its graduates are represented in every profession, and 
in the various departments of business and industry. 

In the early part of the last century many of the influential 
men of the town felt the need of an academic institution, and 
Major Levi Peirce, who realized the want of a place for public 
worship in the village at the Four Corners, decided to erect at 
his own expense an academy building, the lower part to be 
used for educational purposes, the second story for religious 
meetings. This plan was carried into effect, and on the i8th 





day of August, 1808, the building was raised. The following 
is taken from the records of the institution : — 

" Academy raised August 18, 1808; prayer on the founda- 
tion by Rev. Mr. Simeon Coombs. Thanks returned after the 
raising by the Rev. Mr. Wm. Bentley." 

'The cost of this building, which was paid by Major Levi 
Peirce, was about two thousand five hundred dollars. Among 
the records in his handwriting is the following : — 

" The above academy with the lot on which it stands is 
giv^en to the Trustees of the Baptist Education Fund by deed 
including all appurtenances thereto belonging, reserving, how- 
ever, the hall for holding religious meetings when it does not 
interfere with the school, and also if said Trustees neglect to 
keep a school in said Academy for twelve months, it shall 
return back to its original owner." Signed " L. Peirce." 

The hall of the Academy building was used by the Baptist 
Church until its house of worship was built in 1828. At first 
there were but few pupils in attendance, and the receipts were 
small. After the institution had been supported for a few years, 
it was neglected by the trustees of the Baptist Education Fund 
and so reverted to its original owner. During the first ten 


years of its existence, part of the building was used for a dis- 
trict school in winter and part for academical teaching. The 
struggle to maintain this academy may be gathered from 
the memoranda which have come down in the handwriting of 
the Hon. Wilkes Wood, under the date of March 20, 1817 : — 

" The subscribers proposing to institute a school in the 
academy building at the Four Corners in Middleboro for one 
year do agree to support the same for said term in proportion 
to the numbers set against our respective names, provided 
there shall be twenty shares subscribed for." 

These names, with the number of shares taken, are as 
follows : — 

Wilkes Wood 


Levi Peirce 


Abiel Washburn 


William Bourne 


Levi Briggs 


P. H. Peirce 


John Shaw 


George Leonard 


James Sproat 


Arad Thompson 


Thomas Weston 


Zachariah Eddy 


Zachariah Weston i 

The result of this, with the interest taken by the above 
gentlemen, was that it was kept alive, and but a small amount 
of the money subscribed was paid. The next year the same 
gentlemen agreed to contribute globes for the use of the acad- 
emy. There seem to be no further records until the time of 
its incorporation in 1835. 

The incorporators and trustees were as follows : John Allen, 
John O. Choules, Harvey Fitz, Peter H. Peirce, Isaac Stevens, 
Wilkes Wood, Avery Briggs, Elisha Tucker, and James A. 

The various principals connected with the school have been 
as follows : Hercules Cushman, Esq., Rev. Charles Wheeler, 
Mr. Hezekiah Battelle, Jr., Rev. Isaac Kimball, Rev. B. F. 
Farnsworth, Abraham G. Randall, Rev. Leonard Tobey, Rev. 
Avery Briggs, and Professor John W. P. Jenks. 

The act of incorporation was the turning-point in the history 
of the academy. From the first it had fitted students for col- 
lege, competing without an endowment with other institutions 





largely endowed, but it did not obtain great success until the 
year 1842, when Professor Jenks became its principal. From 
that time its reputation was not excelled by any academy in 

When Mr. Jenks first took charge, it was entirely destitute 
of proper equipments, and it was the first duty of the princi- 
pal to supply this deficiency. By almost Herculean labor, by 
denying himself his salary and the aid of an assistant male 
teacher, he was able after a few years to secure suitable appa- 
ratus and a cabinet of natural history specimens.^ In 1850 
the reputation of the academy was so extended that more com- 
modious quarters were needed ; it had outgrown the old build- 
ing, which was sold for three hundred and thirty-five dollars. 
With this as a nucleus, the principal undertook the erection 
of another building at a cost of ten thousand dollars, one half 
of which was raised by private individuals through the solici- 
tations of the principal, and the remainder, assumed by him, 
was not repaid until the summer of 1855. 

After this, the first effort of the principal was to establish 

1 In 1S79 this museum was presented to the South Jersey Institute in Bridgeton, 
where it is now known as the Peirce Collection. Guild Memorial address. 




an English department of a high order, together with a clas- 
sical and a mathematical department, which were placed in 
the hands of separate teachers ; music, drawing, painting, and 
biology were also taught. With this equipment, the institution 
soon outgrew its second building, and it was found necessary 

in 1853 to enlarge this 
to its present size by 
adding to both front and 
rear. For ten years it 
was barely sufficient to 
accommodate the in- 
creasing number of stu- 
dents who desired to 
avail themselves of its 
opportunities. With the 
establishment of high 
schools in almost every 
town, affording facilities 
for an education without 
charge to pupils, this 
was given up in common 
with other unendowed 
academies in Massachu- 
setts, and after service of about thirty years. Professor Jenks 
resigned to take charge of the department of Natural History 
at Brown University, 

John Whipple Potter Jenks was born in West Boylston, May 
I, 1 8 19, and was the oldest son of Dr. Nicholas Jenks, a phy- 
sician of that place. When thirteen years old he determined, 
through the influence of Dr. Messer, to obtain, if possible, a 
collegiate education. With great self-denial he was fitted for 
college, and by his own exertions met his expenses and was 
graduated with credit, having won a reputation for industry 
and scholarship which followed him all his life. He taught in 
a small village school in Georgia, and in 1840, having in the 
mean time prepared himself for the ministry, he accepted a 
call as a colleague of Dr. Mercer over the Baptist Church in 


1892] EDUCATION 257 

Washington, Wilkes County, Georgia. Here he labored about 
a year, occupying the pulpit Sunday morning and conducting 
the prayer and conference meeting through the week. Among 
his hearers were Robert Toombs, Alexander H. Stevens, 
and other noted men of the South. When Dr. Mercer's health 
failed, he was unanimously invited to become the pastor of 
that church, although not twenty-one years of age. This he 
declined, not having as careful a theological training as he 
deemed necessary, and after remaining for two years in the 
South as a teacher in a seminary for women and adjunct pro- 
fessor in Mercer University, he accepted the invitation of 
Major Levi Peirce to become the principal of Peirce Academy. 

In 1872 he was appointed Professor of Agricultural Zoology 
and Curator of the Museum of Natural History at Brown 
University, where he remained until his death on the 26th of 
September, 1892. At the time of this appointment his large 
collection was removed from Middleboro and enriched their 
zoological cabinet ; to this he added many rare specimens 
during the latter part of his professorship from his extensive 
journeys in the South. He was the author of the greater 
part of Steele's "Fourteen Weeks in Zoology," and in 1886 
revised and rewrote that book, making it a most acceptable 
and popular text-book. During the many years that he was 
principal of Peirce Academy, and later when connected with 
the university, he exerted a wide and helpful influence over 
all who came under his instruction. Perhaps there is no- 
thing in past years which has added so much to the reputation 
of Middleboro and made it so widely known as Peirce Acad- 
emy and its beloved principal. 

During the years following, the academy was taught by Dr. 
Charles Green, Professor Willard T. Leonard, and George W. 
Coffin. After it ceased to be used for academic purposes, it 
reverted, in accordance with the terms of the original founder, 
to the Central Baptist Society. Since that time it has been 
used for different purposes, for the Young Men's Christian 
Association, as a Post of the Grand Army, a lodge of the Sons 
of Temperance, etc. 



In 1856, by an act of the legislature, this academy was in- 
corporated, the expenses of the land and the buildings being 
secured by contributions of fifty dollars each from various 
individuals. The late Zebulon Pratt was largely instrumental 
in obtaining the act of incorporation, securing the necessary 
funds, and erecting the buildings. It remained as an academy 
for nine years, supported by the tuitions and contributions 
from friends. During this time it was taught by the follow- 
ing gentlemen : T. Newton Snow, Roland F. Alger, Arthur 
Lake, Nathan E. Willis, Lucien D. Fay, John Shaw, Barton F. 
Blake, and Linus A. Gould. 

In 1864 the shareholders voted to convey the property to 
Enoch Pratt 1 of Baltimore, who had expressed a wish to endow 

1 The following is a copy of the deed of the Titicut Academy building : — 
Know all men by these presents that we the undersigned stockholders in the 
Titicut Academy situated in North Middleboro in the County of Plymouth do 
hereby sell and convey unto Enoch Pratt of Baltimore all the right, title and 
interest in the real and personal estate connected therewith and all shares of 
stock that we hold therein, to have and to hold the same to him his heirs and 
assigns forever. Nevertheless upon the following trust and conditions, namely, 
the said Pratt is to establish a Free School in the academy building now owned 
by said proprietors for the benefit of all the children residing within two and one 
half miles of said academy who are above the age of eight years, the same to 
be placed under the control of a board of Trustees to be appointed by said Pratt 
with the power of filling vacancies, the said board of Trustees to be Incorporated 
and to hold such estate for the purpose above specified for ever, and upon the fur- 
ther consideration that the said Pratt convey said estate to the said Trustees and 
endow the said Institution with a fund not less than Ten Thousand Dollars, the 
income of which is to be expended in keeping said academy building in repair 
and supporting Teacher or Teachers in said Institution and for the purchase of 
a library, apparatus, and for other necessary expenses connected therewith. 
Witness our hands and Seal 
Witness Wm. H. Wood 

Ebenezer Shaw Zebulon Pratt 

Daniel L. Hayward Isaac Pratt Jr. Ex' will of Isaac Pratt 

A. F. Hooper Elijah E. Perkins 

Vassal Keith Morrill Robinson 

Otis W. Hathaway Albert G. Pratt 

Paul Hathaway Jared Pratt 2* 

Bela Forbes Abraham Perkins 

Edwin Holmes Solomon White 

Holder W. Keith Job H. Johnson 




the school. Other citizens ^ besides the shareholders contributed 
money for necessary repairs and alterations in the building. 

On receiving the deed from the stockholders, Mr. Pratt sent 
the following letter : — 

Baltimore, Jan. 20th 1865. 

To Messrs. Zebulon Pratt, Dr. Morrill Robinson, 
Augustus Pratt, Rev. E. G. Little, N. F. C. Pratt. 

I wish to endow a free school for both sexes to be always 
located near the pre- 
sent meeting house , -i- 
in Titicut, North 
Middleboro, Mass., 
for the benefit of all 
children over eight 
years of age within 
the limits of Titicut 
Parish or a radius 
of two and one half 
miles, as my Trustees 
may determine. I 
appoint you a board 
of five Trustees to 
establish and organ- 
ize said Free School 
leaving all the details 
proper for its gov- 
ernment and future 
management to your 
judgement and dis- 
cretion, your num- 
ber to be always kept up, when a vacancy occurs you and your 

Lysander Richmond 
James M. Alden 
Samuel Keith 
Earl H. Cushman 
I. Sanford Wilbar 
Justin Andrews 
Plymouth ss. Dec. g'^ 1S64 

Then personaly appeared Zebulon Pratt and acknowledged the above to be his 
free act and deed of the Titicut Academy 

before me W.m. H. Wood 

Justice of the Peace. 
1 Christopher C. K. Pratt, Jeremiah K. Pratt, Augustus Pratt, Hosea Wash- 
burn, and Seth Washburn. 


Jonathan Richmond 
Nathan Williams 
Emory Johnson 
William Shaw 
Lucy Shaw 
Job Hall 




successors shall immediately fill such vacancy by a judicious 
selection from the capable male inhabitants of said Parish. 
Being informed the owners of the academy building and ground 
are willing to convey the same in fee simple free of all debt 

or incumbrance to 
such School, and 
that a proper char- 
ter free of taxa- 
tion can be ob- 
tained from your 
Legislature with a 
capital not exceed- 
ing $25,000 in per- 
sonal and real es- 
tate, I therefore 
propose to transfer 
after the first of 
April next Two 
Hundred Shares of 
the Stock of the 
Philadelphia, Wil- 
mington & Balti- 
more Railroad, the 
par value of Fifty 
Dollars each, now 
worth about Sixty- 
eight dollars per 
share. — The in- 
come from which 
to be devoted to 
the support of suit- 
able teachers to 
keep said free school open during all the scholastic terms, 
commencing about the first of September. — Also to keep the 
building insured, in repair, and the grounds in order, and I 
hope a moderate amount from said income may be devoted 
each year to the increase of a circulating library to be attached 
to the school, and for the free use of all the inhabitants of 
said Titicut Parish, but under no circumstances is the capital 
to be at any time expended or diminished. If at any time it 
produces no income, it is my wish the School to be kept up 
as far as possible by a moderate charge for tuition. I impose 
upon you and your successors to guard the capital with care, 
giving you full authority to invest, and reinvest, the same as 


1865] EDUCATION 261 

in your judgement you deem proper, as I make this endow- 
ment solely for the benefit of the constant rising generation 
of my nativ^e place. I hope and trust the present and future 
generations will take such an interest in this free school as to 
guard it and its funds in the most sacred manner. 

I also authorize you and your successors to enlarge or di- 
minish limits and also the ages for the first admission of chil- 
dren, and also to take scholars from a distance under proper 
charges, but in no event to deprive the children as above 
named from having a preference, and a chance for a free 
education. I wish every youth to have the advantage to acquire 
a good English education. 

Trusting gentlemen without further details you will be able 
to establish and carry on this free school and to transfer it 
in a flourishing condition to your successors as time brings 
them forward, and I shall be pleased to receive notice of your 
acceptance of this trust, and with best wishes for the success 
of the school 

I am your obt Servant 

Enoch Pratt. 

Baltimore, Feb. 21st, 1S68. 
To THE Trustees of PrxVTT Free School. 

Enclosed I hand you certificate for $10,000 U. S. 5/20 Stock 
interest from Nov. last in gold at Boston and worth to-day 
$11,000, which I add to the fund the income for the support 
of your School Library & Repairs. 

Yours Respectfully 

Enoch Pratt. 

In accordance with the offer of Mr. Pratt, in 1865, it was 
incorporated under the name of the Pratt Free School, ^ with 

^ The act of incorporation is as follows : — 

In the year one thousand eight hundred and sixty five 

An Act 
to incorporate the Trustees of the Pratt Free School. 
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court 
assembled and by the authority of the same as follows 

Sec. I. — Zebulon Pratt, Augustus Pratt, Nathan F. C. Pratt, Morrill Robin- 
son, Elbridge C. Little and their successors are hereby incorporated under the 
name of the Trustees of the Pratt Free School to establish and maintain a 
school to be located in Titicut Parish in the Town of Middleborough with all the 


Zebulon Pratt, Augustus Pratt, Nathan F. C. Pratt, Morrill Rob- 
inson, and Elbridge G. Little and their successors as trustees. 
The act of incorporation provides that the school shall be 
maintained upon terms and conditions in accordance with the 
previous communication of Mr. Pratt to the trustees. In addi- 
tion to the fund originally given, Enoch Pratt from time to 
time added to it, until now it amounts to fifty thousand dollars. 
The following persons have had charge of the school as 
principals since its organization : Moses C. Mitchell, Earl 
Ingals, George G. Pratt, E. H. Peabody, H. B. Lawrence, 
T. W. Tilton, C. S. Jackson, B. J. Allen, H. LeBaron Samp- 
son, and Elmer W. Barstow. 

duties, liabilities and restrictions set forth in the general laws which now are or 
may hereafter be in force relating to such corporations. 

Sec. 2. — Said Trustees may hold both real and personal estate to an amount 
not exceeding Fifty Thousand Dollars to be devoted exclusively to educational 
purposes according to the intent of Enoch Pratt of Baltimore the founder of said 
School as set forth in the third section of the Act. 

Sec. 3. — Said Trustees shall maintain a free School in said Titicut Parish in 
the Town of Middleborough for youth of both Sexes during thirty-six weeks at 
least of each year so long as the income of the fund and estate held by them is 
sufficient for that purpose. The qualifications of the pupils to be received and the 
territorial extent of the School district shall be determined by the Trustees. 

Sec. 4. — Any vacancies occurring in said board of Trustees may be filled by a 
majority vote of the remaining Trustees at any meeting so called for t^^at purpose, 
Provided no person shall serve as a Trustee who is not a resident of said Titicut 

Sec. 5. — The Corporation heretofore established or under the name of the 
Titicut Academy in said town of Middleborough is hereby authorized to transfer 
and convey to the Trustees of the Pratt Free School all the real and personal 
estate which it now holds and upon such transfer said Titicut Academy shall cease 
to have any further corporate existence. 

Provided that all the outstanding liabilities thereof shall be assumed by said 
Trustees of the Pratt Free School and that the rights of any creditor of said 
Titicut Academy shall not be affected thereby. 

Sec. 6. — This Act shall take effect upon its passage. 

House of Representatives, March 13"" 1865 passed to be enacted. 

Ale.xander H. Bullock, Speaker. 

In Senate, March 15"= 1865 passed to be enacted March 16"' 1865. 

I. E. Field President. 

Approved, John A. Andrew, April iS"" 1865. 

A true Copy, Oliver Warner, Secretary of the Commonwealth. 


In 1850 the Rev. Mr. Roberts, an English clergyman of 
ability, purchased an estate on the shores of Great Ouittacus, 
the grounds of which he laid out with care and expense after 
the style of the English parks. At the same time he estab- 
lished a Young Ladies' School, which was quite generally 
patronized for several years. At the time of his death in 
1864 the school was given up, and the building afterwards 
became the residence of his son, A. J. Roberts. 

Mr. S. W. Marston established a boarding-school for boys 
on Grove Street about the year 1854. Some few years after 
that, about 1859, he was succeeded by the Rev. Perez Lincoln 
Gushing, whose school was attended by pupils from different 
parts of the state. Mr. Gushing was assisted by his wife, who 
was formerly Miss Lavinia M. Parker, a preceptress of Peirce 
Academy for many years. Upon the death of Mr. Gushing 
it was conducted by Amos H. Eaton, under the name of the 
Eaton Family School, until 1898. 


In the early part of the century an organization known as 
the Philological Society was formed for the purpose of read- 
ing, obtaining information, and diffusing knowledge in the 
community. The membership included the clergymen and 
prominent men of the town. Public meetings were often held 
in the First Ghurch, at which there was either a debate upon 
some question of interest or an address upon historical or liter- 
ary subjects. These meetings were largely attended, and were 
regarded as among the important gatherings of the town. 
After this society had been in existence some twenty-five years, 
it seems to have been given up, and its books were purchased 
by the Middleboro Social Library, an association organized in 
June, 1832. The funds for its support were raised by sub- 
scription in sums from five to twenty dollars ; the library 
was owned by shareholders, and contained several hun- 
dred volumes, some of them of great value. This was main- 
tained with more or less interest for some twenty years, when 





most of the books had disappeared and the organization was 
virtually extinct. Some time after 1870 the question of hav- 
ing a town library began to be discussed, and at a town meet- 
ing held on the 19th of September, 1874, it was voted to estab- 
lish the Middleboro Public Library, and to choose a board of 
nine trustees, who were to serve without compensation. Their 
duties were to select books and properly organize such a library 
as would be of service to the inhabitants of the town. About 
a year was spent by the trustees in obtaining books from dif- 
ferent sources, in making a catalogue, and in properly arrang- 
ing them for the convenience of the public. The library was 
formally opened September 27, 1875. The trustees succeeded 
in collecting many of the volumes which had formerly belonged 
to the old Social Library, as well as a few books from the 
Middleboro Agricultural Library, organized in i860. They 
also received books from Peirce Academy and from the Young 
Men's Christian Association, which at that time had been 
abandoned. Many of the citizens of Middleboro contributed 
liberally either in books or in funds for this purpose. 




Upon its opening, there were about two thousand volumes, 
some of them of rare value. It was first located in the north 
corner room of the town hall. After the erection of the high 
school building in 1886 and 1887, the library was moved to 
the rooms formerly occupied by the school, and in March, 
1904, to the new building. During the first year of its organi- 
zation, in addition to the appropriations of the town, money 
was raised by contribution, public lectures, and other means. 
In 1899 the sum of 
$10,000 was received 
as a bequest from the 
w411 of the late Enoch 
Pratt of Baltimore, the 
income of which is used 
for its support. By the 
generous provision in 
the will of the late 
Thomas S. Peirce, a 
large and commodi- 
ous building has been 
erected upon North 
Main Street upon the 
site of the old garden 
of its liberal benefac- 
tor, who bequeathed 
the sum of $50,000 

for that purpose. It is of brick and stone, with a large read- 
ing-room, a young people's room, and rooms for the trustees, 
besides the delivery and stack rooms for books. There are 
about twelve thousand volumes in the main library, and the 
stack-room is planned to contain sixty thousand. Another 
legacy by the same donor gives $50,000 for the purchase of 
books and periodicals. 

The officers of the library have been as follows : — 

Presidents : William H. Wood, 1874-75 J William R. Peirce, 
1875-95 ; Calvin D. Kingman, 1896 to present time. 

Secretary and Treasurer: Joseph E. Beals, 1874 to present 



Librarians: N. Josephine Bullard, 1875-83; Charles M. 
Thatcher, 1883-84; Adelaide K. Thatcher, 1884 to present 


We have spoken of the taverns as news centres, where the 
gossip of the town was learned, and where tidings from the 
outside world were brought as travellers stopped to rest. In 
the olden time this social intercourse was the usual method 
of disseminating news. 

The printing of newspapers belongs to the nineteenth cen- 
tury. The first one in America, " Publick Occurrences," which 
appeared September 25, 1690, was discontinued shortly after 
its publication. Soon a paper was issued weekly in Phila- 
delphia, but in Boston the first daily, "The Boston News- 
Letter," was published April 20, 1704. This was printed on 
two pages of large folio sheets, the other two pages being 
blank so that letters could be written on that side ; a bit 

1 The following have been trustees : — 

William H. Wood, 1S74-82. 

William R. Peirce, 1S74-96. 

George Brayton, 1874-97, and 189S to present time. 

Abner L. Westgate, 1S74-86. 

Joseph E. Beals, 1874 to present time. 

James M. Coombs, 1874-1900. 

W. Clarkson Ryder, 1874-77. 

Willard T, Leonard, 1874-75. 

N. F. C. Pratt, 1874. 

Noah C. Perkins, 1875-80. 

Edward S. Hathaway, 1876 to present time. 

Everett Robinson, 1877-97. 

Warren H. South worth, 1881 to present time. 

James H. Willoughby, 1S83-S6. 

Amos H. Eaton, 1 886-88. 

Calvin D. Kingman, 1887 to present time. 

Andrew M. Wood, 1889 to present time. 

Nathan Washburn, 1896 to present time. 

Millard F. Johnson, 1897 and 1898. 

David G. Pratt, 1899 to present time. 

Warren B. Stetson, 1900-03. 

Kenelm Winslow, 1903 to present time. 


of economy and convenience much appreciated by merchants 
and business men, who could thus send pubUc news with pri- 
vate messages. Soon other papers were printed, so that there 
were one thousand two hundred and fifty-eight published in 
this country by 1835, the year in which Middleboro's first 
paper appeared. 

Although there had been a printing-office in East Middle- 
boro before the Revolution, from which almanacs, hand-bills, 
and small pamphlets had been issued, there seems to have 
been no newspaper in town until about the year 1835, when 
the "Old Colony Democrat," which had been published by 
Benjamin Drew, Jr., in Plymouth, was moved from that place 
to Middleboro Four Corners. Mr. Drew was an able editor, 
and a business man of sagacity, but for some reason the paper 
was not a success and was discontinued. About this time 
Benjamin Crandon began the publication of a small weekly 
paper, called the " Essay and Literary Journal," which was not 

In 1852 Mr. Samuel P. Brown edited the " Namasket Ga- 
zette," a small weekly printed on a sheet seventeen by twenty- 
four inches. For a country paper devoted especially to local 
news, it obtained quite a circulation, when in 1854 it was sold 
to Rev. Stillman Pratt, who changed its name to the " Middle- 
boro Gazette and Old Colony Advertiser." Mr Pratt was a re- 
tired clergyman of literary taste and culture. Under his charge 
the paper gained a wide reputation for the number of histori- 
cal communications relating to the early history of Plymouth 
Colony, and particularly relating to historic matters of the 
town. These communications were from Granville T. Sproat, 
General Ebenezer W. Peirce, Benjamin Wilder, and others. 
Mr. Pratt continued as editor and proprietor for about ten 
years, and at his death the paper passed into the hands of 
his son, Stillman B. Pratt. In 1869 he sold it to Mr. James M. 
Coombs, who enlarged it and changed the name to " Middle- 
boro Gazette." In August, 1894, the paper was purchased by 
Lorenzo Wood and Wallace Tinkham, who, in connection with 
this, publish the " Wareham Times." 


In 1 88 1 the growth of the town had become such that it was 
thought two newspapers could be well supported, and Mr. H. 
H. Sylvester published the " Middleboro News," which in 1901 
was enlarged and issued semi-weekly. As an organ of the 
Republican party it has an extensive circulation, and is now 
owned and edited by Marcus M. Copeland. 


The early method of sending and delivering letters was 
rather precarious. In the colonial days before regular post- 
riders were appointed, letters were carried by chance travellers 
on horseback. In 1673 the first regular mounted post started 
from New York to Boston, but it was many years before the 
smaller towns .had any service. In 1773 one Hugh Finlay 
was appointed postal surveyor from Quebec to St. Augustine. 
He reported carelessness as to mails and delivery ; letters were 
often left in tavern tap-rooms to be pulled over by any and all 
loungers who frequented these places, and were thus lost. The 
early post-riders and stage-coaches plying between Boston and 
New Bedford and Plymouth, later by way of Taunton, would 
leave letters and chance papers and parcels at Weston's, 
Sproat's, or Foster's (Sampson's Tavern). 

A law was passed forbidding the carrying of letters by pri- 
vate messenger, as the postmaster's salary was paid according 
to the number of letters he carried. But these post-riders 
were chief offenders, carefully pocketing any money paid for 
postage, and carrying all way-letters at their own profit. No 
one would complain, lest he offend these petty officials ; it 
was part of the revolt of the colonies against the oppression of 
England. Bundles could be carried free by private persons, 
and to avoid any possible government detection letters were 
bound up in bundles. The stage-coach between Boston and 
New Bedford, driven by Rufus Godfrey, passed and stopped 
at the various taverns along the road : in Dorchester, at one 
kept by Mr. Eaton, next at Ouincy, at Newcomb's Tavern, 
then through Weymouth, where there were two taverns, to 




Abington which boasted three, and on to the two taverns 
at Bridgewater. The last stop, before reaching New Bed- 
ford, was at Sampson's in Lakeville. The advertised route 
was : — 

'• New Bedford stage sets off from Waltons and Gales Broom- 
field Lane [Bromfield St., Boston] Mondays, Wednesdays & 
Fridays at 4 a. m, and arrives at New Bedford at 4 p. m. 
leaves New Bedford, Tuesday, Thursday & Saturday at 5 a. m. 
and arrives in Boston at 4 p. m." 

In winter and stormy weather the journey took a longer 

The first post-office of Middleboro was established about the 
year 1804, the office being not far from the present town 
house in Lakeville. It was a distributing office, and mails were 
left to be sent to the adjacent towns ; the mail was usually 
carried on horseback. The rules of the post-office give the fol- 
lowing as the rates of postage : — 

For a single letter, 40 miles 

90 " 

150 " 

300 " 

500 " 

and over 500 " 

8 c 
10 c 

I2i C 

17 C 
20 C 
25 C 

50 miles, I cent per 
ig 100, i^ cent ; over 

Magazines and pamphlets, not over 
sheet ; over 50 miles and not exceedir 
100 miles, 2 cents. 

Letters were enclosed in a bag, called a " post mantle," which 
could be carried on horseback or in the coach. They were usu- 
ally written upon one sheet, folded without an envelope, and 
addressed on the outside ; for a letter of two sheets, the post- 
age was double these rates. 

In 1 8 16 this tariff was changed by Congress, — a single letter 
carried not over thirty miles cost six and one-quarter cents, 
etc. Newspapers under one hundred miles or within the state 
where published, one cent, etc. A new tariff rate was adopted 
in 1845, another in 1855, and another in 1872. 


The first postmaster was James Washburn, a lawyer, who 
was then in practice in that part of Middleboro. The post- 
ofifice continued at this place until 181 1, when it was moved 
to the Four Corners. 

In 1893 the system of appointing the postmaster's assist- 
ants by civil service examination was inaugurated, as was the 
free delivery of mails. In 1902 the rural districts were in- 
cluded in the delivery. 


James Washburn, Cyrus Keith, John Smith, Levi Peirce, 
Allen Shaw, Levi Peirce (second term), Allen Shaw, Jacob B. 
Shaw, Sidney Tucker, Andrew L. Tinkham, Charles W. Tur- 
ner, Augustus M. Bearse, Thacher B. Lucas, and Augustus 
M. Bearse (second term) 

In 1824 an office was reestablished in that part of Middle- 
boro now Lakeville, under the name of the Assawampsett 
post-ofifice. Captain Daniel Smith was the first postmaster, 
and was succeeded by Elias Sampson, Jr. In 1831 the name 
was changed to the West Middleboro post-office, and the office 
was discontinued about the year 1846. 

In 1833 a post-office was established at Eddyville known 
as the East Middleboro post-office. The first postmaster was 
W. F. H. Weld. He was succeeded by Andrew B. Cobb, 
Nathaniel Eddy, Joshua M. Eddy, Anna C. Eddy, and William 

In 1 82 1 a post-office was established in Titicut, officially 
known as the North Middleboro post-office. Jared Pratt was 
first appointed postmaster, but was soon succeeded by Isaac 
Pratt, February i, 1821. He was succeeded by George Pick- 
ens, Jr., Rev. Philip Colby, Dr. Morrill Robinson, Solomon 
White, Nathan W. Pratt, Percy W. Keith, and Lucy H. Pratt. 

In 1846 an office was established in the southern part of the 
town, known as South Middleboro post-office. C. LeBaron 
was appointed postmaster in 1846. He was succeeded by 
Chandler R. Smith, Nathaniel Sears, Simeon D. Wilbur, 
John S. Benson, James M. Clark, and E. H. Gammons. 


In 1849 the Rock post-office was established. Israel Smith 
was appointed the first postmaster, and served until October, 
1889. He was succeeded by John Q. Morton, Harvey N. 
Atwood, Herbert L. Cushman, Clarence L. Cushman, and 
Joseph L. Turner. 



ft I 

N the diary of Miss Rebecca Scollay we find many 

entertaining pictures of Middleboro life, and the 

places with which she was familiar. A quotation 

from this may help us to imagine the Four Corners 

of long ago. 

** I remember my first visit to where is now the village of 
the Four Corners. There was not a house there then. There 
were several farms scattered on the way between there and 
Muttock village. Morton town was quite a neighborhood with 
a goodly number of houses. There was a tavern there, kept 
by Mr. Levi Wood and called Wood's Tavern. There was also 
a hall at the Morton house where the young people used to 
assemble and have their dances and winter pastimes." 

This in 1775! It is hard to realize that the enterprising 
and flourishing centre of the town was then a densely wooded 

tract with a few houses 
at Court End. The tav- 
ern kept by Mr. Levi 
Wood stood on the site of 
the residence of the late 
Charles F. Peirce, and 
bore the usual sign of 
the king's coat of arms, 
which hung over the en- 
trance door. After the 
close of the Revolution 
this sign was removed 
and some appropriate words substituted, indicating that it was 
a place of resort for the patriots. 

The old Silas Wood house, now standing, was built shortly 






before the war, the date being on a tile in the chimney ; 
later it was occupied by Deacon Abiel Wood. A little to the 
south was the store kept by Mr. Silas Wood ; this, and that 
of Mr. Leach in Muttock, were the only stores in town. Mr. 
Wood was a wealthy and influential citizen, a man well known 
throughout the colony for his integrity and ability, and his 
opinions were sought after and respected in all matters relat- 
ing to public affairs. 

Of the houses built at the close of King Philip's War none, 
perhaps, attained so much celebrity as the Morton house, which 
at the time of its removal in 1868 was undoubtedly the oldest 
house in town. There was no monument so closely connected 
with the early history as this old Morton house, which stood 
directly in front of the spot where the house of the late Al- 
bert G. Pickens now stands, and it was with great regret to 
many that this venerable pile, associated with so many inter- 
esting events, and the home of so many prominent men and 
women, should have been taken down in order to straighten 
Main Street at this point. Mr. Pickens decided that the house 
was too old to be moved, so he sold the timber, and it is now 
in one of the Grossman houses on Grossman Avenue. He built 
a new house near the old site, but farther back from the road, 


on the land owned by a descendant of the Morton family 
until within a few years. There is a tradition that this house 
was built before King Philip's War, and was spared in the 
general destruction of houses on account of the friendship 
existing between King Philip and John Morton, but this is 
undoubtedly erroneous, as it lacks confirmation, and there 
are many facts which prove the contrary, so that we may say 
that the old Morton house was built soon after the resettle- 
ment of the town, by John Morton, Jr. The first house, built 
by John, Senior, was near the river, the site of which can still 
be identified. There John, Jr., probably lived as a boy, and on 
returning after the war he erected this house. At the time of 
its removal it was about sixty feet in length, twenty feet in 
width, of two stories, with a gambrel roof, and stood upon an 
open green, without fence, trees, or shrubbery about it, with 
an end toward the street. When it was first built, the street 
was probably at some little distance ; it was considerably en- 
larged, additions having been made at two different times. The 
southern part was the original building, and upon the walls were 
shingles made of the first growth of pine, put on when the 
house was built, but worn so thin by exposure to the weather 
that they were not much thicker than ordinary brown paper. 
Portions of the garret were known as the " Guinea rooms," 
from the fact that they were occupied by the slaves. 

Ebenezer Morton inherited the place from his father. His 
wife, Madam Morton, a lady of remarkable intelligence and 
social influence, was an intimate friend of many in the colony, 
who often enjoyed the generous hospitality of her house. She 
was a devout christian woman, a member of the church, of 
strong will and energy, and a leader of the sect called the " New 
Lights." Their daughter Mary married Ebenezer Spooner in 
1743, and their daughter Phoebe was the wife of Andrew Oli- 
ver. She did not choose to return to England with her father- 
in-law and family, but shortly after their banishment she came 
with her son and daughter to this house, where she lived until 
her death in 1831. Before the Revolution the many guests at 
Oliver Hall in Muttock were in the habit of visitins: at the old 





Morton house and enjoying the cheer and hospitality which the 
family and their friends so bountifully dispensed. 

Another of the old houses in Morton Town was the Clark 
house, built about 1710 by Seth Morton, from whom it was 

called the Morton ^ ^ 

house until purchased 
by Dr. Clark. This 
nomenclature causes 
some confusion in the 
early history. Built 
of solid oak timber, 
with high pitched roof 
and steep gable ends, 
it was moved with 
difficulty to its pre- 
sent situation (the 
house now occupied by E. B. Dorrance) on rollers propelled 
by men with handspikes, a work of much interest to the towns- 
people. In the hurricane of 1815 much damage was done all 
through the village ; the roof of this house was so wrecked 
that a new one was necessary. 

Dr. Samuel Clark, a descendant from Thomas Clark, for whom 
Clark's Island was named, was born in Plymouth in 1732. He 
settled in Middleboro about the year 1752, and soon after 
married the daughter of Ebenezer Morton. He was not only 
a skilful physician, but a man of good judgment, commanding 
the universal respect of the people of the colony, scholarly in 
his tastes, and well informed on all matters of colonial his- 
tory. He kept a journal, in which he recorded the incidents 
of interest connected with the early history, particularly what 
had come to him from the first settlers relating to the Indian 
War and the struggles and hardships of those trying years. 
He was a friend of Dr. Franklin, and his journal contained an 
account of conversations, anecdotes, and interviews with him ; 
also, a minute description of Oliver Hall, of its distinguished 
guests, and of the reception which Dr. Peter Oliver gave to 
Dr. Franklin. It is a matter of the most profound regret that 


this journal was lost, as its evidence would be invaluable upon 
matters relating to this history. 

Another occupant of this house was Dr. Joseph Clark, son 
of Samuel Clark, who, upon the death of his father, succeeded 
to his practice of medicine in Middleboro and surrounding 
towns. He built what is known as the Briggs house soon after 
his marriage to Rebecca Scollay, an adopted daughter and 
niece of John Scollay.^ She, with her brilliant aunt of the 
same name, had come to Middleboro during the siege of Bos- 
ton. They stayed at the Peter Oliver, Jr. House (Dr. Oliver 
had gone to England), and here it was that Dr. Clark met his 
future wife. The aunt, Miss Rebecca Scollay,^ lived with her 
niece after the marriage. She was a woman of culture and of 
unusual intellectual gifts, a follower of Jonathan Edwards, and 
a friend of Dr. Hopkins and of Phillis Wheatley, the African 
poet. Dr. Clark, in addition to his extensive practice as a 
physician, was especially interested in matters of local history. 
He served as surgeon with General Cobb in the Revolution. 
He had a very retentive memory, and used to tell of thrilling 
scenes and experiences during the struggle for independence, 
and the interviews which he had with General Washington and 
other patriot leaders. He died in 1837, at the advanced age 
of eighty-seven. 

Among the houses of interest before the Revolution was 
that of Ebenezer Spooner, which stood upon what was then 
called Spooner Hill, probably on the site of the house owned 
by the late Alpha Grossman. Although not a resident of 
Middleboro at the breaking out of -the war, he with the other 
loyalists espoused the cause of the English Crown, and left 
with Governor Gage and his troops in 1776, never to return.^ 

From Morton Town there was a cow-path leading to the 
garrison house of Thomas Barrows on Main Street. This 

1 A well-known merchant of Boston, for whom Scollay Square was named. 

2 Mr. Pemberton (from whose family Pemberton Square in Boston was named) 
was an ardent admirer, but she declined his offer of marriage. At his death he 
left her furniture, money, and his coat of arms, which was hung in the Clark 

2 Sabine, American Loyalists, vol. ii, p. 580. 





is perhaps one of the oldest houses now standing, having been 
built in 1700 near the site of the house of Samuel Barrows. 
After the resettlement of the town, so many Indians lived in 
Titicut and Lakeville 
that for many years 
most of the houses 
built were garrison 
houses, framed, cov- 
ered with oak plank 
from two to two and 
one half inches thick 
instead of boards, to 
be bullet - proof in 
case of attack. This 
house was built with 
small windows, very high from the ground, lest any shot should 
reach the family. There is still a port-hole to be seen in the 
corner of the house. 

The fort, or garrison house, built before King Philip's War 
and burned in 1675, stood on the brow of the hill not far from 
the Barrows house, some two or three hundred feet from Main 
Street where it turns to descend to the Star Mills. But slight 
description of this has come down to us. It was a large palisado, 
enclosed by logs set firmly in the ground, standing some eight 
or t^n feet above the level, and there must have been a well 
inside. Tradition says that Miles Standish's encounter with 
Corbitant in 162 1 took place near here. 

The Briggs house formerly stood near the old town house. 
Dr. Joseph Clark sold this in 18 12 to James Sproat, who sold 
it to Joseph Clark, Jr., for a public house ; from his hands it 
passed to Lemuel Briggs, from whom it takes its name. Next 
the Briggs house was the home of Judge Wood, built by John 
Morton and occupied by Judge Wood during his lifetime, and 
later by his sons. Between the Judge Wood place and the 
place known as the Thomas house stood the old town house, 
where Grove Street now crosses Main Street. Beyond the 
Thomas house, on the same side of the road, was the Major 




Bourne mansion, now known as the Charles F. Peirce place, 
by far the most pretentious of all the houses then standing 
at Court End. A schoolhouse on the corner of this land was 
the only building from here to the Silas Wood place. The old 
Bourne house was built by Dr. Samuel Clarke about 1752, and 
was afterwards sold to Captain Abner Bourne. Near the site 
of the present high school building stood the old Washburn 
place, which was moved to Webster Street in 1887, to give 
place to the high school building. 

In 1 8 1 5 Judge Wilkes Wood ^ gave an historical address before 

1 In memoranda left by Judge Wood, 1838, he gives his recollection of the 
houses from the town house on the road to Plymouth as follows : — 

" The owners of dwelling-houses at my earliest memory standmg N. E. of the 
Town House in Middleborough on road to Plymouth. 

" The house now owned and occupied by Maj. William Bourne, was owned, 
that is the back part of it, by Leon Wood. Sd. Bourne's house on the S. E. of 
the highway by Elias Miller. Sd. Bournes 3d. house formerly owned by his father 
Dea. Abner Bourne by Doct. Samuel Clark. The next house on the N. W. now 
owned by Abiel Wood by his Grandfather Silas Wood. On the S. E. near the 
present widow Miller's house, a small house by Abraham Miller. Next N. W. 
a small old house on the spot where I. Stevens since built a house. Next the 
house now owned by Abiel Washburn, by Isaac Cushman. Next on the N. W. 
a house since removed, standing where Elisha Tucker's house stands, by David 
Thomas. Next N. W. a house where Capt. Silvanus Barrows' house now stands, 
by Isaac Miller, with whom his father and mother lived. Next N. E. the house 
where Capt. Abner Barrows has since enlarged and now lives in by Abner Bar- 
rows now deceased. Next following old road, the house now owned by Albert 
Thomas, standing N. \V. out of the road by Jabez Thomas and his son Jabez 
Thomas. Next a house long since removed, by Tilson Ripley. Next a house S. 
side near the river bridge by Widow Ruth Bennett and his sons William and 





the citizens of Middle- 
boro, and at this time 
the company visited 
the site of the old fort, 
where appropriate ex- 
ercises were observed. 
In Judge Wood's 
house lived his son, 
Joseph T. Wood, who 
died February 6, 1890, 
at the age of seventy- 
one. In later years 
but few men have been 
more respected than 
Deacon Wood. He 
was educated in the 
public schools of the 
town, and worked upon 
his father's farm during his early manhood. In 1854 he was 
first elected representative to the General Court, and the same 

Sylvanus. Next after passing the bridge on the S. of road, on the hill out of the 
road by widow Sarah Elmes. 

" Next a two story house in front and one back near the brook, now owned by 
Jacob Barrows, by Ichabod Churchill, N. W. of road. Next Ebenezer Wood's 
house same side of the road, opposite Thomas Pratt's house. Mr. Pratt's house 
was built by Nehemiah Allen, and the first I recollect was after the frame was 
raised and before it was boarded when a mason was underpinning it. Next on 
the E. a house near the brook owned by N. Allen. Next N. W. upon the hill by 
widow Purrington and James Little — John her tenant. 

" Next N. W. a house long since gone down by Doct. Thomas Sturtevant. Next 
same side, where John Morey's house now is, a house by Lemuel Bryant, a tenant 
of John Morey. Next same side Capt. Thacher's house where Mr. Pool now 
lives. All the other dwelling houses between the Town house and the Easterly 
P. Meeting House have been built since my memory. 

" On the New Bedford road from Town house — 

" The great Morton house on the S. E. by Thomas & John Morton and widow 
Oliver. Next N. W. the old part of the house now occupied by Doct. Joseph 
Clarke family by Seth Morton. Ne.xt where Alpha Crossman lives. Next N. W. 
Dea. Ichabod Morton lately owned by Nathaniel Thompson. Next Thomas 
Doggett his Grandfather Simeon Doggett then N. Macumber then the Job Peirce 
house, then Seth Thacher, next N. Smith widow Howe by Job Peirce." 




year was chosen selectman, to which office he was elected again 
in 1855 and 1863, and afterwards each successive year up to the 
time of his death, excepting the year 1876, when he failed of 
an election, but was reelected at the April meeting following. 
He was one of the first water commissioners of the town, and 
held the office of a county commissioner for about ten years. 
He was one of the trustees of Peirce Academy, and at an 
early age was elected deacon of the Central Baptist Church. 

On Oak Avenue leading from Grove Street, a little dis- 
tance from the home of his father and brother. Rev. Charles 
W. Wood resided during the latter part of his life. He was 
born June 20, 18 14, and after studying at Peirce Academy 
entered Brown University, from which he was graduated at 

the age of twenty, in the 
class distinguished in 
later years for the num- 
ber of able men in busi- 
ness and professional 
life. After graduating, 
he spent four years in 
teaching at Rochester, 
Wareham, and Peirce 
Academy. He was first 
installed as pastor of the 
Congregational Church 
in Ashby, Mass., but on 
account of poor health 
he resigned, and was 
for some years an agent 
of the American Sunday 
School Union. Later, he 
accepted a call to the 
Congregational Church in Campello. For two years after that 
he occupied the position of superintendent of the schools in 
Brockton, and preached in Lakeville, and in Scotland, Bridge- 
water. He was a clergyman of ability, universally respected 
for his genial nature and his kind, sympathetic manner, and 





had a wide influence for good as a friend of all with whom he 
came in contact. He was much interested in the early his- 
tory of the town and of Plymouth Colony, and did much to 
perpetuate events of interest within his knowledge. He died 
March 3, 1895. 

Rev. Henry C. Coombs was born in Beech Woods, September 
3, 1810, and at the time of his death, April 5, 1904, he was the 
oldest ordained Baptist 
clergyman in the state. 
He was educated at 
Peirce Academy, and 
ordained by the Rev. 
Hervey Fitz, in De- 
cember, 1834. In his 
active life he was set- 
tled as a pastor in 
many places in this 
and other states, but 
for the last twenty 
years he made Middle- 
boro his home. He 
continued his minis- 
terial services when 
past the age of ninety 
years, and was always 
a strong advocate of 

temperance and an active worker in that cause. He was known 
as the " grand old man," and in his ninety-fourth year was often 
seen sturdily walking the streets, vigorous mentally and bodily, 
and was frequently called to supply neighboring pulpits. 

One of the well-known men who lived at the Four Corners 
was Ebenezer Pickens, son of Samuel and Matilda Briggs 
Pickens. He was born in that part of Middleboro now Lake- 
ville, not far from the Bell schoolhouse, October 6, i J^"], and 
was the youngest of three brothers. He married, October 5, 
181 3, Mary Bourne Thompson, a descendant of Francis Cooke. 
They had three children, Caroline Matilda, and Andrew Jack- 





son and James Madison, twins. They lived near his birth- 
place until the year 1832, when he removed his house to its 

present site near the 


corner of Main and 
Courtland streets. He 
resided there for twenty 
years, and in 1852 pur- 
chased land on the 
southerly side of Main 
Street and erected a 
large house with a room 
on the east side for an 
ofihce and court-room 
for his use as trial jus- 
tice. He was appointed 
a justice of the peace 
in 1822, and trial jus- 
tice June 18, 1850, 
which oliEice he held 
until his death. He 
was elected a county 
commissioner in 1847, and served nine years. When he lived 
in Lakeville, and later, he attended church at the Green with 
his family, and, though it was eight miles distant, they were 
seldom absent from the services through the summer's heat 
or the winter's cold. 

On the formation of the Central Congregational Church, he 
was one of the deacons, an office he held until his death at 
the age of eighty years, May 8, 1868. 

Perhaps the selection of a proper place for the future busi- 
ness and development of the town was due more to Major 
Levi Peirce than to any other person. He was the son of Cap- 
tain Job Peirce, and was born in that part of Middleboro now 
Lakeville, October i, 1773. His sister Elizabeth had married 
General Abiel Washburn, with whom he remained, serving as 
a clerk, until he attained his majority. He opened a store on 
the lower floor of the first addition to the old Morton house, 





while his family occupied a tenement on the floor above. After 
remaining here for a few years, he moved his place of busi- 
ness to a house which he had purchased near the town house. 
He became a partner of General Washburn and Major Wil- 
liam Bourne, and carried on business for a number of years in 
what was known as the 
"old store," which was 
burned about forty years 
ago, and on its site the 
present bank building was 
erected. Upon the dis- 
solution of this firm he 
commenced business with 
his brother, Peter H. 
Peirce. He was promi- 
nent in all the affairs of 
the town, was a delegate 
to the Constitutional Con- 
vention in 1820, and post- 
master for thirty - two 
years. He served upon 
the staff of his brother- 
in-law, General Wash- 
burn, and was afterwards 

promoted to the office of major in June, 1809, which office 
he held for many years. He was largely instrumental in the 
formation of the Baptist Church in Middleboro, and in the 
foundation of Peirce Academy, which was named for him, as 
it was largely through his benefaction that the academy and 
the Central Baptist church were built. 

About the same time his younger brother, Peter H. Peirce, 
who was born March 25, 1788, commenced his business ca- 
reer at this place. After the death of his parents, he was 
brought up in the family of Peter Hoar, a prominent citizen of 
Lakeville, for whom he was named. He had few advantages, 
but early developed unusual business ability, and by his en- 
ergy and persistent endeavor he became the leading business 






man of the town. He began as a storekeeper in the two-story 
house now standing at the Upper Four Corners, but moved 
into the Four Corners, reaHzing that that would in future be 
the business centre, and that there he could enlarge his busi- 
ness and use the water power on the Nemasket River for 
manufacturing, which was then coming into prominence in the 
business interests of New England. He early formed a co- 
partnership with Horatio G. Wood, under the firm name of 
Peirce & Wood, and erected the factory at the Lower Works. 
When there came a decline in the cotton industry of New Eng- 
land near the middle of the last century, he erected a large 
shovel manufactory, and in connection with this, carried on a 
general retail store, which has stood in its present position for 
nearly one hundred years. Aside from his connection with 
the various manufacturing interests in the Upper Works, he 
became a large owner of real estate, and at the time of his 
death, was by far the wealthiest man in town. In addition to 
his ability as a business man, no one in southeastern Massa- 
chusetts had more political influence than he ; at great sacri- 
fice, he served several terms in the state senate. At the 
breaking out of the War of 181 2, he was in command of a 





company which did 
coast - guard duty at 
Plymouth and else- 
where. He was after- 
wards promoted to the 
office of lieutenant- 
colonel of the Fourth 
Regiment of Infan- 
try of the Plymouth 
County Brigade, from 
which he received the 
title of Colonel Peirce. 
It was due to his in- 
fluence that the rail- 
road was laid near the 
Four Corners rather 
than in Titicut. He 
left a large family of 

children, his sons Job, Thomas, and James succeeding him in 
business. At one time his son Charles was in business in the 
West. William superintended the large farm and real estate 
interest, and gave his attention largely to literary pursuits. 
Thomas, who survived his brothers and inherited much of 

^ their wealth, gave at his 

death over half a mil- 
lion dollars to the town 
of Middleboro and a hun- 
dred thousand to the 
public library, after lib- 
erally providing for more 
than twenty-five of his 

Colonel Peirce's part- 
ner, Horatio G. Wood, 
was a descendant in the 
fourth generation from Henry, one of the first settlers. He 
was in the store of Hon. Thomas We.ston as a clerk until the 






age of twenty-one, when he moved to Titicut to do business for 
two years. Later he became interested in the " Lower Factory " 
as one of the incorporators of the Middleboro Manufacturing 
Company, and was associated with Colonel Peirce until his 
death, September 9, 1861, at the age of seventy-two years and 
eight months. He originally built and lived in the house on 
the corner of Main and North streets, now occupied by George 
Bray ton. He married Mary, a daughter of Abner Weston 

of Vermont, for his first 
wife, and for his second 
wife Abigail, a daughter 
of Thomas Weston. He 
was deacon of the First 
Congregational Church, 
and a leader of the large 
choir for many years. 

Major Branch Harlow 
was born in Halifax, Sep- 
tember 18, 1792, and died 
in Middleboro in 1861. 
In tne early part of his 
life he was a successful 
teacher in the public 
schools in Middleboro, 
and afterwards was en- 
BRANCH HARLOW g^gcd in the iron busi- 


ness at Fall Brook, Pocasset, and Sandwich. During the latter 
part of his life he lived in the "old Briggs house." 

He held various offices in the militia of the county up to 
that of major, and served as high sheriff from 1845 to 1854, 
an office he filled with satisfaction to the court and the county. 

Joseph Jackson, Milton Alden, and James Cole were ap- 
pointed successively as deputy sheriffs. They were favorably 
known as faithful and efficient officers of the law. 


One of the manufacturing sections of the town has been 
known at different periods as the Bennett Mills, the Lower 
Dam, the Lower Factory, and more recently as the Star 
Mills. Upon a dam about three hundred feet above the pre- 
sent one was the first grist-mill, which, after the resettlement 
of the town in 1679, was rebuilt, probably by Mr. Barrows. 
It passed into the hands of Francis Coombs, as has been 
mentioned, and upon his death was owned and carried on 
by his daughter. This dam was capable of holding only water 
enough to run a grist-mill of that time, and at low water some 
rocks can still be seen which were used in its construction. It 
was abandoned probably in the early part of the last century, 
and the present dam built as more convenient and nearer the 
principal road from the Indian path, at the wading-place, to 
Plymouth. In the latter part of the eighteenth century Jacob 
Bennett became the owner of this privilege and erected, or 
carried on, a grist-mill. 

When the cotton industry was started in New England in 
the form of small, three-story factories, a corporation was 
formed, known as the Middleboro Manufacturing Company, in 
181 5, for the purpose of making cotton yarn and cloth. The 
incorporators were Benjamin Shepard, Jr., Thomas Weston, 
Horatio G. Wood, Nancy Nelson, Sarah W. Shepard, and 
Alanson Witherbee. They were empowered to hold real estate 
not exceeding $50,000, and personal property not exceeding 
$100,000. About the time of their incorporation, a small fac- 


tory was built, which afterwards passed into the hands of Peirce 
& Wood, on the site of the old fulling-mill, so essential in 
finishing the woollen cloth woven by the hand-looms. The 
grist-mill, however, continued here in operation. The shovel 
manufactory, before mentioned, of Peirce & Wood, furnished 
•employment to a large number of operatives. 

These industries were succeeded by the Star Mills, incor- 
porated August 5, 1863. The mill was built that year on the 
old dam for the manufacture of fancy cassimeres, with eight 
sets of machinery. Its capital of $100,000 was furnished prin- 
cipally by New Bedford parties. President, Loum Snow ; Trea- 
surer, George Brayton ; Superintendent, Timothy L. Dunlap. 

In 1887 its name was changed to Star Mills Corporation, 
and new machinery was introduced for the manufacture of 
ladies' dress goods. President, Loum Snow, Jr. ; Treasurer, 
George Brayton ; Superintendent, Charles H. Tobey. 

On November 15, 1899, Frank S. Farwell of Valley Falls, 
R. I., became its manager, and it is now known as Farwell 
Worsted Mill No. 2. 


A dam was built across the Nemasket River about the year 
1762, and soon after a forge, which was owned by Silas 
Wood, Elias Miller, and others until the year 1785, when the 
forge was partially destroyed by fire but was rebuilt. This 
" New Forge" changed hands in 1796, when Benjamin Leon- 
ard, Abiel Washburn, George Leonard, and Abner Bourne be- 
came the owners. After other changes in 1 801, we find that 
in^ 1809 it was owned by George Leonard and Levi Peirce. 
The forge continued in operation for about seventy years. 

By an act of the legislature of Mas>sachusetts in 181 3, 
Abiel Washburn, George Leonard, Levi Peirce, Peter H. 
Peirce, William Bourne, Joseph Brown, John Barden, Jr., John 
Tinkham, Ephraim Leonard, Edward Sparrow, Jr., Wilkes 
Wood, James Sproat, Abraham Wilson, and their successors 
were incorporated under the name of the "New Market" 

1830] FOUR CORNERS 289 

Manufacturing Company, for the purpose of manufacturing 
iron, cotton and woollen cloth, and yarn, with power to hold 
real estate not exceeding $50,000, and personal estate not 
exceeding $150,000. This corporation erected a cotton factory 
at the upper dam, and for a while manufactured cotton cloth, 
until the depression of that industry throughout New Eng- 
land obliged them to abandon it. Afterward the corporation 
passed into a copartnership, which, in 1864, was known as 
the Nemasket Manufacturing Company. 

Here were a store and a grist-mill for many years. Among 
the leading business men connected with this company were 
Major Levi Peirce, Colonel Peter H. Peirce, Elisha Tucker, 
Allen C. Thatcher, and Major William Bourne. 

The Hox. William Bourne, a tall, portly man, was a son of 
Captain Abner Bourne. He once met some natives from the 
South Sea Islands, one of whom on observing his command- 
ing figure said, " You in our country, you be king." He was 
active in the militia, and was major of the Plymouth County 
Brigade from September 12, 1803, to 1807. He held many 
ofifices of trust in the county, and was a member of a court- 
martial which tried Captain Albert Smith of the Hanover 
Artillery. Major Bourne was a man of wealth, a prominent 
federalist, and a member of the state senate in 1820. He 
married a sister of General Abiel Washburn, and entered into 
partnership with him and Peter H. Peirce. Afterward, General 
Washburn moved his business to Muttock, and the firm was 
conducted under the name of Bourne & Peirce. During the 
later years of his life he lived in the house now occupied by 
Mrs. Charles F. Peirce, where he died December 10, 1845. 

Allen C. Thatcher was a quarter owner in the Nemasket 
Manufacturing Company, and at one time interested in what 
was known as the corner store with Major Tucker and Major 
Levi Peirce. He was born in Rochester, June 17, 1793, and 
as a young man left his native town and entered upon a clerk- 
ship in a wholesale house in Boston, where he resided until his 
removal to Middleboro in 1831. He retired from business in 
i860, and died May 13, 1885, at the advanced age of ninety- 




one years and eleven months. He lived in the house on Main 
Street adjoining the block recently erected by the Middleboro 
National Bank, and was a prominent member of the Baptist 

Major Elisha Tucker, who died June 22, 1878, at the 
age of eighty-one years, became by his faithful industry and 
economy another of the prominent merchants and manufactur- 
ers of Middleboro. He 
lived in the house now 
occupied by Elisha T. 
Jenks. In addition to 
his business interests, 
he was active in the 
militia of the county, 
and for many years 
served as major in one 
of the regiments. He 
was for more than forty 
years treasurer of Peirce 
Academy, and in con- 
nection with his son- 
in-law. Professor J. W. 
P. Jenks, did as much 
as any of the trustees 
toward securing the 
erection of the new 
academy and its subsequent enlargement. He was always in- 
terested, from the time he first came to town, in the Central 
Baptist Church, and was its clerk and treasurer for many 
years, a regular contributor in making up the expenses of 
the church, and also gave largely to the various organizations 
connected with the denomination. 

In 1867 the company sold out to William L. Brown, Nathaniel 
B. Sherman, and Peter Washburn. Later the factory was burned, 
but a sawmill and grist-mill continued in operation for a few 
years. Quite recently an electric plant has been established 
upon this dam, which furnishes power for lighting the streets. 


i828] FOUR CORNERS 29 1 

Prior to the building of the Fall River Railroad through the 
town in 1842, the manufacturing interests of the Four Corners 
had been confined exclusively to the Upper and Lower Works, 
as they were called. There were then at the Corners a general 
retail store belonging to Peter H. Peirce & Co., and a confec- 
tionery store adjoining the site of the present Jones Brothers' 
block, carried on by Amos Thomas, always known as " Uncle 
Amos," and later by his son, Deacon Ira Thomas, as a general 
grocery store; he was succeeded by his son, Ira M. Thomas. 
At the corner of Main and Center streets was what was known 
as the old store for dry goods and groceries, owned at first by 
Major Levi Peirce and afterwards by Allen C. Thatcher, by 
George Vaughan, and by George Waterman. Enoch Tinkhara 
had a store on Center Street, which is still standing. There 
was also an apothecary shop and post-office kept by Levi 
Peirce on the site of the Peirce building. Allen Shaw kept an 
apothecary shop, and was succeeded by his nephews, Jacob B. 
and John Shaw. 

About the time that manufacturing commenced at the Upper 
Factory, the Hon. Philander Washburn opened his store, 
in connection with his father's business. Upon the death of 
his father he sold his interest in this store, which was pur- 
chased by Sampson & King, and in 1854 it was doubled in 
width and a story added above, called American Hall. Mr. 
Washburn was state senator in 1848; he died September 6, 
1882, at the age of eighty-four. His son, the Rev. George 
Washburn, D. D., has been for many years the successful 
president of Robert College, Constantinople. 

The manufacture of straw hats and bonnets was begun at 
the village about the year 1828, by Ebenezer Briggs, who had 
been in this business in Lakeville before he moved to the 
Four Corners. At this time hats were made from prepared 
straw, braided by women at home and taken to the factory. 
The braid was sent out and sewed by women in the neighbor- 
hood into hats and bonnets, which were returned to the fac- 
tory, properly sized, pressed, and finished ready for the market. 
At first only native straw was used, but this gave place to 



imported straw, which took away the occupation of many wo- 
men, who had braided it by hand. About the year 1844 Mr. 
Briggs sold out to Andrew J. Pickens, James M. Pickens, and 
William A. King, who formed a copartnership under the firm 
name of Pickens, King & Co. At the end of two years Mr. 
King retired, and the factory was conducted by the firm of 
Pickens Brothers. Andrew J. and James M. Pickens were 
men of great industry and enterprise, influential in church 
affairs and successful in their business, which, in a few years, 
had so increased that the few rooms occupied at first were 
insufficient, and in 1855 they erected the main building of 
the straw factory on Courtland Street. In 1858 Andrew J. 






Pickens sold the factory and business to Albert Alden. Be- 
tween 1858 and 1861 William A. King was associated with 
Mr. Alden under the firm name of Alden, King & Co. They 
were succeeded by Plummer, King & Co. In 1862 Mr. Alden 
purchased the property, and for several years carried on the 
business under the names of A. Alden and A. Alden & Co., 
and the general name of Bay State Straw Works. He was 
succeeded by his son, Arthur B. Alden, who died in 1895. 
From that time the business was not reestablished, and the 
buildings have since been taken down or removed and made 
into dwelling-houses, and a street has been cut through where 
the main building stood. When Mr. Alden took the business, 





it did not amount to more than ^10,000 a year, but under his 
management it was increased to one quarter of a milUon in- 
vested capital, and gave employment to about four hundred 
operatives during the busy season. When much of the sewing 
on braid was done by hand outside the factory, as many as 
fifteen hundred in the families within a radius of twenty miles 
found work. 

Mr. Albert Alden, of the seventh generation from his 
ancestor, John Alden, was born in 181 7. He was a man 

of great energy and 
sagacity, and engaged 
in different enterprises 
in this and adjoining 

Soon after the estab- 
lishment of the straw 
factory, the manufac- 
turing of boots and 
shoes was commenced 
in town. This was at 
first carried on in shops, 
where the upper and 
sole leather were cut 
by the manufacturers. 
The upper leather was 
sent out, and the neces- 
sary sewing and stitch- 
ing done in families in 
town ; then these " uppers " were taken to the manufacturer, 
who cut the soles into proper shapes, prepared the heels and 
other leather for the filling, and in turn handed them over to 
the different shoemakers, who completed the work in small 
shops, some of which may still be seen standing in different 
parts of the town. The shoemakers would take stock enough 
to make from one to ten dozen pairs of shoes at a time, return- 
ing them when finished. The manufacturer then packed these 
shoes and sent them to the different customers. About the 





year 1855 this method of making boots and shoes by hand 
gave place to machinery, which has since been improved, until 
now substantially the whole work is done in that way. 

The first shoe manufacturer was Stephen B. Pickens, whose 
business was very small, as compared with the large amount of 
capital and number of hands employed to-day. He was suc- 
ceeded by Eaton & Leonard, who occupied a small wooden 
building on the site of Wells Block on Main Street. Later, 
B. Sumner Washburn joined the firm. 

The firm of Ward & Doggett in Wells Block consisted of 
George Ward, who then lived in Lakeville, and William E. 
Doggett. In a few years they sold out to Bassett & Dunbar, 
who soon after sold their interest in Middleboro to Major 
Joseph Sampson, Jr., and Colonel Nathan King, and moved to 
Chicago, where they became large and successful shoe manu- 
facturers. Sampson & King's place of business was in the 
American Building. 

Colonel Nathan King, who lived for many years at Court 
End, died December 7, 
1 90 1, at the advanced 
age of eighty-six years. 
In early life he was en- 
gaged in different mer- 
cantile pursuits. He was 
elected registrar of the 
court of insolvency in 
1856, which office he 
held for the years 1857 
and 1858, when the juris- 
diction of the court was 
united with that of the 
probate court. He was 
prominent in the militia, 
and was elected lieuten- 
ant-colonel from Febru- 
ary 4, 1837, to February 8, 1839, and colonel until April 24, 
1840. For many years he served as the moderator in all general 





meetings of the town, and he was a member of the Massachu- 
setts senate during the years 1856 and 1857. 

James Allen Leonard and his son manufactured boots and 
shoes until the death of Mr. Leonard in 1870, doing business 
in a building adjoining Mr. Leonard's residence on Center 
Street, now owned by Dr. G. L. Ellis. In 1853 Noah C. 

Perkins, Charles E. 
Leonard, and Horatio 
Barrows occupied the 
building now known as 
T. W. Peirce's store. In 
i860 this firm was dis- 
solved, and Leonard & 
Barrows formed a part- 
nership in Wells Block. 
In 1862 C. D. Kingman 
joined the firm for a 
short time. In 1883 Mr. 
Barrows died, and since 
then the business has 
been carried on by Mr. 
Leonard with his sons, 
C. M. Leonard and 
A. H. Leonard, under 
the same firm name 
of Leonard & Barrows. 
They employ about six hundred operatives, and have a branch 
factory in Belfast, Maine. 

Noah C. Perkins, who was first connected with the firm, 
was prominent in the public affairs of the town, being a repre- 
sentative to the General Court, and a member of the Constitu- 
tional Convention to revise the constitution of Massachusetts, 
in 1853. 

After leaving the firm of Leonard & Barrows in 1867 or 1868, 
C. D. Kingman built a factory on the corner of Oak and Center 
streets, where he carried on a large business for some time, 
subsequently taking in his sons, C. W. and P. E. Kingman, 






as partners, and employing about two hundred and fifty men. 
In 1888 C. D. Kingman retired and left the management to 
his sons, who closed out the business in 1891. 

The firm of Leonard, Shaw & Dean, consisting of Cor- 
nelius H. Leonard, Samuel Shaw, and W. H. Dean of Ouincy, 
began business in 1895, and erected a factory on Peirce 
Street, employing about one hundred men. 

William O. Penniman and Josiah F. Penniman commenced 
business in 1890, under the firm name of Penniman Bros. 
Soon after, they admitted Elmer E. Phinney into copartner- 
ship under the firm name of Penniman & Phinney ; this was 
followed by another change, and Phinney, Penniman & Light- 
ford manufactured ladies' shoes till Mr. Lightford left the firm. 

In 1 88 1 Andrew Alden, C. H. Leonard, George A. Ham- 
mond, and E. W. Richmond manufactured shoes under the 
firm name of Alden, Leonard & Hammond in North Middle- 
boro ; but in 1886 they moved to Cambridge Street, and in 
1887 they were succeeded by Savory C. Hathaway, Rufus A. 
Soule, and Herbert A. Harrington, who had a large business, 
with factories in New Bedford and Campello. 

Arthur H. Alden, George A. Walker, William H. Wilde, 
and Frederick L. Alden commenced the shoe business under 





the firm name of Alden, Walker & Wilde, in 1900, occupying 
at first the old needle factory on Clifford Street, which, prov- 
ing inadequate for their business, was greatly enlarged. In 
1904 their building was destroyed by fire, and they have 
removed from town. 

The varied business of the old blast furnaces of early history 
was revived in 1855, when John B. Le Baron and Samuel Tink- 
ham of Taunton, under the firm name of Tinkham & Le Baron, 
built a foundry at the Four Corners, and carried on business 
until the fall of 1864, when Mr. Le Baron purchased the interest 
of Mr. Tinkham for the casting of stoves. In 1884 he was suc- 
ceeded by his sons, J. Baylies and Eugene P. Le Baron, and 
later by E. Leonard and Frederick N. Le Baron. 

In 1888 Clark & Cole began the manufacture of boxes on 
Water Street, but as the building was not large enough, they 
moved to their present site on Cambridge Street near the rail- 
road, where from seven to ten million feet of lumber are used 
yearly in this industry. 

In 1885 the Murdock Parlor Grate Co., now known as the 





Murdock Corporation, bought the building on Cambridge 
Street which was built for the George Woods Co., manufac- 
turers of organs and pianos. 

In 1 90 1 the New England Rug Co. was started by J. A. 
White and W. Osgood Eddy for the making over of old car- 
pets into rugs. The office and factory are at 5 Clifford Street. 

About 1888 Carlton W. Maxim commenced the manufac- 
ture of woodwork for furniture and for the finish of stores and 
houses. From a small shop near the railroad station this has 
so increased as to occupy nearly the whole of the Hathaway, 
Soule & Harrington Factory on Cambridge Street. 

Elisha T. Jenks carries on a successful business on Ware- 
ham Street, in the manufacture of museum locks and bolts. 

A. H. Alger & Co., manufacturers of paper boxes, occupy 
one of the buildings of the old straw works. 


The Middleboro National Bank was organized in April, 1889, 
with a capital of $50,000. 



The first President, Calvin D. Kingman 
Vice-President, George E. Doane 
Cashier, William R. Mitchell 


Charles F. Alden 
Charles E. Leonard 
George E. Doane 
Matthew H. Gushing 

Herbert A. 

Dr. George W. Copeland 
Charles M. Leonard 
Arthur B. Alden 
Calvin D. Kingman 

In the year 1900 William R. Mitchell became the president, 
upon the resignation of C. D. Kingman, vi^ith A. A. Thomas 
as cashier. In 1902 Mr. Mitchell resigned to enter other busi- 
ness, and Granville E. Tillson became president. 

For several years the bank conducted business in the town 
house, and in 1896 moved to the savings bank building. The 
officers at present are, — 

President, Granville E. Tillson 
Cashier, A. A. Thomas 
Book-keeper, Harriet B. Sylvester 



Arthur H. Leonard George E. Doane 

C. D. Kingman Matthew H. Gushing 

C. W. Kingman H. P. Sparrow. 

Charles I\I. Leonard George R. Sampson 

The INIiddleboro Savings Bank was incorporated on March 

15. 1873- 

The first President, Everett Robinson 
Vice-President, Noah C. Perkins 
Treasurer, Cornehus B. Wood 

The Savings Bank occupied rooms in the town house until 
1895, and then moved to the present building. 

James H. Harlow became the president after the death of 
Everett Robinson, and Andrew M. Wood succeeded Cornelius 
B. Wood as treasurer. James H. Harlow resigned in 1904, 
and David G. Pratt was elected in his place. 

Total number of open accounts at present . 4440 

Total number of books issued 11,045 

Total deposit in 1904 $1,499,154.35 

Mr. Robinson died August 5, 1897. 

Mr. Cornelius B. Wood died March 23, 1885. 

Mr. Matthew H. Cushing is present Vice-President. 

The Middleboro Loan & Fund Association was organized 
in 1854 under the same principle as building and loan associa- 
tions of other states. 

The first president was Nathan King, the second and last 
president, Everett Robinson. 

Jacob B. Shaw was its secretary and treasurer during its 
existence. The monthly meetings were held in Jacob B. 
Shaw's store. 

The shares were two dollars a month and reached maturity of 
$500. They matured in 1867, when the Association was closed. 

The Middleboro Cooperative Bank, on somewhat similar 




lines, was organized in May, 1889, and is still in existence. 
Shares one dollar a month and maturity ^200. 
It has now assets of about ;^250,ooo. 

The first President, S. S. Bourne 

The present President, W. H. Southworth 

Secretary and Treasurer, Joseph E. Beals 

The Board of Directors composed of fifteen men 

Ofifice of secretary. No. i Town Hall Building 


Across the river, east of the Four Corners, is the neighbor- 
hood long known as Barden Hills. The old Barden house and 

lands have been in the 
family for a little more 
than two centuries. 

Probably all of the 
Bardens (or Burdens) 
in this country, and 
some of the Bordens, 
have descended from 
William Barden, who 
came over in the year 
1638, and was appren- 
ticed for seven years to 
Thomas Boardman to 
learn the trade of a car- 
penter. After about seven months of service, his apprentice- 
ship for the remainder of the time was transferred to John 
Barker of Marshfield, for him to become a bricklayer. After 
completing his service, he lived in different places until about 
1660, when he married Deborah Barker, his master's daugh- 
ter, and settled in Barnstable, and in 1684 they moved to 
Middleboro. She was one of the original members of the 
First Church. He became an owner in nearly all of the pur- 
chases made from the Indians in town, and twenty years after 
his death, which occurred in 1692, his estate was divided 
among thirteen children. 




BOUT the eastern shore of Great Ouittacus and 
Pocksha ponds, in the early days, a wild horse 
roamed, injuring the crops of the farmers, and from 
this the place takes its name. On the opposite 
shore lies Betty's Neck. Mad Mare's Neck is beautifully 
situated on the high land which commands an extensive view 
of the ponds in Middleboro and Lakeville, including the whole 
of the Twelve Men's Purchase and portions of the Sixteen 
Shilling and Snippi- 
tuet Purchases. Mar- 
ion Road and Miller 
Street are the princi- 
pal highways ; the lat- 
ter leads from Great 
Ouittacus to Fall 
Brook. On Pond 
Street stands the 
schoolhouse. In the 
early part of the last 
century the Miller 
family owned large 

tracts of land ; one of the lots on Miller Street being known 
as the Thousand Acre Lot. This farming region, noted for 
the fertility of the soil, has perhaps kept the number of in- 
habitants during the last hundred years better than any of the 
outlying districts of the town. All the land bordering on the 
pond has been bought by the city of New Bedford in connec- 
tion with its water supply, and many summer residences are 
being erected in this vicinity. 

One of the best-known citizens of a hundred years ago was 





Abishai T. Clark. He served for many years on the school 
committee, and was often employed in the winter in teaching 
the district schools. The house in which he lived, probably 
the oldest one here, built not far from the year 1750, is at 
present occupied by Clement Barrows. 


Waupaunucket, known as Walnut Plain, was often spelled 
in the early history of the town Wappahnucket. The name is 
found among the various Algonquin tribes, and is probably 
derived from two words, " wap-pah," meaning a "village," and 
"kook-ah," meaning "among the hills," which well describes 
its beautiful hill and dale. The land lying between the shores 
of Assawampsett Pond, the Nemasket River, and the Cape 
Cod Railroad was first occupied by George Vaughan, whose de- 
scendants have resided 
there, as well as some 
of the descendants of 
Elder Thomas Cush- 
man. The inhabitants 
have for the most part 
been farmers, and, with 
the exception of one or 
two small mills, there 
never has been any 

Benjamin P. Wood, 
a prominent citizen 
during the middle of 
the last century, lived 
on Wood Street. He 
held many important 
offices, and was greatly 
respected for his good 
judgment, integrity, and kindness of heart. He was colonel in 
the Fourth Regiment of Infantry from 1826 to 1829, and was 





chairman of the selectmen for five years, an assessor, and over- 
seer of the poor for many years. He came, as a young man, 
from Woodstock, or Hartland, Vt., and was a descendant from 
one of the many Middleboro families who had years before 
moved there. 


About 1692 Captain Peter Bennett, a son of John Bennett,^ 
from England, settled in that part of Middleboro known as 
Fall Brook, so called from the 
brook which connects Tispe- 
quin Pond with Nemasket 
River. Here he bought a farm 
of John Nelson, which in- 
cluded what has since been 
known as the Miller farm,^ 
and married Priscilla, daugh- 
ter of Isaac Howland, and 
granddaughter of John How- 
land of the Mayflower. He 
was a man of enterprise and 
business ability ; he owned a 
water privilege on Fall Brook, 
and had a grist-mill near what 
is now Grove Street, then 
known as Rochester Lane. 
About the year 1735 he and 
Francis Miller petitioned the town for liberty to build a dam 
across the brook on which to erect a furnace. The petition 
was granted, and one of the first blast furnaces, subsequently 
known as the Fall Brook Furnace, was erected. It was for a 
time owned by John Miller, a son-in-law of Captain Peter Ben- 
nett, was afterwards enlarged, and in 1792 was used for the 
manufacture of hollow-ware under the superintendence of James 
and Zachariah Porter, who married into the Miller family, and 
still later was owned in part by Peter H. Peirce. There was a 

1 Eddy A'ote-Book. 







grist-mill a little farther up on this stream. Near the present 
Wareham Street was a grist-mill and a sawmill, owned by 
Captain Bennett and operated at one time by Abishai Miller. 

In the early part of the last century Seth Miller resided 
here, the father of Darius and Seth Miller, the latter a law- 
yer in Wareham. The Miller family were large owners of 
real estate, their ancestors having acquired much land from 
the different Indian purchases. John Miller, one of the first 
settlers, married a daughter of Francis Coombs, and lived 
halfway between the homes in later years of Seth and Abishai 

Abishai Miller was born June 22, 1809, and was the young- 
est child of John and Susanna Miller. As a child he attended 

school in Middleboro, 
and on the death of 
his father was sent to 
Taunton, to learn the 
trade of a machinist. 
In 1837 he went to 
Boston, and was em- 
ployed in the machine 
shop of Otis Tufts on 
Bromfield Street. In 
1853, with others, he 
organized the Atlan- 
tic Works in East 
Boston, and obtained 
a charter from the 
legislature. As su- 
perintendent of con- 
struction, by hard 
work, energy, perse- 
verance, and economy, he built up a large business, from which 
he retired in 1859 ^o his home in Fall Brook. At the out- 
break of the Civil War he was again drawn into active business 
life at the urgent request of his former associates, and under- 
took the position of superintendent, to fill the government or- 







ders, which for four years demanded all his time and strength. 
He superintended the building of the monitors Casca and Nan- 
tucket, the turrets for the four monitors Monadnock, Shack- 
amaxon, Passaconaway, and Agamenticus, as well as machinery 
for four gunboats, Osceola, Sassacus, Sagamore, and Canan- 
daigua, and the man-of- 
war Nyphon. At their 
completion he again re- 
tired from business, and 
was a director of the com- 
pany until 1876, when he 
was elected president of 
the board, an office which 
he held until his death. 
Early in his career he 
had a reputation as one of New England's best machinists, 
and the success of the Atlantic Works is due largely to his 
management. His active business life gave him little leisure 
to attend to town affairs, although at one time he served as 
selectman. He attended the Congregational Church when in 
Middleboro, and helped in its support. He died in East Bos- 
ton, January 30, 1883, ^r^cl was buried at the Green Cemetery. 

The shores about the two ponds were frequented by Indians 
before the coming of the colonists, and many relics have been 
found. Here for many years Feb Wicket, one of the last of 
the Nemasket tribe and the last of her generation, lived, sup- 
plied by the neighbors with food and clothing. She died in 
the early part of the last century, and was buried in the cor- 
ner of the Miller farm. 

Upon the borders of Wood's Pond, Ephraim Wood is said 
to have lived. Tispequin Pond, named from the noted Indian 
sachem, is about a mile in length, and with the other ponds 
furnished quantities of bog ore, which was carted to the fur- 
nace above mentioned, to Waterville, and to Muttock. In 
many deeds of land abutting on this pond, the proprietors 
reserved the right to take ore therefrom. The reddish color 
of the water is probably due to the presence of iron. 


In the early part of the last century, with the general decline 
of the iron industry in the country, the business of Fall Brook 
terminated. For a few years there was a store opposite the 
house of Squire Seth Miller, and another on Wareham Street 
near the brook, where the farmers found a market for the linen 
and woollen cloth woven from their hand-looms. This neigh- 
borhood, on the old stage road, was one of the important vil- 
lages for several generations. The land was formerly owned 
by the Millers, Sparrows, Porters, Vaughans, Tinkham^, and 



aTjHE location of the first meeting-house and the sub- 
sequent church edifices erected on or near the Green 
have made it from the earliest times a place of more 
than ordinary interest.^ The parish originally con- 
nected with the First Church included the whole town as origi- 
nally incorporated. This continued until July, 1719, when it 
was divided into two parishes : ^ the one embracing nearly the 
whole of the present area of the town, having the First Church 
as its place of worship, and the other including the western 
part of the town, now Lakeville, and a portion of Taunton. 
There were three meeting-houses on or near the Green before 
the present one. The majority of the congregation went from 
three to five miles, and some even a distance of eight miles, to 
attend service. 

The first minister was Samuel Fuller, a son of Dr. Fuller, 
the skilful physician who came 
over in the Mayflower. He mar- 
ried Elizabeth Brewster. Before 
his removal to Middleboro he was 
one of the deacons of the church in Plymouth. When he first 

^ In the initial is shown a measuring-post which stood near the liberty pole by 
the Sproat Tavern, used to ascertain the height of soldiers who volunteered in 
the patriot army. 

2 History of Plymouth County, p. 969. Deed recorded in Plymouth, Book 23, 
folios 203, 204. Later we find the following in the Middleboro records : — 

" A meeting of ' the proprietors and owners of the land called the new burying 
place in Mid near the old meeting house,' was held tuesday Sept. 24, 1734 — 
agreable to a warrant issued from a justice to John Bennet who notified it 
the 2ist previous. Adjourned to the last tuesday the 29th of Oct. ne.xt, when 
they met again in the old meeting house and chose Deac. Wood and Ebnr. Red- 
ding to see that no intensions were made by proprietors one upon another in 
burying the dead." The same committee were instructed to notify the owners of 
the schoolhouse to remove it from " said burying place." 

5»fs</^ /lUhr 


came to town it is impossible to state, but he was here before 
the Indian War of 1675, ^^^ from the statement in Rev. Mr. 
Barker's sermon, he returned shortly after the resettlement. 
He preached to the people for sixteen years before he was 
ordained, and died a few months after his ordination, August 
17, 1695, at the age of seventy-one. The following is the in- 
scription on the stone marking his grave : — 

AUGST YE 17TH T 6 9 5 


The town voted to pay^ Mr. Fuller a "salarie" in 1680, of 
^20 a year ; at one time "|- was to be paid in silver, and the 
I in Wheat at 716, Rie at 3s, Corn at 2/6 ; " this was later 
changed to "| in silver money, | in current pay as passeth 
between man and man." He was one of the few to have the 
title of Mr. prefixed to his name. There is no record of his 
holding office, although he served as magistrate in writing 
wills and preparing other legal papers for the people. He 
was not a college graduate, as were many ministers, but was 
none the less regarded as a learned man. It was doubtless 
through his influence and labors that there were so many 
praying Indians in the town, and that their churches before 
the breaking out of the Indian War were so prosperous. As 
one of the original owners in the Twenty-six Men's Purchase, 
his allotment was set off in 1664, and was not included in what 
was given as the "ministers lot." In 1679 ^^^ town by vote 
gave to Mr. Samuel Fuller a tract of land^ upon which he 
then lived, embracing about twelve acres, a little to the east 
of the Sturtevant place. The town also voted " to turn out 
and fence his fields, and every one who did not was to pay a 
bushel of corn." 

The first meeting-house stood on the northerly side of 

1 Voted February 7, 1680. ^ Voted August, 1679. 

lyoo] THE GREEN 3I I 

Plymouth Street, opposite the Sturtevant house. It was sold 
at auction^ in August, 1701, for the sum of five pounds and 
two shillings. 

In accordance with a vote passed in November, 1690, the town 
built a second meeting-house, which stood on the Lower Green 
opposite the present school- 
house, " 36 foot in length 30 ^^z^^e^j^z^--;^^ 
foot in breadth and sixteen ^-^'^i^fc" ' ~^/^ X^* 
foot the stud." It is not *^^^rir^f3' l| g fc 
known of whom the land on -^t"': I' i?;i^ ;_-,„: 1 
which It stood was purchased, • -^^^^^-:r-^:^^^^5^^ig3 
nor do we know the price - . "T.^^- ■'-■",:, 
paid. The records state, May second meeting-house 

29, 1700, " the meeting house (Reproduced from a very old pencil drawing) 

in Midlebery was Raised." 

It was sold and taken down in the year 1754 or 1755, and the 
materials used in building a dwelling-house which stood on the 
site of the present parsonage. 

On June 20, 17 17, the two acres of land west of the cemetery, 
known as the Lower Green, were conveyed by James Soule 
" unto mihtary officers and military companies in Middleboro 
for the only proper use, benefit and behoof of the Military 
Company in Middleboro, successively, forever, lying near the 
meeting-house in Middleboro." The consideration of this deed 
was " The good will which I bear unto the military officers and 
company in Middleboro." For many years it was used for a 
training-green, and has since remained open for the public. 

Adjoining this at the east is the parish burying-ground, 
which was purchased of James Soule March 30, 171 7, for forty 
shillings, by " Peter Thacher, Jacob Thomson, Isaac Rowland, 
John Morton, John Thomson, Thomas Thomson, Jeremiah 
Thomas, William Thomas, Jonathan Cobb, Sen'r., Jonathan 
Cobb, Jr., John Cobb, Sen'r., John Cobb, Jr., Rodulphus Elms, 
Ichabod King, Shubael Thomson, William Nelson, Daniel 
Vaughan, Ephraim Wood, John Soul, Aaron Simmins, John 
Fuller, Edward Thomas, Elisha Vaughan, Jabez Vaughan, 

1 See History of the First Church of Middleboro, p. 5. 


George Vaughan, John Vaughan, John Hascol, William Has- 
col, Henry Wood, Samuel Barrows, Benjamin Eddy, Samuel 
Eddy, Jonathan Morse, Jr., Isaac Fuller, Ebenezer Redding, 
Jonathan Smith, Joseph Barden, John Miller, Jr., Jonathan 
Fuller, Samuel Tinkham, Seth Howland, Joseph Bennet, 
Samuel Cobb, Peter Bennet, Joel Ellis, Samuel Sampson, Ben- 
jamin Stuart, Thomas Bicknell, Josiah Conant, John Tinkham, 
Isaac Tinkham, Joseph Cobb, Ebenezer Fuller, John Bennett, 
Samuel Bennett, John Raymond, Jr., Samuel Bennet, Jr., 
Samuel Parlour, and Nemiah Holmes, said Soul reserving one 
share : to be used for a burying-ground for the persons above 
named, their heirs and assigns." It consisted of about two 
acres of land, lying in the Twenty-six Men's Purchase, and 
"is a part of my fifty acre lot, lying near the land I formerly 
gave for a training Green." " The first person buried in this 
cemetery" was Lydia Thomas, in July, 1717. 

February 17, 1745, the following named persons, residents 
of the town, agreed to build a new meeting-house: "Jabez 
Vaughan, Jonathan Smith, James Smith, Gersham Cobb, Seth 
Tinkham, Ebenezer Finney, Noah Thomas, William Cushman, 
Benjamin Tucker, Edward Thomas, Samuel Eddy, Jr., Zacha- 
riah Eddy, John Cox, John Cobb, Ezra Clapp, William Thomas, 
Jas. Tinkham, John Smith, Edmund Weston, John Soule, 
Henry Thomas, Jeremiah Tinkham, Oxenbridge Thacher, Jo- 
seph Bates, Jr., Thomas Darling, Jonathan Smith, Jr., Joseph 
Thomas, Samuel Thomas, Samuel Smith, Benjamin Thomas, 
William Short, Hezekiah Purrington, John Thompson, Samuel 
Wood, Eph'm. Wood, Enen'r. Wood, and Caleb Thompson." 

On June 9, 1745, the deed was recorded for tw^o acres of 
land purchased of Ebenezer Sproat, "for 35 pounds in bills 
of credit of the old tenor." The land so purchased had been 
previously owned by James Soule. 

The third meeting-house was built on the Upper Green in 
1745, and remained until 1829.^ The present meeting-house 
was built in 1827. 

1 A portion of the foundation is still to be seen a little east of the present 

1690] THE GREEN 313 

In early times, one of the most notable buildings in the 
neighborhood of the Green was the first parsonage, known 
as the " mansion house," on the site of the dwelling now 
occupied by William W. Wood. It was probably built about 
the time of the organization of the church, and remained until 
1780, when it was destroyed by fire. With the exception of 
Oliver Hall, it was considered one of the finest houses in 
the town ; built with four gable ends, its rooms were spacious 
and high studded, and its front door opened into an enclosed 

Peter Thacher,^ the first minister to live here, was born 
October 6, 1688, and was graduated from Harvard in 1706. 
He had an excellent library, was a 

diligent student, and one of the most ^ - (^p ^ 
learned men of his time. He married, -y-CWY JudcJt^ 
January 25, 1711, Mary, daughter of 

Samuel Prince. She was known as " Madame Thacher," and 
was a woman of intelligence, of great help to the church, and 
noted for her benevolence. 

The mansion house was used as a place of worship by Mr, 
Conant while the third meeting-house was being built, and it 
was here that he entertained Whitefield on his memorable 
visit to Middleboro in 1746. In this house also lived Samuel 
Prince,^ one of the most prominent men in the colony. He 
died in 1728, and was buried with distinguished honor be- 
tween the two large trees now standing at the west end of 
the burying-ground. His body was afterwards removed to the 
family tomb. Nathan Prince, his son, was a member of the 
First Church, and after graduating from Harvard, became 
an Episcopal missionary. " He was the author of a book on 
the Resurrection of our Lord, and of another on the govern- 
ment of the College, both of which were in great estima- 
tion." ^ Mrs. Prince was a daughter of Governor Hinckley of 
Plymouth Colony. 

^ See History of the First Church of Middleboro, p. 36. 

2 Ibid. p. 56. He came to Middleboro in 1723. 

3 Allen's American Biographical Dictionary, p. 683. 


church, hved in the house formerly owned 

The Rev. Svlvanus Conant,^ the fourth pastor of the 
church, hved in the house formerly owned by James P. Spar- 
row ; the house, 
built in 1752, is 
now standing on 
Plympton Street, 
and the garden adjoins the land known as the " Upper Green." 
It was supposed that Middleboro would remain loyal to the 
Crown on account of the influence of Judge Oliver, but this 
was nullified by the ardent patriotism of Rev. Sylvanus Conant 
and Zachariah Eddy. From the beginning of the oppressive 
legislation, Mr. Conant was bold and fearless in his utter- 
ance in the pulpit and elsewhere against the injustice of the 
mother country. He not only went as a chaplain in one of 
the regiments, but, owing to his earnest words, thirty-five of 
the members of his church enlisted, and Captain Joshua Eddy 
raised a company for service during the war. The follow- 
ing anecdote is told of him at the time of the general alarm 
throughout the town and country on the entry of the British 
into New Bedford : " It was on Sunday, and a messenger came 
in breathless haste into the meeting-house where Mr. Conant 
was preaching, and standing in the broad aisle cried, 'There 
is an alarum!* There was no answer nor any stir; the 
announcement was repeated ; the congregation were still un- 
moved ; again he cried in a loud voice, ' There is an alarum ! ' 
Mr. Conant, bending towards him, replied with great mildness 
and simplicity, ^We know it !' The messenger retired. Many 
of the men went out, but Mr. Conant resumed his discourse, 
most of his hearers being less disposed to be grave at the 
dreadful portent of the alarum than to smile at the manner in 
which the minister disposed of it."^ 

Mr. Conant was a graduate of Harvard College, and deliv- 
ered an oration in 1775, in commemoration of the landing of 
the pilgrims at Plymouth. This, with a volume of sermons 
published during his lifetime, shows his patriotism, scholar- 

1 History of the First Church of Middleboro, p. 37. 

2 Eddy Note-Book. 






ship, and profound knowledge of the great doctrines of the 
New Testament. It is said that upon his death there was 
weeping in every house in town, at the loss of one of their 
best and dearest friends. Some years after, Samuel Joseph 
May, one of the earliest anti-slavery men, said in a public 
utterance, " He was a strong man, he was a sound man whom 
many loved, his disposition was fortunate, for it was full of 
disposition for others. He seemed more than most men to be 
at home in the world. He found ways of doing good wherever 
he went, and thus made for himself of all places a heaven ; 
such glad interest for others beamed forth in his eyes that he 
seemed to have forgotten himself for others' welfare and their 
interest became his own. He was full of sunshine, radiant 
with hope, trusting in his God, and believing in man." He 
died of smallpox in the height of his usefulness as a minister 
of the gospel, a patriotic citizen, and a devout lover of his 
country, inspired with the belief that she would yet become 
a free, great, and mighty nation of the world. Eight of his 
parishioners, who died ^ between December 5 and 18, 1777, 
were buried with him in the field then owned by one of them, 
John Smith, near the house of the late Otis Soule. They 
were Zachariah Eddy, Widow Rhoda Smith, Joseph Smith, 
Bethia Smith, John Smith, William Soule, Sarah Reading, and 
Hannah Love. The following is the inscription on the stone 
at his grave : — 

1 History of the First Church of Middleboro, p. 37. 


Memento Jifori. 






So sleep the souls, and leave to groan, 

When sin and denth have done their worst, 
Christ hath a glory like his own, 

Which waits to clothe their wasting dust. 

Rev. Joseph Barker^ lived in the Conant house during his 
ministry. He was a profound student, an able preacher, and 
a man of large influence throughout the town and county. 
At the one hundredth anniversary of the organization of the 
church, he preached a commemorative sermon. A volume of 
his sermons, published at the time, is still extant, which indi- 
cates his scholarship and ability. While faithful in the dis- 

1 Among his papers was the following letter to his daughter, which gives a 

picture of one phase of his life : — 

Washington, Jan. 5th, i8og. 

My DEAR Elizabeth : — Last Sabbath being new year's day, I preached 
for the first time for Mr. Bolch, to a respectible and attentive audience from Eph. 

On Monday we had clear cold weather. This day attended levee at the Presi- 
dent's. A very large collection was there ; English, Scotch, Irish, French, Span- 
ish, Italian, German, Indian, Whigs, Tories, Federalists, Republicans ; men, 
women, old ladies and young ladies. We all stood about and walked about to 
see and speak to one another. I had considerable talk with one of our red 
sisters, she is the lady of Cherokee Sachem who is here ; she can talk some 
English though her husband cannot. She is dressed well in English habit with 
silk gown, &c. She appears to be a sensible woman and intelligent. She tells 
me that they spin and weave, make their own clothes, keep cows, make butter 
and cheese and attend to agriculture and all the employments of civilized life ; 
that they have schools for their children and the gospel preached among them 
sometimes by missionaries. 

Now, this great change in their habits has been effected by divine blessing at- 
tending the means used by Mr. Jefferson. All the missionaries ever sent there 
by the French and English have never done so much good as Jefferson has done 
since he has been President of the United States, and yet he is called an enemy 
to religion. I heartily wish all enemies of religion had as much humanity, be- 
nevolence, wisdom, moderation and firmness as that one man whom Federalists 
and Tories are wishing to destroy ; but his character will shine upon the page 
of history, while those of his vile calumniators will not. 

I am your affectionate Father, 

Joseph Barker. 

1665] THE GREEN 317 

charge of his duties as a minister of this church, he was, from 
the beginning, deeply interested in the public events of the 
day, and was elected, in 1805 and 1808, by a large majority to 
represent southeastern Massachusetts in the Ninth and Tenth 
Congress. While a member of the national House of Repre- 
sentatives, he was highly esteemed for his learning and his 
broad, statesmanlike views upon the great questions then be- 
fore the nation. He serv^ed upon prominent committees, and 
took an important part in the debate upon the resolution pro- 
hibiting the importation of slaves into the country. 

Rev. William Eaton lived in the house formerly occupied 
by Ira Bryant. The other clergymen settled over this church 
have resided at the Upper or Lower Green. 

About one mile to the east of the church on Plympton 
Road was the farm of John Nelson, one of the first settlers 
of the town.i When Mr. Nelson went to Lakeville, he sold 
this farm to John Bennett. In 1824 Major Thomas Bennett, 
then the owner, while ploughing the ground where this first 
log house stood, came upon an Indian grave, in which were 
a knife, tomahawk, pipe, and other implements. There is 
no doubt that these belonged to the Indian who was shot 
from the fort and taken to Mr. Nelson's house, where he 

John Bennett, was the son of Peter Bennett of Bristol, Eng- 
land, from which place he emigrated in 1665. He was a weaver 
by trade, and on ac- 
count of some do- 
mestic trouble, at the 
death of his mother 
he moved to this country, at the age of twenty-three. He 
settled at Jamestown, Va., then went to Beverly, Mass., where 
he became a landholder. From there he moved at the time of 
the Salem witchcraft, probably to escape annoyance from that 
delusion, and after spending a year in Weymouth, he came 
to Middleboro in 1687. He lived near the Cox sawmill, then 
built a house between that formerly occupied by Elijah Shaw 

1 See chapter on Early Settlers. 

^Oo-^^ ^^n^^J^^^ 


and the sawmill, and afterwards purchased^ a farm owned by 
John Nelson, where he built a house on the site of the one 
which had been burned by the Indians after the death of their 
comrade. He took the oath of fidelity in 1689, and was select- 
man of Middleboro in 1692, 1693, 1695, 1697, and 1698. He 
was elected town clerk, March 28, 1693, which office he held 
for about thirteen years. He was a proprietor in the Twenty- 
six Men's Purchase at the running of the bounds in 1696, and 
owned lots in the Sixteen Shilling Purchase, and four lots in the 
South Purchase, of which he was clerk in 1689.^ He married 
Deborah Grover of Beverly, in 1671. She died March 22, 1718, 
aged seventy, and was buried in the grave with her husband. 

The house was built with a single room in front, and a porch 
projecting from one end, facing the highway. It was low in the 
ceiling, with large oak beams crossing overhead ; the sills and 
sleepers rested on the ground. The door was filled with large- 
headed nails for protection against the Indians. This house, fa- 
mous as the birthplace of several generations of Middleboro's 
citizens, was taken down in the early part of the last century. 
It had been visited by Peregrine White, the first child born to 
the pilgrims in this country, and was the home of Nehemiah 
Bennett and his wife Mercy. From him many facts relating to 

the early history of the town 
1^^^^^5i>f (;^.e^/>t^^ were obtained by the Massa- 
^ chusetts Historical Society, 

and published among their collections, and it is to him and his 
wife that we are indebted for much which would probably 
have been lost had it not been for their interest in local affairs. 

Mercy Bennett was born in 1699, and died in 1799. She was 
a woman of unusual intelligence, and retained her mental facul- 
ties until the time of her death. In the great snowstorm of 1 7 1 7, 
she with two other girls walked to Plymouth and back the same 
day to attend public service. 

Upon the eastern corner of the Lower Green and facing 

1 There is a discrepancy as to the date of this purchase. General E. W. Peirce 
says 1687; Eddy A^ote-Book, 1691. 

2 Early Records of Middleboro, p. 114. 





Plymouth Street stood the famous Sproat Tavern, taken down 
in the year 1898. For many years it was the only inn in this 
part of the town, and for more than two centuries was justly 
celebrated for its generous hospitality. 

One writer of New England history says, •' Religion was an 
ever present thought and influence in their lives, but they 
possessed another trait — with them neighborliness was as 
ever present, as sincere as their godliness — hence the estab- 
lishment of the ordinary for the entertainment of travellers, 
the mutual comfort of the settlers." All through the country, 
licenses to keep taverns were granted on the condition that 
they be near the meeting-house, and inn-keepers were obliged 
to clear their houses during the church service. Orderly con- 
duct was required and drunkenness was frowned upon, yet 
liquor was freely used by minister and layman alike. As early 
as 1646 the General Court passed a law by which landlords 
were forbidden " to suffer anyone to be druncken or to stay 
drinking in his house above an hour at one tyme " ^ under pen- 
alty of five shillings. The use of tobacco was considered much 
more degrading than indulgence in intoxicating drinks. News- 
papers were not common, but at the tavern one could usually 
be found, and here men and women gathered to read and dis- 
cuss the news of the day and all items of interest. The tavern 
was so situated that the arrival of the stage-coach was an 

^ Laws of Plymouth Colony, p. 50. 



event of daily interest, — bringing visitors, or travellers on the 
way from Plymouth to Taunton and New Bedford. In the 
French and Indian War, the men of the town came here to 
enlist. In the Revolutionary War, it was the rendezvous for 
military men, and here the patriots of the town assembled to 
discuss the stirring events of the times. From this tavern, 
after the drill upon the Green, the companies of Middleboro 
men marched to join the army in the different parts of the 
country. The spot is still pointed out where stood the famous 
liberty pole,i with the scale, showing the required height of the 
soldier. The prominent men of the colony, as well as distin- 
guished noblemen from England, on their way to visit Oliver 
Hall, have stopped here. Probably at few inns in the colony 
were more illustrious men entertained than in this noted hos- 
telry. It was the rendezvous of the men who marched to Plym- 
outh in the War of 18 12, and for a generation after, training 
day was observed on this " Green " each year. 

This famous old house was built by James Soule in the year 
1700, and soon after was occupied by the well-known family 
of Littles. Originally, it was only one half as large as when 
taken down, the northeastern part having been built first. 
From the second story was hung the sign, which is still pre- 
served, and which is said to have been the first on any tavern 
to publicly express the sentiments of liberty, then creating so 
much excitement throughout the country. It was particularly 
daring on the part of Colonel Sproat, the proprietor of this 
old inn, to thus advocate the cause of independence in oppo- 

1 In a letter of Dr. Peter Oliver, Jr., under date of October 27, 1774, he writes : 
" The week before last our Sons of Lyberty here, put up a Lyberty Pole on the 
Green. Our Minister grac'd the solemnity with his presence, and made a prayer 
under the P9le, and an harangue upon Lyberty. It was a day sat apart for the 
Officers of the Company to resign their offices. M^ Conant took the pikes, and 
gave them to the new Officers : he has rendered himself very ridiculous to many 
of his friends. 

" Ere this reaches, you will receive the News-Papers, which will give you an in- 
sight of our present troubles and difficulties. The Judge (Chief Justice Peter 
Oliver,) has been in Boston these 8 or 10 weeks, to save his life ; and Madam has 
been there these 3 weeks, and are both going to winter there." Diary and Letters 
of Thomas Hutchinson, vol. i, p. 264. 







sition to the views of so influential a man as Judge Oliver. 
The house retained much of its original furnishing in the 
wainscot, the great fireplace, the deep-seated square windows, 
and latticed panes of glass. In the room 
which formerly led to the tap-room were 
to be seen a shelf and panel, relics of the 
past ; the tap-room continued for genera- 
tions with the same furnishing. The kitchen 
showed the large oak beams as first placed 
over the ceiling, with the Dutch brick and 
panel work of English make about the large 
fireplace. In the early part of the last cen- 
tury it was enlarged to accommodate the 
many patrons of the inn. Here many of the 
congregation who worshipped in the adjoin- 
ing old meeting-house used to assemble 
every Sabbath noon during the intermis- 
sion. There was a roaring fire in the large open fireplace, and 
near by was the well, still to be seen, with its long well-sweep. 
There are those now living who remember the gilded ball 
which hung on a post near the well. 

During the "noonings" the large room was crowded, and 
the conversation there carried on was interesting and instruc- 
tive. Some of the best thinkers of the town w^ere there, dis- 
cussing the current news of the day, as well as the sermon 
from its theological, argumentative, and scriptural point of 
view. Captain Joshua Eddy in Revolutionary times, and later 
his son, Zachariah Eddy, were often the chief speakers on 
these occasions. It was at one of these noonings that Frank- 
lin met them and spoke concerning their crops and the best 
way of enriching and draining their land. He gave them a 
few copies of " Poor Richard's Almanac," which were after- 
ward eagerly sought after, and were usually hung over the 
fireplace under the king's arm. The old were never tired of 
repeating the sayings of that Sabbath afternoon, and taught 
them to their children and their children's children, so that 
the name of Franklin was one of the most honored in the 


old parish. In after years, the men of Middleboro appreciated 
what George III had said to his ministers during the early 
days of the Revolution, " Beware of that crafty rebel, Ben- 
jamin Franklin, he has more brains than all the rest put 
together, and will outwit you all." 

Ebenezer Sproat was an influential man, of large and com- 
manding figure, and held the office of treasurer and selectman 
for some years. He was the proprietor of the Sproat Tavern, 
and under his management the house acquired much of its 
reputation. He died January 23, 1786,^ aged sixty-nine. His 
son. Colonel Ebenezer, was born in the year 1752, and in- 
herited the virtues of his father, and in addition to this, he was 

noted for his boldness and energy, tempered by prudence and 
sagacity. When quite young he became interested in public 
affairs of the colony, and before he reached his majority, saw 
the inevitable consequences of the tyrannical acts of the Crown. 
He was one of the first to enlist in the Revolutionary army, 
and was with the troops to oppose the British possession of 
Newport at the time of its first invasion. He entered the army 
as captain, and such was his ability that he was promoted to the 
rank of major in the Tenth Massachusetts Regiment, com- 
manded by Colonel Shepard. In 1 778 he was with John Glover's 
Brigfade of four reeriments in Providence, as lieutenant-colonel. 
It was said at that time that he was the tallest man in his regi- 
ment, being six feet four inches in height, and of perfect pro- 
portions. He had winning ways, and yet the sternness of an 
able military commander. He was a strict disciplinarian, but 
his agreeable manner, his intelligence and cheerful disposition, 
made him a universal favorite with his officers and men. His 
knowledge of the art of war and the thorough discipline that 
he maintained attracted the attention of Baron Steuben, who 

1 History of the First Chtirch of Middleboro, p. 240. 




appointed him inspector of the brigade, an office he filled to 
the satisfaction of his superior officers. He was a friend of 
General Washington, and was frequently admitted to his con- 
fidence. Dr. Thacher, in his journal of military events, thus 
speaks of Colonel Sproat : — 

"In the mutiny which broke out in January, 1781, in the 
New Jersey line, stationed at Pompton, in New Jersey, a de- 
tachment of five hundred men was ordered out to suppress 
it. In this detachment Col. Sproat was second in command, 
and Maj. Oliver was one 

of the field-officers. The ..-C^t??" :~t^^ 

distance from the main 
encampment was thirty or 
forty miles, and the snow 
two feet deep ; it took 
nearly four days to accom- 
plish the march. When 
they came in sight of the 
insurgents, Gen. Robert 
Howe, the commander, 
ordered his men to load 
their arms ; and as some 
of the officers distrusted 
the faithfulness of their 
own men, so prevalent 
was disaffection in the 
army, that, before making 
the attack, he harangued 
the troops on the hei- 
nousness of the crime of 
mutiny, and the absolute 
necessity of military sub- 
ordination ; that the mutineers must be brought to an uncon- 
ditional submission. The men entered fully into the patriotic 
spirit of their officers, and marching with the greatest alac- 
rity, surrounded the huts so as to admit of no escape. Gen. 
Howe ordered his aide-de-camp to command the mutineers to 
parade in front of their huts, unarmed, in five minutes. Ob- 
serving them to hesitate, a second message was sent, when 
they instantly obeyed, and paraded in a line, unarmed, two or 
three hundred in number. The general then ordered three of 
the ringleaders to be selected for condign punishment. These 



unfortunate men were tried on the spot, Col. Sproat being 
president of the court martial, standing on the snow, and they 
were sentenced to be shot immediately. Twelve of the most 
active mutineers were selected for their executioners. This 
was a most painful task, and some of them, when ordered to 
load their guns, shed tears. Two of them suffered death on 
the spot ; the third one was pardoned, as being less guilty, on 
the representation of their officers. Never were men more 
completely humbled and penitent. Tears of sorrow and of 
joy -Streamed from their eyes, and each one seemed to con- 
gratulate himself that his forfeited life had been spared. The 
general then addressed the men in a very pathetic and im- 
pressive manner : showing the enormity of their crime, and 
the inevitable ruin to the cause of the country, to which it 
would lead. They remained true and faithful soldiers to the 
end of the war." 

That service. Colonel Sproat often said, was the most pain- 
ful ever imposed upon him, but such was the position of the 
continental army at this time that the insubordination man- 
ifested in the New Jersey troops called for most severe mea- 
sures, and after that lesson there was no further mutiny on the 
part of any of the troops.^ It is to the credit of the men from 
the New England colonies that no revolt ever occurred among 
them, and Washington said at one time in view of this, " God 
bless the New England troops." 

In the early part of the war Colonel Sproat was at home on 
a furlough, when his fondness for a joke was seen in the fol- 
lowing incident : Three soldiers, passing through Middleboro, 
stopped at the tavern, where his mother placed what he con- 
sidered a rather scanty meal before them. When they inquired 
the price, he called to his mother, " How much is it worth to 
pick those bones.-'" "About a shilling, I suppose," was the 
answer. He returned to the room, took three shillings from 
the drawer, and handed one to each of the men, who went on 
their way much pleased at their treatment. Later, when his 
mother asked for the money, he exclaimed as if in surprise, 
" Money ! did I not ask you what it was worth to pick those 

^ Hildreth, Lives of the Early Settlers of Ohio. 

iSo5] THE GREEN 325 

bones ; and you replied a shilling ? I thought it little enough 
for such a job and handed them the money from the till, and 
they are gone." 

After the war he lived in Providence, where he married 
Catherine, daughter of Abraham Whipple. In 1786 he was ap- 
pointed surveyor for Rhode Island of the lands west of the 
Ohio, and later settled upon the banks of the Marietta River. 
His fearless character, as well as his fairness in dealing with 
the Indians, soon won their respect. The Indians called him 
Hetuck, or Big Buckeye, from his eagle eye and stately bear- 
ing. He rose to be a prominent man in the state, and from 
the name the Indians gave to him, Ohio took the name of the 
Buckeye state. At the recent celebration of the city of Mari- 
etta, Colonel Sproat was duly honored as the founder of a 
number of institutions which have rendered Ohio the Massa- 
chusetts of the West. He was an original member of the 
Society of the Cincinnati. He died in February, 1805. 

Colonel Sproat had a brother Thomas, who, upon the death 
of his father, succeeded to the paternal estate and successfully 
carried on the old tavern. It is much to be regretted that a 
building so connected with the historic events of the town, 
county, and state could not have been preserved as a memorial 
of former times. 

Dr. Thomas Sturtevant, a physician of skill, and widely 
known throughout this and adjoining towns, commenced his 
practice on the old Sturtevant farm, and died in 1836, leaving 
several children. George became a well-known physician, and 
succeeded to his father's estate and practice. Another son 
was Thomas, whose genial good-nature, ready wit, and remark- 
able fluency of language gave promise of much which was, 
unfortunately, never realized. There was scarcely an event in 
town which was not made a subject of his ready rhyme in 
longer or shorter poems, epitaphs, or sonnets. While a prisoner 
in Canada, in the War of 1 812, he wrote at one sitting, ap- 
parently without thought or preparation, the following acrostic 
on the Lord's Prayer : — 

^ Hildreth, Lives of the Early Settlers of Ohio, p. 240. 


" Our Lord and King, who reign'st enthroned on high, 
Father of light ! mysterious Deity ! 
Who art the great I AM, the last, the first. 
Art righteous, holy, merciful and just. 
In realms of glory, scenes where angels sing, 
Heaven is the dwelling place of God our King, 
Hallowed thy name, which dost all names transcend. 
Be thou adored, our great Almighty Friend, 
Thy glory shines beyond creation's space, 
Named in the book of justice and of grace. 
Thy kingdom towers beyond thy starry skies ; 
Kingdom satanic falls, but thine shall rise. 
Come let thine empire, O thou Holy one. 
Thy great and everlasting will be done ! 
Will God make known his will, his power display ? 
Be it the work of mortals to obey. 
Done is the great, the wondrous work of love, 
On Calvary's cross he died, but reigns above, 
Earth bears the record in thy holy word, 
As Heaven adores thy love, let earth, O Lord ; 
It shines transcendent in th' eternal skies. 
Is praised in Heaven, — for man the Savior dies. 
In songs immortal angels laud his name, 
Heaven shouts with joy, and saints his love proclaim. 
Give us, O Lord, our food, nor cease to give 
Us that food on which our souls may live ! 
This be our boon to-day, and days to come, 
Day without end in our eternal home : 
Our needy souls supply from day to day. 
Daily assist and aid us when we pray. 
Bread though we ask, yet Lord thy blessing lend, 
And make us grateful when our gifts descend. 
Forgive our sins, which in destruction place 
Us the vile rebels of a rebel race ; 
Our follies, faults, and trespasses forgive, 
Debts which we ne'er can pay, or thou receive ; 
As we, O Lord, our neighbor's faults o'erlook. 
We beg thou'dst blot ours from thy memory book. 
Forgive our enemies, extend thy grace 
Our souls to save, e'en Adam's guilty race. 
Debtors to thee in gratitude and love. 
And in that duty paid by saints above. 
Lead us from sin and in thy mercy raise 
Us from the tempter and his hellish ways. 
Not in our own, but in his name who bled, 
Into thine ear we pour our every need. 

i73o] THE GREEN 327 

Temptation's fatal charms help us to shun, 

But may we conquer through thy conquering Son ! 

Deliver us from all which can annoy 

Us in this world, and may our souls destroy. 

From all calamities which men betide, 

Evil and death, O turn our feet aside ; 

For we are mortal worms, and cleave to clay ; 

Thine 'tis to rule and mortals to obey. 

Is not thy mercy, Lord, forever free ? 

The whole creation knows no God but thee. 

Kingdom and empire in thy presence fall ! 

The King eternal reigns the King of all. 

Power is with thee, to thee be glory given, 

And be thy name adored by earth and Heaven, 

The praise of saints and angels is thine own ; 

Glory to thee, the everlasting One, 

Forever be thy triune name adored ; 

Amen ! Hosanna ! blessed be the Lord ! " 

A little beyond the house of Dr. Sturtevant, southwest of the 
Deacon Tilson place, were the house and lands of Luke Short, 
who died at the age of one hundred and sixteen, having lived 
during the reign of eight British sovereigns. He was born in 
Dartmouth, England, where he spent the first sixteen years 
of his life. He had seen Oliver Cromwell ride through the 
streets, of whom he spoke as "a rough, burly, soldierly looking 
man and a good soldier," and was present at the execution of 
Charles I. After leaving England, he pursued a seafaring life 
in Marblehead, then settled in Middleboro and there reared a 
family of children. At one hundred years of age he used to 
work on his farm, and his mental faculties were but little 
impaired. He was hoeing corn one day, and stopping to rest 
at a rock near by, recalled a sermon preached ninety years 
before by John Flavel, the great London preacher, who at the 
close of his sermon had said : " How can I bless whom the 
Lord hath not blessed !" He had paused and all was silence; 
no one moved, or spoke ; an English baronet who was present 
fell to the floor in a swoon. The recollection of this scene 
was so vivid that Mr. Short became a changed man, a devout 
christian, uniting with the church, of which he remained a 
loyal member until his death in 1746. 


Rev. Thomas Palmer,^ the second pastor of the church, 
lived in one of the garrison houses built soon after the re- 
settlement, later known as the Morey place, on the northern 
side of Plymouth Street, west of the house of Ira Bryant. The 
house had four gable-ends and two ridge-poles, after the style 
of the old meeting-house. He died June 17, 1743, aged seventy 
years.2 A stone which has this inscription marks his grave in 
the parish burial-ground : — 

" All ye that pass along this way, 
Remember still your dying day, 
Here 's human bodies out of sight, 

Whose souls to have took their flight, 

And shall again united be 
In their doomed eternity." 

His wife Elizabeth died April 17, 1740, aged sixty-four. He 
had a numerous family, most of whom died young. His estate 
descended to a daughter, who married a Mr. Cheney, and from 
her to Mrs. Morey and her children. Jack and Hannah, well 
known for their marked peculiarities, which made them the 
subject of constant jest and joke. 

Until recently there has been no business here save a black- 
smith shop opposite the mansion house, and later one on the 

1 See chapter on Ecclesiastical History. 

2 History of the First Church of Middleboro, p. 36, gives his age as seventy; 
p. 82 as seventy-eight. 



ISTORY associates the name of Thomastown with 
that of David Thomas and his descendants, but 
Deacon Benjamin Thomas, whose residence is still 
standing, was, in the century before the last, per- 
haps the most prominent man of the place. He was not lib- 
erally educated, but was a man of strong common sense, of 
sturdy principle, well versed in the scriptures, conscientious in 
the performance of every duty, and was well known through- 
out the county. He was chosen deacon of the First Church 
May 23, 1776, and filled many important positions in the 

"In 1782, he was a representative, and in 1788, a member 
of the convention which adopted the Federal Constitution. 
When a bill was under discussion for repealing the law of pri- 
mogeniture, the deacon declared his doubts, as the Scriptures 
showed special favors for the first born. A Boston gentle- 
man said, the deacon mistook the Scriptures, for they said 
that Jacob, though the younger brother, inherited the birth- 
right. The deacon said, the gentleman had forgotten to tell 
us how he obtained it, how Esau sold his birthright for a mess 
of pottage, and how Jacob deceived his father, pretending 
to be Esau, and how his mother helped on the deception 
— he had forgotten all that. The laugh was at first against 
the deacon, but at last turned against the gentleman from 
Boston." 1 

He died January 18, 1800, in the seventy-eighth year of his 

Deborah Sampson, a young woman widely known for her 
patriotism in enlisting as a young man in the Revolutionary 

1 History of the First Church of Middleboro, p. 6l. 




army, lived in this neighborhood in the early part of her life. 
She was born in the adjoining town of Plympton, December 
17, 1760, and was a descendant of William Bradford. Her 
father, Jonathan Sampson, Jr., was deprived of the portion 
of the property which should have descended to him, and is 
said to have fallen into habits of intemperance ; this finally 
led to the separation of his children, 
and the family were scattered. At the 
age of ten years DeT^orah was received 
into the home of Jeremiah Thomas, 
where she lived for ten years and more, 
until the time of her enlistment. Mr. 
Thomas, as an earnest patriot, did much 
towards shaping the political opinions 
of the young woman in his charge, who 
early developed talent and a strong de- 
sire for knowledge. Her perceptions 
were quick and her imagination lively ; 
she soon became absorbed in the stir- 
ring questions of the day. For a few 
years before she lived with Mr. Thomas, she was in the home 
of the Rev. Peter Thacher, the third minister of the First 

It is said that early in life she kept a journal, recording 
her good deeds on one page and her bad deeds on the opposite 
page. The events during the early years of the war for inde- 
pendence made a deep impression upon her mind, and without 
informing her closest friend of her intention, she had probably 
determined to see something of the world beyond her neigh- 
borhood and to help in some way the patriot cause. Such was 
her ability that before she was nineteen, in 1779, she was 
employed to teach six months in a public school in Middle- 
boro. She had been bound out to service, but after this term 
expired, she was at liberty to choose for herself. The house in 
which her school was kept stood on the spot where Elisha 
Jenks now resides, but the building was afterwards moved 
to Water Street and occupied as a dwelling-house. She then 





boarded in the house of Abner Bourne, and such was her suc- 
cess as teacher that she was engaged for the next season. She 
was accustomed to attend church at the meeting-house in the 
Upper Green, but afterwards became interested in the preach- 
ing of Rev. Asa Hunt, a Baptist minister at the Rock, and 
joined that church. While she was with Deacon Thomas, she 
grew very skilful in spinning linen and worsted, and during 
the winter months was employed by many of the residents of 
the town to do their nicest spinning. She was often in the 
old Morton house, the Bourne house, and at the Sproat Tavern, 
engaged in her work. The hope that she might in some way 
serve her country had been cherished for months before she 
determined to assume male attire and enlist as a soldier in 
the Continental army. She had purchased from Mr. Leach's 
store in Muttock cloth which she secretly took home and 
made into a suit, working after her day's spinning was finished 
and at odd hours that her secret might not be discovered. 
It is said that after she had completed these clothes she walked 
to Taunton in the night for fear of meeting some of her old 
acquaintances on the road, and remained there until she be- 
came accustomed to her new attire. Early in the year 1782, as 
a recruiting officer was 
in Middleboro, she en- 
listed under the name 
of Timothy Thayer. 
When the supposed 
Timothy Thayer was 
signing the articles of 
agreement, an old lady 
who sat near the fire 
carding wool remarked 
that Thayer held his pen 
just as " Deb " Sampson did. Feeling that this circumstance 
would e.xcite suspicion, she absented herself from that neigh- 
borhood. Her disappearance and the suspicions excited created 
no little talk thereabout, but her courage and determination 
were undaunted. It is said that from Middleboro she walked 



to Taunton, and from Taunton to New Bedford, where she 
offered to enlist on an American cruiser, but withdrew upon 
learning that the commander treated his men badly. From 
that place she walked to Boston, Wrentham, Worcester, Rox- 
bury, Dedham, and finally enlisted in May, 1782, in Medfield, 
with fifty others. She marched with her company to West 
Point under the name of Robert Shurtleff, and followed the 
fortunes of the army until the close of the war. She was in 
many of the skirmishes and battles of the Revolution, and 
belonged to Captain Webb's company of Light Infantry in 
Colonel Shepherd's regiment. In the first battle of the regi- 
ment she was wounded in the left breast by a musket-ball, 
and never recovered from its effect. She hastily staunched 
the blood, and by the light of the camp-fire took out the bullet 
with a soldier's sharp knife, and dressed and took care of her 
wound without any assistance. She said afterwards that the 
pain made her faint, but that was of small account compared 
with the danger of having her sex discovered, as it would 
have been had she submitted to the examination of a sur- 
geon. After the first battle she met Colonel Ebenezer Sproat, 
but fortunately he did not know her, although she had often 
been employed as spinster in his father's house. By her skill 
and adroitness she was not recognized as a woman by the 
army, although one day, while waiting on a poor wounded 
soldier, she spoke to him in such tones of kindness that he 
exclaimed in amazement, " Bob Shurtleff, you are a woman, 
no man ever spoke in a tone like that ; " then seeing, no 
doubt, the distress his remark had caused, he said quickly, 
" but never mind. Bob, your secret is safe and I will never be- 
tray you." 

On one occasion her duty called her near General Washing- 
ton, and she used often to relate incidents and sayings which 
she had heard from the great father of his country. She served 
with Lafayette and worked in the trenches at the siege of 
Yorktown, where she was again severely wounded, but her sex 
seemed to escape the notice of the surgeon, and before the 
wound had healed she rejoined the army and continued to do 

1784] THOMASTOWN 333 

most valiant service.^ In the spring of 1783 she was appointed 
aide-de-camp to General Patterson and taken into his family. 
At the close of the war she remained but little in Middle- 
boro, and the church with which she had been connected 
commenced proceedings against her, and excluded her for 
unseemly conduct in assuming the dress and manner of a 
man. This did not affect her standing in the estimation of all 
who had known her, and some of the ladies of Middleboro, 
after the war was over, used to say that they wished they had 
taken some part in the war as "Debbie" did. In the early 
part of 1784 she resumed the apparel of a woman and her old 
employment of spinning, and on the 7th day of April, 1784, 
she married Benjamin Gannet, a respectable and industrious 
farmer, who resided in Sharon. She was placed on the pen- 
sion list in 1805, and by a special act of Congress, her heirs 
were granted the same pension as was allowed to widows or 
orphans whose husbands or fathers had died from wounds 
received in the army. She was placed on the pension roll of 
invalid pensions by the commonwealth of Massachusetts, 
where she received $48 per year, which was afterwards in- 
creased to 1^76.80 per year. This she relinquished in 181 8 for 
the benefit of the act of May 18, under which she received $8 
per month, which was continued until her death. 

She died April 29, 1827, aged sixty-eight years. It is worthy 
of remark that while she served in the army and all through 
her subsequent life, no word of suspicion was ever raised 
against her character. She seems to have been a worthy, 
upright woman, respected and revered by all who knew her.^ 

1 She used to relate that at one time she felt the wind from a cannon-ball, which 
passed over her head and killed four men behind her. She was with a detach- 
ment under General Lincoln opening trenches within a short distance of the 
enemy's lines. The labor and exposure were such that she contracted a severe 
cold, blistered her hands, and showed signs of extreme exhaustion. When 
General Lincoln noticed her condition, he said, " You have too great a mea- 
sure of fatigue upon you, my fine lad, retire to your tent and pleasantly dream 
an hour or two." Then followed several days when she was in the thickest of 
the fight. She witnessed the surrender of Cornwallis. Sampson Genealogy, p. 60. 

2 For many of these facts, see the Life of Deborah Sampson, the Female Soldier 
of the War of the Revolution. 





A large ledge running for half a mile from one road to an- 
other has given the name to this thriving little village, which 
was before this called Beaver Dam. The post-office was estab- 
lished here in 1849. O^ this rock the early settlers worshipped, 
and after the church was established it was called Rock Meet- 
ting-house, but this has now been changed to Rock. Since the 
erection of the Atwood Lumber Mill and the box factory, and 
the establishing of a post-ofifice and the stores of Turner and 
Atwood, it has grown to its present size. 

In early days there was a training-green on the common, 
which was used until the land was sold, about 1845, and set 
apart as an addition to the Rock Cemetery. 


Rocky Meadow is sometimes known as Mahuchet, probably 
from an Indian chief by that name, and like many other parts 
of the town, was formerly much more thickly settled than at 
present. In this neighborhood is a hill called Robin's Hill, 
said to be the highest point of land in the county, and to the 
northwest is a remarkable tract of land, known as Rocky 



Meadow Pond. It has an area of about forty acres entirely 
turfed over with grass, and is sometimes called Mahuchet 
Pond, and from it a brook by that name flows to the south. 
The roots are so woven together that when people walk upon 
them the surface waves like that of the ocean, but they are 
strong enough to bear up a man without difidculty. Under this 
depth of grass and roots there seems to be water to the depth 
of from twenty to thirty feet. Nearby there was a sawmill dat- 
ing back for more than one hundred years, owned by Captain 
Joshua Eddy ; on its site has been erected a house for the 
storing of cranberries, which are gathered in large quantities 
from the extensive bogs. 


In the change of population, this place has, within the past 
fifty years, lost much of its significance. It is situated between 
Waterville and Thomastown, and although in the early settle- 
ment its soil was productive, it is now one of the poorest and 
most uninviting parts of the town. A hundred years ago its 
population was quite numerous. They were the descendants 
of John Raymond, who came from Salem during the witch- 
craft excitement. While a resident of Salem, he early enlisted 
in King Philip's War in the company commanded by Captain 
Joseph Gardner, and was one of the bravest and most efifi- 
cient men in his command. He was in the great battle at the 
taking of the Indian fort in the Narragansett country on the 
afternoon of Sunday, December 19, 1675, and is said to have 
been the first soldier who ^ entered the fortification. After 
this campaign, he continued in various commands until the 
close of the war. He united with the First Church, April 29, 
1722, and was a worthy, devoted christian, a man of much influ- 
ence, commanding the respect of all. He died July 5, 1725, in 
the seventy-seventh year of his age. Some of his descendants, 
with other residents of Middleboro, moved to Woodstock, Ver- 

^ History of PlymotUh County , p. 949. 



France takes its name from Dr. Francis Lebaron,^ a native 
of France, who bought a large tract of country in the early 
part of the eighteenth century, some two miles in extent, on 
the south side of the Weweantitt River.^ His son James and 
othersof his descendants settled there shortly after. About 
the middle of the last century the numerous families of that 
name moved to other parts of the country, and only a few now 
reside here. 

Dr. Lebaron was a surgeon of a French ship of war which 
was wrecked in Buzzard's Bay in 1694, when England was at 
war with France. He, with the officers and crew of the ves- 

1 The modern spelling is Le Baron. 

'^ The real estate purchased by Dr. Francis Lebaron in the South Purchase 
■was as follows : — 

From Philip and Thomas Delano of Duxburrow, November 16, 1701, lots 
145 and 146, containing 90 acres, more or less. 

From Abram Jackson of Plymouth, April 13, 1702, lot number 193 in the 
seventh division and lot number 215 in the eighth division, with other rights in 
the land belonging to the said Jackson. 

From Francis Curtis of Plymouth, May 6, 1702, lots 112 and 124. 

From John and Samuel Dogget of Marshfield, August 17, 1702, lots 142 in 
.the fifth division and lot 176 in the sixth division. 

From John Jones of Marshfield, March 31, 1703, all of his share in lot 
121 in the South division one half mile in length, and lot 143 in the fifth divi- 

From John Benson, Jr., of Rochester, April 17, 1703, lot 23 and lot 24. 

From Joseph Vaughan, June 16, 1703, lot 144 in the fifth division and one 
other lot bounded but not numbered in the deed. 

From David Thomas of Middleboro, July 5, 1703, two acres of meadow. 

From Jeremiah Thomas of Middleboro, August 31, 1703, one third of the 
meadow bought with his two brothers as appears in the town records of Middle- 

From Nathaniel Jackson of Plymouth, October 19, 1703, one share of upland 
which was Major Winslow's in the 130th lot in the fourth division and lot 211 
in the eighth division. One share which was John Winslow's in the 14th lot in 
the first division and in the i22d lot in the fifth division. One share which was 
John Alden's, the 109th lot in the fourth division and the 5Sth lot in the second 

From William Thomas of Middleboro, November 9, 1703, one half share of 
the lot 217. 

1704] FRANCE 337 

sel, was made a prisoner of war and sent to Boston. As they 
stopped at Plymouth for the night, they were lodged in the 
house of William Bacon near the Plymouth Green, where Dr. 
Lebaron learned that a lady residing in the town had suffered 
a compound fracture of the leg. The doctors were about to 
amputate it, but Dr. Lebaron, by his skilful treatment, pre- 
vented the operation. The war ended soon after the prisoners 
reached Boston, and such had been his success, and so win- 
ning were his manners, that at the request of the selectmen of 
Plymouth, with the consent of Lieutenant-Governor George 
Stoughton, he settled permanently in Plymouth. He married 
Mary Wilder, a daughter of Edward Wilder of Hingham, and 
died in Plymouth in 1704, and was buried on Burial Hill. He 
left three sons, James, Lazarus, and Francis. 

At the time of his capture he was called by his brother offi- 
cers " Le Baron," and refused to give his rank or name even 
to his wife and family. He was a cultivated gentleman, of 
courtly bearing, far better educated in his profession than the 
physicians of the colony, and was always reported to be a 
nobleman in disguise. The leading events in his life at Plym- 
outh, with his romantic marriage, are the subject of an inter- 
esting romance by Mrs. Jane G. Austin. He was a Roman 
Catholic, wearing a cross upon his breast, and although he 
had no sympathy with the religion of the colony, he remained 
silent in reference to his faith. 

His oldest son, James, inherited his father's ability, and 
in the early part of his life was a surveyor. There is a well- 
authenticated tradition that he came to Middleboro to survey 
the lands which his father had purchased, and while there was 
overtaken by a severe storm which made the roads impass- 
able for some time. He stopped in the house of John Benson, 
and while there became engaged to his daughter Martha. His 
proud-spirited father did not approve of this marriage, and 
threatened to disown him, but he afterwards became recon- 
ciled, and the son settled upon the land which had been pur- 
chased by his father. At his death he was a man of wealth, as 


shown by his inventory,^ and prominent in the affairs of the 

Captain Joseph Lebaron, who served in the volunteer mili- 
tia in the War of 1812, and with his company went to the 
defence of Wareham, was a descendant of "the nameless 

Among other men who lived in this neighborhood was Lieu- 
tenant Josiah Smith, and the cellar of his house can still 
be pointed out. He served in the army throughout the Revo- 

1 A true Inventory of all & singular the Goods Chattels & Real Estate of Mr. 
James Lebaron prized at Middleboro Oct. 2nd. 1744 by John Shaw, Benjamin 
Churchill and Neh. Bennet as foUoweth, to the value of bills of the old tenor. 


His apparel, silver spoons & silver buttons & silver pieces . . . £2.<^. 4 

Item His amies & Ammunition His Razor and hone .... 10. 6 

Item his books of all sorts 3.19 

Item his Beds & all y^ furniture belonging to him 33-8 

Item his puter Brass Glass & Leather ware 6.18 

Item his holler Iron ware & Chimney brass 7. 

Item his chests chairs & wooden ware 16. 4 

Item his Carpenter tools Blacksmiths tools 12. 3 

Item his tools for husbandry, saddle & bridle 19. 

Item his cattle sheep, Goats, Swine & horse 244.10 


Item his 142 and 143 with the improvement that is on them with 

his House, Barns Corn House & Orchard 600 

Item his 1 12 lot part cedar swamp 86 

Item his 121 lot with some improvement 60 

Item his half of the 123 lot 20 

Item his 144 and 145 lot 80 

Item his 146 lot 50 

Item his uppermost lot of meadow on South meadow river with 

half what is called the coast 140 

Item his Meadow that lyeth below the double brook .... 100 

Item his salt meadow by estimation two acres 100 

Item his land that lyeth on the East side of South Meadow River 

by estimation twenty nine acres 25 

Item his Indian Corn Rye & hay 42 

Amounting to ;^ 1679. 12 

Ply. ss. Dec. 19, 1744. Martha Lebaron Adm. sd estate made oath that the 
inventory contains all his estate so far as she knows, and when she shall know 
of more shall give it in y" sd. appraisers being also under oath 

Before me 

J. Gushing 

Judge of Probate. 


lutionary War ; he was with Ethan Allen at the capture of 
Fort Ticonderoga, and followed him, the second man to enter 
the fort ; he was at Valley Forge, crossed the Delaware with 
Washington, and for a time was a member of his body-guard. 
He used to say with pride that he had taken a glass of wine 
from the hand of Lady Washington. Soon after the Revolu- 
tionary War he moved to Wareham, and lived on Indian Neck. 

During the century preceding the last there were many 
large farms here, which, with the houses, were usually away 
from public roads, and connected by private paths from one 
farm to another. 

This place has now become an almost unbroken woodland, 
with scarcely any trace of its former prosperity, excepting 
the well-built stone walls which here and there are still to be 
seen marking boundaries of farms or extensive cultivated fields. 
The growth of pine lumber has been remarkable ; there is in 
this vicinity one lumber mill, known as Cushing's IMill, which 
with those at the Rock and South Middleboro saw not less 
than three thousand cords of white pine lumber a year, and 
have been doing so for a generation. 


South Middleboro was not settled until some time after the 
close of King Philip's War. In the latter part of the eighteenth 
century the Stillwater Furnace furnished employment for about 
forty men in the manufacture of hollow-ware from the iron 
ore obtained from the neighboring ponds, which was landed at 
the wharf on the eastern shore of Great Ouittacus and carted 
from there to this furnace. This business was successfully 
carried on by Captain Zenas Wood, one of the best-known 
citizens, who also owned a retail store, to which Mr. Hooper 
succeeded on the death of Captain Wood. Mr. Hooper, a 
man much respected here, was often called to settle estates, 
advise with his neighbors, and adjust difficulties. Near the site 
of the furnace was a box-board and shingle mill. 

In the middle of the last century Stillman Benson built 





and carried on the Benson Lumber Mill. He was elected to 
different offices in town, and was largely instrumental in secur- 
ing the location of the Cape Cod railroad and in establishing 
a station here. 

Here are the most extensive pine woods of the town ; their 
rapid growth has been remarkable, and they have not been 
materially diminished, notwithstanding the large amount of 

timber used in the lumber 
mills. Twenty-five years ago 
Middleboro was one of the 
largest lumber - producing 
towns of the state. There 
are now three mills in this 
neighborhood, known as the 
Witham, Benson, and Gam- 
mons mills. 

Here lived Samuel Smith, 
whose eventful life is enti- 
tled to something more than 
a passing notice. He was 
born in Rhode Island in 1757, 
and after the battle of Lex- 
ington enlisted in the Con- 
tinental army. He was sta- 
tioned in the Highlands on 
the Hudson where Major Andre was brought into camp, and 
remained until he was hanged. At Red Bank he was engaged 
in a severe battle with the Hessians, and in November, 1776, 
he marched with others to Valley Forge, suffering great hard- 
ships from cold and hunger, with the army, during that terrible 
winter. He acted as attendant to the army physician, who 
became one of his warm friends. During all the years of 
success and defeat he continued with the patriot army, until 
it disbanded in 1783. He had various adventures at the close 
of the war in many parts of the world : he was a baggage 
driver from Providence to Boston ; a whaler to the coast of Bra- 
zil ; later, he shipped for the West Indies, and after several 



voyages, he lived in Middleboro until his death. In 1853 an 
account of his life was published by the Middleboro " Gazette," 
which yielded him a small income during his old age. He 
lived in the house later owned by Frank Wallen. 

Captain Abiel Peirce, whose services in the French and 
Indian War have been mentioned, lived about two and a half 
miles southwest- from the Rock meeting-house, on Miller 
Street. The farm he owned is now in the possession of Joseph 
Sherman, Esq. ; the house he occupied was taken down a few 
years ago and a new one erected on its site. 




DDYVILLE takes its name from Samuel Eddy and 
his descendants, who from the first settlement of 
the town have owned and occupied much of the land. 
They were men of character and influence, noted 
for their enterprise and public spirit, and have done not a 
little in aiding the various enterprises of the town ; some of 
them were widely known throughout the colony and the com- 
monwealth. The history of this locality necessarily includes 
much of the lives of the various members of this family. 
A sketch of the life of Samuel Eddy has been given in 
the chapter on Early Purchasers. The name of his wife is 
unknown. She came from Kent, and probably had not been 
educated to observe all of the religious tenets of her neigh- 
bors in the pilgrim church, especially as to the observance of 
the Lord's day. Among the records of the court in Plymouth, 
we find that at one time she presumed to hang out clothes 
washed just before the going down of the sun on a certain 
Lord's day, for which she was brought before the governor 
and council and fined ten shillings, but for reasons the records 
do not show, it was remitted. Again, she was brought before 
the council "upon a most grievous offense," in walking from 
Plymouth to Boston upon a Lord's day, but her answer was 
that she had taken this walk for charity for a sick friend, Mis- 
tress Safiin, whom she had known in the old country. The 
court excused this as an act of mercy, but admonished her to 
do so no more. 

Samuel Eddy's name occurs in the records of the colony in 
many transactions until about the year 1662. He possessed 
several hundred acres in the eastern part of the town, extend- 

1759] EDDYVILLE 343 

ing over a portion of Halifax, and including all of the land 
now known as Eddyville. In 1685 he was described as of 
Plymouth, living in Swansea. Part of the time before his 
death, in 1688, he lived with his son Obadiah,^ who inherited 
his father's estate in Middleboro and Halifax, and after the 
war rebuilt his house, the site of which can still be pointed 
out in Halifax. 

His son Samuel built a house in Eddyville near the great 
pear-trees, which was destroyed by fire in 1720, and the next 
year he built and occupied a house, 

now owned by C. F. Eddy, his P(jS^yi.t^ .^0 (] , 
descendant. This, probably one r) ^*^ Ujf 

of the oldest houses standing, was ^x 

inherited by Samuel's son Zacha- 

riah, and after his death was moved across the street, where 
it now stands. He was an ardent patriot, and four of his sons 
served in the Revolutionary War. 

On the northerly side of Plympton Street, nearly opposite 
the house of the late Andros Eddy, stood a printing-office, 
owned and carried on by John, the eldest son of Zachariah 
Eddy. This was the first printing-office in town, and prob- 
ably the only one in the old colony at that time. In 1759, 
at the age of twenty, he prepared and published an almanac 
from this office. It was printed in good type, and was quite 
similar in appearance to the Old Farmer's Almanac. The late 
Professor West said, " It was the best almanac that had 
ever been made up to that time." In the preface John Eddy 
writes : — 

"These calculations I believe, and do not doubt that my 
readers will find and agree that they are very near the truth. 
Some may condemn what is here wrote perhaps for nonsense 
and folly, but I shall have this for my consolation that the 
world is a scene of folly and strange if an almanack maker 
shall not have his part therein." 

The second almanac was written bearing this date, " Middle- 
boro, Sept. 1759." He was a brilliant man, a mathematician, 

1 See chapter on Early Settlers. 




and an astronomer. He was killed during the French and 
Indian War, at Crown Point, New York, when twenty-four 
years old. 

Upon the Green, opposite the house of Samuel Eddy, stood 
the house of Captain Joshua Eddy, which was burned in 1820, 
rebuilt by him, and occupied a few years before his death. 
This is now owned by William C. Eddy. 

Joshua Eddy joined the army in 1775, as a private in 
Colonel Cotton's regiment. He was present at the siege of 
Boston. In 1776 he was appointed lieutenant, and in 1777 he 
was offered a captain's commission in Colonel Gamaliel Brad- 
ford's regiment, on the usual condition of furnishing a certain 

number of men for three 
years. ^ Before leading on 
his recruits, he complied 
with a general order to go 
down to the hospital at 
Braintree and have the 
smallpox. He then started 
immediately, and took a 
large quantity of clothing, 
provisions, and equipments. 
He did not reach Ticon- 
deroga, but fell in with the 
American forces at Hub- 
bardstown on the retreat. 
His company suffered se- 
verely in that disastrous 
affair. The baggage was 
put on board boats to go to 
Skenesborough (Whitehall), 
but was taken or destroyed by the British. He remained at 
Albany with the army till they rallied, marched back to meet 
Burgoyne, and was present at the two battles by which he was 
compelled to surrender. In the second (October 7) they were 
reenforced by several brigades, and fought with courage. He 

1 See chapter on the Revolution. 


17S0] EDDYVILLE 345 

used to speak of the ruin and the booty of Burgoyne's camp, 
after his retreat, as prodigious. The evening after the surren- 
der of Burgoyne they had orders to proceed down the river 
to /Esopus to meet General Vaughan. They pursued him to 
King's Bridge ; he retired into the city of New York, and they 
then passed over into New Jersey. They went into winter 
quarters with the rest of the army under General Washington 
in December. Captain Eddy did not remain there long; but 
on hearing of the death of his father, he applied to General 
Heath for a discharge. His request being refused, he applied 
to the commander-in-chief, but on account of the scarcity of 
officers, he was allowed only an indefinite furlough. He im- 
mediately returned, and spent the winter in settling the affairs 
of his father. On April 10, 1778, he was married to Lydia 
Paddock, daughter of Zachariah Paddock of Middleboro. 

The next May he returned to the army, and was at the 
battle of Monmouth, June 28. His regiment was not called 
into action, but was employed in scouting and foraging. At the 
close of the battle he heard General Washington, in great 
excitement and pale with rage, accuse General Lee of disobe- 
dience of orders, saying with an oath, " Had you taken the 
position with your command as I directed, you would have 
captured the whole British army." Great was his surprise at 
Washington's profane language, but the consequences of 
this disobedience were so serious, and the disasters so great to 
the struggling patriot army, that it would have required more 
self-control than man possesses to have refrained from such 
an outburst. 

The summer of that year he spent with the Continental 
army in the vicinity of New York and Philadelphia. In the 
fall he again applied for his discharge ; but all he could obtain 
was, as before, an indefinite furlough, leaving him still liable at 
any time to be called. For his services he received an annual 
pension of ^20 a month, commencing April 4, 1818.^ 

At the close of the Revolutionary War he settled upon his 
large farm, which he cultivated with care, kept a store on the 

1 Eddy Family, p. 249. 





Green, and built and carried on a large blast furnace at Water- 
ville, known as Eddy's Furnace. During this time he built a 
schooner on the southerly side of Taunton River at Woodward's 
Bridge, which was launched and floated into Narragansett Bay. 
He is said to have been a man of deep religious feeling, and 
nothing better illustrates his christian character than the fact 
that, after his five sons were settled with their families about 
or near the Green, they were accustomed to meet for family 
prayers at his house every Sabbath afternoon and one evening 
in the week. He was a devoted, earnest member of the First 
Church, and was for some years one of its deacons. The only 
time his family ever saw him in tears was upon his return 
from the war on a furlough, when he found the state of 
religion so low that many had left the old church ; and it was 
mainly by his exertions that it was saved from going over to 
another faith with so many of the Old Colony churches. 

His son Zachariah, one of the prominent lawyers of the state, 
lived on the east side of the Green, Joshua lived next to his 
father, Nathaniel opposite, Ebenezer a half a mile away, and 
William S. in Waterville ; Morton and John, his other sons, 
did not live in town. Nathaniel occupied the store formerly 
owned by his father and next to that owned by his brother 
Joshua. The business reputation of the sons of Captain Joshua 
brought a large circle of men to the neighborhood, and the 
office of Zachariah Eddy was usually full of clients. His house 
is still standing on the eastern side of the Green, and the 
office, a little south of the house, remains as he left it. 





On riympton Street, opposite Mr. Eddy's office, was the 
blacksmith shop of Captain William Ellis, a skilled workman, 
who had served in the Revolution, 
and who occupied the house built by 
Samuel Eddy in 1721. 

Later, in the store formerly occu- 
pied by Nathaniel, shoes were manu- 
factured for a number of years by 
Mr. George M. Leach and Joshua M. 
Eddy, a grandson of Captain Joshua, 
West of Eddyville, on Raven Brook, 

there was for many years a lumber mill, recently used as a 
box factory by Isaac Bryant. 

On Plympton Street, a short distance from Eddyville as you 
approach the village from the west, stands the Clark place, 
built and occupied by Samuel Eddy, Jr., about 1725. He was 
born in 1710, and died November 8, 1746. He was a man of 
note, and filled many important positions. During the troubles 
in the First Church which followed Mr. Thacher's death, his 
judgment and opinion were relied on. When the committee 
from the General Court were considering the matters which 

had been brought be- 
fore them, they are 
said to have stated 
that they could not 
understand the diflfi- 
culties of the church 
until Samuel Eddy, 
Jr., came before them. 
It was a general re- 
mark at the time of 
his death that there 
was no member of the 
First Church who had 
so much intelligence, firm and consistent piety, and sound 
discretion as Samuel Eddy, Jr.^ 

1 History oj the First Church of Middleboro, p. 58 ; Eddy Genealogy, p. 247. 



At one time this house was owned and occupied by Dr. 
Stephen Powers, the grandfather of Hiram Powers, the cele- 
brated sculptor, who, the latter part of his life, resided in Rome. 
Here Isaac McClellan, one of the poets of New England, often 
spent his summers. The house was later owned by Major 
Clark, and upon his death, by Harrison Clark, a well-known 
wit of the town, whose sayings have not been forgotten. 

Rev. Francis Greenleaf Pratt, a son-in-law of Zachariah Eddy, 
made this village his home, after retiring from the ministry. 

About the middle of the last century Eddyville was a place 
of much business activity as well as one of the social centres 
of the town. In 1833 a post-office was established there under 
the name of East Middleboro. 


This village, formerly included as a portion of Eddyville, 
known as the Furnace, has within the past fifty years taken 
the name of Waterville. Eddy's Furnace, located on Whet- 
stone Brook and built by Captain Joshua Eddy, was carried 
on for a few years after his death by his sons. William S. 
Eddy commenced business in Plympton in one of the first 
cotton factories of the country, where he lost all of his money. 
It took him ten years to pay the amount lost. With his brother 
Nathaniel as partner, he took charge of the furnace. The 
hollow-ware, or iron utensils, pots, kettles, and andirons, 
were not only sold here, but were shipped in large quan- 
tities to supply the market in other sections of the country. 
The iron used for these castings was obtained from the ponds, 
and when the supply gave out, it was brought from New Jersey 
to New Bedford by ships and carted from there ; old iron was 
collected and brought to the furnace to be recast. This busi- 
ness furnished employment for about twenty-five men during 
the active season. When this furnace was in operation, one 
or two blasts were made during the year, which, when com- 
menced, were worked night and day for a month or two. On 
the other side of the street and on the westerly side of the 




pond stood what was known as the cook house, where the 
workmen boarded during the continuance of the blast. 

About the year 1840 the casting of hollow-ware was given 
up, and shovels were 
manufactured here, 
and still later, tacks. 
After Nathaniel re- 
tired from the firm, 
the business was car- 
ried on by William 
S. Eddy and his son, 
William C, who also 
kept a large store op- 
posite his residence. 
Upon the death of 
William S. Eddy, the 
privilege was bought 
by Albert T. Savery, 
who successfully car- 
ried on a lumber mill 
for many years. A 
little below, but upon the same stream, is a sawmill at one 
time owned by Joshua M. Eddy, but since his death it has 
been carried on by Mr. Savery as a box-board mill. In early 
times there was a hat factory here. The dam and privilege 
are now unused. 

A little to the west of the residence of Mr. Eddy was the 
house occupied by Mr. Ichabod Tilson, familiarly known as 
" Skipper" Tilson, a title given to the foreman of a blast fur- 
nace, who had charge of melting the ore, preparing moulds, 
and superintending the castings. It was a position of respon- 
sibility, as the work of the furnace depended largely upon his 
oversight and skill. 

A ridge of hills on the northerly side of the road has 
been known for many generations as Mount Carmel. The 
Plymouth railroad passes through this neighborhood, and has 
a station of this name. 




In the will of George Soule, the thirty-fifth signer of the 
compact in the Mayflower, he leaves his " Midclleberry land" to 
his daughters. Elizabeth married John Haskell, and Patience, 
Francis Walker, both of whom became residents of the town. 
Later, there was some fear lest his son John should endeavor 
to dispossess his sisters of this portion of the estate, and steps 
were taken to guard against this. 

James moved from Duxbury to Middleboro in 1690, with his 
brother John, then a small boy. He married Lydia Tomson, a 
daughter of John Tomson, and built his first house about the 
year 1700 (near the site of the late Isaac Soule's house), which 
was soon after burned. It was a cold, wintry day, and the flames 
soon destroyed the wooden house, and with it all of his posses- 
sions. He and his young brother, who were alone in the house, 
barely escaped with their lives. In their distress he placed his 
small brother under a haystack while he went over the river 
Winnetuxet to his friends to obtain clothing for both of them. 

At the time of the running of the bounds of the Twenty-six 
Men's Purchase, he and John were extensive land-owners. 
James was fined, October 2, 1690, five shillings for refusing 
to go on the expedition to Canada. 

John Soule was born in 1632, and died in 1707. In his fa- 
ther's will he is referred to thus : " And forasmuch as my 

> - eldest son John Soule and his family hath 

^^5^^ ^C\iJ[^ in my extreme old age and weakness bin 
tender and careful of mee and very healp- 
full to mee and is likely for to be while it shall please God to 
continew my life heer therefore I given and bequeath unto 
the said John Soule, all the remainder of my housing and 
lands whatsoever." ^ He and John Tomson settled the dispute 
of the bounds of the town, June 24, 168 1. 

In this neighborhood Rev. Sylvanus Conant and eight of 
his parishioners, who died in 1777, were buried. 

The name of Wolftrap Hill is associated with these two 

1 Windsor's Duxbury, p. 310. 


brothers' early experiences. One of them was troubled by a 
wolf, which caught his poultry and otherwise injured the farm. 
He set a trap, digging a long trench in the ground,^ and cov- 
ering it with boughs and bushes so that it was entirely con- 
cealed. One morning he found in one part of the trench a 
wolf, and in the other part an Indian. He soon killed the wolf, 
and after an examination he found the Indian was on his way 
from Nemasket to Plymouth upon legitimate business, so he 
was released and allowed to continue on his journey. 

Isaac Soule, a grandson of James, born about the year 1732, 
was an astrologer, or as then called, a conjurer, telling future 
events by the stars. His predictions were quite remarkable, 
and gave him an extended reputation ; he was visited by many 
people from a distance, who came to inquire into their future. 

One of the prominent men a century ago was William 
Soule, a great-grandson of the pioneer James. He was a man 
of stern principles, active in his religious duties. In different 
sections of the country there are many who claim James and 
John as their ancestors, but there are few of that name now 
living in Soule neighborhood. 

Aside from the farming here, there are now some shingle 
and box-board mills ; formerly there were two blacksmith 
shops, a brick kiln, and a tannery. 


" At a town meeting September 1 7, 1 733, the town by vote so 
far granted the petition and request of Mr. Thomas Thomp- 
son, John Drew, John Drew, Jr., Ebenezer Fuller, John Fuller, 
John Thompson, Ephraim Thompson, Jacob Thompson, Fran- 
cis Thompson, Ichabod Standish, Isaac Tinkham, Ebenezer 
Cobb, Timothy Wood, and Barnabas Thompson as to set off 
all the said petitioners and inhabitants that lie on the north- 
easterly side of Winnetuxet River in said town with their estates 
lying on the said side of the river to join with the adjacent 
parts of the towns of Plympton and Pembroke into a separate 
township, also the town chose Captain Ichabod Southworth, 

^ This was the usual method of catching the wolves which caused the early 
settlers so much trouble. 


Benjamin Wood, Esq., and Mr. Thomas Nelson a committee 
to enquire into the circumstances of those of the said petition- 
ers that lie on the southwesterly side of the said Winnetuxet 
River respecting their joining with those on the north side of 
said river with the adjacent parts of Plimpton and Pembroke 
as aforesaid and the said committee to view the land by them 
requested to be set off on said southwest side of said river as 
aforesaid and to run and stake such lines and bounds as they 
shall think proper for setting off them or any part of them 
with their estates if the committee think reasonable, Jacob 
Thompson as surveyor to assist said committee in running the 
lines, the said committee or any two of them to make report of 
their doings and concur therewith if they think reasonable." 

As a result of this petition, in 1734 a small portion of the 
northerly part of what was formerly known as Middleberry 
was incorporated to form a part of the town of Halifax. Before 
this the boundary of the town extended to the Winnetuxet 
River. It was almost an unbroken wilderness,^ but well adapted 
for agricultural purposes, as the soil was naturally rich. As 
the early settlers of the country depended entirely upon their 
farms for support, this portion of the town was considered 
most desirable. From the earliest time there have been large 
and valuable tracts of timber land, and the sawmills were 
among the first erected in this section. In the early part of 
the last century a large amount of ship timber was taken froni 
here for the construction of vessels built in Kingston by the 
late Joseph Holmes. 

Jacob Tomson was the son of John Tomson, and lived near 

liis father. He was born April 24, 1662, and died September i, 

A 1726, aged sixty-four. He was one 

i ydCQpcn^ynfo^ °f ^^^ original members of the 

^•^ First Church, and selectman from 

1697 to 1 70 1 and again from 1706 to 1726, except in 1710, and 

representative to the General Court, 1716 and 1719. 

In the local militia he was ensign in 1700, and in 1708 

1 Much of this territory was included in the purchase made by Lieutenant John 
Tomson of William W^etis-pa-quin, sachem of the Neponsets, and included, with 
-other purchases, about six thousand acres of land. Upon this land stood the log 
house built by John Tomson. 

1664] HALIFAX 353 

became captain. From 1720 he held a commission as justice 
of the peace, and was town clerk from 1706 for several years. 
His son Jacob, born in 1695, was town treasurer for several 
.years and held various offices in town. His name is some- 
times confused with that of his father in the early records. 

In 1703, at the time of the dissension on account of Rev. 
Mr. Palmer, he became dissatisfied and left the church for 
some time, desiring a recommendation to join the church in 
Plymouth.^ It occasioned much sorrow and hard feeling, and, 
as a result of a council, he and his family asked the forgive- 
ness of the church and were dismissed with great regret. He 
seems to have taken the lead in the deposition of Mr. Palmer 
and the conduct of the church in relation thereto. 

He was distinguished throughout the old colony as a sur- 
veyor, and as a most excellent and upright magistrate. He 
bought into the Twenty-six Men's Purchase before the war, 
and surveyed and divided it among the proprietors in lots ; he 
also surveyed many of the other purchases from the Indians 
and settled many estates in this and adjoining towns. He 
was a man who had the respect, not only of the town but 
of the colony. 

Upon the death of Lieutenant John Tomson, in the division 
of his estate, his homestead with about seven hundred acres of 

1 " 1703. The Church of Christ in Middleboro having laid Lent. Jacob Tomson 
& his wife (who upon some scruples & dissatisfaction withdrew from ye com- 
munion of y"' church & desired a dismission to ye church in ye New Society in 
plimouth that being nearer to y"" dwelling &c) und'' publique censure for y* s"^ with- 
drawing & refusing to grant y"" s*^ dismission he & his wife sent to this church to 
send y« pastors & messengers to Joyn in Council! w'^ y^ Elders & messengers of 
y* churches of weymouth bridgewater & Taunton (whom he had sent to) to be 
attended on y* 26 Oct. 1703, y« church made choice of our brother William 
Shertleff & our Brother Nathaniel Morton to Go w^^ y" pastor & Eld'' to ye ser- 
vice. It must also be observed y' y^ Sabbath before y^ Councill was to meet 
y® church in Middleboro also sent Letters to us to be w'^* y™ (they Joyning w"* 
Leut. Tomson in Councill) & sent also to y^ chchs of Barstable and Sandwilch 
— y* s"^ Councill was attended on y^ time abovs"! & Came to a result y* Leu- 
tenant Tompson & his w-ife should make an acknowledgment for y' Irregular 
withdrawing from y*^ Communion of y** church and upon y' y* church should give 
y"" a dismission to y* church in y® New Society in plimouth w*^'* were both Com- 
plyed w^^ and attended." 



land fell to his son Thomas, who was born October 19, 1664. 
Among his intimate friends was John Morton. There is a tra- 
dition that Mr. Morton often urged 
him to marry, saying that he had 
arrived at a proper age, then being 
twenty-five years old. He replied, 
"I will marry that daughter of yours" (pointing to his infant 
child Mary, then lying in a cradle) "when she is old enough." 
He evidently waited, for we find the record of his marriage 
to Mary Morton when she attained the age of twenty-five 
years. Thomas Tomson was a farmer and glazier, setting the 
diamond-shaped panes of glass in lead,^ and after the glass had 
been so prepared, adjusting it to the sash and window frames. 
At the time of his death, which occurred October 26, 1742, he 
was reputed one of the wealthy men in town, and was noted 
for his piety, large generosity, and wisdom in adjusting the 
various difficulties which arose among his neighbors. John 
Cotton said of him, "He was the wealthiest man in town, but 
what was more to his honor, he was rich toward God." ^ 

Among the other early settlers was Isaac Fuller, a son of 
the first pastor and a distinguished physician. 

In October, 1734, nineteen members of the First Church 
were dismissed to form a church in Halifax. (See chapter on 
Ecclesiastical History.) 

1 Brown paper saturated in oil was at first used for windows. (See chapter on 
Early Settlers.) Afterwards small panes of glass set in lead took its place for 
about one hundred years until the wooden sash was introduced. 

2 Descetidatits of Jckn T/iotiisoti, y>. 30. 

(From the original in Pilgrim Hall, Plymouth) 



NDIAN names and traditions still linger about this 
^ place and give it a peculiar charm in its association 
with the past. The first comers gave it the name of 
Muttock, from Chesemuttock, one of the last of the 
Nemasket tribe of Indians, who resided upon the brow of 
the hill, now known as Oliver's Walk. The Indian name of 
Muttock was Pau-wa-ting, meaning " a swift river running 
between hills." 

This was one of the favorite resorts of King Philip before the 
Indian War, the residence of Wettamoo, the queen of Wam- 
sutta, from which, towards the close of the war, she fled. Her 
body was found near Mattapoisett, stripped of regal attire. 
Near this place Mary Rowlandson first met King Philip in 
her captivity after the destruction of her house and family, 
and here the Indian chief received her kindly and took good 
care of her. It was here, in all probability, that the deputa- 
tion sent out in 162 1 from Plymouth Colony to meet the great 
sachem Massasoit first stopped on their journey. 

On Muttock Hill, a few rods northwest of the house recently 
owned by Cornelius B. Wood, was the burial-place of the tribe, 
reserved in the Little Lotmen's Purchase. In this immediate 
neighborhood, west of the site of the wigwam of Chesemuttock, 
was probably the meeting-place for the forty praying Indians 
in 1660. 

In 1734 the Indians then living upon this reservation pe- 
titioned the General Court for leave to sell their land, which 
they alleged had become unprofitable by reason of long cul- 
tivation, while game in the immediate vicinity had become 
scarce. The petition was granted, and the Indians, after sell- 
ing the land here, moved to Titicut. 


The following is their petition with the action of the Gen- 
eral Court : — 

To His Excelency Jonathan Belcher Esqr Capt Genii and Commander in Chief 
In and over his majesties Province of the Mafsechusetts In New England 
&c — To the honourable his majesties Council and house of Representatives 
In Genii Court afsembled Boston may 1730 The Humble Petition of Samuel 
Thomas of middleborough In the County of Plymouth & Province aforsaid 
Indian Planter humbly Sheweth That Petitioner (haith in his own Right) for 
many years last past lived on & improved a Certain Tract of land, lying in mid- 
dleborough aforsaid upon an hill Called Chassemuttuck which Tract of land 
Contains fourteen or fifteen acres and is now worn out by long Improvement & 
no firewood or fenceing Stuff on the same and it lyes four miles or more Dis- 
tant from any other Indian plantation and your Petitioner being old & feble and 
in no wise able to gett a livelihood off of the abovesaid land & and there being 
good Land enough att Tetticutt in middleborough aforesaid where your Peti- 
tioner Belongeth and haith good Right to take up and Improve what land he 
haith occession for Therefore your Petitioner humbly prayeth that your Excel- 
ency & hour would be pleased to take these things Into your wise Concidera- 
tion and Grant to your Petitioner Liberty to Sell his land att Chassemuttuck 
aforsaid unto Mr. Samuel Thacher of middleborough aforsaid (who haith 
Relieved me In my Necessity) to whome I am Indebted and to whom it Lyy 
very Conveniently att the value to be apprised by Such meet Persons as your 
Excelencey & honr. Shall appoint That therby your Petitioner may be enabled 
to pay his just Debts to Settle himself and to Settle his said lands att Tetticutt 
where he may be neer the meeting and have many other Conveniencey which he 
is now Destitute off and your Petitioner as In Duty bound Shall Ever pray. 

we the Subscribers having been appointed 

By the Great and Gen" Court Trustees of the Judiary 

att Tetticutt and being desired by Mr. Samuel Thacher the Petitioner abovsd to 

view the Circumstances of the abovsaid Lands and we having viewed the same, 

we find it almost Destitute of fence & fenceing Stuff and firewood wherefore we 

are Humbly of opinion That it may be best for the Petitioner if he may Sell the 

land abovesaid for the Value Thereof. 

Benjamin White. 

EsRA Clap. 

In the House of Representatives June 30th. 1739 Read and Ordered That 
John Allden and Elkanah Leonard Esqr. Be a Committee to Inquire into the 
Subject matter of this Petition That they Duly Consider the Same and Report 
Their Opinion att the next Setting of the Court what may be proper to be Done 

A Copy from P'iles 

E. E. C. John Wanright Clerk Repr. 

In the house of Representatives Sept. 1739 Ordered that Ira Little Esq. (In 
the Room of John Allden Esq. Deceas^) be added to the Committee to Con- 
scider & Report upon the Petition above Refer* & Report Thereon 

1739] MUTTOCK 357 

To all People To whom These Presents . . . Greeting Know yee That I Sam- 
uel Thomas of middleborough in the County of Plymouth in New England 
Indian man Planter For and In Conscideration of the sum of one hundred and 
fourteen pound to me In hand before the ensealing hereof well and Truely 
paid by Samuel Thacher of middleborough aforsaid merchant The Receipt 
whereof I do hereby acknowledge and my self Therewith fully Satisfied & Con- 
tented and Thereof and of every part and parcel Thereof, do exonerate acquitt 
and Discharge him the Said Samuel Thacher his heirs executors & administra- 
tors forever by These Presents : Have given, esranted, Bargained, Sold, alien* 
Conveyed and Confirmed and by These Presents, Uo freely fully and abso- 
lutely Give, Grant, bargain, sell, aliene, convey and confirm, unto him the said 
Samuel Thacher his heirs and assigns forever, all that my Orchard Tract and 
parcell of land and meadow lyeing att a place. Called Chassemuttuck in middle- 
borough aforsaid Supposed to Contain Fourteen or fifteen acres be the Same 
more or less Bounded Northeasterly by the mane Stream of Namaskett River 
North westerly by the Indian land Sold to the owners of the Slitting mill and 
South westerly by a highway That leads from the County Rhod by Deacon 
Barrows to Pochade Southeasterly by the Land now or late belonging to En- 
signe William Thomas or however otherwise the Same is bounded or Reported 
to be bounded with all the fences and appurtenances to the same belonging, I 
being enabled by the Genl Court held in December and January last To Sell 
and Convey the Same TO HAVE & to HOLD the said Granted and bar- 
gained Premises with all the appurtenances, Priviledges, Commodities To the 
Same belonging, or in any wise Appurtaining To him The said Samuel Thacher 
his heirs & assigns forever To his & their only use Bennefit & behoof forever, 
and I the Said Samuel Thomas for my Self my heirs, executors, administrators 
do Covenant, Promise & Grant to and with him the said Samuel Thacher his 
heirs and assigns, That before the ensealing hereof I am the True Sole & law- 
full owner of the above Bargained Premises and am lawfully seized & possessed 
of the same in my own Proper Right as a good Perfect and absolute Estate of 
Inheritance in fee simple and have in myself good right full power and lawfull 
authority to grant Bargain sell convey and confirm said Bargained Premises in 
manner as aforsaid and that the Said Samuel Thacher his heirs and assigns 
Shall & may from time to time and att all Times forever hereafter by force and 
virtue of these Presents, lawfully peaceably and Quietly, Have, hold, use, occupy, 
Possess & enjoye the Said demised and bargained Premises, with the appurte- 
nances Free and Clear & freely & Clearly acquitted exonerated & Discharged off 
from all and all manner of Former or other gifts, grants. Bargains, Sales, Leases, 
mortgages, wills, entails, joyntures, dower, judgements, executions or Incumber- 
ances of what Name or Nature soever that might in any measure or Degree 
obstruct or make void This Present Deed — Furthermore, I The Said Samuel 
Thomas for my Self my heirs Executors & administrators Do Covenant & en- 
gage the above Demissed Premisses To him the Said Samuel Thacher his heirs 
and assigns against the lawfull claims or Demands of any Person or Persons 
whatsoever forever hereafter to warrant Secure & Defend by These Presents — 
Furthermore Elizabeth The wife of the Said Samuel Thomas is Consenting to 


the Bargain & Sale of the Premisses and hereby Surrenders and yeild up her 
Right of Dower or Power of Third in The Premises to the Said Samuel Thacher 
his heirs and assigns forever. In wittnes whereof The Said Samuel Thomas 
and his wife have hereuntoo Sett Their hands and Seals The fifth Day of April 
Anno Domini one Thousand Seven hundred and forty Anno que R R Georgei 
Secundi Decimo Tertio 

Samuel x Thomas (Seal) 
Signed, Sealed & Delivered by Saml Thomas his mark 

In Presence of us her 

Benjamin White Elizabeth x Thomas 

Ebenezer Barrows mark 

The committee appointed on the petition of Samuel Thomas of Middleboro 
Indian planter, having examined into the subject matter of said petition are 
of opinion it is best for the petitioner to be entitled to sell lands mentioned in 
the said petition, the lands being much worn and the fences almost gone, there 
being not timber or fencing stuff on the land sufficient to repair the fences and 
the lands being hemmed in by English land chiefly under improvements, and 
it fully appears to us that the petitioner can't improve his land to advantage ; 
then we are also of the opinion that the land petitioned to be sold lieth more 
conveniently for Mr. Samuel Thacher, it being partly in his mill yard and 
adjoined to his land and mill and we are further of opinion that the said In- 
dian lands are worth about /"lOO — and that the same be sold and the produce 
arriving of thereby be applied according to the prayer of the petitions and agree- 
able to the order and direction of this court, all which is humbly submitted 
Dec. 21, 1739 

Elkanah Leonard. 

In the House of Representatives Dec. 27, 1739, read again and ordered that 
the prayer of the petition be so far granted and the petition is hereby allowed 
and empowered to make sale of the land mentioned in the petition for the most 
the same will fetch for proceeding herein — To observe the direction in the act 
of the province of the 6th. year of the Reign of his late Majesty King George 
Chapter 3d. relating to real estates and Elkanah Leonard Esq. with such as 
shall be joined by the Honorable Board are hereby desired and empowered to 
be aiding and assisting the petitioner and see justice done him in the premises, 
the produce thereof to be applied according to the prayer of the petition, 
they to render an account of their proceedings herein to this Court. 

Sent up for concurrence 

J. QuiNCEY Speaker. 

In Council January 2nd., 1739, read and concurred and John Cushing Esq. is 
joined in the affair Simon Frost Deputy Secretary Jan. 4th. 
Consented to J. Belcher. 

We The Subscribers Being appointed by the Gen^ Court to see Justice Done 
the Said Samuel Thomas In the Sale of the within Land and we accordingly 

1744] MUTTOCK 359 

Pursued the Order of the Genl Court and attended the Sale and took Care that 
Justice was Done And In our Judgment the Land was Sold for the full worth 

of it witnes our hand April 5, 1740 
Jn'o Cushing 
Elkanah Leonard 

Rec* march 3. 1740 and Recorded with the Records of Deed for the County 

of Plymouth Book 34, Folio 37-38 

JosiAH Cotton Reg 

/ A True Copy Compared with the 

original by me 

Samuel Thacher 

Here the first two settlers, Henry Wood and Ephraim 
Tiakham, lived.^ In 1734 Moses Sturtevant and Peter Brown 
built a dam across the river in place of the old Indian weir. 

In March, 1734,'-^ Benjamin White, Samuel Eddy, Joseph 
Bumpas, Shubael Tinkham, and Mrs. Thomas petitioned the 
court for their " free consent to build a slitting-mill on Ne- 
masket River on land of Moses Sturtevant." They had al- 
ready agreed to erect the building, and had procured timber for 
the mill and dam. Objections were made by many to enlarging 
the dam and putting up such a mill, because it would interfere 
with the catching of herring, would spoil several Indian weirs, 
and so destroy multitudes of the young fish. Notwithstanding 
the opposition, the petition was granted, though the dam was 
not built until later. There had been before on this dam a 
grist-mill and sawmill, among the first erected after the reset- 
tlement of the town. This dam then, as now, had a sufficient 
opening for the passing of herring up to the great ponds, 
and very careful provision was made that the herring fishery 
should in no way be obstructed by it or by subsequent en- 
largements and improvements. 

In 1744 Peter Oliver, a son of Daniel Oliver, one of the 
wealthy business men in the town of Boston and a brother of 
Andrew Oliver, who in after years became lieutenant-governor 
of the province, moved from Boston to Muttock and made it 
his permanent home. He was undoubtedly attracted by the 

^ See chapter on Early Settlers. '^ See chapter on Civil History. 



beauty of the place, and probably also by the notoriety it had 
attained from the petition of the remaining Indians dwell- 
ing at Muttock to sell their land and move to Titicut. Mr. 
Oliver was a graduate of Harvard College in the class of 
1737, became a very prominent citizen in the colony, and per- 
haps did more for the town than any other individual. He 
early bought much of the land about Muttock, including the 
dam and water privilege, and at once proceeded to erect a 
forge and slitting-mill on the dam, and an iron foundry, known 
as Oliver's Furnace, a little below upon a point of land extend- 
ing into the middle of the river. The dam was considerably 
enlarged and strengthened for these new works. While it was 
being constructed, the bed of the river was changed by digging 
a canal above the pond, which extended near the stable of the 
late Earl Sproat, and ran into the river a little below. After- 
ward the ditch was carefully filled, although it can be traced 
at the present time in places. 

A blast furnace at this period was heated entirely by wood, 
and the walls of the wood house, with which it was connected 
by a bridge over the river, can still be seen. Judge Oliver 
was enabled to secure large contracts from the Crown, so that 
in addition to hollow-ware, heavy ordnance, consisting of can- 

1756] MUTTOCK 36 1 

non, mortar, howitzers, shot, and shell, were here manufactured. 
Some letters relating to this are still extant.^ 

There is a tradition, which the subsequent owners regarded 
as true, that when Judge Oliver came to Middleboro there 
was but one other slitting-mill of the kind, and that in a town 
near Boston. So carefully was it guarded that it was impos- 
sible for any one to ascertain the kind of machinery used, or 
its method of operation. Judge Oliver agreed to give Hushai 
Thomas, a young man of remarkable mechanical skill, a cer- 
tain sum of money if he would build him a slitting-mill which 
should produce nail-rods equal in kind and quality to those 

^ Middleboro', March 21, 1756. 
Gentlkmen, — Your Favour of 27th Febr. relating to supplying you with 
two Howbitzers I received on Saturday Night, & now send a Messinger to 
acquaint you that had I known of your having occasion for them 10 Days ago, 
I could have supplied you, but I finished my Blast 3 or 4 Days since ; which I 
am sorry for, as I had been at a great Deal of Trouble & Charge to procure 
Mountain Ore to make warlike Stores, of which ore is of a far better Quahty 
than any we have in these Parts, especially for Guns and Mortars. I have sent 
for more Mountain Ore, & expect to blow again this month, & if you should 
then want any Stores, I believe I can supply you with those of as good a Quality 
as can be made, for I am sensible of the Risque of making guns and Mortars 
from Bog Ore that I shall not attempt them again with that. 

I am, Gentlemen, your very humble Servant, 

Peter Oliver. 

Middleboro', May 21, 1756. 

Gentlemen, — I received your Letter 19th instant this Day. I had already 
given my reasons for not writing, w'*', whether they are sufficient or not, I must 
leave to you gentlemen to judge of. 

The Carcasses are shipped, & I hope will be with you by the Time this Letter 
arrives, which I suppose are not engaged. As to the Granadoe Shells & Mortars, 
I have quitted them, & have lent Mr. Barker my Pattern for the mortars, who 
no doubt will send them soon, & had it been in my power to have forwarded 
the matter I should not have been wanting, but I have sent vessel after vessel, 
at great Expense, and have been daily expecting one after another with one 
proper to have a Furnace in order for stores of such Consequence, which, had 
they arrived, a few Days would have conveyed to New York sooner than they 
could be any other Way. unless they are made to Hand, for I had procured a 
Vessell to carry them. 

I am, gentlemen, with great esteem y very hum' Servant, 

Peter Oliver. 

To the Hon'''' Committee of War. 


made near Boston. Mr. Thomas suddenly disappeared from 
the town, and some apprehension was manifested lest evil 
had befallen him, although it was noticed that his wife and 
family did not share the anxiety of the neighbors. A few days 
after, an unkempt person was seen in the vicinity of Boston, 
apparently a foolish, demented fellow. After lounging about, 
sleeping in barns and wherever he could find accommodation, 
he became friendly with the boys as they came and went from 
school, often playing with them about the mill. One day, he 
noticed that the door was open, and with the boys following, 
innocently ran in. He was there but a few moments, and the 
next day left the place, taking with him the secret of the 
mechanism of the mill. The long-absent Hushai Thomas 
returned. The foundation of the slitting-mill was immediately 
laid, and when in running order it was found that his journey 
had not been in vain. The single glance at the machinery by 
"this foolish, unkempt fellow " was all that was necessary ; the 
nail-rods of Muttock could now rank with any in the province. 
This, with the business of the foundry, made Muttock the lar- 
gest and most enterprising village of the town. In addition to 
these interests, Peter Oliver was a large owner of real estate and 
one of the most prudent and successful farmers of the country. 

In 1747 he was appointed judge of the Court of Common 
Pleas, and while occupying that position planned and super- 
intended the erection of the court house in Plymouth. In 
1756 he was appointed judge of the Superior Court of Judi- 
cature, the highest court in the province, and in 1762 was ap- 
pointed chief justice. Later on, he presided at the trial of the 
British soldiers for the massacre on King's Street just before 
the breaking out of the Revolution, and his charge to the jury 
was regarded as a clear and impartial exposition of the law. His 
rank as chief justice made him the second man in the colony, 
no one but the governor being his superior. He rode from 
Boston to Middleboro in his coach, with outriders dressed in 
scarlet, maintaining the dignity and elegance of the judges of 
the highest court in Westminster, London. 

Soon after coming to Middleboro, he built Oliver Hall, one 





of the finest country residences outside of Boston. It stood 
upon the level tract of land between the two hills at Muttock, 
about two hundred feet back of the residence of the late Mr. 
Edmund Deane and a little west of the wall on the brow of 
Muttock Hill. He enclosed as a part of his grounds and park 
all of the land between Nemasket Street and the river. This 
was laid out after the manner of an English park and garden. 
Indications of the driveway around the base of the hill from 
the bridge to the end of Oak Street may still be seen. The 


principal entrance was through an avenue of trees from North 
Street opposite the former residence of I. D. Bump, follow- 
ing the road on the northerly side of the triangular common, 
at the top of Muttock Hill ; then turning, it passed in front of 
the residence of Edward Tinkham, and following the line of the 
road nearly to the house of the late Edmund Deane, turned 
again through an orchard until it came to the Hall. The other 
entrance was near the junction of Oak and North streets, 
at present indicated by a lane leading toward the pond. At 
the end of the lane the driveway divided, one part bordering 
upon the edge of the pond at the foot of the hill and the other 
passing over the brow and winding into the garden in front, 
and so connecting with the main driveway above referred to. 

Oliver Hall was built after the style of an old English 
mansion, with steep roof and deep, jutting eaves, with walls 
of white plaster and portico of oak, over which grew a rose not 
only celebrated for its beauty, but valued as a present to Madam 
Oliver from England. The doors and much of the inside fur- 
nishings were sent from London. The house contained the 
usual drawing-room of that period, the entrance-hall, the din- 
ing-room, a large and valuable library, and other apartments, 
with kitchen and extensive quarters for servants. The large 
hall opened on the river ; the lower part of the wall was wain- 
scoted with English oak, and the upper part was decorated with 
rich hangings of birds and flowers. When the house was on 
fire, some of the townspeople tore these off and preserved them 
as mementos of the days when " George was king, and Oliver 
was judge." The oaken floor was polished daily by the ser- 
vants until it fairly shone, and was so slippery that it is said 
one of the maids slipped and fell, spilling the hot tea and 
cream over the beautiful gown of one of the ladies and stain- 
ing her white satin slipper, whereupon the enraged guest from 
Boston " drew off the slipper and spanked her soundly, in high 
dudgeon." The furnishings of the hall were elegant and costly ; 
there were high crownback tapestry-cushioned chairs, with 
a Turkish carpet on the floor. The library was built sepa- 
rate, facing the north and connected with the hall by a lattice 




Fishing- Weir. 
9. Hammer Shop. 10. Grist-Mill. 11. Slilling- 


I. Shovel Shop. 2. Blacksmith Shop. 3. Finishing Shop. 4. Finishing Shop. 5 
6. Fishing Place. 7. Coal House. 8. Coal House 

Mill. 12. Forge. 13. Iron House for Forge. 14. Coal House for Forge. 15. Sawmill. 16. Site of 
old Wood House forjudge Oliver's Furnace. 17. Site of Judge Oliver's Furnace before the Revo- 
lution. 18. Andrew Leach's Store. 19. Residence of Andrew Oliver. 20. Entrance to Oliver Hall. 
21. Oliver Hall. 22. Site of Sachem's Wigwam 23. Summer Pavilion. 




gallery ; in it were portraits of the family, the celebrated coat 
of arms, and a bust of George III with the banner of England 

over it in loyal tory 

The dining-room 
was spacious, with 
a large, heavy, 
claw-foot table of 
English oak in 
the centre, with 
high straight-back 
chairs of the same 
wood, the royal 
arms carved at the 
top. It is said that 
in 1762, when news 
was brought of an 
heir to the Crown, 
^ — Tf ^T'^ ^"^ "^ ^ ^ notable company 

/^O^^ /^—-^ gathered there, 

the sound of re- 
joicing rang high, 
and many were 
overcome with the 
excitement and revelry. Within this dining-room companies, 
including distinguished men from abroad as well as the most 
prominent men of the colony, often partook of the sumptuous 
entertainment provided. 

In the hollow between two of the highest hills on Oliver's 
Walk, and overlooking the pond, was a small house, called by 
the family the banqueting-house, the site of which may still be 
seen. Guests at the hall often wandered about the grounds 
to this place, where they were not infrequently served with such 
refreshment as the generous hospitality of the judge never 
failed to provide. The spring adjoining this banqueting-house 
was reached by a flight of steps a few feet from the entrance, 
and was used to cool the wine during the long and hot summer 




i77o] MUTTOCK 367 

days. Many years ago bottles were found bearing Oliver's ini- 
tials printed on the side. 

At the Hall was held the wedding reception of Peter Oliver, 
Jr., and Sarah, daughter of Governor Hutchinson. The mar- 
riage took place in Boston, ^ and later the party, distinguished 
by guests from home and abroad, were here entertained. The 
display of magnificent costumes was most brilliant. Ladies 
wore rich silks and satins with long trains, and their hair, 
puffed and powdered, was rolled high on their heads. This 
required so much care that it is said one of them sat up all 
night that the work of her hairdresser might not be dis- 
arranged, and another slept with her hands and arms tied over 
her head that they might appear white for the approaching 
reception. Gentlemen were there in gay colored suits of velvet 
with dainty satin vests, knee breeches, silk stockings with sil- 
ver knee and shoe buckles, their coats decorated with old lace 
ruflFles at the neck and sleeves, others in full military and court 
dress; but the ladies and gentlemen from the town, although 
not attired in the brilliant dress then worn by the fashionable 
people of Boston, received the same consideration and atten- 
tion from the judge and his wife as were shown to the titled 
personages from England. The hall was profusely decorated 
with plants and flowers taken from the gardens and grounds. 
Tables in the dining-room and banqueting-hall were laden with 
every variety of meats, pastry, fruits, and flowers, and wines 
and cider flowed freely. The guests from abroad remained four 
days, enjoying their lavish entertainment. The reception was 
regarded as one of the most brilliant affairs which had ever 
occurred outside of Boston. 

The estate contained a large variety of fruit, ornamental, 
and forest trees, which grew luxuriantly over the hills, but 

' In the diary of Dr. Oliver we find this amusing note of the " end of the hap- 
piest time : " — 

" Feb. I, 1770. I was married by Dr. Pemberton to Mrs. [abbreviation for 
Mistress] S. Hutchinson ; exceedingly private, of a Thursday Evg., according 
to the Old Charter. Thus ended the happiest time of my life, as it was freest 
from cares and solicitudes, which now hastened apace. I was at this time in the 
latter part of my 29th year, and Mrs. Hutchinson in the 26th year of her age." 


only a few large oaks at the side of the hill, and the pear-tree 
near the edge of the pond not far from the bridge, are now 
standing. There were numerous walks about the grounds and 
the garden, celebrated for its choice flowers. In their diaries 
Judge Sewall and John Adams speak of the beauty of the 
place and the pleasure they had in visiting the Hall. 

On the breaking out of the Revolution, Judge Oliver con- 
scientiously adhered to his sovereign, and his great wealth, his 
official position and influence, made him extremely obnoxious 
to the patriots, and in the troublesome time following the bat- 
tle of Lexington, notwithstanding his high character and the 
universal respect in which he was held, he was impeached for 
receiving a salary from the Crown, and compelled to leave the 
country, with many other tories. After the mob had attacked 
the house of his brother in Boston and destroyed its contents, 
he rode on horseback, unattended, from Boston to Middleboro, 
and arrived there in the edge of the evening, travel-stained 
and weary. He immediately entered the Hall, where he had 
spent so many happy years, went to a secret drawer, took out 
a box of valuables, cast a longing glance about, bade the faith- 
ful housekeeper good-by, and mounting his horse, galloped out 
into the night. The next day, with his family, he embarked 
with Governor Gage for London, never again to return to the 
home which he had enjoyed so much and where he had received 
such honor ^ and distinction. The last years of his life were 

1 Judge Oliver's Diary from tlie time he left Boston until the time of his 
death was published in the second volume of the Diary and Letters of His Ex- 
cellency Thomas Hutchinson, Esq. The following are extracts of the same, under 
date of 1776: — 

After having retired to Boston, under the protection of the King's troops, for 
the security of my person against the fury of the most unnatural, ungrateful!, 
wanton, and cruel rebellion that ever existed, and after having been confined 
to the limits of that town for eighteen months, the rebels, who had for many 
months surrounded the town with strong intrenchments, began to bombard and 
cannonade it on the 2« of March 1776, which held for three nights successively, 
but with very little damage. 

General Howe, the Commander-in-Chief, thought proper to abandon the town, 
and gave publick notice to the inhabitants, that such of them who inclined to 
quit the place, should have transports provided for them. 

1782] MUTTOCK 369 

s])ent in England in literary pursuits and in the society of his 
friends. He received an honorary degree from Oxford, and 
died in 1782, beloved by all who knew him. 

March loth. — Accordingly, on the tenth day of March I embarked onboard 
the Pacific, Indiaman, Cap' James Dun, which lay in King Road, it being a very 
commodious vessell, which General Howe was so polite as to appropriate to the 
accommodation of my friends and me. 

nth. — There was an hot cannonading to and from Boston and Dorchester 
Neck, and also to and from Castle William and Dorchester Neck, which con- 
tinued from 8 o'clock at night untill the next morning. 

1 2th. — Some firing at Boston in the night. 

16th. — A hot firing at Boston ab' ii o'clock at night, till 9 o'clock next 

17th. — The troops at Boston embarked, and about 20 sail fell down into 
King Road by 1 1 o'clock this morning. 

i8th. — The King's troops began to blow up the Castle William. 

19th. — I dined on board the Chatham with Admiral Shuldham. The south 
Blockhouse of the Castle was burnt at night, and some of the walls of it blown 

20th. — The blowing up of the Castle Walls continued: and at night all the 
combustible part of the Castle was fired. The conflagration was the most 
pleasingly dreadful that I ever beheld: sometimes it appeared like the eruption 
of Mount Etna; and then a deluge of fire opened to the view; that nothing 
could reconcile the horror to the mind, but the prevention of such a fortress fall- 
ing into the hands of rebels, who had already spread such a conflagration of 
diabolical fury throughout America, which scarce anything can quench but the 
— metu tremefacit Olympum. 

2ist. — The fleet fell down from King Road into Nantasket Harbour, which 
afforded a grand prospect, there being at least 150 sail of vessells at anchor. 

22d. — A high N. W. wind. 

23d. — D". 

24th. — A high N. W. and very cold at night, so that the vessell's bows and 
cables were loaded with ice. 

25th. — The first Division sailed from Nantasket to Hallifax, as the 
Lord Hyde Packet, Cap" Jeffries for London, with M' Thomas Hutchinson and 
my son Peter, and their families, as passengers. 

26th. — I dined on board the Renown, Commodore Banks. 

27th. — I sailed from Nantasket, ab' 70 sail, for Hallifax, under convoy of the 
Chatham, Admiral Shuldham, and of the Centurion, Cap" Braithwaite. 

here I took my leave of that once happy country, where peace and plenty 
reigned uncontrouled, till that infernal Hydra Rebellion, with its hundred Heads, 
had devoured its happiness, spread desolation over its fertile fields, and ravaged 
the peaceful! mansions of its inhabitants, to whom late, very late if ever, will 
return that security and repose which once surrounded them ; and if in part re- 
stored, will be attended with the disagreeable recollection of the savage barbari- 


On November 4, 1778, after reports had reached the colony 
of the disasters to the patriot army, an unusual number of 
people gathered in Muttock. In the night, flames were seen 
issuing from one portion of the house ; no attempt was made 
to extinguish them. The neighbors rushed in, took away the 
remaining furniture and hangings and many of the doors,^ 
and in a few hours nothing was left of the beauty and splen- 
dor of Oliver Hall. Some of these doors were afterwards 
carried to the old Ward house in Lakeville, where they were 
placed to form the walls and ceiling of one of the chambers. 
The shrubbery, trees, and outbuildings were destroyed in the 
next generation, so that the grounds, once so beautiful, were 

Mrs. Mary Norcutt, when a young woman, was the house- 
keeper at Oliver Hall, and later in life she lived in the family 
of Judge Weston. She was very fond of giving a description 

ties, and diabolical cruelties which had been perpetrated to support rebellion, 
and which were instigated by ambition and malice, and infernal in their dictates. 
Here I drop the filial tear into the Urn of my Country. 

" O fortunatos niniium, sua si bona norint — 

And here I bid A Dieu to that shore, which I never wish to tread again till that 
greatest of social blessings, a firm established British Government, precedes 
or accompanies me thither. 

The Diary gives a detailed account of the events of his voyage, and upon his 
arrival a detailed account of how his time was occupied. It seems to have been 
largely in travel, with calls made and received from the prominent public men 
in England at that time. He mentions his visit at Lord Edgcumbe's seat as fol- 
lows : — 

7th. — This morning visited Lord Edgcumbe's seat. . . . We then descended 
the walks around the sea shore, which were varied with taste, and yet seemed 
formed on the plan of nature, with seats to rest on, and with hermitages ; pro- 
montories on one side, and the sea opening through trees on the other, — filled 
the mind with pleasure. But I was in one walk deprived of pleasure for a 
moment, it being so like a serpentine walk of mine on the banks of the river 
Namasket, which so lately had been wrenched from me by the Harpy claws of 
Rebellion, that I was snatched from where I now was to the loss of where I had 
so late been in the arms of contentment. . . . 

1 Most of the personal property of Judge Oliver had been removed and an 
inventory made which is now in the Probate Court, Plymouth. 

1778] MUTTOCK 37 1 

of the place, the parties, incidents, and prominent men who 
were accustomed to visit there. These incidents were often 
told to the father of the writer, and an account of the burn- 
ing of the hall as she used to relate it was written by the 
late Granville T. Sproat and published in the "Middleboro 
Gazette," a copy of which is here inserted. 

" We had long expected that the Hall would be burned — 
the people were so enraged ; especially after we heard how 
they had sacked Governor Hutchinson's house in Boston, and 
had brought out and burned all his fine library of books in 
the street. We never went to bed at night without thinking 
that we should be aroused before morning by the Hall being 
on fire. And it was so. One night, a little past midnight, we 
were awakened by a loud knocking at the door, and a cry, 
' Get up ! get up ! the Hall is on fire ! ' We sprang up ; we 
could see the Hall from our windows ; the main building was 
not then on fire ; it was the library which was connected with 
the Hall by a latticed gallery, that was all in a blaze. We ran 
out to the Hall ; a good many people had got there ; they had 
broken in the doors and were running through the building 
with the hopes of finding something to lay their hands on. 
But there was nothing there ; everything had been carried off 
months before. I ran up into the servants' room above the 
great guest parlor. This parlor was very high in its walls — 
higher than the other rooms of the house ; and the servants' 
chambers were above it — quite low, under the roof. There 
was nothing there ; everything had been carried off. I then 
ran into the great parlor, to the money closet. It stood open. 
I put my hand in on one corner of a shelf ; there was a piece 
of money about the size of a dollar. I took it home with me 
and kept it for years afterwards. I kept it as a keepsake, for 
it always reminded me of Judge Oliver and that last visit of 
his, and his looks — so pale and careworn — when he came into 
the house, the last time he ever entered it. 

" The Hall was a long time burning. It was covered with 
plaster of some kind on the outside, and did not burn very 
fast. The roof kept falling in, one part after another. It was 
a long time before the great guest parlor was burnt out. That 
was the most famous room in the house. It was wainscoted 
with oak below the windows ; above, it was hung with gor- 
geous paper hangings, all gilt and velvet. The women who 
were there tore off the paper and took it home with them. 


They used to wear the sprigs of gold leaf in their hair, when 
they went to a dance in the town, for years afterward. I could 
not bear to see it, for I felt bad when I thought of the fate of 
the old Hall. 

" I tried to save the rose-bush — a present to Madam Oliver 
from London, which trailed over the east end of the house, 
but I could not do it. The fire was too hot and drove me away. 
All the elms and locusts around the Hall were burned. Nothing 
was left. Oh ! what a sight it presented the next morning ! I 
sat down and cried as if my heart would break ; for I never ex- 
pected to see Oliver's Hall brought to a pile of ruins like that. 

"After the Hall was burned everything went to ruin. The 
walk, so famous in the old times, and where the ladies of the 
Hall used to walk so much, grew up to bushes ; the benches 
on the sides rotted down, and the way to the summer house 
was all choked up. The summer house stood a good many 
years ; the tables grew black and mouldy, but they did not fall 
away very fast ; and the spring, close by, where they used to 
store their wine to keep it cool, was kept open for a long time 
afterward. I used to go and sit there and think of the merry 
times they used to have there. Well do I remember the day 
when an heir was born to his Majesty, George the Third, and 
Queen Charlotte — how a messenger came riding all the way 
from Boston to bring the news — how he rode up the hill, 
swinging his hat and shouting ' Long live the King ! A prince 
has been born to the royal family of England ! ' There was 
feasting that night at the Hall ; and a great party assembled 
to drink wine and give toasts in honor of the occasion. Gov- 
ernor Hutchinson was there at the time; and, that day, Lieu- 
tenant-Governor Oliver, with some ladies, came out from 
Boston. He wore a suit of scarlet silk velvet, with gilt or gold 
buttons, and lace ruffles for the sleeves and bosom. He wore 
short breeches, as was the fashion at that day. White silk long 
stockings, with gold shoe and knee buckles, made up his suit. 
Governor Hutchinson was dressed in nearly the same way ; 
only his suit of velvet was blue trimmed with gold lace. They 
had a dance at the Hall that night, and there was music and 
wine in abundance. 

" After about ten years there was but little left to mark 
the spot where Oliver's Hall had once stood. The seats of 
the walk were all gone ; the roof of the summer house had 
fallen in ; the tables had rotted down and lay scattered on 
the ground ; only the spring remained, and the spot where the 
summer house stood. After that the trees were cut down or 

1778] MUTTOCK 373 

gradually decayed with age, and it was hard to tell where the 
walk once was. It was the same with the spot where the Hall 
once stood. The trees around it had all been destroyed by the 
fire, and only the cellar remained to mark the spot. That, too, 
gradually filled up, so that I hardly knew the place where we 
used to store our winter supplies at the Hall ; and now the 
stranger can with difficulty find the place where the great Hall 
once stood. Oh, the change that a few short years have made 
in one of the loveliest spots that my eyes have ever beheld ! I 
remember, one day, hearing Governor Hutchinson say to Judge 
Oliver, as they were walking in the garden together, ' Judge 
Oliver, you have here one of the loveliest spots in all his Ma- 
jesty's colony;' and I think he told the truth." 

Judge Oliver's son William married a sister of Captain John 
Fuller, and lived in the Haskins neighborhood near his wife's 
father. Andrew Oliver, another son, is said to have been 
remarkably fine looking ; he married Phoebe, a daughter of 
Ebenezer Spooner. She died at an advanced age in the old 
Morton house, and was known the latter years of her life as 
Madam Oliver.^ Her husband, who died before the war, was 
of intemperate habits. At the time of the marriage, Mr. 
Spooner was much opposed to it and disinherited his daughter, 
but the judge provided for her, and is said to have built a 
house for them in Muttock. This was 
afterwards occupied by Jesse Bryant, 
Judge Oliver 's foreman in the forge and 
slitting-mill, and was taken down by the 
late Henry Arnold. An account of his 
other sons, Daniel and Dr. Peter Olivier, 
is given in the chapter on Loyalists. 

Dr. Oliver lived in the house which his 
father built for him in 1762, now known ,..,„^ ^, „ 


as the Sproat house. In 1794 this was house 

1 June 29, 1776, Phcebe Oliver, wife of Andrew Oliver, and daughter-in-law of 
Judge Oliver, petitioned the General Court for relief, as the selectmen of the 
town had taken the house which she had occupied for seven years, rent free, 
and two cows and firewood from her, and petitioned to the court that she 
would be destitute unless the court granted her relief. The petition was referred 
to a committee, but it is not reported what action was taken upon it. 




purchased by Judge Weston, and was his home for nearly 
forty years until his death. During Dr. Oliver's time the slaves 
occupied the attic, but these rooms have long since been 

removed. This house is 


famous for the men whose 
lives are associated with its 
hospitable halls. Governor 
Hutchinson was accustomed 
to spend part of the summer 
here, and one of the cham- 
bers was afterwards known 
as the Hutchinson chamber. 
James Bowdoin, also a fre- 
quent guest of the house,^ spent parts of two years here, while 
governor. He was a large land-owner^ in Middleboro, although 

1 Peter Orlando Hutchinson, in his Diary and Letters of His Excellency 
Thofnas Hutchinson, Esq., vol. i, p. 463, says : " James Bowdoin had better have 
had Judge Oliver's house as that might have protected it from being burnt, a 
fate to which it soon arrived." 

2 The following parcels of land were owned by Governor Bowdoin, in Middle- 
boro : — 

April 17, 1777, he received a conveyance of 80 acres of land in the Twenty- 
six Men's Purchase and 3^ acres of meadow land which was formerly owned 
by John Adams, one of the original purchasers. 

June 17, 1729, Lemuel Bosworth conveyed a tract of land in the 5 Men's 

In October 7, 1729, Benjamin Durfey conveyed to him 40 acres of land in the 
West Precinct. 

In 1740 Thomas Crode conveyed to him ^ of the 29th lot in the first allot- 
ment of the Sixteen Shilling Purchase, containing 44 acres. 

July 12, 1742, Elkanah Leonard conveyed to him 185 acres of land in the Six- 
teen Shilling Purchase. 

August 20, 1744, Peter Thacher's estate conveyed to him four and one-half 
sixteenth part of the slitting-mill utensils, forge, grist-mill on the dam across the 
Namasket River and 5 acres of land on the south side of the river and i acre 
of land on the north of the river, also a dwelling-house. 

In 1757 Robert Brown conveyed to him 72 acres of land. 

Another tract from Deacon Shaw containing 16 acres and another from Icha- 
bod Sampson containing 6 acres which was the i ith lot in the first allotment of 
the Twenty-six Men's Purchase. 

The works and land at Muttock were conveyed to Peter Oliver and Jeremiah 
Gridley June 12, 1745. 




never a voter, and some of his official papers bear the mark and 
date from here. He was born August 8, 1727, died in Boston 
November 6, 1 790, and was buried in the Bowdoin vault in the 
Old Granary Burying-ground. In 1779 he was president of the 
convention to frame a constitution for Massachusetts, was gov- 
ernor 1785-86, and in 1788 a member of the State Convention 
to ratify the Constitution of the United States. His estate on 
Beacon Street, Boston, extended back as far as Ashburton 
Place, and contained one of the finest gardens in town. At the 
beginning of the insurrection, when in Cambridge to review the 
troops (he was then about fifty-eight years old), he is described 
as wearing a gray wig, a cocked hat, white broadcloth coat 
and waistcoat, red 
small - clothes, and 
black silk stockings. ^ 
As a public man he 
was firm and coura- 
geous, moderate in 
his opinions, and al- 
though an earnest 
friend of the patriot 
cause from the be- 
ginning, he was more 
conservative than 
many of his com- 
panions, an attitude 
which led some of 
the more zealous sup- 
porters to question 
his sincerity. During 
his administration the famous Shays's Rebellion occurred, and 
it was largely owing to his firmness and decision that it did 
not assume greater proportions. After it had been suppressed, 
he was defeated in his third term, mainly by the voters from 
the western part of the state, who were in sympathy with the 
insurgents, and John Hancock was chosen in his place. 

^ Memorial History of Bostou, vol. iii, p. 194. 



He was the founder of the college which bears his name, an 
accomplished scholar, with an extended reputation for scien- 
tific studies and love of literature. 

Mrs. Bowdoin, while a resident of the town, presented the 
First Church with a large silver cup, which at one time was 
used upon the communion table, but is now preserved by the 
church as a relic. 

Dr. Benjamin Franklin was a guest of Dr. Oliver in 1773, 
attended the First Church, and at a reception given to him met 
many Middleboro people. 

Opposite the end of Nemasket Street, which has been dis- 
continued, stood the house of Asaph Churchill, and upon the 
other side of the street was the old red schoolhouse. For 
n years the house was the 

fy/ per, whose name and family 
^ have now become extinct 
in this part of the state. He was a well-to-do farmer and a 
staunch patriot, and is said to have been the only man in 
town who did not stand in awe of Judge Oliver, and who 
never hesitated to cross him in his endeavors to carry any 
particular matter either in town or in church. He and Cap- 
tain Joshua Eddy were more outspoken against his political 
views than any of the citizens. At one time, in the presence of 
a large number of people standing near the rock on the side 
of the pond between the two roads, he said to them in derision : 
"If Judge Oliver told you that that rock had been moved dur- 
ing the night, you are all d fools enough to believe it." 

At the close of the war, upon the reorganization of the militia 
of the county, he was appointed lieutenant-colonel. 

In the year 1778, by an act of the legislature, many of the 
tories of the province were banished and their estates confis- 
cated, including that of Peter Oliver. In 1786 Nahum Mitchell 
and Edward Winslow, appointed to dispose of the confiscated 
land of the tories, sold a portion of the Peter Oliver estate to 
Jesse Bryant and Abner Weston. This afterwards came into 
the possession of Andrew Leach, who had opened the first store 

i8oo] MUTTOCK 377 

here about 1745. He was a Scotchman, keen and quick in 
manner and blunt of speech. Opposite the store was his house, 
which was burned many years ago. Soon after his death he was 
succeeded by Gamaliel Rounseville, a man of ability holding 
many offices in town, who also lived there. He carried on busi- 
ness for more than fifty years, and upon his death his stock 
of goods was sold at public auction ; this created unusual inter- 
est from the fact that many articles had been in the store for 
more than forty years. 

In the beginning of the last century there were in this vil- 
lage four stores: Mr. Rounseville's at the corner of the road ; 
one at the top of the hill belonging to E. T. Soule, which was 
later moved to another part of the town ; one owned by General 
Abiel Washburn, opposite his house, which was afterwards 
taken down and a new store, now standing, built and occupied 
by him ; and next to this, on the site of Dr. Oliver's office, the 
store of Judge Weston, since moved to a position near the 
herring-weir. A new store was erected on Muttock Hill and 
occupied by Colonel Thomas Weston. This also was moved 
away and used as a dwelling-house. 

The making of hammered nails is now one of the abandoned 
industries, to which it is interesting to give a passing note. 
Iron was collected from different parts of the county, together 
with what could be obtained from the blast furnaces, and was 
brought to the forge, where it was made into bars about six 
feet long, three inches wide, and half an inch thick. These 
bars were then taken to the slitting-mill, cut up, and rolled into 
nail-rods about six feet in length and about a quarter of an 
inch square, or according to the thickness of the nail desired ; 
these were bound up in bundles of fifty and taken by the farm- 
ers and others to their shops in this and surrounding towns 
and made into hammered nails, which were then taken to Mr. 
Weston's store, put into kegs, and shipped over the country. 
In addition to those at the forge and slitting-mill, there were 
over fifty men thus given employment when not at work upon 
their farms. The shops where these nails were made were from 
twelve to twenty feet square, and at the present day, as one 


rides through the town, many of them may still be seen as 
reminders of an occupation which was superseded by the in- 
vention of the nail machine. 

Here shovels were manufactured by General Washburn and 
his son, Philander, and found a ready market all over the coun- 
try, the men employed being known as " shovel busters." 

After the confiscation and sale of Judge Oliver's property 
at Muttock, the works there were managed for short periods by 
different men, but in the latter part of the eighteenth century, 
when they came into the possession of General Abiel Wash- 
burn and Thomas Weston, a large and successful business was 
carried on for more than a generation. One can scarcely realize, 
in passing over the bridge, that a hundred years ago it was a 
place of so much business activity. At that time the follow- 
ing manufacturing establishments were built upon the dam : 
a large sawmill, the iron house for the forge, opposite on the 
other side a large coal house, the ruins of which can still be 
seen, the forge, the slitting-mill, a grist-mill, the hammer and 
finishing shop, a large coal house on the other side of the 
dam, two finishing shops for shovels, a large blacksmith's 
shop, and on the other side of the street the shovel factory. 
Below the dam were the ruins of the old Oliver furnace and 
the wood house connected with it. 

The men employed here and the clerks in these stores were 
many of them among the brightest young men of the town. 
Some of the leading spirits were Louis Weston, Thomas Stur- 
tevant, Harry Hubbard, Joseph H. Bisbee, William E. Doggett, 
and Alpha Grossman. The stories of their witticisms, their 
fun, their genial good-fellowship, and the pranks which were 
played upon customers and countrymen who came to the vil- 
lage, have been repeated in the neighborhood with the zest 
of former times. Strange purchases were made: one desiring 
material for a suit of clothes was induced to buy several yards 
of furniture covering of a gay pattern as "the latest style." 
At the commencement of the great temperance movement 
in the early part of the last century, the stores in Muttock 
were among the first to discontinue the selling of rum, the 

iSooJ MUTTOCK 379 

favored intoxicant among the common people. Afterward 
many of the topers, Jube, an old colored man, among the num- 
ber, would come and earnestly beg for a dram, and some 
strange mixtures were prepared by these clerks, compounded 
of almost everything in the store which would mix with water, 
with a large portion of cayenne pepper to give flavor to the 
drink. These practical jokes were not always confined to the 
village. A maiden lady, who by some of her remarks had pro- 
voked the enmity of these young men, had met with an acci- 
dent which was made the subject of another joke of a little 
more serious character. For generations it had been the cus- 
tom of those attending the First Church to send requests 
for prayers for the sick or bereaved. These were usually car- 
ried to the clergyman by the sexton after he had taken his 
seat in the pulpit. One Sabbath morning a man noted for his 
absent-mindedness occupied the pulpit, and as he was about 
to read the requests for prayers, a stranger walked hastily up 
and gave him an additional notice. Without glancing at it he 
opened it and commenced to read : — 

" Desire Morse desires prayers 
For falling down Deacon Nathan's stairs." 

The good man's thoughts were evidently elsewhere and he did 
not notice what he had read, but continued : — 

" She broke no bones but bruised her meat, 
Which was not fit for dogs to eat." 

Great was the consternation of the assembly, but the poor 
man was so absorbed in the duties before him that he did not 
comprehend the situation. While it was not known who was 
the author, it was not difficult to trace this to these fun-loving 
clerks. Many another tale could be told did time and space 

The prominent business men in Muttock were Judge Thomas 
Weston and General Abiel Washburn. They were men well 
known for their business ability, their sterling integrity, and 
the esteem in which they were held throughout southeastern 




Thomas Weston was born March 20, 1770. In the early 
part of his Hfe he was engaged in business at Pope's Point 

furnace in Carver ; in 
1798 he moved from 
Carver and made Mut- 
tock his home, having 
purchased a large tract 
of real estate there, in- 
cluding the Peter Oli- 
ver house and a portion 
of the works upon the 
dam. He held many- 
public offices, was a 
member of the house 
and senate, and for four 
years a member of the 
governor's council. He 
was nominated as re- 
presentative for Con- 
gress when nomination 
of his party made elec- 
tion sure, but declined to serve. In the latter part of his life 
he was appointed chairman of the Court of Sessions, a posi- 
tion which at that time gave him the title of Judge. He died 
June 17, 1834, in the sixty-fourth year of his age. Upon his 
death his son. Colonel Thomas Weston, succeeded him in 
business until the year 1844, when he moved to Warrentown. 
General Abiel Washburn had previously been in business at 
the Four Corners with Major Levi Peirce and Major William 
Bourne, under the firm name of Washburn, Bourne & Peirce. 
This partnership was dissolved a little before Judge Wes- 
ton came to Muttock, General Washburn having purchased 
an interest in the dam and water privilege there, and a large 
farm, now occupied by his grandson, Charles E. Grinnell, a 
member of the Boston bar. He commenced manufacturing 
shovels, and built the hammer shop upon the dam. He was 
also interested in the sawmill and grist-mill. This business 





was continued until his death, and was afterwards carried on 
by his son, Philander Washburn, who had been in partnership 
with him for several years. General Washburn was the son of 
Edward Washburn, a patriot soldier in the Revolution, and 
from him he inherited what in those days was considered a 
large property. This was afterwards lost in business, but by 
his sagacity and enterprise he later became the wealthiest man 
and the largest tax-payer in town. He was for many years the 
acknowledged leader of the Federal party, which at that time 
was hopelessly in the 
minority, yet upon all 
important town mat- 
ters he was consulted, 
and his suggestions 
were usually adopted. 
He was interested in 
the local militia of the 
state, and held com- 
missions for thirty-six 
years through the dif- 
ferent grades of office to that of Brigadier-General of Plym- 
outh County Brigade, from 18 16 to 1824. General Washburn 
was a gentleman of the old school, of large and command- 
ing stature; he died June 17, 1843, in the eightieth year of 
his age, leaving a large family of children. 

Until the early part of the last century the highway from 
Muttock Hill to the Green was over the old dam upon which 
Oliver's works were located. On July 27, 18 18, the town voted, 
" that an agent be appointed to petition the court to locate 
a highway across the mill pond at Oliver's works." Judge 
Wilkes Wood was chosen, and was authorized to contract for 
the building of this bridge. The records do not show any 
further action, although by that contract the bridge was built 
and the road over Muttock Hill was made. The bridge was of 
wood, and the road over the hill was so steep that it was con- 
sidered unsafe. This gave rise to so much complaint that a 
town meeting was held May 12, 1856, when it was voted, " that 





the selectmen be a committee to cause to be rebuilt the bridge 
over Nemasket River at Oliver's works." May 9, 1859, a com- 
mittee was appointed to replace the bridge by a stone struc- 
ture and to raise the grade several feet ; at the same time the 
top of the hill was cut down some eight or ten feet, leaving 
the road as at present. 

In this neighborhood lived Ephraim Norcutt (the husband 
of Mary Norcutt before mentioned), who had taken part in the 
French and Indian War, and was afterwards in Judge Oliver's 
employ, working on his estate as "skipper" of the furnace. 

In the latter part of the eighteenth century John Ritchie, a 
Boston merchant, bought an interest in the confiscated Oliver's 
works, and built the house opposite the entrance to the ceme- 
tery which was recently burned. There is a tradition that very 
soon after Mr. Ritchie left, two ladies of apparent means and 
education came and lived in the place for a number of years. 

They refused to give 
their names, or to have 
any intercourse with 
the people of the town. 
They were very fond of 
flowers, and had a large 
garden on the south- 
erly side of the house. 
After residing there a 
few years, one of them 
died and was buried quietly in the cemetery opposite ; the 
other went away, leaving no trace of their names or previous 

In the early part of the last century Benaiah Wilder lived 
in the house occupied by the late Captain Leonard Driggs, 
and opposite this house he had anchor works until the em- 
bargo of Jefferson's administration destroyed that industry ; 
now a few cinders are all that mark the place. He was one of 
those whom Judge Oliver hoped to influence, but who disap- 
pointed him by joining the patriots early in the Revolution. 
He was a brother of Ebenezer Wilder of North Street, who for 


1745] MUTTOCK 383 

a long time was a deacon and prominent member of the First 
Congregational Church. 

Henry Weston, whose home was with Captain Earl Sproat, 
served with distinction in the navy during the War of the 
Rebellion. Before he reached his majority he was a master's 
mate in Farragut's squadron, and was in many of the battles 
in the famous Red River expedition, where he was promoted 
for bravery in several engagements. He was in command of 
the gunboat Diana in one of the battles on the Atchafalaya 
River. After a most desperate fight, in which all of his officers 
were either killed or wounded and not men enough were left 
to fire a single gun, he was obliged to surrender his ship. He 
was then taken to the rebel prison in Texas, known as Camp 
Ford, where he remained until the close of the war. 

Beautiful for situation, between Plymouth Street and the 
Nemasket River, lying on its eastern bank, is the Nemasket 
Hill Cemetery, known as the Old Burial Hill, or simply The 
Hill. March 24, 1885, it was incorporated as the Nemasket Hill 
Cemetery Association, and is the oldest and by far the largest 
in town. 

Soon after Peter Oliver came to Middleboro, he bought the 
following parcels of real estate : — 

Jan. 15, 1742, From Joseph Haskall one half of a certain piece of land con- 
taining eight acres lying in Wareham near Wankinco River, with a mill dam and 

Jan. 25, 1744, From Ebenezer Morton fourteen acres and a quarter of land in 
the 17th. lot of land in the 3rd. allotment of the little Lot Purchase in Middle- 

Jan. 29, 1744, From Joseph Bumpas one half of the saw-mill on south side 
of Namaskett River in Middleboro near the slitting mill. 

March, 1744, From Nathaniel Bumpas one fourth part of a saw-mill on Namas- 
ket River in Middleboro, with utensils etc. 

Dec. 26, 1744, From Peter Thacher, with Jeremiah Gridley, six sixteenth 
shares of the slitting mill on Namasket River in Middleboro ; also six sixteenth 
shares in the dam on sd river and tools & instruments of the mill ; also Thacher's 
remaining right in five acres of land lying on south side of river and some 
interest in a saw -mill. 

Mar. 30, 1745, P'rom .Samuel Thacher certain tract of land in Little Lot Pur- 
chase, 17th. lot in number about i63 acres. 


April 6, 1745, From Thomas Hubbard, with J. Gridley, tract of land lying in 




Middleboro upon Chusamuttock Hill containing fifteen acres and the lands that 
Samuel Thacher purchased of one Thomas, an Indian ; also one eighth and one 
quarter of an eighth share in an Iron mill or forge, slitting mill, and grist mill, 
all near Namasket River. 

April 24, 1745, From Lemuel Donham, with J. Gridley, certain lot of land which 
sd. Lemuel bought of Simeon Totman, together with dwelling house thereon. 

May I, 1745, From Ichabod Tupper, with J. Gridley, one acre of land in 
Middleboro butted on the country road adjoining lot of Moses Sturtevant, also 
adjoining Namasket River. 

May 13, 1745, From James Bumpas one fourth part of a saw-mill on Namas- 
ket River in Middleboro. 

June 12, 1745, From James Bowdoin, with J. Gridley, 4I sixteenth parts of 
a slitting mill, of a forge and of a Grist mill standing on a dam erected across 
Namasket River in Middleboro, also of five acres of land adjoining sd. works 

on south side of river, and of one acre ad- 
joining sd. works on north side of river; also 
of a Way through lands of Ichabod Tupper 
to the highway, and of buildings — Coal 
House, Store House etc. 

March 26, 1746, From Moses Sturtevant, 
with J. Gridley, certain tract of land in Middle- 
boro on the purchase commonly called the 
Twenty-six Men's Purchase near Namasket 
River, containing about twelve and a quarter 
acres bounded by land bought by Gridley & 
Oliver from Tupper and by lands of Joseph 
Bumpas & Joseph Leonard. 

Sept. 4, 1747, From Benjamin White, with 
Jeremiah Gridley, one sixteenth part of a Grist 
mill on Namasket River in Middleboro, with 
tools and implements. 
Sept. 10, 1747, From Jeremiah Gridley his one, two & thirtieth share in Slit- 
ting mill, tools etc.. Mill dam, one acre of land on northeast side of river, five 
acres on southwest side of river, with buildings Forge, Coal House, & Store 

Nov. 1747, From Simeon Totman, with J. Gridley, westerly half of a lot of 
land bought from Samuel Thacher in 1741, together with buildings thereon. 

Mar. 28, 1748, From Andrew Oliver, with J. Gridley, one hundred and sev- 
enty-three acres of land in Middleboro being part of the Great Lot in the Eight 
Men's Purchase of the whole 240 acres being the part lying on the southwest of 
the division line. Also, a 20 acre lot laid out in the right of John Blackwell in 
the second allotment in Eight Men's Purchase. 

Aug. 15, 1748, From Moses Sturtevant, a certain lot containing about 78 
acres, being a part of the loth. lot of the land called the Twenty-six Men's Pur- 
chase. Also, a 10 acre tract in the Twenty-six Men's Purchase, being a part of 
the 4th. lot in the last allotment of sd. purchase. 


1774] MUTTOCK 3S5 

Sept. 6, 1748, From Andrew Oliver, with J. Gridley, two lots in Eight Men's 
Purchase, one, the 3rd. lot in the ist. allotment in John Blackwell's right, con- 
taining 60 acres; the other, the 4th. lot in the ist. allotment in Francis Walker's 
right, containing 80 acres. 

Oct. II, 1748, From Amos Ahanton lot of land in Middleboro, containing 
four acres commonly known by the name of Indian Burying Ground, near Oli- 
ver's other lands. 

Nov. 14, 1749, From Nathan Thomas, one eight part of slitting mill, forge, 
and grist mill on a dam across the Namasket River in Middleboro ; five acres 
of land on south side of river ; one acre of land on north side of river ; tools etc. ; 
Coal House ; Store House and dwelling house, right in an Iron ore lot ; dwelling 
house, barn and land adjoining any of forementioned premises. 

Sept. I, 1758, From Jeremiah Gridley one half of : Slitting mill, forge, grist- 
mill, saw-mill, store house, dam, 5 acres of land on south side of Namasket 
River, one acre on north side, way through land of Thomas Tupper, 2 lots of 
land bought from Andrew Oliver, i lot bought from Sturtevant, i lot from 
Thomas Hubbard. 

Jan. 27, 1759, From Joseph Leonard, tract of land adjoining at lower corner 
the land Oliver bought of Sturtevant, on easterly side of Namasket River, con- 
taining seven acres. 

July 3, 1759, From William & Mary Sherman, homestead in Rochester con- 
taining 60I acres of land where Joseph • Oliver (Peter Oliver's father) lived — 
adjoining Arthur Savorey's land. Also 17 acres laid out to W. Sherman in 1755 
by Hiller, Briggs & Barlow. 

Sept. 3, 1767, From William Oliver (one of his sons to whom he had given or 
sold these mills etc.) one sixth part of: Slitting mill, forge, grist-mill, saw-mill, 
boulting mill, cider mill, axe house, all near dam across Namasket River, the dam, 
stream of sd. river, 5 acres south of river; i acre north of river, way through 
Tupper's land, four lots in Eight Men's Purchase (total 335 acres), tract of land 
in Twenty-six Men's Purchase (107I acres) four acres purchased Ahanton, build- 
ing etc. 

July ir, 177 1, From Nathl. Perkins & Ezekl. Lewis, all Jeremiah Gridley's 
right in lands in Middleboro, all his interest in one-half of 500 acres of land, 5 
dwelling houses, saw'-mill, forge etc. 

April 5, 1774, From Oxenbridge Thacher, one-half of the Tomb which is in 
the Burial Place in the East Precinct in Middleboro, near the East meeting 
house in sd. precinct. 



HE Thompson Road district extends for two miles and 
a half on Thompson Street on the western side of Bart- 
lett's Brook and the great cedar swamp. Thompson 
Street was among the first roads in town, extending 
from the meeting-house toward Boston, substantially as at pre- 
sent. At one time many descendants of John Tomson lived 
here. What is known as Danson Brook crosses the street, 
running into Bartlett Brook between the houses occupied by 

the late Reuel and Ve- 
nus Thompson. Here 
George Danson, neg- 
lecting the warning of 
John Tomson, was shot 
by the Indians in King 
Philip's War. The resi- 
dents have been for 
the most part well-to-do 
farmers. Perhaps the 
most prominent man, 
next to the first set- 
tler, was Isaac Thom- 
son, a descendant of 
John Tomson, famil- 
iarly known as " Squire 
Isaac." He married 
Lucy Sturtevant ^ in 
1775, and died Decem- 
ber 21, 1819, in the 

1 Sturtevant is probably the same as Stuyvesant. Thompson Genealogy, 





seventy-fourth year of his age. He served the town in different 
capacities for more than twenty-five years. He was selectman 
for seventeen years, one of the representatives to the General 
Court for five years, and state senator for nine years. He was 
for thirty-three years a prominent member of the First Church, 
and was widely known throughout the county as a man of more 
than usual intelligence, thrifty, and faithful in the discharge of 
every duty. The house in which he lived is still standing on 
the western side of Thompson Road. Mr. George Thompson, 
who occupied this house 
from his early manhood 
until his death in 1875, 
was a worker in marble, 
and not a few of the 
gravestones in the dif- 
ferent cemeteries of 
the town were of his 

Upon the western 
side of this neighbor- 
hood lay the great 
swamps known as 
White Oak Island, 

Beaver Dam Swamp, and Meeting House Swamp, which cover 
a tract of land almost entirely destitute of houses or cultivated 
land, measuring nearly four miles in length and a mile and a 
half in width. 

A familiar spot in the early history of the town was Bear 
Spring, opposite the junction of Plain and Thompson streets. 
It is often mentioned in bounds of land connected with the 
great swamps in this immediate vicinity. 

Upon Bartlett Brook, which flows a little to the east of 
Thompson Street along its entire length, was in 171 5 erected 
the first sawmill of which we have any record in the town of 
Middleboro. It was built by Edward Thomas, Jacob Thom- 
son, Henry Wood, and John Tinkham. They were owners in 
equal shares of the mill and the meadows lying near it. 





September 10, 1725, Jacob Thomson, John Tinkham, and 
Isaac Tinkham, the owners, agreed that "the price for saw- 
ing boards should be twenty-five shillings a thousand, of two 
inch oak plank and oak slit work forty-five ; of two inch spruce 
plank thirty-five; spruce and pitch pine slit work to be mea- 
sured by board measure twenty-two shillings and six pence, 
and to have half the slabs, the owners of said mill to saw 
by turn." In 1744 Isaac Tinkham, Jacob Thomson, and Caleb 
Thomson rebuilt this mill. 



This place in the extreme northeastern portion of the town 
bordering upon Taunton River, including River Street and the 
northern portion of Thompson Street, was never thickly set- 
tled. It was the home of Thomas Darling, one of the early 
settlers, and for many generations his descendants have been 
found here as well as some of the descendants of John Tomson. 
Soon after the close of the Revolution, Captain Joshua Eddy 

built a small vessel at 
Woodward's Bridge. 
There was a shipyard 
from which small ships 
were built and launched 
in the river back of the 
house occupied many 
years ago by Thomas 
Covington. Upon the 
south of this neighbor- 
hood lies White Oak 
Island, partly included 
in the Thompson neighborhood, through which no street or 
road has ever been built. 

On River Street was the home of Captain William Thom- 
son, called "Squire Bill," a great-grandson of John Tomson, 
born February 15, 1748. He married Deborah Sturtevant, a 
lineal descendant of Peter Sturtevant, the celebrated governor 





of New York under the Dutch rule. Her portrait, painted 
by her son Cephas, is described as that of "a most beautiful 
woman." " Squire Bill," a captain of a company of militia in 
the Revolution, was at the battle of Bunker Hill, and was 
known as a most fearless advocate of the patriot cause. He 
was a large land-owner, and a man of great energy, who held 
many positions of trust until his death, March 14, 18 16. His 
house, later occupied by his son, Cephas Thompson, was of 
solid oak boards and 
timber, and was prob- 
ably the last of the 
blockhouses built after 
King Philip's War to 
resist any attacks of 
the Indians. It would 
probably have stood 
for generations, had 
it not been destroyed 
by fire about the year 
i860. It was a one- 
story house, with the 
old-fashioned gambrel 
roof. In the front 
rooms were the " beau- 
fats," placed there 
when the house was 
first built ; one of the chambers was hung with ancient tapes- 
try of a beautifully wrought biblical scene, made by nuns at 
a convent in Paris. 

Cephas Thompson was born July i, 1/75, and from his earli- 
est boyhood could readily, with pencil and paper, draw excellent 
likenesses of his school friends. His great love for portrait 
painting made him a successful artist, and he attained great 
celebrity in the South, where he had a wide circle of acquaint- 
ances. He was a friend of Parke Custis, Jefferson, and Chief 
Justice Marshall, whose portrait he painted, and of whom he 
used to relate many interesting anecdotes. Once when in Rich- 



mond, having occasion to go into the court house where the 
chief justice was presiding, he was invited to take a seat with 
him on the bench, and he remained there during the session 
of the day. 

Mr. Thompson had a select library, in which were some 
valuable books. In his parlor used to hang a number of pic- 
tures of tropical scenery which had been presented to him 
by his southern friends. The latter years of his life he spent 
in quiet in the enjoyment of his library and attractive stu- 
dio, a two-story building on the opposite side of the street. 
Here his friends used to gather; and during the summer 
days one could rarely visit his home without finding men and 
women of note who came to spend a short time in his genial 
society. In most of the well-to-do homes in town of three 
generations ago could be found portraits from Mr. Thompson's 

Cephas G. Thompson and Jerome B. Thompson, his sons, 
artists, and Marietta T. Thompson, his daughter, a miniature 
painter, settled in New York. His brother, Dr. Arad Thomp- 
son, was for years a physician in practice at the Four Corners. 


This village is situated on the road to Bridgewater, about 
two and a half miles from the centre of the town. It takes 
its name from Jabez Warren, an early settler, and from his 
numerous descendants, who, until the past twenty-five years, 
lived upon lands formerly owned by their ancestor. Mr. John 
Warren, his great-grandson, built and maintained a grist-mill, 
a shingle mill, and a sawmill on Murdock Street, across the 
Nemasket River. Business was done here for many years, 
but upon the death of Mr. Warren it was given up, and later 
the buildings and the dam were destroyed. The house of 
John F. Alden was the home of John Warren, and in the 
latter part of stage-coach days was a tavern. 

This is one of the old houses in town, and was probably 
built in 1734 by Edmund Weston for his son, soon after he 




(Afterwards the home of John Warren) 

moved here from Plympton. At the time, he had purchased 
a large tract of land, which, upon his death, was divided 

between his sons, John _^ ^ 

taking this house and 
land, and Edmund tak- 
ing the house and land 
near Plain Street. 

Nathan Warren, a 
descendant of John 
Warren, was born in 
Middleboro in 1757, 
and died there May 
28, 1807. He was a 
Revolutionary soldier, 
serving as private in 
several companies, and as sergeant in Captain Edward Spar- 
row's company from the 23d of July, 1777, to October 27, 
1 780. 

Another descendant of John Warren was Captain Sylvanus 
Warren, who lived on the Bridgewater road for many years. 
He was a day laborer, working on the farm of Judge Weston, 
and afterwards upon that of his son, Colonel Thomas Weston. 
Before that he had worked for President John Quincy Adams. 
In accordance with the custom throughout New England, the 
workmen were introduced to all guests, with whom they talked 
freely as they sat at table together. He was fond of relating 
that he had often dined with President Adams, and sometimes 
members of his cabinet and foreign ministers were at the table. 

Opposite the junction of Plain Street and the road to Bridge- 
water stood the shovel shop of Benjamin F. Warren. The 
hammer shop connected with this was on a brook which 
crossed the Bridgewater road a little to the north ; here a 
dam had been erected, and a pond of six or eight acres fur- 
nished the water power. In the field stands the dwelling-house 
for many years occupied by Captain George Hartwell, where 
Abner Weston lived in the early part of the century, and 
here Edmund Weston was born ; in his boyhood he moved to 





^'^0' «* 

Vermont, and afterwards became a distinguished judge of the 
probate court in that state. 

In the year 1824 the town authorized the laying out and 
construction of Plain Street, running from the Bridgewater 
road to the lowlands. This was built as a substitute for a 
very crooked way which branched off from the Bridgewater 
road near the blacksmith shop of the late Eber Beals. It led 
to the pasture lands formerly owned by Colonel Thomas 
Weston ; crossing the brook at that place, it ran in an irregu- 
lar direction for about 
two miles to Thompson 
Street. A hundred years 
ago there were eight 
houses upon this street, 
all of which long ago 
disappeared. They were 
owned or occupied by a 
Mr. Nims, Josiah Dun- 
ham, who was nick- 
named " Governor Dun- 
ham," Edmund Weston, 
a Mr. Leach, and Livy 
Morton, the grandfather 
of Levi P. Morton, ex- 
Vice -President of the 
United States. In the 
latter part of the eigh- 
teenth century many descendants of the first Edmund Wes- 
ton lived near here. His house, which in 1772 had become so 
old as not to be habitable, was taken down, and the materials 
were used to erect the present one located on Summer Street, 
later occupied by Colonel Thomas Weston. This was a tavern 
during the Revolutionary War. 

A short time before the battle of Lexington, several British 
officers, on their way to Boston, stopped here for dinner. As 
they left, they saw a good horse fastened in the yard, and 
took it, leaving a poor one in its place. When the exchange 






was discovered, the 
angry owner started 
in pursuit, and over- 
taking them, was so 
forceful in his de- 
mands that the offi- 
cers returned his 
horse. This incident 
tended to increase 

the bitter hostility which was beginning to permeate the whole 

Colonel Thomas Weston was born February 27, 1804, and 
died February 12, 1888. In the early part of his life he was 
engaged with his father in general mercantile business and 
in the manufacture of wrought nails. In 1844 he moved to 
the old Weston house, where he resided until shortly before 
his death. After retiring from active business, " he was espe- 
cially interested in agriculture, and at the time of his decease 
was the oldest member of the Plymouth County Agricultural 
Society, and for many years one of its trustees. In his early 
life he was active in the militia of his county, and held the 
office of colonel for some years in the Fourth Regiment of 
the First Brigade of Massachusetts Volunteer Militia. He 
was a member of the First Congregational Church of Mid- 
dleboro for more than sixty years, and was always active in 
promoting its temporal and spiritual interests. He was an 
unassuming man, of great strength of character, of positive 
convictions, of sterling integrity, of great industry, and an 
earnest and devout christian." ^ 

The descendants of Edward Bump have always resided in 
this neighborhood. In the latter part of the eighteenth cen- 
tury there were three named Joseph, called respectively Chin 
Joe, Thumb Joe, and Jockey Joe, the latter being widely known 
for his great strength ; he is said to have been able to lift and 
carry more than three ordinary men. 

Captain Nathaniel Bump lived on the road to Titicut, just 

^ Doggett Genealogy. 






^ - '""PU. 



■ .■,^ ♦ ■■■ ... 


across the Nemasket River. He was a man of great en- 
ergy, and was in command of the company from Middle- 

^ ^ boro in the War of 

1812. James S. Bump, 
the father of Lavinia 
Bump and Minnie 
Warren, Hved in this 
vicinity. In 1863 La- 
vinia married Charles 
S. Stratton, known as 
Tom Thumb ; her sec- 
ond husband was an 
ItaHan, Count Magri. 
In 1864 Mrs. Stratton erected a summer residence upon the 
grounds near one of the old training-greens. Minnie W'arren 
married Major Newell, but died soon afterwards. 

In the early part of the century there were here three 
wheelwright shops, owned and occupied by Reuel Atwood, 
Edward H. Waterman, and Venus Snow, and the three 
blacksmith shops of Thomas S. Harlow, John Warren, and 
William E. Bump. 


Purchade, formerly known as School District Number 19, 
takes its name from the purchase made from the Indians in 
the year 1662. It is principally on Purchade, Everett, and 
Plymouth streets, and includes a large tract of meadows 
known as the Purchade Meadows, through which flows a 
brook by the same name, which empties into the Nemasket 
River. The descendants of Francis Eaton have always lived 

John Alden, a grandson of the pilgrim John Alden, in- 
herited his father's homestead in West Bridgewater, but he 
conveyed this to Isaac Johnson and moved to Middleboro in 
1700. Here his descendants have lived, very many of them 
residing in this neighborhood. His son, John Alden, ^ was 

^ History of the First Church of Middleboro, p. 6i. 




born October 8, 1718, and lived to the great age of one hun- 
dred and two years, five months, and ten days. He was a 
member of the First Church of Middleboro for nearly sev- 
enty-eight years, and always lived upon his homestead. On 
the completion of 
his one hundredth 
year, a sermon was 
preached in his house 
by the Rev. Isaac 
Tompkins, pastor of 
the church in Haver- 
hill. This was printed 
and is still extant. 
At the time of his 
death 1 he had two 
hundred and nine- 
teen descendants : 
nineteen children, 
si.xty-two grandchil- 
dren, and one hun- 
dred and thirty-four 
great - grandchildren, 
and four of the fifth generation. This family seems to have 
been noted for the longevity of its members. 

Elijah Alden, a grandson of the last-named John Alden, 
was born on Purchade Street, June 10, 1780, and lived to the 
age of ninety-eight. In the War of 181 2 he marched with the 
company from Middleboro to defend Plymouth, Wareham, 
and New Bedford against threatened attacks of the British, 
and for many years received a pension for his services in the 
war. When hammered nails were manufactured at Muttock, 
he was employed in fall and winter, and was considered an 
expert, boasting that he made three thousand in one week. 

Upon Everett Street stands the house built and occupied 
by Samuel Sampson, a Revolutionary soldier, who entered the 
army when he was seventeen years of age, and was one of 

^ Alden Memorial , p. 1 8. 



the forty men enlisted by the town of Middleboro for three 
years' service or during the war. He was "chosen deacon of 
the First Church June 30, 1826, and served until his death, 
July 30, 1850, at the age of eighty-six years. The community 
had great confidence in his judgment in settling disputes, so 
that for years he bore not only the title of deacon, but that of 

On the other side of Everett Street, some little distance to 
the south of his house, stood the residence of Archippus Leon- 
ard and his son, Seth. Archippus Leonard worked in the fur- 
nace of Judge Oliver at Muttock. In the War of 18 12 Seth 
Leonard was captain of a schooner which sailed from Ware- 
ham to Stonington, Conn. Upon his arrival he was informed 
that the place was threatened by a British man-of-war, which 
arrived the next morning opposite the town. The inhabitants 
were wholly unprepared for defence, and most of them had fled 
into the country. Captain Leonard, a man of great courage, 
determined to defend the town, and finding a seven-pound can- 
non with sufficient ammunition, had it placed at a point which 
would bear upon the ship. The few remaining women brought 
their dresses for wadding. The man-of-war was too far off to 
have its shell effective, and owing to the shallowness of the 
harbor, was unable to come to the wharf, so the commander 
proceeded to land men in boats. Captain Leonard and his 
crew fired with such precision, as the boats approached, that 
several were destroyed and the others retreated to the vessel. 
The man-of-war soon after sailed away. 

Several generations ago bricks were manufactured by Calvin 
and Levi Murdock in the lowland in the northern part of this, 
neighborhood, and within a few years George R. Sampson has 
carried on a large brick business upon the land which he 
inherited from his grandfather, Deacon Sampson. Opposite 
the residence of Mr. Sampson was a cartway, in the early part 
of the last century, leading to a settlement of some five or six 
dwelling-houses known as "the city." These houses were one 
after another removed, and the place they occupied is a dense 

^ Sampson Genealogy, p. 77, 

i79o] PURCHADE 397 

wood, with nothing to indicate the secluded village of former 

Some sixty years ago the neighborhood on the hill south 
of Warrentown was known as " Tribou's," from Melzar Tribou, 
an old-time shoemaker. His son, Nahum M. Tribou, was a 
large farmer, and had a sales stable connected with his farm. 
His son, Nahum M. Tribou, Jr., who died in 1871, was a well- 
known physician in practice in Norwich, Conn. In the open 
yard adjoining the residence of Melzar Tribou were the carpen- 
ter shop of Horatio N. Wilbur and the shoe shop of Richard 
Carter. On the other side of the road was the blacksmith 
shop of Eber Beals, a skilful and reliable mechanic ; he was a 
citizen of strong character. The house owned by the late James 
Snow on the hill was formerly the residence of his father, 
Aaron Snow, who bought the place in 1794 and had a wheel- 
wright shop near his house. This house, although its exterior 
has been much changed, is known to have been standing 
before 1740, and probably contains the only fireplace in town 
of a style in use when the house was erected. It is about six 
feet high, ten feet long, and six feet deep, with a large, brick 
oven in one corner. 

Lysander Richmond, a well-known citizen of this neighbor- 
hood, commenced the manufacture of shoes in 1848. This so 
increased that he erected a large building on Plymouth Street 
upon what is known as the Elisha Richmond farm. His busi- 
ness was largely with the South, and upon the breaking out 
of the War of the Rebellion he lost so heavily that he was 
obliged to give up this enterprise, which was never afterwards 



HE northern part of the town still retains its Indian 
name of Titicut.^ This included the southern part of 
Bridofewater on this side of the Taunton River, and 
from the earliest time was noted for its productive 
soil and natural beauty. It was first known to the English 
settlers through the journey of Stephen Hopkins and Edward 
Winslow under the guidance of the friendly Indian Tisquan- 
tum, who started from Plymouth July 13, 162 1, to seek an inter- 
view with the great 
Indian sachem, Massa- 
soit. Of this visit Gov- 
ernor Winslow gives 
an account, to which 
we refer elsewhere. 
Here was one of the 
three settlements of 
the Namascheuks. 

It was on the high 

ground on both sides 

of the river, southwest 

of the Congregational 

meeting-house. The hill on the easterly side of the river; 

southwest of the church, is known as the Indian Fort,^ and 

there Winslow and Hopkins probably spent the night, 

1 Kehtehticut, Cututicut, Tetiquid, which often occur in the early deeds and 
records, are different spellings of Titicut. 

2 " The Nemasket Indians and neighboring tribes built this fort for their own 
protection. They had two doors to the fort : one next to the river, the other on 
the opposite side. One day they were surprised by a formidable force of the 
Narragansett Indians with whom they were at war, at which time, unfortunately, 
there were only eight men in the fort; the remaining part were hunting and 


1664] TITICUT 399 

After the death of Chickataubut in 1633, the Titicut Indians 
seem to have been divided into two bands, separated from 
each other by the Taunton River. On the river was the old 
weir where they caught herring. 

Here was the old Indian reservation, ^ the southern corner 
of which was at that point where the present bounds of Mid- 
dleboro, Lakeville, and Taunton meet.- From there the line 
ran easterly, or northeasterly, to an oak-tree on the brow of a 
hill ; thence easterly by a black oak-tree to what was known as 
the old English line ; thence to the river. The oak-tree, still 

fishing. What therefore now to do they could not tell, but something must be 
done and that immediately. Therefore, every Indian bound on his blanket and 
arrows and took their bows and rushed out of the back door through the bushes 
down the bank to the river, then by the river in an opposite direction from their 
enemy a small distance, then ascended the bank in sight of their enemy, then 
rushing in and through the fort and down the bank again, then up the bank and 
through the fort as before. This round of deception they continued till their 
enemy, being surprised that their fort consisted of so formidable a number, left 
the ground precipitately and retired, fearing an attack from the vast number in 
the fort." Memorandum in the Bennett Family. 

1 It was through the influence of the court that Josias Wampatuck, the son 
of Chickataubut, was induced to give a deed without consideration : — 

Prence G°^« 
A deed appointed to bee Recorded 
THES p'sents witnesseth that I Josias allies Chickatabutt doe promise by 
these p'sents to giue vnto the Indians liueing vpon Catuhtkut Riuer (viz) Pom- 
panohoo Waweens and the other Indians liveing there: that is three miles upon 
each side of the Riuer excepting' the lands that are alreddy sold to the English 
either Taunton Bridgwater or to the Major and doe promise by these p'sents not 
to sell or giue to any any Pte or i*cell of land ; but that the aforsaid Indians shall 
peacably enjoy the same without any Interuption from mee or by my meanes in 
any respect : the which I doe engage and promise by these p'sents : witnes my 
hand this 9"" of June in the yeare 1664 

Chickatabutt allies Josias -f Q 

his marke 

Witnes his marke 

Richard Bourne 
John Low Q^ 

his marke 
Book of hidian Records, Plymouth Colony Records (i 620-51), vol. xii, p. 238. 
- See map of Indian Purchases. 


Standing, is mentioned in several of the early deeds.^ This 
reservation was carefully guarded by the General Court for 
more than two generations ; the whites settling in this region 
were instructed not to encroach on the territory of the Indians, 
or in anyway molest them ; they retained exclusive possession 
long after other portions of the town had been settled. 

Among the early settlers was a Mr. Richmond,^ who was 
here before King Philip's War ; a man of gigantic stature, bold 
and fearless. He was much dreaded by the Indians, with whom 
he had many contests, and as he was usually victorious, they 
were constantly planning to capture him. He served as one of 
Captain Church's scouts, and in the latter part of the war was 
attacked by a number of Indians when there was a great freshet 
in the Taunton River. He was driven to a spot where the 
Poquoy brook enters the river, and as escape was impossible, 
he was killed. He lived near the house of the late Jonathan 
Richmond by the bend of the river, a few rods this side of the 
Richmond town bridge. 

A few years ago, when the highway was straightened 
and repaired, his remains were found, and he was re-interred. 
Afterwards, his body was exhumed in presence of Dr. Morrill 
Robinson and others to test the truth of the tradition as to his 
gigantic size and strength. When his skeleton was measured, 
it was found that his thigh-bone was four inches longer than 
that bone in an ordinary man, and that he had a double row of 
teeth in each jaw. His height must have been at least seven 
feet and eight inches. There is a tradition that he was the bro- 
ther of Jonathan Richmond, who, four years after his brother's 
death, occupied the land which he had formerly cultivated. 

Here was situated one of the three churches of the praying 
Indians. Probably its site was near the present centre of the 
parish, on Pleasant Street, not far from the shoe factory of 
Keith & Pratt. 

This church continued until after 1755 ; it was then dis- 

1 See picture of this tree in chapter on Early Purchases. 

2 A sketch of the life of this man appeared some years ago in a pamphlet which 
is now lost. 

I74S] TITICUT 401 

banded, and the few remaining Indians united with the Con- 
gregational Church. From the first visit by Hopkins and 
Winslow down to their complete extinction, they seem to have 
lived quietly and peacefully. Their territory was not disturbed 
during King Philip's War, and one after another they passed 
away until, at the time of the Revolution, none of them 
remained. During the French and Indian War many of them 
enlisted with their white brethren to defend the rights and 
honor of the English Crown. 

In the early history of the town, efforts were often made to 
incorporate Titicut as a separate town, either alone or by joining 
with a portion of Bridgewater. Both the town and the legis- 
lature declined to grant these various petitions. ^ In 1744 a 
petition was sent to the legislature " that if your Excellency 
and Honors do not see meet to set off a township that you 
will establish a distinct precinct so that we may enjoy the 
gospel privileges by ourselves." This was granted that year, and 
plans were immediately made for erecting a place of worship. 

Although they had occasional preaching, the religious con- 
troversy between the New Lights and the Old Lights pre- 
vented the organization of a church until the year 1747, when 
the first meeting-house was erected. It was built near the cem- 
etery on Plymouth Street, on land given by three of the pray- 
ing Indians, in what was then a pine forest, beautifully shaded 
in the heat of summer and protected from the blasts of winter. 
Soon after this, the sixteen persons who had signed a covenant 
for a new church extended a call to the Rev. Isaac Backus, 
minister from Norwich, Conn., to become their pastor. Later he 
espoused the faith of the Baptist denomination. A separation 
of his congregation resulted. Those adhering to the old faith 
built a church on the site of the present Congregational Church, 
and services were held in both of these edifices. The church 
occupied by Mr. Backus's congregation was known as the Old 
English or Indian Church, and was situated opposite Keith 
& Pratt's shoe factory. Owing to its insufificient size, it was 
subsequently abandoned, and a new one was built on the same 

1 See Introduction. 


site about 1757. This they occupied until 1806, when they built 
a new house of worship on Bedford Street near the present Bap- 
tist Church. On fast day of that year the Rev. Isaac Backus 
preached his last sermon, the first one in the new building. 
The old building on Pleasant Street was afterwards sold and 
moved to a lumber yard in Taunton. Great was the lamenta- 
tion over the removal of this first place of worship, and it is 
said that a number of those who were in the habit of attend- 
ing service there followed the house as it was being removed, 
and such was their sorrow that many were moved to tears. 

Few men in Plymouth Colony during the middle of the 
eighteenth century attracted more attention or exerted 
greater influence than Rev. Isaac Backus. He was the son 
of Samuel and Elizabeth (Tracey) Backus, and was born in 
Norwich, Conn., January 9, 1724. His mother was a descend- 
ant of Edward Winslow, of pilgrim fame. He is said to have 
received his first religious impression from the preaching of 
Whitefield during the Great Awakening. He early had mis- 
givings as to the laxity in the admission of members to the 
Congregational Church, and espoused the views of the New 
Lights. He did not receive a collegiate education, but felt it 
his duty to become a preacher of the gospel, and his first 
sermon was delivered on the 28th of September, 1746. In 
1747 he was called to the Congregational Church in Titicut, 
where he served until 1756 ; he then became pastor of the 
Baptist Church ^ formed there at that time, and continued in 
this office until the close of his life. He was the leading pas- 
tor of his denomination in this part of the state. His ability 
was early recognized, and in 1772 he was chosen agent for the 
Baptist churches in Massachusetts. 

In 1774 he was sent to the Continental Congress in Phila- 
delphia, and it is said, travelled on horseback there and back. 
There he urged that greater religious liberty and privileges 
of worship be granted to christian people. Upon his return, 
there were rumors that his mission was to interfere in some 
way with the union of the colonies, which gave rise to a 

1 For further account, see chapter on Ecclesiastical History. 

17S9] TITICUT 403 

memorial to the Provincial Congress of Massachusetts, which 
was so patriotic in its sentiment and so able in its argument 
that he was at once relieved of all suspicion. He was one 
of the members of the convention to adopt the Constitution 
of the United States, and was probably the leading spirit in 
most vigorously and earnestly insisting that there should be 
no connection between church and state. It was during this 
critical period following the Revolution, when the country was 
debating that most important question, the ratification of the 
Constitution, that this convention was called to meet in Boston 
on January 9, 1788. There were three hundred and fifty-five 
delegates present, a much larger number than took part in 
any other state convention, and among these were twenty- 
four clergymen. In the discussion over various clauses in the 
Constitution, a complaint was made that it did not recognize 
the existence of God, in that it had no religious tests for candi- 
dates for federal offices. This objection was not raised by the 
ministers present, but by members from the country. 

" The Rev. Isaac Backus of Middleboro said, ' In reason and 
in the Holy Scripture, religion is ever a matter between God 
and the individual ; the imposing of religious tests hath been 
the engine of tyranny in the world.' With this liberal stand 
firmly taken by the ministers, the religious objection was 
speedily overruled." ^ 

In 1789, at the earnest request of his denomination, he took 
a journey into Virginia and North Carolina, and was absent 
from his people some six months, preaching one hundred and 
seventeen sermons during that time. 

In those days, every one in the commonwealth was taxed 
to maintain the preaching of the Congregational Church. As 
he was a Baptist, he refused to pay the assessment, which he 
considered unjust, and was taken by the authorities as far as 
Bridgewater. Here a woman saw him and paid the tax herself ; 
the officers then took him from their horse and left him in 
the road to walk back to his home. 

In 1797, in appreciation of his intellectual vigor and patri- 

^ Fiske, Critical Period of American History, p. 322. 


Otic service, Brown University conferred upon him the honor- 
ary degree of Master of Arts. He died November 20, 1806, 
in the eighty-third year of his age. 

The Hon. Zachariah Eddy, in a letter ^ concerning him, says : 

" All New England is indebted to Mr. Backus more, I think, 
than to any other man, for his researches in relation to our 
early ecclesiastical history. Mr. Bancroft bears the most hon- 
ourable testimony to his fidelity, and considers his History, 
as to its facts, more to be depended on than any other of the 
early Histories of New England. And there is good reason 
why it should be so ; for he sought the truth, like the old phi- 
losophers, who said ' it was in a well, and long and persevering 
labour only could bring it up.' He went to the fountain head. 
All our early Records at Plymouth, Taunton, Boston, Essex, 
Providence, Newport, Hartford, New Haven, — the Records of 
Courts, Towns, Churches, Ecclesiastical Councils, were thor- 
oughly searched, and he has fully and accurately presented 
the results of these researches, and brought to light and 
remembrance many important facts and events, which, proba- 
bly, would never have gone into our history but for him. His 
diligence, patience, and perseverance, in this department of 
labour, are above all praise. 

"And what renders this the more remarkable is that it was 
done in the midst of domestic cares, pastoral duties, and, I 
might almost say, ' the care of all the churches.' He was often 
called upon to preach at ordinations, and on other special occa- 
sions, and he wrote numerous tracts on the Order of the 
Churches, and in defence of True Liberty of Conscience. He 
was also an efficient representative of those who were seek- 
ing to enjoy this liberty, before Legislative Bodies and Civil 
Tribunals, Councils, and Associations. Let any man open his 
History, and observe the numerous extracts from documents 
contained in the depositories of towns and churches, in public 
offices, and printed books of authority, and bear in mind the 
extent and variety of his other engagements, and he will not 
doubt that he was one of the most industrious and useful men 
of his time. In his own day, his labours were certainly appre- 
ciated. It is truly wonderful that, amidst the poverty and pri- 
vations incident to the War of the Revolution, there could 
have been awakened interest enough to defray the expense of 
publishing large volumes of History, at the high price which 

1 Annals of the American Pulpit, vol. vi, p. 57. 

i8o6] TITICUT 


was then demanded for such works. The effect was a rapid 
increase of Hght and knowledge, and a rapid increase of 
churches and communicants." 

The Rev, S. H. Emery, the pastor of the Congregational 
Church, and the author of the history of that church, says of 
Mr. Backus : — 

" He was a man of remarkable ^ vigor of mind, true to his 
convictions of truth and duty. There is hardly another of the 
whole range of the denomination of Baptists who has in his 
day and generation wrought a greater work in their service as 
well as of the common Master." ^ 

His grave is in the old burying-ground near the Congrega- 
tional Church. In 1872 the Old Colony Baptist Association 
held its jubilee anniversary in this village, and a movement 
was set on foot to erect a monument worthy of this distin- 
guished man. It was not, however, completed until 1893, when 
it was dedicated by a large memorial gathering. 

1 The following is a list of Mr. Backus's Publications : A Discourse on the 
Internal Call to preach the Gospel, 1754. A vSermon on Galatians iv, 31, 1756. 
A Sermon on Acts xiii, 27, 1763. A Letter to Mr. Lord, 1764. A Sermon on 
Prayer, 1766. A Discourse on Faith, 1767. An Answer to Mr. Fish, 1768. A Ser- 
mon on his Mother's Death, 1769. A Second Edition of his Sermon on Galatians 
iv, 31, with an Answer to Mr. Frothingham, 1770. A Plea for Liberty of Con- 
science, 1770. .Sovereign Grace Vindicated, 1771. A Letter concerning Taxes 
to support Religious Worship, 1771. A Sermon at the Ordination of Mr. Hunt, 
1772. A Reply to Mr. Holly, 1777. A Reply to Mr. Fish, 1773. An Appeal to 
the Public, in Defence of Religious Liberty, 1773. A Letter on the Decrees, 1773. 
A History of the Baptists, vol. i, 1777. Government and Liberty described, 
1778. A Discourse on Baptism, 1779. True Policy requires Equal Religious Lib- 
erty, 1779. An Appeal to the People of Massachusetts against Arbitrary Power, 
1780. Truth is Great and will Prevail, 1781. The Doctrine of Universal Salvation 
examined and refuted, 1782. A Door opened for Christian Liberty, 1783. A 
History of the Baptists, vol. ii, 1784. Godliness excludes Slavery, in Answer to 
John Cleaveland, 1785. The Testimony of the Two Witnesses, 1786. An Address 
to New England, 1787. An Answer to Remmele on the Atonement, 1787. An 
Essay on Discipline, 1787. An Answ-er to Wesley on Election and Perseverance, 
1789. On the Support of Gospel Ministers, 1790. An Essay on the Kingdom of 
God, 1792. A History of the Baptists, vol. iii, 1796. A Second Edition of his Ser- 
mon on the Death of his Mother ; to which was added a short account of his Wife, 
who died in iSoo. Published in 1803. 

- .S. H. Emery, History 0/ N'orth iMiddleboro Church, p. 23. 




The house in which Dr. Backus lived still stands. It is a 
low, old-fashioned building, full of relics of the past, and 

was occupied for many 


years by his grandson, 
Joseph A. Backus. Many 
valuable records and im- 
portant documents were 
given by J. A. Backus 
to his nephew, Isaac 
E. Perkins, the present 
owner of the house, who 
has loaned them to the 

Backus Historical Society of Newton, on certain conditions. 
Rev. David Gurney, one of the early ministers, was much 

respected and loved throughout this community ; he was a man 

of unusual intelligence, fond of children and youth. This 

love for young men caused him to open a school in his own 

house, which was well 

patronized, students 

coming from many 

parts of the town to 

enjoy his influence. 

Many prominent men 

were fitted for college 

under his instruction, 

and others for the 

ministry. He pub- 
lished an English 

Grammar, which was 

used extensively at the 

time. His salary was not far from two hundred dollars per 

annum, the parish by sale of ministerial land and other sources 

having a fund which yielded an income for this purpose. 
Mr. Gurney was on intimate terms with Mr. Backus, the 

pastor of the neighboring Baptist Church. He died on the 

30th of July, 1 81 5.1 

1 See chapter on Ecclesiastical History. 



F^ ^ 



: "iiiiiai 




(Now occupied by Augustus Pratt) 

17S0] TITICUT 407 

In the early history of the country, there was a foundry 
perhaps fifty rods west of Titicut bridge on the Bridgewater 
side, where during the French and Indian and Revolutionary 
Wars cannon-balls and cannon ^ were made. There is a tradi- 
tion that the first cannon cast solid in the United States were 
here made, and taken elsewhere to be bored. The owners of 
this foundry endeavored to cast four cannon which were six 
or seven feet long, to be used in the Revolutionary War; an 
undertaking attended with great expense. The cannon were 
made, but upon being tested, exploded, and the owners lost 
all of their property in this venture. The Rev. Philip Colby 
tried to obtain a pension for the widow of one of these men, 
but it was not granted because he was not in active service, 
although the department acknowledged the work. During the 
early part of the last century, fire-frames were manufactured 
here by Albert Pratt. 

At Pratt's bridge, David Charles, Isaac Wanno, and other 
Indians, in 1707, owned the land with the old mill privilege. 
It was used for some years until, in 1725, iron works were 
there established, and a company was then formed for the 
manufacture of hollow-ware. In the early part of the last 
century there were here a grist-mill, a sawmill, a fulling mill 
and a gun shop. In 1730 Ebenezer Robinson had a sawmill 
and a furnace on the south side of the river. The dam for these 
mills was placed below Pratt's bridge, not far from the house 
of Mr. Hunt ; the water was taken from canals on each side 

1 The following letter refers to this industrj- : — 


lotli. Feb., 1779. 

Sir, — You are required to proceed to Titicut to prepare the metal from the 
common ore for casting twenty twelve pounders for the ship Protector, which 
are to be bored completed and finished by the first of May next. You are also 
to direct the boring of the twenty-four pound cannon that they may be finished 
without loss of time. Col. Orr will give you every assistance that you may want 
and should anything further be necessary, the board will furnish it. 

Wishing you a pleasant jour, and are with much regard your friend and very 
humble servant, 

John Brow.n PPS. 
Col. Marirquellb. 


of the river, both of which can be seen at low water. Some 
years later, when the large iron works were built at Squaw- 
betty, it was found necessary to construct another dam across 
the river at East Taunton. The company had the right of 
flowage, but their dam so interfered with the privilege above 
it that they were obliged to buy out the owners, and there has 
been no manufacturing at this place since. 

The Titicut bridge, at first a rude structure, stood a little 
further up the stream than the present one. There was much 
discussion in reference to its reconstruction, and as a result 
the General Court of the province, on the loth of June, 1755, 
authorized the money for building this bridge to be raised by 
lottery, as appears by the following statute enacted by the 
General Court at that time : — 

Chap. 3. " June 3d 1755. A Petition of Ephraim Keith, Agent for the Pre- 
cinct of Tetticut in the Town of Middleboro, setting forth the Necessity of 
erecting a Bridge over the River there, and the Difficulty of getting the Charge 
thereof defrayed, & praying that the same may be done by a Lottery, to be 
allowed by the Authority of this Court. In the House of Representatives; 
Whereas it appears to this House to this House that a Bridge over the River in 
Tetticut is necessary not only for the great Advantage of the Towns of Bridg- 
water & Middleboro, but also for several other Towns in the Counties of Bris- 
tol & Plymouth, as also for the great Advantage of the Southern Inhabitants 
travelling Westward ; Therefore, Ordered that the Prayer of the Petition be so 
far granted as that the Petitioner have Liberty to bring in a Bill for the Pur- 
poses in the Petition mentioned ; — In Council, Read & Concur'd." ^ 

" April 14, 1756. A Petition of Ephraim Keith for himself, and the other Man- 
agers of the Lottery for raising a Sum for Building a Bridge at Tetticut, shewing 
that they have proceeded therein in preparing for drawing the said Lottery so 
far as to dispose of near half the Tickets, but have been hindered by Sickness ; 
and whereas the time for Drawing is at hand, Praying that this Court would 
consider & determine upon some proper way for their Relief — 

" In Council ; Read & Ordered that George Leonard Esq. with such as the 
Hon'''* House shall join be a Committee to consider of this Petition & report 
what they judge proper for this Court to do thereon. 

"In the House of Representatives; Read & Concur'd; And Mr. Moorey & 
Capt. Howard are joined in the Affair." - 

"April 15, 1756. Report upon the Petition of Ephraim Keith, Entered yester- 
day — vizt — 

"The Committee appointed to take under Consideration the Petition Of 

1 Council Records, vol. xx, p. 460. 2 Ibid. vol. xxi, p. 162. 

175^] TITICUT 409 

Ephraim Keith in behalf of the Managers of a Lottery for the Building of a 
Bridge over Tetticut River, so called, having met the said Managers & Con- 
sidered of the Ditiiculties they labour under respecting the Disposal of the 
Tickets for said Lottery, report that the Scheme of said Lottery be altered in 
the following Manner in Order to finish & Compleat the same — vizt. 

" That there be, 

" One Prize of ;[^I25 — ;ifi:;5. — Three ditto of ;^40 each ;if 120. 

" Three ditto of jC-5 each 75. — Seven ditto of ;i^20 each ;[^I40. 

" Eleven ditto of £iQ each no. — Twenty ditto of ^^5 — each ^^loo. 

" Fifty ditto of ;^3 each 150. — Six Hundred & Thirty of £1 each £620. — - 
In all ;^I450. — And that the Number of Blanks be proportioned to the said 
Prizes as in the Scheme, published by said Managers, and the Deduction of Ten 
per Cent only be made from the above Prizes for the Charge of Building said 
Bridge : which is humbly Submitted — By Order of the Committee — 

George Leonard — 

" In Council ; Read & Accepted, and Ordered that the said Scheme be and 
hereby is altered accordingly — In the House of Representatives ; Read & Con- 
cur'd — Consented to by the Governour."i 

The act authorizing the building of this bridge was passed 
on the loth of June, 1755 :^ — 

" Whereas the precinct of Teticut have represented to this court the necessity 
of building a bridge over Teticut River, and prayed this court would enable them 
to raise a sum, by way of lottery, for that purpose, — 

" Be it therefore enacted by the Cover nour, Council and Hottse of Representatives, 

"That Samuel White, Esq., of Taunton, Israel Washburn of Raynham, 
Ephraim Keith and James Keith, both of Bridgewater, and David Alden of Mid- 
dleborough, or any three of them, be and hereby are impowered to set up and 
carry on a lottery, amounting to such a sum, as by drawing ten percent out of 
each prize, may raise a sum of two hundred and ninety pounds lawful money, 
and no more; and that the said sum be by them, or any three of them, applied 
to the building a good, sufficient bridge over the said river, and paying the 
charges of said lottery ; and that the said Samuel White, Israel Washburn, 
Ephraim Keith, James Keith and David Alden, or any three of them, be the 
managers of said lottery, and impowered to make all necessary rules for man- 
aging thereof, and shall be sworn to the faithful discharge of their said trust ; 
and as well the said managers as the said precinct shall be and are hereby de- 
clared answerable to the owners of the tickets, in case of any deficiency or mis- 
conduct ; and if the sum raised thereby shall be more than sufficient, after paying 
the charges of the lottery, to build the said bridge, the surplusage shall be lodged 
in the hands of the treasurer of the said precinct, to be put at interest, and the 
interest applied towards the repairs of said bridge. 

" Passed and published June 10." 2 

1 Province Laws, vol. iii, pp. 939, 940; Council Records, vol. xxi, p. 163. 

2 Proz'ince Laws, vol. iii, p. 861. 






About the middle of the last century this bridge was rebuilt 
by Mr. George W. Wood. 

A store was kept by Jared Pratt and his uncle Isaac near 
the Congregational Church ; they were afterwards succeeded 
by Seth Fuller. 

Another store on the turnpike near the Baptist Church was 
kept by Mrs. Goodwin. In 1812 Mr. Charles Goodwin was 
drafted into the service and went to Plymouth with the Middle- 
boro companies. His mother was so distressed that she trav- 
elled all the way to Plymouth to obtain his discharge. When 

this was granted, there 
was general rejoicing 
among his comrades. 
The first store on 
the hill was kept by 
Amos and Robert 
Clark. Afterwards, 
Mr. Hooper was ad- 
mitted as a copartner, 
and in 1861 the store 
was moved near the 
present post-office. 

The shoe business 
of this portion of the 
town since the middle 
of the last century has 
been an important 
industry. Mr. Amos 
Clark was the first to 
put out shoes to be made, from 1838 to 1848, the year of his 
death. About this time Mr. Hosea Kingman commenced this 
business, which he carried on successfully, selling his product 
generally in New Bedford. In 1848 Nahum Keith and Elijah 
E. Perkins also commenced manufacturing shoes. The former 
was in the business until 1849, ^^^ again from 1856 to i860. 
The latter admitted his son, D. Sumner Perkins, as partner 
in 1865. They continued until 1881, when Sursner died and 





his father retired, and was succeeded by the firm of Stetson, 
Hammond & Holmes. 

Nahum Keith will always be known among shoe manufac- 
turers as the inventor of a jack for holding shoes. 

Mr. Jared Keith commenced business on the turnpike just 
north of the Baptist Church about 1847, and continued until 
about 1854. 

Stetson, Hammond & Holmes, who succeeded E. E. Per- 
kins & Son, were in business a few years, and were succeeded 
by Alden, Leonard & Hammond, who moved to the Four 

N. Williams Keith started manufacturing shoes in 1869. 
Herbert A. Pratt was admitted as partner in 1879, under the 
firm name of Keith & Pratt. Mr. Keith retired in 1905, and 
was succeeded by Mr. Pratt's son, Alton G. Pratt, the firm 
name continuing as before. 

C. H. Alden and Enoch Pratt started in business about 1886. 
After a few years Mr. Pratt withdrew from the firm, and soon 
after Mr. Alden moved the business to Abington. 

One of the most ingenious men who lived in this part of the 
town was Mr. Heffords, who was famous for clocks of superior 
quality, which he in- 
v^ented and manufac- 
tured, as well as for 
many other delicate 
pieces of machinery. 
His place of business 
was on the corner 
opposite the Baptist 

About a quarter of 
a mile below Pratt's 
Bridge was formerly 
a shipyard, and one 

ship was built there by Deacon Holmes of Kingston in the 
early part of 1800, called the Two Brothers. A little later, 
Captain Benjamin Pratt built several ships of forty or fifty 





tons burden, which were used in the coast trade which he and 
his sons carried on with the South. 

There was formerly a furnace on land of Mr. Stafford on 
the southeast portion of Center and Pleasant streets, where 

kitchen ware was cast, 
which was carted to Taun- 
ton and there sold. This 
business was carried on by 
a Mr. Shaw, who at one 
time left with a load of 
goods to sell and was never 
heard from afterwards. 

The first iron ploughs 
made in Massachusetts 
were brought into this 
neighborhood in 1835 ^^^^1 
put together by Mr. Nahum 
Keith, who endeavored to 
introduce them among the 
farmers. There was, how- 
ever, a great prejudice 
against them, and in order 
to do away with this feeling, 
he would allow neighboring farmers to use them, who tried in 
every possible way to break them, to convince people of the 
folly of "new-fangled ploughs." It is said that one man broke 

About forty rods east of the Congregational Church stood 
a two-story shop, where Williams Eaton and Otis Pratt manu- 
factured hubs, the only industry of the kind in eastern Mas- 

The turnpike, of which we have spoken in the account of 
Lakeville, was laid out in 1804, and was three years in con- 
struction. This corporation, with little stock held in town, was 
not a pecuniary success, and was assumed by the town after 
the Fall River railroad was built. There was a toll-gate in 
the Haskins neio-hborhood and another near S. Eaton's Inn. 





The rates of toll were very high for those clays, twelve cents 
for every ten miles. There used to be two stages a clay, one 
from Boston and one from New Bedford, and about seven 
baggage wagons every week. 

There were three taverns well known between 1810 and 
1 812, when the turnpike was in full operation. One of the 
houses, known as the old Solomon Eaton house, is now stand- 
ing. It was a hostelry of the olden time, and over its door 
swung the customary sign of the proprietor, which in this 
case bore the name S. Eaton's Inn. It is related that two 
Irishmen passing by desired accommodation, but when they 
read the sign over the door, one said, " It 's Satan's Inn,, 
begorra ! We don't want to be afther stoppin' here." 

Mrs. Goodwin kept another hotel on the turnpike not far 
from the Baptist Church. 

The Jonathan Leon- 
ard house is probably the 
oldest in this part of the 
town, and is now owned 
by E. G. Shaw. In 1777, 
during the prevalence 
of the smallpox, it was 
used as a pest-house. 

There are many pro- 
minent business men 
of past generations who 
have lived in Titicut ; 
among whom may be 
named Colonel Oli- 
ver Eatox, an archi- 
tect and master-builder. 
A great many of the 
churches in the old colony were planned and built by him. 
His first work is said to have been the Raynham meeting- 
house. His brother, Solomon K. Eaton, was also well known. 
He drew plans for the town house, but died before it was com- 
pleted. Captain William Pratt \yas an extensive land-owner, 



holding at one time a large portion of the real estate in this 

Among the Revolutionary soldiers who lived here, we have the 
name of Captain Zadock Leonard, in whose honor his grandson 
has erected a stone, which now stands near the Green. 



DIED DEC. 27 — 1795 

Erected by his Grandson 

Geo. W. Hayward of Providence, R. I. 

A Mr. Redding, who married a daughter of Daniel Leonard, 
lived just over the line in the Dunbar place. He went to the 
war, but never returned. Captain William Pratt, son of Captain 
Benjamin Pratt, noted for his bravery and sagacity, rendered 
most efficient service in the Revolutionary War. 

Harrison Gray Otis Colby, the son of Rev. Philip Colby, 
the pastor of the First Congregational Church, was graduated 
with honor at Brown University, and commenced the practice 
of law some time after 1847; he was appointed one of the 
justices of the court of common pleas, which office he held 
until the time of his death. 

Among the prominent clergymen may be mentioned Rev. 
W. H. H. Alden, who filled many pastorates with success. 

Rev. David Weston, D. D., after fitting for college at 
Peirce Academy, graduating at Brown University, and com- 
pleting his theological course in Newton Seminary, served 
as a pastor in several churches. He afterwards filled the chair 
of theology in the Seminary, where he acquired unusual repu- 
tation not only as a profound thinker, but as one of the most 
eminent theologians of his denomination. He was the author 
of a number of volumes, among them being the life of the Rev, 
Isaac Backus. He died in 1872. 

Dr. Morrill Robinson was born in South Raynham (now 
known as Judson), August 15, 1803. In 1827 he was gradu- 
ated from the Medical Department of Brown University, and 





in the same year he settled in North Middleboro, where he 
spent more than forty-five years in the practice of his profes- 
sion. He was a member of the state legislature in 1842-43, 
where he served on important committees. He was post- 
master at North Middleboro from 1836 to 1865, retaining his 
office through many changes of administration. On February 
12, 1828, Dr. Robinson was married to Mary Shaw, daughter 
of Calvin Shaw of Abington. He died March 16, 1873, aged 
sixty-nine years and seven months. 

Among the successful farmers in the middle of the last 
century was Paul Hathaway. He lived on Pleasant Street and 
owned a large tract of land near the schoolhouse, and in the 
early part of his life was engaged in making sewed shoes. His 
son, Dr. Joseph Hathaway, lived for a while on Bedford Street, 
and with Cephas Thompson painted many of the portraits 
which are to be found in town. In addition to his ability as a 
portrait painter, he was a skilful chemist, and discovered the 
refining of petroleum for use as a burning fluid. After leaving 
Middleboro, he settled in New Bedford and Boston. 




In the middle of the last century Jacob Perkins, a black- 
smith, acquired a fortune of from seventy-five to eighty thou- 
sand dollars by careful savings and wise investments. He died 
in 1846 at the age of eighty years. 

Abraham Perkins, brother of Elijah E. Perkins, was an able 
business man and a prosperous farmer. 

Solomon White and his son, Solomon White, Jr., were re- 
spectively clerks of the Congregational Church from 1834 to 
1894. Calvin, Ebenezer, and Zephaniah Shaw were among 

the early carpenters 
of this neighborhood, 
and lived on the west- 
erly side of Pleasant 

The Pratt Free 
School, founded by 
Enoch Pratt, is near 
the Green. 1 

Jared Pratt was 
born in Bridgewater, 
July 27, 1792. His 
parents were Josiah 
Pratt, a farmer, and 
Bethiah Keith Pratt. 
After receiving a 
good education in the 
public as well as in 
private schools, he 
taught in Taunton when he was nineteen, and then went into 
business there. He was at first clerk in the nail factory of 
Crocker & Richmond, but later worked with other manufac- 
turers. On January i, 18 18, he was married to Jemima Wil- 
liams, daughter of Job King of Taunton. They made their 
home in North Middleboro, where he began business as pro- 
prietor of a general country store in partnership with Isaac 
Pratt. In 18 19 this firm, I. & J. Pratt, carried on business 
1 See chapter on Education. 





in different lines at Wareham, where they owned a forge, a 
" bloomery." The business gradually outgrew its modest pro- 
portions, and became the large manufacturing establishment 
known as the Wareham Iron Company. The growth and ex- 
tent of this industry were due largely to the financial ability 
and shrewd business management of Mr. Pratt, who, as trea- 
surer, conducted the monetary affairs with great skill. In 1824 
it was necessary for him to move to Wareham ; and in 1836 he 
went to Harrisburg, Pa., and established extensive iron works, 
where nails, bar-iron, plates, etc., were made. In 1842 his 
son Christopher was associated with him under the name of J. 
Pratt & Son. 

In 1859 ^^^ retired from business and settled in his North 
Middleboro home. Aside from his remarkable business abil- 
ity, Mr. Pratt was a valued citizen of Middleboro, doing much 
to assist in the growth 
and improvement of 
the town. From his 
wide experience his 
advice on all mat- 
ters was much sought 
after. He served as 
sergeant in Captain 
Keith's Company of 
East Bridgewater in 
the War of 18 12, and 
later held a commis- 
sion as captain of the 
militia, by which title 
he was well known. 
He died July 4, 1864. 

Isaac Pratt was 
born March 6, 1776. 
His father, the sixth 

generation from Phineas Pratt, was a farmer of Titicut, who 
married Mary King of Wareham. 

He was educated in the schools of Middleboro at a time 



when the schooling did not exceed two or three months in the 
year. He married Naomi Keith of Bridgewater, May 19, 1804. 
He early became interested in the manufacture of nails, and 
with his nephew, Jared Pratt, before mentioned, he carried on 
an extensive business. When the Reed nail machine was per- 
fected, this firm purchased the right to its use, gave up the 
store in Titicut, and moved to VVareham. Here they erected 
a mill, which was known as the " Parker Mills," for rolling 
iron into nail plates and then cutting the plates into nails. 
This firm was among the first in the United States to manu- 
facture cut nails upon a large scale. In 1829 their establish- 
ment was incorporated under the name of the Wareham Iron 
Company, with a capital of ^100,000. Although this was a 
corporation, it continued under the name of the firm until 
1834, when the partnership was dissolved and Mr. Pratt re- 
turned to his farm in North Middleboro. He died December 
3, 1864, at the age of eighty-nine years. 

The Boston " Evening Traveller," at the time of his death, 
said : — 

" He was industrious, frugal, and unostentatious ; benevo- 
lent and hospitable ; a patron of educational interests, a kind 
neighbor, a devout Christian, and a public-spirited citizen. 
For more than seventy years he was an exemplary member 
of the Congregational Church. Although he adhered to the 
tenets of his faith with steadfastness characteristic of his Puri- 
tan ancestry, he was neither bigoted, dogmatical, nor ascetic. 
He was conservative, but liberal in his views. He will be 
remembered as a fine type of a class now rapidly passing away, 
— the sturdy, honest, liberty-loving farmers of the early days 
of the Republic." 



AKEVILLE, incorporated as a separate town in 1853, 
comprised originally about one third of the west- 
ern portion of Middleboro ; it took its name from 
the number of ponds in this vicinity : Assawampsett, 

the largest body of fresh water in Massachusetts, Long Pond, 

Great Quittacus, Little Ouittacus, Pocksha, Elder's, Loon, 

Clear, and Dunham. This region has always been noted for 

the natural beauty of meadow and forests, hills and valleys, 

about these inland lakes. Here was one of the settlements 

of the Indians, and 

here a few contin- 
ued to live long after 

their lands in other 

parts of the colony 

had been purchased 

or occupied by the 

whites ; the last full- 
blooded Indian died 

in 1852. 

We are, however, 

concerned only with 

its history before its 

separation from the 

town of Middleboro. 

As before stated, this 

was included in King 

Philip's domain, and 

was under the rule of 

a sub-chief, Pamanta- 

quash, or as he was 



known to the whites, the pond sachem. His rule extended 
over all of the neighboring tribes, his seat being probably at 
King Philip's Lookout, Shockley Hill. At the close of King 
Philip's War, the General Court at Plymouth, in 1679, passed 
an act "that all lands formerly belonging to John Sassamon 
in our Collonie shalbe settled on Felix, his son-in-law." This 
land so conveyed has ever since been owned by Indians, and 
at the present time is occupied by two half-breed women, the 
last of the once powerful and numerous tribe which for so 
many centuries have had their homes about these picturesque 
ponds. It was not until other parts of Middleboro had been 
settled for more than a generation that the whites found their 
way to these Indian lands. 

Thomas Nelson, son of John, perhaps the first white settler 
in Lakeville, purchased what is known as the Thomas Nelson 

_^^^ homestead on Assawampsett 

(>y^07Ji ttf MP&^S^T^ '^Qck, and moved there in 

1 71 7. He was born June 6,^ 
1675, and when an infant was taken by his mother from his 
father's house (the Bennett place) to Plymouth to escape the 
horrors of the Indian War. 

After he became dissatisfied with the conduct and preaching 
of the Rev. Mr. Palmer, pastor of the church at Middleboro, 
and moved to Assawampsett, he joined the Swansea Baptist 
Church. Every Saturday he travelled the twenty miles with 
his family, and returned on Monday morning ; while there he 
occupied a small house which he had built for this purpose. 
He is said to have been the first member of a Baptist Church 
in Middleboro. His farm, portions of which have always been 
held by his descendants, was between Long Pond and Assa- 
wampsett, the land on the other two sides being owned and 
occupied by Indians. His house stood near an apple-tree, 
opposite that now owned by Sydney T. Nelson, near the Perry 

Mr. Nelson married Hope Huckins, or Hutchins, of Barn- 

1 The date is taken from the History of Plyniotdh Colojiy, but in the manu- 
script of descendants of WilUam Nelson we find that he was born May 17. 

i75o] LAKEVILLE 42 1 

Stable, about the year 169S. She was a woman of strong charac- 
ter and great courage. There is a tradition that while they 
were living far distant from any white settlers, she heard a 
noise in the cellar one night when no man was about her jTrem- 
ises. Suspecting that an Indian had entered to steal, she went 
into the cellar in the dark and suddenly attacked him, so fiercely 
that he was surprised and made frantic efforts to release him- 
self from her grasp, succeeding only by the tearing of some of 
his garments. 

She became a member of the Baptist Church in Swansea 
August 5, 1723, and with her husband continued her member- 
ship there until the formation of the Second Baptist Church 
in IMiddleboro. She attended the communion service of that 
church after she was one hundred years old. Mrs. Nelson died 
December 7, 1782, at the age of one hundred and four years. 
The Rev. Isaac Backus, in an account which he gives in the 
Massachusetts Historical Collections, states that at her death 
three hundred and thirty-seven descendants had been born (of 
whom three were Baptist ministers), and that two hundred 
and fifty-seven were living. Thomas Nelson died March 28, 


Captain John Nelson, a grandson of the first settler, was 
born October 25, 1737, and died September 11, 1803. He 
lived upon a farm, which is still owned by his descendants, 
about two miles south, adjoining the Washburn farm. In the 
year 1800 he built a new house, which is still standing. He 
was major and colonel in the Revolutionary War, and was 
on duty in Rhode Island and New Bedford. He was a man 
of wealth and influence, justice of the peace, and for several 
years selectman of Middleboro. 

The following is a copy of a letter addressed to him by his 
former commander : — 

Middleboro, 17th Nov. 17S1. 

Dear Col. : Last Thursdays Paper gives an Account from 
his Excellency Gen. G. Washington and Congress of the Com- 
pleat surrender of Cornwallis ; and the Troops under his Com- 
mand, a long wished for period ; now we have no reason to 


Doubt or suspect it. In Consequence of which this is to Desire 
you to come next Monday afternoon and see us ; that we may 
join our generous hearts in festivals of triumph and joy ; while 
we Usher on the scene with the Crack of thirteen Guns to the 
honour of the States and give a toast to our worthy Brethren 
who have with such a becoming Ardor pressed forward with 
undaunted bravery till they have Compleated the Glorious work 
whereby Peace may not only be restored to us but extended 
from Pole to Pole. (Monroe Doctrine) At the same time let 
all the Glory be given to That omnipotent being who Crowns 
our Arms with such signal success. Be kind enough to take 
Doct. Montgomery and Capt. Shaw or any other you shall 
Please to nominate with you. . . . 

I am in haste with Sentiments of Esteem, 
Yours Obsequiously 

[Signed] James Sprout. 

The Spooner place, which borders on Elder's Pond, takes 
its name from Benjamin Spooner, Jr.,^ a soldier in the English 
army who served in the French and Indian War. 

Isaac Peirce, Sr., was probably the first settler in Beech 
Woods. He was born about 1661, and died at an advanced 
age. He enlisted as a soldier in the Narragansett War at about 
the age of sixteen, and was in the fight near Warwick, R. I., 
which resulted in the capture of the Indian fort. 

Mention of the services of Captain Job Peirce has been made 
previously in the chapter on the French and Indian War. As 
a boy, he was apprenticed to William Strobridge to learn the 
trade of blacksmith. As he was very desirous of going to war, 
he purchased his time, was enrolled as " ward of William 
Strobridge," and served for three campaigns in the French and 
Indian War. At the close of his second term of service, he 
embarked from Halifax with others in a transport for Boston, 
which, encountering a severe storm, became unmanageable and 
with great difificulty was kept afloat. It drifted for several 
weeks, the crew suffering great hardships from their scanty 
supply of food, until finally they came in sight of one of the 
West Indian Islands. Here they landed and remained during 
the winter, until they were discovered by a homeward bound 

1 Peirce's Genealogy, p. 69. 




vessel and brought into the port of New Bedford. The crew 
and returning regiment of soldiers had been given up for lost, 
and much sorrow was manifested throughout the colony. 
Funeral exercises were held, and a monument was erected in 
memory of the services of Captain Peirce. In the early spring, 
after his landing in New Bedford, he hastened to his home, 
and arrived there one Sabbath morning to find the family 
at church. As he entered, great was the consternation of the 
congregation, who had not heard of his rescue, and Rev. Mr. 
Hinds, who was about to commence his sermon, changed his 
text and preached from the verse, " For this my son was dead 
and is alive again ; he was lost and is found." 

Two years after, he enlisted in his Majesty's service in the 
company of Ephrami Holmes, and after his honorable discharge 
he spent the remainder 


of his life upon the farm, 

honored and revered by 

all. His house stood on 

the site of the house 

recently occupied by 

Elbridge Cushman, but 

the time of its erection 

is unknown. Captain 

Peirce became the owner 

of it in the year 1767, 

when he added the 

porches and a portion of the main body of the house. It was 

taken down in 1870. 

A generation after its settlement Lakeville increased in 
population much more rapidly than other portions of Middle- 
boro, and before the Revolutionary War there were more 
people of wealth who occupied substantial houses of the 
colonial type than in any other section of the town. 

Assawampsett is the largest pond, and the surrounding coun- 
try was known to the Indians under the name Assawamp- 
sett, from two Indian words, "assah," meaning a "stone," 
and " wamsah," meaning "white," with the termination " et," 


meaning "the place of," the whole word meaning "the place 
of the white stone." The Indian name was probably sug- 
gested by the white sands and pebbles about the shore. This 
pond seems to have attracted the attention of the General 
Court at Plymouth long before any whites had settled here. 

The early settlers learned from the Indians that formerly 
there were two islands in Assawampsett Pond, one on the west 
side about half a mile from the Indian shore, where there are 
now three large rocks in water not more than knee-deep, occu- 
pying a space about three rods wide and ten or twelve rods 
long ; the other one on the opposite side of the lake and about 
the same depth under the surface of the water. These islands 
were probably washed away by some severe storm, and the 
sites are considered dangerous on account of the rocks and 
the shallowness of the water. The following is an Indian 
legend of the enchanted island (Man-i-to Me-nis) : — 

On the first day of the Moon of Flowers (May), there was 
joy and hilarity in the village on the shores of the Assawamp- 
sett. The chief of the tribe had, that morning, sent forth a 
crier throughout all the village, saying, " To-morrow is the 
great feast of Me-ta-wa " (a festival, or dance of worship before 
the Great Spirit). " Come ye, all of you, to the feast ! " 

All that day, women might be seen coming in from the 
forest, bearing loads of evergreen on their shoulders, to build 
the Sacred Lodge for Worship. It was long and narrow, and 
open at the top ; for they said, " The Great Spirit will want 
to look right down into the hearts of his children. He wants 
no covering to their Lodge of Worship." 

Hunters were scattered, that day, through all the woods in 
the neighborhood of the lake, to procure game for the feast ; 
and fishers plied their canoes on the waters, in search of fish. 
The children were out, gathering wild flowers to deck the 
Sacred Lodge, among all the hills that overlook the beautiful 
sheet of water on which the village was situated. 

Among the fishers on the lake were two brothers, named 
Kwah-sind (The Strong Man) and O-skin-a-wa (The Youthful). 
They were fishing by themselves in a distant part of the lake. 
O-skin-a-wa was successful in fishing, and soon had the bottom 
of his canoe covered with them, fluttering and shimmering 
in the sun. Kwah-sind, on the contrary, had not a single fish 

1630] LAKEVILLE 425 

in the bottom of his canoe. He had offended the Nee-ba-naw- 
baigs (Water Spirits), and they had frightened away all the 
fishes that came near his canoe. 

He was very angry. He said, " Here I have been fishing 
for hours, and have not had a single bite. It is the work of 
these hateful Nee-ba-naw-baigs. They are determined to be 
revenged. But I will be revenged. I will find out some way 
to repay them for all this injury." 

Then, seeing that his brother's canoe was half filled with 
fishes, he said, "Give me a share of your own, that I may not 
return to the village empty-handed." But his brother said, 
" Not so. If you have offended the Water Spirits, it is no 
fault of mine. You, alone, must suffer the consequences. I 
must return and present my canoe load of fish to the chief, 
to be used for the festival." 

On hearing this, Kwah-sind was pale with rage. He raised 
his paddle, and struck O-skin-a-wa across his head. The blood 
flowed down into the canoe. He reeled over and fell into the 
waters of the lake. 

Then Kwah-sind, when he saw what he had done, was in a 
great strait, and set himself down in the bottom of his canoe, 
thinking of some way to escape the consequences of his crime. 
He said, " I must not return to the village with my brother's 
blood upon my head. Therefore, I will go and hide myself in 
that little island yonder, until nightfall ; then I will escape 
to the country of the Pequods." 

So he steered his canoe for the island, laid himself down on 
its shores, and, overcome with care and anxiety, was soon fast 

Now the island was inhabited by a race of little people, 
called Puk-wudjees. They were smaller than the red men, and 
were, like them, subject to the rule of Ke-che Mani-to, the 
Great Spirit. They were sitting down to their simple feast of 
strawberries (O-da-me-non), which grew in abundance on the 
island ; also the wild gooseberries (Shah-bo-min). It was even- 
ing, and all was still. Soon they heard the plaintive cry of the 
Wah-won-a-sah (whip-poor-will) on a tree, directly overhead. 
They started up in alarm. They said, " What can this mean .-* 
Never before was the voice of the Wah-won-a-sah heard on the 
island of the Puk-wudjees. He has come to us with a message 
from the Land of Souls. Some one has suddenly entered it. 
He must have been murdered, and the murderer must be con- 
cealed somewhere on our shores." So they started to search 
the island for the murderer. Soon they discovered Kwah-sind 


asleep in the shade of a willow. They said among themselves, 
" What shall we do with this man of blood ? He is not of our 
race ; but the Great Spirit will hold us guilty if we suffer him 
to escape. We will send for Wah-ba-no (magician), and he shall 
try his arts and incantations upon him. Perhaps he will put 
him into a deep sleep, that he will never awake again." 

So they summoned Wah-ba-no. He tried his skill on the 
murderer. He cast him into a long and deep sleep, and left 
him there, sleeping in the shade of the willow. 

When the villagers found that the two brothers did not 
return, they went, with their canoes, in search of them. They 
found the canoe of O-skin-a-wa half filled with fishes and 
covered with blood. They then searched the islands, far and 
near, for the murderer. Presently they approached the little 
island of the Puk-wudjees. They found Kwah-sind asleep on 
its shores. They tried to awaken him, but could not. They 
bore him home to the village, and many days he lay before 
them, in that deep and dreamless sleep. Then his spirit de- 
parted from him, and they buried him in the burial-place for 

From that day the Indians would never approach the little 
island after nightfall, or lie down to rest on its shores ; for 
they said, " Although we have done no murder, who knows 
but that Wah-ba-no may also put us into a deep sleep, that 
knows no waking, as he did the murderer of his brother, the 
strong man, Kwah-sind."^ 

In the latter part of the eighteenth century abundant iron 
ore, much better than bog iron, was discovered in the bottom 
of these ponds ; that in Assawampsett was by far the best, 
and as much as five hundred tons a year was taken from this 
one pond. From a mine about one third of a mile from the 
shore, opposite the house now owned by Mr. Parkhurst or 
directly east of the old Pond meeting-house, a large quantity 
of ore was taken for many years ; the dredging and carting to 
the many furnaces in this and in the surrounding towns was a 
great source of income. It was taken from the bed of the 
pond with tongs, such as are used for oysters, lifted into boats, 
and carried ashore. For many years a man could easily pro- 
cure two tons in a day, but it was worked so extensively 

1 Middleboro Gazette. 

iSi6] LAKEVILLE 427 

that the amount was reduced to half a ton ; ere long, even this 
became exhausted, and the mine ceased to be worked. There 
was plenty of ore in the adjoining ponds, but it was raised to 
the surface with some difficulty, as the water was about twenty 
feet deep. Stephen Nelson, a lineal descendant of William 
Nelson, a man of note in his time, mentions in his diary the 
work done by himself and neighbors in taking out ore from 
the pond and carting it to the different furnaces. This indus- 
try was attended with not a little danger, and one or two men 
lost their lives while engaged in it. 

It was in this pond in Sampson's Cove, about opposite 
where the Pond meeting-house stood, that the murderers of 
John Sassamon concealed his body under the ice. 

From the top of Philip's Lookout is one of the most beauti- 
ful prospects to be found in the whole region. On the eastern 
side of this pond, at Betty's Neck, there are two rocks, on 
which are the imprint of a man's hand and a number of other 
marks supposed to be the work of the Indians. It is said that 
the impression of the foot is that of Betty, the wife of Felix 
and daughter of Sassamon. The date of this is 1747, and the 
name " Felix " is cut into the rock, but these are probably 
more recent than the marks. 

In 1816 " Abiel Washburn, Thomas Weston, Levi Peirce, 
and Horatio G. Wood, their associates and successors, were 
incorporated under the name of the Middleboro Canal Com- 
pany, to operate, maintain, and manage a canal from the north- 
erly part of Assawampsett Pond to unite with Nemasket River 
between said pond and Vaughan's Bridge." It was their pur- 
pose to supply a larger body of water for their cotton mill and 
other manufacturing establishments recently built at the new 
works at Middleboro. A large amount of money was expended, 
but it was not a success, and was soon after abandoned. The 
river now runs through a portion of this canal, and its site 
can still be traced through the remaining distance. 

In recent years a large number of summer cottages have 
been built on the shore of this delightful and historic lake. 

One of the hostelries for many generations was Sampson's 





Tavern, now a private house owned by Arthur E. Perry of 
New Bedford. The house was built and first occupied by a 
Mr. Foster, who was succeeded by Mr. Sampson. From Re- 
volutionary times to within the memory of many now living, 
it was celebrated for its good cheer and for the number of 
guests who were entertained at all seasons of the year. The 

^ ^ stages to and from 

Boston and New Bed- 
ford stopped here. 
Some time during 
the latter part of the 
eighteenth century a 
very serious accident 
occurred in the vicin- 
ity of this tavern, on 
account of the great 
drifts of snow. The 
stage passed for some distance on the ice on the edge of the 
pond. Unexpectedly the ice had worn away, and it fell through. 
The driver was drowned and one of the passengers ; the others 
were more or less injured by the great fright and exposure. 
At this tavern some of Hezekiah Butterworth's best stories 
were written. 

Just beyond where the stream connects Assawampsett with 
Long Pond, on the western side of the road, occurred the 
battle in the Indian War, the details of which are given in 
the chapter relating to King Philip's War. 

A little further on the eastern side of the road, at Betty's 
Neck, Captain Church with his men pursued the Indians, and 
fearing an ambush, retreated in the night to Dartmouth. 

Long Pond is the next in size in this group, the southern 
portion of which extends a little way into Freetown. There 
are here two picturesque islands, known as Nelson's Island 
and Lewis Island. The water is considerably deeper than 
that of Assawampsett Pond, and at the bottom iron ore has 
been found, but the water is too deep to make the mining of 
it profitable. Upon the eastern shore, on the road leading to 




Rochester, stands the house in which Governor Marcus Mor- 
ton was born and spent his early childhood days. The shores 
of this pond are exceedingly picturesque, and in recent years 
it has been a summer resort. 

Great Ouittacus, which takes its name from an Indian chief, 
has three rocky islands covered with pine-trees in its deep 
water. It was formerly noted for the variety and excellence 
of its fish. Upon the western shore, on the New Bedford 
turnpike, stood the house of Rev. Mr. Roberts. Later, the 
house passed into the hands of Mr. Jewett of New Bedford, 
and more recently was moved to where it now stands, on the 
Long Point road. In the early part of the last century it was 
used as a tavern. 

Elder's Pond, much smaller but deeper than the others 
mentioned, takes its name from John Montgomery, an elder 
in the First Baptist Church. 

At the beginning of the last century Upper Four Corners 
had more inhabitants than the present Four Corners, and 
promised to be the industrial centre of the town. A store 
was kept by Colonel Levi Peirce, who afterwards moved to 
the Four Corners. That store forms the southern portion of 
the two-story house now standing. 

A little to the north of this stands the residence of Major 
Peter Hoar, a well- 
known and influ- 
ential man, whose 
house is a fine sample 
of the colonial man- 
sions of those days. 
He served in the 
company of militia 
commanded by Cap- 
tain Isaac Wood at 
the battle of Lexing- 
ton, and later was in 
several of the expe- 
ditions into Rhode major peter hg.^r's residence 


Island. He was major in the Fourth Regiment of militia of 
Massachusetts, and was afterwards promoted to the office 
of lieutenant-colonel, but retained the title of major instead 
of that of lieutenant-colonel. He was one of the selectmen of 
Middleboro for more than fifty years, and representative of 
the town in the legislature during the years 1809, 18 10, and 
181 1. During his life he was an active member of the Second 
Baptist Church in Middleboro, and at his death he made pro- 
vision in his will for the church which worshipped in the Pond 

Upon Main Street, toward the Four Corners, stands the 
house of Simeon Doggett, and a little to the westward, on the 
Rhode Island road, the house of Lemuel Ransome ; a sketch 
of their lives has been given with the loyalists of Middleboro. 

Gamaliel Rounseville, the proprietor of one of the stores at 
Muttock, had before his removal a store a little this side of 
the present house of John H. Nelson. 

James Washburn, the first postmaster of Middleboro, built 
his house on the site of the present town house of Lakeville. 

He was unmarried, and 

after holding the office 
a few years, resigned in 
favor of Major Levi 
Peirce and afterwards 
moved to New Bedford. 
Upon the road lead- 
ing from Main Street 
to the Ward place was 
formerly a mill for mak- 
ing cotton batting ; this 
was in successful oper- 
ation until the breaking out of the War of 181 2, which caused 
such financial disaster to many of the industries of New Eng- 
land. A little later, a successful tannery was established in 
place of the cotton mill, and the business was carried on for a 
number of years by General Ephraim Ward and Mr. Barrows. 
A little distance to the west, at the corner of the road which 






\>- ' 







leads to the station, stands the Ward house, probably the oldest 
house in town, but the exact age is unknown. 

James Sproat,^ of Scituate in 171 1, was the owner of a tract 
of land upon which this house stands, and in the next year was 

a resident of Middle- . .^ 

boro. This estate was 
conveyed in 1737 to 
his son Robert, and 
in 1778 to Zebedee 
Sproat ; later to Wil- 
liam and Ebenezer 
Nelson, who in 1806 
sold the property 
to General Ephraim 
Ward, from whom 
the place takes its 

name. At first it seems to have been a single house, with a 
doorway and room on the front ; a most interesting relic of 
the past, which has been enlarged from time to time by suc- 
cessive additions. Several years ago its late owner, Sprague S. 
Stetson, in making some repairs on the ancient part of this 
house, found that it was boarded by two and one-half inch oak 
planks, which were spiked on to the sills and beams to form 
a garrison house against attacks from the Indians. 

Over the chimney-piece in one of the chambers was the por- 
trait of King George, but upon the breaking out of the Revo- 
lutionary War, so intense was the patriotism of the owner, IVIr. 
Robert Sproat, that a floral design was painted in its place, 
which can still be seen. This room was ceiled with panel work 
after the manner of ancient houses, and draperies were painted 
upon the walls. Before the house was much altered, there was 
a secret chamber, which it would have been almost impossible 
for a stranger to find. Upon the burning of Oliver Hall, some 
fifteen of the doors were taken out by Mr. Sproat and used for 
panels and ceilings in two of the chambers and upper entry way. 

1 James and Ebenezer Sproat were sons of Robert, who came to America and 
settled in Scituate. His sons moved to Middleboro. 




Mr. Zebedee Sproat was a man who showed much taste in 
beautifying this place ; he planted many trees about the house, 
and laid out a terrace garden with choice trees and shrubs, 
which remained until a late day. Tradition has come down 
that he was a very unpopular man. After the Revolutionary 
War, he committed many offences against the public and his 
family, and later was drummed out of town as a slight pun- 
ishment for the many wrongs which he had done. It is said 
that a daughter-in-law of Judge Oliver joined in the pro- 
cession which followed him as he left town. The story of the 
wrongs he inflicted upon his wife, Hannah Sproat, was pub- 
lished as a broadside in accordance with the custom of the 

From 1806 until his death in 1856, this house was the resi- 
dence of General Ephraim Ward. General Ward was a promi- 
nent man, extensively 
engaged in many busi- 
ness affairs, and repre- 
sented the town in the 
General Court for sev- 
eral years. He served 
as aide-de-camp on the 
staff of General Lazell 
upon the threatened 
invasion of Plymouth in 
the War of 1812, and 
for a series of years 
after was connected 
with the local militia 
of the state ; he was 
the father of General 
Eliab Ward, George, 
Rev. Ephraim, Mrs. 
Priscilla Stetson, the 
wife of Captain Peleg Stetson, and Mrs. Holmes, the wife of 
Horace Holmes. George Ward was born September 16, 18 14. 
He was one of the first to manufacture shoes, in partnership 



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A R 

and L o v 1 N' 


W 1 F E' 

Bdnn ajlrious and folcma Warning and Cavmon to all falfe nml treacherous HUqRAMD9, wha 
arc often led aftraj f rutn thcr Famdics, by the dcluhvc and flattcgng Arts of dcHgaing Women, 
[Sung toa MoaKNru. Tusr., ] ( His love which like a fiame ha, burnt 2y Th.^k. tomy Fri.l ^ho ^^x 


» M«o ciuie the Sailor to reidicc - 
* BuMhyuid lie (lop iu i .,,V J,"/^. 

' His ruin 13 as lure as fate. 

The Siren's fwect melodious voice ' Nov/ v^.nifhcs and die. 

I 1 2. Fird he begins to look more ftern 
* With frowns upon his brow. 

w"rf '7^'^'^''" """"'^ 1 'earn 
T-ORTV-FIVE ycarsof fleeting tirtie,, ZA ''^"^'^ '^'^ "'>^- 
JP Hath fwiftly ro'.l'd aw.iy '^'.'^"'^ "l^" "^Y company he flights, 

birce this immortal part of mine I a, '''°'.^ . , "^ '"'^ cirirlifh grows. 
- "^' "-'"gfh he leaves my bed a nights. 

Put on a forn of clay, 
2. The dupe of fortune 1 have been, 

Her weight upon me lies. 
All her viciflitades I've fecrif 
Difplay'd before mine eyes. 

3. I've had a (hare of peace and Joy 
Of happinefs and wealth. 

Yea happinefs without alloy, 
In joy and pcrfeft health. 

4. Alafi ! a fliare of woe and grief, 
V/hich rends my bleeding he»rt. 

No mortal hand 'can give relief. 
Or comfort can impart, 

5. Caft from the pinnacle of peace. 
Oil mifery and woe. 

Nothing on earth can give me cafe. 
Nor none my forrows know, 

6. My Father di'd and left mc here, 
A Mother yet I know. 

Who brought mi; up with tender care. 
To them my thanks I owe. 

7. When 1 arriv'd to prdper age, 
Myfelf for to look out, 

I had an otter of marriage. 

Made me by Mr, S t. 

Whofe km d p ro p ofal s \y on m y h^M'L 
"1 g<JVe io him my hand ; 
He played To fair, fo kind a part. 

He (eem'd a pieafant man. 
9. In peace and joy our days we part, 

For nearly tv/enty years, 
He fecmed wholly to be bent 

To keep my eyes from tears< 
10. 1 was by him almoft ador'd. 

And call'd his Angel bright, 
For many years could not afford 

To ■ ... 

It. Bu 

And gloomy afpccts rife,'. 

Anil af;er others goes. 
1 -V FK.ivy reproaches then he throw; 

^"^ilh many a bitter curfe. 
An J every day more an^jry growi, 

Treating tne woffe and worfe. 
15 His malice now is grown fo great, 

He treats me fb abfurd. 
That in his prefence now of late, 
I rnuft not fpcak a word : 

16. Not to relations ne'er fo near, 
K ~ Bat -»;;»*«*Tti>*»ft Veeix^ 

Neither unto my children dear, 
One Imglc word can fpeak. I 

17. Altho'to pleafe him I have flrovc 1 
No pity can ! have ; j 

But from his table I am drove, 
Juft like a n:grb tlave. 

18. Mycharader be flrove to fiain, 
By lying and deceit , 

But hitherto it is in vairr. 

And fell on his own pate. 
15. So drunk with paffion in a rage. 

His hatred to difplay, 
Nov.' in the dceline of my age, 

Hith drove me quite auay. 
■r><^ . Fr om Fiicrii^. a nd Neighbors 
"banifhid, , 

And from my jchildren dear, 
\nd ail my hopes are vanidied. 

Of being happy here, 
ii. He drove me out with wret- 
ched fpitc, 

fn a moft cruel form. 
And would not (lielter me one nighl 

From a moft tedious ftorm. 
22. With cruelty beyond account, 

Mv youogrft child he ^ent 

(r>y part. 
And to fr.v Nelgr.bors dear, 
Vou ever flidcl be near my heart. 
While I continue here. '"; 

My Father and my Mother too, **^ 
I bid you both fjrewcli. 
Since I am banifhed from yo'i. ", 

No more wiili you to dwell, 
~y Farc'vcil my Sam— T.uciNDft 
Farewell my llltlt; {<.ATr. ; (too 
Since I caa't longer liye vvith_^^flUy^ 

No m^rc to hear yoii^'jjratc 
26. Petfk and Sally farewell too, 

I pray you may be blcft'd ; 
I love you ail though drove from you 

I And JUDITH with the reft, 
'27. Farewell my Friends and Neigh- 
bors too, 

[To 'ih 1 aKt''CTnmv7T^'n v'i vV ! t rryrrar 
But love doth ftiU'rcmain. 
j8. And now thou falfe arid trea- 
cherous m^n, 
O think of what you've d>ne ! 
And jullify it if you can. 
Your glafs IS almoft rurt. 
, Wiien that is out yuii mull. 

Whenever death doth rail. 
To anfwer for yoiir condudt here 

Before the Judge of all. 
30. And can you hope thett to bs 
To ftand aniong the ju(t. 


When rifen frctti the duft. 
->!, T hope repentance you Will have 

Before that awful day, 
, And bs not lent down to the grivfi 

In fach a Clocking w.iy, 
32.Tbere lines which I to^ou do fend 

Don't entertain a doubt, 
Butth.u they werecompos'd andpen'd 

" inji^r'd Hannah Sprcut, 

have me out of, fight. My youogeft ch. ci ne .enx 

,t now alafs ! the fkl is lurn'd, 1 Out of the ftate up to Ve „ ont, 
, . . . .^ .. vvh-it heart jwould not relent. 

What hcart/would not 


,~ij^..-.< iitSR^ 

by th€ TTav-lling»Trader*, 
( frice Five Pence. ) 







with William E. Doggett. He built the house opposite the 
Ward place, which was occupied by his widow. 

Upon the death of Captain Peleg Stetson, the old Ward 
place came into possession of his son, Sprague S. Stetson. He 
was born February 12, 
1 84 1, and died January 
12, 1899. He was a 
successful farmer, and 
held many positions of 
public trust. He was a 
member of the legisla- 
ture representing Mid- 
dleboro and Lakeville 
in 1883, and was ap- 
pointed by Governor 
Greenhalge a member 
of the Board of Agri- 
culture, upon which 
board he served for 
several years. He was 
a member of the Plym- 
outh County Agricul- 
tural Society. He was 

prudent yet enterprising, conscientious in the performance of 
every duty, always courteous and unassuming, and the cordial- 
ity of his manners and his thoughtful regard of others won 
the respect of the entire community. 

On the road leading from the Ward place past the residence 
of the late Josiah C. Bump, there was at one time a forge, the 
dam connected with it flooding the meadow land to the west 
of the road. 

In the early part of the last century, perhaps the most 
notable improvement in the western part of the town was 
the turnpike, constructed by private enterprise, running from 
the site of the present town house in Lakeville northerly in a 
straight course about six and one half miles to the Bridge- 
water line, and southerly, after winding about the western shore 






of Assawampsett Pond, in substantially a straight direction to 
the Rochester line. The traffic between Boston and New Bed- 
ford made it desirable to have such a direct route as was being 
constructed in different parts of the state. It became the 
thoroughfare for the transportation of passengers in the stage- 
coaches and private conveyances, as well as the principal route 
for the baggage wagons with various kinds of merchandise. 
Tolls were charged between the town house and Bridgewa- 

ter. There were several toll-gates,^ 
one of which was opposite the site 
of the present town house. After 
the construction of this turnpike 
many houses were built, and it con- 
tinued to be one of the great 
highways until the building of 
the Fall River and New Bedford 
railroads. In the year 1846 the 
town acquired possession of this road and kept it in excellent 
repair, but since the abandonment of the stage-coach and the 
baggage wagon there has been comparatively little travel, ex- 
cepting from the town house to New Bedford. That por- 
tion from the town house to Rochester was not included in the 

Among the prominent families in the last century were the 
Canedys, the Montgomerys, the McCullys, the Pickenses, the 
Strobridges, and the McCumbers.^ There is a tradition, which 
has always been regarded as true, that these families were of 
Scotch-Irish descent, and that, as protestants in the north 
of Ireland, they joined with William in the heroic resistance at 
the siege of Londonderry and the Battle of the Boyne in 1690.^ 

1 See chapter on Titicut. 

2 Land first acquired in Middleboro by William Canedy (or Kanedy), Decem- 
ber 2, 1717, from Nathan Rowland. Plymouth Registry of Deeds, vol. xiv, p. 25. 
William Strowbridge, December 3, 1728, from Thomas Tomson and Samuel Bar- 
rows. Ibid. vol. xxviii, p. 28. Thomas Pickens, December 26, 1732, from Barnabas 
Eaton. Ibid. vol. xxviii, p. in. John Montgomery, May 19, 1735, from Elkanah 
Leonard. Ibid. vol. xxx, p. 92. John McCully, January 23, 1735, from Elkanah 
Leonard. Ibid, vol. xxxiii, p. 141. 

^ Sullivan, Two Centuries of Irish History, Part I, chap. i. 

1723] LAKEVILLE 435 

For their services they were rewarded by the British Crown with 
various tracts of land in the New England colonies, and nearly 
a generation after, those residing in and about Londonderry 
determined to leave the land for which they had fought and 
seek a home where they would be free from the persecutions to 
which they had been so long subjected. These families were 
probably among those who in 171 8 despatched Rev. William 
Bodye with an address to Governor Shute of Massachusetts, 
signed by two hundred and seventeen of their number. Such 
was their intelligence that of these, two hundred and ten 
wrote their names very plainly and applied to be allowed to 
emigrate to Massachusetts ; the governor's reply was such 
that they concluded to embark for Boston. It is said that 
some of these emigrants, after wandering about seeking in 
vain for a suitable home, finally came and settled in Lakeville, 
taking tracts of land, portions of which are still held by their 
descendants. They brought with them their sterling integrity 
and love for the English Crown and for the protestant faith. 

Alexander Canedy, the first of the Canedy family, was the 
father of William Canedy, one of the eminent men in Mid- 
dleboro in the early part of the eighteenth century. He served 
as lieutenant against the Indians in Maine. Isaac Winslovv, 
the commander of that expedition, sent a letter to Governor 
Drummond showing his appreciation : — 

May it please your Hon' 
this comes by Ensign Canada who I percieve has had some 
hope of your Honors favoring him with a Leuit Commission 
which if it be acceptible to all that are concerned he being 
very deserving of it in my opinion having acquitted himself 
very well ever since he hath been out. thus beging your favor 
for him I am your most obedient servant, 

Isaac Win slow. 

Scituate January 
the 17 : 1723 

In the troublous times preceding the Revolution, he could 
never forget the love he bore to his sovereign and to the home 
of his ancestors. He and Judge Oliver were among the first 
citizens of Middleboro to espouse the cause of the Crown, 




and were included in the list of loyalists, but he was not ban- 
ished nor was his estate confiscated. He lived in that portion 
of Lakeville known as Beech Woods, in a two-story double 
house, of colonial style. This was taken down 'a few years 
since, but the site is still pointed out. 

William Strobridge, a descendant of the family whose name 
he bears, was also a tory in the time of the Revolution. The 
land which was acquired by the Strobridges is in one of the 
most beautiful parts of the town, and the site of his house is 
still to be seen. 

The numerous descendants of the Pickens family have al- 
ways occupied a prominent position in the affairs of the town 
and county. 

Among the men who came about 1720 from the north of 
Ireland and settled in this locality was Nicholas Roach. He 
was a devout christian, holding with great tenacity the reli- 
gious faith of the protest- 
ants of Ireland, and was one 
of the founders of the Pre- 
cinct Church, contributing 
largely to its support. He is 
buried in the Thompson Hill 

The tract of land originally 
owned by the Montgomery 
family was near Elder's Pond. 
From this family descended 
Hugh Montgomery, a lawyer 
in Boston of the last gener- 
ation, a man of learning, 
who added materially to the 
fortune inherited from his 

The old Cudworth house 

is another example of the 

substantial dwelling of a hundred years ago. The building, 

commenced by Samuel Nelson and finished by his son Wil- 


I882] LAKEVILLE 437 

Ham, was bought in 1S06 by General Kphraim Ward, and after- 
wards reconveyed to Mr. Nelson in exchange for the Ward 
place. At the beginning of the last century there was a store 
kept not far from the present town house ; there has always 
been a store near the Precinct Church. 

Before Lakeville was set off as a distinct township, there 
were a large number of school districts, known as the Upper 
Four Corners, the Raskins', Miller, Canedy, McCully, and 
Howland neighborhoods, the Tack Factory, the Bell school- 
house, and Beech Woods. The Bell schoolhouse is so called 
by reason of the bell placed upon it when it was used as a 
place of worship. 

That portion of the town known as Beech Woods in the 
early part of the last century had the unenviable reputation 
of being the home of Malborne Briggs, the thief, one of the 
most notorious criminals in Plymouth County. He would 
never commit any depredations in his immediate neighborhood, 
his operations being confined to other parts of the town and 
county. He had a large family of seven sons, who inherited 
the criminal tastes of their father, and in 1823, when the com- 
mittee of the governor's council visited the state prison at 
Charlestown, he and his seven sons were there imprisoned. 

The village known as the Tack Factory was early noted as 
a place of business activity in this part of the town. Upon the 
stream which flows through that neighborhood, there was a 
forge built by Major Thomas Leonard early in the century 
before the last, which was in operation for about eighty years. 
Later, there was a sawmill upon the same site, and afterwards 
a tack factory, from which this neighborhood takes its name, 
built by Albert Mason and three associates from Bridgewater. 
This enterprise was not a financial success, and was soon 
after abandoned, but is now in operation again. Albert T. 
Mason, whose house stood on Taunton Street, was the father 
of the chief justice of the Superior Court of the common- 
wealth, who was born here and educated in the public schools 
and Peirce Academy, and admitted to the bar at Plymouth 
in i860. He served with distinction as captain in the War of 




the Rebellion, and on returning to practice rose rapidly in his 
profession. While a resident of Plymouth he held the office 
of selectman, and was afterwards appointed chairman of the 
River and Harbor Commission of the commonwealth. In 
1882 he was appointed by Governor Long one of the justices of 

the Superior Court, 
and afterwards, upon 
the promotion of 
Marcus Morton, was 
made its chief justice. 
He was recognized 
by the bar as one 
of the ablest of the 
judges of that court. 
On January 2, 1905, 
he died at his home 
in Brookline. 
This neighborhood was also the home of Elkanah Leonard, 
an account of whose life has been given in the chapter on 






ITH the early settlers of Middleboro, in common with 
those in the other towns of the Old Colony, the reli- 
gious life entered so largely into their thoughts, du- 
ties, and activities that any account of those times 
would be incomplete which did not consider with more or less 
detail their church history. 

Their church organization and those who worshipped with 
its members included almost the entire population, and aside 
from the family, the church, its order, its care, and its teach- 
ings seems ever to have been foremost in their minds. It was 
here that they were strengthened in the faith and doctrines 
to which they adhered with such tenacity ; here they were 
encouraged to meet manfully not only the duties but the perils 
and hardships attendant upon their frontier life; it was here 
at the weekly service on the Sabbath that they met their fellow 
citizens and learned the news of the day. The church meeting 
was the great social cord which bound them together. For 
more than one hundred years, the meeting-house of the First 
Church was generally the place for the transaction of all public 
business of the town. 

In 1675 the General Court at Plymouth, by an ordinance, 
enacted that every township within the colony should have 
a house of worship and a church duly organized, with proper 
provision for the support of an ordained minister, who offici- 
ated over such church. So few were the families, and so far 
removed were they from each other, that no church was organ- 
ized until December 26, 1694. Provision was made in 1675 for 
the support of the gospel, although the war prevented any action 
being taken until after the resettlement.^ Mr. Fuller had, how- 

1 " Whereas a committee was appointed and chosen by the proprietors of Mid- 
dlebery the 18th. of May in Anno 1675 vis. — Mr. Constant Southworth, Left. 


ever, preached here before that time. Indian churches had been 
organized at Assawampsett, Nemasket, and Titicut. These 
were prosperous until the war, but afterwards seem to have 
been disbanded, and the members worshipped with other 
churches. Probably the majority of the early settlers were 
members of the church in Plymouth or in some of the neigh- 
boring towns from which they had come, and not a few of 
them were in the habit of attending public worship at Plym- 
outh, taking their families with them. 

In 1678 the inhabitants called Mr. Samuel Fuller to become 
their pastor, and the question of his accepting the call came 
before the church at Plymouth, of which he was a member, 
on the 19th of December.^ On the i6th of January, 1679, ^^e 
church unanimously recommended that he should preach to 

Morton, John Thompson, Joseph Warren and Isack Howland, who were im- 
powered to meet together for some orders in reference to the prosecuting and 
supportation of some help to teach ... of God att Middlebery and to settle 
some course to procure means for the erecting of a meeting house there, and 
for building of bridges and setteling high ways in that town, they the said pro- 
prietors did at this meeting reestablish and confirm the said order and did ratify 
the said power and settle it on the forenamed persons to act as aforesaid." Early 
Records of Middlel'oro, p. 1 8. 

^ " 1678. December 19 : Our brother, Mr. Samuel Fuller being called to preach 
at Midlebury did aske counsellof the clih, which motion they tooke into serious 
consideration till the next ctlh-meeting, which was on Jan. 16: & then the chh. 
did unanimously advise & encourage him to attend preaching to them as oft as 
he could, but not yet to remove his family but waite awhile to see what further 
encouragement God might give for his more setled attendance upon that service 

" 1694. November 28 : Divers of our brethren at Midlebury sent letters to us 
to desire our Counsell about their gathering a clltl & calling a Teaching officer 
with them, the cllh tooke it into consideration & after some-time manifested to 
them our consent to & approbation of their motion. Then those brethren & 
those of other cnes & some others who offered to joyne with them sent let- 
ters to desire our Pastor with other brethren to helpe them in carrying on that 
worke on Dec. 26 : the ctili chose Deac ; Faunce, Deac ; George Morton, Bro : 
Eliezer Churchel & Bro : Ephraim Morton to accompany the Pastor thither on 
that occasion, & voted, that if God carryed on the worke, that wee dismisse our 
members, namely, five brethren & 4 sisters to be of that ctili ; that Pastor & 
those cttti-messengers went at the time appointed, the cnti was gathered, & then 
Mr. Samuel P'uller was chosen & ordained to be their Teacher." Records of 
First Church, Plymouth, vol. i, deposited in Pilgrim Hall. 


the inhabitants of Middleboro as often as convenient, but that 
he should iiot move his family there, but wait to see what 
further encouragement might be given him for a permanent 
settlement. This service on the part of Mr. Fuller probably 
continued until the organization of the church. In 1680 he 
became a permanent resident of Middleboro, the town having 
provided a house-lot and twelve acres of land. 

The first meeting-house stood on Plymouth Street, north 
of the Sturtevant house. It was probably- built soon after the 
resettlement of the town, but its size and capacity are not 
known. It had no pews, and the congregation were seated 
on rude benches without backs. The records of the organiza- 
tion of the church were lost, but an authentic copy has come 
down to us : — 

Middleborough, March 8, 1734. — A copy of the record of the First Church 
of Christ in Middleborough, which was written by Mr. Samuel Fuller, first 
pastor of that church. 


I. Thou shalt remember all the way which the Lord thy God hath led thee 
these forty years. Deut. 8 : 2. 

December 26, 1694 (O. S.). — A church of Christ was gathered at Middlebor- 
ough, formerly called by the heathen Namassacut, a fishing place, as some say. 

The persons and their names that entered into church fellowship, some of 
them members of Plymouth church before, being dismissed from Plymouth for 
that intent ; some of them members of other churches dwelling here then, and 
some that were never in church fellowship before that time, whose names are as 
followeth : — 

Samuel Fuller and his wife, John Bennet and his wife, 

Jonathan Morse and his wife, Abie! Wood and his wife, 

Samuel Wood, Isaac Billington, 

Samuel Eaton, Samuel Cutburt, 

Jacob Tomson and his wife, John Cob, Jun., 

Hester Tinkham, The Widow Deborah Barden, 

Weibrah Bumpas, Ebenezer Tinkham, — his wife, 

Not being present by reason of sickness in their family, yet after owning the 
covenant of the rest, being in the esteem of the rest, it is as well as if she were 
present at that assembly. 

Ebenezer Tinkham, Isaac Billington, Jacob Tomson; these then baptized. 

Soon after were baptized the children of John Cob in their infancy : John, 
Martha, Patience. Also Lidia Bumpas, the daughter of Weibra Bumpas. 

II. In order to the gathering to a church, it pleased God, who hath the hearts 


of all men in his hands, to move upon the hearts of sundry of those to desire 
a church may be gathered in this place, — to desire and seek it of God; and 
Divine Providence made way for it. 

Letters were sent for ministers and brethren to assist in the work, namely : 
to Plymouth, Sandwich and Barnstable : and the Elders sent Mr. John Cotton, 
Mr. Rouland Cotton, Mr. Jonathan Russell, and brethren to assist them. Mr. 
Samuel Fuller, then ordained to be a Teacher to that church ; who had lived 
there and preached the word amongst them, whose preaching God had made 
beneficial to divers of them, and made choice of by mutual consent. God can, 
and oft doth, out of the mouth of babes and sucklings ordain praise. 

John Bennet, Sen., our brother, ordained Deacon, — Deacon in the church of 
Middlebo rough, March 10, being the second Sabbath in that month, and chosen 
by a full consent to that office some considerable time before; who formerly 
dwelt at Beverly ; whom God in the way of his providence sent to dwell in 
Middleborough to be serviceable there in church and town. 

The articles of christian faith and covenant,^ similar to 
those of the church at Plymouth, were first printed in 1722, and 
reprinted in 1771, with some changes. They were in accord 
with the teachings of the venerable John Robinson, pastor of 
the Pilgrim Church in Leyden. 

As this was for many years the only church in town, and was 
so prominent in the thought of the people, it may be of inter- 
est to cite some of the features of its polity. Any number of 
christian believers could organize themselves into a church for 

1 These articles of faith and covenant are published in the History of the 
First Church of Christ, in Middleborough. 

"What is known as the "half-way covenant " was in force for more than fifty 
years after the organization of this church, and has made it difficult to deter- 
mine the question of full membership in most of the old churches of the Old 
Colony. It is very probable that the records of the church, coming to us in the 
way that has been noted, do not give the membership of all who, during the 
first thirteen years of its organization, were members. Ibid. p. 79. 

There were later about one hundred admitted under this covenant. 

Those who entered into the half-way covenant had the privilege of baptism 
for their children without being members of the church. The phraseology, 
although in different churches slightly changed, was in substance as follows : — 

" I take God the Father to be my chiefest good and highest end. I take God 
the Son to be my only Lord and Savior. I take God the Holy Spirit to be my 
Sanctifier, Teacher, Guide and Lawgiver. I take the people of God to be my 
people in all conditions. I likewise devote and dedicate unto the Lord my 
whole self, all I am, all I have and all I can do. And in all this I do deliber- 
ately, promptly, successfully and forever." 


worship and for discipline, although they held that no church 
ought to consist of more members than could conveniently 
meet together for worship. They had the power of self-govern- 
ment, independence, open communion, and free toleration ; 
the majority ruled in all matters. They had a right to choose 
their pastor and church officers, and to maintain discipline by 
vote of the church, but in all of these matters the advice of 
neighboring churches was asked in council. All of the officers 
and members were equal in respect to their rights and privi- 
leges ; no pastor or elder could control or embarrass the action 
of the church over which he ministered. They communed with 
churches of other denominations in good standing, and dis- 
missed their members to the other churches when desired. The 
doctrine and polity of this church was the same authoritatively 
embodied in what is called the Cambridge Platform, and in a 
later period in the Saybrook Platform. 


Mr. Fuller was born in 1624, and died August 17, 1695 ; he 
was called to preach in 1678, and was ordained December, 26, 


Upon the death of Rev. Samuel Fuller, after a ministry of a 
little more than seven months, Mr. Isaac Cushman^ of Plymouth 
received a unanimous y^ 

call to the pastorate, ^„^^^ .^^-^^^.^^ 
which was not ac- 
cepted, and he after- 
wards became the minister of the church at Plympton. Mr. 
Clapp and Mr. Cutting were invited to supply the pulpit, but 
for different reasons declined. In August, 1696, Mr. Thomas 
Palmer was engaged to preach one quarter of a year, for 
which he was paid a salary of thirteen pounds. This was the 
beginning of the most unfortunate ministry in the history of 
this church. In October the town voted him a yearly salary 

1 For a sketch of the life of Mr. Fuller, see chapter on The Green. 
'^ See chapter on Early Purchases. 


of thirty-five pounds. He continued his services as minister of 
the church from that time until his dismissal. In November, 
1698, the town voted "that his goods should be brought from 
Plymouth at the town's charge." There was much opposition 
by some of the neighboring clergymen and members of the 
church to his becoming a settled pastor. After his ordination, 
May 2, 1702, the opposition increased, and the unfitness of 
Mr. Palmer for his position became more and more evident. 

Soon after his settlement, committees were chosen by the 
town and by the church to devise some means for the peace- 
ful adjustment of the difficulties which were increasing. In 
addition to these, Mr. Palmer was charged with misbehavior 
and with intemperance. A council was convened by the church 
ex parte, which condemned him and advised his removal. He 
and some of his friends felt aggrieved by the action of the 
council, and they, with the town and church, called a second 
council, " as the town earnestly desired both old and young to 
enjoy his ministry, and that he should continue his ministry 
until the council should meet more fully ; " finally, " twelve 
churches were convened, which were unanimous in sustaining 
the action of the former council." The church records under 
date of June 2, 1708, are as follows : — 

"Voted, by the church of Middleborough, that, in pursuance of the advice of 
twelve churches, in council here convened, which have declared that Mr. Thomas 
Palmer, the former minister and pastor, ought to be removed from the work of 
the Gospel ministry, and suspended from communion at the Lord's table for his 
scandalous immoralities, — therefore, in conformity to said advice of said coun- 
cil, as also upon the advice of a convention of reverend ministers at Boston, the 
church doth now declare that they now look on Mr. Thomas Palmer as no longer 
their pastor, but as deposed from the work of the ministry, and also suspended 
from the table of the Lord; and we withdraw from the said Mr. Palmer, and 
unite in our endeavors to settle the ordinances of the Gospel among us." 

In 1705 his salary had been voted at forty pounds, and the 
next year the town voted the same salary, " provided he con- 
tinued in the work of the ministry the whole year, and if 
removed, to pay him proportionately;" in November, 1706, 
some time before the final action of the council, such was the 
opposition that they " voted to seek out a man for the supply 


of the ministry." He did not preach through the whole of 
that year, but sued the parish for his salary, and recovered a 
judgment to the amount of fifty-two pounds up to the time 
when the council advised his dismissal. Upon final settlement 
this amount was somewhat reduced. After the action of the 
council, Mr. Palmer preached some time in his own house, 
where he had a few hearers, and then commenced the practice 
of medicine. He became sincerely repentant for his former 
course, and on November 13, 1737, the censure of the church 
was taken off and he was restored to his communion by unani- 
mous vote of the church, after full confession of his error. 

During his pastorate fourteen members were added to the 

John Bennett, chosen deacon at the organization of the 
church, was ordained in 1695, 

and died March 21, 17 18.2 -£^^,^ «^;t>t^/|^^/^e<nr'T_^ 
Ebenezer Tinkham was one 

of the first deacons, but there is no record to show when he 
was chosen. 

In August, 1 70 1, the first meeting-house in which the church 
worshipped was sold at auction for five pounds and two shil- 
lings, the town having the year before built a new house of 
worship on the Lower Green. It was thirty-six feet long and 
thirty feet wide, with the walls sixteen feet high, and had two 
ridgepoles and four gable-ends. This edifice, like all other meet- 
ing-houses of that time, had at first no pews. The congrega- 
tion were seated upon benches, without any support for the 
back. Rev. Mr. Thacher, after much opposition, obtained con- 
sent to erect a square pew with seats on three sides, for the use 
of his family and his distinguished father-in-law, Samuel Prince. 
Afterwards, this privilege was granted to nineteen others. But 
slight description of the second meeting-house has come down 
to us. In 1745 the old roof was taken off and a " pitched roof" 

1 See Appendix. 

- In the History of the Fii-st Church we find the statement that "these first 
deacons and their wives died in March, 1738, and were buried in one grave." 
There seems to be a misprint, as they died in 17 18. 


put in its place. This building was occupied as a place of wor- 
ship for more than fifty years. In the town records for 1723, 
we read that the " hind seat in the meeting-house and the hind 
seat in each of the men's galleries shall be for the boys." 


Rev. Peter Thacher began his ministry over this church 
some few months before the action of the council in suspend- 
ing Mr. Palmer. He commenced preaching before the church 
in September, 1707, but was not chosen pastor until the next 
June, and was ordained on the 2d of November, 1709. This was 
his first pastorate, and was begun when he was a little over 
twenty-one years of age. He commenced his services under 
very adverse circumstances, as the prejudice in favor of and 
against Mr. Palmer was still strong. In the course of a few 
months Mr. Thacher's ability was such, and his manner and 
bearing were so conciliatory, that he won the hearts and affec- 
tion of the entire church and congregation. At one time 
in his long pastorate, it is said that he seriously thought of 
preaching his farewell sermon and leaving the church, and 
he declared to his biographer that he would have done so, 
had he not been " embarrassed in finding a suitable text." 

In 1740 there was a revival, called the " Great Awakening," 
which lasted two years. During this time about one hundred 
and twenty-five persons were admitted to the church, and 
during his entire ministry four hundred and thirty, among 
them Samuel Prince, Nathan Prince, Madam Morton, Mercy 
Bennett, Dr. Isaac Fuller, Luke Short, John Alden, and Bar- 
zillai Thomas, a sketch of whose lives has been given else- 
where in this volume. 

During his ministry Samuel Barrows and Ephraim Wood 
were ordained deacons, July 25, 1725. Samuel Wood and 
Ebenezer Finney were chosen deacons January 30, 1735, and 
ordained March 5, 1737. 

Various members of the church were dismissed to form 
other societies. For about fifty years the whole town by law 
was constituted one parish, with this church as the place of 


worship. July i6, 17 19, the West Precinct was incorporated 
as a parish, and a church was organized October 12, 1725, by 
a number of the members who went from this church. In 
1734 the town of Halifa.x was incorporated, which inckided a 
part of Middleboro, and nineteen members were dismissed to 
join the newly organized church and parish. February 4, 1743, 
a parish was incorporated in Titicut, where preaching service 
had been held regularly since 1741. At South Middleboro a 
church was afterwards organized. These v^arious removals to 
form other churches materially diminished the attendance for 
a while, but the numerous accessions under Mr. Thacher more 
than made up for this decrease. 


After the death of the Rev. Mr. Thacher, serious troubles 
sprang up within the church, a reaction after the religious re- 
vival called the Great Awakening. Some of its resident mem- 
bers desired to settle a man who was in full sympathy with 
the former j^astor, while others, with Deacon Barrows and a 
small number of the members of the church, desired a man of 
different religious teachings. This division gave rise to much 
feeling and discussion. The church extended a call to their 
former pastor's son, but probably as this was not acceptable 
to the parish, the call was withdrawn, and the Rev. Sylvanus 
Conant was asked, in September, 1744, to become their pastor. 
Notwithstanding conciliatory actions of the church, the parish 
invited the Rev. Thomas Weld to preach for them as a candi- 
date, the one preaching in the forenoon and the other in the 
afternoon ; but the feeling so increased that the parish refused 
to permit Mr. Conant to preach in the meeting-house, and he 
held his service in the "mansion house," then occupied by 
Madam Thacher. He continued preaching for several months. 
A council was called to consider the difificulties then existing, 
and as a result he was ordained in March, 1745, in front of 
Madam Thacher's house. Immediately after this, his friends 
commenced a new meeting-house on the Upper Green, which 
represented about three quarters of the members of the 


church and one quarter of the members of the parish. Dur- 
ing this time about three quarters of the parish with its stand- 
ing committee and sixteen of the members of the church, 
with Deacon Barrows as their leader, called Rev. Mr. Weld to 
be their minister. He was a resident of Boston, and a graduate 
of Harvard College in the class of 1723. 

The church chose a committee, consisting of Edward Clapp, 
Edmund Weston, and Samuel Eddy, to attend the council 
and protest against any action which looked to his ordination. 
This, however, was without avail ; he was ordained in the old 
meeting-house October 3 of the same year, and commenced 
his pastorate, which continued for about four years, the church 
peremptorily refusing to concur in his call or in his ordination. 
This resulted in a more bitter feeling than had ever been 
witnessed, the different parties taking the name of the Old 
Lights and the New Lights, and sometimes that of the Church 
and the Standing Party. The old church edifice was much out 
of repair, a new meeting-house had been built, and there were 
two ministers and two churches to be supported. Those who 
had united in the call of the Rev. Thomas Weld held the 
old meeting-house, the ministerial land and parsonage, and 
were the legal representatives of the parish, while the church 
members who worshipped at the "mansion house," under the 
law as it then existed, were taxed to support Rev. Mr. Weld, 
and the parish were also obliged to pay the expenses of their 
own church services. Litigation had been commenced in re- 
gard to the custody of the records and other parish mat- 
ters. These difficulties were finally adjusted, and April 22, 
1746, the church chose a committee, consisting of Ebenezer 
Clapp, Seth Tinkham, and Samuel Eddy, to present a petition 
to the legislature for relief. A law was passed by the General 
Court, by which every member of the society should have lib- 
erty to choose the Old Lights or the New Lights by filing his 
name with the society of which he desired to become a mem- 
ber. It is stated that more than two hundred members of the 
old parish were recorded in the year 1748. Religion was at 
a very low ebb in both churches. In a short time the church 


and society representing the New Lights became dissatisfied 
with the Rev. Mr. Weld, and after some dissension among 
themselves, he was obliged to leave. He afterwards com- 
menced suit for his salary, which he failed to recover. Under 
the winning spirit of the Rev. Mr. Conant, the pastor of the 
old church, the societies were united ; this action was after- 
wards confirmed by the legislature, and no further dissension 
prevailed in this old church and society. It is said that Mr. 
Conant, before the enactment of this statute, had petitioned 
that " no presentment might be made against this society for 
being destitute of a minister until the precinct is in a better 
condition to settle one." 

He continued as minister until his death ^ in 1777. Seventy- 
six joined the church during his ministry. 

In November, 1745, Benjamin Tucker and Gershom Cobb 
were chosen deacons. Benjamin Tucker joined the church 
March 24, 1729, and died July 9, 1781, in his seventy-sixth 
year. He had held the office of selectman of Middleboro for 
the years 1748, 1749, 1750, 1751, and 1752. He was town 
treasurer in 1744, and representative to the General Court in 
1746. He was a coroner for the county in 1754, 1755, and 

Gershom Cobb was born in 1714, and was admitted to the 
church July i, 1739. 

Benjamin Thomas was chosen deacon May 23, 1776.''^ 

Before the final action of the council dismissing Mr, Weld, 
Elijah Packard was called as his successor in the old church. 

After the settlement of this difficulty, the old meeting-house, 
which had been sadly neglected, was sold to David Simmons 
for the sum of thirteen pounds, six shillings, and eight pence, 
exclusive of the pews and the pulpit, and the materials were 
used for building a dwelling-house where the present parson- 
age now stands. It had not been considered large enough to 
accommodate the church and parish, and in the early part of 
1744, at the close of Dr. Thacher's ministry, measures had 

1 For a further sketch of his life, see chapter on The Green. 

2 For a further sketch of his life, see chapter on Thomastown. 




been taken for building a larger place of worship.^ Up to the 
year 1745, four hundred and eighty were enrolled as members. 
This, the third meeting-house, was by far the largest and 
most imposing structure at the time in town, and was situ- 
ated a little to the east of the present building.^ It was built in 

1 We the Subscribers Inhabitants of the Easteriy Precinct within The Town- 
ship of Middleborough under Consideration of the Decay of our Old meeting 
house which we apprehend is not worth Repairing. Not Only By Reason of its 
Being old and much Decayed But also its Being So Small that there is not Suf- 
ficient Roome therein to accommodate Said Precinct wherefore we do Now by 
mutual Agreement Bind and Oblidge Our Selves to Buld a new meeting house 
(at or near the Same place where Our Old meeting house now Stands) of the 
following Demention (viz) 55 feet Long 45 feet wide & 25 feet in the walls and 
to proceed to Cut Timber There for and Provid Sutable matterials as Soon as 
may be (viz) now while the Season will permit Dated middleborough East pre- 
cinct February The 14'!' 1744 — 

Nathan Thomas 
Thomas Darling 
Benjamin Thomas 
John Soul 
Samuel Smith 
John Tomson 
Edmand Wood 
John Canedy 
Joseph Thomas 
Joseph Bates Jn' 
John Smith 
Edmand Weston 
Jonathan Smith Jn. 
Samuel Thomas Jn. 
Benjamin Tucker 

Jonathan Smith 
James Smith 
Ebenezer Finney 
Seth Tinkham 
John Cox 
William Cushman 
John Cobb 
Gershom Cobb 
Samuel Wood Jun' 
Daniel Vaughan 
Mary Thacher 
William Thomas 
Henery Thomas 
Joseph Tinkham 
Nathaniel Bumpas 

Memorandon That on the 16"' & ly"" Days of July a. d. 1745 we begun and 
finished Raising our meeting house and on the next Day which was the 18"' of 
July we met in the meeting house Frame Both fore and after noon : it Being the 
Day of General Thanks Giving Through out this Province on account of the 
Success of the English Armes against Cape Breton 

2 The meeting-house was paid for by cash and materials furnished by mem- 
bers of the congregation, and afterwards the pews were assigned at the following 
prices : — 

Pew No. 49 to Ebenezer Cox for 

" " 48 to Jabez Cushman " 

" " 35 to Ichabod Morton " 

" " 32 to Simeon Dogget " 

" " 2 to Peter Oliver, Jr " 

" " 8 to Charies Ellis " 

£ s. d. 

17 6.8 

22. 13. 4 

22. 16. o 

14. 10. 8 

26. 13. 8 

17. 9. 4 


1745,1 and remained until 1829. It had upon its sides two rows 
of windows, in which were small panes of glass. It faced toward 
the east, where there was a large porch extending across the 
end, the main entrance of the church ; upon this was a steeple, 

£. s. d. 

Pew No. 46 to John Alden for 8. 13. 4 

" " 40 to Jacob Soul " 20. o. o 

" "41 to Ephraim Tinkham " 23. 12. o 

" " 34 to \Villiam Harlow " 22. 16. o 

" " 43 to John Miller " 27. i. 4 

" " 52 to Elias Miller " 23. 9. 4 

" " 39 to Hushai Thomas " 5. 6. 8 

" '♦ — was taken by Elias Millin in " Roome of His 

old one." " 2. 2. 8 

" " 22 to Isaac Cushman " 22. 5. 4 

" " 36 to John Bennet " 22. 13. 4 

" " 45 to Ichabod Wood " 26. 80. o 

" " 13 to Andrew Oliver " 25. 12. o 

" " 54 to Francis Tomson " 13. 17. 4 

"The Ground where the Woming Slaves were Taken up 

was Sold to Jeremiah Thomas" " 14. 5. 4 

Gallery Pew No 25 to Silas Wood " 13. 12. o 

" '♦ " 26 to Amos Tinkham " 13. 6. 8 

" " " 27 to Nathaniel Bumpas " 12. 5. 4 

" " " 28 to Shubael Tinkham " 9. 6. 8 

" " " 29 to Elkanah Elmes " 8. 2. 8 

" " " 34 to Isaac Soul " 13. 9. 4 

" " " 33 to Thomas Ellis " 11. 6. 8 

" " " 32 to Zechariah Weston " 11. 6. 8 

" " "31 to Benjamin Thomas " 10. 2. 8 

" " " 30 to Isaac Tomson " 9. 9. 4 

Pew next forward and gives the precinct, taken by Capt. 

Prat " I. 17- 4 

Pew next forward taken by Ichabod Cushman and gives 

the Precinct " i- I7- 4 

Gallery Pew No. — to John Smith " 5.12.0 

" " " — to Archipas Cole ........ " 14. 18. 8 

Little Pew between Madam Thacher's and Lut. Smith to 

Shubael Tinkham " 13. 9. 4 

Little Pew No. 35 to Noah Cushman " 5. 14. 8 

The Hon. Peter Oliver Esq. To have for the Addition to 

His Pew " 2. o. o 

Soon after completion, the remaining pews in the body of the house and 
galleries were sold to various persons who had been admitted by vote to be 
proprietors of the meeting-house. 

At a meeting of the proprietors held on the 7th of April, 1760, Peter Oliver, 
Esq., was admitted " to be a proprietor of said meeting house and to be entitled 
to all of the privileges thereto belonging and also that he have liberty to take up 
the two fore seats on the woman's side in said meeting house and in their place 
build two pews of his own cost and charge and to have one of the pews for his 
own and to give 13;^ 6s. 8d. to the proprietors for the privilege." 

1 For deed of land, see chapter on The Green. 


with a place for a bell. Large doors opened from the porch 
into the body of the church, and from either side of the house 
were folding-doors opening directly into the audience-room. 
In this vestibule were posted notices of marriage intentions, 
town meetings, sales, and any other matters relating to the 
church and town. On the west side was a large window, in 
front of which was the high pulpit ; the inside of the church 
was surrounded with deep galleries upon three sides, while 
opposite the pulpit was a second higher gallery, occupied by 
the Indians and slaves. It is said that these galleries were 
always well filled. They were supported by pillars painted in 
rough imitation of marble sculpture by Cephas Thompson, 
the celebrated portrait painter of the town. The pulpit was 
ascended by a flight of steps, and the minister's desk was 
hung with velvet tapestry, while above the pulpit was hung 
the large sounding-board of panel work, circular in shape, 
supported by a rod from the roof.^ The pews (sometimes 
spelled pues) were square, about five feet high, the upper part 
lattice work, through which the occupants could look into 
adjoining pews. They were on the sides of the house, with 
narrow, uncomfortable seats on three sides. These seats were 
hung on hinges, and were raised during the time of prayer, 
when the congregation stood. Oftentimes, at the close of the 
prayer, they were let down with a noise to be heard all over 
the house, and in some towns there was an ordinance to pre- 
vent unnecessary noise in the slamming of the seats in the 
pews. The space in the centre was filled with benches with- 
out backs for people who could not afford to own pews, and 
was so irregular that it was difficult sometimes to find one's 
way to the seats desired. In front of the pulpit was a large 
inclosure called the "deef " seats, where sat^ members of the 

1 The old sounding-board over the pulpit was to the children a most marvel- 
lous piece of work, as the supporting rods were out of sight. They were one day 
wondering what held it up, when one boy said, " Why, don't you know ? God 
holds it up, just as He does the world ; and that is why it does not fall down 
and break the minister's head." 

2 Mr. Wood in an address gives the following amusing incident : In the meet- 
ing-house, it was no uncommon thing for the snow to drift in at the pulpit win- 


congregation who were hard of hearing. Next came an ele- 
vated seat for the deacons, and before this was the communion 
table, the leaves of which were raised on hinges whenever that 
service was observed in church. 

Judge Oliver owned one of the pews, which his family always 
occupied ; with him frequently came the distinguished guests 
who, during the summer, were constantly at Oliver Hall. He 
was known to give up the head of his pew but once, and then 
to Governor Hutchinson, his guest, who came to church with 
his scarlet coat and sword. There was also the minister's 
pew, occupied by his family and such guests as were stopping 
with him. It was customary for members of the congregation 
to rise during the sermon when fatigued, and stand until they 
were rested, when they would resume their seats. In the gal- 
lery a seat was reserved for the tithing-man, always an impor- 
tant officer in every church. 

This was one of the churches where the great Whitefield 
preached during his visit to America. The church was then 
so crowded that his only way of reaching the pulpit was by a 
ladder to the window in the rear. Governor Bowdoin, while 
living in town, worshipped here, as well as Samuel Prince, 
father of the pastor of the Old South Church in Boston, and 
Benjamin Franklin on his visit to Middleboro.^ It was cus- 
tomary to have a morning service, and then an intermission of 
an hour and a half or two hours. All of the families brought 
their lunches, and lingered in the meeting-house, at the tavern, 
or about the sheds in the rear of the church for conversation 
and the gossip of the day. 

As there were no means of heating the old meeting-house, 
the worshippers were obliged to sit during the long services 
wrapped in their overcoats and shawls. Some of them carried 

dow. One Sunday, the minister found the pulpit desk covered. He stood up, 
and with his right hand brushed off a portion of the snow, not noticing where 
it went till he observed that his congregation smiled. He looked over, and" saw 
that he had sent a cold shower on the head of the soHtary individual occupying 
the deaf seats. He then brushed the remainder off in the other direction with 
his left hand, only to find that the poor man, who had moved after the first fall 
of snow, was again a victim. ■ 

1 See chapter concerning Social Customs. 


foot-Stoves, — small, square tin boxes filled with live coals, 
the heat of which served to keep the feet warm. During the 
nooning, those fortunate enough to possess a foot-stove were 
accustomed to repair to the Sproat Tavern to replenish the 
coals for the afternoon service.^ 

The introduction of musical instruments met with great 
opposition on the part of many of the older members of the 
church and society. Several animated church meetings were 
held to consider the matter.^ The violin was admitted if it 
could be played upside down as a viol, not as a "fiddle." As 
early as 1732 we find a vote, in regard to singing, that the 
pastor, Mr. Thacher, should " set the tunes of the psalms in 
the time of public worship as long as he could find it for the 
peace and satisfaction of the church and congregation." An- 
other innovation, which did not meet with approval, was the 
singing by a choir in the old meeting-house.^ 

This, as well as the former churches, was used for the town 
meetings until the erection of the town house, which was 
raised in 1 796, and soon after completed. 


Upon the death of the Rev. Mr. Conant, Mr. Abram Camp, 
a graduate of Yale in 1773, was invited to supply the pulpit 
during the winter of 1 778, and later, in December of the same 
year, the church voted to give him a call on probation, and in 
the February following, unanimously invited him to become 

1 There was much opposition to the introduction of stoves. One woman was 
carried out fainting from " the effects of the heat," but when assured that the 
stove had not been lighted, she was somewhat surprised. 

2 Among the most zealous opponents of the innovation was one who had 
been accused by his neighbor of trespassing upon his wood-lot and cutting and 
selling large quantities of wood for the market. In one of the discussions this 
gentleman said that " if such an innovation as introducing musical instruments 
into the church is permitted, I vdW never again attend the church meeting." 
His neighbor replied, " I wish those musical instruments could be carried up 
into my wood-lot." 

3 One of the venerable dames, in expressing her disapprobation of the whole 
proceeding, wrote to a friend, " Even the judge of the land was in the gallery 
bawling with the boys." 


their pastor. In his reply to the invitation, he requested that 
the vote of the sisters might be taken, a decided innovation 
in church action. In November, 1780, there were five votes 
against him, due to his request ; he afterwards declined the 
call on account of this opposition. Upon the suggestion of 
that very eminent man in the denomination, Rev^ Dr. Em- 
mons, Mr. Barker was recommended as a suitable pastor for 
the church. He was a graduate of Yale in 1771, and on the 9th 
of August, 1 78 1, the church unanimously invited him to the 
pastorate ; he was ordained on the 5th of December of that 
year. His ministry, although strongly contrasted in many re- 
spects with that of Mr. Conant, was acceptable. He was of the 
Hopkinson school of theology, then prominent in most of the 
Congregational churches of the state, and it was undoubtedly 
through his influence that this church was kept from chang- 
ing its faith to that of the Unitarian denomination, as did the 
church of the pilgrims in Plymouth and a large majority of 
the churches in the Old Colony. How successful his ministry 
was may be judged from the fact that two hundred and forty- 
seven were admitted to the church during his pastorate. In 
1807 and 1808 there seems to have been a general revival in 
town, during which over eighty persons united with the church. 
In 1794, at the one hundredth anniversary of the founding 
of the church, Mr. Barker preached an anniversary sermon, 
which was published at the time, and from which we learn 
much relating to its history. He died July 25, 18 15, deeply 
lamented, not only by his parish and congregation, but by the 
whole town.i 

During his absence in Congress, 1805-08, his pulpit was 
supplied by the Rev. Azel Washburn, Rev. Simeon Doggett, 
afterwards the principal of Bristol Academy in Taunton, Rev. 
Mr. Robinson of Westboro, and Rev. James Davis. 


Mr. Paine, a graduate of Brown University, 18 13, was 
settled over this church with some opposition, which so in- 
1 For a further sketch of his life, see chapter on The Green. 




creased that, at his own request, he was dismissed by a council. 
Notwithstanding the embarrassment under which he labored, 
fifteen people united with the church. 

During the two years the pulpit was vacant, seventy-two 
joined the church. 


Rev. William Eaton, a graduate of Williams College and 
Andover Theological Seminary, was installed March lo, 1824. 
Some laxity in reference to intemperance and Sabbath-break- 
ing, with un-christian con- 

duct on the part of a few 
members, made it necessary 
for Mr. Eaton, during his 
pastorate, to make them the 
subject of discipline, which 
occasioned much adverse criti- 
cism. He, however, was con- 
scientious in what he did, 
and his course seems to have 
been generally approved by 
the church. He was dismissed 
by council, at his own request, 
March 3, 1834. During his 
ministry sixty-three persons 
were added to the church. 
The most important event at this time was the erection of 
the present meeting-house of the First Church in 1S28, at a 


1 The curtain back of the pulpit was placed there immediately after the 
edifice was completed. It was the occasion of much opposition on the part 
of the older members of the church and society. The leader of this opposition 
was Captain Joshua Eddy, then one of the deacons of the church. On the Sab- 
bath after it was put up he was in church, but said nothing about it until he 
returned home, when he called his oldest son, Zachariah, to his house, and said, 
" Zach, how about that curtain ? " He replied, " It is for glory and beauty, like 
Aaron's robe." There was a moment's silence, then the conversation turned 
upon other subjects, and no further opposition was heard in regard to the cur- 





cost of from twelve to thirteen thousand dollars, which was 
paid by the sale of the pews. The vestry connected with the 
church was built the following year. Four acres of land were 
purchased of Zenas Cushman for the site of the new meeting- 
house and common in 1827. The parsonage was built in the 
year 1832, upon land purchased of Hercules Cushman. The 
architect of the church was James Sproat. The dedication 
sermon was preached January i, 1829, by the most celebrated 
clergyman of his day, the Rev. Lyman Beecher, the father of 
Henry Ward Beecher. Daniel Webster, seeing it soon after 
its dedication, remarked that it was one of the finest church 
edifices in the country. 

For more than tw^enty years after its erection every pew was 
occupied. The early prejudice against musical instruments had 
so far abated that, in addition to the choir, there were for many 
years two double bass viols, two 'cellos, three violins, and two 
bassoons. The choir was led by Deacon Horatio G. Wood, and 
the double bass viols were played by Colonel Southworth Ellis 
and James M. Pickens. 




Rev. Dr. Putnam was born in Danvers, Mass., on the 24th 
of November, 1786. He spent two years at Harvard College, 
and was graduated at Dartmouth in 1809. After reading law 

two and a half years 
T in the office of Judge 

Samuel Putnam in 
Salem, Mass., he be- 
came impressed with 
the idea that it was his 
duty to become a min- 
ister of the gospel. 
He entered Ando- 
ver Theological Semi- 
nary, and was gradu- 
ated in September, 
18 14. After a settle- 
ment as pastor in 
the North Church in 
Portsmouth, N. H., 
for twenty years, he 
was installed pastor 
over this church Octo- 
D. D. from Dartmouth 


ber 28, 1835. He received a degree of 
in 1853. 

Dr. Putnam was an accomplished scholar, always dignified 
in his bearing, a gentleman of the old school, courteous and 
large-hearted, the warm personal friend of every member of 
his church and society. He was sound in his denominational 
belief, yet charitable to those who differed from him. It was 
during his ministry that the First Church had its largest mem- 
bership. Among the congregation might be numbered twelve 
merchants, two or three physicians, and a number of law- 
yers ; a notable congregation. Worshippers would come from 
distant parts of the town, many of them travelling from three 
to five miles. The row of sheds bordered the parish com- 


mon, and at the close of the afternoon service it was interest- 
ing to see the line of carriages which left the church to wend 
their way along the five different roads radiating from the 

The parish extended almost ten miles, and it was the cus- 
tom of the pastor, in addition to the Sabbath service, to have 
evening meetings in the different neighborhoods alternately. 
This, in addition to the pastoral work, made the duties of Dr. 
Putnam very laborious. 

The most important event which occurred during his minis- 
try was the colonization of the Central Congregational Church 
at the Four Corners. In 1847 thirty-three of the members 
of the church were dismissed to form the new congregation, 
which was increased by most of the worshippers who lived at 
the Four Corners. This materially diminished the former large 
attendance. No pastor was ever more honored and beloved 
than Dr. Putnam. In 1865 he resigned, on account of the 
weight of years and failing health, and died May 3, 1868, at 
the age of eighty-one years. Two hundred and thirteen united 
with the church during his ministry. 

The parish at one time had a fund of nine thousand dollars. 
The house formerly owned by James Sparrow was built by 
the Rev, Sylvanus Conant, whose heirs sold it to the parish ; 
afterwards Mr. Barker bought it, and the proceeds were given 
as a fund for the support of the church. Samuel Tinkham, a 
member of this church, who died March 28, 1796, left his farm 
in the little precinct to the parish, and the incomes of these two 
estates were used in part payment of the minister's salary until 
after the dismissal of the Rev. Mr. Eaton. During the ministry 
of the Rev. Dr. Putnam some of this fund was lost, so that 
there is but a small portion of it left, the income of which con- 
tinues to be appropriated for its original purpose. 

The pastors of this church since 1866 have been: Rufus M. 
Sawyer, 1866-69. Ephraim M. Hidden, 1869-74. Theophilus 
Parsons Sawin, 1875-78. Nathan Tirrell Dyer, 1878-85. 
Howard Alcott Hanaford, 1885-88. Josiah Weare Kingsbury, 
1889-91. George Warren Stearns, 1891-1905. 



Up to the 19th of July, 17 19, Lakeville was included in the 
parish of the First Church. At that time the town was divided 
into two precincts, known as the East and West ; the dividing 
line was from a point near the mouth of Fall Brook and run- 
ning westerly by the trout brook to the line of Taunton. The 
East contained the meeting-house of the First Church, and 
was by far the larger part of the town ; with the West was 
included a portion of Taunton. There was no stated preach- 
ing until July, 1723, and the next year the first meeting-house 
was erected a short distance to the east of the present house 
of worship. 

October 12, 1725, the church was first formed, partly from 
the First Church in Middleboro and partly from the adjoining 
towns. The early records were lost, as is the case with so 
many other churches. The number of women who first joined 
is unknown ; the number of men, so far as can be ascertained, 
was twelve : John Thrasher, Ebenezer Richmond, James Reed, 
Richard Waste, Samuel Hoar, Thomas Pickens, William Hos- 
kins, John Hackett, James Sproat, Elections Reynolds, Ed- 
ward Richmond, and William Strowbridge. 


Rev. Benjamin Ruggles, the first pastor, was ordained No- 
vember 17, 1725, and continued his ministrations there until 
his dismissal, December, 1753. He was graduated from Yale 
College in 172 1. 

Soon after the ordination of Mr. Ruggles, Edward Rich- 
mond and John Hackett were chosen deacons of the church. 

From the death of Mr. Ruggles, for nearly eight years, 
the pulpit was supplied by seven different clergymen, in the 
absence of any settled pastor. Notwithstanding this, the old 
meeting-house was abandoned in 1759, ^^^ ^ large, and for 
those days an expensive church was erected. This was built in 
the usual form of the times, with galleries upon its three sides, 


a high pulpit, and a sounding-board. There seems to have 
been no steeple upon the church, and the outside was never 


Rev. Caleb Turner was ordained April 16, 1761. He was a 
graduate of Yale College, and continued as pastor of the church 
until 1 80 1, when he was dismissed upon his own request at an 
advanced age. 

During this period John Macomber, Seth Richmond, John 
Leonard, Benjamin Deane, and George Staples served as 


November 18, 1801, Rev. Thomas Crafts, a graduate of 
Harvard College, was installed as the third pastor, and re- 
mained eighteen years, until his death at the age of sixty-one. 
At the commencement of his labors the church numbered 
only twelve, but at its close had increased to forty resident 


The fourth pastor was Rev. John Shaw, a graduate of Brown 
University, who was installed July 21, 18 19, and continued 
as pastor until 1834. 

After his dismissal, the church was without a pastor for two 
years. In 1835 they erected their present house of worship. 


The fifth pastor was Homer Barrows, who was ordained in 
1836. He was a graduate of Amherst College, and continued 
as pastor of the church until June i, 1842, when he was dis- 


The Rev. Jesse K. Bragg was ordained the sixth pastor Oc- 
tober 19, 1842. He was a graduate of Amherst College, and 
his pastorate continued until June 30, 1851;" At that time the 
church numbered one hundred and fifty resident members. 



Calvin Chapman was ordained October 22, 1851. In 1808 
the church and society received from Nicholas Roach a 
fund of I4000, and later from Hugh Montgomery $3000, 
the income of which is appropriated for the support of the 


Halifax was incorporated in 1734, and on October 13 the fol- 
lowing were dismissed from the First Church to form a church 
there : Hannah Fuller, Phoebe Standish, Ichabod Standish, 
Abigail Tinkham, Elizabeth Fuller, Mary Wood, Elizabeth 
Thompson, Mary Thompson, Sr., Mary Thompson, Lidea 
Cobb, Sarah Drew, Elizabeth Drew, Isaac Tinkham, Ebenezer 
Fuller, John Fuller, Timothy Wood, Thomas Thompson, Eben- 
ezer Cobb, and John Drew, Jr. 

The first pastor was John Cotton, who attained eminence in 
the colony and church. 


For more than three fourths of a century after the first 
settlement of the town, the residents of Titicut were in the 
habit of attending worship at the First Church, a distance of 
more than five miles. After the Great Awakening of 1740, 
Mr. Byram commenced preaching in this neighborhood, and 
in 1744 it was made a distinct parish. This extended to the 
West Precinct line on the Purchade Brook, with the excep- 
tion of certain estates which continued to belong to the old 
parish. It included a part of Bridgewater to the Four Mile 

The first parish meeting under this law was held at the 
house of Nehemiah Washburn on the 21st of March, 1744. 
The Indians gave land for a meeting-house.^ The citizens of 

1 The subsequent history of this church does not belong in this volume. 

2 See chapter on Praying Indians. 


the place had been collecting materials, and had voted, as early 
as January 25, 1744, " to raise fifteen pounds old tenor for the 
support of their minister," but it was not until March 29, 1747, 
at a parish meeting held in the house of James Keith, that 
they voted " to provide materials to enclose and cover the meet- 
ing-house." This was a plain structure, with doors on three 
sides and the high pulpit on the north. The windows were 
small, with diamond-shaped glass set in lead ; it had no spire 
or bell upon it. It was situated in a pine forest, and was after- 
wards moved to a position near the site of the present Congre- 
gational Church. During these years a dissension existed, 
and for nearly four years after the incorporation of the parish 
there was no church organization. At this time, however, 
the Rev. Joseph Snow, pastor of a " New Light " Church in 
Providence, R. I., and Isaac Backus, a young man from Nor- 
wich, Conn., were preaching here. Both of these men were 
in sympathy with the Great Awakening, and the Rev. Mr. 
Backus was invited to remain with them for some time. 

The meeting-house, which had been raised and covered in 
1747, was not completed, and in 1748 a tax was levied upon 
the whole parish for that purpose, which gave great offence to 
those who styled themselves " New Lights," and who had not 
worshipped there. 

February 16, 1748, the Congregational Church was formed, 
with the articles of faith and covenant similar to those of the 
First Church, which were signed and entered into by sixteen 
persons : Jonathan Woods, Joseph Harvey, William Hooper, 
Ephraim Leach, Onesimus Campbell, Samuel Alden, Joseph 
Phinney, Israel Washburn, James Hooper, Joseph Harvey, Jr., 
Leah Washburn, Ruth Leach, Sarah Leach, Esther Fobes, 
Abigail Fobes, and Abigail Fobes, Jr. During this year the 
membership was increased to forty-four ; then followed in the 
succeeding years dissensions upon the subject of baptism, so 
that the church was much divided, and five ecclesiastical coun- 
cils were held. 

Mr. Backus, having preached in the new house for a short 
time, turned it over to the " New Lights," and was taxed and 


restrained for it, which he declares was all that he got for his 
preaching. Owing to the differences of opinion concerning 
baptism, Mr. Backus left this church on January 16, 1756, and 
organized a church in accordance with his views. Although 
the building had been partially completed in 1749, measures 
were taken to finish it, as seen in the account of the precinct 
meeting June 4, 1756, when it was voted "to sell the pew 
ground and appropriate the money toward finishing the meet- 
ing-house." Ephraim Keith, David Alden, and Abiezer Edson 
were appointed a committee to sell "pew spotts." The bids 
were made October 21, 1756, "in furnace credit, to be paid 
the next blast, and security given." 

" No I on ye west side of the pulpit, being 7 feet long 
and 5^ feet deep was sold to Mr. James Keith, at no old 
tenor, "furnace credit ; " " No. 5 " was " under the men's stairs," 
No. 8 was "under the women's stairs." The men and women 
were separated ; the records mention the men's side and 
the women's side. On the same day. Rev. Solomon Reed 
was called as pastor at an annual salary of " sixty pounds law- 
ful money." 


Mr. Reed, a graduate of Harvard College in 1739, lived on 
Pleasant Street, nearly opposite the old Hathaway place, in a 
house which was characteristic of that age, the roof coming 
nearly to the ground in the rear. During the term of his min- 
istry thirty persons were received into the church, and three 
of its members were dismissed to other churches. 

The first deacons were a Mr. Fobes, whose full name is not 
given, Samuel Keith, Zephaniah Wills, and Daniel Leach. 
Among other votes passed by the church, we learn that they 
should sing Dr. Watts's version of the psalms for the present, 
and Isaac Perkins was " to take care of the young people on 
Sabbath days." 

To show how Continental money had depreciated at this time, 
in 1779 there was voted to Rev. Solomon Reed " one thousand 
pounds for his salary for the year passed, the one thousand 
pounds being considered equal to the sixty pounds heretofore " 


given him. Another vote on the 6th of September, 1784, was 
the petition " to the Great and General Court for a lottery 
to raise a fund in order to support a minister in this parish." 
There are in the library of the Pilgrim Society a few of his 
manuscript sermons. Mr. Reed died May 7, 1785. 


Mr. Gurney was called to this church September 27, 1787, 
was ordained December 5, the same year, and served until 
his death, July 
30,1815. Sev- /Q/ r\ yp 

to the church *•>— / 

during his pastorate. In 1808 the 

parish built a new meeting-house, the second in its history. 

This had a tower and bell, and its location was the subject of 

much discussion at the time. In 18 12 permission was granted 

to erect sheds on the common near the meeting-house, under 

the direction of the parish committee. 


Rev. Philip Colby was born July 30, 1779, and was ordained 
January i,^ 18 17. He continued as minister here until his 
death, February 27, 185 1. In the year 18 17, certain individ- 
uals having agreed to build a house for the use of their min- 
ister, land was leased to them by the parish for the term of 
nine hundred and ninety-nine years, and here the parsonage 
was erected. 

During his ministry one hundred and seventy-eight persons 
were admitted to the church. The church edifice was burned 
February 28, 1852, but with great sacrifice the parish erected 
another house, which was also burned in 1898, and the pre- 
sent house of worship was then built. 

^ In the records we find the following, showing the temperance movement had 
not arisen : "Voted to allow for spirits for ordination, $8.90," and again, "for 
spirits, $2.39," and next year, "for spirits not bro't into former bills, $2.50." 





The pastors of this church since 1850 have been : Thomas 
E. Bliss, 1852-55. Charles Packard, 1855-57. E. G. Little, 
1859-67. Henry L. Edwards, 1868-73. Samuel Hopkins 
Emery, 1874-76. Ephraim W. Allen, 1877-83. Dwight W. 
Prentice, 1884-86. Clarence Eddy, 1886-90. Herbert Keight- 
ley Job, 1891-98. Charles L. Tomblen, 1899-. 

In 1808 Nicholas Roach left a legacy of ^2000 to the church. 
Deacon and Mrs. Elijah E. Perkins gave $3000, Mrs. Seth 
Fuller ^500, and Enoch Pratt $5000. The interest of this 
fund is used for the support of the gospel here. 


In 1793 part of Middleboro was set off to form the town 
of North Rochester. A church had been formed there, prob- 
ably during the ministry of Mr. Weld. The records have been 
lost, but from the diary of Mr. Bennett, one of the mem- 
bers, it is learned that Rev. Calvin Chaddock was the first 



A Separatist Church was formed in Beech Woods as a result 
of Whitefield's preaching, but it was never in a flourishing con- 
dition. James Mead was ordained its pastor October 3, 1751. 
He died in 1756, and its members joined the church over which 
Ebenezer Hinds presided. Their church edifice was purchased 
and removed by them from East Freetown, and, upon the dis- 
solution of the church, was occupied by the Second Baptist 
Church. It was destroyed by fire, May 19, 1798. 


In 1879 about twenty persons at the Rock covenanted to- 
gether under the name of the Independent Congregational 
Church, one of the chief objects being to teach the doctrine 
of holiness or entire sanctification. A commodious chapel 
was erected in 1880, and dedicated in June. This church 
was organized in 1882 and incorporated in 1901. W. Clarkson 
Ryder, who was ordained in 1886, died in 1905. The present 
membership is thirty-nine. An annual camp-meeting has been 
held under the auspices of this church in a beautiful oak grove 
about a mile from the Rock station. 


Towards the middle of the last century the village at the 
Four Corners had so increased in population that it was by far 
the largest in town, and more than one hundred were in the 
habit of worshipping every Sabbath with the First Church at 
the Green, a distance of more than two miles. They had built 
a chapel for the purpose of holding evening and mid-week ser- 
vices, which were usually conducted by the pastor of the First 
Church, and here, on the 25th day of March, 1847, the Central 
Congregational Church was formed. An ecclesiastical council 
had been called, in which the organization of the church was 
heartily approved. The society then formed was not like the 



First Church by metes and bounds, but formed under the 
provisions of the statutes as existing at the time, the members 
who lived in this immediate vicinity being taken from the 
bounds of the old society. The First Church cheerfully, but not 
w^ithout regret, dismissed thirty-three of their members, recom- 
mending them to join the new church. Their names were as 
follows : Cornelius Burgess, Mrs. Melissa Burgess, Mrs. Betsey 
T. Burgess, Horatio G. Wood, Consider Robbins, Mrs. Ruth 
Reed, James D. Wilder, Mrs. Bathsheba Wilder, James Warren, 
Mrs. Margaret Warren, Nathan Perkins, Jr., John Perkins, 
Mrs. Ann S. Perkins, Ebenezer Pickens, Mrs. Mary B, Pick- 
ens, Mrs. Abigail S. Pickens, Miss Caroline M. Pickens, Mrs. 
Abigail W. Wood, Miss Emily T. Wood, Adoniram J. Cushman, 

1849- '9°-] 



Mrs. Ann S. Cushman, Nathan King, Mrs. Elizabeth H. Wash- 
burn, Mrs. Olivia A. Hitchcock, Mrs. Freelove P. Rounseville, 
Mrs. Betsey Thomas, Mrs. Elizabeth Wood, Miss Eleanor B. 
Wood, Mrs. Almira Goddard, Miss Sarah Jackson, Mrs.' Zilpha 
M. Clark, Miss Hope Writhington, Mrs. Mary Dunham. 

In 1849 tliey built their present house of worship, which w^ 
enlarged in 1891. 


After the organization of the church and parish, a unanimous 
call was extended to the Rev. Isaiah C. Thatcher, a graduate 
of Union College 
in 1 84 1. He was 
installed by coun- 
cil, August 16, 

During his min- 
istry sixty - seven 
members were add- 
ed to the church. 
The pastors of this 
church since 1854 
have' been : Wil- 
liam C. Dickinson, 
1854-56. Isaiah C. 
Thatcher, 1856-60 
(a second pastor- 
ate), Harvey M. 
Stone, 1860-63. 

Stephen G. Dodd, 1866-70. Ellis R. Drake, 1871-76. Henry 
M. Grant, 1878-88. John B. Lawrence, 1888-93. Richard G. 
Woodbridge, 1 893-1 901. Samuel M. Cathcart, 1902-. 



From the scanty materials which we have, and the conflict- 
ing statements relating to the two churches in Titicut, it is 






difficult to give an accurate 
account of the early history 
of either. Mr. Backus, in his 
unabridged History of the 
Baptist Church, states that 
this church was organized in 
Titicut on the 4th of Febru- 
ary, 1749, consisting of six- 
teen members, and was after- 
wards dissolved. Mr. Emery, 
in his history of the Congre- 
gational Church, says, " If this be so, we can easily understand 
how this Baptist Church, organized about a year later than the 
New Light Church, and with the same number of members, 
has been confounded with it, and its dissolution been made 
to apply to the wrong church." Without attempting to recon- 
cile these conflicting and scanty records, it is sufficient to say 
that the present Baptist Church was organized on the i6th 
of January, 1756, Mr. Backus acting as pastor and preacher; 
and at that time the following individuals entered into cove- 
nant as a Baptist Church ; namely, Isaac Backus, Timothy Bry- 
ant, John Heywood, 
Susanna Backus, 
Mary Caswell, and 
Esther Fobes. 

The covenant en- 
tered into on the for- 
mation of the church 
is still in existence 
in the handwriting 
of Mr. Backus. This 
was one of the first 
Baptist Churches or- 
ganized in this part 
of the country, and 
attracted widespread 
attention in the call- rev. isaac backus 


ing of various councils and in the discussing of the subject- 
matter set forth in the teachings of the leader. He says, in 
reference to his ordination, that a " number of brethren being 
convinced that thorough freedom towards all men ought to be 
shown as far as it can be in truth, yet truth limits true com- 
munion to believers baptized upon a confession of their faith." 
He was installed July 23, 1756, assisted by pastors from Boston 
and Rehoboth. 

Notwithstanding the earnest, devout piety of Mr. Backus and 
his great ability as a scholar and preacher, the church seemed 
to be small for many years, and 

it was not until a revival in 1779 SScJ^^ ^^*i^^ ' 
and 1780 that it had increased 

from fifty-nine members to one hundred and thirty-eight. At 
this time about two thirds of the members of his church were 
residents of Bridgewater, and the remainder were from Titicut. 

He continued his ministry over this church until his death, 
November 20, 1806.^ The records, under date of November 
3, 1804, contain the following : " As the infirmities of old age 
have so far overtaken our pastor, Elder Backus, we chose Elder 
Kendall as our pastor with him." It is said that he never 
desired to leave Middleboro for another church. 

He is buried in the cemetery at North Middleboro, the 
stone marking his grave bearing this inscription : — 






As a Christian and Minister the character of this man was 
truly conspicuous. As pastor of a church in this town, for fifty- 
eight years, he was eminently useful and beloved. His domestic 
and relative duties, as a husband and parent, were discharged 
with fidelity, tenderness, and affection. His zeal and persever- 
ing industry in the cause of civil and religious liberty, through a 
long, laborious life is still manifest in his writings as an His- 
torian of the Baptist denomination, and defender of the truths 
of the doctrine of Christ. Having uniformly borne testimony 

1 For further account of Mr. Backus, see chapter on Titicut. 


in his life, conversation, and ministry, of his ardent love to his 
Divine Master and the doctrine of the Cross, in an advanced 
age he was called from his beloved charge, and numerous Chris- 
tian friends and brethren, to sleep in Jesus, and his spirit into 
the garner of his heavenly Father, as a shock of corn fully ripe. 

God was his portion and liis guide through this dark wilder- 

And now his flesh is laid aside, his soul has endless Rest. 


Rev. Mr. Kendall served as an assistant pastor with Mr. 
Backus until the time of his death. Some dissension having 
arisen, a little after the death of Dr. Backus, he resigned his 
ministry in 1807, and was succeeded by Elder Samuel Abbott. 


Elder Samuel Abbott was ordained August 29, 1804, and 
filled the ministry here from July 29, 1807, to March 21, 
1817. He had before served as minister in the Fourth Baptist 
Church at Lakeville. 

From 18 1 7 to 18 19, there was occasional preaching. 


Rev. Silas Hall was born in Raynham, January 16, 1789, and 
prepared for Brown University under the Rev. David Gurney 
of Middleboro. After his graduation in 1809 ^^^^ theological 
course, he was pastor in several places. He was settled in North 
Middleboro at three different periods. 

He was a man of intellectual gifts, recognized as a scholar, 
and was especially proficient in Greek and Latin. After he 
was seventy-five he preached but little, spending his last years 
with his son in Whitman. He died December 26, 1876, aged 
eighty-seven. From 1826 the pulpit was supplied by several 
men for a short time. 


Mr. Lovell had been a physician, but gave up that profession 

1 It is to be regretted that but few brief facts could be ascertained with regard 
to these ministers. 





for the ministry, preaching in Rowley and Taunton before 
supplying here. 


After leaving Titicut, Mr. Kelly preached in Hanson, Carver, 
and Halifax. 


Asa Niles was born in North Middleboro, February lo, 1777, 
and died April 15, 1849. ^^ preached to this church from 
September 23, 1832, to March 5, 1833. 


Avery Briggs was born in East Stoughton, July 5, 1795, and 
was a graduate of Brown. He was for eight years principal of 
Peirce Academy, and supplied this pulpit for a few years. He 
died October 26, 1883. 



Mr. Andem had been a business man before entering the 
ministry. He preached here from January i, 1847, ^o Novem- 
ber 18, 1849, when he went to North Bridgewater, and then 
moved to the West. 

The pastors of this church since 1850 have been: Silas Hall, 
1850-51. Lorenzo Tandy, 1852-56. Samuel Richardson, 1856- 
62. Alexander McLearn, 1862-65. Joseph Hutchinson, 1865- 
75. George L. Ruberg, 1875-79. S. T. Livermore, 1879-80. 
Henry C. Coombs, 1880-86. Benjamin Francis Turner, 1886- 
87. (For two years after this, he was a missionary in Burma.) 
James W. Tingley, 1887-88. Isaac W. Coombs, 1889-90. 
James W. Tingley, 1890-92. (Second pastorate here.) Doug- 
lass Hazard Simpson, 1892-94. Otis Osgood Ordway, 1895-97. 
George Fletcher Beecher, 1897-1900. Frank S. Cann, 1900- 
01. Alfred S. Hill, 1901-03. J. R. Lawrence, 1903-. 

This church, aside from being prominent in this denomi- 
nation and from the extended reputation for scholarship and 
piety of its first pastor, has earned an enviable name as the 
mother church of its denomination, and as the church from 
which some seventeen ministers have gone forth.^ 


Although the records of this church are probably lost, and 
it has been extinct for more than fifty years, its history is im- 
portant in the ecclesiastical annals of the town. Its first mem- 
bers were probably among those who were dissatisfied with the 
teachings of the Congregational Church, and who, owing to the 
great influence exerted throughout the colony by the preach- 
ing of Whitefield, assumed the name of Separatists, New Lights, 
or Come-Outers, as they were often called. This church was 
formed through the influence of Thomas Nelson, who had 

1 James Mellen, Asa Hunt, Abner Lewis, Elijah Codding, Job Macomber, 
Samuel Nelson, Stephen S. Nelson, David Leonard, Zenas L. Leonard, Lewis 
Leonard, George Leonard, Samuel Tainter, Thomas Conant, Silas Hall, William 
Harrison Alden, David Weston, Joshua F. Packard. 


joined the church at Swansea; but m 1753 he and his sons, 
with several others who sympathized with him in his rehgious 
views, commenced worship in their house in Assawampsett, and 
secured the services of Ebenezer Hinds to preach for them. 

Two years before this, a Separatist Church had been organ- 
ized four miles southeast of this, with James Mead as the 
pastor and William Smith as deacon. Mr. Mead had been em- 
ployed in adjacent towns as a schoolmaster, and we find in the 
records of Freetown, under date of December 17, 1744, the fol- 
lowing quotation : " James Mead was dismissed from serving 
longer as a schoolmaster." He had previously worshipped at 
the Congregational Church at North Middleboro, and in 175 1, 
with William Smith, resigned, " to embody together into a 
church where they lived at Beech Woods in one edge of Mid- 
dleboro." At his death, in 1756, the majority of the church 
became Baptists, those who had worshipped in the house of 
Mr. Nelson uniting with them to form a church in the meet- 
ing-house at Beech Woods, November 16, 1757, with the Rev. 
Ebenezer Hinds as pastor, who was ordained January 26, 1758. 
On May 19, 1798, the church was accidentally destroyed by 
fire, together with the parsonage standing near. New buildings 
were erected a few years later near the site of the old ones ; 
the meeting-house was used until about the year 1843 ; the 
parsonage is now occupied by Dennis Tinkham. 

In 1840 Elder William Shurtleff, known as a "Christian" 
Baptist, became pastor, and as a result of his preaching this 
became a " Christian " Church. Although an extensive revi- 
val followed as a result of Mr. Shurtleff 's preaching, in 1841 
the church was divided, a large part following Elder Shurtleff, 
while others formed a Free-Will Baptist Church, and the re- 
mainder adhered to the Calvinistic faith of that denomination. 
As a result of this division, three church buildings representing 
these different denominations were commenced ; the Baptist 
was never completed, and its church organization, with that 
of the Free-Will, soon became extinct. These churches were 
located on the County Road, a short distance to the west from 
Canedy's Corner. 



Ebenezer Hinds was born in Bridgewater, July 29, 17 19, and 
was at one time a member of the Second Baptist Church in 

Boston. During his min- 
istry a revival of religion 
occurred, whereby this 
church was increased to 
one hundred and four per- 
sons. During the French 
and Indian War he served 
as chaplain in Captain 
Benjamin Pratt's com- 
pany, and was with them 
in their march to Sara- 
toga, where he often 
preached. He was a man 
of unusual ability, and an 
earnest and devout chris- 
tian pastor, who did much 
to build up his church 
and increase the spiritu- 
ality of its members dur- 
ing his forty years of service. He was remarkable for his bodily 
health and activity, and it is stated that at the age of eighty 
years he would spring upon his horse unaided and take long" 
rides to visit his parishioners. Probably on account of his 
great age, he gave up his pastorate about the year 1793, and 
until the year 1805 there seems to have been no regular pastor, 
Mr. Hinds preaching occasionally as his strength would allow. 
At his death, April 29, 181 2, he conveyed to the church the par- 
sonage which he had built and the land upon which it stands. 


The Rev. Mr. Coombs was a member of the Third 
Church in Middleboro, and at one time served as pastor of the 
Calvinistic Baptist Church in Montague, Mass., and in Wards- 



boro, Vt., from which he moved to Lakeville to accept the pas- 
torate of this church. From 181 5 to 1 840 there was no regular 
service, but during this time Elders Loring, Handy, Culver, 
and Whittemore occasionally preached. 


But little is known of Elder William Shurtleff ; he was said 
to be an able preacher, although not in sympathy with the 
creed of this church. After the close of his ministry, a num- 
ber of his church and society followed him in the formation of 
a Christian Church. See Christian Church. 


At the close of the Rev. Peter Thacher's ministry in the 
First Church, the dissension growing out of the New and the 
Old Lights extended throughout the town, and the families 
living in South Middleboro and the adjoining towns of Carver, 
Rochester, and Wareham called a Baptist minister to preach 
to them from time to time. In 1761 ten persons united in 
forming a Baptist Church under the name of the Third Cal- 
vinistic Church, with Rev, Ebenezer Jones as their pastor. 
At first the meetings were held in a private dwelling, but 
afterwards a house of worship was erected on the site of the 
meeting-house in South Middleboro, now occupied by the 
Methodists, and known in the' last century as the Spruce 
meeting-house. At the of the ministry of Rev. Asa 
Hunt, in 1789, so much dissension was caused by the removal 
of some of the members to Beaver Dam (now Rock), that it 
resulted in the church and society being moved there, and 
later the church edifice came into the hands of the Methodists, 
as mentioned above. 

Services were first held by the Baptist Church near the first 
parsonage on Miller Street, upon a ledge of rock from which 
the place took its name. After the removal of this church 
to Rock, the Rev. Samuel Nelson became the pastor, and 
from him for many generations the meeting-house, built in 





I795> was known as " Mr. Nelson's meeting-house," It was 
a house with sixty-eight pews. It had three alcoves, one at 
the end and one upon each side, and was built substantially 
like the meeting-house of the First Church at the Green. 
Since the removal of the church from South Middleboro to 
Rock, it has been small but prosperous. It was of this church 
that Deborah Sampson of Revolutionary fame was a member, 
and here she was disciplined for " unseemly conduct " in tak- 
ing male attire and serving as a private soldier. The church 
edifice was torn down in 1852, and the present one erected. 


Ebenezer Jones had preached to them before his ordination, 
which occurred October 28, 1761. During the first year the 


church enjoyed a revival, which spread throughout the com- 
munity, and many united with the church. Mr. Jones died in 
Albany in 1791. 


Asa Hunt was born in July, 1744, and was ordained pastor 
here October 30, 1771. During his ministry the meeting-house 
was built, and in 1780 a great revival began among his people, 
and one hundred and thirteen were added to the church. In 
1782 the church membership consisted of one hundred and 
ninety-four members. He died in Providence, September 20, 


At the close of the ministry of Mr. Hunt the church was 
without a pastor for some time, and a dissension arose owing 
to the removal of ten members to Rock. They were fortunate 
in securing the services of Rev. Samuel Nelson, who was 
born April 6, 1748; he was a grandson of Thomas Nelson, 
one of the first settlers of Lakeville. Fifteen of the members 
still remained at South Middleboro, and for some time he con- 
ducted preaching services in both places, but soon the services 
at South Middleboro were discontinued. It was during his 
ministry that the first meeting-house was erected at Rock. 
Mr. Nelson was an able man ; during his first year thirty new 
members were added. He continued as pastor of this church, 
but on account of the failure of his eyesight and his feebleness 
in body, in 181 8 Mr. Isaac Kimball was chosen his assistant. 
Mr. Nelson died September 9, 1822, at the age of seventy- 
seven years, four months. He was a man small in stature, of 
sandy complexion, and very mild in his disposition. 


From 1830 to 1833 the church was without a settled pastor, 
but was supplied most of the time by the Rev. Mr. Ball. 

^ But few facts could be obtained concerning these ministers. 



Thirty-one were added to the church durmg his pastorate. 


Rev. Alexander Milne's ministry was marked by an exten- 
sive revival, which brought many members into the church. 
The pastors of this church since 1844 have been : Mr. 

Holbrook, 1844-45. George Daland, 1846-48. T. M. Symons 
and H. C. Coombs supplied the pulpit. J. W. Horton, 1852-57. 
P. R. Russell, 1857-60. A. E. Battell, 1860-63. George Car- 
penter, 1864 E. S. Hill, 1864-68. J. E.Wood, 1868-71. I.J. 
Burgess, 1871-75. C. D. Swett, 1876-82. William M. Weeks,' 
1883-84. J. W. Merrill, 1884-85. Thilander Perry, 1886-88. 
Joseph Barbour, 1888-93. Ward Fisher, 1894-95. Archibald 
Kerr, 1 897-1900. Charles W. Allen, 1900-. 


This church was commonly known as the Pond Church. A 
number of members of the Second Baptist Church, probably 
desiring a nearer place of worship, met on the 30th day of 
November, 1795, for the purpose of building a meeting-house 
more convenient than that at Beech Woods. They organized 
a new society under the name of the United Brethren, and in 
the records we find the " old meeting-house is now very much 
decayed and quite out of centre, we find it necessary to build 
a new one. We therefore severally agree to contribute our 
assistance upon the following conditions." Here follow various 
items, and among others they " should have the liberty occa- 
sionally to invite ministers of good character of any denomina- 
tion to preach in said house and that the minister who statedly 
supplies the pulpit shall be in full fellowship with the Warren 

At first it was voted that the church should be built upon 




Shockley Hill, but the site was afterwards changed to the 
narrow strip of land between the highway and Assawampsett 
Pond. Major Peter Hoar seems to have been a prominent mem- 
ber of the society, and it was largely through his influence that 
the church edifice was erected and completed in 1797. It is 
said to have been a very fine structure, and was occupied as a 
place of worship until about the year 1861, when public worship 
was discontinued, and it was sold by the proprietors, a portion 
being made into a public hall, called Sassamon Hall, a portion 
into a grocery store, and the remaining part used as a tene- 
ment. It was burned in 
the early part of 1870, 

The church was not 
formed until August 19, 
1800, when the organiza- 
tion took the name of the 
United Brethren, wor- 
shipping in the house 
which had been erected 
three years before. From 
the completion of the 
place of worship until 
the organization of the 
church, service was con- 
ducted by various cler- 
gymen of the Baptist 
denomination. During 
the first seven years of 
its organization there 
were thirty-three com- 
municants. In 1804 the church voted to change the name to 
the Fourth Baptist Church in Middleboro. The Rev. Samuel 
Abbott, the first preacher, remained over this church for a 
short time. Afterwards the pulpit was supplied at intervals by 
various clergymen, until about 1809 or 18 10, when Elder Eb- 
enezer Briggs was chosen. He continued as the pastor of the 
church until 1846, and was widely known in this and the adjoin- 



ing towns as an able minister, genial and thoroughly devoted 
to his work, having the confidence and love of all. 

A fund was left to the deacons of this church under the wills 
of Asa King and Andrew Cole, which upon the dissolution 
of the church and society was transferred to the deacons of 
the Central Baptist Church of Middleboro and the Baptist 
Church of Raynham, to be held by them in trust to carry out 
the wishes of the donors. 


In the early part of the last century Major Levi Peirce, then 
an influential member of the Pond (Assawampsett) Church, 
thought it desirable that religious services should be conducted 
under the auspices of the Baptist denomination at the Four 
Corners. He made arrangements for the erection of a building, 
the lower part of which was to be used for educational pur- 
poses, the upper part to contain a hall where religious services 
could be held.^ On the 26th day of April, 1828, a meeting was 
held in the Academy Hall to organize a religious society of the 
Baptist denomination. Proper officers were chosen, a declara- 
tion of their faith was drawn up, and a covenant entered into 
similar to the one now in use in the church. Prominent cler- 
gymen and laymen from the adjoining churches were present, 
and at a council, August 13, unanimously voted to recognize 
the brethren and sisters so organized as a distinct church, to 
be designated the Central Baptist Church of Middleboro. 

Major Peirce erected at his own expense, at a cost of about 
four thousand dollars, the meeting-house for the church and 
society adjoining the academy grounds. He also erected a par- 
sonage and established a fund of one thousand dollars, which 
he soon after gave to the church. Upon its complete organ- 
ization the church property was deeded to trustees, to be held 
by them and their successors for the maintenance of religious 

On August 9, 1828, eight persons were received from the 

1 See chapter containing an account of Peirce Academy. 





Pond Baptist Church, namely, Levi Peirce, Elisha Tucker, 
Molly Leonard, Prudence Holmes, Anna Hines, Sally Peirce, 
Sally B. Tucker, Thankful Miller, with Patience Barden and 
Priscilla Tinkham from the Rock Church. 

After the organization of the church, they called Elder 
Briggs, September 5, 1828, to become their pastor. This invi- 
tation was, however, declined. 


October 4 of the same year a call was extended to Nicholas 
Medberry of Seekonk, which was accepted, and he was or- 
dained November 12, 1828. During Mr. Medberry 's pastorate 
more than one hundred united with this church. He resigned 
July 15, 1832. 




Upon the resignation of Mr. Medberry, on the 31st of 
August, 1832, a call was given to the Rev. Hervey Fitz, 

who continued as pastor of 
the church until May 15, 
1836, when he resigned. 
He was born in Charlton, 
Mass., November 23, 1792, 
and was graduated at Am- 
herst College in 1 826, and 
Newton Theological Sem- 
inary in 1829; in 1843 
he was state missionary 
of the Baptist convention. 
He was a warm friend 
of Peirce Academy, and 
did much for it during his 
lifetime. During his min- 
istry fifty - seven people 
were added to the church, 
and William S. Peirce 
and Joseph T. Wood were 
elected deacons. He died in Middleboro June 10, 1878. 


Ebenezer Nelson was born in Lakeville, November 19, 1787 ; 
he completed his theological studies at Waterville, Maine ; in 
181 8 he was approved as a minister of Christ by his church, 
and two years after accepted a call from the Baptist Church 
in Lynn. On account of ill health, he soon after resigned his 
pastorate in that church, and was employed for some time as 
special agent for the Newton Theological Seminary. Having 
regained his health, he accepted a call to West Cambridge and 
remained there a few years, but at the earnest solicitation of 
the Northern Baptist Education Society, in 1834, he became 
their secretary. After two years' employment in that capa- 






'^^ ''^fw^ 


city, he accepted a call to the Central Baptist Church in 
Middleboro, where he commenced his work as minister in 
January, 1837. He continued as pastor of this church for a 
period of fourteen years. His relation with the venerable Dr. 
Putnam, pastor of the First Church, was so cordial that they 
seemed like brothers. During his residence in Middleboro he 
did much for Peirce Academy, not only as president of its 
Board of Trustees, but he assisted by every means in his 
power the able and efficient principal who so long stood at 
the head of that institution. 

In September, 1850, he desired a vacation from his pastoral 
duties on account of ill health, and again accepted an agency 
for the Newton Theo- 
logical Seminary. His 
health, however, was so 
poor that he was obliged 
to give up this employ- 
ment, and realizing from 
the nature of his dis- 
ease that he had not 
long to live, he desired 
to pass the closing days 
of his life in Lynn, 
among the people of his 
first settlement. He 
died on the 6th of 
April, 1852. One hun- 
dred and forty-one were 
added to the church 
during his ministry. 

The pastors of this church since 1852 have been : Jonathan 
Aldrich, 1852-53. John B. Burke, 1854-55. John F. Bigelow, 
D. D., 1855-59. Alexander M. Averill, 1859-62. Levi A. 
Abbott, 1863-68. George G. P'airbanks, 1869-83. William 
H. Bowen, 1884-88. M. F. Johnson, 1889-98. J. H. Foshay, 
1898. Elmer S. Williams, 1898-. 




Many years ago there was a small church of this denomina- 
tion in Lakeville, of which Rev. Daniel Hicks was the first 
pastor, and where afterwards the Rev. George Peirce preached 
for a little time. Abiel Nelson was the deacon and clerk of 
the church. It has, however, long since become extinct, and 
no records of the church organization are known to exist. 


This church was organized February 19, 1842, by sixteen of 
the members of the Second Baptist Church, who seceded to 
form this organization under the leadership of Elder William 
Shurtleff. About the time of its organization it erected a 
church edifice, which is known as the Mullein Hill meeting- 
house. The following are the names of the pastors of this 
church : William Shurtleff, William M. Bryant, Bartlett Cush- 
man, George Tyler, E. W. Barrows, Theophilus Brown, M. S. 
Chad wick, and Elijah W, Barrows. 

Occasional preaching services are held by neighboring cler- 


A meeting was held on the 15th of September, 1823, to 
form this church, and the usual Articles of Association of 
the denomination were entered into by the following persons, 
who were its original members : Edward Winslow, Deborah 
Winslow, Martha Thomas, Mercy Barden, Susan S. Clark, 
Augusta Clark, Nathan Savory, Alan son Gammons, and 
Nathan Perkins. They obtained permission to worship in the 
town hall, with Rev. Asa Kent as their first pastor. 

In October, 1830, a site was chosen for this society at Fall 
Brook, as the most central, and it was voted to build a house 
of worship, which was completed and dedicated early in 1831. 
Worship was continued in this chapel until the death of Rev. 


Israel Washburn in 1861 ; after this, services were held here, 
with various intermissions, until the latter part of 1889, when 
the chapel was closed and afterwards sold. During this time 
the following clergymen ofificiated : John O. Adams, Theophi- 
lus Brown, Mr. Pierson, William Packard (Baptist preacher), 
Roland Gammons, and John Hull. 

In 1863 regular preaching service was again commenced 
at the Four Corners, and has been conducted by different 
clergymen settled over the church a few years, in accordance 
with the usual custom, A hall was secured over the furniture 
store of Mr. George Soule, and in 1865 the chapel formerly 
occupied by the Central Baptist Society was leased for three 
years, and dedicated in March of that year. From generous 
contributions the present church, costing $12,500, was com- 
pleted February 9, 1869. The membership has rapidly in- 
creased, and in the years 1876 to 1879 an extensive revival 
brought the number from one hundred and thirty to two hun- 
dred and eighty. Many improvements have been made in the 
church edifice, and a handsome parsonage on the corner of 
School and Peirce streets was given to the society by Mr. 
Abner L. Westgate, one of its most prominent members.^ 

The pastors of this church and their terms of service have 
been as follows : Asa Kent, 1823-24. Isaac Stoddard, 1825. 
Lemuel Tompkins, 1826-27. Elias C. Scott, 1828. David 
Culver, 1829-30. Amos Binney, 1831-32. Lemuel Harlow, 
1833-34. Thomas G. Brown, 1835-36. Josiah Litch, 1837- 
38. Proctor Marsh, 1839-40. Otis Wilder, 1841-42. George 
H. Winchester, Sr., 1843-44. Elijah Willard, 1845-46. Eben- 
ezer Ewer, 1847-48. William Tamplin, 1849-50. Edmund 
A. Standish, 1851-52. George Macomber, 1853-54. George 
H. Winchester, Jr., 1855-56. Philip Crandon, 1857-58. Asa 
N. Bodfish, 1859-60. Israel W^ashburn, 1861-62. John O. 
Adams, 1863. Jason Gill, 1864. Samuel Whidden, 1864-65. 
F. C. Newell, 1866-67. Freeman Ryder, 1868-69. S. T. 
Patterson, 1 870-7 l J. S. Carroll, 1872-74. Charles A. Mac- 

^ For a further historj- of this church, see History of the New England South- 
ern Methodist Conference, pp. 108- no. 



reading, 1875. E. D. Towle, 1876-77. A. W. Kingsbury, 1878- 
79. George W. Hunt, 1882-83. Edward L. Hyde, 1884-86. 
Samuel McBurney, 1887-88. Thomas J. Everett, 1889-91. 
William F. Davis, 1892-95. George A. Grant, 1896-1900. 
Eben Tirrell, 1901-03. Oscar E. Johnson, 1904-. 


The Third Baptist Church had built their first house of wor- 
ship here, which they occupied from 1761 to 1795. There is 
no continuous history of any religious organization from 1795 
to 1868, although the Reformed Methodist Church occupied 
this building. Among those who preached during this period 
were Messrs. Johnson, McLish, Todd, Wallen, Clark, Mayall, 




and Barrows. Not all of these, however, were Methodists or 
clergymen. During the preaching of Elder Pliny Brett, in 1827, 
there was a revival of religion ; Rev. Uriah Minor preached 
from 1830 to 1835, and Theophilus Brown from 1841 to 1858. 
The present building was erected in 1841 upon the site of 
the old meeting-house of the Third Baptist Church, and the 


church was reorganized in 1847, but there seems to be no his- 
tory of it until 1868. 

The following-named pastors have been settled over this 
church: John G. Gammons, 1868. Isaac B. Forbes, 1869. 
Benjamin L. Sayer, 1870-74. John W. Price, 1874. PhiHp 
Crandon, 1874-76. Charles Stokes, 1^76-77. Isaac Sherman, 
1878-81. O. R. Higgins, 1881. S. P. Snow, 1882-84 J. 
Livesey, 1885. E. A. Hunt, 1886-90. J. A. Wood, 1891-92. 
J. S. Thomas, 1893-95. C. A. Purdy, 1896. Charles N. Hinck- 
ley, 1897-98. B. F. Ray nor, 1 899-1 901. J. S. Bell, 1902-03. 
C. E. Jenney, 1904-. 



The first organization of the Universalists was made in 
1842, although twenty years before, several people had filed 
certificates of membership in the Universalist Society in Hali- 
fax and other towns. In this year the Rev. E. H. Lake organ- 
ized a society, and for a number of years meetings were held 
fortnightly, alternating between Peirce Hall at the village 
and the Purchade schoolhouse. Later, meetings were held at 
the School Street schoolhouse and in Hinckley Hall ; regu- 
lar resident ministers were employed. Rev. E. R. Crocker and 
Rev. Joseph Hemphill each serving for a term of years. 

In 1854 a lot on Oak Street was purchased for a meeting- 
house and conveyed to the First Universalist Samaritan 
sewing-circle ; a fund of money was accumulated and placed 
on deposit. The society gradually declined, the meetings 
ceased, and in 1872 the remaining members of the sewing- 
circle sold the lot to Jonathan T. Washburn and divided the 

An effort was made a few years later to revive this society, 
but the project was finally abandoned, and the members united 
with the Unitarians. 


In September, 1888, largely through the instrumentality of 
Rev. C. Y. DeNormandie of Kingston, services of this de- 
nomination were first held in Middleboro. Rev. C. H. McDou- 
gall of Rockland preached here Sunday evenings in connec- 
tion with his charge as secretary of the Plymouth and Bay 
Unitarian Conference. During his ministry a permanent organ- 
ization was made, March 5, 1889, of twenty-two individuals, 
under the name of the First Unitarian Society. "Its object 
shall be to provide for public religious worship and instruction 
and for such charitable and benevolent activities as belong to 
a religious society." Encouraged by the gift of a lot from 
Enoch Pratt of Baltimore, and of a thousand dollars from an 




unknown friend, the society, during the ministry of Rev. Wil- 
liam H. Ramsey, built a church on Pearl Street at a cost of 
ten thousand dollars, which was dedicated September 2, 1891. 
At the first meeting of the society Mr. Eugene P. LeBaron 
was elected president, and held that position until the time of 
his death, December i, 1893. He was an able business man 


and an earnest supporter of this church, and perhaps the so- 
ciety owes more to his business and executive ability and 
generous contributions than to any one else. Since its first 
organization the church and society have always been in a 
prosperous condition. 

The following have been the pastors of the church : William 
H. Ramsey, from August, 1889, to May, 1892. William C. 
Litchfield, from September, 1892, to April, 1895. J. F"oster 
Tucker, from September, 1895, to September, 1896. Frederic 
C. Brown, from October, 1896, to May, 1898. Fred R. Lewis, 
from September, 1898, to May, 1902. George E. Macllwain, 
from September, 1902-. 




This church was established in Middleboro in 1889, with 
an organization of eleven members. In the fall of that year 
the Rev. Mr. Cressey of Bridgewater assumed charge of the 
Sabbath evening service, and in November of the same year 
the first confirmation service was solemnized in the Central 


Congregational Church, and the Church of Our Saviour was 
duly formed. For a while they worshipped in the hall of the 
Academy building, but in 1898 the new church was dedi- 
cated. This was built at a cost of about forty thousand dol- 
lars, largely through the munificent contribution of James E. 
Peirce, the treasurer of the parish from its organization to his 

The rectors of the church have' been William Bayard Hale, 
1889-99. Gilbert W. Laidlaw, 1899-01. Charles J. Ketchum, 





In 1S50 about thirty members of the Roman Catholic 
Church had become residents of Middleboro, and for many 
years they were obHged to go to Taunton to attend mass. 
As their numbers increased, service was occasionally held at 
different residences, then at the old town house, until the hall 
over the store of the late Colonel Peter H. Peirce was engaged 
as the place of worship, a priest from some of the neighboring 
towns officiating. This hall was occupied for about ten years, 
but in 1880 the present church edifice was erected at a cost 
of nearly five thousand dollars, and dedicated in June, Arch- 
bishop Williams officiating, assisted by priests from churches 
in the neighboring towns. In May, 1885, the society was 


made a separate parish, and since that time has had a resident 
priest. For about eighteen years during the early history of 
the church, Father Conlin, who was pastor of the church in 
Bridgewater as well as that of Middleboro, came here monthly. 




In 1885 Father Oliver Boucher officiated for a few months, 
and was succeeded by Father P. J. Sheedy, and in 1890 by 
Father J. H. O'Neil. During his ministry the present rectory 
was built, the lot of land on the corner of Center and Oak 
streets was purchased, and the St. Mary's Cemetery was pur- 
chased in 1891. In 1896 he was succeeded by Father Murphy, 
and in 1900 the present priest, Father D. C. Riordan, took 
his place. 


There has been an organization of an Advent Church in this 
town for many years. They have no church building nor set- 
tled pastor, but worship in a hall on Jackson Street. 


The Young Men's Christian Association was organized in 
the early seventies, with Professor J. W. P. Jenks as its presi- 
dent. In 1883 it was reorganized, and continued with varied 
success until March 19, 1892, when it was incorporated. Since 
then it has steadily grown in numbers and influence, until it 
now has a membership of over two hundred and fifty. The 
work of the association in its various departments is in a 
prosperous condition, and it has its rooms and gymnasium at 
present in the Academy building. 




HE provisions of the colonial laws ^ in reference to the 
government of the towns and the election of officers 
were very generally observed in Middleboro from its 
first incorporation until the commencement of King 
Philip's War. The early settlers then abandoned the town for 
two or three years, and did not return in sufficient numbers to 
warrant the reestablishment of town affairs until about 1678. 
The town meetings were held in different dwelling-houses, and 
frequently at the house of Isaac Howland. 

There was a provision in the colonial law, as early as 1675, 
that there should be a " publicke house erected in every 
Towne " where the people could meet and worship God, "and 
in case any Town shall apparently neglect or refuse to build 
the said house it shalbe in the power of the Govr and Majes- 
trate to appoint and authorise a pson or psons to build the said 
house according to the abillitie and nesessitie of the people 
and the charge thereof to be defrayed by all the Inhabitants 
or propriators of the Towne." This provision was reaffirmed 
with some slight changes in the year 1678. The meeting-houses 
in the colony were used for the transaction of business of 
the towns. The records show that the First Church was so 
used as early as August, 1679, when the town meeting was 
held at the "town house." On the i8th of May, 1675, a few 
weeks before the outbreak of King Philip's War, a committee 
had been appointed to take measures for the erection of a 
"meeting house," which the war prevented; but plans were 
made, and the work was begun soon after their return. Mr, 
Fuller came to preach in the year 1679, and it is generally be- 

1 Laws of Colony of New Plymouth, p. 175. 


lieved that before he accepted the invitation, the meeting-house 
in which the First Church worshipped had been built. As 
early as 1681, the town agreed that if any neglected or re- 
fused to attend the town meetings, being legally warned, they 
should be liable to pay a fine of two shillings, six pence for 
the town's use. After the settlement of the Rev. Mr. Fuller, 
the town meetings were usually held in the meeting-house of 
the First Church, until the latter part of the eighteenth cen- 
tury, when the centre of population had so changed that an- 
other location was desirable. 

The erection of a town house for the transaction of public 
business met with much opposition. The first article appeared 
in the warrant, September 8, 1788, and was voted down ; again, 
on March i, 1790, the town voted to take no action. The 
matter came up on March 16, 1795, and a committee was ap- 
pointed to take into consideration the expediency of building 
1/ and the location of a new town house. The committee were 

Captain Joshua Eddy, Isaac Thompson, Esq., Dr. Joseph Clark, 
David Richmond, Captain Job Peirce, Colonel John Nelson, 
Captain William Canedy, Nehemiah Bennett, Esq., and Deacon 
Benjamin Thomas. They were to report at the April meet- 
ing. At that time they voted to postpone any action upon the 
report of the committee until the May meeting ; they then 
voted not to accept the report of the committee, but to build 
in accordance with the eleventh article of the warrant for the 
annual meeting, and agreed that a town house should be built 
on the hill opposite the dwelling-house of Widow Sarah Mor- 
ton. A committee was appointed to draw a plan and report at 
an adjourned meeting. 

According to the plan which this committee submitted, the 
building was to be forty feet long, thirty-five feet wide, to- 
gether with a back room twenty feet in length, fourteen feet in 
width, and twelve feet in the stud, four windows in front, three 
in each end, and three at the back, with a hip roof ; but at a 
meeting held February i, 1796, the town voted "to reconsider 
all former votes passed in said town heretofore relative to the 
building of a town house." At the same meeting the question 





was put "whether the town will build a town house or not," to 
be determined by count, those opposing the measure to pass 
out of the house ; four were chosen to stand at the doors of 
the meeting-house and count the number. It was found that 
a majority of ninety-three opposed the building, but at the 
annual meeting, March 21, 1796, the measure was carried. 
The opposition continued, although somewhat weaker, there 
being one hundred and forty-six votes for and one hundred 
and six opposed. 

In regard to the location there was a division of sentiment, 
one hundred and forty-eight voting for the site near the dwell- 
ing-house of Dr. Joseph Clark as against one hundred and 
thirty-four opposed to it. They then voted to raise one thou- 
sand dollars for the building, and a committee of three were 
appointed to agree with Levi Wood for the land. This commit- 
tee consisted of Captain Joshua Eddy, Mr. Simeon Doggett, 
and Captain Joseph Richmond. At the next meeting in April, 
the town voted "to omit the building of a selectmen's room in 
the town house and directed that the building of said house be 
put up at public vendue and strike the building of the same off 
to the lowest bidder." The house was completed and accepted 
by the town January 2, 1798, but there were disputes in refer- 


ence to various matters connected with the house which were 
not settled for some time. The house thus built served as the 
town house until 1872, when it was sold and a new one built, 
much of the material being used for a dwelling-house next to 
that of Mr. Job Braley on North Street. 

Negotiations for the new town house were made in the early 
part of 1872. The building committee consisted of Horatio 
Barrows, Albert Alden, Zebulon Pratt, and I. H. Harlow, who 
were empowered to transact all necessary business. Solomon 
K. Eaton of Mattapoisett, the architect and contractor, died 
before it was completed, and it was finished by Mr. Horatio 
Barrows, chairman of the building committee. It was dedi- 
cated in December, 1873, by a public celebration, at which 
appropriate remarks were made on the part of the building 
committee and representatives of the town, and a public ad- 
dress was given to commemorate the event. The cost of the 
building was $48,984.36. 


When Governor Wmslow stopped at Nemasket upon his 
visit to Massasoit, Indians were found fishing at a weir built 
across the river near the present dam. The herring fishery 
furnished much of their food ; they were familiar with smoking 
and drying the fish for a ready supply during the fall and 
winter. In the spring they used herring as a fertilizer in their 
corn gardens, which enabled them with little labor to produce 
abundant crops of maize or Indian corn. In the early part 
of the last century, during the fishing season, herring were so 
abundant that a person wading into the river, with a bushel 
basket, could in some seasons dip up a basket half full of these 
fish. Every spring, the last of March sometimes, but usually 
the first week in April, the herring leave the deep sea and as- 
cend the rivers all along the New England coast, to cast their 
spawn in the lakes, ponds, or head-waters of the rivers. " All 
the records of the early settlers, and the traditions of Indian 
lore, testify to the abundant yield of edible fish." At Titicut 





was a fishing-weir built by the Indians, from which they were 
in the habit of taking herring, and another near the dam a little 
above the wading-place at the Star Mills. There may have 
been another fishing-place upon the Nemasket River in the 
rear of Mr. Lorenzo Wood's house. As long as the Indians 
lived in town, they continued to take the fish from these weirs, 
and the town made generous provision for their supply. 

The herring and all that pertains to their protection have 
always been jealously guarded by the town, and probably no 
subject in the commonwealth has given rise to more enact- 
ments than that relating to the protection and the catching of 
alewives. The alewife takes its name from the Indian word 
"aloof," meaning a fish. 

Since the first introduction of water power as a means of 
propelling the machinery in the different factories and from 
the building of dams, great care has been taken to see that 
these did not in any way interfere with the fish going into the 
ponds in their season, nor with the catching of them at different 
weirs. From the earliest times many applications were made 
by the dwellers upon the river for the privilege of erecting 
new dams, and of catching fish in other places than at Titicut, 




Nemasket, and the New Works, but these petitions were inva- 
riably refused by the town. 

For more than a century each inhabitant was entitled, upon 
the payment of a moderate sum, to have two hundred fish. 
Widows, spinsters, and those who for various reasons were 
unable to procure this supply had that number given to them. 
Agents were appointed every year to superintend the catching 
and the distribution of the fish, to collect the money due, and 
to see that the fish were properly guarded, and that none were 
caught except at the weir, by those authorized by the town, and 
at times appointed. Two days, sometimes three, in the week 

the herring were allowed 
to pass up into the ponds, 
but after sunset, men, as 
well as boys, had their 
hiding-places to catch the 
fish secretly, and boasted 
of their thefts afterwards 
and of their escape from 
the fish wardens. Many 
a one at night, stealthily 
fishing below the water- 
wheels of the different 
mills, found the gates suddenly open and a body of water 
rushing upon him sufficient to wash him into the stream, and 
with great difficulty he would escape drowning. The officers 
were subjected to great indignities, such as an ingenious and 
reckless company of enterprising youth could suggest. It was 
thought the best of sport, and the convictions were so infre- 
quent that these escapades were regarded with special zest by 
a large number of people who would probably not care to have 
their names known. 

The records are filled with votes relating to this matter, from 
which may be cited : — 

"At a Town meeting March 29th., 1706, the town hath agreed with Samuel 
Pratt and Ebenezer Tinkham Junior, to make up the weir and take the fish both 
this year and the next year, in tlie same manner as they used to be taken, and for 



the same they are to be ])aid six pence a load in money by those that have the 
fish, to be paid by the first day of June each year and the weir to be made up by 
the twelfth day of April each year, and that each man in the town shall have his 
turn to take one load of fish before any man shall have two loads, and so to keep 
turns, except when there is a glut of fish that come faster than they are fetched 
away by those that have not had their turns, in such case any man may take them, 
but they shall also be counted to him in the next turn ; and in taking turns he 
that first brings his cart to the weir shall have the first turn and that when any 
man in his turn hath had fish enough for what land he doth improve that then 
his turn shall cease, and that if any man shall piresume to take and carry away 
fish, more than his turn, as aforesaid, he shall pay a fine of twenty shillings a load ; 
and the town to make choice of and empower Mr. Isaac Howland and Ensign 
Joseph Vaughan to prosecute any breach of the aforesaid order upon complaint 
made to them, and they to be paid out of the said fine, for what charge they shall 
be at, concerning the same, and the rest of said fine shall be turned over by them 
unto the selectmen for the town's use." 

" It is voted that each man that had no fish the last year, shall have their turns 
to take a load of fish before any that had their turns the last year have any, 
provided they have their carts ready at the weir to take them when they come 
down and not else." 

" It is also voted that if there be any man in the town that doth not plant any 
Indian corn, he shall have no turn of fish, and he that plants so little that he 
needeth not a whole load of fish for it, he shall have no more than for what he 
doth plant ; in which proportion it is to be understood that he shall use but one 
fish to a hill, and that in all other respects the turns of taking fish shall be as was 
agreed upon the last year." 

"At a town meeting March the 22nd, 1716, the town agreed with Ebenezer 
Bennett to take the town fish this present year as they use to be taken and he to 
load the carts and for the same he is to be paid sixteen pence a load by those 
that carry away the fish, and he is also to take care that there be free passage at 
the mill dam for the fish to go up the river, and also he is to take care that there 
be an orderly distribution of the fish that are taken as they come down, according 
to the rules which have of late years been ordered by the town." 

On April 5, 1725, at a town meeting, it was agreed that eight 
thousand fish should be accounted a load, the number of fish 
to be estimated by the man who attended the weir. 

In 1733, at a town meeting, it was voted that no fish should 
be taken by a seine. 

In 1733 permission was asked to build a dam at Muttock 
for manufacturing purposes, but strong objection was made on 
account of the detriment apprehended to the herring fishery, 
and the petition was not granted. 

"At a town meeting Feb. 15, 1742, it was voted and ordered that the slitting 
mill dam, so called, over Namasket River in said town be opened the ninth day 


of March inst. so that alevvives and other fish shall have a clear and sufficient pas- 
sage through the. dam to pass up said river in the natural ponds to cast their 
spawn, and that said dam be kept open for 60 days thereafter for the passage of 
fish," which provision seems to have been observed ever since that time. 

In the province laws of 1749 and 1750 an act was passed 
to prevent the unnecessary destroying of alewives in the town 
of Middleboro. 

" Whereas there are great quantities of the fish called alewives, which pass up 
the rivers and brooks in the town of Middleborough to cast their spawn ; and 
notwithstanding the penalties annexed to the many good and wholesome laws 
of this province already made to prevent the destruction of alewives, yet many 
ill-minded and disorderly persons are not deterred therefrom. 

'■'■Be it therefore enacted by the Lieictenant-Governor, Council and House of 
Rep resentatives. 

" Sec. I provides that whoever shall presume to take any of the said fish in 
the aforesaid rivers or brooks, or any part thereof, by any ways or means whatever 
at any other place than at the old Stone Ware, so called, in Namasket River, and 
may refuse to discover their names, places of abode and occupation, by which 
means the prosecution of such offenders may be prevented, and the good design 
of this act be defeated; and there being some passages of said rivers and brooks 
that are narrower than others and by reason thereof the course of the said fish 
may be more easily stopped by canoes and other obstructions. 

" Sec. 2 and 3 provide for the execution and penalties of this law. 

" Sec. 4 provides that when any children or servants shall offend against this 
act, they shall be punished by whipping, not exceeding 5 stripes, or by being put 
in the stocks, not exceeding 24 hours, or imprisonment, not exceeding 24 hours, 
unless the offenders by themselves or parents or masters or others in their behalf 
shall forthwith pay the forfeits. 

" Sec. 5 and 6 provide as to the penalties and punishments connected with the act. 

" Sec. 7 provides that this act shall continue in force for the space of three years 
from its publication and no longer." 1 

The Province laws of 1752 and 1753 provide for a brief 
extension of the above law.^ 

The town has always received a revenue for the privilege 
of catching and selling these fish under the rules which they 
made, at their annual town meeting, from year to year. 

The following is among the votes passed : — 

"At the town meeting on Oct. 8, 1764, it was voted to sell the privilege of 
catching the fish at auction to the highest bidder ; after the regular business of 
the meeting, it was adjourned to the house of Ebenezer Sproutt where the fish 
were sold to Nelson Finney for eighty pounds, he being the highest bidder." 

1 Province Laws, vol. iii, pp. 483, 484. ^ Jhid. vol. iii, p. 647. 

i6so] INDIAN PATHS 503 

The rule was made that whoever bought the fish privilege 
should not pickle for foreign market, and should give sufficient 
security to the town for the payment of the fish. 

Of late the herring have from different causes so decreased 
in number that the amount received by the town is small, and 
but few rules and regulations are adopted as compared with 
former years. At the present day the price paid for the fish 
privilege per year is only one hundred and twenty to one hun- 
dred and forty or fifty dollars. 

Undoubtedly, in years gone by, the manufacturing interests 
of the town suffered in the endeavor to protect these fish, but 
the last few years would indicate that the time is not far 
distant when the herring of Nemasket River may become so 
far extinct as to cease to provoke much attention and action 
on the part of the town. 


There were seven well-defined Indian paths running through 
the town. The more important were the upper and lower 
paths from the wading-place a little below the Star Mills to 

The lower path extended from the Star Mills, and passed 
very near the street from Middleboro to North Carver. The 
upper path led through the farms of L. B. Pratt and Chester 
Weston ; then following the boundary line of land formerly 
owned by Mr. Robins and Mr. Weston, striking Wood Street 
and following the line of Chestnut Street, it passed directly 
into the woods to P. W. Savery's ; passing along and following 
Wall Street, it followed the highway to North Carver, where 
it met the lower path. This formed the boundary line between 
the Five Men's Purchase and Henry Wood's Purchase, and 
then farther on, between the Five Men's Purchase and the 
South Purchase, it crossed Mahuchet Brook to North Carver, 
following the highway to Plymouth. 

The Taunton path probably ran along the highway (which 
was discontinued some fifty years ago), or back of the house of 


Dr. G. L. Ellis, to Jose Meadows, then on the easterly side of 
these meadows to Taunton Street, and followed that street to 
what was then Taunton village. 

The Rochester path probably commenced at the Green, 
passing through Waupaunucket neighborhood, and following 
substantially the Marion road. 

The Dartmouth path began at Muttock, passing in a 
southerly direction east of the junction of North and Main 
streets to the wading-place, then westerly to Main Street, 
and continued for some distance, following the New Bedford 

What is known as the Rhode Island road was an old 
Indian path commencing probably near the wading-place, then 
by Main Street to the Haskins neighborhood, where it crossed 
Baiting Brook, continuing on near Myricks Station through 
Assonet Village, and from there to Mt. Hope. 

The Acushnet path followed substantially what is known 
as the New Bedford road. 

The Titicut path commenced at the fording-place a little 
beiow Pratt's bridge on the Taunton River, passing Fort Hill 
not far from the banks of the river, then in an easterly direc- 
tion a little south of the Congregational Church it entered 
into what is now Plymouth Street, and following this to the 
wading-place across the Nemasket River, a little below the Star 
Mills, it there connected with the paths from that place to 
Plymouth. This was the path which Winslow and Hopkins 
followed on their first visit to Massasoit, spending the night 
at Fort Hill. 

There were two other trails leading out of the Titicut path : 
one to the north, beginning not far from the house of Lysander 
Richmond, thence a little south of the barn of Seth Alden, 
continued to Lyon's Neck, and there fording the river, it 
passed into Bridgewater ; the other went from the fording- 
place a little below Pratt's bridge along substantially what is 
now Vernon Street across the bridge over Poquoy or Trout 

While there were doubtless other paths running through the 


town, these seem to have been best known, and all traces of any 
others have now been lost. These Indian paths were not wide 
enough for a carriage-road, but were well defined, having 
been for generations the accustomed trail of the natives. For 
many years after the settlement of the town they were often 
mentioned in the early deeds as boundary lines of land, and 
upon them were often places of importance. 

Aside from the Indian paths, there were several wading- 
places used by the natives. The most important was that 
across the Nemasket River near the bridge, a little below the 
Star Mills. Another wading-place was across the river on the 
northerly side of what is called Lyon's Neck. On the Taunton 
River there were several, one a little below Pratt's bridge 
near Fort Hill, and another just below where the Richmond 
town brook enters the Taunton River. There was probably 
another about an eighth of a mile down the river from Pratt's 
bridge, just beyond the bend near the old shipyard. 


Probably the first Indian path to be used as a public highway 
was the upper path from the wading-place to Plymouth, which 
followed what is now known as East Main and Plymouth 
streets. The path to Taunton and Dartmouth or New Bedford 
was another which early bec