Lucius R. (Lucius Robinson) Paige.

History of Hardwick, Massachusetts. With a genealogical register online

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northward of the river aforesaid, and adjacent thereto." " In the
House of Representatives, June 17"\ 1732. Read, and in answer
to this petition ordered, that there be and hereby is granted unto
the petitioners and their associates a tract of land of the contents
of six miles square for a township, at the place petitioned for, to
be laid out in a regular form by a surveyor and chainmen under
oath, a plan thereof to be presented to this Court at their next
session for confirmation : ^ the said land by them to be settled on
the conditions following, viz., that they within the space of five
years settle and have on the spot sixty families (the settlers to be
none bat such as are natives of New England),^ each settler to
build a good and convenient dwelling-house, of one story high,
eighteen feet square at the least, and clear and bring to four acres
fit for improvement, and three acres more, well stocked with
English grass, and also lay out three shares throughout the town,
each share to be one sixty-third part of the said town, one share
for the first settled minister, one for the ministry, and the other
for the school ; and also build a convenient meeting-house, and
settle a learned and orthodox minister, within the terra aforesaid."
The Council concurred June 20, and Governor Belcher consented
June 30, 1732.

Thus, after a tedious and expensive delay of five years duration
from the date of their first petition, the proprietors obtained legal
recognition of their title to a little more than one third part of the
territory which they claimed under their Indian deed ; being the
north end of the tract, instead of the south end for which they
first sought confirmation. The question naturally arises, what
occasioned such long delay ? When the same proprietors desired
to improve their property at Leicester in 1714, the General
Court granted their first petition, and not only recognized their
title, but established the territory at once as a township. Why
was not their petition in the present ease granted as readily ?

1 This plan was presented November ony was admissible ; but this new restric-
24, 1732, describing 23,043 acres, " north tion effectually excluded all except the
of Ware River and adjoiniuj,^ to it, near native-born population. It is not improb-
the mouth of Great Meadow Brook." able that this exclusion was made at the

2 In the order passed by the House, suggestion of the petitioners, who had al-
June 23, 1727, it was required that the ready suffered so much annoyance and
grantees should " settle fifty families that loss by the conduct of those who had set-
are now inhabitants of this Province," un- tied at the Elbows.

der which provision the Scotch-Irish Col-


Perhaps one reason was this : the " Equivalent Land," granted
by the General Court in 1713, was so near to Brookfield and the
" Braintree six thousand acres," that a tract of twelve miles in
length and eiglit miles in width, bordei'ing on Nenemeseck or
Ware River, could not be found between the Elbows and Rutland,
which then included Barre. Moreover, in this case the proprie-
tors did not adopt the expensive method which had formerly
proved so successful. The order of the General Court, confirm-
ing the title of Leicester to the nine persons who purchased the
territory of the Indians, was passed February 25, 1713-4.
" These proprietors had probably already associated others with
them in the enterprise of settling the town and sharing in the
speculation ; for we find them executing a deed on the 23d of the
same February, which was acknowledged before Penn Townsend,
Esq., to thirteen other associates, dividing the same into twenty
equal and undivided shares, of which two were equally divided,
each between two, so as to make twenty-two proprietors of the
twenty shares. The names of the persons who thus became in-
terested with the original purchasers were Jeremiah Dummer,
Paul Dudley, John Clark, Addington Davenport, Thomas Hutch-
inson, John White, William Hutchinson, Francis Wainwright,
John Chandler and Thomas Howe as one, Daniel Allen and Sam-
uel Sewall as one, and William Dudley. Every one of these
were men of influence in the Province. . . . If it were proper, at
this distance of time, to indulge in any conjectures in relation to
the affairs of the proprietors, one would be led to remark upon
the character and position of the men with whom the origiual pur-
chasers shared the territory they had acquired. They embraced
some of the most prominent and leading men of both political
parties, some of them connected with the immediate government
of the Province, and quite a proportion of them united by strong
family ties ; and if it could be supposed that by lapse of time, or
defect in the original deed, or any other cause, it had become nec-
essary to exert a combined influence over the government in
order to obtain a confirmation of the title, it is pretty obvious
that these were precisely the class of men through whose aid such
a measure miglitbe hoped to be accomplished." ^ No such lavish
expenditure was made to secure the grant of Hardwick. But
six months afterwards, December 27, 1732, Joseph Haskell of
Rocli^ster, Samuel Willis, Esq., of Dartmouth, and Ebenezer
Pierpont and Colonel William Dudley of Roxbury were admitted

^ Washburn's Ilist. of Leicester, pp. 9, 10, 14.


as joint proprietors, " each of thera for a whole share," making
the shares " twelve in number and no more." If these persons
did not purchase their shares by payment of money, Haskell and
Willis probably rendered efficient aid in bringing forward the set-
tlement by inducing their townsmen to emigrate to the wilder-
ness ; Pierpont was cousin to the Ruggles heirs, and was proprie-
tors' clerk, and apparently legal adviser for several years ; Dudley
only can reasonably be suspected of having us6d official influence
in obtaining the grant, but even of him it is recorded that his
share was received in right of his brother Thomas, deceased.

Several years later, the title to this territory was challenged
by a Stockbridge Indian. This subject is introduced here, some-
what out of the order of time, as a fit conclusion of this chapter.
The original papers are still preserved : —

" To his Honor Spencer Phips, Esq., Lieut. Governor and
Commander in Chief in and over his INIajesty's Province of the
Massachusetts Bay in New England, and to the Hon. his Majesty's
Council and House of Representatives in General Court convened
at Boston, September the 26'^, 1750.

"The Memorial of Hendrick [Kequoquau, now resident at
Stockbridge, a native and claimer of the northern part of Brook-
field, alias the land called Lambstown, lying on the northwest
of the said Brookfield, humbly sheweth, That your memorialist,
being born and brought up at said Brookfield, and by right of
inheritance from his ancestors the proper owner of said land,
your memoriaUst, not having yet sold the said land, or ever in
any way or manner received any thing in consideration therefor,
although your memorialist has had encouragement from Col.
Stoddard that he should be paid for the same. Your memorialist
has been long endeavouring to obtain justice respecting the prem-
ises, but has hitherto failed. Your memorialist being aged and
necessitous, and standing in real need, having an honest and just
right to the lands granted away by this Province, your memorial-
ist prays that the honored Court would be pleased to consider
the case, and agreeable to their invariable rale of justice and
goodness be pleased to grant something by way of satisfaction
for said lands. And your memorialist shall, as in duty bound,
ever pray, &c.

" Hendeick Kekquoquau (mark).
Adam Mahtaunkaumut (mark).
Mhtockaumunt (mark).


" N. B. — The reason of the two last signers is because they are
partners by relation, and are agents for the raemoriahst." ^

Instead of determining whether the Province should " grant
something by way of satisfaction," as prayed for by the petitioner,
an indorsement on the petition shows that the House of Repre-
sentatives, October 10, 1750, " ordered that the proprietors of
Hardwick make the within named Hendrick proper satisfaction in
consideration of his right to the lands belonging to said Township ;
it appearing that he was one of the native owners of the same,
and it not appearing that he has made sale thereof." The Coun-
cil non-concurred ; and an order of notice to the proprietors was
issued, returnable at the next session, at which time they pre-
sented this answer : —

" To his Honor Spencer Phips, Esq., Lieut. Governor and Com-
mander in Chief in and over his Majesty's Province of the
Massachusetts Bay in New England, and to the honorable his
Majesty's Council and House of Representatives in General
Court convened, January 1750-1, the answer of the Proprietors
of Hardwick to the memorial of Hendrick Kekquoquau, resident
at Stockbridge, humbly sheweth : — That in order to set this
affair in its proper light, we are obliged to recur to the year 1686,
when our ancestors purchased a tract of land, twelve miles north
and south, and eight miles east and west, of John Magus, Law-
rance Nassawanno, James, Simon, and other Indian Sachems, to
the northward of Brookfield, by the River Nenemeseck, now
called Ware River ; that your respondents, the said purchasers,
were at many hundred pounds charge to bring forward a settle-
ment of a plantation on the southerly part of their said purchase,
about twenty years ago, at Kingston ,2 b}'^ the Elbows, which was
quitted by the said purchasers without being reimbursed any of
their expenses. And in the year 1732 your respondents, in
consequence of their said purchase, obtained a grant of land, from
the General Court, of the contents of six miles square, on the
northward of Ware River and adjacent thereto for a township,
subject to certain conditions of settling the same (being part of
the premises purchased by our ancestqrs as aforesaid), Avliich
conditions of settling the said grantees many years since complied
with, so as that in the year 1738 ^ the General Court, in their
wisdom saw cause to incorporate Lambstown into a Township by
the name of Hardwick, wherein the bounds, in their act made for

1 Mass. Arch., xxxii. 68. ^ The Act of Incorporation was ap-

2 Now Palmer. proved January 10, 1738-9.


that purpose, are expressed at large. So tliat they humbly ap-
prehend, having in the first place obtained the native right, and
afterward the General Court's grant, and complied with the
conditions thereof, that they stand firm in their claim. More
especially since they possess but little more than one third part
of their purchase, having been obliged to surrender to the Secre-
tary of this Province, for the public benefit, the remaining part of
our said purchase,^ with this proviso, that the said grantees
should have, hold and enjoy the said grant of the contents of six
miles square, to them, their heirs and assigns forever. And your
respondents now want about one thousand acres of land to com-
plete the said grant, besides the nine hundred acres in dispute
with the proprietors of Quabin, which affair now lies before the
Honorable Court. So that, upon the whole, when we call to
mind that the Great and General Court, in their wisdom and
goodness, have at all times encouraged industry and fidelity, we
find our fears very much alleviated on account of the challenges
made of our claims and right, one after the other ; that we pejfc-
suade ourselves that the premises in dispute, or any part thereof,
will never be taken from those persons who have paid a dutiful
regard to the Great and General Court, in complying with the
conditions of their grant, and thereby promoted the public good,
and be given to them who have neglected their duty in this
respect ; or that we shall be obliged to pay any sura or sums of
money to a Native, upon his making any challenge without
foundation. For though the memorialist, Hendrick Kekquoquau,
was born and brought up at Brookfield, it does not necessarily
follow that the lands to the northward thereof did belong to his
ancestors, and so by right of inheritance descend to him ; nor can
we pei'ceive that he ever made out any just claim that they or he
had to the same. And as to any encouragement that Col. Stod-
dard might give the memorialist, we are wholly ignorant of it ;
but beg leave to represent that we have heard of, and some of
us have seen, a large tract of land, lying northwest of Brookfield,
at a place called Coyshill,^ which we were informed that Col.

1 Such surrender was required as a rendered "for the public benefit" nearly

condition of the uncompleted grant, June two thirds of the territory rij^htfully be-

23, 1727; and though not expressly longing to them, in order to acquire

named in the valid grant of June, 1732, peaceable possession of the remainder,

it was demanded by the government, and rather than to give it to individuals as the

was actually made, at a meeting of the price of their favorable influence,

proprietors, February 21, 1732-3. This 2 Coy's Hill is in the northerly part of

surrender was ratified and confirmed. Warren.
Thus, under duress, the proprietors sur-


Stoddard claimed ; so that it's liiglily probable that the memo-
rialist has made a mistake as to the spot of land which he suggests
he has a rioht to ; for Col. Stoddard could not mean that the
proprietors of Lambstown should pay him, the memorialist, for
the lands which the General Court had granted to our jjropriety.
Finally, we humbly leave the memorialist to the compassion and
goodness of your Honor and Honorable Court, to relieve him, as
to your wisdom shall seem meet, saving always our right to the
lands purchased, granted, and settled by us, as aforesaid. And
your respondents shall ever pray.

"January 29, 1750-1, being -v Ebenezer Pierpont, in the name
the 2d Tuesday of the set- (. and at the desire of the Proprietors

ting of the General Court. ) of Hurdwick." ^

This answer having been read, the petition was referred to a
joint committee, and its further consideration assigned to " the
first Friday of the next sitting of the General Court ; " but no
subsequent action thereon appears to have been had.

1 Mass. Arch., xxxii. 93, 94.



Names of Proprietors. — Executive Committee. — Gratuities. — Arrangement
of Lots. — Settlers to share the Expense of Surveying, and to aid in erect-
ing a Meeting-House and maintaining a Minister. — Additional Grant of
Land. — First Settler. — Otlier Settlers admitted. — Mill Lots. — Access
of Inhabitants in 1736. — Incorporation as a District. — First Officers. —
Rev. Timothy Ruggles. — Incorporation as a Town. — First Town Officers.
— Act of Incorporation.

Having obtained confirmation of tlieir title, the proprietors
procured from John Chandler, Jr., Esq., a warrant, by virtue of
which Joseph Ruggles gave notice of a legal meeting to be held
at Roxbury on the 27th of December, 1732, " then and there to
choose a Proprietors' Clerk, and to manage, improve, grant, dis-
pose, and divide the said lands, more especially to admit our
associates in due form, and to choose a committee to lay out con-
venient highways to accommodate a township, and to lot out so
much of the said land to the proprietors and such as shall be
hereafter admitted settlers in such ways as may most conduce to
the promoting and settling thereof," etc.^

At this meeting, and the next succeeding which was held by
adjournment, effective measures were adopted for the speedy
fulfilment of the conditions imposed by the General Court. I
shall quote freely : —

" Voted and chose Joshua Lamb, Esq. Moderator of said meet-
ing ; and chose Joseph Ruggles Proprietors' Clerk.

" Voted, That Nathaniel Paige's heirs, Andrew Gardner's as-

^ To this notice is appended a certifi- Attest: John Chandler, Jr.,. Justice Peace."

cate, dated Dec. 13, 1732: — Very probably other persons may have

" The forewritten is a true copy of a already erected houses on this territory,
notification wliich Abner Lee of Worces- but no proof of their identity is known to
ter this day made oath before me, the sub- exist; and this William Thomas may
scriber, that he set up on the house of therefore be regarded as tlie first known
William Thomas within tlie tract of land English resident in what is now Hard-
aforementioned, and which was done by wick; though an ancient tradition gives
eight o'clock in the forenoon of this day. the priority to Benjamin Smith.


signs, Benjamin Gamblin's lieirs, Benjamin Tucker's heirs, John
Curtis's heirs, Richard Draper's heirs, Samuel Ruggles's heirs,
of Roxburj' hitely deceased, Joshua Lamb's heirs, and Joseph
Haskell, Ebenezer Pierpont, Samuel Willis Esq., and Col. Wil-
liam Dudley Esq., are received as associates, according to said
Court's grant, each of them for a whole share.^

"Voted, That five committee men are chosen to manage the
affair of the settlement of the town according to the warrant, to
■wit: Col. William Dudley, Col. Joshua Lamb, Mr. Ebenezer
Pierpont, Capt. Joseph Ruggles, and Mr. Samuel Davis ; but
three of the five to go at a time. Three men are chose a com-
mittee to audit all our accounts against the next meeting, to wit,
Col. Dudlej^ Caleb Seaver, and Thomas Mayo. This meeting
is adjourned or continued unto Wednesday the twenty-first of
February next ensuing, at nine o'clock in the morning, at the
Gray Hound Tavern in Roxbury.

" February 21, 1732-3, by continuation from Dec. 27th, at
the Gray Hound, met and unanimously voted, in the first place,
that two thousand acres of land in our new settlement or town-
ship hereby is given and granted to the petitioners and Com-
mittee, to be by them disposed of as a gratuity to such persons as
have been serviceable to us in obtaining the grant of the same, as
they shall think fit ; all necessary highways needful for the same
to be included. Voted, that we are adjourned for the space of
one hour to the same place.

"And then met and voted that whereas in the Court's grant of
our new township at Ware River, the Rev. Mr. Timothy Ruggles
and Capt. Joseph Ruggles are two of the grantees, they have
quitted to the proprietors the grant of Court to them as petition-
ers ; they shall have, and hereby have granted them five hundred
acres of land between them in said town, by allotment, over and
above one share to the heirs of Capt. Samuel Ruggles, late of
Roxbury deceased.

"Voted, That Benjamin Smith, who married one of the heirs
of John Curtis deceased, since he has carried on his part of the
charge with us, it is ordered that the said Benjamin Smith shall
have recorded- to him the ninth part of the said John Curtis's

" Unanimously voted, That whereas Joshua Lamb, Timothy
Ruggles, Joseph Ruggles, and Ebenezer Pierpont, have given a
general quitclaim to the Province of a Deed, signed by John

1 At this date, it appears that all the original grantees had deceased.


Magus, Lawrence Nassawano, and other Indian Sachems, to
Joshua Lamb and others ; now we do declare we are contented
and well satisfied, and do ratify and confirm said act, agreeable
to said quitclaim. . . .

" Unanimously voted, That the whole township shall be lotted
out as soon as may be by the committee as shall hereafter be
determined by the Propriety ; three convenient places, if they
may be obtained, to seat mills on, reserved for the benefit of the
proprietors, and the committee to make report of the same to the

" Voted, That ten acres ^ of land be reserved near the centre
of said tract, to set a meeting-house on, and for a burial-place
and a training-field.

" Voted, That this meeting is adjourned to to-morrow morning
at the same place.

" Roxbury, February 22, 1732-3. Met by continuation from
the 21^' of February, 1782-3.

" Unanimously voted, That the committee shall as soon as may
be lay out one hundred and eleven lots for the proprietors and
settlers, in one hundred acre lots, having respect to the quality of
the land, viz., four lots to each proprietor's share, sixty settlers,
and the lots for the minister, ministry, and school ; the minister's
lot to be laid out by the committee near the centre of the town,
and the rest of the lots to be drawn for, both by the proprietors
and settlers.

" Unanimously voted. That the remaining land belonging to
the proprietors be all lotted out by the committee in such quan-
tities as that each proprietor have three lots and so sorted as that
in the draft each person may have a just and equal share.

" Unanimously voted. That each settler pay into the hands of
the committee, upon his drawing his lot, the sum of five pounds
towards the defraying the charges of surveying, &c. ; and the
further sum of ten pounds each, for the building a meeting-house
and settling a minister, within the space of three years after his
being admitted.

" Unanimously voted. That each proprietor have leave to offer

1 This " ten acres " was near the old northwesterly corner, was given to the
burial-place and training-field, or com- " Separate Society," 10th March, 1761 ;
mon ; but that it did not include either is and " four acres and an half remaining
manifest from the fact that a different of the ten acres " was sold to Jonas Fay,
disposition of the whole tract was subse- 19th May, 1761. The ten acres was on
quently made : five acres, the easterly the hill, northwesterly from the present
half, was sold to Rev. Timothy Ruggles, common, which seems to have been sub-
in February, 1758 ; half an acre, the stituted for the original grant.


for admission five settlers of such persons according to the Court's
grant, and sliall give bonds to the committee for the fulfihnent of
the order and conditions of Court within three years from their
admission on forfeiture of their lots to be again disposed of ; al-
ways provided that those who have paid their money and are al-
ready admitted be deducted out of the whole in proportion ; and
whereas the proprietors have each of them a draught of four lots,
which makes nine lots including the settlers, five of any of the
nine being settled by them shall be sufficient."

On a more careful survey, the proprietors found that they had
interfered with other grants, and were curtailed in their territory.
They petitioned the General Court for relief, June 15, 1733, rep-
resenting that, " so it was, that the surveyor and chainmen, who
were under oath, not knowing the bounds of a tract of land of six
thousand acres granted heretofore by this Court to Braintree and
adjoining to Rutland, and not thinking the said Braintree land
or any part was on the northwest of Ware River, have included
within that plat four hundred acres of good land,^ fit for settle-
ments ; as also have included the quantity of three hundred acres
more at the west end of the grant, being land formerly granted
by this Court to the Government of Connecticut, called, Equiva-
lent lands, and belonging, as your petitioners are informed, to
John Read, Esq. ,2 all which will appear by the plan herewith pre-
sented. Wherefore your petitioners being thus lessened in their
grant, and having three large ponds of some hundred acres in-
cluded, obliges us humbly to pray your Excellency and Honors
that a strip or parcel of land belonging to this Province, between
Braintree grant, Brookfield town, and Ware River, so far as the
bend of the River is, may be added to the grant made your peti-
tioners. . . . Our humble prayer is that the said land may be
added to and accounted a part of the township granted as afore-
said, in full satisfaction of the land that is wanting of the con-
tents of six miles square as aforesaid."

" In the House of Representatives, June 16th, 1733. Read,
and ordered that the prayer of the petition be and hereby is
granted, and the strip or parcel of land within mentioned is con-
firmed to the petitioners, and their associates, and their assigns,

1 This tract of " four hundred acres " ~ The angles at the west end of the line

was at the northeasterly corner of the between Ilardwick and Ware, on the map,

town, and included the Robinson Farna. indicate the locality of these " three hun-

It was annexed to Ilardwick, by act of dred acres."
the General Court, June 10, 1814. Mass.
Sp- Laws, V. 10.


respectively, forever by the following bounds, viz., beginning at

Online LibraryLucius R. (Lucius Robinson) PaigeHistory of Hardwick, Massachusetts. With a genealogical register → online text (page 4 of 73)