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John Roberts came in 1636 and brought his wife Elizabeth, his
aged mother and his children, Thomas, Edward, Eliza, Margery,
Jane, Alice, Lidia, Ruth and Debora. "He was one of the first
fruits of Wales." He died in 1650. "Old mother Roberts," the
Welchworaan, died in 1646, aged one hundred and three,

John Ruggles, or Ruggells, a shoe-maker, aged 44, and his
wife Barbara, aged 30, came in the Hopewell, in 1635, in the
month of April. "He joined the Church soon after his coming.
He was a lively Christian, known to many of the Church in Old
England, when they met socially together." He was made free-
man in 1637. He brought his son with him. In the list of pas-
sengers, there are named John Ruggles, aged 2, and John Rug-
gles, aged 10. One of them was probably the son of Thomas.
John lived beyond Stony River, on the Brookline road. His
wife died 11th mo., 1636. He died 6th, Sih mo„ 1664. He left
three sons, John, Thomas and Samuel. His estate was £343.

Thomas R^cggles, an elder brother of John, came in 1637, with
Mary, his wife. He was made freeman in 1639. "They were
both children of a godly father. He was as well known as his
brother." He brought over with him his children, Sarah and
Samuel. His first born child died in England, His second,
named John, was brought out as a servant to Philip Eliot. —
"Thomas had a great sicknesse the first year, but God recovered
him." He died in 1644, "a Godly brother,"

John Ruggles, " the son of Thomas," married Abigail Crafts
in 1650, January 24, died Sept, 15, 1658, He had sons John,
Thomas and SamueL

Samuel Ruggles, another son of Thomas, and brother of the
preceding, had two or three acres on I'ond hill. He married
Hannah Fowles in 1657, He was a representative of the town.
His wife Hanoah and two children died in 1669.

John Ruggles, had a son John ; his wife was Mary ; he was
brother in lavir to Edward Bridges. One John Ruggles was
freeman in 1632.

John Scarboro was freeman in 1640. An infant of his named
John, died in 1642, Hannah, born Dec. 3, 1643, He had also
17



130 HISTORY OF ROXBURY. [PaRT I.

Samuel, born Jan. Jan. 20, 1645. He was slain the 4th of the
9th month, 1646, "charging a great gunnee."

Robert Seaver, freeman in 1637, married Elizabeth Allard in
1634. He had children, Shubael, born Jan. 31, 1639 ; Caleb,
born 1641; Joshua, born 1641 ; and Nathaniel, baptized Jan. 8,
1645. His wife died in 1656. He died in 16S2. His home-
stead was on the River. '

Edmund Sheffield married Mary Woody in 1644. John was
born in 1644.

John Smith married Catharine Morrell in 1647.

Abraham Smith.

Francis Smith. Andrew, his son, died in 1639, He had a
house and three and an half acres towards Dorchester.

Robert Starkweather. Elizabeth was baptized in 1643 ; Lydia,
born June 23, 1644.

Martin Stebbins married Jane Green in 1639. His daughter
Hannah was born in 1640; Mary, born Feb. 1, 1642; Nathaniel,
born March 22, 1644.

Johii Stebbins married Ann Munke in 1644. "She was so vio-
lent of passion, that she offered violence to her husband, which
being of such infamy she was cast out of church."

John &7o?,«e brought his wife Elizabeth and six children, Thom-
as, Elizabeth, John, Nathaniel, Samuel, Thankful. He was
made freeman in 1634, and was a representative in 1639. His
wife died in 1638. His son Samuel graduated at Harvard in
1645. He died in 1643, " an old Kentish man."

John Stonehard, (or Stonnard) died in 1649. He was here in
1645, wlien he made a mortgage of his house and* lands, which
was discharged, in the margin of the record, in 1646.

Thomas Stowe married Mary Gragg in 1639. In 1648 he had
removed to Concord. He owned two houses and sold them to
John Pierpont for £110.

Hugh Thomas had a place on the road leading to Brookline.



Part I.] history of roxburt. 131

Thomas Thome. His children, Desire and Truth, were bap-
tized March 22, 1644.

Philip Tory married Mary Scarboro in 1647. Joseph was
born July 2, 1649.

John Totman. His son Jabesh was born Nov. 10, 1641. His
house was on the highway leading to the pond, beyond William
Curtis'.

William Toy married Grace Newell in 1644.

John TrxLmhle^ freeman in 1640, probably went to Rowley.

John Turner had a daughter Elizabeth in 1647. Goodwife
Turner died Sth 7ih mo. 1647.

William Vassaile was a gentleman of good circumstances in
England, and one of the assistants. He came out first in the
Lion, in 1630, but returned to England and came back —
and settled in Scituate, where he owned an estate known as
Belle Neck. He again returned to England, but came back in
1635, in the Blessing, to this country, and from thence he went
to Barbadoes, where he died. He brought with him in 1635, his
wife Anna, and Judith, Francis, John, Margaret and Mary. —
Though a member of the Church, he is said to have been op-
posed to the ways of our Churches, and "a busy and factious
spirit." Just before Vassaile went to England in 1646, Rev. Mr.
Cotton preached at the Thursday Lecture in Boston, and said if
any person should carry any writings or complaints against the
people of God, to England, it would be as Jonas in the ship, and
advised shipmasters, in case any storms should arise, to search
and see if they had not such in some trunk, or somewhere, and
if they found any to cast it overboard. A storm did arise, and
an old woman applied to Vassaile to see if he had any Jonas,
and he told her he had only a petition of people to Parliament
that they might enjoy their liberties as English subjects. She
insisted on finding the Jonas, and was at last shown a copy of a
petition presented to Court at Boston, and threw it overboard.
But it is said the storm did not abate as was reported. They
had storms after, and the genuine petition was not thrown over,
but a rnerc copy.



132 HISTORV or ROXBURY. [PaRT I.

Samuel Wakeman came in 1631. He was one of the first
foundation of the church. His only child died at sea on the voy-
age hither.

Thomas Waterman lost his wife Ann in 1641. He died in 1676.

Dorcas Walker died in 1640.

John Watson, married Alice Prentis, widow of Valentine
Prentiss, in 1634. They had children, John, born January,
1634 : Joshua, born Au^. 1637, died 1639 ; Dorcas, born 1639 ;
Caleb, born 1641 ; Mary, born May 2, 1643. Farmer supposes
he may have removed to Cambridge, but it was more probably his
son who went there. He died in Roxbury in 1693.

Mr. Thomas Welde, or Weld, the first pastor of the first church,
received the degree A. B. at Trinity College in Cambridge Uni-
versity in 1613, and A. M. in 1618. He arrived in this country
June 5ih, 1632, in the William and Frances. He had been a
minister at Sterling, Essex, England. He was chosen pastor of
the first church. After many importunings and days of humilia-
tion by those of Boston and Roxbury, to seek the Lord for Mr,
Weld's disposing, the advice of the Plymouth people being
taken, he resolved to set down at Roxbury, and entered on his
duties in July, 1632. He is sometimes named as colleague to
Mr. Eliot, and settled afterwards. But he was first settled. In
the list of ministers Master Weld is Pastor, Master Eliot, Teach-
er. The duties of Pastor were, " to exhort and to rule. The
teachers were to instruct in knowledge and also to rule." "Many
were esteemed excellent teachers whom they would not invest
with the pastoral care."

No account of the first pastor is given in the church records.
Mr. Weld, however, took a conspicuous part in the affairs of the
day. It is said that he was amongst the most active and bitter
in the cruel persecution of Anne Hutchinson. In 1637, she was
comtnitied to his custody. He was one of the most influential
men at that period, and was, of course, looked to for his position
and learning. No doubt his own honest opinions and principles
led him to lake an active part in tlie religious controversies. It
was a time when men made a boast of their own bigotry and in-
tolerance. But it is hard to conceive how men of his stamp



Part I.] history of roxbury. 133

should so soon have. forgotten why they came to this couniry, or
how they could ever have been guilty of offering violence to oth-
ers for difference of opinion, unless there be in human nature a
proneness to retaliation. But the censures that belong to the
time must not be visited unon the man, except m so far as he, be-
ing above others, ought the more to have been above their errors
and follies. The Massachusetts colony has on its early history
a stain, which, more than any other, all would erase. But there
does not appear to have been any thing else that should be
deemed a blot on the character of Mr. Weld.

The church prospered under the united labor of Mr. Weld and

'in 1G40-1, the colony thought advisable to have agents in En-
gland, and they chose three clergymen to go, Hugh Peters, Mr.
Weld, and Mr. Hibbins, of Boston. " The governor moved the
church for him, and, after some time of consideration, they freely
yielded." He went by way of Newfoundland, where he preached
to the seamen on the Island, and got a passage from that Island
to England in a fishing vessel.

In 1646 Weld was dismissed from his agency, but he did not
return to New England. He was afterwards settled as minister
at Gateshead. He went to Ireland with Lord Forbes, but return-
ed again to England. He is named amongst the ministers eject-
ed in 1662. The time of his death is uncertain.

Mr Weld published, in 1664, " a short story of the Rise, Reign
and Ruin of the Antinomians, Familists and Libertines, that in-
fected the churches of New England." He was the author of
some other tracts. He aided Eliot and Mather in the New En-
Hand version of the Psalms.

Whilst in Roxbury, Mr. Weld lived East of the Town street.
In Eliot's letters to England we find him soliciting aid to enable
him to purchase Weld's library, from which it may be inferred
that he was well supplied with literary tools.

Mr Weld's children were John, who was a minister in En-
Hand; Edmund, who graduated at Harvard in 1650 ; Thomas,
who married Dorothy Whiting in 1650, and was made freeman
in 1654, chosen clerk of the writs in 1666, and was, several
years, a representative, and a man of influence in town. Mr.
Weld may have had other children.



134 HISTORY OF ROXBTJRY. PaRT I.]

The children of his son Thomas, through whom the family

here traces its descent, were Samuel, who died in 1653; Thomas,

born 1653 ; Samuel, born 1655 ; John, born 1657, died 1686 ;

Edmund, born 1650; Daniel; Dorothy; Joseph; and Margaret.

.Thomas owned the Training Field.

Joseph Weld, was made freeman in 1636. He was brother to
the first minister. His son Edmund was born July 14lh, 1636.
His wife Elizabeth died in 1638. In 1639, he married Barbary
Clap. They had children, Sarah, baptized Dec. 21, 1640; Dan-
iel, born Sept. 18, 1642, and graduated at Harvard College, 1661,
studied divinity, and died at Salem; Joseph, baptized and died
in 1645 ; Marah, born 1645 : Thomas died Sept. 9, 1649. He
had other children.

Joseph Weld was captain, representative from 1636, for five
years. He was a rich man and kept store on the street. His
property was valued at £2028: 11 : 03. He died the Sth of 7lh
month, 1646. His widow married Anthony Stoddard of Boston.
Sarah married John Ffranck of Boston, and Marah married
Comfort Starr.

John Weld, was born in England, Oct. 28, 1623, and came to
New England in 1638. He was made freeman in 1650. He
was son of the preceding, and had a brother Edward. He mar-
ried Margaret Bowen in 1647. His son Joseph was born June
6, 1649, and died when only seventeen days old ; another child
of the same name was baptized Sept. 13, 1650. His house was
next to Robert Seaver's land, bounded on the brook and the high-
way to Bare Marsh. He died Sept. 20, 1691.

Daniel Weld was admitted freeman in 1641. He was admit-
ted to our Church in 1651, being recommended from the Church
at Braintree. His wife Alice died at Braintree in 1647. In

1654, he was chosen by the town "to record births and burialls,"
and in 1654, clerk of the writs. He had a son Benjamin in

1655. A daughter of his was born at Braintree in 1643. He
settled at first on the Street, where he had a lot of three quarters
of an acre on the East side of the Street, next to the Training
field, between Richard Woody's and Thomas Weld's, but he af-



Part I.] history of roxburv. 135

lerwards bought a place of John Rawson, near Stony River
Bridoe, where he died July 22, 1666, at the age of 81.

His will, which was executed but a few days before his death,
names his wife Ann, Joseph and Belhial, also Timothy Hyde, a
child of his wife.

Daniel Weld was Teacher of the School.

Laurence Whittamore came with his wife, in the Hopewell, in
April, 1635, freeman 1637. His wife died 13th of the 12lh
month, 1642. He died the ISih of 7th month, 1644, "an antient
Christian of 80 years of age." I find no other trace of him,
save in connection with the Free School, to which he gave all
his estate, which is now very valuable.

Robert Williams, who is said to have been of Welch origin,
came from Norwich, England, and was admitted freeman in
1638. His wife was named Elizabeth. They had a son Isaac,
born Sept. 1, 1638; and Stephen, born Nov. 28, 1640. Another
son, Samuel, who was afterwards deacon, was born before, in
England. Thomas was born afterwards. Robert, it is said, is
the "common ancestor of the divines, civilians and warriors of
this name who have honored the country of their birth." His
homestead of five acres was towards Dorchester. Some of his
estate remained in the hands of his descendants till 1826. Rob-
ert Williams was one of the most influential men in town affairs.

Hannah Wilson died 12ih of 9ih, 1645.

Thomas Willson came 4th month, 1633, and brought children,
Humphrey, Samuel, Joshua. Debora was born 1644, and Lidea
in 1636. "He was a familist afterwards, but repented." He re-
moved from Roxbury.

Nathaiiiel Wilso7i married Hannah Crafts in 1644. They had
twins, Hannah and Mary, in 1647.

Edv;ard White had son Zattariah, born 1642 ; Samuel, born
Feb. 27ih, 1644.

Richard Woody, freeman 1642, married Frances Dexter in
1646. His son Thomas died in 1650. His house was next the



136 HISTORY OF ROXBURY. [PaRT I.

training place, between Mr. Eliot'ss and Daniel Weld's. He died
in 1658.

John Woody died in 1650.

Nicholas Woody had twins, Mary and Sarah, born Dec. 26ih,
1642.

Thomas Woodford, man servant, came in 1632, married Mary
Blatt, maid servant, who came out the same year. They re-
moved to Hartford, Conn.

Nearly all the original emigrants to this country, had gone by
the year 1700.

In 1646, "died Egbor, an Indian who had lived ten years with
the English, and could read."

The same year, died "iVaw, Mr. Weld's captive Indian, he
ivas hopeful."



CHAPTER X.

General View of the Town.

Having thus noticed the first generation of the in-
habitants of the town, let us see what was the gen-
eral appearance of the town in those earlj days.
Though there is no account of the first year or two, it
is easy to imagine what it must have been during that
time. The first settlement was upon the bay which
lies to the south of Boston neck, and which was long
known as Roxbury Bay.

No record is preserved of the first laying out of the
town. There probably was no allotment of lands to
the very first comers. After that, the lands were sur-
veyed and set out regularly.

In 1633, three years after the first arrival, we have
this description of the town ;

" A mile from this town, (Dorchester) lieth Roxberry. which is
"a fair and handsome counlry-lown, the inhabitants of it being
"all very rich. This town lieth upon the main, so that it is well
'•wooded and watered, having a clear and fresh brook running
" through the town, up which, although there come no alewives,
•' yet there is great store of smelts and therefore it is called
" Smelt Brook. A quarter of a mile to the north side of the
" town is another river, called Stony Kiver; upon which is built a
" water mill. Here is good ground for corn and meadow for cat-
" tie. Up westward from the town it is something rocky;
"whence it hath the name of Roxberry. The inhabitants have

18



^S8 HISTORY OF ROXBURY. [PaRT L

"fair houses, store of cattle, impaled corn-fields, and fruitful gar-
" dens. Here is no harbor for ships, because the town is seated
"in the bottom of a shallow bay, which is made by the neck of
"land on which Boston is built; so that they can transport all
"their goods from the ships in boats from Boston, which is the
" nearest harbor."

The first buildings were probably upon what was
then called and is still known as the Towne Streete,
or Roxburj Street. It was near a good stream of
water. The neck, with a bay on each side, was a
lavorable position lor defence.

The dwellings gradually extended to tlie point;
across the brook, and towards Dorchester, and up in
the direction of Warren and Walnut streets; and
round, l)y the old road over the hill by the first church,
to the mill on Stony river, and on to Muddy river;
and further up into the centre of the town, towards
Dedham, and into the country between Dorchester
and Dedham roads. The other streets, then most
frequented, such as the road to Gamblin's End, Que-
necticot lane, that to the mill at the great pond, have
now become quite retired. Some, like that from the
Plain towards Brookline, West of the great hill,
have long been closed.

In those days the highways were let for pasturage,
by the year. For many years, a point on the street
was known as "Boston Gates." The way "leading
to the landing place," was fenced across to keep in
the cattle. A pair of bars stood at the entrance of
the way to the " Calves Pasture," which is now a
great highway towards Dorchester, and also the road
leading to Bare marsh, and Rocky swamp. Indeed,
1 believe that was the case with all the roads in town.



Part l."] history of roxbury. 139

The town used to fix tlie rent by vote at the annual
town meeting, and the constables collected it.

In 1635, a law was passed that no person should
live bejond half a mile from the meeting house.

The following petition, which was made before
1643, indicates that most were within that distance,
which was proper for defence.

The humble petition of some of ye inhabitants of Roxbury, to
this honored Court.
Whereas, it has pleased this honord court to make a whole-
some law for this coiiiury, that none should build above half a
mile from ye meelinq house, and we partly out of ye necessity
of the situation of our town, wh is so narrow, and inlarged but
one way. and partly out of ignorance of ye law, have builded
somewhat farder than is by this law allowd, among such neigh-
bors as were to be built before this law was maide, we doe hum-
bly petition ye favor of this honord court that sd action might not
be offensive, but yt wee might have allowans to continue the sd
habitations, wh we cannot possibly alter without removing from
ye town, there being noe place neare ye meeting howse to re-
ceive us. And thus entreating your favor, we leave you to the
guiJans of the blessed God, and rest Your humble petitioners,
Ralph Jasper Gun,

Gary Robert Seaver,

Abraham How,
John Tatman.
Considering ye necessity of the request of these brethren, we
who have the <li>poseing of the towne aflfairs doe joyne wh them
to make this humble request to this honord court.

Thomas Lambe,
Joseph Weld,
John Johnson,
William Perkins,
John Stow.

No order appears on this petition. It is not known
when the law was repealed, or that it ever was. It



140 HISTORY OF ROXBURT. [pART I.

is certain that, within a very few years, there were
many who lived more than the prescribed distance
from the church.

From the beginning, the chief roads in the town
seem to have been regidarly laid out, though very
many of the highways in the town were ways of ne-
cessity, and formed as convenience required.

In 1G52, the five men with a committee of three
more were appointed for setting and staking out high-
ways, with full powers to settle all matters concern-
ing them.

In 1656, " the same day for stakeing out of all the
" hiewayes, in tovvne, there was a committee chosen
" and fully impowered by the same, to sc'ttle matters,
♦' concerning all hiewayes, according to the towns act
'''•when the land was laid oiit.^^

1658. Griffin Crafts had " leave to set up a gate
on Muddy River lane to keepe off the presse of cattle."

From 1650 to 1662, several cases show that not
only the breadth and direction, but even the very ex-
istence of some of the highways had become ques-
tionable.

By a town law, each man was entitled to a high-
way to his own house.

In 1661, the town let the "feede of the lane to
the landing place to Robert Pierrepoynt, for fewer
shillings per annum, provided none of the inhabitants
are to be prohibired to lett their cattle feede as they
goe to and fro for clay, or ujion other just occasions,
they feeding only in the lane, and whilst they are
there necessarily employed, and in the cart, and not
otherwise."



Part I.] msTonr of RoxBURr. lU

The town passed various acts to liave the hi«h
ways examined, but without efifect till in 1663, it ap-
pointed five men, and "ibr their encouragement"
gave them four shillings a man for this service, and
laid them under a penalty of two pounds ten shillings
if they did not finish the work by the first of January
next. Accordingly a survey was had, and report at
length was made that year, which is the one that is
to be examined concerning the highways in existence
at that time.

Amongst the roads four rods wide, were that to
Muddy River, (Washington street ;) Quenecticote
Lane, (Perkins street ;) the road from Heath's Lane
towards Dedliam, (Centre street ;) the road from
John Stebbin's orchard, by Edward Bugby's, to the
end of the great lots next Gamblin's End, and so to
Rocky Swamp; the way to the great lots and fresh
meadow, (Walnut street ;) the way to Brantry,
(Warren street ;) from Hugburne's Corner to Boston,
and that from Eliot's Corner to Dorchester Brook,
(Dudley street and Eustis street.)

Those that were two rods, were that from Pier-
pont's to the landing place, (Parker street. East of
Brookline road ;) that from Mrs. Remington's, back
of Ruggies and Eliot, to Dedham Highway, (Parker
street,) over the Hill ; that by Peleg Heath's into
Dedham highway, by Jacob NewelFs ; that from El-
der Heath's by Stony River, to Gamblin's End,
(School street ;) that from Gamblin's End to the
Pond lots, (Boylston street ;) from John Leavin's
heirs to Dead Swamp ; from the way that leads from
the Boston road by the burying place to the road



142 HISTORY OF ROXBURY. [PaRT I.

from Roxbury to Dorchester, (Eustis street ;) from
the Training Place, next Dorchester road, down to
the Salt Panns, and that landing place, (Davis st. ;)
from Giles Payson's to Robert William's and into
Brantry Way ; from Mr. Adam's to the mills ; and
the way to Baker's Mill ; and the way to Gravelly
Point, (Rnggles street.)

It is needless to speak of the religious character of
the people. As for the education of the town, we
have already seen that ample provision was made for
it. Most of the people were of good, and some of
them of eminent families and of considerable cultiva-
tion. Roxbury sent many to Harvard College. —
Though the space of time does not seem very long
that has elapsed, one is surprised, in the old lists, to
find how few books they had. And yet, education
may have been as well attained, for comparison of our
times with those of the ancients, might almost lead
to the conclusion that sound learning decreased with
the multiplicity of books. Thus Thomas Dudley,
who was a vast reader, (heluo librorum) had in his
study less than fifty volumes. Amongst them were
Livius, Camdeni Annales, Abstract of the Penal
Statutes, Peirce Plowman, Apology of the Prince of
Orange, Cotton's bloody tenets washed. Cotton's
holynesse of Church members and Commentary on
the Commandments, &lc.

Daniel Weld, a "schollar," had in Bibles and other
Divinity Books, £4.

It has already been remarked that the people were
wealthy, and some account has been given of various
estates. It must be borne in mind, however, that



Part I.] HiSTonr or roxburv. 1 i^

estimates are not to be made by the standard of the
present day. As late as '0678, in New York, uliich
then had less than three hundred and hfiy liouses, a
mercliant worth £1000 or £500, was deemed a good
substantial merchant, and a planter worth half that
sum, was accounted rich." Judged by the mark of


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