entitled to honorable remembrance, or that he brought any reproach
upon the great famil}- name which he bore.
The result of Parker's negotiations with the Cambridge propri-
etors took shape in an instrument known in the Records (p. 137)
as "our great deed." I quote, omitting technical and immaterial
portions : —
" DEED OF THEIR TOWNE FROM CAMBRIDGE PROPRIETORS.
"We whose names are subscribed, for sundry good consideracons. vs
thereunto moving, and for valluable consideracon to us respectively payd *
have sold * vnto the Inhabitants of Billerica * * and such others
as shall from time to time be by them admitted as free denizens of the said
place. & to the enjoyment of the priviledges thereof, all o"" respective rights
& interest therein or vnto any part or parcell of the said land, now called
bj- the name of Billerica, al^ Shawshin * * (only excepting & reserving
our Joynt & respective interests that any of us have in the farme, whei'ein
John Parker now dwelleth. eo"'only called by the name of the Churches
farme, i. e., the church at Cambridge, with free liberty on all the co"'ons of
the said place, for the Inhabitants on the said farme, fi-om time to time, for
herbage, timber, & firewood, as any other of the Inhabitants, and a Joynt
intei-est therein, together with the said Towne and inhabitants thereof).
To have & to hold * * Provided alwmjs, this instrum' is to be vnderstood
of every man's engagem' to be only for & in the behalfe of himselfe, his
own heires * * & no further or other. In witness whereof wee have
put to o'' hands and seals this 25th day of March, Anno Dom. 165(?)."
The last figure is lorn off in the original, but should probably
be ''9." The Deed was not recorded until 1G71, and it must
be a slip of the recorder's pen which makes the year 1650. One
of the signers, Martha Bradshaw, did not acquire that name by
•0 Parchment Deed in Town Archives.
LAND DISTRIBUTION. 47
her marriage until 1665, and it is probable that several years passed
before all these signatures were obtained. The names of the signers
ma}- be found on pages 13 and 14, being those not starred in the
list there given.
One other important grant to Billeriea enters into our early
history. In the Records of the General Court for 1661, Ma}' 22,
we find the following : —
''In ans"" to the petition of the inhabitants of Billerikey, the Court,
having considered of this peti'. Summering Kattell. Tli;it no person whatsoever that hath any
propriety in tlie place, either by purchase, Lease, or otlier wayes, sliall
keepe any kattell in the surainer time but such as the keepe of ther o[wn]
or for there ovvne use with[out the] consente of the Towne, [any] kattell
so taken to be cepte [not according] to this order, he or they shall forfeit
for every [offense] shillings to be payed to the [town] .
'"S'y. Swine. That no person shall keepe any [swine] but his owne
without the consente [of] the towne ; and every swine of [one year] old
and upwards shall be suffit[iently] ringed from year to year, and every
swine that goeth [un-] ringed one day after due warninge given by any
Neibour, he shall forfeit [?] pence, y^ one-half e to the Towne and the
other halfe to the informer, and that all swine that goe unyoaked from the
first of April to the last of .September and doe damage, they shall pay for
y^ damage acordinge to Law.
'''4"i. Lots to be inhabited within a yere. That what person soever takes
up any accom Ida [tions] in this place for propriety" * * *
" Laying out his house lott " * * *
[The remainder of this paragraph must be inferred from the caption.]
'' [I'y] If any person shall leave any wood or Timber lying anywhere
on the coman Lande above the full time of twelve months, it shall be
forfeit, and free for any man y' is an inhabitant to take [ ?] for his owne
use, excepting all such wood or timber as is fallen for the publique use
of the Towne.
'•2'5. It is ordered that if any man fall [any wood] or timber in any
p^t of the comons belonging to this towne, he shall pay five shillings p'^ tree
for every tree, or five shillings p'' Loade every Loade, so carried away into
any other towne boundes to lie improved, without the consente of the
'•'3'y. It is ordered that for hoppoles. if any person doe fall any on
o' comons, as aforesaide. and cary or sell them to be made use of in any
other towne, as aforesaide. thev shall foi-feit for ever}' hundred of poles the
sume of twenty shillings ; all which forfetures shall be taken up by the
constable then being, from time to time, for the use of the towne."
"S; Oniii 1658. It is ordered and joyntly agreed, that such as either
haue already or hereafter shall take vp any Alotments in the tonne vpon
grant from th"" toune shall be equally acomidated with those vpon Mr.
Dudley's farme, no person exceeding a twelfth pr' of the saide farme,
which is one hundred and thirteen acors of vplande and twelve acors of
meddow, which [is] granted a ten acor Lott. and so in [proportion] to
others that haue eight or six [or fiue] acor Lotts : the inhabitants that doe
[take up] alotments of the toune as aforesaid [shall pay] to the purchasers
of the aforesaid farme of Mr. Dudley, he that takes vp [ten] acors for his
house lott the one halfe of what a twelfth p''t of the said farme at the first
did cost of the aforesaid Mr. Dudlej' : which 12"> p't is usually called a
single share ; which pay is to be made by those that take vp ten acors for
a house Lott, as aforesaid, and so others aeording to ther proportions and
at such times as is agreed vpon and written in a paper written the day and
THE STORY AS TOLD IN THE RECORDS. 55
yere aboue specified, the times of payment is, the one halfe the next yere
after the [alotment] and the other halfe the yere. [after] that first payment,
in corne [ ?] currant and merchantable."
The remainder of the second page is torn off, and the next four
pages are missing. Page seven begins with the following, which is
numbered "7," implying that it is one of a series of " orders." The
contents of the first six orders can be only conjectured.
'•[It is agreed by the to^vn] that for the raysinge publique charges,
shall continue in the way we are at present in, for the building a house for
a minister and for tlie maintenance of a minister, that is acordinge to
o»' severall proportions -of land and meadowes; and it is agreed, that all
devitions of Lands and meadows and comons and all other priviledges shall
be devided and layed out acordinge to o"" publique charges ; also, this way
of i-ateing shall continue without alteration vnlesse it be don by the joj-nte
consente of the whoU inhabitants : and the devitions in comon feilds from
time to time shall be devided bj^ Lott for propriety, both to us, the present
inhabitants, and also to all others y' shall hereafter be excepted and
entertained as inhabitants amongst vs. But for such farmes as doe Ly
within the boundes of o'' Towne vnoccupied, or such as are occupied by
non-residents, shall haue no priviledge in devitions of lands, nor comonage
of wood and Timber and feed for kattell as o'selves. nor be rated alike, nor
no other wayes than the propriety and free denizens y* are inhabitants shall
agree. And it is furdi" agreed, y' when any furder Adition of meddows be
made to the inhabitants, or any of them, there publique charges shall be
borne vp acordinge to the former proportions, excepting such meddows as
are made by any person out of swamp or other wayes that is not granted
by the Towne [o6scM>-e] meddows; all such medows so [made] are freed
from all publique [charge which] consems the Towne."
Agreements eight and ten relate to highwaj's, and are quoted in
the chapter devoted to that subject. Agreement nine, on page 8, is
this: "It is ordered that no proprietor or inhabitant within the
boundes of our Towne shall at any time receiue an}- inmates or
Tenants without the consent and approual of the Townsmen, he
or they y' shall soe do, shall forfeit to the Towne the sume of
twenty shill p'' week for euerj- person so receiued & entertained as
aforesaid." [And in the later handwriting of Clerk William Tay,
it is added:] "And euer}' p'° that shall inhabit [ ?] the p''cincts
of the town w'out the Towns consent shall forfeit twent}' shill : p''
weeke for euer}' week abiding as [ ?] "
And in article eleven, "it is ordered that not an}' inhabitants in
this towne shall turn out any cattell in the Springe tyme from yere
to yere without a keeper, until the herd goe oute, Leaste he thereby
56 HISTORY OF BILLERICA.
doe damage to his Neighbors meddows." Article twelve relates to
the first division of meadow lands, and will be found in the chapter
on that sni)jcct.
These earliest I'cc-ords show us the questions which the town had
to meet at the beginning. It is noteworthy that the care of the
fathers for the character of those who were to make homes here
inspires their first record. There was no welcome for such as could
not l)ring good testimonials. The policy was that of the towns
generally, and it was not illiberal Init wise. If the doors had been
open in our New England towns to all the restless and unworthy
adventurers sure, in an age like that particularly', to seize such