C. O. (Charles Oscar) Parmenter.

History of Pelham, Mass. : from 1738 to 1898, including the early history of Prescott ... online

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Online LibraryC. O. (Charles Oscar) ParmenterHistory of Pelham, Mass. : from 1738 to 1898, including the early history of Prescott ... → online text (page 1 of 51)
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[See pages 74 and 499.]



FROM 1738 TO 1898,






press of Carpenter & .IRorcbcusc,




-Boston Transcript, February 23

Table of Contents,

Settlement of Pelham.
North of Ireland Scotchmen learn of America — Memorial to Governor
Shute of Massachusetts sent by Rev. Mr. Boyd in 17 18 — One Hun-
dred families sail for Massachusetts and land in Boston August 4,
17 18 — From Boston to Worcester — Then to Pelham in 1738 —
Description of Equivalent Lands purchased — North of Ireland
Scotchmen in 173S, . . . . . . 7 to 13

Proprietors' Records.
173S to 1743.
First meeting of Proprietors held at Worcester February 26, 173S-9 —
Articles of Agreement for purchase of Land made and indented
October 20, 1738^-Survey of the tract purchased with plan of
the same and names of those who drew Home Lots — First meeting
of Proprietors held on the newly purchased tract first called Lisburn,
August 6, 1740 — Various meetings of Proprietors previous to the
Incorporation of the Town 1743— Meetings of Proprietors' organ-
ization until 1767, . . . . . ■ 13 to 67

The Communion Token.
Distributed to Members on Lecture Days— Gathered Again After

Communion Service, . . . . . . 68 to 74

Incorporation of the Town of Pelham— Town Meeting Records.
From 1743 to 1763.

First Town Meeting held April 19, 1743, at the call of Robert Peibols—
Full list of Officers Chosen— Voted to Establish Schools in 1744—
Annual Town Meeting Records — Petition to General Court to Le-
galize Acts of Town Officers in 1753— Invoices Given in for Taxa-
tion in 1760— The Town Presented at Court in 1762 for "Volun-
tarily Omitting and Neglecting to Provide Themselves with a
Learned and Able Orthodox Minister"— Illegal Killing of Deer in
1763, and Penalty therefor, . . . . . 74 to 116

From 1763 to 1776.
Call of Rev. Richard Crouch Graham to Settle in 1763— Objectors
Thereto — Warning of Objectionable Families to Leave Town —
Pewing the Meeting-house in 1766— Allotment of Pews— Disagree-
ment with the Shutesbury Selectmen About Town Lines in 1769 —
Town Vendue in 1769— Death of Rev. Mr. Graham in 1771— Rev.


Andrew Bay Supplies the Pulpit in 1772 — Patriotic Response to
the Boston Committee of Correspondence, 1773 — Call to Rev.
Nathaniel Merrill in November, 1774— Letter of a Pelham Man in
the Army at Charlestown, 1775— Committee of Safety Chosen 1776
— Handbill from the Court of Independency 1776 . . 116 to 132

From 1777 to 17S6.

Valuation of Property for Taxation Established 1777— Rev. Mr. Mer-
rill's Appeal 1779— Large Increase of Salary 17S0— .Measures
Taken to Secure Men for the Army 17S1 — Bounties Offered— Action
Taken to Procure Beef for the Army — Daniel Shays on Committee
of Safety 1781— Selectmen Refuse to Call a Town Meeting 1782—
Trying to Settle with the Three and Si.x Months Men 1783-
Allowance to Soldiers in the Late War 1785 — The Town Votes to
Have a Bank of Paper Money Made 17S6, . . .132 to 157

From 17S6 to 1797.

Petition of certain inhabitants of Belchertown in 17S6— Convention at
Bruce's Tavern, July 31, 17S6— Mutterings about " Grievances" in
Town Meeting— Delegates to Convention at Hatfield in August,
1786— Second Parish Organized 1786— Choice of Delegates to At-
tend Constitutional Convention, i787^First Justice of the Peace
Appointed, 1788 — Families Warned to Leave Town in 1790-91 —
First General Appropriation for the Poor, 1790 — Support of the
Poor First Sold to Lowest Bidder 1794 — Laying Out Road to the
Valley, 1795 — Stipulation Concerning the Poor, 1797. 157 to 168

From 1797 to 1809.

Tranfer of Pews in the Old Meeting-house, 179S — Permission \'oted to
build " Horse Shades," 1799 — Sale of Town Lands at Vendue, 1801
— Opposition to the Building of Turnpike, 1802 — A Town Pound
Established, 1S04— Robert Lotheridge Sells His Pew in the Old
Meeting-house — Voted to hold one-third of the Town Meetings in
the Second Parish, 1805— Attempts to have the Toll-gate Abolish-
ed, 1806— Samuel and Andrew Hyde Petition to have their Lands
Set Off to Amherst, 1S07, .... 16S to 176

From 1809 to 1S15.

Two Candidates for Representative to the General Court. 1S09— Taxes
Upon the People, 1809 — The Abercrombie Brothers, Isaac and
James, Candidates for Representative, 1810 — The 6th Mass. Turn-
pike Corporation Tries to Discontinue Their Road Through Town,
i8ro — County Road to Enfield Laid Out, 181 1 — Governor Peti-
tioned to Restore the Two Military Companies to their Former
Regiments, 1812— Fear of a Draft for the War of 1S12— Wages of
Detached Soldiers Raised, 1814 — The Plast Parish asks to be Set
Off as a Town by Itself, 1815, . . . . . 176 to 183


From 1S15 to 1S24.

New Pelham — Order of Notice from the General Court to Show Why
the Prayer of the Second Parish Should Not be Granted, 1S19 —
The Town Votes Against Revising the Constitution, 1S20— The
Last Act of Opposition to Setting Off the Second Parish— The
Town Rejects All of the Eleven Amendments to the Constitution,
182 1— The East Parish Succeeds in Getting Set Off from the Old
Town, 1822 — Large Number Supported by the Town in 1822, — Sale
of Common Lands and Proceeds go for Repairs on the Meeting
House. 1S23, . . . . . * . 1S3 to 190

From 1824 to 1S61.

Council Called to Dismiss Rev. Winthrop Bailey in 1S25— Great Flood
of 1S28 Does Damage — Ziba Cook Elected Representative by
One Majority in 1829 — Stove L^sed in Meeting House for the First
Time in 1831 — New Town Hall Wanted in 1835 — Money Secured
from the United States Treasury in 1837 — Wanted to Change the
Name of the Town in 1840 — Libraries Established in 1842 — Scheme
for Two Town Halls in 1842 — Old Meeting House Changed for
Town Hall in 1S44 — Old Meeting House Rented in 1846 — Many
Candidates for Representative in 1850-51 — Voted to Surrender the
Charter in 1854-56 — Enrolled Men in 1S61, . , . 190 to 205

From 1S62 to 1S97.

Action for the Relief of Soldiers' Families, 1S62— Draft for Men in 1S63
— Heavy Taxes After the War — Number of Schools Reduced from
Eight to Four in 1874 — Few Town Meetings Annually After That —
Blizzard of 1888— Death of Sylvester Jewett, 1S92— History of the
Old Meeting House, . . . . . . 205 to 223

Schools— From 1744 to 1897.

Establishment of Schools in 1744— Scliool Committees— Appropria-
tions of Schools for Each Year from 1744 to 1S97, . . 223 t0234

Mills, Maxufacturies. Etc.

Lands for Mills, 1739— Corn Mill, 1755 — Stinson's Sawmill, 1760— Ham-
ilton's Sawmill, 1785 — Barlow's Sawmill, 1787 — Town Takes Ac-
tion, 1791— Mills Built on Home Lot 56, 1803-4— Many Owners of
Mills in the Hollow— Stephen Fairbank's Carding Machine, 1815 —
Shoe Peg Business on Pergy Brook— Land for Mill at West Pel-
ham, 1739— Scythe ^l">op and Foundry— Carding Machine, 1808 —
Jillson's Mills, 1S20— Various Owners of Mills— Fishing Rod Busi-
ness, 1858— Montague City Rod Co— Brown's Turning Shop— Char-
coal— Stone Quarries— Miscellaneous Manufacturing— Innkeepers
and Retailers— Merchants— Justices of the Peace— Physicians-
Blacksmiths, . . . . . • 234 to 261

vi. history of pelham, mass.

Religious Societies.

The First Presbyterian Church History gathered from the town and
parish records, the old church records having been lost or destroyed
—From the Records of the Second Presbyterian Church and Par-
ish of Pelham from 1786 to 1822— Confession of Faith— Records
of Church at Pelham Center from 1822 to 1897— Quakers or Friends
—Baptists at Packardville— The Methodists, Beginning with the
Labors of Rev. Isaac Stoddard in 1831— Union Society at Packard-
ville Organized 1869, . . . . . . 261 to 294

Rev. Robert Abercrombie and the Church at Pelham.

His Call to be their Pastor in 1742— Protest Against His Settlement
in 1743 — Ordained August 30, 1744 — Sermon by Rev. Jonathan Ed-
wards of Northampton — Home Lot No. i turned over to Mr. Aber-
crombie as the First Settled Minister— Troubled to Collect His
Salary in 1746-7 — Charged by the Presbytery with Conduct Con-
trary to Presbyterian Principles and Rules Governing the Church,
and Forbidden to Preach at the Church in Pelham — Suppliers
Appointed by the Presbytery — Final Suspension in 1754— Suit
against the Town for Arrears of Salary in 1756— Statement of Dif-
ferences with the Presbytery made by Mr. Abercrombie in Letters
to a Friend, ....... 294 to 319

Stephen Burroughs, The Supplier.

Obtained a Situation as Supplier in Spring of 17S4 — Preached
Acceptably Four Sundays — Reengaged for Four Months — Read an
Old Sermon at a Funeral — Given a Text from which to Preach
with Little Time for Preparation — Proved his Ability to Preach
Extempore — With One Sunday More to Preach was Found to be
an Imposter— Fled in the Night— Pursued by the Indignant Peo-
ple—Fracas at Rutland — Came Back to Pelham in the Night to
His Friend Lysander— Passed Counterfeit Dollars in Springfield
and was Imprisoned — The Hay Mow Sermon, . . 320 to 340

Pelham in the Wars.
French War— Revolutionary War — War of 1S12— Mexican War — The
Great Rebellion — A Full Company of Men in the French and In-
dian War, 1757— Opening of War of Revolution— Ironclad Oath of
Pelliam Men. — Capt. David Cowden's Company of Minute Men
April 19, 1775— Old Muster Rolls— Names of Men— The March to
Cambridge in the War of 1S12— Pelham Men in the Great Rebel-
lion — Sketches of the Men and the Regiments in which they
Served, . . . . . . . . 341 to 365

The Shavs Rebellion of 17S6-S7.
Capt. Daniel Shays, a Pelham Man — Gathering of Debt Burdened
Men in Conventions— Lists of Grievances Formulated— Opposition


to Lawyers in General Court— Opposition to Sittings of the Courts
—Terms of Court Prevented by Armed Men— Court Houses in Pos-
session of Armed Insurgents— Gov. Bowdoin Calls Out the Militia
— Warrants Issued for Arrest of Insurgent Leaders— Gen. B. Lin-
coln Given Command of Militia — Gen. Shepherd's Detachment
Guarding the Arsenal at Springfield — Shays Marches to the Attack
—Repulsed — Several Men Killed— Flight of Capt. Shays and Men to
Pelham — Gen. Lincoln Pursues— Shays' Men Dispersed at Peters-
ham, . . . . . . . . 366 to 390

Captain Daniel Shays.

Born at Hopkinton — In the War of the Revolution — In Pelham After
War — A Friend of Landlord Conkey — Met Debt Burdened Men at
Conkey's Tavern— Drilled them in Use of Arms— Became Rebel
Leader — Fled from the State— Was Pardoned in 178S— Removed to
State of New York— Did not Prosper in Business — Drifted to
Livingston County— Died in 1S24 After Living in Extreme Poverty
at Sparta, . . . . . . . . 391 to 402

Settlement of Salem, N. Y., by Pelham People in 1764.

James Turner and Joshua Conkey First Settlers of Salem — Journeyed
Through the Forests on Foot in 1761 — Took Up Land.s — Went Back
to Pelham for the Winter — Made Permanent Settlement in 1764—
Hamilton McCollister Joined the Pioneers — The Settlement Known
as New England Colony — Were Men of Character — Had Highest
Esteem for Religion — First Sermon Preached was in the Cabin of
James Turner, ...... .403 to 411

Professional and Business Men, Natives of Pelham.

The Record a Good One — Have made their Mark as Professional and
Business Men in Many States — Wells and Edward Southworth,
Business Men — Daniel, James and Austin W. Thompson, Leading
Physicians of Northampton — Ira P. Rankin, Business Man and
Government Officer, San Francisco — Dr. James Dunlap of
Northampton — Dr. Harvey Willson Harkness, Scientist, San Fran-
cisco — Judge Ithamar Conkey of Amherst — Col. James N. Smith,
Railroad Builder, Brooklyn — Nathaniel Gray, San Francisco —
Rev. Aldin Grout, Missionary — William Smith Otis, Inventor, Etc.
— Dr. Israel H. Taylor of Amherst, .... 412 to 446

John Savage and John Stinson.

Prominent Citizens of Pelham in the Middle of the iSth Century, but

not Natives of the Town, ..... 446 to 449

Concerning the Women of Pelham.

Reputation for Industry — They Introduced the "Little Wheel"' for
Spinning Flax— They Taught Its Use — They Spun and Wove Linen


— Also Wool, and made the Cloth into Garments— Made Domestic
Braid from Rye Straw — Braided or Platted Palm Leaf into Hats
—Wove Palm Leaf into Webs for Shaker Hoods — Marriages —
Published Intentions of Marriage— Births— Form of Death Record,
Etc., ........ 450 to 469

Mount Lincoln".

Description of the Mountain — Many Towns Seen from its Summit —
Beacon Fires During the Revolution — Station for Geodetic Survey
— Heighth Above Tide Water — Uncle Reuben Allen, 470 to 472

Old Burial Places.

A Sketch of each of the Eleven Burial Places of Pelham — The Old
Burial Ground at the Center — The West Burying Ground — The
Quaker Burying Ground — The Arnold Burying Ground — The John-
son Family Burial Place — The Smith Private Burial Ground — Bur-
ial Ground near George Knight's — Packardville Burying Ground —
The \'alley Cemetery— The West Pelham Burying Ground — The
Cemetery on the Prescott side of the East Hollow, . . 473 t0 4Si

Taverns and Landlords.

The Tavern of Thomas Dick — The Old Conkey Tavern — Dr. Hind's
Tavern on Pelham East Hill — Kingman's Tavern on the West
Hill— Cook's Tavern— The Orient House — Hotel Pelham, 4S2 to 4S7

Old Advertisements, Etc.

Strav Cattle and Horses — Taken in Damage and Otherwise — Clear
Description of Animals — '"Marks for Creaturs"". Posting of War-
rants lor Town Meetings. .... 4SS to 490

Stories — Pleasant and Otherwise.

De Rex vs. Hyde — Rev. Robert Al^ercrombie and the Church Commit-
tee — Rev. Dr. Parsons of Amherst and the People of Pelham —
Farmer Harkness and the Traveler — Crimes — Prince Dwelly Loses
His Life — Charles Stetson Shot April 11, iSSi — Marion Mont-
gomery Kills His Son December 26. 1SS2, . . . 491 to 49S

Sketch of Henry Pelham— 1696-1754.
From Memoirs of Henry Pelham, by William Coxe, \'ol. 2. 301-304,

499 to 501
Representatives to the General Court — 502-503.
Town Officers.

Moderators of Annual Town Meetings — Town Clerks— Town Treas-
urers — Town Selectmen — 1763 to 189S Inclusive. . . 503 to 508

List of Illustrations.

Lord Pelham, Facing Title Page.
Pelham Center from the North, 7
Plan of Town of Pelham, with

Home Lots, 25

Second Plan of the Town,

Three Divisions of Land, 30
Capt. Thos. Dick's Gravestone, 51
Upper Reservoir, Apple Trees

in bloom. May, 1S98, 51

The Token, 6S

Town iMeeting, March, 1S97, 77

Capt. Benjamin Page's House,

Rankin Farm, 98

Abijah Fales" Farm House, 98

L. W. Allen's Sawmill, 116

S. F. Arnold's Residence, 116

The Rocking Stone, 132

House on Joel Grout Farm,

Owned b_v Henry Cook, 132
Stephen Rhodes' Residence, 157
C. P. Hanson's Residence, 157

The Jewett, or Harkness House,

in Winter, 176

J. R. Anderson's House, in

Winter, 176

To the Cider Mill, 205

On the Sandy Road to Amherst

Market, 205

Sylvester Jewett, 217

The Communion .Service of the

Scotch Presbvter'n Church. 217
The Old Pulpit of the Old

Meeting House, 217

The Old Meeting House, 217

William Gilmore's Invoice for

Taxation. 1760, 221

First Town Meeting Warrant, 222
Residence of Mrs. A. Morgan, 223
The " City ''School House, 223

The Valley School House, 229

The Valley Bridge, 229

Dam and Bridge, West Branch, 236
Up the Valley of the West

Branch, from the Cemetery, 236
Dam at Fishing Rod Factory,

West Pelham, 242

Montague City Fishing Rod

Company's Factory, 242

Residence of David Shores, 245

Charcoal Kilns, near Pulpit

Hill, Pelham Hollow, 245

M. E. Boynton's Residence, 254
Tombstone of Edward and

Elizebeth Selfridge, 254

Pelham Center from the South, 282
Daisies Among the Graves, Old

Burying Ground, 282

Union Church. Packardville, 288
M. E. Church, West Pelham, 2S8
Autograph Manuscript by

James Conkey, 1746-7, ' 301
The Protest, 302

The Grave of Adam Johnson, 302
Receipt or Discharge Given

by Rev. R. Abercrombie, 312
Stephen Burroughs, 322

View in West Pelham, near the

Fishing Rod Factory, 341

Falls on Pergy Brook, Pelham

Hollow, 365

Amherst as seen from Pelham

Before 1S50, 365

Home of Capt. Shays in Pelham 391
Abial Robinson Farm House, 391
Facsimile of Capt. Shays'

Handwriting, 393

LTp the East Hill, (Prescott) 399
Wells Southworth. 412

Edward Southworth, 414

Ira P. Rankin, 417

Dr. James Dunlap, 418

Dr. Harvey Willson Harkness, 421
Judge Ithamar Conkey, 425

Birth Place of Judge Ithamar

Conkey, 425

Col. James N. Smith, 428

Nathaniel Gray, 430

Rev. Aldin Grout. 432

The Buffum Brook, 432

Otis Patent Steam Excavator, 436
Thomas Buffum, 440

Dr. E. Ward Cooke, 444

Uncle Eseck Cook Farm House, 444
Mrs. Betsey Otis Smith. 461

Tower on Mount Lincoln, 470

Boiling Cider, 470

View from the Enfield Road

Toward Pelham Center, 471


The Reuben Allen Place,
The East School House,
Samuel Davis' Residence,
The Old Graveyard, Center,
J. W. Keith's Residence,
Tomb in Smith Private Ceme

tery, 477

The Arba Randall Farm House 477
The Old Conkey Tavern Sign, 482
The Old Conkey Tavern, 4S2


Ziba Cook's Tavern, 4S4

Waterfall on Dunlap Brook, 484
Orient House, West Pelham, 486
Hotel Pelham, 486

View from West Bury 'g Ground, 498
View of Prescottfrom the North, 498
High Water in the West Branch,
1897, — Vanstone's Mill and
Bridge, 507

Stone Bridge, Dunlap Brook, 507


Page 17 — Fifth line from the bottom Abraham Should be Adam.
" 76— Sixth line from bottom read 1742 in place of 1752.
" 265 — Fifth line from top read Andrew for William.


After earnest and repeated solicitation on the part of friends, who
set forth the desirability and the urgent need of the work being done,
the task of preparing a history of the Town of Pelham has been
commenced and it is expected that the work will be carried forward
and up to January i, 1896 — 158 years from the first settlement of
the town.

It will be evident to all who give the subject a little thought, that
the history of this town must be largely a transcript of the existing
records. All that can be made known to the public must be drawn
from that source. The earnest, zealous, strong-minded Scotch Pres-
byterian settlers finished their labors long years ago. We cannot
appeal to them for facts, — their record of events is all we have.

These records consist of town and parish record books mostly.
The old Presbyterian church records have disappeared within the
past twenty years, and thus one very interesting source of informa-
tion concerning the social, religious and family life of these people is.
beyond our reach.

In the records accessible, we have little or nothing respecting the
social or family life of the people. The records of Marriage Inten-
tions, Marriages, Births and Deaths contain all that there is con-
cerning the wives and daughters. No record of their work appears.
We know they spun wool and flax, they wove the stout cloth for their
husband's and son's wear, as well as for themselves. They knitted
the yarn, they sewed the cloth into garments — but there is no hint or
intimation in the records of their having any part in the social or
business life of the settlement.

Exciting events required action by the town ; but the record of
such action fails to convey to us anything of the active stirring
interest which the events themselves developed among the people.
We cannot hear the animated discussion and debate, which we know
occurred often, and was long-continued and sharp, as we read the
dull record of their decisions.

The plan thus far pursued has been to give every town meeting
record a careful reading, and to copy whatever might be of interest
to anyone interested in the history of the town. In many instances.

the complete record of town meetings, including the warrants under
which they were held, have been copied entire and will be so printed.

Names of town officers are given — not every year, and every
officer, but for many years the full roster of officers, down to tything-
mcn and "Hog Constables", are given. l"he purpose being to get as
many names of inhabitants in print as possible.

The action of town meetings upon all matters of peculiar or extra-
ordinary interest will be given in full, especially action of the town
during the stirring times of the Revolutionary war. The names of
all who served in that struggle, and all those that were drawn into
rebellion against the state government, under ('apt. Daniel Shays,
will be given, so far as they are obtainable.

Shays Rebellion will be given ample space, and the entire corres-
pondence between Gen. Lincoln, in command of the state militia at
Hadley, and Capt. Daniel Shays and other insurgent leaders while
they with their iioo followers were occupying East and \\'est hills in
Pelham in the bleak winter of 1787, will be included.

Th€ Stephen burroughs episode will not be omitted, nor will any
other event of interest or importance of which there are accessible

The entire contents of the book containing the Records of the
Lisburn "Propriety", excepting the descriptions of the 183 lots of land
into which the tract was divided in the three divisions, have been
copied, and a reproduction of the plans of the surveys of William
Voung in 1739, which he submitted, and were made a part of the
record, have been prepared for the work. A line drawing of the old
Meeting House, where for 153 consecutive years the people of the
town have gathered for town meetings, has been prepared in a plate
for printing in the book ; also a half-tone plate of the old C'onkey
Tavern in the Hollow, which was burned in 1883.

The above is a brief outline of the work proposed, and the prepar-
ation will continue, but no further printing will be done until some
•expression of the demand for the completed work is obtained, in
•order to decide how many volumes may be disposed of. The
responses received from people who may desire such a history as
may be gathered from the materials available will determine how
many volumes shall be printed or whether any completed ones
shall issue. c. o. f.

February J, i8g6.

The First Settlers of the Town of Pelham.

The people who settled in Pelham in 1738-9 were of Scotch origin,
as many of the sturdy names would indicate if it was not definitely
known that they were such. They came to this country from Ireland
and were commonly called Scotch-Irish, though nothing was more
otTensive than the term Irish as applied to them, and the onlv reason
why it was ever attached to them came from the fact that these
people and their ancestors had lived in the North of Ireland for
many years. They were Scotchmen living in Ireland, and as they
hailed from that island on their arrival here, it was natural that while
their real nationality was quite apparent, their coming from the Green
Isle caused the use of the double name to express their nationality.

Online LibraryC. O. (Charles Oscar) ParmenterHistory of Pelham, Mass. : from 1738 to 1898, including the early history of Prescott ... → online text (page 1 of 51)