Charles M. (Charles Mayo) Ellis.

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as well as an interesting cnriosity, it is given at
length.

"Whereas, the ink^itants of Roxburic, out of their religious
care of posteritie, have taken into consideration how ncccssarie
the education of theire children in literature will be to fitt them
for publicke service bothe in Church and Commonwealthe in suc-
ceeding ages, They, therefore, unanimously have consented and
agreed to erect a free schoole in the said Town of Roxburie
and to allow twenty pounds per annum to the Schoole master to
be raised out of the messuages and part of the lands of the sev-
eral donors (Inhabitants of the said Town) in several proportions
as hereafter followeth under theire hands. And for the well or-
dering thereof they have chosen and elected seven Feoffees who
shall have power to put in or remove the schoolemaster, to see to
the well ordering of the schoole and scholars to receive and pay
the said Twenty pounds per annum to the schoolemaster and to
dispose of any other gifte or giftes which hereafter may or shall
be given for the advancement of learning & education of child-
ren. And if it happen that any one or more of the said fTeoffees
to dye, or by removal out of the Towne, or excommunication to
bee displayced, the said Donors hereafter expressed doe hereby
covenant for themselves and for their heirs within the space of one
month after such death or reraovall of any one or more of the
ffeoffees to elect and choose other in their roome so that the num-
ber may be compleate. And if the said Donors or the greater
parte of them doe neglect to make election within the time fore-
limited, then shall the surviving ffeofTees or the greater part of
them, elect new ffeofTees in the roome or roomes of such as are
dead or removed (as before) to fullfiU the number of seven, and
then their election shall bee of equal validity and force, as if it
had been made by all or the greater number of the said Donors.
In consideration of the premises and that due provision may
not bee wanting for the maintenance of the Schoolemaster for
ever, the Donors hereafter expressed, for the scverall proportions
by them voluntarily undertaken & under written, Have given



36 HISTORY OF ROXBURY. [PaRT 1.

and granted, k. by these presents doe for themselves, their heires
and Assignees, icspeciively hereby give and grant unto the pres-
ent ffeofTees viz: Joseph Weld, John Johnson, John Roberts,
Joshua Hews, Isaac Morrell, Thomas Lambe & their successors
chosen as is aforesaid, the severall rents or summes hereafter ex-
pressed under their handes issuing & goeing for the of their sev-
erall Messuages lands & tenements in Roxl|^ie, yearely payable
al or upon the last of September, by even portions : the first
payment to begin the last of September in this present yeare.
And the said Donors for themselves, their heires and Assignees
do covenant and grant to and with the fTeofTees and their succes-
sors that if the said annuall rente or any parte thereoff be arricre
and unpayed for the space of twenty days next after '.he days ap-
poynted for payment, that then and from thenceforth it shall be
lawful for and to the said fTeofTees and their successors unto the
said messuages. Lands and premises of the parlie or parties
making default to enter and distraine and the said disiresse then
and there found to leade, drive and carry away, and the same to
prize and sell for the payment of the said rents returning the
overplus unto the owners and proprietors of the said houses and
Lands. And further the said Donors doe for themselves, theire
heires and Assignees covenant and grant to and with the fTeofTees
aforesaid and their successors that if no sufficient distresse or
distressed can be had or taken in the premises according to the
true intent and meaneing of this present deed, or if it shall hap-
pen that any to bee made or replevie or replevins to be sued

or obtained of or by reason of any distresse or distressed to bee
taken by virtue of the presents as is aforesaid, that then and from
thenceforth it shall & may bee lawfuU for the said fTeofTees and
their successors into the said Messuages, Lands & premises to
enter and the same and every part thereof to have use and enjoy
to the use of the Schoole and the rentes issues and proffits there-
of to receive and take, and the same to take and deteine and
keepe to the use and behoofe of the schoole as is aforesaid, with-
out any account makeing thereof unto the said Donors, their
heirs or assignees and to use and to occupie the said houses,
lands and premises to the use aforesaid untill such time as the
said annuall rents or summes and every parte or parcell thereoff
with all arrearages and damages for non payment bee fully satis-



Part J.]



HISTORY OF ROXBURY.



37



fied and paid unto the said ficoffees their successors or assignees
by the said Donors, their heires or assignees or any of them :
of which said rentes or summes the said Donors every and sin-
gular of them have putt the said fTeofTees in full possession and
seizin at the delivery hereof. And for the further ratification
hereof, the said Donors become suitors to the honored General
Court for the establishment hereof by their authority and power.
Always provided that none of the Inhabitants of the said Tovvne
of Roxburie that shall not joyne in this act with the rest of the
Donors shall have any further benefit thereby than other stran-
gers shall have who are no Inhabitantes. And lastly it is enact-
ed by the said Donors that the fTeofTees and their successors shall
from time to time be accountable unto the Court of Assistants and
the Donors for the trust committed to them when at any tintie they
shall be called thereunto and required. In witness whereof the
said Donors aforesaid have hereunto subscribed their names and
summes given yearly, the last day of August in the year of Our
Lord 1645.



Mr. Thomas Dudley, for the house he dwells in
Captain Gookins, for the house he dwells in

[This was the great friend of Eliot, the one who aided
dian work. He came from Virginia in 1644, and went to
164S.]



Mr. Thomas Welde
Mr. John Eliot
Captaine Joseph Weld
Mr. Hugh Prichard

Mr. Joshua Hevves

Mr, John Gore
John Johnson
Thomas Bell
Wm. Park
Isaac Morill
Isaac Heath
Thomas Lamb
William Denison
Phillip Elliott



for his dwelling house
for his dwelling house
for his house
for his house

!for his lot at the pond
by Capt. Weld bein
IS acres in all
for his dwelling house



01 04 00

01 00 00

hira in the In-

Cambridge in

1 04 00

1 04 00

1 04 00

1 04 00

00 16 00

00 16 00

00 13 00

1 00 00

00 13 00

00 12 00

00 11 00

00 10 00

00 OS 00

00 OS 00



38



HISTORV OF ROXBURY.



John Roberts
George Holmes
Wm. Cheney
John Watson
Samuel Ffinch
John Watson
Daniel, Brewer
Isaac Johnson
James Astwood
John Bowles
Griffin Crafts
John Ruggles
Robert Williams
John Scarboro
Giles Pason
Richard Pepper
Humphrey Johnson
Richard Woody, senr.
Richard Woody, scd.
John Woody
Abraham Newell
John Stonnard
Edward Pason
Robert Seaver
Robert Gamlin
Thomas Gardner
John Leavinz
Edward Porter
Christopher Peake
Richard Peacock
Ffrancis Smith
Thomas Ruggles, widow
John Mays
Ralph Hemingway
Edward Bridge
Abraham Howe
Edwin Anderson
Arthur Garey



for his dwelling house



for his lot at yc pond
for his house



[Part I.

00 08 00

00 OS 00

00 OS 00

00 OS 00

00 06 00

00 04 00

00 05 00

00 04 00

00 04 00

00 04 00

00 04 00

00 04 00

00 04 00

00 04 00

00 04 00

00 04 00

00 04 00

00 03 04

00 03 04

00 03 04

00 03 04

00 03 04

00 03 04

00 02 06

00 03 04

00 03 04

00 03 04

00 02 06

00 02 06

00 02 00

00 02 00

00 02 00

00 02 00

00 02 00

00 02 00

00 02 00

00 02 00

00 02 00



I»ART I.]


HISTORY OF


UOXBURY.






39


Edward Btigby


tor his li


ouse


00


02


00


Edward White


ti


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00


02


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Robert Pepper


it


<i


00


02


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William Lewis


i(


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00


02


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Martin Siebbin


K


(1


00


02


00


John Siebbin


II


((


00


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Jeremiah Cesworih '"


u


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Robert Prentice


(1


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Lewis Jones


((


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04


00



It is agreed by all such of the inhabitants of Roxbury as have
or shall subscribe their names to this booke for themselves sever-
ally and their severall 8c respective heires and executors that not
only their houses, but also their yardes, orchards, gardenings,
outhouses and homesteads shall be and are hereby bounde and be
made lyabie to and for the severall yearly somes and rente before
or hereafter in this booke mentioned to be paid by every of them,
dated the xxviii th day December 1646.

Tho. Dudley William Cheney

Tho. Weld Richard Pepper

John Eliot Edwin Anderson

Isaac Heath Giles Payson

Hugh Prichard Humphrey Johnson

John Johnson Edward Porter

William Parke Isaac Johnson

John Roberts Thomas Gardner

The following notes occur in the agreement, viz :
Under Capt. Gookin's name,

"When Cajit. Gookins leases the house he dwells in then the follow

ing inhabitants obs who shall possess the lot adjoining

thereto are to pay two shillings yearly and the possessors of the neck,
late Samuel Hugburnes are to pay the other ten shillings yearly."
Opposite Thos. Welde's name,

"Although the name of Mr. Thos. Welde our reverend pastor be not
sett down, only Mr, Eliot hath subscribed to both Mr. Weld's gift and
liis own, the reason is because Mr. Weld being in England gave orders
and power to Mr. Eliot so to do and his son who doth inherit his lands in
Roxbury doth say that he is fully satisfied in it because Mr. Eliot did
show him his fither's letters wherein he gave him power so to do, to
these expressions of Mr. Tho. Weld the son of our reverend pastor, we
testified by our hands. William Parks,

John Bowls."
Under Thos. Bell's name,

"Mr. Bell at request of Mr. Eliot hath (obs.) gived power to (obs.) &
we (obs.) Eliot to make the sum of his donation upon his farm the sum
of twenty shillings (witness) his letter dated Ji2 of the third month IGGi)
this is 20 shill. pr. annum. We, the feofters saw this letter A: by our
names wo certify the same that he givcth 20 pr. annum."



40 HISTORY OF ROXBURY. [PaRT T.

Such was the origin of wliat is now the Roxbury
High School.

The school rents created by these agreements were
collected the next year. And for about a hundred
years afterwards rent was collected by virtue of these
agreements, though the amount was afterwards re-
duced one half by general consent. The first charter
did not free the signers of the original instrument
from their obligations under them. No trace has yet
been found of any act or agreement by which the va-
rious estates in town are exempted from payment of
School rent. The author of a sketch of the history
of this school published in 1826, who was a teacher
of the school, says, " how or in what manner the
lands originally subjected to this tribute, became ex-
empted from the payment of the tax or whether they
are in fact legally exempted will remain matter of
uncertainty until further papers shall be found, as the
want of boundaries and descriptions prevent all
knowledge of the estates subjected to the payment."
In a very full manuscript account of the school, writ-
ten by a very accurate man and one who was learned
in the ancient history of the Town and School, no
allusion is made to the release of the estates from this
rent. In 1722 a suit was commenced against Sam-
uel Stevens for the recovery of five years back rent,
by the feoffees. It has been supposed that this was
tried to test the question whether the estates were
holden for these rents. But, on examination of the
record, (the suit being brought before Habijah Sav-
age, of Boston) it appears that no question was made
as to Stevens' liability. The only dispute was wheth-



Part I.] history of roxriiry. 41

er another party who had boiii;ht half of the estate of
one of the original donors was not obliged to pay part
of the rent as well as Stevens the other half, which
he owned ; and finally, on settlement, the parties in-
terested in the other part of the estate gave 31. to
Stevens and he assumed payment of the whole of the
original donation. The rents were collected for
some time after this. But the accounts show that
they gradually fell off.

In 1752, on the petition of some " it was proposed
(in town meeting,) whether they might apply to the
general court to take off the donations from the es-
tates doned for the benefit of the school land, and no
great matter being said upon that affair it was vo-
ted not to act upon it." There can be little doubt
that as sufficient funds came in gradually from other
sources for the support of the school, the ancient rent
was not exacted. As estates changed hands and
were divided it became more difficult to collect it. It
was probably, quietly abandoned by common consent.
It is said, however, to have been the opinion of Dr.
Porter that the rents were commuted for some speci-
fied amount paid in full. But if so this must have
been so recent that there would be some trace of it.

The rents were sometimes gathered by a collector
who went round for the purpose. Sometimes the
whole or part of them w^re given to the schoolmaster
to collect for himself or take out in board. In one
instance in 1679 there being " complaynte that many
of the donations are remaining unpaid," the feoffees
are directed "to employ one as Bayle (Bailiff) to give
notice from house to house of the severall Donors of



42 HISTORY OF ROXBURY. [PaRT I,

the time and place of payment, and, in case of failure
to make payment, to make distress according to the
original agreement." No part of the agreement was
a dead letter, and, though some were for a while dis-
satisfied under it, it was the source of support for the
school for many years.

The Town seems determined, from the first, to fix
this school on a permanent basis. In 1662 a meet-
ing of the donors was called, and "all the inhabitants
and neighbors of the town willing to join in promo-
ting the good and benefit of the schoole" were invited
to be present. Warning was given to all the Donors,
from house to house, and they met and chose new
feoffees. In 1666 a meeting was called, and " after
some discourse it was thought convenient and a mat-
ter most tending to peace and love to propound the
case to the whole town, that opportunity might be to
as many as thought good of the town to come in and
joyn in this work and to help bear the charge so as to
have the privilege of the school — or else that they
would present a better way and we would join them."
The meeting then adjourned, and, at the adjournment,
*' after much discourse spending the day, the meeting
was orderly dissolved and nothing was done."

A petition dated 20tli of 3d month 1669, signed by
John Eliott and Thomas Weld, was presented to the
general court, reciting that —

" Whereas the first inhabitants of Roxbury to the number of
more than sixty families, well nigh the whole town in those days,
have agreed together to lay the foundation of a Grammar school,
and for the maintainance thereof have by a voluntary donatioa
'given a small rent forever out of their several habitations and



Part I.] history of roxbury. 43

homesteads as appears in the records of our school book and
have settled a company of feoffees— to gather and improve
the said rents."

"2d, whereas by divine providence our first book and charter
was burned in the burning of John Johnson's house, it was
again renewed in this form and manner as we do now pres-
ent it, yet by reason of the death of sundry of the donors and
the alienations of tenements we are under this defect that some
of the hands of the donors are not unto this 2d book personally
which were to the first : nor are they attainable being dead ;

therefore our humble request is that the Honored Court im-

power the Feoffees to receive and gather the same, as if the
names of the donors were written with their own hands.

3d, They also pray that, whereas there is a parcel many

years since given to our school and it is by annexing a sched-
ule to the will of the deceased donor touching a clause in his

will which was not put in when the will was proved the

schedule and the school's title to the lands may be ratified and
confirmed."

This petition was referred. The committe'e reported that "in
the year 1645 there was an agreement of the then inhabitants of
Roxbury for the laying of a foundation for a school {ohsc7ire) that
the school {obscure) hath been carried an end {obs.) on that foun-
dation and that there hath not been any other foundation {obs.)

been made We find also that several of the inhabitants do

strongly oppose the way proposed and that hath been in practice,
yet do not find, that they proposed any other effectual way : but
some of them desirous, that this may be altered {obs.) yet they
declared, that they feared that, if the way that hath been {obs.)
be wholly waved they should have no school at all {obs.) and for-
asmuch by the endeavours we have used to persuade them to a
mutual agreement we find not any desirable effect, nor that the
temper of those opposing the former foundation is encouraging
{obs.) we conceive that the petitioners desires be granted {obs.)
that the present feoffees and their successors {obs.) be confirmed
and empowered to collect former subscriptions and so to take
others {obs.) and that those whose names are not in this book
(two witnesses upon oath appearing to prove they did assent to



M HISTORY OF ROXBURY. [pART 1.

the way of the book) be obliged and their heirs and assigns as if
their names had been thereto : we also conceive that the land of
Lawrence Whitteniore be confirmed to the best use of the Town
in being settled upon the free school."

And the following act was passed at a general
court holdcn 11:3: 1670.

"Whereas certain of the Inhabitants of Roxbury, out of a Re-
ligious care of their Posterity, and their good education in Liter-
ature, did heretofore sequester and set apart, certain sums of
money amounting to twenty pounds to be paid annually unto cer-
tain feoffees and their successors, by the said Donors or Feoffees
orderly chosen for the sole and only behoof of benefit and set-
tlement of a Free School in the sd. Town of Roxbury : Obliging
themselves, heirs. Executors and Assignees : together with their
Houses and Homesteads, for the true and full performance of
their respective Obligations — all which doth fully appear by
their agreement bearing date the last of August one thousand
six hundred forty-five ; in which agreement the original donors
were wisely Suitors to the General Court for the establishment
of the premises According to which a petition was offered in the
name of the present Feoffees to the General Court holden at
Boston, May 19, 1669. In answer of which the Court irapow-
ered a committee to take cognizance of, and return the Case to
the Court, which accordingly was done as appeared by their re-
turn dated May 19, 1670. After serious consideration whereof,
the Court doth hereby order and enact, that the said agreement
made and signed by the Donors of the said Sum of Money the
last of August 1645 Be, by our Authority, ratified and estab-
lished to all Intents, Ends and Purposes therein specified, both
with respect to the orderly choice and power of the Feoffees, as
also for the Time and manner of payment of the said sums of
money distinctly to be yielded and payed by the Donors of the
same, according to their respective subscriptions, and in case of
refusal of payment of any part of the said sums of money to
which subscription is made or consent legally proved, that the
orderly distress of the Feoffees upon the respective estates
obliged shall be valid for the payment of any such sums of



Part 1.] history of roxburv. 45

money so refused to be payed : As also this Court by their au-
thority doth settle and determine the lands of Lawrence Whitta-
more with all the rents and arrearages that have or may arise '
from thence from time to time, to be received and improved by
the said Feoffees to the use, behoof, and benefit of the Free
School in Roxbury, which said FeofTees are hereby empowered
for the ordering of all things for the settlement, and reparation
of the School house, choice of masters and orders of the School.
To improve all donations either past or future, for the behoof,
and benefit of the said School, without any personal or private
respects, as also the ordering of twenty acres of arable land, ly-
ing in the great lotts, which hath been in occupation of the said
School about twenty years, as also that if for the necessity and
convenient future being of a School master there be necessary the
future levying of any further sums of money, that the said
Donors be absolutely and wholly free from any such levy or im-
position those only being accounted Donors who are possessors of
or responsible for the said sums of money according to subscrip-
tion, and the said Feoffees to be always responsible to the Court
of Assistants and Donors for the faithful discharge of their trust,
provided there be constant provision of an able Grammar-schoole
master, and the school-house is settled where it was first intend-
ed. And may be accommodable to those whose homesteads were
engaged towards the maintenance thereof, and in case there be
need of further contribution that the levy be equally made on all
the inhabitants excepting only those that do by virtue of their
subscription pay their full proportion of the annual charges."

The Free School continued under this act until the
act of January 21, 1789 was passed, incorporating the
Trustees of the Grammar School in the easterly part
of Roxbury. Prior to 1789 there were two bodies
the Feoffees under the old charter, who had the gen-
eral charge of the school and its property, and the
Trustees who were appointed to the care of the prop-
erty given by Thomas Bell.



46 HISTORY OF ROXBURY. [PaRT I.

This school has been very richly endowed. Most
of the gifts were made at an early day and must be
here noticed.

The " School land" is named in various places from
about the period when the school was founded, but to
what it refers cannot be determined.

The first donation, of Samuel Hugburne, has been
already noticed.

Lawrence Whittamore, the " ancient christian,"
whe died in 1644, left his property to the free school.
The ancient charter confirmed the title of the school
to it ; it indicates also the question there was about
it. Of the real estate given by him there was one
lot on Stony River of about four acres, and another of
about ten acres then described as " on the hill in the
pond lots," and now known as the " pond hill lot."

About 1660, John Stowe gave three acres in the
great lotts **to clear his house."

Isaac Heath, by his will, 1660, 19th of 11th, names
his " part in ye 4000 acres" which he gives, " to ye
schoole in Roxburie." His proportion was a large
one as he had, according to the account rendered in to
the court, in 1643, 256 acres of land.

Thomas Bell gave all his property here, which was
large, to the school. His will was dated January 29,
1671, and proved at London May 30th, 1672. A
copy has lately been procured from the office in En-
gland. An extract is recorded in the ancient book
belonging to the first parish, which is as follows :

"Imprimis, I give unto Mr. John Eliot, minister of the Church
" of Christ and People of God at Roxbury in New England and
" Isaac Johnson whom I take to be an officer or overseer of or in



Part I.] history of roxbdry. 47

" said Church and to one other like Godly person now bearing
" office in said church and their successors the minister and other
" two such head officers of the said Church at Roxbury as the
" whole church there from time to time shall best approve of suc-
" cessively from time to time forever all those my messuages or
" tenements, lands and hereditaments with their and every of
•' their appurtenances situate, lying, and being at Roxbury in
" New England aforesaid in parts beyond the seas to have and
" to hold to the said officers of the said Church of Roxbury for
" the time being and their successors from time to time forever,
" in trust only notwithstanding, to and for the maintainance of a
" schoole master and free school for the teaching and instructing
" of Poor MeJi's children at Roxbury aforesaid forever and to be


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Online LibraryCharles M. (Charles Mayo) EllisThe history of Roxbury town (Volume 1) → online text (page 3 of 11)