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CLASS OP 1828 






^ If, when we lay down oar pen, we cannot say in tlie sifflit of God, * npon ttrlct examination, I 
hare not knowlnf^y written anything that la not true * . . . . tlien study and literature render 
us unrigbteons and sluAil.'^— iVitofrMAr. 






7, th'i 

v)C .'-t;;i3.i(i 



Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1874, by 

In the Olllcc of Uio Librarian of Congress, at Washington. 



Zona anil Saugliterd of SlSinliliam Countg, 





wrrn- tiie hops that it mat mebt an APPRSoiATiyB 



Town, cliiirch and court records, the archives of Connecticut, 
MtiBsachusetts and Khode Island, standard histories, the collec- 
tions of many Histprical Societies, unpublished manuscripts, 
private diaries and letters, and such local traditions as coidd bo 
substantiated, have furnished the material for this work. The 
genealogical investigations of Mr. William L. Weaver of Willi- 
numtic, tlio ecclesiastical researclios of llev. Robert C Learned, 
and general facts, gathered and preserved by Rev. Daniel Hunt 
of Pomfret — ^former residents of Windham County, .all now 
deceased — ^have been of great service. Aboriginal items and 
translations of Indian names have been kindly given by Dr. J. 
Hammond Trumbull. No pains have been spared in sifting, 
collating and arranging this mass of material. Statements con- 
flicting with those in previous histories, have been very carefully 
considered, and are only made upon positive evidence. 

The numerous extracts from records and ancient documents 
are believed to be faithful transcripts of the originals, save 
corrections in spelling and the occasional supply of words when 
needful. Dates are copied as written. Those prior to Sep- 
tember, 1762, are therefore in old style^ and it will bo necessary 
to add eleven days to any date to bring it in correspondence 
with the same day of the month at the i>re8ent time. • Cclebra- 
tors of coming bicentennials will need to pay especial heed to 
this point. 

The map of Ancient Windham includes all the territory ever 


pertaining to Windham County, and original bounds and land- 
grants, so far as tliey could be identified. The plat of the 
Mashamoqnet is a fac-simile of the original, which is preserved 
among the town records of Pomfret. The reader will observe 
that it reverses the points of compass. 

The history of towns afterward incorporated into other coun- 
ties, is not here given. A second volume, to be published, it is 
hoped, within two years, will bring the History of Windham 
County to the latest date. 

Thompson, Nov. 20, 1874. b. d. l. 


Abobioinal Glbaninos . . . • 1 

BOOK L 1670-1726. 

Hassachasetto BoandaryXine. Nipmackandlfohegan Land Transfers • 18 

Roibnry's Colony . ... .... . . ^ ....... 18 

New Roxbary . . . . • • 28 

Woodstock .... 81 

Indian Troobles •.•.•....•.•• . 88 

Important Changes. Final Dlylslon of Roxbary's Half of Woodstock • • 48 

Uneasiness with Mr. Dwlght. Second Meetlng-hoase 61 


<Minlsterlal Troubles. Indian Alarms. Death of Acqoltamang. Land 
Dlylslon. Dismissal of Mr. Dwlght • . • • . 66 

Joshua's Tract ,. .. 68 

Windham . 69 

Ponde-town Controversy. Church Oigaulzatlon 76 

Addition of Territory. Scotland Settlement. Town Division 88 

Growth. Improvements. Second Meeting-house 88 

Canada Parish 94 

• • • 



General Adyancemcnt. Religions Reylval. Death of Mr. Wliiting. Settle- 
ment of Mr. Clap '. • 101 

Tbe Quinebaug Oonntry. Peagscomsuck 105 

Plainticld Agreements. Quinebaug Land Investigation 112 


Division of Township. Distribution of Land. Irruption fkrom Norwich . 118 

Quinebaug I^and Settlement. Various Improvements 124 


Boundary Quarrels. New Meeting-house. Mortality 138 

Canterbury 148 

Mt^or Fitch. Division of Land. Qeneral Progress 150 

Asplnoclc. lillllngly 15U 


Land-tax. Chestnut Hill. Church Organization. Settlement of South 
Klllingly 166 

Quinnatisset 178 

Mashamoquet. Morthike '. 181 

Progress. Petitions. PomfTet 187 


Black well's Tract. Adams's Tract. Sale and Settlement of Mortlake. 
Kxpulsion of Mary Utlcr 102 


Minister and Meeting-house. Church Organization in Pomft-et. Second 
Land-division 199 


New Inhabitants. luiprovenicnts. South Addition to Pomfrct. Peter 
DuvUon 205 


Ashfordi Land Purchase. Settlement. Town Organization. Minister 
Secured 214 

Ijind Controversies. Church Formed 220 

I^nd Scttiomont. Various Iinprovoincuts. Unhappy Accident 220 


Suffhige Dispute. Schools. New Inhabitants. Famine In Ashford. 
Cliandlcr's and Corbhi's Claim 232 


rhe Volonteer's Land. Diyision. Occupation 289 

Organization of Volontown. Meeting-lioase Site. Interrapted Ordination. 

Church Formed • 2i6 


Boundary Quarrels. Meeting-house Site .«*•••••»•• 253 


Erection of Windham County. General Summary. Association of Minis- 
tors • •••••• ,250 

BOOK n, 1726-46. 


Windham Courts Constituted. Jail and Court-house Ordered. Aflkirs in 
Windham Town. OntbrealLS ** 266 


Third Society Set OiT. Scotland Parish 278 


Canada Parish. Death of Mr. Billings. Changes in Windham's First 
Society. First Bxecutlon in Windham 0>unty 280 


Changes In Canterbury. New Ministers and Meeting-house. Controversy 
with Windham. Dismissal of Mr. Wadsworth 289 

Plalnfleld AfllEdrs. Growth in Voluntown 298 


Second Society in Kllllngly. Thompson Parish. Church Organization. 
Ordination of Mr. Cabot 805 


Land Disputes. School Quarters Distributed. Meeting-house Completed. 
Controversy with Samuel Morris a'^ • .r 818 


Hoads Laid Out New Inhabitants. Thompson-Land Controversy • • . 822 


Aflkfrs in KlUingly. Dismissal of Mr. Fisk. Breakneck Controversy. 
Society Division • / » . 829 


Pomf^t and Mortlake. Petltloii fbr Township. Ministerial Perplexities* 
Society Organized Between Pomflret and CanteH>ury 841 


Mortlake Society. Second Church of PomfM. Ordination of Mr. 
Bphralm Avery. Changes in PomAret 848 


United Libraiy Association. Pomftet Wolf-hunt A Pomftet Legend . . 855 





New Minister in Woodstock. Worcester County Erected. Death of Mr. 
Throop. Quarrel with Colonel John Chandler. Settlement of Mr. 
Stiles 864 


West Woodstock Settled. Precinct Organized. Meeting-lioaso Built. 
Church Formed. Uneasiness with Mr. Stiles. Death of Colonel 
Chandler 878 


Town and Church AflUirs in Ashford. Death of Mr. Ilalc. Sottlomcut of 
Mr. Bass. Windham County Association 885 



Qoncral Condition of the Churches. Qreat Uovival. Qreat Excesses . . 808 


Wheelock*s Tour. Revival in Canterbury. Legislative Act. Disturbances. 
Imprisonment'of Blisha Paine 896 


Recognition of Cambridge Platform. Attempts to Choose a Minister. Re- 
jection of Mr. Adams. Meetings of Consociation and Council . . . 402 


Call of Mr. James Cogswell. Disaffection. Withdrawal of Majority. Im- 
prisonment of Elisha Paine. Conflict Between Church and Society . 411 


Windham Association Aroused. Collision with Yale College. Clcvclands 
Arraigned and Censured. Consociation at Qsnterbury. Cogswell 
Ordained. Church Divided 417 


Revival in Plalnfleld. Recovery of Mercy Wheeler. Disturbances in Ash- 
ford. Revival in Canada Parish. Mauslluld Separate Church . . • . 427 


Canterbury Separate Cliurcli. Renewal of Covonont. Petitions. O nil na- 
tion of Solomon Paine 437 


Jangles in Mortlake Parish. Secession from the Church. Separate 
Church In South Killingly 444 


Plalnfleld Separate Church. Ordinations of Thomas Stevens and David 
Rowland. Contentions. Separation in Volunto^n 451 


Separate Churches in Windham and Scotland. Six-Prlnclple Baptist 
Churches In Thompson, Chestnut IllU and Woodstock 458 

Mistakes in the Separate Movement. Persecution. Failure 4G8 


BOOK IV. 1745-60. 


Wood8tock*8 Uevolt. Coutost Botwocii MasAacluisctts and Connecticut . 487 


Varloaa Town Matters. Controversy with Mr. Stiles. First Chnrcli of 
Woodstock J>lvidcd 495 

Abington Society Set Off. Contest with Pomfkret. Church Organization . 608 


Mortlako DIslnstatcd. Ilrooklyn Condrmeil. Troubles in Ponirrot. Settle- 
niont of Mr. rutuam. Qencral Progress 617 

Progress in Killingly. Affairs in Middle, South and North Societies ... 628 

Plainfleld. Volnntown. Canterbury 686 

Dismissal of Mr. Bass. Disturbances in Ashford , . 544 


First, Second and Third Societies of Windham. Formation of the Susque- 
hanna Company 660 

Windham*s Frog Fright. French and Indian War. Statistical Summary. 5G0 




IN 1726, ten towns in the northeast corner of Connecticut, previously 
included in the counties of Hartford and New London, were 
erected into the County of Windham. iTnioii and Woodstock were 
subsequently added ; Mansfield, Coventry, Tjebanon, Union and Colum- 
bia taken away ; and several of the original towns divided. Sixteen 
towns — Woodstock, Thompson, Putnam, Pomfret, Brooklyn, Kil- 
lingly. Sterling, Plainfield, Canterbury, E:i8tford, Ashford, Chaplin, 
Hampton, Windham, Scotland and Voluntown — form the {»rcscnt 
Windham County. Its average length is about twenty-six miles; 
its breadth, nearly nineteen. Its area comprises a little less than five 
hundred and fifly-three squafe miles. 

The gi'eater part of this tract of country, prior to the settlement of 
New England, was included in Nipnet— " the fresh water country," — 
the inland region between the Atlantic co:ist and the Connecticut 
River. Its inhabiUmts were known collectively as Nipmucks or Nip- 
nets — " pond or fresh-water Indians," — in distinction from river and 
shore Indians. One of their favorite resorts was the great lake, 
Chaubunnagunggamaug, or Chabanakongkomuch, — "the boundary 
fishing- place," — the *' bound-mark " between Nipmuck and Nar- 
raganset territory. This lake lies a few rods north of the present 
northern bouudary line of Windham County, and the Nipmucks 
claimed land some eighteen or twenty miles south of it The tract 
west of the Quinebaug River, north of a line running northwesterly 
from the junction of the Quinebaug and. Assawaga Rivera, was 
Wabbaquassot — "the mat-producing country" — so called from some 
marsh or meadow that furnished roods for mats and baskets, and 
its inhabitants were known as Wnbbaquassots. A quarry of rock, 
valued for its sharpening properties, gave its name to a strip of 
land east of the Quinebaug. Manhumsqueeg or Mahmunsqueeg, 
"the spot resorted to for whetstones," was near the mouth of a 
branch of the Assawaga, still known as Whetstone Brook in central 
Killingly, and a range of land noithward and southward was thence 


designated Mahmnnsqueeg, the Whetstone Country. The land sonth 
of Wabbaqnasset and I^Inhinunsqneeg, now inchided in the towns 
of Plain field and Canterbuiy, was the Quinebnng Country, inhabiled 
by Quinebaugs. The Marragansuls clainied riglits east of the Quine- 
baug) and 11 erc^^ly contested its jurisdiction with the NipniuckH; the 
Wabbaquassets were subject to Nipnnick chiettains. Some twenty or 
thirty years before the settlement of Connecticut by white men, a 
band of Pequot«, '* apparently of the same race with the Mohicans, 
JVlohigans or Mohicandas, who lived on the banks of the Hudson 
River," invaded the territory east of the Coiniecticut, established their 
head-quarters at the mouth of " the Great liiver,'* now known as 
Thames, drove away the Narragansets, conquered the (Quinebaugs 
and Wabbaqnassets, and assumed jurisdiction over all the land now 
pertaining to Windham County. 

These few facts comprise all that can be gathered of the condition 
of this region previous to the settlement of Counecticiit. Of its Indian 
inhabitants, whether few or numerous, only one has escaped oblivion. 
A Hoston News-Letter chronicles the name auid services of x\(!cpiitti- 
numg, of Wabbaquasset, now Woodstock. Soon ai\er the arrival of 
Winthrop's colony in Massachusetts, in 1630, tidings reached the dis- 
tant Wabbaqnassets that a company of Englishmen had come to the 
Bay, were in great want of corn and would pay a good price for it. 
The fertile hills of Wabbaquasset were famous even then for their 
bountifid yield of corn. Acquittiiuaugs father tilled large sacks 
with the precious commodity, and with his son and other Indians bore 
the heavy burdens on their backs through the wilderness to the infant 
settlement; at Boston, '' when there was but one cellar in the place, and 
that near the Common." Acquittimaug lived to see the Eugliiihmeu 
in possession of all Nipnet as well as his native Wabbaquasset, and 
when, in extreme old age, he visited the thriving town of Boston, was 
welcomed and entert^iined by the chief dignitaries of the lilassachusetts 

The Windham County territory became known to the English at 
the first settlement of Connecticut in 1G35-6. It lay directly in the 
route from Massachusetts to the. Connecticut Itiver, a ])art of that 
^* hideous and trackless wilderness " travei*sed by the first colonists. 
Tradition reports their encampment on Pine Hill in Ashford. A rude 
track, called the Connecticut Path, oblitpiely crossing the Wabba- 
(piassct Country, became the main thoroughfare of travel between the 
two colonies, llmidreds of families toiled over it t<) new homes in the 
wilderness. The fathera of Hartford and New Haven, ministers and 
governors, c^iptains and commissioners, government oflicials and land 
speculators, crossed and recrossed it. Civilization passed over it to 


regions beyond, bnt made no halting place upon the way for more than 
half a century. 

Of the condition of the future Windham during this period we ' 
have little definite knowledge. The general features of the country 
were the same as at present — a broken, rock-strewn surface, with many 
lakes and rivers. Wild, craggy forests, miry swamps and sandy 
barrens were relieved by fertile valleys and pleasant openings. Large 
tracts of the best land were burned over by the Indians, and kept open 
to furnish pasture for deer.. Qame.and fish abounded in wood, lake and 
river. The principal rivers, lakes and hills bore the same names that 
now duttinguish them. The Quinebaug, Shetuoket, Willimantic, Na- 
chaug, Pachaug, Moosup and Mashamoquet Rivers ; Egunk, Wanun- 
gatuck, Owbesntuck, Tatniok, Mashentuck and Quinnatisset Hills ; 
Mashapaug and Pawcatuck Lakes — all received their names from their 
aboriginal proprietors. Our Five-mile River was their Assawaga; 
Little River, their Appaquage; Black welVs Brook, the Cowisidc. An 
Indian trail, known as. Nipmuck .Path, ran south from Wabbaquasset 
to the sea shore. The Greenwich Path crossed eastward from the 
Quinebaug to Narraganset 

Of the Indians, we know little more than of their country. They 
were subject clans of little spirit or destinctive character. .Their num- 
ber was small A few families occupied the favorable localities, while 
lai'ge sections were left vacant and desolate. Their dwellings were 
poor, their weapons and utensils rude and scanty. They raised corn 
and beans, and wove mats and baskets. Their lives were si>ent chiefly 
in hunting, fishing, idling and squabbling* A few rude forts were 
l)uilt and maintained in variouii localities* 

After the overthrow of the Pequote their lands, by Indian law, lapsed 
to their conquerors. TJncas, the restless chief of a small baud oi 
Mohegans, who had revolted from the great Pequot Chieftain 
Sassacus, and fought with the English against him, now claimed his 
land on the ground of relationship, and as his power increased assumed 
jurisdiction over it. The mild and timid Wabbaquasets readily 
acknowledged him as their master, '* and paid him homage and obli- 
gations and yearly tribute of white deer-skins, bear-skins, and black 
wolf-skins." With the Quinebaugs Uncas was less successful. His 
right to their allegiance was disputed by the Narragnnsets. Pessacus 
{aliaa Moosup), brother and successor , to Miantonomo, asserted his 
daim to the Quinebaug Country, affixing his name to the largest branch 
of the Quinebaug. Uncas denied his right, and extorted tribute when 
possible. For many years the land was in c<intention ; the distracted 
. Quinebaugs yielding homage to whichever rival chieftain chanced to 
be in ascendency. For a time " they had no resident sachem and went 



as they pleased,*' but oonsented to receive Allamps (cUiaa Hyems), 
Mas^ashowett and Aguntus, renegade Narragausets who had become 
obnoxious to their own goveiDment, and were allowed by TJucas to 
dwell in Quinebaug, and exercise authority over its wavering inhabi- 
tants. They wei*e wild, lawless savages, ambitious . and qu<u*rel8ome. 
They built a foil at Egunk Hill, another near Greenwich Path, and a 
third at Wanungatuck Hill,* west of the Quinebaug, where they were 
compelled to dwell a yeai* for fear of the Narragausets. 

Tlie Whetstone Countiy was also in conflict. TJnoas claimed that 
his northern bound extended to the quan*y, and his followers were 
accustomed to resort thither for whetstones, but its Nipmuck inhabi- 
tants ^* turned oiT to the Nurrngansets.*' Nemo and Azzogut. who 
built a fort at Acquiunk, a point at the junction of the Quinebaug and 
Assawago Rivers, now in Danielsonville, '* carried presents sometimes 
to Uncns, sometimes to Pessacus." This fort was eleven rods flfleen 
inches in circumference, four or five feet in height, and was occupied 
by four families. 

Acquiunk and its vicinity is also memorable as a traditional Indian 
battle-field, the scene of the only abonginal rencontre reported with 
any distinctness. An interchange of social festivities led to this bloody 
outbreak. The NaiTagansets invited their Nipmuck tributaries to visit 
them at the shore and paitake of a feast of shell-flsh ; the Nipmucks 
reJturned the civility by inviting their guests to a banquet of lamprey 
eels. The shell-fish were greatly relished by the Nipmucks, but the 
eels, for lack of dressing, were distasteful to the Nan'agansets. Glum 
looks and untasted food roused the ire of the Nipmucks. Taunts and 
retorts soon led to blows. A free fight followed, disastrous to the 
unarmed Nairagansets, of whom but two escaped to carry home the 
news of the massacre. 

A body of waniors was at once dispatched to avenge their slaugh- 
tered clansmen. Reaching Acquiunk, they found the Nipmucks 
intrenched east of the Quinebaug. Unable to cross, they threw up 
embankments, and for three days waged war across the stream. Many 
wei*e slain on both sides, but the Nipmucks were again triumphant and 
forced their assailants to retii*e, leaving their dead behind them. The 
bodies of the slain Nipmucks were interred in deep pits on the battle- 
field, which was ever ader known as the Indian Buiying Ground. 
Numerous bones and trinkets found on that spot give some credibility 
to this legend, which aged Indians delighted to relate to the first 
settlers of Killingly. 

* The name applied to this hUl, signKyiog ** bent river," originally designatecl the 
great bend in the adjacent Quinebaug. 


The first transfer of land in Windham County tenitory from its 
Indian proprietors occurred in 1658. The first English purchaser was 
John Winthrop of New London, (afterwards governor of Connecticut 
Colony), who received the subjoined deeds firom Ilyems cUicts James, 
and his associates : — 

« Know all men by theso presents, Tliat I, James, sachem of Quinebang, , 
In connlde ration of the great friendship formerly from Mr. Winthrop, somethiie 
governor of Massochasetts, and desirous of continnance of the same with his 
son, now residing at Pcqiiot. And, considering that he hath erected a saw- 
mill at Fcqnot, n work very nscfUl both to the English and Indians ; for the 
supply whereof, I consider, I have swamps of timber very convenient, and for 
divers other good reasons and considerations, me thereunto moving — I the said 
James, do of mine own free and voluntary will and motion, give? grant, bargain 
and sell to Mr. John Winthrop, of Pequot, all my land at Pautuxett,* upon 
the river thut runneth A*om Qulnebaug and runneth down towards Mohlgan 
and towards the plantation of Poqnot unto the sea; the l>onnds thereof to be 
fk-oni the present plot of the Indians' planting-ground at Qulnebaug, where 
James, his fort Is, on a hill at the said Pautuxett, and so down towards Shau- 
tuxkett so fhrr as the right of the said James doth reach or any of his men ; 
so ftirr on both sides the river as ye right of ye said James doth [reach] or 
any of his men, with all the swamps of cedar, pine, spriice or any other 
timber and wood whatever together with them to the said John Winthrop and 
bis heirs. 

RiCHAiiD Smith, 
Witnesses, Samuel Smiih, 

Nov. 2, 1668. T. B., mark of Thomas Baylkt.*'* 

'*Know all men by these presents. That I, Massashowitt, brother of 
James, doo, upon the consideration mentioned on the other side of this paper 
by my brother, doo likewise for myself give, grant, bargain and sell and by 
these presents conflrm unto the said John Winthrop of Pequot all that land at 
Pautuxett, OS is on the other side of the paper and In that deed made over by 
my brother James to the said John Winthrop .... And we the Koid 
James and Massashowitt do hereby testify that this we do by the fUll and 
free consent of Aguntus Pumquanon, Massltlamo, brother of Aguntus, also 
Moas and all the rest of the chief men of these parts about and at Qulnebaug, 
and In their name having all consented thereto. In witness whereof we have 
hereunto sett— this 26th of November, 1668. 

John Gallop. ^ o the mark of Jamto. 

Jam£8 Avkhy. Witnesses. ^ \- •'^ 

the mark of Massashowitt. 



\ J Mark of Williabi Wbloma, 
T. B., Mark of Thomas Batlkt. 

The general name for all Falls, here referring to those at Acqulunk. 


The validity of this coDveyance is extremely doubtful. The grantors 
were neither by English or Amenoan law vested in the land oonveyed. 
Aguntus himself, at first '* blamed Hyems for selling land that was not 
his,*' and made him, in the presence of Winthrop, pnll off a coat he 
had received in payment <^ A roll of trucking-cloth, two rolls of red 
cotton wampum, stockings, tobacco pipes aud tobacco,'* secured his 
consent and confirmation. Robin Oassaminon, a well known Pequot, 
acted as interpreter in this transaction. 

Qovernor Winthrop took great pains to secure legal confirmation of 
his Quinebaug purchase. The Narragansets were precluded from 
prosecuting their aitciont claim to this territory by an especial clause in 
the agreement made by himself and John Clarke, as agents for Connecti- 
cut and Rhode Island, concerning, the dividing line between their 
governments, providing, That, " if any pait of that purchase at Quine- 
baug doth lie along upon the east side of that river, that goeth down 
by New London, within six miles of the said river, then it shall wholly 
belong to Connecticut Colony, as well m the rest which lioth on the 
western side of the aforesaid river." The General Couit of Connecti- 
cut, October, 1671, allowed the Governor his Indian pwchase at 
Quinebaug, and gave him libeity to erect thereon a plantation, but none 
was attempted. According to Trumbull, *' there was a small number 
of [white] families on the lands at the time of the purchase," but no 
trace of them has been recovered. An Englishman attempted to settle 
in Quinebaug about 1050, but was driven oflf by Ilyems' thi*eat "to 
bury him alive unless he went away.'* 

The Wabbaquiissets during these years patiently submitted to the 
authority of Uncas, and when his eldest son, Owaneco, was grown up, 
received him as their sachem, " their own chief men ruling in his 
absence." About 1670, a new light dawned upon them. The influence 
of the faithful Indian apostle, Eliot, reached this benighted region. 
Young Indiana trained at Natick, as in "a seminary of viitue and 
piety," went out into the Nipmnck wilderness, and gathered the wild 
natives into '^ new praying towns " and churches. Of seven churches 
thus gathered three were within Windham County territory. Joseph 
and Sampson, only sops of Petavit, sachem of Uamannesset — now 
Graflon, — *^ hopeful, pious and active young men," came as Christian 
missionaries to Wabbaquasset, and for four yeai*s labored and preached 
faithfully throughout this region. The simple and tractable Wabba- 
quussets hearkened willingly unto the Gospel thus preached, and many 
were persuaded to unite in church estate and assume some of the habits 
of civilization. They observed the Sabbath ; they cultivated their 
land ; they gathered into villages. The largest village, comprising 
some thirty families, was called Wabbaquasset. Its exact locality has 


not been identified, but it is known to be included in the present town 
of Woodfttook, either on Wowlslook Hill or in its vicinity. The 
teacher Sampson had his residence here, and under his oversight wig- 
wams were built, the like of which were seen in no other part of the 
country. Another church and village were gathered some miles north 
ward, at Myanexet, on the Quinebaug — ^then called the Mohegan 
River ; and a third east of the Quinebaug, among the Nipmucks at 
Quinnatisset* — now Thompson Hill. These villages and their inhabit- 
ants were under the care and guidance •of the faithful Sami>son, who 
held religious services statedly, and endeavored to civilize and elevate 

The good tidings received from the Nipmuck wilderness greatly 
cheered the heart of the excellent Mr. Eliot, and in September, 1674, 
he sat out on a tour to the new Praying Towns, to confirm the 
churches, settle the teachers over them and establish civil government. 
He was accompanied by Major Daniel Gookin, who had been appointed 
by the Qeneral Court of Massachusetts, magistrate over the Praying In- 
dians, with power to hold courts and '* constitute and appoint Indian 
commissioners in their several plantations, to hear and determine such 
matters as do arise among themselves, with officers to execute com- 
mands and warrants." This visit of Eliot is the most striking and note- 
worthy event in Windham's aboriginal history, and is detailed with great 
clearness and vividness by Major Gookin. Five or six godly peraotis ' 
went with them on their jounicy. After visiting Hnmanncsset and Ma- 
chauge, they came, September 14, to a village near Lake Chaubongagum 
— afterward included in Dudley — where nine families were collected. 
The chief man and sachem in this vicinity was Black James, *'a person 
that had approved himself diligent, courageous, faithful and zealous to 
suppress sin," and who was liow appointed constable of all the prnying 
towns. Joseph, one of the young missionaries, was teacher at Chau- 
bongagum. Here Mr. Eliot preached, prayed, sang psalms and spent 
pa]*t of the night discoursing. Next day, accompanied by Black James 
and Joseph, he proceeded to Myanexet, "seven miles southwest, a 
village situated in a very fertile countiy, west of a fresh river called 
Mohigan." Twenty families were gathered liere, comprising, by 
Gookin's estimate, a hundred souls — men,* women and children— all 
eager to welcome and hour the missionaries. A religious service was 
held, Mr. Eliot preaching in the Indian tongue, from the words, " Lift 
Up your heads, O ye gates . . . and the King of Glory shall come 

* It has been stated by several historians, unfamiliar with tliese localities, that the 
place called Quinnatisset is now iacluded in Woodstock^ but the orignial deeds 
from the naU res to English purchasers, make it absolutely certain that this name 
designated territory now in Thompson. 


in.*' At the close of the sermon, Mr. Eliot led forward John Moquo, 
a pious and sober person, and presented him to the people to be their 
minister, whom they thankfUlly accepted in the Lord. 'Moqiia then 
rend a suitable psalm, which was sung by the Assembly. After prayer, 
the teacher was exhorted to bo diligent and faithful, and to take good 
care of the flock, and the people charged to yield him obedience and 

Major Gookin reported another village at Quinnatisset, six miles 
south, *^ within four miles of the south line of Massachusetts Colony,*' 
where there were also twenty families and a hundred souls, but they 
went not to it^ being straightened for time and the way rough and 
dangerous, *' but they saw and spake with some of the principal people, 
and ap[)ointed a sober and pious young man of Natick, called Daniel, 
to be their minister, wliom they accepted in the Lord." 

Aiter rest and refreshment, the party proceeded on their way, and 
late in the evening, atler a toilsome journey arrived at Wabbaquasset 
According to Maj6r Gookin (whose distances are not always accurate), 
this town was nine or ten miles from Myanexet, six miles west of 
Mohignn River and seventy-two miles southwest from Boston ; and 
contained thirty families and a hundred and flfty souls. It was 
situated in a very lich soil, as was manifested by the goodly crop of 
Indian corn then nearly ingathered, not less than foity bushels to an 

• acre. A spacious wigwam, about sixty feet long and twenty wide, 
was the residence of the sachem, who was inelined to religion and had 
the meetings on Sabbath days at his house. The Sagamore was absent, 
but his squaw courteously admitted the strangers into his wigwam, and 

' provided liberally in their way for their Indian companions. News of 
their arrival soon spread through the village. The teacher Sampson 
hastened to greet and welcome the missionaries, and also divers of the 
principal people, with whom they spent a good part of the night in 
prayer, singiirg psalms and exhortations. One grim Indian alone sat 
mute and took no part in what was paissing. At length, atler a groat 
space, he arose and spake, and declaring himself a messenger from 
Uncas, sachem of the Mohegans, who challenged right to and dominion 
over this people of Wabbaquasset — '^ Uncas,*' said he, " is not well 
pleased that the English should pass over Mohegan liiver to call his 
Indians to pray to God." 

The timid Wabbaquassets quailed at this lofly message from their 
sovereign master, but Mr. Eliot answered calmly, *^ That it was his 
work to call upon men everywhere to repent and embrace the Gos|)e], 
but he did not meddle with civil right or jurisdiction." Gookin, with 
the authority befitting his office as magistrate, then declared unto him, 
and desired him to inform Uncas, '* That Wabbaquasset was within 


the jurisdiction of Massaohasetta, and that the government of that 
people did belong to them, and they do look upon themselves con- 
cerned to promote the good of all people within their limits, especially 
if they embrace Christianity — yet it was not intended to abridge the 
Indian sachems of their just and ancient rights over the Indians in 
respect of paying tribute or any other dues, but the main design of 
the English was to bring them to the good knowledge of God in 
Christ and to suppress among them their nins of drunkenness, idolatry, 
powwowing and witohcraft. As for the English, they had Inken no 
tribute from them, nor taxed them with anything of that kind." With 
this declaration, the evening session ended ; the Indians dispersed ; 
the messenger of XJncas vanished to appear no more, but his in-nption 
among the little band of Indian disciples gathered at the great 
Apostle's feet is the hiost^ picturesque incident in Windham's eai'ly 

The day following, September 1 6th, 1 674, is one of the most memorable 
in Windham aimals. The presence of the distinguished visitors was 
now widely known and had doubtless drawn together at Wabbaquasset 
all the Indians from surrounding sections. The Praying Indians from 
Myanexet and Quinnatisset were there, and many others who had 
never before attended a religious service nor heard of the Englishman's 
♦ God. Public worship was held at an early hour — " Sampson first 
reading and setting the first part of the 119th Psalm," which was sung 
by the assembly. Mr. Elipt next prayed and then prpached to thorn 
in their own language from Matthew vi: 28 — **But if tliiiie eye l>e 
evil thy whole- body shall be full of darkness,"— concluding the service 
with prayer. 

Major Gookin then held a court, establishing civil governments 
among the natives. Firat he approved the teacher Sampson — whom he 
described 'as '^an active and ingenious person, who spake good English 
and read well," — and next the constable, Black James ; giving each of 
them a charge to be diligent and faithful in their places : and also 
exhorted the people to yield obedience to the Gospel of Christ and to 
those set in order there. He then published a warrant or order, empower- 
ing the constable to Suppress drunkenness and Sabbath- breaking, and 
especially powwowing and idolatry, and after warning given, to a))pro- 
hend all delinquents and bring them before authority to answer for 
their middoing.4. For smaller tkults to bring them before Wattasa 
Companum of Hassanamosset — ''a grave and pious man of the chief 
sachem 8 bloo<i j " for idolatry and powwowing, to bring them before 

Having thus settled religions ordinances and civil authority, Mr. 
Eliot and his friends took leave of this people of Wabbaquasset, and 




returned the same day throagh Myanexet to Ohaubongagum, greatly 
pleased with the progress of Christianity and civilization among these 
tractable and friendly Indians. Seventy families had been reclaimed 
from heathenism and bai'barism and were gathered in churches with 
ministers set over them, and from this fair beginning they could 
not but hope that light would shine into all the dark region around 

These hopeful prospects were soon blighted. The Narraganset war 
broke out in the following summer and swept away at once the result of 
years of missionary labor. The villages were deeeited; the churches fell 
to pieces $ the Praying Indians relapsed into savages. The Nipmucks 
east of the Quinebaug joined the Nan*agansets ; the fearful Wabba- 
quassets left their pleasant villages and planting fields, and threw 
themselves under the protection of Uncas^at Mohegan. Early in 
August, 1675, a company of Providence men, under Captain Nathaniel 
Thomas, went out in pursuit of Philip — who had just effected his 
escape to the Nipmuck Country, — and on the night of August Sd, 
reached the second fort in that country, " called by the Indians Wapo- 

. . ^ soshequash " — (Wabbaquassct). This was on a hill, a mile or two 
^^yfrnt-oi* what is now Woodstock Hill. Captain Thomas repoits " a very 

^ good inland country, well watered with nvers and brooks, special good 
land, great quantities of special good oprn and beans and stately wig- 
wams as I never saw the like, but not one Indian to be seen." The 
Wabbaquassets wdre then serving with the Mohegans, aiid aided in vari- 
ous forays and expeditions, bringing in on one occasion over a hundred 
of Philip's men, so that each wai*rior, at the close of Uk^ campaign of 
1675, was rewarded for his services by '* a payre of brecchis " from the 
Connecticut government 

No battle or skirmish is reported during the war within Windham 
County territoiy, but it was repeatedly ti*aversed by scouting parties, 
and companies of soldiera were sent at different times to ^^ gather all 
the corno and secure all the swine that Oduld bo found therein.** In 
June, 1676, Major Talcot sat out from Norwich on an expedition 
through the Nipmuck Country with 240 English soldiers and 200 
• Indian warriors. They marched first to Egunk, where they hoped to 
salute the enemy, and thence to Wabbaquassct, scouring the woods 
through thici long tract, but found the country everywhere deserted. 
At Wabbatpiusset, they found a fort and about foity acres of corn 
growing, but no enemy. The village, with its '* stately wigwams" had 
perhaps been previously ilestroyed. They demolished fort and com 
ond then proceeded to Cliaubongagum, where they killed and captured 
fifty-two of the enemy. 
The death of Philip the following August closed this bloody and 



dostniolivo war. Tho Nipmucks found thoinselves almost annihilated. 
'* I went to Oonneoticut^" said Sagamore Sam of Nashaway, '* about the 
captives there and found the English had destroyed those Indians, and 
when I came home we were also destroyed.** The grave and pious 
Wnttasa Companum, enticed away by Philip's men, was executed in 
Boston. Gookin was the only magistrate who opposed the people in 
their rage against the wretched natives. The few remaining Nipmncks 
found a refuge with some distant tribes ; the Wabbaqnassets remained 
with XJncns at Mohogan. Tho aboriginal inhabitants of the future 
Windham Oounty were destroyed or scattered, and * their territory 
opened to English settlement and occupation. 

BOOK I. 1676-1726. 




1 "THOUGH Windham County is so dearly within the limits of 
Connecticut) the northern part of this territory was long held 
by Massachusetts. The boundary between these colonies was many 
years disputed. The patent of Connecticut allowed her territory to 
extend northward to the head of Narraganset River, but the previous 
grant to Massachusetts restricted it to the southern bound of the Bay 
Colony — " three miles south of every part of Charles River." In 
1642, Massachusetts employed Nathaniel Woodward and Solomon 
SafTery, characterized by her as *' skillful and approved artists," to run 
her southern boundary line. A point on Wrentham Plain was 
adjudged by them to bo three miles ponth of the most southerly part 
of Charles River, and -there they fixed a station. They then, according 
to Trumbull, took a sloop and sailed round to Long Island Sound, and 
thence up Connecticut River to the house of one Bissel in Windsor, 
where they established another station some ten or twelve miles south 
of that in WrenthaoL The line joining these points was the famous 
<< Woodward's and Saffery's Line,** accepted by Massachusetts as her 
southern boundary, and maintained by her seventy years against the 
reiterated representations and remonstrances of Connecticut By this 
deflection, the land now included* in the towns of Woodstock and 
Thompson was appended to Massachusetts, and . as a part of the 
vacant Nipmuck Country awaited her disposal. 

That colony was too much impoverished and weakened .by the war 
to-be able at once to appropriate her acquisitions, and some years 
passed ere she attempted even to explore and survey them. The 
Indians, as they recovered from the shock of defeat, gathered again 
around their old homes and laid claim to various sections. In May, 
1681, the General Court of Massachusetts appointed William Stough 
ton and Joseph Dudley, two of her most prominent public men, " To 
take particular care and inspection into the matter of the land in the 
Nipmuck Country, and what titles were pretended to it by Indians and 


Others.'* A meeting of olaimants was aocordingly held at Cambridge 
village, in June, Mr. John Eliot assisting as Interpretei*. Black James, 
the former constable at Chabongagnm, now appeared as claimant for 
the south part of the Nipmuck Country. The commissioners found 
the Indians ^* willing enough to make claim to the whole country, but 
litigious and doubtful among themselves," and allowed them till Sep- 
tember to arrange some mutual agreement, and then spent a week 
exploring the country, att<mded by the principal claimants. They 
repoited Black James' claim as *^ capable of good settlement, if not 
too. scant of meadow, though uncertain what will fall within our bounds 
if our line be to be questioned," and advised ** that some compensation 
be made to all the daimers for a full sun*ender of their lands to the 
Government and Company of Massachusetts." This advice was 
accepted, and Stoughton and Dudley further Empowered **to treat 
with the claimers, and agree with them upon the easiest terms that 
may be obtained." In tlie following winter the negotiations were 
completed, and February 10, 1082, the whole Nipmuck Country from 
the north of Massachusetts to Nash-a-way, at the junction of the 
Quinebaug and French Rivers, Connecticut — a tract fifty miles long by 
twenty wide — was made over to the Massachusetts government for the 
sum of fifty pounds. Black James received for himself and some 
forty followers, twenty pounds in money and a Reservation of five miles 

This Indian Reservation was l^d out in twp sections — one ^' at a 
place called Myanexet," east of the Quinebaug, now included in the 
towns of Dudley, Webster and Tliompson, — the other at Quinna- 
tisset, now the south part of Thompson. Five thousand acres at 
Quinnatisset and a large tract at Myanexct, being a moiety or fiiU half 
of the whole Reservation, were immediately conveyed, for the sum of 
ten pounds, to Stoughton and Dudley. A deed, subscribed November 
10, 1682, by Black James and other << Indian natives and natuml 
desciQudants of the ancient proprielors and inhabitants of the Nipmuck 
Country," released all right to this land and constituted Stoughton and 
Dudley the first white •proprietors of Windham's share of the Nip- 
muck Country. Dudley long retained his fine farm on the Quinebaug. 
The Quinnatisset land was soon made over to purohasers. The throw- 
ing of so large a tract of country into n^arket incited an immediate 
rage for land speculation, and capitalints haatoned to secure possession 
of favorable localities. June 18, 1688, Joseph Dudley, for £260, 
conveyed to Thomas Freak of Ilamingtou, Wells County, England, 
two thousand acres of forest land in the Nipmuck Country, part of a 
. givater quantity purchased of Black James, '* as the same shall be set 
out by a sni-veyor." Two thousand acres in upland and meadow, ^^ at 



a certain place called and known by the natives Quinnatisset," were also 
made over by Stonghton, in consideration of £20) current money, to 
Robert Thonipaon of Noith Newington, Middlesex, England — a very 
noted personage, president of the Society for the Propagation of the 
Crospel in Foreign Parts, and a firm and devoted friend of the colonies. 
The land thus purchased was laid out in June, 1684, by John Gore, of 
Roxbury, luidor the supervision of Colonel William Dudley. Freak's 
farm included the site of the present Thompson village. The line 
dividing it from Tliompson's ran through an old Indian fort on a hill a 
mile eastwanl Five h'uiidi*od acres south of Froak*s were laid out to 
Gore ; five hundred on the north to Benjamin Gambling of Roxbury, 
assistau't surveyor. These Quinnatisset farms are membrable, not only 
as the first laid out in the northern part of Windham County, but 
from their connection with the disputed southern boundary of Massa- 
chusetts. Woodward's and Saffery's line crossed the Quinebaug, at its 
junction with the French River, and thence ran on northeasterly to 
Rhode Island and Wrentham. It was intended to make this line the 
south bound of the Quinnatisset farms, but, by an unfortunate blunder, 
the greater part of Thompson's land and an angle of Gore's fell south 
of it, intruding upon what even Massachusetts acknowledged as Con- 
necticut territory — an intrusion which occasioned much confusion and 
controversy. No attempt was made to occupy and cultivate these 
farms by their owners. Thompson's land remained in his family for 
upwards of an hundred years, and the town that subsequently included 
it was named fn his honor. 


a. Woo4lwftrd*8 iind Saflcry'P Lfne. b. Freaks Farm. c. Oarduer*fi and 
Giunbllng's land. d. Thompeon's land. e. Gore'tf laud. /. Old Indian 
fort* ' • ^ • 


Twelve hundred acres of land between the Quiuebaug and French 
Rivers were sold by Nanasogegog of Nipmuok, i*dth the consent of 
Black James, to Jonathan Curtis, Thomas. Dudley, Samuel Rice and 
otbei*8, in 16S4, but other claimants apparently secured it Five 
hundred acres, each, allowe4 by the Massachusetts government to 
John Collins and John Cotton, were laid out east of the Quinebaug in 
Quinnatisset A thousand-acre tract, ^' granted to the children of 
Mr. William Whiting, sometime of Hartford," was laid out south 
of Lake Chaubongagum. 

The whole Wabbaquasset Country was yielded by Massachusetts to 
the claim of IJnoas, who, favored by the government and encouraged 
by interested mlvisera, assumed to himself a large share of eastern 
Connecticut. The tract confirmed to him as the hereditary territory 
of the Mohegans was bounded on the noith by a line ininning from 
Mahmunsook on Whetstone Brook to the junction of the Quinebaug 
and Assawaga at Acquiunk, thence westward to' the Willimantic and 
far beyond it. The Wabbaquasset Country was held by him as a 
Pequot conquest It extended from the Mohegan north bound far into 
Massachusetts, and westward from the Quinebaug to a line running 
through the ^' great pond Snipsic," now in Tolland. This large tract 
was given by Uncas to his second son, Owaneco, while the land between 
the Appaquflge and Willimantic Rivera was assigned by him to his 
third son, Atanawahood or Joshua, sachem of the Western Niantics. 
Joshua died in May, 1676, from injuries received during the Nai'ra- 
ganset war, and left a will, bequeathing the land between the 
Willimantic and Appaquage to Captain John Mason and fifteen other 
gentlemen, " in trust for a plantation.*' His estate was settled accord- 
ing to the terms of the will, the General Assembly of Connecticut 
allowing the Norwich legatees the lands bequeathed to them at 
Appaquage, which, as soon as practicable, was incorporated as the 
township of Windham. 

The first tnmsfer of land in Windham County territory to an 
English proprietor was that of the Quinebaug Country to (lovernor 
Winthrop, in 1653 ; the second^ more than a quarter of a century 
later, conveyed a paii; of the same land to gentlemen in Norwich. The 
Court of New London County, September, 1C79, adjudged that Un<»i8 
and Owaneco should ** pass over their Indian right of six hundred acres 
of land for satisfaction for their men's burning the county prison," in 
a drunken outbreak. The General Court in October confirmed this 
verdict, and ordered James Fitch, Jun., treasurer of the county, to sell 
and dispose of the land. Six hundred acres of land, lying on both 
sides the Quinebaug, extending from Wanungatuck on the north to a 
brook now known as Rowland's on the south, previously included in 


Winthrop's purchase, were seleoted by Fitch and sold for forty pounds 
to John, Solomon and Daniel Tracy and Richard Bushnell, and laid 
out in June, 1680, by himself and Lieutenant Leffingwell. A farm 
south of John Tracy's division, a^oining the river island, Peagscom« 
sueck, which gave its name to this section of the Quinebi^ug valley, was 
given to James Fitch by Owaneco, and laid out during this summer. 
Although the General Court had allowed the Governor his purchase at 
Quinebaug, it had ordered, May, 1680, that << if Uncas hath right to 
any laud about Quinebaug he may make it out and dispose of it to his 
son Oivaneco, and such gentlemen as he shall see cause.** Under this 
sanction, Owaneco assumed the right to the whole Quinebaug Country 
as well as Wnbbaquasset Swarms of greedy land hunters now 
assailed the Mohegan chieftain, eager to obtain possession of these lands 
upon any pretext Their chief friends and patrons were the sons of 
M^jor John Mason, the renowned conqueror of the Fequots ; Mr. 
Fitch, the excellent minister of Norwich ; and his eldest son, James. 
Uncas was sinking into dotage ; Owaneco was drunken and worthless. 
Conscious of his own inability to retain or dispose of this land, the 
latter personage yielded to the influence and ascendency of the 
younger James Fitch, consented to receive him as his guardian, and 
thus formally acknowledged him : — 

** Whereas, at a General Coort In Hartford, iftay 18, 1680, my fiither, Uncas, 
had liberty to dispose unto me his land upon Qaloebang River, and the Coort 
at the same timo granting me liberty to dispose of It uoto ffentlemon among 
them, as I shoald see cause to do, and a good part thereof f have disposed of 
already; but flndloff that some, throogh their great Importoolty, and others 
taking advantage of me when I am In drink, by caoslng me to sign deeds, not 
only wronging myself but may spoil It ever being a plantation— for these and 
other reasons, I make over all my right and title of any and of all my lands 
and meadows nnto my loving fkrlend James S'ltch, Jun., for him to dispose of 
as he shall see cause.** 

Dec. 22, 1680.. The mark 


The signature of Owaneco to any deed of sale was thenceforth 
considered of no value without the countersign of Fitch. A formal 
deed of conveyance, executed by Owaneco and confirmed by the 
General Court of Connecticut, made over to Captain James Fitch, in 
1684, the whole Wabbaquasset Country. The Mohegan and Wabba- 
quasset countries were then for the first time surveyed and bounded, 
and their bounds confirmed by the Assembly. The whole of the 
territory now embraced in Windham County, save Joshua's tract 



between the Willimantio and Appaqaage Rivera and a strip east of 
the Qainebaug, divided between Massaohnsetts and Conneotiout 
Colonies, was thus placed in the hands of on6 individoal, destined 
to play a very prominent part in its early histoiy and subsequent 
development Captain — afterwards better known as Major — James 
Fitoh, was a man of great energy, shrewdness and business capacity. 
As soon as he gained possession of this land he threw it into market. 
Personal interest, as well as the good of the public, led him to seek 
to dispose of these vast tracts to good and substantial settlers ; to 
colonies and towns rather than to individuals and speculators. The 
northern part of Wabbaquasset was under the jurisdiction of Mussa- 
ohusotts, and to a Massachusetts company Fitch sold his fiist town- 



THE town of Roxbury was one of the most ancient and influential 
in Massachusetts Colony. ''The Roxbury people were the best 
that came from England," and filled many of the highest offices in the 
colonial government Nothing was lacking for their growth and 
prosperity but a larger area of territory, then* <' limits being so scanty 
and not capable of enlargement ** thac several persons — '^ not having 
received the same benefit of issuing forth as other towns have done, 
when it has pleased Ood to inci*ease the inhabitants thereof in their 
posterity " — were compelled to remove out of the town and colony. 

The inconvenience and difficulty accruing from these straitened 
limits induced its selectmen, William Pai*k, John Bolles, Joseph 
^nggS) John Ruggles and Edward Monis, to petition the General 
Court, in October, 1688, for a tract of land seven mUes sqmue in the 
Nipmuck Country, " for the enlargement of the town and the encour- 
agement of its inhabitants *' — ^the land to be laid out ^^ at Quiunafisset 
or thereabouts, if a convenient way may be found there." This request 
was granted on condition that an eight-mile tract previously bestowed 
on Robert Thompson, Stoughtou, Dudley and other prominent gentle- 
men '* have the first choice," and ^Hhat thlity families be settled on said 
plantation within three years and maintain among them an able and 
orthodox godly minister." Roxbury, in town meeting, January 21, 1684, 
accepted the honored Couit's grants and 'Mid leave it to the selectmen 

boxbubt's oolont. 19 

to consider of sending men to take a view of the place tliat may be 
most convenient" To facilitate commanication with this new and 
barbarous region— 'Hhe waj to Connecticut being very hazardous to 
travelers by reason of one deep river passing four or five times over" — 
Mi^jor Pyncheon was ordered by the General Court to mark and lay 
out a better and nearer one, and two Indians appointed to guide him 
on the way. 

Messrs. Thompson and Dudley having selected for their grant the 
tract soon afterward incorporated as the township of Oxford, Lieutenant 
Samuel Rugg^es, John Ruggles, John Curtis and Edward Morris were 
sent by Roxbury, in October, 1684, '' to view the premises and find a con- 
venient place to take up her grant" With Indian guides, these gentle* 
men proceeded to the Nipmuck wilderness, and spent due time in search- 
ing it QninnntisMtt for which they had asked, was in part appropri- 
ate<l, but west of the Quinebaug, at Senexet* and Wabbaqiyisset, Uiey 
found land which afforded encouragement for the settlement of a town- 
ship. The town voted, on their return, to accept of their information, 
yet gave liberty to any persons to go upon their own charge and take 
a view of said land, the town for once going b^ing at charge of a pilot. 
At the same meeting, October 27, 1684, Master Dudley, Master 
Cowles, Deacon Parks, Lieutenant Ruggles and Edward Morris were 
appointed '* to draw up, upon consideration, propositions that may be 
most equable and prudent for the settlement of the place, and present 
them to the town at the next town meeting after lecture." Inhabitants 
wishing to withdraw from any interest in the tract had liberty so to do 
without offence and be free from further charges. All others were 
held responsible for colony settlement and expenses. 

Farther <* views," confirming Roxbury in her choice of land at 
Wabbaquasset^ negotiations were opened with Ciptain James Fitch 
for its purchase and a deed secured through the agency of Dudley and 

The planting of her colony was viewed by Roxbury as a grave and 
momentous affair, requiring- much care and deliberation. A general 
town meeting was called July 18, 1685, for the disposal and settle- 
ment of their new grant in the Nipmuck country, when it was agreed 
and ordered : — 


** 'that if there shall appear to the selectmen thirty persons or upwards 
who shall give in their names to plant and settle on the said lands, so as to 
fulfill the grant and condtttons of the General Conrt referring to the same, 
thej shall have to themselves and their heirs the fUU half of the whcile tract 
of land, In one sqaare, at their own choice, to be proportlonallj divided 
among them ; and further, the town does engage to assist the said goer^ and 
planters with one hundred pounds money, to be paid In equal portions In five 

^ Yalley and meadow land acUolning Muddy Brook in the east of Wooditook. 


years; to be laid oat in publio balldinga and charges as the old town of Roz- 
bury shall annually determine. The rest of the Inhabitants of the town shall 
have the remaining half, to be equally and proportlonably divided to them, to 
be to them and their heirs forever.** 

The town adjourned to consider these, propositions "until the 
morrow eight weeks" — when "this agreement and every article or 
particle thereof was read, voted and unanimously consented thereto, 
the contrary being put to vote not one appears therein." As an addi- 
tional encouragement to settlers the town voted : — 

'* That the estates left behind by goers should be ftee from rates for raising 
the hundred pounds allowed them, and that tho*amoQnt should bo oiitlroly 
expended upou the settlers' hnlf of the grant, aud should annually be delivered 
by £20 a year into the hands of such men as the goers-out of lioxbury should 
depute, and by them be expended on public works, vis : meeting-house, 
minister's house, mill, bridges, Ac., aud that subsequent settlers on Koxbui^-'s 
half should be liable to bear all public charges with them that go flrst." 

To thetip liberal offers there was no lack of " subscribers." The 
hazards indeed were great, but the inducements surpassed them, and 
the requisite quota of men was soon made up. This emigration 
project excited great interest and enthusiasm in lioxburjr and its 
vicinity. Town meetings were chiefly occupied with arranging the 
approaching exodud, plans and propositions were discussed in publio 
and private, and people were only recognize^ in the capacity of go-ers 
and stay-era. A number of pioneers volunteered to go out early in the 
spring, in advance of the others, break up land, plant it, and make 
some preparation for the main body of colonists. Their offer was 
accepted, and for their encouragement it was voted, at a town meeting, 
March 4, 1686, <<That such should have liberty to break up land, and 
plant anywhere they please for the present year, without being bound 
to accept it as their siiare of the grant" The colonists were allowed 
till September 29th to make and declare their choice of land, and ^* it 
was ftirther yielded that they should have a surveyor with them, 
to be assistant in finding the colony line and promotion of their 
present design, upon the charge of the whole town." 

The thirteen pioneers — Benjamin Sabin,- Jonathan Smithers, Henry 
Bowen, John Frizzel, Matthew Davis, Nath. Oarey, Thomas Bacon, 
John Marcy, Peter Aspinwall, Benjamin aud Oeorge Griggs, Joseph 
Lord and Ebenezer Morris, recorded on its firat book of records as 
** the men who went to spy out Woodstock " — left Roxbury about the 
first of April, 1686. Special religious services were probably held the 
Sunday preceding their departure. The venerable Mr. Eliot^ pastor of 
the Church in Roxbury, could not but feel a deep interest in this 
attempt to colonize the scene of his former missionary labors. Infants 
were recorded by him as " baptized in the same week that we sent out 
our youth to mf^e the new plantation," and doubtless many fei*vent 


prmyers followed them on their peiilous jonrney. By the fifth of April, 
these perils had been sarmonnted, and, according to the old record, 
^'several persons came as planters and settlers, and took actual 
possession (by breaking np land and planting com) of the laud granted 
to Rozbory-^ (called by the planters New Rozbory); by the Antient 
natives, Wapaqnasset** 

They found a desolate, deserted wilderness. No Indian inhabitants 
were visible ; their forts and villages had been levelled ; their com- 
fivlds had " run to waste.** The tract was as yet i^nsurveyed and 
unbounded; the Massachusetts boundary line was unrecognizable. 
Following the course of the principal streisim, past a picturesque lake, 
they came to a rich, open valley. A noble hill, bare also, lay to 
the westward — ^the Woodstock Hill of the present generation. On 
this '< Plaine Ilill ** the pioneers established their head-quarters, put up 
shelters, selected land and planted it> and made what preparation was 
possible for the coming colony. A sawmill was built and set in 
operation, on a small brook running into the lake. This stream waii 
called Sawmill Brook ; the larger stream was probably named from 
Muddy Brook, of Roxbury. 

In May, they were visited ' by Samuel Williams, Sen., ^entenant 
Timothy Stevens and John Curtis, who, with John Qore as surveyor, 
came as committee from Roxbury, '^ to view the land, id order to the 
laying out of the same ; settle the southern bounds (upon or near tho 
colony line), and also to determine the length and breadth of tho * 
General Court's grant as they judged most convenient for the town in 
genera], that so the first Goers may make choice of their half thereof.** 
Bleven days were spent by Mr. Gore in making .the needful surveys 
and measurements — ^Massachusetts' South boundary line evaded their 
search, so they made a station about one and a half miles south of 
Plaine Ilill, and thence marked trees east and west for the south line 
of their grant, nearly two miles MkttKot the invisible Woodward's and /\f 
SafiTery's line, thus securing to Massachusetts anotlier strip of Connecti- 
cut territory. ^ After careful survey and explorations, the committee 
decided — '^ if Uie first goers chose the south side of the tract, to lay 
the town eight miles in width, from east to west, and six and a half 
miles frt>m north to south, or so much as should be needful to make up- 
the complement — but if they desire to divide by a line from north to 
south, it should be six miles from east to west, and eight from north to 

The committee returned to Roxbury to report their proceedings by 
June 12th. The time for the departure of the colonists was now 
approaching. More than the requisite thirty were already enrolled, 
but permission was now given to persons of other towns whose estates 


or Other qaaliftoadoDB might be bebeficial, to be admitted with the 
€k>er8 and share their privileges — *' if the selectmen of Roxbnry and 
other Goers do approve them." Lieutenant Samuel Ruggles, Timothy 
Stevens, and Samuel Williams^ Sen., were chosen a committee for the 
new town till the following year, '< to issue any differences that may 
arise among them.'* July 21, an especial meeting was held in 
Roxbury, ^' of a certain number of inhabitants under the denomination 
of Oo-ers," for the more orderly settling the aforesud village or 
grant, — when the following agreement was adopted : 

" I: ^hat every man should take up what number of acres he ploasoth in 
hlH homo-lot, not oxceodliiic thlrty^auil after-rights anit divisions of huid 
shall arlrio, according to thu pi*oporUou of his homo- lot; and all aftur-chargos 
to arise proportlonably upon thu homo-lots for the flmt six yean*. 

II. That whoever shall neglect the payment of his rate two months after a 
rate, made and demanded, shall forfeit for every five shUllngs two acres of hU 
home-lot/ with all proportionable rights, and so consequently, more or lens, 
according to his failure ; always provided that they take not his house nor 
orchard— this forfbltUre shall be to those chosen by the company as select- 
men, to be Improved by them for the use of the public, which rates shall be 
paid by the public, the person forfeited excepted, which agreement shall 
stand the flrst six years. 

III. If any meadows should ftdl out to be In any one's home-lot, It shall be 
accounted as so much of his proportion of meadow, and his home-lot made up 
with upland. 

IV. That all persons that have planted In the year 1686 shall have two acres 
of his home-lot free for the flrst three years, and shall unjoy the laud they 
planted In 1687 and '88, though It fall out In any other person's home-lot. 

V. That within one month they will go personally to their new plantation, 
and there make further agreements, divisions and settlements." 

' The subjoined list gives the names of those who fulfilled this agree- 
ment and took personal possession of the new plantation : — 

Edward Morris. Peter Asplnwall. Samuel Scarborough. 

Bbenezer Morris. John FrlxxoL Samuel Craft. 

James Corbln. Joseph Fdzzel. Samuel May. 

Benjamin Sabln. Jonathan Smithers. Samuel Peacock. 

Thomas Bacon. John Butcher. Joseph Bugbee. 

Joseph Bacon. Jonathan Da?ls. John Bugbee. 

Henry Bowen. Jonathan Peake. ' Arthur Humphrey. 

John Bowen. Joseph Peake. John Buggies. 

William Lyon, Sen. John Hubbard. Andrew Watklns. 

Thomas Lyon. George Qrlggs. John Marcy. 

William Lyon, Jun. Nathaniel Qarey. John Holmes. 

Matthew Davis. Nathaniel Johnson. John Chandler, Jon. 

Ubenezer Cass. John Leavens. 

John Chandler, Sen. Nathaniel Sanger. 

These Colonists were all men of good position and character, con- 
nected with the best families of Roxbury. Edward Moriis, Samuel Scar- 
borough, Samuel Craft, John Chandler and William Lyon, Seniors, 
Jonathan Peake and Henry Bowen were men advanced in years, going 
out with grown up sons to the new settlement, leaving estates behind 
them. A larger number were young men with growing families. A 
few were still unmai*ried. None were admitted as proprietors under 


nineteen years of age. All were inhabitants of Roxbury but Peter 
Aspinwall of Dorchester, and John Butcher, James Oorbin and John 
' Holmes, from neighboring towns, admitted into the company by 
consent of the selectmen of Roxbury. Benjamin Sabin had removed 
recently from Rehoboth, driven thence it is said in the Nan-agauset 


rilllR flflh nrtiolo of tho agroomoni wai punctually f\i1fll1od. Before 
-L a nionih had pnssed the colony hnd runohod tlie new plantation. 
Of the intervening period, the last Sabbath service with the church 
at Roxbury, the departure, the journey, we have no record nor 
tradition. We can fancy the long emigrant tnun, with its thirty 
families, heavily laden carts, sheep and cattle, creeping slowly over 
the rough highways from settlement to settlement, bivouacking by 
stream and grove, passing at Medway the last outpost of civilization, 
and thence toiling onward over the '^ Old Connecticut Path,*' through 
thirty miles of savage wilderness, to their destined home at Wab- 
baquasset Of the ' time spent in this journey we can form no 
accurate estimate — the distance traversed was about eighty miles. 
They found fiiends eager to welcome them and some provision for 
their reception. The young pioneers had not been idle. . They 
had ^^set up a house*' on '^Plaine Hill," a rude, barrack-like struc-* 
ture, that also served for a public hall, and here the colonists 
encamped while making further arrangements. The first public meet- 
ing was held August 25, 1686, when, ** being met at New Roxbury 
alia8 Wapaquasset,"—- at the Wapaquasset Hall, the planters Agt*eed 
to take the south half of the tract for their portion, and ''that the 
place where the home-lots shall begin shall be upon the Plaiue Hill." 
On the following day, '* finding some difficulty in their proposals of 
settlement, the planters did mutually agi*ee and choose seven men — 
** Joseph Origgs, Edward Morris, Henry Bowen, Sen., John Chandler, 
Sen., Samuel Craft, Samuel Scarborough and Jonathan Smithers — to 
stake highways needful for the present settlement, and a lot for the 
minister, and consider of land convenient for the planters to settle 
on, and for a convenient place for a meeting house to stand on." JSach 
planter also declared at this meeting what number of acres he desired 



in his home-lot) according as he was willing and thought himself able 
to cany on public charges, and liberty was given to any one to 
designate the particular piece of land he might desire for the same, 
** otherwise, for the whole to settle as the lots shall fall by a lot" 

These instructions were immediately carried out. There was great 
need of promptness. Thirty families were to be provided with homes 
before winter, and land made ready for cultivation the ensuing 
summer. The seven wise men, '' chosen for the laying out and pitch- 
ing the town," hastened to view the land, and *' judged it convenient 
for the inhabitants to settle on these places following, vis. : the Plaine 
Hill, the eastward v»lo and the westward liilL" This ''eastward vale*' 
is now known as Houth Woodstock ; tlio '« westward hill** as Maroy*s. 
A highway, eight rods wide, was marked out over Plaine Hill, extend- 
ing to a brook at the noith end of the east vale, and thence south along 
the vale, six rods wide, to Sawmill Brook, *'with a cross highway, four 
rods wide, about the middle,*' where it might be most conyenient after 
the lots wei*e examined. An eight-rod highway was also designated 
from the north end of Plaine Hill to the east side of the westward hill, 
and another, four rods wide, to encircle that hill, which were accounted 
su^oieut for the present It was agreed that the meeting-house should 
stand on the middle of Plaine Hill, to accommodate the three settle- 
ments, and that the home-lots should begin at the north end of this 
hill. A lot of twenty acres, with rights, was reserved for the future 
minister. A quarry of flat stones was sequestered for hearthstones and 
flagging, and a deposit of day to furnish bricks for chimneys. After 
making these arrangements, it was found that the pieces of laud 
selected for home-lots would be too small for the number of acres 
designated, and considering that great lots would scatter the inhabi- 
^tants, it was agreed that they would settle but ooe-third of the 
number specified — that is, a thirty-acre lot to be reduced to a twenty, 
and all the rest in the same proportion. 

So efiicient was the committee, that in two^ days these arrangements 
were perfected, and the land made ready for distribution. The Go-ers 
or Planters met on Plaine Hill, Saturday, August 28, 1686 [O. S.], " in 
order to draw lots where their home-lots should ba" This important 
affair was conducted with much ceremony and solemnity. The seven 
oldest men of the company, who had served as committee, now had 
charge of the distribution. The main body of the settlers had arranged 
themselves in tliree companies, as claimants for the three specified 
localities. Liberty was then given ''to those that desired to sit down on 
the Plaine Hill to draw by themselves/* Others desiring to sit down 
on the east vale had liberty to draw for that by themselves, and those 
wishing to settle on the west hill, also. Those who had prefen*ed to 


designate their particular lot now manifested their choice. John 
Chandler, Sen., took his home -lot ''on the brook, both sides the high- 
way, at the north end of the east yale." In respect of accommodation 
of water, the land not being so good, an addition was allowed him. 
Samuel Scarborough and Samuel Craft took home-lots for their sons, 
east of land acyoining Plaine Hill, north of the highway leading to 
east yale. William Lyons, Sen., desired to bft^o the last, or ninth, on 
the west side the Plune Hill, which was ^so allowed. '' Then, after 
solemn prayer to God, who is the Disposer of all things, they drew 
lots, according to the agreement, every man being satisfied and con- 
tented with Gk)d's disposing, and were settled as follows : '* — 

1. Thomas and Joseph Bacon, thirty acres, at the north end, west side the 
Plaine Hill, abattlog east and north on highways.* 

2. James Corbin, twenty acres, west side Plaine filU ; bounded east on 
highway, north with' first lot 

8. Mliilster*s lot, twonCy acres ; boondod north by second. 

4. Benjamin Sabln, twenty acres; bounded east on highway, north on third 

6. Henry Bowen, fifteen acres ; bounded north on fourth and south on sixth 

6. Thomas Lvon, sixteen acres ; between fifth and serenth. 

7. Bbeneser Morris, eighteen acres ; south of sixth. 

5. Matthew Davis, sixteen acres ; south of seventh. 

9. William Lyon, Sen., and Bbeneser Cass, south end of Plaine Hill; 
bounded east by common land. 

The seventeen home-lots laid out in the east yale were thus 
distributed : — 

10. John Chandler, Sen., thirty acres; north end, eastward vale, Just north 
of Sawmill Brook. 

11. Peter Aspin wall, twenty acres; west side of vale, abutting east on 

Is. John Frizzel, twenty acres; bounded north on eleventh. 
18. Joseph Frizzel, twenty acres ; soath of twelfth lot. 

14. Jonathan Smithers, thirty acres ; bounded north and east by highway, 
west bv common. 

15. John Butcher, sixteen acres ; south of fourteenth lot. 

16. Jonathan Davis, eighteen acres; south of fifteenth. 

17. Jonathan Peaks, twenty acres ; south end of east vale. 

18. Nathaniel Oarey, fifteen acres; bounded south on seventeenth. 
10. John Bowen, fifteen acres. 

20. Nathaniel Johnson, sixteen acres ; east side of the vale', bounded west 
by highway. 

81. John Hubbard, ten acres. 

28. George Griggs, fifteen acres ; east side eastward vale, boun<)ed west 
and north on highways. 

28. Benjamin Grign, fifteen acres ; west and south on highways. 

24. William Lyon, Jun., fifteen acres; bounded south by twenty-third lot. 

25. John Leavens, north of twenty-fourth. 

26. Nathaniel Sanger, tweny acres ; north of Leavens. 

The 27th and 28th lots, assigned to Samuel Scarborough and Samuel 
Craft, were laid out east of Plaine Hill, bounding south on the high- 
way. The home-lots on the westward hill were next distributed : — 

29. Samuel May, fifteen acres ; north part of west hill ; bounded at east and 
west end on highways. 

80. Joseph Bugbee, fifteen acres ; south of May's. 




81. Samael Peacock, ten acres; bounded north by thirtieth lot, east by 

28. Arthur Homphrey, twelve acres; west of Peacock's, and bounded west 
by highway. ^ 

88. John Bugbee, south of Humphrey's; fifteen acres. 

84. John Buggies, twenty acres. 

85. Andrew Watkins, twenty acres ; south of Rnggles*. 

86. John Marcy, fifteen acres; south part of west hill. 

87. Bdward Morris, east side of Plalne Hill, <* bounded west by the great 
highway ; south, palrtly by land reserved for public use and partly by land of 
Samuels Craft and Scarborough ; east by common land ; north upon the high- 
way that goeth Arom the str^t to the Qreat Pond." 

Tbii^ty eight persons hud thus been constituted proprietors of the 
south half of New Roxbury. All subsequent divisions of woodland, 
upland and meadow were to be based upon the number of acres oom- 
prised in each man's home-loty and all public charges levied in the 
same proportion. It was agreed by the proprietors, ''That if any man 
should neglect to take actual possession of his lot, by not breaking 
up ground, nor fencing nor improving by the middle of May, 1687, 
be should forfeit twenty shillings." At a proprietors' meeting, held 
November 8, at the house of Thomas Lyon, three additional home- 
lots were distributed — ^No. 88 to Joseph Peake, north of Sawmill 
Brook ; No. 89 to John Holmes, north part of east vale, south of 
Sawmill Brook ; No. 40 to John Chandler, Jun., west side the high- 
way, adjoining that laid out to his father. 

A report of their ohoioe of the south half of the tract and further 
proceedings was at onoe forwarded to Roxbury — who immediately 
took measures for the payment of the firat installment of the promised 
hundred pounds, by ordering a perfect *' noate " of each person's estate 
from which each Stayer's share of charge could be computed. 

At New Roxbury, all was life and animation. Measurements were 
to be completed, bounds settled, roads made passable, land broken up 
and shelters erected* For a few weeks the settlei's remained at the 
first encampment, a happy company of relative and neighbors, with 
women to manage domestic affairs and children's voices ringing over 
the hill-slopes. But though hopefiil and resolute they were not without 
anxieties. Vast forest tracts surrounded the little settlement, traversed 
by wild beasts and, perhaps, more savage Indians. Deer and game 
were abundant, wolves and bears not uncommon. A watch was set 
every night to patrol the encampment and scouts sent out to range 
the adjacent woodland. Religious services on the Sabbath were held 
for a time in the open air — a large, flat rook near Plaiue Hill serving 
for a pulpit. At the first business meeting after the division of laud, 
Edward Monis, John Chandler and William Lyon were chosen ''to 
treat with young Mr. John Wilson, of Medfield, to come and preach to 
the planteiv in order to settlement," but the negotiation was probably 
nnsuccessful, as no preacher was procured for some time afterward. 


As the winter came on, the familien withdrew to auoh separate 
abodes as were provided. Thomas Ljon's house was occupied by the 
first of November, and doubtless others were equally forward. Of this 
first long, lonely winter we know nothing. No serious trouble or 
diflScntty occurred, but the settlers must hare suffered from loneliness 
and isolation. Oxford and Mendon were the nearest Massachusetts 
settlements, and many miles of savage wilderness separated them from 
Providence, Hartford and Norwich. Few travelers passed in winter 
over the old Oonnecticat Path, and communication with the outer 
world was diflicult and infrequent One item of news received during 
this interval gave them great anxiety — ^the arrival of Sir Edmond 
Andross in Boston, as governor of the XJuited Colonies. The charters 
and privileges of the Colonists were taken from them, and even the 
infant settlement at Wabbaquasset was not secure from his oppressions 
and extortions. 

Early in the spring of 1687, the New Roxbury planters began 
planting and sowing and in anticipation of the goodly harvest expected, 
on April 29, appointed Edward Morris, Nath. Johnson and Joseph White 
** to treat and agree for the building of a com mill on as reasonable 
terms as they could, which terms the public was to stand to and each 
man to bear his equal proportion.** William Bartholomew, of Bran- 
ford, a former resident of Roxbury, was the person selected and secured 
as miller, who — ''for building a come mill on the falls below Muddy- 
Brook pond ** — now Harrisville — '' and finding the town with grinding 
good meal, clear of grit, as other towns have generally found,*' received, 
** (1.) a place at the falls to set a mill which shall have the benefit of 
the streams ; (2.) a fifleen-acre hortie-lot, with rights, fifteen acres ^of 
upland and thirty acres of meadow ; (8.) a hundred acres of upland.** 
A ten-acre home4ot was also granted to his son, Isaac, and in Septem- 
ber — ''twenty acres more were granted to William Bartholomew, 
provided he bring his wife and settle upon it by next June.** As no 
town organization was yet practicable, at a general meeting of the 
inhabitants of New Roxbury, July 2d, 1687, "John Chandler, Sen., 
Nath. Johnson, Jos. Bugbee, Jas. White and James Peake were chosen 
to order the pmdential affairs of the place, as selectmen, for the year 
ensuing." • 

The condition of public affairs continued to give the Colonists great 
anxiety. Under the administration of Andross all previous land titles 
were vacated, and the first settlers of Massachusetts, after fifly or sixty 
years* possession, were obliged to pay heavily for new deeds of their 
lands and homesteads. The New Roxbury settlers had received no 
governmental confirmation of their grant since taking possession, and 
their homes and property were wholly at the mercy of the arbitrary 


and Qnsompulous Goyernor. The mother town was almost equally 
interested in seouring her grant, and joined with the colonists in 
earnest efforts to procure a confirmation from Gk>vemment Petitions 
were presented to the Gk>yemor in July and October, without effect 
In November, 1687, John Chandler, Sen., Joseph Peake and Nathaniel 
Johnson were chosen by the planters, ** to join the committee sent by 
Roxbnry to get a patent of confirmation of this half the grant in the 
name and behalf of tlie whole number of inhabitants," but this united 
effort was equally fruitless. *' A humble petition " was presented to 
Sir Edmond Andross in April, 1688, by John Chandler, Samuel Scar- 
borough, and Nathaniel Johnson, representing themselves as ^< dwellora 
in a place called New Iloxbury, where a tract of land, seven miles 
square, was granted by General As^mbly to Roxbury, and one half^ 
sixteen thousand acres, given to us that should plant the same, which 
we have done, to our very great charge, and now pray your Honor to 
confirm the same to us on the terms already given, or on such mode- 
rate quit-rent as may be agreeable to your Excellency's wisdom and 
the great distance and poverty of place and inhabitants will allow." 

Thirty settlera had previously expressed their satisfaction with this 
petition, and obliged themselves to pay such charges as might arise 
according to their proportion of land, but this provison was needless. 
No notice was taken of their request, and neither confirmation given 
nor quit-rent demanded. Governor Andross and his ofiioials were too 
much absorbed in enforcing authority over refi*actory governments and 
extortioning levies from wealthy towns and coi'porations to heed 
the cry of a remote and straitened settlement Their poverty and 
obscurity were their safety. No greedy government oflicor claimed 
land or taxes, and the New Roxbury settlers were left to pursue their 
way unmolested. 

In the first four years little was accomplished. Land was broken up 
and cultivated, fences put up, orchards set out, highways constructed, 
houses made more comfortable, John Holmes, agreeing to run the 
sawmill, was allowed the piece of land on which the mill stood — ^three 
hundred and four acres, bounded east and noith by the brook, laid out 
for the town's use — ** provided he leave convenient way to carry timber 
to milL" Home lots were laid out from time to time, for the sous of such 
proprietors as reached the age entitling them to claim them : — 

Lot 41, to Wintam Bartholomew. 
Lot 42, to Isaac Bartholomew. 
Lot 48, to Clement Oorbln. 
Lot 44, to Samuel Rice. 
Lot 46, to William Bartholomew, Jon. 
Lot 46, to Joseph Bugbee, Jun. 
Lot 47, to Nathaniel Johnson, Jan. 
Lot 48, to Jabez Corbln, 


Jonathan Smithers' lot not being improved was made over to Joseph 
Deming and Samuel Lyon< That of John Raggles, on Westwood 
Hill, **he never coming to possess it — was g^ven to John Bogbee, Sen.** 
The lot assigned to Samuel Rioe, a new settler^ was laid out '' by Johti 
Marcj's on West Hill." Jabez Corbin's lot adjoined that of James 
Gorbin, his father. Joseph Peake was settled " north side of Sawmill 
Brook, southwest from the Qreat Pond." The first death occurring in 
the setUemeni was that of Joseph Peake, Sen., whose place on a 
committee was filled by Samuel Scarborough, March 1, 1688. 

March 12, 1688, £dward Morris, John Chandler, Sen., Benjamin 
Sabin, Joseph Bngbee, William Bartholomew, Samuel Rice and John 
Butcher were chosen and impowered by the inhabitants to state and lay 
out highways which were thought necessary for the present and future 
good of the whole town. This oommltteo attended to the matter with 
all ex{>e<1ition, and made report as follows :— 

1. A highway mnnlng through Joseph Peake's lot, two rods wide, into the 
common towards thcf rollL 

2. One out of the flrst, by Jonathan Davis's, and no oo to the west side 
Planting HUl; thence running north onder east side of hill into Jos. Pealce's; 
six rods wide. 

8. One between thirteenth and fourteenth lots, extending west to common. 
4. One between twenty-second and twenty- third, extending to mill, four 
rods wide. 
6. One between tenth and eleventh, two rods wide. 

6. One ttom the brook, at the north end Eastward -Vale, to go and be by 
the Pond, through the plalne to Muddy Brook. fh>m thence to Plains Hill, 
eight rods. 

7. One between part of tenth lot and land granted to John Holmes, three 
rods, till it comes to Sawmill Brook, thence four rods, till it comes between 
the Ponds, and so over the brook into the woods, wiUi another turning to 
the mill through the Common. , 

8. One between forty and forty-second, to a rocky hill. 

9. One east side of twenty-seventh lot, extending north into the highway 
ttom Muddy Brook to Plains Hill. 

10. A narrow way from Plalne Hill bv thirty-seventh lot. 

11. One between eighth and ninth, thence to the clay pits. 

12. One nrom the south part of Wabbsquasset Hill to Long Hill. 

18. One leading over a brook south end of west meadows, and so into 
14. One going out of the highway, north part, east side of West Hill. 
.15. One between thirty-fourth and thlrty-dfth lots. 

16. One going out from. one over Plalne Hill. 

17. A highway going out of the way leading to Muddy Brook, to lead to the 
road called Connecticut Road, extending through the interval west side of 
Muddy Brook. 

This report was accepted, and the several highways were constructed. 

' A bridge was also built over Sawmill Brook, near John Chandler's. 
Other improvements waited a more formal town organization and funds 
from Roxbury. No further attempt was made to secure a patent from 

' Andross. The settlers chose to bide their time in patience. During 
these anxious years, one of their oldest and must, useful citisens was 
removed from them — the senior Edward Morris. A rude gravestone 


on Woocbtook Hill — the oldest hi Windham County — ^bears this 
inBoription — 

'* Here Lies Burled T* 
Body of Bdward Morris. 

Deceased, Sept. J^ 


His son Edward snooeeded to the home-lot, " east side of Plaine 

The Revolution, deposing James H. and establishing William and 
^ary upon the throne of Orgeat Britain, was warmly welcomed by the 
New Roxbury Colony, and as soon as practioable after the resumption 
of colonial government, they renewed their attempts to secure formal 
confirmation. At a town-meeting in Roxbury, Jan. 18, 1690, it was 
voted, '^To move or request the Qeneral Court to grant the settlement 
in Nipmuok to be a town, confirm the same and give it a name," and a 
memorial was shortly prepared, representing : — 

** That the conditions of their grant had with great difficulty been per- 
formed, althoagh at present, through the great overturns that have been, said 
village is not in all respects at present in capacity though with much eamest- 
pess labored for ; and we do pray the Honorable Court to conrrlbute to our 
encouragement by favorable acceptation of the conditions so AilflUed, whereby 
they will be animated cheerfully to encounter the difficulties attending such a 
work, especially in these difficult and danicerous times." 

Roxbury's significant admission that her colony was not in all 
respects ** in capacity '^ to claim the confirmation of the grant, referred 
undoubtedly to its failure to fulfill that important condition — the settle- 
ment of ap orthodox minister — ^a failure that in less diflicult and 
dangerons times might hiive cost them their township. Tlie ^* groat 
overturns that had been '* wdre probably doemcd a suflicient excuse for 
this omission. This memorial from Itoxbury was soon followed by 
one still more urgent from Edward Moi-ris, William Bartholomew, 
Nathaniel Johnson and John Butcher, *' in behalf of themselves and 
the rest of the inhabitants of the plantation granted to Roxbuiy," 
praying : — 

« That having AilflUed the conditions of the grant, your Honors would 
please to grant us confirmation according as it is already taken up west of 
Quinebaug Hiver, and grant us the privilege of a township, and*glve the 
town a name, and grant it to be rate-fk^e for five years and appoint us a 
committee to regulate us in case of any dlffisrences that we cannot issue 

Upon consideration that this plantation appeared to be within 
Massachusetts patent lines, and no particular proprieties praviously 
granted, the '* petition was granted by the deputies and honorable 
magistrates consenting." March 15, 1690, it was iiirther voted by the 
deputies, " That the name of the plantation granted to Roxbniy be 
Woodstock, smd that Captain Thomas Thurston, Lieutenant Samuel 

WOOD6T0OK. 31 

Barber, of Medfield, and Josiah Ohapin, of Mendon, be a committee 

to advise and assist." That the town was indebted for its name to 

Judge Sewall, appears from an entry made in his diarj : — 

'* March 18, 1690. I gare New Boxbory the name of Woodstock because of 
Its nearness to Oxford, for the sake of Queen Elizabeth and the notable 
meetings that have been held at the place bearing the name hi Bngland." 


» ' ■ • 



THE new Roxburjr Colony, thus invested with town privileges, was 
enabled to institute a more regular government and make arrange- 
ments for settling the muoh-deeired minister. No immediate change 
was made in public officers. At the first town-meeting in Woodstock, 
March 81, 1690, the seleptmen were ordered ''to make a rate of 
expenses, and deliver the same to be collected by John Holmes, con- 
stable," and in May, were empowered ** to tretft with Mr. Josiah 
Dwight about settling in the work of the ministry ; leaving it to their 
discretion what to give him, so as they exceed not what was formerly 
proposed to others, specially in the money part** From the terms o£ 
this vote, it is probable that Mr. Dwight was then in Woodstock and 
had preached to the satisfaction of the people. He was son of Tlmotliy 
Dwight, of Dedham, Was graduated from Harvard t)ollege in 1687, 
and though but twenty years old, had* already completed his ministeriid 
studies. The terms proposed by the selectmen were, ** thirty pounds a 
year and diet before settlement, ten pounds in money i after settle- 
ment, forty pounds the first yeari fifty pounds the second year i sixty 
pounds afterward ; ten pounds each year in money, paid quarterly, the 
remainder in current pay. Also, a twenty-acre home-lot, with town 
rights and divisions, and to build and finish a house by Jan. 1, 1692 — - 
said house and land, if it please Ood you are taken away by death, 
after possession, to be yours — or after ten years abiding with us." 

Mr. Dwight accepted these terms, October 17, and thenceforth 
officiated as minister of Woodstock, holding religious services at 
Wabbaquasset Hall or in private houses. A committee was appointed 
** to manage the building a minister's house ; forty feet long, nineteen 
feet wide, fourteen feet stud^ with a cellar seventeen feet square, a 
stack of four chimneys, and two gables to be raised and covered ; one 
end to be finished by May, 1692, and the other as soon as they can 


conveniently — workmen to bring in their *aoooant weekly to John 
Chandler, Jun." An orchard had been previously set out for the 
minister. Ordination and church organization were delayed for some 
years. Most of the Woodstock settlers were members of the church 
in Roxbury, and still enjoyed its fellowship and care. Ohildren, as 
they grew up, united with the church in the mother-town. Mr. Dwight 
himself joined the Roxbury church in 1692, together with John Lyon, 
John May, Penuel Bowen, Jonathan Ourtis and Bdward Mon*is. 

Impoitant town meetings were held on November 27 and 28, 1690, 
when new town officers were chosen and various public works 
inaugurated. John Chandler, Jun., was chosen Towii-clerk ; Jonathan 
Peako, Matthew Davis and Samuel Rice, surveyors. The selectmen 
elected ^eve John Chandler, Sen., William Baitholomew, Benjamin 
Sabin, John Leavens and Joseph Bugbee, in whose hands were placed 
^ the whole power of the town excepting granting lands and admitting 
inhabitants." It was voted, '< that the town be at the charge of digjj^ing 
clay, tempering of it, making a yard, cutting wood and carting it for 
bricks for the minister's chimneys." As cattle were allowed to roam 
at large, a capacioui pound was ordered, forty feet square, with four 
lengths of rails each way and seventeen rails in height, to stand in 
front of Matthew Davis's lot on Plune Hill, near the highway. The 
houses of Benjamin Sabin and Nathaniel Johnson, in the southern and 
eastern extremities of the settlement, were selected to be the* watch- 
houses of the town, and it was ordered, ^* That every man get a ladder 
to his house by the first of Febraary next, on penalty of five shillings." 
As no schools were yet practicable, *^ it was requested and procured 
that John Chandler teach and instruct children and youth how to write 
&nd cypher." With regard " to'several quarrels," which unfortunately 
had arisen, the town wisely agreed '* to stand to the determination of 
Uie Qeneral Court's Committee/' 

At a town meeting, February 24, 1691, at the house of Benjamin 
Sabin, John Chandler, Jun., was chosen *' clerk of the writs ; Jonathan 
Davis, constable." At this meeting, the meadows of the town were 
distiibuted among forty five proprietors, each receiving his portion of 
good and bad meadow. This division was made by John Butcher, 
surveyor, assisted by William Bartholomew and Benjamin Sabin, in 
judging of the *' quality of the land and making allowance to those 
that was not so good as their neighbors." Five shillings a day, in 
land, were allowed Mr. Butcher fqr his services. John llolmes, in 
consideration of his important services in running the sawmill, had 
been already allowed, as pait of his after division, ^' the corner of land 
lying at the- east end of his lot, south side of the Sawmill Brook, down 
to Muddy Brook and the highway between the ponds .... he 


paying the town two thousand slit work and two thousand boai^ds, 
that is to say, y« sawing of them.** A hundred .acres werenow granted 
to William Bartholomew, the manager of the grist mill, " on the Long 
Hill by the south meadow to Mashamoquet line." Ten aores, for a 
home-lot, was also granted to John Jones, " provided he settle here 
and improve and stay seven years or else return the same to the town." 
Bridges, during this year, received much attention. Two new ones 
were ordered between Bartholomew's and Sabin's. Peter Aspinwall 
agreed to repair the bridge by John Chandler's and keep it ' in repair 
seven years, to offset his proportion of town charges. ^ The town also 
agreed " to be at the charge of making a way unto the cedar swamp 
on the other side of the Quinebaug River, for a road to Providence," 
and Benjamin S:ibin was chosen "to oversee the works and take 
account of the same, and Peter Aspinwall if he can't do it" The 
work was done by the latter jieraonage, and proved a very difficult and 
laborious enterprise, and led to the permanent removal of Peter Aspin- 
wall to " the other side of the Quinebaug." 

In October, measures were taken for building a meeting-house. 
John Leavens, Edward Morris, Jonathan Peake and John Chandler, 
Sen., were appointed a committee for building, with power to let out 
the work and improve men to work on the same. A rate of ** nine- 
pence an acre in pay and four-pence in money " was levied to pay Mr. 
Dwight's salary and town charges. A five-rail fence was ordered 
4 about the clay pits, to take in two acres of land. It was also agi'oed 
that "men that fmled to attend town meetings should pay three 
shillings" for each omission. 

Now that Woodstock had secured minister, mills, pound, ways and 
bridges, she began to be seriously annoyed by Indians. Many Wabba- 
qnassets had returned to their ancient homes and hunting fields, little 
improved by their sojourn in Mohegan, or inclined to be friendly with 
Massachusetts settlers in possession. Their chief, Tokekamowootchaug, 
and his followers, were idle, drunken and disorderly, " to the great 
grief of good men and the prejudice of themselves and better disposed 
Indians, who were oftentimes beaten and bruised and almost brought 
to death's door" by them. The condition of public affairs at this time 
greatly increased the alarms and anxiety of the Woodstock settlers. 
England and France were at war, and all the Indian tribes were dis* 
turbed and uneasy. The fierce Mohawks took part with the French, 
and other tribes were doubtful and uncertain. The Wabbaquassets 
were ready and willing to .aid Connecticut, whose authority they 
acknowledged, but their dislike of Massachusetts jurisdiction made them 
very unsafe and unreliable residents, and obliged the settlers to exercise 



constant care and vigilance. A petition to the Qovernor of Massa- 
cbusetta, February 22, 1692, from the selectmen of Woodstock, 
reported many outrages and disturbances from drunken Indians, and 
prayed for authority to punish such offenders, that for the future such 
disorders and woAil practices might be prevented. Among other 
Wabbaquassets now i*esiding in Woodstock was found John Acqnitta- 
maug, who well remembered his transportation of corn to Boston at 
its first settlement, and ever maintained friendly relations with the 
Massachusetts settlers. 

The division and distribution of land occasioned some jealousy and 
dissatisfaction. Parties were not always satisfied with the portion^ 
assigned them, and piivate sales failed to meet the public approval. 
To remedy these evils, it was voted at a public meeting, January 8, 
1692, '*That there be a committee of three men, chosen by the town, 
to give their voice and suffrage upon all lands that shall be brought in 
under the surveyor's hands to be recorded, and none shall be recorded 
but such as they sliall approve of^ and if any person shall be gi*ieved, 
they shall have their liberty to appeal to the grand committee appointed 
by the Oeneral Court, and they that be called before committee shall 
bear the cost of this meeting, and that this be done as soon as may 
be." Nathaniel Johnson, William Bartholomew and Edwai'd Morris 
were accordingly appointed to this office. In March, it was agreed, 
'^ That the meeting-house should be tliirty feet long, twenty-six feet 
wide and fourteen feet stud, with one gable on each side." A com- ^ 
mittee was appointed to set out the work. Mr. Dwight's house, with 
its chimneys and gables, was so far completed in 1693 as to be used 
for public meetings. A code of by-laws was now completed, for the 
better ordering of the town, and a '* dark of the market " added to its 
officers. John Chandler, Jun., was allowed twelve-pence for wnting 
the notes of every town-meeting, and sixpence for every record 
of grants, he giving a copy of the same into the bargain.*' '*A 
very clear vote," also granted him twenty lusres of Innd "for writing in 
the town-books and recortling ear-marks." Though so active and 
useful in Woodstock, young Chandler was now much occupied in sur- 
veying land in Connecticut, laying out for Major Fitch innumerable 
land sales. November 10, 1692, he married Mary Raymond, of New 
London, and for some years made his family residence in that town, 
but still retained his interest and offices in Woodstock. 

John Butcher, the first appointed surveyor of Woodstock, w:is also 
much occupied with Connecticut land surveys, assisting in ininning the 
Colony line and other important boundaries. 

In 1698, Woodstock first attained " the coiiveniency of a shop," 
twelve rods of land adjoining his fathe/s lot, being allowed to Jabez 


Corbia for that purpose. iTatnes Corbin and his son Jabez were the 
first traders or speculators of the Roxbury Colony, and their shop on 
Plaine Hill soon became a plaoe of much public resort and the centre 
of an extensile traflEia They dealt largely in furs; they collected 
turpentine from the adjoining forests ; they took in the surplus produce 
of the planters, exchanging them and any marketable commodities for 
liquor, ammunition and other necessaries in Boston. The Indians, 
whose drunkenness caused such grief to good men, may have received 
their liquor from the Corbins in exchange for peltry. '' James Corbin's 
cjirt ** was one of the institutions of Woodstock, its chief avenue of 
communication with the outer world, and its owner was a person of no 
small influence and consideration. 

Relations with the mother town had now become less amicable. The 
colony had cost Itoxbury much and given her nothing. Her share of 
the grant was still in its native wildness, used only for pasturing such 
stock as could be trusted, — ''cattle in the woods" — and, ''a mare 
running in Woodstock," being included in the estates of Roxbury 
owners. Open and unenclosed, the land had no protection from tres- 
passers, and Woodstock people otlen found it convenient to get cedar 
and other timber there. These various causes made Roxbury some- 
what remiss in paying her promised bounty, occasioned much delay in 
furnishing the minister's house and meeting-hpuse, and called out 
many petitions and remonstrances from the colony. 

April, 1608, it was voted, "That if the town of Roxbury will pay 
the £100 due to us ; £10 by May next, and £60 next May, and pay for 
the surveying of the township, and will, within two months, send up a 
committee to run a dividing Une between us and the remuning half, 
setting forth to us the same according to agreement, we are willing to 
accept hereof in full satisfaction of all damages, providing this 
renouncing of damages may omit for other troubles.*' Roxbury not 
assenting, in September, John Butcher was chosen, "to join with 
Captain Chapin, of Mendon, to go to Roxbury, and agree and deter- 
mine all matters supposed to be in difference, particularly the £100 
and the remaining part of land." By thid mediation, all differences 
were arranged and part of the £100 remitted. The town, November 
28, " returned thanks to Captain Chapin for his services, and voted to 
appropriate £8 of Roxbury money towards finishing tlie minister's 
house ; £10 of the same to buy nails and irons for the meeting house, 
and thirty shillings for the town standards." 

During the winter, the meeting-house was completed, and in Marchj 
1694, *' the committee were enjoined to deliver the meeting-house and 
lot, with all appurtenances, to Mr. D wight, and make return and 
acceptance." Of this first house of worship in Windham County 



tenitoiy, nothing is known but its dimensions. It was doubtless a 
rude, ungainly structui*e, with rough board seats and no attempt at 
finish. All public meetings were thenceforward held in the meeting- 
house, and the selectmen were ordered to appraise the White House- 
probably WabbaquAsset Hall — and sell it, if they had opportunity, to 
defray town charges. 

The completion of the meeting-house was now followed by the 
organization of the church, but, unfortunately, o^ this event there is 
no existing record— and just at this period a gap in Roxbury church 
records makes it impossible to ascertain the date of the dismissal of 
her Woodstock members. All that is known is, that prior to 1696 a 
church was regularly organized in the south half of Woodstock, ''by a 
council assembled according to the common usage of the churches in 
the Province of the Massachusetts Bay," and that Mr, Josiah Dwight 
was ordained as its pastor. Cambridge platform was adopted for its 
rule of discipline. John Chandler, Sen., and Benjamin Sabin were 
chosen as deacons. The ordination of Mr. Dwight was now followed 
by his njarriage, December 4, 1695, to Mary Partridge, of Hatfield. 

The greater part of the territory of Woodstock was as yet unin- 
habited and even unappropnated, the settlers occupying little more 
than its southeast corner. April 1 1, 1694, it was voted, by a very clear 
vpte: — 

" That a division of land be laid out, with as mach expedition as may be 
to the proprietors, ft'oni the east line, east side of y* Pond, to four miles 
westward, and all swamps already laid oat as swaipps and all swamps that 
M\ In any dlvlttion (not less than an acre lu a piece) shall be esteemed cciual 
to two acres of land, and accordingly shall be allowed to any person to 
whom It shall tnW, And that the division bo double to the homo-lot^a 
twenty-acre homo-lot to have fbrty acres, and so proportlouably." 

William Bartholomew, Benjamin Sabin and Benjamin Griggs, with 
the surveyor (John Butcher), were chosen **to effect the whole work, 
having respect to highways which they are to lay out when needful 
and convenient." If any lot should fall out badly, they were to allow 
quantity for quality. Such pieces of land as they should judge unfit 
to lay out they were to pass over and make true report of all their 
doings. Under these directions, fifty-one lots were laid out and dis- 
tributed. Samuel Perrin, John Carpenter and John Mowry, all of 
Roxbury, hud now removed to Woodstock, and received each a share 
of this division. Keservations of land were set aside for public pur- 
poses. "A piece of land between Jabez Corbin's and the highway," 
and also " a piece of meadow lot," wore devoted to maintaining n school. 
A square piece of land in front of James Corbin's, containing four or 
five acres, was sequestered for a training-place and burial-ground, and 
still forms a part of "^^Toodstock's pleasant common. The house and 
home-lot occupied by Mr. Dwight were formally made over to him 



aiid hi8 heirs, and the hill reserved for the support of the ministry 
ordered to be fenced and planted with orchards. Doooon John 
Chandler was granted the improvement of a piece of ground for five 
years to try the experiment of growing tobacco, •*the same being 
port of a highway and part of the common the Indians lived on.*' 

Mnssachusctts* doubtful title to the land included in Woodstock gave 
its inhabitants some anxiety. The early suspicion that this land would 
not fall within the Bay Colony were her bounds to be questioned, was 
now greatly strengthened, and those most familiar with the country 
were satisfied that Woodstock even extended two miles south of Wood- 
ward's and Safferey's line. This fact led some of the Woodstock settlers 
to apply to the General Assembly of Connecticut for a confirmation 
of such land as fell within their colony bounds. Conneoticut.graciously 
granted their request, together with fi*eedom from country charges for 
two years. A sharp rebuke from Roxbury of this recognition of the 
claims of Connecticut, called out the curt reply from Woodstock's select- 
men, that it was done ''by no town vote or act, nor yet by order of 
the selectmen* but by some particular person, and wo do not know 
they intended you any harm." 

In 1 695-96, Roxbury accomplished the division of the SQUth half 
of her share of Woodstock. '* John Butcher was pitched upon for 
surveyor ;" Lieutenant Samuel Ruggles and John Davis, Sen., were 
chosen committee to superintend the survey and laying out. It was 
agreed that each individual should reouive ten acres of land for every 
shilling expended by him in colony charges, and pay for the survey 
and subdivision in the same proportion. At a town meeting in Wood- 
stock meetinghouse. May 15, 1695, William Bartholomew and 
Benjamin Sabin were appointed to join with Roxbury's Committee 
'' in stating and settling the divided line between the inhabitants of 
Woodstock and Roxbury. They pitched a stake and heap of stones 
on the top of Wash-won-toh-minunk Hill, and a heap of stones at tiie 
foot of the hill." . A line joining these points, and projected east and 
west, parallel to the south bound of the tOMm, was laid down and 
accepted as the dividing line between the two sections. A highway, 
four rods wide, was laid out upon the line. Roxbiiry's committee then 
proceeded to lay out her land in nine parallel ranges, running north 
from this highway to about the centre of the tract The first range, 
containing thirty-four lots, lay " on the right hand of the path leading 
to Woodstock," — ^probably the old Connecticut Path — and abutted 
south on the linos, " which divide between the land of the first goers 
or settlers, and that of the stayers or other inhabitants of Roxbury." 
The second range, west of the first, contained twenty-one lots. The 
third comprised seventeen lots and ten acres for the mill. The fourth 



range was laid out in fifteen lots ; the fifth in fifteen ; the sixth in 
eleven ; the seventh in five ; the eighth in eleven ; the ninth in seven ; 
making in all one hundred, and forty-two. These shares differed in 
extent, according to the quality of the land and the rate paid by the 
proprietor. A highway, four rods wide, was laid out between each 
range, with cross roads between the lots wherever thought needAil. 
The lots ^* were drawn at a town-meeting, appointed for that end," 
April 26, 1695, and the division completed and repoit entered Feb- 
ruary 26, 1 696. The cost of thb survey and division was £27. 6s. 9d. 
The balance of over fifty pounds, still due to Woodstock, was then paid 
over and all accounts and differences harmoniously settled. Part of 
the money received from Roxbnry by Woodstock was immediately 
applied to paying arrearages to the minister, who was thus enabled 
^*' to renounce all claims for himself and heirs against the inhabitants of 
Woodstock by reason of his salaiy for preaching and teaching them, 
from the beginning of the world till May 6, 1696." The remainder 
was divided among Uie inhabitants according as they had home-lots 
or had paid town charges — John Carpenter, Nathaniel Johnson, Sen., 
John Holmes and John Chandler, Jun., making distribution of the 


AT the close of her fi)*st decade, Woodstock had made very 
cre<litab1e progress. Few colonies of that day had ei\joyed 
greater advantages — ^the free gift of an ample and fertile country, 
money suificient for the most pressing public outlays, the over sight 
and protection of a powerful and established township— and she had 
suffered no hardships or privations but such as were incident to a 
frontier settlement at that early peiiod. But now, when with differ- 
ences settled, lands confirmed and church established, she was about 
to inaugurate more extensive improvements, she was called to pass 
through a long season of trouble and calamity. 

The war between England and France exposed the New England 
Colonies to Indian irruptions and barbarities. Bands of Mohawks 
ravaged the woods, oommilting the most shocking atrocities. A feeling 
of insecurity and alarm pervaded eveiy community. Isolated frontier 
settlements, like this of Woodstock, were especially exposed and 


gnarded. Watcsh-honses were strengthened, scouts maintained, and a 
military oompany formed, with Peter Aspinwall for Hetiteuant and 
John Chandler, Jun., for ensign. The leading military spirit in this 
day of darkness and peril was, however, John Sabin, of Masharaoquet, 
a bold and active pioneer — ^probably brother or coasin of Deacon 
Benjamin Sabin — who had established himself jast south of Woodstock 
line a few years previous, built himself a house ^ith fortifications, and 
gaineil groat influence and atithority over the Wabbaquassets. 

Its first serious alarm befell Woodstock, August 26,,] GOG. A band 
of nmmuding Mohawks foil suddenly upon the neighboring sottlctnent 
of Oxford — settled years before by a colony of French Huguenots. 
John Johnson, returning home from a visit in Woodstock, was shot 
down dead on his own door-step. His three children, playing about 
the room, were seized and dashed ag^nst the chimney jamb. A 
neighbor, John Evans, was also killed. Mrs. Johnson managed to 
escape by the ^d of her brother, Andrew Sigom*uey, who dragged her 
out of the house by a back passage and down the banks of the adjacent 
river, where they cowered till nightfall, and then made their way as 
best they could to Woodstock. The inhabitants were aroused at break 
of day by the arrival of these fugitives with their heavy tidings. The 
news was spread through the different settlements, filling them With 
alarm Itnd terror. The savages might at any moment burst upon them. 
Their defences were slight, ammunition scanty, their own Indians 
doubtful. The whole population — men, women and ohildi*on — hastened 
within Uieir fortifications. Posts were at once dispatched to Lieutenant 
General Stoughton, commander of the Massachusetts forces, and to 
Migor James Fitch, at Norwich. The day and night were spent in 
watching and terror, but before morning the arrival of Major Fitch, 
with his brother Daniel, a few Bnglish<s6ldiei's and a band of Pequots 
and Mohegans somewhat allayed apprehensions. No enemy had been 
seen, but it was rumored that they had divided into small companies 
and were lurking about the woods. It was proposed to leave a sufii- 
cient number of men for the defence of Woodstock and send the others 
to range for the marauders. The Wabbaquassets eagerly welcomed 
Major Fitch as their friend and master, and offered to join the Mohe- 
gans in this congenial service. The Woodstock authorities would 
gladly have employed them, but could not supply them with ammuni- 
tion according to the laws of Massachusetts. To refuse their offer at 
' this critical juncture, or to send them forth without proper ammu- 
nition, might enrage and forever alienate them, while conciliation 
and indulgence might make them the firm friends and allies of 
Woodstock. Under these circumstances, Major Fitch took the 
res]>onsibility of employing and equipping these Indians. Calling 


them all together, he took their names, and found twenty-nine fighting 
men — twenty-five native Wabbaquaaseta and four Shetucketa married 
to Wabbaqnasaet wives. Eighteen Wabbaquaaseta and twenty-three 
Mohegans then sallied out under Captain Daniel Fitch, to range 
through Massachusetts, with a commission from Major Fitch, as magis- 
ti*ate and military oftlcer, asking all plantations to which they might 
come for supplies and accommodations. Scarcely had they gone foith 
when four strange Indians were discovered at the west end of the 
town, but whether enemies or not they could not tell. At evening, a 
scout from Providence anived, *^ being the Captain, with fourteen men, 
who had been out two days noithward of Mendon and Oxford but 
made no discovery." Captain Fitch and his company were equally 
unsuccessful, and the invading Mohawks effected their escape uninjured. 
A consultation was held as to the beat mode of defending Woodstock. 
Tlie Wabbaquassets would " not be ordered by any but by virtue of 
authority from Connecticut," and yet " they could not venture the case 
to be without them." Mi^or Fitch placed them under the charge of 
Captain John Sabin, ''who, beyond dispute, was in Connecticut 
Colony/' to be at the command of the authoiities of Woodstock as 
they saw cause to employ them, and it they were not serviceable pro- 
mised *' to take them off by virtue of an order from the General Court 
of Connecticut." In a biief note to Lieutenant Governor StoUghton, 
Major Fitch explained the situation, and urged the importance of 
conciliating these Indians, and his own concern for this '' poor, atHicted, 
distressed country." 

From this time, there was no peace or security in Woodstock. 
Alarms and panics were of frequent occuirence. Some of its settlers 
returned to lloxbury. '' Upon information that several of its inhabi- 
tants had removed, and others were preparing to do so, whereby the 
duty of watching, searching and scouting would be too heavy upon 
those that remained and endanger the safety of the place, it being an 
out plantation," the General Assembly ordered, October, 1696, ''That 
Woodstock be accounted a frontier, and comprehended within the Act 
to prevent the deserting of the frontier." By this Act, inhabitants of 
frontier towns were prohibited from leaving these towns without 
special license under very severe penalties. 

Mr. Dwight remained bravely at his post, and did much to encour- 
age the people duiing this period. Lieutenant Peter Aspinwall and 
other young men went out as scouts with parties of Indians. John 
Chandler, Jun., was appointed superintendent of the Wabbaquassets 
and Mohegans by the Massachusetu government, and directed them 
'* where to hunt and what sign to wear that they might not bo exposed 
by meeting with English scouts," while (captain Sabin made himself 


Tery Rerviceable by engaging many Wabbaqnassets in the interestB of 
the English and keeping whole families within his fortifioations while 
the men were oat at service. It was daring this period of alarm and 
pertarbatioa that the town foand it needfal on some oooasion to treat 
itself with eight shillings' worth ''of drink, to be paid by James 
Oorbin with the town money then in his hand, and accordingly it was 
performed." Attendance at town meetings became so remiss and 
irregalar that it was voted, *' That any one refusing or neglecting to 
attend should pay a fine of one and six-pence — six-pence for not 
appearing at the time appointed, and an additional six-pence for every 
hoar's absence.*' No public improvements were attempted during the 

After a brief interval of qaiet, troubles broke ont anew early in 1700. 
Captain Sabin observed many suspicious indications, and mysterious 
hints were dropped by ceiiiain Indians. A meeting was held at Crystal 
Pond, <>st.onsibly for fishing, which was attended by most of the Indians, 
but ador several days* nbsonoo tlioy oanic back without fish, and a few 
days afterward they started off again, with squaws and children and 
the treasure of the tribe, ** pretending fear and danger from the 
Mohegans." Fears were at this time entertained throughout the 
Colonies of a general combination and uprising among the various 
Indian tribes, and it was at once conjectured that the Wabbaquassets 
had gone to meet the combined forces at Monadnock and join in a 
general foray. A panic ensued. Dispatches were sent at once to the 
Governor and Council of Connecticut, who sent to their relief Captain 
Samuel Mason, with twelve English soldiers and eighteen Mohegans. 
Arriving at Woodstock at 2 P. M., Saturday, Febraai*y 8, they found the 
people in great excitement James Corbin's cart, laden with ammuni- 
tion, was on the road from Boston in great danger of interception and 
capture by the enemy. News had come that the fugitives traveled 
sixteen miles the first night, though divers children were much frozen, 
and one man nearly drowned in crossing a river. A consultation was 
held with Mr. Dwight, Captain Sabin and the principal men of Wood- 
stock, who thought it best to send for the Indians to return and assure 
them of their friendship and protection. Three Wabbaquassets, ^' of 
great faithfulness to the English " — Kinsodock, Mookheag and Pesicus — 
were accordingly sent on Sunday to Colonel King, of Dunstable, with 
a note from Captain Mason, praying him '* to forward them on their 
journey to Penacook or Monadnuk, where, as we understand, the com- 
bined Indians keep their head-quarters, or to any other place where our 
Indians are gone, and if there be with you any Indians it may be well 
to send some with them, that they may fully inform the Indians that 
the English have no designs against them, and that if Tobey himself 


should return he would have courteous treatment showed him." A 
pass was given to these envoys, forbidding people to take their arms 
from them. A. dispatch was also sent to Lord Bellmont, governor of 
Massachusetts, by John Ingalls, of Oxford, showing their fear of 
approaching evil from the enemy, and the aid sent from Connecticut 

Whether Mr. D wight was able to hold religious services on this 
disturbed Sabbath is very doubtful. News came during the day that 
James Corbin's cart was appi*oaching, and sixty men with arms went 
out to meet it and brought it in with great rejoicing. Monday was 
spent in collecting information and arranging defences. Six Mohegans 
were detailed to remain in Woodstock, under care of Captain Sabin — 
the fnendly Wabbaquassets ofTeiing to couti-ibute to their maintenance 
and find them room in their wigwams, and also to " take charge of the 
children and concerns of those sent to Dunstable." James Corbin was 
desired not to dispose of any ammunition to any Indian but with the 
approbation of Captain Sabtn or Mr. Dwight Having thus provided 
for the safety and defence of Woodstock, leaving every man well 
equipped with anns ^nd in good capacity to make resistance. Captain 
Mason ** took leave of friends '* there on Monday morning, promising 
to send up six Pequots and desiiing word to be sent to New London 
as soon and often as anything offered. Nothing is known of the result 
of Kinsodock's mission, but it is evident that the combination, if 
planned, was not completed, nor the apprehended " resurrection and 
revolt " effected. The absconding Wabbaquassets probably returncil 
to their homes and Woodstock enjoyed another brief interval of 

In 1702, France and England resumed hostilities, and the Indians 
were again thrown into a ferment. During this war, alarms and 
assault^ were frequent, and the frontier settlements greatly disturbed. 
Major Fitch was appointed by the goveiTiment of Connecticut to order 
forces for the safety of its upper towns, and again visited Woodstock, 
June d, 1704. He found the people poorly provided and much exjmsed ; 
the women and children all gathered into garrisons, with but one man to 
guard them. The other inhabitants were out scouting or in their.fields 
at labor. The families on the westward hill he found in very difficult 
and disheartening circumstances, being too remote to come into town 
and having no adequate foitifications. The Major decided to leave 
fifteen men for the defence of the place, to serve a1tei*nately as scout 
and guard — that there might be fresh men to march — and desired the 
government of Massachusetts to provide *'the standing part at y* 
several garrisons as to dyet, and y* marching part with supper and 
bi'eakfast when they come in." With this provision, he thought the 
place would be sufiiciently protected so that the inhabitants *' could go 


about their basiness and somowhat safely follow their occasions." In 
behalf of the west hill inhabitants, he asked to have a garrison 
allowed thera. Massachusetts complied with this proposition, at least 
as to the subsisting of the scout, and the soldiers remained on guard 
till the following January, and apparently prevented any further panic 
or outbreak. 




DURING these years of strife and confusion, Woodstock made little 
progress. Her population diminished, her public affairs were 
neglected, her common lands were lefl unfenced, her highways over- 
grown with bushes and her mill-house fell into such a state of dilapida- 
tion '* that the bad weather did otlen spoil both bags and corn." As 
musty and sour meal was no better than gritty, Deacon Sabin, Matthew 
Davis and Benjamin Griggs were sent by the town to treat with Mr. 
Bartholomew, who promised as soon as it was good weather to set 
the mill in good repair and make up the mill-hojiso sufficient for the 
benefit of the town.'* In 1700, a cart-bridge was built over Muddy 
Brook by Gbodman Eastmans. In 1708, Deacon Sabin agreed to fence 
the burying-plaoe, and it was voted, " that a piece of land formerly 
improved by an Indian, John Aquations, who pays rent, should, for the 
town's benefit, be a school for ever." After 1704, Indian alarms sub- 
sided, though scouts were still maintained in the woods, *^ as th^re was 
necessity and occasion," and loads of wood for the watch were included 
among the town expenditui*es. Public improvements now received 
more attention. In 1704, the first school-house was built on the com- 
mon, near the meeting-house — the first schoolmaster reported is John 
Picker ; the second, Thomas Lyon. At the first town meeting held 
in the new school-house, John Holmes proposed to leave out of fence a 
piece of land westward of his sawmill, for a common forever, provided 
the town let him have the benefit of a certain parcel of apple trees 
upon the tract and allowed him two acres for one, elsewhere. This 
proposition was accepted, and thus South Woodstock was provided 
with its common. Seats for men and boys were ordered in the meet- 
ing-house and the deacons empowered to attend to its seating, 
with the ''assistance of any one of the inhabitants they may choose. ' 


Cattle and birds were now looked after. The useful olay-pits had 
become dangeroun pit-falls. The selectmen were enjoined *' to keep 
them well filled up, so that no more of our creatures be lost in them," 
and a law was passed, '* That if any person lowered down the fence or 
draw-bridge in going in or out for clay, whereby loss or damage 
ensued, he should be liable to damages." As the great number of 
birds were thought to endanger the crop.i, it was voted, ** That every 
inhabitant capable of voting should bring in twenty-four blackbirds' 
heads to the town treasury, before MichsBlmas, on penalty of a penny 
a head for the number lacking." A penny a head was afterwards 
allowed for blackbirds and '^ sixpence a dozen for yolo-birds." Rewards 
tor killing wolves were pmd occasionally. 

The loss in population was slowly recovered. Private propiietorship 
discouraged immigration. There was little available land to be pur- 
chased. The owners of the south half kept their shares for division 
among their £EUuilies. The northern half was but partially laid out 
and still unsubdued. In its first twenty years, Woodstock received 
very few new settlers. The lapse of time brought the usual changes. 
The fathers passed away and the sons took their places. Nathaniel 
Johnson died in 1697 ; John Butcher, in 1699 ; Deacon John Chandler, 
in 1708. Butcher's right in Woodstock was purchaiied by Samuel 

Deacon Chandler's estate was valued at £512. Os. 6d. He left his 
house and homestead^and a double portion of his estate to hb eldest 
son, John ; his lands in Maihamoquet — now Ponifret — ^to his youngest 
son, Joseph. Captain John Chandler returned with his family to 
Woodstock aft^r his Cither's death, but was still much occupied in land 
surveys and operations in Connecticut No man was so much concerned 
in the early settlement of Windham County. The different towns 
were laid out by him, and nearly every farm in them. He owned lai*ge 
tracts of land in KDlingly, Pomfret and Ashford, and indeed was only 
exceeded by Major Fitch in the extent of his landed possessions. The 
land between Woodstock and the Quinebaug was purchased by him, 
and sold to a company of Woodstock proprietors. In 1705, he was 
employed by the parties interested in the Mohegan land claim, in 
making a survey and map of that disputed territory. At home he was 
constantly employed in public services. All important commissions 
and negotiations were entrusted to him. He was superintendent of the 
Indians and all their affairs. He was the first, and long the only repre- 
sentative sent by Woodstock to the General Court, and was honored 
at home and abroad as the leading citizen of this section of Massa- 

Ill \XOX% W\HHblvH>ks v^tfC^ni bouuitary^hig was run and the line 


between the divisions stated and perfected by Captain Chandler, at the 
request and cost of the two townships. Beginning at a walnut tree 
west of Maddy Brook, he ran the line over North-ranniog, Gravel and 
Banggee Brooks and Black Pond to the western boand of the town. 
Eastward, from Muddy ]3rook, the line crossed Jabes Corbin's field, 
Washwontohminunk Hill and thence to the east bound *' near twenty 
rods east of a brook which runs out of a pine swamp." Deacon Edward 
Morris and Benjamin Qriggs, who had acted as agents for Roxbury in 
this work, were farther employed, with Jacob Parker, to prevent the 
disturbance of Roxbury's timber, with power to prosecute such as 
should cut or carry it off. Soon after this formal statement of line, 
settlers are believed to have entered upon the north half of Wood- 

This increase of population in the northern half of Woodstock was 
nearly counterbalanced by decrease in the south. Many citi^ns oi 
Woodstock removed into the regions beyond them and helped build 
np the northern towns of Windham County. Both deacons of the 
church — Benjamin Sabin, one of the '' old thirteen," and John Car- 
penter, successor to Deacon Chandler— removed in 1705 to the new 
settlement of Mashamoquet Nathaniel Qary, Nathaniel Sanger, John 
Hubbard, John Lyon, George Griggs, Samuel Paine, Jnn., and Samuel 
Perrin, Jun., all removed to that attractive plantation at about this 
period. Peter Aspinwall and the sons of John Leavens were the first 
pioneers and planters of Killingly. Samuel Rice, Philip Eastman, 
Arthur Humphrey and other sons of Woodstock helped to lay the 
foundations of Ashford. A large part of this latter township was 
purchased by James Corbin, who still continued his trading operations, 
supplied the new settlements with cider and other liquors, and'gathered 
such quantities of *^ deer-skins, bear-skins, beaver and other furs," that 
he had '^ much ado " to get them conveyed to the Great Street in 
Boston, his cart, drawn by four oxen and four horses, breaking down 
often in the rough roads between Woodstock and Mendon. 

The opening of the sun*ounding country, if it diminished the popula- 
tion of Woodstock, increased its business and importance. From an 
isolated frontier settlement it became a flourishing centre, with 
communities growing up around it. Woodstock was the mother settle- 
ment, with conveniences and institutions. The inhabitants of the 
border towns made use of the mills, patronized its shop, participated 
in its tnuniugs, frequented its house of worahip and claimed a share of 
its minister. In December, 1708, complaint was made in to^n meeting 
'Hhat the Borderers neglect to pay a suitable proportion of Mr. 
Dwight*s salary, though they frequent the house of God and have no- 
where else to repair unto for the same," and it was voted, ** That an 



obligation be drawn up and oarried by a oommittee both in Mashamo- 
quet and Killingly to subscribe unto what they will pay for Mr. 
Dwight's present salary, and such as shall not subscribe or continue 
without paying the same, shall be complained of to the authorities of 
Connecticut" Samuel Paine and Nathaniel Sanger were appointed 
the following year *' To go to the Borderers and see what they will 
subscribe for Mr. Dwight's salary." 

The growth of these new settlements made better traveling accom- 
modations desirable, and stimulated Woodstock to greater enterprise. 
Mendon was invited " To make a bridge over Medfield River," and the 
General Court — ^'To bridge the great meadows between us and 
Mendon." A road was laid out, in 1708, through Woodstock, from 
Medfield, Massachusetts, to Enfield, Connecticut. As the way cut 
through the swamps by Peter Aspinwall, to Providence, was but a 
rude bridle-path, the selectmen of Woodstock invited those of 
Killingly to join with them in petitioning Providence town council to 
lay out a road through their township to the Quinobaug. October 9, 
1710, John Holmes and Jonathan Poako wore directed ** to meet com- 
mittees from Killingly and Mashamoquet, at sun an hour high at 
farthest, on Friday next .if it be fair, if not the next fair day — ^to 
advise and state a suitable place on Quinebaug River, where it may be 
most commodious for a bridge, that the road to Providence may be 
laid to that part of the river." The road was laid out between Muddy 
Brook and the Quinebaug, crossing the latter river, as at present, just 
below the Falls and above the junction of the rivera, but no perma- 
nent bridge was ereclcd for ten or twelve years. 

With these great works in progress, smaller affairs were not neglected. 
The selectmen were enjoined *'to obtain- a suitable person or peraons 
to keep a school or schools to teach children to read, wiite and cypher, 
till the first of March ; after that by a woman or women." In 1710, 
two new school -houses were ordered ; one near John Childs' corner, at 
South Woodstock ; one near Joseph Bacon's: — Samuel Pemn, Smith 
Johnson, William Lyon and John Morae a committee to build them. 
In October following. Deacon Edward Morris was empowered ^'to 
obtain Thomas Lyon to keep school two months at the north, and 
Stephen Sabin two monthj at the south of the town, provided they 
require not above nine shillings a week." In 1710, John Holmes 
received from the town, in acknowledgment of his public services, a 
grant of the Falls, thirty rods below his house and the mill, and liberty 
on the west' side the brook to the Falls. A fulling-niill, soon afler 
established hnre by Mr. Holmes, was a great public benefit. In 1712, 
he was also '' chosen and desired to make coffins as there may be 
occasion." William Lyon, at the same time, accepted the office of 


grave digger — " he to have two shillings per grave for five years ancl 
under ; three shillings between twelve and five ; five shillings for all 
persons above twelve years — ^he finding tools and giving suitable 
attendance and making the graves a suitable depth." 

In 1710, a new divbion of land was surveyed and laid out by 
Captain Chandler — thirty-seven proprietors receiving fifty-four shares. 
Few of the original propiietors were present at this distribution, 
many were represented by their sons — Peter AspinwalVs share had 
passed to John Childs; Benjamin Sabin*8 to John Maroy and Jonathan 
Paysou ; John Bowcn's to James llorsman ; Nathaniel Garey's to 
Thomas Eaton. Captain Chandler had bought and held several shares. 
It was voted, " That the lands still undivided on the east end of the 
town to the town line shall abide as common land forever, or till the 
town dispose of them." It was also agreed to petition the General 
Court for an enlargement of the town to Quinebaug River. The fee 
of this land was now purcliased of Captain Chandler. 

The final division and distribution of the remaining land in the north 
half of Woodstock was next accomplished, Roxbury, in 1711, voting, 
'* That these lands should be divided as soon as may be." A meeting 
of Woodstock proprietors was held in Roxbury, May 6, 1718, when it 
was agreed, " That all the undivided common lands lying in the old 
town's half, fit and useful to be divided, be forthwith as soon as con- 
veniently may be, divided and apportioned to and amongst the several 
proprietors, according to their several proportions." William Dudley, 
Captain Joshua Lamb and Edward Bridges were appointed a committee 
to bring in proposals for the division and good management of said 
lands. William Dudley was sworn as proprietors', clerk. The pro- 
prietors again met. May 19, when the following proposals were 
submitted and accepted : — 

1. That there be two divlstoiis of land, if the same befit; if not, one of 
upland and another of swamps and meadows. 

2. Proprietors to draw lots. 

8. To allow quantity for qaallty. 

4. That it be left to the Committee's Judgment to decide when to begin. 
6. That there be a distinct division of Hwamps and meadows to every 

6. That the committee should lay out and establish roads and ways. 

7. That Captain Samuel Ruggles, Edmond Dorr and John Holbrook be a 
committee to levy charges and dinbursements that shall arrive on these divi- 
sions when they are drawn and adjusted, on the several proprietors, according 
to their proportions, and receive the same according to the rate or assess- 
ment, and pay out the same according to the accompt of charges when given 
in by the committee that shall divide the land. 

8. That all the proprietors shall pay their several rates or proportion of the 
charges to the said committee, appointed lib levy and receive the same, in 
twenty days after the same Is levied and published, on the penalty of losing 
the several shares or lots in their divisions, not excluding any persous that 
shall be orphans or widows or absent by the providence of God. » 

9. That the school-lot shall be free of all charges. 


. 10. Commtttee to inqaire into pretended claims. 

11. That tills day nine weeks, after lecture, the proprietors draw lots. 

12. The committee is instructed to show neither ftivour or affection in the 
discharge of their tmst, but to deal fklthfUlly and uprightly according to their 
best skill and Judgment. 

18. That the papers should be put into the clerk's hands. 

14. That notifications for meetings should be put up in public places. 

16. The committee to be allowed five shillings a day. 

16. Assessors, two and sixpence a day. 

17. No other lot to be allowed for mill. 

The oommittee promptly fulfilled their instructions, laying out the 
reroaining land in twelve ranges, '* all conformable to Mr. Butcher s 
work," with highways oorresponding with those previously allowed. 
On the appointed day, July 21, 1718, the proprietors drew lots for 
their respective portions, having previously voted, ** That the lota, viz., 
a hundred and forty-two in number, be the only ones to be drawn for 
the three divisions of swamps, meadows and upland, and that the pro- 
piietors draw but once for the three divisions." On account of the 
slope of the east bound of the town and perhaps, also, the intrusion of 
meadow land in its vicinity, the first range now laid out was made to 
conform with the third of the previous division. This first range 
oompiised twenty-one lots, 167 rods in width, beginning at the noith 
bound of the town, and running south till it met the third range, with 
a highway four roils wide at the west end, and one of six rods between 
the twenty-fii*8t lot and third range. The second i*ange, meeting the 
fourth, was laid out in ten lots, leaving a piece of common or undivided 
land on the north of 298 acres. Tl^e third was bounded noith by the 
north bound of the town, and comprised twelve lots, 160 rods wide, 
together with Maple IslCnd meadow and 202 acres of common land at 
the south end adjoining tlie fifth range. The fourth range, abutting on 
the sixth, with a highway on the west, as in the preceding ranges, was 
laid out in twelve lots, 172 rods wide, with 107 acres left common. 
The fifth range comprised twenty lots, 170 rods wide, bounding south 
on the seventh range, with a fourrod highway on the eaat^ thus making 
a highway eight rods wide, passing from north to south through or 
near the centre of the town. A four-rod highway was also allowed on 
the west of this range. The 57th lot, laid out to George and James 
Qriggs, was almost half taken up* by Muddy Brook Pond. The 58th 
was reserved for a school. A lot of 1 24 acres was also reserved for 
public uses. The sixth range, bounded south on lust lot of eighth, and 
contained eleven lots, and common land on north bounds. The seventh, 
abutting on the ninth, had also eleven lots, with a highway on the east 
and common at the north. The eighth range began at the dividing 
line between the Goers and Stayers, with a four-rod highway between 
and a highway on the east. It was divided into ten lots, and fell short 
of the north bound of the town by 856 rods of land, unfit for division. 


The ninth extended from common on the north to dividing line, and 
oomprised bnt six lota, with Pine Swamp meadow and ten acres for 
common at the south. The tenth range extended from north boundary 
line to the Great Cedar swamp, with highway on each side, and 
included nine lots. The eleventh began some rods from north line, 
'' land near which not being fit for division,*' and contained eleven lots* 
The twelfth and last range began at the dividing line between Goers 
and Stayers, and was bounded east by highway, west and north by the 
bounds of the town. The ninth lot of this range, and one hundred 
and forty •second of the division, was drawn by Ralph Bradhurst 
Governors Wut, Winihrop, and Joseph Dudley received the largest 
number of acres. Many of these shares were appropriated by old 
Woodstock settlers, who had bought up Roxbuiy rights and assigned 
them to their sons. Edward Morris, John Holmes, Henry Bowen, 
John Bugbee, Thomas Bacon, Edward Chamberlain, Jonathan Peake> 
John Payson, together with numerous Lyons, Mays, Frisxiels, Davises 
and Johnsons, thus bocnmo proprietors in Uie north half of Woodstock. 
Some time passed before the land was made over. Further instructions 
were found needful. At a meeting of proprietors, November 9, 
1714, it was voted : — 

1. Upon consideration of the difficulty and damage of laying oat the 
meadows distinct and in a particular division, according to a former vote, 
it Is therefore at this time voted, That all the swamps and meadows, except 
what is hereinafter excepted, bo laid out with the uplands and accounted as 
such in the after allotments and divisions. 

2. That Senexsett, Maple Island, Pine Swamp and May's meadows be 
sold — the proprietors to have the first offer — ^in order to the defraying the 
charges of laying out the lands, and that no particular propriety shall buy 
above five acres. 

The assessors previously appointed were now made a committee for 
disposing of the meadows, and the standing committee empowered to 
agree with persons for the convenience of a way from the second range 
to the Country or Connecticut Road, allowing undivided lands in 
recompense for damage. It was also ordered, " That the cedar swamp 
be left distinct and excepted from this present division, and be under 
restrictions and reservations from any persons cutting any timber there 
without leave had from the committee or persons appointed to inspect 
and take care of said swamp." 

*' At a meeting held in the old meeting-house of Roxbury, March 
14, 1716, it was further voted : — 

1. What has been already done sufficient and nothing fhrther necessary at 
present to be done an to these lots. 

2. Deacon Morris, with surveyor, perfect the lines of first range and second 
and third lots, not quite finished. ^ 

8. Mi^or John Bowles, a committee for disposal of meadows, in room of 
Captain Buggies, deceased. 

4. If any error or mistake shaU be found, persons li^ured shall have due 




September 22, 1715, the ranges of lots were formally entered and 
allotments distributed to the numerous propiietors. The meadows 
were laid out as directed and sold at public auction. Senexsett 
meadow, east of the firat range, was divided into twenty-six five-acre 
lots, and was purchased mainly by Roxbury residents — owners of lots 
not to hinder flowing of the meadow by making dams. Pine Island 
meadow was allowed to Edward Sumner and three others ; Connecticut 
or May's meadow to Jacob Pepper and three othei-s. Maple Island 
meadow was purchased by Hon. Joseph Dudley, John Holbrook, 
Thomas Baker and John Pike's heirs. Governor Dudley also bought 
out shares of Senexsett Purchasers of the meadows were ordered to 
appear at the Gray-hound in Roxbury, June 26, 17 IG, '* in order to pay 
the money promised for the same." Few appearing on the day 
appointed, the committee allowed one month more ** when some more 
came and others refused or neglected." The committee then allowed 
till September 4, ** that all might come and no person complain for 
lack of time." The money was paid and all accounts settled in 
November. Roxbury's interest and title in Woodstock had now passed 
into the hands of individuals. At a final meeting, March 26, 1717, the 
proprietors voted, '^That the whole records and concernment of the 
Woodstock lands be fairly recorded and transcribed into another book 
of records and kept distinct, to prevent any unforeseen calamity ; — 
after which the meeting ended." 

The western part of the south half of Woodstock was laid out in 
1716. Forty-four hundred acres were Imd out in four ranges, running 
from north to south, and distributed among the proprietors. John 
Holmes, who had died in 1713, was represented by his son, David. 
Philip Eastman and Joseph Frizzel were represented by their heirs. 
The northern and western parts of Woodstock were thus thrown open 
to settlement, and cultivation and population more widely disseminated. 
The final settlement of the disputed boundaiy question also added to 
the strength and stability of Woodstock. Commissionei-s, appointed 
by the governments of Massachusetts and Connecticut in 1713, re-sur- 
veyed and stated the boundary line between their colonies, with the 
previous stipulation, that towns already settled, should remain to their 
respective governments. A new line was run from Wrentham Plains 
due westwards and the whole of Woodstock, as was expected, fell to 
the south of it, but according to the compact was still held by Masssr 
chusetts. Fifty thousand acres of land in the west part of Massachusetts 
were allowed to Connecticut as an equivalent for this territory. The 
township of W<9odstock willingly acquiesced in this arrangement, and 
doubtless preferred, at this period, to remain under the government 
which had settled it 




OF Woodstock charch, duiing these years all record is lacking, but 
it probably kept pace with the towD in growth and prosperity. 
All land-owners were compelled by laV to pay for the support of the 
gospel ; all inhabitants were expected and obliged to attend public 
service, and probably all were connected with the church either by 
profession or owning the covenant The prosperity of the church may 
have been somewhat marred by an '^ uneasiness ** with the minister. 
The relation between pastor and people was far from satisfactory. 
With good abilities and education and much energy of character, Mr. 
Dwight was eccentric and erratic, rash in temper and speech, and 
somewhat willfal and overbearing. His sermons, though sound and 
vigorous, abounded in odd conceits and ludicrous comparisons : ^'A 
single grain of grace in the heart was worth more than the best load 
of hay ever carried from Roxbury to Boston." ** If unconverted men 
ever got to heaven, they would feel as uneasy as a shad up the crotch 
of a white oak.'* These eccentricities of Mr. Dwight greatly annoyed 
his ministerial associates, and once, it is said, " induced several to join 
in an admonitory visit to the offender. Mr. Dwight received these 
reproofs with great meekness, frankly acknowledged his faults imd | 
promised amendment, but in prayer at parting, after returning thanks 
for the brotherly visit and admonitions, hoped *^ that they might so hitch 
their horses together on earth that they should never kick in the 
stables of everlasting salvation." 

Troubles concerning the payment of the salary began at an eai'ly 
period. Whatever the faults of the pastor may have been, it is evi- 
dent that the people were equally blamable. It was a rude, rough 
age, and the Woodstock settlers were not in advance of it. Thirty 
years residence in an isolated frontier settlement may have strengthened 
their characters, but it had not softened their manners, and there is 
abundant evidence that their treatment of their pastor was marked by 
great lack of delicacy and consideration. " Wants, wars and diversity 
of words " embittered the life of the minister. His small salary was 
never promptly or fully paid. In 1708, he accepts ten acres of lan'd 
in lieu of arrearages, ** that we may have quiet" In addition to the 
right of land secured to him in settlement, Mr. Dwight rented and 
cultivated th^ land reserved for the support of the^ ministry. The 
town, as ready to exact as slow to communicate, at the end of seven 
years, sent a committee to examine and take possession, which reported, 
** That he had not deared the meadow and fenced the laud according 


to lease ; had broken up and improved one and a half acres, and had 
eight crops for which the town had received no satisfaction ; also, land 
had been measured and found over-measurement, and that he still owed 
half a crown of rent-money." In 1714, the town voted, not to allow 
the improvement of the ministry land to Mr. Dwight — Captain John 
Chandler dissenting. Still, with all this bickering and jealousy, there 
was much regard for the pastor and no thought of severing the 

The Woodstock meeting-house had now become extremely dilapi- 
dated and quite inadequate to the wants of the congregation. In 
1718, a committee was appointed **to order and direct the repuring, 
amending, making or altering the seats in. the meetinghouse." Pro- 
posals for purchasing a bell were received, consideration of them 
defended ''till next training -day *' and then rejected. In 1717, Messrs. 
Peak, Deming and Carpenter were appointed " in regard of their skill 
and experience in the carpentery trade, to view the meeting-house, 
whether to enlarge, repair or new-build," who reported, ''That repairs 
were impracticable and that it will be most profitable a^ well as most 
accommodable to build a new house." The town accepted this report, 
with thanks, and at the next town-meeting, March 8, debated the 
location. " Twenty-three were for continuing it where it was first placed 
or near it ; seventeen, for setting it near the upper school-house ; one, 
by the burial-place ; some neutral." The town voted " To build as 
soon as may be ; dimensions, not less than forty-six feet long, thirty- 
se ven wide, twenty-two high." Captain John Chandler, John Peak 
and William Lyon were appointed " to provide materials at the best 
they can and as much for the ease of the people, and not to hurry the 
work too fast" This latter caution was quite superfluous,- as nearly 
three years passed before it was even begun. The people were unable 
to agree upon the location. As quite a number of settlers had now 
gathered in the north half of Woodstock, a letter was written to them, 
" relating to moving the meeting-house more noitherly," if they would 
bear then* proportion of expenses, but no return was made to it, and 
the question was left to the decision of the south inhabitants. The 
Woodstock Hill residents favored a more westerly location ; those in 
the eastward vale sought its removal to their vicinity. A majority of 
tfiree, in 1717, agreed to set the meeting-house '* near the present S|>ot 
or within twenty rods of the burial ground." At the meeting next 
following, twenty-three voted for a location " by the burying-place ; 
eighteen by the pond " in the eastward vale ; ten persons dissented 
for various causes. Some of the meetings were very turbulent On 
one occasion, after a warm debate, it was proposed to take the vote by 
the pond-party going to one side the meeting-house and the burial- 


ground party the other. A majority of three was obtained by the 
latter, but one Totc was pronounced illegal, and whUe debating this 
point *^ five others broke away " and the whole vote was lost 

After two years of wrangling and confusion, a better spirit appeared. 
At a general town-meeting, December 14, 1719, Mr. t) wight was sent 
for to pray with the town. All previous action was then annulled^ and 
it was voted, ^ That a committee of three men out of town should 
decide the point** Samuel Paine, Smith Johnson and Benjamin 
Griggs from the south 'part of the town, and WUIiam Lyon, James 
Corbin and Jonathan Payson from Plaine Hill, were then chosen *< to 
remonstrate to the committee from abroad the circumstances of the 
town and the arguments they have to offer as to which place they think 
best, and to write to such committee, provide for and pay them." 
Joshua Ripley and John Fitch, of Windham, and Eleazer Bateman, of 
Ballingly, were the committee selected, who decided, December 28,* 
'*in favor of burying-place spot'* William Lyon, Eliphalet Carpenter 
and John Chandler, Jun., were immediately appointed a committee for 
building, and preparations for the work began in earnest Samuel 
Morris, a younger brother of Deacon Edward, residing east of Wood- 
stock, **came into the meeting and desired that he might build with us 
and offered to pay ten pounds.*' In March,. 1720, the committee were 
ordered '^to provide stone for under-pinning and get the house framed 
as soon as thoy have a prospect of being suppl&d with boards.*' The 
raising was accomplished in April with due feasting and hilaritJTy the 
committee being charged *' to use their best prudence in the provision 
they make, that it be done with frugality and honor, charge borne by 
the publia" 

After the raising, the work went on rapidly. The inhabitants of 
this leading established town were greatly interested in this, their 
second house of worship, and ambitious to sui*pass anything yet seen 
in their part of the country. Very particular and detailed instructions 
were given to the committee, and especial attention enjoined to style 
and ornament A pulpit was built of suitable size, the work 
quarter-round wainscot and fluted pilasters each side its window. The 
deacons* seat, sounding-board and minister's pew were of the same 
work as the pulpit, — the minister's pew at the east end of the pulpit ; 
at the west end were stairs with banisters, and the communion-table in 
front A body of seats was placed in the centre of the house, the 
fore part quaiier round wainscot and the .hind part plain. The lower , 
windows were cased '* after the present fashion,** the walls ceiled with 
boards to the foot of the lower windows. Knot-holes, cracks and 
partings of the board were filled with tempered clay mortar as high as 
the lower girths. Six pillars, of a suitable size, were turned and 


set in suitable places under the gallery. A breast-work of timber was 
set up in front of tlie gallery, its stairs were half-pilastered and wholly 
banistered, the floor was laid above and below and all ^* done workman- 
like." The spaoe around the walls was reserved for pews. The old 
meeting-house was pulled down as soon as the new one was covered, 
and its materials appropriated. 

April 18, 1721, the committee reported the house in fmr way to 
completion, and liberty was granted by the town to sixteen p>er8on8 to 
build pews, the minister's serving for standard. *^ Captain John Chand- 
ler had liberty to build a pew for himself and family next to the pulpit 
stairs." Following him in order, were Samuel Morris, John Chandler, 
Juu., Samuel Penin, Jabez Corbin, John Maroy, Deacon Edward 
Morris, Deacon John Johnson, James Corbin, Eliph. Cai*penter, 
Jonathan Payson, Joseph Bartholomew, Edmond Chamberlain, Joseph 
Lyon, Zeckaiiah Richards, and John Morse. The house was probably 
used for divine service after this date, but some time passed before its 
completion. In 1728, the town ordered that steps be made to the 
mooting-houso. Manassoh Ilorsmor having presented the town with 
an iron bolt and staples for the west door of the meeting-house, " the 
same was kindly received by the town and ordered to be put on, that 
it may be kept shut in windy and uncomfortable weather." Two years 
later more explicit instructions were voted : — 

*' Resolved, that the several doors of the raeetlng-house be taken, care of 
and k«pt shut in very cold and windy seasons, according to the lying of the 
wind fkrom'tirae to time; and that people in such windy weather come in at 
the leeward doors only, and take care that they are easily shut, so as to pre- 
vent both the breaking of the doors and the making of u noise." 

In 1728, Deacon Morris was appointed ''to look after the meeting- 
house, see that it be swept, keep the key and take care of the cushing, 
for twenty shillings a year." Its seating was not accomplished till 
1725, when Colonel John Chandler and the two deacons were requested 
to seat the congregation in the body of seats below and the first and 
second seat in each gallery, — ^rules to be observed — age, charge, useful- 
ness. The same committee was dii-ected '^ to seat and let out the hind 
part of the galleries to such young folks as shall desire, and be thought 
proper to have, the privilege of building pews." 

The cost of this elaborate and expensive church edifice weighed 

heavily upon the Woodstock residents, and as it was customary at that 

day to levy a tax upon non-residents for such purposes, a town-meeting 

was called, January 4, 1721, to consider the matter. Captain John 

Chandler was chosen moderator, and the following vote* carried: — 

" Upon consideration of the great charge of the town In building a new 
meoting-hoose, whicli lies very heavy upon the Inhabitants, and forasmuch as 
there are more than one half of the home-lots laid out In said township never 
yet built upon or brought under any improvement, but are kept by the owners 
to grow in value, who bear no part of the charge arising in the town, nor will 


be peraaaded to contribate to y* cbnrge of building said roeetln^-houae, thoagh 
they have boon amicably InvUcd to come Into it, aud although they are lllcely 
to reap much profit in tliue to come by Its being built, wherefore, voted, 
' That the representatives of this town (for the time being) be desired and 
impowercd in behalf of y« town to address the great and General Assembly, 
at their next session, by way of petition, that the ladds throughout the town, 
belonging both to residents and non-residents, may be taxed towards 
building and finishing said meeting-houfeie, to the sum of £250 — selectmen to 
lay it*" 

In pnrsuance of tiiis vote, Captain Chandler, as representative of 
Woodstock, presented his petition with his usual clearness and 
eloquence, to which Roxbury, who felt that she had already dis- 
charged every obligation to her troublesome oolony, thus indignantly 
responded : — 

*' To the Hon. Court now sittlns at Cambridge, June, 1721, an answer of the 
proprietors of the north naif of Woodstock to the petition of John 
Chandler. Esq., in behalf of the inhabitants of Woodstock, showeth: — 

I. That they are glad to hear tliat the Inhabitants of Woodstock have lately 
built a convenient and hansome building for the public worship of God, and 
are apt to bcllovo such a work could not bo carried on without couMidcrnblo 
charge, but think four or tiyo hundred pounds, at most, well laid out, might 
have built a very sufllclent meeting-house -for Woodstock, and are surprised 
the petitioners should mention the sum of $ix hundred and $eventif pounds, 
since many largo mooting-honses in the country, especially iu'the remote 
towns, have been built for a much less sum, and it hod better become the 
good people of Woodstock to have first sat down and counted the cost before 
they had undertaken so great and chargeable a work. 

II. As to what Is set forth of the placing of the meeting-house to accom- 
modate the lands of the proprietors of the north part, we answer :r— 

1. That they were never consulted or acquainted with the building or 
placing In the least before all was over. 

3. The new meeting-house stands within about fbrty or fifty rods of the old 
one, and the removing It was only for the convenience of standing on higher 
ground and nearer the country road to Connecticut. 

8. The new meeting-house does In uo wise accommodate the land of pro- 
prietors in north half, being several miles distant, and the intervening land is 
very rough and not fit for a settlement. 

4. Respondents desire It may be considered that the town was a grant from 
the General Court, near forty vears ago, to the town of Bozbury, and the 
town gave the south half (which Is much the best) to the settlers who now 
petition, reserving to themselves the north half to be a township whenever 
they shall see meet and their circumstances wUl admit of settling It, and In 
the meantime whoever settles In the north half are to do duty to Woodstock, 
Ac, by which it is plain that the town of Roxbury, even ttom the beginning, 
designed to be at no other charge but what respects their one half. 

6. The town of Roxbury, viz., proprietors of the north half, gave one 
hundred pounds in silver money, settlers paying no part. 

6. As to the petitioners pretending they were influenced and encouraged by 
the proprietors of the north half— the respondents utterly deny it; for, as 
before observed, there was never the least application made to them, nor will 
it be of any service unless they will make another remove of the meeting- 
house a mile or two yet northward ; If any particular persons should have 
made any promises to the petitioners, it Is hoped they will make them 

7. The north proprietors have been at great charge already with respect to 
their half in laying out lots, highways, renting lands for public use, In all of 
which they have not been In the least assisted by the inhabitants of Wood- 
stock — so that, on tlie whole, your respondents hope and doubt not that you 
will be of opinion that their petition Is without any foundation in law. Justice 
or equity, and ought to be dismissed. Paul Dudlry. 

In behalf of Roxbury proprietors.** 


This forcible response procured the rejection of the petition, and 
left the residents of Woodstock to bear their own hardens. An 
opportune distribution of public money among Massachusetts towns 
afforded some relief, Woodstock share— sixty-three pounds — ^being at 
once appropriated ^'to finishing the meeting-house."/ * 

During the summer of 1721, Woodstock, with many other New 
England towns, suffered from that terrible visitation, small-pox — six 
persons, including some of her leading young men, dying of that 





WHILE the meeting-house was progressing, other town interests 
languished. After the rejection of their petition for a rate 
from Roxbury, the town '* begged to be excused from sending a repre- 
sentative on account of the expense of meeting-house." The meeting- 
house also kept them from having schools as the law provided and 
reduced them to one school-master, alternating monthly for four 
months between the north and noitheast school-houses. The minister 
was, however, the greatest sufferer from the exactions of the meeting- 
house. The uneasiness between. pastor and people was increasing. 
The small salary allowed Mr. Dwight was quite insufficient for tlie 
wants of his large family. Out off from the ministry-land, he resorted 
to various devices for increasing his income, hiring and cultivating land 
in Woodstock, and speculating in the wild lands of Eillingly — which 
excited much dissatisfaction and grumbling. In 1719, he petitioned 
for an increase of salary. The town, ** complaining of great povoity 
and being affected with the common calamity in the general time of 
scarcity," allowed him ten pounds. In 1722, the town, still complaining 
of ^* great poverty, straitness and scarcity, yet being willing to do 
what they could for their minister," ordered a quarterly contiibution to 
be taken for him. This proving insufficient, and the '* uneasiness " on 
both sides increasing, a committee was chosen. May 22, 1723, to confer 
with Mr. Dwight, ^^ who willingly submitted his case to the town, to 
do as they see cause, and for the future intended to be passive, but 
fixed in opinion that his salary ought to be enlarged, as it fell shoit of 
what he justly expected, which he attributed to the increased price to 
which things for the comfort and support of life have arisen, but 


expected nothing for defidenoies in time past and would give the town 
a full diftchargo." 

The committee '* took the premises into serious consideration " and 
in due time reported, << That as Mr. Dwight had been with them thirty- 
three jeBXB on sixty pounds salary, which he says is not sufficient for 
his honorable support, and the gpreat stroke of husbandry under his 
management to which he has been too much necessitated in time past, 
takes up much of his time and thoughts, therefore, advised that his 
salary bo increased to seventy-five pounds. ** The town accepted the 
report, and voted that the above sum be assessed for him and requested 
the selectmen to acquaint him with this vote, and 'instruct him 
moreover to devote himself more especially to his sacred functions 
that they may be encouraged by his vigorous performance for the 
future, either to continue this said sum or to enlarge it." James 
Ck>rbin alone dissented from this vote—'' the covenant having been 
complied with and not seeing cause to exceed it'* 

Other town matters received but little attention. Roads and bridges 
were left unmended ; cattle and birds unmolested ; but either wolves 
or hunters were increasing and wolf-rates much more frequently 
demanded — now to pay '* a wolf-bUl " to Jonathan Payson and then 
for "three grown wolves to Joseph Bartholomew.*' To prevent 
charges from vagrants or chance residents the town voted, March 12, 
1728, " That if any person entertain or hire any stranger or transient 
person, except for nursing or other inevitable occasion, they shall give 
good security to the selectmen of the town* that they shall not be 
burthened or charged with them, or forfeit ten shillings a week for 
four weeks and then twenty shillings." 

Town meetings at this period were conducted with much formality. 
The Colony laws against drunkenness, profaneness and immorality, 
together with the act for reformation of manners, were always read at 
the opening. Captain John Chandler — ^stiil town -clerk and treasurer — 
was also moderator at its meetings. Training-days were observed with 
much hilarity and spirit, and military organization maintuned in 
accordance with the laws of Massachusetts. 

In public matters, Woodstock now was chiefly interested in the 
formation of a new county. Included in Suffolk County, all its land 
deeds had to be recorded, its wills proven in Boston. Captain John 
Chandler was the first to initiate a movement for a new county organi- 
zation, and in 1720 presented a petition to the General Court "for 
the erection of a new county in the south of Massachusetts, to be 
called Worcester." A bill to this effect was presented, "read twice, 
and ordered to be considered next session" and then indefinitely 




In 1722, the peace of the country was again disturbed by the 
renewal o( Indian alaims and hostilities, which continued some years. 
The senior John Chandler, first as major and then as colonel, served 
actively in successive campaigns. His son, William, also served as 
captain. Woodstock was not apparently exposed to attacks and was 
able to extend aid to the towns north of her. A company of scouto, 
raised mostly in Woodstock and Pomfret by Major Chandler, guarded 
the frontier fh>m August to November, 1722. The Indians in the 
Reservation noith of Woodstock occasioned some alarm and were not 
allowed to live in the woods by themselves, but were drawn in and 
placed under the conduct of one Englishman — and only allowed to 
hunt under his charge and permbaion. In the summer of 1724, the 
alarms and distress were very great. The infant settlement of Wor- 
cester was peculiarly exposed, and sent most urgent appeals for help to 
Colonel Chandler at Wooilstock, " having an expectation that he would 
be a father " to it July 7, he received orders '^ to impress twenty 
men, to be posted in Shrewsbury and Leicester," and Captain William 
Chandler's company was stationed at Rutland and Leicester. 

Woodstock's Indian inhabitants apparently gave her no trouble 
during this disturbed period. The Wabbaquassets were fast fading 
away and soon vanish from sight. The lirst seen by us is the last 
of whom we have definite knowledge. John Acquittamaug was still 
living in the vicinity of Woodstock. Indeed, it is possible that in 
the diversity of spelling common to that age, he may have been the 
very *' John Accpiatticus" whoso long occupied the school-land. A 
visit of this aged aboriginal patriarch to Boston is thus chronicled by 
the News-Letter of August 29, 1728 :— 

** On Monday night last, at Judge Sewall's, and the night following at Jadgc 
Dudley'Si was entertained one of the oldest Indians in New England — John 
Qalttumog, living In the Nipmuck Country, near Woodstock. He is reckoned 
to bo about one hundred and twelve years old. The English Inhabitants of 
Woodstock remember him as a very old roan for near fojrty years past, and 
that he has all along affirmed, and which he still affirms, that he was at Boston 
when the English first aiTlved ; and when there was but one cellar In the 
place, and that near the Common, and then brought down a bushel and a half 
of com upon his back. 

Now, it being ninety-three years since the English settled at Boston, he 
cannot be supposed less than near 112 years old at this time. He says that 
the Massachusetts Indians sent word up to the Nipmugs that if they had any 
corn to spare the English wanted it, and it would be worth their while to 
bring some of It down, which occasioned his Aither and him, with some 
others, to come down^ He is now lu good health, and has his understanding 
and memory very entire couslderlng his great age, and Is capable of traveling 
on foot about ten miles in a day." 

The Nows-Letter, of July 1-8, 1725, completes the record : — 

*< Woodstock, June 80. On the 21st instant, died near this place, John 
Acqulttlmaug, i|ged about 114 years, but the ludiaus say (and he called his 
own age) 12S years." 


In 1724, a fioal division of all the remaining land in the south half 
of Woodstock was ordered. Smith Johnson, William Lyon aiid 
Edmond Chamberlain were appointed a committee to oversee the 
work — John Chandler, Jan., surveyor. About seventeen hundred acres 
were then distributed among tliirty-six proprietors. The fifty-two 
idlotments were so arranged that those representing more than one 
need di-aw but once. ''Ten acres in Honey-Pot Hole, where the 
hearth-stones Jie," were placed under the regulations of a committee to 
supply the inhabitants with hearth-stones — timber growing in this lot 
reserved for public use. Twelve acres on Rocky Uill, adjoining the 
hearth -stone lot, southwest comer of Isaac Baitholomew's home-lot, 
were laid out to Colonel John Chandler, reserving to the inhabitants 
''the liberty of ingress, egress and regress to get stones from off said 
land as they may have occasion or chance, on the following conditions, 
viz., "That they fairly and friendly open and shut such gates or bars 
as lead into the premises by the way near Eliphalet Carpenter's house, 
which is the only way in wliich it can be come at, and that they don't 
presume to come on the premises for the getting and carting away 
stones but only in the months of November, December, January, Feb- 
ruary, March and April, without particular leave and license from said 
Chandler, nor suffer the stones they dig to lie dugg upon said land for 
more than nine months." Persons were required to draw their lots 
at the proper time. Very few of the original proprietors had survived 
to take part in this distribution. Ebenezer Morris died in 1718; 
Henry Bowen, March 18, 1724. John Marcy, Sen., and Benjamin 
Griggs had also died during that year. September 11, 1725, fifly-two 
lots were thus distributed : — 

1. Isaac Bartholomew. 17. John Frlzsol. ^ 

2. Colonel John Chandler. ' 18. Nathaniel Sanger, Jan. 
8. Ebenezer Morris. 19. Smith Johnson. 

4. Moses Barret 20. John Holmes. 

6. Edward Chamberlain. 21. Heirs of Thomas Lyon. 

6. Heirs of John and Peter Morse 22. Ebenezer Eastman. 

(lately died of smoll-pox). 28. Joseph Bugbee. 

7. John Child. 24. Colonel Chandler. 

8. Samnel Perrin. 25. Samuel Paine. 

9. Morse's heirs. 26. Jonathan Payson. 

10. Eliphalet Carpenter. 27. David Holmes. 

11. Heirs of Samuel Hemingway. 28. Heirs of Joseph Pcalc. 

12. James Horsmor. 29. Jonathan Peak. 
18. Henry Bowen., 80. John Johnson. 

14. James Frlzzel. 81-84. Colonel Chandler. 

15. William Lyon. 88-86. Smith Johnson. 

16. Heirs of Benjamin Griggs. 86. William Bartholomew. 

With land divided, population increasing, Indian hostilities allayed 
and meeting-house completed, nothing seemed lacking to the peace 
and prosperity of Woodstock but pleasanter relations with the minister. 
Increase of salary had not diminished the difficulties. Mr. D wight 


had not the prudenoe needfU for such a junotore and, was constantly 
giving fresh offence by some bluntness of speech or eccentricity of 
conduct His fondness for experimenting and speculating in secular 
matters aggrieved some of his people, and it is possible that his 
readiness to adopt an innovation in the form of public worship may 
have offended others. The question of *' singing by regular tunes " was 
then agitating the New England churches. The few tunes brought 
over from England had been jangled together in inextricable discord 
and confusion. In 1721, the Rev. Thomas Walter, of Roxbury, pub- 
lished a treatise ** upon the grounds and rules of music, or an introduc- 
tion to the art of singing by rote," containing twenty-four tunes, 
harmonised into three parts. This attempt to supersede the old 
Puritan tunes and restrict the liberty of individual singera met with 
great opposition and was long successfully resisted. Mr. Dwight was 
one of the first to favor the new method and, in 1725, preached a 
sermon in Fi'amingham, intended ^^ To silence the outcry that has been 
made in many places about i*egular singing," which was thought 
worthy of publication. Mr. Dwight, in this discoui*se, blamed the 
congregations severely for their ignorance and heedlessness <' in sliding 
from one tune to another while singing or singing the same line iu 
different tunes," and other reprehensible practices, and gave many 
forcible reasons for adopting the new method. He thought that the 
Saviour must have used at least one tune and David several, and 
recommended the use of a distinct tunc and the naming it with the 
Psalm before singing. 

Another oausQ of dissatisfaction with Mr. Dwight was his alleged 
leaning towards Connecticut's Saybrook Platform, which, to tliis 
MassachusettI church, was peculiarly offensive. The ilUwill and 
jealousy from these various causes at length rose to such a height 
that, August 80, 1726, a ministerial council was convened in Wood- 
stock meeting-house. The Reverend Messrs. Estabrooks, of Canter- 
bury ; WUliams, of Pomfret ; Fisk, of Eillingly ; John Swift and John 
Preston, of Massachusetts, were present, and after due examination 
and deliberation reached the subjoined ^' Result : " — 

<* We, the subscribers, being desired by the Rev. Mr. Dwight and the 
brethren of the churdi in this place to hear their differences and essay In 
accommodation between them ; after humble and earnest supplication to God 
for guidance and direction and a fhll hearing of their dUIbrences, we off^ as 
follows : — 

1. That It is a matter of great grief to as that we find such a general 
uneasiness among the people referring to Mr. Dwlght's conduct among us, 
who hath for so many years been laboring in the work of the ministry In this 
flock and congregation of the Lord In this place. 

2. That, In our opinion, the people or brotherhood above mentioned have 
reason to be dissatlsfled, there being some articles In Mr. Dwlght's conduct 
that have been exceptionable and Justly grievous to the people. 

8. That notwithstanding, we cannot but think, If suitable methods were 


Dsed (with a christian spirit) by the Rev. Mr. Dwlght and the people, they 
might accommodate the differences among themselves, which we earnestly 
exhort them to endeavor. 

4. But In case the Rev. Mr. Dwlght and the people, or either of them, 
decline essays towards accommodation among themselves, we Jadge It the^ 
duty to agree upon and ^coll a council of churches to hear and determine upon 
the dUPerences among them. 

Finally, we exhort the Reverend pastor, church and congregation of the 
Lord In this place. In the foar of Ood and In the name of our Lord Jesus 
Christ, the Great Master of the Assembly, who will call all under shepherds 
and their flocks to an account, to labor conscientiously after a mutual love, 
care and faltbAilnoss one to the other, that when the Great Shepherd and 
Bishop of souls (who standeth at the door) shall appear, their account may bo 
with Joy and not with grief.** 

On the following Sabbath, after dismissing the congregation, Mr. 
Dwight read to the chnroh a declaration : — 

*< To my brethren and neighbors In Woodstock : 

I have now, though with much weakness, as God has enabled roe, stood It out 
with vou in wants, wars and diversities of words these thlrty-slx years—pray 
God forgive mv weakness and Impatience shown— and now am so much dis- 
splrited and dls-fltted to go on with my calling amonff you, and so much 
has been laid on roe tending to defeat the end of ray ministry, and my flimlly 
so burdened and broken, that this was the result of mv thoughts, to ask at 
once roy dismission Arom yon in pursuit of a sedate and quiet life. But if I 
have before, I would not now do anything rashly like Jonah, to displease Ulm 
In whose hand roy breath is and whose are all my ways, and so that which I 
had taken upon myself to determine, viz., staying or going off, either now or 
at the year's end— I will now leave with you to encourage or determine as you 
And your own temper and disposition in the m<itter. However, It seems not 
desirable on your side or mine that the parting should be in the midst of such 
a ruffle, for we must go on to work out our own salvation with fear and 
trembling, or we had better live no longer, and of necessity become quiet in the 
ffrave In a little time, and wo to that servant that at his Lord's coming Is 
found beatlnff his follow-servant. I am sensible that I have many faults and 
much to be forgiven, even of uncomfortable excrescences of corrupt nature 
and have had too angry resentroents In a dav of temptation, but hope to learn 
better by looking more upon that unparalleled Pattern of patience and meek- 
ness— y« holy Jesus— and by daily beseeching more restraining and renewing 
grace. Forgive me all the wrong done you, and help me to get this testimony 
of my own forfflveness In Heaven (the great thins I set my mind to, I hope), 
that I may cordially forgive all tlie li^Jury that I think has been done me. As 
to myself. It Is pacUyinff that I may need affliction more than I thought, for 
better men have seen darker hours ; besides, the disciple is not above his 
Lord, and I will endeavor to take other blame more patiently as well as my 
own, lest I have been too partial to myself, and let not my extenuation be 
Interpreted as If I could own nothing beyond Infirmity, when I designed only 
to guard against the mis- Imputation of avariclousnsss, for I hope l have not 
so preached with a conscience to allow sin with myself and disallow it with 
others, for then what should I do when He rises up that executes vengeance, 
and I will endeavor, by the help of God, to reform what has been grievous to 
my hearers. But after all, by the free grace of God, through the merit of 
the Great Redeemer, must we get to Heaven. But If we cannot unite In other 
things let us in the common Saviour, and If we can*t longer agree together in 
this world let us look for the mercy of Gk>d to eternal life and of the tree 
gift share together and eternal llfe« Josiah Dwight. 

R S. Had I my choice, it would be to finish my life and labors together In 
this place, where,' when I had a prospect of, oft-times I have brought the 
meeting-house and burial-place, that are In such a strict neighborhood with us, 
closer still together In my thoughts, that one may be quickening and awakening 
about y« care and zeal belonging to y« other and prophesying about the time 
of rest and reward, and should come into anything I cnn with a good con- 
science to finish after these meditations well— but desire not that any would 


Impose too bard apon themselyes to admit this, for I hope for the fiiture, by 
y help of Ood, haviog seen the end of persecution, to engage my few remain- 
ing moments in such contemplation and apprehension of the inexpressible and 
inconceivable eternity as to make, not only the burdens of my peregrinations, 
but even the whole compass of time itself, shrink to the lowest point or 
nt> thing." 

The town was at once called together, ''to express the miuds 

relating to dismissing Mr. Josiah D wight from his charge in this 

place to a sedate and qoiet life, and whether it will be for the interest 

of religion and the comfort of the town to continue him in his office.'* 

On the appointed day, September 8, a large assembly gathered in the 

meeting-hoose. Much excitement prevailed. The Result of the 

council and Mr. Dwight's recent Declaration were '' divers times read 

and debated." It was proposed that a day of supplication and fasting 

should be held, '' to implore God*s gracious guidance and direction in 

this case before the town proceeded to vote," but Mr. Dwight was 

unwilling to defer a projected journey, and so '' the following vote 

came on : " — 

*< Forasmuch as the Rev. Mr. Dwight, by a declaration under his hand 
(lately exhibited) has loft it to his brethren and neighbors to determine 
whether he should still continue in his calling, viz., y« work of y* ministry 
among us or desist his said labor, the question was put, * Whether it be the 
opinion of the town that it will be for the glory of Qod, the interest of 
religion and the peace and comfort of the town tliat the labors of Mr. Dwight 
should be continued farther among us.' " 

The town replied by voting in the negative *^ sixty against one and 
one was neutral." A committee was then chosen in behalf of the 
town, to join Mrith Colonel Chandler and the deacons who had been 
desired to act on behalf of the church, ^^ to wait on Mr. Dwight and 
use their endeavor with him to call a council of churches, and in case 
he refuses to advise with the reverend divines in the neighborhood and 
pray them to direct to the proper steps to be taken, and use their best 
endeavors to bring present troubles to a happy conclusion, with what 
speed may be." The committee immediately repau*ed to Mr. Dwight 
to report the action of the town. All the difficulties and differences of 
the past had not prepare^ him for the disaffection and estrangement of 
his whole people, and with characteristic heat and vehemence he 
<< wholly declined to come into proposals for calling a council," and 
sent back the following paper : — 

<< WooDSTOoK, September S, 1726. To the church and congregation o( 
Woodstock, his brethren and friends, this additional dociarutTon of Josiah 
Dwight cometh :— 

Surprised and disheartened by unexpected opposition and alienation ttom 
me, hereby I would desire my dismission fk'om the exercise of my office and 
calling further among you ; at least would request you would, fh>m this time, 
take care to supply the pulpit one six months, by which expiration they that 
live to it may see other providential alterations. But according to the present 
view of things it seems most eligible, at least on my part, that you vote my 
total, immediate dismission. Josiau Dwiokr. 

Joshua's tbagt. 68 

1T}ivii)g conflidorocl nnd debated tliis return, the question was put, 
*^ Whither the town now totally dismisses said JonLoli Dwight from 
his said calling as tnaob as in them lyeth,** — and it passed in the 
affirmative by fifty-seven votes to one in the negative. 

Tims suddenly and totally tlie tie between pastor and people was 
severed. Mr. Dwight, probably, went on his journey, the town 
devoted itself to procuring a minister and, after a short trial of Mr. 
Nathaniel Whiting, united in choice of Mr. Amos Throup — seventy- 
four out* of seventy-five voting in his favor at their town-meeting in 



rnilOUQII Massachusetts planted the first colony within Windham 
JL County limits, Ck>nnecticut was not for behind her. When the 
Roxbury colonists took possession of the future Woodstock, the future 
Windham was already surveyed, divided and diHtnbutod. This tract 
was a bequest from Joshua, third son of Uncas, to sixteen gentlemen 
belonging to Norwich and neighboring towns. In May, 1678, the 
General Court of Connecticut allowed and established Joshua's Will 
and granted the legatees liberty to possess all Joshua's rights in this 
land, provided they complied with the terms therein stipulated. 
Though the legality of Joshua's title to various other ti*acts conveyed by 
this will occasioned much subsequent controversy and litigation, the 
Norwich legatees secured their portion with little difficulty and no 
iq)parent opposition. Robin Cassasinamon — ^governor of the surviving 
Pequots — was commissioned by Uncas to show these gentlemen the 
bounds of their tract, and soon after its confirmation by the General 
Court he went out with Lieutenant T^effingwell and other legatees and 
Surveyor Bushnell into the wilderness north of Norwich. Passing 
through Mamosqueoge — a strip north of Norwich reserved for Joshua's 
ohildron, — he led them eight mites northward, by an Indian trail 
known as Nipmuek Path, to a wet flag-meadow a little north of the 
path, which he said was Appaquage — the point from which their 
bounds were to be run and stated. Here they lodged for the night, 


and the next morning crossed through the woods, ten miles, to the 
Willimantic River, where they lodged the second night, and thence 
followed Robin down the Willimantic to Mamosqueage. Soon afler this 
preliminary exploration, Bushnell and Joseph Huntington were sent by 


the Legatees ^' to measure down eight miles from Appaquage, by the 
said Nipiimok Path " — which thejr did, ^<aud marked a white oak at the 
end of said eight miles, west side of path." The 'lines of the whole 
tract were soon afterwards run by Simon Huntington, Thomas Leffing- 
well, Jun., and Richard Bushnell, under the direction of Uncas. In 
^ October, 1681, Captain llobert Chapman, Captain James Fitch and 
Thomas Buckingham were appointed administrators of Joshua's estate, 
who, the following winter, conveyed according to the terms of the 
will, ^* a tract of land lying to the west of Appaquage, east from WiUi- 
mantic River, south from Appaquage Pond, eight miles broad," to the 
following gentlemen therein designated as legatees : — 

Captain John Mason. Lieutenant Thomas Lefflngwell. 

Lieutenant Samuel Mason. John Olmstead. 

Lieutenant Daniel Mason. Simon Huntington. 

Rev. James Fitch. William Hide. 

Captain James Fitch. William Backus. 

John Blrchard. Hugh Calkins. 

Thomas Tracey. Captain George Denlson. 

Thomas Adgate. Daniel Wetherell. 


The recipients of this princely gift were all gentlemen of high 
cliaracter and standing. Lieutenants Samuel and Daniel Mason and 
Captain Denison resided in Stonington; Mr. Wetherell in New 
• London. The remaining twelve were prominent and influential citizens 
of Norwich. To fulfill the conditions of the bequest and arrange <^ for 
settling a plantation upon the land given by Joshua, deceased," the 
Legatees met in Norwich, February 17, 16B2, and signed the following 
agreement : — 

**I. Ood willing, plantation work shall bo carried on and a town settled 
within the space of four years, that \h to say, we, after the above-mentioned 
time Is explredf will bear all such public charges according to our Just pro- 
portion for the carrying on plantation work. 

II. Those that find they are not In a capacity to manage the several allot- 
ments for the carrying on of the true Intendment and end of a plantation 
shall resign up tlielr allotments to such wholsome Inhabitants as the said 
company shall see reason to admit, upon reasonable and moderate terms. 

III. We having received the laud, and upon a view Judge that It will afford 
an allotment for every thousand acres, according to the distribution made by 
Uncas (who was appointed by tlie deceased sou to act), with some other 
allotments for public uses In the several divisions, first, second and third of 
the land bequeathed to us. 

IV. It Is agreed that the allotments be laid out in an equal manner, every 
one contenting himself with the place where Ood by his providence shall 
determine, by a lot drawn for that end, and the drawing of one lot shall 
answer fur the home-lot and for the first division of upland and meadow. It 
Is also agreed that Simon Huntington, William Backus, John Post and John 
Blrchard shall lay out the same according to the order and manner above 

No further action was taken for three years, when the liCgatees 
a^in met, February, 1685, and agreed to settle in three places for the 
convenience of landi and meadows. They also empowered the layers- 
out to lay out such highways as they should judge needful and granted 

Joshua's tract. 66 

Richard Bosbnell half an aUotmoDt for his labor and pains in surveying. 
Lieutenant Leflingwell, John Birchard, Thomas Waterman, John 
Post, Richard Boshnell, William Baokns, Simon Huntington and John 
Calkins were appointed a committee for laying out land. By the 
following spring the surveys and divisions were completed and Joshua's 
tract ready for distribution. Beginning at Appaquage — *^a flaggy 
meadow," now at or near the southeast comer of Eastford — the 
boundary line ran south eight niiloSi large measuroi on the west side of 
Nipmuck Path ; thence due west to the Shetucket, running a little 
south of the site of the future Windham Qreen ; thence, eight miles, 
northwest, up the Shetucket and Wiliimantic, and thence ten miles east 
to Appaquage. A large part of the present territory of Windham, 
Mansfield, Chaplin, Hampton and Scotland townships was comprised 
in this royal gift, which was laid out in forty-eight shares, each con- 
taining a thousand acres. Each share included a home-lot in one of 
three places, designed for villages and portions of meadow, pasture 
and upland in various localities. The sites selected for villages were 
the Hither-place or South-east Quarter — now Old Windham Village ; 
the Ponde-plaoe, at Naubesatuck — now Mansfield Centre, and the 
valley of the Wiliimantic, near the site of the present Wiliimantic 
Borough. Fitleen. home-lots were laid out at the Hither-place, twenty- 
one at the Ponde-place and twelve at Willimantia Highways were 
laid out through each destined village and from the Hither to the 
Ponde place. Tbe appointed committee spent five days in making the 
requisite surveys and measurements — those that laid out the land 
receiving three shilliugj and those that ran the lines four shillings a 
day for their services. 

On the first of May, 1686, the Legatees met to receive their allot- 
ments. Captain John Mason, William Hide and John Olmstead, 
deceased, were represented by their heirs or administrators. The 
remuning Legatees were probably present in person, and — *' after 
prayer for direction and blessing," — drew lots for their respective por- 
tions $ some receiving one and some six shares, according to the royal 
pleasure of Uncas, who had ordered the distribution. Three shares 
were reserved for the ministry and other public purposes, according to 

The territory of Windham was thu4 divided and distributed four 
months previous to that of Woodstock, but its settlement was delayed 
by the disturbed condition of public affairs. Connecticut, like the 
other colonies, was suffering from the encroachments of King James. 
Her privileges were cut off, her charter demanded, her government 
assumed by Sir Edmond Andross. Under his arbitrary rule, attempts 

at settlement were futile. He considered an ** Indian deed worth no 

66 HI8TO&Y OF wiNDUAH cx>uimr. 

more than the soratch of a bear's paw," and would have aoouted the 
right of the Legatees to land bequeathed by an Indian chieftain. There 
is no record of attempt to secure confirmation of title from Andross. 
The Legatees doubtless thought it more prudent to wait in silence and 
make what few improvements were practicable. In 1687, it was 
ordered^ " That the Ilither-place be fenced in, but the drought was 
such that it could not be done," and nothing was effected during the 
administration of Andross but a few land sales. 

The first transfer of land from the original Legatees was made before 
the will was proved or allowed.. Captain Samuel ^ason, in 1677, con- 
veyed a thousand acre. right in Joshua's ti*act to Captain John Brown — 
the husband of his sister Anna. The home-lot pertaining to this right 
was laid out at Willimaiitic and is still in possession of Captain 
Brown's descendants. In 1686, Captain James Fitch sold a thousand- 
acre right to Josiah Standish, of Duxbury, who conveyed, the same to 
Jacob Dingley, of Ilingham, two years later. May 26, 1688, llichard 
Bushnell sold to Jeremiah Ripley, of Ilingham, '^Lot No. 11, for 
£10. 10s.," with thousand-acre rights. Daniel Wetherell, at tlie same 
date, sold an allotment to Joshua Ilipley. Calkins, during this summer, 
sold an allotment to Jonatlian Hough, and Backus, a right to Hough, 
Abel and Rudd. , 

In the autumn of 1688, Joshua's tract received its first settler. John 
Cates, an English refugee, fearfUl of the spies of Andross, found hb 
way into this desolate, uninhabited wilderness, and passed the winter, 
Crusoe-like, in a cave or cellai*, fashioned by the hands of his faithful 
negro, Joe Qinne. Little is known of the previous history of this 
gentleman. Tradition represents him as a high political offender, a 
Commonwealth soldier and even a Regicide, but the shy Englishman 
kept his own secret It is said that he landed first at Virginia, where 
he purchased his servant, and thence oamq on to New York and Nor- 
wich, but found no security till he took up his abode in this remote 
wilderness. Joshua's tract was then entirely uninhabited ; a foi*e8t, 
broken only by surveyors' lines and a few rude pathways. No Indian 
had occupied it during Joshua's administration and it was probably 
only used as a hunting-ground. 

The spring of 1689 brouglit peace and security to the Colonists. 
James was deposed, William and Mary enthroned, Andross driven 
away* and colonial government resumed. The Gleneral Court of Con- 
necticut held its first session afler Androse's deposition, September 8, 
1689. No man was more instrumental in restoring affaira to their 
former basis than Captain James Fitch, — according to Bulkley* — 

* Will and Doom, or tlie MUerlet of ConneoUcat under a Ursurped and Arbitrary 

Joshua's tbaot. 6Y 

traveling ** from Dan to Beersheba to inoite the freemen and summon 

a Qeneral Court." " By whom," asks this author, " was the Charter of 
the Groyemment restored but by James Fitch, Nathaniel Stanley and 
such like private men t *' The immense territory that Fitch had 
received from the Indians made him personally interested in the 
deposition of one who scouted all Indian tides, but he was also an 
ardent friend of popular liberty and the zealous and indefatigable 
advocate of any cause that enlisted his sympathies. 

With the restoration of Charter government business and prosperity 
at once revived, and the Norwich Legatees resumed the settlement of 
their plantation. Cates now came out of his hiding-place and decided 
to settle on the tract that had given him shelter, purchasing an 
allotment of Daniel Mason at the • Hither-place, and building, with 
his servant, in the summer of 1689, the first house in the new 
Plantation. Some other lots were fenced in, ground prepared and 
timber made ready for building. A division of pasture land was also 
laid out and distributed. The second settler reported is Jonathan 
Oinningfl, who bought land of John Bircbard and took possession in 
1690. Other settlers soon followed. None of the original legatees 
took possession of their rights. The Rev. James Fitch's share was 
improved by his son John ; William Backus resigned his rights to two 
sons; Huntington's was made over to a son and nephew; John 
Birchard*s land was occupied by two of his sons ; the other legatees 
sold their rights hs agreed ^' to wholesome inhabitants." 

In 1691, Joshua and Jeremiah Ripley, John Crane, Richard Hendee, 
Thomas and Joseph Huntington, ' William and Joseph Backus and 
John Larrabee, had broken up land, built houses and established them- 
selves in the Hither-place — on what is now the west side of Old 
Windham street Crane — ^a blacksmith by trade — bought land of 
Calkins; Hendee of Captain James Fitch ; the young Backus brothers 
sold their accommodations in Norwich " to remove to the new, nameless 
town, sprin^ng up in the wilderness, ten miles northwest of Norwich." 
Cates was a widower; the Messrs. Backus and Hendee were unmanied; 
the other settlers brought with them wives and families. All but the 
Ripleys and Cates were previous residents of Norwich. All were men 
of good clmracter and position ; worthy to become the fathei^s and 
founders of a township. No details of their iimnigration and first 
establishment have been preserved. Their first year s work mtist have 
been laborious. They had their land to break up and fence, houses to 
build, roads to perfect, society to organize, but from their vicinity to 
Norwich and connection with established families there they could 
easily procure supplies and assistance, and sufiered comparatively few 


hardships and privations. The first birth in the settlement was a 
daughter to Jonathan Qinnings, February 10, 1691. 

The first public meeting of settlers was recorded May 18, 1691. 
Joshua Ripley, Jonathan Crane and William and Joseph Backus were 
then directed '* To run the town lines from Appaquage eight miles 
south, and thence southwest to Willimantio River." This work was 
accomplished by May 28, when another meeting was held, and Crane, 
Ripley and Ginniugs were appointed ^Uo make division of our 
meadows" — ^four shillings a day being allowed for both services. 
During this summer a grist-mill was set in operation by Jonathan 
Crane, on the site of the present Bingham's mills. A pound was also 
constructed on the Hither-place and preparations made for settling at 
the Ponde place. Religious services were held occasionally by the 
Rev. Mr. Fitch and his son Jabez — the settlers with their families, 
with wandering Mohegans and Shetuckets, assembling under a tree in 
the Hither-place. These settlers were mostly connected with the 
Norwich church and attended divine worship with it whenever practi- 
cable. The old Nipmuck Path, on the east of the tract, and a rough 
way made by the first surveyors, connected the settlements. 

In the autumn of 1691, the residents of the New Plantation, now 
numbering about thirty, felt themselves sufiiciently established to 
undertake the management of a towudhip, and thus made known their 
wishes: — 

• • 

** To the honored General Coart, now sitting in Hartford, the request of your 
humble petitioners is as foUowoth : — 

We, whose names are hereunto subscribed, with several others, are pro- 
prietors of that tract of land given by Joshaa, Sachem, deceased, ante several 
gentlemen of Norwich. We do humbly pray your honors that yon would 
grant us a township and call it Windham, and that our town-brand may 

be ; and that your Honors would please grant us the same prlviioge 

OS to other new plantations in respect of . forbearing us of our country 
rates awhile, and this Honorable Court would enable us to levy our town rates 
upon the lands of such persons as are unwilling to bear.their share of charge ; 
tills being granted will greatly oblige us to pray. We remain yours, in lul 
duty bound i— 

Joshua Ripley. Joseph Huntington. Bichard Hendee. 

John Gates. . William Backus. John Backus. 

Jeremiah Ripley. Jonathan Giunings. John Larrabee. 

Jonathan Crane. Thomas Huntin^n. 

October 6, 1691.*' 

The Court considered the premises, and ** finding none of the princi- 
pal propnetors of said land in the petition,** did not sec cause to grant 
the request at this time, but desired the Norwich deputies to inform 
the petitioners and proprietors that in the following May <' they would 
give all due encouragement for planting the aforesaid place and 
expected their attendance upon the Court for an issue.** This 


iiijnnotion being observed and no opposition manifested, Hay 12, 1692, 

tbe Court thus enacted : — 

'* Upon the petition of the inhabitants of the town of Norwich and others, 
legatees and proprietors of the new plantation that is settling above the town 
of Norwich, this Coart grants to the petitioners liberty of a township, with 
all liberties and privileges osually. granted for the encoaragement of the 
settling new plantations, and exemption from paying any country rates for 
the space of four years, and order the name of the town to be called Wind- 
ham, and the town brand to be, &c. ; and the inhabitants are obliged to 
improve their utmost endeavor to procure and maintain an able and fEtlthlhl 
ministry in the place, and bear all other town charges as the law directs." 



HAVING secured town privileges, the inhabitants of Windham 
held their first public town meeting, June 12, 1692. John 
Fitch, recently removed to the Hither-place, and Jonathan Hough, 
Samuel Hide and John Royce, who had established a settlement in the 
distant Ponde- place, increased their number to ilfleen. Joshua Ripley 
was chosen town-clerk ; Jeremiah Ripley, Jonathan Crane and Jonathan 
Hough, townsmen ; Thomas Huntington and John Royce, surveyors ; 
Joseph Huntington, Jonathan Hough, Samuel Hide and John Fitch, to 
lay out highways. It was voted, " To petition the General Court for 
liberty to portion town charges, and that Joshua Ripley should manage 
it'* Jonathan Crane and Thomas Huntington were then desired " to 
ask advice from Mr. Fitch about a minister." This was probably the 
Rev. James Fitch, then perhaps in Windham, as the settlers the same 
day voted, " To apply to Mr. Samuel Whiting for the purpose of 
carrying on the work of the ministry, and that Thomas Huntington 
should go to Milford and further treat with Mr. Whiting, in order to 
get him here." This young man was a son of Rev. John Whiting, of 
Hartford, and, after having studied with Mr. Fitch and Dr. McSparran, 
of South Kingston, was probably then completing his theological 
course with the Rev. Samuel Andrews. The negotiation was at first 
unsuccessful, but the appointed committee were continued in ofiice by 
the town, and in September, Thomas Huntington was further directed, 
*' To go again to agree with Mr. Whiting to come here and carry on 
the ministry." 

While awaiting his decision, Mr. Jabez Fitch continued to officiate. 
The house of Mr. John Fitch — the latest and probably the best built 
house in the settlement — was selected " to be the meeting house till 

' ■ t . 



Other provision be made," and it was ordered <' to be fortified and a 
lean-to built, every man doing his share of the fortification/' 

During this summer, sevei*al new inhabitants removed to the Ponde- 
place, and considerable progress was made in that settlement. Messrs. 
Ginnings and Crane were directed to go with Birohard, Post or 
BushnoU — ^Norwich survey ors^ — << to set to rights the lots at the Ponds.*' 
As the crossing the Nachaug River made communication diflicult and 
uncertain, the town agreed, August, 1692, *^That thirty five acres of 
upland and five of meadow be sequestered upon the account of a 
feny — ^land to be laid out between y* two riding-places." Twenty-five 
acres on the south side of the river, above the upper riding-place, were 
ordered '^ to be measured and laid out to John Lan*abee, upon condition 
that he keep the ferry seven yeara, with a good and sufficient canoe 
upon his own cost, and in case the towns shall see cause to make a 
boat, this, likewise, to be kept and maintained by him for the time 
aforesdd, his charge being two-pence a head for single persons ; hors 
and man carried over in the boat— -four-pence." Larrabee was to build 
upon the land ; Oinne and Oinniugs to lay it out.. In cose Ijarraboe 
were taken away by death, and his wife not able to manage the ferry, 
the town agree to pay back to her what he has laid out on the land 
and if the said LaiTabee were to die within ^ix years, the twenty five 
acres south side of the river should be her heirs. 

At the December town- meeting, several new inhabitants appeared. 
Selectmen, surveyors, fence viewers and haywards wore chosen for 
each settlement. Jeremiah Uiploy was appointed constable for the 
whole town. It was voted, ^*That the grist-mill be a town-charge 
throughout the town.'* Giunings, Ilendee, Jeremiah Ripley and James 
Birchard were granted the privilege of the stream at Beaver Brook 
for building a saw-mill, and half a mile of land adjoining for timber 
and pasture — they giving the town as good usage as is customaiy in 
other towns — ^^said mill to go within a year and the land to be 
returned to town when the mill is wprn out." All admitted inhabitants 
were *' granted the privilege of commons for (earbeig) and for timber 
and stone." 

After repeated applications, Mr. Whiting was induced to come to 
Windham, and preached his first sermon from the firat verse of the firat 
chapter of Genesis, January 1, 1698 — the first day of the week, month 
and year. His preaching, and conversation proving acceptable to the 
people, a meeting was called, February 1, when — " in order to compleat 
an agreement with Mr. Whiting to carry on the work of the ministry," 
Samuel Robarts and Jonathan Crane were chosen to discourae with him, 
and agreed to give the first half-year twenty pounds in provision pay 
and four pounds silver. Crane, liobarts and Joseph Huntington were 


appointed " oolleotors, to levy and gather rate, and if any need be — sue 
or distrain for it" At the same meeting, a committee was empowered 
to levy and raise a mill-rate, as a public charge, to be levied upon all 
the lands equally. 

So many new settlers aiTived during the winter that, at its town- 
meeting. May 80, 1698, Windham enrolled the subjoined list of 
admitted and approved inhabitants : — 

floshim Utplcy. Jolin Catcs. 

Jonnthnn Cmiio. KIcIinrd llondoo. 

tloimtluu) Olniihigs or Joniihigs. Jiunofi lUrclmnl. 

Joseph Iluutlugton. Jonathan Hough. 

Thomas Huntington. Samuel Hide. 

William Backus. John Royce. 

John Backus. * Samuel Birchard. 

Jolin Lurrnbee. Uobert Wade. 

Thomas Bingham. Peter Crane. 

John Undd. Sam. Linkcm. 

Jeremiah Ripley. John Arnold. 

Of these twenty-two inhabitants, the last named eight had settled at 
the Ponde place, all the others were i*esidents of the Hither-place or 
southeast quarter — save John Lan-abee, who kept the ferry between 
the settlements. Thomas Bingham, who had removed from Norwich 
with a large family of sons and daughters, was an impoi*tant acquisition 
to Windham. He purchased, March, 1698, Captain John Mason's first 
lot, at the southeast quarter, for £14 in provision pay ; applied to pay 
town charges at the corn-mill. Mr. Bingham was then about fifty 
years of age, being, after Gates, the oldest mai> in the township, and 
became one of its most useful and valued citijsens. His oldest daughter, 
Mary, had married John Backus the summer preceding. John Arnold 
had been schoolmaster in Norwich and was one of the most intelligent 
and influential of the Ponde-town settlers. Samuel and James Birchard 
were the sons of John Birchard, a Norwich Legatee. The other new 
comers were also residents of Norwich. 

Improvements and accommodations kept pace with the increase of 
population. Great care was taken to provide for the Ponde-town 
people. Sign-posts were ordered against William Backus's house at 
the Hither-place, and Samuel Hide's at the Ponde-place. The brander's 
house and the pound were made the public ])laces for branding horses. 
Messrs. Hough, Hide and Fitch were appointed to view a convenient 
place for a burying-ground at the Pondes, and Crane and Ginnings 
for the other settlement. As the number of new buildings in progress 
made a lively demand for boards, Jonathan Ginnings and the Ripleys 
had liberty to set up a saw-mill and the privilege of a dam at No-man's- 
acre Brook. Captain James Fitch, John Fitch and Joshua Ripley 
were chosen to meet with Hartford gentlemen to settle the lines at 
Willimantia It was agreed at this meeting that the WiUimantic 


River should be the boancU between the grants of Norwich and 
Hartford gentlemen — ^land east of that river acoruing to Windham. 

In September, the town voted " To belong to Hartford County," 
though its connection with Norwich would seem to have led i( to New 
London. In December, the following town orders were adopted : — 

** I. That all our fences shall bo a safflcleut plne-rall fence, or what is 
equivalent thereto, against cattle and swine — unruly cattle, unruly swine and 
swine under half a year old onlj excepted. 

II. It has been found by experience, to the damage of some persons, that 
by forlners bringing of swine to this town, and the swine going away have led 
away our swine — for the prevention of which. If any person shall give liberty 
to any forlner to bring swine here, he shall pay a. tine of twenty shillings — 
half to Informer and half to town — and whatsoever swine found In town not 
belonging to town shall be poundable If it appears they are brought In. 

III. For the preservation of our timber, no man shall transport a load or 
part of a load of cedar out of town, under penalty of fifteen shillings, for the 
town*s use. 

IV. That the constable for the year ensuing shall warn the town-meeting 
by virtue of a warrant given under the townsmen's hands, and all those that 
neglect attending being so warned, shall forfeit to the town's use one shilling- 
six-pence, country pay, and the constable to have one half of the said fines, 
to be gathered by distress or estate-seizure In law by said constable, except 
said delinquents, within a month, bring a certificate under townsmen's hands 
to constable ; a sufllulont warning for the town-mooting bolng a writing sot 
on the sign-post, signed by the selcctmon, five days before the meeting, and 
the contents of the meeting mentioned therein, and the like to be set up at 
the mill. 

These orders voted at town-meeting, December 22, 1698." 

A committee had been previously appointed to discourse with Mr. 
Whiting, offer him an allotment through the several divisions, with fifty 
pounds salaiy and to build for him a house, habitable, two stories high 
and eighteen feet square, — *^ said house in capaoity like Joseph Diug- 
ley*s — provided he would stay four years." Mi*. Whiting accepting 
these terms, the town voted, February 14, 1694, ''That the meetings 
on Sabbath days shall be three days heare (at the Hither-plaoe) and 
two days at north end during the time that Mr. Whiting is engaged, 
provided he be willing to undergo the travel." At the same meeting, 
Joshua Ripley and Jonathan Crane were empowered by the town to 
run the town lines with Major Fitch, Thomas Leffingwell and John 
Butcher, employed by proprietors — '' we being at half the charge." 

In the si)ring, a highway was ordered through Peter Crane's di- 
vision, extending from the Ponde-place to the Wiilimantic River, near 
the Falls. The meadows in this vicinity furnished the Windham 
settlers with a great part of their hay, and to facilitate its convey- 
ance this highway was ordered "four rods wide from the hill to 
the nver, seven rods wide down to the meadow, and four rods 
wide between meadow and fence." Twelve acres below the Falls 
abutting west and north on the liver, were allowed to Mr. Crane as 
sufficient satisfaction for this highway. The home-lots laid out at 
Wiilimantic were not as yet taken up by the proprietors, and in April, 


1694, they received pertniraion from the town to exchange them for 
allotments " at or about the Crotch of the river " — that remarkable 
curve in the Nachange near its junction with the Willimantic, also 
known as the Horse-shoe. Seven lot« were now laid out in this 
vicinity. Joshua Ripley, Samuel Hide, Joseph Huntington, Peter 
Crane and Thomas Bingham were chosen to choose two lots at the 
Crotch of the River, one for the minister and one for the. ministry. 
The remaining home-lots were sold to settlers, who soon took 
possession. " Goodman William More,'* of Norwich, purchased a lot 
laid out to William Backus ; Benjamin Millard, of Bear Hill, Norwich, 
bought his land of Thomas Leffingwell — a thousand-acre allotment, at 
the Horse-shoe, a part of which is still held by his descendants. 
Benjamin Howard and Joseph Cary, of Norwich, and John Bronghton, 
of Northampton, soon settled in this vicinity. Thid new settlement 
was also called " The Centre,*' from its position between the older ones, 
and seemed destined for a time to become the most important The 
seventh lot was chosen for the minister and the sixth for the 
ministry, and great efforts were made to have the meeting-house 
built upon it 

July 20, 1694, the town agreed to give Mr. Whiting <' seventh lot 
and divisions, break up six acres and fence in ten ; to give him a 
hundred pounds provision pay, towards building a house, and plant him 
one hundred apple trees — when Mr. Whiting is ordained, the whole 
to be his, or if he die before having a family, the accommodations go 
to his heuu'* November 24, '* voted and agreed, to add to Mr. 
Whiting's salary after what is already engaged at a meeting in July 
last, that is to say, after March come twelve months next ensuing the 
date hereof — that we will, God enabling us, give as foUoweth : £60 per 
year for three years ;" then £70 for three years ; then £80 for three 
years.'* In the following February, these terms were re-stated and 
confirmed, and Mr. Whiting desired and urged '^ to continue with us," 
at which time ho engaged " to stay two years, God enabling him, to 
carry on the work of the ministry." 

In answer to her petition, Windham was, in May, 1694, annexed to 
Hartford County. The lar^ number of non-resident proprietors 
making it difficult to collect the rates needful for building Mr. Whit- 
ing's house and other expenses, two men were appointed to petition 
the Greneral Court for order to levy town charges, which body being 
informed " that sundry of that town who have taken up land there, and 
yet are not settled there, do neglect paying their said rates, and the 
inhabitants cannot come at their personal estate to levy the same," — 



therefore judged, that in all such oases the Wiudham authorities 
might ^'siez their lands for their rates, and hiing the same to a 

£ai*ly in 1695, attempt was made to decide upon a locality for a 
meeting-house. Ginuings, Huntington, Boyoe and Wade were directed 
to measure and find a centre, beginning at the northern and southern 
extremities of the town, ^* measure whera the path goes and so to find 
the senter for meeting-house." As preliminary to this, a bridge was 
ordered. A committee was appointed in February, " To choose a place 
on the Nachaug River for a sufficient bridge suitable for man and beast 
to pass with a load, the selectmen to agree with men to make it, lay a 
rate for the same and find help to raise the bridge." Thb bridge was 
built by Robert Fenton— a new and enterprising inhabitant of Ponde- 
town, — ^for the sura of fourteen pounds. In May, a military company 
was formed in Windham, with John Fitch for lieutenant, Jonatlnin 
Ci*ane, ensign, and Samuel Hide, sergeant ; and training 4ay8 were 
thenceforward observed with appropriate hilarity. During this 
summer, a committee was chosen '^ To lay out all ' highways that are 
needful on or about the hill that lies west of the Pond, east from the 
Crotch, and then those propnetors that desire their pasture lots 
removed to the east side of the hill shall have libeity to do so, 
and the owners of the Pond allowed the libeity and piivilege for 
ditching and di*aining in the most convenient place." It was also 
agreed *^ to choose a moderator at beginning of town meetings ; he 
to open with pmyer," and on the fourth of November every man 
was ordered <'To pay Mr. Whiting one bushel of corne before 
December 1." 

In 1606, the energies of the town were almost wholly restricted to 
building a house for the minister, whose approaching maiTiage made ex- 
pedition needful. The selectmen were empowered to agree with masons 
to build the chimneys ; the remainder of the work was accomplished 
by the towns-people, detailed into squads, each directed by a leading 
citizen. Ensign Crane led to the duirge Joshua Ripley, Thomas 
Bingham, John Rudd, John Larrabee, John Cates, the two Hunting- 
tons, Lieutenant Conant, Joshua Waldo and William Moulton. They 
were succeeded by Jonathan Ginnings, with Jeremiah Ripley, Lieu- 
tenant Fitch, John Backus, William More, Benjamin Howard, Joseph 

Dingley, Benjamin Millard, Edgarton, Joseph Bradford and John 

Broughton. Peter Cross came next, with Sei'geant Hide, John Allen, 
Samuel Linkon, John Royce, Samuel and James Birchard. The fouith 
squad, under William Hall, included Joseph Hall, Nathaniel Barrett, 


Benjamin Armstrong, Robert Smith and William Backus. With such 
a bmly of workmen, it may be hoped the liouse was in readiness to 
receive Mr. Whiting and his bride — Elizabeth, daughter of Rev. 
William Adams, of Dodham, to whom he was married, September 
14, — ^though a rate of £16 was levied in the following January, "to 
pay a workman to finish the minister's house.** 

The population of Windham was constantly increasing. William 
and Joseph Hall, Jo.Ahua and John Allen, Nathaniel Rassett, Benjamin 
Armstrong, Samuel Gifford and Robert Smith were now settled at the 
Ponde — ^the Halls removing there from Plymouth, Bassett from Yar- 
mouth, the others probably from Norwich. Joseph Dingley now 
occupied the allotment purchased by Captain Standish. William 
Backus exchanged his house and accommodations at the Hither-place 
for Ensign Crane's grist-mill. Crane sold the house and lot to Exercise 
Conant, in 1695, who, for £70 in silver, July 8, 1696, conveyed it to 
John Abbe, of \fyenham. Samuel Abbe, probably brother to John, 
purchased half an allotment and half a house at the Centre, of Benja- 
min Howard, in 1697. John Waldo, of Boston, a reported descendant 
of Peter Waldo, of Lyons, purchased an allotment laid out to Rev. 
James Fitch, and was admitted an inhabitant of Windham in 1698. 
William Hide, William Moulton, Philip Paine, John Ashby, Josiah 
Kingsley, Samuel Storra, Sen. and Jun., Robert and Joseph Hebard, 
Isaac Magoon, John Howard and Thomas Denham, were also admitted 
inhabitants in or before 1698 ; Shubael Dimmock, in 1699 ; Abraham 
Mitchell, in 1700. 

With many gains, they had some losses — James Birchard sold his 
right in Windham to Philip Paine, in 1696, and removed to the West 
Farms of Norwich ; Samuel Abbe died a few months after 1iis arrival 
in Windham, his son, Samuel, succeeding to his estate at the Centre, 
his widow marrying Abraham Mitchell. John Cates, the first Wind- 
ham settler, died in the summer of 1697. Though less active in town 
affiurs than youngei: and more vigorous citizens, Mr. Cates wa<3 greatly 
esteemed for prudence and sound judgment, and proved his intei*est in 
his adopted township by leaving legacies for its beneBt. A service of 
plate was left for the communion service of the church, two hundred 
acres of land in trust for the poor, and two hundred acres to be applied 
to schools. His faithful Joe, together with a bed, a chest and wearing 
apparel were given to Mr. Whiting. His housekeeper, Mary — sister of 
Benjamin Howard — was his executrix. His land— one Windham 
allotment — was valued at £40 ; his servant at £80. It is said that 
poor Joe manifested his grief at his master^s death by the most frantic 
outbursts, and did not long survive him. A tomb-stone — probably the 



first in Windham buiying-groand — thus oommemoi*ate8 its first settler 
and benefactor : — 


Memory of 

Mr. John Gates. 

He was a gentleman, bom 

in Englaud, 

And the first settler In the 

Town of Wludham. 

By his last 

Will and Testoment 

He gave a 

Generous legacy 

To y« first 

Charch of Christ in 


In plate, and a generoos 

Legacy in land 

For y support of y« poor; 

And another 

Legacy for y« support 

Of y school 

In said town for ever. 

He died 

In Windham, 

July y« 16th, A. D. 




WHILE Woodstock was highly favored at the outset, Windham 
enjoyed even superior advantages. Its land was cheap and 
accessible; its Indians few and irieudly ; its wolves scai'ce and easily 
subdued; its situation pleasant and healthful; its valleys free from 
enoumberring forests and easily brought under cultivation ; its most 
pressing public wants supplied by the forethought and generosity of 
the first proprietors. Its inland position secured it from alarm and 
invasion, and the long Indian war, so pernicious to Woodstock, had no 
effect upon the growth and prosperity of the younger settlement, and 
left no trace upon its records. Its vicinity to Norwich gave it many 
valuable privileges, and greatly promoted its settlement and progress. 
At Noi'wich, the settlers found both market and supplies, and what 
was lacking there could be found at New Lpndqn, where Mr. Pygan, 
the merchant, had accounts with inhabitants both of '^ Norwich and 


These unnsnal advantages attracted to Windham a very superior 
class of citizens — men of character, position and public spirit^ desirous 
to found a permanent home for their descendants. Many of its early 
settlers were men of means and intelligence. Joshua Ripley and John 
Fitch were widely known and respected as men of sterling sense and 
sound judgment, and were oflen called to public sei*y ices in different 
parts of the Colony. Mr. liipley was one of the first Justices of the 
Peace in Connecticut, appointed in May, 1698, when that office was 
instituted, lie was also the first representative sent by Windham to 
the General Assembly, appearing in that body in May, 1699. 

Thomas Bingham, Jonathan Crane, Joseph Cary, John and Samuel 
Abbe, Thomas Huntington and his brother, were among Windham's 
active and influential citizens. Mr. Whiting was a man of much piety, 
wisdom, culture and public spirit, greatly beloved and reverenced by 
all his |)coplo. Nor wore the wives of these lending Windham cilixens 
lit all inferior to their husbands. So far as can bo ascertaine<l, they 
wore women of marked character and energy. Hannah Bradford, the 
wife of Joshua Ripley — a descendant of Plymoutirs famous governor — 
was a noble and useful woman, remarkable not only for intelligence 
and accomplishments but for skill in the art of healing. She was the 
first, and long the only, physician in the settlement, and it is said that 
the first male physician. Dr. Richard Huntington, received much of his 
medical knowledge from her. Mrs. Whiting, sister of the Rev. 
Eliphalet Adams, of New London, was as noted for piety and good- 
ness as her excellent husband. Though " woman's rights " had not 
then been discussed, these Windham women assumed the privilege of 
doing any work for which they were fitted. Mary Howard could not only 
keep house for John Cates but settle his estate, and Lucy Reynolds, 
wife of Benjamin Millard, could kDl a bear, lift a barrel of meat, 
or — if tauntingly challenged — throw the strongest man in Windham. 

Tet, with all Windham's advantages, like Woodstock, she " was not 
in all respects in capacity," and in some important points was greatly 
deficient Traveling facilities had as yet received little attention. 
In her first decade, she had apparently built but one bridge ; laid out 
but one highway. Her only other stated roads were those marked out 
by her first surveyors. The road from the Crotch or Centre to Wind- 
bam Green, it is said, was never regularly laid out, but gradually de- 
veloped out of a footpath. Tlie population was mainly concentrated 
in the three villages and their vicinity. Rude bridle-paths and 
foot-trails led thence to the mills, meadows, cedar-swamp and out- 
lying parts of the town. 

Education was as yet entirely neglected by, the town authorities. 
Children were taught at home and, poisibly, in private schools, but 



Windham liad made no provision for publio instraotiou, following in 
this the bad example of the mother township — ^Norwich, in 1703, being 
presented before the grand jury of the county '^ for want of a school 
to instruct children.** 

Church organization and meeting-house were also still lacking. This 
surprising deficiency arose, however, not from neglect or indifference, 
but from excessive carefulness and anxiety to act for the best interests 
of the town. The location of the meeting house was first to be settled. 
Two settlements, *^four miles apart and with a bad river between,'* 
were to be accommodated. The public sentiment of the day favored 
centralization. One church organization and one place of worship were 
deemed sufllcient for every township. The firat step of the town was 
to measure for its "senter." The pi*ecise result of this measurement 
is not on record, but the spot deemed '* most acoomraodable *' for the 
entire population was at the Crotch or Horse-shoe, where a settlement 
was just commencing. Its prospective selection for the meeting-house 
drew settlera to this point, and gave it much importance. Here the 
minister's house was built in 1696, and here, the winter following, 
divine service was held statedly at the house of Goodman More. Pre- 
vious to this, the services had alternated between the two older settle- 
ments, the inhubitants meeting on Sabbath days soniutimos '^ two days 
in the south of the town and one at the Ponde," or " half the time at 
the north and half at the south end," — but now the town voted, *^ To 
com))ly with Mr. Whiting for the meeting on Sabbalh in one place as 
he desired," and the place selected was at the Crotch or Centre — now 
known as " Brick-top." 

The residents of the southeast quaiter were not, however, satisfied 
with this arrangement, and the prospect of the church settlement in 
that locality. Their own village was far most populous and prosperous. 
With ample room and means to build a house for their own accommo- 
dation, they demurred from binding themselves to build and maintain 
one at an inconvenient distance. Apart from selfish considerations, the 
leading citizens of Windham Green could not but foresee that a sepa- 
ration ere many years would be inevitable, and deemed it this wisest 
course to provide for future development. The first intimation of their 
views upon the question is shown in the following resolution, adopted 
at town meeting, Jaimary 14, 1697 : — 

" Whereas, the town of Windham, by Its settlement and laying out of the 
allbtiuuntii is in two places, about four miles distant orie fl'om another, and 
a bad river between these two placcn, it in therefore unich to be desired that it 
might be that each place may be a dlntluct place and society, If on further 
experience of our capacity and ability and the good providence of Qod 
succeeding therein ; we, both parts of y« town, suppose It to be our duty, at 
least, now to make some provision in order thereunto. It is, therefore, by 
these preseuts voted and agreed by both parts as follows : — 

I. We, at the southeast quarter, do by these preseuts give our fUll and free 


consent that our neighbors at y Ponde-place, when they find themselves In 
capacity to call and settle a minister among themselves In an oixlcrly way, 
with y« approbation of y« Qeneral Court — that then we, in the southeast 
quarter, do free them Prom all dues and rates to our minister. 

II. We consent that our Ponde-place neighbors shall have the benefit of 
y remaining part of y* rate for y* minister's house, unpaid, to be improved 
among themselves. 

III. In suitable time will Join with our neighbors. In a loviug way, to 
state and agree with respect to the dividend. 

IV. The Ponde-place people shall pay for the minister till they have one of 
their own. 

V. The present pinco of mooting shall bo at flooilmau Morc*s till tho 
southeast quarter build a mectlng-houso of their own, or till wo arc In an 
orderly way two distinct societies— the place to set tho meeting-house to 
be stated by the southeast quarter. 

VI. Before division lines are run, there shall be a laying out of those 
divisions of land and meadow yet unlaid belonging to allotments at y Crotch 
and tho line bo run In April or May. 

January 14, 1697, these proposals voted In Windham.'*. 

la accordance with this agreement, the southeast inhabitants pro- 
ceeded to make arrangements for the erection of their meeting-house, 
and in February voted that the place to set in should be '' the next 
convenient place to y* north of John Backus, his house.** In Apiil, 
Jeremiah Ripley and Thomas Huntington were appointed, *' to run the 
dividend line between us and neighbors ai north end," on condition 
" that if any person do enfringe onr right or claim and take away any 
of oar land, that our neighbors north shall be engaged under hand and 
seal to join with us to' make purchase of the land that is taken 
away from us, that wo may have our projiortion of land with onr 

Still the work did not go on, the north-end settlors were much averse 
to a separation from their stronger neighbor, nor was it, probably, 
favored by non-resident proprietors or. the General Court. Afler 
renewed discussion and deliberation, December 17, 1697, Shubael Dira- 
mick — a new resident of Ponde-town, — William Hall, Joshua Ripley, 
Lieutenant Fitch and Sergeant Sam. Hide, were chosen *' a committee 
to add to selectmen to settle the dividend line, and to put things into a 
capacity for the unighting of each end of y* town together in the 
most loving way and suitable manner that they can — and further, if 
these men above named cannot agree, — then the town have made 
choice of the worshipful Mr. William Pitkin and Deacon Olmstead, 
and John Tracy, of Norwich, to issue the business and controversy in 
the town in respect to dividing or not dividing the town, and give them 
full power to decide the matter in co;itroversy, and in case they do not 
decide to divide, they are to state the meeting-house plot, and the 
town agrees to stand to their judgment for a final issue of the mattere 
in controversy, and promises to pay the men for their travel and 
for their entertainment to the land-lord.'* 



This oomniittee, after maoh disooarse, ^^ oould not but judge it h 


thing improper and as yet not attainable for us to divide the town/' 
and, therefore, after having debated and disooursed things to the best 
of their ability, judged, "That the meetinghouse must stand in the 
Center, between y" two ends of the town as formerly agreed uppn, and 
the money that has been paid by the people of the south end towards 
finishing the ministers house be returned back — half in money ; half 
to go towards building meeting-house." To this decision, the south- 
end ])aity reluctantly submitted. Ten from the north end and eight 
from the south voted to accept it ; three bold south-enders had the 
hardihood to vote its rejection ; a large number declined to express 
their opinion. The Ponde-town people had won the day, and the 
controversy was settled. 

In January, 1698, a rate of £40 was allowed for the meeting-house. 
Joseph Hall, John Waldo and John Backus were appointed a committee 
to gather the rate and agree with workmen " to build a meeting-house 
thiity-fivo feet long, twenty-four feet wide, and twelve foot between 
joistH, with a gublo on each side the roof up to top of the house." 
Utill the work was not begun nor Mr. Whiting called to ordination as 
advised by the committee, but was still " desired to stay with us," and 
had eighty cords of wood allowed him. A new pound was ordered at 
the southeast quarter, at the southeast corner of Richard Hendee's 
house-lot. The town officers chosen this year, were: Joshua 
Ripley, town-clerk ; Joseph Dingley and Joseph Hall, collectors 
for minister; Thomas HunUngton and Jonathan Ginnings, fence- 
viewers for south end of town; William More, surveyor of high- 
ways for south end ; Samuel Lincoln, surveyor for noith end ; 
William Backus, pound-keeper and hayward for the gi*eat field 
at the south end ; Benjamin Millard, hayward for fields at Crotch 
of River; Lieutenant Fitch and Samuel Birchard, to lay out land. 
It was voted, "That Lieutenant Fitch shall go no more alone to 
lay out land. " In I'esponse to a petition preferred to the General 
Couit by Joshua Ripley, to alter the way of raising rates, the town 
was allowed — October 1 698 — to value all their allotments at £35 each, 
and levy rates for minister and other town charges both on land and 
personal estate. 

No farther action was taken this year with reference to the meeting 
house, but the south end. party were more and more dissatisfied with 
the decision, and reluctant to build upon the spot adjudged by the 
committee. Early in 1699, the question was re-opened by a proposi- 
tion in town-meeting, February 6, *^ To hixve a committee come and 
judge whither it is best for us to divide or not, and make report to 
y* General Court in May — which, if it be not to divide the town, — 


then to state the place where y* meeting-house shall stand for y* whole 
town, and having obtained y* Court's sanction to 7* judgment in the 
case, this shall put a final issue to the oontroversy." This proposal 
called out a most earnest and determined opposition. Nineteen men 
from the north part of the town, led by William Hall, protested most 
solemnly by word and vote agalAst this attempt " to bring us from or 
make void that agreement made December 20, 1697,** — but all tlieir 
efforts, were fruitless. Three of their number aderward "protested 
against their protestation ; " the vote was carried by a fair majority, and 
the Ponde-town people forced to submit to " manifest destiny," and the 
will of the strongest The committee, if {ippointed, reported in favor 
of division, and .both parties were agreed upon the following articles 
"respecting their equal privileges of the whole township : " 

** Windham, March 16, 1600. The reraotoness of the settlement being such 
that if the said prlvllcfces be not equally dlrldod will, becomo a burthen and 
snare to the inhabitants, therefbro, after so long debate and trouble of each 
end, wo agree to divide the privileges. 

I. We agree, with the consent of our reverend minister, to divide the 
Lord's days, that ts, from this date to the 26th of December, to have the 
meeting half the time at the north and half at the south end for seven years, 
then each place to endeavor to keep a minister by themselves, — but if the 
north end can sret a minister sooner, we engage to repay them the money they 
paid towards Uie minister's house. 

II. It is agreed that each end shall build a meeting-house upon their own 
cost and charges, big enough to accommodate the whole congregation, and to 
set them where the inhabitants of each place shall see most convenient for 
the present and future advantage of each place. Further, the neighborhood 
of each place do covenant and agree that they will find as convenient a house 
as possibly they can for the whole society to meet in as It ftdls to be their 
turns until the meeting-houses be up and fit for such worlc. 

III. It is fnily and firmly agreed upon, that there shall not be'one privilege 
or advantage that respects the whole town but shall be divided between the 
two ends aforesaid. (1.) To instance, that all military aflklrs, as training 
days and town-picetlngs, shall be at either end of the town according as the 
religious exercises are divided." 

Thib important question being thus harmoniously seltled, Windham 
was enabled, at length, to initiate measures for chiu*ch organiza- 
tion, and, in May, presented the subjoined petition to the General 
Assembly : — 

'* May it please your honors to consider that, whereas, we, the Inhabitants 
of the town of Windham, having been long in an unsettled way and destitute 
of the ordinances of Christ, but God having been pleased so far now to favor 
his people here as to give us hopes of a good settlement in these affairs of 
greatest concernment, and al:io God having so dl:»po8ed of the hearts of his 
people in that they are desiring and longing after the enjoyment of God in all 
his holy ordinances ; we, therefore, whose names are under-written^ In behalf 
of suld town of Windham, do humbly request that this honored Court would 
be pleased so far to fttvor us and the interests of Christ among us as to grant 
us liberty to embody into church estate and to ordain the Rev. Samuel Whlt- 
Inff, with the advice and help of the neighboring churches, that so we may 
enjoy God In all his holy ordinances that are according to his own Institutions, 
which Is the greatest happiness belonging to a people on this side Heaven. 
We, therefore, request that your Honors would look friendly upon us and 



help U8 with your consent, coonsel and prayers, that we (may abide) under 
the shadow of your wings. In so doing, yon shall flrroly oblige os to be 
wishing and seeking your welfare and prosperity according to the littleness 
of the ability of your honors* humble servants, 

Joshua Riplbt. 

Thomas Binqham. 
1699. Thomas Huktikgtom.** 

The Governor, Oounoil and Representatives at once declared their 
approval of the desire of the people of Windham, and their readiness 
'* to give them all good countenance and encouragement in that work, 
provided they proceed therein with the advice of the neighbor 
churches." The agreement between the inhabitants of the north and 
south ends of the town was ^also ratified and confirmed by them, and 
all were enjoined '' to oonforme thereunto, and to promote the fulfilling 
thereof in all its parts, both with their persons and esti^tes." 

Notwithstanding this gracious permission and encouragement, and 
the amicable settlement of the great controversy, more than a year 
passed before church organization was effected. Sabbath services 
alternated between the north and south villages. The sacrament was 
administered occasionally by the Norwich minister, but, on October 
22, 1699, the Rev. James Noyea, of Stonington, officiated, baptizing — 

'* David, y son of Jonathan Glunings, 
John, y son of John Backus, 
Sarah, y daughter of John Abby, 
Abigail, y daughter of Joseph Hebbard." 

January 80, 1700, the front part of William Backus's home-lot, at 
the southeast quarter, was purchased by Mr. Whiting and Ensign 
Crane, and made over by them to the town for a " meeting house plat 
or common." This was the neudeus of Windham Green, on which 
the first Windham meeting-house was soon atler erected, but as this 
work was managed by a committee few details are preserved. The 
church was organized in what was known as the Dingley House, a 
mile north of the Green. Mr. Whiting was ordained December 4, 
1700, nearly eight yeai*8 after his assumption of pastoral duties. No 
record of the services has been found. The church was formed six 
days afterward — ^December 10. Its original members wei*e: — 

Samuel Whiting. Joseph Huntington. Robert Hebbard. 

Thomas Bingham. Jeremiah Ripley. Mnry Hebbard. 

Joseph Carey. Jonathan Crane. Hannah Abbe. 

Joshua Ripley. Joseph Hebbard. Rebecca Huntington. 

Thomas Huntington. Samuel Abbe. 

John Backus. John Abbe. 

The names of two males and ten females are now illegible. John 
Abbe and Robei*t Hebbard, with their wives, were dismissed from the 
church in Wenham, Massachusetts, *' to join with others in gathering 
and erecting a church at Windham." The othera had probably been 


connected with the chnroh at Norwich. The form of the original 
covenant has not been preserved. Thomas Bingham, Joseph Carey 
and Nathaniel Wales were chosen as deacons of the church. The 
thousand-acre right reserved by the Legatees for the minister was soon 
afterwards made over to Mr. Whiting, " for his faithful labors eight 
years in the work of the ministry." 




rriHE territory of Windham, broad and ample at first, had now 
-L received some valuable additions. The tract of land " between 
Windham and Norwich bounds, called the Mamosqueage lands "— - 
reserved by Joshua for the benefit of his children, — was contested by 
Owaneco, and only afler a long and troublesome controversy secured 
by Joshua's son, Abimileck, who sold it to John Clark and Thomas 
Buckingham. This tract, embracing about ten thousand acres, lying 
west of Nipmuok Path, was purchased, in 1698, by Crane and Hunt* 
ington, in behalf of the proprietors of Windham, and made over, in 
1700, to the Rev. Samuel Whiting and Jonathan Crane, who assumed 
the whole charge of it, laying it out in shares and selling it to settlers. 
Their right was challenged by Lieutenant Daniel Mason, who had 
receivec^ a deed of the land from Owaneco, and, in spite of the 
decision adjudging it to Abimileck — " at the public day of training in 
Windham, May 18, 1701, when many people were present,*' Mason 
openly proclaimed his right to the lands at Mamosqueage, and warned 
all people from cumbering the same. In the following September, the 
(General Court ratified and confirmed their purchase to Messrs. Whit- 
ing and Crane, and granted them a patent, which effectually precluded 
all further demonstrations from Lieutenant Mason. 

The meadows west of the Willimantic River were also annexed to 
Windham. This broad stretch of interval land was not included either 
in the grant to Windham or Lebanon — but lay for some yeara vacant 
and unappropriated. Both Windham and Lebanon residents purchased 
laud in this section, and, as settlera took possession, the question arose 
as to which town they belonged, and, upon application to the General 
Court, a committee was sent, who reported that it would be for the 
advantage of the inhabitants to belong to Windham. It is said that 


both towns were satisfied with the decision, Lebanon congratulated 
itself upon release from burdensome bridge-making and mending; 
Windham rejoiced in the prospect of abundance of shad and salmon. 
A great part of her hay was also procured from these extensive mea- 
dows. The boundary line between the towns was satisfactorily and 
permanently settled by a committee from each town, September 23, 
1701, — ''fully empowered to agi'ee and get the Qeneiiil Couit's sanction 
to thb, our agreement" 

In March, 1700, a division of hundred-acre lots was ordered, ''each 
man to choose according to the figure he draws, and have liberty to 
take up as many acres in. number as the figure, provided always that 
none of this land shall be taken up within a mile of y* meeting-house, 
or on the east side of Menick's Brook, or northwest of Nachaug 
River." Every man had liberty to take land adjoining his own land or 
meadow — *' Goodman Hebard to have the fii*st choice of the hundred 
acres on condition he quits the claim he made of land between the 
lines and now takes np satisfied for that claim." Those who wilfully 
neglected to make their choice were to lose the same aflor May Ist. 
It was also agreed that '* all lands not put into the rate-list should be 
valued at six shillings, eight-pence an acre." 

This addition and division of land facilitated settlement in the* out- 
lying paits of the town. The settlement of the southeast section, 
known as Scotland, began about 1700 — ^its first settler, Isaac Magoon, 
giving it the name of his native country. Mr. Magoon was admitted 
an iuhabittuit of Windham iu 1098, and chose to establish himself east 
of Merrick's Brook, iu a remote and uiiiuhabiied part of Ihe towu. 
An early Norwich laud-owner is believed to have given his name 
to this brook. In 1700, Mr. Magoon purchased of Mr. Whiting 
several hundred acres iu the southern extremity of Clark and Bucking- 
ham's tract The first inide hut built by him in this locality is said to 
have been destroyed by fire, and a second built for him by the aid of 
his Windham neighbors. Sixty acres, on both sides Mervick's Brook, 
through which passed ** the road to the Quiuebaug Plantation " — after- 
wards Plainfield — was also bought by him of Joshua Ripley, and was 
probably made his homestead. This road to the Quinebaug Plantations 
also led on to Providence and became the great thoroughfare of travel 
between that township, Windham, Norwich and Hartford. The facili- 
ties this afforded, good land and a pleasant location, soon attracted 
other settlers to Merrick's Brook. In 1701, Magoon sold farms to 
Samuel Palmer, John Ormsbee, and Daniel and Nathaniel Fuller, all of 
Rehoboth. In 1702, Josiah Kingsley, John Waldo, Nathaniel Rudd, 
Josiah Palmer and Ralph Wheelock purchased land of Crane and 
Whiting, and removed to this new settlement Waldo's land, in the 


south of this tract, is still held by his descendants. Many Mohegans 
frequented this part of the town, dinging to it by virtue of Owaneco*8 
claim to it as Maraosqueage. A hut, on the high hills near Waldo's, 
was long the residence of the Mooch family — kindred of Uncas and 
the royal line of the Mohegans. 

The increase of population stimulated public improvements. Ben- 
jamin Millard was allowed, in 1700, ''to set up the trade and employ- 
ment of tanning.'* Lieutenant Crane received permission from the 
Court, at Hartford, '' to keep a public victualing-house, for the enter- 
tainment of strangei's and travelers and the retailing of strong drink," 
and Sergeant Hide, at the Ponde, had liberty to keep an ordinary and 
'' retale his mathngiline so far as jr* towne have power.'* To ensure 
the legal regulation of this and other matters, it was voted, '' That the 
constables should have law books," and the colony laws were inserted 
among the town records. Liberty to build a sawmill on Qoodman 
Hebanrs brook, and the ]>riviIoge of the stream for damming or 
" ponding " was granted to several petitioners— or, " if that would not 
answer, take any other stream." Arrangements for grinding com not 
proving satisfactory. Deacon Cary, Ripley and Crane were chosen to 
agree with the present miller, and decided, '' that he should grind for 
the inhabitants every Monday and Tuesday, they finding him work," 
and if they brought more than he could grind in the specified time he 
to keep on grinding till all was finished. In December, 1702, the 
town, for the first time, made provision for a school, directing the 
selectmen to agree with school-master or mistress — ** scoUars to pay 
what the rate falls short." 

The meeting-house slowly attained completion. October 20, '' 1702, 
in order to do some further work about the meeting-house, '' Messrs. 
Fitch, Crane, Ripley, Josiah Palmer apd John Backus were appointed 
a committee to " give directions for y* doing of y* work as to y* form 
and manner thereof" It was agreed '* to dabboard in the inside meet- 
ing-house from sill to giiths, round," the committee to agree with 
workmen '' to work about clabboarding, and in making a pulpit, and 
about the seats, so far as the money will go." A rate of £12 was 
ordered, but did not go "so far as" the seats; £10, in provision 
pay, were also levied in December, and that proving insufficient, 
in January the town was obliged to sell a hundred acres of land' " to 
make and finish seats in meeting-house," while Mr. Whiting had the 
"liberty of making a pew for Mrs. Whiting and his family in as con- 
venient a place and for bigness as the comitty shall judge meet" 
These arrangements being completed, in April, 1703 — more than 
fourteen years afler the founding of Windham settlement, — its first 
meeting-house was opened for regular occupation. Deacons Bingham 


and Gary, Lieutenants Fitch and Crane, Joshaa Ripley, Abraham 
Mitohell and Joaiah Palmer were appointed — April 19 — to regulate the 
impoitant affair of its seating. '* Rules to be observed were : (1.) age ; 
(2.) usefulness ; (8.) estate — hj which is understood present list and 
distribution of work about meeting-house ; (4.) first planters. Deacon 
Bingham was placed in the right hand seat below the pulpit, and his 
wife in the pue answerable thereto ; Deacon Cary in the left-hand 
seat, and his wife in the pue adjoining ; Joshua Ripley and Lieutenants 
Fitch and Crane in the fore-most pue ; Abraham Mitchell at the head 
of the first, and Josiah Palmer of the second, seat, with their wives 
against them — and the remainder of the congregation in due order.'* 
Goodwife Jennings was allowed £26, in provision pay, for sweeping 
the meeting-house the first year. The green around it was now 
enlarged and appropriated — ^the town having voted, December 28, 
1702, ** That the land east from Goodman Broughton's, flouth from 
Thomas Huntington's, noith of the road by Goodman Broughton's, 
extending to three or four acres of land onto Stony Plaine, should lay 
common to perpetuity." 

The completion of the meeting-house was soon followed by a divi- 
sion of the township. A division into noith and south-end societies 
had been previously effected. The surveyor of Hartford County was 
employed to run the bounds assigned by Uncas ; cast up the quantity 
of land, and so to divide according to agreement — *' Jeremiah Ripley 
to go along with the artist to divide the land." A line mnning a little 
east of north from a ceitain pine tree on the south to the noith bound 
of the town, divided Joshua's Tract into equal east and west divisions, 
each half containing twenty-four of the original forty-eight allotments, 
the dividing-line altering no man's propriety of land. Cedar swamps 
were left free *' to all propnetors to get cedar as they see cause, so 
as not to carry it out of the town to other towns." This equitable 
division was allowed by the inhabitants of both ends of the town, and 
ratified and confirmed by the General Court, October, 1701. In the 
following December, Deacon Cary, Joshua Ripley, and liieutenant 
Fitch were chosen by the south-end people " to agree with inhabitants 
of north end with respect to our orderly parting as two societies, and 
to give or take dbcharge as the case doth i^equire with respect to our 
meeting on the Sabbath and other days." Whatever agreement was 
made was neither satisfactory nor permanent. The territory of Wind- 
ham, with its recent addition on the south and southwest, was too large 
and unwieldy, and its inhabitants too scattered to be easily managed 
by one local government, and the noithern inhabitants became them- 
selves satisfied that their interests would be promoted by an entire 
separation. In May, 1702, Mr. Joshua Hfdl represented to the General 


Conrt, 'Hhe great difficalties, inconvenienoes and hazards that the 
inhabitants of the north pait of Windham were exposed to by reason 
of their being settled so remote from the south pait of said town, and 
the deep and dangerous river lying between,'* and requested ** that they 
may be two townships." This request was granted, on consideration 
** That the north part of the town do pay their arrears of rates to the 
town and minister, as alsOj that they pay their roinbter's rate to the 
present minister at the south end of the town until they have an able, 
orthodox ministrie of the gospel called and settled among themselves ; 
as also, if their bounds already granted wilt allow of two townships.*' 

These terms occasioned further delay and discussion. The Ppnde> 
town people were poorer than their southern neighbors and could with 
difficulty raise the required aiTearages. An amicable compromise was, 
however, effected. The southern settlers were weaiy of the long 
Sabbath-day journeys and much preferred to worship in their own new, 
convenient meeting-house, and gladly consented to forego past rates 
on condition of release from their engagement to attend divine worship 
at the north end. In December, 1702, Shubael Dimmock, Joseph 
Uall and John Arnold — north -end committee— discharged the inhabit- 
ants of the south end from coming to the north end on Sabbath and 
other public days, and were themselves discharged by the south-end 
committee from paying anything further towards the maintenance of 
the minister. 

Another point raised was less easily settled — the precise requirements 

involved in having '* an able and orthodox minister of the gospel called 

and settled." The north-end inhabitants could hardly afford as yet a 

competent settlement and salary, and might only be able to hire some 

young, unlicensed candidate — but would that fulfill the General Court's 

condition t Only the Court itself could answer this important question, 

whereupon Mr. Joshua Ripley appeared before it, October, 1702, and 

gravely desired the interpretation of those words in the grant that 

had so perplexed the people of Windham. The Assembly returned 

answer : — 

*' That by an able and orthodox minister called and settled, they understand 
a person competently well-skilled in arts and languages, well-studied and 
well-principled in divinity, approving himself by his exercises Id preaching 
the gospel to the Judgment of those that are approved pastors and teachers 
of approved churches, to be a person capable of dividing the word of truth 
aright, to convince gainsayers, and that his conversation is sucii that he is a 
pemon called and qualitted according to gospel rule, to be pastor of a church 
and in an orderly way settled in that office and work.*' 

This list of requirements did not dbcourage the north inhabitants 
from their resolution to be a town and have a minister of their own 
and in May, 1708, a final separation was effected, and the west — or 
as then called — north part of Windham was formally erected into 



the township of Mansfield, comprising twenty-four thousand-aore allot- 
ments and forty -one square miles. A part of its original territory is 
now included in the town of Chaplin. A patent was granted by the 
General Couit to Shubael Dimmock, Joseph Hall, Samuel Storrs, 
William Hall, Einelm Wiuslow, Robert Fenton, Nathaniel Bassett, 
John Arnold, John Davis, Benjamin Armstrong, Samuel Storrs, Jun., 
Joseph Homes, Mary Dunham, Susanna Wade, Peter Crane, Samuel 
Fuller, Allyn Nichols, Joshua Allen, John Royce, Samuel Linkon, 
Samuel Bliss, John Gorum, Isaac Chapman and sundry other peraons, 
the proprietors thereof The inhabitatits of Mansfield wei*e still allowed 
to attend divine service in Windham and pay for the maintenance of 
the minbter " for such time only as they shall be without an orthodox 
minister of the gospel to preach the word of God unto them.*' A 
patent was also granted to the inhabitants of the *^ standing-part of the 
town," confirming to them '^ the south or southeast part of the late 
town of Windham" and the laud purchased from Clark and Bucking- 
ham. '* Joshua's Tract " was thus equally divided into two townships, 
though in the division of inhabitants Windham had much the larger 



HAVING reduced its bounds to more convenient dimensions, 
Windham was better enabled to carry out internal improvements. 
In 1704, highway surveyors were appointed for different parts of the 
town — Joseph Dingley, from the north end of the town to the meeting- 
house ; Daniel Sabin for the south end ; and John Kingsley for the 
Scotland farms. Daniel Ross, who had purchased an allotment in the 
latter quarter iu 1703, was further allowed eight aci*es adjoining Kings- 
ley's, paying three shiUiugs an acre in money. The town agreed ^* to 
have but one ordinary — Lieutenant Crane to keep it" - Lieutenant 
Fitch was chosen town-clerk, and retained many years in that ofiice. 

Windham's eastern boundary-line occasioned much trouble and 
controversy. This line, as laid down by Bushnell according to the 
direction of Uncas, followed the Nipmuck Path and ran a little west 
of south. The committee chosen to nm the town lines in 1691 ran 
what they called a true south line from Appaquage for its eastern 
boundary, taking in a gore of Owaneco's land east of Nipmuck 
Path. When the new town of Plainfield was laid out, in 1700, in the 


Qniiicbaug Country east of Windham, the appointed coinmissioDera 
took for its western bound the original east line of Joshua's Tract, laid 
down by Bushnell, and Canterbury, when set off from Plunfield in 
1704, retained this western boundary line. Windham, however, insisted 
that her own true south line was the boundary, and obstinately refused 
to yield the land between the lines to Canterbury. In 1704, Ripley, 
Crane and Ginnings were appointed to run the line from Appaquage to 
the south-east coiner of the town, and to agree with owners of the 
land adjoining eastward with respect to straightening the line, and 
instructed, '* To run a south line from Appaquage, or as near south as 
the Canterbury people will agree to, and not to agree with them 
further west than a straight line from Appaquage to the northeast 
comer of the purchased land." No satisfactory agreement was mada 
Windham retained the bound ran by her own committee ; laid out the 
disputed land and levied rates (m it for many years, though at the cost 
of nuicU confusion and litigation. 

'lite Indian war, which broke out afresh in 1704, enforced more 
attention to military organization and defences. Windham, with other 
frontier towns, was ^* not to be deseited ; " itf inhabitants having lands 
and freeholds were forbidden to remove on pain of forfeiting their 
estates, and any male person of sixteen years old and upward^ who 
should presume to leave the place, would be fined ten pounds. Knap- 
sacks, hatchets and snow-shoes were provided by the selectmen, to be 
ready for emergencies, and ten pounds in silver were expended for a 
stock of ammunition. As Windham now possessed sufficient jpopula* 
tion to form a full train-band, its company was re-organized — John 
Pitch appointed captain ; Jonathan Crane, lieutenant ; and Joseph 
Cary, ensign. A watch was maintained along the frontiers and houses 
fortified according to law, but no alarm or serious inconvenience expe- 
rienced by the inhabitants. 

In 1705, Messrs. Whiting, Joshua Ripley and Crane were appointed 
a committee for the proprietors of town lands, with power " to order 
any meetings, put to vote any matters to be acted and sign the acts." 
A division of four hundred acres of land to each allotment was ordered 
to be laid out, '^ west of a line from the^ northeast corner of the 
purchased land to Appaquage." Lieutenant Crane, Sergeants Hunt- 
ington and Backus and Joshua Ripley were employed to view the land, 
make, division and lay a highway through it The disputed temtory 
oast of the line was also laid out 

The Scotland settlement was steadily increasing. Among the new 
settlers were Josiah Luce, Thomas Laselle, Robeit Hebard and John 
Bumap. Luce and Laselle were of old Huguenot stock. Burnap. 
came from. Reading, Massachusetts, purchasing a tract of land 



of Solomon Abbe, by Merrick's Brook, April 18, 1708. The high 
price paid for this land, £72. 10s., — indicates ai rapid rise in the value 
of landed property in thid vicinity. A sawmill was already in opera- 
tion upon Merrick's Brook, and in 1706 a highway was ordered to be 
laid out for the farmers of Scotland, '' above the mill-dam ; four rods 
wide on the bank of the brook, for the convenience of getting on and 
off a bridge about to be erected," — and thence extending to John 
Ormsbee*s land. The privilege of Wolf Pit Brook was granted to 
Josiah Palmer, in 1706, '* to set up a grist«mi11 — he building the same 
within three yeai*s and ditching or damming these as he thinks needful 
on the commons, not to damnify particulai* men's rights." 

The southwest part of the town adjoining the Willimantic River 
was as yet neglected and unoccupied. The ''broad, full-watered" 
stream only furnished shad and salmon ; its useful meadows, coai*se 
native grass and hay. In February, 1706, the Windham proprietors 
granted to Joseph Cary, John Backus, Jos. Dingley and John Waldo 
*< the privilege of the stream at Willimantic Falls to build a mill or 
mills at one particular place, as they shall choose, north side of the 
river, so long as they or Ijieir heirs shall keep and maintain a good and 
sufficient mill — not obstructing said proprietors from granting the like 
privileges to others at other places on the river $ also, liberty of ditch- 
ing and damming ; also, the improvement of forty acres of land near 
Willimantic Falls — ^timber fi*ee, so long as y* land is left unfenced ; 
land to be laid out by selectmen — not to obstruct highways nor 
damnify lots in y* Crotch ; if the mills fail, the above to have y* refusal 
of y* land." A highway was laid out during the summer of 1707, east 
of the river, now developed into Main and Union streets of Willimantic 
Village. The forty acres of land were laid out between this highway 
and the river. A new mill was put up during the summer of 1706, on 
the site of the present saw and grist-mill privileges. Its bnilder was 
Thomas Hartshorn, mill-wright, from Charlestpwn, Massachusetts — the 
firat white settler and resident of Willimantia Thomas Davis was for 
a time his companion and assistant In 1709, the proprietors of the 
privilege gave Mr. Hartshorn twenty acres east of the forty-acre lot 
'* for good service," and in the March following, three or four acres were 
allowed to Hartshorn and Davis *' to build a house on," — ^the mill-house 
having, probably, previously afforded them accommodation. This first 
house in Willimantic was built in 1710, near the saw-mill. A grbt-mill, 
the same year, was built and set in operation. The second permanent 
settler in the neighborhood of the Willimantic was Jonathan Babcock, 
of Lebnnon, who purchased, September 15, 1709, for £180, a thousand- 
acre right accruing to the estate of Captain John Mason, taken up at 
the Crotch of the River — and built him a house just beyond the limits 


of the present Borough, near the site of the oemetery. A highway, 
four rods wide, was laid oat through this farm in 1710, in consideration 
of which the town excused Mr. Babcock '' from working on highways 
or catting bushes except on his own land.** These two dwelling-houses 
and the mills comprised for many years the Willimantic settlement, 
but its facilities for sawing and grinding drew a large share of custom 
and gave it considerable importance. 

The settlement at the Crotch, once so promising, received a fatal 
blow when it coasc<l to be the Centre and public worship was removed 
from it Bronghton and Howard removed to other parts of the town 
and their homesteads passed to permanent residents. Mr. Whiting 
still occupied the house built with so much pains and labor, but no 
village grew up around it A twenty* acre land division was laid out 
here in 1707. 

The northeast land division, ordered in 1706, opened that pleasant 
part of the town to settlement The four hundred-acre lots distributed 
among the proprietors, were sold out to settlers. In January, 1709, 
David Canada, William Shaw, Robert Moulton and Edward Colbum, 
all of Salem, purchased one hundred acres of land on both sides of LitUe 
River, of WUliam More, for £23, and began the settlement of a remote 
section — now included in the township of Hampton. A road passing 
through 'Hhe burnt cedar swamp" led from Windham to this. settle- 
ment| and thence to the old Connecticut Path. Boi\jamin Howard also 
cariy purchased land in this region, between Merrick's Brook and 
LiUle River. 

As population spread throughout the town, Windham Qreen increased 
in business and importance. Here were the leading men, the town- 
clerk, constable and justices. Here were the meeting-house, school 
and shops ; here were the training-field and Lieutenant Crane's ^* ordi- 
nary.'* If some old residents removed from town, new one^ hastened to 
take their places. Thomas Huntington, who removed to Mansfield in 
1707, was succeeded by Samuel Webb, who was allowed, the following 
year, to keep a house of public entertainment and was soon called 
to serve on many important committees. Though the first settlers 
were still alert and active, their sons were fast coming on to the stage, 
taking up homesteads for themselves and filling public offices of trust 
and importance. Jonathan, the oldest son of Thomas Bingham, was 
a man of superior character and standing — though once threatened 
prosecution by the town for fencing in a spring for his private use and 
convenience. His youngest brother, Joseph, remuned on the home- 
stead with his father, while Abel, Samuel and Nathaniel settled in 
ilifierent parts of the town. Richard Abbe, son of John, marrieil 
Mary, daughter of Jonathan Jennings, in 1708, and became a very 


promioent, active and useful citizen. There was much good fellowship 
among the early Windham settlers ; much feasting and merry-making 
and interchange of hospitaiities. The young people remained at home, 
marrying mostly arapng their own towns-people, till, in process of 
years, nearly the whole population were knit together in one great 
family circle. 

The Windham church, during these years, was very prosperous, and 
received constant accessions to its membership. The inhabitants from 
all paits of the town — Willimantic, Scotland, the distant settlement on 
Little River — attended public religious services at Windham Green, 
and duly paid their rates for the support of the minister. The Mans- 
field people, unable to fulfill the stiingent conditions of the General 
Court, retained their connection with Windham till 1710. After the 
adoption of the Saybrook Platform, in 1708, as the established form of 
church government in Connecticut — Windham was, by its provisions, 
included in the North Association of Hartford County. Mr. Whiting 
accepted the Platform in behalf of his church, and regularly participated 
in the meetingH of the Association. As a ))astor, Mr. Whiting con- 
tinued to rctjiin the ufleotion of his iKxiple, nor did his land operations 
and interest in public afiairs interfere in the least with his ministeiial 
duties and usefulness. As his family increased, his salary was propor- 
tionately enlarged, although the eighty cords of wood was gradually 
reduced to forty — '' each man to provide according to his list or forfeit 
six shillings a cord," — and was finally superseded by a ten-pound rate 
for ministerial fire-wood« 

In 1707, the town purchased *' a house and acre of land lying by 
the meeting-house," for a burying-place, at the cost of six pounds, to 
be paid in *^ Indian come at two shillings a bushel, and twenty shillings 
more for transporting the come to Norwich, — and those that pay 
money, their charge of transportation taken out of the rate ; corne or 
money to be paid to Mr. Whiting," he making the purchase. Samuel 
Palmer, Qeorge Lillie and William Backus were also appointed to view 
ground in the east part of the town suitable for a burying-ground, and 
take advice of some of the neighborhood, and the Scotland settlerB had 
thus their firat buiial-place laid out 

The moeting<house so long in building gave brief Batisfaction. It 
was small, poorly built and every way inconvenient. A committee 
was appointed, in 1708, ^^ to agree with workmen to finish the gallenes, 
repair the under-pinning and the breaches in the seats." A rate was 
ordered the same year for a *' pound and pulpit-cushion ; " and Deacon 
Cary, Captain Fitch and Joshua liipley directed '^ to seat the meeting- 
house at their best judgment" 

Schools received less attention in Windham than might be expected 


in a town of gaoh prosperity and intelligence — " a school to be kept in 
Thomas Snell's honse " being, apparently, the only provision made for 
the whole township. The committee appointed to manage the schools 
may have ordered them, however, in different neighborhoods. In 
1711, the town voted *^ to have no more school committees, but leave 
the matter to the selectmen."* Two school -houses were ordered in 
1713; one, eighteen feet sqnare, to be set on the Qreen, '^not above 
twenty rods from the meeting-house ; the other, sixteen feet sqnare, 
in the east of the town." John Backus and James Badcock were 
chosen a committee, to agree with workmen to build the school-houses. 
That on the Green was soon completed, the other " protracted " for 
two years. 

The highway surveyors were ordered, in 1718, to portion out the 
town for convenience in mending highways. Joseph Dingley was 
np|>oiutod '*to call out the inhabitants east of the Williniantic and 
north from meeting- liouse ; Stephen Traccy to call all those who dwelt 
west of Williniantic and Shotucket ; John Burnap and John Bcinis 
were to warn all who lived east from John Oimsbee's, the whole length 
and breadth of the tract ; while to Richard Abbe was assigned " all 
south of meeting-house." The town also gave liberty to Plainfield 
proprietors ** to join tlicM: field with that of proprietors south and west 
of Shetucket River, so tnat the highway by that River to the mill [at 
Willimantic] and that over the upper riding-place to Norwich might 
be pent-ways — provided Plainfield makes and maintains good, handy 

In 1718, the town voted to raise forty pounds for the enlargement 
of the meeting-house, and were preparing an addition twenty feet wide, 
the length and hight of the house, when the committee wei*e re- 
quested to forbear working — and, after some delay and discussion, it 
was decided to build an entirely new edifice, '' to be set on the old 
meeting house site or at the nearest place convenient/' Deacons Cary 
and Bingham and Lieutenant Crane were a committee to agree with 
workmen — the latter also acting as treasui*er, — and under their direc- 
tion this important work was speedily and successfully accomplished. 
No special report is found of its dimensions and appeamnce, but it was 
doubtless nmch larger and more elegant than the first house, though, 
)>erhaps, not equal to Woodstock's second meeting-house. Mr. Whiting 
was allowed to build a pew for the accommodation of his family, and 
received from the town a formal grant *' of the place in the meeting- 
house where the pue stands, by the east door, that is known by the 
name of Mr. Whiting's pue, and has been wholly erected at Mr. Whit- 
ing's charge." The floor of the house was mainly occupied with seats, 
whose orderly seating was determined by Joshua Ripley, Abraham 


Mitchell, Josiah Palmer and John Fitch, qn the following prescribed 

rules : — 

I. The place or station that persons are In. 

II. The age they bear. 

III. The estate they enjoy. 

Ripley and Fitch were themselves honored with the chief seat in 
front The venerable Joseph Dingley was allowed to sit in the pulpit, 
because of his deafness, and his son, Eleazer, in the third front seat, 
and his wife in the comer seat answerable thereto. The seat allowed 
to Abel Bingham not giving satisfaction, the town voted, '^ That he 
should remove out of the seat he was formerly seated in and sett in 
second pue.** Several of the young men — Joseph Crane, Josiah Bing- 
ley, Zebulon Webb, Jeremiah Ripley, Jun., Jonathan Huntington, 
David Ripley and Ebenezer Wales — ^built a pew for themselves, 
probably in the gallery, and petitioned the town '* that it may continue 
and we have liberty to set therein," which request was granted, on con- 
dition '* that if they removed out of the pue they should deliver it to 
the town without demolishment*' To modify the temperature of the 
unwarmed house as far as possible, it was ordered ^ That in cold and 
windy weather the windward doors should be kept shut ; leeward ones 
only opened." Two pounds, in provision pay, were allowed annually 
for sweeping the meeting-house. ^ 




THE northeast section of Windham gained steadily in population 
and importance, despite its remoteness and inaccessibility. Its 
soil was good and cheap ; its situation pleasant and attractive. A 
commanding eminence, encircled by Appa(|iiage or Little River, and 
encompassed by fertile valleys— no w * known as Hampton Hill — was 
deemed a favorable site for a settlement and village, and, by a land 
distribution in 1712, was opened to purchasers. Nathaniel Hovey 
bought land in this vicinity in 1713; and soon settled upon it. **A 
hundred acres of Appaquage Hill " were soon after sold by Jennings to 
Timothy Pearl. "The Appaquage Lot" and "land on Little River" were 
purchased by John Durkee, of Gloucester, in* 1715. Abiel and Robert 
Holt, of Andovor ; Nathaniel Kingsbury, of Massachusetts ; Thomas 
Fuller, John Button, George Allen and othera also settled on or neai* 
this attnictivo hill, and helped build up what was known as Windliaui 
Village. A few sons of old Windham families like Ebenezer Abbe 


unci Stephen Howard joined in this settlement, but the greater part of 
the settlers were new-comers from Massachusetts. This circumstance, 
and their great distance from the place of worship, led these settlers to 
seek for religious services in their own neighborhood as soon as pi*ac- 
tioable, and, in 1716, they petitioned the town of Windham for liberty 
to form a separate religious society. The town took the matter into 
serious consideration, and appointed Oaptain Fitch, Lieutenant Crane, 
Joshua Ripley, Jonathan Jennings, Josiah Palmer and Nathaniel Heb- 
ard, ''to consider the pro|Hwa1s of our northeast neighbors, with some 
appointed by thorn as they shall agree, to lay a skeem for bounds of a 
parish.*' While this was pending, other privileges were allowed them. 
Edward Colbum and Joshua Lasell were appointed fence-viewers for 
the northeast part of the town, and Jonathan Bingham to view a place 
for burying-place, afler which view the town granted its northeast 
inhabitants liberty " to take off upon the east side of the highway by 
Cedar Swamp Brook, part of the highway for a convenient burying- 
place, they leaving the highway four rods wide by said brook — ^burying- 
place not to extend above twenty rods in length.'* Liberty to build a 
pound was also given. Thomas Fuller was appointed to keep a tavern 
in the northeast part, and " Robert Moulton, brander for same, himself 
to find branding-iron." ^ 

Li December, 1716, the town consented " that the northeast part be a 
parish," receiving one-fourth part of John Cates' legacy and having two 
hundred pounds returned to them which they had paid towards the 
new meeting-house. In April, the town cm|>owered Nathaniel Kings- 
bury and Captain Aaron Cook to give and deliver the following petition 
to the General Assembly : — 

'* We, Inhabitants of the northeast part of Windham, having obtaiued con- 
sent of said Windham that we shoald be a society distinct for the carrying on 
the public worship of God, do now pray yoar Honors to confirm and entablish 
us as a parish. We are the more encouraged in this our request when we 
reflect npon your Honors' constant care for promoting relli^lon and good order, 
which is one great end in this onr desire : it being extretnely dltlicult for us 
to attend upon the present place of worship, none of us being withlu six 
miles of it, and many of us much more. We also hope, by the blessing of 
Providence, that we shall be able to support and bear the charge of the public 
worship, being already between twenty and thirty families and having accom- 
modations for a great many more, who will doubtless be much encouraged to 
settle among us. 

Thomas Dnrkee. Job Durfee. Ebenezer Abbe. 

Hobert Moulton. Nathaniel Hovey. William Dnrkee. 

James Luce. Clement Noflr. Joshua LascU. 

George Martin. Jeremiah Dnrkee. Edward Ck)lbum. 

George Allen. John Scripture. 

John Button. . Timothy Pearl. May 9, 1717." 

• Contrary to the usual fate of first petitions for society privileges, 
this request was at once considered and granted, and the noi-theast part 
of Windham set off as a distinct parish — ^its south bound '^ beginning 


at Canterbury line, to run westerly in the south line of Thomas Lasell's 
lot, and so in direct course to Memck's Brook, and then the said brook 
to be the line until it intersects the present road that leads from said 
town to the Burnt Cedar Swamp, and from thenoe a straight line to the 
brook that empties itself into Nauohaug River about the middle of 
Six-Mile Meadow, at the place where Mansfield line orosseth the 
said brook,** — the new parish comprising all Windham territory north 
of this line. These privileges were granted, on condition 'Hhat the 
petitioners annually levy and pay a tax among themselves equal with 
what the rest of the town pay toward tho support of the minbtry, until 
the said parish now granted have a settled ministry amongst them- 
selves, which tax shall be paid in unto Captain John Fitch, of Wind- 
ham, and by his advice laid out towards providing for and support of 
the ministry in said new parish." 

No record is preserved of the organization of this second society in 
Windham but it was probably soon effected. The name usually 
applied to it-^Oanada Parish— commemorated its ftrat settler of whom 
little is known but the fact of his purchase and settlement It is 
believed that David Canada built the first house in this section and 
kept the first tavern, but he probably died early, as his name do€>s not 
appear among the first petitioners or church members nor is there any 
allusion to him in Windham town or church records. David and Isaac 
Canada, probably his sons, appear among the inhabitants at a later 

The new society chose for its committee, John and William Durkeo 

and Nathaniel Ilovey. Their first care and object was to establish 

public religious woi-ship. They found its attainment far more difiicult 

than they had anticipated. A new settlement with little money and 

no public land could not, unaided, provide means for meeting-house 

and minister's settlement A large part of their land was owned by 

Windham proprietors and a tax on this land seemed their only feasible 

resource. October 15, 1717, the noitheast paiish again appeared 

before the Assembly, and humbly petitioned : — 

** That, whereas, your Honors have made us a parish and wo have still 
need of further aid and beg for power to elect and iinpower such listers for 
oar own society ati may be ueedAil and, also, seeing our remoteness from any 
other society where divine worship is publicly attended doth put us on ear- 
nest desire to promote what speed we can among ourselves, pray you to 
consider our low circumstances, and grant us the improvement. of what public 
tax may be raised among us for some time following, and that what further 
charge shall be necessary for minister and meeting-house may be laid on the 
lands within our parish, seeing the lands are much advanced in their value by 
such a settlement BuuNazKR Auoa, for the rest. 


The Windham proprietors, who had just been assessed so heavily 
for their own second meeting-house on Windham Green^ were very 


indignant at the demand for ud, and at once dispatched a spirited 

remonstrance, praying : — 

"That the Honored Goart will not allow oar lands taxed for the new 
society. Can see no reason whjr this society stiould a8cril>e the advance of 
the pfice of our lands so much to their settling near them as to expect the 
whole profit thereof to accrue to themi seeing tlie land in the country in 
general la as much, and morct risen in value thim that, and tlieir land is risen 
in price equal to oars, and as much by means of our settling near them — (for 
which advantage we ask them nothing). Why, then, cannot they content 
themselves with the profit of their own estates, especially as they have pur- 
chased the choice and best of land within our limits and the remainder so 
poor as not likely to be of any advantage to ourselves for herbage and timber? 
And we cannot but think it more agreeable to their professing an earnest 
desire to promote the worship of God among themselves, to have attended to 
thtt direction of the General Court by a dilligent care to provide some stock 
out of their own estate, rather than wholly to neglect their duty therein, and 
not so much as gather a list amonff themselves. But if their circumstances 
l>e as low as they pretend, so ^hat they cannot maintain a minister without our 
help, we humbly pray, if your Honors think fit, to restore them to us again, 
for it was easier for us to maintain a minister without their help for them and 
nsr-which, probably, may content tjiem for the present— rather than be rated 
at their pleasure to settle and maintain another.** 

This representation from men of such oonsideratioii as the Windham 
proprietors was not without effect but did not secure the entire rejec* 
tion of the petition and, in May, 1718, the Assembly ordered: — 

** That all the unimproved lands lying within the limits of said parish shall 
be taxed at the rate of ten shillings per hundred acres, to defray parish 
charges, and that the petitioners shall be freed from paying country rates 
during the term of four years, for the better enabling them to support the 
ministrv; and, also, that thcj have liberty granted of being a military com- 
pany within said parish, and to have sacnomcers as are allowed by law.** 

' The neglect to state the time for the continuance of the land tax 
called out a new petition in October, and the additional enactment : — 

** That said tax shall continue at ten shillings per annum for every hundred 
acres of land unimproved as aforesaid, for the term of four years." 

Still, the troubles of the new society were not relieved. The collec- 
tion of this tax involved them in quarrels and difficulties. The act 
granting it bad made no provision for gathering it and the disturbed 
Canadians were again constrained to appeal to the General Court, 
October, 1721, which ordered that the assessment should be paid in 
December each year, and appointed William Avery, Thomas Marsh 
and Nathaniel Kingsbury, tax-receivers, with full powers " to make 
distress in any part of this government, upon the goods or estates of 
such owners or proprietors of land within said parish as neglected to 
pay their just proportion." But even this provision failed to meet the 
emergency. Some who owned land in Canada Paiish lived out 
of the Colony, and the goods and estates of others who refused 
to pay could not be reached without great difficulty, which would 
necessitate the seizure of their land for the payment of the tax, 
and *' it was judiciously thought by most of the inhabitants that none 



woald appear to bay such small parcels of land at suoh a rate as men* 
ander oath roust prize thero," and so the committee would never be 
able to vetid any land, and the tax-money would be lost — at which dire- 
ful prospect the afflicted Parish comes again to the Court *' as a child 
to a father $ begging you to look upon us as one of your sons and grant 
us relief, for if wo lose the. money due it will be very prejudicial to this 
society in this, the day of small things." In response to this request, 
the Assembly granted ^' liberty and full power to the committee to sell 
said land at public vendue and to execute good and ample deeds to 
purchasers — provided that sufficient notice be made to owners sixty 
days before, — notice to be set up on Windham sign-post Owners to 
have liberty to redeem land within one yc^ar." 

Under this authority, the Canada settlers were enabled to collect a 
portion of what had been allowed them and make some progress in 
the consti-uction of their meeting-house. The accession of substantial 
citizens from time to time encouraged and strengthened them — Samuel 
Ashley, of Ilartford ; Paul and Philip Abbot, of Andover, John Clarke, 
William Famham, Nathaniel Flint, and Benjamin Bedlock, — settling in 
this vicinity prior to the formation of the church. A minister was 
procured as soon as practicable ; preaching at first in private houses. 
' Some other improvements were effected. David Canada and Nathaniel 
Hovey were appointed surveyors of highways in the noitheast parish, 
and its inhabitants received ^^iberty to build a pound in the great street 
near the meeting-house, provided it be done at their own chai'ge." The 
widow of Thomas Fuller was also allowed to keep a house of public 

Barly in 1722, the society secured the services of Mr. William Bil- 
lings, of Preston, who was graduated from Yale College in 1720, and 
had just completed his preparation for the ministry, and soon pro- 
ceeded to call him to settlement As the four years respite from 
paying country taxes had now expired and the meeting- house was far 
from <K>mpleted, the inhabitants of Windham Village again appeared 
before the General Court with a humble petition, informing — 

**Tbe Houomble Court that our circuuiBtances are very grievous; a very 
poor parish; new settlers; parish small; have engaged to give Mr. BlUIngs 
£150 for setUement and five- pence a pound on ratable estate till it comes to 
£90 for salary — and we shall be glad aud evermore have cause to thank the 
honored Court if they would be pleased to conhlder our poverty and dlfldcult 
circumstances. We are but thirty-live little families, and we ha'u't a bit of 
land to settle our mlulstyr upon but what we must buy at five seven, eight 
and nine pound per hundred Eacaars. We pray the Cort to abate our tax for 
two years next coming, and It will forever oblige us. John Duukke, Wiluaic 
DuKKKU, Natuanikl ilovKY, iu behalf of the inhabitants. May, 12, 1722." 

Fearful lest their continual coming should have worn out the 

patience oT the Honorable Court, this petition was sent to their neigh- 

. Jbur, Mr. Timothy Pierce-— the deputy from Plainfield, and one of its 


pio0t prominent oitizens — with a letter, praying him ''as one not an- 
aoqaainted with our poverty, to befriend us what yoa can in this 
matter," and by his friendly services a favorable answer was secured. 
The way was thus at last opened for the settlement of the minister. A 
handred acres of land were sold by Samuel Ashley to William Billings, 
'' evangelical predicatore for Windham Village.*' The meeUng-house, 
though far from completed, was probably made ready for occupation 
on the day of ordination. This happy event was joyfully celebrated 
in June, 1728, and doubtless the inhabitants of all the surrounding 
country gathered hi Windham Village on this interesting occasion. 
The proceedings of the day were thus recorded by Mr. Billings ; — 

" The Conncll that embodied y« Church and carried on y* affair when Mr. 
Billliigs was ordained pastor In Windham Village: Samnel Whiting and 
messengers, Bllphelet Adams [of New Londonl, Samncsl Entabrook [of 
Canterburj], Joseph Colt [of Plalnflold], Ebenezer Williams [of PomfTet]. 
Mr. Adams gave the chnrgo ; Mr. Bstabrook the right hand of fellowship ; 
Mr. Whiting preached; Mr. Colt made the last prayer^thus all was com- 
pleted, June 6, 1728.** 

The following church covenant was then read and subscribed : — 

** Windham Villagr, June 6, 1728, being y day of ordination. We do this 
day, in the strength of Christ, hnmbly and heartily avouch the Lord, whose 
name alone Is Jehovah, Father, Son and Spirit, to be our Ood and the Qod 
of onr seed, entirely and everlastingly dedicating both ourselves and ours 
unto his holy fear and service accordlug to his word ; promising and cove- 
nanting to walk witli God, and love one another as Qod*s chosen people and a 
partlcnlar church of Christ onght to do ; complving with y« *whoie will of 
Ood so fiir as he hath been pleMed, or stiall further please, to discover Ills 
mind to us by his Spirit, word and providence; acknoWlo<lgl ng, embracing 
and submitting unto the Lord Jesus, Qod-nmn, as head of the church, prophet, 
priest and king of our souls, y only mediator between Ood and man and 
surety of y« new covenant, that he may of Ood be made unto us wisdom, 
riffhteousuess, sanctlflcation and redemption, looking for acceptation only in 
Christ l>oth of onr persons and services. 

. Rev. William Billings, pastor. John Durkee. 

Nathaniel Kingsbury. William Dnrkee. 

Bbenezer Abbe. Jeremiah Dorkee. 

Oeorge Martin. Thomas Marsh. 

Joseph Jennings. William Famham. 

Nathaniel Hovey. * John Scripture. 

Samuel Ashley. Nathaniel Flint. 

John Clarke. Bei^amin BIdlock.** 

At a church meeting, June 19, John Durkee and Thomas Marsh 
were clearly chosen deacons. It was also voted, *' Y* we look upon 
any baptiased person in this place as under the watch and care of 
the church.** The deacons, with Nathaniel Kingsbury and William 
Durkee, were chosen representatives of the church — office not defined. 
The population of Windham Village and the surrounding parish was 
now rapidly increasing. During 1723 and 1724, there united with the 
church: Abiel Holt, David Warren, Paul Abbot, Matthias Marsh, 
William Averill, James Utley, Daniel Button, Timothy Pearl, Robert 
Wiilisy Jacob and John Preston, Ebenezer Crocker, Natb. Woodward, 


Robert Holt, Ebenezer Martio, John Badoook, Philip Abbot, with man^t 
of the wives and daughters of the settlers. Among those simply 
^' owning the covenant " daring these years, were Margaret, wife of 
David Canada ; Sarah, wife of Joseph Jennings ; Stephen Fuller, 
Nathaniel Barker, William Shaw, Jon. Hendee, Thomas Darkee, 
Samuel Oobuni, Joshua Holt, Joseph Laselle, Isaac Canada, Nath. 
Ford, Robert Coburn, Samuel Blanohard and Benjamin Preston. The 
large number of residents not connected with the church called out 
the following regulations: — 

** Febmaiy 4, 1726, voted, y* we look upon every baptized person to be a 
subject of church discipline and ought to be called to an account by some 
church or another, whenever they offend. 

Also, it is y* duty of that church where the Providence of Ood hath made 
persons (baptized or not in fUll communion) Inhabitants, to call them to 
account and to see tliat the laws of Christ's Kingdom are put in due execution 
on them when they offend. 

Also— February IS, — ^That when any communicant of other churches settle 
with us, we will desire a letter of recommendation of them fh>m y church 
whence they came, and If any such person shall neglect to procure y« same, 
after reasonable time, we wiU deny such persons church' privileges unless there 
appears to be some peculiar reattons.** 

On the same day, it was also voted : — 

** T* we do take v« Wprd of Ood to be our platform in all y« management 
of Christ's discipline." 

So great if as the increase of population in Canada Parish that, in 
1724, a full military company was formed there, with Stephen Howard 
for captain, Nathaniel Kingsb}iry for lieutenant, and Samuel Ghuxlner, 
ensign — ^and at least sixty privates between the ages of sixteen and 
sixty. Schools were provided as soon as pmcticablo, selectmen, sur« 
veyors and other useful officers appointed, so that the parish was every 
way well established and accommodated, and its inhabitants only 
needed to repair to Windham Green for town-meetings. With this 
growth and general prosperity, they would have been able to pay 
country rates and finish their meeting-house but for droughty short 
crops and other dbcouragements, whereby they were again compelled, 
in 1726, to petition the General Court, '* To have their rates allowed 
them, because their unhappy difficulties, short crops of late years and 
the great charge of settling a minister had yet hindei*ed the people 
from finishing their meetinghouse, though they had labored with all 
the dilligeuce in their power." In response to this plea, presented by 
Thomas Marsh and George Martin, ** one year was granted and no 
more ; " after which the second society of Windham was obliged to 
bear her part of the burdens of the Colony. 





TEGB Scotland settlers still maiotiuned their oonneotion with the first 
church of Windham, though thehr number was constantly in- 
creasing. QeoTge Lilly purchased land on both sides Little River in 
1710. John Robinson, a dosoendant of Elder John Robinson, of 
licyden, removed to Scotland in 1714. The old Puritan stock was 
well represented in this locality. Descendants of Robinson, Brewster 
and Bradford, with French Huguenots and Scotch Presbyterians, were 
among its inhabitants. A straggling villa^ grew up around the pound 
and school-house. Many sons of the fij-st Windham settlers established 
themselves in this vicinity. Joseph and John Carey settled on Mer* 
rick's Brook, on land given them by their father. Deacon Carey. 
Deacon Bingham's son, Samuel, settled on Merrick's Brook ; Nathaniel 
* on Beaver Brook. Nathaniel, son of Joseph Huntington, occupied a 
farm on Meirick's Brook near the centre of .the settlement, and i>ecame 
one of its most prominent citizens. The population was mainly 
gathered in the vicinity of Merrick's Brook and on the road leading to 
Canterbury. Many of the Scotland settlers were members of the 
Windham ohuroh, and actively concerned in the business and manage- 
ment of the town. 

In Willimantic, there was yet little progress. In 171B, the town 
granted ** Bphraim Sawyer, or to any other person that shall appear and 
accept, the liberty and privilege of the stream at the falls at Willimantic 
River in said town — provided that he or they shall build and erect a 
forge or iron works thereon, so long as they shall maintain them," — ^but 
the privilege was not accepted, and the saw and grist-mills remained 
in sole possession of the field. A pound was added to .the settlement 
in 1721, and one was also allowed ''near Stephen Tracy's dwelling- 
house at Crotch of River, between Deacon Skiffs house and Ser- 
geant Backus's field." In 1726, another attempt was mad^ to utilize 
the unused water power. John Devotion, of Suffield, purchased two 
acres of land of Ebenezer Babcock, *' on the northeast side of Willi- 
mantic River," embracing the privilege known in bid deeds as Sliding 
Falls, now owned by the Willimantic Linen Company. Mr. Devotion, 
with Daniel Badger, Samuel Hathaway and Joseph Kellog, all of 
Suffield, formed a company for manufacturing iron, under the name of 
** Daniel Badger and Co." They purchased an '' iron mine " of Deacon 
Nathaniel Skiff, in the town of Mansfield — ^agreeing to pay two shil- 
lings-sitpence a ton, if three tons of ore made one ton of iron, and 



SO on in that proportion. Preparations for damming and bridging 
the stream and the erection of forges were oommenced during this 
year. The first bridge across the Shetuoket was built in 1722, 
by Stephen Ti*acy, Jos. Hebard, Ralph Wheelook and Ebenezer 
Wright, and was muntained by them many years at great cost and 

Windham Green continued to gain in influence and importance as 
the Beat of town government and the business centre of so many flour- 
ishing settlements. A Court of Probate was established here in 
October, 1710, for the towns of Windham, Lebanon, Ooveutry, Mans- 
field, Canterbuiy, Plainfield, Killingly, Pomfret and Ashford, and 
added much to its business and importance. Captain John Fitch was 
appointed the first judge of the Probate Court, but still retained his 
position as town clerk of Windham. Several improvements were 
efiected. In 1721, it was voted, ^Hhat the town street should be made 
eight rods wide, to begin at Deacon Bingliam's, southeast corner of his 
house-lot, and go to the nortlioost comer of Qentleman Mitchell's 
house." A new pound was built near the meotiag-house. John 
Backus had liberty '' to set a shop in the highway near Ginning's 
house — not to damnify highway," — and Amos Kingley '' the privilege 
of the spring in the high\^y near Caleb Conant's house, for the benefit 
of tanning, he setting his tan -trough on the north side of the highway, 
near his father's fence, and to enjoy it during the town's pleasure." In 
1726, the highways and commons were pronounced <^ sufficiently clear" 
and the town permitted *' to cease cutting bushes." The population of 
Windham had now so increased that a Second military company was 
organized, with Eloazer Carey for Captain, Edward Waldo for lieu- 
tenant, and Nathahiel Rudd for ensign. Jeremiah Ripley, Jun., was 
liei|tenant of the first company. The sons of the firat settlers were 
now active in public affairs. Jonathan Huntington, son of Joseph, was 
practicing as Windham's first regular physician. His brother Joseph 
had man'ied Elizabeth, daughter of Joshua Ripley. Joshua Ripley, 
Jun., married a daughter of John Backus. John Backus, Jun., married 
a daughter of Mr. Whiting, and thus the families of Windham were 
twined and inteit wined together. Jonathan Crane's son, Isaac, married 
Ruth Waldo, of Scotland, whose favor he had won by gallantly con- 
veying her on his own steed through the swollen waters of Merrick's 
Brook, when a sudden Sunday freshet had made it impassable for foot 
travelers. Among the new inhabitants of Windham was Thomas 
Dyer, who removed thitlior in 1715, when twonty-one yeans of ago^ 
married Lydia, daughter of John Backus, was first a shoemaker and 
fainner, but soon engaged in public affairs, and became one of the 
most prominent and wealthy citizens of the town. Eleazer Carey, 


nephew of Deacon Joseph, removed to Windham in 1718. Deacon 
Joseph Corey died in 1722. 

The first church of Windham, during these years, shared in the 
prosperity of the town. The ministry of Mr. Whiting was greatly 
blessed to his people. While conservative in his views, a warm friend 
of the Ecclesiastical constitution of Connecticut, and even favoring " a 
moderate Episcopacy," — ^his preaching was eminently spiritual and 
awakening. In 1720 and 1721, his church enjoyed a season of special 
religious interest — the more remarkable as occurring at a time when 
revivals were almost unknown and the churches very cold and indif- 
ferent, so that the Windham church was compared to Gideon's fleece, 
which was ^lled with moisture when alt around it was dry. This work 
was wrouglit *' without extraordinary apparent occasion, but through 
the secret operation of the spirit of God upon the heart. Persons of 
all ages, and some of whom there was but little expectation, came 
together weeping to seek the Lord their God, so that within the com- 
pass of about half a your four-score persons were joined to the com- 
munion." Residents of neighboring towns were drawn to attend these 
meetings, and young men were converted who were among the most 
prominent actors in the religious developments of a later period. In 
acknowledgment of this great blessing, a special thanksgiving service 
was observed, February 12, 1721, and a sermon preached by Mr. 
Whiting, from let Thess., iii : 8 — ** For now we live, .if ye stand fast 
in the Lord ; " from which text this doctrine wa9 deduced : ** All godly 
pai'sons, and especially they that have taken pains with people for their 
good, will be much refreshed and comforted, and it will help to balance 
the trouble they meet with when they that have been brought over to 
the acknowledgment of the truth do stand fast in the Lord.** This 
sermon was shortly published, with an introduction by the Rev. Mr. 
Adams, of New London, giving some account of this wonderful work 
of grace, and closing with the ejaculation : — 

'* Oh, that the same good spirit from on high were poured oat upon .the rest 
of the coQotry, for what pity is it that this single place only should be 
%oet with the dew of Heaven^ while the rest of the ground round about remains 
(comparatively) dry I " 

Thii day of rejoicing and thanksgiving was followed ere long by one 
of mourning and lamentation. Mr. Whiting died suddenly of pleurisy, 
when absent from home on a visit at Enfield, September 27, 1725, in 
the fifty sixth year of his age. Though his sickness was short and 
cUstressiug, he did not forget his friends and people, but offered two 
special prayers upon his death-bed — one for hid family, and one for the 
oontiuuance and prosperity ot* his church. He lefl a widow and thir- 
teen children — the youngest, Nathan, then but little more than a year 
old — and ample provision for their maintenance and education. " Upon 


the oertain and Borrowful intelligenoe '* of the death of their beloved 
pastor, the people of Windham were overwhelmed with grief and 
apprehensions. A number of the neighboring ministers were invited 
by the town authorities to keep with them " a day of humiliation, wit- 
nessed by solemn fasting and eaiiiest prayer to God for his guidance 
and direction in y* weighty affair of calling and settling a minister 
among us to supply the place now vacant," — ^who, upon conclusion of 
the day's services, gave the following counsel : '* That they should first 
apply themselves to Mr. Welsted, a Fellow of Cambridge, and if he 
could not come, to Mr. Osgood, of Andover ; and, if he refused, to Mr. 
Dunbar, of Boston ; and then repair to the President at Cambridge." A 
special town-meeting was immediately warned by the selectmen, ''that 
the town might have an opportunity to consider what to do in order to 
the calling and settlement of a gospel minister," whei} it was voted, 
unanimously, ''To comply with the advice of the Reverend ministers." 
Seven of the leading men in town were then chosen a committee, " to 
call a minister on trial for a quarter of a year." Thd committee did 
not secure either of the candidates recommended, but Mr. Thomas 
Clap,* of Scituate, Massachusetts, a Cambridge graduate of the 
class of 1722. After some experience of his ministerial gifts, to 
the general satisfaction, the town proceeded to call him, February 
22, 1726, to settlement— offering, with their usual liberality, three 
hundred pounds for settlement, one hundred pounds salary and fire- 
• wood. These terms being accepted, and the church concurring, a 
committee was chosen, July 1, 1726, "to provide and bring together 
sugar, spices, provisions and whatever else was needful for the enteii4un- 
ment, in a decent way, of the ministers and managers that should 
attend the work of ordination," and a contribution was ordered, " at 
the conclusion of Fast-day meeting, to help defray y* charge of ordina- 
tion, each person to write his name on the back side of the bill that he 
contributed, and the committee to keep account" These arrangements 
being periected, Mr. Clap was formally ordained, with all due coroniony, 
August 8, 1726, but no record was made of the services of the 

The Windham church was then in a very prosperous condition, 
having received three hundred and eighty three members during the 
ministry of Mr. Whiting, and, after dismissing colonies to Mansfield 
and Windham Village, still numbered two hundred and sixty-four. 
The recent revival had increased its strength and spirituality, and Mr. 
Clap began his ministry under the most favorable auspices. With th^ 

• It WM Mr. -Clap, and not Mr. Whiting, m erroneously aUted, page 60, who 
atudled theology for a time with the celebrated Dr. MuSparren, rector of fit. Paul'a 
church, Iforth Eiug«ton, B. I. 

' THS QUuntBAUo ootrimtT. 106 

new ministor, new deacons were also elected — ^Eleazer Gary, Jos. 
Huntington, Nathaniel Wales and Abel Binghan being inducted in 
that office in 1726. Joshua Ripley, John ^itch and Jonathan Orane, 
chosen as representatives of the brethren to act with the deacons, 
made np the ''seven pillars" or connsellors, so dear to the early 
settlers, and '' were recommended unto the pastor to be called 
together on all emergent occasions for him to consult with." 



f nilB third town orgimised within .Windham Oounty limits was Plain- 
-I- field, which was laid out in 1699, in the Quinebaug country, east 
of Windham. This Quinebaug Country, extending from the junction 
of the Quinebaug and Assawaga Rivers to the north boutid of Nor- 
wich town, and from the Appaquage or Little River eastward to 
Egunk, was claimed by two powerful parties — Fits John and Wait 
Winthrop, as representatives of their deceased father, Oovemor John 
Winthrop, and Miyor James Fitch, as agent and guardian of Owaneco. 
The Winthrop claim was founded on a deed from Allumps and 
Massashowet, resident sachems in 1658 ; Owaneco's, on the hereditary 
title of the Mohegan sachems. The General Oourt of Connecticut 
had *' allowed the Governor his purchase," and idso allowed Uncas to 
dispose of Quinebaug lands to Owaneco. The first land laid out in 
this disputed country was the six hundred acr^s levied from Uncas and 
Owaneco, '* for satisfaction for their roen*s burning the county prison." 
Fitch, as treasurer of New London County, was ordered " to dispose 
of the land and build said prison therefrom," and selected the richest 
part of the Quinebaug valley, on both sides of the river. Deeds of 
sale, June 23, 1680, conveyed this land to John, Daniel and Solomon 
Tracy and Richard Bushnell, all of Norwich, who at once '^ seized and 
quietly possessed it" A neck of land "below the river island, Peags> 
comsuck," granted by Owaneco to Fitch, was also laid out in 1680. 
Other large tracts in the Quinebaug Country were given to Fitch by 
Owaneco — " land and meadow east of the Quinebaug, bounded south 
on Norwich town line, thence northeast to the great brook that comes 
in at Peagscomsuck . . . excepting that already sold to John 
Tracy ; " ** land both sides the Little River that comes in at Wequa- 
nock . . bounded south on Norwich town line, west on New 



PUnt^OQ, laad of Joshua, deceased ; " ** land east side of LitUe River, 
taking all the come and plaine, improvable land; " a mile in breadth 
from Appaqaage to the Qhinebaug, bounded north on the Wabba- 
quasset Country, east on the Quinebaug, west on New Plantation and 
south on oommon land,-^were among the gifts thus lavishly bestowed. 

Neither Fitch nor the Winthrops attempted settlement of this land 
during the troubled years of Aodross' administration, but as soon as 
practicable after the restoration of colonial government, initiated move- 
ments in this direction. The double claim and doubtful land-titles 
were un&vorable to its early occupation. No organised colony, like 
those of Woodstock aud Wiudhum, would choose to venture on such 
debatable territory, but oqly such rash or resolute settlers as were 
willing to risk ejectment or litigation. The confUsion of titles makes it 
impossible to trace the order of settlement, as deeds subsequently pro- 
nounced invalid were not inscribed on the records of the future town- 
ship. October 13, 1690, Fitjp John i^nd Wait Winthrop petitioned the 
G^eral Court, *< That their right to a certain tract, bought of Allumps 
by their father, might be ooufirmed to them for the benefit of those 
about to settle a plantatioq there." No reply was granted to this 
request, but despite this lack of confirmation, the plantation was begun. 
A nnnib^ of Massachusetts families took possession of Quinebaug 
land east of the river, purchased of the Winthrops soon after 1690. 
Timothy and Thomas Pierce came from Woburn, Thomas Williams, 
from Stow; Joseph Parkhurst, Jacob Wairen, Edward, Joseph and 
Benjamin Spalding, from Chelmsford ; Matthias Button and James 
Kingsbury, from HsVerhill ; Ebenezer Hariis and John Fellows, from 
Ipswich s Isaao Wheeler, Isaac and Samuel Shepaixl, with their stop- 
fiithor, Nathaniel Jewell, fW)m Concord. Uthor families removed 
thither from Connecticut towns, below : Peter Crery, James Deane, 
William Marsh and Edwaril Yeomans, from Stonington ; William 
Douglas, from New London ; aud others from that vicinity. Several 
Gallup brothers — sons of Captain John Gallup, of Stonington — ^pur- 
chased land and, perhaps, removed to the Quinebaug plantation. ' Most 
of the settlers received their deeds from the Winthrops ; James Welch, 
Thomas Harris, James aod John Deane and Philip Bump purchased 
land of Fitch and John Tracy. The most northerly settlers were the 
young Shepard brothers — sons^of Ralph Shepard, of Maiden, deceased — 
who bought land at the mouth of Moosup's River, given by Owaneco 
to Samuel Lathrop, of Norwich. The Spaldings were probably a mile 
or two south of the Shepards, but the great body of the settlers were 
south of the site of the present Plaiiitield village. 

Veiy little is known of the early days of the Quinebaug plantation. 
No organization was effected, or even attempted, for several yeai-s. 


The Bettlers broke up their land, bnilt mde habitations and made some 
few improvementa. They bad a fine country, well watered and not/ 
too heavily timbered. Black Hill, so named by the first settlers, had' 
been bamed over every year for an Indian banting gronnd. The 
valley adjoining the Quinebang was found to produce extraordinary 
crops of com and in spite of Fitch and Tracy ii\}unctious, was 
used as a common cornfield for the settiement Portions of this field 
were set aside for their Indian neighbors, who were very numerous but 
(>eaoeable and friendly, and willingly allowed the settlers to share their 
fisheries, hunting grounds and planting lands. Fears were at first' 
entertained and garrison houses provided, but it was found needless 
" to make any great matter of use of them/' No attempt was tnade 
to lay out public highways. The old Greenwich Path led on to Provi-< 
dence, and rude ways were trodden out to Norwich, New liondon and 
Windham. Needful supplies were procured at these distant settiements^ 
and religious soryices occasionally attended. 

Society was, for a time, in a most rude, chaotic state. The double 
land daim occasioned much confusion. The Fitch and Winthrop 
adherents were at open war with each other. , Major Fitch was es- 
pecially careless as to the character of his tenants, and had gi-eat 
difficulty in collecting rents from them. The first existing records 
relating to the Quinebaug Plantation tell of oppression, violence^ 
resistance to legal authority, and other high-handed misdemeanors. In 
the summer of 1695, ffenjamin Spalding, Thomas Brooks, Obadiah 
Johnson, John Smith and Dan Edwards were summoned before the 
Court of New London County, " to answer complaint of Miyor James 
Fitch, for cutting and carting away hay from his farm at Peagscom- 
suck,** and were sentenced to pay each five shillings to Major Fitch, 
the same amount to the Treasury and costs. Benjamin Palmer, tenant 
of Major Fitch, was next arrugned, not only for refusing to pajr the 
rent of the Peagscomsuck farm and improving a parcel of barley that 
did not belong to him, but for abusing the person of the collector, 
Richard Adams, by striking him several blows and for profanely 
swearing that he would kill Major Fitch and the marshal. For these 
various offences, he was acyudged to pay a fine of £Y0, or be whipped 
fifteen stripes on his naked body. To satisfy this demand. Marshal 
Plumb stripped Palmer of nearly all his worldly substance, consLBting 
of ^ine stacks of meadow hay, stacks of oats, barley, rye and flax, 
corn in the ear and unhusked and eight bushels in the chamber, garden 
stuff, swine and working oxen — *' too much for the debt, but no sur- 
plus returned." Palmer« by advice of his attorney, John Gallup, sued 
Plumb for damages. Other actions were brought against Palmer for 
refusing to make satisfaction and improper language, but were finally 


settled* or withdrawn. Samuel Oevelandy the tenant suooeeding 
Palmier, was reduced to still greater suffering by over-extortion of 
produoe for i-ent, so that the Major himself wrote to Thomi^ Brooks 
and Benjamin Spalding, ^' That they should deliver to* said Cleveland 
all that might be judged needful for his present neoessities." John 
Qallup, James Detme and Nathaniel Jewell were also brought to trial 
for mowing grass and carting off loads of hay from the land claimed 
by the Tracys. John Smith, a Winthrop land-holdef, was accused of 
illegal seisui-e of land sold by Owaneoo to Stephen JVI e>*i'i<^l^ ; Peter 
Orery, of forcibly entering upon Owaneco's land and cutting off timber. 
Others were arrested for carting off hay and grain and appropriating 
logs and rails. The New London Court was largely occupied with 
oases from the Quinebaug Countiy. Fines were levied, whipping and 
imprisonment inflicted. The Gallupe were leaders of the Winthrop 
faction and the largest resident land-owners, and one of them, accord- 
ing to tradition, gave, such offence to the planters by greed and over- 
measurement that he was driven out of the plantation as a " land 
grabber." In 1G90, the Winlhrops atteinpted to bring the question of 
' proprietorship to an issue by entering complaints against Major Fitch 
and Judge Tracy, for entering upon land belonging to the plaintiffs. 
The cases were tned before the Court of Common Pleas for New 
London County, and verdict being allowed to the defendants, appealed 
to a higher tiibunal. 

In spite of these quarrels and disturbances, * the Quinebaug Planta- 
tion gained in numbera and strength. The first inhabitants west of 
the Quinebaug were probably the tenants at Peagsoomsuck. Rowland 
Jones, who purchased in 1691, four hundred acres of land on what is 
still Rowland's Bix)ok, was one of the first west-side settlers. Thomas 
Brooks and Obadiah Johnson also settled west of the Quinebaug, but 
little progress was made till 1697, when Major Fitch with his family 
removed thither, digging the first cellar and erecting the first perma- 
nent habitation in what is now the township of Canterbui-y. With 
hundreds of fanns, and many thousand acres of land at his disposal, 
he selected for his establishment and permanent residence *' a neck of 
land " enclosed by a curve of the Quinebaug, below the river island 
Peagsoomsuck, which gave its name to the settlement. At the time 
of this removal to tlie Quinebaug Country, Major Fitch was a little 
past middle age, and had been for many yeara one of the most promi- 
nent men in Connecticut From early manhood he had been actively 
employed in civil and militaiy affaii*s ; helped re-establish colonial 
government afler the revolution of 1 689 ; was appointed assistant in 
1690; sergeant-major of New London County in 1696; served as 
boundary commissioner and land revisor; led military expeditions. 


manned forts, gnarded the frontier and exercised jurisdiction over the 

Mohegans and all their lands and interests. The popularity of Major 

Fitch was now somewhat on the wane, his immense land operations 

excited public jealousy and involved him in controveray and litigation, 

so that a remonstrance was presented to the General Court, '' by many 

of his Majesty's loyal and dutiful subjects," who could not see cause to 

acknowledge Captain James Fitch to be Lord Proprietor of the 


In this remonstrance, it was asserted — 

** That Captain Fitch had laid claim to our established Inheritance by pre- 
tences of grunts ft'oin Owancco . . . had such a large liberty to spread 
his wings (Hr and near that be might easily stretch Owaneco's wlnss over two 
or three coantles more than his own to accommodate his own designs, seeing 
that Owancco is a person of so flexible a temper that he will do anything for a 
bottle of rum . . and is almost blind In drinking away his own and other 
men's lands in tliat sort of liquor. Thus, gentlemen, you may see on what easy 
terms Captain Fitch has procured the Wabbnquassct, Mohogan, Qnincbaug 
and A great part of the Pcquod countries from Owancco, and hath already sold 
out vaat tracts of our land to some now In Bngiund, Rliode Island, and" some 
to privateers, as we ba^e been informed. . . Let any man give an 

example of any of the King's subjects, in Europe or America, since the times 
of William the Conqueror till to-day, that ever ingrost so much land as 
Captain Fitch hath dond in this Colony, which was beloro given and confirmed 
to other men under the great seal of England, so that we cannot but declare 
and protest acalnst these sales as Illegal, and pray the Court to pass an act 
condemning them. We cannot but declare against Captain Fltclr, his being 
such a great laud-pirate and selling so much of our land to strangers, and 
hope the General Conrt and our people will variously consider how pernicious 
a man Mr. Fitch Is to the rising generation in this Colony, and wliat a scnndal 
It Is to this government and how gravamlnus to many of the Queen's subjects, 
that a person tliat makes It his business to sell the free men's lands should any 
longer continue in office In this Colony." 

This jealousy of Major Fitch's possessions and Indian influence was 
aggravated by his own willfulness and violence and bis persistency in 
oarr3dng out his own schemes without regard to means or oonsequenc^s. 
Various mal-administration charges were alleged against him, and an 
irregular, if not illegal, entry of land in the town book of Norwich, in 
1607, greatly injured his standing in his native town and, quite 
probably, led to his change of residence. So serious was the charge, 
that for three years succeeding he was dropped from the Assistant's 

After the death of his first wife— a daughter of Captain John 
Mason — Major Fitch married Alice Bradford, widow of Rev. William 
Adams, of Dedham, and mother of Mrs. Whiting, of Windham. Nine 
sons and daughters accompanied him to Peagsoomsnck, and soon the 
Indian " neck " became an attractive family seat The social position 
of Major Fitch and his wide business relations, drew many people 
around him, and his plantation was at once recognized as a place of no 
small consequence ; a rendezvous for land-traders, civil and military 
officiab and hordes of idle Indians. Here Courts were held, military 


expeditions organized and many thousand aores of land bartered away. 
It was the first, and long the only, settlement between Norwich and 
Woodstock, extending its hospitalities and accommodations to many a 
weary traveler. The expedition that marched to the relief of Wood- 
stock in 1699 passed the night, both in going and returning, *' at 
Mfyor Fitch's farm in Peagsoomiuck.'* A road was soon laid out from 
Windham to this noted establishment, and connecting with Greenwich 
Path, formed the great thoroughfare to Providence. Kent was the 
name given by the Major to his plantation, but its Indian appellation 
persistently adhered to it. 

Other settlers soon followed Major Fitch. Samuel Adams, from 
Chelmsford ; Elisha Paine, from Eostham ; Obadiah and William 
^^ohnson, Samuel and Josiah Cleveland, from Woburn ; Thomas Brooks, 
Rowland Jones and Robert Oreen, all settled west of the Quinebaug. 
To encoumge these settlers, Owaneco, in 1698, made over to Major 
James Filch, Josiah Cleveland and Jabez Utter, the land between the 
Quinebaug and Appaquage Rivers, extending eight and a half miles 
north of Norwich noith line — except those limds formerly granted to 
Major Fitch, Solomon and Daniel Tracy and Richard Bushnell, — ''in 
trust for y* inhabitants now dwelling in the plantation of Quinebauge, 
they bearing their proportion of charge, to wit: Thomas Brooks, 
Obadiah Johnson, Samuel Cleveland, Robert Qreen, Rowland Jones 
and Major Fitch. The above are on the west side of Quinebaug ; the 
intention is to promote plantation work." This conveyance did not 
prevent Owaneco's selling the same land to other settlers at every 
opportunity. Indeed, some tracts were sold to three or four different 
purchasers by this ** flexible" and unscrupulous chieftain. In 1699, 
Owaneco sold to Obadiah Johnson and Samuel Adams all the south 
part of the tract west of the Quinebaug not previously appropriated. 
Elisha Paine bought two thousand acres in the south of the tract from 
Major Fitch. Tixhall Ens worth, of Hartford, also settled on land 
bought of Fitch. Josiah Cleveland bought land at Wanungatuck, 
'* both sides of Tadneck Hill," of Richard Bushnell ; Solomon Ti'acy, 
Jun., took possession of the land owned by his father. In October, 
1697, it was ordered by the General Court, ^'That the people inhabiting 
upon Quinebaug River shall be and belong to the county of New 
London." After the election of Fitz John Winthrop as governor of 
Connecticut, in 1698, his request for the confirmation of his Quinebaug 
lands received due consideration, and a committee was appointed with 
full power to find out and renew the bounds, but no immediate investi- 
gation was attempted. In May, 1699, the inhabitants east and west of 
Quinebaug River had become suiliciently numerous to present to the 
General Court the following petition : — 
** Whereas, some thirty families are here and have made some settlement, 


unif rilthonffh liha pfiwm h(\ of ttNflTf nnimlilomhla Air a irntid township thero 
(MiKlit U» ba 11 roKiilnr, ortlorly NuUluiiioiit, aiuI tlml wo iimy Imvo Iho m*lvllofco 
which boloiiK to olhor towim, without which wo cAiuiot am wo AhoiiUI norvo 
UoU nor our country, wo, thorolV>ro, pmy tor town privilogos, and thnt two 
sultAbio persons be appointed to measure out ton miles square^ and that we 
mtff hare a namo and brand and freedom from charges. 

Wo also pray that tlio Court would appoint a oommlttoo of Indifferent, unin- 
terested persons to lav oot allotments and to equalise such as have been In 
part laid out, for, without any reflection on the persons that have been already 
concerned, we humbly conceive it cannot be reasonable to suppose that a 
peaceable, honorable, speedy, righteous laying out of lots and divisions of 
lands and meadows can be by six brothers, who also pretend to, and would 
hold, near a sixth part of the plantation to themselves ; whereas, It is well 
known that this place lyeth under many pretended claims besides our honora- 
ble Governor's claim, and by their own surveying, running near two miles 
for less than a hundred acres to lay out spots of meadow— such actions, so 
contrary to law, if not regulated, the place is spoiled ; and, therefore, we 
humbly prav the Assembly to appoint Captain Wetherell, Mr. Pitkin aud»Mr. 
Ely to inquire into the legal proceedings, and inform the weak and feeble, 
that they may have a more speedy and peaceable settlement, so that we may 
have the worship of Qod among us— the which above all Is to be desired and 
sought for, and have our rights defended to ourselves and heirs. 

May 0, 1099. 


Isaac Shepard. John Spaldlnff. Matthias Button. 

•Richard Pellet Edward Spalding. Joseph Spalding. 

Benjamin Rood. James Kingsbury. Jacob Warren. 

John Fellows. Thomas Pierce. Nathaniel Jewell. 

Samuel Shepard. Thomas Harris. Timothy Pierce. 


Robert Qreen. Samuel Cleveland. Thomas Brooks. 

Richard Adams. Josiah Cleveland. ' Obadlah Johnson. 

^WlliUim Johnson.". 

About two-thirds of the inhabitants were represented in this petition. 
Mi^jor Fitch and his adherents could not be expected to sign a docu- 
ment which, indiractly, admitted the claim of the '' honorable 
Governor." The *' six brothers " referred to are probably the various 
Gallups, whose names are also withheld from the petition and whose 
previous land operations had excited so much ill-feeling. In spite of 
these omissions, the petition was most favorably considered, and the 
following ''Acts of the Governor, Council and Repi'esentatives, 
granted, upon the motion of the Governor, and petition of y* people 
of Quinebaug :" 

" Imp'. That they shaU have the powers and privileges of a township, 
provided it doth not prejudice any particular person's property. 

2. That their bounds shall be as exprest by the Gk>vernor's Honor, viz. : 
Ten miles east and west and eight mlies north and south, abutting southerly 
on Preston and Norwich bounds and westerly on Windham bounds, provided 
it doth not prejudice any former grant of townships. 

8. That the Governor's Honor shall give the plantation a name, and. also 
appoint a horse bran<jl for the use of the inhabitants. 

4. That they shall have three years exenoption f^om paying rates to the 

6. That Captain Daniel Wetherell Mr. William Pitkin and Captain WUliam 
Ely, they or any two of them, shall be a committee to lay out the bounds of 
the town and to make return thereof to this Court In October next.** 




ON May 81, 1690, the inhabitants of the Qainebang Plantation met 
to organize town govemraent. James Deane was chosen town- 
i/clerk ; Jacob Warren, Joseph Spalding, Stephen Hall, William Johnson 
and Samuel Adams were chosen selectmen ; John Fellows, constable ; 
Thomas Williams, surveyor. Though many things were needful for 
the health and oi*derly settlement of the new town, the first care was 
to secure a minbter. For several years the Quinebaug settlers had 
been deprived of religions piivileges, but now their township was con- 
firmed to them and a young minister had been already procured in 
whom they were all united. Their first vote after electing town 
offi eel's was, *'To give the Rev. Mr. Coit a call for one quarter of a 
year, for ten pounds. Stephen Hall, Nathaniel Jewell, Joseph Spald- 
ing and Thomas Williams to go and treat with him, receive his answer 
and return it to the town." liev. Joseph Coit — the son of Deacon 
Joseph Coit, of New London — was graduated from Harvard College 
in 1697, and, after preaching on probation a few mouths in Norwich, 
was invited to settle there, but expressly declared his disagreement 
from Norwich church, presuming to " set up his own opinion in oppo- 
sition to the Synod Book and a cloud of witnesses." To a young man 
of such independent habits of thought the liberty of a new plantation 
was doubtless attractive, and Mr. Ct)it at once accepted the invitation^ 
to Quuiebaug. llollgious sorvicos wore hold during the summer, alter- 
nating fVom the east to the west side of the Quinebaug. September 
6, the town voted, '^ That we should still Indeavonr to have the gospel 
preached among us and still Indeavour to get the Rev. Mr. Coit to 
i*emain another quarter. As to rate, first see by an Endeavour what 
those that are in our improvement and pretend to an intei*est in our 
plantation are willing to contribute towards carrying on the public 
worship of God in this Plantation, and then to make the rate accord- 
ingly upon allotments as have bin of-sat" 

Some difiiculty was found in collecting this rate. Some of the 
inhabitants of this somewhat lawless community were indifferent about 
religious worship, while others— especially the Massachusetts settlers — 
were deeply anxious to estiAblish religious institutions and settle their 
plantation upon a sound Chnstian basis. A meeting of the inhabitants 
was accordingly held, November 13, 1699, and the following agree- 
ment adopted : — 

*< Whereas, we, the Inhabitants living on the cast and west sides of Quina- 
bogus lUver, did, last May, petition the Qeueral Court of thlji Colouy that we 



m\fg:\it be, according to law, incorporate and have town powers and privileges 
granted to ns, the which the General Court were pleased to grant unto us, and 
now that we might rightly and truly Improve the loyal and reasonable privileges 
granted to us, so that it may be for the honor and glory of the Lord our GkhI 
and for the ffood and comfort of us and our children's children— we, the sub- 
scribers, do by these presents formerly oblige ouselves, our heirs, executors, 
administrators and assigns, to maintain an able, fttlthftil, orthodox gospel 
minister, so as that the sure worship of God may be at all times upheld and 
maintained amongst us ; and as to the way of raising this and all other Just, 
needfVil and necessary town charges, that It be done Justly and equally 
according to each one's Just proportion, in such a way and manner as the 
major part of us, the subscribers agree on, or according to the law of the 
Colony— always provided that a suitable and honorable maintenance be taken 
care of for the minister. 

We do agree that a suitable allotment and accommodations be laid out for 
the minister that God, in his holy providence, shall settle among us ; that 
there shall be an allotment or accommodations Uid out in some suitable place 
to be and remain for the minister for ever. 

Though duty to God and the wholesome laws of the Colony would oblige to 
a thorough care in the oduontlon of onr chUdron, yet it being fbnnd by expo- 
rlunco that there Is nomo'too groat renilasnosn in parents aniTothuni, and also 
diniculty In seHtllnff so remote one from another, but that wc might bo truly 
Iiidcavoring to tloTn this matter as God shall enable; we do agree that the 
townsmen do yearly take special care In this matter. 

In testimony of Uie premises, witness our hands, November 18, 1999. 

James Fitch. Thomas Drooks. Samuel Adams. 

Stephen Uall. ^ Benjamin Rood. Tlxhali Bnsworth. 

Nathaniel Jewell. ' James Dcane. Isaac Shepard. 

Thomas Williams. Daniel Woodward. Samuel Shepard. 

Jacob. Warren. Uichard Adams. John Fellows. 

John Spalding. William Marsh. John Smith. 

Joseph Spalding. Joshua Whitney. Bdward Baldwin. 

i^Thomas Stevens. ^^Willlam Johnson. Joseph Parkhnrst. 

William Douglas. DenJ. Spalding. John Deano. 

Thomas Pierce. James Kingsbury. Samuel Howe. 

Heniy Walbridge. Samuel Cleveland. Peter Crary.** 

Robert Green. Obadiah Johnson. 

Matthias Button. . Josiah Cleveland. 

Twelve of these thirty-eight subscnbers resided west, the remainder 
east, of the Quinebaug. Sixteen signed their toaraes ; the others 
affixed a mark. The Qallups, Benjamin Palmer, Bump and Welch, 
who did not sign the agreement, brought up the number of male 
inhabitants to aboat forty-live. Jacob WaiTen was ohosen rate oolleotor 
for the east side of the town ; Richard Adams for the west January 
29, 1 700, the committee were again authorized to treat with Mr. Coit, 
olTering him twelve pounds a quarter for three-quarters of a year. Mr. 
Coit was not inclined to engage for three quarters as things were cir- 
cumstanced but might. abide one quarter for twelve pounds — ^two-thirds 
in silver money ; one-third in provision pay. Attempts were made to 
bring the town into better circumstances and more regular order. At 
a town-meeting, February 2, 1700, ''at the house of Isaac Shephard*s 
present aboad/* it was voted, '* To accept the Qeneral Court's grant of 
May, 1699, and expect benefit by virtue of the same, and send for the 
committee to '^ run the town bounds,** and the towns-men were enjoined 

to take timely care to send for the appointed committee. The partial 



laying out of the town was* probably aoooinplbhed in oourse of the 
year. In October, it was annoimced, that as the Assembly had left it 
to the Oovernor to give name to the new plantation at Quinebaug — 
*' his honor hath named the town Plainfield, and the hoi^se brand he 

hath appointed to be a 'triangle, in this forme, A and hath given 

order that record be made accordingly." Captain Wetherell, Captain 
John Hamin, Mr. WiUiam Pitkin and Captain Ely were again 
appointed a committee, to find out and renew the bounds of the tract 
purchased by Winthrop at Quinebaug, *^ the committee to take the 
best infonnatiou they can got to guide them in their work, either of 
indiflbront Indians or of any other |>cr8ons, and to give notice to those 
tluit bordei* upon the land before tliey enter upon the work." 

Owing to the unseasonableness of the weather, this investigation was 
delayed till the following spring, during which interval nothing was 
accomplished for the furtlier settlement of the township. Indeed, 
nothing could be done till land titles were made valid. A number of 
inhabitants, viz. : Thomas Williams, Benjamin and Joseph Spalding 
and William Johnson, all of Peagscomsuck, purchased of Owaueco 
for six pounds current money — the right to all the land in this section 
east of the Quinebaug, ^* except what was already sold and paid for, 
in trust for those inhabitants of the plantation of Quinebaug, east of 
the river, who were willing to bear the charge for the promoting of a 
plantation," — but no possession could be taken till Winthrops' claim was 
settled. Mr. Coit was still loth to engage to remain for any certain 
time but continued to preach qnarter after quarter, and desired the 
town " to provide him as convenient a place as may be for his abode, 
and defray the charge of it" As so large a proportion of the inhabit- 
ants were settled east of the Quinebaug, ** it was thought reasonable 
and also voted to have the service on the Sabbath twothii*ds of the 
time upon the east and one-third upon the west side." 

In May, 1701, the committee previously appointed, with the addition 
of Captain Matthew Allen and Sergeant Caleb Stanley, were again 
empowered to find out and renew the bounds of the Winthrop land 
purchase, giving ** at least three days waroiing to Norwich people, or to 
such of them as are proprietors or claim land adjacent, or to Mr. 
Tracey only — always provided that what the committee shall do in the 
promises shall not confirm or invalidate the title of any Indian sachem, 
and that the work be done at the charge of the Honored Governor, 
John Winthrop, and Wait Winthrop." 

Having summoned the requisite guides and witnesses and given due 
notice to all interested pailies, the appointed gentlemen met at " Plain- 
field, cUiaa Quinebaug or Peagscomsuck, A} Ay ^i^ 1701 — to find out 


and renew the boands of the land purchased by John Winthrop of 
AllnmpB. and Aguntus, €Uicu Hyems, and Masshanshowit" It was an 
investigatiou of great interest and importance, involving the title to 
a large tract of land and the present and future peace and well-being 
of many individuals and families. A large concourse of people had 
gathered at the New Plantation — Major General Wait Winthrop, from 
New London, with counsellors and followers ; Judge Tracy, Lieutenant 
Lefflngwell, Richard Bushnell and other Norwich proprietors, together 
with Miyor Fitch and all the Quinebaug inhabitants from both sides of 
the river were present at this memorable meeting. Owaneco won there 
in royal state, with a great company of his Mohegans. There, too, 
were the Quinebaugs, the original proprietors of the disputed territory, 
still numbering some hundreds ; and representatives of the Nipmucks, 
Pequots, Shetuckets and Narragansets. The place of meeting is not 
specified, but the preliminary examination was probably held at the 
Poagscomsuck ostablishmont. Hie testimony of various Indians as to 
the reputed bounds of the Qttinebaug lands was first taken — Joseph 
Morgan and J(»hn Gallup serving as interpreters. The presence of 
Owaneco, drunken and degraded as he was, so terrified the craven 
Quinebaugs that they were obliged to be examined apart Having 
taken this testimony, the committee set out, with guides, divers 
Plainfield inhabitants and a long train of Indians, to search for 
the bounds thus described to them. They went fii*st **to Pau- 
tucket, a place mentioned in Hyems deed, which is a great Falls 
in Quinebang Iliver; where there cometh in on the east side 
another river [the Assawaga], and there on a hill [Acquiunk] 
thirty or forty rods southeast from the Falls, the said Indians, 
showed them where was Hyems, his fort, in which they said were 
four cellars or great holes in the ground, and near thereto was 
a considerable quantity of ground that had formerly been planted, 
which the Indians told them was the planting ground mentioned in 
Hyems* deed — and from this planting ground they traveled by the 
compass on the point southeast one mile into the wilderness, where, 
being on the top of a high hill, the Indians showed them other places, 
and then they set down a compass" and determined that '* a right line 
drawn from this point-, Acquidaneck, to Uhquanchang, on the extreme 
western limit, crossing the Quinebaug at the said Pautucket or Great 
Falls — should be the northern boundary of Governor Winthrop's 

The next day ** they went to the Little Falls, called by the Indians 
Lowontuxit, about three miles south of Major Fitch's house," which 
place they adjudged to be the south bounds of the purchase, and thence 
they traveled e&t, west and north, piloted by the Indians, " to hills. 


meodowB, Bwamps, plains, rivers and brooks," identifying the various 
bounds designated by the witnesses, and in traveling on the west side 
of the Quinebang tract northwest and north from plaoe to place, '*went 
iiX ot near to an old footpath made by the *Nipmuck Indians traveling 
to Shetucket." 

Four days were spent by the committee in these investigations and 
explorations. The boundaries were carefully renewed ; a plot of the 
land was made and presented to the General Court with a full report of 
all their proceedings. Winthrop's ti*act was found to contain twelve 
or thirteen miles square, and all the lands claimed by Major Fitch and 
John Tracy and almost all the land comprised in the town of Plainfield, 
with houses and buildings thereon, were included within it, and ** sfud 
Indians did testify that Hyems was the sachem of all those lands com- 
prised within the boundaries." The General Court received this retuiii 
of their doings and allowed ''a record thereof as their return and 
report," and there the matter rested. No attempt was made to settle 
the question of ownership, and both parties were left to sell land and 
seize it at pleasure. 

Finding that all attempts to procure a decision of the land con- 
troversy were fruitless, the Plainfield inhabitants resolved to assume the 
jurisdiction of their terntory, and make the best settlement that was 
possible under the circumstances. Accordingly, about two weeks after 
the meeting of the Quinebang Land Committee, and doubtless with 
the advice of some of the eminent gentlemen present on that occasion, 
a committee of the oldest and most respected inhabitants was appointed, 
'*to consider all that may tend to the good welfare of this town." 
James Deane, William Marsh, Joseph Spalding, Nathaniel Jewell, 
Thomas Williams, WUliam and Obadiah Johnson, Samuel Adams, 
Samuel and Josiah Cleveland were 'selected for this impoitant service. 
They found many things needful for peace and good order. The 
previous difficulties and uncertainties had prevented any attempt at 
public improvements. Instead of having, like other towns, lands 
reserved for public uses, the Plaipfield settlera had not even been sure 
of their own homesteads. They had neither roads, biidgos, mills, 
schools, meeting-house or record-book, and even the arrangement for 
religious services had not been carried out faithfully. The Quinebang 
was only fordable at low water and was at times impassable ; Mr. Coit 
and a majority of his hearera lived on the eant side, and the preaching 
on the west side had been often omitted. *' The committee appointed 
to settle all these things," considered them cai'efully and, June 13, 1701, 

y brought in the subjoined report : — 


'' I. Whereas, there has been dlflleulty as to onr mcetlns together upon 
Sabbath days to attend upon the pubHc worship of Qod by reason ofdiflaculty 





in crossing oyer Qolnebogus River and no place as yet stated bj y town to 
meet in, tbroagli consideration of wbich it has been thought reasonable and 
also voted to meet one- third of the time upon the west side, and things falling 
ont so, as there has been too much remissness in meeting on west side and 
also some dUHculty arising In rablng y minister's rate and arrears— the town 
has seen cause to choose a committee to consider the premises and prepare 
things suitable to exhibit, which agrees that the lost time shall be made up 
by meeting two days on the west side and one day on the east, and then for 
the time following to meet according to the property that each side shall be 

II. That there shall be sixty inhabitants with allotments and those are the 
Inhabitants to be equally privileged which have subscribed to the Articles of 
Agreement, and shall subscribe by the consent of the mi^or part of the In- 
habitants that shall vote. 

III. Tlitit the town shall procure a suitable book. 

IV. There shall be three men chosen to lay out lots to all the legal and 
listed Inliabttants— twenty acres a lot and thirty acres for addition. 

v. All town rates are to be levied upon polls and stoclcs as they are valued 
in law. 

VI. The town gives notice that all such as lay claim to land in this town 
that there will be notice given to as many clalmers as may be, that they may 
come to such a meeting or meetings as the town may appoint, these to clear 
up tholr rights to such as the town shall make choice of.** 

Tliis report was aooeptcxl and, in addition, it wns voted : — 

<* That all such as do expect to have a lot and addition laid ont, shall timely 
present the model of the lot and where It is he desires it, and give It in writing 
to the surveyor; ** also, ** That Major Fitch and Thomas Williams should take 
the first opportunity to agree wltli ProMton about dividend lino.*' 

Under these new arrangetnenta, tlie town made some progress in 
settlement, though some time passed before the allotments wera laid 
out and distributed. Public worship was held as agreed, two Sundays 
on the west of the Quinobaug to one on the oast, till the close of the year. 
Mr. Coit was invited to remain another year for twenty pounds in money 
and thirty pounds in gniin — one-third of it to be rye ; Indian corn to 
be valued at ** two shillings a bushel, rye at three, wheat at four." 
Town meetings were held alternately east and west of the Quinebaug, 
at Isaac Shepard's and Obadiah JoKnson*s. In 1702, a pound was built 
on each side of the river ; Nathaniel Jewell the east and Samuel Adams 
the west pound-keeper. Thomas Williams, Edward Spalding and 
John Fellows were east-side surveyors ; Richard Adams and Thomas 
Brooks, west'side. Samuel Cleveland and Joshua Whitney were 
collectors. Thomas Williams was selected by the town to keep a 
house of public entertainment on the east, and Obadiah Johnson on 
the west, of the Quinebaug. John Fellows, John Smith and John 
Gallup had inspection of the Cedar Swamp, and when any timber was 
appropiiated illegally were directed to seize it and prosecute the 

Major Fitoh and other leading citizens were now making efforts to 
provide a sidtsible place for public worship, and, although no town vote 
had been taken, in May, 1702, they applied to the General Court, 
praying for the appointment of three indilFerent persons at the cost of 


the petitioners, '* to view and ^ve advice where to set their meeting* 
house as may be most suitable for the whole town, and in hopes puch a 
means may prevent future trouble." Nathaniel Ohesborough, John 
Richards and Jonathan Crane were accordingly appointed, who 
selected a site on Black Hill| near a common and convenient crossing- 
place of the Quiuebaug, as one that would best accommo<]ate the 
inhabitants on both sides of the river. A meeting-house frame was 
here set up and covered during the summer, and temporary aiTange- 
ments made for its occupancy, so t&at, in January, 1708, the town 
voted, *' That the house we have lately met in to attend upon the public 
worship of Ood shall be the meeting house for the town's use, and the 
town doth accept it as built and the account of the charge of it as 
given to them, and that it shall be equally apportioned as to what is 
past about building and also as to what charge may be hereafter." 
Thus Plainfteld, with all her difficulties and embarrassments, was six 
months in advance of her prosperous neighbor, Windham, in taking 
possession of her first meeting-house. 




ALTHOUGH so much pains had been taken to select a meeting- 
house site for tlie accommodation of the whole township, only 
one side made use of it, and before the town had voted its acceptance 
it had decided upon a permanent division of territory. The trouble- 
some '^ Quinebogiis " was the chief cause of this final separation. Its 
weekly transit was too difficult and dangerous to be endured, though 
other considerations were not without weight and influence. The 
controversy between the Winthrops and Major Fitch involved the 
inhabitants in quarrels and lawsuits. The eastern settlers favored the 
Winthrops ; the western generally adhered to Major Fitch and his in- 
terests. The Major was aibitrary and unreasonable, and, when excited 
by opposition, violent and unacruplous, as when ''John Follows, Ebene- 
zer Harris and John Oallup had quietly entered upon. a certain parcel 
of land in the plantation of Plainfield and had cleared and subdued 
about eight acres and had a crop of English grain growing thereupon 
nigh to the harvest, the said Major Fitch under a pretence of proceed- 
ing against thern in a judicial way for forcible entry, did to the ex- 
treme wrong and injury of the complainants force them off from the 



said land, not safPering them to inne the cfrop that was upon it, and 
also arresting and imprisoning them and extorting a considerable sum 
of money from them for Iheir freedom. '* On complaint being made to 
the General Oourt of this treatment, it was declared by that body, 
'* that Mi^or Fitch liad not attended any due methods of law in his 
proceedings, that the parties injured had not been found guilty of any 
matter of misdemeanor that might expose them to suffering of imprison- 
ment or loss of goods, that the method of proceeding agahist them had 
been very erroneous and illegal and that Major Fitch ought to make 
good to them whatever loss they had sustained. '* 

After finding themselves in possession of a house of worship in the 
autumn of 1702, the inhabitants of Plainfield invited the Reverends 
James Noyes, Gurdon Saltonstall and Salmon Treat, to advise with 
them respecting the call of a minister. These gentlemen came up to 
Plainfield and after considering the disturbed condition of affairs, the 
various quarrels thab wore ponding and the dilBculty of crossing the 
formidable Quinebang in winter and Uigh water, advised the pooplo to 
follow the natural division of the territoiy and organisse as two distinct 
societies or townships. The suggestion met with immediate favor and 
was hastily adopted by those present, the reverend gentlemen them- 
selves drawing up articles of separation, as follows : — 

" We agree that the Quinebaag shall be the division to the centre of Peags- 
comsuck Island and from the centre of that laland [a line] due eaHt, a quarter 
of a mile — thence a lino run straight to the south bounds of town a mile 
eastward firom Quinebang River, and In whichever part the great cedar 
swamp shall Mi, the Inhabitants on both sides shall have liberty to use 
the timber. Doth sides paying for the ministry, only the west side not to 
bear any part of the charge for the meeting-house now built on the east side — 
the inhabitants of the west side to procure a minister for themselves as soon 
as the lines are run. East side Joining with them In application to the Gen- 
eral Court for the grant of a separate township, on west side. 

James Dean. . 
Thomas Williams. 
v/Willlam Johnson. 
William Marsh. 
John Fellows. 
Benjamin Clarlc. 
Edward Yeomans. 
John Spalding. 

James Fitch. 
Samuel Cleveland. 
Obadlah Johnson. 
Robert Green. 

James Noyes. 


Joseph Spalding. 
Benjamin Spalding. 
Edward Spalding. 
James Welch. 
Phillip Bump. 
Matthias Button. 
Thomas Pierce. 
Thomas Stevens, Sen. 


Josiah Cleveland. 
Ellflha Paine. 
Richard Adams. 
Thomas Brooks. 


G. Saltonstall. 

Thomas Stevens, Jr. 
Jacob Warren. 
Stephen Hall. 
Joshua Whitney. 
John Smith. 
William Douglas. 
Beplamln Palmer. 
Nathaniel Jewell. 

Benjamin Rood. 
Isaac Cleveland. 

Salmon Treat. 

Dec 24, 1702." 

This agreement so suddenly arranged was faithfully carried out as 
the most satisfacto]*y solution of perplexities and difficulties. Thomas 


Williams was selected as *'the man to act ia behalf of iababitaots 
of the east side in running the dividend line to be the bounds between 
the inhabitants of ^ast and west sides — line to be perfected hj March 
ensuing. " With the prospect of a permanent settlement now bright- 
ening, the town appointed a committee, Jan. 21, 1708, ^'t-o treat with 
Mr. Coit for his encouragement to settle here and be the constant 
minister, " and offered him *' a lot over Moosup's River and £80, to 
carry on his building, £40 a year and mora when able. " Mr. Goit 
accepted the lot over Moosup, ** provided it be on any good ways that 
are passable '* — and also the £80 to carry on his building, ^* provided 
he can procure a settlement elsewhere that may suit him, which if he 
can't and do stay here, the town must seek some other way ; also the 
£40 salary, and desires some of it shall be in money.*' 

In pursuance of the agreement of the preceding December, May 18, 
1708, the following petition was presented to the General Court: — 

**The Inhabitants of the west of Plainfleld having been in a long labarvnth 
of (IKHcultlos by reason of a tedlousi river that is bocwoon a« and tlioin and wo 
have niodolod and begun to got timber for our moetlng-house and purcluisod 
and set out a lot for our minister and ask to bo coulirmed as a town. 

-^ William Johnson. Blisha Paine. James Deane. 

Obadlah Johnson. Samuel Cleveland. Thomas Williams.*' 

• In response to this and a petition from Plainfield, that a dividing 
line might be stated between the east and west side inhabitants, the 
division was allowed — ^but fearing that the line proposed would prove 
very prejudicial to the field on the east side — the Assembly ordered, 
^'Tliat the liver should be the dividing line from the north to the south 
bound of the town, " and also, 'That the inhabitants of the west side 
should pay towards the ministry in proportion to their estates till they 
had an orthodox and approved minister orderly settled amongst them. 
Freedom from payment of country rates was also granted for two 
years. This change of boundary line, cutting off from the western 
inhabitants their shai'e of the valued cornfields, excited much dissatis- 
faction and fresh remonstrance, and in October the Court allowed the 
line agreed upon by the inhalntants to be the dividing line of the town 
and the inhabitants on the west side of the river to have the privileges 
of a township — its name to be Canterbury. 

This separation being effected, Plainfield was enabled to give Mr. 
Coit a formal call and finish its meeting-house. This edifice when ac> 
cspted was but a rude frame with temporary floor and seats. October 
29, 1703, a committee was appointed, ''To take care for the better 
seating of the mooting-house at y* town's charge. " In December, it 
was voted, " To have the meeting-house floored and a body of seats 
and a pulpit made, all to be done decently and with as much speed as 
may be, the ceiling to extend at preseut only to the 'girths $ the previous 


oommittee, William Johnson, Joseph Spalding and Benjamin Palmer, 
to get this work done at the town's charge. ** In addition to what had 
been previously offered Mr. Coit, he was now promised equal privileges 
with other land-owners in the purchase made of Owaneoo for the bene- 
fit of the inhabitants. A oommittee was appointed, *'to see the 
several town acks that are in the clerk's custody and take oare that 
such as they think fit are entered in a suitable book and the rest of 
them presented to the town as there might be occasion. " The various 
town acts which up to this date had been kept on scattered bits of 
pa|>er, were now regularly arranged and recorded. 

The division of Plainfield territory into equal and regular allotments 
and its distnbution among such inhabitants as fulfilled the required 
conditions were accomplished in 1704 ; the recipients throwing up their 
previous purchases into the common stock and receiving each an al- 
lotment with ]>romise of future divisions. Thomas Pierce, John Fol- 
lows and Benjamin Pulmor were a committee to lay out the first 
allotments. A broad strip of land adjoining the Quinebaug, extending 
from the north side of Moosup's River to the cedar swamps — ^the great 
corn-valley of Plainfield — was reserved as a General Field for the use 
of all the inhabitants. William Marsh, Joshua Whitney and John 
Smith were appointed to proportion the enclosing fence to the several . 
proprietors. Forty hundred-acre lots were ordered to be laid out east 
of Bgunk Brook ''and if there be not sufliciont land Uiere sat down, 
the remainder to bo laid north side of Moosup's Rivor*' or "west of 
the Flat Rock if it be needful" 

**Febraary 2S, 1704. We, the under- written, petition the town of Plalnfleld, 
that we may have the grant of our allotments and additions equallv privileged, 
each with other from the town. Samael Shepard, John Sinlth« Benjamin 
Smith, John Fellows, Bbenezer Harris, William Douglas, Thomas Stevens, t/^ 
Sen., Thomas Pierce, James Kingsbary, Edward Yeomans, Joshua Whitney, 
Stephen Hall, John Spalding, Edward do., Benjamin Palmer, Nathaniel 
Jewell, Thomas Stevens, Jr., Matthias Button, Jacob Warren, Timothy 
Pierce, Joseph Parkhurst, Thomas Williams, James Deane, Joseph Spalding.'** 

The same day the subscribers by virtue of the Court's grant had 
their lots ahd additions granted to be *' equally privileged." 

To these twenty-four proprietors others were soon added. A 
number of the inhabitants who were at first reluctant to resign their 
lands, afterwards came into the aiTangement, though Isaac Shepard 
and two or three others never relinquished their individual ownership. 
Each family retained its original homestead and care was taken to act- 
commodate all with accessible allotments. A lot was laid out to Wil- 
liam Douglas *'at the brook west of his house running into Mill Brook 
— ^the remainder of his purchase being yielded up to the general use of 
the town. " James Deane gave to the use of the town his laud east 
side of Mill Brook, *' hoping that it might tend to the speedy and 



quiet settlement of the town, though muoh to his loss. " Ephraim 
Wheeler threw up his purchased land, retaining the lot north of 
Moosup's Iliver,on whioh he was settled. William Gallup was allowed 
a lot, ^provided he bring his family to it in some reasonable time and 
there settle his fiunily;" Peter Crery, also, << provided he do speedily 
settle his family upon it;" John OaUup^ Jr., was granted '* the lot- he 
now lives on ;" John Gbllup, Sen., '<a lot adjoining his son's." Matthias 
Button was allowed to have his hundred acres in two parts, one of them 
to be between his house lot and Moosup's River, ** so that it be not any 
hindrance to the setting up a com mill on said river." Samuel Howe, 
John Deaue and other new inhabitants were each granted the privi- 
lege of an allotment, by paying three pounds in money into the town 

This division being distributed, the town voted, August 27, ^' That 
all the intervals adjoining to the north end of the intervals called Judge 
Tracy's and so up Quinebaug River to Moosup's and so up Moosup's 
to the place called The Seven Wonders, and so up both sides Moosup's 
to the Qcneral Field fence, shall be laid out into four-acre divisions so 
far as it will go and to be to the upper end inhabitants, and the south 
inhabitants to have as much laid out elsewhere— Thomas Stevens, 
^"^ Sen., John Smith and £dward Teomans, committee. " This division 
was laid out and drawn by lot by forty proprietors, October 19, 1704. 
The remarkable locality designated ''The Seven Wonders" has not 
been identified. It was assigned to William Marsh and described as 
near Moosup Round Hill and the lower fordway of Moosup's River, not 
far from '' a birch swamp in a hollow, bound round with hills. " To 
record these various allotments and divisions and other town proceed- 
ings, James Deane, the faithful town-clerk, was -^'engaged to provide 
three suitable books for the town and to make suitable alphabets to 
them— one book to record town acts, one for births, marriage^ and 
deaths, and one to record the laws, and also to make an alphabet for the 
present book/' For this work, which was performed with great care 
and accuracy, Mr. Deane was excused from paying any tiling towards 
the meeting-house. 

The peace and tranquillity inaugurated by the division of the town 
and its orderly laying out were soon broken. An over-measurement of 
the Tracy land was dotooted, by which some forty acres were wrongly 
appropriated, which the town at once seized and made over to Jeremy 
and other Indians, who raised a fine crop of corn upon it The Tracy 
heirs protested against this seieure and signified their determination to 
take possession of the com when it was ready for harvest Early in 
September a rumor reached Plainfield that the Norwich people woi'e 
coming up to clear the Indian corn field. As it was a time of Indian 


alarm and disturbanoe, and .very necessary to avoid any occasion of 
complaint and ill-feelings, Smith, the constable, was ordered by the 
town authorities to gather the com at once and deliver it to the select- 
men for the use and improvement of the Indians. Benjamin Palmer 
and Ebenezer Harris were employed to assist the constable and had 
gathered the com into heaps ready to be carried away, when np rode a 
number of gay young gentlemen from Norwich — Joseph Tracy, John 
Waterman, William and Jabez Hide, Albert Huntington, Caleb Bushnell 
and others — all in high spirits and eager for affray, who at once seized 
the com and began loading it into the wagons, and in reply to the con- 
stable's waming, declared that they would have it The constable 
then |n her Majesty's name required them to desist, but they went on 
gathering up the com and when cited to appear before Major Fitch, 
declared 'That if Major Fitch should send as many warrants as there 
were straws in the stubble they would take no notice of them." Con- 
stable Smith then roile away to report proceedings at head-quarters, 
and returned with a special writ of assistance and carried the young 
gentlemen before the Honorable Miijor, who ordered the const^able to 
take them into custody and take them before the Qovernor and Coun- 
cil, impressing what men and horses were needed for this service. 
Smith with Palmer and Harris accordingly mounted their horses and 
rode pff with the prisoners, but long before they reached Norwich the 
young men made their escape and galloped away. The officers pursued 
them to James Bushnell's tavern, where some of them ** had brought 
np," when the constable reproved them for their riotous conduct and 
again' summoned them to attend upon the Qovernor, '^but they refused, 
mounted their horses,*' saucily bade the officers '* good night," and ran 

This affair caused Plainfield much trouble, expense and incon- 
venience. Smith was aiTested next day, on a charge of " illegal seizing 
and delivering to Bet^amin Palmer, townsman, a certain parcel of In- 
dian corn, by virtue of an unlawful writ," and after several trials before 
various courts was sentenced to pay £18 and costs. The Gkneral 
Courts upon petition of the defendant, reversed this decision, May, 
1706, remitted the execution of judgment, and ordered that both parties 
should **bear each the charges they have expended." 

The Indian war of 1704 subjected Plainfield to stringent restrictions 
and new outlays.' With other frontier towns it was '*not to be 
deserted;" its inhabitants were forbidden to leave the place; com- 
pelled to support gi^ard-houses and scouts, and provide equipments and 
ammunition. A train-band company was formed in May, with Thomas 
W illiams for ensign, Samuel Howe for sergeant Guards were stationed 
about the meeting-house on Sunday and watch-houses maintained in 



exposed paits of the town. Great pains were taken to propitiate 
the favor of the Quinebaugs, who continued as ever peaceable jand 
friendly, notwithstanding the hazard and danger incurred when their 
com was taken away irom them and *Hhe dangerous consequences 
that then threatened the whole country by provoking the natives to 
desert the place and fall off to the enemy." . 

With all these various affairs the settlement of the minister was not 
neglected. Finding in April, 1704, that the committee chosen to com- 
plete the meeting-house had not proceeded in that work, ** ensign Wil-X 
Hams, Joseph Spalding and Jacob Warren were directed to carry on 
the same and gut what debts were due the town and improve for tlie 
same.*' October 19, Sergeant Howe with Williams and Spalding were 
chosen '< to order the settlement of the pulpit and where a pew shall be 
made and the manner of it, and also for ordering a body of seats and 
how they shall be made and settled.'* It was also voted, '^ To invite the 
Reverend Messi*s. Noyos, Saltonstall and Treat to be helpful to the 
town in carrying on a day of hum\)iation and pmyor," preparatory to 
the formation of the church and ordination of the minister. This hav- 
ing been accomplished on a day appointed by Mr. Noyes and the " pul- 
pit settled on the south side of the meeting-house," the town voted 
December 25, 1704, "That next Wcdnesday-com-seveii — night be ap- 
pointed for ordination," and early in January, 1705, a church was 
gathered in Plainfield and Mr. Colt ordained as its minister. No re- 
cord is preserved of church organization or covenant Ten males con- 
stituted its onginal membership. Its first deacons wei-e Jacob WaiTen 
and William Douglas. 



WITH land laid out, a church, minister and meeting-house. Plain- 
field was far from being settled. The loss of her western 
tenitory and the unsettled condition of her various bounds gave her 
great uneasiness. The oiiginal layers-out of the town had failed to 
complete their work, and none of its boundaries were satisfactorily 
determined. Though she had freely and voluntarily relinquished to 
Canterbury the valley south of Peagscomsuck Island, she now fell 
back from her agreement, and insisted upon the iirat grant of the 
General Court, making the Quinebaug the boundary between the 
towns. Preston encroached much farther on the south than to a cer- 
tain red oak tree, which should have sufficed her. To make up these 


loBses on the south and west, there wae still vacant territory on the 
north and east that might be annexed to her, and to secure this became 
one of the cliief objects of the town. April 27, 1704, being " sensible 
that they were in great need of enlargement, partly by Preston extend- 
ing too far north and Canterbury coming upon us on the west side,'* 
the town voted to petition for enlargement — ** William Marsh to go 
with petition and discourse with the honored governor as to en- 
largement and do with him as far as he can, as he may find it needful 
on y* town's behalf." Major Fitch was desired " to join with them 
concerning Preston as upon choice he did formerly with Thomas 
Williams." As the result of this action, the General Court, May 10, 
1705, received the following petition : — 

'* Whereas, the honorable Court has been pleased to permit y inhabltonts 
cost of the Quinebang to be distinct and a town by ourselves, the brendth 
whereof at the south end doth not exceed six inlles east from said Quinebang, 
if said river lie continued lui our west bonier, which wo do not doubt seeing 
y« honornblc Court \\m been pleased so to ntato it, in May, this time two years 
past, for wo do look upon it, y< y grants of our lion. Court arc like y* laws 
of the Medos and Persians, unalterable* and wo dare not entertain Kuch 
diminutive thought8 of our Honorable Rulers, y* they will ant like children to 
grant a thing one Court and yn to take it away y« next (if they were able). 
And as for the breadth of our town at the north end it doth not exceed two and 
three-quarter mileM, which we verily persuade ourselves this Hon. Court will 
not determine a suiTlciency for us, whereby we may bo able to bear a part to 
all public charges which will bo needful, especially, InaMmuch a8 it is with the 
Hon. Court to grant us a further enlargement without any real prejudice t^ 
any grant or plantation y< already is or may hereafter be granted ; therefore 
beg YOU to grant y* our bounds may extend east to y* dividing line between 
Kbode Island and y* Colony, which is oflteomod throo miles or les8 from our 
present east bounds, and but a small part of it sood for improvement, 
generally a barren pluo land; also, pray to be enlarged three miles north, and 
then hope, by the blesMlng of God, na wo are always willing so wo Mhall bo 
able, to maintain public chargea In church and commonwealth— but if the 
Court think our request too much, though we are fhlly satlsfled they would 
not if acquainted with our circumstances, we will leave It to your Honors to 
grant what they make think convenient, tto as to maintain necessary charges 
as becomes ChrlstlauH, and humbly pray that bounds east and north may be 
settled according to law. and Preston bounds likewise settled and bounds 
next to river Airther conflrroed, and oblige your poor petitioners — 

Stephen Hall. Nathaniel Jewell. 

James Deanc. Benjamin Palmer. 

William Marsh.*' 

No action is reported upon this petition, nor upon another the 
following year asking for a new survey of the Preston bound. 

While thus negotiating for enlargement, the town continued her dis- 
tribution of present possessions. In February, 1705, a comniitiee was 
appointed ''to finish the laying out the divisons of meadows — t. e., five 
and one fourth acres to each inhabitant, and those that have not had 
their part to make their pitch and present it to the committee.'* It was 
also voted, " That all the land in Plainfield without the General Field 
to be laid out into five equal parts — Stephen Hall, Joshua Whitney, 
John Smith, William jMarsh and Joseph Parkhurst a committee to do 


it" A oommittee was also chosen to lay oat leading ways ^nto the * 
General Field and a way to Canterbury. A mill had been some ^e 
in operation on Mill Brook, and a oart-bridge over it, and now the high- 
way leading to it was tamed eastward ^*to miss the two flows and 
with as much oonveniency as may be, lead to the north part of Plain- 
field." A highway, six rods wide, was laid odt from Preston line to 
the extent of the north bounds of the town, with two crossings at 
Moosup's River for public convenience. Connecting with this road 
was a highway through the General Field, between John Spalding's and 
Thomas Pierce's, and " so over the brook on the west side of Moosup's 
Hill to Moosup's River and so down the river." A corn-mill, set up on 
this river by Isaac Wheeler, in 1705 or 1706, making it needful for the 
town to have a common way thither, ** Deacon Warren was appointed 
to act in that affair ; where it may be most beneficial and convenient 
for the town and least prejudicial to any particular person." A road 
was laid out by the inhabitants of Moosup for their own convenience, 
from the north bound of the town to this mill, '^ beginning north side 
of Joseph Parkliurst's house, and thence by trees marked to the east 
of Isaac Shopard's house, and so east by Sergeant Howe's house, 
through Isaac and Epiiraim Wheeler's lot to Moosup's River." The 
proper care and culture of the public cornfield called for frequent enact- 
ments, and in April, 1706, the town voted, ^< That there shall no cows, 
cattle or horses be suffered to go in the General Field, at liberty, from 
the first of April to the fouith of October, upon the penalty of six- 
ponce a head, and if any cattle go upon the grain, the owners to pay 
fivo-pouce per head to the owners of the grain as thoy shall be 
found in." 

As the title to the lands of Plaiufield was still unsettled and fresh 
law-suits and contentions constantly arising, another attempt was 
made in 1706, to settle the unhappy differences between the Honorable 
Governor and Major James Fitch, and six competent gentlemen were 
commissioned by the GUsneral Court to repair to the place of difference 
and thei*e to inform themselves of the true state of that matter, medi- 
ate between the pai*tios and endeavor an ankicable compromise ; with 
sufiicient power to search records and examine evidences — while all 
actions at law de]>ending between the parties were ordered to be sus- 
pended till after this investigation, when it was ho[)ed that the cause of 
these actions and suits and of all their troubles and vexations would be 
brought to a final issue. 

In accordance with these instructions, the appointed commissioners — 
Joseph Curtis, Esq., liev. James Noyes, Timothy Woodbridge, Captain 
Abraham Fowler and Captain Matthew Allen pro<jeeded carefully to 
investigate the Quinebaug land qloims, examining the grants and the 


boands therein specified, and taking testimony from Qainebangs, 
Mohegans, Narragansets, Peqnots and Nipmucks — ^the aged John 
Aoqnitamog, of Woodstook, testifying that he was present at the time 
of Winthrop's purchase, ttnd saw the trucking-cloth, red cotton, wam- 
pum, tobacco-pipes, <fea, given by the Governor to Agantus in 
payment The conmiissioners adjudged that Hyems* deed to Winthrop 
was defective. ^* (1.) That it is without any valuable consideration. 
(2.) With respect unto the uncertain quantity of land therein conveyed, 
having but one certain boundary, Pawtncket, and one probable bound, 
a fort on Egunk HilL" They found that the General Court had allowed 
the Gbvemor*s purchase, which had its weight ; but they also found 
that Uncases east bounds, as settled by the General Court's committee, 
take in the greatest part of the Quinebaug Country and runs to the 
aforesaid Falls," or Pawtucket, and that the Court had granted leave 
to dispose of it to Owaneco, and had confirmed his sales of land to 
Miyor Fitch and others. With what now appears the vital point of 
the whole controversy — the right of either Hyems or Tineas to hold or 
convey the land — ^the commissioners had no concern, and probably, as 
at the previous investigation, it was provided that what was done by 
them ''should not confirme or invalidate the title of any Indian 

Having examined all facts that came within their instructions, the 
commissioners next endeavored to eficct the " amicable compromise," 
and easily persuaded Governor Winthrop and his brother, who must 
have seen that their daim was not legally tenable, to renounce their 
right to the remaining lands at the Quinebaug to the Government of 
Connecticut, upon condition of receiving each a thousand acres, one in 
the north part of Plainfield, and the other of Canterbury township. A 
settlement upon this basis was assented to and concluded, October, 
1706, between the Honorable Governor and the Council and Repre- 
sentatives in the General Court, and the usual legal instruments of 
quit-claim and confirmation interchanged and n^corded. At the same 
date, upon the request of the proprietors and inhabitants of the town 
of Plainfield, the Assembly granted them a Patent for confirmation of 
the lauds in their township under the seal of the Colony. This happy 
termination of their many conflicts and difiiculties greatly rejoiced the 
inhabitants of Plainfield. The bounds of their town were now firat 
laid down and accurately described by Captain John Prents, the 
surveyor of New London County. The Quinebaug River was made the 
west bound of the town, and the Preston line settled to present satisfac- 
tion. The instruments confirming this amicable settlement were received 
with appropriate formalities. Their old friend, the Rev. Mr. Noyes, was 
invited " to go to the Governor and take the deed from the Governor 


to the town, in the town's behalf, and to deliver the bill to his Honor 
the Goveraor upon his Honor delivering the deed to the person sent 
by the town." The person sent was William Marsh, who reoeived the 
deed fi*om Mr. Noyes and presented it to the t^wn authorities. January 
1, 1707, it was voted, ''That the present to wn^ committee keep the 
town's Patent until the town orders it otherwise ;** also, «'That what 
the town owes to Mr. Caleb Stanley, Lieutenant HoUister and the 
County Surveyor for laying out the town and attaining the deed of the 
Governor and attaining a patent — the town will take oare and pc^y as 
soon ns may be." 

This settlement, so satisfactory to the people of Plainfield, gave 
great offence to Major Fitch and other Quinebang proprietors and to 
the inhabitants of Canterbury, who, in* May, 1707, most earnestly 
remonstrated against '' a certain pretended patent or deed of settlement 
of all the lands in Plainfield and part of the lands in Canterbury to a 
certain number of persons paiticularly named," which conveyance they 
declared to be '' unjust, unequal, unreasonable and contrary to law, 
justice and equity : *' — 

** 1. Contrary to the nature of granting townships, namely, to grant to 
particular men the whole in foe aimple, thereby to exclude others coming in- 
to s^ld towns or the Impeopllng tho place and putting a stop to the increase 
and i;rowth of tho Colony. 

2. Ttttont uuJUHt, in that much of tho laud grantod to your potltlonors In 
Plulnncld is coinprohendod in It. 

8. Wrong, erroneous and very unjust, in that it Includes several particular 
mon's lands and estates, which they had bought by good purchase of 

4. Contains lands that wore in controversy. 

Finally, wo may say that if you do not see oauso to vacate said Jiujust and 
lUogal dood, y* It can In no wise take away Uie lands of hor Mi^osty's subjects, 
or thoso snch who have a good and porfcct title from a good authority under 
the Corporation seal, and raoro than twenty Vears passea, nor however, will it 
in law disable this Colony or any authority therein to try any dliference about 
the titles, the whole Colony being bound by warrants in said patent — tho laud 
to the grantees and their heirs for ever." 

To this violent remonstrance from the irascible Major, was added a 
request from the selectmen of Canterbury that their bounds might not 
be altered as established in 1 702- 8 — wherefore, to prevent any trouble 
or damage to that township or other of its inhabitants, the Assembly 
declared 'Hhe said patent to be void," and ordered ^'a new patent to be 
granted according to usual form, if desired. Cost allowed to Canter- 
buiy contra Plainfield is £1. Is. cash and £2. 4s. 7d. pay.'* 

Whether '* desired " or not, the new patent was not made out, and 
PlunHeld continued to hold possession of all the land east of the 
Quinebang, defending hei-self in actions brought against her by her 
Canterbury neighbora and ordering a laud-rate to pay the executions 
obtained by them, leaving it to the selectmen to draw on some persons 
and mitigate the rate of others *^ as they see cause." The land division 


ordered two years before was now perfected and distribated— all the 
land in Plainfield, ezolnsive of the meadows and (General Field being 
divided into five sections, called ** eighths." The first and most sonth- 
emmost included John Gallup, Sen., John Smith, Ebenezer Hanis, 
John Fellows, Peter Crary and son and Ben Adam Gallup. The second 
eighth — north of and adjoining the first — ^was taken up bj Henry 
Stevens, Deacon William Douglas, William Gallup, Joseph Coit, Tho. 
Stevens, Jun., and Samuel Shepard. In the third, north of the second, 
were Benj. Palmer, Joshua Whitney, Nathaniel Jewell, Stephen Hall, 
Thomas Williams, Benjamin Spalding, Sen., Timothy Pierce and 
Joseph S|)alding. The fourth division, abutting south on the third 
and north on Moosup River, comprised Thomas Stevens, Sen., 
James Kingsbury, Ed. Teomans, William Marsh, Jacob Warren, 
John Spalding, the heirs of Thomas Pierce and Edward Spalding ; 
'* while Matthias Button, Kphraim and Isaac Wheeler, Samuel Howe, 
James Deane, Joseph Parkhurst and John Teomans belonged to the 
fifth eighth, north of Moosup," whose bounds began at the Indian Ford- 
way and extended west to the Quinebaug. Various meadows, de- 
signated as Snake, Apple-tree and Half, were laid out in divisions of 
five and one-fourth acres to each proprietor. Black Hill was also laid 
out and distributed, with the exception of twelve acres bound over to 
Thomas Williams and Joshua Whitney, in security for four pounds in 
money lent to tho town. William Green, Robert Williams and Francis 
Huiith wore allowed each a hundred acres and house-lot near Egunk 
Hill, they bearing their proportion of charge for maintaining an ortho- 
dox ministry and other town charges and paying the town certain 
specified sums of money. January 2, 1707, it was voted, "Thatyiere 
be forty twelve-acre divisions laid out within the General Field, which 
is the third twelve-acre division within said field, and also a second 
division of interval in sixty proportions, each man making his pitch 
according to his dmft." Twenty acres of land were freely granted to 
Thomas Kingsbury, ''providentially cast into Plainfield aftei long 
captivity, having lost all that he had by the enemy." liberty was 
also given to Indian Thomas '' to prepare three acres of land that he 
had already broken up," and Ephraim Warren was allowed '' to enjoy 
his labor in getting fencing stuff in cedar swamp without molestation 
from the town." John Fellows was appointed ''to have inspection of 
cedar swamps, and if any one not belonging to the town take timber 
or rails to seize the same and prosecute on behalf of the town." As 
Canterbury men continued to appropriate cedar and valley land by 
yirtue of the original compact, a committee of five men was chosen, 
Julys, 1707, " To consider some way which may be most beneficial 



to defend the town'ii rights or for the defence of peraons orderiy settled 
in the town." 

Now that Plainfield had come into full possession of her territory, 
she was deemed competent to bear her part of public charges. The 
list of estates presented in October, 1707, valued them at £1,265; her 
inhabitants were about fifty. John Fellows was sent as her first repre- 
sentative to the (General Court in May, 1708. Thomas Williams was 
now lieutenant of her train-band s Timothy Pierce, ensign. October, 
1708, her estates were valued at £1,890 ; her male inhabitants, num- 
bered fifty-fiva 

Although the inhabitants of Plainfield in their first mutual agree- 
ment had oliargod the selectmen to take special care in the mjitter ot 
ftchoolsi no public provision was made for them till December, 1707, 
when ** part of the country land was allowed for the encouragement of 
a school," and Lieutenant Williams, Joseph Spalding and Deacon 
Douglas directed "to take care that there be one." A year later, the 
town voted, " To send to Mr. James Deane to see if we can agree with 
him to be schoolmaster," who agreed to undertake that olRco for half a 
year, ** for what the county allows and what parents and musters ot 
children shall agree with me for." 

Mr. Ooit was married soon after his settlement to Miss Experience 
Wheeler, of Stonington, and continued to ofliciate in the pastoral ofiioo 
to general satis&ction. In 1708, a contribution was ordered for him 
above his salary, " Palmer and Button to see what each will give," and 
in the following year his salary was '* increased to £60, in grain and 
provision pay as yearly stated by Qeneral Court— >those paying money 
to hfve one-third abated." 

The care of the numerous ** ways " about tlie town involved much 
charge and labor, and so many complaints were brought that, February, 
1707, the town voted, " That if any person complains to the committee 
for want of a convenient way, the committee taking a view and finding 
that complaint was made without cause, the person so complaining shall 
pay the committee for their time." The Quinebaug and Moosup Rivers 
were still inimicthl to the peace of the town. The Shepards had control 
of the best crossing places and used it for their own advantage. Com- 
plaint being made that Isaac Shepard endeavored to hinder persons 
passing Moosup River where it was thought to be most convenient, 
the town appointed a committee '* to see -where the river might be 
most conveniently cros't and lay out a convenient by-way across it." 
Attempts were repeatedly made to bridge the '^ tedious " and trouble- 
some Quinebaug. Committees were appointed to discourse with the 
selectmen of Canterbury concerning the best way or ways for crossing. 


and a bridge was aotoally aooomplished in 1709, probably by priyate 
enterprise as no town action ia reported. 

The inorease in the yield of gnun making more mills needfol, James 
Billiard, in 1709, received from the town several acres of land north of 
Moosnp for his encouragement to maintain a sufficient corn-mill, '^ the 
grantee, to the best of his endeavor, to maintain a suffidency of corn- 
meal for the use of the town." To protect their fields from the 
depredations of birds it was vote<!^ ** That they who bring black-birds' 
hcflds to any one of the selectmen shall be allowed by the town one 
penny a head, provided they be killed before the 15th of May; for a 
crow, sixpence per head.** Any one that killed a rattle-snake and 
brought the tail with some of the flesh on it, was allowed twopence per 
tail. Indian Jeremy and his brother David, having killed two wolves, 
were each allowed ten shillings for encouragement of such work. 

tmtle, though not troublesome, required occasional restraint, and a 
pound was ordered in 1708, **in the senter of the town, near the 
meeting-houRe.*' A rate was levied for ** the pound, stox and bords 
for meeting-house." Money was also given to the selectmen to buy a 
** book of records, a black staff and waits " for the town. A committee 
was chosen to discourse with those men who had served as a guard 
upon the Sabbath and agree with them, and John Deane, their sergeant, 
was allowed nine pounds of powder out of the town stock for their 

In 1710, it was voted, ^'Tlmt the ])rosont mooting-houso be decently 
finished, by finishing the seats below and sealing also, and also the 
sealing above and making the galleries and all to be made decent and 
comfortable to meet in, to attend upon the public worship of God.*' 
Bvery householder in town was required to give to the Widow Saraans 
" one peck of Indian com a year in consideration for her to sweep the 
meeting-house ; so long as she doth it, the come to be carried to her.** 
It was also agreed, " That the place which has been for several years 
improved by the inhabitants for the burial of the dead shall abide and 
remain for that use,** and a committee was chosen '^ to see and appoint 
what quantity of land might be needful, and also to stake a convenient 
way for the inhabitants to go unto the same as they have occasion, and 
also to appoint a place for the Indians to bury their dead.** This 
Indian Burying Ground, rendered so needful by the rapid decay of the 
Quinebaugs« was situated in the eastern part of the town, in a place 
where it is said chiefs and Sagamores and many previous generations 
of the tribe had been deposited. 

As all the available public land was now distributed, such new in- 
habitants as from time to time appeared purchased their farms and 
homesteads firom previous proprietors. Daniel Lawrence settled south 



of Plainfield village about 1708, and beoame a prominent public man. 
Sons of proprietors, as they came to man's estate, were admitted inhabit- 
ants. In 1709, John Hutchins, Daniel Lawrence, Ephraim Fellows, 
Ephraira Kingsbury, Benj. Spalding, Jun., Henry Stevens, Jun., Edward 
Spalding, Jun., and John Hall had liberty to vote for town officers. 
James Deane still served as town-clerk, Thomas Williams was 
appointed, in 1700, a Justice of Peace for the County of New London. 
The representatives serving during thb period were John Fellows, 
Thomas Williams, Joshua Whitney and John Smith. In 1711, Plain- 
field attained to the dignity of a full train-band, Thomas Williams 
being confirmed as captain, Timothy Pierce as lieutenant, and William 
Douglas as ensign, and a rate was ere long ordered to pay for " the 
cullers and to procure other necessary banners for the company.'* *■ 

A fourth twelve-acre division was laid out in the General Fiel^and 
'Mots drawn for it" at a public meeting, February 7, 1710. A new 
committee was also chosen to act in fencing this Field, which agreed, 
'' That all the proprietors should maintain their divisions of fence, lots 
not disposed of done at the town's cost" North proprietors to 
secure the north and nortlieast end against y* river from the north- 
east comer of our General Field to the mouth of Blackwell's Brook ; 
Benjamin Spalding and all south of him secui*e to the new bridge, and 
that part of the fence between Robert Green's and Tracy's ; proprietors 
south of the new bridge secure that pait of the field from Major 
Fitch's Neck to Norwich line." 

The public travel Uiroiigh Plainfield had now become very great, so 
that the governments of both Gonnecticut and Uhode Island wore 
constrained to provide for its better accommodation. In 1711, the 
General Assembly of Rhode Island ordered, '' That a highway should 
be laid out from Providence through Providence, Warwick and West 
Greenwich to Plainfield." Representations were made to the General 
Assembly of Connecticut, that travelers from the westward to Boston 
and Providence met with great difficulty, and were exposed to great 
danger for want of a suitable country road through Phiinfield, both 
from the centre and south parts of th^ town to its eastern bounds, 
whereupon it was enacted, October, 1712, ''That the selectmen of 
Plainfield do take immediate care, by a jury or otherwise as the law 
directs, to lay out the two roads above-mentioned within their own 
town ; and also, that the said selectmen continue the said country road 
or roads up to the river lying about one mile and a half to the eastward 
of Fi*ancis Smith's — to be done at the charge of this Government 
so far as it extends to the eastward of the bounds of the said town." 

William Marsh, John Fellows and Thomas Stevens were appointed 
by the town to carry out this enactment, and stmtway laid out a high- 


way from the Qninebnng River to the east bound of the town, crossing 
the ** third eighth '* and the site of Plainfield village. The land needful 
was given by the proprietors — Joshui^ Whitney, Benjamin Spalding, 
Nathaniel Jewell, Daniel Lawrence, John Hall and John Smith,-^'* in 
consideration that it is convenient and necessary for travelers, being 
the nearest and best way to and from Providence, Boston, Rhode 
Island, Narraganset and many other places, and convenient for town 
and conntry." ** A miry slongh, eastward from Daniel Lawrence's," was 
transformed into " a good and sufficient causeway '* by the labor of 
some of the inhabitants. The road was laid out four rods wide and 
eight rods at some parts of Egunk Hill for the convenience of loaded 
carts. The committee continued it beyond the bounds of the town to 
the Moosup ford-way, where a safe and sufficient biidge was con- 
structed at the ox]N)nso of the Colony, by Miles Jordan and Francis 
Binith, in 1714. llhode Island's part of this highway ^ras complotod 
the same year and thrown open to the public, so that communication 
with Providence and other large towns was very greatly facilitated. 



THOUGH Plmnfield was now apparently peaceable and thriving, . 
with lands equally laid out and many public improvements, she 
had never ceased to quarrel over boundary lines and press petitions for 
enlargement The laying out of the township of Eillingly, in 1708, 
effectually precluded all further hopes of addition on the northward, 
though Plainfield did not submit without opposition and remonstrance 
and various negotiations in reference to the bounds. The. point was 
settled by an enactment of the Assembly, October, 1700, that Plain- 
field's north bound ** should be and remain as the same was run and 
settled by Captaip John Prentts, surveyor." 

' The vacant territory on the east still greatly excited the cupidity of 
Plainfield proprietors, and no pains were spared to secure its annexa- 
tion. After their own lands were parceled out, they took possession 
of its commons for pasturage, and its few inhabitants wei-e protected 
and cherished and allowed to participate in the privileges of the town^ 
Petition after petition was sent to the General Court, showing that the 
lands were good for nothing and yet they could not live without them, 
but all their efforts were unavailing. 

With Canterbury, Plainfield maintained an incessant border warfare. 
That township had never submitted to the Court's decree, robbing her 


of a valued part of her promised territory, and oontinued to take her 
share of the hay and help herself to oedar rails aocording to the 
original oompact. Plainfield appointed a committee to defend the 
town's rights, with power to recover rails and withstand prosecution, 
against which vote William Marsh, Joseph Spalding, Bbenezer Harris 
and James Kingsbury had (he honesty and fairness to protest — '^ if the 
town intends the rails which were gotten by Canterbury," showing 
that they, at least, still i^ecognized the original agreement Plainfield 
assumed full jurisdiction of all the land oast of the Qtiinebaug, laying 
out divisions and ordering fences at pleasure { while Canterbury 
rett(liato<l by pulling down fences and carrying off huy and grain. 
Innunieiiiblo lawsuits wore oaiTiod on between tlio oontcMiding |>{U'tius. 
Sanmel Adams, Obadiah Johnson, Tixhall Ensworth and liobert Green 
were arrested for taking from Qreenwich Plain a parcel of g^n, and 
though judge<^ *^ not guilty," had to give account of grain. Gallup 
and Smith complained of Ensworth, also, for carrying off fence and 
recovered *' two loads of posts and rails, with costs." The Tracys sued 
T|)oma8 Brown, of Canterbury, for rail-thnber, while, at a later stage 
in tlie controversy, Major Fitch, Elisha Paine, Samuel Cleveland, John 
Dyer, and neai*ly all the prominent men of Canterbury, were indicted 
^' for stealing loads of hay," and had each to pay ten shillings to the 
Treasury and twenty shillings to John Smith. At length, afler ten 
years of wrangling and confusion, the General Court, in a revision and 
settlement of various disputed bounds, ordered the line between Plain- 
field and Canterbury to be re-stated, '' pursuant to the agreement of 
the inhabitants of the east and west sides of the town of Plainfield, 
made on DecomlH)r 24, 1702.*' The line was then run by John Plumb, 
county surveyor, in 17H-15, a quarter of a mile east from the centre of 
Peagscomsuck Island, and thence in a straight line to the south bound 
of the town* This so-called settlement only increased the confusion 
and disorder, Plainfield resolutely reiiising to yield her accustomed 
jurisdiction, and Canterbury assuming not only jurisdiction but owner- 
ship of the land acci*uing to her. Open war was waged by the contend- 
ing townships and many acts of Border-nifBanism perpetrated on both 
sides. Afler some years of strife and litigation, Plainfield thus ap- 
pealed to the General Court: — 

*'Oct. 12, 1721. We, your poor petitioners, luhabltants and proprietors of 
y« town of Plalnfleld, humbly showeth: That, whereas, notwIthstaucUng a 
supposed ogroeineiit mode by part of the luhabltants of the east and west 
sides In respect to a divldlug Hue between them, when this agreement cauie « 
to be laid before y lion. Assembly for contlrmatlon y« Hon. Court granted 
the [Qulncbaug] River, and, whereas, the Court had not granted us any 
fee in our first grant, doth nhow as looking upon It as not to lie In them— We, 
your humble petitioners,' did propose, at no small cost, to purchase this 
property of the llon.Wluthrops, who, many yeant before, hod purchased of 
the natives, which purchase had been approved by King Charles of blessed 


• » 

memory, and then we got conflrmatlon fh)m the Qen. Assembly and proceeded 
to lay oat our land, &c. Bot now we are sorry to be obliged to expose the 
nakedness of our neighbors of Canterbury, which otherwise we should have ' 
covered with a mantle of love, as fftr as we could with a good conscience, but 
they, without giving any notice for the establishing of a line according 
to first agreement, and the Oeneral Court, not so well considering what 
they had done before, granted the line according to first agreement. And, 
whereas, our Canterbury neighbors, not sufficiently checked for their first 
fliult as contranr to law, but too much countenanced, took encouragement, as it 
Is the nature of sin to grow from bad to worse, and blinded the eyes of the 
Hon. Assembly with a most abominable falsehood— all which is greatly to 
our hurt, especially in the use Canterbury is making of the same, as may be 
evident : 

1. Since the new line was fixed, Canterbury people came up In the midst of 
summer, when all our grain was standing, and pulled up the fence fh>m the 
General Field, thus laying the field open to be destroyed by all sorts of 
devouring creatures to our unaccountable damage. 

8. Some have come upon us In a riotous and disorderly manner when we 
were making hay on lands that we had honestly bought and been possessed of 
many years, and laid violent hands on some of us and dragged us down to 
Now London by force, without writ or warrant, and feloniously carried away 
our hay that we bad mowed. 

8. Some have carried off our corn that we had planted and tilled for the 
support of ourselves and fiivmillos. 

4. Some have had their com reaped and carried away, bay mown and carried 
away, and have not known bv whom till Canterbury people have boasted of 
doing it under pretence of this line, so that they have to gather corn before 
it is ripe ; all which are not fkncles of the brain but real matters of fact. 

Further, the records of this land are in Canterbury — an intolerable hardship 
to be laid on y King's subjects and not to be tolerated in a christian govern- 
ment. We beg the Hon. Court to help us in our distressing difficulties and 
establish the first grant, for these reasons ^— 

1. It was, upon due consideration, granted and patented to us by this Court, 
and thereby established to us accordlnff to law. 

2. In that, according to the Court's (ears, If that Canterbury doth come to 
the said supposed lino, it will not only be hurtAil but totally ruinating to our 
(General Field, which hs our greatest dependence to support our fhmlfles and 
cliarges in church and state. 

8. Township so small without it that we cannot support ourselves and 

4. If we should have it, yet Canterbury will be much bigger than we 
shall be. 

6. Seeing what Canterbury has done hath been by under hand dealing and 
fklsehood, and hath made such bad use of the same and hath reftised to fblfil 
agreements— we pray the General Assembly to take off the incumbrance 
which Canterbury has caused to be laid upon our patent; but If we cannot 
previUl and Canterbury must come to the proposed line, to say whether the 
fee did ever lie in them and whether they have granted the same to Canter- 
bury, which we suppose contrary to y intent of the Court. 

£ph. Wheeler. John Hall. 

John Crery. Eph. Kingsbury. 

Ed. Spalding." 

To this latter query, the Assembly replied, that the transfer of land 
" did not convey the fee but only powers and privileges ; " ordered, 
'' That Plftinfield reoorda should be in no wise invalidated by the aot 
of division,** and ignoted the remainder of the memorial. 

Before Flainfield had submitted to her loss in the Quinebang Valley, 
ahe was called to batUe for the vacant land eastward. It was rumored 
thai this Colony land, so ardently coveted, was about to be annexed to 



the Volunteer's Land, south of it A number of the most prominent 
citizens — ^Thomas Williams, Jacob Warren, Joshua Whitney and John 
Fellows — ^hastened with a petition to the General Court, October 3, 
1715, praying that Prentt's former survey might be established for their 
bounds and this land east annexed to them. At the same time, Richard 
Williams, Miles Jordan, John Smith and others, <' living east of Plain- 
field, hearing that their laud was to be annexed to the Volunteers,*' 
most earnestly protested, '' by reason of that town being so large 
already that some of the settlers live seven or eight miles from the 
moeting-hoiise spot — a long Sabbath-day's journey,"— and begged to 
be annexed to PlainBeld, as every way more convenient. In i*eBponse 
to these and contrary requests from the people of Voluntown, the 
General Court ordered, " That the surveyor of the County of New 
Loudon do, if either of the said towns will be at the charge of it, 
survey the lands lying east of Plainfield, south of Killingly, north of 
Voluntown aud to the east bounds of the Colony, and lay a plot of the 
same, with an account of the quality, before the General Court . . . 
that they may be able to resolve of the future manner of the i*egulatiug 
of the same." This work having been done by the New London sur- 
veyor, Mr. John Plumb, the Plainfield petitioners renewed their request 
for the land the following October, but no answer was vouchsafed them 
and the vacant land was left unappropiiated for several years. 

Thus foiled on every side in her attempt to secure enlargement, 
Plainfield next sought relief by appropriating lands within her own 
borders included in the grants of Major Fitch from Owaneco, and 
hitherto •allowed to that gentleman and his grantees. This attempt to 
seize land long liold iu peaceable possession, called forth a storm of 
indignation from Major Fitch and his adliorents, and many fi*antic 
petitions to the General Court. These infant settlements were all like 
children, running crying to their parents with every want and com- 
plain^ but none equalled Plainfield in the number, vanety and impor- 
. tunity of its petitions. The outraged settlers whose lands were now 
threatened appealed to the Genei*al Assembly, May 10, 1716, in this 
piteous strain: — 

<* Unto whom shall the oppressed apply themselves? In the first place, 
they sigh, they groan and send up their cries unto the Lord Ood, who in his 
holy word directs In such cases to apply ourselves unto the earthly Judges, 
our rulers and fathers. Thence it is, we, with deepest humility us on our 
bended knees, lay before you our miserable, deplorable, undone condition ; 
unless Ood or our King or your compassionate selves will relieve us. 

The cose Is this : We have settled on the south part of Plainfield many 
years since, which lands we purchased. We find tliat the plow lands aud 
meadows at the west part of our lots had been purchased of the natives and 
confirmed by seal to Major Fitch and some others in 1686, and he having bought 
the others out, laid out our allotments, about fourteen in number— some fifty ^ 
some sixty rods wide and about two miles long, — so that we have improvable 
land lying west of us $ and to the east out-lots, pasture and commonage, with 


timbeh which Ktijor Fitch caused to be laid oat to promote plantation woric* 
which allotments were recorded (we suppose) more than twelve years since 
and now stand on Plalnflcid book, and many of the allotments were laid out 
by Thomas Williams and .lames Deane. 

And, secondly, we inform, that several of us have for twelve or fourteen 
years done our proportion in town charges, both as to settling minister and 
public buildings ; yet hath the town orPlalnfleld voted to lay out both our 
plow lands on the west and our out-lots on the east, and hath appointed 
men to lay them out, which Is done and recorded, nor do they allow 
and lay ont to us any lands in them, so that, as we humbly conceive, 
their presumptuously so acting, if still allowed of and countenanced, we 
and our families are and must be undone. We, therefore, pray for a patent of 
our lands lying east of the former patent, according to each one's lawfhl 
purcliase ; not prejudicing any town's legal right. Protest signed by several, 
and If some others had opportunity, they might have signed what we here 
show, and that twelve years since we declared against the unjust and Illegal 
proceedings of Plainfleld, contrary to their grant for town privileges. 

James Fitch. Ellsha Patne. James Deane. 

James Welch. Thomas Harris. John Deane. 

Philip Bump. 

Some proprietors had not opportunity to sign and some are children." 

The town anthorities, in justification of this moasare, referrod to 
'Hhe Great Troublcr of Isinol " }i8 causing all the trouble by complain- 
ing of them as beyond their linea, but neither plea nor response received 
any attention from the obdurate fathers, who left their troublesome 
children to fight out their own battles. A committee was appointed to 
attend the surveyor upon Major Fitch's notification — Joshua Whitney 
and others protesting against tlie persons chosen, " lest they should do 
some irregular act that would not be justifiable." William Gallup and 
John Smith wore directed ** to go to New London and take advice of 
the Honored Governor and othei*s," by whose mediation the matter 
was probably settled. 

All these losses and squabbles did not prevent growth and public 
improvements. New inhabitants appeared from time to time. Thomas 
Williams was now town-clerk ; Timothy Pierce, tavern-keeper ; Samuel 
Douglas, school-master ; and Samuel Blunt, the man to sweep the meet- 
ing-house, having twenty shillings per year for his pains. William 
Define received permission to make a dam across Moosup River, by his 
house, for setting up mills. In 1716, John Watson was '< improved 
to keep school — the deacons and selectmen to order the school and 
receive the money.'* It was next agreed, "that the school should be 
kept in three places, a suitable place provided for the school-master to 
quarter at and a house suitable to accommodat>e each part during the 
time of the school being continued in that part, to be provided at the 
charge of each part, and if any neglect to provide such place the 
committee to order the school -master to go to the next part School 
to be kept first over Moosup River ; next in middle ; next in south 

In 1717| a movement was initiated for the erection of a new meeting- 



house. The first rude house was not only small and dilapidated but 

most inconvenieotly located on the summit of Black Hill, in the 

extreme west of the township. The selection of a suitable site for the 

new one involved the town in further quarrels and difficulties— one 

pai*ty wished the meeting-house near the centre, another prefen*ed to 

have it further to the northeast to accommodate the inhabitants living 

east of Plainfield. At the first town-meeting called to consider this 

question, the following memorial was presented : — 

'*Feb. 6, 1716, 7. Gentlemen: We, being Informed that this day Is set 
apart and the InliabltAnts are now convened to consider and conclude con- 
cerning building a meeting-house and to state the place where It shall be 
built. Gentlemen, we are sensible of the difficulties many of us labor under 
by living so far from meeting, wherefore we are of opinion, and think it 
highly reasonable, that said house should be built at the centre of the town — 
that we, now present, may be equally privileged as may be with each other, 
as also a proper benefit for after generations. Pray, gentlemen, well consider 
it and comply with what is now resighted to you at this time. That so we 
may with one consent, with heart and hand, in cheerfulness compleat the 
work In union and peace. That so thereby we may be blessed In our under- 
taking in so great a work." 

This advice was signed by Thoiniis Williniiis, Daniol Luwronco, 

Thomas Stovoiis and about twenty others, uiid represented the wislios 

of the central and south settlers. Liberty was given to all interested 

inhabitants present " to vote about new meeting-house," and, after 

suitable discussion, it was voted :^- 

*< I. That there shall be a new meeting-house for the public worship of 
II. That it shall be forty feet wide ; fifty Ipng; twenty high." 

The third point, the location of the house, ciilled out such difference 
of opinion that it was finally agreed, ''That the inhabitants shall l)e 
drawn into two parts ; biggest number shall be y* casting vote, which 
shall be a final decision and determination of the place where y* meet- 
ing-house shall stand ; moderator shall count the persons, and if any 
be gone that were before counted, shall be received as if present." 
Under this airangement, it was decided : — 

** III. That it shall stand on or near the country road that goes firom the 
south end of the town. 
IV. That it shaU stand on the hill, north of Blodgets." 

This site had the misfortune to please neither party. The memo- 
rialists ''immediately protested against vote and site," and nothing 
Airther was done till the following December, when Deacon Warren, 
John Crery, John Smith, Ed. Spalding, Juii., and Daniel Lawrence 
were appointed a committee, " to find out y* centre of land in this 
township and run a west point out to y* country road and make 
report." This point being settled, the town voted, " That y* meeting- 
house shall stand east and by south from Blodget's house," — and then, 
a month later, February 4, 1718, — "That notwithstanding previous 


votes, the raeeting-house shall stand a few rods north of the house 
where Blodget dwells, by the country road that goes from noHh to 
south end of town," the selectmen reporting, " that they had measured 
the roads and find it not so far by several rods to the new meeting- 
house as to the old one." This site was accepted by the majority of 
the inhabitants. A committee was now chosen to discourse about the 
building and great spirit manifested in forwarding the work. Deacon 
Warren gave forty shillings above his lawful propoition ; Deacon 
Whitney voluntarily offered the same. Francis Miller having " very 
nobly ** offered ten pounds, money, the town declared its thanks and 
acquitted him from further charge about it Thomas Williams gave 
five pounds. It was agreed 'Hhat the new meeting-house shall be 
planked, ends and sides." The committee was directed '* to consider 
the most convenient and best ways for y* town's advantage in setting 
np a frame ; to agree with workmen about timber ; to provide plank, 
boards, shingles and nails, and also to care for raising." An open liigh- 
way, two rods wide, was ordered "from the highway that goes by 
Jewell's shop to y* meeting-house." Deacon Warren, Sergeant Howe 
and Timothy Pierce were chosen committee for building. 

Though the work was now progressing rapidly, there was still much 
dissatisfaction among the extreme north and south settlers. Major 
Fitch, as land-owner, joined with James Deane, Benjamin Palmer, the 
Stevensee, Thomas Harris and others in the following remonstrance : — 

** Whereas, thore is consldorable dtflTeronce among the Inhabitants of Plaln- 
flold OS to a certain place of sottln^^apa now meeting-liouso, which is intended 
to be made with as mach speed as may be;— we, the undersigned, being, upon 
good reason and consideration, very much dissatisfied with the piace selected, 
do desire and expect that it is a thing reasonable that it be set np in the 
centre of the town-land as near as may be, which shall give us snch satisfac- 
tion that we will promote it as f)ELr as accessible— otherways, not. 

Mays, 1718." 

This protest or threat, with the various town votes, was earned by 
Mr. John Fellows to the General Court, and the great necessity urged 
of doing something to quiet the people, " for y* word in y* vote, * north- 
ward of Blodget's,' is uncertain, not to be understood by any mortal ; 
whether it be one rod or one mile is uncertain ; or if y* word had been 
a ' few rods * — a hundred may be said to be few in comparison of a 
thousand, aiid so consequently from a thousand to a million. Had the 
word been * twenty rods ' or been prefixed ' by said Blodget's' it would 
have been very unreasonable and great oppression to many people ; 
wherefore, I pray the Hon. Assembly, with all speed, to send a 
committee with full power to prefix y* place where the new meeting- 
house shall be erected and at the charge of said town." 

The inhabitants of Egunk Hill on the extreme east of the township 
also sent a complaint. May 18th, showing their '* miserable state ; very 



remote from the public worship of Qod but ezpeoted to. have it 
much nearer when Plainfield should erect a new meeting-house}" 
'*bat the place now atated would only bring farther difficulties upon 
them, being more remote than formerly and very difficult traveling, 
by reason of bad ways, stony, spongy and soft land, never likely to be 
remedied, and begged for a more central location, not only on their ac- 
count, but for their poor neighbors who lived eastward on y* country 
lands," and also " somewhat accomadable for our neighbors who live in 
Yoluntown with much difficulty, living very remote and ever likely to 
be without the public means of grace by reason of y* brokenness and 
barren rocky land ;" and if the Assembly could not now change the lo- 
cation of Plainfield meeting-house, they begged them '* in their great 
wisdom to find out some way to relieve them from such tedious ti*avel 
on the Sabbath,'* either by annexing us to poor Yoluntown, and giving 
to them and us and the inhabitants now living on the country land all 
your interest in those lands, and make of these tlu*ee places one re- 
ligious society, and state a place on the west side of Pine Hill for a 
meeting-house and invest them with customary powers and privi- 

These petitions, like most that came from Plainfield, were re- 
jected by both houses and the meetinghouse remained on the place as- 
signed near Blodget's — half a mile noith of the site of the present 
Congregational house of worship — and slowly attained completion. 
In January, 1709, the committee was directed to provide stuff for 
finishing and order the placing of seats, and in the following 
year, to take boards from the old house to the new; dispose of 
the room behind the fore-scats in the seveml galleries to such per- 
sons as will finish them at their own cost; and to see that 
there be some way made under the eaves to carry the water off 
from the sides of the house. In September, 1720, the house 
was ready for occupation. John Howe, Deacon Warren, Timothy 
Pierce, John Crery and Daniel Lawrence were chosen to seat it ; those 
over fifty years according to age, others by estates — allowing one head 
to a seat ; pews to be distributed according to estates. So arduous was 
the task of the committee, that they were allowed one pound in money 
for care and service. In December, Joseph Lawrence was chosen " to 
take care of the boys and girls Sabbath days and restrain them from 
playing and profaning the Sabbath." The seating of the meeting-house 
proving unsatisfactory, in 1721, it was voted, that the first regulations 
should not stand and new ones were adopted. A pew was built at the 
town's cost, probably for the minister ; Thomas Williams to build the 
second pew, east side of pulpit It was also ordered that the boys and 
girls under thirteen years of age, '^ should sit in the two hind-seats ot 


the body exocpt the two last seats ; the girls on the women's side, the 
boys on the men's — male negroes behind the boys ; female negroes 
behind the girls.'* It is evident that the boys and girls were both 
nnmeroiis and disorderly, as a man was now perched np in the galleiy 
to observe the yoang people below and restrain them from doing any 
damage to the meeting-house " by opening the windows or any wise 
damnifying the glass and if any (him or her), did profane the Sabbath 
by laughing or behaving unseemly, he should call him or her by name 
and so reprove them therefor." These arrangements being perfected 
and the new meeting-house fairly accomplished, the relics of the first 
were sold at vendue for twelve pounds sterling. Mr. Coit continued to 
labor faithfully and acceptably, and after the completion of the new 
meeting-house, had twenty pounds added to his salary. A slight " un- 
easiness" was developed the following year, and removed by the con- 
ciliatory oflbrts of a mediatory connnit ice. 

In 1717-18, John Stoyell, one of the most noted school- mnstcra of 
the day, was omj^loyed by several persons in the middle of llie town to 
instruct their own children and others for twelve months. The town 
accordingly ordered all the school money for the year to be delivered to 
these persons and made it the public school for the whole town, the cost 
to each child being four-pence a week beside the public money. In 
1719, Henry Wake was school-master three months at Edward Spald- 
ing's quarter, receiving for service his diet and five pounds. In 1721, 
Mr. Walton maintained perambulatory schools in the different neighbor- 
hoods, the town paying him twelve pounds, finding board and keeping 
a horse for him. In 1720, the town was divided into to school dis- 
tricts north and south of meeting-house, each to order its own schools. 
In May, 1722, the first school-house was ordered — forty or fifly rods 
from the meeting-house on the country road, and in 1725, two 
others were completed — one at the south end between James Deaue's 
and Thomas Smith's ; one at the north, near Joseph Shepard's. 

The bridge over . the Quinebaug having now been carried away, 
Samuel Shepard, living on the public road near a convenient place for 
crossing, was at considerable charge to provide a fen*yboat sufficient to 
carry a horse and man and was allowed by the Assembly, May, 1722, 
<'to keep said ferry for the space of five years next coming; and the 
fees thereof, are stated to be four-pence for horse and man." No other 
public ferry was allowed between the towns, Shepard was to keep good 
and suitable vessels for transportation over the ferry and attend to its 

Notwithstanding her repeated rebufis and failures, Plainfield con- 
tinued to make application for the country land eastward, accruing to 
her, as she persistently maintained both by manifest destiny and present 


possession. \In 1719, a special effoit was made and John Fellows and 
Timothy Pierce appointed to press their claims for this land — as no 
more than a lawful equivalent for their land on the Qninebaug — and 
even offered forty pounds for it. A committee was accordingly ap- 
pointed by the General Courti which after viewing the land and con- 
sidering all the circumstances recommended its annexation to the town- 
ship of Voluntown then struggling for existence. This advice was 
followed and the contested country land incorporated into the more 
needy township — Plainfield still reding to accept the situation and 
resolutely retaining its commons for pasturage. Even as late as 1723, 
she protested ** against the new addition to Voluntown which takes 769 
acres lying within the ancient limits of Plainfield included in Win- 
throp's deed" and obtained a fi*esh committee to inquire into facts. 

The difficulties with Canterbury were not removed even when the 
question of fee was settled in Plainfield's favor, and both towns contin- 
ued '* to fight it out on that line " for many years. Committees wei*e 
long requisite ** to see persons that pull down or demolish Canterbury 
fence," and nnnieroys petitions vainly urged the restatement and sot- 
tlenient of tli^ ^^W^!^i*y Une. The General Field, so needful for the 
sustenancc^^tni' inriabitants, gave endless trouble and vexation ; its 
fencin|4lrSr maintained with great labor and difficulty and its proper 
care ^lu clearing necessitated the employment of from sixteen to 
»twenty-three " field^rivers" — a public town office instituted about 1720. 

JPlainfield*s unhappy land and boundary quarrels not only retarded 
her growth and prosperity, but developed much recklessness and law- 
lessness among its inhabitants, lieports of many disorders and iri*egu- 
larities are found in New London Court records: acts not only of 
insurbordination and violence but of scandalous immoralities. A son 
of one of the oldest families was severely punished, ''for falsifying cer- 
tain bills of credit" and '' uttering them so liEilsified," while a prominent 
resident of the town, convicted of improper intimacy with the wife of 
one of its oldest and most respected citizens, was sentenced — " To be 
whipped twenty-five stiipes on his naked body ; burnt on the forehead 
with the letter A by a hot iron and to wear a halter about his neck 
on the outside of his garment dniing his abode in this Colony so that 
it may be visible, and when found without it, upon proper infor- 
mation, to be whipped again and pay charge of prosecution." 

No record is led of the growth and condition of the Plainfield church 
dunng this period. Joshua Whitney was elected to the deacon's office, 
upon the decciise of William Douglas in 1719. Thomas Williams, one 
of Plainfield*s most active public men, died in 1 723. Timothy Pierce 
succeeded him in the captaincy of the train bund and other public offices, 
served as representative from 1717 to 1726; in 1718, was appointed 


justice of the peace; in 1725, justice of the Qnorum for New London 
Connty, and judge of the Probate Court in the district of Windham. 
In 1725, Plainficld was visited bj a *' very distressing sickness and 
great mortality," so that they could not get help among themselves to 
attend the sick but were obliged to rely upon other towns for aid. About 
twenty persons were buried in town within a few months, including 
some of its first and leading citizens, viz. John Hall, Samuel Shepard, 
James Deane, Benjamin Palmer, Matthias Button, Ephraim Wheeler, 
Phillip Bump and Samuel Howe. The aboriginal, inhabitants of the 
Qninebang Country were now rapidly passin^i^ away — not so much from 
any violent disease as from their change of habits, and especially from 
excessive use of liquor, from which it was found impossible to restrain 



CAN TKRBUR Y", when endowed with town privileges, October, 
]708, had but few inhabitants -^ only ten west-side residents! 
signing the articles of separation — but their character and circum- 
stances made amends for the smallness of their number. Most of 
them were men of means and position, accustomed to the manage- 
ment of public affairs and well fitted to initiate and carry on the 
settlement of the new township. Major Fitch, as 'Mord-proprietor" 
of much of the land, had probably the sole sway for a time, but 
Blisha Paine, the Adamses, Clevelands and Johnsons, were men of 
energy and public spirit and soon assumed the reins of govornment. 
Their residences were in the east of the town, overlooking the Quine- 
bang valley. The privilege of Rowland's Brook, a short distance 
northwest from Peagsoomsuck, was granted to Samuel Adams in 
1708, for building and maintaining a corn-mill. Suitable *'ways" con- 
nected the settlement with Norwich, Windham and distant Wood- 
stock. Obadiah Johnson, living near the Quinebaug opposite Isaac 
Shepard*s, was allowed, in 1703, to keep a house of public enteitain- 
roent— ^" provided he keeps good order** — and here town meetings were 
held and public business transacted. 

No record of the organization of town government is preserved, but 
it was doubtless soon effected. The fii*st town-clerk was probably Eli- 
sha Paine; the first selectmen, William Johnson, Samuel Adams and/ 



Eleazer Brown. The first recorded public act of the town was its pro- 
tost against the breach of the articles of separation, making the Quine- 
baug River the boundary line between the townships instead of a Tine 
due south from the centre of Peagscoinsuck Island — a change which 
Canterbury never consented to and which caused, as we have seen, 
endless confusion and contentions. 

The absence of early records makes it difficult to trace the pro- 
gress of the town, but it. was probably very slow for sevei*al years. 
The tenure of the land was prejudioal to its growth and bei^t interests. 
'* Before we were a town," reports Mr. Samuel Adams, ** Major Fitch, 
Richard Bushnell and the Tracys had swept up all the good land upon 
the Quinebaug, with all the other good land, wheresoever it lay, and 
all for a song or a trifle ; so that there was nothing left but poor rocky 
hills and hungry land such as no wise man under Heaven would have 
ventured to settle upon." Settlers were encouraged to come by a 
promise of good land upon reasonable terms if they would settle a town, 
but found themselves deceived and deluded. Land titles were obscure 
and conflicting and some tracts had* been sold and re-sold by Owaneco 
till it WHS' inipossible to tell who was tlie rightful owner, and often sub- 
duing and cultivating such rough lands as were left them, the settlors 
had often to pay off successive claimants or be sued from Court to 
Court to their great cost and damage. Mr. Adams declares, that he 
*' bought first of Major Fitch ; then of Captain Mason and Owaneco ; 
third of Captain John Mason, so as to avoid all trouble, and lastly of 
Captain Bushnell ; and in addition to all this, was harassed by suits 
with the Trucys." Other settlers met with equal difficulties in securing 
land and titles, and had to pay oppressive rents and heavy rates and 

With these obstacles and difficulties, population increased but slowly. 
Eleazer Brown of Chelmsford, bought land at Wanungatuck of the 
Tracys in 1704. Jonathan Ashley, Benjamin Baldwin and Henry 
Smith appear among the inhabitants in 1705. Samuel Butts of Dor- 
chester settled near Wanungatuck in 1706, and John Pelton and 
Jeremiah Plympton, Charles and Paul Davenpoit of Dorchester, 
bought land in the south of Canterbury, *^ with buildings and fences," 
of Jeremiah Fitch the same year. 

As the difficulty of crossing the Quinebaug River to attend re- 
ligious worship, had been the chief ground of town organization, the 
Canterbury people, as soon as practicable, procured a minister and 
established regular religious services, prepared timber and made some 
arrangements for building a meeting-house. In 1705, Robert Qreen, 
for thirty shillings, made over to the inhabitants of Canterbury, three 
and a half acres of land on a hill near his house, ** to build and erect a 


meeting-hoage on, or for training, or any other use the said inhabitants 
of Canterbury shall see cause for," — a plot still known as Canterbury 
Green. The nnmber of settlers was still so small that they felt unequal 
to the great work of building a house of worship and settling a min- 
ister without increase of territory and population. A strip of unappro- 
priated land on the noith was found to be as essential to their existence 
and prosperity, as " the country land east'* to their PlainBeld neighbors. 
Some of the residents of this land — Richard Adams, John Woodward, 
Edward Spalding and Jabez Utter — were anxious to join with them 
in establishing religious worship. After one or two fruitless appeals, 
for assistance and enlargement*, Major Fitch and Elisha Paine thus 
petitioned the General Assembly : — 

** Whereas two years ago you were pleased to grant us. the inhabitants of 
Canterbury, to be a town separate from Plalnflcld, yel although it was not at 
first our sccklnjc or desire yet being ovcr-pcrsuailed and advised by the Reve- 
rends Messrs. Noyes, Saltonstall and Treat to yleld'untosald deMlres and oflTers 
of our neighbors on y« oaHt aide of tlie Qulncbaug, according to an affroeincnt 
that has been before you more than onco; and since, alHO wo did petition this 
Assembly for that wlilch is so highly iieceHsary, viz. to put your sanction to an 
agreement for the equal and ju8t way of raising our public charges, partly ou 
lands unimproved (as hath been the reasonable custom In uew places, until our 
meeting-house and ministerial house be built). We also petitioned for y« en- 
largement of our town bounds northward up to Captain BlaclcweU's south Hue 
— it being about two and a half or three miles. As to th^se, our so reasona- 
ble requests, the honorable and considerate Lower House did once and again 
in two several General AsHemblles grant our request, but once and again it 
was stopped and lodged in y* Upper House, for what Just reason we know 
not. But If any be, we humbly pray we may bo informed of It ; and that which 
niakos It seem yet more strange to us, la, that In all such grants, particular 
persons* property is secured. Honored Gentlemen and since It Is so that we 
have gotten tlmlior for a moetlng-houso and arc treating with a yonng min- 
ister to settle with us, who hoi been isonie time with us, so as that now its 
yerlly the case with us, If that this H(morable Assembly do not grant our de- 
sires, y House of God will not be built and no minister settled. That your- 
selves may be more sensible of our condition, we have made choice of our 
loving neighbors. Major James Fitch and Mr. Ellsha Paine, to ofler this our' 
third petition, who are y« Queen's loyal subjects and your wlllinff and humble 
servants. May, 1705." 

The Assembly, thereupon, approved, ratified and confirmed the 
method agreed upon for levying rates and refeired the request for en- 
largement to the General Court in October, which failed to consider 
it — whereupon Canterbury, in her zeal to possess this land, came again 
to the Flonorable Assembly, May 6, 1706, with her fourth application, 
humbly showing : — 

** Whereas formerly, so now we humbly pray that there be a grant of an en- 
largement on our town bounds at the north end up to Captalu BlackweU's 
south line, which Is about three miles and In reason can not be added to any 
other town neither Is it capable of being a town by itself — 

The Honorable Deputies were so Just as to grant our reasonable desire but 
how or why it stopped in the Worshipful Upper House, we know not and *tis 
so much the more strange to us In that all such grants property Is to be se- 
cured so that no person can be damnlAod. We pray you, kind gentlemen, to 
consider our condition ; our town about four miles wide; m>rwich on y* 
south; Windham on y* west and PlainAeld on the east^ — so that there Is 



no other way for an enlargement bat this strip of land whid^ we hare 
thus prayed-for; without ye expectation of which we would never have 
undertook to be a town; without which, hU our hitherto endeavore to be 
a town, is like to come to • ncAight'; our timber we have got for a meeting- 
house is likely to lie and rot— the people will do nothing more about it because 
of our straightness ; no minister dare venture to settle amongst us unless we 
be enlarged ; our inhabitants that love religion are drawing off and our lands 
are like to fall in such men's hands as care not for the gospel— so that ere long 
there will not be so much as the name of religion in this place. Now your 
granting unto us that which was so Just and reasonable on your part and ab- 
solutely necessary on our part will oblige us to pray that the Qod of Justice 
and mercy would be pleased to bless and direct yon, so that we, and all the 
new plantations who are going forward to build Qod's house and settle a min- 
ister, may have occasion to bless God for you and vour administrations. So 
prays your willing and obedient servants, the inhabitants of Canterbury, by 

Ellsha Paine, 
^illiam Johnson, 
^leazer Brown, Select-men. 

Captain Joseph Wadsworth and Captain Nichols of Hartfbrd, with our 
neighbors Major Fitch and Tlxhall Ensworth, chosen to appear and manage 
this petition." 

Undismayed by iho deplorable consequenoes tkreatened, the ^' Wor- 
BhipfUl Upper House " atill rei\ised to grant tliis petition for roasons 
hereafter indioiited. The failure of attempts to secure Juiisdiotion of 
the valley land has been already related, and the southern and western 
bounds of Canterbury were equally unsettled and unsatisfactory. The 
southern line was easily rectified, but the western remained in con- 
troversy for nearly half a century. Canterbuiy assumed the onginal 
bound prescribed by Unoas and laid down by the first surveyors of 
Joshua's Tract Windham maintained the tioie south line run by her 
own committee. The gore between these lines was claimed by both 
towns. It has been stated by many historians, even by Trumbull, 
usually BO accurate, that " Canterbury onginally belonged to Wind- 
ham," but this is manifestly impossible, as the territory of Windham 
was restricted by the terms of the will to a line south from Appoquage, 
and by the orders of Uncas, who had charge of its laying out, the line 
was run a little west of south, following Nipmuck Path rather than the 


compass. The bitter and protracted contest for the land between these 
rival boundanes probably led to the belief that the whole territory was 
in conflict and that Canterbuiy had once belonged to Windham. In 
1704, Windham appointed a committee to treat with Canterbury people 
respecting their bounds and not to agree with them further west than a 
certain specified point Canterbury not agreeing to anything but the 
original line, the committee was directed, *' to run a south line from 
Appaquage and fix boundaries," and, a few years later, proceeded to 
lay out the disputed land and assume its jurisdiction. The first Canter- 
buiy settlers in this vicinity were Stephen Cook, Richard and Benoiii 
Woodward and Joseph Hide, who purcliaso4l land on Little River in 
1708. Jonathan Hide and Stephen Fi'ost soon after settled in this 



section. George Lilly, who purohased land between Nipmuck Path 
and Little River in 1710, was claimed by Windham. 

In 1707, Canterbury organized her first military company; William 
Johnson, ensign. In 1708, she was released from the payment of 
country rate to the Colony, on condition that the money due "be 
improved by them for the building a meeting-house in their town 
within one year next coming." In 1709, she gave in a list of thirty- 
five male inhabitants and £1,619. lOs. taxable estates. 
' With the aid thus afforded, Canterbury was able in time to complete 
her meetinghouse, even without the land north which had been 
deemed so indispensable. A house for the minister was also provided, 
and, in 1711, the town received liberty from the Assembly "to gather 
a church and call a minister to office amongst them, according to the 
rules of the gospel and the order of discipline established by this 
Government" The minister called was Mr. Samuel Estabrook, son of 
Rev. Joseph Estabrook, of Concord, a grailuate of Ilarvard in 1690, 
who had been some years preaching in Canterbury to general accept- 
ance. Nothing is known of the terms of settlement " The church 
was constituted June 13, 1711" — Rev. Messrs. Whiting, Coit, John 
Woodward, of Norwich, and Salmon Treat, of Preston, officiating in 
the public services. The covenant adopted was more elaborate than 
those in the neighboring churches. No mention was made of Say- 
brook Platform nor any specific form of discipline indicated. The 
signers agreed, " to hold fast the doctrines of faith and good manners 
contained in the Scriptures of Truth," and " to submit to the discipline 
of Christ in his church . . . that the worship of God may be 
upheld in the power and spiritualness thereof among us." Samuel 
Estabrook, Eleazer Brown, Elisha Paine, Samuel Cleveland, John 
Woodward, Richard Woodward and Stephen Frost, signing the cove- 
nant, wore recognized as the ' seven pillara * or constituent members 
of the church, and Mr. Estabrook ordained the same day as its pastor. 
Mr. Whiting gave the charge, Mr. Treat the right hand of fellowship. 
Eleazer Brown was soon chosen deacon. Timothy Backus, James 
'\ri rHyde, Josiah Cleveland, jRichard Adams, Jun., Samuel Butts, Thomas 
Brown, with their wives, Mrs. Samuel Adams and one or two others, 
united with the church in 1712-13, making the whole membership 
twenty -five. 

Having thus provided for religious worship and ordinances, the 
people of Canterbury devoted themselves with equal earnestness to 
the settlement of their secular affairs, as the various quarrels respecting 
bounds and land titles greatly impeded progi*esd. M%)or Fitch had 
already moved to the Assembly for liberty to survey and settle the 
western boundary line, and upon further representations from Elisha 


^/Paine and Samuel Adams — sent as deputies by Canterbmy in May, 
/ 1711-— of the uuoomfoi'table state and condition of the people, <'by reason 
\of their divers claims and controversies about their lands in that town, 
land about theii* titles to the same and division thoreof, and by reason 
/ that several pereons there have bouglit and purchased of the Indians or 
others, one and the same parcel in many places," — the Assembly, 
*' being minded and willing to make a quiet, peaceable and just settle- 
ment of the said lands," appointed William Pitkin, Esq., Messrs John 
£lliott, Solomon Tracy, Samuel Adams and Samuel Butts, or any 
three of them, to be a conmiittee to a<1viBe and assist in string, 
dividing and settling said land. Yet, with all theii* care, no i>enna- 
nent settlement was then effected. Obadiah Johnson and Samuel 
Adams offered to throw up to the town one third of their purchase 
ii'om Owaneoo, accommodating the town with minister's lot and 
ministry lot, the remainder to be divided between the inhabitants, and 
have all surveyed and parceled out, taking advice from two or throe 
Indians — provided this purchase was oonfirnied to them. Tho town so 
far accepted this oiler that two hundred acix*s of land near the meeting- 
house and thiity in the west of the town were laid out to Mr. 
Estabrook, but no fuither division was accomplished for some years. 

At the instigation of Major Fitch, the disputed lines between 
Windham and Canterbury were thoroughly investigated in 1710-11. 
Bushnell and Lefiingwell, who had assisted in the first survey 
of Joshua's Ti*act, both testified that they were sent by Uncas 
to measure eight miles south from Appaquage by Nipmuck Path, 
that they then underatood that the land to the east of the Path 
was Owaneco's, and did know that the Legatees never by all their 
actions nor in their viewing the lands for a patent, supposed '* that 
they had any title on the east side of said path." The General 
Assembly, afler hearing their reports and testimonies, was of 
opinion that the original line, running from Appaquage to a white 
oak tree marked with the letter B, ought to be the dividing 
line between the towns, and therefore empowered and ordered the 
worahipful Matthew Allen, Esq., and Mr. John Plumb, May, 1712, 
*' to endeavor to find out and renew the said line, and exteml it to 
Norwich bounds and renew and refi*eah the same with proper marks," 
but if unable to find this ** antient line " they were to run and stake 
one, according to the desciiption of the same and the last Will of 
Joshua. The committee was able to find the line and refresh it, and 
in May, 1718, it was confirmed by the General Assembly as the 
dividing line between Canterbury and Windham. 

In other mattei*s, Canterbury was equally successful. A petition 
was sent to the General Assembly, May 5, 1712, showing " that though 


the town of Plainfield was once regularly laid ont and our money paid 
for it, yet through some iniBhap, the return of the committee appointed 
was lost out of Court and never recorded," and also that the Justice of 
Plainfield had refused to swear the listers, " which, with the uncertainty 
of our town bounds (not being recorded), puts us out of capacity 
either for town or country rates ; " and praying *' that the town bounds 
might be stated and confirmed according to the former laying out by 
Messrs. Wethercll, Pitkin and Ely, as ordered by the General Court in 
1699," and 'Hhat lysters may be sworn, that we may the better per- 
form our respective -duties, and that for time to come there 'may be 
some pereon empowered to administer the oath to our town oflicci'S." 
The Assembly, in response, granted full power untf* the town-clerk of 
Canterbuiy to administer the necessary oaths required by law for town 
officers, and directed Mr. John Plumb, New London County surveyor, 
to nm and settle the bounds of the town. Mr. Plumb proceeded to 
Canterbury and made the needful surveys, ** but found two lines between 
Plainfield and Canterbury had been gi*anted by the General Assembly, 
one, the Quinebaug ; the other, somewhat differing, and no direction 
given him by which line to run, whereby he was at a loss and prayed 
for direction." The Assembly once more took the mntter into con- 
sideration, and, notwithstanding a most earnest petition from Plainfield 
that the bound might extend no further west than the Quinebaug 
River, resolved, October, 1714: — 

<* That the surveyor of tho County of Now London, upon tlic motion and 
at the clinrgc of the town of Cuntcrbury, run the cast bounds of thn said 
town, viz., from the centre of the island called PcagMcomsnek, a duo cnnt line 
one quarter of a mile, and fk'om thence a straight line to the south bounds, to 
fall upon the south bounds within a mile eastward from Quinebaug Kiver, 
pursuant to the agreement of the Inhabitants of the east and west sides of the 
town of Plainfleld, made on December 24^ 1702, and corapleat the same and 
make return thereof, as well as of the other lines of said town ordered to be 
run by the said surveyor.** 

Not only did Canterbury thus regain the jurisdiction of this im- 
portant part of her original territory and secure the confirmation of 
the strip contested by Windham, but she was also etdarged by the 
annexation of land northward, the Assembly enacting, October, 1714, 
" that the tract of land between the towns of Canterbury and Pluinfield 
should be equally divided and the southern part belong to Canterbury." 
Richard Adams, John Woodward, Edward Spalding and Daniel Cady, 
residents of this tract, were thus added to the inhabitants of Canter- 

The settlement of the bounds was followed by an influx of population. 
Some, indeed, were " vagabond fellows," introduced by Major Fitch, 
who bought and sold land but never " bore any public charges either 
in church or commouwealth, not so much as one penny," but others 



were men of character and position. . Edward Raynesford, of 0am* 
biidge, purchased land of Jeremiah Plympton^ and .removed to 
Oanterbary in 1714. James Bradford, of Norwich, and John Dyer, 
brother of Thomas of Windham, settled in Canterbury in 1715. The 
train-band company was so enlarged that Joseph Adams was made its 
lieutenant, and Edward Spalding ensign. Elisha Paine, Samuel Adams, 
Samuel Butts and Joseph and John Adams served successively as 
representatives to the General Court As no justice of the peace had 
yet been appointed for the town, the derk was vested with unusual 
powei*s, while Major Fitch, as magistrate, managed other public 



MAJOR Kitcli, during these years, was unquestionably the leading 
citizen of Canterbury, though lus pretensions and exactions in- 
volved him in frequent quan'els with his fellow-townsmen. In public 
and political aflTaira he was still very prominent, though otlen in collision 
with the government and its officials. The Mohegan land claim, by 
which he had gained possession of such large tracts of country, 
involved the Colony in great difficulty. False representations of her 
treatment of the Mohcgans laid before the British Government, ha<i 
led to a thorough investigation of the whole question, resulting in the 
conviction that this claim was untenable and that the land hold by 
Vitch and Mason under it, rightfully belonged to the Colony of Con- 
necticut. A more stringent Indian policy was now adopted. No 
attempt was made to take away lands already sold and appropriated, 
or to disturb townships previously settled, but further sales of Mohegan 
land and the laying out of new townships within this disputed teni- 
tory were precluded as far as possible. Miyor Fitch entered into this 
contest with characteristic energy and impetuosity, aided and abetted 
the Masons and Dudley in their efforts to secure possession of the 
whole Mohegan and Pequot Country, and resolutely refused to relin- 
quish any part of his claim. In 1707, he sold the territory afterward 
inco]*porated as the township of Ashford to several gentlemen, but the 
GenenU Court refused to confirm the purchase. In 1717, he proceeded 
to lay out lots and make arrangements for settling a township hoith 
of Tolland, whereupon Governor Saltonstall, with advice of the 
Council, issued the following proclamation : — 

**Feb. 19, 17lf. Whereas, I have been credibly informed that some 
persoiis, under color of the countenance and approbation of the Governor 


And CompAny of this Colony, have prosamcd to lay oat a certain tract of land 
within the Hninc, adjoining to the town of RnflchI on the west and Tolland on 
the south, under the denomination of a township, and have proceeded so fitr 
as to divide the tract into lots and invite inhabitants, encourn{|;ing thcin to 
malce settlements there, and many may be tempted to commit great trespass 
upon the said land, which, of right, appertains to the said Government and 

For the preventing of which mischief, I have thought good, with the advice 
and consent of the Council, to signify that all pretensions whatsoever of any 
grant of leave, labor, countenance or approbation of the Qovernment for the 
settling of a township there are wholly false; that the ssld tract has not been 
granted to any person whatever, as also, that special order is taken for the 
prosecution of such persons as shall be found to commit any trespass.** 

Major Fitch, who was unwell at the time and greatly harassed by 
business perplexities, was throwo into suoh a tempest of rage by this 
prohibition that he entirely forgot his respect for the Government and 
position as a magistrate, and as if he were indeed *' Lord Proprietor of 
the Colony," replied by the following counter proclamation : — 

"l*he Honored James Fitch, Esq., Proprietor of a certain tract of land to 
the cast of Enfield :— 

A Pkoclamation. 

Whereas, I have seen fit, with ye advice of good and able counsel, to give 
fhrther encouragement for the settling of a new town to the east of Enfield, 
by informing ye good men that hath taken up lots and are going to settle — I may 
first observe. That the land is certainly within the stated recorded Mohegan 
Sachem bounds and in ye very foundation as to property of Woodstock, Pom- 
tret and several other towns, and hath for more than Ibrty years been owned 
in both Governments ; by our General Assembly in times of Governors Leet 
and Treat, who acknowledged the natives* rights to be good: 8, the stated 
rocorded Rachom cost, west, north and south bounds— Approved In England by 
her Mi\)osly*s attorney-gencrol and ye return of yo Lords ye commissioners, 
attested copies out of England I have by mo— It not appearing to them 
that the land claimed by the natives was intended to pass to ye Corporation of 
ye English Colony of Connecticut, or that It was intended to dispossess ye 
Indians or proper natives, who before and after the grant were the possessors 
of the land. • 

I add not here. In that I have been persuaded to make public at large the 
which here I only give hints of; as, also, ye heads of three noble pleas in 
England to prove native rights In America, that neither King nor Parliament 
can take It ft*om them without agreement or their consent, &c. 

As to a kind of proclamation lately come forth from the Honorable Governor 
and Council in February last, I had thought to have taken It to pieces, and I 
think I could have done It and cut it into as many pieces as the Protestants 
did the Popish wooden god, but on second thought hope to have an oppor- 
tunity ye next General AHsembly to lay this and other law cases before them, 
in order to bring It orderly before King and Council if occasion rt*quires. 

Enfibld, March 22, 1717. 
God save the King and Colony of Connecticut from self-designing and self- 
seeking men.** 

Upon the publication of this most insolent manifesto, a warrant was 

issued, summoning Major Fitch to appear before Rioh.ird Christopher, 

of New London, assistant, and answer for its '' false and seditious 

expressions," but he — ** lame and not able to ride *' — refused to obey, 

• and sent the following missive : — 

"To Mr. Richard Christopher: 

Last March, you sent the sheriff with a groat and special warrant to 


seize mo body and bones and bring me before yourself as if I had been a felon, 
wtiereiipon I presume to oflbr some Canterbury notions. 

1. Warrant not legal under Charter Government. 

2. Not customary, a signification to any person that hath been in respect 
and interest, must be seized body and bones, /pse facto, in a moment, cariied 
away— say they— It hath not been heard In this Colony. 

8. Say they, where is ye comphilnor or why not bonds given? Some will 
plainly talk as that I might cause you to be so served, sent to Fairfield ; with 
some other Idle discourse. 

But now, worshipful, to say two or three wordn — If not too much boldness 
for a very little person under any circumstances to offer a word of advice, it 
should be thus : Call In your warrant— be It as It will, and to one constable 
send a summons for me to appear before ye next Qen. Assembly and I will 
appear and answer. If God gives mo life and health ; or by my attornles, men 
of hraln, and purses to manage It In both England [and America], and then I 
will proinUe to send or give the Hon. Council in New London a copy of my com- 
plaint. I can only add. that being Informed by yc sheriff you were going to 
Boston, I was unwilling to hazard my life and health and you not at home— 
and If speedy banishment or Imprisonment be designed, whether three or four 
bondmen may not prevent It at present. In these two things pray Inform me, 
and It will oblige him who hath and will love and esteem you— though I 
suppose I have suffered more under your administration than any one in the 
country — a friend to law, Justice and peace, ye defender of law. Do as you 
would be done unto, then I will be your real firlend, Jamus Vitcu. 

CANTKiiniTUY, ApHl 24, 1717. 
Hlr. If anything amiss in those llnoM, pray nscrlbe It to ye groiit pain 1 am 
in my leg, pray excuse me this time.'* 

In a private letter to Oovernor Saltoiistall, Major Fitch complained 
most bitterly of the treatment lie had received in two especial particu- 
lai*s ; first, that the Governor had himself inquired about the new 
plantation east of Enfield, received report of it& progress and " made 
not a word of* objection ;*' secondly, in that he had so largely improved 
his own political influence for the governor's re-election — •* for had I 
let you out of iny hands, know assuredly yourself and Mr. Christophers 
Jiad been next year at liberty." Had the Governor sent him a few 
lines with '* y* reason " there had been no need of a proclamation which 
had turned some of his friends. Many objected that a Council should 
take on them to judge men's betters and charge them with falseness, 
and they having no notice, nor time, nor opportunity to speak for 
theniKelvos. Many were strongly dissatisfied with the Council in New 
London, but he had done,' and would do, all that he could to still the 
clamor. Had he been in health, he had intended, to have waited upon 
his Honor, but now a " stroako of New j^ondon authority " would force 
him down as if he were guilty of treason. With regard to certain 
jmblic measures — if the Governor wouUI say in two lines to him that, 
on further consideration, he supposc<l plantation work should not be 
hindered if it appear at the General Court that Major Fitch hath a light 
as to property . . . then he wouhl make things as easy as he could ; 
if not, let them run. He humbly desired the Governor or Mr. Chris- 
tophera to send him a few linei ; if not, he should take the best advice 
he eould, up and down. 

MAJOR rrroH, division of land, bto. 158 

No answer was apparently vooohsafed to these communications. At 
the General Assembly, May 19, 1717, a complaint was laid against 
Major James Fit<sh *' of slighting, contemning and contemptuously 
contriving to abuse and ridicule** a proclamation issued by the 
Governor, and of publishing " a proclamation, wherein are contained 
false, Roandnlous, abusive, undutiful and contemptuous expressions,*' 
whereupon — " upon consideration that when the sheriff was sent to 
arrest Major Fitch, he was lame and not able to ride '* — ordered : — 


** That a messenger be sent express with a warrant, signed by the secretary, 
to arrest the snid Fitch and have him before the Assembly now sittlojCt to bo 
dealt with as the law dlrectM, and that the pretence of lameness shall not be 
allowed of or hinder the execution of said writ but what is approved to be a 
suflflcieiit obstruction to travelling by some known surgeon, or, in want of 
Huch, by other or Judicious person as can be found." 

This requisition was passed in the Upper House but dissented from in 

the Lower. Conunittees of conference were appointed, but before any 

decision had been reached a message was received from the offender. 

The impulsive major, left to his own meditations, had been led to see 

the impropriety of his conduct, and thus acknowledged it to the 

Assembly : — 

** Whereas, I did very precipitately and Indiscreetly at Enfleld, write, give 
ont and publish an advertisement in the form of a proclamation, containing 
several unsuitable expressions and reflections upon the Qovernment, and 
matters and things appearing to me now with another face than at that time 
when I labored under great temptations, do now fk'eely confess that I have In 
so doing acted very ludlscreetly anddlMrespectfkilly, and am heartily sorry and 
condemn myself therefor and ask forgiveness of his Honor and of this Honora- 
ble Aascmbly, promising that for the future I will maintain a good circum- 
spection and carry a better deportment, and If it shall please you to grant 
my prayer herein wilt lay me nnder great and lasting obligations. 

May 27, 1717.' 


The npi>er House, after hearing this confession, proposed to impose 
a fine of twenty pounds, <' which fine, for so high a misdemeanor, was 
reduced to so low a sum in consideration of Major Fitcli's humble 
acknowledgment.'* The Lower House,' ** having considered the full 
and ingenuous acknowledgment,** voted 'Hhe confession sufficient,*' 
and both Houses finally concurred in an unconditional discharge. 

Major Fitch, with all his faults, was an ardent patriot, a firm friend 
of popular liberty, contending '*a8 strenuously against Governor Salton- 
stall and the Council for the rights and pnvileges of the Lower House " 
as he did thirty years earlier against the encroachments of Andross, nor 
did he allow his personal feelings and prejudices to hinder him from 
promoting what he deemed the public good. He was a fiiend of pro- 
gress, ready to initiate and carry on ]>ublic improvements; a friend of 
education, endowing Yale College in 1701 with over six hundred acres 
of land, ■ in what was aftierward Kiliingly, and furnishing glass and 
nails for the first college edifice in New Haven. 



In private life, Major Fitoh was genial, generous, hospitable, agree- 
able in manners and conversation, . but somewhat over-conviviul in his 
habits, so that he was sometimes oompelled to ma^e confessions to the 
OhuroA, as well as to the State, In spitQ of censure^ and occasional 
suspension from communion, he retained through life his connection 
with the church of Norwich, though ever ready to do his pnit in sus- 
taining public worship at Oanterbury, The homestead at Peagscom* 
suck was long a noted business and social centre. Of his numerous 
sons, only Daniel and Jabez remained in Canterbury. His daughter 
Abigail, married in 1715 to John Dyer, and Jerusha, married to Daniel 
Bissel, also resided in Canterbury. 

The declining years of Major Fitch were embittered by personal and 
political controversies and pecuniary embarrassment His large pos- 
sessions were of little real value to him. A tract of land, four miles 
square, in Ashford, and another, two miles squai*e, in the southwest of 
Pomfret, were early taken from him by Solomon Stoddard, of Boston, 
** on execution of judgment for debt" Other large tracts were sold 
for a trifle ; the Qovernment refUsed to oonflrm the sale of others, and 
he was more than once obliged to put his Peagscomsuck establishment 
out of his hands to save it from creditors. Owaneco, the fornier sachem 
of Wabbaquasset, the claimant of Mamosqueag and the Quinebaug 
Country, once so courted and flattered by the foremost men of the 
Colony, was in his later years a dranken vagabond, roaming about the 
country with his squaw and praying for charity in the following 
doggerel, written for him by Richard Bushnell: — 

'< Oneco, King, bis quoen doth bring 
To bog a lUUo food, 
As thoy go along, their Arlcnds amoug, 
To try bow k&d, bow good. 

Some pork, some beef, for their relief; 

And if you can't spare bread 
Sbe'U tbank you for padding as tbey go a gooding, 

And carry it on her bead." 

Owaneco died, it is believed, in 1715, and his son, Ctesar, succeeded 
him as '* Prince and Sachem of Mohegan." 

In 1718, Canterbury resumed her eflbits to secure a more regular 
and orderly division of the laud within her borders. In making these 
new arrangements, a book was ordered for the selectmen and town acts 
and proceedings were thenceforth duly recorded. Its fli*st repoi*t of 
town -meeting was on December 10, 1717, more than fourteen years 
after town organization. John Woodward was chosen moderator; 
Samuel Adams, constable ; Josepli Aduuis, town-clerk and fii-st select- 
man ; Eklward Spalding, second selectman ; Elisha Paine, third ; 
fiamuel Butt^ fourth; Henry Smith, fifth. John Woodwaixl and 


Solomon Tracy were elected grand -juroni ; Samnel Spalding and John 
Ensworth, fence-viewers ; John Dyer and Edward llaynnford, listers. 
Paul Davenport was surveyor ; Deliverance Brown, collector ;" Robert 
Oreen, pound-keeper; Richard Pellet, tavern-keeper. William Baker 
was made responsible '' for decency of meeting house." It was voted, 
** That the act made for the killing of rattlesnakes, April 24, 1716, 
should stand in force the present year ; " also, " That a highway 
be laid out, from the country road that leads to Norwich to the 
country road that lends to WindhanL** March 4, 1718, the town 
ordered, ^Hhat there should be a school kept in this town six 
months, viz., two months at y* upper end of y* town and two months 
in y* west row and two months at the lower end, at one place or more 
as either party shall agree.*' In 1719, the selectmen were empowered 
''tolK)u oomtnittco (jO got y* niooting-houso glasMMl at the town's 
charge." A cu>mtnittoe of throe was also appointed, ''to view the 
country road from Norwich line to y* upper end of this town, and to 
renew the bounds and monymets of said roade and to make their 
return to said town by the first of AprU next, with y* point of com- 
pass from bound to bound, at y* town's charge.'* It was voted, " That 
those persons y' had served y* town in laying out highways or peram- 
bulating y* town's bounds in times past that had not been paid, and for 
time to come y* towne on y* like occasions, shall have two and six-pence 
per day and no more. Sheep were permitted to go on the commons 
without a keeper, and a rate of a half-penny upon the pound allowed 
for the relief of John Jones, now under the doctor's hands." 

The settlement of the Jand was achieved with much labor and diffi- 
culty. As a preliminaiy step, it was voted, June 25, 1718, "That all 
the inhabitants that were settled in this town in the year 1712, that have 
purchased any land of the natives or of any other person, their purchase 
not exceeding throe hundred acre^ shall have a conflnnation of their 
lands as mentioned in their deeds — except such inhabitants which deeds 
or grants Enterfear on each other. Also, those claiming above three 
and under five hundred acres, provided they quit the right in the rest 
of land belonging to town. Same privilege granted to inhabitants of 
north addition." The selectmen were greatly impeded in their efforts 
by what they styled "a wicked, pretended deed of nine hun<lred and 
sixty acres," claimed by '* honest Solomon and Daniel Tracy, who, 
when public charges were laid upon out-lands, were so wise as to claim 
none, but now cannot live without they can ruin seven or eight families 
and raze the foundations of the town." Whether they succeeded in 
establishing their claim is not appnrent A large number of the in- 
habitants received confirmation of their lauds from the town authorities. 



AiXer laboring for five yeai-s .to bring affairs into order, jthe toMm voted 
in Jannary, 1723 : — 

** Whereas, there in a considerable qnautlty of land in said town, known by 
e name of ye Thirds, wliich land was formerly given by deed to said town 
y Messnt. Samuel Adamd and Obadiah Johnson, in consideration of ye town 
granting to said Adams and Johnson the other two-thirds of their purchase; 
the above two-thirds some do profess to lay claim nnto wltiiin ye town, which 
ye town in general not approving of, but after searching ye records and con- 
sidering ye matter, do pass a vote that it shall remain to ye town in general 
and that it shall be divided according as ye town shall a^ree herealter." 

This proposal to take away land that had long been allowed to them 

was at first earnestly oppo.^ed by Messrs Adams and Johnson and 

others to whom they lm>l sold lauds, *' because they had disposetl of it 

already to particular jiersuus,*' but after t\irtlier discussion an amicable 

settlement was efiTected, and on February 26, 1723, 'Hhe proprietary 

inhabitants convened together, in order to a regular settling of our 

properties and proportionating to each proprietor inhabitant his 

propoition in om* undivided lands or commons.'* It was agreed and 

voted : — 

'* That those who were settled Inhabitance and paid to ye building of ye 
meetlng-honse and mlnister*s home shall have one share and one half-sliaro in 
said undivided land; those who were settled when our patent was given and 
paid rates in ye town to have one share in said undivided lauds, and those who 
•ettled since ye patent was given and now live within ye bounds of our patent 
to have a half-share. It is to be understood that none shall accrue any right 
by this vote but such as are now settled within ye bounds of our patent, 
neither those that have granted these rights to their Individual lands to ye 
town, and also, that there shaU be no advantage talien by this vote to hinder 
US Arom granting any lands In a general way." 

Edward Raynsford and Elisha Paine immediately entered their pro- 
teat against this vote, '* as it belonged to those proprietary inhabitants 
established by the {latont of 1710, luid not to the town hi geiicral town- 
meeting to make division and dispossession of laud and to admit pro- 
prietors.*' No others objecting, a committee was chosen to search the 
list and apportion the divisions according to the town vote. This 
arrangement was carried out to general satisfaction and on April 30, 
1728, the long-contested Canterbury land was equally distributed. 
Those who received one and a half shares as first settlers and planters 
were Miyor Fitch, Elisha Paine, John Pike, Thomas Brown, John 
Adams, Saniuel Adams, Sen., Samuel Cleveland, Sen. and Jun., Robert 
Burwell, Richard Pellet, Robert Green, Joseph and Obadiah Johnson, 
Richard Woodward, Stephen Frost, David Munrow, William and 
Timothy Backus, Benjamin Baldwin, Tixhall Ensworth, Saumel and 
Ilenry Adams, Jun., Joseph Adams, Solomon Tntcy, Suuuiel Butt, 
Joseph Smith and Joseph Cleveland, — twenty-seven in all. IJeut Ed- 
ward Spalding, John Welch, Edward Cleveland, Jun., Richard Smith, 
James Bradford, Ephraim Davis, David Itaynsford, Nathaniel lioml, 
Henry Adams, Sen., David Adams, Delivenmce Brown, Thomas 


Adams, Benjamin Fasset, Abraham Paine, Elisha Paine, Jan., Daniel 
Fitch, James Hyde, John Port, John Dyer, Moees Cleveland, John 
Ensworth, John Cady and John Caiter received each one share as pro- 
prietors nnder the patent The later settlers, who had but a half- 
share, were David Cai*ver, Thomas Davenport, Joseph Adams, Sen., 
Solomon Paine, Ilenry Cleveland, Theophilus Fitch, John Bacon, 
Jonathan Davis, Jacob Johnson, John Baldwin, Isaac Cleveland, 
Edward Raynsford, Joseph Ensworth, Richard Gale, Jabez Fit<*.h, 
Nathaniel Uobbins, Aaron Cady and Samuel Cook. The whole 
number of land-proprietors in the township was thus sixty-eight— of 
whom some eight or ten were non-resident Many of the later pro- 
prietors were sons of the first planters. John Bacon of Norwich 
bought land west side of Rowland Brook of Timothy Backus in 1720. 
Sanuu>l Parish, Sen., brought laud and settle<1 in the west of Canterbury 
in 1724. 

From the scantiness of public records, little can be gathered of the 
progress of the town. In 1720, a full military company was organized 
with Joseph Adams for captain, Edward Spalding for lieutenant and 
Daniel Carue for ensign. Captain Adams was now one of the leading 
men of the town, chosen every ye^ir as deputy and in 1724 was appointed 
a justice of the peace. Schools received considerable attention, though 
as yet no school-houses were provided. A school-master was employed 
U) )>erambulate the town, teaching ** one month at y* Widow Ens- 
wortirs ; one month at John Fitch's; one at Deliverance Brown's ; one 
at Nathaniel Bond's and one at David Adams's." Twenty shillings 
a month were allowed out of the school money and if a suitable person 
could not be procured for that price, those who sent their children were 
to pay their proportion of "over-plush." In 1726, the town was 
arranged in three sections, " a school to be kept throe months in each 
sqiuidron." A committee was appointed to lay out highways where 
they wore wanting, and two additional pounds instittited. A burying- 
clpth of blac'k broadcloth was also provided at the town's charge. 

The unwillingness of Plainfield to relinquish any land east of the 
Quinebaug and the resultant irregularities and disorders have been 
already detailed. In the border warfare maintained for so many years 
between the sister townships, Canterbury bore her full share. Her 
citizens were frequently called to account for hay and grnin forcibly 
carried off and other acts of aggres^^ion and retiliatiou. Nor were her 
settler.i always at peace among themselves or obedient to the whole- 
some laws of the Colony. Even such prominent men and active church 
membera as Elisha Paine and Obadiah Johnson were not exemplary l/^ 
in behavior, the latter complaining, "That Paine had struck him 
with a club, knocked him down and thrown a hatchet at him." The 


complaint was not anstained and Paine recovered cost of prosecution. 
Paul Davenport was also unable to procure the conviction of Samuel 
Ashley ** for saying that he did say that the said Ashley ivas drunk at 
an Indian house." It is said that the same Davenport had much 
authoiity over the Indians and when they became too uproarious with 
drink in their camp-ground near his dwelling, he would march in 
among them with his cane and beat them into quiet If himself 
obliged to break the laws of the land he was willing to pay the pen- 
ality, as is evident from his appearing voluntarily before the Court at 
New London and '* acknowledging himself guilty of a breach of the 
law by riding from Providence to Canterbury on the Sabbath-day, paid 
the fine of twenty shillings." 

The church of Canterbury was harmonious and ])rosperons, though 
its membership increased less rapidly than in adjoining towns, owing 
probably to the disreputable character of some of its early inhabitants, 
— the '^ vagabond fellows," who would bear no public charges. The 
influence of the religious revival in Windham in 1721, extended to Can- 
terbury, so that Klisha and Solomon, sons of Elisha Paine, Sou., and 
many other young people, were brought into the church, and its mem- 
borahip doubled within a few years. Mr. Estabrook was a man of 
wisdom and learning and much respected throughout the Colony. The 
annual Election Sermon was preached by him in 1718. After the 
death of Deacon Eleazer Brown in 1720, Timothy Backus and Thomas 
Brown were appointed deacons. Strict discipline was maintained in 
the church, as was manifested by the following votes and resolu- 
tions: March 8, 1716, "The church of Canterbury being under 
feai*s and suspicious that those of us that have borne cilice in the town 
and have been under oath, have been negligent in the execution of 
their oflice and discharge of their oath, we do in pursuance of the sixth 
article of our covenant : resolve — That if any one of us are or shall 
be chosen into any civil oflice and take oath for the execution of said 
oflice, that we will do our utmost endeavor faithfully to execute the 
oflices our oaths oblige us to and to improve the power we are invested 
with for the suppression oft* sin and the pro.notion of religion." It was 
also voted in 1717, "That no complaint shall be brought to open hear- 
ing in the church unless it be committed to writing and signed by the 
complainor, provided thii act shall not be construed to hinder the 
Pastor's attending gospel order in inquiring into misdemeanors when 
there is no complaint, or of particular brethren's informing of scandals 
y' do not particularly concern themselves." In 1718, it was decided 
" that all baptized persona were under the watch of the church and that 
it had power to deal with Huch in case they oflend." 

There is no evidence that the maligniat distemper which so heavily 


afflicted Pininfield in 1725-26, extended to Canterbury — but one 
special case of HufTering is reported, so severe as to call relief from the 
General Assembly. Anna the wife of Gtershom Matt — apparently a 
transient resident — after the birth of triplets, ** which through God s 
mercy were all living," languished long under distressing and expen- 
sive sickness ; pleurisy, dropsy and a dangerous imposthume, succes- 
sively, seizing on her ; her infants, meanwhile, out at nurse, at a great 
expense ; and lastly her husband was attacked by sor6 sickness and 
^' brought very low and nigh the dust of death ;" by which series of 
adverse providences they were reduced to great want and straits, and 
petitioned that a brief, craving the contribution and charity of good 
people in such towns as should be deemed meet, might be granted for 
their relief in this distress — a mode of relief not uncommon before 
the days of newspapers. Tlie Governor and Council in New Uaven, 
October 10, 1725, thereupon,— 

'* Ordered, That a brief be therefore granted, and that It be directed, and It 
is hereby granted and directed to pass Into and through the towns and respect- 
ive congregations In New London, Qroton, Stonlngton, Preston, Norwich, 
Lebanon, Canterbury, Plalnfleld, Pomfkret, and KllUn^y for the end aforesaid ; 
and that the money collected by said brief be transmitted to the Reverend 
Mr. Samuel Bstabrook of said Canterbury and by him delivered for the relief 
of the said poor distressed ftunily." 



THE township next following Canterbury in date of organization 
was Killin^ly, laid out north of Plainllold in 1708, in the north- 
east comer of Connecticut, in the wild border land between the Qidno- 
bang and Rhode Island. This region wa& early known to the whites 
as the Whetstone Country, but long left neglected. Rough hill ranges, 
alternating with marshes and sand-flats, offered poor inducements to 
purchasers and settlers. It lay remote from any public thoroughfare of 
travel, and itn settlement would probably have been delayed still later 
had it depended merely upon individual fancy or selection. But the 
Whetstone Country, though sterile and unattractive, had one great 
advantage. It was owned .by the Colony of. Connecticut and not by 
individuals or corporations. While Mohegan land-claims had swallowed 
up a great'portion of Windham County territory, this northern section 
east of the Quinebaug was at the disposal of the Government The 
wild Whetstone Country was thus, aftier atime, cherished and protected 


and brought as soon as possible into notice and market The land, if 
poor, wfiA good enough to give away, or pay to creditors, and many 
civil and military services were requited by grants of land in this 
region. Its first white proprietors were thus the leading men in the 
Colony. Governors Haynes, Treat and Saltonstall ; Majors Fitch and 
Mansfield ; the Reverend Messrs. Hooker, Pierpont, Whiting, Buck- 
ingham, Andrews, Noyes, Woodbridge and Hussel ; the Hon. Giles 
Hamlin, Matthew Allen and Caleb Stanley, bad grants of land in the 
northeast corner of Connecticut and were associated with the early 
history of Killingly. The grant to Governor Haynes was given as 
.early as 1042 ; that to the llev. John Whiting in 1062, but the greater 
number at a later period. No particular spot or bounds were desig- 
nated in these grants, which simply allowed a certain number of acres 
to be taken up, *' without any prejudice to any particular township or 
former grant*' The land ** was all before them where to choose," and 
the first comera chose the best localities. Measurements were in all 
cases extremely liberal. 

The first to take posses uon of land in the Whetstone Country under 
these grants, were those notorious *' land-grabbers," Major James Fitch 
and Captain John Chandler. A grant of ** fifteen hundred acres, to be 
taken up together and lyeing beyond New Roxbury, near the north- 
east corner of the Colony line," was confirmed to Major Fitch by the 
General Court, October, 1690, who, with his usual dispatch and dis- 
crimination, at once selected and had laid out to him the best land in 
the whole section, viz. : the interval between the Quinebaug and 
Assawaga, extending from their junction at Acquiunk to Lake Mosha- 
])aug, and also the valley oast of the Assawaga, as far north as 
Whetstone Urook. Captain John Chandler, of Woodstock, was next 
in the field, buying up land granted to soldiers for services in the 
Narraganset War as indemnity for losses. Two hundred acres, pur- 
chased by him from Lieutenant Hollister, were laid out at Nashaway, 
the point of land between the Quinebaug and French Rivers, and 
confirmed to him by the General Court in 1691. A great part of the 
valley land adjoining French Kiver and a commanding eminence two 
miles east of the Quinebaug, then known as Rattlesnake and afterwards 
as Killingly Hill, were speedily appropriated by Captain Chandler. The 
other grantees, leis familiar with the country and less experienced in 
land-grabbing, found more difficulty in taking up their grants. The 
laud was savage, remote and difficult of access. Roads and convey- 
ances were both lacking. Wild streams, deep marshes and tangled 
forests impeded exploration. Surveyor were scarce, costly and not 
always capable of wise selection. Indians were numerous and now 
somewhat turbulent and refractory. The Rev. Samuel Andrews 


Biicceedivi in obtaining the laying out of his grant of two hundred 
acres in 1692 — ^west of Rattlesnake Hill, ^* bounded three sides by 

In 1698, the future Killingly received its first known white settler — 
Richard Evans — who purchased, for twenty pounds, a two-hundred- 
acre grant of the Rev. James Pierpont, of New Haven, and is described 
in the deed as " late of Rehoboth, but now resident of the said granted 
premises." Little is known of this first settler of Killingly beyond 
the fact of his early settlement The bounds of his farm cannot now 
be identified. It was laid out in the wilderness, about a mile east of 
the Quinebaug and three miles from Wooditock, just south of Wood- 
ward's and Safi*ery 8 line. It was in the northern extremity of the 
subsequent township of Killingly ; was aderwards included in the 
** South Neighborhood '* of Thompson, and noW forms a part of the 
town of Putnam. Mr. Evans w:is accompanied by a grown son, 
Richard Evans, Jun., and in time built two homesteads and made 
various improvements. His establishment served as a landmark for 
all the surrounding region, many tracts of land being identified by 
distance or direction from Richard Evans. 

In 1694, the Rev. Noadiah Russel selected and secured two hundred 
acres, '* five miles southeast from Woodstock, east of the Quinebaug ; 
lands that boUnd it, not taken up." Seventeen hundred acres, scattered 
about "on Five-Mile River, southeast from Richard Evans," wore con- 
firmed to James Fitch, Moses Mansfield, Rev. Mr. Uuokingliam and 
Sainnel Rogers, in 1695. This was ''the wild land in Killingly" 
granted by Major Fitch to Yale OoUege. The Indian troubles follow- 
ing after this date checked further land operations in the Whetstone 
Country. For several years no sales or surveys are reported, and 
Richard Evana remained apparently its sole white inhabitant till the 
close of the century. 

With the return of peace, business and speculation revived. In 
1699, the Rev. Noadiah Russel sold his two hundred acres, '* east side 
of Quinebaug, alias Aspinock River, according to the Indian name,*' 
to Peter and Nathaniel Aspinwall, Samuel Perrin and Benjamin Griggs, 
all of Woodstock, for twenty pounds. This valley of the Quinebaug, ex- 
tending from the Great Falls, now in Putnam, to Lake Mashapaug, and 
known as Aspinock, had now attracted the attention of Woodstock's 
business men. Turpentine was gathered here in large quantities from 
its numerous pine trees by that noted trader, James Corbin. James and 
Joseph, sons of John Leavens, were thus employed by him in 1700. 
The younger brother, Joseph, on one occasion strayed off alone, and 
while felling a tree was suddenly attacked and wounded in the thumb 
by one of the original proprietors of the soil — a venomous rattleinake. 



No help wad near, the yoang tnan was in imminent danger, but with 
great coohiess and presence of mind he hacked off the bitten thumb 
with his axe and then dbpatclied his assailant. His very peculiar 
cliirography corroborates the truth of this legend, as also th«) sobri- 
quet^ *^ Old One Thumb," afterwards given hhn by the Indians. 

Despite this mishap, the young Leavens brothers decided to settle 
in Aspinock. They were joined, and perhaps preceded, by our old 
fiiend Peter Aspinwall, who had been employed by the Woodstock 
authorities in 1691, '* to lay out a road to the Quinebaug, where it may 
be most convenient to make a biidgeand lay out a road to Providence." 
He laid the road between the Quinebaug and Mill Rivers to a point just 
below the Great Falls, which he deemed a convenient place for fording 
or bridging, and thence southeasterly, winding ai*ound the base of 
liattlesnake Hill. While engaged in this arduous work. Lieutenant 
Aspinwall took up his residence in the vicinity of the Falls, and was 
greatly hindered and burdened helping travelers across the river. 
Communication between Woodstock and Providence was gi*eatly facili* 
tated by the opening of this way, and also that between Hartford and 
Boston, many travelers prefen*iug it to the old Connecticut road 
through Woodstock. In 1708, Lieutenant Aspinwall represented to 
the Greneral Assembly, ** That for a long time the want of a bridge 
over the Quinebaug, in or near the road to Boston, has been a giievous 
burden and affliction, as well to travelers as to the complainant, who 
lives on the east side ; not being always fordable, exceedingly high and 
swift " — and offered to build a bridge and take care of it for one 
hundred and fifty acres of land. This good offer was accepted by the 
Upper House but reiuied by the Lower, so that the Quinebaug was 
left nnbridged for twenty years. 

Lieutenant Aspinwall then removed his residenc^e to his Russel pur- 
chase, south of the Providence roa i, a mile southeast of the Falls, and 
devoted his energies to the settlement of Aspinock. In 1703, he 
purchased of Caleb Stanley two hundred acres of land abutting south 
on Mashapaug Lake. The land adjoining it westward and extending 
to the Quinebaug was laid out to Thomas Buckingham, and sold by 
him to Captain John Sabin, of Mashamoquet, whose daughter Judith 
married young Joseph Leavens, and received this beautiful valley farm 
as her marriage portion. James and Peter Leavens bought up land 
gt*ants and also settled in this vicinity. Other settlera soon followed 
Aspinwall and the Leavenses. Jonatlian E^ton purchased laud between 
the Quinebaug and Mill Rivers, on the Woodstock road, in 1 708, and 
was the first permanent inhabitant of what is now Putnam village. 
James, Daniel and Nicholas Cady of Groton, Mjissachusetts, removed 
to the valley of the Quinebaug about 1704, buying land of Chandler 



and Andrews. In 1704, John Allen of Marlborough, a gentleman 
somewhat advanced in life, of ample means, with sons to settle, pur- 
ohased the Stanley farm of Peter Aspinwall, and there pat up " a tene- 
ment of housing and other accommodations/* These several settlers 
were the pioneers and planters of Killingly, settled on or near the 
Quinebaug, mostly between the Falls and Mishapaug Lake, styling 
themselves in their vaiious land-deeds ^^ inhabitants of a place called 
Aspinock," three, four and five miles from Woodstock. Most of them 
were young men, full of life and energy. Lieutenant Aspinwall was 
the leading spirit of the settlement, often employed by the Colony 
in surveys and public services. In 1704, he was appointed ranger 
of the woods in eastern Connecticut and commanded various military 
expeditions. Large numbers of the Nipmuck Indians still frequented 
their ancient haunts and were in the main peaceable and fiiendly but 
troublesome and extortionate, roving about in largo companies and 
demanding food and lodging from the settlers. 

With the erection of a settlement, land traffic baoame more lively. 
Grants were laid out and quickly taken up by purchasers, at prices 
ranging from twenty pounds to *' three hors and one kine." A thousand 
acres to the heirs of Gtovemor Haynes, three hundred to the heirs of 
Joseph Haynes and three hundred to Robert Treat were ** pitched 
upon " by Captain Chandler in 1707, and laid out by John Prents. 
Giles EEamlin's grant was sold to John Allen and laid out at Potta- 
qnatic, on the then northern, boundary of Connecticut, llattlesnako 
Hill was also purchased by John Allen of Captain Chandler. James 
Leavens bought much land in various localities and set up a sawmill 
on the Assawaga, near the Rhode Island line. Richard Evans, the 
first settler, had now two houses on his plantation, with orchards, 
tannery pits and a fulling-mill. *' Grinding *' and other supplies needful 
for these *' Borderers " were procured in Woodstock. 

The first setUer south of Lake Mashapaug was James Danielson of 
Block Island, who, in 1707, purchased of Migor Fitch "the neck of 
land " between the Quinebaug and Assawaga Rivers, for a hundred and 
seventy pounds. The high price of this laud shows that i]« value was 
then appreciated. Mr. Danielson had served in the Narraganset war, 
and his name appears on the list of officers and soldiers who received 
the township of Voluntown in recompense for their services. Tradition 
tells us that he passed through the Whetstone Country on an expedi- 
tion against the Nipmucks, fmd stopping to rest his company on the in- 
terval between the rivers, was so pleased with the locality that he then 
declared, that when the war was ended he .should settle there. Nothing 
more is known of him till thirty years later, when he buys the land 
from the junction of the rivers, ** extending up stream to the middle 



of the long iuterval." Tradition adds, that he first traded with the 
natives, reoeiving for a triHe all that he could see from the top of a 
high tree, but found that Major Fitoh had forestalled him. Mr. Daniel- 
son at once took po^isession of his purchase, built a garrison house near 
its southern extremity aud was soon known as one of the most promi- 
nent men in the new settlemant. No other settler appeared for some 
years in his vicinity. The land south from Aoquiunk was held by 
Plainfield propiietors under their purchase from Owaneco, and no 
attempt was made for many years to bnng it into market. 

Though the number of inhabitants in Aspinouk and its vicinity was 
still small, their romoteueds from the scat of Government and inde- 
pendent mode of settlement made town organization very needful. No 
band of proprietors was there to manage and dispose of land, and the 
numerous deeds of transfer htid to be recorded in Hartford, Plainfield 
and Canterbury. The need of proper public ofticers was also im- 
perative, and in May, 1708, town organization was thus allowed and 
inaugurated : — 

** This Assorahly grants a township to the eastward of Woodstock and a 
patent thereof; the bounds whereof to be northerly on the line of the Massa- 
chusetts Frovlnce (it being by estimation about) five miles from the line 
between this Colony and the Colony of Rhode Island and the river called 
Assawaug ; easterly on the said line between the said Colonies ; southerly, 
partly on the northern boundary of Plalnfleld and partly on a line to be con- 
tinued east from the northeast comer Iniunds of Plalnfleld to the said- line 
between the said Colonies ; the said northern boundary of Fluinfleld being 
settled by order of the Ooncml Court, May the lith, ItOO, and westerly on 
the aforesaid rivor ; the said township being by estimation about eight or nhie 
miles in length and live or six miles in breadth, bo the soino more or less. 

Mway$ provided. That no person now iuluibiting on said land, or any other 
persons dwelling without this Colony who have purchased any lands witliln 
the said township, th(it shall not give due obedience to all the laws of this 
Colony for the upholding the worship of God and paying of all public 
charges, shall have no benefit by this act. And provided, also, that no 
township, nor any persons who have heretofore had any lands lying within 
the said township granted to him and legally laid out, shall be any ways preju- 
diced by this act nor any part thereof. And this Assembly desires the 
Hon'ble Qovcmor to cominissionate Lt. Aspinwall, or some other suitable 
person, to train and command the soldiers in the said township, and to give a 
name to the said town, and also appoint the figure of a brand for their horses. 
It is also desired that the Hon'^te Qovemor, Mi^or Fitch, and Mr. Richard 
Christophers, or any two of them, shall give advice and direction for the 
calling and settling of a minister In the said town as need shall require. 

And this Assembly grants to the Governor two hundred acres of land within 
the said township. 

And it is also provided, that what country lands lye within the aforesaid 
tract granted to be a township not already laid out, those that h:ive country 
grants have liberty to take them up, provided they do It within one year next 

Captain John Chandler Is appointed tp bound out the said lands. 

And this Assembly leaves it to tlie llon'bie the Govenior, with the Secretary, 
to sign a patent unto Col. Robert Treat, Major James Fitch, Capt. Dun. 
Wethereli, Mr. Joseph Haynes, Mr. Samuel Andrew, Mr. George Denlsoii, 
Mr. James Danlelsonr David Jacobs, Samuel Randall, Peter Aspinwall, Joseph 
Cady, in behalf of the rest of the proprietors ; provided It wrong no person 
or persons' Just and legal rights." 



The stringent provision for secnring obedience to the Colony laws 
for upholding the worship of God, was called out by the movement 
then in progress for remedying defects in the discipline of the churches 
of Connecticut and securing a firmer i*eligious establishment — this very 
' Assembly requiring the ministers and managers to meet in Saybrook 
"to draw a form of ecclesiastic discipline." 

No report of the organization of town government is preserved, nor 
is there any record of town acts the first twenty. yeara of its existence. 
Selectmen were duly appointed and discharged the duties of their 
oflices. Books were procured for recording land-deeds — David Church 
serving as town -clerk. Joseph Cady was chosen lieutenant and John 
Winter ensign of the soldiers or train band, and at the suggestion of 
some unsuitable person the graceful Indian Aspinock was exchanged 
for barbarous Killingly. In October of 1708, the Court gi*anted 
" liberty to the inhabitants of Killingly, to survey and lay out one 
hundred acres of land within their township for the use and encourage- 
ment of a minister to settle there and carry on the worship of God 
among them." A hundred acres of land for the first settled minister 
was also pledged to the town by Captain Chandler, in presence and 
with concurrence of the selectmen. 

The growth of the new town was very rapid despite its poverty and 
remoteness. Land was cheap and open to purchasers. Grantees 
hastened to t^ke up their rights and sell them out to settlors, so that 
population inoriMisod nnioli more rapidly than in the richer neighbor- 
ing towns owned by cor|iorat!ons and largo land-holdoi'S. The land 
north of Danielson*s, extending from the middle of " the long interval** 
to Lake Mashapaug, was conveyed by Mnjor Fitch to John, Nathaniel 
and Nicholas Mighill : a farm cast of the lake was sold to John 
Lorton ; David Church of Marlborough, and William Mofiat settled 
in the Qninebaug valley, adjoining James Ijeavens. Many grants were 
bought up by Niohol:is Cady north of Rattlesnake Ilill, in the neigh- 
borhood of Richard Bvavis, and sold by him to George Blanchard of 
Lexington, Thomas Whitmore, William Price, John and Samuel 
Winter, John Bartlett, William Robinson and others, who at once took 
possession of this northern extremity of the town. So near were they 
to the mystical Woodward's and S.iffery's Line, that they often ran over 
it into the territory of Massachusetts, and Captain Sampson Howe, who 
settled at Nashaway in 1708, though clearly beyond the limits of Con. 
necticut, was ranked among the inhabitants of Killingly. Far in the 
east, northeast of Rattlesnake — then known as Killingly — Hill, a 
settlement was begun by Isaac Cutler and his son Jonathan of Cam- 
bridge, who purchased of James Leavens, in 1709, land on a brook 
running into the Assawaga, with a dwelling-house and part of a saw- 


Within the time allotted, the grantees had taken up their land, .and on 
Ootober 18, 1709, on the payment of forty pounds through Oaptain 
Chandler, a patent of the remaining lands in Killingly was granted by 
the Governor and Company of Connecticut to its proprietors, viz.: 
Colonel Robert Treat, Miyor James Fitch, Captun -John Chandler, 
Joseph Otis, Jam^ Danielson, Ephraim Warren, Peter Aspinwall, 
Joseph Cady, Richard Evans, Sen. and Jun., John Winter, Stephen 
Clap, John and William Crawford, George Blanchard, Thomas Whit- 
more, John Tjorton, Jonathan Russel, Daniel Cady, William Prioe, 
William Hofiat, James and Joseph Leavens, John, Nathaniel and 
Nicholas Migliill, John Baitlett, Samuel Winter, Ebenezer Kee, Isaac 
and Jonathan Cutler, Peter Leavens, Sampson Howe, John Sabin, 
John Preston, Philip E^tman, David Church, Thomas Priest, 
Nicholas Cady, John, Thomas, Matthew, Jabez and Isaac Allen. 
Nearly one- third of these forty -four patentees were non-resident, so 
that Killingly numbei*ed at this date about thii'ty families. 




KILLINGLY was thus in 1709, an organized township, owning its 
land and enjoying to an unusual degree the favor and protection 
of the Qovernment Only a small part of its largo teqitory was yet 
occupied. Its inhabitants were mostly gathered within the Quinebaug 
valley and in the open country north of Killingly Hill. '* A gangway" 
leading from Plainfield to Boston extended through the whole length 
of the town, connecting by a ci*08s road with the ways to Haitford and 
Woodstock at the fording-place below the Great Falls of the Quine- 
baug. ' Its condition may be inferred from the tradition, that when 
James Danielson's negro was sent to Boston with a load of produce, 
he had made so little progress after a day's joiu*ney as to go home to 
spend the first night. The Providence way afler encircling the base of 
Killingly Hill wound back far to the north, past Isaac Cutler's, enabling 
the inhabitants to procure boards from his sawmill and helping build 
up that remote section. Mr. Cutler was early allowed to keep a house 
of public entertainment and his tavei*n was noted as the last land-mark 
of civilization on the road from Connecticut to Providence. Other 
parts of the town were only accommodated with rude bridle paths. A 
grist-mill was set up by James Danielson and supplied such inhabitants 


as were remote from Woodstock. Several of the settlers were mem- 
bers of the Woodstock church and many frequented its house of wor- 
ship but were so remiss in paying their dues that a committee 
was ordered to report their faiUu'e to the Goveniment of Connecticut. 
One of the firat objects of the town, was to settle religious ordinances 
among themselves — manifested by " the humble request of Lieuten- 
ant Peter Aspinwall in behalf of the inhabitants of Killingly to the 
General Court convened at New Haven, October 12, 1710, showing: — 

That whereas said town havln|( been legally convened did pass a vote, That 
the noD-rcsldeiits of said town should bear a proportion in a tax laldi or to be 
laid, of fifteen shillings on the hundred acren of all the divided Innds through- 
out said town for the building a meetlng-hoase, a minister's house and for 
settling a ralnlster-— the Inhabitants humbly move that the General Assembly 
would pass their sanction on this vote, which Will be a lightening of their 
burdens and no urgent imposition on the non-re8idents. Thus in humble 
confidence of your thvor in passing your order with respect to the premises 
over imploring the divine blessing to nttend the great and honorable Oourt, 
we subscribe ourselves your humble petitioners.** 

This request was graciously gi*auted and power given to levy this 
rate upon the land of any proprietor who should neglect or refuse to 
pay. Freedom from the payment of Colony rates had been previously 
accorded — the sum levied to be improved for building a ministers 
house and meeting-house. A minister was soon procured — Mr. John 
Fisk of Braintree, Mass., a son of Reverend Moses Fiskand a graduate 
of Harvard College in 17D2. Religious services were now held in dif- 
ferent parts of the town. July 16, 1711, the town agreed to give Mr. 
Fisk three hundred and fifty acres of land for his encouragement to set^ 
tie in the work of the ministry. James Leavens and Sampson Howe 
were appointed a committee to lay out this land ; Eleazer Bateman and 
Ephraim Warren to survey it Two hundred acres were laid out to 
him on French River, beyond the bounds of Killingly as it after- 
wards proved. Seventy-five acres for the homestead were selected 
on the eastei'n slope of Killingly Hill, and sovonty-flvo on Assa 
waga or Flvo-Mlle River, Stated religious sorvioes wore proba- 
bly held after this date by Mr. Fisk, though some years passed 
before his settlement. Special services were held September 9, 1711, 
when the sacrament wa5 administered by Mr. Estibrook of Canterbury 
and three children were dedicated to God in baptism. Arrangements 
were also made for the erection of the meeting-house and mini^tter's 
hou3e,- but no records concerning them have been preserved. 

Immigration was still progressing. In 1711, a Massachusetts Colony 
took possession of Chestnut Hill, an extensive nse of land in the 
east of the town, with steep sides heavily wooded and a broad open 
plateau on the summit This fine site was included in the grants laid 
out to John and Joseph Haynes, Timothy Woodbridge and Governor 



Treat ; sold by them to John AlleD ; by him to Caption John Chandler, 
who sold the whole tract — twenty-foar htindred acres for £812 — to 
Eleazer and Thomas Bateman of Concord, Samael and Thomas Oould, 
Nathaniel Lawrence, Ebenezer Bloss, Thomas Richardson and Ebene- 
zer Knight, joint proprietors. John Brown, Moses *Barret, Josiah 
Proctor, Daniel Carrol, Samuel Robbins, Daniel Ross and John Grover 
were soon alter admitted among the Chestnut Hill proprietors. Most 
of these purchasers became valued citizens of Killingly. Home lots 
were laid out on the hill summit ; the remainder of the land was held 
in common for many years. A road was laid over the hill-top, and 
c}irricd on to Cutler's mill and the Providence wav. The rumuindor of 
Haynes's grant was laid out east of Assawaga River, bordering south 
on Whetstone Brook and was purchased by Nicholas Cady, who in 
1709, removed his re«idenoe to this more southern locality. This 
tract, together with Breakneck Hill on the east and much other land in 
this vicinity, passed into the hands of Ephraim Warren, son of Deacon 
Jacob Warren of Plainfield and one of the first settlers of Killingly 
centre. The Owaneoo land in the south of Killingly, held by Plain- 
iield gentlemen, was still unsettled and undivided, though many rights 
were sold and bartered. Edward Spalding bought the rights of James 
Kingsbury and William Marsh, for £1. lOs. each. In 1708, Michael 
Hewlett pui*chased Paikhurst's right for one pound ; Jacob Warren 
sold his right to this land to Nicholas Cady in exchange for land 
north of Whetstone Brook, southwest from Chestnut Hill," in 1710. 
Thomas Stevens, at the same date, sold his share to Ephraim Warren 
of Killingly. John Hutchins bought out the rights of Nathaniel Jew- 
el] and Samuel Shepard. 

In the north part of Killingly, settlement was rapidly advancing. 
William I^rned, a young adventurer from Framingham, bought land 
of Winter in 1712. The two Richard Evanses now sold their home- 
steads and removed to Providence. The northern farm was purchased 
by Samuel Converse of Woburn in 1710 ; the soiitheiii establishment 
— **a tenement of houses, barn, orchard, tanning pits, fulling* mill" with 
about three hundred aoi*es of land— was sold to Simon Bryant of Brain- 
tree for £224^ who to his other valuable possessions added aeoen 
blooming and capable daughters. James Wilson of Lexington bought 
land of Converse, adjoining Bryant, and Samuel Lee also settled in this 
thriving neighborhood. 

In 1718, the long-disputed boundary between Massachusetts and 
Connecticut was rectified, Woodwai'd's and Saflfery's Line abrogated 
and a new line run some six or seven miles noilhward. Killingly 
at once assumed that this new Colony bound was now her northern 
boundary-line and proceeded to take possession of the annexed 


territory, whereupon the Governor and Council, who had other plans 
for its disposal, sent the following order : — 

*' January 7, 17 1|. This boird being inforinod th%t the town of Kelllngly 
purpose to lay out lands as within the township of Kellin^lj, up to the line 
of this Colony as lately run by the commissioners for that end appointed, 
whereafl the ^rant of that township which bound!^ them by the north lino of 
this Colony, was made at a time when a line from Woodward's and Saffery's 
first station to DlHscrs liouse on Connecticut Ulver In Windsor was the only 
line between this Colony and the Province of Matisachu^etta, which had been 
run by the order of the Massachusetts Colony, and there was no other line at 
the said time to be given them as the north bounds of said town : by which 
line they had the M\ extent of miles from sonth to uorth, given them for the 
extent of their towuHhlp; — and there being now by the late running of the 
line, a tract of land within this Colony to the uorthward of the said township 
of Keillngly sufflcient to make a township and to which the town of KelUngly 
can have no right by their grant of the said township. 

R U agrefsdy that the selectmen of the town of Kelllngly be, and they are 
herel)y strictly charged, to give immediate notice to the said town In a town 
meeting for that end to be by them forthwith called, that they do not presume 
to make or lay out any grants of land to the northward of the antlent line rnn 
by Woodward and Saffery to Bisscrs house afore said, as they will answer the 

In spite of this prohibition Killingly continued to encroach upon the 
land northward, and not only laid ont land but assumed jurisdiction 
and presumed to assess its inhabitants. 

• At the expiration of the four yeai-s' release from the payment of 
conntry nite, the meeting-house was scarcely begun and the minister 
yet unsettled. The settlers labored under great diflliculiies and dis- 
couragements. Much of their land was poor and rough, hard to subdue 
and cultivate. Money was scurce, inhabitants widely scatt^^rod and 
many public works to be acoom[>lished. Mr. Fisk continued to ofHciato 
in the ordinary Sabbath service, and the neighboring ministers — 
Messrs. Coit, Estabrook and Dwight— at times administered the sacra- 
ment and baptized many children. In 1718, Killingly sent her first 
representative to the Assembly — Mr. Peter Aspinwall — but made no 
provision for paying colonial rates. The selectmen were thereupon 
enjoined to provide a list of polls and ratable estates, but when among 
them were included inhabitants north of Killingly *s prescribed limits, 
Governor Saltonstall was required — ^*to order the selectmen of the 
said town not to enter in the said list any polls or estates, living and 
being above nine miles to the northward of a line parallel to the 
DOith bounds of the town of Plainfield, or to the south bounds 
of the said town of Killingly : the grant of the said township 
of Killingly limhing the same not to be above nine miles to the 
northwards of the said south bounds." 

In the summer of 1714, the meeting-house was raised and covered. 
Its site was east of the Plainfield road, about one-fourtb df a mile south 
of the^ present East Putnam meeting house. Nothing if known of its 
size and appearance, or of the oiroumstances of its building. In the 



ensuing summer it was made ready for occupation and preparations 
made for church organization. September 15, 1715, was observed in 
Killing]/ as a day of solemn fasting and prayer, preparatory to the 
gathering oif a church and the ordination of a pastor. Mr. Estabrook 
conducted the services in the morning, preaching from Heb. XII : 28. 
Mr. Dwight oiticiated in the aflernoon — taking for his text, Canticles 
VIII : 8. Mr. Peter Aspinwall and Simon Bryant then repaired to 
the Genera] Assembly and in behalf of **a company of communicants 

or inhabitants of the town of Killingly,*' thus petitioned : — 

**It liAvIng pleased Almighty Qo<l in his niorclAil provldonce to bring his 
own worlc ko Air fonvnrd niiioiig uh, notwlthstimdiiig the many and greiit dif- 
ficulties wo have met in forming our new plantation, as to unite our hearts In Uie 
choice of the Reverend John Flsk to be the minister of this town— of whose 
accomplishments for the evangelical service we have had experience for a con- 
siderable seauon to our great satisfaction, and with whom we have agreed for 
a settlement in the ministry among us. And as there appears among us a 
competent number of persous to form themselves into a particular church of 
Christ, that we may have the aforesaid gentleman Installed into the pastoral 
office over us, and the blessed InHtitutiuns of Christ dispensed to us, and 
also being informed of our duty and obligation established by law to endeavor 
the countenance of the Q<>vernniont over us that the communicants hero may 
coalesce into a chnrch estate and fellowshlp^wo, therefore, your humble pe- 
titioners, attViCtlonately pray this Grout and Qeneral Court In their great wis- 
dom and extensive benignity to exert their authority for our benefit as the law 
directs, by passing an act that the brethren in ftill communion among us may 
enjoy the leave and approbation of this Honorable Assembly for embodying 
Into church estate, that so a gospel candlestick may be erected In the fields of 
the wood, with a burning and shining light flxt In It, to the glory of our 
ascended Lord and for the comfort and edification of ourselves and latest 
posterity — which good work we have appointed (Ood's gracious providence 
permitting) to accomplish very speedily." 

This request being granted, — ** October 19, 1715, a church was pub- 
licly gathered in Killingly and John Fisk ordained the pastor of* it" 
Mr. Dwight of Woodstock, opened the service with prayer, lleverend 
Mr. Baxter of Medford, preached from llomans 1:16. Reverend Mr. 
Thatcher of Milton, gave the charge to the minister and made the 
preceding and subsequent prayera ; Mr. Estabrook gave the right hand 
of fellowship ; part of a psalm was sung. John Fisk, James Danielson, 
Peter Aspinwall, Jaimes Leavens, Sampson Flo we, Eleazer Barman, 
Richard Blosse, George Blauchard, Isaac Jewett, Thomas Gould and 
Stephen G rover united in church fellowship — Danielson, Aspinwall, 
Leavens, and Howe bringing letters from the church of Woodstock ; 
the others from different Massachusetts churches, with the exception of 
Thomas Gould and Stephen Grover, who were admitted by the Council. 
The original covenant adopted by the church has not been preserved. 
Sixteen additional communicants were admitted into the church before 
the close of the year. At the lecture preparatory to its first commun- 
ion, December 29, 1715, Peter Aspinwall and Eleazer Balman were 
chosen deacops. The first marriage recorded by the young minister 
was that of William Larned to Hannah, the first of the seven notable 


daughter of Simon Bryant. Mr. Fiek was himself married November 
26, 1717, to Abig.Hi1, dauxUter of Reverend Nehemiah Ilobart of New- 
ton, Mass., and sister of Mr. Samuel Estabrook of Canterbury. The only 
incident of his domestic life that has come down to us, is the buraing 
of his honse and all its contents one Sabbath, when the family were 
attending public worship. The ministry of Mr. Fisk was acceptable 
and prosperous, and large numbers were added to the church. His 
pastoral charge comprehended also the inhabitants north of Killingly, 
who were allowed to pay church rates,* if not other town charges. Mr. 
Fisk was remarkably minute and methodical in the registry of church 
records, keeping separate lists of those uniting with the church by 
profession and by letter and of those owning the covenant Very full 
lists of marriages and baptisms were preserved by him, which acquired 
additional value from the total lack of town records during the greater 
part of his ministry. Of the salary and settlement allowed to him 
nothing further is known, save that the hundred acres of land given by 
Captain Chandler to the first settled minister of Killingly, *' which 
land by the ordering of Divine Providence appertains to John Fisk"— 
were laid out to him in 1721, west of Five-Mlle River, a halfmile 
east of the meeting-house. 

The population of Killingly continued to increase. Daniel Cady 
removed to the south part of Pomfret; Nicholas Caly to Preston, but 
others took their places. Robert Day settled south of Whetstone 
Brook in 1717. Nell-Ellick Saunders — afterwards called Alexander — 
height land of the non-resident Mighills in 1721, near Lake Masha- 
pang, which soon took the name of the new resident-proprietor. 
Joseph Covill, Philip Priest, Andrew Philips and John Comins of 
Charlestown, were admitted among the Chestnut Hill company. 
John Uutchins of Plainfield is believed to have taken possession 
of the the north part of the Owaneco Purchase about 1720. In 
1721, Jacob Spalding, then just of age, received from his father, 
Edward of Plainfield, a deed of *Hhe twenty-first lot in Plainfield 
Purchase, cornering on Horse Hill." Jacob at once built a forti- 
fied, house and established himself there with his young wife, the 
first settlers of South Killingly and the only white inhabitants within 
many miles. Unoccupied Colony land stretched north and south of 
them and Rhode Island's barbarous border land lay at the oast. 
Wild beasts abounded and still wilder savages, wandering Nip- 
mucks, Quinebaugs and Narragansets, craving food and shelter, now 
kind and friendly, then cross and quarrelsome, but in the main submis- 
sive to the whites. Jacob's tiiumph over the Indian, who attempted 
to inake him pay twice for a deer-skin sojn after his settlement, 
secured for him permanent respect and authority. The drunken 


savage mislaid tbe bill and forgot the payment, and after a fruiU^sa 
demand, peranaded some of his friends to go with him to kill Jaoob. 
They found him busily engaged shingling the roof of his new bam. 
The Indian again demanded pay for the skin. Jaoob rofused, where- 
upon the Indian raised his bow and sent an arrow to bring him to terms. 
Jacob jumped to the other side the ridgepole; his assailant followed 
him below, and so they went on, dodging back and forth pvcr and around 
the barn, till the wearied Indian ^topped to refresh himself with some 
tobacco, and pulled out from his pouch the very tenor hill paid by his 
antagoniHt. IIu stood amrized and oonsoicnoo-striokeu. The other 
Indians burst out against him— '* He was a liar and Jacob an honest 
man." According to one version of the legend, "they would have 
killed him, but Jacob came down from the barn and interceded for the 
man's life ;" others say, that Jacob referred his punishment to the chief 
Indian, who had him tied up to a tree and soundly flogged. 

The difliculty of procuring supplies in ihis remote settlement was a 
serious anuoyanoe to those young sottlor^. In the flr^t sununor they 
broke up land, raised grain and stock, but ere the winter was over 
there was nothing left for themselves or their cattle, and the snow was 
so deep that supplies could not be brought to them, and their only 
resource was to return to Plainfield, — " so starting the oxen ahead to 
break out a path, the cows followed anJ then Mr. Spalding and his 
family." Even after some years settlement, with children to feed, they 
often suffered from scarcity of fi)od, and various privations. The only 
' accessible grist-lnill was that on the Moosup, five miles distant, a whole 
day*s joui*ney through the winter snow diifts, so that Mr. Spalding 
was obliged to pass the night when he carried his grain there. On 
one such occasion the family was very shoit of provisons. An enor- 
mous beef bone, which had perhaps served as basis for many messes of 
bean-poiTidge, was given over to the children, picked clean and scraped 
over and over, and again laid up lest every particle of flesh or 
gristle had not been removed. Night came on. The children went to 
sleep ; the anxious mother watched and listened. Indians had been 
around through the day unusually insolent and troublesome, and she 
had given them what food she could spare through the window — a 
square hole, closed with a sliding-board — but had not suflered them to 
enter. Now, she was sure she heiu'd them prowling about the house. 
She listened more intently. After a time, she was certain that she 
heard some one climbling up to the window, intending doubtless to 
break in and assault her and her sleeping children. She looked around 
the room for some defensive weapon and her eye caught the great beef- 
bone. Quick as a flash she seized it, opened the window and hurled it 
with all her strength into the face of an advancing Indian. He gave 


A most honible howl, dropped to the ground and fled with all the 
company, frightened out of their wits by this most extraordinary 
projectile, and fearing worse things were in store for them. The 
prowess shown by both Mr. and Mi*s. Spalding in this and other ren- 
contres, pnt an end afler a time to these annoyances and brought their 
unruly neighbors under some degree of subjection. Other settlers in 
time removed to this neighborhood, but the progress of the settlement 
was very slow for several years. 

In 1721, the town of Killingly laid out and distributed its first divis- 
ion of public lands,— Peter Aspinwall, James Jjeavcns and Joseph 
Cady, committee. About eighty proprietors received shares of this 
land, showing a large increase of population. No record is preserved 
of the terms and extent of this division. During this year the train- 
band was reorganized. Mr. Joseph Cady chosen captain ; Mr. Eph- 
raini WaiTen, lieutenant ; Mr. Thomas Gould, ensign. Peter Aspin- 
wall, Simon Bryant, George Blanchard, Thomas Whittemore and 
Ephraim Warren served successively ]is representatives. Peter Aspin- 
wall was chosen a justice of the peace in 1716; Joseph Leavens in 
1725. Of the progress of schools, roads and many public aflfairs in 
Killingly, no knowledge can be obtained. A burial-ground south of 
the Providence road was given to the town by Peter Aspinwall at an 
early date. 

A.Ji. Y • 

I'^IIE territory noith of Killingly, known to the Indians as Quinna- 
tisset, now incorporated into the township of Thompson, remained 
for many years in - its aboriginal condition. Part of this tract was 
granted by the Massachusetts Government to its native proprietoi'S, 
Black James and his associates, and was conveyed by them to Stough* 
ton and Dudley, laid out in farms in 1 684, and then lefl for thirty 
years t^ wild beasts and savages. Thompson and Freak, the largest 
land-holders, were nonresident Englishmen, and Dudley and Stoughton 
too much occupied with public affairs to atten^t the settlement of a 
remote and contested section, which they could not but know must in 
time revert to Connecticut New lloxbury grew up into a thi-iving 
township, settlements were initiated in Mashamoquet and Aspinock, 
Killingly was laid out southward, and still Quinnatissct was lefl to 



solitude and desolation, traversed only by Indian hunters and passing 
travelers. Its fort and wigwam. had fallen into mips, forests had over- 
grown its once open hill -tops, its surveyor's lines were pv^r-ran with 
thickets and brambles, the bounds that marked the farms wera de-. 
cayed and obliterated. The old Connecticut Road, spanning its north- 
west comer and the "gangway to Boston," braved by valorous' 
Plainfield and Killingly settlers, were long the only vestiges of civiliza- 
tion in this benighted region. 

The first knoM'n settler within Quinnatisset limits was one Eleazer 
Spalding of Woodstock, who, without purchase or license, took pos- 
session of land laid out to Josiah Cotton on the Quinebaug and 
occupied it for many yeai*s, in spite of remonstrance and attempted 
ejection. Other " squatters " may have inhabited the vicinity of Wood- 
stock. The first regular and datable settler within the limits of the 
present Thompson, was Richard Dresser of Rowley, who, after a year's 
trial of the new settlement at Mashamoquet, purchased of Captain 
John Chandler in 1707, for £120, '' the place called Nashaway." Tliis 
name, originally designating the point of land between the Quinebaug 
and French Rivers, was also extended to the land west of this 
point, on which Jkfr. Dresser settled. The road from Woodstock to 
Providence passed near his dwelling, which was a little south of the 
site of the present West Thompson village. Richard Dresser married 
Mary Peabody of Rowley, in 1708, and their son, Jacob, born in 1710, 
was the first whito male child born within Thompson temtory. In 
1708, Richard Dresser sold "the land between the rivera " to Sampson 
Howe of Roxbury, who took immediate posses.sion and was at unco 
claimed as an inhabitant of Killingly, becoming one of its most 
prominent and useful citizens. The land west of the Quinebaug was 
never claimed by that township. 

Isaac Jewett of Rowley and John Tounglove soon followed Samp- 
son Howe, settling further north between the rivers, on land purchased 
of Jabez Corbin in 1711. Their farms were much infested with bears, 
wolves and Indians, and a log foit or garrison found needful for 
protection. The first settler in the vicinity of Quinnatisset Hill was 
Samuel Converse of Woburn, who secuivd a deed of land from Richard 
Evans in 1710, and with his wife and five sons settled about a mile 
south of the hill -top. The Killingly settlers were near him on the 
south, but northward to the old towns of Oxford and Mendon the 
country was a savage wilderness, its rude paths only designated by 
marks on tree tmnks. Mr. Converse s dwelling-house stood near the 
Boston road, and furnished rest and enteitaiument to many a passing 

By the settlement of Massachu3etts boundary line in 1713, the land 


north of Killingly was allowed to the Colony of Connecticut. Massa- 
chusetts was forced to admit that Woodward*s and Saflfery's liue ran 
some miles south of the bound prescribed by her patent, and iti the 
course of settlement it was also found that the south part of the town 
of Woodstock and nearly half of Thompson s and Freak's fanns lay 
south of this erroneous Colony line. That Connecticut had a lawful right 
to the fee as well as jurisdiction of this land no one could deny, but beset 
by enemies at home and abroad she was forced to yield it to the 
stronger Colony, and allowed Massachusetts, by formal agreement and 
covenant, to keep the towns laid out by her in Connecticut territory, 
and the various grantees to retain possession of this Innd, receiving 
as equivalent An equal number of acres in distant localities. Under 
this arrangement, Cotmecticut yielded : 

To the town of Woodstock, 50,410 acres. 

To Joseph Dudley, 1,600 *« 

To the heirs of Hobcrt Thompson, 2,000 « 

u .. .< Thomas Freak, 2,000 ** 

«« a u wiUlara Whiting, 1,000 «• 

To John Gore. 600 " 

To Gardner and Gambling, each, 600 *' 

To John Cotton, 600 ** 

To John Ck>llin8, 600 " 

To Black James and Company, 2,22S *< 

The land between the Quinebaug and Woodstock, appropriated by 
Major Fitch as a part of Wabbaqnasset, had been purchased by Captain 
John Chandler, and much of the land between the Quinebaug and 
French Rivers was also in the possession of Woodstock gentlemen. 
The land east of the French River not covered by previous grants and 
claims, reverted to the Colony of Connecticut 

The holders of land under grants from Massachusetts hastened to 
identify and appropriate their possessions. Dudley, Stoughton and 
even Black James secured their portions at once, but the other grantees 
met many obstacles. A corner of Gore s bad been taken up by Samuel 
Converse; Cotton's was forcibly held by Spalding; Whitings was 
reported tmder-measured, and the boundaries of Thompson's and 
Freak's were so defaced and overgrown that even the practiced eye of 
Captain John Chandler failed to discover them. At length, with the 
assistance of Colonel William Dudley and Benjamin Gambling, who 
had aided in the original survey, " a tree marked F ** was found on 
Fort Hill, and measuring from it they came upon other marked trees 
and monuments and were able to identify and refresh the bounds of the 
five thousand-acre tract The Thompson land was then confirmed to 
Joseph Thompson of England ; Freak's farm to Josiah Wolcott of 
Siilem and his wife Mary, niece of Thomas Freak, and the other 
grantees received confirmation of their grants from the Goverament of 


Quinnatisset, when thus assamed by .Connectiouti was piostly a savage 
wilderness; its few settlers, Di^esser, Howe, Jewett, Younglove, Cpnvprs^ 
and the squatter, Spalding — scattered alpng its eonthern and jurestern 
borders. The best part of ifs land was taken up by non-residents, and 
a town organization was deemed by these gentlemen essential for t)ie 
security and settlement of their propeity. '^JTosiah Wolootf, in his 
own name and in the name of Major Robert Thompson and other pro- 
prietors of the gi*eatest part of the land . lying in the northeast of 
Connecticut) east of Wooditock, north of Killingly," petitioned the 
General Assembly for a township in 17H. The Assembly considered 
the request ; found that '* iVom the south line of Killingly to the 
ancient 9upposed bounds of this Colony is eleven miles, and from 
thence to the now-established line is seven miles, but not knowing th^ 
width " deferred decision. In May, 1716, Mr. Wolcott again petitioned 
" for the purpose of improving the lands and making a plantation,*' 
having information from Captain Chandler, John Plumb and others 
that the tract north of Killingly was amply sufficient for a township. 
The Upper .House giimted the township, "provided Killingly be 
allowed nine miles,*' but the Lower dissented. Killingly had already 
manifested her determination to appropriate this land, and fears were 
entertained of wronging that needy township. The petition for the 
annexation of the vacant land northward, presented by Peter ^spin- 
wall in 1716, met, however, with flat rejection. The Colony could not 
decide what to do with her pew territory. Its inhabitants apparently 
preferred absorption in Killingly ; its non-resident land-holdei*s, an 
independent township. The lack of local organization and officers 
subjected these gentlemen to encroachments and losses, and debarred 
them from prosHcutions and trials. A forcible representation from 
Captain Chandler in 1717 of these wrongs and inconveniences, pro- 
cured the annexation of the land east of Woodstock to the county of 
New London, while Killingly was paciBed by libeity to levy rates 
therein for her minister. 

The unorganized and somewhat lawless condition of the Quinna- 
tisset country did not prevent settlement. Its firat settler after 
annexation to Connecticut was probably. Samuel Morris of Marl- 
borough, son of the firat £dwai*d Mon'is of Woodstock, who, after 
some yeara residence in an old settled township, purchased in 1714, of 
the Hon. Joseph and Madame llebecca Dudley, fifteen hundred acres 
of land west of the Myanexet, cUias Quinebuug River — the site of the 
present village of New Boston — and there established himself with his 
family. A house with fortifications was soon erected, land subdued and 
many improvements initiated. The vicinity of Black James and the 
remaining Nipmuck Indians made defences and precautions needful for 


a lime, bat Mr. MoniR soon gained inflnenoe and authority over them, 
and was dignified with the honoraiy title of governor. A blast of the 
conoh-shell, it was said, woald bring an handred Indians to the ud of 
Governor Morris. The various publio enterprises achieved by Mr. 
Morris won him much respect and consideration through all the sur- 
rounding country. The first permanent bridge across the Quinebaug 
River was completed by him in 1718, at the fording-place of the old 
ConnecUcut Road, and was exceedingly ** convenient and beneficial to 
travelers.** More than a mile of this road p.Hssed through his land 
and was greatly improved by him, and kept in order. Two smaller 
bridges were also built by him in this vicinity, and much money ex- 
pended in clearing the channel of the river. For these various public 
services and improvemtsnts, Mr. Morris was freed for ten yeafs from . 
payment of country taxes. He was also allowed the privilege of 
attending public worship in Woodstock, whore ho ptiid rates and 
helped build its second meeting-house, and- was rewarded by one of the 
chief seats in that pretentious edifice. 

Settlers soon also took possession of land on the French River, David 
Shapley and Samuel Davis buying farms of Captain John Chandler in 
1715. Henry EUithorp next settled near the site of the present 
Grosvenor Dale, north of Davis. Samuel Converse, for fifty pounds, 
conveyed ** a part of High Plain, near Quinnatisset, to Urian Horsmor 
of Woodstock, in 1716. James and Jeremiah Horsmor also bought 
land of James Leavens and Peter Aspinwall, east of French River. 
In 1716, Josiah Wolcott made the first sale of land on Qainnatisset 
Hill, conveying, for two hundred pounds, four hundred acres on the . 
summit of the hill, to Captain John Sabin of Pomfret, and agreeing 
'' to defend said Sabin in quiet and peaceable possession of the premises, 
so that he be not forcibly ejected.*' This guaranty was called out by 
the belligerent attitude of Killingly, who, baying discovered that 
Thompson, Wolcott and Gk>ro had encroached upon her lawful limits, 
threatened forcible seizure. Captaiu Sabin, backed by Wolcott, was 
however, too formidable to be molested, and he soon made over his 
purchase to his son, Hezekiah, who put u^ a house and settled there 
with his family, the first resident proprietor of Qainnatisset — now 
Thompson HilL The red tavern, long occupied by Mr. Sabin, became 
one of the mo^t noted way-marks between Boston and Haitford. The 
remainmg sixteen hundred acres of Freak's Farm wefe held many 
years by Esquire Wolcott Gk)re*s five hundred acres south of Wolcott*s, 
known as the Quinuatisset Farm, were sold by him to Ebenezer 
Newell of Roxbury, and after several transfers passed into the hands ot 
its first settlers, John Cooper and Benjamin Russel. 



The oonntry north of Qninnatisset Hill was also opened to settle- 
ment Whiting's thousand-aore farm, south of Lake Ghaabongum, 
after secariug its oomplement, was pnrohased by Mr. Sampson Howe 
and Oomfort Starr of Dedhanu in 1715, and laid out in farms to be 
sold or rented. Two thousand acres of land granted to Gbvemor 
Saltonstall by the General Assembly in 1714, " among the broken land 
lying between or among the grants to Massachusetts gentlemen," were 
laid out east of Whitney's farm, in the northeast comer of the Oolony. 
Daniel Ross of Eillingly and Comfort Starr soon purchased each five 
hundred acres of this land — ^the latter selling farms to James Atwell and 
Jafirey Peabody, and reserving for himself a homestead a little west of 
what is now called Brandy Hill. The first resident of this hill was 
probably Benjamin Bixby of Topsfield, who built himself a house in 
1719, east side of the road to Boston. This settler eici)erienced quite 
unusual casualties. His house, as the last out post of civilisuition on 
the road from Connecticut, was much frequented by travelers, Indians 
and lawless borderers. On one occasion, Mrs. Bizby, when alone, 
reftised to give liquor to a drunken savage, whereupon he shot her in 
the thigh, wounding her severely. Tliis outrage greatly alarmed the 
few inhabitants of this remote Border-land, especially as it was a time 
of much Indian alarm and violence, and a report of it was speedily 
sent to the Governor and Council, who immediately took measures for 
the discovery and punishment of the perpratator. It was found that 
he had been at Mohegan, '< entertained there and conveyed away." 
The Mohegans were warned '^ to abstain from drink, which puts men 
upon saying and doing things that are provoking," and charged ^Hhat 
they don't walk with arms any ifhore than Knglish men into English 
houses or settlements," whereby such '* unhappy accidents might be 
prevented." It was also ordered, October 3, 1720 : — 

''That the clerk of the Council do write to Richard Bnshnell, Bsq., to 
deliver to Bei^^^n^ln Bigsby of Killlugly what estate the said BushneU has in 
his hands belonging to tho Indian that shot said Bigsby's wife." 

Scarcely had the unfoitunate Mrs. Bixby recovered from this misad- 
venture when she was '' visited by the awful providence of Heaven," — 
being struck by lightning in a terrific thunder shower and very seriously 
injured and disabled. This double calamity called out the sympathy 
and compassion of all the surrounding country, and such tender concern 
*^ for these misfortunes was expressed by Goveraor Saltonstall, through 
Lieutenant Peter Aspiuwall, that Mr. Bixby was constrained to express 
by letter ^* his grateful acknowledgment of his Honor's undeserved 
kindness," and further inform him ** that his wife continued in very 
difiloult circumstances and was unlikely to recover the usual soundness 
of her limbs under another year, if ever." With other *^ uiateriul aid," 


offered to Mr. Bixby in his misfortunes, " seventeen pounds were for- 
warded by the Indians at New London,** probably in atonement of that 
** unhappy accident " of shooting. 

Pottaquatio — now Quaddlo — southeast of Quinnatisset EGll^ was laid 
out in 171(i, on a grant to Giles Hamlin, and after various transfers 
was purchased in 1719, by its first resident proprietor — Henry Green 
of Maiden — who, with eight sons, at onoe took possession of this wild 
region. A rough, rocky wilderness extended many miles around it, 
abounding in wild beasts and game. A large colony of beavers held 
possession of the Assawaga or Five-Mile River, and had constructed a 
very effective and substantial dam at the present mill-site. Mr. Green and 
his numerous sons soon established themselves in comfortable quarters, 
broke up land, put up log houses and a sawmill — ^borrowing the 
beavers' dam till a better one could be provided — aud idded much in 
opening aud settling the wild region around them. He was followed 
in 1721, by John Uascall of Middleborougli, who purchased five 
hundi*ed acres granted to Joseph Collins of Guilford — ^laid out north of 
Thompson and south of Saltonstall land — ^but having the misfortune to 
bum his house down soon after its completion, he then removed his 
family and residence to the extreme northwest of the Oolony-land, on 
the tract claimed by the heirs of John Collins. The Joseph Collins 
tract was sold by Hascall to John King of Taunton, who retained it 
for life without taking personal possession, and whose name still clings 
to a small lake within its borders. 

A hundred acres east of Uasuairs, extending nearly to Rhode Island 
]ine, were sold by James Leavens, in 1721, to Edward Munyan of Salem. 
Mr. Munyan was a weaver by trade, who had emigrated from England 
about 1700, but finding little demand for his labors, removed with 
wife, son and two daughters to this remote wilderness. The journey 
was long and laborious ; roads very poor ; streams seldom bridged. 
Six cows, ten sheep and four hogs, to stock the farm, shared the perils 
of the way. Oxen were hired at the diffei*6nt villages to convey the 
cart of household goods from one settlement to another. The old oak 
tree under which they encamped the night ' of their arrival, was. found 
covered with wild turkeys in the morning. A dense, unbroken forest 
stretched eastward many miles into Rhode Island. The Greens and 
.Hascalls were their nearest neighbors, and they supposed them to be 
the only inhabitants of the region. Wolves chased and worried the 
cattle ; pine-knots were burned through the night to scare away wUd 
beasts and Indians. A log house was built during the summer and land 
ac^oining broken up and planted with com, from which in the autumn 
three apronftils of ears were harvested by the daughters. Two Sulem 
families soon followed Mr. Munyan into the wilderness — William 


Moffatt, Mrho purchased fifty aores of James Leadens, and Samuel 
Utter, who apparently squatted on King's tract In 1722, Henry and 
Ebenezer Green sold to Jonathan Clough of Salisbury, a hundred acres 
of land running southeast of a little footpath leading from F.ort Hill to 
Simon Biyant's. A faim, ** south side of Pottaquatic Hill, near Jona- 
than dough's house," was soon after sold, by the same, to Nathaniel 
Merrill, a settler favored like Simon Bryant with a bountiful supply of 

Gardner's and Gambling's tract, north of Wolcott's, was sold to 
Joseph Ellis and Nathaniel Wight in 1721 — Ellis taking the east and 
Wight the western section. Jacob Bixby, nephew of Benjamin, 
Abraham Burrill of Lynn, John Wiley of Reading, Israel Joslyn of 
Salem, Nath. Brown of Killingly, James Coats of Dudley and Philip 
Mclntyre, all settled north of Quinnatisset Hill between 1721 and '26 — 
buying farms of Ellis, Wight, Howe and Starr. Nathaniel Crosby of 
Cambridge, settled near the French River in 1722, on land bought of 
Siunpson Howe. Richard Upham of MuUlon, purchased first divinion 
land, east of Fronoh River of Isaiio Jowott in 1720, and convoyed the 
same and other subsequent purchases to his son Ivory. The wild land 
west of the Quinebaug, owned by Woodstock residents, was firat 
settled by John Dwight, son of the Rev. Josiah Dwight, who secured 
a large tract from Jabez Corbin in 1726. Pi*evious to this purchase, he 
had established himself probably on the '^ wild land " owned by his 
fiither, and, with Sampson Bowe, built a cait-bridge over the Quine- 
baug at great chai'go, but failed to secure help ft'oni government for 
this service. 

Over thirty families were tlius settled on the couutiy land north of 
E[illingly in 1726. No town privileges had been allowed them, but 
such as were unlawlully accorded by Eiillingly, who spared no pains to 
bring them under her jui*isdiction and secure possession of this vacant 
territory. Its inhabitants participated in her secular as well as 
religious privileges, and were allowed to vote in town-meetings, pay 
taxes and hold public ofiices. Sampson Howe, Benjamin Bixby, 
Henry Green, HezekiaK Sabin and others were active in town affaiis. 
A few of the residents west of the Quinebaug attended church in Wood- 
stock, but a greater part of the inhabitants were connected with the 
church in Killingly, attended public worship in its distant meeting-house, 
and had their children baptized by its worthy minister. Schools, roads, 
pounds and other public improvements were not attempted by this 
irregular government. 

Killingly'n persistent attempts to secure possession of this land 
occasioned much trouble and confusion. Two hundred acres promised 
by the town to the Rev. Mr. Fisk, were laid out in Thompson's land. 



and Hasoall and Spalding were enooaraged in their anlawful appropria- 
tion of Oojtton*8 and Collins* grants. In 1721, the selectmen of Killinglj, 
without permission from Gk>yernment, proceeded to lay out this Colony 
land and apportion it among her own inhabitants and its consenting 
residents. The Massachusetts Goyemment wrote to Connecticut in 
'behalf of Cotton and Collins, and received assurance that their claims 
should be made up to them in the ungranted land near Woodstock. 
In 1726, Paul and William Dudley, Josiah Wolcott and Samuel Morris 
represented to the General Court, "that Killingly, by what right they 
knew not, had laid out large quantities of land north of her prescribed 
bound, which was unjust and destructive of their rights," and begged 
relief. Joseph Leavens and Joseph Cady were summoned to answer 
in behalf of Killingly proprietors, and insisted that the land thus laid 
out was included within their patent The Court pronounced their 
plea sufficient, but ordered patents to be granted and executed to such 
grantees " as shall show grants and surveys made by Massachusetts.*' 
Though this decision admitted Killingly*s claim to Connecticut's share 
of this Colony land, she was still dissatisfied, and persisted in her efforts 
to recover the tracts allowed to Massachusetts grantees. 



rflUE township of Pomfret, though later organized than that of 
-L Killingly, preceded it in date of settlement, its purchase and 
laying out quickly following that of Woodstock. Its tenitory was 
included in the Wabbaquasset Country, and came into the possession 
of Miyor Fitch in 1684. The first pioneers "sent to spy out Wood- 
stock " brought back so good a rep6i*t of a fair* land stretching south- 
ward into Connecticut, that a number of Roxbury gentlemen were 
induced to attempt its purchase. Negotiations were promptly opened 
with Major Fitch, and on May 1, 1686, a deed of transfer was executed, 
conveying, for thirty pomitH to Samuel liuggleaf, Sen., John Chandler, 
Sen., Benjamin Sabin, John Grosvenor, Samuel liuggles, Jun., and 
Joseph Grifiin, all of Roxbury, " 15,100 acres of Wildeniess land, to 
be surveyed, laid out and bounded unto tlieni in the WapAqunset 
Country in Connecticut Colony, in such place and regular form as the 
aforesaid grantees shall choose, or adjoining unto a certain plantation 


granted by the Gleneral Court of Maasachnaetts onto Bozbnry ; already 
determined to lye near the patent di vision line in the said t Wapaquaset 
and Nipmuck Country. Said Fitoh ooyenanting that he ia lawfully 
seised of said land as part of a far greater traot from Owaueco ; that 
said company shall make choioe of the plaoe» &o., within three years, 
provided that to the twelve, persons to be named as grantees there be * 
added two shares for Fitch and his heirs, so as the whole number be 
fourteen shares, between whom the whole tract shall be equally divided, 
and that all divisions shall be by lot — the said Fitoh having liberty to 
take his fourteenths in one or two lots at pleasure.*' 

This deed was signed in presence of John Blackwell and Wait 
Wintbrop, and acknowledged by James Fitch, May 6, 1686, beibre Mr. 
William Stoughton, assistant " Owaneco and Joaiah, his eldest son 
and heir, did declare their consent to thb grant, May. 80, 1686, in 
presence of John Blackwell* and John Post" The six purchasers 
named in the deed at once proceeded to designate their associates, 
viz.: — 

*' Whoreos, we, whose names are uuderwrltton, being mentioned and ex- 
proAftod by name as purchasers of a tract of land at Wabbaquasset IliUs in 
the Nlpmiick Countiy, and. whereas, other six persons being Joint parchaMers, 
this certifies that we do nominate John Pierpont, John White, John Kuggles, 
cord-wainers, John and Samuel Qore and Thomas Mowry. 

Samuel Rusgles, Sen. John Groavenor. 

John Chandler, Sen. Samuel Haggles, Jan. 

Benjamin Sabin. Joseph Oriflln. 

May 6, ISSS." 

Those twelve proprietors were then nil residents of Roxbury, though 
John Chandler and Ikinjiunin Subin were pro|iaring to remove to Now 
Itoxbury. John Qrosvenor, who with his family had emigrated from 
Cheshire, England, in 1680, is said to have been sent by the company 
to Norwich to pay Major Fitch tlie purchase money. During the 
summer, the fifteen thousand acres were selected and laid out south of 
New Roxbury on the Mashamoquet River, and the tract was thence- 
forth designated as the Mashamoquet or Roxbury purchase. A patent 
of a township, including this purchase and land adjacent, was granted 
by the Oovernor and Company of Connecticut, July 8, 1686, to John 
Blackwell, James Fitch, Hamuel Crafl, Nathaniel Wilson, the Masha- 
moquet proprietors and others not named, for the New Plantation in 
the Wabbaquasset Couiitry, and in the following October, liberty was 
given '* to Major Fitch, Lieutenant Ruggles and others of Roxbuiy to 
settle a plantation in those parts, they attending those things most 
accommodablc to the plantation and orders of the Colony, in which 
case Major J. Tolcott and Captain Joseph Allyn are to be advised 

Land south of the Mashamoquet Purchase was sold by Major Fitch 


to Captain John Blackwell of England, a noted Puritan and friend of 
the Commonwealth, son-inlaw of General Lambert, treasurer of Crom- 
well's army and member of Parliament during his administration. 
Captain Blackwell was one of those exempted from the general pardon 
at the restoration of the Stuarts, and after the accession of James 
II. came over to New England, commissioned bj some of the English 
and Irish Dissenters *Hx> inquire if they may be welcome there and may 
reasonably expect tliat liberty they promise themselves and others.*' 
Captain Blackwell was warmly welcomed in Boston, made a justice of 
the peace and much connected in public afiiurs. In 1685, the Qeneral 
Court of Massachusetts granted him a tract of land eight miles square, 
'4n behalf of himself and several other worthy gentlemen of England," 
and also a share in the new township of Oxford, but he decided to settle 
his colony within the wilds of Connecticut and secured from Mi\jor 
Fitch, May 28, 1G8G» a deed of five thotitfaud seven hundred and fitly 
acres bf land, '' containing the Newichewanna Hills and other lands 
adjoining, lying west of the Quinebaug and south of Tamouquas, 
alicu Mashamoquet River." This land was confirmed to him '* after 
he made his choice," November 11, 1686, by Major Fitch, Owaneco 
and Josiah, in presence of Ilez. Usher, William Blackwell, Thomas 
Hooker and John Hubbard, — the Mashamoquet proprietors and other 
patentees of the newly granted townships, agreeing, '*That Black- 
well's part of 5,750 acres, situated in the southeast angle thereof, 
shall be accounted a separate tract by and of itself to hold to him, his 
heirs and assigns, so that neither the rest of the purchasers, nor their 
survivors or heirs, shall challenge to have, hold or enjoy, any joynt or 
separate interest^ title, power or jurisdiction or privilege of a township 
or otherwise, howsoever, or within the same from henceforth for ever." 
But even this provision for the independence of his projected colony 
did not satisfy Captain Blackwell, and October 19, 1687, he secured 
from the General Court of Connecticut, confirmation of his purchase, 
and also a patent for a separate township including it, to bo laid out 
south of Mashamoquet Brook, six miles from east to west and seven 
miles from north to south — the five thousand-acre tract* to be an 
entire town, called Mortlake. This name was given by Captain 
Blackwell in memory of the >'illage of Mortlake in Surrey, England, 
the residence of Qeneral Lambert and a favorite resort of Cromwell's 

The purchasers of. these tracts were desu*ous to enter upon immedi- 
ate postossibn. The Mashamoquet proprietors were first in the field 
and on March 9, 1687, met together to consult upon the settlement of 
their Purchase. Public affairs were then very threatening ; • a revolu- 
tion was imminent and delay was apprehended to be of dangerous 


oonseqnenoe. The ooDBent and complianoe of Mtgor Fitch to any 
armngementB thej might make were judged essentially necessary, and 
as a meeting of all the proprietors with him could only be obtained 
with great difliculty, and all concerns relating to the way and manner 
of division might be more easily settled by a smaller number, their 
*Hruely and beloved friefids, Samuel Ruggles, Sen. and Jun., John 
White, Samuel Goi*e and John Grosvenor,** were requested and author- 
ized *' to treat with Major Fitch in and concerning all matters relating 
to said lands.*' These gentlemen repotted, April 7, That half the land 
was to be at once hi id out; that Mi\jor Fitch had ali*eady received 1,080 
avcros, east side of the Purchase, and tlmt all the purchasers were now 
to have, each 540 acres lai<f out to him, and the remainder to be equally 
divided among the twelve proprietors and Major Fitch. 

Before this division was efiected, Andross assumed the goverament of 
Connecticut, and attempts to appropriate the Purchase were defended 
till some yeara atler liis deposition. May 30, 1693, the proprietoi*s 
again met to make arrangenionts for distribution. Some changes and 
additions were found needful. The original south bound of the Purchase 
was a line run due west from the mouth of the Mashamoquet, but as 
Capt Blackwell bad been allowed that river, with all its meeriugs and 
veerings for his northern boundary, they wei*e obliged to conform to it, 
and thus lost a portion of their tenitory. It was voted, " That a line 
be run west side of the tract to take in as much land as Captain Black- 
well has taken out of the southeast comer, and that two or three of the 
best parcels be taken up and sub-divided so that each may have one 
half his dues, being five hundred and forty acres — to be done by 
Benjamin Sabin and John Chandler with John Qore." The latter, 
unable to take the long journey at this time, thus transfers the work to 
the Woodstock surveyor : — 

** Mu. BuTCHRR : My otber occasions obstructing my coming up to your town 
before winter to Hub-dlvlde Maithamoquet Parcliose and there being a neces- 
sity of having it done with wliat conveul'ent speed may be, these are to request 
you to do it ; and iu doing thereof, I would have you attend the Instructions 
above spccihed. Sir, I have formerly acquainted you with what'teriUH I was 
to do it upon, wliich will be made good to you and I hope with some ad- 
dition whi6h Lieutenant Haggles, also, gives hopes of, which is all at present 
from your friend and servant j John Qouu." 

The survey and divisions were accomplished during the winter, 
and on March 27, 1694, nearly eight years after the date of purchase, 
the several proprietors met in Roxbury to receive their respective 
shares. John Grosvenor — who died September 27, 1691, "in y* 49th 
year of his age" — was represented by his widow; Samuel liuggles. 
Sen., deceased, by his heirs, Thomas and Elizabeth Ruggles ; Samuel 
Gore, deceased, by his heirs ; John Pierpont, by Jacob, lienjaniin ujid 
Daniel Dana of Cambridge, purchasers. The remaining proprietors 






DURING the Iiul'mn war the family of Captain Sabiii were the 
only white inhabitants of the future Poinfret now known to us, 
though it is possible that Benjamin Sitton, styling himself of " Masha- 
moquct in Nipmug Country," who purchased of the Danas in 1698, 
" filly acres of wilderness land at a place C4illed Mashamorpiet, bound- 
ed west by Windham Rode," w;i8 also a resident. Some land sales 
were eifected during thi-^ period. Land in the Quinebaug Valley was 
sold to Sabin by Fitch ami Owaneco. Two hundred acres, bounded 
north on Sabin's fimt pun^haso, the full broatlth of the land, wore sold 
by Major Kitch 1^) Sainu<^l IVinn of R(«hobotli in l(»<)r>. IMiilonion 
('handler, of Andovrr, n(^p1u*\v of Ih'acon John (•luunllor of VVond- 
8to<',k, purcluosed a M!U<(hanio<|U<*t allotment of Tliom:is an<l Krr/:ibHh 
Ruggles, in 1696. After the close of the war, sales multiplied an<l 
settlers straggled in. Nathaniel Gary removed to the new settlement 
probably as early as 1698, settling on land east of the Purchase, 
received, according to tradition, for his services as chain-bearer in 
laying out that tract, having all he could encompass in an hour s nimble 
nnuiing. The payment of twelve ])ounds secured him, in 1699, a deed 
of five hmidrod and WiXy acres "southe;ist from Woodstock," in what 
was afterwards called the Gary neighborhood. The land between the 
Purchase and the Quinebaug, the whole length of the township, was 
owned by Major Fitch, who is said to have once offered it to John 
(trosvenor for fU>.oon ponmls. Ills sons, John and Leicester, gave a 
much larger sum in 1698^ for four hmidred acres of this valuable land, 
extending from the month of the Mashamoquet to a brook at the north 
<»nd of the int^^rval. I<\arms e:wt of the I*m'<^liaso were sold by IVfajor 
KiU'.h to Samuel Allen and SannuO (3ary in 1699. Three h in idred :un*ert 
on the Quinebaug, just below it« junction with Mill River — now in- 
cluded in the Perrin Farm — are said to have been purchased from the 
Wabbaquasset proprietors at a very early date by Sam. Perrin, Benj. 
Origgs and Pet<»r Aspinwall, then of Woodstock, and were confirmed 
t/» them by Major Fit.oh on the payment of tw<»lve ponnds in 1702. 
The remaining lan<l between the Qniniibaug an«l the Purchase, from 
Woodstock line to the tnouth of the Mashainorpiet, w:is purchased by 
Captain John Chandler for twenty pounds in 1791. 

The fii*8t settlement within the Purchase limits was prior to 1 700. 
One of the first settlers was Thomas (jroodell, who, after a brief sbjom*n 
in Woodstock, bought land of Deacon Chandler in 1699. lie is said 


to have come up alone to the new township to put up a house and pre- 
pare for his family, but tliat his wife became uneasy, took her spinning- 
wheel in hand and cume up to look for him in mid-winter, and by the 
aid of teams and chance Woodstock travelers made the long journey 
in safety. Mrs. Estlier Grosvenor removed to Mashamoquet in 1700. 
Her oldest son, William, was graduated from Harvard in 1695, and 
hud settled in Charlestown. Her other sons, John, Leicester, Joseph, 
Ebeuezer and Thomas, and one daughter, Susanna, oimie with her to 
the new country. A noble inheiitance awaited them, the fairest por- 
tion of Alashamoipiet, embracing the site of the uii|>er part of the 
present INiinfret villaige and the hills eastward and westward. The 
road to Hartford and Windham passed through their land, near their 
firat residence, which was on the western declivity of Pros|»cct Hill, 
near the site allerwards occupied by Colonel Thomas (Jrosvenor's niuu- 
sion-house. Mrs. Grosvenor was a woman of great courage and 
energy, and though delicately reared in England, endured cheeifully 
the labora and jaivations of the new settlement. Like Miu liipley of 
Winilham, she was skillful in tending the sick, and was long the only 
medical practitioner in the settlement Her sons, just entering man- 
hood, aided in bringing their large domains under cultivation, and early 
identified themselves with the growth and interests of the township. 
Susanna Grosvenor was manied in 1702 to Joseph Shaw of Stouingtou. 
Their wedding, attended by the Rev. Josiah D wight, is the firat 
reported in Mashamoquet 

Philemon Chandler removed early in tite century to his lot on the 
Wapaquians, in the south of the l^urchase. Deacon John Chandler of 
Woodstock died in 1702, leaving to his y<miigest son, Joseph, *Mhe 
lot in Mashamoquet, lying upon the line, and, if he see cause, all the 
Mashamoquet lands." The one hundi'ed and fourteen acres upon the 
line were valued in the appraisal of the goods at £20 ; two hundred 
acres on Mashamoquet Brook at £12 ; Purchase lands still undivided 
at £26. The lot on the Mashamoquet was purchased in 1 704 by 
Nathaniel Sessions — probably son of Alexander Sessions of Andover — 
who at once took possession of it In 1705, the little settlement was 
strengthened by the accession of Deacon Benjamin Sabin of Wood- 
stock, with his sons, Stephen, Benjamin, Nehemiah, Ebenezer, Josiah 
and Jeremiah. Deacon Sabin selected for his homestead a farm ad- 
joining Philemon Chandler's, and settled his sons on land purchased of 
Samuel Gore's heira and othera. In 1706, Joseph * Chandler sold a 
hundred acres of land west of Sessions on the Mashamoquet to 
Richard Dresser of Itowley, who conveyed the same the following 
year, together with a small dwelling-house built upon it, to Abiel Lyon 
of Woodstock. Jl^lr. Lyon at once occupied this dwelling, and set up a 


Bawtnill on the Mashamoquet Joseph Chandler married in 1708 
Susanna Periin of Woo<l.stock, and settled on the *Mot on the line," 
bequeathed him by his father. Port of this lot and other land border- 
ing on Woodstock were purchased and occupied bj Edward Payson of 
Roxbury in 1708. Ebenezer Truesdell, afler a short residence in the 
Quinebaug Valley, bought land and a house of Thomas Goodell, in 
the southwest pait of the Purchase, now included in Abington. In 
1709, Joseph Tucker,' Samuel Gates and Jolm Hubbard also bought 
land and settled in the south part of the Masiiamoquet Purchase. 

East of the Purchase, settlement was also progressing. Eight 
hundred acres on the Quinebaug were purchased of the Grosvenors 
and Captain John Chandler by John Lyon of Woodstock in 1705, and 
sold by him, with mansion-house and bam, to James Danielson of 
New Shoreham for £1 55, in 170G. Mr. Danielson soon afterward bought 
land in Killiiigly, east of the Quinebaug, and seems to h^ive resideil in 
both settlements. The mill privilege of a small brook nnming into 
the Quinebaug — known as Bark Meadow Brook — was purchased by 
James^ Sawyer in 1709, who there built and carried on the firat grist- 
mill in the settlement. Samuel Warner and Samuel Taylor also settled 
in the Quinebaug valley, on land purchased from Danielson and Gai-y. 
Griggs* share of the Perrin land was secured by Samuel Paine then of 
Woodstock, who, with his brother Seth, early settled in this vicinity. 

The settlement of Mashamoquet was attended with comparatively 
few hardships Its soil was good and easily suImIuo<1 ; its smooth hills 
ban) of trues U) a great exl^nt and oovercHi with a rank, (Miarso native 
grass, resembling, it is said, a rye-Keld in harvest time. In proof of the 
natural resources and fertility of this region, old settlers were wont to 
relate, that a cow and aiM lofl prior to settlement to forage for them- 
selves through the winter, were found in the spring not only alive, 
but in excellent condition. Vicinity to Woodstock greatly aided 
the younger settlement Many of the settlers had emigrated from that 
township, and still shared its business, social, and religious privileges. 
Indians were numerous but not especLilly troublesome, though fortresses 
were maintained in various localities during fhe Indian Wars. Various 
hunting and fishing privileges were claimed by them, and libeity to 
levy food and cider from the settlers. Mi's. Grosvenor, when alone, 
was once invaded by a company, who threatened to take the boiling 
meat from the pot, and made violent demonstrations, but were kept 
at bay by her broomstick till the arrival of her son, Ebenezer, who had 
gained much authority over them. The meeting house in Woodstock 
was much frequented by the Borderers in Mashamoquet, and the Uev. 
Josiah Dwight served for many years as their pastor, attending 
weddings and funerals and baptizing many children. 


The firat reoorded public reoognitiou of the Mashamoquet setUdment 
was in 1708, when its inhabitants were invited to join with the select- 
men of Woodstock and Killingly in petitioning for a road to Provi- 
dence, and were also ordered by the General Assembly, to send in their 
list of polls and estates, that they might bear their part and proportion 
of rates and taxes. The estates were appraised at £920, but the list of 
polls omitted. In 1709, ** three men from Massamugget" were directed 
to join in a projected expedition against Canada, which failed of 
accomplishment In 1710, a miliUiry company was organized, when 
about fitly males over sixteen years of ago were reported in the settle- 
ment. John 8ubin, its first anil lotiding citizen — who hod previously 
enjoyed the honorary title of Captain — was now appointed lieutenant ; 
Ebenezer Sabin, ensign ; Ebenezer Qrosvenor, sergeant ; James 
Sawyer, cornet. 

In 1713, efforts were first made to secure town organization. Though 
the settlement was thriving and prosperous, many improvements were 
nee<irul. No roails ha<l yet boon laid out, no bridges erected and the 
Sabbath day journey to Woodstock was bunlensome and inconvi^nient. 
Nathaniel (}ary was accordingly sent to ICoxbury to apprise the non- 
resident proprietors — *'Mr. Jonathan Belcher, attorney for Captain 
John Black well, and also Captain Ruggles, Joseph Griffin, Thomas 
Mowry, Edmond Weld and Daniel Dana— of their intention to be a 
town, which they all very well liked and approved of." On his return 
with this report, a meeting of all the inhabitants within the town limits 
-was held, l^Lay 3, 1713, and the following agreement ado^tted: — 

** At a meotlnp: or the hihabltauts ami proi>rl(!l4)r8 of Miu<saiiuigKot, It bohi^ 
our huliHpuiiaublu duty, im wu would ahu nt iho glory of tlio LonI our (Jod, 
and regard not only our temporal and civil gootl but also, aud especially, the 
Hplrltual aud eterual good of our own souls aud the souU of our dear wives 
and clilldi'cn—therefore, to lay such a foundation and make such suitable pro- 
visions OS that we may have a gospel ministry settled amongst us aud enjoy 
God in all his holy ordinances, the which that we may do~it is uuanimously 
voted and agreed to, that for three ensuing years all our public charges In 
building a meeting-house and minister's house and settling a minister aud his 
maintenance shall be raised after this way, viz. : one-half on all lauds within 
the township as granted by the Gen. Assembly and now belonging to each 
inhabitant and proprietor of the township so granted, and tlie other half of 
public charge as aforesaid, on heads, stocks and other ratable estate. And 
we also agree that three Judicious persons be apt»olnted to give us timely 
and seasonable advice in any matters of dliHculty, either respecting placing 
the meeting-house, or whatever else may concern or conduce to our public 
peace aud the orderly settlement of our place. Wo also agree that the 
Honorable Assembly be petitioned unto to grant us a freedom fVom ordinary 
country charge or rates for three years, as has been their custom and favor to 
all new towns ; and that the (Icnend Court or Assembly order that all those 
Inhabitants and proprietors of land lying In our township that shall neglect 
or refuse to pay tlielr Just proportiou of public charge, for the next three 
years ensuing — their dues being suitubly demanded — that so much of their 
laud be seized ond disposed of according to law as may answer his or their 
just due and proportion of public charge wltliin our township as aforesaid. 
Lastly, we desire and empower our lovaig neiglibors, Lieutenant John Sabin 


and Sergt. Lelceatcr Orosvenor, hambly to present our petition, and pray the 
Qcu. Assembly to put their sanction licreunto. — Witness oar hands : 

Benjamin Sabln. John Ciimmlngs. Leicester Grosvonor. 

John Sabln. Samuel Warner. Ebenezer Grosvenor. 

Nathaniel Gary. Thomas Qoodell. Benjamin Sabln, Jun. 

Bei^amln SItton. Philemon Chandler. Jeremiah Sabiu. 

Samuel Gates. Daniel Allen. Stephen Sabln. 

Edward Payson. David Allen. Ebenezer Sabln. 

Samuel Paine. Joseph Tucker. Joslah Sabln." 
Seth Paine. . Samuel Taylor. 

In accordance with this agreement, Lieutenant Sabiu and Sergeant 
Grosvenor . ai>i>eared before the General Court, May 14, 1713, "in 
belialf of y* inliabitimts of a cortaio tract called Mashmugget 
Purchase : " — 

** Showing— that the petitioners have for some time labored under many 
difficult circumstances, by reason of not being Incorporated and fixed In an 
orderly way, and are not only In a conftised condition In res(>ect to our civil 
rontrernnuMiM, but have not, nor an^ likely to have, a settled ndnlstor to break 
to UM, our wives and ehlUlren, ye bi*ead of eionial ltl\), unlesH this llonorablo 
AsMombly will please to conshler our circumstances and have compasHton and 
grant that ye Manhamoquet Purchase, In conjunction with Capt. lilackwelPs, 
(part of said Purchase and in one angle of it), as by a nmp of the whole 
purchase, which Is seven miles north and south, and six, east and west, 
appears — may be one town as at the flrst—and also grant a name, horse brand 
and freedom from rates. Also, beg them to put their sanction to our unani- 
mous agreement, relating to raising wherewith to defkray public charges. 
John Sabln and Leicester Grosvenor empowered to present this petition : — 

Humbly pray the Hon. Assembly to afford us such a stroke of their authority 
and such favor, countenance and encouragement that we may be speedily 
settled, and pray that the biasings of Heaven may be showered down upon 
their persons, families and estates, and that the Lord their God would bo 
pleased to direct them in all their weighty affairs." 

In addition to the signers of the agreement, tlie following names 
were affixed to this petition : — 

Ebenezer Tmesdell. Joslah Sessions. James Danlelson. 

Benjamin GoodcU. John Hubbard. Abiel Lyon. 

Joseph Sabln. Thomas Grosvenor. Samuel Gary. 

Nathaniel Sessions. Joseph Grosvenor. Joseph Chandler. 

David Bishop. 

The Assembly, upon hearing this )>otition, at once ordenxl : — 

** That the said inhabitants, as soon as they have procured a minister to llvo 
and preach among them, shall for the space of four years next ensuing, and 
have hereby granted them full power (as Inhabitants of other towns may) to 
make rates, and raise such sums of nioney for building a meeting-house, 
minister*8 house and settlement, with his maintenance, as the mi^or part shall 
Judge fit; that the said sum or sums may be raised two-thirds on the real 
estate or land within the bounds of said Massamugget and one-third on heads 
and stocks and other rateable estate. . . . And It is also ordered, that the 
said Massamugget shall be called Pomfret, and the brand for horses shall be 
this figure, p." 

May 27, 1713, Messrs. Sabin and Grosvenor made return of their 
proceedings and the grant of the Court, at the first public town^ 
meeting of the inhabitants of Pomfret. Lieutenant Sabin, Sergeant 
Grosvenor and Ensign Sabin were elected selectmen for the new 
township; Philemon Chandler, clerk. No further proceedings are 


recorded. The firat object, of the town was to secure a more accurate 
determination of its boundary. A survey was ordered and completed, 
Marph 20, 1714. The bound of the town, as then laid down, began at 
a stake by Quinebaug Uiver between the upper and lower Falls, 
thence west six miles, thence south seven miles, thence east over the 
top of a hill called '* Qray Mare," to the Quinebaug, its eastern bound. 
The manor of Mortlake, and also ])art of the township granted to 
Captain Blackwell, were included within its limits. Before proceeding 
with the organization of Pomfret, it will be necessary to gain more 
doHnito knowledge of this part of its territory and the lilackwell 



MORTLAKK, as we have seen, was purchased by Oaptain or Sir 
John Blackwell, for the establishment of a colony of English 
and Irish Dissenters, who were suffering from the op{>ression of King 
James. The course of public events fi*u8ti*ated this scheme. During 
the administration of Andross no settlement was possible, and aHer 
the Revolution it was no longer needful. Religious liberty under Wil- 
liam and Alary ccmld bo enjoyed in Great Britain, and Blackwell him- 
self soon returned to his native land, making no attempt to settle <»r 
improve his purchase, and thus for nearly thiity years MotlJake was 
led a wildeiness. The land adjoining it, included in the township 
gi*anted to Captain Blackwell, accrued to Major Fitch as a part of the 
Wabbaquasset Country. A tract two miles squai-e in its southwest 
corner was taken from him in 1695, by Simon Stoddard of Boston, in 
execution of jndgment for debt In 1703, Richard Ad^uns of IVeston 
obtained, for two hundred pounds, from Major Fitch, a deed of three 
thousand aci*e8 of wilderness land, south of Black well's tract. Its 
bound began at the junction of the Five-Mile and Quinebaug Rivers ; 
extending west on Blackwell's line, to a pine-tree marked B, by the 
side of Blackweirs Brook, and beyond it ; thence south four hundred 
and eighty perch, thence east to the r Quinebaug, where Beaver 
Brook empties into it Richard Adams, Jun., appeal's to have made 
' a settlement on this tract even before the deed of conveyance was 
executed and was the first settler, within the limits of the township 
granted to Blackwell, and the present town of Brooklyn. His wife 
was a daughter of Daniel Cady of Aspinock. Their homestead was in 


tho depths of a dense wilderness, much infested with wihl beasts and 
Indians, about a mile southeast of the site' of the present Brooklyn 
Green. A colony of beavers held possession of the brook adjoining. 
Their nearest neighbors were the Shepards across the Quinebang in 
Plainfiold ; the nearest settlements were PlainBeld and Peagscomsuok, 
and miles of pathless forest separated them from the few settlers of 
Mashamoquet Richard Adams was numbered with the inhabitants of 
Plainfield in 1701 ; in 1708, assisted in the organization of Canterbury, 
and was claimed for many years as an inhabitant of that township. 

A strip of land south of the Adamf^ tract was purchased of Major 
Fiteli, by John Allen of Aspinock, in 1703, and conveyed by him 
in 1705, to his son Isaac, who soon took personal possession. John 
Woodward settled south of Allen and north of Canterbury line in 1706. 
In 1707, Edward Spalding of Plainfield, bought land north of Canter- 
bury bounds at the foot of Tatnick Ilill, and there settled with his 
family. These four families were for several years the only white 
inhabitants within the limits of BlackwelVs patent. In 1706, a rumor 
that Major Fitch was petitioning to have their lands included within 
Canterbury precincts gave these settlers much anxiety. Richard' 
Adams was deputized to go to the General Court and " give light and 
information that the court might not be misled to do what would be 
extremely prejudicial to the inhabitants, and also interfere with the 
former grant to Captain Blackwell.*' ^^Tagious sickness and long 
weakness" prevented Mr. Adams from fulfilling this commission, but 
before he was " able to ride half so far as Hartford,*' he sent a memo- 
rial to the General Court showing : — 

*< That Captain* Blackwell had been granted a town seven miles sqaare 
under the name of Mortlake, which if laid out would reach Canterbury bounds 
or near It ; that It wiia Judged four miles fh>m the north bound of Canterbury 
to the place they have ordered Canterbury meetlng^houiie to bo, and that for 
us to be talveu from where tho middle of Mortlake may be or near It and stated 
in Canterbury and thereby expected to travel seven or eight miles every 
Sabbath day to Canterbury meeting-house, will be extremely burthensome 
when we mlffht as well bo stated In Mortlake and not half so far to go to 
meeting, and begs tho Court to consider tho case and not state us to Canter- 
bury without giving notice." 

This request was granted and Richard Adams and his neighbors 
were left unstated to any township for several years — a few isolated 
families, remote from settlements and civilization. They paid rates to 
Canterbury and attended religious worship there when practicable. 
Communiciation with the outside world was difllicult and sometimes 
dangerous. The road from Canterbury to Woodstock passed near 
Eflward Spalding^s residence, which soon became a place of entertain- 
ment for travelers — his first barrel of rum coming up from Norwich on 
horse-back, lashed between two poles and dragged behind the rider. 

The Adams tract was divided after a time into eight equal and 



parallel allotments, ranuiug fVoin eoBt to west and nrnde over to tbe 
seven children of Richaixl Adams of Preston — Richard, Junior, receiv- 
ing a deed of the two lower allotments in 1712. Twenty-five hundred 
acres west of the Adams tract were secured by Captain John Chandler 
in 1707. The several tracts held by Fitch; Black well, Stoddard and 
Chandler were left vacant and neglected till, the death of Sir John 
Blackwell, when the Mortlake manor fell to his son, and was sold by 
him to Jonathan Belcher of Boston, April 8, 1718. Mr. Belcher — 
who subsequently became one of the most prominent public men of 
his day — governor of A[ass>u;husott8 and New Jersey and finuHler of 
Princeton College, was then just entering active life and engaging in 
extensive business operations. Ue had already secured mining piivi- 
leges in several Connecticut townships, and now with characteristic 
promptness and energy undertook the settlement of Moitluka Cap- 
tain John Chandler was at once employed to lay out, survey and take 
possession of this territory. He found a wild and savage wilderness, 
with one rude bridle-path running through it from nortli to south, and 
one family of white inhabitants settled on a small olearing. To this 
squatter, Jabes Utter, 'Mbr his labor, charge and expense, in build- 
ing, fencing, clearing, breaking up, improving and subduing seventy 
acres," Belcher granted a deed of the land thus taken up and the use of 
thirty acres adjoining, but upon fhrther consideration preferred to fi*ee 
his purchase from every incumbrance and secured a quit- claim deed 
from hinL Unfavorable reports of the cliaraoter of his self-elected ten- 
ants may have influenced tliis decision. The Utters were one of those 
lawless, disreputable families often found hanging about the outskirts 
of civilization. Charges of |>etty pilfering and even of highway rob- 
bery were alleged against them, and at about the time that Belcher 
took back his land deed, Jabez Utter was arraigned before the County 
Court at New Jjondon, for stealing *'a twoyeai*old black hoi*se from 
Daniel Cady." He was declared guilty and sentenced to pay Cady ten 
pounds and the horse ; if unable to pay, make satisfaction by sei*vice at 
the rate of eight pounds a year : also, to pay the County Treasury forty 
shillings or be whipt ten stripes on his naked body, and also pay the 
charge of his prosecution, and stand committed till said charge be paid. 
His wife Mary, a woman of great spirit and resolution, remained in 
charge of their little home in the wilderness, and when summoned by 
Captain Chandler to relinquish it, positively declined to yield posses- 
sion. Captain Chandler brought a suit m the name of Mr. Belcher, 
*^ that the said Jabez Utter do deliver one hundred acres of land," and 
went on with the survey and division of Mortlake. A highway was laid 
out from north to south. Two noble iai*ms or. manors, called Kings- 
wood and Wiltshire, wei*e laid out for Mr. Belcher's own occupation. 



" For the promoting of public good and the better settling of the 
land," large tracts were sold — fourteen hundred acres on the Qnine* 
bang to GoTernor Saltonstall, five hundred acres to Samuel Williams 
of Roxburj and three hundred to Mr. Belcher's brother-in-law, Wil- 
liam Foye. A public training-field was reserved between one of 
Foye's farms and Nantasket Brook. About twelve hundred acres were 
lefl in forest and meadow for future disposal. 


k, Kingswood. (. Trsltitng-fleld. /. Foy*i land. <• SaltonNtaU't tract to. Wtlfe- 
•h^e. X. William's land. v. Vacant, r. Koad to Woodstoclt. q, Quinebaug 
Uiver. m. Mashamoquet. 

The laying out of MorUake was accomplished in 1714, but before its 
farms and manors were made over to the several owners it was neces- 
sary to free it from all incunibranoe. The Court had judged, that Utter 
should give up to Belohor 'Maud and appurtoimiioos, houses, fences and 
other improvements," and he had 'Surrendered by yielding the lease.** 
The sheriff of New London County was sent to demand possession of 
the premises of Mary Utter, but the fearless frontier-woman had barrir 
caded doors and windows, and resolutely refused compliance. Seeing 
no resource but forcible ejection. Captain Chandler entrusted the affair 
to his oldest son, John, then just of age, who accepted the commission 
with great alacrity. News of the coming contest spread through all 
the surrounding country and all the wild young fellows in the different 
towns hastened to join in this raid upon the one lone Mprtlake woman. 
On the 19th of January, 1715, a great company came to the little log 
hut in the clearing — young Chandler with the sheriff; Edward Morrin, 
Jahn Frizzle and Jacob Parker from Woodstock ; James Danielson, 


Jun., from Killingly; David Biahop and Benjamin Franklyn, from 
Pomfret ; Snniuol and John Kicc, from Ashford ; John Pelton and 
Jeremiah Plimpton from Canterbury, and others — ^bringing with them 
drums, clubs, axes and all things needful for a siege. Though her hus- 
band was in prison and a fandly of little children around her, Mary 
Utter was ready to resist them. The sheriff again demanded possession 
and declared, " That if she did not uuiTender he would besiege her to 
death. Mi*8. Utter replied that she did not care for him or his 
authority. * Yesterday,* says young Chandler, *the sheriff nmdo 
demand on Captain Belcher's account, with an execution, but now I am 
come on my fathei^s account to niaku demand of it, and wlU /lave U^ 
else we'll stai've you to death, and your daughters shall die in the 

Even this feaiful threat, and the dreaded name and authority of 
Captain John Chandler, did not daunt the stout heart of Mary Utter, 
whereupon the young men proceeded to pull down her fences and put 
up a fort or barricade to command both doors, from which they buttered 
the house with stones and other missiles, and becoming more and more 
uproarious with drink and frolic, *^set up ensigns or banners, colora of 
divei-s sorts, one of red and another of blue, upon their fort, and said they 
did it in defiance of King George, and drank a health to King James," 
and went about beating their drums, shouting and carousing till late in 
the night, committing " many high and heinous enormities, treasons, 
profaneness and other giievous wickedness,** '^ and once,** says poor 
Mary, ** as I looked out of the window, John Pelton, like an inhuman 
bruit, spat in my face, and the others laughed at it** After a brief 
interval of comparative quiet about midnight, ^^ as it grew towards the 
latter part of the night they revived their noise,** and marched round 
and round the house, beating their drums and singing psalm-tunes, and 
presently young Chandler made proclamation, " That now we have 
got the victory I now the day was our own I '* — whereupon they raised 
poles against the house and Chandler, Pelton and Kdwurd Morris 
vaulted on top and came down through the chimney into the chamber, 
opened Uie doors, and admitted the sheriff, who thus at length gained 
forcible possession of the little log-house so valiantly, defended by its 
mistress. Even then, Mary Utter would not quit without a struggle, 
and had to be pushed and dragged and flung down backwaid out of 
the door, but in the ailernoon, she tells us, her assailauts Anally con- 
quered and ^* drove me away from my home, and drove my children 
with me into the wilderness, and set a guard about me till near sun -set, 
and then left us there to perish without any shelter but the heavens, 
nor anything to refresh nature.^ How she obtained relief and shelter 
does not appear. Perhaps she found her way through the woods to 


the hoftpttable hoase of Richard Adams, or some chance traveler may 
have aided lier to Edward St>alding*8. However this may have been, 
two days later, January 21, 1716, she was able to tell her pitiful story 
to a magistrate and as *' his Mjijesty*s distressed, forlorn subject," 
enter complaint ugainst the various parties concerned in her ejection. 
In the May following, her complaint was brought before the General 
Assembly, and the Worshipful Captiun Bushnell ordered, '*to in- 
quii*e into the premises and proceed against the offenders according to 
law," but as the leaders in the aff*air were without the limits of Con- 
necticut no action was taken. Jabez Utter, atler lying in prison a 
considerable time, and *' not getting any way to answer the charges of 
his prosecution for horse-stealing," w;id allowed to work them out in the 
service of Elisha Paine for eight pounds a year, and when that was 
served out, he was delivei*ed over to Daniel Cady, according to sentence. 
A suit subsequently brought against him, " for taking up public land in 
Canterbury,*' is the latest record concerning the Brst white inhnbitimt 
of Mortlake. 

A more serious obstacle to the settlement of Mortlake was its 
political status. The right of junsdiction was transferred with the 
land title, and Belcher's purchase recognized as a distinct township by 
the Government, but this separate independent township was included 
within the limits of another distinct township. The original south 
bound of Pomfret crossed Gray Mare Elill, and was afterwards removed 
A mile Bouthwanl. To remedy the difficulties occiisionod by this com- 
plication, Mr. Belcher proposed to annex his township to Pomfret on 
the following conditions : — 

<* 1. That his two Ainns shonld be called Kingswood and Wiltshire. 

2. That he and his heirs male be made capable of serving, if chosen by 
Pomfn*t, as deputies, although not actually resident. 

8. That the inhabitants of his land, for encouragement of keeping good 
houses of entertainment, be free from impost. 

4. That the same should be exempt or discharged from offices of charge in 
the town of Pomfret, or Colony of Connecticut. 

5. That one of the said inhabitants shall always bo— If ho will accept It— a 
townsman or selectmen, provided that when there is more than one, Pomfret 
shall elect whichever they please. 

6. In all votes or meetings of town, Mortlake proprietors shall have a right 
of voting according to the proportion said manors bear to town in quantity of 
land—the petitioner having so paid his proportion of charge towards the 
settlement of Pomfret. 

7. The Inhabitants of Mortlake, as to militia, to be solely depending on the 
government of the Colony. 

8. That no person nhall have liberty of hunting. 

9. Though the alx thousand acreH have been voted by the Hon. Court to bo 
a township, In and of itself, by name of Mortlake — yet, for the encouroge- 
roeut of X*omfret, the petitioner now desires that the same be annexed to 
Pomfret, and always fur the future be and renmlii a part of that town.'* 

This proposition was laid before the inhabitants of Pomfret at a 
town-meeting, Qctober 4, 1714, who agreed to it, and consented tbat 


Mr. Belcher Bhoiild apply to the Qeiieral Court for confirmation. The 

Upper House granted bU prayer with several exceptions aud emonda* 

tions ; the Lower House consented only to the firat and last articles. 

Mr. Belcher, thereupon, the same day, October 14, declared : — 

** That yoar memorialist harlng purchased, with a considerable sum of 
money, a truct of land belonging to Captain John Blackwcll, which he had 
held with ye privilege of township by ye namo of Mortlake by an act of this 
Colony, and being wlUlng, for encouragement of the town of Pomfret, to 
which said Mortlako llos vary convenient to be annexed, to part with and dis- 
claim aU such privileges as now do or may hereafter appertain to It did. In 
petition, declare my consent^ that the said Mortlake should be auuexed to and 
become a part of Pomfret, upon certain conditions, desiring that some small part 
of these privileges, which lie might more fUUy have claimed lu said Mortlake 
had he reserved and kept It distinct from Pomfret — might be secured to him 
by act of Assembly, within said town. And your memorialist, having fhll 
' counent of ye town of PomfTet, made no doubt but that the Assembly would 
easily have allowed him those privileges, upon his consenting that Mortlake 
should be entirely annexed to Pomfret and be ilivested of the name and privi- 
lege of a township formally annexed to It — which tlie memorialist was more 
willlugly Induced to do by a representation made to him by the town of Pom- 
fret, that unless the said Mortlake was added to their town they should not be 
al>le to carry on the necessary aiDilrs of the town, or nmke a comfortal>le 
seltlement there^but forasmuch as the Assembly has not thought lit to allow 
the said privilege, he cannot, without apparent wrong to himself and his 
heirs, forego the Just rights he htis to have and liohl Miirtlake iMt a illstlnct 
town, with all ye privilege appertaining to It as such, aud for that end does 
In this manner lay before the Assembly his claim of right to Mortlake as a 
distinct township, made so by act of Assembly, thereby to obviate aU Incon- 
venience arising by any after act at the motion of Pomfret or auy other 
person, for ye making of Mortlake to become a part of PomfVet or any other 
town, or to be brought under the laws, duties or regulations of ye same with- 
out consent of the memorialist, his heirs, Ac. And, particularly, your 
memorialist must insist upon It and declare against It, as what he cannot but 
believe will be Judged by all Indifferent men as directly op])oscd to his Just 
rights, that ye said Mortlake should for the future be reckoned or taken as 
any part of ye town of Pomfret— since all his transactions with, and conces- 
sltnis to, said Pomftret have l)cen U|)on tlie supposition that the Assembly 
would allow him certain privileges, which would further oblige him to bo, as 
he always Is, with the greatest regard and respect, — Your most obedient, 

Jonathan Bkloukk." 

This forcible representation called out from the Lower House the 
resolution, '^ That the vote of both houses granting the first and last 
condition, be not improved to the pr^udice of Mr. Belcher." Further 
negotiations were held with Pomfret. A letter was sent to the select- 
men of that towu, renewing the ofler to unite the township of Mort- 
laJLe to their town forever, u|K>n receiving ceitain privileges for his 
farms or nmnoiu A town-meeting was called, December 27, 1714, 
when the demanti was considered and fully debated, and, by a very 
dear vole, it was decided : — 

*< That, on condition the town of Mortlake bo united to this town forever, 
to be always hereafter one <tntirc townslilp, to be called Pomfret, the town 
unanlmou*<ly consent and agree that the Inhabitants of KIngswood and Wilt- 
shire shall enjoy the following privileges, viz. :— 

I. The privilege of voilng in any town-niecMng about town aflUirs, accord- 
ing to the proportion the said farms bear to suid town In «iuantity of land, it 
being as one to llfteen. 




II. That no vote of the town Bhall conclude any inhabitant of the manor 
to any chargeable or bardennomo public office unless they be willing to accept 
the same, saving one selectman out of Kingswood. 

III. The militia to depend solely on the Governor of the Colony.** 

These oonditions were not accepted. The privilege of voting in 
town-meeting as one to fifteen, did not appear to Mr. Belcher a suf- 
ficient compensation for the loss of jurisdiction, and so the matter 
rested. Mortlake was left in its original status, as manorial property, 
with the rights and privileges of a townsliip ; its government vested 
in an individual and not in a corporation, '^'he land south of it in- 
cluded in the township patented to Captain Blackwell, was divided 
between Canterbury and Ponifret in 1714. 




I^HE first oare of Pomfret, after seooring confirmation of bounds, 
was to settle religions worship. October iS, 1713, the town 
voted : — 

« To give an orthodox minister, such an one as shall be acceptable to the 
people, one hundred and fifty pounds in money for and towards buying his 
land and building his house ; also, to break up four acres of land and plaut 
two with an orchard ; and for his salary, Afty-flvo pounds in money for the first 
year, until such time as there slitill bo sixty ftinilllcs settled In the town, ami 
then seventy pounds a year ever after, so long as he shall continue his minis- 
terial relations to us— and Ebenezer Sabln and Samuel Warner are chosen to 
So and bring a minister to preach and settle here. And it is voted, in the 
rst place, that they shall make their application to Mr. Ebenezer Williams of 
Roxbury, and show him a copy of the voted respcctlnff the settling of a 
minister here, and If ho will accept of what is offered and come and l>e onr 
minister, they shall seek no fhrthcr ; but If he may not bo prevailed upon to 
come, then they shall make their address to such others as shall seein 

In pursuance of their commission, Messrs. Sabin and Warner 
hastened to wait upon Mr. Williams, hut he, " being newly come off 
from a journey, could not be prevailed upon to come," whereat the 
town, November 19, *' expressing their great value for the said Mr. 
W illiams, desired he liiight be further addi^essed by letter, to come and 
preach with us for the space of six months." Tbis invitation was 
accepted, and, December 28, 1718, Mr. Williams arrived in Pomfret 
and began his ministrations, and soon made himself so agreeable to tho 
people that long before the six months had expired, they wem every 
way willing to accept of him for their minister. His boarding-place 
was with Captain John Sabin, in the northeastern comer of the town, 
then, according to ti*adition, the only framed house in the settlement. 


Public religious services were held on the Sabbath in some convenient 
residence. December 22, 1713, the town voted, "That there should 
be a meeting-house built with all convenient speed" Deacon Benjamin 
Sabin, Captain John Sabin and Philemon Chandler were chosen com- 
mittee in that behalf, with ample power in all respects. February 16, 
1714, voted, *'That the meeting-house shall be set on White's Plain, 
at such part of it as the committee hereinatter named shall determine, 
viz. : Captain and Deacon Sabin, Cornet Sawyer, Nathaniel Gary, 
Leicester Qrosvenor, Abiel Lyon, Nathaniel Sessions, Ebenezer Trues- 
dell and Joseph Chandler." At the same meeting, a formal call was 
given to Mr. Williams, the people agreeing, " that if the said Mr. 
Williams doth like the town, and will and shall settle here in the work 
of the gospel ministry, they will give him one hundi*ed and seventy 
pounds in money, towai'ds buying his land and building his house, and for 
his salary sixty pounds yearly, for four years, and after that to rise twenty 
shillings yearly until it shall come to seventy pounds, and there to stand 
so long as he shall continue his ministerial labors among us." And, 
Mr. Williams being personally present, for several weighty and serious* 
considerations, him thereunto moving, " freely, faitlifully and sincerely 
promised to settle in Pomfret in the work of the ministry, and ende:ivor 
to discharge aright all the duties belonging to his profession." Two 
hundred acres of land, reserved for the encouragement of preaching, 
were made over to Mr. Williams, June, 1714, by James Fitch, Samuel 
Ruggles and Uie other Mashamoquet proprietors, each one a propor- 
tionable share. 

Having thus libonilly provided for their pastor, the i>eoplo engagcil 
with great spirit in building their uieeting- house. Karly in the B[»ring 
the work was inaugurated. Some .of the building committee, ** finding 
it difficijlt to discharge their duty in that respect by reason of living 
remote and out of the way, so that others were exposed to and over- 
burthened with an over proportion of care and trouble " — Leicester 
Gi'osvenor and Samuel Warner were joined with them. A rate of 
three hundred pounds was voted to defray the charges of building. A 
single hand was allowed two and sixpence a day and subsist himself; a 
man and team, for ordinary work, five and sixpence a day ; for going 
to Ashford or Stoddard's Cedar Swamp, eight shillings per day. The 
house was raised- April 27, and covered during the summer. It stooii 
on the east side of the road, about a quarter of a mile south of the 
site of the present Congregational Church edifice. A burial spot, 
adjacent, was selected by an especial committee. At a town meeting, 
August 27, 1714, it was voted, <*That the meetmg-house shall b^ 
can'ied no fuilher at present than to have the floor laid, the pulpit set 
lip, the doors made and hung, the windows finished, and the body of 

Minister and ipcicnNGhHonsE, eto. 201 

Beats and the mtuister's i>ew made. Fifly ponnds were added to the 
rate to be levied. 

" Votedi That Mr. Belcher shall have liberty to build a pew in our meetlng- 
hoii<«e, next ye pnlpit, at ye we(«t end of It. 

That Captain Chandler (John of Woodstock) shall have liberty to build a 
pew at the northwest corner of our meetlnff-house. 

It was also considered, that Captain Siwin shall have liberty to build for 
himself a pew In some convenient place in the meeting-house. 

Also, that Lieutenant Samuel Williams haye the same privilege." 

In the autumn, the house was oompletcfd so far as had been speoifiedy 
and was probably opened for ])ublic worship and town-meetings. 
December 6, 1714, various new officers were chosen. Deacon Sabin, 
Ensign Grosvenor, Comet Sawyer, Jonathan Hide and Nathaniel Gary 
were appointed selectmen ; Nathaniel Sessions, constable and tavern- 
keeper ; Benjamin Sitton, collector ; Philemon Chandler, grand-juror ; 
Joseph Tucker and Sanniel Caq)ont«r, fence-viewers; William and 
Samuel Gary, listers; Nathaniel Johnson, sealer; John Hubbard was 
or4ered to buihl a strong pound for horses. During this winter, town- 
meetings were infrequent and ill attended, so that in March, 1715, it 
was found needful to vote that, ** insomuch as the inhabitants in time 
past have wholly failed in attendance or come very unseasonably, and 
others, loth id act without the conference of their neighboi*s, have long 
waited until there was not time orderly to dispatch business, therefore, 
that so many as assemble within half an hoqr afler the time prefixed 
may proceed to business, and the laws as binding as if all were 
present" It was also voted, ** That non-residents that own land shall 
have free liberty to T()te at our town«meetings in all matters that oon- 
cern them." The military company had now been fully organized, 
with John Sabin for captain, Philemon Chandler for lieutenant and 
Leicester Grosvenor for ensign, and the latter gentleman, '* chosen and 
pitched upon to treat with Windham gentlemen about the line and 
bounds of our township." All other public matters were deferred till 
the oompleti<m of the mceting-houHO. 

May 9, 1716, the town voted, "That the space in the meeting-house 
at the west end, between the staii-s and door, be a place for boys to sit 
in. Also, that Lieutenant Chandler shall have liberty to build a pew 
for himself and family in our meeting house, at the south side, between 
the great door and the next window. Also, that Benjamin Sitton shall 
have libert}' to build a pew for himself and family in the meeting- 
house, adjoining to the east of Lieutenant Chandler's. Also, granted 
liberty to Messrs. James Danielson, Senior and Junior, to build a pew 
at the south side of the meeting-house, to the west of the great door. 
Also, that Edward Payson shall have liberty to build a pew next to 
Mr. Danielson *s, between that* and the stairs, provided that they all 
finish them by the last of September next, and take in and cause all 



their families to sit there, if it may be with convenience. Two 
thousand feet of boards were also voted for and towards building the 

May 19, Deacon Subiu, Lieutenant Chandler, Samuel Warner, En- 
sign. Qrosvenor, Abiel Lyon and Jonathan Hide, were chosen a com- 
mittee to ti-eat with Mr. Williams about his ordination. September 
14, voted, **That the ordinatipn of Mr. Williams be on the 26lh day 
of October. Also, that an ordination dinner be provided for forty 
persons, viz. : ministers and messengers of the churches. Also, that 
the aforesaid genUeiaen be enterUiiuod as much as necessary before 
ordination at the town's charge. Also, that Deacon Sabiii, Samuel 
* Warner, Edward Payson, Jonathan Hide, Nath. Sessions and Ebenezer 
Truesdell, be a committee to take care that a good, dinner be pro- 
vided, and all things carried on in good order." These arrangements 
being iK^rfected and liberty received from the General Court, the 
church was orgmiitscd, October 2G, 1716, and KboncKer Wiirt{tnm 
ordained as its pasUir, but unfortuuMti^ly no record of the proceedings, 
of the day was ])reserved. The occasion was one of great interest and 
joyftdness, and doubtless draw together a large concourse of people. 
The young pastor was already greatly beloved by his flock and much 
respected throughout the adjoining region. He was the sou of Samuel 
Williams of lioxbury, and nephew of the lleverend John Wil- 
liams of Deei-field, so* noted for his captivity by the Indians. He 
was graduated from Harvard in 1709, and was twenty-five yeai*s of 
age at the time of his settlement. Eleven of the male residents of 
Pomfret joined with Mr. Williams in church fellowship. Benjamin 
Sabin and Philemon Chandler were elected its deacons. The *' goo<i 
dinner" ordered for the forty ministers and messengers was provided 
by Captain John Sabin, who received from the town, '^ ten pounds in 
money in the whole" for payment In the following May, a rate of 
£180 was ordered, for and towards defraying charge of the meeting- 
house. December, 1716, a committee was chosen for fencing in the 
meeting-house. It was also agreed, that the meeting-house shoidd be 
sealed according to the rates they have paid — having respect to age 
and dignity. Ensign Grosvenor, Deacon Philemon Chandler and Ed- 
ward Payson, committee. Also, " that Nathaniel Qary should have 
liberty to build a house in the highway for himself and family to sit in 
Sabba-days." This '^Sabba-day- house" accorded to Mr. Gary is the 
only one known within Windham County limits, though they were not 
uncommon in other parts of New England. It was a small house 
built tight and warm, with an ample fire-place and a few seats and 
benches. Fuel was kept ip readiness *and a lire kindled hy the first 
comers on Sunday morning, and there Mr. Gaiy and his family and 


other friends and neighbors ooiild warm and refresh themselves after 
their cold, bleak ride before aHsembVing for worship in the fireless, 
freezing meeting-housa At noon-time they gathered again in the cozy 
room for warmth and lunoh, and again afler service to prepare for the 
journey homeward. 

Having thus satisfactorily provided for Uieir spiritual wants, the 
inhabitants of Pomfret turned their attention to secular affairs. The 
next thing needful afler a meeting-house was facilities for reaching it, 
and those of Pomfret were most lamentably deficient No roads had 
been regularly laid out by town authorities and the only means of 
communication were rough bridlepaths. The Mashamoquot proprie- 
tors had the entire control of their lands, comprising more than half 
the inhabited land of the town, and to them belonged the care of mak- 
ing roads through their property. Only half the Purchase was as yet 
laid out to tJicm ; the remainder was lying in common, undivided and 
uncultivated. A new division was proiK)sed with suiUblc highways, 
and afler long preliminary discussion, a proprietors' meeting was held 
in Pomfret, November 1, 1716 — the first recorded afler the distribution 
of 1 694. Ten " whole shares men," were present Some new proprie- 
tors appeared — Captain John Chandler of Woodstock, on the right 
of Samuel Gore; Captain John Sabin on that of Samuel Ruggles; 
Edmond Weld for John White. Afler considerable discussion the 
following votes wore passed :— 

*' 1. That tlio mooting Is lognl. 

3. Thnt our second division mIiaU bo In not loss than throo parcels or lots 
and moro at discretion of conimlttco. 

8. That all the highways shall contlnae and bo confirmed and that each lot 
shall have a highway to It — said highway six rods wide Arom north to south, 
and four rods ttoin east to west 

4. The commltteo shall survey our whole parchaso and settle the bounds of 
the fifteen thousand one hundred acres. 

5. The coinraittee shall state needful highways to each lot In second di- 
vision, not above four rods wide. 

6. That Philemon Chandler shall be proprietors ' clerk. 

7. That Captain John SabIn, Leicester Orosvcnor, Mr. Timothy Ruggles, 
(and in case of their death or impossibility of attendance), William Sharpe, bo 
the commlt^e to act the business voted on at this meeting. 

8. Second division to be ready by December 1. 

9. Highways altered at discretion. 

10. The committee have power to decide all particulars, which we have not 
before the bveaklug up of this meeting. 

11. Are to make out four hundred acres a share if possible ; If not to seek 
after the lost land. 

12. Whole proprietors are to stand law-suits. 

18. Captain Chandler, Mr. Dana and the heirs of Captain Samuel Haggles 
to have fifteen shillings apiece for beinff committee last year. 

14. That the committee have four shillings per day and pay for chairman 
and surveyor, all under oath. 

15. That Mr. WlUlams* grant be added to our share In the plot. 

16. That the proprietors that dwell In Pomfret, on condition that the Roxbury 
proprietors will leave the writings at PoinfTet shall have attested copies of 
writings from time to time at the cost of PomfTet proprietors, sent to Edmund 

• Weld of Roxbury. 

17. Timothy Ruggles to draw all the votes." 


The time allotted for the new division waa found qnite inaafficient. 
The lost land waa not recovered without great difficulty. The western 
bound of the purchase had never been accurately defined and some of 
the original lots had been over- measured. A meeting of Mashumo- 
quot proprietors waa hold, April 10, 1718, at the house of Nathaniel 
Sessions, tavern-keeper. Ensign Grosvenorwas chosen moderator, John 
Chandler, Jun., was appointed surveyor and directed to join with 
Nathaniel Sessions, James Corbin and Ebeneser Sabin, in i-unning the 
exti-eme bounds of the tract and see wliat was to lay out The slinres 
accruing to Major Fitch, to be laid out ** adjoining to land Samuel 
Warren now lives oil" Surveyor to have ten shillings a day and each 
of the committee, five. The survey was made according to direction, 
Mr. Corbin assisting on account of his owning the land west in Ashford. 
This western bound has not been completely identified, but it was paral- 
lel with the western bound of the town and not far removed from it 
October 22, the committee reported, ^^Tliat the quantity of land 
expressed in the deed from Major Fitch would fall short of y* comple- 
ment if the lines Ih) restrained to six miles south from north bounds 
and will iiot yield four hundred acres to each share, and that they had 
accordingly drawn a plot which would ciuTy the purchase to Mr. Stod- 
dard's south ti*act'* The plot was exhibited and gave satibfaction — 
the proprietors voting, <^ To take the land according to plot exhibited, 
and that what land lies south of six miles ii*om nortb bounds, be laid 
out in twelve equal shares, and that the lots formerly laid out be again 
surveyed, and if too great, allowance to be made." Charge for survey- 
ing was to be paid by each proprietor in equal proportions— *none hav- 
ing any benefit from the diviMion tifi they ha<l paid their part of the 
charge. The division thus ordered wm completed during the winter 
and distributed May 13, 1719, by lot, in the following order : — 

1. John Sabln on right of Samuel Rugglcs. 

2. Daniel Dana and Company. 

8. Joseph Chandleiv-on right of Deacon John Chandler. 
4. John Mowrey, on right of Thomas Mowrey, deceased. 
6. William Sharpe for John Kuggles heirs. 

6. Captain John Chandler on right of Samuel Gore. 

7. Edmond Weld for John White. 

8. Kbenezer Sabin on right of Deacon Benjamin Sabin. 

9. Thomas Kuggles for Captain Samuel Uugglcs. * 

10. Ensign Leicester Qrosvenor. 

11. Joseph Otis for John Gore. 

12. Joseph Griffin. 

The charge for this survey, division and plot was £51. Is. which 
was divided among the proprietor and paid before the lots were 
drawn. Of the twelve original proprietors of J^Iashaiyoquet none were 
now living, but Benjamin Sabin and Joseph Grifiin. Of the twelve 
recipients of the second division, only Captain Sabin, Joseph Chandler, 


Ebenezer Sabin and Leicester Grosvenor were, apparently, then resi- 
dents of Pomfret, though Joseph Griffin, and Samuel and Isaac, sons 
of Jacob and Benjamin Dana, soon afterward removed there. . This 
second division •was laid out in the west of the town, and is now 
included in the parish of Abington. 

•- ^^i 




THE opening of new territory was followed by a fresh influx of 
population. Sales and transfers of land became more frequent, and 
inniiy families were added to the settlement. Jonathan Hide, Wiirmm 
Hamlet, Abiel Cheney, Jonathan Dana, Archibald McCoy, Ebenezer 
Ilolbrook, Johoshaphat Holmes, Sanuiel Perriii and Daniel Waldo 
appear as residents of Pomfret, prior to 1720 ; William Sharpe, Samuel 
Sumner, John and James Ingalls, soon after that date. Hide 
bought Purchase land of Truesdell ; Hamlet removed from Wobum to 
an allotment laid out to Samuel Ruggles, comprising the hill still 
known as Hamlet's ; Cheney's first residence was south of the Masha- 
moqnet, on land bought of Major Fitch, east of Newichewanna Brook ; 
Holmes was still farther southward. McCoy's homestead was the fifth 
lot of the square, bought of Captain John Sabin in 171G ; Waldo's, east 
side of the highway, farther northward, on land bought of Captain 
Chandler. A beautiful triangular farm, bordering on the Mashamo- 
quet, laid out first to Samuel Gore and sold successively to Captaiu John 
Chandler, Thomas Hutchinson and Francis Clark, was purchased by 
John Ilolbrook of Roxbuiy, whose son, Ebenez^er, took possession of 
it in 1710. The Perrin farm on the Quinebaug, early secured by 
Samuel of Woodstock, was occupied first by his son Samuel, who there 
built, it is said, in 1714, the fine mansion so long known as *Hhe old 
Perrin House." Jonathan Dresser, brother to Richard of Kashaway, 
bought land of Nathaniel Gary in 1717. ^bout 1720, William Sharpe 
with his wife Abigail, daughter of John White, one of the original 
proprietors of Mashamoquet, and their seven sons, three daughters and 
a daughter's husband — Samuel Gridley — removed to Pomfret, settling 

• — * 

upon a second-division lot between Goodell's and Grosvenor's in what 
is now tlie north part of Abington. Two years later, Samuel Sumner, 
son of George Sumner of Roxbiiry, took possession of the sixth lot of 
the square, purchased of CapUdn Sabin — building his house near the site 
of the present Quaker meeting-house, and marrying Elizabeth Grifiin, 


probably daughter of Joseph, the Mashamoquet proprietor. The young 
Ingalls brothera, who came up with their widowed mother, Hannah 
Ingalfs from Andover, bought a secoud-division lot in the southwest of 
the Purchase, and made them a home in the depths o£ the wilderness. 
Joseph Cratl appears at about this date as a resident of the west part of 
Pomfret It is quite possible that his land was secured by an early 
grant from Major Fitcli, as the name of Samuel Craft appears among 
the original grantees of the town and no subsequent deed has been dis- 
covered. Some sales of land were also made to non-fesideut«. Several 
trmttM wore sold by Oaptain Ohandler to Jonatluui Waldo of lioslon. 
Kight hundred acres of socond-division lan<l, south of the A[aMlianio(|net 
and west of Newichewamia Brook were sold by Major Fitch hi 1714, 
to John Dyer of Canterbury, and by him conveyed to Col. Thomas 
Fitch of Boston. The stnp of land west of the Purchase, embracing 
about two thousand acres, was made over by Major Fitch to his son 
Daniel in 1719^. The market piice of the Pomfret laud varied greatly 
in ditlerent localities. Ilolbrook's four hundred acres cost him as many 
pounds ; Sumner's purchase was more than a pound and a half an acre ; 
Hamlet's but half a pound; Dyer for eight hundred acres gave a 
hundred and twenty pounds, while a hundred and forty acres in the 
southwest cornier of the town was secured by Samuel Pellet for ten 

These new inhabitants of Pomfret were mostly men of character and 
property, and at once identified themselves with the growth of the town. 
Jehoshaphat Holmes was soon chosen town-clerk, Samuel Gridley 
serveil as clerk both for town and proiinetoro, Abiel Cheney was 
licensed as tiivern-keeper, Sharpe, llolbrook and other new inliabitanU 
were appointed to vaiious public services, and *^ Father Coy" oi)ened 
his house for public meetings. Several weighty matters were now 
under consideration. Efibrts had long been made to secure better trav- 
eling communication with Providence, the most accessible market-town 
for this section. Tlie existing bridle-path could not accoinmodute 
teams or vehicles. The building a sufiicient cart-road was a very 
laborious enterprise, far greater than the construclion of a modern 
railroad. Eastward of Killingly the country was for many miles 
savage and unbroken, a rude, rocky, sterile wilderness. The move- 
ment was initiated in 1708, and the road completed and opened 
in 1721, under the sujiervision of Nathaniel Sessions, who him- 
self brought over it tlie first load of West India goods to Pom- 
fret. The road, like the path preceding it, crossed the Quinebaug 
just below the Falls at the old fording-|iJace first opened by Peter 
Aspinwall, who, soon alter 1700, begged the privilege of building 
a bridge there. • Another attempt was made a few years later to 



bridge this forinidnblo Bti'eam, and a petition sent to the General 
Assembly by Philemon Chandler, Leicester Grosvenor, Nathaniel 
Sessions and others, showing that the fording-place was oflen danger- 
ous and sometimes impassable, bat no relief was granted. Captain 
John Snbin next took the matter in hand, and with the aid of his son, 
'achieved a substantial bridge " over the Quinebaug at y* falls near 
Pomfret, in 1722." Joshua Ripley and Timothy Pierce were ap- 
pointed by the General Court to view this biidge, who reported it 
" built in a suitable place, out of danger of being carried away by 
floods or ice, the highth of the bridge being above any flood yet 
known by any man living there, and think it will be very serviceable 
to a great part of the government in traveling to Boston — ^beiug at 
least ten miles the nearest way according to their juilgment** The 
cost of this bridge was £)20, for which three hundred acres of land 
in the common lands, on the east side of Connecticut River, were 
allowed Captain Sabin, <* on condition he keep the same in repair four- 
teen years next coming." 

The first representative sent by Pomfret to the General Assembly 
was Deacon Benjamin Sabin, in May, 1719. JJis son Ebenezer was 
sent in the following October; Daniel Waldo in 1720; Captain John 
Sabin was sent in October, 1720, and several yeara afterwards, accom- 
panied successively by Abiel Lyon, Nathaniel Johnson, William Sharpe^ 
Beiijamin and Kleazor tSabin. Capt4un Sabin was appointed a justice 
of (ho pence hi 1724. Pomfrel's list of ostates, prosonto<l in 172H, 
amounted to £5,588. ^ 

In the matter of schools, Pomfret showed great remissness, making 
no public provision for them till January 28, 1720, when the town 
voted to have a school-house. 

'* 1. (Set up near the meeting-house. 

2. Twenty-four feet by ninteteen and se^en feet stud. 

8. To stftod north of the pound, within ten rods of it 

4. To be finished by next Mlchaclmas-coine-twclvc-inonth, which will be In 
the year of our Lord, 1721. Bbenezer Grosvenor, Abicl Lyon and Nathaniel 
Sessions, coiDiDittee.** 

This vote was not carried out The Michaelmas of 1721, found no 
school-house in progress. Difficulties had arisen. One school-house 
for the whole town was thought insufficient The settlers south of 
Mortlake asked for their share of the money separate ; the northern 
inhabitants also preferred nearer accommodations. After three years 
delay the house was begun as specified in the vote, but in April, 1 728, 
the town voted, ^' That the school-house shall not be finished." This 
decision was strongly opposed by a large minority. A protest showing 
that a rate had been made and p.'ud by most, and that the subscribers 
looked upon it but reasonable that the money should be used for the 



end oiilled for, wns signed by Philemon Chandler, Jonathan Hide, 
Siuuuol Dana, Abiel Lyon, Ebenezer Holbrook, Sainuel Paine, Joseph 
and Nathaniel SessionB, James Taylor, William Hamlet, Joseph QriMn, 
Jo8e|>h Crail, Archibald McOoy, William Shaq)e, Seth Paine and 
othera. In August another meeting was held and the matter satisfao- 
toiily adjusted. It was voted : — 

*< 1. That the schooUhoase shall be fluished with all convenient speed. 

2. Query. Whether the town will agree upon this method as to the places 
whore the school shall be kept In the town ; namely : that the school be 
kept one-half of the time In the school-houne already built, and the other half 
of the tluio some whcro farther northward, hi some houno which that nol^^h- 
burliood shall provide and the whole maintained lu the same public manner? 
Answer; Yes. , 

8. Query. Whether the town will allow those that live south of Governor 
Saltoustall's land, their proportion of rate . . . towards building a 
school-house for themselves, provided they tlrst erect a Hchool-house ; also 
their proportion of all rates that shall hereafter be nmde towards the mainte- 
nance, provided they keep a school among themselves? Answer; Yes." 

Ebenezer Sabin, Jonathan Hide and WillLun Sharpo were appointed 
a Gonmiittee to see the sohool-houso finished. Schools wore thus 
siinnllaneously established in the north, south and oeiitre of the town, 
and provision made for raising money for their support according u> law. 
llie tmin-band company had been previously re-organized. ** March 
11, 1721. By virtue of an order from the Governor — the soulderie of 
the town of Pomfret on a public training-day, made choice of a 
lieutenant and ensign to fill up the vacancy occasioned by the dismission 
of Lieut. Philemon Chandler, who for some years had been chosen and 
servM in that oflice." Leicester Grosvenor was accordingly chosen 
lient43nant; Nath. Sessions, ensign. 

Various minor matlera were also considered and settled. A rate of 
three pounds was allowed for procuring weights and measures and a 
black staff. A penny a head was allowed for destroying blackbirds ; 
twopence each for squirrels, woodpeckers and blue jays, and twopence 
a tail for rattlesnakes, — Nathaniel Sessions, William Williams, Samuel 
Gridley and Jehoshaphat Holmes, to receive and keep an account of Uie 
creatures destroyed. A lai'ger number of town otlicers was now needed 
and elected. In December, 1724, the selectmen chosen were Captain 
John Sabin, Leicester Grosvenor, Nathaniel Johnson, Ebenezer Sabin 
and Nathaniel Sessions. For constable, Ebenezer Truesdell; grand- 
juror, Uichard Adams ; collectors, Joseph Sessions and Kzckiel Cmly ; 
listers, Samuel Warner, Abiel Cheney and Sanmel Dana; surveyors, 
Benjamin Sabin and Siunuel Paine. 

Little is known of church afiairs, owing to the entire lack of records. 
Mr. Williams retained the afieclion and respect of his ]>eop1e, and was 
greatly esteemed for his learning, wisdom and piety. His congregation 
was large, embracing all the inhabitants of the town, and the church 


])robably received many aoceAsions. After the erection of the second 
society of Windham, some of the sonthwest inhabitants of Pomfret 
were allowed to unite with it, and a petition was presented, " by our 
Christian neighbors in Windham village, for a strip of land in our 
township, which was bordering on their precincts, which was so far 
answered as y* the town chose two persons to view the same and 
report to the town." The meeting-house still required attention. The 
offer of a bell from Mr. Jonathan Belcher in 1719, called out the vote, 
"That there should be a bell cony [balcony] built at one end of the meet- 
ing-house, and preparations made for the hanging of a bell which Mr. 
Jonathan Belcher offers to bestow upon the town.** For some unex- 
plained cause the gift was not received, and Pomfret missed the honor 
of having the first church bell in Windham County. In 1721, libeity 
was granted to Nathaniel Sessions and Ebenezer Qrosvenor to build 
each, a fiew at the east end of the meeting-house. In 1722, the house 
was re-seated — the town voting, "That the second seat in the body 
of the meeting-house and the fore-seat in the front gallery shall be 
judged and esteemed equal in dignity ; and tha^ the third seat in the 
body and the fore-seat of the side gallery shall be equal ; the fourth seat 
in the body and the second seat in the front gallery shall be equal ; 
and that the governing rule in seating the meeting house shall be, the 
fii-st thi*ee rates which are made in the town on the last year's list, 
having respect also to age and dignity.*' Provision was also made for 
the comfort of horses, inhabitantu having liberty to build stables near 
the meeting-house on tho north side of the same. Finos duo the 
town were ordered, " to be improved to repair the glass of the meeting- 
house and any other repair that shall be found necessary,'* and a five- 
pound rate allowed to defray the expense of repairing and finishing the 

Pomfret, for a time, was so remarkably healthy that, in five years, 
tho only deaths occuning were those of three infants, so that the 
burial-ground by the meeting house was scarcely made use of. In 
1719, the town voted, "That the burying-place be removed to a more 
convenient place,*' and accepted the gift of two acres of land for this 
use and service, bounded north by Wappaquians Brook and east by the 
highway, from Deacon Philemon Chandler. The first person interred 
in the new ground is believed to have been Joseph Giiffin, one of the 
original Mashamoquet proprietors, in 1723. lie was followed, in 1726, 
by Deacon Benjamin Sabin, an early Woodstock pioneer, and one 
of the most useful and respected citizens of Pomfret 

The condition of Pomfret highways was still unsatisfactory. Within 
the bounds of the Purchase, they were managed by its proprietors, 
without, by the town authorities, and harmony of action was not 



always attainable. After mnch deliberation, it was thought expedient 
to resign title and management into the hands of the town. A special 
proprietora' meeting, warned by Justice Leavens of Killingly, in 
January, 1726, was held March 6, '* at the school-bouse near the sign- 
post" Those present were Captain John, Benjamin and Ebenezer 
Sabin, John, Leicester and Ebenezer Grosvenor, Philemon and Joseph 
Chandler, William Sharpe and Edmond Weld, heira of John White 
and Samuel Dana. Captain John Sabin was chosen moderator ; Samuel 
Gridley chosen clerk by the major part of the proprietors and sworn 
by Justice Leavens. Afler considering a methoil to settle highways 
for the good of the town of Pomfret and issuing present dilticulties, 
'the proprietors agreed as follows : — 

<* I. To give and make over to said town all and singular highways laid oat 
in Purchase In first and second divisions, said town to hold the same forever, 
and proprietors to quit their rights, under the following restrictions. 

1. Any of said ways to be changed or altered, selectmen approving. 

2. That, notwithstanding wayn were laid out at first six rods wide, all shall 
be but four hereafter, save from meeting-house to school-hoase, standing bjr 
meeting-house and south from mootiug-houso to the corner of Father Coy's 
land, which shall remain six, and upon Wappnquinns lirook, for the con- 
venience of the buryin^-place — and tlio two rods taken nroni ways shall bo 
divided lunoug owners, save against MtOor Fitch's laud, when It shall accrue 
to tlic proprietors and not to Mivjor Fitch. 

8. All ways running ftom east to west shall bo four rods wide, save one 
or two." 

The highway question being thus settled, all previous divisions of 

land were confirmed and established by unanimous vote of the 


Mortluko, during this period, made little progress. Houses were 
built within the numors, and part of the land brought under cultivation. 
Wiltshire was rented to Ilenry Eurle. Five hundred acres in Kings- 
wood, with buildings, white servant^ four oxen, four cows, two breeding 
mares, thirty sheep, harrow, plough, chains and cait, were leased by 
Mr. Belcher to Isaiah and Thompson Wood of Canterbury. That Mr. 
Belcher made even a summer i-esid^nce of his farms is extremely doubt- 
ful, but he may have occasionally visited them and retained the over- 
sight and management of them. The pew built by him in Pomfret 
meeting-house was probably occupied by his tenants. The bell offered 
by him failed, as we have seen, to reach it The land purchased by 
Saltonstall and Foye was for some years unoccupied. Samuel Williams, 
brother of the llev. Ebenezer, had, like Belcher, a pew spot assigned 
him in Pomfret meeting-house, but never became a permanent resi<ient. 
Ilis younger brother, Williamif purchased of Belcher a farm west of 
Wiltshire, in 1719, and took immediate possession of it His family, 
with those of Belcher's tenants, were probably for many years the only 
white inliabitants of Mortlake. 

In 1714, the vacant land between Pomfret and Canterbury was 


divided between these townships, and thus the land south of Mortlake, 
owned by Adams, Chandler and Stoddard oame under the jurisdiction 
of Poinfret. liichard Adams was chosen selectman in 1715, and, by a 
very clear vote, the town made over to him all their right and title to 
his land as to property. The settlement of this section was somewhat 
quickened by its annexation to Pomfret. Daniel Cady of Killingly, 
father of Mrs. Richard Adams, bought six hundred acres of land near 
Tatnick Hill, of Jabez Allen, in 1714, and settled there with a large 
family of sons and daughters. James Cady of Marlborough, pur- 
chased land of Richard Adams in 1716. John, Joseph and Daniel 
Adams then took possession of their allotments, and threw part of 
them into market. Sixty acres, now included in Brooklyn village, were 
sold by Joseph Adams in 1718, to Samuel Spalding. John Adams 
sold homesteads to Jabez Spicer and John Hubbard ; Daniel Adams, a 
fann to Sanniel Shoad. The twonty-flvo hundred aon« of land between 
the Adams and Stoddard tracts were sold by Captain Chandler for 
£190, to Joseph Otis of Scituate, in 1715. Its eastern half was sold 
out in farms to the Rev. Ebeneser Williams, Ebenezer Whiting, 
Samuel Spalding, Jonathan Cady and Josiah Cleveland, in 1719; the 
western half was purchased by Stephen Williams, Joseph Davison and 
Joseph Holland, in 1723. The Stoddard tract remained for many years 
in the hands of its non-resident owner, save a few hundred acres, sold 
in 1719 to Abiel Cheney, Benjamin Chaplin of Lynn, Samuel Gardner 
and Samuel Pellet* Chaplin and Pellet also purchased land of M(\jor 
Fitch, and were the first settlers of the southwestern comer of Pomfret 

About twenty families had gathered in the south part of Pomfret by 
1720. Their position was somewhat peculiar. A distinct, independent 
township lay between them and the main settlement, and had to be 
traversed by them on their way to public worship, town-meetings and 
trainings. The long journey over rough roads, which they had not 
the power to mend or alter, was " exceedingly difficult and next to im- 
possible, and cliildren were compelled a groat part of the year to tarry 
at home on the Lord's day.*' Some of the residents of the south part 
of this region maintained church relations in Canterbury, so that the 
charge was divided between the Rev. Messrs. Williams and Estabrook, 
who visited the people, watched over them, and established a monthly 
lecture in the neighborhood, which was continued for some years, 
''but the good benefit thus aocrtiing** made the hearers so much the 
more anxious to have the word of God dispensed more fi*cqticntly, and 
in May, 1721, the following [>etition was presented to the Assembly, 
from the inhabitants north of Canterbury ' and south of Pomfret, 
showing : — 

" That your memorialists are settled upon a tract of land three or four 


miles wide and seven miles long, which, unll late years, was never dream- 
scribed within ihe bounds or any town, now divided between the two towns. 
That the fbrnilles of said memorialists having grown more numerous than 
formerly. And It exceedingly dlfllcult and next to Impossible to attend worship 
with their families at the usual places, having many miles to travel, which, 
especially In the winter, Is attended with great dllflculty. That having been 
blessed by Q(mI In their outward clrcumstttucos, and In some good degree 
capable of taking care of thenihclves, and though a consldenibTe charge to 
invite and settle an orthodox minister, yet the care of our children and families 
so requiring, your memorialists shall, with the greatest cheerftilness comply 
with the charge, and, therefore, pray that the Inhabitants dwelling between 
the antlent lines of the said towns of Canterbury and PomfTet may be a 
separate parish or precinct of preaching, as soon as they obtain a gospel 
minister to preach. 

James Cady. Kzra Oady. Kbenexer Whiting. 

Joseph Ailams. John Cmiy. John Wooilward. 

Isaac Adams. Daniel Cady, 2d. Jabez Splcer. 

Daniel Adams. Samuel Spalding. Jonas Spalding, 

lllchard Adams. Isaac Allen. John Hubbard. 

John Adams. Jovlah Cleveland. John Wilson. 

Kzeklol Ctuly. Joseph Holland. Samuel (^ntes. 

Daniel Cady. Kzeklel Wliitney. Samuel Shead.** 

Jonathan Cady. Henry Smith. 

To this earnest request, ao answer was vouchaafed, and the memo- 
rialists were loll to tnivol to their roH|)Oi;tivo places of worship, while 
Chaplin and (iardner joined with ** their Christian neighl>ors in 
Windham village.*' Undaunted by this failure, the south Pomfret 
residents next attempted to secure a separate military company, and a 
school In their own neighborhood. The school question was then 
greatly agitating Pomfret The one school-house ordere<l by the town 
near the meeting-house, was deemed quite inadequate to the want« of 
a large township, and could not possibly be reachcil by children south 
of Mortlake. llie inhabitants, assembled in public town-meeting, 
September 26, 1722, received the following communicalion : — 

« Honored Gentlemen : We, ye Inhabitants of Tomrret. south side of Gov. 
Saltonstall's land, humbly pray you to consider the great distance we live 
fh>m the school-house now In building, and pray you to free us trotix the 
charge to school-house, and may have part of the money which comes from 
the treasury to keep a tree school among ourselves. 

Daniel Cady. James Cadf . Richard Adams. 

Samuel Shead. Ezeklel Cady. Samuel Gates. 

Isaac Adams. Joseph Adams. 

This request was graciously gi*anted, and a school at once established. 
In October, 1723, "seveml peraons living upon a tmct of land between 
Canterbury and the south line of Pomfret, remote from the training 
place of either town,'* received liberty from the General Court to form a 
distinct train-Iiand company by themselves. Sanmel Spalding was con- 
firmed as lieutenant and Uichard Adams as ensign. October 13, 1724, 
Richard Adams, ^' for the love and good-will borne unto his well-beloved 
friends and neighbors, inhabitants of south addition to Pomfret and north 
addition to Canterbury, as also for the necessity of a convenient place 
for a training-field and the setting up of a school-house, did give and 


grant, for tho public nse of a training-field, unto the aforesaid inhabit- 
ants and their heirs, a certain parcel of land lying within y* aforesaid 
additions, west of the country road, containing one acre." This laud 
was laid out in the western part of Mr. Adams* allotment^ a mile south- 
east of the site of Brooklyn village. At the same date, Daniel Cady, 
moved by the same considerations of love, good-will and affection and 
*Hhe necessity of a convenient place to bury y* bodies of the dead 
among uh," did give and grant a certain tract of land, east of Black- 
welVs Brook, " for-y* public and' necessary use of a convenient burying- 
place to the inhabitants of the additions aforesaid, and their heirs and 
assigns for over." This gift was laid out as above designated, south of 
the site of the present Brooklyn village, and still forms a part of the 
Brooklyn bnrying-ground. With these improvements achieved, the 
inhabitants south of Mortlake were forced to rest in patience for further 

Moillakc, itself, gavo Pomfret much trouble. This intrusive, inde- 
pendent township was in a very lawless and unsettled condition. It 
bad no town government, no selectmen, or other public officers, and 
all public improvements depended solely upon the pleasure of its 
qwners. Though within the territory of Pomfret, it was entirely 
without its jurisdiction. Its inhabitants could neither vote, pay taxes, 
record deeds, or pei-forin military service in Pomfret This condition 
of affairs led to frequent disputes and collisions, and at length involved 
tho town in a very burdensome and expensive lawsuit One Peter 
Davison, a tenant of Belcher's, died on his farm after a brief residence, 
leaving a widow and idiot son of seventeen. It was a season! of un- 
common distress and scarcity. Drouth and frost had cut off the crops, 
and the destitute widow was unable to procure subsistence. Peter, her 
idiot .boy, was very troublesome and dangerous, doing much mischief 
unless great care was taken. The few neighbors in Mortlake could do 
little to relieve her t thei'o were no town officers to help her, and in her 
distress and destitution tho widow*appl!ed to the selectmen of Pomfret*, 
begging that they would take care of her son. A town«meeting was 
at .once called, June 22, 1725, when the inhabitants declared it their 
opinion, ^* That we are not obliged by law nor conscience to take y* 
charge upon ourselves, and therefore desire the selectmen to make due 
return unto her, and if, after this, she do offer to impose the same 
upon the town we desire the selectmen to follow her in the law as a 
trespasser, at the town*s charge." Thus debarred from Pomfret, the 
unfortunate Peter was next dispatched to Norwich, his birth-place, and 
there left at the house of Mr. Samuel Bishop. That town reported 
him as *' altogether incapable of taking care of himself, and having no 
estate, nor near relative that hath ability or cad be obliged to maintain 


him," but, '*afl it was not our business," sent him back to Mortlake. 
Complaint was then laid before the Court of New London County, 
which committed poor Peter to the care of Jacob Ordway of Mort- 
lake — servant or tenant of Belcher — and sent out writs to Norwich 
and Pomfret to appear at Court and show why they should not take 
care of him. 

The case was considered, February 16, 1726, Captain John Sabin 
representing Pomfret. Both towns utterly refused to assume the 
charge. The Couit deferred decision till June, entrusting Peter, mean 
while, to the care of Justices Pierce, Backus and Adnins, desiring that 
ho bo prevented from doing mischief and not be lell in a Hulleriiig con- 
d tioii, and if they could not lind any one willing to take such cure of 
him to make use of their authority. Daniel Davison of Mansfield, a 
distant relative, was found willing to receive mother and son into his 
family. In June the case Mras again considered. Both towns had 
made ample preparations for defence. Pomfret had appointed Captain 
Sabin and Lieutenant Leicester Grosvenor to i*epresent her, appro- 
priating rates previously gnmted for schools and meeting-house repairs 
to defraying their charges. It was shown that the deceased Peter 
Davison had removed from Norwich to Mansfield when his son was 
an infant, and there gained a residence, and that he was never in any 
sense an inhabitant of Pomfret. The Court was of opinion that neither 
Norwich nor Pomfret was bound to support the said idiot, but Mans- 
field — and as that town, with Pomfret^ was now incoi-porated into a 
new county, they referred the final decision of thb troublesome affair 
to the Couit of Windham County. The sum allowed during tliis 
contest for poor Peter's support — nine shillings per week for sixteen 
weeks — ^was paid from the Treasury of New London County. 




THE teiTitory now included in the towns of Ashford and Eastford 
formed a part of the Wabbaquasset Country, conveyed to Major 
Fitch by Owaneco in 1684. It was a wild forest region, remote from 
civilization, but known and traversed from the early settlement of New 
England, lying directly in the route from Boston to Connecticut. The 
first company of Connecticut colonists encamped, it is said, on the hill 
nonh of the present Ashford village, and the old Connecticut Path 


crossed what is now its common, but for three-quarters of a centmy no 

settlement was attempted in this vicinity. The first land laid out 

within the present townships was a tract four miles square, now the 

south part of Eastford, made over to Simeon Stoddrd of Boston, in 

1696, in satisfaction of a judgment of Court Major Fitch was at the 

time gi'eatly embarrassed in business affairs, and his title to the Wab- 

baquasset Country questioned ; Mr. Stoddard was the resident of 

another Colony, and neither gentleman was disposed to nndeii4ike the 

settlement of this wild region. Under these circumstances, the General 

Court of Connecticut assumed the management of its affairs, and thua 

enacted : — * zi 

** Xay 9, 1706. This Court being informed that there Is a good tract of lanVl 
within this Colony, westward of the town of Woodstock, southward of the 
town of Mansfield and acUolnlng to the great pond called Crystal Pond, that 
may be sufllclcnt to make a good and convenient town, which tract of land 
tills Court, being willing to secure for such good people as shall bo willing to 
settle tbercou, do, tlioreforo, grant a towusliTp there, of the extent and bigness 
of eight miles square, or equivalent thereunto. And, for that end, do hereby 
impower, order and appoint. Mid. John Chester, Capt. Matthew Allen, Capt. f 
Cyprian Nichols, Capt John Hlgley, Mr. John Hooker, Mr. Caleb Stanley and 
Eleozer Klmberly, they, or any three of them, to be a committee to survey and 
lay out the said township of the extent and quantity as aforesaid, and to mt^e 
return thereof to this Court In October next, for farther conflrmatlon ; and, 
also, to lay out home lots and other divisions of land, and to order and man- 
age the affairs of the said town, and to admit and settle ail such inhabitants 
thereon as are well approved, who shall, upon their admission, pay their 
proportionable parts of the charge of surveying and settling the same 
according to their respective allotments." 

This act, implying the right of oonyeyanoe as well as jurisdiction, 
arouaod Major Fitch to immediate action, and, before the Court's ooni> 
mittee had time to carry out their instructions, he had sold out his 
share of the granted township. In 1707, a tract, five miles in length 
and three in width, was purchased for £110, by John Cushing, Sam. 
Clap and David Jacob of Soituate, and laid out west of the Stoddard 
Tract, in the south part of what is now Ashford, under the name of 
the Now Scituate Plantation. Captain John Chandler soon purchased 
a large part of this tract and a strip of land adjacent, and became the 
chief proprietor of New Scituate. The whole remaining teAitory of 
ancient Ashford, comprising 21,400 acres of land, was sold by Major 
Fitch to James Corbin of Woodstock, in 1708,. who conveyed the 
same to David Jacob, Job Randall, and twelve others, residents of 
Scituate, Hingham and Andover, — Mr. Corbin retaining an equal 
share in the land and managing the aff<urs of the company. ^ 

. These tracts were surveyed and lud out as rapidly as possible and 
efforts made to initiate a settlement in advance of the Grovemment. 
No attempt was made to secure confirmation of this land from the 
Ckneral Court, and the proprietors evidently considered their title very 
doubtful In January, 1710, Captain Chandler, in behalf of himself 



and other proprietora of New Soituate, engaged to give John Mixer of 
Omitorbury, for four poiiiulB, a good deed of one hundred acres of 
land ; ^' but in oaae it should happen that the right or claim of said 
company to said iand should appear to be of no force or value," the 
money to be returned to him. Mr. Mixer selected his land **at a 
place called Mount Hope, lying on the river," on the site of the present 
village of Warrenville, and there began the settlement of Ashford. 
The Connecticut road passed by or near his residence. In the follow- 
ing April, James Corbin sold three hundred and fifty acres of land, 
" north of Stoddard land, on both sides Still River," to John Perry of 
Marlborough, who soon settled upon it, near the site of the present 
Eostford village. 

The General Court, finding that settlement had already commenced 
while nothing had been done by the appointed committee in laying 
out the township, in May, 1710, ordered, appointed and fully em- 
powered Allen, Stanley and Higley, together with Captain Richard 
BushnoU and Mr. Thomas Williams, to {lerform this service, and, in 
October, further enacted : — 

** That, for tho bettor enabling the said coinmtttoe tho more easily to do 
and perform that work, this AHseinbly doth give and grant unto them, or 
any three of them as aforesaid, full power as they shall see good, to oitlor 
and appoint any one of themselves, or any surveyors of lands, to survey aud 
lay out home-lots, or other divisions of land in the said towu, for such persons 
as shall by them be admitted iuhabitauts there; and also to order and 
appoint any one of themselves to be a clerk or register for tho said town, for 
Uie term of four years next ensuing, who shall provide a book for records, 
aud therein enter and record all such divisions and surveys of land which they 
shall make, or cause to bo made, within the said town as aforesaid ; also, to 
administer to such clerk by thorn to he appointed, tho town-clurk oath 
provided by law. Aud this Assombly do oixler and enact, thai the said towu 
shall be called and known .by the name of Ashford, aud that tho cost and 
charge of the said work shall be borne and paid by such persons us the said 
committee shall receive and admit to be Inhabitants within the said town." 

The committee thus empowered took possession of the township 
and endeavored to lay it out in the name of the Colony, but met with 
many obstructions. The region was rough, rocky and unattractive, a 
great pcfition of it still covered with dense forest, the large number 
of ash trees suggesting the name of the township. These forests 
abounded in wolves, beai-s and various species of game, and were a 
favorite hunting-ground of the remaining Wubbequasscts, furnishing 
large qiuintities of furs for James Corbin's fiir trade, and perhai)S led to 
his land purchiuie. Two families, five miles apart, were the only white 
inhabitants. For the possession of this laud, a fierce contest was now 
pending between the Goveram'ent of Connecticut and the vaiious 
purchasers and greatly impeding settlement Settlers were loth to 
buy of the Colony in the face of the claimants, and equally reluctant 
to buy of the claimants without confirmation from Government In 


May, 1711, both parties appealed to the Assembly ; Chandler and 

Gorbin for confirmation of their purchases and liberty to settle ; the 

committee, to represent their inability to carry out their instructions 

under existing obstructions. The Assembly, thereupon, de^sired his 

Honor, the Qovernor, with advice of the appointed committee, " to 

take the town of Ashford into his care, appoint and instioict suitable 

persons to treat with the claimers, to adjust and compound with such 

as have any differences or claims, so far as consistent with the honor 

and interest of the Government and the right of particular persons, 

that so the settlement may proceed and be advanced and promoted." 

Without waiting this legal adjustment, the dumants hurried on 

settlement — Philip Eastman of Woodstock, John Pitts, Benjamin Allen, 

Bei\jamin Russel and William Ward of Marlborough, buying farms of 

James Corbin, and settling north of the Stoddard Tract, on Still River, 

in the. summer of 1711. Houses were built, land broken up and a 

highway laid out by these settlers. In May, 1712, James Corbin 

renewed his efforts for confirmation, in the name of about twenty 

proprietors of three-fourths of Ashford, showing : — 

« That, whereas, by advice of several principal men of ye Ck>lony, they did 
purchase of Mf^or Fitch the native right, with design to make a speedy settle- 
ment — the Qeu. Court haviug before granted it to be a town, — and having 
paid considerable sums for the same, and some persons entered upon it, 
and, whereas, the Colony has ordered a committee to lay oat and settle the 
same lands, which, if they be settled by others and not the proprietors, will 
bo the min of said proprietors ; therefore, the said proprietors do pray the 
Court for the Jurisdiction right to be added unto their native right, on condition 
of settling a certain number of inhabitants of such good manners and qtiality 
as shall bo approved ; also, said proprietors shall, at their own charge, lay out 
the town plot and other divisions in duo form, which will be more advantage- 
ous to the Colony than to lie waste, or be settled by such as will oflfer, and 
thus -the gospel may be there propagated and maintained for the use of those 
already come and to come hereafter.** 

In response to this petition, andf in behalf of the committee, ob« 
structed in their proceedings by the claims of sundry persons, the 
Court ordered, ** That any person claiming right to land in Ashford 
should appear at the Gen. Court in the following October, and there 
set forth their pretended 'claims." Whether this injunction was heeded 
is not apparent, but certainly no right of jurisdiction was obtained. 
The right of Major Fitch to this land was now openly denied, and 
whether the claimants would succeed even in holding it was extremely 
doubtful. Presuming on possession, however, they continued to make 
sales and expedite settlement. William Price, Sen. and Jun., David 
Bishop, Nathaniel Walker, John Chubb and John Ross bought land 
of Corbin, and joined the eastern settlement Daniel, James and 
Nath. Fuller of Windham, Josiah Bugbee of Woodstock, Samuel Rice 
and Philip Squier of Concord, purchased farms in New Scituate of 
Captain Ctiandler. The Qourt's committee also laid out some land in 



spite of obstruoUoDB, and Bold homesteads to Isaac Eeudall, William 
Chapman, Isaac Farrar and Simon Barton, who were styled ** inter- 
lopers" by the claimants. So many inhabitants had settled within the 
township, that in October, 1714, with the advice and concurrence of 
the claimants, they petidoned for further town privileges and liberty 
to organize government The (General Court after considering their 
prayer, granted: — 

** 1. That the inhabitants of the said town, that now are settled there or 
hereafter may be, shall have liberty to meet and choose a clerk and selectmen, 
with other oAlcers for carrying on the prudential aflhlrs of the place, and for 
settling and maintaining, a minister, and building a meoting*house as in other 


3. That the inhabitants of the said town shall forthwith, at their own charge, 
procure the surveyor of the county of Hartford to lay out the bounds of the 
said town to the quantity of eight miles square, according to the grant of this 

5. That all persons that have any right to anv land in Ashford at this present 
time, shall pay towards the building of a meeting-house, minister's house, aud 
settling of a minister there, the sum of twenty shillings for every hundred 
acres of land they claim within the said town, and so proportlonably for 
gruntor or lessor quantities, to bo levied by a rate made bv the selectmen of 
the Nttid town within cue vesr and a half ttom the date of tills act, oolleoto«l 
by the coiuitublo of the said town and paid to the coniniltteo hereafier in this 
act appointed, or such person or persons as they shall appoint tp receive thu 
same ; which committee shall determine the place of the said meeting-house 
in the most convenient place of the said town, and take care that the money 
so raised shall be Improved to the use hereby appointed, with all the speed that 
may be ; and in defiiult of payment of the said rate by any person or persons, 
execution shaU go upon the lands of such person or persons within the said 
town, if no other estate belonging to them be found within the precincts 
of the said town, sufficient for the payment thereof. 

4. That each clalmer of land In the said town of Ashford, as aforesaid, do, 
within one year after the date of this act, nuike an entry of the deeds. Instru- 
ments or records of any sort, by which they claim the same, hi a book to be 
provided by the said town for that purpose, aud kept by the clerk of the said 
town, iu order the better to show each person's Just proportion of the tax upon 
lands by virtue of this act raised, and for the better enabling the said commit- 
tee to execute the trust reposed In them by this act. 

6. That all the lands within the said town uot claimed aud entered as afore- 
said, (except such as are claimed by a grant or quit-claim ttom the Qovern- 
meiit) be and remain at the disposition of the Qoverument, to be given lu 
suitable portions by the suld committee, to such porsous as wlthiu two years 
and an half Arom the date hereof shall go antl settle theiiiselvos by building 

6. That what shall be Airther necessary for the above mentioned pious uses 
shall be levied upon the heads aud ratable estate of all Inhabitants that are or 
shall be wlthiu the said town, within the time aforesaid of two years and an 
half, to be levied and collected as In other towns, and paid to the committee as 
aforesaid, or such person or persons as they shall appoint to receive the same, 
to be Improved by them to the said uses, with all convenient speed. 

7. That William Pitkin and Joseph Talcott, £sars. and Captain Aan>ii 
Cook and Mr. Edward Bulkly, or auy three of them, be a committee of this 
Government, to take care of the alDtlrs committed to them by this act ; who 
shall be paid for the service they do therein either out of the said tax, or as 
the committee and the said town and the Inhabitants thereof shall agree 

5. That the brand for the horses of the said town shall be the figure 3*" 

At the same date a quit-claim to 10,240 acres of laud iu Ashford, 
bounded four miles east by Pomfi et and otherwise by waste land, was 


granted by the Assembly to Simeon Stoddard and heirs, of Boston. 
The other non-resident claimants — Chandler, Corbin, Cashing and 
Company — complied as soon as possible with the requisitions of the 
General Court, inscribing in the book of records speedily procured by 
the town their various deeds of purchase from Major Fitch, and signi- 
fying their willingness to pay the prescribed tax for settling public 
worship, hoping thereby to be confirmed in peaceable possession of 
their claims. 

Town organization was effected as soon as possible under the circum- 
stances. The inhabitants were few and feeble, dependent solely on 
their own exertions and resources, and communication between the two 
settlements very difficult. The first town meeting was held early in 

1715. William Ward acted as moderator, John Mixer was chosen town 
clerk and treasurer ; John Perry, constable ; William Ward and John 
Perry wore elected selectmen ; William Ward also served as first grand- 
jury-man ; John Chapman as second. William Ward, Philip Btistman, 
Nathaniel Fuller, John Pitt, Bet^'amin llussel, James Corbin and Isaac 
Kendall were chosen to state and lay out highways. A book for 
recording town acts was given to the town by James Corbin. Nothing 
was done this year but to lay out land and highways. February, 

1716, it was voted, "That the meeting-house be built first — ^that is, 
before the minister's house." That it should be forty feet long ; thirty- 
five broad, and eighteen, high. That Nathaniel Abbot (a young 
settler, who with his brother William had just arrived from Andover), 
should be master carpenter to cut and hew timber for three shillings 
a day and diet ; men assisting to have two shillings a day and oxen, 
one— William Ward to oversee the work. 

March 18, the town voted, " To go on with the meeting-house, hew 
timber and get it ready to raise. That men who worked on the frame 
should have two and nine-pence a day ; William Abbot three shillings 
and his diet, and that four and six-pence a week should be given to 
William Ward, to diet sud Abbot while at work on the frame. Also, 
that William Ward, Sen. should go and try to get a minister to preach 
in Ashford a quarter of a year." Mr. Ward very soon went out on this 
mission and was so fortunate as to secure a minister who remained a 
quarter of a century, Mr. James Hale of Swanzea, a graduate of 
Har\'ard in 1708, is believed to have returned with Mr. Ward, and at 
once established regular religious services and assumed the pastoral 
charge of the people. April 7, the town voted, '' That it was willing 
to build a house for the minister.'* John Mixer was directed to keep 
the minister, and Nathaniel and Daniel Fuller to agree how much to 
give him for it. July 9, it was agreed, " That James Hale be offered 
thirty-five pounds for one year and if that don't content him, offer 


fortj pounds; one-third money, two-thirds provirion pay.'* William 
Ward, John Perry and John Mixer, committee. In November, . a 
formal call to settlement was given, the town offering Mr. Hale, ** forty 
pounds a year for three years ; forty -five pounds the fourth year } fifty 
the fifth ; then to add two pounds a year till it reached sixty pounds ; 
one-fourth in money ; the remainder in other supplies at money price — 
the ten years to begin at the time that Mr. Hale brought his family to 
live. Also to give him his fire wood and a hundred acres of land, upon 
choice of land that is not taken up, in case he settle here— Benjamin 
Russol iMid John Mixer to be the men to oversee getting the fire wood. 
Also, to build him a house two stories high with a twenty-foot room 
in it" 




TIIE building minister's and meeting-house and other public im- 
provements were delayed by a renewal of the land controversy. 
The town authorities found it difficult to effect needful improvements, 
while so much of its territory was in the hands of non-residents. No 
highways could be laid out, no land obtained for public uses without 
the consent or payment of these owners, and finding that their title 
was considered very doubtful by the Qovernment of Connecticut, the 
town determined to procure its abrogation and secure itself the owner- 
ship of the land as well as its jurisdiction. The first step taken, March 
13, 1716, was in appointing Daniel Fuller and Philip Eastman to assist 
the selectmen in taking care that no person be allowed to come and 
survey land and settle upon it without leave from said committee. In . 
May, John Mixer was chosen ''to be the man to go to the Qen. 
Court in behalf of said town, as to settlement of a town," who May 10, 
1716, represented to that body : — 

** That whereas Asliford has lone labored under great dlfllcultles titlll grow- 
ing and Increasing by reason that the lands or the greatest part of them are still 
unsettled, which with the numerous claims of sundry pcruoua to the property 
of said lands Is very discouraging and dUheartculng to the Inhabitants, and is 
likely to prove of very flita] consequence to the welfhre of imld towu and its 
Increase and population ; and your petitioners can't find that the said pretended 
claimors had any real right, and pray that the Assembly would so order tlie 
settlement of this poor plantation that the Inhabitants may be encouraged and 
the Assembly give the Colony right of land not yet granted by them, to 
such persons as are thought meet." 

To this petition the subjoined response was at once given by 
Chandler and Corbin. 

**That they were aorrj for Ashford's difficulty In being unsettled and 
claimed by men of Ashford In part and are much afflicted, also, that any body 



clAlma or defflren any land bealdes themsolves, nor can they And that any body 
besides themselves have any real right In said town, and npon the premises — 
Join themselves with Ashford and refer themselves to v« great wisdom of y« 
Court. And though we cannot Join with Ashford In desiring the act of 1706, 
to be revived, which on good consideration has been since superceded by a 
general settlement with great care and cost made by a consent of this Court, 
and at great cost of the claimers complied with, yet in the rest of the petition, 
understood as every honest man will understand It, we heartily comply with 
it, which Is, that the land claimed may be confirmed to such Individuals as have 
bought It for valuable consideration and complied with the late settlement of 
the Court," 

About twenty persons, they aveiTed, were already settled by the 
claimers, and five more would have actually been there had not Kendall 
and William Chapman been their hindrances. James Corbin carried on 
a lot for his son, and had built and made considerable improvements. 

The General Court was by no means satisfied with the position of 
affairs, and would gladly have ousted the several claimants from their 
possessions in Ashford, but as they had promptly complied with the 
terms of settlement, could not consistently enact their immediate 
ejection. An act, " giving the land to the inhabitants,** was, however, 
passed in the Lower House, but lost in the Upper. John Mixer, 
" defeated of audience," appealed again to the Assembly, May 26, and 
begged it *' to consider their lamentable condition and great discour- 
agement to any to come, and moveth well-disposed men to remove, and 
pray your opinion wliether the payment of a tax of twenty shillings 
shall make a title to all that attend it of what quantity soever thoy 
claim and enter, and pray that your Honors would order a committee 
of judicious, indifferent men to come to our town."^ This request was 
also denied, and Mr. Mixer returned to Ashford defeated in all the 
objects of his mission. 

This defeat did not prevent further agitation. A majority of the 
inhabitants were more firmly resolved to attain possession of at least a 
part of their territory. A large minority, who had purchased land of 
Chandler or Corbin, earnestly oppose<l them. At the town-mooting in 
October, John Mixer was again chosen ''to go to the General 
Assembly for a Pattern for the town of Ashford." From this vote 
dissented John Pitts, William Price, 2d, James Corbin, Joseph Bass, 
Benjamin Allen, Thomas Corbin, Nehemiah Watkins, David Bishop, 
William Watkins, Joseph Chubb, Benjamin Russel, Samuel Rice, Nath. 
Fuller, Nath. Abbot, Joseph Wilson and Philip Eastman. At the 
town -meeting, December 81, great confusion prevailed. Uncertainty 
existed as to who were lawful voters. Non-resident land-holders 
claimed the right of voting, and so sharp was the dispute that a part 
of the inhabitants withdrew, with one of the selectmen, and acted by 
themselves. The standing party, with two selectmen, carried on the 
regular meeting. Willam Ward, Sen., was chosen moderator, John 


Mixer, town-olerk and first selectman ; William Ward, second select- 
man ; Daniel Foller, third ; Isaac Magoou, surveyor.. ^* And here," 
says the record, ** is the work which the other party and the one 
selectman did: Nathaniel Fuller was chosen first selectman; John 
Perry, the second ; Philip Eastman, the third ; iienjaniin Russel, con- 
stable; Nathaniel Abbot, surveyor for the east of Ashford; Isaac 
Kendall, for the west ; Philip Eastman, grand juror for the east ; John 
Mixer, for the west ; John Perry, brander for the east ; Daniel Fuller, 
for the west." At this point in the proceedings, an agreement was 
effected, and all the selectmen chosen by each party were allowed to 
stjind, and a proposal mode to choose one more to niuke up the favored 
numl)er, seven^ but this amendment was not formally caniod, although 
the conscientious chronicler asserts, *Hhat John Pitts was chosen 
selectman by a great deal bigger vote in the firniative tlian the nega- 
tive was,*' but failing to catch the precise form of expression he did 
not venture to record it, ^' as some said y* word of y* vote was, Y* Pitts 
should be seventh selectman ; some, That John l^tts should be added 
to the other six ; and some. That John Pitts should be added to the 
rest" Two hundred acres of land were then granted by tlie town to 
John Mixer for his going to the General Court for the town, '* he to 
go this time and acquit the town of all charge." Thomas Corbiu, 
Thomas Tiffany, Obadiah Abbe and other non-residents, dissented from 
this vote and all the proceedings of this meeting. 

It does not appear that the town asked or received a patent, or any 
further order or p(/fmission from the Genei*al Assembly, but, neveithe- 
less, its ofiloers proceeded to assume jurisdiction of Uie whole territory, 
without any regard to the authority and ownership of the clainumls. 
The land was first surveyed by Colonel William Allen, and paid for by 
the inhabitants. A half-mile strip, at the nortliern extremity of tlie 
town, accruing to it by the adjustment of the Massachusetts Boundary 
Line, was ordered, '' To be laid out in farms to the inhabitants y' paid 
for the laying out y* township of Ashford — William Ward and Nath. 
Fuller to lay it out" Seventy-five acres of land were added to Mr. 
Hale's lot and the privilege of taking twenty -five more, where it suits 
him. Qrants were allowed several other persons, '' to be laid out where 
it suits them, except on Pine or Meeting-house Hill or on other persons' 
property." August 28, 1717, William Ward was directed to inquire 
into the titles of land and also to lay the circumstances before the 
committee, and a committee was also a])pointed to draw up a memoiial 
to lay before the General Court As several of the inhabitants opposed 
these proceedings of the town, lest it should invalidate their titles 
secured from Corbin or Chandler and compel them to pay twice for 
their homesteads, it was granted to them, " That all lands bought of 



the claimants, that they had had laid ont, should be free to them, 

beside the equal share in all the undivided land.*' January 11, 1718, 

it was further voted, '* That the town doth grant all those lands that 

have been already granted to be free and clear according to the most 

free tenure of East Greenwich, in county of King, in the Realm of ' 

England — ^provided these persons ^ve sufficient bonds, with sureties, 

to John Perry and Philip Eastman, who are appointed to furnish the 

committee with money to build the meeting-house." The lands not 

previously laid ont they proceeded to divide among the inhabitants: — 

** March 6, 1718, voted, To lay oat two hundred acres of land to a 
proprietor, beffinning at the west end of the town and to»eztend cast till each 
have two hundred acres— exclading the north half-mile, which belongs to a 
particular number of themselves— not intmditig on any flirm laid oat by the 
town's order. It must be considered that each A&rm is to be laid out in 
regular form, and not to extend east ftirther than the centre line north and 
south. At the said meeting, the proprietors agree to draw for a choice, and 
after they have laid out one hundred acres to each, then the last one to begin, 
and so on." 

The following forty-five persons gave bonds, drew lots and were 
admitted proprietors of Ashford : — 

John Follet. 
Caleb Jackson. 
James Fuller. 
Joshua Kendall. 
Nathaniel Abbot. 
Joshua Beckman. 
Isaac Farrar. 
Kath. Gary. 
Thomas Corbin. 
Peter Aldrich. 
William Ward, Sen. 
Thomas Tiffliny. 
William Ward, Jun. 
Joseph Ross. 
John Perry. 

Nathaniel Walker. 
John Mixer. 
Isaac Magoon. 
Nehemiah Watkins. 
Philip Squier. 
E. Orcutt. 
Nathaniel Fuller. 
Jacob Parker. 
William Price. 
Obadiah Abbe. 
Josiah BuflH[>ee. 
Benjamin Miller. 
WiUiam Fisk. 
John Pitts. 
William Price, 2d. 

John Chapman. 
JobnFoUet, 2d. 
Philip Eastman. 
Jacob Ward. 
Daniel Fuller. 
Widow Dlmick. 
Joromiali Allen. 
William Famum. 
William Watkius. 
Thomas TilRiny, 2d. 
James Tiflkny. 
Joseph dook. 
Matthew Fuller. 
Isaac Kendall. 
Antony Goflb. 

A small number of these proprietors were residents of Windham 
and Pomfrot, the rommnder wore then residents of Ashford. In this 
assiHuption and division of territory, the town, though acting solely in 
its own name and authority, undoubtedly received the sanction of the 
committee appointed to advise and assist them. 

While the land settlement was in progress, other public improve- 
ments were initiated. With land at command, minister's and meeting- 
house were attainable. December 31, 1716, it was voted, ''That the 
town wilt forthwith go to work to build Mr. Hale's house, cut the 
timber and draw and hew it" Its '' great room,*' when completed, 
probably was used for the plaoe of public worship till the meeting- 
house was ready. Forty shillings in money was next allowed for 
building a pound, and five shillings more for lock, staples and 
fiisteningsr November 15, 1717, voted, "That the town will raise 
money, some way or other, to build the meeting-house." The way 


devised was by a tax on each admitted proprietor — the town reflising 
to appropriate tlie money paid over for that purpose by the diumants." 
January 1, 1718, voted, ''That the meeting-house be set upon the Pine 
Hill, and that the town will go about building it foithwith." This site 
was in the northern part of New Scituate, near the oentre of the town, 
and is still occupied by the Congregational church of Ashford. April 
21, the town agreed, *'To raise the meeting-house with their own 
strength, and for every man to provide for himself at the raising — ^five 
shillings fine to be laid upon each man that neglects to assist in raising 
the wuno, upon three days warning given by Carpenter Abbot" The 
oonnniltec with i\ui two oar|)onton), wore direotod, *' to pitch the most 
convenient place to set the nieeting house adjoining or near the place 
the committee appointed.'* The house was promptly raised and 
covered, and made ready for occupation in the autumn. Mr. Hale was 
allowed the first choice of the room left for pews for a pew for Mrs. 
Hole and his family. In October, it was voted, '' To ordain Mr. Hale 
as pastor over the church and the minister of this town some time this 
fall." Upon amplication made to the Assembly by John Mixer, in 
behalf of the town of Ashford, leave was granted, to gather a church 
and ordain an oithodox minister amongst them, and on November 26, 

1718, says the record, "set down by one James Hale" : — 

'* We were formed a church in this town of Ashford, a number of n», and 
I was ordained to the piustoral olUco by the lmpo«ltlon of ye hands of the Ruv. 
Josiah Dwight, Mr. Samuel Whiting and Joseph Meachem of Coventry. The 
covenant was signed before the reverand elders and worthy messengers at 
the house of Mr. Hale, before the ordination services, by the brethren 
coalescing in church state, i. e. James Hole, John Mixer, William Ward, 
Joseph Green, Isaac Mogoon, Matthew Thompson, William Chapman, Benja- 
min Itussol, Daniel Fuller, Isaac Kendall, John Pitts, Natliaiiicl Fuller and 
John Perry. Nath. Fuller ye same day was baptized by Mr. Whiting.'* 

A church meeting was held, December 9, at which '' several sisters 
were received in the Lord — as becometh stunts," — ^by letters from other 
churches, ». e. Sai*ah Hale, Abigul Mixer, Judith Ward, Mary Fuller, 
Mary RuhscI, Elizabeth Squier, Mary Fuller, Mrs. William Chapman 
and the Widow Dioiick." December 21, Elinor KciuluU and 8ai*ali 
Bugboe were also received. John Mixer and Isaac Kendall were 
chosen at first *' to serve y* Lord's table in order to be proved for the 
deacon's office,** but the church apparently concluded that one deacon 
would be sufficient; Isaac Kendall '* resigned up his interest in 
y* vote, and the vote was confirmed for our loving brother Mixer as 
serving on probation for the office of deacon." 

Tliat the several claimants of Ashford huid should resign their pur- 
chases without a struggle was not to be ex|>ected, and before the church 
was organized, Messrs. Chandler and Cushing, in behalf of themselves 


and others, had appealed to the General Assembly, May 8, 1718, 
showing : — 

** 1. That they hare bought land in 1707, of M(\)or Fitch, and had settled 
several fkrolllcs there, a very worthy minister of the gospel wa^ settled there 
and a meoting-honse baildlng, that they had recorded deeds of purchase In 
1714, paid £96 for taxes for plons uses, and now prayed for conflrmatlon and 

2. That in Sept., 1707, they came to address the Court for one, but were 
discouraged by particular gentlemen, and thenceforward expected their onlj 
remedy in Major Fitch, and afterwards, In 1712 or '18, were cited before th^ 
Court, and concluded to record their deeds. Things so standing, a number of 
persons that we had brought onto the place and three or four that had 
intruded, denied our claims and disturbed the peaceable settlement, and, 
therefore, we ask conflrmatlon ; think there is no need of citing the Inhabit- 
ants, wliich would but raise a popular clamor against us, and pray for a 
committee of wise, faithfUl and Judicious persons." 

No immediate answer was granted to this petition. In the following 
May, the inhabitants of Ashford, conscious that their " free manner of 
settling *' lacked the dirccX authority of the Govominent, thus told 
their story : — 

« May 14, 1719. It becomes us to be thanl^l to Almighty Qod for his good- 
ness In granting us the gospel, and to acknowledge the fkvor of this Gen. 
Court In setting ns at first In a way so that we might have a minister, and 
more lately of giving us liberty to gather a church among us ; upon which we 
have a church gathered and minister ordained, and return hearty thanks to 
the Hon. Court for this Aivor. We have the enjoyment of the gospel to our 
great satlsAictlon, particularly through the religious Constitntlon of the 
Colony, even as to the manner and measure of enjoying ; notwithstanding, we 
are like the Children of Israel In the wilderness as to earthly possessions, and 
wo hope It may bo rockonpd not alien fk-om a Christian spirit that wo desire 
to 1)0 settled, as Israel was at Inst, In good outward ctrcinnstancos, and how* 
soovor wo may pload for tlio fk'oo manner of sottltng our town from the 
unexcoptlonablo Just way, used in the first time of Now England— yot wo uood 
go no higher than oar first grant, if wo may bo settloil according to tlio true 
and Just and righteous Intent thereof, which we earnestly desire. We think 
we do well to choose such a free state of settling as the providence of God 
allows us at one time and another, rather than to shut the door of our own 
liberties against the same, and therefore we hope It may be well taken by the 
Court that our meetlng-honse has been built by money received fTom lands, 
wlthont making nse of the clalmcrs' money, and, whereas, we have had our 
town moro perfectly surveyed by Col. Mattliow Allon, wo deslro the wholo of. 
the contents ho hath surveyed to us may bo confirmed and a patent also for all 
said lands— (except Mr. Stoddanrs)— given to us ; had rather give a reasona- 
ble sum of money to the Treasury — «. (/., 100 pounds, and fifty more within 
one year and a half— than to part with our lands." 

The General Court naving heard and considered the memorials of 
both parties, decided that the time had come for a final settlement of 
the affairs of the town, and appointed a committee to repair to Ash- 
ford, view the land and determine the matter in dispute, with liberty of 
appeal to the following session of the Court if in anything it should 
appear that the committee dealt too hardly either with the claimants 
or inhabitants. 






THE committee appointed by the General Court — James Wads- 
worthy Esq., Mr. John Hooker, Captain John Hall and Mr. 
Hezekiah Brainerd — ^met in Ashford, September 9, 1719. It- was a 
meeting of great interest and importance to both oliuiQants and 
inhabitants, involving the title to large landed estates and the home- 
steads of nearly forty families. Many prominent gentlemen were 
present — Captain Chandler, Captain Cashing and James Corbin, in 
belialf of themselves and their partners ; Captain John Fitch of Wind- 
ham, and Captain Thomas Huntington of Mansfield, in behalf of their 
respective townships. John Mixer, William Ward, John Peny, Philip 
Eastman and Nathaniel Fuller api)eare<l as agents for the town of 
Ashford. The littlo sottlcniont was all aglow with intorost luul 

The first two days of the session were given to examining the claims 
of Captains Fitch and Huntington, who insisted that Ashford had 
encroached upon the territory conveyed by Joshua's Will to Windham 
and Mansfield. Friday, 11, the committee dismissed the whole matter 
in question, on the ground : — 

** 1. That the claim was directly against other cluiaiaDts, and doubted, th'oro* 
fore, If it WAS properly in order. 

2. That when Wiuilluun— tlieu incUidlng Mausflold-^took out their patent, 
they did not claim that now claimed, but rather chose land ou the other 

8. That she had complied with the Court's act, Injolnlng all persons having 
rights of laud to pay twenty shllUngs per hundred acres for the support of the 

The committee next proceeded to hear the several pleas of the 
Ashford settlers, who had bought or taken up land in either New 
Scituate or Corbin's tract, but were interrupted in their investigations 
by propositions to compi*omise. Messrs. Chandler, Cushing and Clapp, 
as agents for the New Scituate claimants, tendered unto the inhabitants 
the following terms, viz. : — 

** That all the persons outorud In the lift of proprietors should hold their 
land lu such quantity aud uUotmeuts as alrcudv luld out, providing: — 

1. That all and every of said persons should within one year from date pay 
upto said claimants or their order In the town of Woodstock, three pounds, p' 
hundred, for each and every hundred acres taken up or sold as aforesaid in 
said Scituate upon the forfeiture and losing all right to any such land, only It 
Is to be understood that what sales had been before made by said clalroefs 
should be sultlclent for such persons so purchasing of the chiiiuants to pay 
such sums agreed upon to be the consideration of such purchase and no more 
lor such lauds, and shall not be obliged to pay said three pouuds per hundred 


• acres or any part thereof, and all sach bargains being made duly evident by 
said claimants, all persons having not yet paid the consideration agreed npon, 
shall within one year pay the same as aforementioned in Woodstock — and in 
defuilt thereof, the clalmers shall enter apon and hold said lands. 

3. That the Reverend James Halo shall have and hold to himself and his 
heirs that two handred acres already laid out to him upon which he has built, 
being In New Scltuate. 

8. That there be a parcel of land to contain sixty acres laid out as near the 
meetlng-honse In said Scltuate as may be and sequestered for the support of 
the gospel ministry In said Ashford, forever. 

4. That there shall be ten acres of land where the meeting-house now stands 
for the convenlency of a green or common, all which land for minister, ministry 
and common, Is not to be accounted any part of the land to be paid for by the 

6. That all necessary highways shall be laid out. These terms were oflbred 
upon condition, That the claimants should have, hold and ei^oy all the land In 
New Scltuate not sbove tendered and disposed of to particular persons, and. 
That the tax paid by them for setting up and supporting the ministry should 
be returned to them as soon as convenient." 

Messrs. Mixer, Ward, Perry, and other members of the oommittoe 

ngrced to these terras on behalf of Ashford, and prayed the Oonrt's 

committee to ratify the agreement The committee gladly acquiesced 

in this amicable arrangement and agreed :— 

*' That all that had taken land in New Scltuate should hold It on 
the proposed terms, and ratified and confirmed unto the claimants of that 
disputed plantatloQ eveij part and parcel of land not above ratified and con- 
firmed, and agreed that the tax money should be returned. If desired, by the 
€leneral Assembly.** 

Of the ninety-six hundred acres comprised in this tract, 6,726 had 
already been appropriated by the inhabitants, and after dedncting the 
reserves for minister, ministry and common, 8,874 acres remained to 
the claimants, ont of which all necessary highways were to be allowed 
without the charge of purchase by the town, and laid out within a year. 
As the present inhabitants, in the opinion of the GApmmittee, amounted 
to the full quota that ought to be settled in NeV Scltuate, the claimants 
were discharged from further settlement except at discretion. 

''Monday, September 14, the committee proceeded to hear the claims 
of James Corbin and partners, with the reply of Ashford committee — 
and found that Corbin and partners had already sold a considerable part 
' of their claim, a part of which was settled and other parts likely to be, to 
the advantage of the town, and therefore confirmed the land unto per* 
sons holding under Corbin, i. e., to Philip Eastman, William Price, 
William Ward, Caleb Jackson, Nathaniel Walker, John Perry, 
William Chapman, Ber\jamin Allen, Benjamin Russel, Joseph Chubb, 
James Ross, John Pitts, Thomas Jennings, James and Nathaniel 

• Fuller, Philip Squier and Nathaniel Abbot ; also to James Corbin four 
hufidred acres at Bungee Brook ; three hundred to Benjamin Russel'at 
E|Bl-pot Brook together with farms to Isaac Farrar, Simon Burton and 
Samuel Rice, — ^ainounting in all to 10,770 acres." Six thousand acres 
were still unnppropiiated, of which twenty-five hundred were confirmed 


to CorbiD and partners — to be taken up within a year in twenty, or 
fewer, pieces — and the remainder of the land to be sequeatered for 
highways and a perpetual commonage for the free and common use of 
the inhabitants. Ministry tax to be returned to claimants; further 
settlement of land left at theh- own discretion. 

With regard to three hundred and twenty acres of land at the north of 
New Scituate in dispute l)etween Chandler and Corbin, already taken 
up by the town as the site of their meeting-house and minister's house, 
as there was great necessity that it should be continued to the settlers 
and the lines were not marked out and yet uncertain — the committee 
confirmed the same to the town on condition of paying for it, five 
pounds per hundred acres, in default of such payment being forfeited 
to claimants. Inhabitants to run the lines within two months, Captain 
John Chandler assisting with his instruments — settlers obliged to show 
their bounds to claimants. 

The report of the committee was presented to the Greneral Court, 
October 20, 1719, accepted an<l confirmed. Philip Eafitnmn was 
die man appointed by the town "to sue uilcr settlement of line,*' and 
obtain confirmation of the agreement, and the selectmen emi>owered 
"to procure a copy of what the committee did." February, 1720, 
William Ward and Isaac Farrar were chosen to assist Captain Chandler 
in running the lines of New Scituate, and the thi*ee hundred and twenty 
acres. William Ward, John Mixer and John Perry were allowed by 
town-act, " three sluUings a day for tending on the Court's conmiittee," 
but afterwards agi^eed to take five shillings each, for their services 
on that occasion. Nathaniel l^\iller and Philip Eastman were each 
allowed two iK)undB, two shillings, " for tending seven days on the 
above comndttee." May 20, the town voted. That the man that goes 
to Court shall see what the peneral Assembly will do concerning 
making and establishing the west line of the town. William Ward 
was then chosen to go to Court, and John Mixer " to draw up the 
minds of the town to send with Mr. Ward." By persistent efforts the 
various lines were established and Ashford claims and contests har- 
moniously and equitably settled. Chandler and Corbin received pay- 
ment for previous sales and confirmation of a goodly number of acres 
remaining ; the settlers retained their lands on moderate terms, and the 
town received a sufiiciency for all public uses. 

The Stoddard Tract was undisturbed by all these controversies. 
The Assembly had early confirmed this land to Mr. Stoddard and the 
town allowed his claim and quietly received his taxes. In 1716, Mr. 
Anthony Stoddard conveyed this Ashford land to his sous, Anthony, 
David and William, on condition that they gave him sixty pounds in 
money, the fii*st day of June, every year at his home in Boston. The 


first settler of this tract was John Chapman^ who took what was deli- 
cately called, "irregular possession" in 1714, but was numbered among 
the regular inhabitants of the town. William Chapman, Benj. Wilson 
and John Perry bought Stoddard land in 1718. Captain John 
Chandler bought the strip lying west of the Nachaug, and sold it out 
to settlers. The remainder of this land was long lefl vacant and 
unimproved, its owners paying their rates duly and manifesting an 
interest in the affairs of the town. A book for records was given to 
the town by Mr. Stoddard in 1719, and brought up from Boston by 
Philip Squter, who was allowed four shillings for the cost and trouble. 
The land question being settled, other public matters claimed atten- 
tion. Ashford at this date contained about forty families, about 
eqnally divided between its eastern and western sections. A good 
minister had been settled and a house built for him ; a church organ- 
ised and mocting-houso framed and covered, but little else had boon 
nccompliMhed. A largo part of tho tc»rritory was sllll a savago wilder- 
ness. Wolves abounded in the remote sections, and rewards were 
frequently paid for their destruction. Schools were yet lacking, 
pounds infrequent, roads defective, streams unbridged. Tlie old 
Connecticut Path, winding around through Woodstock with a branch 
crossing Pomfret, was the only thoroughfare of travel. No ways were 
as yet apparently laid out by the settlers. The state of society in 
Ashford was rudo and oven barbarous. Tho claimants had boon 
anxious to settle their lands as rapidly as possible and accommodated 
all purchasers without regard to character, and though there were 
many good citizens among them, there was also a lawless and turbulent 
^lement Its mode of settlement had also given rise to sectional 
jealousies. East and west-, Corbin and Chandler settlers had conflict- 
ing interests. So distinct were the settlements that east and west 
town o'flicors wore found needful. John Mixer, Nathaidol Fuller and 
William Ward were tho loading men in the west section ; John Perry 
and Philip Eastman in the east. The firat tavern-keeper chosen by 
town vote was John Mixer. 

The ministry of Mr. Hale was very acceptable to all parties 
and many soon united with the church or owned the covenant. In 
1719, the church voted, *' That we will receive baptized persons under 
the watch and care of the church that can not come up to give a 
reason of the hope that they are converted." The discipline of the 
church was very strictly maintained and many brothers and sisters were 
cited for unneighborly acts and trifling misdemeanors, and forced to 
make public acknowledgments or be suspended from full or *^ halfway 
privileges." In November, 1720, the church voted, *'To try to choose 
a deacon that might be together with Deacon Mixer,** but the major 


part not agreeing upon one, they decided ''to rest contented from 
proceeding any farther from choosing one to asabt Deacon Mixer to 
serve y* table of y* Lord in manner of probation." At the same meet- 
ing they also voted, ^ That they would provide suitable vessels for the 
table of the, Lord as soon as may be convenient, by a free contribu- 
tion of money or engagement for money, i. e., one flagon, one tankard, 
three beakers, two platters, a basin for baptism, and a church book, as 
fast as they could.*' 

In 1721, the church and community were greatly disturbed by the 
prupodod removal of DUacon Mixer — Ashford*s first settler anti most 
pr«)minent public man. A sooontl <loiiuon was now indis|)ens}ible. 
** At eleven, A. M., September 6, 1721, in the house of God,** the 
people were requested '* to choose one or two meet persons to serve as 
deacons— our beloved brother Mixer being so nmcli engagotl to remove 
from us." Isaac Kendall and Joseph Bugbce were then chosen upon 
probation, and after considering the matter some three months accepted 
the ofiice, and were ^'desired to go into the deacon's seat next Sabbath 
and receive the treasures of the church and act agreeable to the office 
of deacon." At the same meeting, *^ our brother John Perry** was 
selected '* to set the psalm with respect to public singing.'* In the 
following spring. Deacon Mixer and his two daughters were dismissed 
to the church in Suffield. The ** probation** served by bis successors 
was prolonged six years. 

The completion of the meeting-house cost much labor, time and 
discussion. Vaiious votes were passed ordering pews and pew-spots 
but none were satisfactory, and in May, 1721, the town votetl, ''llmtall 
acts and votes cast about ]>ew room in Ashford from the beginning of 
the world to this day, shall be null and void." A rate of two-i)ence for 
finishing the house was levied and a body of seats erected. A com- 
mittee of five men was then appointed to seat the meetiilg-house 
Thanksgiving day after exercise — rules given, 1, age ; 2, present list ; 
8, first planters ; 4, usefulness in town, — but with all their care the 
seating was not satisfactory. In 1723, the question was reconsidered, 
and *'pew room gi-anted to such persons as the town shall think 
suitable and their heirs and successors, for ever — provided they build 
by October 1, and plaster and whitewash all the lower port of the 
.meeting' house to the lower girth." The favored few were William 
Ward and son, Captain John Perry, Nathaniel Fuller, l^hilip Eastman, 
Thomsis Tiffany, Jacob Parker and sou, Daniel Fuller and Benjamin 
liussel. October 1, the men that have pews were allowed eight weeks 
more to finish them, and a small pew room granted to Deacon Kendall. 
Two shillings were allowed to Nathaniel Fuller '^ for y* hour-glass that 
stands in y* meeting-house." 


Mr. Hale*s salary was pud with considerable promptness bnt his 
house was left for several years unfinished, and his fire-wood secured 
with great difficulty. In 1720, the town voted, '*That every roan 
sixteen years old shall work one day in getting Mr. Hale*s firewood, 
and those that did not work one day last year, shall work two days 
this. Monday after next is appointed for every man to work — October 
24 — and those that neglect it this year and last shall pay sixpence ; 
those that neglect this year and worked last shall pay thi'ee-pence.*' 

In 1720, the people of Ashfoixl were greatly excited and distressed 

by a lamentable occurrence, resulting in the death of one of their young 

men and the accusation and imprisonment of another. John Aplin, a 

young man living with Joshua Kendall, was passing the evening with 

Joseph Wilson and falling into dispute over a game at pennies, went 

out doors with him *' to try it out** Grappling each other as they 

passed through the door, they scufiled a few moments and pitched 

over together on to the ground, Aplin uppermost Wilson at once 

exclaimed, '* I am a dead man,'* and so it proved. Some fatal inward 

injury had befallen him, paralyzing the lower part of his body. He 

was unable to stand, or move his limbs, and died in a few days. 

The jurors summoned on inquest, gave their verdict — 

" That Wilson came to h\n death by some strain, or wrench, or blow, or Ml, 
or broke something within his body. We all conclude that was the occasion 
of his death— John Aplin being with him when ho received hurt, Docembor 
'28, 1720." 

Aplin was at onco indicted on the charge of manslaughter and 
bound over for trial before the Superior Court at Hartford — John 
Perry, the Kendalls and others, giving bonds for his appearance. 

This sad afffdr excited great interest and sympathy. Both young 
men were well known and respected. Wilson was lately married and 
left a young wife and family. Aplin was greatly beloved by the Ken- 
dalls and their neighbors. Though it was evident that no serious 
harm had been intended, yet as he was clearly accessory to Wilsotrs 
death under the stringent administration of law then prevailing, 
great feai-s were entertained of his conviction of the crime. His 
situation called out universal sympathy and compassion. Aplin him- 
self was ** grieved and broken at heart, that he should have been in 
such a manner instrumental in the death of his friend." The dying 
man had absolved him iVom intentional blame and signified his forgive- 
ness, even after he was speechless. His wife had tried *^ to make it 
up between them and did reckon one as much to blame aS the other." 
The imprisonment of this young man in the wretched, unwarmed jail 
through the inclement winter, and his possible conviction and punish- 
ment, greatly disturbed his fellow townsmen, and every efibrt was 
made to secure his acquittal or a mitigation of sentence. The Reverend 


Mr. Dale wrote to the Governor, "That it was a pity the poor man 

should lie iu jnil all winter. There was something of anger on his 

part but no prejudice or malioe." A very touching account of Wilson's 

last hours was given by William Ward, who *' heard Aplin put it to 

Wilson about laying anything to his charge and forgiving him, and he 

held up his hand." Captain John Fitch of Windham, interested him* 

self much in the young prisoner and forwarded the following letter to 

Governor Pitkin : — 

*<ASHFORD, Januarff 4, 1731. 
MsY It please your Worship— There beln^c liberty granted by the worship- 
All Cfaptttln Fitch for any to write to your worship ou y* behalf of our 
sorrowful frluiul Jolin.Apllii that which might plead or encourage the taking 
bull for hlui that ho uilglit not go to prison there to ablds this whiter and cold 
season, we the subscribers do humbly write to your Worship now on this said 
Aplin's behalf, testifying for him that whereas we havo known him from 
childhood and the more from hU dwelling some time with us In our fkmllies 
both formerly and also slncu he came to tills place, so wo have esteemed him 
always a man of good knowledge and sense In rellglou ; of a peaceable and 
quiet conversation ; ready to suffer but never as we remember to do an Injury 
— and as to tho unhappy accident of Joseph Wilson being mortally hurt as It 
was Judged by a wrench or strain, wo hopu ho will be found clear from any 
willAil prcuiedltated design to injure said Wilson. Wo can't llnd by any 
search or discourse from any one that he struck him any blow by hand, orheiul, 
or foot, or anywise. Tho compassions of people are generally towards him; 
sundry are ready to be bound for him. If your Worship shall please to con- 
sider these thlugs as to be encouraged to take ball for him. 

Joshua Kendall. John Thatcher. 

Susanna Kendall. Elizabeth Thatcher. " 

Through these representations, Aplin was allowed to remain in Ash- 

ford till his trial at Hartford, March 21, 1721, when he was acquitted 

and discharged. The tenderness and sympathy manifested on this 

occasion pleasantly relievo tho bickerings and as|>crities so common in 

that rude period. 




THE peace and harmony enjoyed by Ashford after the happy settle- 
ment of the troublesome land question was broken in 1721-22, 
by a violent dispute upon the exercise of suifi'ugc. \ly the act of 1714, 
all the inhabitants of the town then settled " or that hereafter may be,'* 
hud liberty to vote for town oliioers without resi>ect to the usual legal 
qualification, a privilege gmnted because of the small numbers of settlers 
and the great need of town organization. In that chaotic period, 
when most of the inhabitants wei*e '' irregular" this unusual libeity 
made no trouble, and for a time after the more orderly settlement of 
affairs no improper advantage was taken of it, but those not regularly 


admitted as inhabitants apparently abstained from voting. An attempt 
to establish schools was probably the exciting cause of the clamor. 
One Arthur Humphrey had removed from Woodstock* to Ashford in 
1720, according to his opponents, a seditious, ignorant person unable 
to read or write. A number of settlers in the east part of the town 
hired a schoolmaster to teach their children at their own charge, 
whereupon Humphrey ''published a false story about them," and soon 
excited a popular clamor, rallying all the young and inexperienced 
around him by insisting upon their right to vote under the act of 
1714, and became the leader of a movement "to quash all learning, 
and keep the town in ignorance and as unlearned as he is him- 
self.** So strong was this movement that, in December, 1721, ''when 
all the world voted," Humphrey himself though newly settled and 
every way unqualified, was elected one of the selectmen. Four of 
the selectmen previously elected then refused to serve, upon the 
ground that the proceedings were illegal, and that a number of the 
voters were destitute of the necessary legal qualifications. No other 
oflicers were appointed to fill the vacancy, and thus the town gov- 
ernment was left in the hands of Humphrey and Johi\ Pitts. The 
greatest uproar and confusion followed, and, "good order and friendly 
society almost subverted.** Humphrey broke up the school, and 
warned the school master out of town, prosecuted the refractory 
selectmen to their great cost and trouble, and when the inhabitants 
refused to hand. in their lists levied a rate on lists so imperfect 
" that some men with more than six thousand pounds estates were lefl 
out," and kept the whole town in a ferment In the spring, a petition 
was sent to the Assembly by the solid men of Ashford, showing 
"That the town officers chosen by unqualified persons the preceding 
autumn, were not acceptable or capable of managing aff*air8, and 
praying that they might be established by act of Court, or the town 
enabled to choose new ones among themselves qualified for carrying 
forward the prudential afilurs of the town, according to good order 
and laws and usages of Government.'* A paper accompanying this 
memorial, set forth in detail their various grievances, and the great 
necessity " of putting a stop to all the world voting in Ashford.** 
Partioular people could not educate their children at their own charge 
peaceably and quietly, rates duly pmd by honest men were used in 
collecting other men's rates and paying for warrants } meetings pro« 
nounoed illegal when those that bore the biggest charge were present 
Lastly, they declared that there were already fourteen freemen in Ash- 
ford, and eleven more who might be made legal voters, and suggested 
" that twenty-five qualified voters were more likely to carry on the 
prudential affairs of the town according to good order, peace, unity and 



Colony laws, than a mixt mnltitade of forty-eighty qualified and 
unqualified together." 

On the other hand, Pitts, Humphrey and others, claiming to repre- 
sent a m^ority of the town, prayed that they might retain their liberty 
to choose as heretofore, ''for if none were allowed to vote but those 
qualified to vote by law, affairs would be managed by very few hands 
and be to the discontent of many." A rate for the more easy cai*i7ing 
on the civil and religious interests of the town was requested by both 

Upon consideration of these petitions, the Assembly resolved, '' Tliat 
inosnmch as the Act of Assembly raferrod to, enabling the said inhabit- 
ants to choose town officers, being made when tl^re was. not a reasona- 
ble number of inhabitants qualified according to the most strict rules 
of the law for voting, that the said act was not intended to restrain the 
inhabitants from voting, though not so strictly qualified ; and there- 
upon affirm all the former acts of the said town in electing town officera, 
and particularly the officers chosen in December last" Listei-s, then 
chosen by the town, wore ordered, with the aasistuuce of Deacon 
Kendall and William Ward, to make and perfect the lists, and it was 
further enacted, '' That for time to come the smd town proceed in the 
choice of their tOMm officers according to the rules presciibed in tlie 
law for other towns." Two shillings, annually, on every hundred acres 
of land for the space of four years, were also gi*anted for the support 
of Uie ministry. 

This decision of the Court pacified the bdligoronts, and restored 
harmony and oixler. At tlie town-meeting in March, when '' all the 
world" still voted, it was ordered, "not to be at tlu) expense of hhing 
a schoolmaster," but under the new regulations a change was soon 
effected, and a schoolmaster hired by the town — October, 1728, — to 
keep school half a year. Other public matters were now ari*anged. 
The rate furnished means for caiTying on the work of Mr. Hale's house, 
still unfinished, and repairing the glass of the meeting-house. It was 
voted, '' To clear the value of four acres about the meeting-house as it 
is bounded, and keep it cut down yearly, and any other places across 
the roads that are stated." It being discoverad that the Windham and 
Woodstock farmers were much inclined to pasture tlieir cattle on 
Ashford commons, Benjamin Russel, John Pitts and Nath. Abbot were 
appointed a committee, '' To take cai*e of the neat cattle brought into 
Ashford to run in the summer, and have a man selected at each end of 
the town, and when they found any cattle or sheep not belonging to 
the town to inquire of the inhabitants living near where they were 
found if they knew who they belonged to, and if they Cannot find the 
owner to drive such cattle out of the town. Thomas Tiffany was, 
however, allowed to keep his Father Uudd's cattle." 


A tall military company was formed in Ashford in 1722, with John 
Perry for captain, Benjamin Riissel for lieutenant and Joshna Kendall 
for ensign.. During these years, they suffered much from Indian 
' alarms. Captain Perry proved himself an efficient and courageous 
officer, and several times furnished the Government important informa- 
tion. Indians were forbidden to hunt in the woods north of the road 
from Hartford, through Coventry and Ashford, to New Roxbury. A 
military watch was ordered to be held in Ashford and a scout main- 
tained in the northern part of the town. 

The population of Ashford steadily increased, several families 
removing there whose names are still represented. Joseph Bosworth 
bought land of Corbin in the east of the town in 1718 ; Elias Eeyes in 
1722. In 1722, Edward Sumner of Roxbury— brother of Samuel 
of I*omfrot, — with two associates, bought a tliousand acres of land of 
James Corbin, together with the frame of a bam, in the oast of Ash- 
ford, adjoining Pomfret As an inducement to the purchaser to settle 
on this tract of wild land, Mr. Corbin further offered them to finish 
the bam with boards and shingles, erect a stack of chimneys and four 
rooms, and to deliver to them four barrels of good cider annually for 
four years, they finding barrels and sending them to his house in 
Woodstock. Thomas Eaton of Woodstock — brother of Jonathan of 
Eillingly — settled in Ashford in 1728, and was granted a pew-spot 
In 1725, Robert Enowlton of Sutton purchased a large tract of land 
in the southwest part of Ashford — ^now included in the Knowltou 
neighborhood — and at once settled upon it and began to make im- 
provements, laying out a road on the east side of his farm and freely 
giving it to the town. Josiah Byles of Boston bought a hundred 
acres of land on Mount Hope River, in 1726, but did not take personal 

Tlie four years release from country tax-paying having expired, 
Ashford was summoned in 1725, by the Ceneral Courts to make a list 
of polls and ratable estates, but was compelled to crave a further 
exemption. '< The righteous providence of God in his dispensations " 
had greatly afflicted the inhabitants. A protracted drought cut off the 
crops the year preceding, a heavy frost had blighted their hopes for the 
ensuing season, and in addition a family in the town had been brought 
so low by sickness as to bring a chai-ge of thirty or forty pounds upon 
the publia Philip Eastman was sent to the Assembly with the tale of 
their calamities, in the hope "that their deplorable circumstances would 
move their Honors* tender hearts to drop their goodness upon them, 
and excuse them from paying taxes for two or three years." His 
request was granted, with the proviso, " That they pay one penny 
upon the pound in their list for each year to the Rev. Mr. Hale, in 


addition to what they now give hiro, and that they neither send depn- 
tiee, nor draw money for their school during said term." WiUi this 
release, the town agiun attempted to finbh tlie meeting hoose and Mr. 
Halo's house. A committee was also appointed to seat the meeting- 
house, reg»i*ding first planters, age and estates. January 6, 1726, voted, 
'^ That the committee shall compleat their work by the first of March 
and read it off the firat lecture-day aiter, and wave having a school- 
master." Five men were allowed to build a pew in the hind part of the 
front gallery, ''provided they take it for their seat and do not Rong the 
light of y* window nor Itong the other seats in the front gallery.*' 

In the spring of 1726, the inhabitants of Ashford, with those of 
adjoining towns, suffered greatly from scarcity of food, occasioned by 
the failure of cro]>8 two successive seasons, and such pitiful stories ol 
the destitution and sufferings of the poor in eastern Connecticut 
reached Governor Talcott, that he recommended the Assembly to con- 
sider their case and relieve the necessity. He had just been informed 
" that a i>oor man from Ashford had come to beg relief, and in a niourn- 
AU, afilicted and affecting niaimer declared that ueitlier he nor his 
family had eaten bread or fiesh for more than a mouth, but had lived 
wholly on brakes, roots and herbs, and wished a committee to inquire 
into the circumstances." Hezekiah Bi*ainard and John Hooker were 
accordingly appointed, and upon their report and recommendation, 
thirty pounds were granted for the relief of *' poor and indigent per- 
sons in Ashford, Yoluntown and Willington, who by frost in the past 
year were generally cut short in their crops and reduced to a suffering 
and almost perishing condition." The sum tluui grautcil was to l>o 
lodged in the hands of the minister or selectmen of each town, who 
were to proportionate its distribution. 

An unsuccessful attempt was made at this time to procure an addi- 
tional rate of five shillings a hundred acres upon Mr. Stoddard's laud 
for fonr years, and Philip Eastman was again employed to press this 
suit — if successful, to have thrae pounds when gathered, if not to have 
nothing. It was probably through the iufiuence of Mr. Stoddard and 
hb representation of the straitened circumsUMices of the people, that 
the Old South Church of Boston was induced to give fifteen poutads in 
money to the liev. James Hale, for his encouragement 

Notwithstanding the pains taken to ensme a final settlement of the 
land controversy, new troubles ai*ose. The conditions of compromise 
had been faithfully carried out, and the teiTitory of Ashford laid out 
and confirmed to the several parties according to agreement The 
needful highways iu New Scituate had not been laid out within the 
time specified, and in May, 1725, the town petitioned to have the time 
extended, and also for additional ways through this section without 


purchase of land, on the ground that at the time of settlement they did 
not know how many would be needed. At the same session, James 
Corbin preferred a memorial to the General Assembly, alleging that the 
annexation of a strip of Ashford land to the town of Willington had 
prevented his taking up the twenty-five hundred acres assigned him ; 
thut Chandler's New Scituate tract contained 2,476 acres more than the 
deed allowed, and praying that this surplus land might be granted to 
him and a patent ^zecuted in due form. A committee appointed by 
the Court had already surveyed New Scituate, and found it over- 
measured, and a plot of the portion now asked for had been made by 
the county surveyor. This petition was at once granted to Mr. Corbin, 
provided that in the following session the owners of New Scituate did 
not show sufficient cause to the contrary. 

Captain — now Colonel — John Chandler, who had bought out the 
other claimants and owned all that was left of this tract, accordingly 
appeared before the Assembly in October, and in most forcible and 
indignant language protested against the transfer of this land to 
Corbin, for the following reasons : — 

" I. That tbe tweotj-flve hundred acres allowed to Corblu and partners in 
settlement were in express terms restrained to their own claim, and that he 
had never purchased any of the land petitioned for, nor pretended to claim 
any part of them ; that the New Scituate parchase was prior to his, and that 
he was well acquainted with its boands before he made h\n purchase, and had 
never made any question about them either at the settlement of the committee 
or at the Qcn. AsHcmbly, and had he but imagined ho could have gained any- 
thing bv objecting against our linos it was not likely he would have been silent 
for ho did not use to be so short in his politics as to lose anything for want 
of asking. 

II. Corbin had been fkvored in his claims for beyond the claimers of New 
Scituate, making his petition more unreasonable ; had never had a partner, 
and thus large tracts of land confirmed to him and partners had follen to him 
alone ; expected to reap the benefit of l,S56 acres lying beside Stoddard land, 
being so much more than was expressed or supposed at time of purchase, and 
also of 224 acres on the north, both which he had glided smoothly over with- 
out giving an account of,— cases mentioned to show how uiiroosonabio it is for 
htm to covot his neighbor's nro|K)rty and do his utmost to dofVaud honest poor 
men of their Just rights and posscsHlous, under a fDignod representation of 
having been a great sufl^erer. 

III. That whatever is suggested In Mr. Corbin*s petition relating to his loss 
by Willington, there is land enough to be found within his own purchases in 
Ashford to lay the 2,500 acres upon, and after that a considerable quantity 
will remain for common use^nnless Mr. Corbin has deceived the committee in 
his account of the sales he had made In his claims; that as for the committee 
intending that he should talce up his portion in that half-mile now cut off, it was 
a mere chimera, for It does not contain so much, nor did they confine him to any 
place but to the unsurveyed land In his own claim— but If this be true, why 
did not Corbin petition the Assembly for an equivalent in some of the unappro- 
priated land in the Colony ? But as he has given up a specimen of his ver^ity, 
so is thhi of his justice, Tbe force of his argument Iji this — the Gen. 
Assembly having wronged him to fovor us, now they should wrong us to fovor 

IV. That the land is a part of New Scitnate, and always so esteemed by 
Corbin himself, who had helped survey, lay out and renew the boands of It. 

V. Property already fblly settled in 1719. 

VI. That the lands petitioned for are the accommodations or individual 


property of seyeral others— if the grant of the town of Aehford, the Agree- 
ment and contract of New Scitnate clalmera with inhabitants, the solemn 
settlement of that contract by the Qen. Coart's Committee, the acceptance 
and conflrmation by the Qen. Ck>urt, and finally the compliance of the people 
in Ailfllling conditions of contract on their part— could make them so. The 
New Scltuate owners have AilflUed conditions and hare good estates, and 
expected to hold them and be protected in their Just rights, and now for a 
patent to be granted to eject these poor honest men of their flreeholds, so 
solemnly settled, against all law or reason — seems to me an intolerable piece 
of hardship, and beyond all precedent, and I cannot, and think I ought not, 
silently to see such a designed fhiud and piece of injustice carried on as is 
pursued by Corbin— who positively knows the truth of e^ry article in this 
plea— and that so amicable and solemn a contract should be broken in upon, 
and the poor town of Ashford reduced again to conAision, as it most certainly 
will bu If the patent be granted, and hope your Honors will see sultlclont 
cause why llio prayer of tlie petitioners should not be granted.^ 

Having thus olosed his argumeut, Oolonel Oliandler begged leave to 
observe that he desired no more land than bis proportion, had per- 
formed all oonditions according to contract, given Mr. Hale, the worthy 
minister of Ashford, two hundred acres of land, beside ten acres for 
a gi*een and sixty for a pai-sonage, had paid large taxes and expected to 
puy more, and to promote the peaoo and quiet of the town had oon- 
doscendod to ti^ke up the rags and scraps nnd refuse of all their claim, 
and notwithstanding the great charge he hud borne had not been able 
to come to the true knowledge of one lot^ for the people had taken it 
np and sold it hither and thither. He hoped it might be possible that, 
some time or other, if not cut off by the law of possession, some small 
scrap of the worst of the lots might bna set off to the claimants, and 
prayed the Court to enable them to take up their complement within 
the linos of their survey and patent, atlor which he would most 
willingly submit the residue to the town for conunons and highways, 
as he had promised and offered to tlie i>et>i»le at town«meeting, and 
they had sufficient ground to be persuaded he would make good his 
word. By granting their requests, the settlement of 1719 would be 
inviolably preserved, neither claimants or inhabitants damaged and all 
good men satisfied. 

Upon hearing this plea, the Court pronounced the reasons insufficient, 
and allowed Corbin a patent for the land demanded, with this proviso, 
'' that all the claimers that have i*egulated themselves according to the 
order of the committee in 1719, shall nut be prejudiced thereby." 
Even this decision, so favorable to Corbin, did not satisfy this selfish 
and unscrupulous s|>eculator. Though no settler was probably ejected 
from his freehold, yet many of the evils anlicipated by Colonel Chand- 
ler resulted from the re-opening of this question. Although some 
iiiteen thousand acres of Ashford territory must have been appropriated 
by Corbiu, his claim was urged by successive generations of descend- 
ants, involving the town in expensive and hai*assing lawsuits, and 
finally subjecting it to the loss of its remaining commons. 


aA A, Y« 


IN October, 1696, Lieatenant Thomas Leffingwell of Norwich, and 
Sergeant John Frink of Stonington, moved the General Court, 
" that they, with the rest of the English vohmteers in former wars, 
might have a plantation granted to them." A tract of land six miles 
square was granted in answer to this request, **to be taken up out of 
some of the conquered land,** its bounds prescribed and settlement 
regulated by persons appointed by the Court The volunteers sent 
** out upon the discovery ** of a suitable tract found their choice very 
limited. Major Fitch, the Winthrops and others had already appro- 
priated the greater part of the conquered land, and the only available 
tract remuning within Connecticut limits was a strip bordering on 
Rhode Island, a few miles east of Norwich, and upon reporting this 
'^ discovery " to the Greneral Court, '^ Captain Samuel Mason, Mr. John 
Oallup and Lieutenant James Avery were appointed a committee to 
view the sud tract, and to consider whether it be suitable for entertain- 
ment of a body of people that may be able comfortably to carry on 
plantation work, or what addition of land may be necessary to accommo- 
date a body of {leople for comfortable subsistonoo in a plantation way." 
After taking three yeArs for viewing and considering, the oommittoo 
reported favorably, and in October, 1700, Lieutenant Leffingwell, 
Richard Bnshnell, Isaac Wheeler, Caleb Fobes, Samuel Bliss, Joseph 
Morgan and Manasseh Minor, moved for its confirmation to the volun- 
teers, which was granted, " so far as it concur with the former act of 
the General Assembly, provided it bring not the Colony into any 
inconvenience "—or, as afterwards expressed, — '^ do not pi*ejudice any 
former grant of the Court.*' A large part of the tract thus granted is 
now comprised in the town of Voluntown. Its original bounds were 
nearly identical with those of the present township, save that eastward 
it extended to Pawcatuck Ri^er. 

Little can now be learned of the primitive condition of this region. 
It was a waste, barren frontier, ^ver-run by various tribes of Indians, 
and after the Narraganset War claimed by the Mohegans. Massasho- 
witt^ sachem of Qninebaug, also claimed rights in it No Indians are 
believed to have occupied it after the waf, nor were any white inhabit- 
ants found on it when made over to the volunteers. 

July 1, 1701, the gi*antees met in Stonington, to make arrangements 
for survey and appropriation. Richard Bushnell was chosen clerk of 
the company, and desired to make out a list of names of volunteers. 


and alflo to make entry of Bach votea aa shoold be paaaed. Thomaa 
Leffingwelly James Avery, John Frink and Richard Smith were chosen 
a committee, ** to pass all those that shall offer themselves as volunteers." 
Captain Samuel Mason was granted by the company an equal share or 
interest in that tract of land. 

Some yeai*s passed before the division was completed. The territory 
was still in dispute. The Mohegan claim was not adjusted till 1705, 
when their bounds were formally surveyed and established by Captain 
John Chandler — Captain John Parke, £dwai*d Colver and Samuel 
Sterry, assisting. Qnatchiack, an aged Paohaug Indian, familiar 
with this region, a Mohegan and two Slietuckots, hol|>ed point out the 
bounds. Beginning at Ahyohsupsuck — a pond in the north bound of 
Stonington — they ran the line north one mile, to a pond called Mah- 
mansuck, near the present west bound of Voluiitown ; thence, a little 
east of north, th!*ee miles, to a very small pond with the very large name 
of Toshconwongganuck ; thence, a mile and a half to a pine hill — ^the site 
of the present IJno-meeting-housa Proceeding northward over a nock 
of land, **lVoni whence they could see Kgunk Hill and the Flat Itocks,** 
they came to Eguuk, near the great cold spring — ^figunksunkapong, — 
at which place, being dark, they took up their lodging. In the morn- 
ing they were joined by Major Fitch, and proceeded on their course, 
measuiing and laying the line over the rough hill-top till they came to 
Pathigwadchaug — ^the north end of Egunk Hill, six and a half miles 
from Egunksunkapong, where a great spring issued out^- ^' forty rods 
west of Moosup River, where the road goes from* Plainfield to Provi- 
dence," and ran down into the river. Thence, leaving the Moosup on 
the west, they traveled on to the Whetstone Country. 

Only a narrow strip of the Volunteer's Land was appropriated by the 
Mohegans under this survey, but so large a slice was taken from them 
by Rhode Island duiing the summer, " that they feared tlieir intended 
purpose of settling a plantation so accommodable for a Christian 
society as they desired," was frustrated. A meeting of the volunteers 
was held, November 14, 1706, when, finding that though their tract 
was greatly broken by the late agreement made by the Commissioners 
for the Colonies, there was still considerable left — a committee was 
empowered to go forth and use sucli^ methods as were necessary for 
finding out the number of acres left within the boundaries, mtike a 
thorough snrvey of the same, which should be computed and laid out in 
as many lots as there were volunteers, and to number them and lay them 
equally for quantity and quality, only reserving one thousand acres for 
the disposal of the company to pay necessary charges. Thb work 
was accomplished during the winter, and the Volunteer's Land made 
ready for distribution. One hundred and sixty persons had enrolled 



their names ns desirous to share the benefit of this grant — ^residents of 
New London, Norwich, Stonington, Windham, Plainfield, and other 
neighl>oring towns. The list comprised not only oiiicers and soldiers 
but ministers, chaplains and such as had served the Colony in civil 
cnpacdly during the war. April 17, 1706, a meeting was held, and in 
accordance with a vote, '* To go on and draw lots upon that part 
of the land laid out,** the grant was made out to the following 
proprietors : — 

Thomas Wooster. 

Mnjor Edward Palmes. 

Capt. Qcorgo Denlson. 

8<*rgt. Thomas I^HIngwell. 

Major Walt Winthrop. 

licv. James Fitch. 

Capt. James Avery. 

Sergt. John Frink. 

Jnmcs Avery. 

John and Thomas Avery. 

Joshua Uaker. 

John WIcknor. 

Kphralm Colvor. 

William Potts. 

Bdward Colver. 

Samuel Yeomans. 

John Levins. 

Aaron and John Stark. 

James York. 

Thomas Bill. 

Thomas Minor. 

Hichard Rushnell. 

Samuel I/>throp. 

Solomon Tracy. 

John Wiley. 

Samuel FItts. 

Robert Plank. 

Peter Splcor. 

Jonathan Rudd. 

Richard Cook. 

Thomas Parke. 

Henry filllot 

Thomas Hllss. 

Ira Wheeler. 

Peter Crosse. 

Jonathan Gennlngs. 

Caleb Hobbes. 

John Gallup. 

Adam and William Gallup. 

Nath. Cheesborough. 

Ephralm Minor. 

John and Samuel Minor. 

John AshcrafU 

Joshua Holmes. 

Capt. Kbenezer Johnson. W 

Joseph Wheeler. 

Moses Wheeler. 

Daniel Tracy. 

Edmund Fanning. 

John Shaw. 

Bbenezer Billings. 

John Fish. 
Samuel Fish. 
Wm. Williams. 
Geoi^e Denlson. 
Wm. DenlHon. 
Nath. BIdlow. 
Henry Stephens. 
Bdward Fanning. 

Jonathan Armstrong. 
Samuel Stanton. 
Robert & Daniel Stanton. 
James Morgan. 
John Klnne. 
John Lashum. 
John Woodhouse. 
Joseph Morgan. 

John k Thomas Fanning. Nath. Parke. 

John Ben not. 
William Bcnnot 
Thomas Rose. 
Philip Bill. 
Dewey Springer. 
Exeklel May nor, 
William Wheeler. 
Wra. Roberts. 
John Denlson. 
Matthew Orlswold. 
Richard Lord 
Stephen De Wolf. 
Henry Peterson. 
Daniel Cramb. 
Richard Smith. 

William Douglas. 
Maiiassoh Minor. 
James Wlllet. 
James Noyes. 
John Stanton. 
Joseph Stanton. 
.Toshua Abell. 
Thonuis Rhoad. 
William Knight. 
Matthew Jones. 
Richard Dart. 
Samuel Hough. 
William Hough. 
Abol More. 
Jeremiah Blaquo. 

John and Francis Smith. John Plumb. 

Samuel Stephens. 
Nicholas Cottrell. 
Moses Hlntly. 
Henry Hall. 
John Pamlton. 
Henry Bennet. 
Wllllnm Champlln. 
Sanuiel Uogcni. 
John Choler. 
Capt. Pembleton. 
John Hill. 
Samuel Frisble. 
Samuel Struther. 
John Plant. 
Samuel Fox. 
Jacob Foye. 
Clement Minor. 
William Peudall. 
Daniel Grubblns. 
John Hough. 
Thomas Williams. 
Joseph Waterhouse. 
Samuel Bobbins. 
Stephen Richardson. 

Tlio. Hungerford. 
John Packer. 
Samuel Packer. 
Nath. Holt. 
Robert Lord. 
John Wade. 
Richard Smith. 
EdwanI Do Wolf. 
Aaron Huntley. 
James Murphy. 
Robert Holmes. 
Daniel Comstock. 
George Chappel. 
Thurston Rlsnond. 
Hugh Rowland. 
John Lothrop. 
James Welch. 
Daniel Clark. 
Edward Shlpman. 
' Joseph Ingraham. 
James Danlelson. 
Joseph Colver. 
William Billings. 
Jonathan Birch. 

Rogerft Sam'l Richardson. William Johnson. 
Gershom Palmer. 


242 llIS'lXiBY OF W1N1>HAM OOUm'Y. 

One hundred and fifty equal lots were laid out in the Volunteers' 
Land, aonie of the proprietoni reoeiving but half a share. Samuel Coy 
was alloweci eighty acres — a parcel of land already surveyed — and 
Samuel Fish to take his lot where he had made improvement . The 
latter was probably the first settler. Very little progress was made for 
several yeai*s. The soil was poor, the location remote and incon- 
venient, oftering few inducements to settlers. Landed afiUrs were 
managed by the previous committee. The thousand acres reserved for 
the use of the company were laid out in the south of the tract, in a 
strip four miles from east to west, and twenty-five rods from noith to 
south, and soid to Thomas Banister for X180, May 22, 170S. At the 
rec|uerit of the proprietors, the name of Voluntown was appropriately 
given to the plantation, llie settler next following Samuel Fish is 
believed to have Injen John Gallup — the Plainfield ** land-grabber " — 
choosing a home in a plantation where landgmbbing could be more 
freely exercised, and settling in the northeast of the township on 
Wassa<piassick Lake, about 1710. Veiy few of the volunteers took 
(leraonal possession of their allotments. John and Fiiuicis Smith, 
Ilobert Parke and one or two othei*S; settled after a time within the 
township. Some of the proprietors sold out their rights at an eai'ly 
date, receiving five, six, eight, eleven and twelve pounds an allotment 
*' A pair of come-four year-old steera " was once exchanged for eighty- 
six acres. Others retained their shares through life, renting out farms 
whenever practicable. Settlers came in slowly, taking up land in 
various locilitios. Thonnis Iteynolds settled near Pawcatuck Jjake ; 
Thonuis Ooles in the south of the traot John Campbell, John Salford, 
Obadiah Rhodes and Sanniel Whalley were among the earliest in- 
habitants of Voluntown. In 1714, attempt was made to lay out more 
laud and facilitite settlement At a meethig of the committee in 
Norwich, it was agreed, "To send out three persons to gain as good 
imderstanding as thc-y can come at where Uncus' hei*editary bounds go 
from sUitiiin to sUition, so far as Voluntown is concerned." Manasseh 
Minor was appointed for this work, with libeity t4) cjdl out such Indians 
as were best able to give light Lieutenant Lefiingwell, Captiins 
Richard Rushnell,' James Avery, John Hough and John Prentts, 
Lieutenant Solomon Tracy, Deacon Manasseh Minor and Mr. John 
Gallup were elected comnattee for the management of the plantation, 
and granted by the (icneral Assembly " the liberty of ai)|>earing and 
maintaining the rights of the volunteera as there should be occasioQ." 

One hundred and forty-four lots were laid out dunng the summer 
by Prentts, Minor and Gallup on behalf of the committee. The one 
hundred and forty*(ifth lot was laid out to John Stoyell on Henujah 
liushnell's right, adjoining the southeast corner of Phdniield at the 


foot of Egimk Ilill. Three other lota in tins vicinity were also laid 
out to Mr. Stoyell. This gentleman — afU»rwarclfl " Brhool-inaator in 
Pomfret" — purchased much other land in Voluntown and became a 
prominent actor in some vei*y important controversies. 

The loss of so large a portion of their territory to Rhode Island was 
very serious to the Volunteers and their right to a suitable equivalent, 
was the first to be urged and maintained by the committee. In Octo- 
ber, 1715, they petitioned the General Assembly, that the Colony land 
lying north of their tract might be annexed to it in place of that taken 
from them. This wl» the *' vacant land'* so persistently besought by 
Plainfield, and already occupied by some of her former inhabitants. 
A grant of three hundred acres allowed to the Reverend Mr. Coit of 
Plainfield, in this counti^ land — ^laid out north of Egunk Hill, where 
the Providence road orosRO<1 Moosup's River — was conveyed by him to 
KranciM Smith and Miles Jordan, who there established thomselvos, i 
north of Voluntown. Smith soon put up a mill and o|>onc<l his house 
for the accommodation of travelera. The lack of a bridge at this point 
was found a £^eat inconvenience, as the river was high and often 
dangerous. Smith and Jordan prepared timber and {petitioned in 1714, 
for a committee to select a suitable place, and there erected a suitable 
and convenient bridge, receiving in payment, one, ninety and the other 
sixty acres of land, on the Providence road. This convenient road and 
pleasant locality soon attracted other settlers — John Smith, Ebenezer 
and Thomas Dow, Robert and John Park, Robert Williams, Nathaniel 
French and others — who attended church and enjoyed privileges in 
Plainfield and joined with its inhabitants in 1715, in petitioning for 
annexation of the country land to that township. The Assembly con- 
sidered the applications and ordered a plot of the land in question to 
be made — if either of the parties petitioning would be at the charge of 
it — ^togcther with an account of sai<l land that so it might be able to 
resolve upon its future regulation. 

Probably neither party chose to assume the charge of this survey as 
the matter was left unsettled for several years. Voluntown meanwhile 
increased slowly in population, but made few other advances. May 8, 
1718, William Huberts, John Stoyell, Samuel Butler, Miles Jordan, 
Richard Williams and Samuel Church — inhabitints of Voluntown and 
the country land north of it — represented to the General Court " their 
miserable estate and condition, living in Voluntown and being at a 
great distance from any meeting-house and destitute of y* public wor- 
ship of God and ever likely to be, land being so much broken and 
nothing but barren pine holes and never likely to be inhabited so as to 
maintain a minij*t^r (unless it be remedied by your lIonoi*H).** The 
remedy proposed by these petitioners, was that the Voluntown proprie- 
tors should have their pro|)erty to themselves, as specified by the grants 


viz., all south of old Greenwich Path, while all the land north of 
that path, together with £giuik Hill and the vacant country land, 
should be made one town and incoi*|>oi*ated with civil, military 
and ecclesiastic powers, that so they might carry on the work of 
the gospel and have a gospel ministry. This pvoiK>9jd to leave the 
greater pait of Yoluntown out in the cold and establish church 
ordinances in the more attractive region northward, was rejecteil by 
both houses. A still more earnest petition signed by John and 
Samuel Gallup, John and Francis Smith, Thomas Cole, Joshim Juffrey 
and others was sent in October, begging the Court to consider 
their deplornblo condition, still d4'stiluto of public niotuis of grace 
afler so many years of settlement. Ciiptain Daniel Hrowster, Lieu- 
tenant Joseph Backus and Mr. John Sprague were then appointed 
a committee, to view the oireumstances of Voluntown and the land 
lying eastward of IMainfleld, and make report at Uie next Assembly. 
They found eleven families settled within the limits of Yoluntown, 
nunibering ** about 119 souls," some of them in low circmnstances, 
yet u coiisidei*al)le number more good inhabitants designed to Im) 
there soon and many moix) that would come if encouraged by Court ; 
in the country land noith they found twelve houses and families, 
and reported to the Court, that neither the bounds of Yoluntown 
as already granted, nor the lands north not annexed were sufticient 
alone to make a good parish, but that a good parish might be 
made consisting partly of both. Tlie Assembly then ordeixnl. May, 
1719, that so much of the lands lying north of the present bounds 
of Yoluntown and east of the bounds of Plainfield, as should be 
needful for the making a good parish there for comforUible carrying 
on the worship of God, should be amiexed to Yoluntown and forever 
afler be accounted within the bounds of that town. The committee 
previously appointed were to perform this work and also to sell and 
dispose of the Government's right to said land to such good inhabitants 
as should lie willing to settle upon them — the money so obtained to bo 
appropriated towards building a state-house at IIartfoi*d. The addition 
thus granted included the territory of the present town of Sterling, 
save a mile in length at the northern extremity, which was left in the 
possession of the Colony. 

Tlie survey and annexation were accomplished as rapidly as possible 
by John Plumb, surveyor for New London County, and thirty lots laid 
out and made Over to the following piu'chasers : — 

James Welch. Bbenezer Cooper. Robert Williams. 

James Dean. Ebenczer Dow. * Joliu Smith. 

Thomas Ross, two lots. Joslali French. John Jordan. 

William Harris. ^ Capt. Tiiomus Williams. Robert Tarlc. 

Joshua Jeffk'ies. Thomas Dow. Miles Jorilau. 

Samuel Butlor. Heury Cobb. Ishmael Speck. 

Jolm Park. 

THE volunteers' LAND, DIVISION, ETC, 246 

Ono lot was reserved for the future minister. Rome ** laid out m 
woods," were probably unsalable. Some of the purchasers were well- 
known residents of Plainfleld ; others were already settled in Vohin- 
town on the addition ; a few were new inhabitants. Their purchases 
were confirmed to them by the Gen. Assembly, October, 1719, on con- 
dition, that each should ''have a tenantable house and settle themselves 
within the space of three years and continue to live there three years 
aHer such settlement, upon the forfeiture of said purchase." The 
horse-brand assigned for the settlement was the figure U. 

The residents in the former noith part of Voluntown and the addi- 
tion, who had hoped to secure a snug little township by themselves, 
were not quite satisfied with this transfer to a poor, unsettled, rambling 
township, and would have even preferred absorption by Plainfield. 
Lands fofmerly used as commtms were now distributed to private 
owners. Some of these dissutisfled pcttlcrs Joined with Plainfiold in 
agitation for a re-settlement John Smith and John Stoyell thus told 
their own story to the Assembly : — 

' " Honored Qentlemen. — After the committee had well viewed land In Vol- 
tintown and north of It — having a pecnliar regard to Parish discipline and not 
willing to settle any too remote from the place of worship— said committee 
went to Plain(ield*s northeast comer and run the line south one mile . . . 
and then ran the line east to y supposed line between the Colonies and began 
to lay oat lots and dispose of them to such as they saw reason to admit 
Inhabitants, six lots bounded north on said line, and continued laying oat 
and granting ond disposing southward tvom the almvo six lots. Joining lot 
to lot to the nunil>or of twenty-two— whereupon, the IniiabltantM thereupon 
will not be well able to subsist wittiout outlet and commonage. Soutiiward, 
they can not well be acconnnodatcd by reason of y« tiarrenuess of tlie land, 
and being so remote trom most of them and also a river, and very steep 
land on each side, which is not convenient for cattle to travel up and down — 
wherefore, wo are necessitated to pray your Honors to grant us the mile of 
land on the north . . without whlcli, wo sliiill not bo able to subKlst, 
neither to pay our duty to church and commonwealth. Wo pray yon to render 
compassion as flithers to their children, leaving it with you to do as you think 
best In behalf of purchase and inhabitants." 

Twcnty-sovon inhabitants of Voluntown also petitioned for this 
strip of land and even offered fitly pounds for it, but all were denied 
and the mile north of Voluntown remained for several years in conten- 
tion between that township, Plainfield and Killingly. 





rilllE Proprietors of Voluntown were greatly pleai^ed with the 

-■- addition secured to them and encouraged to ho))e that afler so 

long delay they might carry out " their intended purpose of settling a 

246 mSTOBT OF windham oountt. 

plaDtation Acoommodable for a ohristian society." Many of the original 
owners were now deceased, but their children or representatives main* 
tained their interest in the grant At a noeetiug of proprietors, April 
20, 1720, it was voted, That five thousand aores'lyiug near the pond 
at the head of Pawoatnok lliver, sliali be disposed of at the disci*etion 
of the committee to such gentlemen as may best serve the interests of 
Volunteers. In modern phrase, the lands were to be placed ^* where 
they fOQuld do the most good.^* The continued encroachments of 
Rhode Island made them anxious to secure favor in high places. In 
accordanco with this vote, a thousand acres of land were presented to 
Governor Saltoustall ; another thousand to Jeremiah Dummor, agent 
for Connecticut in Great Britain ; five hundred, each, to William IHt* 
kin, Richard Ohristophei's, Samuel Eels, Joseph Talcott and Roger 
Wolcott ; two hundred, each, to Jonathan Law and James Wads- 
worth ; one hundred to Caleb Bushnell and fitly to John Stoyell — ^but 
whether the interests of the Volunteers were promoted by this disposi- 
tion, is not apparent. In response to a request from the agents of 
Voluntown, a deed of relonso and quit-claim to all the lands within the 
grants was confirmed to the proprietors by the Assembly. 

The inhabitants of Voluntown, encouraged by the addition of terri- 
tory and the arrival of new settlers, began to take some preliminary 
steps towards organization as a township. In the autumn of 1720, the 
Reverend Mr. Wilson was secured for a minister and the first recorded 
public act of the inhabitants, March 14, 1721, was the choice of Robert 
Park and Jacob Bacon, '* to go to treat with y* Reverend Mr. Wilson 
of y* reason, of his inclining to depait from us, and whether we can 
possibly keep him." John and Francis Smith were chosen as assistants. 
April 25, Nathaniel Deane and Jacob Bacon were ordered, '^ to draw 
,up something in writing to send up to y* General Assembly in May, 
relating to our present circumstances." Tbis writing, asking for power 
to lay a tax, and town privileges, was CjU'ried to the Assembly by 
Francis Smith and called out the following enactment : — 

« That an the Volaoteers rights or lots (whether greater or lesser) in 
number of acres, within the original grants in said town, is hereby tiixud at 
eight shnUngs pur year for the term of five years next ensuing, for tlie sup- 
port of a miuister and building a meetlng-liouse In said town ; and the one 
thousand acres that Mr. Thomas Banister, deceased, bought of tlie proprietors 
of said town is herel)y taxed at three pounds per year for the term and use 
aforesaid; and the addition that wa*i added in 17 li), to said town ... is 
liliewise taxed at ton shiiiings per hundred acres, and so lllcewlse iu lesser or 
greater quantities for the terms and use aforesaid." 

Lieutenant Christopher Avery, Mr. John Gallup, Mr. Uobcrt Parke, 
Samuel Whalley and Ebenezor Dow were appointed a connnittce to set 
up notification of this tax with power to distrain upon the [>erHonal 
estati) of any neglecting or refusing to pay his proportion — the money 



to be paiil to Captain Williams of Plainfleld, treasurer to receive and 
disburse it The committee was empowered to act jointly with the 
committee for the propnetor« of old Volmitown, in settling a minister's 
salary out of this present tax and to improve all the residue of the 
money for building a meeting house. And it was farther provided that 
if the tax thus raised should not be sufficient for the ends specified, 
inhabitants and proprietora should have power to levy a rate upon all 
the ratable estate so far as might be needful. 

The Assembly also granted unto the inhabitants of Volunt^wn, the 
power and privilege of choosing their own town officers, and carrying 
on their own town affairs, and if any difficulty should arise among the 
inhabitants and proprietors about ))lacing the meeting-house, the mat- 
ter should be determined by a committee from the Assembly. Owners 
of lands sold for rates were allowed liberty of redemption on payment 
of necessary charges. 

Thus a quarter of a century after the grant to the Volunteers, 
the tract then assigned them was invested with town privileges. 
Town government was organized June 20, 1721. Justice Williams 
of Plainfield served as moderator and administered the oath to public 
officers. Jacob Bacon was chosen town-clerk ; John Gallup, John 
Safibrd, Ebenezer Cooper, Samuel Whalley and Nathaniel Fren6h, 
selectmen ; Thomas Cole, constable ; Francis Smith, toller. Thirty- 
seven pernons were admiU.c<l inhabitants, showing a largo inoroaso* 
since the addition of territory. It was voted to call a minister to 
settle among us here — Joseph Watson. Mr. Watson declined and 
Mr. Billings was secured — afterwards settled over Canada Society. 
Meetings were held on the Sabbath for divine service at Thomas Co1e*s 
in the south, and John Smith s in the north of the town, alternately. 
In December, it was voted, To call Mr. Billings to preach Sabbath days 
through the wintef. John Tylct, Obadiah Rhodes and Kbenozer Dow. 
were added to the selectmen. A pound for the town was ordered at 
Francis Smith's house. Three men were chosen ''to lay out highways 
least to y* damage of y* owners of land and y* best advantage for the 
neighborhood." It was voted, "That those admitted by y* Colony's 
committee to be proprietors in Voluntown should not act with y* 
present inhabitants in the prudential affairs of y* town.*' As none but 
^'wholesome inhabitants" were desirable, Jethro Jeffard was required 
. forthwith to depart out of town on penalty of transportation, and 
Joseph Tiffany received soon after a similar summary sentence of banish- 
ment John Smith, at the crossing of Moosup s River, received liberty 
from the selectmen and grand jurora to keep a house of entertainment. 

The location of the meetuig-house already excited discussion and 
differences — the awkward shape of the town, eighteen or twenty miles 

248 uis'roKY of wimduam oovhty. 

in length and only three or four in width, making it extraniely difficult 
to acoonunodate its scattered iuliabitants. In March, 1722, ^^\t was 
voted clearly": — 

'* That we shall begin ou the sonth side of Thoinos Bannister's land and so 
measure a norili line to y north end of Voluntown and then to make a centre 
upon stiid Ihie, by running one east and west, and to l>egln at Rhode Is- 
land's pretended line and so to y« west Hue of Voluntown and so to make a 
centre on y* said north and south, east and west lines, and not to vary more 
than one-fourth of a mile from the centre. John Safford and Samuel Butler 
were chosen to carry the chain, John Qallup and John Tyler as selectmen to see 
that the chain be truly carried and John Smith to carry y« compass, and to 
begin said work April 24, and proceed until it be completed, and all were 
sworn to a lUlthAil dlscluirgo of y« work." 

Tlio work was faithfully discharged ocoording to instructions and on 
April 27, the cuniiuittoe repoitod, "That they found the centre of 
Voluntown westerly of the west clump of pines on Pine Hill, a place 
n«)t suitable, and ha<l selected a spot ono<foui*th of a mile north-west 
from it** — a site two miles northeast of the present Line-nieeting- house. 
The town accepted the rei>ort, and in October following, voted, ^' To 
build a meeting- house tliirty feet by twenty-six and sixteen sUui*' 
Tlu>ma4 Cole, John (ilalhip and E(>enozor Dow were chosen to take 
care of building meeting-house until it be built, and to find a suitable 
burying-place, and to secure not less than three acres of land for both 
purposes. Meetings were to be held alternately at John Smith's and 
Ebenezer Dow's till the meeting-house be fit to meet in. 

As sheep and swine as well as cattle were allowed to go at large, a 
large number of pounds was found needful. People north of Moosup's 
liiver wore allowed to build a pound by the house of Samuel Butler ; 
those south of Kunk Swamp, the privilege of one by Samuel Whalley's. 
Twelve fiersons protested against this vote, " the town not being bound 
and the Colony line not run and it being doubtful if these people could 
be claimed as inhabitants." A pound was also built near Jacob Bacon's. 
Efforts were made to secure a permanent minister, Mr. Billings having 
declined a call. It was stated that liobert Campl>ell sent for " Mr. 
Boyd, reported to be an oithodox minister, to preach the gospel 
to us," but his success is not repoiled. Samuel Dorrance next appeared 
and gave such good satisfaction that he was invited in December to 
preach till the following May. Mr. Dorrance was a Scotch Presby- 
terian, lately arrived from Ireland, a gradimte of Glasgow Univei*Hity, 
licensed to preach in 1711, by the Presbytery of Dumbarton and 
bringing with him satisfactoiy testimonials of his ministerial character 
and standing from several Associations in Scotland and Ireland. Far- 
ther acquaintance confirmed the favorable impression first made by 
him, and April 17, 1725, the Voluntown people met together to give 
him a formal call. They decided, first, to give him a call in writing, 
and give in their votes by subscription, *^ every man that was for y* 


flcttlenient*' desiring to have their nanies entered to the following 
document : — 

" Wc, the InhabitantA and proprietors of Volnntown, having by ye provl- 
donco of God hiul for soino counhlcrable time yo opportunity to cxporlonco 
your inhiistcrlal gifts and quallHcations, by which we have received such 
satlHfiictton and are so well contented that It has pleased God to Incline us to 
give you a call to settle with us In ye work of the gospel ministry, and in 
case of acceptance, agree to give you sixty pounds a year for the present, 
and also lifty pounds In such species as shall be suitable to promote your 
building or settlement. 

.8. Ye town does fflve their free vote that yon shall have that lot laid out by 
.the committee for the minister that should settle with us : — 

John Smith. ^ ])anlel Dill. John Ashcraft. 

Thomas Cole. ' Robert Parke. William Thomas. 

John Kelgwln. Benjamin Williams. William Deane. 

Richard Williams. John Gallup. Bphratm Dow. 

Samuel Church. Nath. Ayers. Thomas Welch. 

Robert Campbell. John Ayers. Jonathan Roberts. 

John Cainpholl. Samuel Gallup. Nath. Deano. 

UolKsrt Jackson. Thomas Dow. Joseph Rowdltch. 

Itobert Miller. Kbonoxer Dow. Noah Rogers. 

Thomas Gallup. Joseph Marsh. Jacob Bacon.** 

A negative was called for, but not one answered. On the same day, 
a number of thoee present, as a special token of their love and good- 
will for their prospective minister, offered the following free gifts over 
and above their equal proportion raised by vote of the town : — 

John Smith, five thonsand shingles. John Campbell, two hundred clab- 
Thomas Cole, three pounds money. In boards. 

shlnfflo nails. Robert Miller, work. 

John Gallup, live pounds. In work. Samuel Church, work. 

Robert Parke, three pounds, in boards Robert Jackson, one thousand 

and plank. shingles. 

Daniel Church, carting. Wm. Parke, work. 

Samuel Gallup, five pounds, money. John Ashcraft, work. 

Thomas Gallup, breaking up two Samuel Gallup, a cow and calf. 

aores of land. Daniel Dill, work. 

James Marsh, money. Jacob Bacon, work. 

Robert Campbell, work. Stephen Richardson, two pounds, 
William Thomas, two hundred of money. 

clab-boards. Deacon Jacob Warren, Plalnflcld, 
William (]allnp, ton shillings. two pounds ton, money. 

Nath. Deano, one pound, money. John Butler, one pound ton, money. 

Jonatlian ]{obcrts, work. William Deano, one pound, money. 

After due deliberation, Mr. Dorrance, with humble thanks, accepted 
the call. August 16, Samuel Day, Robert Parke, John Smith, Samuel 
Church, Nath. Deane, Jacob Bacon, Thomas Cole and. John Gallup 
were appointed a committee to apply themselves to the Association 
next at Groton, and take their advice about the ordination of Mr. 
Dorrance and to act according to their dir^tion and to take care of 
what is needful to be done. The Association having examined the 
credentials of Mr. Dorrance, signified to the committee their approval 
of their choice and readiness to assist in his regular and orderly settle- 
ment ; the Assembly granted the usual liberty, and on October 15, 
1728, a fast was kept preparatory to ordination. The Rev. Mr. Coit 



of Plainfield preaohed Id the rooruing, Mr. Lord of Preeton in the 
afternoon, after whioh» '* such as were in full oommunion and clothed 
witli satisfactory testimouinls — in oixler that they might distinguish 
themselves from heretics and other erroneous persons " — subscribed the 
following confession and obligations : — 

** We believe that the Word of Ood Is a perfect rale of Ailth and obedience, 
and acknowledge and believe that confession of faith composed by the Uev. 
Assembly of divines, sitting at Westminster : — 

Samuel Dorrance. John Smith. Samnel Chnrch. 

Uobort Gordon. Daniel Dill. Adam Kassou. 

'i liomas Colo. Thomas Welch. William Kosson. 

John Kassou. Jitcol> Bacon. David Hopkins. 

John Ciini|)bell. Daniel Oami. ('Imrlus Campbell. 

J<ol)ert Canipl)cll. John Dormnce. Math. French. 

Samuel CampbolL Cuorge Dormnce. John Gibson. 

John Gordon. Samuel Church, Jun. James Hopkins. 

Alexander Gordon. John Dormnce, Jun. John and Robert Parke. 

Kbcnezcr Dow. Nathaniel Deane. William Hogers. 

John Keigwln. Vincent Patterson. John Gallup." 

William Hamilton. Hobert Miller. 

Robert Hopkln. Patrick Parke. 

Tliis Yoluiitown oliuruli, thus ndopling tho Westiniiistor OoiifoBsion 
of Faith, was the first, and long the only Presbyterian church in 
Connecticut It is not probable that all whose names are aftixod to 
this Confession signed it on the iluy of organization, though it 
was evidently a strong and vigorous church at the outset 

Jitters were sent to the ministers in New London, Canterbury, 
Preston new society, Plainfield and Killingly, inviting them to join in 
the ordination of Mr. DoiTance, October 28. Up to this date, the 
proceedings of town and people had been marked by entire hannony 
and unanimity, but on the day appointed for ordination a violent pp|>o- 
sition was manifested. Various conflicting elements were working 
among the people. A large number of new inhabitants had arrived 
during the summer. Mr. Dorrance had been accompanied to Now 
Kngland by several families of Scotch-Irisli PrcHbyterians, who had 
followed him to Voluntown and settled there, buying land in various 
localities. Ilis brothers, John and George Dorrance, Gordons, Camp- 
bells, Kassons, Hopkins, Keigwin, Hamilton and Gibson were alraady 
admitted as inhabitants, and had assisted in organizing the church. 
The advent of these foreigners, though men of good position and 
excellent character, was looke<i upon witli gieat suspicion by the 
older setUers. A sornewliat loose and disorderly population had pre- 
viously gathered in this border township, inclined like their Rhode 
Island neighbors to Baptist sentiments, averse to religious restraints, 
and eM)>ecuilly jciiluus of Popery and Presbyterianism. The U4li>pti«m 
of the Westminster Confession by the new church caused immediate 
outbreak and rebellion. The Council met according to appointment — 


the Rev. Messrs. Lord, Coit, E^tabrook and Fisk, with their messengers, 

and were proceeding regularly to business when, to their amazement, a 

number of people appeared, determined to obstruct the ordinaticm of 

Mr. DoiTance, and, " in a riotous, disorderly and nn oliristian way," 

without waiting for prayer or ceremony, presented the subjoined 

remonstrance :-— 

** Wo, whose namoft are nn<1er-written, do agree Uiat one of oar New Bnff* 
land people may be settled In Voluntown to preach the gospel to us, and will 
oblige ourselves to pay him yearly, and will be satisfied, honored gentlemen, 
that you choose one for uh to prevent anwholesomo Inhabitants, for we are 
afhild Fopcry and llcrosy will be brought Into the land; therefore, we protest 
against settling Mr. Dorrance, bcranne he is a stranger, and we are informed 
he came out of Ireland, and we do observe that since he has been In town 
that the Irlsli do Aock Into town, and wo are Informed that the IrlMh are not . 
wliolesomo Inhabitants, and upon UiIm account we are against settling Mr. 
Dorrance, for we are not such persons as you take us to be, but desire the 
gospel to be preaclicd bv one of our own and not by a stranger, for we can- 
not rocelvo any benefit for neither soul nor body, and wo would pray him to 
withdraw himself fh>ui us.** 

The names appended to this document were omitto<1 by the scribe, 
''for prudential reasons," but some, he says, '' were not inhabitants ; 
others, such as call themselves Baptists ; others, those who live without 
God." Great clamor and confusion followed. The Council passed the 
day in hearing these opposers repeat their reasons over and over, but 
the second day achieved the following " result": — 

'' 1. Wo esteem the objections oflbred by tho dofondlng party against Mr. 
Dorranco*s onllnatlon, Invalid. 

S. We Judge the people's call of Mr. Dorrance not sufnclont. 

8. We testify our firm porsuasion that Mr. Dorrance's ministerial abilities 
are unexceptionable. 

4. We advise Mr. Dorrance to continue to preach, and the people to 
endeavor a more regular and comfortable coll." 

This decision was received with great indignation by a majority of 
the town, conscious that a minister seldom received a moi*e regular, 
unanimous, hearty and every way " comfortable call," nor did they hesi- 
tate to accuse the ministers of PlainBeld and Preston, of attempting for 
selfish and interested motives, to delay the settlement of the town. 
Plainfield and Preston cattle had hitherto enjoyed free forage on 
Voluntown commons and their owners were loth to resign this privilege. 
Report of these proceedings was at once dispatched to Gk>vernor 
Saltonstall, and several leading nunisters, who all condemned the non- 
action of the Council and pronounced the *' call " sufficient The 
Governor ordered a very strong letter to be written, directing the 
Council to proceed with the ordination, but Mr. Lord refused to 
serve, because *' some of his people had said they would not hear him 
any more if he did," and Mr. Coit, also, " lest his people should be 
offended at him in being accessory to deprive them of outgo for their 
creatures." A new Council was then summoned, from the churches of 


old FreBton, Windham and Canterbniy, whioh met December 12, 
1723. A full memorial was laid before them, showing, '* That when 
Mr. Doritmoe was called not one moved his tongue agiunst him, but 
notwithstanding their unanimity, peaoe and concord, the Devil and 
wicked men raised such tumult, noise and confusion, to the scandal of 
religion, tlie shame of our nation and the violation of our laws and 
privileges, that ordination had been prevented. These persons, it was 
alleged, not only opposed the settlement of a minister, but protested 
against building a meeting-house, opposing not only the gospel but 
the civil magistracy ; as for their principles, some were Baptists, and 
some could not be said to be of any ; their ai*gumeiits were nimlo of 
unchristian aspersions, showing aversion to strangers, contrary to 
Ex. xxii: 21 ; John xiii : 84. ; and pretending fear of heresy, Pres- 
byterian ism and unwholesome inhabitants — but, if the truth was 
known, they were more afraid that men would see their actions ; while 
their counsellors in adjoining towns had still another end in view— - 
Voluntown lands fiir commons, — ch<M>sing mthur to have outgo for thuir 
creatures than that Voluntown people should have the gospel of the 
Creator ; but it Wiis hoped that neither noise, nor tumult, nor cunning 
dealing would hinder the Council from answering the expectation of 
the town." Thb memorial was signed by John Gallup, Thomas Cole, 
John Smith, Jacob Bacon, Robeit Parke, Samuel Church and other 
leading men. The Council pronounced call and reasons sufficient, and 
ordained Mr. Dorrance as minister of Voluntown church and township, 
by prayer and laying on of hands. Jacob Bacon and Ebenezer Dow 
were soon after elected deacons. 



THE settlement of religious ordinances was followed, as foreseen by 
Plainfield and Preston, by other improvements and a more rapid 
development In 1724, John Gallup had liberty to build a dam and 
sawmill, " where he hath begun on y* stream that runs out of Mon- 
hungonnuck Pond,** and Robert Parke was allowed a similar privilege 
on the Moosup. The landed interests of the town were still managed 
by the proprietors, and their meetings held at iNew London, Norwich 
and Stonington, though often obstructed by great rains, heavy Hoods, 
bad roads and other iiiconvunionces. As the original records of the 
grant were kept wilh Captain Bushnell of Norwich, and the inhabitants 


" obliged to be at the oppreewivc and painful drudgery of going twenty 
miles to bim for a copy of anything wanted,** an unsuccessful attempt 
was made to have them transferred into the hands of the person who 
kept town records. On the death of Captain Williams of Plainfield, 
in 1 728, a i)etition was sent for one of their own townsmen to serve as 
treasurer of the tax money, and Jacob Bacon appointed in the room of 
their deceased friend. Defects in laying out lots — ^lapping one upon 
another and want of proper bounds — were rectified in 1724, by a com- 
mittee appointed by the proprietors. More highways were then laid 
out., and pine and other cedar swamps sequestered. Vaiious hew 
inhabitants wei*e from time to time admitted. 

With some progress, Voluntown met with many difficulties and 
drawbacks. The bounds of the town were disputed on eveiy side. 
Preston and Plainfield averred that the volunteers encroached upon 
their limits, and endeavored *' to swallow up some thousands of pounds* 
worth of government lands more than their grant*' The Rhode 
Island line was one of those bounds which refused to stay settled, and 
again and agsdn the inhabitants of Voluntown were ** cut off** or 
** beaten back,** while an internal controversy raged with still greater 
violence between the proprietors of the original grant and the addition. 
John Stoyell, who had bought up many rights in old Voluntown, as it 
was called, was very active in this controversy, which was developed 
in laying out to the i>roprictorB the patents of confinnation granted by 
tho (ioneral Court in 1720. The true north boimd of tlio original 
Volunteer's Land was tho point at issue. By the terms of the grant, 
the volunteers were to begin at the pond at the head of Pawcatuck 
River — now known as Bailey*s — '' and from thence to run a north line 
to the road that goeth from Norwich to Greenwich, and thence a west 
lino to Preston bounds.** It was claimed by Stoyell, as ageiit for the 
original grantees, that these instructions had not been followed, and 
that the line cstAblisliod was considerably south of tho most northerly 
point of the path, which had been intended. Plainfield, too, " had 
beat back Preston half a mile,** so that the west end of the bound now 
abutted on Plainfield inst-ead of Preston bounds, as ordered by the 
grant A petition was, therefore, urged, October, 1721, *'That the old 
path from Norwich to Greenwich, and so to Plainfield bounds, might 
be the north bound.** 

In response to this request, and to petitions from Plainfield and 
Preston, Messra. John Plumb, Joshua Ripley and Josinh Conaut were 
appointed a committee, at the charge of the Colony, to view the proper 
lines of Voluntown according to the several grants, and also to see 
whether there be any country land adjoining. These gentletnen met, 
September 17, 1722, at the house of John Amos, in Preston ; heard what 


Preston peiidoDers offered, and then followed the- alleged Yoluntown 
bounds, south, east and nortli, to the head of Pawcatuck River, and 
thenoe traveled noilh in search of Greenwich Path, as indicated by the 
grant, but found it ''very uncertain where it was, and hard to be found 
by reason of divers patlis made since." They therefore crossed over 
to the west side of the town, where the path was still distinct, and 
beginning east of Plainfield bounds, ran east about four miles, to tlie 
lihodo Island bound, where a path called Dol wen's crossed the ancient 
Greenwich, '^ and the agents from Plainfield pleaded that this was the 
proper pl:u*e to begin to run the line, and. from Voluntown was 
objected that the path turned from this place more north wanl, and tlioy 
should go further." Here, however, they stopped, and i*an from this 
point a line due west a part of the way on the 'north side of Greenwich 
Path, then south, then north again, till they cunio to Plainfiuld line, 
four miles and forty rods north of her southeast corner. The line thus 
laid down was considerably north of that previously indicated, and 
includo«l a large slicx) of the addition. No action was taken niM)n tlie 
re[iort of this committee. 

The inhabitants of the disputed tract, who had paiil for tln^ir farms and 
expended much labor and pains in subduing them, were greatly alarmed 
at the prospect of having them taken away from them to be diBtributed 
among the proprietoi*s of old Voluntown, and in a memorial presented 
to the General Court, October 11, 1722, averred for themselves and 
neighbors, '* That John Stoyell, for several years, had troubled tlie 
Honorable Court with a very wrong representation of the land of 
Voluntown, by which he seemed to have a design to defraud several 
of the uihabiUmts ; Uiat he had told Thomas Cole and John Gallu[», 
who had purchased land of him, that he shoidd not hurt their 
interests they being his good friends, but as for Ebenezer Dow, he 
might look to the man he bought ot^ which was Thomas Stevens, for 
he should turn the said Dow off his land ; that Greenwich Path was 
eight and three-fourths miles from the south line of Voluntown, while 
the grant allowed but six ; that the lots laid out in the addition were 
all sold but one, reserved for the use of the ministry, and that a 
change in the patent would be to the great loss, if not ruin, of many 
of the inhabitants. In the following May, Lieutenant LefUngwell 
and Uichurd Bushnell — connnittee for volunteei*s — represented to the 
Assembly : — 

**Tliat Voluntown was not yot settled as It ouf^lit to be, and that the 
Voluiileers and their huirs were under diillcnlt ciidbnistuuees. 1. Because 
several men hod lot.s hiid out to them, which otiier towns ciulni, so tlmt tlie 
VolunteerH did not Icnow whether they were tiie true ownuni. d. The tax- 
couiiulttee lituj Moid H«.'verai ioti for one yimi*'rt tux. S. I'rcMton'd etimt Imnnds 
weru never llxetl us yo law dIrceU, ho linit Voliiiitowu*H orl;(luui vvent iMMimh 
are uncertain. Tliey, therelbre, prayed for a connnittee to view, niuoMuro, 


fix bonnds and likewise to examine towns' and particular persons' clalmSi so 
that all Yolnntown's aflhirs, together with Plainfle1d*s and Preston's, may be 
laid before Assembly, by which moans they hoped Volnntown would settle and 
thrive, and needless oaths for the Aiture be prevented. Again, in the act of 
the Assembly, If Inhabitants and proprietors conld not agree aboat the meet- 
ing-house spot, a committee was to be sent — and the Inhabitants, without 
consent of proprietors, had stated a place not according to ye righteousness 
thereof, and haid already stated dimensions— thirty-six by twehty-six,— and so 
they intended to swallow up the proprietors' money, and, therefore, the peti- 
tioners prayed that the committee might have power to state place and 
suitable dimensions— charge to come out of tax- money." 

On the other side, Preston and Plainfield were equally urgent in 
complaints and petitions, showing : — 

** That the committee to run Voluntown lines did not run one line according 
to order; did not run the north line from the head of Pawcatuck River to 
Greenwich Path, for they did not go there; did not run the west line; did not 
run the line of addition,— for themselves, they did not begrudge a good 
township to the Volunteers, for they well deserve it, neither would they have 
the country cheated out of laud that would fetch thousands of pounds." 

So obscure and complicated were the questions and interests involved 
in these controversies, that the various committees appointed from 
time to time wholly failed to disentangle them. After several unsuccess- 
ful attempts to settle their difficulties, James Wadsworth and Hezekiah 
Brainard were appointed, in 1726, to view the lands of Preston and 
Voluntown, and inquire into the whole affair relating to these trouble- 
some townships. 

TIio erection of a houw of worship in Voluntown was greatly 
delayed by these controversies and others of a more local and sectional 
character. The jealousy excited by the introduction of foreigners and 
Presbyterians was not easily allayed, and a lawless element long con- 
tinued to obstruct peaceable settlement. The chief cause of delay 
was, however, dissatisfaction with the site selected. The northern part 
of Voluntown was much the more prosperous and populous. The 
highway to Providence with its good bridge across the Moosup, con- 
venient access to Plainfield and Killingly, Smith's mill and tavern, 
better land and other attractions, bad drawn thither the better class of 
settlers. Here Mr. Dorrance was settled, between what is now called 
Sterling Hill and Oneco. John and George Dorrance, the Gordons 
and other leading families had also settled in this vicinity. These 
settlers were very averse to the geographical centre found with so 
much care by the town's committee, and greatly preferred a fine, com- 
manding hill site, a mile from the Providence highway — the sumn^t of 
Egunk, — ^Dow known as Sterling HilL Unable, however, to induce 
the town to reverse its decision, they repaired to the Assembly, May 
14, 1724, showing : — 

** That the town agreed first that the meeting-house should be placed In the 
centre, which is not the centre of the present Inhabitants, but in an obscure 
place, flir firom the country road, and withal surrounded by swamps and 


procipices of rocks and bad lands, to that no good ways can be made there 
without oxcosslve charge to tlie town, and beg for another committee :— 

Kobert Williams. Jacob Warren. Joseph Bogbee. 

William Rogers. Daniel Lawrence. Joshua Jelferds. 

£. Wheeler. William Deane. Nathaniel French. 

James Welch. Robert Park. Christopher Deane. 

Samuel Welch. James Marsh. John Gordon. 

Ebencxer Dow. Miles Jordon. Edmond Qordon. 

Iloury Cobb. Samuel Church. David Dill. 

John Park. Jacob Church. Thomas Howard." 

Several of these |»etitioner8 will be recognized as residenta of Plain- 
field, who were anxious to securo tliis nieeting-houBe in the north of 
the town to ucoonnnmlute the inhubitiints in the east ])art of their own 
towimhi]), and had long boon aooustoniod to meddle in Voluntown 
aiTuirs. A oommittee of five, was aooordingly directed to. repair to 
Voluntown, view, state, and ascertain the place for setting their first 
meeting house — which concurred with the petitioners, and selected the 
commanding site on the summit of Egunk so much admired by them. 
The town refused to accept this decision of the committee, and declined 
to niuke any provisions for building a meeting-house upon this site. 
Itognrdlesii of tliis rebulf, tlie northern residents proceeded to collect 
timber and prepare a foundation under the supervision of Tliomaa 
Dow. A letter from John Sprague and Joseph Backus — the com- 
mittee in laying out the addition — to the inhabitants of Voluntown, 
advised a still further removal of the site to the country road, '^for 
the benefit of the noi*th part of the ways, as more convenient for 
strangers and travelers; also to move the minister's lot." Benefits 
ensuing, they thought would more than countervail any damage sus- 
tained by the lower inliubitanU, who, many of them could attend public 
worship in Preston. This suggestion w<u) rejected, and in November, 
Thomas Dow succeeded in raising a meeting-house frame on Egunk 
Hill. The town still refused supplies and proposed to petition for a 
new committee. In January, 1725, twenty-seven subscribers judged 
it necessary for the benefit and peace of the town to acquiesce in the 
place ascertained by the Courts committee and declared their satisfac- 
tion therewith, " being convenient for water, beautiful for situation, 
free from many troublesome, unhealthy swamps and more beneficial for 
the greatest part of the people, and protested against any farther 
alteration in moving the frame.*' In May, both parties repaired to the 
Assembly — the northern, stating that the meeting-house was raised on 
the place ascertained by the committee and might have been finished 
had the carpenters been furnished with means, and therefore people 
were constrained to meet for worship in private houses near to one side 
of the town, which was inconvenient and troublesome and might have 
been remedied. The central paity represented that a majority of the 


inhabitants still favored the central looation. ** Upon hearing the con- 
troversy and very great cont'Cntion that has happened and still continues 
among the inhabitants of Voluntow^n . . . reinpecting the place 
for sotting np the mooting-honse for public worship " — Captain James 
liogers, Captain Tho. Huntington and Captain Jabez Perkins were 
appointed to inquire into the^tate of that whole affair, view the places 
and make report in October. This committee reported, '* That after 
all, they had better have the meeting-house on the first place, that 
several non-residents had joined in petition for its removal farther 
north and that the proceedings were unjust'* Upon this report^ the 
Assembly enacted : — 

** That yo1aatown*s (Irst meetlng-hoase shall be set up, erected and finished, 
with all convenient speed, by the town of Voluntown, apon the spot of land 
in said town that the Inhabitants and proprietors of said Voluntown agreed 
upon, April 27, A. 1). 1722." 

This decision was very far from settling the difficulty. The northern 
party was unwilling to accept the situation, and reiterated to the 
Assembly, that the place assigned was so barren that uo settlement 
could be made there, and no ways could be made without great cost, 
and that where the frame was now placed ways were passable and 
every way better, and that twenty men to one would say this location 
was. the best, and asked for the admission of all church members, house - 
holdera and proprietors to vote in town-meetings. The request was 
doniod November 8, a mooting was called to ratify tho Oourt*s 
decision. Seveml illegal voters wore present The town authorities, 
strengthened by their late triumph, resolved to maintain the purity of 
the ballot box. All were put out of the room but original inhabitants ; 
John Tyler took the votes, and a committee was appointed to agree 
with a cai'penter for building the meeting-house on the site first 
selected by the inhabitants. The northern party still resisted ; peti- 
tioned that all honest men might vote in town affairs, declined to get 
new timber for another meeting-house frame when the first might 
answer, or in any way assist in its erection. The greatest strife and 
confusion prevailed throughout the town. ''Good, honest freeholders/ 
heads of families who paid their dues honestly — Alexander Gordon 
among them, with a list of a hundred pounds and more — were con- 
stantly debarred from town privileges," while men every way incom- 
petent were elected to fill public offices.' John Smith was so aroused by 
the condition of aifairs as to formally remonstrate, declaring : — 

** That tlie law salth, those who are chosen for selectmen must be discreet 
and of good conversation to order je prudential affairs of ye town, and now 
look back and consider je qualification of some ye have chosen. If one of 
them be one of old Morcas* disciples, and ye other on record for lying, which 
it seemeth to me a very great scandal on ye town, and those who chose them 
void of ye fear of God and did not consider the welfare of ye church and 





So great wiis. the stiife and divLdon, that the town voted, ^Hhat it 
desireil that the patent granted to Voluntown might be unacted and 
made void, and that the town be divided by an east and ^esi line into 
noith and south ends, and each end to make and maintain their own 
bridges and lilghways." Attempts to go on with the building of 
the meeting-house in this disturbed condition of affairs were quite 

While Voluntown was thus torn and weakened by factions, she also 
shared in the distress and scarcity occasioned by the drouth and fi'osts 
of 1725-2G. Adam Kanson, Jacob Bacon, Thomas Welch and others, 
wlio had pu'rulitiHod huid in tlio mldition and given socin*ity, were coni- 
pollo<l to a^k for an extension of payment — ** more especially bectuiHo 
of the providence of God at this present time, by reason of y* great 
scarcity of provisions ainongdt us, so tliat it b very hard to make 
money." The poorer classes suffered so severely that they were 
included among the recipients of the relief granted by the Assembly. 

The Vohintown church, atler its organization, increased stea<lily in 
numbers, and apparently eiijoyo<l a good degree of harmony. Its 
members, though <|uarix»Ung about the meeting-house, were unitotl in 
their minister and views of discipline. January 1, 1726, a number of 
ruling elders were chosen — Deacons Bacon and Dow, Captain John 
Gallup, Robert Parke, Thomas Cole, Nath. French, Adam Kasson, 
Samuel Hopkins, Charles Campbell and Alexander €k>rdon — who, with 
their pastor, were to receive and hear all complaints properfor ecclesi- 
astic consideration, and determine and judge. Save in tliis respect, it did 
not differ from other Connecticut churches. It was duly recognized by 
the New Ix>ndon North Association, and Mr. Dorrance was accustomed 
to meet and act with that body. After the early jealousy of Mr. 
DoiTanoe as a foreigner had subsided, he seemed to secure the affection 
and good-will of his people, and no fuither diiliculty was manifest 
till a nmch later period. 

In May, 1726, Voluntown organized its first military company, with 
John Gallup for captain, Robert Piirke for lieutenant and Francis Deane 
. for ensign. The progress of the town had been gi*eatly retai*ded, and 
at this date it was much behind its colemporaries — having no schools 
nor even a* meeting-house, and few roads laid out Its population was 
large, but somewhat motley and disorderly, made up of substantial 
settlera from ' adjaceiit townships, sturdy Scotch Presbyterians and 
lawless Rhode Island borderers. The existence of this latter class, 
and a hint of its character, is indicated in the following entry, found 

among the church records : — 

r ** January 17, 1726. The church seriously considering the Impious practice 
of some persons In going to coi^urors, commonly so culled, to Inquire con- 
cerning things secret, thought fit to show their dislike of such diabolical 


practices by the following declaration, to wit: That whatever person, member 
of the charch, coantenances, approves of, goes to, or consalts with any per- 
son that pretends to declare things secret or forbidden— by a spirit of 
divination or by curious art,— we humbly conceive guilty of the breach of the 
first commandment, and ought to bo suspended f^om all special ordinances.'* 

Tlie '^old Morcas" refeired to in John Smith's remonstrance, was 
probably one of the conjurors whose " diabolical practices " called out 
this declaration. . 




IN 1686, the first settlement was made within theUmits of the present 
County of Windham ; in 1726, eight towns were therein organized. 
In these forty years, much had been accomplished. The northeast 
corner of Oonnepticnt was no longer a savage wilderness. Forests 
had been leveled, roads constructed, streams bridged, land subdued and 
cultivated. The aboriginal inhabitants wei*e fast passing away, The 
wigwam hml given place to the fiirm-houso ; the toinalmwk to the 
plow. Strong men from the earlier sottlemohts in Massaohusotts and 
Connecticut had led the way to the Nipmuck wilderness — dangers had 
been braved, hardships borne, difficulties overcome, and now several 
hundred families were established in the eight townships. Details of 
the settlement and growth of these towns have been already given. 
Each had its own trials and difficulties, and each had succeeded in 
laying those foundations and establishing those institutions so dear to 
the early settlers of New England. Some favored towns had made 
rapid progress, others had been impeded by land controversies and 
other weighty obstacles, but in 1726 each had achieved a church, 
schools and military organization. Each had settled ^* a learned and 
orthodox minister ;" had set up mills and tanneries and provided travel- 
ing faoilitiet. Public roads connected each town with one or all of the 
leading' business centres of New England — Boston, Hartford and 
Providence, — and so great was the travel that almost every house on 
these highways served for a tavern. Woodstock was claimed by 
Suffolk County, Massachusetts ; Windham and Ashford by Hartlbrd 
County, The remaining towns were included in New London 
The distance of these towns from their couoty-seats gave them much 


inoonvenienoe, and Id 1717, a movement was set on foot, ''for the 
easing of their inhabitants and remedy of their grievanoe.^ ** A bill 
that the towns of Lebanon, Windham, Manstield, Plainfield, Canter- 
bary, Killingly, Pomfret, Coventry and Ashford, bounded easterly by 
the lines of the Colony, shall be and remain to be one entire oounty, 
with tlie privileges and powers as are given by law to the respective 
counties ; Windham to be the county seat and the county to be known 
by the name of Windham County," passed the Lower House, October 
15, 1717. In the following October, a similar bill, with Hebron added 
to the towns, was passed by tlic Lower House, but rejected by the Upper. 
Octolior, 1710, it was ciuictod by the Assouibly, that there shouhl bo a 
Court of 1 'rebate held at Wiadliani, for tlie towns siH)oiHed in thotiill 
of 1717 — " to be held by one judge and clerk, with powers and privi- 
leges as the other courts of probate have in this Colony." This 
arrangenient relieved the inlmbitants of northeastern Connecticut of 
part of their grievance, but as they were still put to the hardship of 
long travel to the court-houses in Hartford and Kew London, together 
with great ox|>onso by roiisoii of tlic length of courts, the demand for 
a new county became more and more urgent A bill to tliis elfect was 
again defeated, in October, 1728. An attempt to procure a surveyor 
for the noi*th part of New London County wiis abo unsuccessful. The 
need of such an official was set forth in the following letter from Major 

** To the Hou. Speaker of the Lower House, May, 1728. 

Be so klud as to oflbr one thing to yo coiislUurutlon of ye Lower House, 
vIk., that a surveyor bo appoiutod for yo tlvo towns, viz. : KllUngly, 
Ponifrot, Canterbury, Preston and riulnflold, for thoso rciuons: 1. Vo 
Oounty U saino tuny miles In longlli, and but one nurvuyor. 2. Wliou 
persous go to got hhn lose tholr imlus, porliapti ride thirty or forty ndlos, 
somotiines he is iu one towu, souiotliuos anoiher. 8. If a uiau rldon thirty or 
forty miles to get at him he mn»t be paid for two daya' travol, perhaps to do 
five shilliogs' service. 4. Moreover, 1 lately went down to get him to run a 
line for me; he told me he could not do it, had for some considerable time 
been in an ill way, there was so much to do the matter was too hard for him. 
Then 1 told him we must have a surveyor in our parts. Jle answered, * With 
all my heart,' he wished there was. This, gentlemen, In fblthfUlness to my 
neighbors in the several towns, I humbly oflcr. — Y^ am your servant. 

Jambs Fitch. 

If ye question may be, who shall be the person? take thhi answer — Mr. 
Samuel Butts, who hatli the most skill. ' 

In October, 1725, it was resolved hy the Assembly, " That sundry of 
the towns in the noitheasterly part of the Colony be set oflT to be a 
distinct county, and be accordingly furnished with officers ; the com- 
pleting of which, together with the limits of said county, is deferred 
till ^ay next.*' In May, 1726, Windham County was thus formally 
defined and established : — 

** Be it enacted, by the Qovernor, Council and Representatives In General 
Court assembled, and by the authority of the same. That the west bounds of 


the town of Lcbnnon, the north bounds of Coventry, the north bonnds of 
Manftflcld, till It meets with the soathwest bounds of Ashford, the west 
bounds of Ashford, the east bounds of Stafford, the Massachusetts line on the 
north, the Rhode Island line on the cast, the north bounds of Preston and 
north liounds of Norwich, coutnlning the towns of Windham, I^banon, Can- 
terbury, Mansfield, Plalnflcld, Coventry, Porofret, KUllngly, Ashford, Volun- 
town and Mortlake, shall be one entire county, and called by the name of 

And It Is ftirther enacted, by the Antiiorlty aforesaid, That the said town of 
Windham shall be and remain the county or head town of said county, and 
that there be held annually two County courts— one on the fourth Tuesday In 
June, and one on the second Tuesday In December In each year, and two 
Superior courts for the trial of all causes both civil and criminal, as, and 
endowed with the same powers and authorities wherewith all the courts In 
the other counties In this Colony are bv law Impowcred. The Superior 
courts shall be held on the Third Tuesday in March and the third Tuesday In 
September, annually. 

And, Airther, It Is enacted. That the district of Windham, heretofbre 
appointed and llmlt-ed for the probate of wills and testaments, shall be ex- 
tended to and limited by tlie bounds of the county of Windham, and all cases 
therein depending, or in any of neighboring dlHtrlcta, shall \w dot^rmtno<l In 
the probate whoreln they are alrcnuy brought, and all appeals which shall In) 
granted, shall be to the Superior court In the counties as they are now 

And it is Airther enacted, That all officers, civil and military, proper to said 
county, and allowed and Improved In other counties, shall be allowed, 
appointed and established for the county aforesaid. 

And It is further enacted by the Authority aforesaid. That the sheriff^ of the 
counties of Hartford and New London shall have power to serve all such 
executions as are In their hands, or may hereafter be directed to them, upon 
such Judgments as are already recovered against any person or persons that 
live In any of the towns which of late were within their respective precincts 
and are by this act within the circuit of the county of Windham, as AiUy to 
all intents and purposes as tliough this act had not been nmdo. 

And It is further enacted, That all actions, causes and matters whatever, 
now depending In the County courts of Hartford and New London, by appeal, 
reserved, continued, or any other wav whatever, shall be issued and deter- 
. mined In the said counties of Hartford and New London respectively, either 
in the said County courts, or as the case may require (in the course of law) 
by appeal. In the Superior courts, to all intents as though this act had not been 
had or made." 

Three towns, it will be seen, wer^ originally included in Windham 
Connty, now beyond its rnnits. liolmnon, southwest from Windluun, 
was orgtmisM^d as a town in 1700. Mansneld, at first a |>:irt of Wind- 
ham, was set oif as a distinct township in 1703. Coventry, west of 
Mansfield, was made a town in 1711. These were all large and im- 
portant towns, and added much to the strength of the new county. 
The little, irregular Mortlake Manor was included in a distinct 

Of the population of Windham County at this date it is impossible 
to form even an approximation. It is doubtful if any town, save 
Windham, numbered a hundred familieR. A few hundi*ed Indians, 
chiefly Wabbaquassets and Quinebaugs, were residents of the new 
county. Mohegans and Shetuckets roved freely through Windham 
and Canterbury. A small immber of negroes were held as slaves in 
the wealthier families* 



The following list gives the ratable property ascribed to each town 
in October, 1726 : — 

Windham, • . . 10 J09 9 

Lebanon, . . . 18,876 15 4 

Mansflold, . . . 6,817 6 

Coventry, . • • 4,404 7 6 

Plaiufldd, . . . 6.683 14 

Canterbury, . . 6,229 1 6 

PomAret, • . . 6,474 

KiUingly, . . . 6,802 10 

Amount, . £69,484 17 10 

Ashford and Vohmtown were not yot suftioiently ostablishoil U> pay 

Property was very unequally dbtributed. Such settlers as were ' 
able to buy their land at the outset were soon in comfortable circum- 
stances, but the great mass of the people were poor and found it 
difHcult to pay their taxes. Money was scarce, and so were commodi- 
ties that brought in money, and many could scarcely raise sufficient 
food for homo consumption. Wheat, i*yc, corn, biu'ley, flnx and hcnip 
were the chief staples of production. Manufactures were limited to 
leatlicr, potash, coarse pottery and domestic fabrics of linen and 

Very little can now be learned of the social condition of the Wind- 
ham of 1726. Few glimpses of domestic life have reached us. We 
can see that they labored hard and suffered many trials and privations ; 
that money was scarce, food sometimes scanty and comforts few — 
especially in the later towns remote from the older settlement ; that 
there was mvtoU ooai*senoss and roughness, much bickering and back- 
biting and other indications of a low sUite of civilization. The first 
generation reared in these new towns was probably inferior in educa- 
tion and culture to their fathers. Schools, |>oor at best, were maintained 
with great difficulty ; books were scarce, intercoui'se with older towns 
infrequent Home training, the church and the town-meeting— ^the 
only educating, refining and stimulating agencies— could not iUUy 
counteract the demoralizing influences and tendencies of their isolated ^^ 
position. Details of controversies previously given furnish abundant 
testimony to the roughness and violence of the times, and church 
records bear equal evidence to much looseness of morals and many 
prevailing innnoralities. With all their strictness in Sabbath-keeping 
and catechizing, in family ami church discipline, there was great license 
in s^ieech and manner, much hard drinking and i*ude meiTy making, 
with occasional outbieaks of Border-ruffianism. Training-days were 
the great festive occasions in all the townships. 

The ordinary style of living was still very plain and simple. Houses 
were small and rough, furniture rude and scanty ; food and clothing 


mainly of home prod notion. Class distinctions were, however, early 

developed, and a few favored families were able to adopt and raaintam 

a style of comparative luxury. Ministers were looked up to as social 

as well as religious leaders, and with their unincumbered homesteads, 

a salary of sixty to one hundred pounds free from government tax, 

and abundance of free firewood— were able to live much better than 

the majority of their people. The inventory of Mr. Whiting's estate, 

taken in 1726, and that of Mr. Estabrook's two years later, show that 

these ministers wQre in extremely comfortable circumstances, and left 

ample provision for the maintenance and education of their children. 

Both left valuable. libraries, numbering nearly two hundred volumes of 

standard works. A large supply of bedding was included in their 

household furniture, a goodly an*ay of pewter and brass, a little silver, 

chairs and high chests. Carpets and bureaus were then unknown, and 

earthenware was rarer than silver, yet few ministers' wives of the 

present generation equal Mrs. Whiting and Mrs. Estabrook in richness 

and variety of apparel. The latter lady boasted : — 

** 8 Black crape gowns and petticoats. 1 Silk scarf. 

1 811k stuff doable gown/md petti- 1 Pair stays. 

coat. 1 Headdress. 

1 Silk poplin gown and petticoat. 11 Night caps. 

1 Silk crape gown. 8 Linen aprons. 

1 White flannel wrought petticoat. 6 Linen aprons. 

1 Stuff petticoat. 8 Linen and woolen aprons. 

8 Linen and woolen petticoats. 8 Calico aprons. 

1 Linou and woolen (home; gown 8 OhuokortHl aprons. 

and petticoat. Bpocklod li. d. k. ft, 

1 Now camblot rldlng-hood. ralrs gloves. 

1 New camblet riding-hood. 2 Fans. 

1 Serge riding-hood. 4 Waist- ribbons. 

1 Gauze hood. Amber beads. 

1 Black silk hood. i Pairs stockings. 

8 Bonnets. 8 pairs shoes, &c'* 

The ecclesiastic association of ministers within Windham* County 
limits preceded county organization. The Saybrook Platform, adopted 
ill 1708, as the ecclesiastic constitution of Cotmocticut, provided, 
'^Tliat the particular pastors and churches within the ro8|>octive 
counties in this Government should be one consociation, and the teach- 
ing elders of each county one association." Each church was assumed 
to be under the constitution of the Colony unless formally dissenting. 
By this provision, Windham and Ashford churches would be included 
in Hartford County organization; Plainfield, Canterbury, Pomfret, 
Killingly and Yoluntown in those of New London County. Con- 
sociation in the latter county was delayed for many years, but an 
Association, including all the ministers within its limits, was speedily 
organized. A missionary spint was early manifested by this body. 
The spiritual destitution of tiieir Rhode Island neighbors awakened 


thoir conoom and sympatliy, and in March, 1^2% **th6 royerend minia- 
toi*8 of the gos|>ol mot in aasooiatiou at New London," prepared an 
address to the Ooveruor, moving, ** That a brief might be granted in 
aeveral oongi^egations, for gathering what aach at should be so piously 
inclined would freely contribute towards supporting the charge of such 
reverend ministera as should be improved from this Colony to intro- 
duce and carry on the ministry of the gospel in the town of Providence." 
This address was presented by Qovemor Saltonstall to the Council, and 
having been read and considered, it was resolved that a brief for that 
end should be granted, and ^' directed to the respective ministers of 
the towns of Now I^ndon, Norwich, Qroton, Stonington, Preston, 
Lebanon, Windham, Alunsfiold, Canterbury, Plaiuflold, Pomfret and 
Killiugly, or to the deacons of the churches in such towns where 
there is no minister ; which shall direct such ministers and deacons to 
acquaint the congregation with the occasion of such collection to be 
made, and appoint a time after the performance of divine worship on 
the T^iord's day to roooivo in the congregation what shall bo contributed." 
The money thus collected was to be put in the hands of Mr. Whiting 
of Windham. The result of this eitrly missionary ellbrt is not 

A meeting of the Association of New London County was held in 
Killingly, October 28, 1728, when it was voted :-^ 

** Whereas, the late settlements that have been made of rainlstrv in several 
towns aud precincts in this county have made the mernbem of this Associa- 
tion so numerous as to render it dKflcult for them all to meet In one place, it 
is, therefore, agreed upon bj this Association, that the Association of this 
county be divided into two. 

And that the bounds of the North Association of New London County l>o 
the south bounds of Voiuntown, south bounds of north society in Preston 
aud of the east and north societies of Norwich.*' 

November 10, 1724, the North Association met at Preston. Mr. 
Eliphalet Adam^ of New London, was moderator. Salmon Treat, Samuel 
Estabrook, Joseph Coit, John Fisk, Ebcnezer Williams, James Ilel- 
shaw and Daniel Kirtlaud were present It was agreed, ^' That the 
division made at Killingly be consented to and agi*ecd upon, save tliat 
Mr. Lord of Preston belong to the South Association.'* In August, 
1725, a meeting was held at Killingly, which agreed, ** That there be 
three conventions in this Association, yearly — ^in May, August and 
October. Also, that any three ministera c-onvened at the time were 
vested with full power to act." Eight rules were adopted at this 
meeting. The General Association of Connecticut, at their annual 
meeting this summer— doubtless in view of the great drouth and 
scarcity, Indian troubles and other *' righteous providences " — had 
called upon the several County Associations, " to consider provoking 


evils ill the land." The ministers of the New London North Asso- 
ciation considered the matter at their October scission in Ponifret, and 
RjiccKicd the following particulars: — 

• ** Injustice, oppression and nufnitliAilness in dealing, pride and intemper- 
ance, neglect of Ihmily religion In regard of Instruction, worslilp and govern- 
ment, profanation of the Holy Sabbath, contempt of civil and sacred authority, 
neglect of divine institutions, such as omission of baptismal recognition and 
attending ye sacraments of ye Lord's Supper, and gospel maintenance of ye 
ministry of Christ." 

After the erection of Windham County, the New London North 
was merged in the Windham County Association, comprising all the 
ministers within the county limits and one or two within New London 


BOOK II. 1726-46- 



WINDHAM, when made the shire town of the County taking 
her name, was the leading town of northeastern Connecticut. 
Thougli even tlien, with Mansfield, Coventry and Lebanon on the west 
and neither Woodstock nor Thompson on the north, she was southwest 
of the geographical centre of Windham County, no one thought of 
disputing her claim. In population, wealth, cultivation and political 
influence she- had far outstripped her sister townships, and was at once 
recognised and received as their rightful head and leader. 

The first Court of Common Pleas within and for the County of 
Windham was holden at Windham Oreen, June 26, 1726. Timothy 
Pierce of Plainfield, previously Judge of Probate, was appointed by 
the General Assembly, Judge of the County Court Joshua Ripley of 
Windham, Thomas Huntington of Mansfield, Joseph Adams of Can- 
terbury, and Bbeneeer West of Lebanon appeared as Justices of the 
(jfnonim. Richard Abbe of Windham wmi a|)pointod troasiiror of tho 
County. Eloazcr Ctiry, Jonatimn Crane, Joshiui Ripley, Jun., Joseph 
Huntington, Thomas Root and Nathaniel Rust served as jurymen on 
this occasion. The first act of the Court was " to inquire into the 
circumstances *' of the unfortunate Peter Davison of Mortlake, then 
-under the charge of Justice Adams, in pursuance of a recommendation 
from the County Court of New London, ** that this Court should make 
some provision for the further support and itfkaintenance of ssiid idiot." 
Joseph Backus of Norwich appeared as attorney for New London 
County. . The Court was of opinion that it had '' no power or authority 
to assign said idiot to any particular place or person for his future 
support.*' Forty six cases were tried at thb first session of the County 
Court Thomas Stevens of Plainfield, Sampson Howe and Isaac Cutler 
of Eillingly, Solomon Tracy, Edward Spalding and Richard Pellet of 


Canterbury, Francis Smith and Obadiah Rhodes of Yolnntown, were 
lioensod ^* to keep houses of public entertainment for strangei*s, travelers 
and others, and also to retail strong drink for y* ensuing year ;" James 
Lassel of Windham, *'to use and occupy y* art and mystery of 
tanning." At the December session, Samuel Backus was arraigned for 
speaking '^ vile, ungodly and profane language," and Joseph Bolles of 
New London, " for declaring to y* worshipful Judge Timothy Pierce,. 
' You fight against Qod and you are perverting wretches.' *' Meliitable 
Monis, for unseemly conduct, was sentenced to pay ten pounds, or be 
whipped ten stripes upon her nakiul body. 

August 18, 1720, tiie justices mot in Windham, *' to consult and take 
moa^uros for buihling a county gaol and prison-houso for y* use of the 
county." It was ordered, *' That a gaol be built with all possible ex- 
pedition, tbiity-one foot long and eighteen foot in breadth. The gaol 
to be ten foot wide, built of logs all framed flito posts, and be divided 
into two rooms by a board partition ; one to have a small* fire-place or 
chimney. The other end [of the building] to bo for the prison house, 
to l>e built atlcr y* maimer of other ordinary fniinud buildings, having 
a chimney with the back nesun to y* gaol ; ye [gaol] room to be six 
and a half foot between joints, and having a cellar under it, fom*teen 
foot one way and twelve another." A rate of a half-penny a pound 
was ordered to be collected in each town for this building. It was 
also ordered, ** That Mr. llichard Abbe's back-room in his dwelling- 
house shall be a common gaol till the new one be built" 

In May, 1726, Jubez Huntington of Windham was appointed sheriff 
of WindhauA County — John Woodward and Uichard Abbe binding 
themselves in a recognizance of two thousand pounds that he sliould 
be faithful in the administration of his ofiice. Ebenezer Gray was 
chosen clerk of the Coui*t Josiah Conant of Mansfield was appointed 
surveyor of lands for the County. 

In April, 1721), all the justices within Windham County met at the 
houHO of Richard Abbe, to ** consider about building a state-houMc/* 
Timothy Tierce, Joshua Uipley, Thomas Huntington, Joseph Adams, 
Ebenezer West, John Fitch, Joseph Strong and John Woodward were 
present It was agreed, *' to build a court-house, forty foot long, 
twenty-four foot wide, twenty foot between joynts ; and, also, that 
those gentlemen who are deputies for the town of Windham shall, in 
the name of the County of Windham, prefer a memorial to the Hon. 
Assembly . . . praying their a]>probation in this afiair, and, also, 
that something be granted to said county out of the duties of goods 
impoited into thin (Toveriunenl to liHsist them in building s:iid house ; 
alno, that something be allowed tlicni tVoni the r/ountios of Hartford 
and New London, in consideration of what we paid for building the 


State-houses while we belonged to said counties ; also, that the town of 
Windham may bo under the sam-j regulations as to keeping and main- 
taining a grammar school in said town as the other head towns of 
other counties in this Colony.*' 

In response to this request, the Assembly authorized and empowered 
the judge and justices of the county to assess polls and ratable estates 
in the several towns and parishes, for so much money as should be 
needful for the building, repiuring and maintaining a sufficient Court- 
house, and to order the county trea^iurer to oolloot it Hartford and 
New London were allowed to pay back what they should think 
reasonable. A rate of a penny a pound was accordingly assessed 
upon the inhabitants of the county. Hichar^ Abbe, Jabez Huntington 
and Ebenezer Gray were appointed to have the care and management 
of building the court-house, as soon as conveniently may be. This 
was probably accomplished in 1 78 J. The coui*t-houso stoo<1 on a 
corner of Windham Green, and was considered a handsome building 
for the time. It does not appear that Hartford or New London 
thought it reasonable to pay anything towards its erection. 

Captain John Sabin, the first settler of Pomfi-et and leading citizen 
of northeastern Connecticut, was appointed by the Assembly^ October, 
1726; major of the regiment in the County of Windham. Upon the 
petition of several persons, the. Assembly ordered Major Sabin, a year 
later, •* to raise a troop in the County of Windham, and to enroll such 
suit^ible [K3rsons as will voluntarily enlist thiMnsclvos and engage to 
equip themselves well for that service ; and if there ap)>ear and enlist 
to the number of fifly pei*sons, the major then lead them to the choice 
of all proper officers.'* The requisite number appearing, the troop was 
organized in May following, with Joseph* Trumbull for captain, Jabez 
Huntington, lieutenant, Ebenezer Metcalf, cornet, and Thomas New- 
comb, qnarU^r-nuiHtxn*. 

Windham County, at the <late of its formation, included twelve 

organized ecclesiastic societies, with the foUowitig churches and 

ministers :f- 

Windbam (1st), Thomas Clap, pastor. 
WhidhaiD (2d), WilUiim Billhi/^s. pastor. 
Lebanon (Ist), Solomon Williams, pastor. 
Lebanon (2d) or Crank, William Oager, pastor. 
Coventry, Joseph Meachem, pastor. 
Mansfield, Rleazcr Williams, pastor. 
Voluntowu, Samuel Dorrauce, pastor. 
Piainfleld, Joseph Colt, pastor. 
Canterbury, Samuel Estabrook, pastor. 
Ashford, James Hale, Pastor. 
Pomfret, Ebenezer Williams, pastor. 
KiUingly, John Fisk, pastor. 

These twelve churches, according ta the law of the Colony, formed 


The Windham County Oonsodation, the pastors and representatives of 
each church meeting together in council whenever requisite, to settle 
cases of scandal and discipline. The Windham Oounty Association 
of ministers held its first meeting in Lebanon, September 6, 1726. 
The liev. Messrs. Estabrook, Fisk, Ebenezer, Eleazer and Solomon > 
Williams, Billings, Gager and Clap were present '^ Voted, That the 
rules made for the North Association of New London County should 
remain the rules, with the addendum that the moderator, scribes and 
delegates should be chosen by written votes." 

The new dignity conferred u]K)n the town of Windham gave it 
immudiuto imimtus. The growtli of the village at Windham Ureen 
was esi)ecially quickened. The court-house and gaol were soon erected, 
with stores, taverns and numerous private residences. Richai'd Abbe, 
now one of Windham's leading citizens, constable, justice, county 
treasurer and often representative, opened his stately mansion for 
public entertainment, receiving license in 1727. Joshua Ripley and 
John Fitch were still in active, life. Much business and trade now 
centred in Windham (Jreen. Nehemiah Hipley and Joseph Genning, 
having obtained the art of tiuining leather and '' followed the trade, so 
that the people had a better supply of shoes, which is a public benefit," 
received permission to set their tan vats on the waste land or highway 
below Broughton's spring. Thomas Snell idso had liberty to set a 
blacksmith's sho[), eleven feet by thirty, in the highway, noith side of 
Ebenezer Ginnings' house-lot. Tlie grammar school authorised by 
General Court, was established after some delay. Windham, always 
remiss in school mattei-s, instructed her deputies, *' to ask a grant of 
land in Yoluntown " for its suppoit, but received no help from that 

Throughout the town, improvements were in progress. Ichabod 
Warner was allowed, in 1727, to make a dam across Pigeon Swamp 
Brook ; John Marcy and Seth Palmer to make one on Merrick's 
Brook. The firat dam was built across the Willimantic the same year, 
near the site of the present stone dam of the Linen Company. The 
Iron Works' Bridge was also erected. The forge and iron works were 
now in operation, but not [Particularly suC'Cessful, if we may judge by 
the frequent change of owners. Badger soon sold his share to 
Ebenezer Hartshorn, son of Thomas, the first Willimantic mill-<»wner. 
Hartshorn conveyed it to Joshua Kipley and he to Thomtui Dyer, 
together with the adjacent dwelling-house. May 27, 1731. Dyer 
retained it till 1735, and then sold out to Hathaway, one of the 
founders of the company. These Willimantic Iron Works were main- 
tained many years, and employed a number ot* laborers, but were never 
veiy thriving. The privilege occupied so early by Thomas Hartshorn 


was made over bj hira to his son Ebenezer, of Charlestown, who, 
** beoAUse he could not oome to Windham to reside with anj manner of 
oonvcnience," sold grist-mill and sawmill, water privilege and forty- acre 
lot to Joseph Martin of licbanon for £410, in 1729. Thomas Harts- 
horn, the first settler of Willimantic, then purchased a house of 
Ebenezer Jennings, and removed to Windham Centre. An early 
settler in this vicinity, not previously recorded, was Stephen, son of 
the Oaptain John Brown, who received a thousand-acre-right from 
Captain Samuel Mason in 1677. The home-lot pertaining to this right 
was laid out in 1706, abutting southeast on Willimantic River, near the 
nottheni boundary of the town, and was improved and occupied prior 
to 1 720, by Stephen Brown. 

The prosperity of the church in Windham during this period ex- 
ceeded that of the town. Mr. Clap developed remarkable administra- 
tive capacities, and brought all ecclesiastical affairs under stringent 
laws and disciplina Great pains were taken to enlarge the member- 
ship of the chui*ch. As many church members were found in town 
who wished to share in church privileges, but had brought no letters 
from the churches to which they belonged, it was ordered : — 

*' 1. That all persons who have been lohabltants more than three years, 
attended upon the ordinances and behaved themselves soberly — shall be 
accounted llxed members of this church, though they have brought no 

8. That ail persons who have como and dwelt within three years shall pro- 
cure a roconnnondatlon In three niunths. 

$. That for the future, all persons coming hither shall bring a recommbmla« 
tion in tliroe months. 

4. Falling to do It shall be deemed utter negligence, or that they wore under 
some scandal, and such shall be suspended ftrom the communion unless dis- 
tance prevents or some suflSclent excuse.** 

To such baptized persons as were not members of the church, the 
duty of '' owning the covenant ** was now strictly enjoined. Great 
pains wore taken with this class and privileges aIlowo<l thorn. A pre- 
vious vote had made them subjects of discipline. In 1728, it was 
further voted, ^'Tliat all baptbmal persons have a right to hear con- 
fessions for public scandal, and that no such confessions shall be 
accepted unless made before the congregation on the Sabbath, or some 
public meeting wherein all baptized persons have warning to attend.*' 

These confessions were very frequent The number of delinquents 
arraigned under the strict regimen of Mr. Clap was very large. So 
severe was the task of sifting and collating evidence that he was com- 
pelled to ask assistance. The '' Representatives of the brethren of the 
church,** instituted to consult with the pastor on all emergent occasions, 
were transformed into a special committee of itiquiry, November 18, 
1728, by the following enactment : — ' 

** Whereas, the work and business of the pastor of a church Is very great. 


and pai-ticularly the cnqnlring into scandal and procarlng^ evidence, and, 
vrliorcAs, the Scripture Informs U8 that Qod has set some In the church to be 
helps hi the ffovcriiiiicnt^voU'd. 'That It shall be the work of the Kepro- 
seiitntives of the Hrethrcn, and they are hereby desired, with all diligence, to 
attend upon It. That when there Is a pnbllc and common report that any 
person belonging to the congregation hath committed any pnbllc and scandal- 
ous evil, to Inquire into such report and bring information and evidence to the 
pastor— provided that this be not understood to hinder ihe pastor fi'om taking 
cognizance of any scandal that may otherwise clearly come to his knowledge, 
nor to hinder any private brother from bringing a complaint whenever there 
be occasion for It. ' ** 

llalph Wheelock anil Samuel Manning were then added to the pi*e- 
vious liepix'sentatives — Joshua Ripley, John Fitch and Jonatliaii 

Under this energetic disi'ipline, the church lu Wiiidhain was gretitly 
enlarged and strengthened. Mr. Clap was by no means satislied with 
outward decorum and oonformity to law, but labored earnestly to pro- 
mote the growth and raise the standard of piety. At least once in 
every year he visited every family in his parish and catechized the 
children, '* noting the name and age of each member, that so he might 
have more knowledge and clear remembrance of .every soul committed 
to his care and charge, and the circumstances and condition of each 
particular peraon." Though not '^brilliant or eloquent," he was a 
forcible preacher, and greatly impressed the community by his earnest- 
ness and strength of character^ / Mr. Clap was married November 23, 
1727, to Mary Whiting, the daughter of his predecessor. Though not 
fifteen years of age at the time of her marriage, she was already 
remarkable for loveliness of pei-son and disposition, and by her winning 
sweetness and amiability HolVened the lisperities of her somewhat 
arbiti'ary hnsbantl. She proved fully etpial to her position, and greatly 
endeared herself to the church and people. 

With all the pains taken to ensure good order and discipline- 
Colony and church laws, inquisitorial committee and local town enact- 
ments — Windham did not C8c:ipe occjisionad outbreaks of rowdyism. 
Sanuiel Backus, tliough punished by imprisonment and hard labor for 
speaking ^* vile, ungodly and profane language " as before related, hml 
the temerity, in 1730, to join with two other lads — William Backus, 
Jun., and J(»shua Sawyer — steal the keyjo of the gaol and let out cer« 
tain prisoners, who effected their escape from justice. For this high- 
handed ofience, Backus was bound over as apprentice or servant for 
three yeara to Mi\ Zedediah Strong. Sawyer, for a less j)eriod, to 
John Arnold of Manslield. A number of Windham citizens were 
coneeraed, a few yeai-s earlier, in a much more serious aifair — the 
breaking open of Hartford Jail and release of Captain Jeremiah Fitch, 
antl when the grand-jurors of the town attempted to arrest some of 
these rioters, Captain Fitch himself, William More and about twenty 


men came out upon them with great chibs or stakes, threatened, pur- 
sued, struck some of the company and threw stones and clubs at 
tliom. Presentment of this aifray was sent to Mr. Justice Uipley, with 
diroctioii to proceed against the actors as the law required, who 
returned that he could not take them without a deputy sheriff, and 
that *^ the said sheriiT could not come into these parts, much more 
attempt to seize them, without danger of his life or having his bones 
broken." In 1783, Jeremiah Ripley, Jun., was guilty of the grave 
misdemeanor of declaring, at the Windham Court-house before a great 
number of freemen, met to give in their votes for the election of the 
governor and other officers, " That the Honorable Governor was a fool, 
and his friend and counsellor, Roger Wolcott, a knave, and that we 
will kick about the knave and turn out the fool** These reproachful 
and contemptuous words being duly reported to the General Assembly, 
Mr. Ripley was apprehended and brought before it to answer the mis- 
demeanor, and upon his confessing himself in great measure guilty 
thereof it was resolved, ** That the said Jeremiah Ripley shall be dis- 
franchised during the pleasure of the Assembly, and until they shall 
see cause to restore him to freedom again, and that he give bonds to 
the treasurer of this Colony to the value of £1,000, money, conditioned 
that he cany good behavior towards his Honor the Governor and 
Roger Wolcott, and all other his Miyesty's subjects, for the space of 
one year next coming, and pay the cost of his prosecution, and stand 
committed till the same 1)0 performo<l/* At the close of the year, he 
was discharged from bonds and restoi*ed to his rights and privileges as 
a freeman of the corporation. 



THE southeast section of Windham participated in the growth and 
prosperity of the mother township. These Scotland settlers had 
early taken a high position in town, and were actively concerned in all 
its church and secular affairs, repairing constantly ' to the Green for 
trunings, town-meetings and the various religious services. The 
Windham people greatly valued their Scotland neighbors, and were 
anxious to retain Uiem within their church and parish. At the first 
symptom of a tendency to disruption — Febniary, 1726 — the town 
voted, " That when the public list amounted to £12,000, they would 
build a meeting-house in the east part, and when they should agree to 



settle a iniiiUter the town would go unitedly — Canada or Windham 
ptiriah ^xcepUxl — in Hupportiiig two ministers and repairing two moot- 
ing-houjes." Notwithstanding this flattering eagerness to propitiate 
and retain them, the Scotland people soon manifested a preference for 
independence. In December, 1727, *^ divers of the inhabitants living 
east of first society," received liberty to employ ^' a suitable person to 
preach to them in the winter season.*' This service was continued 
several successive winters, Windham kindly granting leave *^ to hire a 
minister, provided they pay him and their just charges in Windham 
too." It not appearing *' just " to the Scotland residents to pay for 
two ministers, agitation was kept up till 1731, when a petition was pre- 
ferred to the Genend Assembly for society privileges. Kbenexer West 
and John Woodward of I^ebanou and Joseph Strong of Ooventry, were 
thereupon '^ authorized to repair to Siud society and there to inquire 
into their circumstances ; ami if they judge (all things conBidered) 
that there ought to be a new society set off on the east part, that then 
they state and affix a dividend line, to run across said society north 
and south." Iliis oominittee ro|N>rte4l in favor of division, and affixed 
a line, 'M>eginning at the month of Merrick's Urook, where it empties 
itself into Shetucket River, and so running northerly to the south* 
west comer of the land of John Kingsley, where he now dwells ; " 
thence to Beaver Brook at John Fitch's dam ; thence, a straight line 
to Merrick's Brook at a place crosied by the road from Windham's 
first society to the Burnt Cedar Swamp ; then, running south on the 
brook to the southwest corner of Canada Society ; thence, easterly by 
the south bound of that society to Canterbury ; thence south by Can« 
terbury line to the dividend line between Windham and Norwich, and 
west by Norwich line,to the mouth of Merrick's Brook. This bound 
inclnded, probably, less than a third of the territory of Windham. In 
October, 1731, Nathaniel Bingham, Jacob Bumap, Eleazer and Samuel 
Palmer, Joshua Luce, Daniel Meacham, Isaac Bingham, Samuel Ilebard, 
Seth Palmer, Tmuithy Allen, i/harles Mudie, Benj. Case, John Waldo, 
David llipley, Caleb Woodward, John Cary, Jonathan Silsby, Elisha 
Lilly, Jacob Lilly, Joshua Lasell, Nathaniel Huntington, Nathaniel 
Brewster, Nathaniel Kudd, Wilkinson, Carpenter and Samuel Cook 
asked for confirmation of these bounds and distinct society privileges. 
As usual, at this period, these were not obtained without a struggle. 
Peter Ilobinson, John Kingsley and other lending men were op|>osod 
to division, and thus stated their reasons, October 12, 1731 : — 

•< I. That we are about eight miles by six, a\\ oar highways laid oat leading 
to oar present meetlug-house, aud whatever alteration will be made will lie 
very clittrgeiible to the itoeluty and prejudicial tu particular persons, as tlie 
best that can be thought of for the greater part of this proposed new socictv 
)a to go upon suiferaace through a multitude of gates aud bars, that wiU 


render oar possoffe to and fk*om the pabllc worship of Qod .well nigh, If not 
altogether, as tedious as now It Is. 

II. As to oor ability, wo are humbly of opinion that, considering the small- 
noss of our list and the great number of beads that make the best half of it, 
together with the unprofitableness of our land that still remains uncultivated, 
which renders It highly necessary for us to be at great charge In subduing tit 
without expecting any great profit for some considerable time, that In our 
apprehension renders us Incapable of division for some time. 

III. As to our inclination to divide, we have had considerable debate 
thereon, and find that well nigh If not altogether half— -taking In the neuters — 
are very averse to dividing, and we are much aAraid it will promote a great 
deal of strife and contention among us If your Honors do not interfere and 
prevent any further proceedings until we are better able : 

Peter Uoblnson. Joseph Ford. Kcnjamin Armstrong. 

John Bass. Daniel Itoss. Isaac Armstrong. 

John Kingsley. John Gray. John Brougbton. 

Nathaniel Ford. Thomiis Armstrong. Widow Sarah Hebard.** 

This remonstranoe delayed action till the following May, when both 

parties iiffi\n prosontod petitions. Disonssion had boon very earnest 

during Uto winter, and soino of the '* nontors *' no^r oaino out in favor 

of the new society, and begged " to have their names changed from 

the opposing memorial to the one asking division." Opponents of the 

measure declared the advantages small compared with the expense, 

that the cost of settling a minister and building a meeting-house would 

be not less than a thousand pounds, while their part in enlarging the 

present house Would not be above forty pounds, that their list of 

property was so small that it seemed more like starving the gospel 

than promoting it, that more than one- third of the inhabitants opposed 

division, and begged not to be constrained to it The inhabitants of 

the western part of Windham also remonstrated against the proposed 

division. Captain John Fitch declared : — 

** That the committee had set off the new division about a third bigger than 
the residue thought they could possibly spare, yet many wanted a considera- 
ble part more ; had not seen the allegations, but supposed the families were 
so numerous, and their indigency enulvalent thereto, as to render them 
incapable of transporting them to meeting, but how mucli of an argument 
there might be io shortening the travel and enhancing the charge tbov ralffht 
decide. Windham had already lost Mansfield and Ciinada, whicli rendered it 
very ditlioult for them to accommodate the memorialists. Attempt at division 
had caused great strife and divided the people into three parties, not quite so 
equal In their distribution as in their temper and disposition, which will 
prove very detrimental and yon will see them better agreed if you proceed 
no farther in the atKUr." 

In spite of these remonstrances, the majority carried the day, and the 
east part of Windham was endowed with society privileges. May, 
1782. The bounds ascribed were those recommended by the committee. 
The number of families within them was about eighty ; list of estates 
reported, £3,945. The first society meeting was held June 22, 1732, 
at the house of Nathaniel Huntington. Richard Abbe presided. 
Edward -W^ldo was chosen moderator; John Manning, clerk; Peter 
Robinson, John and Edward Waldo, society committee. September 


20, the society again met at Mr. Huntington's, and *^ Voted, to have a 
uiinister for the moiitli, and that the place of preaoliing be at the house 
of Nathaniel Huntington. Also, that we desire to set our meeting- 
hctfise in the centre of our society, and if that prove to be an incon* 
venicncc in the next most convenient place, to build a meeting-house 
for the public worship of Ood. Also, Ensign Nathaniel Rudd, Mr. 
Samuel Manning, Lieutenant Peter Robinson, Sergeants Nathaniel 
Bingham and Edward Waldo, Mr. John Bass and Mr. John Cary, be a 
committee to provide us a minister to preach to us, and also to provide 
a i)lace for him to diet in, and also to agree with him fur what he shall 
have a day." 

Mr. Flagg was the minister provided *T-diet-place and daily wages 
not recorded. December 25, a society meeting was held at Mr. John 
Waldo's. The dissensions arbing during the discussions preceding 
division were not yet healed, and now broke out with renewed violence. 
Some thought that by the law of the Colony societies were required to 
elect their officers in December, others, tlnit all chosen must serve a 
year. A majority favored the former opinion, and proceeded to 
appoint Lieuteiuuit Nathaniel Huntington, clerk and collector ; Peter 
Robinson, John Bass and David Ripley, committee — whereupon Messrs. 
Manning, Rudd|, Bingliam, Oaiy and Allen, at once ordei*ed the clerk, 
'' to enter their dissent against these proceedings of the meeting, for 
that it was not the work of the day and was not contained within the 
wai'uing, and that the officers chosen in June were expected to serve a 
year." Much confusion followed, and the meeting was adjourned till 
December 20, at the house of David Riploy. The ^'diltereno/c" still 
continued. Attempts were made to quiet i>artiod by inlding two of the 
former committee to the present, but it had not that effect A number 
were persuaded that the proceedings of the society were irregular, and 
that they were destitute of a lawful derk and committee, and thus no 
business could be accomplished '* without quarreling." They succeeiled 
in appointing Joseph Meachem, John Gary and Jeremiah Ripley for 
school committee. Samuel Bingham, Zebulon Webb and Peter Robin- 
son were also employed '* to provide a minititer to preach to us for the 
space of two months," and nothing else etTected during the winter. In 
the spring, both parties repaired to the Assembly with their grievances 
and difficulties, which were relieved by the enactment, "That the 
committee amtl otiier otUcers chi>sen Dcccmlicr 25, should be gootl and 
valid in law." 

At the same session, their meeting-house spot was confirmed to 
them. By the Colony law enacted May, 1731, inhabiUmts were to 
apply to the Assembly, who were to appoint, order and affix the place 
whereon each meeting-house should be built Paiishioners were to 



appoint a committee, grant and levy a tax ; clerk of society to keep 
acconnt of disbursements and certify to the Assembly the doings of 
the Bodcty and progixsss of tlie honse. For a society to buitd withoot 
referring to the Assembly Was not lawful, and subjected .them to £IOO 
penalty. In compliance with this act, the lawful authorities judj^d 
the most proper place for Scotland meeting-house to be ^ a knoll^ cast 
side of Merrick*8 Brook, south side of the road from Windham to 
Canterbury/' Hiis land was included. in a thirty-acre lot owntd by 
Mr. Nathaniel Iluntington, who promptly made over a quarter of an 
acre for a building-spot — a gift " thankfully received " by the young- 
society. This important point being settled, all minor difference* were 
laid aside, and all parties united harmoniously in promoting the work 
of building. June 25, 1783, it was voted, " To build a house forty- 
t4iroc foot in lengt1^ Uiirty-throc foot in wi<Uli, twenty foot stn), with 
a handsome jeyht to it suitable for such a house." Eft ward Waldo, 
John Bass and Joseph Meachem were appointed a committee *''to agree- 
with suitable men to build the house, so far as to finish the oatside — 
glazing excepted — make all the doors, and lay the nuder-floor dubhle." 
It was agreed, ^ Tliat the roof shall be covered with chestnuA shingles 
and chestnut clap-boards, sawed.'* Notices for society meetings were 
ordered *^ to be written on a peace of paper, to be sett at the tavei*n,. 
by the door, so as Curly to be seen, and also at the com-milL'*' October 
2, Samuel Palmer, Samuel Manning, Peter Robinson and John Itass 
were appointed, ** To take care of the provision and drink brought in 
for the raising of the meeting-house. The raising was accomplished 
and the irjeaiaie covered so speedily that, November 20v a society - 
meeting was held in the meeting-hou?90. ^It wiis voted, << That- 
the society accept of the said house, as in their estimatioQ done as said. 
committee was to do it" A committee was now chosen to agree withi 
some man or men to glase the meeting-house with good erown glass, 
and Mr. Seth l^Umer employed to make some couveniency lor a. 
minister to stand by to preach. With this temporary pvlpit, costing 
ten shillings, and rough boards for seats, the house was deemed ready- 
for occupation, and twelve shillings allowed to David Ripley for- 
keeping it swept 

Efforts were now made to secui*o a permanent minbter. February 
7, 1784, the society voted, "That we give a minister a call by dividing 
in siud house. Tlie minister thus selected was Mf. Robert Breck, 
a young minister of much ability and promise, in i^rhom the society 
now united, offering £250 for settlement This aiTaiigement was 
frustrated by the interference of Mr. Clap, who still exercised nuninte- 
rial authoritjf over the new pai-ish, and ^suspected the sounduess 6^ 
Mr. Brock's orthodoxy. He told the Scotland people that their chosenj 



candidate was iDolined to ArminianUm, and that they must have no 
more to do with him, and advised Mr. Breok to leave, which he did at 
once, without apparent demur or remonstrance. Tlie dictum of 
Mr. Clap was hot to be questioned. March -27, another meeting was 
held, and Isaac Bumap, David Ripley and Edward Waldo chosen '' a 
ministerial committee to provide us a minister," and directed, *' To go 
first to Mr. Barber to get him to preach, and if he fails to the Erector 
of New Haven. By the advice of this important personage, Mr. 
William Hart was secured, and received with &vor. July 18, was set 
apart as a day of special fasting and prayer, before proceeding again to 
call a minister. The Rev. Eloaxor Willliuns conducted the sorviooi, 
and Mr. Hart was culled witli duo fonnality, but docliniug to accept^ 
the society was constrained to appoint another committee, *' to get 
as a minister." 

During this hiterval, the meeting-house was progressing. In May^ 
arrangements were made for building pulpit, deacons' seat and canopy, 
a gallery with stairs and pillars, and a body of seats. It was voted, 
^' to joync the boily of seats of the men's and women's in the midst, 
and also that we leave seven foet of room round the siiles and emhi of 
the house for alleys and pews ; eight feet on the back for pulpit and 
deacons' seat — John Bass, Nathaniel Rudd and Saimiel Oook to see it 
done." In August, it was decided, ^' To change the middle of the 
body of seats, and have an alley from the door to the deacons' seat* 
three and a half feet wide, and the seats to come up to the south side 
of the house, i*aising the hind-seat two steps and the next to that, one." 
This proving unsatisfactory, in October, it was .determined ^ to new- 
model our mootiug-house," but no particulars specified. December 17^ 
1734, John Manning was chosen society clerk; John Bass, David 
Ripley and Nathaniel Rudd, committee ; Seth Palmer and Elijah Hurl- 
but, collectors ; John Bass, treamrer ; David lUploy, Isaac Burnap 
and Thomas li:iHS, school committee. 

January ^21, 1735, a special committeo was appointed, to serve for 
three months, '^ to get a minister in order for settlement," and, happily, 
succeeded. The minister secured after so much pains and labor was 
Ebenezer, son of Rev. Ebenezer Devotion of Sutlield — a young man 
of good abilities, pleasing address and unimpeachable orthodoxy — who 
h:Hl just completed his ministerial uluJies. He Wiis gratiuated from 
Yale College, in K32, and just t>venty-one years old when called to 
the Scotland pastorate. £300 settlement and £140 salary were offered 
him, with an addiiional thirty afterward, '' he finding his own fire- 
wood." Aiigu.Ht 0, Mr. Devotion personally appeared before the society 
anvl accepted their terms. Preparations were promptly made for ordina- 
tion. Edward Waldo, Isaac Burnap and Nath. Bingham were appointed 


to make provision for the elders and messengers ; Samuel Manning, 
Samuel Palmer and Peter Robinson to send for them. Oct 22, 1735, a 
church was organized in the third society of Windham, and Mr. Devotion 
ordained its pastor. The first and second churches of Windham, the 
second church of Pomfret, the churches of Mansfield, Lisbon and 
Oanterbnry were represented in the Oouncil. Mr. Clap served as 
scribe. The brethren of the Windham church residing in Scotland 
Parish " appaared before the Council, and by a manual vote declared 
their consent and agreem3nt to be a particular church by themselves, 
for the attendance upon and carrying on all the ordinances of the gos]>el 
in this place.*' Eighty-nme members were dismissed from the first an^ 
incorporated into the third ch:irch of Windham. Mr. Devotion was 
then ordained with the usual formalities. November 19, Edward 
Waldo and Nathaniel Bingham were chosen deacons. 

After the happy settlement of an acceptable pastor, Scotland pur- 
sued its way for many yeara with great peace and harmony. A 
*' reading and wrighting school, two months a-peace, in the upper and 
lower parts of the society,'* was established. The meeting-house 
slowly attained completion. In 1737, a pew was ordered for Mr. 
Devotion, << in the east side the pulpit, joining the pulpit, for his youce 
so long as he shall continue with U3 in the work of the ministry." In 
the following year, it was voted to finish the m3eling-houso, '' L e., lay 
the gallery floor, finbh the breast-work and build the first and second 
seats around it." In 1789, pews were erected. Twelve young men 
received liberty to build a pew the length of the front gallery, dividing 
the same by a partition of wood, taking one-half as their own proper 
seat to sit in and gallantly allowing the other to a certain number of 
young women. In 1740, Nathaniel Rndd, David Ripley, Nathaniel 
Huntington and Deacons Waldo and Bingham, had leave to build a 
]>ew, west end of the pulpit, next the stairs, for themselves and their wives. 
During this year, it was firat voted, "To scat the mooting house," John 
Bass, Jonathan Silsbee, Jonathan Brewster, Nath. Huntington and John 
Cary, serving as committee. Bass, Silsbee and Brewster ^ere assigned 
the fore-seat in the body of seats below ; Seth Palmer, the second seat 
next to the fore-seat The " numerous " children in the early Scotland 
families necessitated continued seat-building. Pews were built in com- 
pany, and only occupied by heads of families, so that the young people 
as they grew up were forced to provide for themselves. In 1741, 
Elizabeth Palmer, Jail Lassell, Welthe Cost, Lucy Carpenter, Phebe 
and Elizabeth Lillie, Elizabeth and Sarah Skifi', Ann Ripley and 
Abigail Huntington, had liberty to build a pew in the gallery. 
October 28, 1747, Jabez Kingsley, Samuel Robinson, John Bass, 


Pelathiel Durliam and James and Phineas Manning, thus petitioned : — 

** Wo, the sabscrlbors, petition the third society of Windham to mot us 
liberty of ye floor In yo second seat of ye flnit gallery on the men's side, to be 
deFoted to oar own use to sit In. We desire liberty to raise the floor so much 
as to make it leavel, and to make a door and to sot up banisters, and we will 
do it at our own cost and charge." 

This request was granted, on condition ^ that they pay the sodety 
for finishing the meeting-house against their pew, and let those that 
sit ui the nortlieast corner |>ew have free liberty to pass and repass 
through their pew, and build in six months." ^ 

Even very young girls were stimulated to join in this pew-huilding, 

u^ sbowu by this monioriad : — 

** XovemUr SO, 1744. The humble prayer of your dutlftil memorialists 
showcth to tills itoclcty, that wo, hnvhi^ onconvonlout seats In our moctlug- 
house lu said society to sit In, we thcrofore pray our Fathers of said society 
to ^Ive us the liberty to build a pew in the east gallery, at our own cost and 
charge. Hoping our petition will not be denied, we subscribe ourselves your 
dutinil children till death : 

Mary Mosely. Mary Wright. Mehltable Huntington." 

Abigail Palmer. KUuibetb Klngsluy. 



THE second society of Windham, having outlived the tiials of its 
infancy, was now thriving and populous, many families having 
settled in Windham Village and the adjacent valleys. Thomas Marsh, 
Benjamin Chaplin and Samuel Kimbal of the south part of PomfVet, 
were annexed to this society. A new road, laid out from Windham 
Village to Pomfret in 1730, faoilitated oommunication between these 
settlements. Thomas Stedman of Brookline purchased a hundred and 
lil\y uuros of Nathaniel Kingsbury, and settled in Windham Vilhigo in 
1782. Ebenczor Cjlriliin of Newton, the following year, settled a 
mile noithwest of the meeting-house, on land bought of William 
Durkee, marrying Hannah, daughter of Deacon Philemon Chandler 
of Pomti'et A full military company was formed in 1780, with 
Nathaniel Kingsbury for captain and James Utley for lieutenant. The 
chief house of entertainment was now kept by Nathaniel llovey ; the 
first store is believed to have been kept by Benjamin Bidlack. Of 
schools and the general progress of^ the society, nothing can be learned 
in the absence of society records. 

The church in Cana«la ParUh was in the main prosperous, thongh 
greatly bm-thened witli questions of discipline. Little is known of 



Mr. Billings, or of his standing and success In the ministry, but- it is 
evident that nifairs were not entirely .harmonious. In 1727, Mr. 
Billings applied to the Windham County Association for advice in 
accommodating dtfToronces in the church of Wiodham Village, and . 
was recommended a mediation of ministers or a council of consocia- 
tion. A contemptuous fling at the preaching attributed to one of the 
brethren occasioned further di.^tnrbance. The offender refused to make 
proper acknowledgment Mr. Billings, as strict in discipline as his 
cotcmporary in old Windham, again applied to the Association, Sep- 
tember 11, 1729. A committee was sent, which prescribed the following 
confession : — 

** I ftcknowleds^c before God and thK church y* my «ayln;j, *I had rather 
hear my dog bnrk than Mr. Bllllnf^s preach/ was a Tile and scandaloan ex- 
pression, tending to ye dishonor of onr I^rd Jesas Christ and his ambassadors, 
as also of rvllglon in p:enoral. I do liereby declare before Ood and ye church 
my sorrow i\nd repentance for it, humbly asking your forglvoncss, and resolve 
to hnve a greater watch and guard over my tongue." 

This confession was prob.ibly satisfactory to neither party, as, two 
yeai-s later, the A}48ociation voted, " That Mr. Billings ought tx) accept 
confession," and in August, 1732, ordered, "That Mr. Billings do pro- 
ceed to read aloud *s conft^ssion with all convenient speed." The 

matter was not settled till 1735, aflor the death of Mr. Billings, when 
the offender appeared before the congregation, owned the prescribed 
confession, and the church accepted it 

Indulgoiicc in llipior involved another brother in a course oP ohuroh 


" Janf^arp 8, 1781. Rev. William Billings to . Greeting:— 

Having been informed of yonr being over-taken with Inebriating drink at 
sundry times of late, to ye great dishonor of Christ and religion, and danger 
of your own soul, yon are required to come to my house and do what the laws 
of Chrlst*s Kingdom require of such offenders.** 

This being disregarded, a second summons was sent, Jaiumry 23, 
enforcing his appearance, or ho " would add obstinacy to hU former 
crime.*' The culprit then appeared, but denied the accurtjition. Farther 
investigation was decided upon. Elizabeth Crocker, Daniel Davis, 
John Clark, Mr. and Mi's. Nathaniel Ilovey, William Durkee and 
Stephen Fuller, were summoned to give in their testimony. A formal 
meeting was held at the minister's, February 9, and the fact established 
that the accused had been overcome and disguised with strong dnnk ; 
once when working on the highway, and again at the houses of 
Nathaniel Hovey and Benjamin Bidlack. A public confession was 
ordered. The young man demuiTed, aud begged time to consider the 
matter, but finally, March 28, 1731, came to the house of God and 
owned the following declaration, read by the pjistor :— - 

"These are to confess that I have been overtaken some time since wltl^ 
strong drink, and partlcnlarly at the lost day of working on highway last fall. 
I acknowledge I then drank too much strong drink, and nave sinned before ye 

• 86 



Great Lord, and I ha?e a Jealoaaie of myself, whother I have not beon orertakeu 
or dmnk too iimcb stroug drink soroo other tlmen, for all which I deaire to bo 
deeply humbled, and take thamo to myself, and to pray a pardon fkx>m Uio 
Great I^>rd the Christ, and ask fargivoness of the Churcli, hoping and resolv- 
ing, in tlie strength of Christ, to walk more watchfully for time to come." 

From these older chorch members — Ilovey and Bitllack — who had 
probably furnished the liquor thus '^ oveitakeu *' aud ^^ overtaking," no 
oonfesaion was extorted. A brother, '^ guilty of railing and defamatory 
language,*' was also required to make a public ootifesaiou. Elizabeth 
Mott, having ''embraced anti-Ptedo-baptistioal sentiments to a high 
degree and denied them to be a true church,** was '' shaken off and 
given up,** Novembt^r, 1780. 

An nouto tlisoase tormiimtod the life and miiiiHti7 of Mr. liilUngs, 
May 20, 1788. One hundred and seventy two })ersons liad been 
admitted to his church during his ten yeara pastorate. A sermon, 
preached on the preceding Fast-day, was published atlcr his decease, 
and gives, says Mr. Robeit C. Le^imed, '* a pleasing impression of his 
mental and moral qualities/' The Kov. Mr. Hale of Ashford, thus 
ti^tifles ill tho prufiUH) to this sermon : *' I have diHooniotI liis sweet 
ChriHtiaii ooiiversatioii, not only among the ministers in our Assooiutioii 
meetings, but also in some measure amongst his own people, and also 
very particularly in his own family, wherein he practiced in a very 
eminent degree and manner. In his last sickness, he gave tokens of 
finishing his course in a right Christian manner, though sorely 
oppressed with the distemper in the last week, even unto his being 
very delirious." Mr. Billings \efi a widow and four young children, 
liis estiite, though less than those of Messi^s. Whiting and Estabrook, 
was not insufticient, as is evident from this inventoi*y : — 

* £ •• d. 

Clothes, 24 4 2 

Books, 48 10 7 

Horse, 22 

Stock, 42 

Furniture, 20 

Cloth, yarn and flax, . 20 
Brass, . . . . ' . .700 

Pewter, 8 7 

Iron, 10 4 

Bedding, 51 10 

Indian girl, . . . . 20 

Farm and house, . . . 600 

Nine pounds for provisions were allowed to the widow during the 
settlement of the estate. In July, 1784, she represented to the Court 
that she was destitute of provisions — not enough for one week — and 
very scant for clothing, with four small children and not able to do 
anything for their support, under the afflioting hand of Providence by 
sickness and ex[>osed to great ditticulty, and begged to have the money 
due for her husband's salary allowed her, which was granted. She 


soon after married, as was not infreqnent in those days, her husband's 
sucoessor in tlie ministry — Samuel Mosely of Dochester, the first candi- 
dntc recommended by the Association. Mr. Mosely was graduated 
from Harvard College, in 1729, and ordained pastor of the second 
church in Windham, May 15, 1784. No record is preserved of the 
services of the day or terms of settlement. Mr. Mosely was an able 
and earnest preat^her, dignified in manner and stnot in doctrine and 
discipline. In 1788, a number of brethren were chosen ''to represent 
the church, with full power to draw up judgment and administer cen- 
sure in matters of church discipline with the pastor,*' and it was 
ordered, " That a judgment drawn up at any time by this representa- 
tive body should be publicly read before the church and congregation 
before they proceeded any further in a way of censure with the 
offender, and that satufaction should be made by the offender in the 
Kxww public manner." Deacons John and VVilltam Durkeoand Thonuis 
Marsh, Captain James Utiey, Thomas Stedman, Philip Abbot, Eleazer 
Crocker, George Martin, John Clark, Thomas 'Kingsbury, Samuel IClngs- 
bury and Benjamin Chaplin, were chosen to this ofiice. April 25, 1789, 
tliese powers were confirmed, and it was voted, " That the representa- 
tives before spoken of should continue in the office of ruling elders 
during the pleasure of the church." At the same meeting, the church 
also voted : — 

*' That *tl8 tho ophilon of thin church, that liberty of an appeal from the 
Jiid^tnciit of tho Consociation to a Synod con.oiistlnp: of two or throo minlstors 
and as many messengers out of each county, properly chosen, all with equal 
power to vote iu said Synod ... Is reasouablo and convenient, and 
would have a tendency to promote the peace, purity and edification of our 
churches If they should Introduce it into practice." 

Though an active member of Windham County Association, Mr. 
Mosely was not at this time in sympathy with the ecclesiastic constitu- 
tion of Connecticut, as is manifest from this attempt to evaile the 
))Ower of Consociation. 

The first society of Windham was now suffering many losses. Mary, 
the lovely wife of Mr. Clap, died August 19, 1736, bc»fore completing 
her twenty- fourth year. Few women have excelled this young daughter 
of Windham. More than thirty years after her death. Dr. D.iggett thus 
sketches her character : — 

** She had a beantlftit and pleasant countenance ; was a woman of great 
prudence and diHcrutlon In ihe conduct of hor8elf and all her airalrs ; was 
diligent, and always endeavored to make the bent of what she had ; the heart 
of her husband could safely trust In her. She was kind and compassionate to 
the poor and all In distress. She was adorned with an f'xcellent spirit of 
humility aud meekness ; did not affect to put herself forward I u con versa- 
tion, but chose to speak discreetly rather than much, but was always free. 


pleanant and cheerful ia conversation with every one. She exceeded in a 
moBt serene, pleasant temper and dlnposUion of mind, which rendered her 
verv agreeable to her husband and all her acquaintance ; and though he lived 
with her almost nine years in the connubial state, yet he never once saw her 
In any unpleasant temper, neither did one unpleasant word pass between them 
on any occasion whatsoever." 

So littlo is seoD of women in tlie early clays of Windham County 
history tliat it is plesinant to iind so briglit a model among tiiem. Mrs. 
Clap left two young daughters, who lived to nmturity, and adorned 
high positions in Connecticut. 

Riehard Abi>e, the most prominent of the second generation of 
Windhmn citixenSi dieil July 10, 1737, oge<l lidy-lbur. llulf of hin 
large estate, with the negro girl, (Sinnc, wiiH l>equeatheil to his wife, 
and liberal legacies given to his brothers and sistei'S. lie also lell 
fifly pounds to JMr. Clap and twenty to the Hrst church of Windham. 
He especially enjoined upon his executors '^ that no unjust advantage 
should be taken of his debtors, and that those against whom he held 
mortgages should have reiisonable time to redeem them, even if they 
had been legally fcu'leited." He had been constable, sherit)*, justice of 
]>e:ice, judge of the County Court, and a man of intluence hi town, 
church and Colony. 

Jeremiah Ripley, Sen., and his son, Jeremiah, both died in 1787. 
Joshua Ripley, Sen., after fitly years of active public service, died iu 
1739. His wife, Mrs. Aim Bradford Ripley, hod preceded him a few 
years. He left sons — Joshua, llezekiah and David — and one daughter. 
Tlie greater part of his estate had been previously distributed among 
his children. Joslum, now, received his great Hible and wearing 
apparel — except such as he woh buried in. Jertisha, for her c:ire of 
him, had a cow and heifer above her proportion. A granddaughter, 
Ann, one heifer, m tlesigned by her grandmother. The Hock of sheep 
was diviiied among the sons. Eight or nine religious books, and 
many t:ernions, composed his library. Much of the household furniture 
was ** old " and 'M>roken." A china platter whh the most costly 
article. Eight " rugs," or coverlids, blue, yellow, orange and white, 
valued at over eight pounds, bore witness to the thrifl and ingenuity of 
Mrs. Ripley. 

Mr. John Backus, the last of the original sett lei's, died March 27, 
1744, in the eighty -third year of his age, having " served his geneni- 
tion in a steady course of probity and piety." One of his daughters 
had married Joshua Ripley, Jun. ; another, Colonel Thomas Dyer; 
another, Hezekioli J^ord of l^'cston ; ami all were women of superior 
energy and ch2U*acter. 

Mr. Nathaniel Wales, chosen one of the deacons of the church at 
its organization in 1700, ** after he hml served God and his generation 


faithfully many yeare in this life, did with the holy disoiple lean upon 
the breast ol his beloved, and by the will of God meekly fell asleep in 
the craillo of death on the 22d day of June, 1744, in the 85111 y«mr of 
his ago." 

He was followed in May, 1'74.'>, by Captain John Fitch, the last sur- 
vivor of the fathers and founders of Windham. For more than forty 
years he had held the office of town-clerk, was chosen captain of its 
first military company in 1703, and served as repi'esentative, justice, 
judge of probate, and in many public capacities. 

To these losses, was ad<led the removal of Mr. Clap. After the 
death of his wife, he had devoted himself with redoubled earnestness 
to his pastoral work, bearing the name and circumstances of every one 
upon his heart, and endeavoring in every posnible way to forward and 
promote the salvation of their souls — till called to the presidency of 
Yale College. Many prominent clergymen and public men of Con- 
necticut, c^mtident of his peculiar fitness, urged his acceptance of this 
ofiice, and Windham was i*eluctafitly compelled to resign her energetic 
and distinguished pastor. December 10, 1739, he was dismissed from 
his pastorate, and April 2, 1740, installed president of Tale College. 
A pecuniary compensation for the loss sustained by Windham was 
referred " to the judgment of the gentlemen of the Oenei*al Assembly," 
who "considering that Rev. Mr. Clap had In^en in the ministry at 
Windham fourteen years, which, in their estimate, was about half the 
time of a miniHter's life in general, judged that the society ought to 
have half the price of his settlement" This was about fifty- three 
pounds sterling — or three hundred and ten pounds in the depreciated 
currency of Connecticut. August 20, 1740, the First Sodety in 
Windham voted, "That Mr. Jolm Abbe, Nathan Si<i<r and Joseph 
Bingham, the ]>re8ent society's commitU»e, or any one of them, in the 
name and bt^half of said society, it»ceivo the three hundred and ten 
pounds money, granted to this society in May last by the General 
Assembly, on the account of llev. Thomas Clap's removal from us 
to the llectorate of Yale College." 

The loss in influence and authority was less cosily supplied. The 
Windham people were qtrit^ unsettled by the removal of their head 
and censor, and, it is said, " acted like boys let out of school." Much 
as they had admired and reveved their late pastor, they were appa- 
rently reluct4mt to re-subject themselves to such severity of discipline, 
and chose for a successor his i>recise ojiposite — a gentleman of great 
mildness and gentleness of char.icter, quite deficient in administrative 
capacity — Mr. Stcjihen White of New Haven, a Yale graduate of the 
class of 1736. Th:it Mr. White was acceptable to the people may be 
inferred from the pains taken to guard against his premature retnoval,* 



in the following vote : " Whereas, the inhabitants of said society, 
having had some oonsidemble experience of Mr. Stephen White's 
ininisteriiil abilities, to their general satisfaction, do now agree to give 
hiin a call to the work of the ministry and to oontiniie among ns in 
said work, a^ lonff cu he lives, or is able to preach the Gospel." Six 
hundred pounds as a settlement and two hundred pounds salary were 
offered. These terms were accepted, and Mr. White ordained, 
Ducemhor 24, 1740. The sermon on this occasion was preached by 
Kev. Solomon Williams of Lebanon. The Reverends Ele:izer 
Williams, Joshua Meacham, Sanmel Moscly and Ebenezer Devotion 
also UkAl part in the services. The young minister found his parish 
in adminiblo orler; all its alfairs reduced to perfect system. Ecclesi- 
astical matters were no longer managed by town authorities, but by 
the lawful society officers. Every head of a household was con- 
nected with the church, either by profejsion of faith or by owning the 
covenant Family prayer was observed in every household, and every 
child consecrated by baptisni. Profane swearing was but little known, 
and o|»cn vit»lations of the Sabbath were very rare. "The |>eople, as 
a body, were fearers of the Lord, and observers of the S.ibbath and its 
duties." The memberahip of the church was two hundred and eighty- 
seven. Tlie deacons then in service were Joshua Huntington, liulph 
Wheelock, Eleazer Gary and Nathaniel Wales. Mr. White was 
married soon after his settlement to Mary, daughter of Major Thomas 

The secular affairs of the town were also prospering. Men of 
energy and cipiud filled the places made vacant by dciith and 
emigration. ThtHiias Dyer was now actively engaged in public affairs, 
a shop " in the street agahnt his house, with a sutticient caitway each 
side,'* serving for his office. When the militia of the Colony was 
reorganized, in 1739, and the military companies of Windham, Mans- 
field, Coventry, Ashford, Willington, Stafford and Union, constituted 
the Fifth Hogimcnt of Connecticut, Mr. Dyer was made its major. 
His son, Eli[)halet, aflcr graduation from Yale College, in 1740, at the 
age of nineteen, studied law in Windham. In 1744, he was appointed 
justice of the peace and captain of a military compiuiy. After the 
death of Mr. John Fitch, he wan chosen town-clerk, and, in 1746, he 
was admittcnl to the bar of Windiiaui County. Jedidiah Elderkiu of 
Norwich, a descendant of John Klderkin of [jynn, four years the senior 
of young Dyer, had gained atl nittance two years previous. These 
youiig lawyers entered witli niuoh zeal upon the practice of their pro- 
fession, and soon ranke<l among the foremost public men of the day. 
Law bu/iuess wa^ now extremely bri ik in Wiiidiiain and its vicinity, 
and a large number of cases wore reported at every session of the 


Reveml conrt«. In 1743, another Rtory was added to the jail, under 
the nn)K>rviRtoii of Jonathan and Jabez Iluntinc^n. Penaltiefl, at this 
|wriml, were nxtreinoly Rovore. Heavy fines, Avhippings an<l inipriflon- 
niont wow adininiMt^Tod lor ulisrht ofTenooR. ThoRo unable t^ |»ay finefl 
and lawful debts were often bound out as servants. A year'fl Rervioe to 
John liipley satisfied a judgment of £28. A debt of £50, doomed 
one unfortunate tt> three years* service for John Fitch, two yean* for 
Joshua Hutchins and six months for James Walden. Another was 
bound servant for eight years for a debt of £120. 

The growth of Uie town made many public officers needful. In 
1746, there were cho»en a town-clerk and town treasurer, five selectmen, 
three collectoi-s of town-rates, four constables, six grand juroi-s, seven 
listers, four branders, three leather-sealers, six fence-viewei*8, eight 
tithing-men and ten surveyoi-s. As, with all their thrifl, highways 
were still wanting in many places, "to accommodate the town and 
many particular persons to travel to the several places of public 
worship," — Isaac Bui*uap and Joseph Huntington were appointed a 
special committee to rectify it The bridge crossing the Shetucket, 
between Windham and Lebanon, long maintained by private enter- 
prise, was consigned to the care of Windham in 1735, by act of 
Assembly. Robert Hebard, Jun., was chosen by the town to inspect 
and take care of it Paul Hebard and Israel Dimock were allowed by 
the town "to set np a blacksmith's shop or coal-house on the King's 
highway.'* The chief annoyance of Windham in thiH pcriml of growth 
and prosperity was her boundary quarrel with Canterbury, which broke 
out afresh from time to time with ever-increasing bitterness and 
violence. Various legal decisions arljudged the disputed land to Can- 
terbury, but were not recognized by Windham, who continued to 
retain it in possession, and kept an agent constantly in the field to 
defend the claim before the Comets and Assembly. Another alleged 
grievance was that of stniitoned limits. Large tractn of land were 
owned by individuals imwilling to sell at sufficiently low prices. An 
nnsuccessful attempt was made to secure vacant land in Voluntown. 
Unable to find accommodations in their own neighborhood, a number 
of citizens discussed the feasibility of emigration, and, aHer the open- 
ing of new townships in the northwest of the Colony, thus memorialzed 
the General Assembly : — 

" Windham^ May 10, 17.S7. ForoRinuch as wo nro snmlry of ns sliifflo por- 
sons, and others of nuiuerouM fhuilllos, and have but Ruinll accomiiimlations 
of l|ind, and considering that It may redound to the good of our<»ulvi!8 and 
chlldrou and advantageous to the (^ommonwoalth— wc humbly pray, tliat your 
Honors would please to grant us a town in the ungranted liinds in tids Colony, 
lying east of Weiitaug [Salisbury]— tlic nortliwest town from Lltchflcld, or 
some other of the free townships — for such a sum of money, and under such 
regulations and restrictions as your Honors shall think flt." 


This roqiiest wtia denied, though urged by over forty petitioperSy 
Representing tha liipleya, Baokusod, IIuuUngton9, Binghanuf, Abbes, 
Crane:), l^irnapR, Waldos, Uobinsons and other old Windhain families. 
Tliotigh not sucoessful iu obtaining a free township, many of these 
petitioners subsequently remove<l to the new oountry, and aided io the 
settlemeut of towns in Litohiield County. 

The year 17^5 is memorable in Windham annals for the first publio 
cxeoution in Windham County — a tragic event, awakening a very deep 
and |>ainful interest in all the Hurroun<ling i*egion. The supreme 
penalty of the law was indiuted upou a uxmu^n — a young girl-mother, 
charged with the mui*der of her child. Elizabeth Shaw — a descendant 
]>robably of William Shaw, who b.mght laud on Little river io 1709 — 
lived with her parents in Canada Parish, about two miles southwest 
from Windham Village. She is represented as a weak, simple girl, 
delieient in mental capacity. Her father was stern and rigid. NoUiing 
is known of the preceding facts and circumstances uutil after giving 
birth secretly to a living child, the poor bewildered girl, fearful of 
exposure and punishment, stole away to a ledge of rocks near by, hid 
the babe in some nook or crevice, and left it to perish. Her father 
suspected and watched her, and — unable, perhaps, to force her to con- 
fession — himself, it is said, made accusation against her. She was 
arrested and examined. Search was made, and the poor little body 
found in the grim Cowatick Rocks. The grand jurors found her 
guilty of murder, and committed her to Windham jail to await her 
tiial. This was held September 17, 1745, at the session of the 
Superior Court. Roger Wolcott sat as chief judge j James Wads- 
worth, William Pitkin, Ebenezer Silliman and John Bulkley, as 
asii^itants. Samuel Huntingtou, Edward Waldo, Nathaniel Ilolbrook, 
Nathaniel Ilido, Benjamin Fas.M3tt, Samuel Rust, Joseph Williamst 
Nathaniel Webb, Ignatius Barker, Josiah Kingsley, Joseph Park- 
hurst and James Danielson served as jurors. The greatest interest 
was felt in the trial, and a large number atiende I. The grand -jurora 
[)resented, *^ That one Elizabeth Shaw, Jun., of Windham, a single 
woman, was on the 29th of June, 1745, delivered of a living mide 
bastard child, iu Windham, and did seci'etly hide and^ dispose of the 
Siune in the woods in said Windham, anil there left it until it |>erislied 
for want of relief, and did endeavor to conceal the birth and death 
thereof, so that it should not come to light whether said child were 
born alive or not, and did cause to perish said child." ]>etails of the 
trial are not preserved. The prisoner pleaded, *^ Not guilty." The names 


and pleas of tlie ootinsel are nnknown. The facts of the case were 
clearly proved. Extennating circainstanoes had no weight. The jury 
judged that she was guilty of the murder, and the sentence was passed, 
" Tliat she should go from hence to the common gaiol, and thence to 
the place of execution and there be hanged till she be dead, December 
18, J 745." 

This severe sentence was duly executed. In those stem days, a 
rigid enforcement of law was deemed the only safeguard of morality, 
and while there was the deepest commiseration for the unhappy victim, 
her mental inoapa(*.ity and physical woakiiess were not supposed to 
niitigiite her guilt No public effort was apparently made to obtiin a 
remission of the penalty. No Jeanie Deans was there to plead for 
an erring sister. If mild Mr. White counseled leniency, his sterner 
cotemporaries might have protested against it. A doubtful tnidition 
ro]>()rts that Elizabeth Shaw*s father, repentant too late, went to Hart- 
ford and procured a reprieve from the Governor, but that on his way 
home was met by a sudden storm, the rivers became impassable, and 
his return was delayed till afler the execution. On the fatal day, a 
gallows was erected on a hill a mile southwest from Windham Green. 
An immense concourse of people from all the adjacent country wit-, 
nessed the mournful spectacle. Little ^children, too young to join in 
the procession, remembered vividly through life the long train, reaching 
from Gallows Hill to Windham Jail, following the cart which bore the 
hapless Elizabeth, sitting upon her coftin, crying continuously, *' Oh, 
Jesus I have mercy upon my soul I *' through the dreadful death -march 
and the last harrowing ceremonies. Mr. White conducted the usual 
religious services. Jabez Huntington officiated as sheriff. No report 
of this tragic affair is found in the newspapers of the day. A single 
additional item is gleaned from the Court records : — 

** Allowed Mr. BliortfT lIuntlnKtou, for cost and oxpouso of doing 
. execution on Bllxalioth Blmw, £20 5s. 

ifarc* 22, 1746." 



THE remarkable freedom from disease and losses enjoyed by Can- 
terbury till 1726 was followed by a very great mortality. Joseph 
Woodward and Jonathan Hide died in 172G ; M^or James Fitch, the 



Rev. Mr. EoUbrook and hia wife, Tixhall Engworth, Samael Adams, 

Samuel Cleveland, Jan., and David Carver, in 1727 ; Stephen Froeti in 

172B. Major Fitoh retired from public life some years before his 

decetise, and little is known of the latter days of this noted |)ei*sonage. 

I lis large laiideil estate had passed mainly oat of his hands, and no 

record of its final settlement has been discovered. His son, Daniel, kept 

possession of the Peagscomsnok homestead. Jahes lived for a time in 

Newent^ and then returned to Canterbury. The survivors of the 

remaining seven sons settled in other towns. His daughter, Jemsha, 

married Daniel l^issel, aiid died om*ly. Lucy Fitch married Henry 

Cleveland of Canterbury. A tomb-stone in the old burhd-grouud bears 

•the subjoined insoription : — » 

** Hero lies y body of Mi^or Jamos Fitch, Esq., son of y Reverend Mr. 
Jaiuen Fitch, pastor* first or Saybroolc, thua of Norwich. He was bora iu 
Saybroolc, 1047. He was very usoAil in his inUttary and lu his muglstmoy, to 
which he was chosen, served successlvuly to y groat acceptation aud advan- 
tage of his country, being a geutlcmau of good parts sud very forward to 
promote y« civil and religious Interests of It. Died November 10, 1727, aged 
80 years." 

Another stone iu the same ancient ground oommemorates **y* 
Reverend and Pious and Leai*ned Mr. Samuel Kstabrook, y* Sd son of 
y" Reverend Mr. Joseph Estabrook, late pastor of y* church in Con- 
cord, who was y* first pastor of y* church in Canterbury, who departed 
this life to y* everlasting mercy of God, June 28d, 1 727, in the 58d 
year of his age." Mrs. Rebecca £stabrook, that '^ worthy, virtuous 
and pious gentlewoman,'* died the December following. Mr. Estabrook 
left land with buildings, valued at £1,000, a library of over two 
hundred volumes, comprising nmny elaborate Latin works, and a 
bountiful supply of household furniture and wearing apparel. His 
son, Nehemiah, was bequeathed the " housing and estate." Ilobart was 
*' to be brought up to college," and have £50 and y* books and papers. 
To his daughter Mary was left £20 and the movable goods. 

The venerable Elisha Paine and Obadiah Joluison were still surviv- 
ing of the older settlei*s. Deliverance i^rowii, Samuel Butts, IHmolhy 
Backus, Joseph, Josiah, Henry and Moses Cleveland, Elisha aud Solo- 
mon Paine, and other sons of the first settlers, were now in active life. 
Elisha Paine, Jun., was practicing as an attorney. Captain Joseph 
Adams and Colonel John Dyer wei*e among the most active and 
influential citizens. 

The first minister procured after the death of Mr. Estabrook wais 
Mr. Samuel Jenison. September 12, 1727, the town empowered Doicon 
Thomas Brown aud Mr. John Dyer, " to go or send to y* Rev. Mr. 
Jenison, who lately ]>reached among us, to see whether they can pre- 
vail with him to come and help us in y* work of y* ministry, and to 
invite him to said work for two or three mouths if they can, and in 


caae they cannot prevail with him, then to apply themselyes to Mr. 
Backley, and in case they cannot prevail with him, then to look else- 
whorc« and to do word to snoh other miuiRters neighboring to us as are 
willing to help na, so as, if ]Nmsiblc, we may not l)o destitute of the 
means of the gospel.** Also, voted, " That y* selectmen nmke a rate 
for y* pajring of Rev. Mr. Estabrooks, deceased, his salary, for ye whole 
year last past" 

Mr. Jenison being prevailed upon, the town proceeded, January 80, 
1728, to offef him '' the sum of one hundred pounds — as it now passes 
among us in true bills of credit of either of said Colonies of Connecti- 
cut, boston, Rhoad Island or New hamshair — sallary yearly ; he settling 
himself and continuing in town in ye work of the ministry ** — to which 
ten pounds would be added *' when Mr. Jenison comes to be settled 
amongst us and hath a family of his own.** Before completing their 
arrangements, the question of discipline was debated. The Canter- 
bury church hml never formally accepted Saybrook Platfonn, and 
some of its members were extremely opposed to it, and now stated to 
Mr. Jenison their objections, and insisted that he should sign with the 
church an explicit agreement to follow Cambridge and not Saybrook 
form of discipline. Mr. Jenison consenting, a formal call was given 
and accepted, and the first Wednesday of September appointed for 
ordination. A committee was appointed, '^ to provide for ye ministers 
and messengers that may be employed in ye management of said affair 
at ye proper charge of ye town " — when, fur some unaHsigned cause, 
the agreement lapsed, and Mr. Jenison disappeara suddenly and forever 
from town and record. 

A committee was chosen in November, "to supply the pulpit for 
three months at the charge of ye town.** Various sums of money were 
allowed for going to New Haven and Farmington after ministers. The 
next candidate secured was Mr. John Wadsworth of Milton, a graduate 
of liar vard in 1728. January 25, 1720, it was agreed, 'Hhat they 
would not make any farther tryall of any other persons in ye work of 
ye ministry, but would call Mr. John Wadsworth, offering him one 
hundred pounds a year, and one hundred and fifty pounds settlement, 
to be paid fifty pounds a year — adding ten pounds yearly to the salary 
after the first three years.'* Mr. Wadsworth, aft;er due consideration, 
thus replied : — 

" To the town of Canterbury :— 

God having, In his own unsearchable Provldeace, bereaved vou of your 
pious pastor (whose memory be blessed), and graciously disposed jou, with 
unwearied endeavors, to seek after a setelment (notwlthstaudlng your frus- 
trations), so that yon might en]oy«Ck>d In all ways of his appointment, and 
your hearts being dlspos^ to invite mo (howovsr unworthy of so sacred an 
office) to be your shepherd under Christ, I, with most strong convictlous of 
my natural inability to perform ye arduous duties of so high a station, with 


entire reliance on ChrUi*8 promised presence nnd the Spirit's gracious assist- 
ance, accept ye vocation, I trust, with a suitable resolution to walk worthy of 
it. Under these considerations, I accept, that while f shall be your gospel 
minister I have a gospel utalnteuanco, not only In youth but lUso In old age, 
If spared thereto ; In sickness as well as In health, that I may have physic as 
well as food, which I think Is not so clearly cxprest In ye town vote. As 
touching the annual salary, I look upon an hundred and ten pounds as ye 
stated sum, but not unalterable. Times are chan^feable, and we In them. If 
for my comfortublo malntenace, £160, £200 or £800 per annum Is necessary, 
as is requlMlte in Carolina. I bhiill expect it be fVeely ofRsred ; on the con- 
trary, If ten bo sultlclent, I remit ye hundred. A» for ye Hottlement, I am 
persuaded you are all sensible what an lncouslderal>le sum £169 Is to procure 
one withal. I desire It may be paid ye first year, but If that be too burthen- 
some, ye hundred ye first year and ye fifty yo next.** 

Tho town was soniowluit |>ori>]oxoil by those ambiguous requiromonta, 
and was obligoti to usk an explanation of the answer, and insist uiK>n 
having terms more ** fixedly stated." This point being settled, anotlier 
dittioulty arose. Mr. Wiulsworth, like Mr. Jenison, was asked to enter 
into a written covenant to govern the church according to Cambridge 
Platform. In taking his degree, he had signed his name to the tliesis, 
'* That the Congregational Church was most agi^eeable to the institutions 
of Christ of any human composures of that nature,'* but declinoil ^^ to 
tie himself absolutely to govern according to any human com|»osuro 
whatever new light he might have.'* This refusal " put the church into 
agreeable surprise.'* There were consul titions in this and that pait of 
the room. Mr. John Bacon — afterwards de:iCou — with '* great affection 
and concern,'* begged them not to break in pieces. He believed the 
published opinion of the candidate would suttice, and upon this ground 
they finally consented unanimously to confirm the call. One of the 
brethi*en afterwards wrote him, that had he not signed the 8pecifie«l 
thesis, ^'he would m soon have trusted a Papish Jesuit" All obstacles 
being removed, Mr. Wadsworth was ordained, September 8, 1729 — 
£15 68. lid. being allowed for ordination expenses. 

The settlement of a new minister was soon followed by the erection 
of a new meeting-house. January 5, 1781, the town voted, ''That a 
new meeting-house should be built, fifty feet long, forty-Hve wide, 
twenty-two between joynts, and sett on ye town's land, where, or near 
where, the old meeting-house now stands." This site was very objec- 
tionable to a part of the inhabitants, being but half a mile from Plain- 
field and four miles from the west bounds of Canterbury. A movement 
was now in progress for including the north end of Canterbury in a 
society about to be formed from parts of Pomfret and Mortlake, aind 
thus the town was unsettled and divided. In the fall of 1731, sixty- 
seven inhabitants petitioned for liberty to build on the old meeting- 
house spot, and thirty three protested against it. Decision was deferre<l. 
Meanwhile a new HocJtJty was creeled, including the north part of 
Canterbiu*y. in May, 1782, William Throope, Experience Porter and 


Joseph Kingsburj were appointed to view the town of Qanterbury and 
nettle the site for its projected meeting-house. The question of a 
further division into east and west societies was seriously agitated. 
The comniittei' called the inhabitants together, ** heard reasons and 
called a vote, and there were forty-six ag^nst building, and twenty 
for dividing.*' They next called upon the inhabitants of the new ^ci- 
ety to vote, and " twenty desired the old parish might be divided, 
and nineteen were against it, and five inhabitants of Mortlake, making 
twenty-four." After thoroughly viewing old and new parishes, they 
" thought it best not to divide," and then proceeded to hear the peti- 
tioners respecting the place for a meeting-house, and finding them much 
divided in opinion, called them to pass one by one and declare where 
they would have it set, and there were twenty-nine for the old place, 
and twenty- nine for Wm. Baker's, and fourteen for Tryall Baker's, and 
two for Solomon Paine's. They then put the vote, and there were 
thirty-one for the old place, and thirty-three for William Baker's, half 
a mile westward. Again they called for a vote, whether the site should 
be at William or Tryall Baker's, and there were eleven for Tryall, and 
fourteen for William Baker's. Then, after thoroughly viewing the 
land, north and south, to know how it might be accommodated with 
a toay, the committee agreed, '' That the place shall be by ye country 
road leading from ye old meeting-house to Windham town, not exceed- 
ing eight or ten rods from said Baker's house, half a mile west from 
ye old meeting-house." The Adsoinhly, in October, approved and (ujn- 
finned the spot, and ordered the inhabitants to proceed with building. 
This order was not obeyed. Descendants of old settlers settled in 
the east of the town could not be reconciled to this change of location. 
In May, 1783, John Dyer and £lisha Paine presented the Assembly 
with a memorial, showing the great difficulty they labored under 
respecting building their mcotinghonsc, that the vote t4iken by the 
committee was scattered and broken by reason of the recent change in 
society and not a fair expression of opinion, and gave the following 
reasons for not proceeding with the work : — 

** I. The committee did not niidcrstAiid the circumstances. 

II. * Laid too much weigtit on tlie broken vote. 

III. Place selected held by owners at anrcasonable terms. 

IV. 80 nneven that when one sill is on the ground, the other is eleven foot 

V. Roads most cross private lots. 

VI. Society so settled that more than two- thirds of persons and estates 
must tnivel fTom ye old place to ye new, and thinic it beyond onr duty that 
we, who have borne ye brunt and beat of the day, and sttli bear the greatest 
part of ye charges, should be obliged to travel out of ye main fitreet, that is 
become a fenced lane almost from one end to ye other, and go into the woods 
about three-fourths of a mile, where there is nothins but trees except one 
house to comfort any In distress, no land suitable to buud on as the roads to the 
stated placo are not only very bad but very difficult to l>e obtained, while at ye 


old place, all ye roada meet and with much labor have been made fltfortraTel. 
Also, It la not so at one end as It looks, people being moatlT aettled on ye eaat 
ttldo ; weat aide not Ukcly to bo auttlod In tbls generation— land being poor an<l 
rough and held by uoii- residents In Ji^rge tracts. For all these reasons, beg to 
be excused from building on assigned spot. The committee had relations 
living west and were connected with Norwich proprietors. Abpe we may not 
be obliged to build our meeting-house on land not ours, when we have pre- 
pared a very commodious green for the purpose, and have taken pains Ibr 
roads, Ac*" 

Daniel Brewster, . Joha Brown' and Oaptain John.Balkley were 
accordingly appointed, who reported in &yor of the old green, *^ as 
the roads best -lead to it| six feet southward of place where old meet- 
ing-house stands." This site was confirmed by the Assembly, and the 
iuhabilaiita again onlored '* to proceed to set up and finish meeting- 
house at the above described place." The more westerly resideuta 
remonstrated in vain.. The aociety committee, in May, 1785, reported 
progress ; house raised and: workmen agreed to finish, and in time the 
house was made ready for occupation, but from the loss of the first 
book of society records no details are attainable. 

Tlie boundary controversy with Wiudliam was revived in 1781, by 
ntteinpling to levy taxes, )>erhaiMi in propiicaUon for the new,i|ieetlng- 
house, from Samuel Cook and Oolob Wood\v(ir)l; residents of the 
disputed territory. Cook, who was a member of tlie Scotland chui*ch, 
and had hitherto paid taxes in Windham, petitioned the Assembly in 
October, 1781, in behalf of himself and Woodward, declaring that 
they had always supposed themselves inhabitants of Windham and had 
paid taxes there, but were now assessed by Canterbury and doomed for 
their head and stocks. The Assembly ordered, *' That no disti*08S 
sliall be levied on the proprietors by any ofiicor of Canterbury until the 
line be settled, and petitioners shall pay rates to Wiiidam," whereupon 
Woodward appeared with a counter memoiial,* showing that Cook liad 
petitioned falsely ; that his house and the improvement of his land fell 
within Canterbury, according to the settlement of the line made by the 
General Assembly hi 1714, and confirmed by the surveyor of Windham 
County in 1781 ; that after he had given in his list and paid mtes to 
Canterbury, listers from Windham had prasumed to assess him four- 
fold. Memorialidt was ** greatly distressed and uncertain what to do, 
for when the Ibt is given to Windham, Canterbury four-folds it, and 
when given to Canterbury, Windham dooms it." The difiiculty 
wiM increased by a false representation maile to the Assembly in 
October, 1781, by Cook, '*who, for along time before said pmyer 
was exhibited was in Canterbury train-band, and very constantly 
trained there and came to meeting on Sabbath days, till a very short 
time before petition he drew his house, as he sup|>osed, within Wiud- 
liam lM>un<ls — (but liap|>ened to bo misUkeii) — anil obtaine^l an act that 
they should not be forced to do duty to Canterbury till lino was settled. 


which meroorinlist supposed was well done long before obtaining said 
net, so that is very dark. Please tell me/* concludes the distressed 
mcniorinliM^ " what to do that I may be safe, and not devoured by two 
when I ought to satisfy but one. Wales and Skiff and Isaac Burnap 
have warned and doomed me four-fold.. Line between Canterbury and 
Windham was found and refreshed May 17, 1718, and acknowledged by 
the Assembly — a southwest line from Appaquage to an oak tree west 
of Nipmnck Path. Josiah Conant was desired by CaptaiQ Adams and 
John Dyer, town agents, to run the line as formerly agrded on in 1718, 
and had performed the service." .Jonathan Stevens and William 
Thompson, who helped carry the chain on this occasion, also declared, 
*^ that Woodward's house and orchard were east of the line bo mn some 
considerable way." 

No answer was granted to this request, and the petitioner left to 
wait the re-sottlemcnt of the boundary-line, which was delayed from 
flCdsion to session. In 1737, Richard Abbe and Jabez Huntington 
appe>ared before the Greneral Assembly in behalf of Windham, declaring, 
**That they did not regard the settlement of 1713, but have proceeded 
to lay out, settle, and improve lands according to their patent of 1703, 
that Canterbury claimed a line two hundred and twenty rods west of 
Windham's, and asking that Canterbury's doings might be set aside : 
1. Because they proceeded according to Windham patent of 1686, 
which had been before vacated. 2. Because Bushnell's tree, mentioned 
by Canterbury, was marked by Bushnell and Huntington without any 
rule, only as they measured eight miles south from Appaquage. 
Both houses refused to grant this request, but but again, two 
years later, they returned to the charge. A committee was then 
appointed, which repoi^led, ''That the deed of Clark and Buck- 
ingham lay west of Nipmuck Path — that Plain6eld (then includ- 
ing Canterbury) was grante<l east of Windham ; that the second grant 
of Windhain, includhig Clark and Buckingham's purchoso, was bounded 
east by Nipmuck Path, and they therefore concluded that the dividing 
line between the towns should run *' south about ten degrees east," to a 
black oak by Nipmuck Path, according to the line originally marked 
out by Bushnell. Windham still refused to accept this decision, and 
continued to maintain possession of the disputed land till the prospect 
of one of its inhabitants becoming a public charge gave the matter a 
new aspect Edward Colbum, or Coburn, with William Shaw, Robert 
Moulton and David Canada, bouglit land and settled near Little River 
in 1709. Part of Colbnm's land was in the disputed gore, but his 
house was in Windham, and he was numbered among its inhabitants. 
His son Rol>ert, as he grew up, was subject to intervals of " distraction," 
but had sense enough to marry his neighbor, Hannah Canada, and was 


*^ crowded out*' by his father, ^ onto that end of bis farm that lay 

between the controverted lines," and there lived with his wife, paying 

rates to Windham as ordered by the General Assembly, and accounted 

one of its inhabitants till, in 1788, his distemper . returned, and he 

became wholly incapable of taking care of himself. Edward Colbom, 

who was then possessed of a plentiful estate, took his son home and 

for a time maintained him, but then sold his land in Windham, removed 

to Massachusetts and soon afterwards deceased, leaving his hel[>le8S son 

to the mercy of the public. Windham, who prefen*ed her land free 

from incumbrance, sent him over to Canterbury ; Ganterbuiy, declining 

to suppoit paiipcra when debarred from receiving taxes, instantly 

roturned him. The unfoitunate lunatic was tossed to and fro between 

the contending townships— a process little calculated to lessen hb 

"distraction." At a town-meeting in 1741, Windham voted : — 

'* Whereas, one Robert Colbarn, that is oqw residing In this town,- Is onder 
such influence of distraction that he Is not able to take care of himself, and 
hns been supported by ye town of Windham nt sreat cost and charge, and of 
rl^ht belongs to Canterbury; Voted,— That Captalu tfltch bo agent for 
Whulliaui to appear at Court to recover the charge." 

The battlo-liold was thus transferred to Wiiulhaiu Court-houso. John 
Dyer and Joseph Adams acted as agents for Canterbury; Isaac 
Burnap — after the decease of Oapt Fitch — for Windham! Atler long 
delay, the suppoit of Colburn was assigned to Canterbury on the 
ground that the decision of the General Court's committee had 
adjudged the disputed tract tp that township. This decision hastened 
the final settlement of that vexatious controversy. The woith of the 
disputed land was doubtless much less than the cost of supporting its 
attlicted incumbent, and Windham consented to relinquish her chiira 
and acknowledge the original boundary line^ which she had so per- 
sistently repudiated. '* An act establishing Windham Line " terminated 
this half-century controversy in 1752. 

Thi'so troublesome contents, and the building the new meeting house, 
so absorbed the public interest and energies that little else was aocom- 
pliihed. A new school-house was, however, built on the Green, and a 
writing school occasionally allowed. In 1784, it was agreed, *^ That 
all y* male persons that are born in this town shall, at the age of 
twenty -one yeai*s, be vested with all the privileges that those persons 
are that were admitted town inhabitants by vote of said town.'* A 
town stock of anununitiun was procured. 

Canterbury, with adjoining towns, suffered in a sad accident occurring 
at the raising of a bridge over the Shetucket River, in 1728. One end of 
the bridge, wiih forty men upon it, gave way, and was precipitated into 
the Htroaui below. Only one person wiis killcil instantly — .Jonathan 
Gale of Canterbury, a youth nineteen years of age, the only son of a 


widowed mother, " a very hopeful youth, the darling of the family.** 
Many were serioimly wounded, and at firsts taken out and laid by for 
do:u1. Liontctiant Samuel Butts, Samuel Parish and Ebenezor Harris 
are reported among *' the men most considerably wounded." 

A bridge over the formidable and troublesome Quioebaug was built 
in 1728, by two gentlemen of Plainfleld, but was soon carried away. 
Another was built at the same place by Samuel Butts in 1733, and 
maintained a few years by piivate subscription, till carried away by ice. 
Jabez Fitch — son of Major James Fit<^h — having returned to Cantor- 
bury afler a few years* residence in Newent, next achieved a bridge 
over the rebellious stream — the only one he asserted south of Sabin's, 
in Pomfret, ice having carried away all the others — and was allowed 
the privilege of collecting toll by the Grencral Assembly in 1740. In 
the same year, the military oom]>any was reorganized — Obiidiah John- 
son chosen its cuiptAiU) 8tei>hon Frost, lieutenant, and Solomou Paiuo, 

The church giiined in numbers during Mr. Wadswoi*th*s ministry, 
but was somewhat weakened by the long meeting house controversy. 
A few of its early members were dismissed to help form the Second 
Church of Pomfret Elisha Paine, Sen , and Samuel Cleveland died 
in 1736 ; Deacon Thomas Brown in 1733 ; Deacon John Bacon in 
1741. In 1741, the Canterbury church was greatly perplexed and 
distressed by a criminal charge alleged against the pastor by a female 
resident The Windham County Consociation was called together, 
May 27th ; the grievous difficulty laid before them and their judgment 
asked upon the following points, viz.: — 

*' I. Whether the said pastor ought not to be dismissed flrom the pastoral 
charge of us. 

II. Whether, If he be dismissed as aforesaid, we ought to hold In charity 
with him as a brother.*' 

The complainant herself then appeared befoi*o the council, and 
solemnly re-affirmed the charge against the pastor. The council, 
having maturely considered the first question, and that the Rev. Mr. 
Wads worth had not attempted to disprove or remove the suspicion of 
the imputation brought against him, was of opinion : — 

*< I. That his usefhlDcss and serriceableuoss in the ministry were cut off 
and taken nway by the sciiiidal lie lyeth under, and that he should be released, 
and thej did declare him released from his pastoral office. 

II. That there are so strong suspicious of his guilt that the church ought 

not to hold In charity with him as a brother as the matter now stands ; and 

. we think Mr. Wadsworth is bound to clear up his reputation If he be capable 

of It, or else make a public confession, or else submit to a public admonition 

for the said crime charged upon him." 

Mr. Wadsworth submitted silently to his sentence, gave up bis 
ohai'ge, and returned to his home in Milton without attempting to clear 
up his reputation or make the prescribed confeBsioi|| The Canterbury 



people, with rare leniency and forbearanoe, refrained from fUrther prose- 
cutiou of thi8 affair, deeming loss of ministerial standing and the 
reproaches of conscience a sufficient punishment for the alleged crime. 
However this may have been, it was in striking contrast with the 
penalty inflictod upon poor Elizabeth Shaw in the adjoining parish. 



PLAINFIELD, afler the settlement of its early quarrels and diffi- 
culties, enjoyed many years of remarkable peace and tranquillity, 
with little to do but to manage its perombulatory schools, look after its 
General Field, and (ill up vac^uuiies in itn meeting-house. In 1727, two 
shillings a week were allowed for keeping the schoolmaster's horse, 
and the lower vacancy in the meeting house filled up with i)ews — 
persons to build in the upper part as they thought best — and in the 
following year, the house was seated according to age and rates. In 
1728, a very great work wai accomplished — the completion of a sub- 
stantial bridge over tlie *^ tedious Quiuebogus" by Joseph Williams and 
Timothy Pierce, Jun., who thus memorialiased upon this achievement : — 

'* To the General Assembly sittinjii: in Hartford. May 9, 1728. The petition 
of the subscribers showeth to year iionora, tlie many attempts that have been 
made by many of tlie iuluibitants of tliu towns of Plaintleld and Canterbury 
for the making a good and sufficient cart-bridgu over the river Qainubaiig, 
between said towns ; it being so extraonliuarily diflicalt and hazardous, for 
near half 4he year almost every year, and many travelers have escaped of 
their lives to admiration. The suuio river can't be paralleled in this Colony. 
It descends near fifty or sixty miles, out of the wilderness, and many otiier 
rivers entering into it, cause it to be extremely fUrious and hazardous. And 
also the road through said towns, over said river, being as great as. almost 
any road in the Oovcrnment, for tiravelurs. And now your petitioners, with 
the encouragement of divers persous (£98 8s.) Imve assumed to build a good 
cart-bridge, twenty-seven feet higli from tlie bottom of said river— whicli Is 
four feet higher than any flood kuowu these thirty years— and sixteen ami a 
half rods long ; have carefully kept account of the cost, beside trouble which 
is great, (cost amounting to £424), and ask for a grant of uugrauted lands." 

The Assembly ordered, ^* That said bridge be kept a toll-bridge for 
ten years, receiving for each man, horae and load, four-|>ence ; single 
man, two pence ; each horae and all neat cattle, two-pence per hea<i ; 
sheep and swine, two. shillings per score ; always provided, that those 
who have contributed toward said bridge be free till reimbui*sed what 
they have paid." Two years later, on aacuiint of the great expense 
incurred in building tiiis bridge, it was further resolved, "That no 
pei*80ii shall keep«any boat or ferry on said Quinebaug River for the 


transportation of travelers, witbin one mile of said bridge, on tbe 
penalty of the law.** A bridge over Moosup River, by Kingsbury's 
Mill, was built by Samuel Spalding in 1729. In 1787, Oaptiun Law- 
rence and William Marsh were appointed by the town to repair half 
the bridge that goes over Quinebaug by Dr. Williams', provided Can- 
terbury repair the other half Canterbury choosing to build a new 
bridge rather than repair the damaged one, Plainfield ordered a road to 
be laid out from the country road to Canterbury line, to adjoin with 
the road Canterbury shall lay out to the new bridge over Quinebaug 
nearly opposite Captain Butts*. A bridge over Moosup on the road to 
William Deam's, was accepted by the town in 1740, "provided a 
suitable way be found for passing to Deam's mill." 

In 1 739, twenty pounds were added to Mr. Coit's salary, '' as long 
as he is capable of carrying on public meetings, provided he will acquit 
past deipands." During this year, the military companies in the towns 
of Plainfield, Canterbury, Pomfret, Killingly and Voluntown, were 
constituted the Eleventh Connecticut Regiment Timothy Pierce of 
Plainfield was appointed its colonel; John Dyer of Canterbury its 
lieutenant-colonel; Hezekiah Sabin of Thompson Parish, its msgor. 
Colonel Pierce was now one of the most prominent and respected 
citizens of Windham Coutity, a member of the Governor's Council, 
Judge of the County and Probate Courts — "all which offices he 
executed with such diligence and care as to be unblamable. He was a 
faUior to the town and a promoter of the common welfare of all when 
he had opportunity, and was also of an extraordinary good, pious and 
Christian conversation." 

In 1740, Plainfield ordered, '* That the meeting-house be viewed and 
repaired, school committee hire a teacher — persons that work on meet- 
ing house and board the school-mnster to have a reasonable reward." 
Ten shillings a week was doomed a reasonable recompense for the 
master's ^' diet and horse-keeping." The general Field was now in 
such good condition that the number of ^* field-drivers " was reduced to 

Voluntown, in 1726, was given over to discord and confusion. The 
meeting house site was still in controversy. In attempting to accommo- 
date everybody, no one had been suited. The inhabitants refused to 
accept the established centre and gravitated to various points on the 
borders. Religious services still alternated from Tliomas Colo's house 
to Ebenezer Dow's. The injunction to carry on the work of building 
was disregarded, and not a man would bestir himself to prepare timber 
for a frame, while that constructed by 7bomas Dow stood uncovered 


upon their favorite bilMop. A petition of John Gallup and others 
complained of in'ei>:iilar ]»rooi'odiiig8 of the inhabitiinU of said Vohm- 
town in adniiUint; iiihubilanta in their meeting, May 2, 1727. Upon a 
full hearing, the AHsemhIy oonttidere<l, that the town waa in May, 1721, 
allowed tlie privilege of elioiiHing its own oflieers and osirrying on its 
own town affairs ; also, that towns have tlie right by hiw to judge of 
the qualitieations and consequently the power of admitting their 
inhabitants, and was therefore of opinion that the admission of said 
inhabitants was irregular and against the rules of law, and declared the 
same to be void and votes made ader their admission to have no force. 
And insomuch as there was a remissness in improving the tax levieil 
for the meeting-house— Joseph Adams, Jabez Parkhurst and Richard 
Abbe were ap]>ointed a committee to receive the same and see that it 
be improved, and if Voluntown still neglect to carry on the work, the 
committee was to assume the oversight thereof Money in the hands 
of Joseph Backus, received by the sale of lands in the addition to 
Voluntown — a hundred and ten pounds in bills of public credit, and 
two guineas — was ordered to be delivered to the Treasurer ; the bills 
to pay public debts, the guineas letl to the s^iecial order of the 

With all its drawbacks, the town was gaining in strength and 
numl>ers. Sturdy Scotch-Irish emigrants established themselves within 
its borders, preferring the society of old friends and the Westminster 
form of discipline to richer lands and greater social privileges. At a 
town meeting, December, 1728, Captain John Gallup was chosen 
modenitor ; Gapt^iin Gallup, John Dixon and Kbenezer Dow, townsmen ; 
Kbenezer Dow, town-clerk. Alexander Stewart, KbencKcr l^etuxM), John 
Jameson, liobert Williams, Jun., John Canada, William Trumbull, 
John Gordon, William Hamilton, Robeit Dixon and Peter Miller, were 
admitted inhabitants. Many of these settlers united with the church, 
and helped sustain the minister and religious institutions. John Wyli^ 
on his arrival, presented the following certificate : — 

** That John Wylle and his wife, Agnos Park, and their children Elizabeth, 
John, Jean, Peter and Jainos, during tholr rosldonco in this Presbyterian 
cougregatlou of CuUybaky, In the parlsli of Ahoglilll and county of Antrim, 
which was from their infkncy,*are tree of any scandal or church censure 
known to us preceding the date heceof is ccrtlfled at CuUybaky, April 23, 
1728. This by appointment, we having no minister : — 

John Wylle, Sen. 

Gain Stowoll. 

Matthew Clark." 

Aifau'S in 1728, were so far settled that the town resumed the build- 
ing of its meeting-house. John Dixon and Thomas Dow were ordered 
to take account of the "stuff" proviilud for it. In 1729, a frame was 
raised and covered, and John Dixon directed to furnish glass. In 1730, 


a body of senU was ordered, '^ as soon as may be, John Dixon to have 
five pounds to make six se&ts/* Meanwhile, the house was seated with 
boards, ceiled with girths and made ready for its first town-meeting, 
December 22, 1731. Materials were then ordered for laying floors in 
the galleries, and workmen engaged to make floors and build stxurs and 
the front, in said galleries. The vacant room on the sides of the house 
was ** disposed of to such persons as should ' oblige themselves to set 
up good pews in said room, and ceil the same up to the girth opposite 
said pews — every man his room according to his rate-bill ; pews to be 
built by November 1, 1782.** The Rev. Mr. Dorrance was allowed the 
first pew at the right baud of the pulpit The pew spots were granted 
to John Ghillup, Ebenezer Dow, Charles and John Campbell, John 
Dixon, Alexander Gordon, John Smith and Adam Kasson — ** chief 
men " — and i>owh were In time coniplctod. In 1788, a comniittoo was 
* chosen \o build scats in the gallery and finish the coiling under the 
same ; also voted, *^ That there be a bix>ad alley from ye south door of 
ye meeting-house to ye pulpit, and the room on the lower floor filled 
up with seats ; also, to ceil the meeting-house all around, up and down." 
In 1784, Patrick McClennan, Ebenezer Dow, Adam Kasson, John 
Keigwin, Alexander Gordon, John Campbell, John Gibson and John 
Wylie were empowered " to make seats and seat the inhabitants at 
their [>leasure — that is, to move any at their pleasure, and that they lay 
out mich persons as shall build.*' 

Tlie meeting-house thus complete^ after such long delay and conflict 
was acceptable to the great mass of the people, and probably well 
filled with hearers. People who lived " out of Voluntown " over the 
Rhode Island line, or on the borders of Plaiufield and Killingly, were 
granted ^' equal privileges in the meeting-house if they pay their pro- 
portion.** This condition not being always observed, it was voted, in 
1784, •• That all |>ersons who live over the lino in Rhode Inland Colony, 
who belong to our community and* do not give in their list and pay 
their proportion yearly, shall be looked upon as strangeri and transient 
persons'* A few Baptists were numbered among the inhabilants, and 
Isaac Eksclestone — " one of ye ))eople commonly called ' Quakers '* — 
strayed over from Westerly. Adam Kasson succeeded Jacob Bacon 
in the deacon's office. Mr. Dorrance gave good satisfaction for a time, 
and was much respected by his brethren in the ministry, though his 
Presbyterianism excited some jealousy. In 1787, it was reported to. 
the Windham County Association, "That Mr. Dorrance was a member 
of the Presbytery of Boston, and had intermeddled in the ordination 
of Rev. Mark Gregory*' — a report very "grievous** to some of its 
members. Mr. Dorrance, thereupon declared, " That he never was a 
member of said Presbytery, declined when desired to be and hal no 


desire to relinquish this Association to join any other ; that he assisted 
in Mr. Gregory's ordination, not to intermeddle where there was any 
difference, but to gratify the repeated desire of the gentleman to be 
ordained, being formerly of his acquaintance— not as a member of the 
Presbytery but as one of an ordaining council, and would be careful for 
the time to 6ome not to be concerned in cases out of this establishment 
when there is opposition." 

A highway was soon laid out from Yoluntown meeting-house to 
Stonington. John Ghdlup, John Smith and the townsmen were 
appointed to lay out otlier necessary highways. A sign-post was 
ordered "soutli side of Yoluntown uiooting-liouso," Doounibor 4, 17A2, 
it was voUhI, *' That there sluill bo ii surkeluUiig school kop luid a 
school-master hired at ye town's charge." In March, 1785, it was 
further ordered, '' That the school be kept in four places, three months 
in a place, six months in* ye north end and six months in ye south end, 
dividing ye town by a line fVom Alexander Gordon's to Ebenezer 
Dow's house — and that the master, John Dunlap, should have thirty 
pounds money, and sufficient meat, drink, washing and lodging, for 
keeping school eleven months and eighteen days, and in ye night, 
when convenient." The first school-house in town was built in 1787, 
<* four rods from ye northwest comer of ye meeting-house, and a rate 
of twopence allowed for. the same." A pound was permitted on John 
Easson's land, he serving as keeper, in 1785, and the people north of 
Pachaug River were also allowed **to build a town-pound at their 
own cost" 

Disputed boundaries and land titles still disturbed the peace of the 
town. U[>on memorial of several inliabitants and proprietors, pmying 
for allowance of lands taken from them by Rhode Island lino— the 
Assembly granted, October, 1729, <*That those persons that have had 
all or any pait of their lands taken off should be repaid out of the 
public treasury, according to the pFoportion paid for purchase." But 
as in addition to loss of land these petitioners had suffered heavily in 
defending their claim in processes of law, *< Nathaniel French and John 
Qibson — formerly of Voluntown, but since the running of the boundary 
line of Providence Plantation " — ^farther represented to the Assembly, 
October 14, 1781, ''That after having purchased lands and performed 
conditions they had been ejected by pretended proprietors belonging to 
Rhode Island line, and judgment procured against them, the cost of 
which amounted to over a hundred pounds, besides time and pocket 
exi>enseA, which burthen would be too hard for them unless the Honora- 
ble Assembly, out of their ''moral goodness and Christian charity, 
would extend favor and help pay this intolemble cost" In response to 
this plea, fifty pounds were granted. 


The myBtei'ions Stoyell controversy still g^ve the town much trouble. 
The title to a " gore of land " on Egnnk Hill was now the point at 
issue between a number of Voluntown residents and the Pomfret 
school-master. The former apparently held the land under gift or 
purchase from Winthrop ; the latter by purchase from Old Voluntown 
proprietors. A " piece of lan<l " in this vicinity was secured by John 
Dixon from the Assembly in 1785, on the representation that it was 
common or Government land, whereupon Thomas Cole protested, 
'* That he had bought this same land and procured a second deed of it, 
yet now designing men thought they could quarrel him out of it — that 
John Dixon had got a grant and was expecting further confirmation of 
the land the petitioner had already paid for, and begged to have his 
deed preserved and confirmed." Many lawsuits resulted from these 
claims and complications. Stoyell, in 17H8, api>oalod from the decision 
(»f the Superior Court lo the General Afl9einr>iy, and asked for a new 
trial, declaring that those who held land within the desiguatofl gore, 
held them to all intents and purposes as if literally included in the 
original grant to Voluntown ; that Winthrop had nothing in the 
premises at that date but a pretended purchase of James and other 
Indians, without bounds or description agreeing to the land granted to 
Voluntown ; that the taking away of part of the original grant by 
Rhode Island made it needful for Voluntown to abut west on Pldn- 
field, and thus the contested land rightfully acorueil to the Voluntown 
proprietors from whom Stoyell had purcluised it Tlie A^embly 
refused to grant a new trial, but upon renewed request granted a 
hearing. Robert and John Park, and other old residents, testified that 
the land was within the bound given by the Winthrops to Plain field 
proprietors, and had been more than twenty years in actual possession 
of the Gallups and others, and that Stoyell had himself recognized their 
right, and consequently no farther trial was allowed him. An attonipt 
to eject Thomas Douglas and John McClellan from their land in this 
gore was equally unsuccessful — the Superior Court deciding, March, 
1748, *' that the defendants were not guilty in manner and form as the 
plaintiffs have alleged-^-and Mr. Stoyell was compelled to rolinquish 
his claim to Egunk. Whether these decisions were in accordance with 
aboelute right and justice it is impossible now to determine. 

As the Voluntown land was still largely owned by non-resident 
descendants of original grantees scattered about in several towns, it 
was found very difficult to manage it properly. Proprietors often failed 
to receive notice of projected meetings, or were prevented from attend- 
ance by heavy floods and great storms. " Sensible that their method 
of warning meetings was not well-considered," the proprietors agreed 
in Apiil, 1787, *' that when fifteen proprietors should judge there was 

804 BJ8T0BY OF WINDHAlf OOUimr. 

nooessity for a meeting and apply themselves to the olerk, and give 
under their hands that they judged it needful, then the derk should 
send forth notioo to warn all such proprietors, inserting all the material 
things, and set KiXii^ such notiftcation upon ye sign-post in Voluntown 
twenty days before tlio time appointed, and also to send copies to West 
Stoniiigton, Groton, New London and Norwich." September 18, 
1787, Manasseh Minor, Robert Dixon and John Qordon were appointed 
a committee to lay out common lots, and renew hounds of first lots. 
Samuel Banister was chosen attorney, to use all lawful means for 
recovering possession of land:) taken away by Rhode Island, receiving 
onohair of the lau<l thui regained. Thirty-one proprictoi*s, rupresont- 
ing Un.y-four righls, protested against thu vote at a subsequent meeting, 
declaring that the d.iy of me:3ting was very rainy and the rivers very 
high and deep, and many of the proprietors living in neighboring 
towns, it being a very diflicult time to travel in, there was but a very 
small number — ^about eleven — present In consequence of their 
remonstrance, the power of attorney given to Banister was declared 
null ami void. In response to a ))etition from their very humble ser- 
vant, John Dixon, setting forth his great industry and untired diligence 
in pursuing after and taking care of the interests of the proprietors 
there many years, *^ one hundred acres in ye undivided land of Volun- 
town " were allowed him. In 1 740, John Stoyell was appointed 
attorney, and a committee directed to divide all the remaining lands in 
the names of the original proprietors. 

In 1789, the vacant mile north of Voluntown — which had long 
remained *^ a peculiiu*," to its great damage and disorder — was annexed 
to the town by formal act of Assembly. With this adililion to its 
territory, the town again essayed a more regular settlement. No free- 
men had yet been sworn, no country taxes paid, no representatives sent 
to the General Assembly. In 1786-7, William Park, John Oaston, 
Thomas Kasson, Benjamin Pierce, Walter Trumbull, lii)beit Oampbell, 
Benjamin Gallup, James Kasson,. John Montgomery, James McGonagle 
and Robert Thompson were admitted inhabitants. April 8, 1740, a 
special meeting was called at the meeting-house, and the freeman's oath, 
as appointed by the law of the Colony, admitted to a large number of 
inhabitants. First on the lii»t was Rev. Samuel Dorrance, folio weii by 
Deacon Adam Kasson, Alexander Gordon, James Campbell, James 
Douglas, John Dixon, John Smith, Jeremiah Kinne and all the leading 
citizens. John Dixon and John Kasson were then elected the lirst 
representatives from Voluntown to the General Assembly. It was 
voted, '* That there be a highway on Egunlc Ilill, from ye house of 
John Andurson till it intercepts ye highway that goes from the meot- 
iug-house to the south end of the town, and to alter the latter highway 


from plaoos whore it was bad traveling to good ground, as near as 
where it now goes as possible. The proprietors also ordered necessary 
highways on Egank Ilill, as far as the oommon land extended, and the 
relaying of the higliway from the meeting-house to the town of 
Preston. The division of land ordered in 1740, was delayed till 1747, 
when all previons committees were dismissed, and Humphrey Avery, 
Charles Campbell, Robert Dixon, Samuel Oordon and John Wylie, 
Jun., appointed to divide the common lots to each proprietor or his 
heirs, re-measure and re-bound old lots and lay out cedar swamps, which 
was sntiHfjujtorily accomplished. Tlic committee sohl laud to Walter 
TriMiibull, JamoM Kituie, John McUonagle and others. Denison*s 
Hill w;is confirmed to C/aptain Qeorge Denison of Stonington. The 
cedar and pine swamps, said to be the best in the County, were laid 
out and divided. The lot on which the meetiqg-house stood, and the 
burial-place adjoining, were sequestered ior tlie use of the inhabitants 
of the town and their successors. Several of the original lots had not 
been taken up by those to whom- they were granted. 




THE colony-land north of Killingly, so persistently claimed by that 
township, was still unorganized. In 1727, the Dudleys, Wolcott 
and Thompson — non-resident owners — ^together with Samuel Morris, 
who had purchased part of the Dudley farm, again petitioned the 
General Assembly of Connecticut, showing : — 

'* That this tract of land was now possessed by sundry persons, some by 
purchase of Killingly and some by grants In conntry land, and we desire to 
have each one enjoy his parchase, because It is Inluibitants that do malce a 
town, and a great part of the remaining land is rough and broken and but 
little more fit to be Inhabited, and, therefore, pray that a new bown may be 
made there, so that we may know what town we are in." 

The pleas offered by Joseph Leavens and Joseph Cady on behalf 
of Killingly in abatement of this petition were judged sufficient^ and 
the request refused. The inhabitants of this tract were now becoming 
very urgent for greater privileges, and as Killingly had assumed its 
jurisdiction they applied to her for relief, and, Jan. 80, 1728, received 
liberty from that town to embody as a distinct society or precinct'. It 



was agreed that the dividiDg line should begin, ** at a heap of stones, 
three rods south of Mr. Blanohard s bam, nigh where he lives, and an 
old oellai* in A5r. Wilson's field in said Killingly; thenoe west to 
Quinebaug River, and east to Rhode Island line*' — about a mile south 
of the original north bound of Killingly. A petition for coufirination 
of this agreement, signed by Benjamin Bixby in behalf of the north 
inhabitants, and by Peter Aspinwall for the south, was presented to 
the General Assembly in May, 1728, and though Samuel Mortis again 
appeared, ^' laboring under great hai*dships and difiioulties from having 
his rights and properties encroached upon by some people of Kil- 
lingly," the petition was granted. A wairant from Justice Joseph 
Leavens June 18, 1728, represented — 

** That whereas there Is a precinct set off at the north end of the town of 
Killingly hy an Act of thp General Court, b^ld at Hartford in May last, and 
they want to be imbodled : These are tberefbre iu his Mi\)e8ty> name, to 
Mr. Benjamin Bixby and Mr. Uczeklah Sabin and Mr.Bbenezer Green, sll of 
said precinct, to require you to warn, or caase to be warned, all the inhabitants 
within your precinct to meet at the dwelling-house of Ilexekiah Sabin iu said 
precinct, on the Oili day of July . . . tlieu and there for to choose a precinct 
clerk, and auy busiuess that shall be lawful ami thought necdfUl for the health 
of the precinct." 

The first public meeting of the inhabitants north of Killingly was 
held according to this warrant, July 9, 1728. The number of residents 
within the society limits is not known. Its leading men were Sampson 
Howe, Simon Bryant, Joseph Cady, Henry Green and Benjamin 
Bijcby. liichard Qresser, the first settler, was then in failing health 
and died a few days after this meeting. Samuel Converse, the first 
settler hear Quinnatisset Hill, with four grown sons, was still active in 
public affairs. Sabin's house on the hilUtop was deemed the most 
fitting rallying point for the new society. Itude bridle-paths from 
various neighborhoods led up to this bleak eminence. Its noitheru 
extremity was still heavily wooded. The ruins of the old wigwam onoe 
occupied by Quinnatisset's praying Indiana, wei^ still visible. Sabin's 
est^ablishmont comprised the entire suttlomcnt. A goodly number of 
tliu inhubiUinlM gallierud on this July ailenioon to organize a religious 
society. Jonathan Clough was chosen moderator. ^' They then voted 
and chose Sampson Howe, clerk for said society." Messi*s. Howe, 
Sabin and Bixby were chosen committee. It was then voted. To hire 
a minister to preach the gospel in said society, and to begin with us to 
preach the firat Lord's Day in August next eusuing ; also, tliat Mr. 
Wales should be invited to preach the gos[)el to us and to continue with 
us for the space of six months ; also. That for the future, a wai'rant set 
up at the usual place of our meeting for public worship shall be 
accounted legal warning for said society. For re^isons not speci- 
fied, Simon Biyant, Henry Green, William Lamed, Joseph Cady 


• • 

and Thomas Whitmore entered " their dissent against the proceedings 
of the day." 

Tliough the first act of the society was to establish religious wor- 
ship, many other things were needfiil for "the health of the precinct" 
Its affairs were not yet settled npon a sound basis. The jurisdiction 
exercised by Eillingly had never been authorized by the Government, 
and town officers in charge were scarcely legal and regular. Very few 
of the inhabitants had yet taken the freeman's oath, so that the privi- 
lege of suffrage was restricted to a few. The bounds of the society 
were not sufficiently definite. Inhabitants west of the Qu^nebaug, not 
included in any town, were anxious to be annexed to it Attempts to 
Tote in these *' peculiars ** and other inhabitants, occupied the second 
and third meetings of the society. The case of the former was 
referred to the General Assembly. "August 18, 1728, it was then put 
to vote. Whether every man that hath a house and land of his own, 
belonging to this society, shall have liberty to vote and act with us in 
all affaira relating to the settling the worship of God in said society, 
and it passed in the negative." Mr. Wales not being secure<l, Hease- 
kiah Sabin and Uriah Ilorsmor were appointed to provide a minister, 
and Benjamin Bixby and Jonathan Clough, " to take advice of the 
neighboring ministers who we shall hire to preach the gospel with us.** 

The building a meeting-house was next brought under consideration. 
TIio minister procured held divine service in the house of Mr. 
Sabin. September 9, it was put to vote. Whether the society would 
ever build a meeting house, and it passed in the affirmative. It was 
then agreed by successive votes, That the meeting-house should be 
fifty feet long and forty feet wide and twenty- four feet stud, and that 
John Comings should be improved to be the master workman in hewing 
and framing — having five shillings a day and his victuals. The very 
important question, Where to set our nioeiing house, was debated 
September 2i), and it was voted to place it^ "south side and near to the 
road that leads from John Cooper's to Benjamin Bixby's, right before 
the door of the house of Ilesekiah Sabin, about twenty rods from said 
house, near where was an old wigwam." The site thus selected is near 
the centre of the present Thompson common. Nathaniel Merrill, John 
Wiley, Uriah and Jaasaniah Ilorsmor, llezekiah Sabin and Benjamin 
Bixby, were then appointed " committee-men, to look afler the affares 
of building our meeting-house." It was voted, " To give every man 
that works about the meeting-house, three shillings per day, he finding 
himself; that every man allowed to hew timber shall have three and 
sixpence ; that the oxen that shall goe to work about the meetinghouse 
shall be allowed eighteen-pence per day ; a horse that draweth, one 
shilling; for a cart, one shilling." The appointed committee had full 


power to provide all things necessary for hewing, ftmning and oovering^ 
upon the society's charge. 

Farther legislation in October, increased the powers and resources 
of the new society. Tlie division line agreed upon by the inhabitants 
was ratified and coniinned, and liberty given them to embody in church 
estate. The country land west of the Quinebaug, bounded north by 
the colony line, west by Woodstock, and south by Pomfret, with all its 
inhabitants, was joined and aimexed to the NorUi Society of Killingly. 
Upon memorial of Benjamin Bixby, Ilezekiah Siibin and Sampson 
Howe, it was granted by the Assembly, '* That a yearly tax of ten shil- 
lings upon each and every hundred acres of land be levietl on all tlie 
lands Y^ithiu tlieir bounds, being y* bounds of said North Society, viz., 
north on Connecticut line, south on division line and Pomfret, east on 
Rhode Island line, and west on Woodstock. . . tax to continue for 
four years . . society committee empowered with authority to use 
the money in building meeting-house and settling an orthodox minister 
. . . non-residents to be apprized of the tax two months before exe- 
cution." *' For the preventing law-suiU and acoonunodaUing dilTerencHM," 
the Assembly had also granted to Peter Aspinwall, Benjamin Bixby 
and the rest of the proprietors of Killingly, all the tract of land north- 
ward between old and new colony lines, except what liad been 
confirmed to Massachusetts daimers or previously granted by Con- 
necticut, and needful equivalents . . . upon this condition — that 
Killingly proprietors should not molest nor disturb any of the claimers 
on that part of the land which by the surveys were extended south of 
Woodward's and Saffi^ey's line.** The Honorable Timothy Pierce and 
Joseph Adams, £sq., were appointed connnittee to lay out, settle and 
ascertain the lands of claimera and the remainder, and improve a sur- 
veyor if need be, to assist therein. 

The North Society, encouraged by addition of territory, the generous 
land-tax gnmte^l and the prospect of settled govermuent, pui*sued the 
work of building with great animation and alacrity. The people's 
hearts were stirred up and they willingly aided, as if with one heart 
and soul, in constructing this fii*st Uibernacle. In all parts of the large 
society, men were working upon the meeting-house. Bryant, Wilson, 
Cady and Whitmore in the South-neighborhood; Howe, Shapley, 
Crosby, Jewett, Kllitliorp and the llorsnioi*s from the Froneh lliver 
valley; Wiley, Starr, Ellis,. Atwell, Pudney, Coats and the liixbys 
from Brandy Hill and vicinity ; Henry Green and his eight sons from 
Pottaquatic ; Samuel Converse and his four from the QuinnatiHset farm 
and meadows ; Mofiat, Miuiyan and JohHu from the Imrders of Khcxle 
Island ; Johnson, Brown and others frum Lake Chaubongagum ; John 
Hascall from the extreme uoithwest corner of the precinct — wqvq all 


engnged in felling, hewing, or hnuling timber for this ranch-desired 
honne of worship. Tonng Jacob Dresser, though but eighteen years of 
a^c, did his part with cart and oxen. Even the " pcculcrs** west of 
the Quincbaug — Jonathan Eaton, John Dwight and Penuel Child — 
thongh so recently admitted to the society were ready and eager to 
share in the work. The only diR(*.ordant voices in the community were 
those of Samuel Morris, William Chandler, John Corbin, Saiiniel 
Fuller and Christopher Peak — ^residents in the northwest of the parish 
and members of the church in Woodstock — who declared their inability 
to attend divine service at such a distance, and formally entered 
their dissent " against the meeting-house being raised before the door of 
Hezekiah Sabin*s house, where it was agreed upon to be set*' 

With this exception, all was harmony. No meeting house in the 
county was built with such apparent joyfulncss. The little word **our," 
proflxe<1 to all nuM^ting-house voM^s, pleasantly iiu1ioaU*s the |K>rs(>nal 
interest and proprietorship felt by the whole society. An acre of land 
including the appointed site was given to the society by Ilezekiali 
Sabin, and in spite of rough ways and the lateness of the season the 
work went on so rapidly that on November 1 5, the people were called 
together, " To consider how and in what method we shall proceed in 
order for making preparation for the raising our meeting-house." It 
was voted, ** That every man in said society shall have liberty to bring 
in provisions and drink, what may be thought his proportion." John 
Dwight, Benjamin Bixby, Hezekiah Sabin, Edward Converse, Jonathan 
Clough and Sampson Howe wera chosen to take care to provide for 
raising, and under their supervision the work was faithfully ackx>mp]ish- 
ed, and the frame raised before the setting in of winter. '' Liberty to 
bring in provisions and drink " for this jojrful occasion was so freely 
exercised, that John Wiley and John Dwight were directed, " To take 
]>articular account of what every man brought . . the ovor-phish 
to pay the 'rerages of hiring ministers.*' Provision was rated — pork at 
six-pence per pound ; beef at four-pence ; mutton, four-pence ; suet, 
eight-pence; sugar, twelve-ponce; butter, one shilling; turnips, one 
and six-pence per bushel ; wheat, eight shillings a bushel ; rye at six, 
Indian com at four ; cabbages at three-pence per head. 

At a society-meeting, December 18, Sampson Howe was again chosen 
clerk ; Henry Oreen, Sampson Howe and Hezekiah Sabin, committee ; 
Urian HorAmor, collector. A committee was chosen to see '* if they 
can agree with workmen, and also to provide boards, clap-boards and 
shingles sufficient to cover our meeting-house.** Urian Ilorsnior was 
made choice of '* to seek a miniater to preach with us till the first of 
March next coming.*' Messrs. Eliot, Coolidge, Hale and Howlet were 
nominated ; Mr. Coolidge secured. January 20, 1729, Ensign Green, 


Jonathan Eaton, Joseph Cady, John Dwight and Edward Conyerse 
were appointed a oommittee to ** agree with a workman to finish all the 
outside work belonging to. our meeting-house." It was voted, ** That 
this coramittee shall make Woodstock meeting-house their pattern to 
go by in letting out our meeting-house to any workman to cover and 
enclose, and do all the outside work as to carpenter and joiner work, 
accepting what said committee shall judge superfluous in said house.'* 
The house thus patterned, was Woodstock's second church edifice, 
whose fluted pillars and pilasters were quite beyond the means of the 
younger society. The previous committee was ordered to bring the 
boards, shingles and dap-boards provided, with nails suflicient, to .tUe^ 
meetinghouse by the first of Mai*ch, so that the house could. b^ 
covered and inclosed by the last of June. It was voted, '* That for the 
future, every man that shall cart one thousand of boards from Green's 
Mill to the meeting-house shall have ten shillings money for the same." 

The covering of the house was completed within the time specified, 
and on August 1, 1720, the society met for the first time in their 
]noeting-lioiuHO. The llev. Mr. Coolidgo had during this interval 
declined a cull to sottlcmcnt, and Jilarston (Jabot of Suloni was 
prcnching on trial. A committee was now appointed to treat with the 
latter gentleman about hiring him for some time longer as he and they 
could agree. A rate of £150 was ordered to defray the expense of 
coveiiiig : money to be gathered from the land-tax in the coming year 
was '* to be improved in procuring hinges and latches for our meeting- 
house doors, and for glazing." Fennel Child was employed as glazier. 

October 16, it was put to vote, *' Whether Mr. Cabot shall be the 
minister of this society," and it passed in the afiirmative. It was then 
voted, to give Mr. Cabot eighty pounds salary for the first year, and so 
to add five pounds per year, till it comes to a hundred pounds per year, 
and that to be his stated salary. Also, to give him two hundi'ed 
pounds settlement, paying one hundred pounds the first year and fitly 
I)Ounds per year, the secontl and thini years. Jonatluin Eaton, John 
Dwight and Sampson Howe were chosen to treat with Mr. Cabot, and 
entreat his acceptance. At the same time, James Wilson, Benjamin 
Bixby and Jonathan Clough were directed to go to the Itev. Mr. Fisk, 
'' as occasion shall be, for advice, in order to have the gospel ordinances 
settled in this society." Mr. Cabot, ailer considering the matter till 
Decembi^r 4, thus replied : — 

** To the iuhubltaiits of the North Society of KilUugly. Geutlctnon— 
I doubt not but you are sclibible yc price of sucli thiugs as arc necessary for 
tlie support and comfort of human Hfe is daily risings and there is the pros- 
pect of dearer living stiil. I trust you are all agreed y^ a minister of Christ 
ou^Iit to have an honorable maintenance, suitable to his sacred character and 
station, that ho may not be forced to entangle hlmseif with the allUtrs of this 
Ufe; and I make no question but you are lieartlly willing to communicate to 


nim that teachcth In all good things, for so hath the Lord ordained y* they 
which preach ye Gosple should live of ye Gosple. 

Pcnitiading myself therefore, and depending on this, that as yonr outward 
circuinstnncca Increase and grow better, yon will proportlonably and choerAilly 
contribute to the bettering ye condition and circumstances of him y* labors 
among you In word and doctrine, I accept of your call and inTltation to settle 
among you In the great work of ye ministry ; provided, you ftdfll the three 
following articles, viz. : — 

1. That you answer ye £200 settlement you have oifercd me, to Mr. Cooper 
and his wife, who have engaged to let me have their place for the considera- 
tion of three hundred pounds. 

2. That you always keep up the credit of ye salary you have proposed in 
your call. 

8. That you bring me a sufllciency of cord-wood for my own use in the 
season of It. 

Thus requesting an interest In your addresses to Heaven, and assuring yon I 
shall bear you upon my heart before God continually, and .wishing you all 
temporal happiness, but especially y* your souls may prosper and be in health, 

I subscribe; Yours for Jesus' sake, 

Mahston Cabot.** 

ir|>on tlio roco|»tion of this letter tlio sooioty at onoo oiniK)worcd 

Jonathan llnssell, John Dwiglit and Sampson IIo>ro to givo bonds to 

Mr. and Mrs. Cooper for the payment of the two handred pounds, and 

pledged themselves to keep up the credit of the salary and find and 

bring saffioient coM-wood. A rate of eighty pounds ^'ont of oar 

estates for the payment of Mr. Cabot's salary this present year '* was 

immediately granted. This matter being settled, the society next began 

to consider about preparing for an ordination. The meeting-house, 

though now used for religious and business meetings, was but a 

covered frame with temporary floor and seats. A committee was 

appointed to agee with a workman to build a pulpit and a platform for 

the pulpit to stand on, and a deacons' seat, but no further improvements 

were attempted during the winter. The last Wednesday in February, 

1780, was appointed for ordination. The formation of the church, 

a month previous, is thus recorded by Mr. Cabot : — 

KiLUNOLT, North Soeietfff Jan, 88, 1780. This day was kept as a day of fhst« 
ing and prayer, to humble ourselves before God far our past trospnssos, and 
to implore the divine blessing on us and all our concenis, more especially 
on tlie solemn transactions tnat are before us. The Uev. Mr. Throop of 
Woodstock, made the first prayer in both exercises. The Rev. Mr. Williams 
'of Pomftret preached in the forenoon from Psalms czxii : 6 ; the Rev. Mr. 
Flsk of RiUtngly, in the afternoon, fl*om II. Chron. xxx: 8, and before the 
assembly were dismissed, we were incorporated and formed Into a distinct 
church, by having the church covenant read, and owning our consent to it." 

The persons signing were — 

Marston Cabot, pastor-elect Nathaniel Merrill. Benjamin Pudney. 

Samuel Converse. Hezekiah Sabin. yComfort Starr. 

James Wilson. Edward Converse. / John Barrett. 

John Wiley. Nathaniel Johnson/ Richard Bloss. 

Benjamin Blxby. Ivory Upham. Jonathan Eaton. 

Israel Joslln. Robert Plank. David Shapley. 

Sampson Howe.' John Bowers. Thomas Whlttemore,Jr. 

John Russell. Bphraim Qulle. Thomas Converse. 

Jonathan Clough. Henry Green. Eleazer Green. 

Samuel Narramore. 


The oovenant thus adopted was evangelical in its spirit and soripta- 
nil in its main features, though not explicitly making regeneration a 
condition of church-membership, its subscribers engaging-— 

** Art 4. To receiye all such persons into f^l commonlon as are orthodox 
In Uielr ftilth, troo from scandal In their liyes, able to examine themselves and 
dlaccm the Lord's Body ; and also to rest satisfied with such admittance of 
adult persons as is performed by tlie pastor's examination of their knowledge 
and experience of the principles and practices of religion." 

Their high regard for the ministerial office was further shown in the 
succeeding article, in which they covenanted, " to obey him that is by 
our present voluntary election, or those that may hereafter be set over 
us in the Jjord, as such that watch over our souls, niul whom wo shall 
always account worthy of a gospel sup)K>rt and maintouanoe ; as also to* 
adhere to a pious and able ministry in this church, laboring in a way of 
joint concurrence with him or them, to hin or their conscientious dis- 
cretion, exerting the ministerial authority committed to thorn to recover 
and uphold the vigorous and impartial administration of discipline 
among us." Children of parents ** owning the covenant," were 
admitted to baptism. 

Fcbruaiy 25, 1780, was the day appointed tot ordination. Tliis 
important event is thus described by Mr. Cabot : *' The . Itev. Mr. 
Throop of Woodstock began with prayer. The Rev. Mr. Fisk of 
Killingly preached from Acts zxvi: 18 and 19 verses. The Rev. Mr. 
Coit of Plainfield gave the charge, the Rev. Mr. Hale of Ashford 
pmyed. The Rev. Mr. Williams of Pomfrot gave y* right hand of 
fellowship ; then the twenty-third Psalm was sung and the congrega- 
tion were dismissed by pronouncing the blessing." A mouth later, 
Mai'ch 25, " allor socking to lleuvon for direction," Jonathan Katon 
and Benjamin Bixby were chosen deacons of the church by a majority 
of votes, and accepted that service. 

Very little is known of Mr. Cabot previous to his settlement, save 
that he was then twenty-six yeai-s of age, and a graduate of Hai'vard 
College in 1724. According to tradition, ho was descended from the 
famous discovei*er, Sebastian Cabot, whose name he gave to one of his 
sons. Soon ailer his ordination, Mr. Cabot married Mary D wight, a 
daughter of the much-tried pastor of Woodstock, and established him- 
self upon the homestead bought of John Cooper, about a mile south- 
west of the meeting-house. This laud was pait of the Quiimatisset 
Farm laid out to John Gore in 1684, and was bisected by Woodward's 
and Satfery's so-called boundary lino. 






WHILE the north society of Killingly was thns harmoniondljr 
settling religious worship, its territory was still in oonfliot 
I^llingly, having obtained after so long a struggle a grant of this 
land, was by no means disposed to fulfill the Required condition of not 
molesting its non-resident claimants, but resolutely asserted her purpose 
to hold as her own property that part of Thompson's land which lay 
south of Woodward's and Saffery's line. Surveyor Conant, when 
employed by Samuel Moms as agent for Thompson and Wolcott, to 
re-measure the land accruing to those gentlemen, found three hundred 
and twenty acres encroached upon and held by Simon Bryant, Robert 
Plank and Nathaniel Merrill. The Collins tracts made over to Captain 
John King of Taunton, had also been invaded. Messrs. Pierce and 
Adams, appointed by the General Assembly to lay out and settle these 
lan^s and *' ascertain about claimer's lapping on their neighbors," wera 
greatly ombarrassod by those conflicting claims— 'Hho town of Kill- 
ingly altogolhor denying that Thonipson or Collins have any land [jo yo 
south of Woodward's and SafTery's line, it being gnmted to yo town of 
Killingly by this Court before ye agreement between the two govern- 
ments " — and unable to proceed in the affair. Upon the representation 
of Samuel Morris to the Goneml Assembly, May 8, 1729, "that 
Thompson had not yet obtained his patent, and that his land had been 
encroached upon," it was ordered, "That three hundred and seventy 
acres bo laid out elsewhere as e<iuivalent," and U(»ger Wolcott, Jos. 
Whiting, Ebenezer Marsh, Benjamin Bushnell and Richard Abbe, 
appointed commissioners to investigate the whole affair. Tliese gentle- 
men reporting favorably to the claimants, the Assembly, October 29, 
1729, enacted the following: — "Explanation of an Act passed in this 
Assembly, May 18th, 1708, granting the township of Kellingly : — 

Whereas the said act granting 8ald township describes the bounds of said 
township to be, northerly on the line of the Massachasetts, soutli on Plainfleld 
bounds settled May 11th, 1699, east on Rhode Island, and west on Ashawang; 
and it is expressly said that the township t>cing by estimation eight or nine 
miles in length : And, whereas, upon settling the lino of the Mnssachusotto 
with this Colony by agreement, about ton years after tho said grant to KclU 
inglyi the said line is now run and ascertained about eight or ten miles north 
of their ancient claimed and reputed line, and above eighteen miles nortli of 
the said nortli bounds of Piainflcld; and licnce may contentions and troubles 
arise upon this question whether the said grant to Kellingly shall be construed 



to extend to the Massacliusetts line, as It Is now tetUed, or only to the ancient 
clalinoil uud reputed boniida of the Matiitaehusetts, at the sooth bounds of 
WooilsUick, which Is calletl Woodward's luid Snffury's Lhie, which contentions 
to prevent : This Assembly have considered that, whereas the lino of the 
Massachusetts, as It Is now settled by agreement, was not known nor agreed to 
be the line till about ten years after the said grant to Kelllngly, and Instead 
of being eight or nine, it about eighteen or. nineteen miles north of the said 
north bounds of Plalnfleld ; and that at the time of the said grant to Kelllngly, 
and long before, the Massachusetts had claimed their bounds upon Connectl- 
cutt to be a line on the south bounds of Woodstock, calleil Woodward's and 
Ballbry's Line, and had then settled the town of Woodstock on that line, 
which town of Woodstock was then under the government of the Massa- 
chusetts and accounted to be within the same ; and that the mensuration of 
eight or nine miles fk*om the north bounds of Flalnlield will well correspond with 
the said ancient claimed and reputed lino of the Massachusetts, at the south 
btmnds of Woodstock} whereas, to moasuro to the lino since settled by agreo- 
nient Is twice as ftirt it Is therefore hereupcm considered, resolved and 
declared by this Qeneral Assembly, that the Massachusetts line uientloned In 
the said grant of Kllllngly is no other but the ancient claimed and reputed line 
of the Massachusetts, called Woodward's and Satfery's Line, which is at the 
south bounds of Woodstock ; and that the same is always hereafter so to be 
understood and construed." 

Thus Killingly, after all her efforta and temporary possession, was 
again cut oil' from the hmd north of lior, and tlie inhabitants of tliat 
land debaiTed from town ]>rivi1ogos and roilucod to tlioir former terri- 
torial condition. Tlie setting up of schools and laying out of roads 
was impossible under such oiroumstanoes, and nothing was accom- 
plished for several years by the Noith Society, but the settlement of 
its minister and erection of a house of worship. A meeting of its 
inhabitants was held, May 18, 1730, to consider their difficulties, and 
it was decided to petition the Assembly, '* That the society supposed 
to be the North Society of the town of Killingly should be erected 
into a township, or if that was not thought expedient, to establish the 
bounds of said society according as it was intended by us when first 
granted/' Ilezekiah Sabin was chosen to present this petition to the 
Assembly, and so forcibly represented the ditliculties under which the 
society labored, '* by reason of the explanatory act by which the north 
bounds of Killingly are restrained to Woodward's and Safiery's line, so 
that the line stated as the south line of the Parish is but a little south- 
ward of said Woodward's and Satfery's line,*' that it was resolved by 

the Assembly, May 30, 1730 :— 

*< That all the lands lying north of the said Woodward's and Saffcry's line 
between the lines of the Colony of Rhode Inland and the town of Woodstock, 
up to the divldeni line between Massachusetts and this Colony, shall be, and 
they are hereby added to the said North Society in Killingly, and all parish 
privileges are hereby granted to the inhabilants dwelling within the limits 
aforesaid, that Is to say — south of the Massacliusetls line (as It is now stated), 
west of Uhode Island line, nonh of the llnu heretofore nmde the divldent line 
Between North and South Societies in KUIIngly, and east of east lino of 

The society, thus confirmed and re-established, was then re-named — 
Thompson — in honor of the English proprietor whoso claim was so 
offensive to Killingly. 


ThompRon Parish, when thiis Btnted and efttablished, contoiued 
between forty nnd fifty fnniilit'R, but war rUII in a very unsettled con- 
dition. It had no roadR n*^ularly laid out, no military ooin|mny, and 
neither schools for its children nor pounds for ito cattle. About half 
of its unoccupied land was claimed by non- residents; the remainder, 
despite enactments and injunctions, was laid out by the proprietors of 
Killingly, and distributed among her inhabitants. The cheapness and 
accessibility of land attracted many settlers., Samuel Narramore of 
Boston bought of Philip Mclntyre sixty acres north of Wolcott's line, 
in 1729. Much of the Wolcott land was sold out to previous residents, 
Hezekiah Sabin buying the northwest corner. The Converse brothers, 
Edward, Samuel, Josiuh, as they settled in life, purchased farms of 
Wolcott John Russel added Wolcott land to his farm, and the widow 
of John Cooper, afler selling her homestead to Marston Cabot, bought 
land of Wolcott Ephraini Guile bought two hundre<l acres of land, 
with dwelling-house and orchard, of Samuel Converse. Sampson 
Howe sold land on the French River, beginning at a ledge of rocks, 
^ Nathaniel Crosby s northeast comer,** to Isaac Stone. Land west of 
the Quinebaug was sold by Woodstock proprietors. Large tracts were 
purchased by John Post and Thomas Fuller. Half of the Rev. Josiah 
Dwight*s land was made over to his son, John, the remainder to his 
son in-law, Penuel Child, who both were prominent in Thompson 
PnriRh. Mr. Dwiglit, hiniRclf, aflcr a brief sojourn in Deilliani, Rettlo<1 
with his children in this new pjirish, and passed, it is hoped, '* a sedate 
and quiet ** old age on the wild land whose purchase had involved him 
in such difficulties. 

The first act of the inhabitants of Thompson Parish was to organize 
a military company. Sampson Howe was chosen captain, Ilcsekiah 
Sabin, lieutenant ; John Dwight, ensign^ — and, thenceforth, the pre- 
scribed '* trainings '* were duly observeil on Thompson Hill. A meeting 
'' to consider about granting of a school or schools in said parish,** w:i8 
held, January 15, 1781, when it was agreed, ^'That there should be 
four schools kept in this parish, and the school-master to be removed 
into four quarters of this parish.** Jonathan Cluugh, Joseph Cady, 
Penuel Child and John Wiley — from the east, south, west and notth — 
were then appointed a committee, '' to divide this parish into four 
parts in orde? for the benefit and advantig of having their children 
educated each quarter in rea<ling and wrighting and sifering.** Instruc- 
tion in tpMing was deemed quite su|>erfluous. 

The appointed committee, February 17 : — 

' ** Made report as foUowcth ; that Is to say : First, ye nort.h est part to begin 
at Bdward Munyans, and so to tak in Kiug*8 fann and Squire WoUcott*8 rnnn, 
so fiir as it Is Inhabited, and Lieut. Sabln*s, and so all that fall to ye nortliest 
and north of sd plantations. Secondly, the northwest quarter to begin at 


Ooopor'8, and so to take in John RuaaerH fkrm and Nathaniel Johnson's and 
Stephen CuiiiinluB*, and fh)in thonco to ve Widow Dresser's, and so all that 
fall north and north-west of sd plantations. Thirdly, ye southwest part to 
begin at Coopei*'s, above mentioned, and so a straight line so Ikr as to take 
Mr. Simon Bryant into ye southwest quarter, and so all ye Inhabitants belong- 
ing to ye southwest of said line in sold society to belong to ye southwest 
quarter, and all the remaining Inhabitants In said society to belong to ye 
south-est quarter." 

These '^ quarters," it will be seen, diftci'ed greatly in sise, the dimen- 
sions being regulated by the distribution of inhabitants. It was voted 
to accept the division as reported ; also, ** thut to ye inhabitants belong- 
ing to each quarter, having legal warning fi)r to incut togetlier, that 
the uinjor part of them that shall meet shall have liberty for to erect 
a HchouMiouso in their (piurtcr/* (-ommittooH wore chosen iii each 
section to warn the inhabitants to meet together to agree where to set 
their school-house, viz. : Comfort Starr and Nathaniel Brown for the 
noitheust quarter ; ChriHtopher Peak an<l Isaac Jewett for the north • 
west, James Cady and Samuel Cutler for the southwest and Thomas 
Whitmoro and [[enry Orccn fur the southeast. School-houses were 
built as soon m possible, and the mumigemont of school afraii*s was loll 
ohiclly in the hands of each division — the school money being ** c(|iuUly 
divided between each school, according to the number of families that 
sent their children to school." 

The completion of the meeting-house was next provided for. It was 
voted, *^ That John Wiley and Sampson Howe should be the men to 
lay the meeting-house floor ; also, to give Jacob Bixby afler the i*ato of 
three pounds p^ thousand for five hundred pitch pine boaids that are 
good." A body of scats was next ordered, " after the form of the body 
of seats in Woodstock meeting-hous." Simon Bryant, Henry Green 
and John Wiley were appointed in chai*ge of this work, and directed, 
'' to git the stuff for the body of seats in our mceting-bouse of good 
sound oak timber." It was also agreed, " That Henry Green, Jun. 
should provide plonk for seats for our meeting-house, at 7s. per hun- 
dred, and the slit > work for the seats at 4s. 6d. per hundred, and plank 
for the heads at 9s. per hundred of goo<l white-oak timber. '* Seats and 
floor having been finished after a year's delay, the question of pews 
was next in order. Seventeen pew-B|>ots had been reserved against the 
walls of the house, and, September 1, 1732, the society met to consider 
some regular method of disposition, and to give them to the persons 
they most properly belong unto. This delicate point was settled by a 
connnittec of nomination — Captain Howe, Simon lh*yant an<l John 
Wiley nomijig those thought worthy of this honor, and each nominee 
in turn being voted upon by the whole society. The persons thus 
selected as pew-owners were, Henry (jreen, Simon Bryant, David 
Sliapley, John liussel. Captain Howe, Lieutenant Sabin, Joseph Cady, 


Oomfoit Starr, Natlmnici Wight, James Wilson, Urian Horeiuor, John 
Yonnglove, John Wiley, Mrs. Dresser and her son, Jacob, Mr. D wight 
and his son, John. Deacons Eaton and Bixby were also allowed one 
1M)W ^* for their wives an<l families to sett in.'* It was then voted and 
agreed npon by ye society, '' Tliat each person that hath a pew granted 
him shall take it for his seat, and shall take in as many of their family 
as can conveniently set therein ; also, that each person shall finish the 
meeting-hoose up to the lower giith, and maintain the glass belonging 
to his pew." A " miniRterinl pew' on the north side of ye house 
adjoining ye minister's stayrs," was also ordered. 

Febniary 2, 1733, the snm of five pounds was granted to Ilezekiah 
Oofi*, ^for to build ye ministerial pew in our meeting house, his finding 
of boards and all things necessary for said work, and to seal the house 
unto ye window and case ye window." It was also voted, " To finish 
ye nKH3ting-honnc ^vith lath, and plaster with lime. Seven shillings for 
making the rods for the Cannopee in our meeting-house, and eight 
shillings for the twelve pounds of iron made into these rods, were 
allowed at this meeting. March 9, an attempt was made " to asseartain 
ye place where each person m.ny build his pew," but none was settled 
but that of Mr. Dwight and his son, John, " joyning ye Ileverend Mr. 
Cabot*s pew in ye northwest comer of ye meeting-house." Apiil 9, 
it was voted and agreed, " To give unto Hez^kiah Gteflfe, forty-one 
pound ton shillings to build two ])air of framed stairs and lay ye gallery 
floors and face ye fore-scats round with good, handsome panel work, 
and find all materials and provisions necessary for Bai<l work, and to be 
done woriLman-like, as it shall be judged by indefrent workmen ; said 
Qoff is also to cart ye hordes to ye meeting-house." This work was 
accepted on the 4th of March following — " provided ye said Goff will 
line the inside of said facing, ye society finding boards sufficient." 
Captain Ilowe, ITrian Ilorsmor and Thomas Converse were thou chosen 
to agree with workmen to build seats in the gallery, copying, as usual, 
"ye form of Woodstock seats in their gallery," and John Wiley 
ordered to provide boards, planks and timber " fitting, suitable and sufli- 
oient for building five seat,8 in ye front, and four seats in each side 
gallery." These being erected by the close of another twelve-month, 
and suitable allowance mado for nails, planks and carting — the meeting- 
house, afler six and a half years* labor was fairly accomplished, and on 
March 18, 1735, the society met to arrange its seating. Joseph Cady, 
Jun., Henry Green, Sinion Bryant and Urian Ilorsmor wore chosen 
committee for that purpose. Their nile to go by was simply, " com- 
puting all the charge of settling the gospel in said society, having 
respect, also, to age." Messrs. Cady and Green were also appointed 
" to take a deed of Lieutenant Sabin of a certain piece of land round 


about our meeting ^ous, as U already bounded for the Society's nae.'* 
^' A peace of land/' near the French River, a mile or mdi*q*aoutliwe6t 
of the meeting- house, was also given by David Shapley '^ ibra buryiiig-% 
place for said Society.'* 

The liberal land tax allowed by the Assembly enabled this society to 
meet its expenses with comparative ease, though some assessments were 
found needful. The collecting this tax was a matter of some delay 
and difficulty. Non-resident proprietors found it extremely burden^ 
8om& Committees were more than once chosen '^ to discourse with* 
Captain Howe, and see how far ho hatli proceeded in gathering the 
land-tax." February, 1783, Ilunry Gi*ecii, Jun., and Ivory IJpham were 
dircitted, '* to cost u[> Captain Howe's account, which he brought in 
re:$|M)cling ye land-tax." This committee repotted that the money 
already received amounted to £438 17s., and that £108 Ss. were still 
due. Peuuel Childs was appointed to collect this remainder, and it 
was further agreed, '^ That each person that hath not paid the land-tax 
in full, according to the grant of the Assembly, a. d. 1728, shall be 
prosccutetl by the committee in the law. Tlie gradual depreciation of 
currency and conso(|uent lisc in the price of *' ncce8iMU*ies for the 
upholding of human life," made it needful to provide for the keeping 
up the credit of Mr. Cabot's salary according to agreement Twenty 
pounds additional were granted in 1734 and 1735, but this being 
opposed by Christopher Peak and other remote residents, four contribu- 
tions were allowed him in 1736, to be taken '^ up once a quarter." The 
stipulated supply of wood was usually provided by one individual, at 
the cost of the society, but in 1736, it was agi-eed to procure it by each 
man cutting one day. Janiuu*y 9, wjis the day ap})ointed to cut and 
cart this wood, each man not ap|)earing on said day to foifeit three 
shilliugs. The fii*st work of the society at*ter completing its meeting- 
house, was to order a capacious pound " worthy of that edifice." 
December 26, 1735, it was put to vote, " Whether the society would 
build a good, substantial pound of thirty feet square, with good white- 
oak ])Osts, with six rails and a good cap on the top of the posts, with 
a good gate well hanged with good iron hinges, apd a good lock and 
kee, with a good staple and hasp," and it passed in the attirmative. A 
suitable sum was allowed Jacob Di*esser for building this pound, he 
finding and providhig all tilings necessary. The pound was set near 
the northeast corner of the meeting house, and llezekiah Sabin duly 
installed ai iu kifpcr. 

Thus, within eight years of its organization, the North Society of 
Killingly was well settled and established, with minister, meeting-house, 
niiliUiry company, MtthtxilH and pounti, and wan in very thriving himI 
prosperous cireunistauces. Nearly all its residents were now admitted 


iiilmliittmtA, and al1owc<1 the '' priviledge of voting in any of the pru- 
dentials therein." The Rev. Mr. Cabot was greatly beloved by his 
|>eople, and his preaching so acceptable that his first Fast and Thanks- 
giving flcnnons were di»cnic<l worthy of pnbHcAtion. Mr. Dwight, 
too, proved himself a valuable member of the society, ready to bear his 
part of charges and " do service by preaching.'* Mr. Cabot was like Mr. 
Dwight, an advocate of a '* regular method in singing," and his church 
is believed to have been one of the first in Windham County to employ 
a stated '* querister,** Mr. Penuel Child being appointed in 1742 to that 

The remarkable harmony enjoyed by Thompson Parish during this 
period was only interrupted by an unfortunate controversy with Mr. 
Samuel Morris, the builder of the first bridge across the Qiunebaug, 
agent for Thompson and other non-residents, and nominal '' governor *' 
of the ronmining Nipnmcks. Mr. Morris ha<l settled on a tract of 
land, bought o( (ilovenior I)u<11oy Imforo its assumption by Connecti- 
cut and united with the church in Woodstock, and for many years was 
allowed to worship there without molestation, but after the erection of 
Thompson Parish he was bound by Colony laws to do his part in 
establishing and maintaining religious worship in that society. The 
heavy land-tax first assessed was paid by him without remonstrance, 
but when the society committee proceeded to call upon him as a resi- 
dent for the minister's salary and ordinary expenses — Mr. Morris 
demurred. All his associations and interests wore with the Massa- 
chusetts Colony, and at his time of life he could not think of leaving 
the church of his fathers to worship with a new |>eople at so great a 
distance. To pay for religious services which he could not attend 
seemed to him a great injustice, but the collector of Thompson Parish, 
unmoved by his protestations and refusal, took forcible possession of 
Auflicient goo<1s to satisfy his demand. The only reniody for this 
gricvanoo was from the Qeneral Assembly, and thitlior Mr. Morris 
resorted. May 13, 1781, with his neighbors, Willuim Chandler, Jik) ward 
Bugbee and others, showing : — 

" That we were laid oat to Thompson Parish ; live seven miles away ; way 
very roagh ; have never attended service there, and never shall ; live some 
miles nearer Woodstocic, and have attended there till last winter, when wo, with 
some others, obtained a young gentleman to preach with us, and chccrfkilly 
went through with the great charge thereof, that so our families might have 
the benefit of Christian instruction, and not live like heathen ; that we have 
paid a full tax and helped hnlld a meeting-house in ThompMon, which honso 
docM not accommodate us, being very much one side of the parish, and pray 
to be excused fh)m paying anything more.'* 

This request was refused, on the ground that lliompsoii had not 

been properly notified. In October, Mr. Morris further represented to 

the Assembly : — 
*< That he could not, even in summer, attend worship in Thompson with 

320 uiaroRT of winduah oountv. 

any tolerable conTenience, nor In the winter without extreme peril; that he 
had helped contribute generously to the meeting-house In Woodstock, and 
paid charges there ; that he had kept up bridges and roads to great public 
benefit, yet, notwithstanding all these public services, the North Society of 
KlUlngly now came upon him for great sums of money to support the 
charges of said society, when It was Impossible for him to secure any benefit, 
they having placed their meeting-house so far east that, In process of time, It 
would bu Inevitably necessary to build another." 

Mr. Simon Bryant and Josoph Cady wore Biimuioned to answer those 
clmrges, and a slight abatouieiit ordured. Kncotirugod by thisy Mr. 
Munis continued his pleas in October, 1732, insisting: ''That to be 
oblii^ed to travel such a distance over hi\d ways to Thompson meeting- 
houHo woidd Imve a teiuluiicy to dbiiHiurage religious iucriiiatioiis ; that 
a groat part of holy time would bo H|K)ut in voiy servile labor, lM)th to 
man and beast, by the practice, and tluit the great public charges he 
had borne in making bridges ought to exempt him from furtlior 
payment" Again were Bryant and Cady summoned, and having con- 
sidered the circumstances, the Assembly decided, that though the 
attendance of Mr. Morris upon public worship in Thompson would bo 
'' very diflicult in the winter part of tlie year, yet it is not faither than 
many pei)ple live from tlie place of public worship in other parishea, 
and he must therefore pay half-rate.'* 

Against this decision, Mr. Morris most indignantly protested. He 
could not go to Thompson even in summer, because of mountains and 
rocks to go over and many swamps to go through. He had a very great 
regard for the excellent Mr. Cabot^ and would like to sit under his 
ministiy but it was not possible, and were there no other place of wor- 
ship he should count it a less evil to stay at home and read good books 
than to go through so much difficulty and hazai*d to attend at Thompson 
Parish. The Genisml Court says, " others go as far to churdi, but " — 
continues Mr. Morris — '' I durst challenge the whole Government to 
find another person in like circumstances in two respects. I. In not 
being annexed with Woodstock to the Bay. H. In being aimexed to 
Thompson, where 1 have not, nor cannot receive any benelit, and count 
it very hard to be annexed to a paiish, to do deeds of charity and 
maintain the gospel where it is impossible for me to attend, and if I 
cannot be allowed, with my family, to worahip out of Connecticut 
allow me to hire preaching in my ^^wn house, with those of my neigh- 
bors in like circumstances, that I, with those on my farm, may pay my 
ministerial dues where we can have the Word preached to us." 

Despite the u^'gency of this plea and many following, the Govern- 
ment persistently refused to release Mr. Morris from his pai'ochial 
obligations. Annexation to some accessible Confiecticut paiish would 
have been accediMl, but to remit lawful ^Mniuistorial dues" in favor of 
Matmao/iuseUs was a highth of magnanimity not then attained by the 


Connecticut Assembly. That Thompson authorities should refrain 
from collecting this tax was equally out of the question. Laws they 
supposed were made to be enforced, and the half-rate allowed must be 
secured to the uttermost farthing. The character and standing of Mr. 
Morris only made the duty more imperative, and thus the young parish 
was involved in a controversy with its most distinguished inhabitant 
Again and again the people were called together, *' to consider how to 
proceed in our difficulties with Samuel Morris." Simon Bryant, Joseph 
Cady, Sampson Howe and other leading men were sent successively 
to represent the society, and answer the memorials. Attorneys were 
employed to plead their cause at great ex|>ense, and so unwelcome was 
the service of collating this obnoxious tax that the society was obliged 
to enact, '* That every person chosen collector and refusing to serve 
should be prosecuted in the law.*' As Mr. Morris refused to pay, his 
goods or lands must be distrained, and so the contest went on year 
ailer year, to the great annoyance and expense of both parties. At 
length, after Mr. Morris had connected himself with a new church in 
Dudley, much nearer his residence than Woodstock, he again peti- 
tioned, May, 1742, "that he might be exempted from paying parish 
rates to Thompson, where he never had and never could attend wor- 
ship, and be allowed to pay where he did attend, at Dudley, and had 
helped build a meeting-house there and maintain a minister ; being 
sensible that Thompson wiw more able to inaiutain their own minister 
than the memorialist to help maintain two, and for hiiu to pay so nuioh 
money to Thompson for nothing was more than Qod does, or more 
than man can, reasonably, require of their fellow-creatures." Release 
from the payment of country taxes and one-half of all parish taxes, 
provided he maintained a good and sufficient bridge over Quinebaug 
River and allowed a free road through his farm over this bridge, was 
thereupon granted. No further exemption was ever attained, but Mr. 
Morris was compelled through life to submit to this unjust taxation. 
His son, Samuel, entablished himself in business as a '' trader," appa- 
rently upon the family homestead, buying up produce and exchanging 
it for goods in I^oston, and was largely patronized by residents of 
Woodstock, Dudley and the west part of Thompson. 






THOMPSON, when thus happily established, was still deiioient iq 
traveling facilities. Road-making was not a parochial prerogative, 
and Killingly's town authority was doubtful and intermittent One of 
the first acts of tliiit town afler the annexation of the land north of 
her, was (o choose a coniniittee *' to go to the parish of Thoni|)Son, 
and to take a view and see what ways they neg<l to go to their 
meeting-house, and lay ont what they think fit, and make return of 
their doings." The gentlemen selected — Isaac Cutler, James Leavens, 
and Sampson Ilowe — found their tank not an easy one. The large 
parisli, with its fifty families, had not a road laid ont in it, save the 
wretched old countiy gangways leading to Boston and Hartford. 
Crooked bridle-paths winding around among ^' rocks, mountains and 
miry swamps*' had been trodden out by its inhabitants. The soil was 
stony and hard to be worked, and the people so scattered that almost 
every family required an especial " way " of its own. The committee, 
however, set themselves sedulously about the work, and in process of 
time completed '^ views" and a number of surveys. The firat road 
repoited, October 4, 1782, appropriately accommodated the earliest 
settlers, beginning on the west side of Quinebaug liiver, near Mi's. 
Dresser's, *^and then running over said river," (probably on John 
]>wight*s bridge at the present crossing-place ea^t of West TInnnpson 
village), and on between Captain Howe's house and barn to the 
French River, thence down and over it and on past the burying- 
ground, David Shnpley's and Mr. Cabot's, and '* so as the road is now 
trod to y* meeting-house." No other road was completed until 1735, 
when a committee " chosen to view y' circumHUuices in y* quarter of 
Green's at Thompson," laid ont a road from Thomas Whitmore's in 
the southeast section, which meandered around in the most bewildering 
manner to houses and pastures of riiinehus, Ebenezer and Henry 
Green, crossing bridges and upper and lower ford-ways of the Five- 
Mile liiver, passing Merrill's barn and improved land " on to the old 
road over Quinnatisset Brook," and so following the smue (ill they 
'Hum out to come into the country roud, southwest corner of ilezekiah 
Sabin's little orchard, fore side ol* y* meeting-house." Two yeairs later, 
a road was laid out from Sabin's biidge, below the Great Falls of 
the (^uini'baug, to Thompson nieetiiig-housu, acroiiiiiiodurnig Doacon 
Katou, Captain Joseph Cady and othei's* in that remote locality, and 


intersecting the path by which "Simon Bryant already traveleth 
from his own dwolHnghouso *to Tliomjison meeting-honse." 

Tlieso roads, when opened, were found qnite insufficient. A largo 
part of the parish was yot unaf^inimodatcd. When the cherished 
meeting house was fairly completed, cries for better ways to it arose 
from every quarter. Moffatt, from, " the edge of Rhode Island,** asked 
for a road past Timothy Green's to the meeting-house ; Joseph Munyan 
desired one " for tlie convennency of his neighborhood." Another 
road was asked from the Quinebnug, past Jewett*s to £llithorp*s bridge 
over the French River, " where it would be most convenient -.for that 
neighborhood to go to Thompson meetinghouse." *' A considerable 
number of nabors" wished a bridle-road laid out from James Fuller s 
west of the Quinebaug, to Thompson meeting-house. Nathaniel 
Merrill and Robert Plank required a road for their especial accommoda- 
tion. Individuals as well as neighborhoods were clamorous in impor- 
tunity. A committee, called oat to inquire into the circumstances of 
Squire Ilascall on Dudley lino, and furnish a road for him to travel to 
meeting on, found twelvf pairs of bars intervening between his house 
and any traveled way. John Corbin, William Alton, Alpheus Conversey 
Ephraim Guile, Israel Joslin and Amos Bixby, each asked for a sepa- 
rate way to enable him to go to meeting. The only apparent use for a 
road in those days was " to travel to Thompson meeting house*' upon. 
No petitioner hinte<l at any other en<l or object save Captaiti William 
Cliandler, frotn Woodstock line, who was so secular as to ask for a road 
allowing him " to do business in Killingly as well as attend meeting in 
Thompson.'* These innumerable petitions were received by Killingly 
with the most exemplary patience. So that * Thompson but acknowl- 
edged her authority, she seemed heedless of expense or trouble. 
Every petitioner was accorded a way, however distant and difficult, to 
his Iwlovwl meeting-house— though in self- preservation she was finally 
compelled to enact, **That for the future every person that shall move 
to this town to have any way altered or removed, it shall be done at the 
petitioner's cost and charge." Under this provision, by persistent 
efforts, the people of Thompson were in time provided with suitable and 
convenient roads to their meeting-house from all parts of the parish. 

The firet interment recordetl in the burial-ground given by David 
Shapley, was that of Captain Sampson Howe, who died in 1730, and 
was buried with military honors. lie left a large estate to his widow 
and sons. Mrs. Howe had half the house and a proportionate share of 
land and furniture. Should she marry again like most widows of that 
day, eighty pounds were allowed her, and in case she out-lived her 
second husband she was to return to the hou^^e if she pleased, and '*her 
son Sampson to take good care of her." Captain Howe lefl stock 


valiiod at £286 ; beds and bedding, £02 ; olothea, £i5 ; armor, £25 ; 
books, £8 ; linen, £12 ; brass, £13 ; i^evter, £11 ; iron, £8 ; glass, £1 ; 
'earthenware, 8s. ; wooden-ware, 193. ; two negroes, £200. The woman 
Leah was lefl to his son Sampson ; Cesar, the man-servant, to Perley. 
Sampson Howe purchased land west of Killingly Hill and removed to 
the south parish ; Perley settled as minister in Dudley, Mass. 

The oaptainoy of the company was filled successively by Joseph Cady 
and John Dwight The former was for several years clerk of the 
society. Jacob Dressor, the first male born within the limits of 
Thompson, was now one of its most active citizens, buying nmch land 
and filling many town ofilcos. In 1741, he was chosen society clerk, 
and retained in ofiice many years. William Lamed, after some years' 
residence in Sutton, returned with seven sons to his former home in 
Thompson. Henry Green, Sen., in 1 733, gave farms in the region of 
Pottaquatic to his sons, Henry, Seth, Amos, Timothy and Phineas. 
Tlie eastern border of the parish was now becoming quite subdued and 
civirnsed. A subslantial framed house was built on the Mnnyan farm by 
Joseph Mnnyan in 1730. Six sons of Israel J^mlin settleil a few years 
later on farms in this vicinity. New settlers, too, were constantly 
aniving. Nathan Bixby of Topsfield, in 1733, bought a hundred acres 
of land of John Sabin beginning at Wolcott*s northwest coraer, and 
there established liimself. Joseph Town, also of To])sfield, bought land 
afterwards included in the Town Neighborhood, in 1733. Stephen 
Cummins purchased of Town, a tract adjoining Benjamin Bixby*s in 
1736. John Holmes of Stoughton bought land near Nathaniel Brown's 
and Lake Chaubongam, in 1738. Samuel Porter and Joseph Flint of 
Salem, the same year, purchased pait of the Whiting farm of Howe and 
StaiT, and settled south of Lake Ohaubongagum. Land given to John 
Mills of Brain tree by Captain John Chandler of Woodstock '* for love 
and friendship," and afterwards confirmed to his sons, was aiiparontly 
first occupied by Josiah Mills at about this date. Lusher Gay in 1737 
settled in the South Neighborhood on land first improved by Samuel 
Ijce. Land bordering on l^omfret, ** north of the road leading to Lieu- 
tenant Dwight's,'* was sold by Bartholomew of Woodstock to David 
BaiTett in 1738. William Alton not long after settled in that vicinity. 
James Dike of Dudley removed to Thompson in 1740, mairying a 
daughter of Sanmel Narramore. In 1741, Nathaniel Jacobs of Bristol, 
Uhode Island, after a brief resilience in Woodstock, purcliaseti of John 
Wiley for £900, old tenor, the remaining part of the Saltonstall tract. 
Wiley returned to Woodstock. Jacobs and his five sons took possession 
of this wihl tract, which afterwards was known as the Jacobs Distrit* t. 
i>oer ttlill ranged its woods, and bears were not inlVeipieht. His 
house, as the lust preceding a long stretch of wilderness, became a 


welcome resting-place to many a weary traveler, and was widely known 
as the Half-way House between Hartford and Boston. 

These new inhabitants, with the children of the early settlors, identi- 
fied themselves with the interests of the parish and added greatly to 
its strength and prosperity, and soon it was said that the second society 
of KilHngly exceeded the first in numbers and wealth. The church 
received many accessions, but as there was great remissness in bringing 
letters from other churches, it was voted, September 18, 1788, "Y* 
such persons as reside among us and have took with us for a considera- 
ble time at y* Lord's table, shall gett letters of dismission or recom- 
mendation from y* churches whereunto they belong or be debarred 
from our communion any longer, provided they don't do it on or before 
the Sacrament in November next." Accordingly on that day, Novem- 
ber 12, sixteen persons brought letters from KilHngly and six from 
other ohuroho-s and the acH^osxions (*oiitinuod till in four years the 
mcmberahip of the church had nearly trebled. All parties united in 
affection for the church and its pastor, and the only difiiculty apparent 
for many years was collecting the pi*esoribed assessment for the support 
of the Ix>rd s table. A committee of three brethren were joined with 
the pastor to receive the deacons' account of the contributions at the 
close of the year, and such as neglected to pay their quota at the speci- 
fied time were " lyable to censure before y* church." The derangement 
of the cnn'ency made it needful to raise this annual quota gradually in 
ten yeara from two to six shillings. Jonathan Clough and William 
Larned were chosen deacons of the church in 1742. 

The efforts of the society at this time were chiefly directed to keep- 
ing up the credit of Mr. Cabot's salary, and providing seats for the 
congregation. Twenty, thirty, forty, and finally eighty pounds were 
needful to make up the depreciation of currency. In 1 789, the illneRS 
of Mr. Cabot made it noci^ssary to hire a minister for two months, do- 
fraying the charge by a contribution every Sabbath. The cost of Mr. 
Cabot's wood was defrayed by an annual rate. Though the meeting- 
house was sufficiently ample, its seats were insufficient for the increasing 
congregation, and young men and women, according to the fashion of 
the day, begged the [U'ivilege of building pews for their own especial 
accommodation. John Dresser and twelve othera were allowed ** to 
build the hind-seats in the side gallery into a pew and take it for their 
seats." Ephraim Guile, Richard Bixby, Bryant Brown and nine others 
built one in the front gallery, llie corrospon<ling half of this pew was 
built by five young women — Abigail Ca'ly, Rebecca and Mary Merrill, 
Esther Wiley and Rachel Green, " at their own proper cost and charge, 
and for their own use to set in " — a board partition extending to the 
roof of the house discreetly precluding open communication between 


the sections. A pew over the men's stairs was next allowed to six 
young men. Nothing further was requii'ed hj the meeting-house, save 
occasional mending of glas3, till 1743, when it was voted, ^*to finish 
the inside " — Josiah Mills undertaking '^ to pint the peak ends with 
lime and also the inside of the roof, and lath the cracks of the roof, 
and plaster the sides above the lower girths and the insides of 
the meetinghouse against the gallery stairs ; also to put in good 
Joyce and lath and plastei* over-head, and case the windows, and lath 
and plaster against the Rev. Mr. Cabot's |>ew." This being aooom- 
plishcil, and lathing and plastcnng under the galleries, and the untlor- 
pinuing rectiiied by laying the stones in clay mortar — Henry Uruuii, 
Major Sabin and Ijioiitonant Child wore appointoii to seat the com- 
]>U'ted house to the best of their judgment. 

The relations of Thompson with Killiiigly were still indefinite and 
obscure. According to the enactment of 1729, Killingly was restricted 
'*to the ancient claimed and reputed line of the Massachusetts, called 
Woodward's and Safi*ery's line," and Thompson was simply a religious 
society outside of any t^wn organization, but neither town nor society 
accepted this construction, and Thompson was considered a part of 
Killingly, and bore her share of public works and charges. One of 
the representatives to the Assembly, and a fair proportion * of town 
ofiicers, were always chosen from Thompson Pariah. Simon Bryant, 
John Dwight, Hezekiah Sabin, Jonathan Clough, Joseph Cady, Jedi- 
diah and CTrian llorsmor and Penuel Child were sent successively as 
deputies. Jacob Dresser was chosen town clerk in 1744. William 
LaiTied, in 1746, was voted a small sum of money in return 'Mbr the 
good service he hath done the town as ti*easurer." Samuel Mori*is, in 
consideration of his services in maintaining bridges and public roads, 
was exempt through life from country taxes. 

Killingly's satisOiCtion in admhibtering the afiuirs of Thompson 
Parish was greatly marred by her inability to gain full possession of 
its teriitory. The controversy with non-resident claimants was con- 
tiimed for many years, Killingly resolutely refusing to submit to the 
'^ Explanation of 1729," on the ground that it was based u|>on a false 
assumption ; that it made Woodstock's south boundary-line correspond 
with Woodward's and Saftery's line, whereas, it was evident by a map 
drawn by commissionei*s from both colonies, that two miles in length 
of Woo<lstock's territory, and several hundred acres of the land laid 
out to Thompson lay south of that ancient reputed boundary, within 
the limits always allowed to Connecticut by Massachusetts, and included 
in the original grant to Killingly. No Massachusetts grant, or agree< 
ment of cM>nnni.i8ioners could confer, Killingly argued, a lawful title to 
this land, and for it she baltled with the most pei-sistent energy, boldly 


laying out farms and taking pofisesaion, and defending her claim through 
the various Courts of Windham County. Daniel Cady, in the Mamo of 
the town, brought an action of ejection against Joseph niomi)8on. 
Tliompson, by his agent, brought an action of trespass against Joseph 
Cady, and when '* debarred from his just rights " by the judgment of the 
Superior Court, again appealed to the General Assembly and demanded 
a new trial. James Wadsworth, Kbenezer West and Captain William 
Throop were then a))pointed a committee, '* to hear all parties, and 
settle the whole affair by composition, if it might be gained, but if 
disappointed therein to give opinion what other acts might be proper 
to quiet said Thompson in his farm." Repairing to Killingly, April 
28, 1734, these gentlemen met Elisha Paine, agent for Mr. Joseph • 
Thompson of Great Britain ; James Leavens and Isaac Cutler, repre- 
sentatives of the proprietors of Killingly ; and Joseph Leavens, Sinu)n 
Bryant and Captain Howe, agents of the town — and carefully con- 
sidered the pleas and allegations of all parties. That Killingly was 
right in asseiting that part of Thompson's land was south of Wood- 
ward's and Safiery's line, all conceded. Tims it was laid down on the 
map of the Massachussettfl southern boundary line, as established by 
the Commissioners of both colonies, but the matter had been settled by 
a solemn compact between the Governments, and this Connecticut land 
had been confirmed to Thompson by the Government of Connecticut. 
Efforts had been made to satisfy the demands of Killingly. Some of 
the land she had been allowed to keep and an equivalent granted to 
Thompson. Two hundred acres laid out to lie v. Mr. Noyes had been 
purchased by the Colony and conveyed back to Thompson, and about 
six hundred acres were still claimed by Killingly. 
• The committee reported, May 16th, that all the valuable land in 
Thompson Parish had been laid out with buildings and large improve 
mouts upon it, and shottld Killingly bo allowed this six hundre<1 a(*.ros 
they would be obliged to grant an equivalent to Mr. Thompson in 
another place, probably west side of Honsatonio River, but thought it 
reasonable that Thompson should first be allowed a new trial and have 
liberty to bring another action, and recommended that since Killingly 
had laid out the north part of the town, an act should be passed, for- 
bidding proprietors and surveyor to lay out any of the farms allowed 
to Massachusetts claimants. As for that little mistake of the Assembly 
in declaring that Woodstock line should be taken for Woodward's and 
Saffery's, about which Killingly made such ado, the committee opined, 
that, inasmuch as Massachusetts in laying out that township, while 
endeavoring a conformity unto its southern boundary line, had inad- 
vertently run two or three miles south of it, and thus Woodstock line 
obtained the name of Woodward's and Saffery's line, and was esteemed 


and taken to be upon that line, the Assembly had done no wrong iii 

making the aforesaid declaration. . . 

Following these suggustioiis, the Assembly enacted that no title 

given by the proprietors of Killingly to any of the land allowed to 

AlassaoliiisetU) claimants should be oonsidered validi and granted 

Thompson the privilege of another ti'ial. The Superior Court of 

Windham County, March, 1 785, gave judgment in his favor. The 

proprietors of Killiiigly, in 1786, and again in 1789, most earnestly 

protested against the decision, declaring : — '- 

•• I. Siild land was granted to Klllinglv by those who bad Just and legal 
rights hoforo ThoinpMon had any Just pr logal claim. 
If. TlioiiipMou uovor had any right, but only a pretended one. 

III. The pretended equivalent, If over the same was given, was after the 
grant to KUllugly. 

IV. Tlie additional grant made to Killingly, on condition that clalmers be 
not disturbed, the pnipri<^tor8 of Killingly never accepted — and to force 
men to part with their inheritance against their will Is what your petitioners 

think to be against our EuglUh laws Reasons for not accepting 

the grant : — 

1. Land not near so much In quantity. 

2. Not half so gooil as to Intrinsic value. 

8. The situation did exccedhigly discommode the petitioners, It being so 
ftir from them." 

The petitioners also alleged : — 

*< That Thompson, Wolcott, Gore, Gardner and Gambling continued to claim 
laud under the flve-thousand-acre grant, and had never made any dlvUlon 
among themselves but each took what he pleased, and that those on the north 
and west had some hundreds more than their proportion, and that those on the 
south liud crowded the proprietors of Killingly, that there had been lawsuits, 
but aU to no purpose; that honest men In Killingly had been turned out of 
their Inheritance without redress ; inhabitants estopped ttoin Improvements, 
and that by the same ndo that they extended one rod out of Gore's survey, they 
might extend all over Killingly and much more; that the people were In danger 
and could not stiuid It, and asked for a uow trial or a wise and Judicious com- 
mittee, that they might not be utterly undone." 

These continued clamors called out fuither investigation. The 
venerable John Chandler, now judge and colonel, was called u|)on to 
state ''all that he knew concerning the land at a place called Quinna- 
tisset." With his usual clearness and candor, Colonel Chandler 
detailed the various sales and surveys of this land ; exhibited attested 
copies of the deods granted by Mas.sachuHetts to Dudley and Stoughton, 
and by them to Thompson, Freak and others, and also of the original 
plots and surveys of this land ; declared that he knew that several fami- 
lies were settled upon this land previous to the grant of Killingly in 1708, 
and that the titles of Thompson, Wolcot^ Gore, Gardner and Gam* 
bling, had never been contested either by Massachusetts or Connecticut. 
In view of these facts, and that Connecticut in the agreement of 1718, 
had allowed these lands to the claimants and receiveil an e<|uivalent, mu\ 
that Killingly without it had received more than the eight or nine 
miles in length expressed in the grant — the Assembly declared, '* pleas 


of abatement of petition gnfficient,'* and confinned to Joseph Thomp- 
fion of Tendon, his two-tlioiigand-aorc tract in the north part of 
Killinsrly, ohoosinnr to snhinit to the loss of a ]mrt of 1w?r lawful 
territory rather than break her covenant, and re-open controversy with 




AI<TEU the erection of Thompson Parish, affairs hi Klllingly were 
managed with more order and regularity. A book for the 
inscribing of town acts was procured, and the proceedings at town- 
meetings thenceforth duly recorded. The first town-meeting m Kil- 
lingly of which there is existing record was held November 25, 1728 — 
more than twenty years after town organization. But forty-four 
regularly. admitted freemen were then reported, not half the adult male 
residents. A large number of these freemen were inducted into the 
various public offices. ' Justice Joseph licavens served as moderator of 
the meeting, and was continued as town-clerk and first selectman. 
Eleazer Bateinan, Isaac Cutler, Josepli Oady and Benjamin Bizby were 
also chosen townsmen. Robert Day served as constable; Thomas 
Gould and Jonathan Clough, as branders ; Joseph Barret and John 
Russel, grand-jurymen ; Haniel Clark, Jabez Brooks, William Whitney, 
Israel Joslin, William Lamed and Daniel Lawrence, as surveyors ; 
Daniel Waters, Andrew Phillips^ Nathaniel Johnson and Jaazaniali 
Ilorsmor, as listers ; Benjamin Barret and tTacob Oomins, as fence- 
viewers; John Uutchins, ti thing-man. Peter Aspinwall, James 
Leavens, Sampson Howe and Joseph Cady still remained in charge of 
the public lands in the township. It was agreed, ** That the annual 
meeting for the choice of town -officers should be held thereafter on the 
first Tuesday of December* — a warrant on the sign-post a week pre- 
vious to ' be sufficient warning. The place of meeting was. to bo the 
meeting-house in the first society. 

Tlie more onlerly arrangement and settlement of the now parish 
received immediate attention. All inhabitants of the town qualified 
for voting were warned to meet at the old meeting-house, on the last 
Tuesday of April, 1729, "at twelve of y* clock at noon,** there to con- 
sider of some way to proportion the last year's school money to the two 



sooietioe. Tho proportion was regulated according to the list of each 
Booiety. Deacon Aspinwall and Simon Bryant were npt>ointed to meet 
the General Couit's oonnnittee at the Iioudc of Benjamin Bixby iu May, 
to settle the bounds of the paiish and represent the town in anything 
it might be concerned in. A year later, a committee was sent to lay 
out ways in Thompson Parish. As some inhabitants had been 
admitted without sufficient scnitiny, it was roted, " That for the future 
no i^eraon should be voted in inhabitant, but what brings the qualifica- 
tions to the town that the law requires." 

The military company in the south pait of the town was now re- 
organized, with Ephraim Warren for its captain, Isaac Cutler for 
lieutenant and Sunmel Dunielson, ensign. Isaac Cutler, Sunipmm 
Howe and Mrs. Mary Lee were allowed to keep houses of public enter- 
tainment. Roads throughout the town required remodeling. The 
Chestnut Hill settlers petitioned for better acoommodations, and were 
allowed a way from Serjeant Ebenezer Knight's at the south end of the 
hill, northwanl over the hill to Lieutenant Isaac Cutler's, ^* as the road 
wa.s laid out by Chestnut Hill purchasers through their tract," IMdle- 
mads with gates i*or passing, crc»Hsing the hill, were also allowe<l from 
Ebenezer Knight's to John Lorton's, and from Ebenezer Brooks' to 
Joseph BaiTet's. A highway was also ordered from the bridge over 
Whetstone Brook to the settlement in South Killingly, and a cart- 
bridge over Little River in Daniel Lawrence's field. In 1781, Captain 
Warreuj Captain Howe and George Blanchard were appointed ''to 
perambulate the highway that comes from Plainfield, leading towards 
Oxford," remove nuisances and report needful alterations. This 
important road, communicating with Boston, Norwich and New 
London, was then thoroughly perambulated and surveyed, from John 
Hutchins' on the south to Nathaniel Brown's on the north — a distance 
of eighteen or twenty miles — and some important alterations suggest- 
ed. Instead of winding westward around the base of Killingly Hill, it 
was now carried ** to a heap of stones on a rock upon the hill," facili- 
tating settlement on this beautiful eminence. An attempt to secm*e 
a road over the noithern extremity of this hill, connecting Sabin's 
Bridge over the Quinebaug with the road to Pi'ovidence, was, however, 
unsuccessful. This movement was initiated by Samuel Cutler, who, 
after buying and selling farms in various localities, settled at a place 
callcil The Four-fanged Oak, about tw<» miles northcjist of Sabin's 
Bridge. This bridge decaying and falling in pieces, Cutler in 17«il 
replaced it at the cost of £00, and petitioned the Assembly for forgive- 
ness of country rates, license to keep a place of public entertiunment, 
and a conuniltcc (o lay out a way IVoin said bridge to the roml that 
goes to Providence. This road, which would indeed have proved a 


gi*eat publio oonvenionce, snviiig travelers tho long detour about 
Killiiigly Hill, wjw, he averred, " now tmveled on but not yet laid 
out" Tlii8«re(|ue8t being refused, Mr. Cutler next applied to tlie 
parties most interested, and in August, 1782, a town meeting was 
warned " to consider of altering the countr}' road that goes through 
the town towards Providence at the west end, in order to meet a road 
laid out by the town of Pomfret at David Howe's mills." The town 
voted, *' not to alter the road." Cutler, however, maintained his posi- 
tion, and in the following year '' was discharged for paying country 
rates for ten years ensuing." The way past his house, though never 
regularly laid out, was gradually improved, and became in time a 
common thoroughfare. 

The various public enterprises in which Killingly engaged, and the 
expensive controversy with Thompson and Massachusetts proprietors, 
absorbed much of her income, and she often fouud it dilHcult to meet 
her ordiuary expenses. In 1784 the town voted, '' If any person or 
persons shall have money sufficient to procure a book for ye record of 
deeds for this town, they shall have ye same refunded, and repaid to 
them again." Shepard Fisk and Jacob Dresser were able to advance the 
requisite sum, which was repaid them after a long interval. Simon 
Bryant, chosen in 1781 "to wait on the Rev. John Fisk in case he goes 
to Hartford, and to assist him and to represent him in his absence in 
case the said Mr. Fisk cannot go," after ten years* delay was re- 
imbursed the four pounds expended in that service. 

While most of the early settlers of Killingly were still vigorous and 

active, some had already passed away. Mr. James Danielson laid out 

a burial-ground between the rivers for the use of the inhabitants, and 

was the first to be interred in it Its first head-stone bore the 

following inscription : — 

** In moroory of tho woll-belovod Mr. Jamos Danlolson, who, after ho lind 
served God and his generation fiiithAilty many years in this life, did, with 
the holT disciple, lean hlinself upon the breast of his Beloved, and sweetly fell 
asleep in the cradle of death, on the 22d day of January, a. d. 1728, in the 
80th year of his age. * A saint carries the white stone of absolution in his 
bosom, and fears not the day of Judgment.' " 

Mr. Danielson's estate was valued at £1,890. His son Samuel 
succeeded to the homestead and much of the landed property. James, 
who had settled in Lebanon, received a hundred pounds. Four hun- 
dred pounds Were left for his grandson, James, son of Samuel, ** to 
bring him u{) to obllege,**' under the advice and direction of llev. 
Ebeneser Williams. The five negroes left by Mr. Danielson — Ccesar, 
Zipporah, Dinah, Hahnah and Jethro— were valued at six hundred 

In 1728, Jacob Spalding, the first settler of South Killingly, was 
thrown f]*om his cart and instantly killed. He left two young children, 


Simeon and Damaris. His widow occupied the homestead, and before 
long mnnied Edward Stewait, a reputed sciou of the royal family of 
Scotland, and a s&ealous adherent of James 11. and «the Stewart 

Very few new inhaihitants tippeai* in Killingly during tliis period. 
Its increase was mainly restricted to cliildn*n of the first settlers. 
Shepai'd Fisk, aflerwarda a prominent public man, settled near Kill- 
ingly Centre prior to 1730, and Daniel Lawrence of Plainfield established 

^ himself on a farm in the Owaneco purchase. In 1728, the proprietors 
of this tract voted, ** To lay out and equalize twenty -two hundi*ed-acre 
shares, and those that have im)>rove4l or settled said tract shall have 
their hundrc<ls where they have improved and settled therein." This 
land was distributed in 1780, to Joseph, Nathaniel and Edward Spald- 
ing, Joseph Parkhurst, William Blodgett, Samuel Howe, Daniel Wood- 
ward, Thomas Pierce, John Hutchins and the heirs of Jacob S|>alding. 
John Lorton, Idicliuel llewlet, Samuel Spalding and Edward, Jun., 
Ebenezer Kee, Timothy Parkhurst, John Douglas, John Wilson, and 
John Priest were athnitted as additional proprietors. Title to land 
south of Manhunisqueag bounds was confirmed to Daniel Lawrence. 
The Plainfield residents soon sold out their shares of this land to pros- 
pective settlers, and its population i-apidly increiised. Roads were laid 
out connecting this settlement with Chestnut Hill and Killingly Centre. 
In 1782, the south inhabitants wore purmitted by the town to build a 
pound for their own use at their own charge. As all of these families 
were four, and some five, six and even seven miles from the meeting- 
bouse, attendance u)>on public worship was found very diflicult and 
burdensome, and in the winter of 1784-5, they hired a minister to 
preach to them in their own neighborhood, but were still compelled to 
continue the usual rate for the suppoit of Mr. Fisk. A[iplication for 
relief to the authonties of Killingly proving insufficient-, the South 
Killingly people petitioned the General Assembly in April, 1785, 
representing *Uhat these families, nuinbeiinga hundred and fil^y souls, 
and but few of their women and children were able to attend public 
worship ; and begging thein, as fathers ready to help their distressed 
children in times of ditticulty, to grant thein liberty to hire an orthodox 
minister five months in the yeai', and freedom from the ministerial tax 
during that perio<l." This request was graciously granted, and regular 
religious worhhip thenceforth held through the wintry scjuson in South 

' Killingly. The inhabiUmts an<l proprietors of this section signing the 
petition, were — William Spalding, Edward Stewart, Nathaniel Patten, 
John MofiTatt, Levi Preston, Amos Pearce, Nathaniel Blanchard, Boaz 
Steai*ns, Kichard Whittemore, John Eaton, Daniel Lawrence, Joseph 
Hutchins, Wyman Hutchins, Daniel Kee, John Firman, Nathaniel and 


Joeiah Hewlett, Joseph Hoffes, Lebbeus Graves, Daniel Foskett, 
Stephcir Spalding, Jonathan Russel, William Wliiting, John Pnest 
and John Wilson. Some of those signers wore residents of a strip of 
town land east of the Owaneco Purchase, which was laid out and 
distributed by the proprietors' committee. 

Population, though now diflfused througout the township, was still 
more numerous along the valleys and in the vicinity of the meeting- 
house. A blacksmith's shop was allowed in 1785, "on that corner of 
the sequestered land near Mr. Fink's comer." One of the first residents 
of Killingly Hill was probably Noah, son of Joseph TK»avens, who 
established himself on its southern extremity about 1740. Dr. Thomas 
Moffat, the first regular practicing physician in Killingly, occupied a 
site on the western brow of this hill, between Noah Leavens and Mr. 
Fisk. The road over and west of the hill was often altered to suit the 
convenience of the inhabitants. Samuel Cutler, after many fruitless 
efforta, was allowed to open his house for travelers in 1740. The 
tavern- stand afterwards known as Warren's, at the fork of the roads a 
half-mile east of Cutlers, was first occupied by John Felshaw, who 
was licensed to keep a house of public entertainment in 1742. John 
Hutchins, at the same date, was allowed the like privilege in the south 
of the town. 

The disposition of wandering cattle gave much trouble to the Kill- 
ingly authorities for miyiy years. The great extent of the town and 
the unsettled state of its bounds, made it very dillicult to restrain or 
recover them. Great numbera were accustomed to roam at large, 
foraging for themselves upon the public commons. Pounds were 
allowed in every neighborhood, and to any individual who was willing 
to build and maintain one, and were filled with sheep, swine, cows and 
horses, taken up singly or by dozens, often in •suffering condition. 
Committees were oflen appointed ** to look into the affair of strays in 
our town, call in the sums due the town for stray creatures, with full 
powers to prosecute." Even cattle from distant parishes were attracted 
to the free commons of Killingly, as is shown by the following <* Remon- 
strance of Samuel White of Roxbury " — (West Woodstock) : — 

<<GL*Dtleinen of the town of Killingly : — 

These come to Inform you that In July, 1746, 1 had strayed away Arom my 
house two creatures— au ox and a cow. The cow I bought of Mr. Jabez Lyon 
of Woodstock ; the ox I bought out of a drove. I know not where the/ came 
f^om, and notwltliHtandlng 1 took a groat deal of pains after said creatures but 
never heard of them till about a month ago, and then I fnund said creatures at 
Mr. Lee's In your town, aud they had becii strayed and are outlawed, and what 
they were prized at belongs to your tovvn. Dut your Respondent Is a poor 
man, not'able Hcarccly to maintain hl8 family, and entreats your favor that 
you, by a vote of yonr town» would give me up your right In said creatures, 
and you will ffreatly oblige your humble servant, Samukl Wuitk. 

» Boxbury, Novembers, l?*?." 


By vote of the town, the prayer of thU humble petitioner was 
granted, an act of neighlK>rly kiadness quite brightening the dmgy old 
records. A strayed heifer, which died on John Felahaw'a hands, wan 
also allowed him. 

This oorner town, bordering upon Massachusetts and Rhode Island, 
was also afflicted with strays of a difierant order, and many a fee was 
paid to selectmen and constable for ridding the town of disorderly 
tramps and vagabonds. Families of idle Indians siill roved about, 
levying tribute of food and cider. The squaws Tiiwait and Bliss ai*e 
warned out of town, and a fee paid ''for traveling after Uepubali 
Mackintier, to warn hor out of town." Douty Mighill and Hannah 
Maxman wei*e'also driven out of town, and Edward Stewart, forbidden 
to entertain one Sherrad at his house. 

The church in the first society of Killingly was for a time very pros- 
perous. A season of special religious interest occurred in 1728-9, when 
sixty were added to its memberahip, more than making up the number 
dismissed to the new church in Thompson Parish. Kleaser Bateman, 
Jr., was chosen deacon in 172)0 ; llaniel Clai*k, in 172)3. The ministry 
to Mr. Fisk was acceptable and protitable to his jieople till a rupture 
occuiTed, from some cause not now manifest '' At a regular meeting 
of the first church of Killingly, July 8, 1741, after the meeting was 
opened by prayer, Mr. Fisk, upon the advice of neighboring ministers, 
moved to the church to dismiss him from his p^tstoral relations." His 
request was granted by a clear majority. The Windham County Con- 
sociation was soon after called, '*To consider and determine the 
differences and ditiiculties between said Fisk and the church, arising 
from several scandalous reporU spread abroad concerning Mr. Fisk.'* 
Deacon Bateman, Justice Leavens, Samuel Danielson, Ebenezer 
Knight and Gideon Draper were appointed a committee to represent 
the church and provide for the Council. No i*ecord of the result is 
given, but it probably confirmed the dismissal of Mr. Fisk. The 
nature of the charges against him is not .dechired, but a suooeeding 
pastor, with opportunity of judginetil, waui of opinion that they were 
not of any flagrant immorality. The church, at this date, numbered 
over four hundred membera. Mr. Fisk, during his ministry, peiformed 
763 baptisms, admitted 254 into full communion, and 148 to the half- 
way covenant. August, 1741, the committee of the church applied to 
the Association for a minister, and were recommended to several 
candidates, but did not succeed in securing one. 

The loss of the minister was .soon followed by a protracted and 
violent controversy respeeling a meeting The rude church 
edifice of 1715 wns quite inudeipiute for the jiopidons and thriving 
township of 1741, and the inhabitants of the south society were called 


tofljether, Septeinbor 18, to »ee if they would vote to bnild a new 
meeting house. Mr. Daniel Waters wan chosen moderator, and eighty 
ngninflt five vot^il in favor of huilding. Samuel Danielson was then 
chosen agent to ask for a committee from the General Assembly to 
ascertain the place suitable. Jonathan Trumbull, Jonathan Huntington 
and £l>enezer Wales were appointed, who selected a spot two rods 
south from the old meeting-house, with the expectation that a new 
society would be set off in the south of the town. The residents of 
North Killingly favored division and the selected site; those of 
Killingly Centre and Chestnut Hill prcforre<l a central site that would 
accommodate the whole society. Samuel Danielson, Captain Ephraim 
Warren, Gideon Draper and ]3oaz Stearns were the leaders of the latter 
party, and their representations to the Assembly that the spot fixed 
upon was two miles from the north end of the society and eight from 
the south, and that some place could be assigned which would be 
agreeable to almost all the inhabitants, procured the appointment of 
a new committee in May, 1742. This second committee — Deacon 
Eleazer Cary of Windham, Josiah Conant and Experience Porter — 
repaired to Killingly in August, and afler due consideration selected 
for the meeting-house site **a bare hill belonging to Captain 
Warren," long appropriately known as Break-neck — a rocky, precipi- 
tous, almost inaccessible eminence, remote from the common thorough- 
fares of travel, whose only advantage was its position near the centre 
of the society. A meeting-house' on this bleak hight would accommo- 
date, it was thought, the different sections, prevent further parish 
division and inaugurate a new business centre. To further this end, 
land for a training-field and burial-ground, and a quarter-acre for the 
meeting-house were at once offered to the society by Captain Warren. 
This decision, and the spirit and determinatioo manifested by the 
central party, threw the northern inhabitants into great excitement and 
consternation. The Jjeavcnses, Cadys, Cutlers and other ancient and 
leading families vehemently opposed the removal of their meeting- 
house, and thus expressed their views to the General Assembly : — 

*' The memorial of the antlcnt settlers tn Killingly, inhabitants of the first 
society, sheweth : — That your roemorlallstd aud their ancestors, when their 
namber was much below their present number, being granted a township, they 
with a small asslMtance granted by the Qcneral Assembly, built a mectlng- 
honse, called and settled a minister and have honorably supported and 
maintained him; That In process of time, the Inhabitants lucreasUig, a 
society was settled In the north pari of the town, where a mectlng-houne Is 
built, a worthy minister settled and duly supported ; That for some years the 
town Increasing southward, the inhabitants of that part have been a sort of 
winter parish, and have hod preaching among themselves with a view of their 
being In convenient time a society by themselves; That the first or old 
roeetlng-bouse t>elng exceedingly out of repair, there Is a necessity that a new 
one be erected for the worship of God as soon as may be; That your memo- 
rialists inhabiting that part of the town which underwent or bare the burthen 



and charge of the flrat settlement, cannot bat look opon It as a verj great 
hardship if they shall be obliged to assist In the balldlng a new hoose for 
public worship to be set at a great distance Aroin them, to gratify je inhabitants 
of yo south part, especially since ye committee sent by ye Court directed said 
house to be built where very few can be accommodated, remote fk*om settle- 
ments), environed with rocks and swamps, and will require a vast charge to 
purcliaso and make new ways through particular properties and enclosures or 
ye people be obliged to travel to aud fkro fk*om thence in round-about ways, 
which will oblige many in both extremes to travel six or seven miles to meet- 
ing, and when they come there, nothing to shelter themselves, their horses 
and furniture from the inclemency of weather and stormy seasons, while many 
in both extremes will be nearer Pialnfleld or Thompson— or the society may be 
divided as tliat both may bo accommodated. Your humble memorialists have 
taken a great deal of pains and care in considering their own circumstances 
and the consoi|uoncos that might tbllow In continuing one society, or erecting 
a meeting- bouMo wliere the lato oouimlttoo have pTaoed It, and they esteem