Mass.) Dorchester Antiquarian and Historical Society (Dor.

History of the town of Dorchester, Massachusetts online

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Online LibraryMass.) Dorchester Antiquarian and Historical Society (DorHistory of the town of Dorchester, Massachusetts → online text (page 1 of 46)
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33)ovd;ester ^ntfquatfan ants J^istorfcal Socfetaj.

" God bless the Puritan ! "
" Name, monarchs piay not bear,
Name, nobles may not share,
E.\ultin};!y we wear

Linked to the heart."




r 1 "


Entered, according to Act of Congress, in the year 1851,


In the Clerk's Office of the District Court for the District of Massachusetts.

David Clapp, Printer.



In the early part of the present century, the Rev, Dr.
Thaddeus M. Harris (at that time, and for many subsequent
years, the much respected minister of Dorchester) wrote a
history of this ancient town, and published it in the printed
Collections of the Massachusetts Historical Society, Vol, 9,
1st Series. In the latter part of his life he contemplated pub-
lishing a much more elaborate work upon the same subject,
for which his long residence in the town, and his taste for
historical research, eminently qualified him ; but before mak-
ing much progress in carrying out his design, his declining
health and subsequent decease deprived the public of the
accumulated materials chiefly entrusted to his memory. After
this event, sundry gentlemen of Dorchester, impressed with
the importance of collecting and preserving all existing ma-
terials tending to illustrate the early occurrences of the pio-
neer plantation of the Bay,* from which it is believed more
than 200,000 persons now living in the United States can
trace their origin, associated themselves together under the
name of the Dorchester Antiquarian and Historical Society.

This Society has already published the valuable Memoirs
of Roger Clap, James Blake's Annals of Dorchester, and

* Massachusetts Bay, at the settlement in 1629, included only the territory between Nahant
and Point Alderton. See Endicott's instructions in Uazard, Vol. 1, p. 260.


^Richard Mather's Journal — the original copy of the latter
production, in the hand-writing of the author, having been
accidentally discovered among some papers formerly belong-
ing to Mr. Blake, In furtherance of its purpose, the Society
appointed a Committee to arrange and connect all such facts
as they possess into a methodical History of the Town, inter-
spersed with such comments and remarks as would add to
the interest of the subject.

The sources of information within reach of the Society are
only such as most of the early towns of Massachusetts can
furnish. Nearly four years elapsed after the settlement be-
gan, before the present town organization of Massachusetts
was formed ; and during the period of plantation existence
few records were made except grants of land. An accurate
detail of the early proceedings of the Dorchester plantation
would be of great value to the history of Massachusetts, as
it covers a period when the present institutions of New Eng-
land were unfolding, and the West Country Company, which
selected this site for their abode, formed a prominent part
of the great Association which gathered in England in 1629,
under tlie wing of the Massachusetts patent, and, in the
spring of 1630, sailed in seventeen ships for the Bay. Of
this fleet the Mary and John, containing our company, were
the first to arrive. The early transactions are doubtless much
obscured by the removal to Connecticut, in 1635-6, of a large
number of the prominent men of tlie first settlers, taking
with them the church records. Dih'gent inquiry has in vain
been made for those memorials. The present town record
book pi'obably commenced with the settlement in 1630, but
the first two leaves, containing four pages, which may be
supposed to have been the record of the first transactions of
the plantation, are wanting, and were probably lost before
Mr. Blake compiled Lis Annals, more than one hundred years


ago. The existing- church records commence with the Cove-
nant adopted at the settlement of Mr. Mather, August 23,
1636. The record of births previous to the year 1657 was
accidentally burnt, and the few that have been preserved before
that date were furnished afterwards from family Bibles, The
few facts relating to the first three years, are gathered from
the Court Records, Winthrop's Journal, and some other pub-
lications usually resorted to in like cases, and from Eoger
Clap's Memoir. We would gladly exchange the well-filled
pagL^s of wholesome religious instruction, written by Mr.
Chip for the benefit of his posterity, for an equal quantity of
historical facts which his opportunities doubtless might have
enabled him to record. Still, he has rendered an invaluable
service by the relation as it exists. Mr. Blake's Annals are
for the most part a transcript from the town books, with
some valuable additions of his own.

The manuscripts in the State archives have afforded valua-
ble information for our purpose, and the genealogical part
has been aided by a diligent search of the Probate Records
and Deeds of the County of Suffolk.

Notices of matters which have originated during the pre-
sent century, have been compressed into the smallest space.
Indeed, our limits have pi'evented the insertion of any refer-
ence to numerous subjects which from time to time have
engrossed private enterprise or public interest. To do any
thing like justice to a record of these, would be to publish
facts already familiar to our readers, at the risk of abridg-
ing the circulation of the volume. We present the work as
the result of earnest associated effort for the preservation and
diffusion of a truthful record of the History of Dorchester.

Should anj'- irregularity in the arrangement of the materials
of the work be discovered, or any repetitions be detected, it
is hoped the reader will find an excuse in the mode of its pub-


lication — successive portions of it having been prepared,
printed, and issued in numbers, at irregular intervals. The
same excuse is also offered for any want of uniformity, in ap-
pearance, of the paper and typography of the volume.

Dorchester, December 1, 1859.



Smith's Voyage to Massachusetts, and the Excursion of the Ply-
mouth Pilgrims to the Bay 1


Thompson's visit to Dorchester, and settlement on the Island
afterwards called by his name. — The Neponset Tribe of Indians 7


Emigration in 1630. — Mr. John White. — Arrival of the Dorches-
ter Company ......... 13


Mattapan selected by the Dorchester Company. — The Town laid
out and House Lots distributed. — Portions appropriated for Cul-
tivation.— The Trade of Fishing . • 20

Boundaries of the Town. — Freemen and their Privileges. — Return
of Emigrants. — The Dorchester Record Book. — Orders relating
to Meetings of the Plantation 25


Erection of first Meeting-House. — ^Building of Stoughton's Mill. —
New Burying-Ground commenced. — Controversy about remov-
ing to Connecticut 33

List of the first Settlers of the Town 38


Additional Settlers previous to 1636 93

Second Emigration from England 100


Privations and Influence of Woman in the Settlement of the Coun-
try. — Additional Names of Male Inhabitants of Dorchester
prior to 1700 . 142


Removal of a part of the Colony to Connecticut. — The Pequot
War — Orders of the General Court and of the Town . . 148


Orders of the General Court and of the Town — (Continued) . 181

Settlement of Dorchester, in South Carolina, and of Midway, in
Georgia , . 261


Ecclesiastical Council at Medfield. — Religious Association of Young
Men. — Land for Free Schools. — Death of Gov. Stoughton. —
Boundaries of the Town. — Town Orders, &c. . . . 266

Arrival and Preaching of Rev. George Whitfield ; its effects in the
Church at Dorchester. — New Meeting-House. — Siege and Cap-
ture of Louisbourg. — Heavy drafts of Men and Money. — Exces-
sive Drought. — Great Earthquake. — Death of Gen. Hatch . 303


Colonial Events preceding the Revolution. — Great Celebration in
Dorchester. — Patriotic Resolutions by the Town — Rev. Jonathan
Bowman. — Rev. Moses Everett. — Drafting of Soldiers for the
War. — Fortifying of Dorchester Heights. — Small-pox Hospitals 320


Forestalling Provisions. — The Currency. — The Revolution. —
Names of Dorchester men engaged in the War . . . 340



Shays's Rebellion. — Col. Pierce's Diary of Important and Interest-
ing Events .352

Duel at Dorchester Point.— Three young Men drowned. — Annexa-
tion of Dorchester Neck to Boston.— Revival of Business at
Commercial Point.— Gathering of the Second Church, and the
Controversy with Rev. Dr. Codman 371


Political Parties. — New Meeting-House of the First Parish.— Situ-
ation of Dorchester. — Houses. — Population. — Dress and Cus-
toms of our Ancestors 385


Brief Sketch of the Religious Societies of Dorchester . . 404

The Public Schools of the Town 419

Brief Notices of the Early Teachers in the Public Schools . 479


Graduates of Harvard College from the Town of Dorchester . 555


Neponset River.— Its Sources, Tides, &c.— Neponset Tribe of In-
dians. — Navigation of the River. — Various Fishes in its Waters.
— Ferries, Bridges, &c. 574


Some Account of the various Mills on Neponset River . . 600

Societies, Banks, Ministerial and Church Lands, Burial Grounds,
Epitaphs, &c 642



I*age 25, eleventh line from the top, the name of Lieut.
Peaks should have been printed instead of " Heakes."

Page 35, twentieth line. It is not probable that Mr. Ma-
verick went to Windsor, as he died in Boston, Feb. 3, 1636 —
perhaps at the house of his son Samuel at Noddle's Island.

Page 48, fifteenth line, it should be 1661, instead of " 1651."

Page 56, William Hannum, not " Hammond."

Page 59, the last line should read— Jb/in Hull, ivhose daugh-
ter married Judge Sewall.

Page 67, fourth line from the bottom, read Josiah, not

Page 80. We hear from Abner Morse that Thomas Kich-
ards left many descendants.

Page 95, twenty-third line, Herring instead of "Haven."

Page 97, twenty-ninth line. John Kussell, an early donor
to the Church, belongs in this list.

Page 98, twenty-second line, read Richard Vore, not " Vose."

Page 99. Elizabeth Vose, born 8 (6) 1661, was daughter
of Thomas.

Page 99, eighteenth line. There was no such person as
Ebenezer, son of Henry Vose. ^

Page 105. Add to Humphrey Atherton's children — Eliza^ I
beth, who married Timothy Mather ; Margaret, who married |
James Trowbridge ; and Isabel, who married Wales.

Page 108, fifteenth line, Samuel " Pierce " should be Sam-
uel Paul.

Page 110, twelfth line, add — Elizabeth, born Dec. 26, 1666,
married Henry Vose.

Page 110, twenty-second line. Robert Babcock had bro-
thers George and Enoch in Milton, George had a son George,
born 26 (12) 1657, and died in 1134. Enoch died in lUl,
leaving an only son, William, and daughters Susan, Mary,
Elizabeth and Sarah.

Page 111, eighth line, add — Roger Billings, died Nov. 15,
1683, aged 65.

Page 118. Standfast Foster married Abigail Holman.

Page 120, sixth line from bottom, the sentence should read



— the wife of Joseph Belcher, of Milton, and mother of Jo-
seph Belcher, minister of Dedham.

Page 124. For " Hammond " read Hannum ; and for
"Foye," read Fnj.

Page 133. William Eobinson was killed in his mill-wheel.

Page 164, third line, add for, after " you " ;

" " nineteenth line, for " before " resid desire.

Page 195, twenty-second line, read Bolton instead of " Bat-

Page 273. It appeai-s as if the writer referred to had con-
founded Chief Justice Stoughton with Judge Sewall.

Page 301, eleventh line, for "Mather" Withington, read
Philip .

Page 345. Revolutionary soldiers omitted in previous list :

John Pope served at Squantum and Rhode Island ; he was
raised to the rank of Lieutenant.

John Lemist was at West Point.

Thomas Pierce was at West Point.

Edward Foster was at Long Island.

Rufus Davis was in the marine service, under Com. Tucker.

Jonathan Wiswall was at New York.

Thomas Lyon was at Squantum, Roxbury and Ticonderoga.

All of the above are well remembered in town, and were
among the last of the Revolutionary pensioners who died.

Page 311, seventh line, the number "eighteen" should be

Page 411, twenty-fifth line, it should have been stated that
Rev. David Dyer was installed, not " ordained."

Page 411. Rev. Mr. Noyes also was installed, not "or-

Page 418. The Tenth Parish was organized as Unitarian,
in May, 1859, and Rev. F. W. Holland, of East Cambridge,
called as Pastor.

Page 486, twentieth line, £60, not " $60."

Page 528. For "Crehore," read Cochran.

Page 534. Mr, Everett had other children.

Page 573. James Pierce was born Nov. 20, 1825.

Page 573. Edward L. Pierce is a graduate of Brown Uni-
Page 584, fourth line, the date should be 1787, not " 1777."

Page 656. The first epitaph should read —

Abel his offering accepted is
His body to the Grave his sovle to blis
On Octobers twentye and no more
In tie yeare sixteen hvndred 44.

Page 133, fifteenth line, for '' 1638," read 1635.

" " twentieth line, Abi

Online LibraryMass.) Dorchester Antiquarian and Historical Society (DorHistory of the town of Dorchester, Massachusetts → online text (page 1 of 46)