D. Hamilton (Duane Hamilton) Hurd.

History of Plymouth County, Massachusetts : with biographical sketches of many of its pioneers and prominent men (Volume 2) online

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tilled " The Charters and General Laws of the Col-
ony and Province of Massachusetts Bay," published
by order of the General Court in 1844. On the
14th of May, 1692, Sir William Phipps arrived in

Boston bearing the new charter, and also a commis-
sion appointing him Governor of the province. On
the first Tuesday in July the General Court of New
Plymouth held its last meeting, and the final exercise
of its power was in the appointment of the last
Wednesday of August as a day of fasting, humilia-
tion, and prayer.

Thus ended the colony of New Plymouth as a dis-
tinct organization. Its life had been short, but suffi-
ciently long to accomplish its destiny. Its mission
had been to open the way for a successful colonization
of the New World, and its mission had been faithfully
performed. Though overrun in its later years by the
tide of emigration from the colony of Massachusetts,
it had never failed, by the sweet and gentle Pilgrim
spirit which had always liugered about it, to exert an
influence in mellowing and softening the asperities
of its more rigid neighbors. The two colonics had
existed like two sheets of water of different sizes and
levels and degrees of purity, which had gradually be-
come one as a connection was opened between them.
As their waters miugled the Plymouth Colony lost
some of its original sweetness and purity, but wheu a
common level was reached the colony of Massachu-
setts was made sweeter and purer than before. Like
the leaven which loses itself iu leavening the lump,
the Plymouth Colony, by its gradual extinction, had
permeated Massachusetts with something of its ten-
derness, and finally completed by its death what it
bad sought to accomplish in its life. The union was,
perhaps, however, rather a marriage than a death, a
marriage which extinguishes the name of the bride
and carries her from her home to the home of the
groom, where, among the cares aud responsibilities
and annoyances and sorrows of her new life, while
losing some of the graces of youth, she purifies and
elevates and ennobles his household.

Up to this time, it will be remembered, only a par-
tial division of lands in the town of Plymouth had
been made. The first allotment in 1G23 gave each
man, woman, and child one acre. The division iu
1627 gave to each freeholder twenty acres, aud after
that time various individual grants were made in dif-
ferent parts of the town. In 1640, Jones' River
meadow, lying in what are now Plymptou and Kings-
ton, was granted to eight men ; the South Mead-
ows, in what is now Carver, to eighteen men ; and
Doten's meadow, also in Carver, to five meu. In
February, 1701/2, it was voted that every proprietor
or freeman should be granted a lot of thirty acres,
and in the following March it was voted that all the
lands remaining uugranted lying within a tract a mile
and a half square, including the central village, should



be held by the town in its municipal capacity, to be
sold from time to time for its benefit as a town, while
all the unallotted lands within the limits of the town,
outside of this tract, should be grauted to the free-
men of the town, then numbering two hundred aud
one. These freemen, calling themselves proprietors,
organized as a distinct body, with their own clerk and
records, and continued in existence until all their lands
were divided among themselves. Plympton being
then a part of Plymouth, and some of the proprie-
tors living in that town, the proprietors were called,
after that town was set off aud incorporated, " Plym-
outh and Plympton Proprietors."

The boundary line of the " mile and a half tract"
above referred to began at the mouth of Eel Creek,
so called, in the north part of the town, and extended
southwesterly nearly in the line of Cold Spring Brook,
across the farm of John Clark, to a heap of stones
which may be easily fouud forty rods east of Triangle
Pond. From this point it extended southeasterly
across the foot of Sparrow's Hill, over Little Pond
and the mouth of Billington Sea, to Lout Pond, aud
across the pond to an old white-oak tree marked on
four sides, in what is known as Rider's orchard.
From tins corner it rau northeasterly to the harbor,
crossing the highway near the house of the late Sam-
uel Cole. Within this tract the town has from time to
time sold lots, the only ones remaining at this date un-
granted, so far as the writer knows, being ninety-four
acres of woodland on both sides of the Kingston line,
near New Guinea, a part of Court Square, Burial
Hill, the lot on which the Unitarian Church stands,
Training Green, a triangle of land in the rear of the
Bramhall store on Water Street, a small strip extend-
ing from the highway to the mill-pond at the junc-
tion of Sandwich aud Water Streets, Town Dock, or
Town Landing-Place, and two small lots on South
Street aud the South Poud road. This list of course
does uot iuclude such streets and open squares as
were laid out over ungranted lands in the possession
of the towu.

The proprietors, as accurately as can be ascertained
at the time of the grant in 1701/2, were the follow-
ing, two hundred and one in number :

Julia Andros.
J. uned Barnaby.
Jouuthun Barnes.
S:iuiucl Bradford, Jr.
George Bonuui.
John Barnes.

I'.tMIJUUHU lilLTtlett.

Williaiu Barnes.
William Bradford.
William Bradford, Jr.

Elisha Bradford.
Joseph Bradford.
Joseph Bartlett.
George Barrow.
Robert Barrow.
Hubert Bartlett.
Stephen Uarnaby.
John Barrow.
Ephraim Bradford.
Samuel Bradford, Sr.

John Bryant.
John Bryant, Jr.
John Bryant.
Elnathan Bartlett.
Israel Bradford.
John Bradford.
Samuel Bryant.
Joseph Bartlett.
Jaeob Cooke.
William Cuoke.
Nathaniel Clark.
Francis Cooke.
Robert Cuehuian.
James Clark, Sr.
James Clark, Jr.
Thomas Clark.
John Clark.
Thomas Clark, Jr.
Ebenezer Cobb.
John Cole.
Elkanah Cushman.
John Carver.
Richard Cooper.
Isaac Cushman.
Isaac Cushmau, Jr.
Josiah Cotton.
Theophilus Cotton.
Eleaser Cushman.
Caleb Cooke.
John Churchill.
William Clark.
William Clark, Jr.
Thomas Cushman.
John Curtis.
John Churchill, Jr.
Benjamin Curtis.
John Cook.
Job Cushman.
Francis Curtis, Sr.
Elkanah Cushman, Jr.
James Cole.
Ephraim Cole.
Eleaser Churchill.
Alexander Conrad.
Joseph Church.
Elisha Cobb.
William Churchill.
John Cobb.
Joseph Churchill.
Samuel Doty.
Isaac Doty.
Joseph Dunham.
Eleaser Dunham.
John Doty.
Samuel Dunham, Sr.
Samuel Dunham, Jr.
Nathaniel Dunham.
Thomas Doty.
Micajah Dunham.
Daniel Dunham.
Ebeuezer Eaton.
Richard Everson.
Benjamin Eaton, Sr.
Benjamin Eaton, Jr.
John Everson.
Samuel Fuller.

Samuel Fuller, Jr.
Josiah Finney.
Robert Finney.
Joseph Faunee.
John Faunee.
Tiiomas Faunee.
William Fallowell.
John Foster.
John Faunee, Jr.
Samuel Gardner.
John (iray.
Samuel Gray.
James Howland.
Thouias How land.
Thotuaa Howland, Jr.
Nathaniel Harlow.
Samuel Harlow.
John Harlow.
Johu Holmes.
John Holmes, Jr.
Thomas Holmes.

Nathaniel Howland.

Nathaniel Holmes, Sr.

Nathaniel Holmes, Jr.

William Harlow.

Ebenezer Holmes.

Elisha Holmes.

Abraham Jackson.

John Jackson.

Nathaniel Jackson.

Eleaser Jackson.

Abraham Jackson, Jr.

Barack Jourdaiue.

Joseph King.

Benoni Lucas.

Thomas Lattice.

Thomas Little.

Francis Le Baron.

Isaac Lathrop.

Samuel Lucas.

Ephraim Little.

Caleb Luring.

Nathaniel Morton.

Josiah Morton.

Jonathan Morey, Jr.

Ephraim Morton, Jr.

Ephraim Morton.

Eleaser Morton.

Manassah Morton.

Thomas Mortun.

George Morton.

George Morton, Jr.

Israel May.

Jonathan Morey.

Johu Morton, Jr.

Samuel Nelson.

Joshua Pratt.

John Pratt.

Joseph Pratt.

Dauicl Pratt.

Eleaser Pratt.

Beuajah Pratt.

Daniel Ratusden.

Eleaser Riug.

William Ring.

Eleaser Kiekard.



John Rickard.
Juhn Rickard, Jr.
Isaac Ring.
Josiab Rickard.
John Rider.
Joseph Ring.
Samuel RiDg.
Henry Rickard.
Samuel Ring, Jr.
Eleaser Rogers.
Samuel Rider.
Samuel Rickard.
Joshua Ransom.
Giles Rickard.

Giles Rickard, Jr.

Robert Ransom.
Thomas Shurtleff.
Neheiuiah Sturtevant.
Benoni Shaw.
Samuel Sturtevant.
John Sturtevant.
Josiah ShurtleS*.
Jabez Shurtlelf.
Abiel Shurtleff.
Joaeph Sturtevant.

George Samson.
William Sears.
Richard Sears.
Isaac Sampson.
Jonathan Shaw.
Nathaniel Southworth.
Kphraim Tilsou.
Isaac Tinkham.
Nathaniel Thomas.
Nathaniel Thoiuas, Jr.
Edmund Tilson.
Helkiah Tinkham.
James Warren.
Nathaniel Wood.
John Wood.
Nathaniel Warren.
Samuel Waterman.
Benjamin Warren.
Joseph Warren.
John Watson.
Adam Wright.
John Wright.
John Wuterman.
James Warren, Jr.

The proprietors organized by the choice of Thomas
Faunce, clerk, and their records are preserved in two
volumes, of which the originals are kept in the town-
house at Plymouth, and copies in the office of the
registry of deeds for the county. In 1705 the pro-
prietors granted to each of their number a twenty-
acre lot, and shortly after a sixty-acre lot, and in the
same year all the cedar swamps in the town were
divided into thirty-nine lots and distributed by lot
among the individual proprietors. Each lot was
taken by a number of proprietors, who afterwards
divided it among themselves. The records contain
not only a descriptiou of each lot and its assignment,
but also a statement of the subsequent division. Two
hundred acres of woodland, near Fresh Pond, at
South Plymouth, were given by the proprietors to
the town for the benefit of the Iudiaus, of which oue
hundred acres were sold in 1810, and in 1710 all the
remaiuder of the lands ungranted, amounting to
thirty thousand acres, was laid out in ten great lots
and distributed. The first great lot extends from
West Pond and the South Meadow road eight miles
to Wareham ; the seven next lie between the first lot
and Half- Way Pond River; the ninth is bounded by
the Mast road, Half- Way Pood, Long Pond, the Her-
riug Path, and the Sandwich road, and the tenth lies
east aud west of the Sandwich road, below the Her-
riug Path. In this way the lauds of the town have
been gradually granted until nothing is left as a pos-
session of the town except such lots as have been
already mentioned.

In 101)5 a church was formed in that part of Plym-

outh which is uow Plympton. It was found that
nearly forty families were settled there, and that these
either attended church at Plymouth under great
difficulties, or were deprived of religious instruction
on the Sabbath altogether. In 1707 the towu of
Plympton was incorporated, including the present
towns of Plympton and Carver and a part of Halifax,
which was taken from Plympton iu 1830. No serious
objection was made by the town of Plymouth, and at
a town-meeting iu March, 170G/7, it was voted
" that the town consent that the North Parish be a
township in compliance with their petitiou, with the
proviso that all real estate now belongiug to, or which
shall be improved by any in the old town, either by
himself or tenant during their living here, shall be
rated here, notwithstanding there being a separate
town, and so the like of any estate that belongeth to
any of them that lyeth in the old town of Plymouth."
In 1711 it was voted " that all the lauds lying to
the northward of the range of the land between Sam-
uel Harlow and John Barnes, that is to say, to run
up the same point of compass said range of Harlow's
and Barnes' range runs, to run up to the top of the
hill, and all the range to the northward, shall be for a
perpetual common or training-place, never to be
granted any part thereof, but be perpetually for
public and common benefit." In other words,
Training Green, under this vote included all the laud
bounded by what are now North Green, Pleasant,
South, and Saudwich Streets. In .1710 it was also
voted "that the Traiuing Green, Cole's Hill, and a
spot of land about the Great Gutter, with all the
common lands to each parcel adjoining, shall not be
disposed of to any person without special license from
the town, notwithstanding former grauts." Notwith-
standing these votes Training Green hits since that time
been seriously curtailed of its proportions. In 1788
the town sold that portion lying between South aud
South Green Streets to the First Precinct, aud iu
1790 the preciuct sold it to Jesse Hallow. Mr.
Harlow sold duriug his life, in 18U6, the lot on the
corner of Sandwich and South Green Streets to Ezra
and John Harlow, who built the house now standing
on the lot, aud the remaining lots were disposed of
by the heiis of Jesse Harlow after his death. About
that time there were two military companies in Plym-
outh, the South and North Companies. The North
Company, iu 1099, was commanded by John Brad-
ford, with Nathaniel Southworth, lieutenant; John
Waterman, ensign ; and James Cole, John Rickard,
and John Bryant, sergeauts. The South Company,
of which the writer has an original roll dated 1099,
was commanded by James Warren, with —




William Shurtleff.


Nathaniel Morton.

Sergeant 8.
Samuel Harlow. Benjamin Warren.

John Churchill. Isaac Latbrop.

Josiah Finney. John Pratt.

William Harlow. John Foster.

Nathaniel Holmes. Nathaniel Holmes, Jr.


John Dyer.
Samuel Doty.
Timothy Morton.
Benjamin Bosworth.
John Jackson.
George Barrow.
William Fallowell.
Jaiucs Barnaby.
Francis Adams.
Samuel King, Jr.
Jaduthun Bobbins.
Benujah Pratt.
Micajah Dunham.
Joseph Pratt.
Joseph Dunham, Jr.
Nathaniel Dunham.
Jushua Hansom.
John Andros.
Jonathan Shaw.
Benuni Shaw.
Eleaser Pratt.
Daniel Pratt.
Juhn Barrow.
Bononi Lucas,
(jeorgc Bonum.
John Carver.
Eloiizer Morton.
Epbiaiin Kemptoo.
Johu Watson.
John Cote.
Richard Sears.
William Barnes.
John Barnes.
Thomas Doty.
Henry Churchill.
John Rider.
Elisha Holmes.
Joseph Faunce.
Samuel Dunham, Sr.
Ebenezer Eaton.
Giles Kickurd.
Mannasseh Morton.
Robert Bartlett.
John Whiting.
E leaser Churchill, Jr.
John Churohill, Jr.
Euhraiiu Morton, Sr.
George Morton, Jr.
Thomas Clark, Sr.
John Fauuce, Sr.

Ephraim Morton, Jr.
John Morton.
David Shepard.
Ebenezer Holmes.
James Warren.
James Clark.
John Clark.
Elnathan Burtlett.
Joseph Holmes.
Benjamin Bartlett.
Joseph Silvester.
Humphrey Turner.
Samuel Cornish.
Nathan Ward.
Jonathan Morey, Jr.
Benooi Shaw.
Job Gibbs.
Samuel Bates, Jr.
Elisha Hunter.
Joseph Morton.
Eleuser Dunham, Jr.
John King-
Thomas Savory.
Samuel Dunham, Jr.
Samuel Nelson.
William Hunter, Jr.
John Holmes.
John Faunce, Jr.
Benajah Dunham.
Caleb Gibbs.
Jouathan Barnes, Jr.
Hezckiah Bosworth.
Benjamin Bumpus.
Charles Church.
Abraham Jackson, Jr.
J.ibcz Shurtleff.
AVilliam Rider.
Ebenezor Burgess.
William Dunham.
Stephen Churchill.
Benjamin Crowcll.
David Bates.
Jeremiah Jackson.
Ebenezer Dunham.
Francis Curtis, Jr.
Ebenezer Morton.
John Harlow.
Benjamin Andros.
Tboiuus Clark, Jr.
Elisha Studson.

Joshua Witherley.
Samuel Withered.
James Nichols.
Richard Jones.
Henry Andrews.
John Pulton.
James Revis.
Nathaniel Garner.
Francis Billtngton.
Stephen Barnaby.
Thomas Harlow.
Thomas Faunce, Jr.
Barnabas Churchill.
Eleaser King.
John Eastland.
William Penney.
Thomas Child*.
Jonathan Rickard.

Jonathan Brewster.
Benjamin Chandler.
John May.
Jubez Durkin.
William Benson.
Josiah Morton.
Eleaser Holmes.
Samuel Rider.
Samuel Lucas, Jr.
Abraham Jackson, Jr.
Simon Lasell.
James Shurtlell'.
John Cole, Jr.
Duniel Dunham.
Icbabod Delano.
Isaac Barker.
Jacob Willard.

Cole's Hill, mentioned in the vote of the town
which has been quoted, has always been said to have
taken its name from James Cole, who has been sup-
posed to have had at an early date grants of land
along its border. The investigations of the writer
have shown this to be doubtful. The lands granted
to him in 1637 wero located on the south side of
Leyden Street, where his house was situated, and no
evidence exists that he ever owned laud on Cole's
Hill. In 1697, Nathaniel Clark, the old councilor
of Andros, sold the lot of land on the comer of Cole's
Hill and North Street, on which the Plymouth Rock
House now stands, to John Cole, who married his
step-daughter, Susannah, daughter of Edward Gray.
Mr. Cole lived on the lot until 17-5, and as the name
" Cole's Hill" does not appear in the records until
after 1700, it is fair to presume that the hill took
its name from him. On this hill, as is well known,
the Pilgrims who died during the winter of 1620/1
were buried. It is probable that there John Carver,
Elizabeth Winslow, Mary Allerton, Rose Standish,
Christopher Martin, Solomon Power, William Mullens,
William White, Degory Priest, Richard liritteredgc,
and others, forty-four in number, who died before the
middle of April, with the exception of Dorothy Brad-
ford, who was drowned, and such as might have died
on board the ship and possibly been buried in the sea,
found their last resting-place. The tradition concern-
ing the burials ou this spot has been verified by
repeated discoveries of remains. Tn 1735, during a
heavy storm, the bank of the hill was washed away at
the foot of Middle Street, and several bodies were
exhumed, though not, so far as is known, preserved.
In the early part of the present century, while dig-
ging the cellar of the Jackson House, on the corner of
Middle Street, workmen found a part of a skeletou,
which also failed to be preserved. Ou the 23d of
May, 1855, workmen engaged in diggiug a trench for



the pipes for the Plymouth water-works discovered
parts of five skeletons between the two points, five rods
south and two rods north of the foot of Middle Street.
The writer, then chairman of the board of selectmen,
took them in charge, and placing them in a box lined
with lead, deposited them in a brick vault on the
summit of Burial Hill. Before disposing of the re-
iuains he submitted two of the skulls to the dis-
tinguished surgeons, the late John C. Warren, and
Professor Oliver Wendell Holmes, for a critical exam-
ination, and received from them a signed certificate
that they belonged to the Caucasian race. When
the canopy over Plymouth ltock was approaching
completion, its vacant chamber was thought to be a fit
place for their permanent preservation, and there the
box with its contents was finally deposited. On the
8th of October, 1883, while digging holes for the
stone posts of the fence on the hill, workmen found
another body, aud on the 27th of the following month
still auother, which it also fell to the lot of the writer
to take in charge. The bones of the former were
placed in a lead box and deposited in a brick vault on
the spot of the original burial, while the bones of the
latter were permitted to remain undisturbed as they
lay in their grave. Over the brick vault a handsome
granite tablet has been recently placed, bearing the
following inscription :

" On this hill







Oct. 8th, 1S83. The iiouy of


of the following month

lies 8 feet northwest of

the westerly corner

of this stone.

Erected 1884."

Within the last few years the Pilgrim Society have
purchased the wharf on which the rock stands, to-
gether with the buildings round the base of the hill,
and graded and grassed and curbed the slope as it now
is. A handsome and substantial flight of granite
steps lias been built from the base, near the rock, to
the summit, and hereafter the whole hill will be
treated and ornamented as a memorial of the Pil-
grims. In 1797 the easterly bounds of the hill, as
determined by a committee of the town, began at
a stake twenty-nine feet north fifty-three and a half
degrees east, from the northeast corner of the Ply-
mouth Rock House, and thence ran south thirty-eight
decrees east thirty-eight feet, thence south twenty-four

degrees east thirty-nine feet, thence south eleven de-
grees east forty-nine feet, thence south five degrees
east sixty-seven feet, to a point eighty-one feet east
from the southeast corner of the house at the corner
of Middle Street.

The spot referred to in the quoted votes of the
town as the Great Gutter is Court Square. When
the land along the base of the hill, on the westerly
side of Court Street, was granted to different individ-
uals, at the beginning of the last century, it was a
sort of gulch, rough and ragged in appearance, taking
the rains and melted snows of the bills in the rear and
discharging them across what is now the street and the
fields below into the harbor. Its reservation was due
to its undesirable character, and not to any deliberate
intention of the town. At u subsequent period, after
the lots adjoining it had been built upou, its value for
an open square became apparent, and its reservation
followed. In the earliest deeds in which it is men-
tioned it is called simply " land belonging to the
town of Plymouth." After it was graded it was
called " Framing Green" until the present court-
house was built, in 1820, when it assumed the name
it now bears. At the head of the square the lot
on which the court-house and jail now stand was
granted by the town to Ephraim Little in 1G98. In
1709, Mr. Little conveyed it back to the town in ex-
change for laud in Middleboro', calling it in his deed
his " valley lot, nigh the pouud, at the head of the
great gutter," and specifying that it shall be for the
use of the ministry of the town forever. In 1773
the precinct sold it to the county, aud a jail, with a
keeper's house, was built on the land, to take the
place of the old prison and prison-house on Summer
Street. In 1785 the town sold to the county fifteen
feet, on the upper end of the square, in front of the
land then owned by the county, bringing its e;isterly
line where it is to-day, at the fourth post from the
easterly end of the entrance to the square, on the
northerly side. In 1857 the square was enlarged on
its southerly side by the purchase of lots with houses
standing thereon by the town, and their surrender to
the county for its use aud control as long as the
couuty buildings shall occupy their present posi-
tion. For a more precise statement concerning this
enlargement, and the couuty lauds generally, the
reader is referred to pages 28-1 and 285 of" Ancient
Landmarks of Plymouth."

The ouly piece of public land never granted by the
town, which remains to be described, besides the Uni-
tarian Church lot which has passed into the hands of
the present society as the First Parish, is Burial Hill.
How early this hill began to be used for the purposes



to which it has been so long devoted there are no
means of kuowing. The first meeting-house was
erected on this hill in 1622, and it seems probable
that its neighborhood was from that time used ftjr
burials of the dead. The " churchyards" of Eng-
land, synonymous with " graveyards," must have re-
tained all their hallowed associations in the memories
of the Pilgrims. To bury their dead as they had
always seen them buried at home, iu grounds conse-
crated by the presence of the sacred altar, must have
been a custom which they fell into, without thought
or doubt, as naturally as in a wilderness full of sus-
pected foes they would cluster the dwellings of the
living in the neighborhood and under the shelter of a
fort. Between the plunting-time of 1621, when the
graves on Cole's Hill are said to have been leveled,
aud the time of the construction of the church, in
1622, six deaths are recorded, but where the burials
were made it is impossible to say. It is probable,
however, that some portion of Cole's Hill continued
to be used until the Commou- House, standing on its
southerly slope and making it in reality a " church-
yard," was abandoned and the new place of worship

Until 1698 the hill is invariably called in the
records " Fort Hill." Twice in that year it is referred
to as a burial-place, — once by Judge Sewall, in his
diary, and again by Nathaniel Howland, in a deed to
Francis Le Baron of the lot now occupied by Davis
Hall, in which he bounds the lot on the west by the
Burial Hill. The fact that until the' close of King
Philip's war the hill had always been a fortified spot ;
was abandoned as a location for the meeting-house in
1637, when a uew house was built on the north side
of Town Square ; held the name of Fort Hill for
many years after; and within the memory of man
and the reach of tradition has exhibited no older

Online LibraryD. Hamilton (Duane Hamilton) HurdHistory of Plymouth County, Massachusetts : with biographical sketches of many of its pioneers and prominent men (Volume 2) → online text (page 31 of 118)