Lucius R. (Lucius Robinson) Paige.

History of Hardwick, Massachusetts. With a genealogical register online

. (page 11 of 73)
Online LibraryLucius R. (Lucius Robinson) PaigeHistory of Hardwick, Massachusetts. With a genealogical register → online text (page 11 of 73)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


respecting officers for the south side of the town, and proceeded
to an entire new choice. 2'\ Voted, and chose Samuel Billings,

1 Journals of each Provincial Congress, elected colonel of militia, .ind Jonathan
pp. 26, 45. Warner colonel of "minute-men," at

2 Paul Mandell is styled Colonel here, their first organization. If so, he held
and in the record of his election, January the office only a short time. The " min-
2, 177."), as a delegate to the next Cou- ute-men " were soon merged in the mili-
gress ; and he bears tliat title in the offi- tia, and Jonathan Warner was elected
cial Roll of Delegates. Perhaps he was colonel.



CIVIL HISTORY. 91

Jr., for their Captain ; Elijah Warner, for their Lieutenant ; and
Isaiah Hatch, for their Ensign." ^

January 2, 1775. Pursuant to a recommendation of the Pro-
vincial Congress, in regard to " the persons suffering in the towns
of Boston and Charlestown, under the operation of certain acts of
the British parliament," that the people generally should " con-
tribute liberally to alleviate the burdens of those persons, who
are the more immediate objects of ministerial resentment, and
are suffering in the common cause of their country," the town
oi-dered that collections should be made for that benevolent pur-
pose. That Congress having voted to dissolve on the tenth day
of December, 1774, and recommended the election of delegates to
a second Provincial Congress, to sit from February 1, " until the
Tuesday next preceding the last Wednesday of May next, and
no longer," ^ the town at this meeting, " chose Col. Paul Mandell
to attend at the Provincial Congress at Cambridge, on the first
day of February next, and sooner if occasion requires." Also,
" Voted, to accept the resolve of the Committee, in having no
dealings with the Tories, except grinding for them." ^

After the commencement of actual hostilities, those who were
regarded as Tories were subjected to a more strict discipline.
Not only jvere they treated with neglect and contempt, and ex-
cluded from all social or commercial intercourse, but they were
disarmed and subjected to confinement, more or less absolute, as
circumstances might seem to require. One person, at least, was
committed to prison ; others confined to the limits of the town,

1 The company had probably remained commonly known by the name of tories "
destitute of a captain after the promotion . . . and " Resolved, that all lawful ways
of Captain Jonathan Warner to the office and means ought to be adopted by the
of colonel. The new captain proved his whole body of the people of this province,
fitness for the office by subsequently en- to discountenance all our inveterate polit-
listing and commanding a company, com- ical enemies in manner as aforesaid. —
j)Osed almost entirely of Hardwick sol- Therefore we earnestly recommend it to
diers, in the Revolutionary army. all denominations of artificers, that they

2 Journals of each Prov. Congress, p. call meetings of their respective crafts-
73. men in their several counties, as soon as

2 Grinding was a work of necessity, as may be, and enter into associations and

"bread is the staff of life." But in re- agreements for said purposes; and that

gard to all else, they seem to have been all imsbandmen, laborers, &c., do the like;

as exclusive as the blacksmiths of the and that whoever shall be guilty of any

county, who agreed, September 8, 1774, breach of any or either of the articles or

that they would not "do or perform any agreements, be held by us in contempt as

blacksmith's work, or business of any enemies to our common rights." Jour-

kind whatever, for any person or persons nals of each Prov. Congress, p. 640.
whom we esteem enemies to this country.



92 HISTORY OF HARDWICK.

or of their own farms ; others, again, were published as unfriendly
to the patriotic cause, and the public were cautioned to regard
them as enemies.^

April 24, 1775. " Voted, that the town are not satisfied with
Jonathan Danforth's declaration of his being a friend to liberty.
Voted, that Lieut. Timothy Ruggles^ be put under guard, and
also John Rion, until said Haggles shall satisfy all the men
that now live at Brigadier Ruggles' house for their labor, and see
that they go out of town forthwith, and see that the arms and
ammunition, now at Brigadier Ruggles' house, are delivered up ;
aixl then he is confined to his farm, and not to go out of it, ex-
cepting on Sabbath-days, fast days, or some other public days ;
and that he pays the guard for their trouble in taking care of
him."

May 15, 1775. Voted, to take possession of the guns found at
the house of Brigadier Ruggles, " and to return them when they
think proper. Voted, that Lieut. Timothy Ruggles have liberty
to go to Boston, and live there, if he pleases."

May 22, 1775. The town met " to elect one or more persons
to serve for and represent them in a Provincial Congress, to be
held at the meeting-house in Watertown, on Wednesday the

^ " In Committee of Correspondence one of them should depart out of this
for the town of Hardwick, August 7th, town without a permit from said Com-
1775. Whereas Deacon James Fay, Jona- mittee) they take up and confine or send
thau Danforth, Abner Conant, Joseph them back again. Per order of the said
Ruggles, Jr., Israel Conkey, and Jona- Committee. Seth Padelfokd, Clerk of
thau Nye, all of Hardwick, in the County said Committee." New England C/ironi-
of Worcester, have, by their conduct in cle, August 17, 1775.
various instances, manifested a disposi- ^ Timothy Ruggles was son of the
tion inimical to the riglits and privileges Brigadier; his brother, Jolm, had pro-
of their countrymen, — therefore Resolved, viously fled to Boston, though he escaped
that their names be published to the world, with some difficulty, as appears by the
agreeable to the association of the Conti- report of a committee of Congress, con-
neutal Congress; and that it be earnestly cerning a prisoner named John Jones:
recommended to the inliabitants of this " We find by said Jones' account of him-
town, county, and colony, not to have any self, that he went to Boston soon after the
commercial connection with the said Fay, memorable Lexington battle, of the 19th
Danforth, &c., but to shun their persons of A]irii last, in company with John Rug-
and causes, and treat them with that con- gles of Hardwick, who was ordered by a
tempt and neglect they deserve. And committee to the said town of Hardwick ;
whereas the said Committee have thought and that said Joucs was knowing to the
it necessary tiiat the .'<aid Danforth, Fay, proceedings of said committee against
&c., be confined to tiiis town, and that said Ruggles, before they set out togetlier
they assemble not' together more than two from Weston to take refuge in Boston;
of them at a time (except at public wor- and that they left the common road, and
ship and at funerals), therefore further went in the woods and difficult jjlaees, to
recommend it to the good people of this pass the town of Roxbury." Jonnuils of
colony, that (if the said persons or any each Prov. Congress, pp. 315, 316.



CIVIL HISTORY. 93

thirty-first day of May instant, and to be continued by adjourn-
ment, as tliey shall see cause, until the expiration of six months
from their being first convened on the thirty-first day of this
instant May, and no longer ; and to consult, deliberate, and re-
solve upon such further measures as under God shall be effectual
to save this people fi'om impending ruin, and to secure those in-
estimable liberties derived to us from our ancestors, and which
[it] is our duty to preserve for posterity." The town elected
three delegates, to serve by turns, one at a time, namely : Captain
William Paige, for June and July ; Captain Stephen Rice, for
August and September ; and Colonel Jonathan Warner, for Oc-
tober and November ; but as the Congi'ess dissolved on the 19th of
July, to give place to the newly elected General Court, only one
of these delegates took his seat. At the same meeting it was
" Voted, that the following persons be looked upon as unfriendly
to the common cause of liberty, viz., Richard Ruggles,i Jonathan
Nye, Deac. James Fay, Gardner Chandler, and Ebenezer Whipple.
Voted, that as Gardner Chandler^ has now made some acknowl-
edgments, and says he is sorry for his past conduct, they will
treat him as a friend and a neiglibor as long as he shall behave
himself well."

The second Provincial Congress, believing that " the sword
should, in all free states be subservient to the civil powers," and
that such powers were then exercised only on sufferance, without
due form of law, appealed to the Continental Congress May 16,
1775, for " advice respecting the taking up and exercising the
powers of civil government, which we think absolutely necessary
for the salvation of our country ; and we shall readily submit to
such a general plan as you may direct for the colonies ; or make
it our great study to establish such a form of government here,
as shall not only most promote our advantage, but the union and
interest of all America." In answer to this appeal, the Conti-
nental Congress, June 9, 1775, "Resolved, that no obedience
being due to the act of parliament for altering the charter of the
colony of Massachusetts Bay, nor to a governor and lieutenant-
governor who will not observe the directions of, but endeavor to
subvert, that charter ; the governor and lieutenant-governor are
to be considered as absent, and their offices vacant. And as there
is no council there, and the inconveniences arising from the sus-

1 Son of Brigadier Buggies. He be- Some years later he returned, and resided
came a refugee, and never returned. in peace at Brattleborough, Vt., and

2 Mr. Chandler afterwards became a Hinsdale, N. H., where he died.
refugee, and his property was confiscated.



94 HISTORY OF IIARDWICK.

pension of the powers of government are intolerable, especially
at a time when General Gage hath actually levied war, and is
carrying on hostilities against his majesty's peaceful and loyal
subjects of that colony ; that in order to conform, as near as may
be, to the spirit and substance of the charter, it be recommended
to the Provincial Congress, to write letters to the inhabitants of
the several places which are entitled to representation in assem-
bly, requesting them to choose such representatives ; and that
the assembly, when chosen, should elect counsellors : which as-
sembly and council should exercise the powers of government,
until a governor of his majesty's appointment will consent to
govern the colony according to its charter." Accordingly, the
third Provincial Congress, now in session, issued letters, June 20,
1775, requesting the selectmen of the several towns to cause the
inhabitants to assemble and " elect and depute one or more free-
holders resident in the same town, according to the numbers set
and limited by an act of the general assembly, entitled an act for
ascertaining the number and regulating the house of representa-
tives, to serve for and represent them in a great and general court
or assembly, to be convened, held, and kept, for the service of the
said colony until the end of the day next preceding the last Wed-
nesda)'^ of May next, if necessai-y, and no longer, at the meeting
house in Watertown, upon Wednesday the nineteenth day of
July next ensuing the date hereof." ^ In accordance with this
request, Capt. Stephen Rice was elected, July 15, 1775, a mem-
ber of this House of Representatives, — the first which derived
its authority directly and absolutely from the people.

October 10, 1775. " Voted, that Lieut. Timothy Ruggles be
set at liberty. Voted, That the late proceedings of the Commit-
tee of Correspondence with respect to the Tories are satisfactory
to the town." Precisely what these " proceedings " were does
not appear on record ; but it may safely be assumed that they
were less " satisfactory " to the Tories than to the town. The
number of Tories in Hardwick was not large. Indeed it is re-
markable that Brigadier Ruggles, whose services to the colony had
been so conspicuous, and to the town so important and beneficial,
should have secured so few political adherents outside of his fam-
ily circle. The more active and troublesome of them soon left
the town. Those who remained, with a single exception, seem to
have submitted unresistingly to the discipline adjudged necessary
^ Journals of each Prov. Congress, p. 359.



CIVIL HISTORY. 95

by the Committee of Correspondence, and to have conformed to
the new state of affairs so entirely as to secure the respect and
confidence of the most ardent Sons of Liberty. And even Jona-
than Danforth, the most unmanageable an^l pugnacious of the
whole number, finally obtained the same boon, though he secui'ed
it " through much tribulation." Several documents relative to
him are preserved in the records and archives of the Common-
wealth, which have not heretofore been published, and from
which I shall quote somewhat freely, as they perhaps include, and
certainly illustrate, some of the " proceedings of the Committee
of Correspondence with respect to the Tories " at that time and
afterwards.

" Worcester, ss. To the Sheriff of the County of Worcester, or
to the Keeper of the Common Goal in said County. Greeting.
In the name of the Government and People of the Massachusetts
Bay in New England : You are required to take into safe cus-
tody, and commit to said Goal, Jonathan Danforth of Hard wick,
a person inimical and dangerous to the States of America, there
to remain in safe keeping till he shall be liberated and discharged
by due course of law. Given under my hand this 4"^ day of De-
cember Anno Domini 1776. William Paige (by order). Chair-
man of the Committee of Correspondence for Hardwick." ^

"To the Honorable Council of the State of the Massachusetts
Bay : We, the Committee of Correspondence, Safety, and Inspec-
tion, for the Town of Hardwick do show, — That we have commit-
ted to the common goal in Worcester Jonathan Danforth of this
town for the several crimes following, viz., (1.) That he, being
collector for said Hardwick, refused to pay to the Treasurer of
the State, Henry Gardner, Esq., the public monies he had in his
hands, according to a resolve of Congress. (2.) But being com-
pelled to answer for said money, he produced other men's security
and took a receipt of the Committee, which receipt afterwards he
gave to Harrison Gray, Esq., on the account of which one of the
said Committee was seized by said Gray and contained [de-
tained ?] to his great loss and damage. 3. Afterwards he was
published in the public papers, and confined to the town as an
enemy to the United States ; but notwithstanding, he broke
through his confinement, and went to New York and other places,
which we apprehend was to confer with and give information to
our enemies. 4. Concealing the goods of Richard Ruggles, a fu-
gitive, when sought for ; and when part was found with him, sol-

1 Mass. Archives, clxxxi. 369.



96 HISTORY OF HARDWICK.

emnly declared there was all he knew of ; but afterwards others
were found in a certain wood, which he confessed he put there.
5. And also absconded from said town of Hardwick for many-
months, conferring with our enemies, to the great uneasiness and
worry of the inhabitants of said town. — For these and many
other reasons which we are read}'^ to show, if called to it, I have
committed the said Danforth, as above stated. By order of said
Committee, William Paige, Chairman. Worcester Dec. y'' 5^^
1776." 1

" To the Honorable Council for the State of Massachusetts
Bay, in Council assembled, Dec. y^ 6"^ 1776 : Jonathan Danforth
of Hardwick, in the County of Worcester, now a prisoner in the
common Goal in said county, humbly shows, — That, some time
in the month of July last, he left the town of Hardwick aforesaid
and went to North Yarmouth in the county of Cumberland, and
let himself to the Hon. Jeremiah Powell, one of this Honorable
Board, and lived with him until the sixth day of November last,
when he returned home to Hardwick, bringing proper credentials
with him from the said Mr. Powell that, during the time he had
lived with him, he had behaved well : that, during his absence,
the Committee of Correspondence &c., for said Hardwick seized
upon the estate of your petitioner and leased the same out, al-
though he had left a proper person on it, to take care of it and
his family in his absence ; that, some little time after your peti-
tioner's arrival home, the Committee aforesaid seized him, and in
a most ignominious manner put him under guard and charged
him with having been, in his absence, with the British troops, and
made out a mittimus, signed by one William Paige, their chair-
man, directed to the Sheriff of the County, ordering him to be
committed to goal as a person inimical and dangerous to the
States of America, and at the same time forbidding the Sheriff to
take any bail, although your petitioner could have procured am-
ple security for his good behavior, and he is confined in the goal
aforesaid among prisoners of war, thieves, &c., and must remain
there, unless your Honors interpose in his behalf. Since civil gov-
ernment has taken place among us, and civil magistrates are ap-
pointed for the due execution of the laws, your petitioner appre-
hends that Committees cannot lawfully grant mittimuses for the
commitment of any person ; but the late law of this State directs
that if any person is supposed [suspected ?] of being inimical to
the States of the United Colonies, upon complaint made by Com-
1 Mass. Archives, clxxxi. 370.



CIVIL HISTORY. 97

mittees, &c. to a Justice of the Peace, the Justice is to examine
the matter of compUiint, and upon due proof being made to bind
the offender to the next Court, and to his good behavior in tlie
meantime : which law your petitioner is willing to submit to.
Therefore [he] prays your Honors to direct the Sheriff that, upon
j'^our petitioner's giving bond, &c. agreeable to the direction of
the law, he may be libei*ated ; and as in dut}"^ bound shall pray :

" JoxATHAisr Danforth." 1

This petition was referred, December 7, to a committee, and
no further notice of it is found on the records of the General
Court; but it elsewhere appears that the petitioner "was set at
liberty by the Judges of the Superior Court." Then followed a
sharp and troublesome contest between him and the committee,
the details of which, as well as the antecedent transactions, are
set forth in the following petition : —

" To the Honorable the Council and House of Representatives
for the State of the Massachusetts Bay : The petition of the
Selectmen and Committee of Correspondence, Inspection, and
Safety, for the town of Hardwick, humbly showeth, — That
whereas Jonathan Danforth of said town has in many instances,
in our opinion, been aiding and assisting the unnatural enemies
of the United States of America, therefore we, the said Select-
men and Committee, sliall endeavor to inform the Honorable
Court of the said Danforth's conduct, from the time of the date
of the Resolve of the Provincial Congress requiring every town
in this State to appoint Committees to call their Constables to
account for the outstanding monies in their hands, and also the
transactions of the Town, Selectmen, and Committee, aforesaid,
with the said Danforth.

" In the first place, with regard to the said Danforth, when the
said town's committee, agreeable to a Resolve of the Provincial
Congress of the State (the said Danforth being constable for said
town), proceeded to call him to an account for said outstanding
monies, the said Danforth then absolutely refused to give any
account respecting said monies, when requested, till after being
compelled thereto by said town, agreeable to said Resolve, — who
thereupon gave his note for said monies, for which they gave him
a receipt. And further, the said Danforth made a humble ac-
knowledgment for his past conduct, and solemnly engaged for
the future that he would not oppose, but assist all in his power
the people of this Town and State in every thing that is not con-

1 Mass. Arch., clxxxi. 367, 368.



98 HISTORY OF HARDWICK.

trary to the constitution of this state and the laws of the same ;
and that he would religiously stand to all the covenants of the
town, which lie had signed; and that he would stand or fall with
the people. But instead of performing his engagement, he im-
mediately returned said receipt to Harrison Gray, by which means
the gentleman who gave his receipt on the back of the Province-
Warrant, in behalf of the town, was arrested for said monies, to
his damage ; and also did his endeavor to discourage the people
from taking up arms to fight against the King of Great Britain ;
and whenever the inhabitants of said town met together for the
purpose of raising men for that purpose, he would appear to ridi-
cule them in a contemptuous way and manner ; and did actually
conceal the household furniture of Richard Ruggles, who has
actually joined our unnatural enemy, and, being suspected, he
delivered up a part, and point-blank declared he knew nothing
about any more ; but on further evidence being obtained against
him, he confessed in an open town-meeting that he had concealed
some other articles in a certain hill, which was afterwards actually
found on said hill. And also the said Danforth, notwithstanding
the restrictions which were laid on him by the Committee, in
obedience to a Resolve of the Provincial Congress requiring them
to take effective measures to prevent suspected persons from exe-
cuting their wicked designs, in open contempt of their authority
went to New York, or elsewhere, and purchased a large quantity
of Bohea Tea and brought [it] into town, and immediately ab-
sented himself ; by which circumstances the Committee was led
to suspect that he had actually gone and joined our cruel enemies,
he having previously disposed of all his stock and part of his
household furniture, and part thereof he conveyed away privately
and concealed in the woods, as his wife afterwards informed us,
and also carried away all his valuable writings ; and when he
returned back to town informed the Committee of his coming,
and also gave hints that he was ready to give an account for his
past conduct ; the Committee soon after gave him an opportunity
therefor ; and when various questions were asked him by said
Committee respecting his conduct, he refused giving any direct
answer thereto. Furthermore, he endeavored to and actually
did, in a clandestine manner, make conveyance of his real'estate,
in order as was supposed to secure it from being taken as a for-
feited estate. Finally, his whole conduct, ever since the time
first mentioned in this petition, has been to insult and act in con-
tempt against the Resolves of the Continental Congress, the cove-



CIVIL HISTORY. 99

nants and engagements entered into by the town, and the orders
of said Committee agreeable to said Resolves and Acts of the
Great and General Court of this State, unless compelled thereto.
" In the second place, we shall endeavor to inform the Honor-
able Court of the transactions of the Town, Selectmen, and Com-
mittee, with said Danforth, from time to time. Viewing him as
an enemy to the rights and liberties of this country, tlie}^ thought
themselves in duty bound, — in pursuance of a Resolve of the
Provincial Congress in the year 1775, recommending it to Select-
men and Committees in all and every town in this State to take
effectual steps to put it out of the power of such persons to ob-
struct by any means whatever the measures that shall be taken
for the common defence, — to publish his name to the world as
an enemy, and lay him under restrictions not to pass over the
bounds of the town without license first obtained from said Com-
mittee. They also proceeded, in the year 1776, to enter a com-
plaint to a Justice of the Peace, viewing him, agreeable to a
Resolve of the Continental Congress, as a person that ought to
be withdrawn from, and have no commercial intercourse with, to
gi'ant a warrant to take the forementioned Tea, and to have it
stored, which was accordingly done. They also proceeded, agree-
able to an Act of the Great and General Court in April 1776, —
requiring Committees to make returns of the names of all such
persons who had in any manner acted against or opposed the
rights and liberties of the United States of America, together
with their respective crimes, and evidences or depositions, — to



Online LibraryLucius R. (Lucius Robinson) PaigeHistory of Hardwick, Massachusetts. With a genealogical register → online text (page 11 of 73)