incorporated, 1729. September 23. The line of separation began at
the Two Brothers, on Concord River, either following the Winthrop
Farm line or more [)rol)abh' diverging a little to the north of it, and
thence extending nearly as at present to Woburn, now Burlington.
It was changed, by consent of the two towns, in 17G6, so as to
transfer Edward Stearns and his farm to Bedford. The change in
the line began at what was known as Page's Corner, passed between
the land of Lieut. Isaac Stearns and Edward Stearns, came to the
brook "al)out two pole southwest from the saw mill," and followed
the brook to Concord River.
The claim that Bedford was principally^ taken out of Billerica
has been overlooked, but is correct. The old line with Concord
was parallel with the present Main Street in Bedford and sixt^'-four
rods south of it, as shown above (p. 212). It is still easily traced,
crossing the depot street at the Merriam place, nearh' touching the
railroad at the curve east of the station, and marked in the swamp
be3-ond b}' a pair of tall pine trees. Its easterly point is shown in
the record of a committee, February 11, 1699-1700. They "began
at Concord southeast corner, which was a stake and stones about it,
standing on the southeast of Shawshin River about forty poles from
it." This point would be very near an ancient Page house, standing
pn the old road south of the main road to Lexington, and on the
220 HISTORY OF BILLEIUCA.
County Atlas of 1875, marked by the name of Bronnan. Westward
of the cedar swamp, where the marks could not he found, the com-
mittee ran, by mutual agreement, north fift3-three degrees west to
Concord River. This line includes about three-fifths of Bedford.
Of the families transferred no list is known to remain. Of the first
church members Mr. Shattuck,' with sufficient probability, credits
these names to Billerica : Obed Abbott, Jonathan Bacon, Thomas
Dinsmore, Samuel Fitch, Jacob Kendall, Benjamin Kidder, Job
Lane, John Lane, Christopher Page, Nathaniel Page, and Israel
Putnam ; and Josiah Fassett should doubtless be added. Of other
citizens there was John Wilson, and probably more than as man}'
others, younger members of the same families and of other families.
Of the division of the property of Billerica we have an approximate
assurance. The Province tax assessed in 172D amounted to Â£125,
5s., 8f^, of which the part belonging to Bedford was Â£18, 12s., 3d.
Samuel Fitch was the first town clerk, and Israel Putnam Avas the
first constable of the town and the first deacon of the church.
TKWKsr.URY. The success of the Bedford petition encouraged
a renewal of the movement in the north part of the town, but
Chelmsford held all west of the Concord River so firmly that
the i)roposal took a turn farther eastward. The consciousness of
separate interests appears frequently in references to the inhabitants
of \\'inthrup Fu-in. In 17.'31 they prepared a draft and laid it
before the town of a road which they desired, and received favorable
answer. In 1733, May 13, they asked the town to ''erect a meeting
house in the center of the town, or so as to accommodate the
northerly part of the town, upon the Town's cost, or set them ofi',
so that the}' may maintain preaching among themselves." This the
town was hardly ready to grant ; but they had discovered that it
was useless to oppose the separation, and a town meeting was held,
December 19, at which the above request was renewed, or, as an
alternative, that the town would "please to set them oft', with
two-thirds of the land lying between Andover and Billerica meeting
house, from AVilmington line to Concord River, for a Township."
Others desired that the organization should be a "Precinct, for
their better accommodation in public Avorship." At this meeting,
a committee, consisting of JMr. Samuel Danforth, Lieutenant Daniel
Kittredge, Lieut. Joseph Hill, Mr. Samuel Hunt, Jr., and Lieut.
6 History of Concord, p. 263.
Joseph Kidder, was appointed to "view the land" and report, which
they did, January 9, 1780-4, and the town voted, ''that the northerly-
and northeasterly [)art of the Town, according to their petition, be
set oti' as a Township, (irantino- them two-thirds of the land from
Andover line to our meeting- lionse, by a parallel line with said
Andover line, extending from Concord River to A\'ilmington line,
(if the inhabitants on the southeasteily side of Shawshin River be
willing to join with them)."
This final condition called out a petition from Samuel Hunt and
others to the General Court, 'â€¢'i)raying an absolute grant of this
Court for their being made a Towne with these bounds," or the
appointment of a committee to examine and report. The latter
was done, v>'ith the result that Tewksbur}- was Incorporated, 1734,
December 23. The new town was taken wholly- from Billerica,
receiving in round numbers nine thousand acres of the twenty-five
thousand which remained after the separation of Bedford, which had
taken nearly or quite foiu' thousand. The following list of families
included in Tewksburv is imperfect, but will have interest: â€”
Kittredge, Daniel, Jr.
Kittredge, James. Jr.
Kittredge. .Tames, ters.
Kittredge. Di-. Jolni
Kittredge, John. Jr.
To these forty-seven names enough should probably be added to
make the number sixty. 'J'hey include all then on our list of the
names Hall, Haseltine, Hinit, and Kittredge, a loss too serious not
to be felt. The latter family had become so numerous in that part
of the town exclusively, that it is not strange the}- have been credited
with original settlement there. In fact, as noted elsewhere, their
ancestor, John Kittredge, lived and died southeast of Bare Hill, in
222 HISTORY OF BILLERICA.
Wilmington received the next segment taken from Billerica.
That town was incorporated, 1730, September 25, consisting of the
north part of Woburn. The line on the west inchided "tlie farm"
of Abraham Jaquith, whicli was partly in l^illeriea. The qnestion
arose, whether the Court intended to inchide this part which was in
Billerica or to follow the old Woljurn line: and, 1733, April 12,
our selectmen petitioned the Court, praying "that Billerica "ma>' be
continued in the uninterrupted possession of her ancient Bound."
After receiving the answer of Wilmington, the question was put,
whether, in the act, "it was intended by the words relating to Mr.
Jaquith's farm to include the whole of that farm in Wilmington, and
it passed in the affirmative." Some of the Billerica neighl)ors of
Mr. Jaquith, on the east of Shawshin River, w^re also inclined to
the new town; and, 1733, January 28, Wilmington voted, "that
the Bildrica neighbors on y* Est Side of Shawshin River be annexed
to Wilmington Towne and Towneship, and to have full right in y"
meeting-house and to all other Towne Priviledges, if y^ great and
Generall Cort see good to. annex y'" to us."
In March, 1737-8, Billerica received a "Petition of several
persons, on the southeasterh' side of Shawshin River, to be dis-
missed from the Town of Billerica to be annexed to the second
preicenct in Woburn, in order to be Erected into a Township." On
the question of granting this petition, "it passed unanimously- in
the negative." Two months later^ the General Court received the
petition of John, Ebenezer, and Jacob Beard, Jonathan Baldwin,
Peter Cornell, and Richard Hopkins, saying that their farms were
convenient to Wilmington, and that they had attended worship in
the meeting-house there since its erection, as it was two miles
nearer than Billerica, and at some seasons the}' could not cross the
Shawshin. The^- refer to the petition to be set otf which Billerica
had refused, and ask that their request be granted without reference
back to Billerica. To this petition the House, in June, refused
consent; but, in December, 1737, the Council gave a favorable
hearing, and A'oted that the petitioners be annexed to Wilmington,
provided the}' should pay their proportion of charges for the meeting-
house which Billerica was building. The House concurred, and this
section of six hundred acres was transferred to Wilmington.
Carlisle. After these losses on the, south, north, and east, it
6 Massachusetts Archives. Vol. CXIV, 180.
remained only to complete the cii-cuit in the west ; but, although
the movement there began earl3', it was not consummated for more
than a generation. At the same meeting, in March, 1 To 7-8, when
the town refused the AVilmington petition, it postponed one of
similar tenor from "several persons on the westerly side of Concord
River," wlio desired to be set off "to Joyn with part of the Towns
of Concord and Chelmsford, to be erected into a Township." After
debate, the town, May 11, ''voted their willingness (wlien it was
the Hon''' General Court's pleasure to erect them into a Township)
to set them off by the bounds following, viz : to begin at the west
side of Concord River- thirty poles below the bridge, that is, ouer
Concord Riv^er, at Hill's land boating place bj' the river ; then
ruiaing with a streight line to the southwest corner of Andrew
Farmer's paster land, on the east side of treble cove path ; from
thence with a streight line to Chelmsford line at the north easterl}^
of Jonathan Snow's land." But sixteen years passed before the
General Court incorporated Carlisle, '^ 1754, April 19, as a district
of Concord. In 1755 Billerica refused the consent once given to the
separation, and the elements seem to have been inharmonious or the
location of the meeting-house a knotty problem, for after struggling
with their difficulties until 1757, January, the people in Carlisle were
granted a dissolution of the Di.strict. In their request for this they
say, * that onl}' a small majority originall}' favored the District, and
that after many trials in various ways to come to some amicable
agreement for l)uilding up the place all means fail, and they apprehend
the utter impossibility of ever coming into an}' further agreement.
Details of these "trials" may be seen in the "History of Concord."
Some of the Cont^ord people had previously sought to return to
Concord, but a petition of Chelmsford and Billerica citizens had
opposed them ; and to this the}' now reply that Concord was willing
to receive them again, and "those who lived most remote were most
anxious to return."
The dissolution of the District did not bring peace, and a petition
to the Court followed, 1757, .hine 1, bearing fift\'-one signatures, of
which Timothy Wilkins is the fiist. â€¢' The following Billerica names
occur : Abraham Duren, Widow Mary Duren, Ebenezer Hard}',
Amos Kidder, John Kidder, Ebenezer Kittredge, Joseph Monroe,
' Shattuck's History of Concord, p. 321.
8 Massachusetts Archives. Vol. OXVII, 204.
9 Massachusetts Archives. Vol. CXVII, 290.
224 HISTORY OF BILLERICA.
Joshua Monroe, Nathan Monroe, George Niekles, Edward Spalding,
Job Spalding, Leonard Spalding, Thomas Spalding.
The}' say that they, "By the Disposal of the Providence of that
God who setteth Bounds to jMeu's Habitations, Live very Remote
from the INIeeting Houses of the Several Towns to which w'e
Respectively Belong, Jiy Reason whereof we and our Families are
subject to Many Difficulties in the Discharge of tlie Duty Licumbent
on us; And Especially' the Great and hnportant Duty of Attending
upon the Public Worship of God." For relief they ask to be erected
into a Townshij) or District, with such others as were included, with
the "Limits following, that is to say, half the Lands with the Inhal)-
itants on the same Between Concord Meeting House and Chelmsford
Meeting House, in this manner, that There be made an East and
West Line, in the Centre, between" these meeting-houses, and half
the land on each side this line towards each meeting-house to be
included. In the other direction a line was to be drawn between the
two meeting-houses, and from this line the bounds w^ere to be two
and a quarter miles east and west. The petitioners had agreed that
the meeting-house should be built at the place where these lines
crossed, if a Convenient place ; if Not, the Next nearest Convenient
In March, 1760, the sul>ject was again before the town, which
voted to set off the inhabitants on the west side of Concord River,
b}' the following line: "Beginning at Clielmsford Line, at a Stake
and Stones near an old cellar ; Runing thence to a white oak Tree
near the House of William Bonner, standing in the Land of Asa
Spalding, Taking in s'^ Boners ; from thence Runing in a straight
Line to the southwest corner of W" Shed's Land ; Then Running a
Strait Line to the Southwest of Benj'' Parker's Barn, and so on. Still
on a Straight Line to Concord Line." But this permissive action
would hardly be held as favorable, proposing to restrict the limits
of Carlisle and not allow them to reach Concord River. The new
meeting-house was begun at this time, but not finished for several
years ; and the town itself was only a name and an endeavor for
some 3*ears longer. The subject was revived b^- petition to the
General Court, 1772, June 1. The petitioners say that the desired
bounds include about sevent3'-six families,^" and that they have
erected a meeting-house. The bounds which the}' asked were to
10 Massachusetts Archives. Vol. CX\^II, 624.
include "the house and land of Joshua Monroe ; thence east, includ-
ing house and land of Jonathan Swallow ; still runing East, including
house and land of Amos Kidder ; thence southeast, including house
and land of Nathaniel Hutchinson ; thence on a strait line to the
Rangeway, wliere the conntiy road crosses the same ; thence East,
by the South side of said Country road, to Concord Kiver." But
Carlisle's long struggle for life did not end in success until 1780,
though Billerica again gave her consent, 1779, March 1, when a
committee reported on the bounds desired : "Beginning at Chelms-
ford line, at the end of the wall between the land of Lt. Jonathan
Spaulding & Land of Lt. Asa Spaulding, Ruiiing East forty Degrees
South half-a-mile to the' Rangeway ; then ruhing southeasterly to th6
northwest corner of the land of John Nickles, Jun. ; then ruiiing
between s*" Nickles' land & land of Asa Spaulding to the southeast
corner of said Nickles' land ; then ruiiing south thirty-one degrees
west half-a-mile to a heap of stones in Capt. Daniel Stickney's land ;
then runing southeasterly to the northeast corner of the land of
Assachar Andrews ; then Runing between the s'* Andrews' land &
land of Mr. Joseph Hill to Concord River. Voted, that Joseph
Munroe, Joshua IMunroe, Nathan Munroe, John Henr}', John Henr}'
2^"^, Josiah Heald, Aaron Munroe, James Nickles, Joseph Nickles,
Jonas Robbins, Asa Spanlding Jun'', with their land, and all included
within that line, l)e set otf as a Township, agreeable to the lines
This was the final action of Billerica upon the subject, which
had recurred at intervals for fort^'-two 3'ears ; and at last she
seems to have given her youngest daughter a send-off with hearty
good- will. Tiie list of names above for some reason omits these :
Timothy Crosby, Charles Hans, Ebenezer Hard}', Joseph Osgood,
Levi Parker, Nathaniel Parker. Here ceased the process of dis-
memberment of Ancient Billerica. After the lapse of a century, it
is fair to hope that it will not be resumed again.
In the contest through which the British Colonies acquired
independence and became a nation Billerica bore her part. Her
minute-men were at Lexington, and the first soldier who fell at
Bunker Hill was Asa Pollard, one of her sons. As earh' as 1731,
September 14, the underlying principle of the national contest found
expression in a vote, "that it is our opinion that our Representative
hold fast all our charter priviledges ; and, in particular, that he
give his voice in no suply of the Treasur}', that .deprives the house
of their priviledg in passing accounts before payments." In 176G
' ' the late troubles " in connection with the Stamp Act came before
the town, on the question of recompense to the sufferers, and "it
passed in the affirmative," with a reference to the discretion of their
December 21, 1768, a town meeting "took into Consideration
the present Distresst and Impoverished State of this Province, That
some effectual measures might be agreed upon to promote Industry,
Oeconomy, & Manufactures, thereby to prevent the unnecessary
Importation of European commodities, which threaten the Country
with poverty & Ruiii." Resolutions were unanimously passed, favor-
ing home manufactures and disapproving the use of imported
articles, of which a long list is named, beginning with loaf-sugar.
A committee reported a form of subsci'iption, pledging those who
signed, to promote tiiese objects. "The late regulations respecting
Funerals" are special!}' emphasized, and the signers agree that they
"will not use any Gloves but what are manufactured here, nor
procure any new Garments upon such an occation l)ut what shall
be absolutely necessar}'" ; to all which the patriots of Billerica it is
quite certain generally agreed. This non-importation action became
very general, and produced no little effect on the popular mind.
THE REVOLUTION. 227
In September, 1708, resolutions from the Town of Boston were
responded to; and, "taking into Consideration the Critical State of
our public affairs, more especially the present Precarious situation of
our Invaluable Rights and priviledges, Civil and Religious," the town
voted to choose "one person a committee for s"^ Town, to meet at
Boston at Funel hall, the 22'^ inst., to act for them in a Convention,
with such as may l)e sent to join them from the several towns in this
province, in order that such measures maj' be consulted and advised
as his majesty's service and the peace and safety of his majesty's
subjects in tlie province may require." William Stickney, Esq., was
chosen delegate to this convention. In this way the towns furnished
the basis for effective discussion and action on the vital problems
which stirred the colonies ; and it is not strange that the English
Ministry were alarmed and incensed at the activity of these miniature
republics. They were in fact the palladium of our rising liberties.
The non-importation agreement naturally did not secure universal
assent, and became inoperative, to the great joy of the Tories ; and
the Boston IMassacre, l)y British soldiers, 1770, March 5, intensified
the popular feeling. Royal instructions were resisted, as not having
the force of law ; and the action of Governor Hutchinson and the
judges, in receiving their salary' from the Crown and not from the
Colonies, increased the sense of danger in the minds of the clear-
headed patriots. In Boston, under the grand leadership of Samuel
Adams, a committee was appointed, who reported to a town meeting,
1772, November 20, a paper which stated the rights of the Colonists,
enumerated their violation, and called upon the towns for expressions
of their judgment. It was the most radical exposition which had A'et
been made of rights and grievances, and the response was hearty.
In Billerica a town meeting was held, 1773, February 1, and
there is littledoubt that its action took shape under the hand of her
able and patriotic minister, Henry Cumings. It stands thus : â€”
''The inhabitants, liaving- deliberately Considered tlie Critical and
alarming' Situation the Colonies upon this Continent are Keduced to, by
reason of the unconstitutional proceedings of the British Ministry and
parliament of late j^ears; & also the expediency of theii', as well as the
Inhabitants of every other town, Adopting some method to Communicate
their Sentiments in Kegard to tlie Disputes Subsisting between Great
Britain and the Colonies, more especially on account of the late change in
the American Department, that his Lordship the present Secretary of State
for the said X)epartment may be Convinced that a General Uneasiness pre-
vails throughout the Country in Consequence of the late measures of tlie
228 HISTORY OF BILLERICA.
British Adininistiation, notwithstanding any Eepoits to the Contrary, &
may thereby be Influenced 'to use liis best Interest and endeavours to
procure a Removal of the causes thereof, and a Restoration of tliat peace
& Harmony vvliich so long Subsisted Betw^een the Mother Country & her
Colonies, & are undoubtedly Necessary to the political Happiness and
welfare of each : Unanimously Voted and Resolved,
"1. That the late Acts of Parliament for laising a Revenue in the
Colonies; the establishing a Board of Connnissioners with exorbitant
powers; the granting of such extensive powers to the Court of Admiralty;
the fixing a sallar}^ on the Governor of the province, and on the Justices of
the Superioi' Courts. Independant of tlie Grants of the General .Assembly;
the extending to America the late Acts of parliament. Entitled an Act for
better preserving bis Majesty's Dock yards, &c; the Stationing fleets and
armies to enforce a Compliance with Ministerial & parliamentary measures,
together with many other things that might be mentioned, are Repugnant
to the principles of the British Constitution. Subversive of their Charter
Rights and privileges, & therefore Intolerable Grievances.
''2. That those Reports which Represent the Inhabitants in General,
in the Countiy, as acquiescing in and ready to Comply with the late
measures of Administration, are. as far as they Respect them, false and
"3. That they will heai-tily Concur with and faithfully assist their
brethren in the common cause, throughout the Continent, in all prudent,
legall, and Constitutional measures that shall be Adopted, to obtain a
Redress of their present Grievani-es & a Restoration of their Just Rights
and priviledges ; and will also at all times Unite with them in Zealously
and Streanously Asserting their Rights and Vigorous!}' maintaining their
"4. That they would take this Occation publickly to Declare their
' Cordial Aft'ection & unfeigned loyalty to his present majesty George the 3*^,
and to express tbeir Sincear wish that the Union Between Create Britain
and her Colonies may never be broken, but be preserved upon Such an
Equitable foundation as Shall Conduce to the prospei'ity & Advantage of
â€¢'5. That they Commit in trust to our Representative in the General
Court, to use Such measures as his i)rudence & wisdom Shall Dictate, to
obtain in a Constitutional way a Redress of all (Jrievances.
'â€¢â€¢O, That the foregoing votes be Recorded in the town Book, and that
the town Clerk transmit a Co])y of the same to the Connnittee of Corre-
spondence of the town of Boston."
Other towns took action of like tenor, and the effect yvas very
great. The people were still loyal, but their rights were sacred and
could not l)e sacrificed. If the two claims were not hai-monized,
there was no doubt which must yield ; and from that spirit came
independence and union.
Instead of couciliation, England pursued a policy of exaspera-
THE REVOLUTION. 229
tion, by sending a commission to Rhode Island for the trial of
persons concerned in the destrnction of the schooner "Gaspee,"
and more offensively by the Tea Act, which involved the issne
of taxation withont representation. The patriots met the issue,
1773, December 16, by throwing the first cargo of tea into Boston
Harbor, receiving the exulting approval of the people in all the
Colonies. Then followed the Boston Port Bill, which extended the
feeling of union ; for the colonists espoused the cause of Boston,
rather than see her suffer alone for an act which all approved.
The Boston Committee again appealed to other towns, and
Billerica responded, 1774, June G. Captain Enoch Kidder was
moderator, and a committee consisting of Mr. E;i)enezer Bridge,