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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post, no doubt, but Plymouth was careful to reserve
the jurisdiction of the territory iu their deed of sale.
We read of neither church nor school-houses, but it
is evident they were not unmindful of these things,
as they laid out two lots of land and one of meadow
for the use of the ministry as early as 1701.

The principal way in Agawam was opened at an
early day, and ran nearly east and west, crossing the
Wankinco River, both of the Jumping Brooks, Aga-
wam River, Little Herring Brook, and Red Brook, at
the head of tide-water on each of these several
streams. There were other ways leading from this
which led to the houses of every settler, some open,
and some through gates and bars.

The land lying southerly of the main road and
Agawam River is indented by coves, creeks, and
harbors, formiug many peninsulas or necks, which
they named as follows : That on the east, between
Red Brook, Cohasset, Narrows, and Muddy Cove,
containing seven hundred and eighty acres, Long
Neck ; that between Muddy Cove, Tom's Narrows,
aud Broad Marsh Creek, containing one hundred
and thirty acres, Pine Neck ; that betweeu Broad
Marsh Creek, Tom's Narrows, Hog Island Narrows,
the Bay, and Bourne's Cove, containing twelve hun-
dred aud fifty acres, Great Neck ; that between
Bourne's Cove, the Bay, Wankinco River, and
Crooked River, three hundred and sixty acres, In-
dian Neck ; that between Crooked River aud Great
Crab Cove, containing one hundred acres, Bates Neck ;
that between Great Crab Cove, Little Crab Cove,
and Agawam River, containing five hundred acres,

they called Wankinquog Neck (since called Wanker
Neck) ; that between Little Crab Cove, the Narrows,
and Agawam River, containing one hundred and
twenty acres, Little Neck. These necks contain
more than three-fourths of the land lying southerly
of said road, leaving but a small tract between them,
which was called the Neighborhood. The land in
general, though rather sandy, is very suitable for till-
age. The shores abound with salt meadows, sea-
weeds, and rock-weeds, and if the soil was a little
better, no part of the Old Colony would be more fav-
orably situated for delightful farms. Bourne's Hill,
situated a little to the north of Bourne's Cove, is the
highest land in Wareham, being one hundred and
twenty-eight feet above tide-water.

Islands. — Wickett'a Island derived its uame from
an Indian who formerly owned it, and out of respect
to his rights they suffered him to retaiu it. It lies
between Long and Great Neck, a little south of the
celebrated Ouset Camp Ground, and contains five
acres. Onset Island is situated near the southerly
point of Long Neck, and contains eight acres. An
old gentleman, now deceased, used to tell an amusing
tale concerning this island. He said when he was a
boy he had often seen lights thereon in dark aud
stormy nights, and that he had no doubt that much
money had been buried there. He further stated
that he, with some others, went one night to dig,
and as the money was got in au evil manner aud
buried by pirates, the devil watched it ; yet, if the
diggers did not speak they might find the spot by
ranging from different points the lights, aud digging
where these ranges intersected. All these things
being attended to, the spot fouud, they commenced
digging, and after proceeding some distance into the
earth they struck the chest, when one of the company,
in his zeal to assist the person digging, took up his
pickaxe, aud reaching a little too far forward, struck
the other man digging with such force that he ut-
tered an emphatic oath, when the money-chest imme-
diately sunk, and they could find nothing more of it,
to the great grief and severe mortificatiou of all con-
cerned. The narrator firmly believed that if he had
half the money buried there he would be the richest
man in Wareham.

Little Bird Island lies in Buzzard's Bay, about
three-quarters of a mile from the shore, aud belongs
to the Indian Neck farm. It is a fine place for shoot-
ing wild fowl, and is overflowed by very high tides.

There is a cluster of small islands in Little Harbor
named Great Pine, Little Pine, Bowman's, and
Scraggy Islands, surrounded by creeks, and seem
only designed to increase the quantity of meadow.



Ponds. — There are three ponds south of the main
road, — one is called Pope's Pond, containing three
acres ; the second, Beaver Dam Pond, covers five
acres, and contains springs, with a fine brook running
from it to the Agawam River. It derives its name
from the circumstance that beavers formerly built
dams across these outlets to raise the water in the
pond, the remains of which are still visible. The
third is a springy pond situated a little to the west,
and has a small creek, which empties into Great Crab

The tract of land on the north side of the main road
contains five thousand five hundred acres, has a very
light, sandy soil, aud is worthless for all purposes of
cultivation. This tract, though divided into lots and
owned by different individuals, has been from the
first settlement of Agawam (until within a few years)
used as a sheep-common during the summer season,
the poor and the rich having equal privileges in this
particular. The tract is well watered by ponds,
spring-brooks, and Agawam River, as follows : Little
Lung Pond, partly lying in Plymouth, containing ten
acres south of the line ; White Island Pond, also
partly in Plymouth, containing fifty acres south of
the line ; Bartlett's Marsh Pond, of forty- five acres ;
Pickerel Pond, of sixteen acres ; Muddy Pond, of
four acres ; Spectacle Pond, of fifty acres, its shape
resembling a pair of spectacles; Cedar Pond, of ten
acres ; Flax Pond, of eleven acres ; Herring Pond,
of forty-four acres; and Jonathan's Pond, of ten
acres. The Maple Springs, near Long Pond, and the
brooks running therefrom and falling into Agawam
River, have long been noted as places of amusement
for catehiug trout. The Red Brook is a living
stream, and derives its name from being colored by
iron ore, some small beds of which lie in its swamps.
The two Jumping Brooks head a little southwest of
the Maple Springs, cross the main road, and fall into
Agawam River, — one at the westerly line of Agawam,
the other about half a mile to the eastward. They
were formerly called jumping brooks because travel-
ers had to jump them before bridges were made.
The Agawam River is a valuable stream for manu-
facturing purposes, having twenty-five feet fall in
runuing from the town-line to the sea. This tract of
woodland is connected with, and constitutes a part of,
what is known as Plymouth woods, so celebrated in
years past for deer-hunting.

West End of the Town. — That part of Wareham
which formerly belonged to Rochester had no par-
ticular name to designate it from the remaining part
of the town until its union with Agawam, after which
it was called the West End of the Town.

Sippican, or Rochester Title. — "1649. Liberty
is granted unto the townsmen of Plymouth to make
use of the land at Sipecan for herding aud keeping
of cattle, and wintering of them there, as they shall
see cause." 1

" 1651. For the continual support of the Township
of Plymouth for the place and seat of government, to
prevent the dispersing of the inhabitants thereof. It
is ordered that Sipecan be granted to the town of
Plymouth to be a general help to the inhabitants
thereof for the keeping of their cattle, and to remain
for the common use and good of the said township, and
never to be alienated by the township from the same
to any other use, and no person or persons to enjoy
any right or benefit thereby but the inhabitants of the
town of Plymouth, only except such as we the com-
mon herdsmen for the said township, and the bounds
thereof to extend itself eight miles by the seaside, and
four miles into the land." 2

In 1666, King Philip, sachem of Pokaooket,
youngest sou of Massasoit, gave power " to Watuch-
poo and Sampson, two Indian chiefs, and their breth-
ren, to hold and make sale of these lands to whom
they pleased." And on the 24th of December, 1668,
Philip informed the honorable court at Plymouth that
they were for sale.

In Plymouth Court orders, dated June 3, 1679,
may be found the following : " In answer unto the
proposition of several that would purchase lands at
Sippican, and places adjacent, the Court arc glad to
take notice of what they propound, aud oiler them-
selves to oblige in order to a comfortable settlement
of a Plantation there, and shall be ready to accom-
modate them as far as they can on reasonable and
easy terms, and give them all due encouragement, if
they can procure some more substantial men, that are
prudent persons, and of considerable estate, that will
make a speedy settlement of themselves and families
with them ; and we desire and expect to hear further
from them at the next meeting of this Court, by ad-
journment in July next, at which time we may, if
satisfied in the premises, bargain with them for the
lauds they desire, or put it in a way to be done." It
seems that " some more substantial men, who were
prudent persons," were procured, for on the 22d of
July, 1679, the purchase was made, and the deed was
given. Ou the same day the purchasers met, organ-
ized, and transacted considerable business at the house
of Mr. Joseph Bradford, in Plymouth.

Soon after the purchase was made an Indian named

1 Old Col. Reo. Book, 2d Court OrdcrB, [mge 190.
■' lb., p. 234.



Charles, alias Paumpmutt, of Ashimuitt, claimed a
portion of the purchased possessions, but on the pay-
ment of six pounds, New England money, renounced
all title.

Nov. 19, 1679, Lieut. Joseph Lothrop, agent of
the company, paid Peter Suscacow, five shillings to
satisfy his claim.

In 1683, William Connett, an Indian, claimed the
whole land they had purchased. He proved a bitter
and stubborn contestant, but finally entered iuto an
agreeineut with Thomas Hinckley aud Joseph
Lothiup that was satisfactory to both parties. Alter
this the whites remained in undisputed possession.

Cromeset Neck lies in the west part of the town,
and is bounded on the north by Broad Marsh River,
on the east by Quasuet and the Wankinco, and on
the west by Weweantit River, having Mark's Cove
on the east and Sedge Cove on the west side, both of
which, as well as the rivers around this neck, having
salt meadows along their margins. On the east side
of this ueek lies Quasuet, it being an island of upland
containing thirty acres, and is separated from the neck
by a small creek aud a broad piece of meadow.

Incorporation of Wareham. — The following is
the act of incorporation :

"Anno Regni Regis Georgii Seoundi duodecimo et deciuio-

" An act for dividing the Toum of Jtocheeter and Plymouth,
in the futility of Plymouth, and erecting a new Toicn there by
the mime if Wareham.

•' Whereas, the Inhabitants of tho Enst End of the Town of
Rochester, aud the Inhabitants of a Plantation called Agawam,
being in the Town of Plymouth, by Reason of great Difficulties
they labor under havo addressed this Court, that they may be
set off a distinct and separate Township, and vested with all
the Powers aud Privileges that other Towns in this Province
are vested with. For which they have obtained the Consent of
the said Towns of Rochester and Plymouth.

'• Be it therefore enacted by Ilia Excellency the Governor,
Council, and Jlefjreeeiituticea in Uenerul Court aetembled, and
by the Authority of the tame, that the East End of the said
Town of Rochester, bounded as lolloweth, viz. : Beginning at
the mouth ofSipecan River, and running up the River to Men-
doe's Bridge; thence as the Road now lies to Plymouth till it
meets with Midilleborough Line, being all tbe Lands belonging
to the Town of Rochester lying to the North of said River, and
on the East side of said Road, together with the Plantation or
Precinct of Agawaui aforesaid as described in their purchase
Deed from the said Town of Plymouth, be and hereby are set
off, Constituted, and Erected into a distinct and separate Town-
ship by the namo of Wareham, and that the Inhabitants of the
Lands before described and bounded be and hereby are vested
with all the Powers, Privileges, and Immunities that the Inhab-
itants of other Towns in this Province are or ought by law to
be vested with, Saving that the Privilege of Catching Ellwives
be and remain as heretofore.

" 173 4 J, July 6. This Bill having been read three several
times in the House of Representatives, passed to be Enacted.

"J. Quincv, Sp>".

" 173U, July 6. This Bill having been read three several
times in Council, passed to be enacted.

" Simon Frost, Dep. SecT.
"1739, July 10. By His Excellency the Governor I Con-
sent to the Enacting this Bill.

"J. Belcher. "

Tihonet is a piece of land formerly belonging to
Plymouth and Carver. It obtained its name from an
early settler who had a small right in one of the great
lots on which he lived, and by virtue of this claim
exercised the right of ownership over all the land
around him so far as to cut the best timber and mar-
ket it. Another gentleman thought he would look
at the timber in that region with a view of purchas-
ing. He took this settler as his guide to show him
the country, and after traveling all day and asking the
question often, " Who owns this lot?" he was always
answered by his guide, " I own it." He soon discovered
the trick, and gave the old man the name of Ti-own-it,
by which he was afterwards called, and that section,
with a slight alteration, has borne his name ever since.
It is bounded by a continuation of the Agawam line
from the corner swamp, N. 86} deg., W. Sol) rods,
crossing the Wankinco River ; thence 450 rods to a
pine-tree standing in the old Carver line ; thence by
that line southeasterly to the Agawam purchase, and
by Agawam northeasterly to the beginniug, formiug
a triangle nearly equilateral, and containing two thou-
sand and twenty acres. There was a family of Chub-
bucks aud Besses who early settled on this tract, but
their possessions were small, and the laud as well as
themselves poor. The Wankinco River running
through Tihonet constitutes nearly its whole vaJue.
The river is valuable, beiug fed by spriugs aud hav-
ing twenty-eight feet fall at Tihonet dam. Robert's
Run is a spring-brook, falling into the river on the
east side. Prog Foot is a large branch of the river,
falling in upon the easterly side about a third of a
mile south of the Plymouth line.

While Tihonet belonged to Plymouth and Carver,
Daniel Hunt built a forge where the iron-works now
stand, and a saw-mill about a mile above. These
works passed iuto the hands of Samuel Leonard, of
Taunton, and from him to the Wareham Iron Com-
pany. This company, having it in contemplation to
put valuable works there, petitioned the Legislature
for an act severing Tihonet from Plymouth aud Car-
ver and uniting it to Wareham, which they obtained
in 1827.

There was an effort made as early as 1773 to unite
this part of Plymouth to Wareham, as appears by the
following vote: "May 10, 1773, Voted not to re-
quest Plymouth to set off Tihonet to Wareham," and



when it was set off there was some opposition by the
aged meD of the town, fearing that the tract would
bring more paupers than taxes ; however, it passed
by a large majority, Benjamin Bourne, Esq., insisting
that his vote should be recorded in the negative.

What the population of the town was at the time
of its incorporation cannot uow be ascertained, but
the year succeeding, and for forty years afterwards,
during the provincial government of Massachusetts,
the town voted that they were not qualified to send a
representative ; and by the act of 1692, then in force,
every town having forty qualified voters was enjoined
to choose one freeholder as their representative ;
towns having less than forty and more than thirty
voters might send or not, as they saw fit ; and in the
year 1769, when they wished to be heard before the
General Court, as they sent an agent and not a repre-
sentative, we must conclude that they had not thirty
freeholders and other persons qualified to vote. At
the time the act of incorporation was passed the Gen-
eral Court ordered Edward Bumpus, one of the prin-
cipal inhabitants, to call the first town-meeting, which
he did Aug. 6, 1739, at which meeting Edward
Bumpus was chosen moderator ; Jonathan Hunter,
town clerk; Jireh Swift, Jeremiah Bumpus, and
Jonathan Huuler, selectmen and assessors ; Jireh
Swift, treasurer; John Bumpus, Jr., and Joshua
Gibbs, constables; Joseph Gifford, Isaac Hamblin,
and Jonathan Bumpus, surveyors of highways ;
Henry Saunders, tithingman; Ebenezer Perry and
John Ellis, fence-viewers.

Ecclesiastical History. — The Congregational
Church. — Previous to the incorporation of the town
of Wareham, there was a minister of the gospel, by
the name of Thomas Prince, who lived upon Crome-
set Neck, and preached occasionally in a meeting-
house which stood near the place of the present Con-
gregational Church. As there was neither a church
nor a parish formed, it is not probable that he or any
one else preached long at a time.

Sept. 10, 1739, the town, in their parochial ca-
pacity, chose a committee to give the Rev. Rowland
Thatcher a call, and directed them to offer him three
hundred pounds settlement and one hundred pounds
salary, to which he replied as follows:

"Gentlemen, — Seeing tuy performances among you have
found sucb acceptance us that you have given me a call to min-
ister to you officially in holy things, uud having seriously
weighed the matter, and asked the direction of heaven, I con-
clude your call to be from Gud. Therefore, being deeply sensi-
ble uf my own unworthinecs and unfitness for the great work,
yet, depending upon Christ, do accept your call, depending
upon you for sucb support from time to time as the Gospel
does require; earnestly asking your prayers to God for me,

that when I have preached to you I myself may not be found
cast away ; but when I am called to give an account of iny
ministry to God, the Shepherd and Bishop of souls, I may do it
with joy, having many of your souls ns seals of my ministry
I and crown of rejoicing.

" Rowland Thatcher.
" Wareham, Oct. 17, 1739."

Oct. 18, 1739, the town voted to receive and ac-
cept the answer, and on the 26th day of December,
1739, he was ordained. On the day previous to the
ordination a church was incorporated in presence of
a council consisting of fifteen male and twenty-eight
female members. March 3, 1740, the town passed
the following salutary vote : " That a committee be
appointed to take care of young people in time of
divine service, on Sabbath days, and on all other
times, if they see them to play." The Rev. Rowland
Thatcher died Feb. 18, 1775, having preached more
than thirty-five years to the satisfaction of his church
and congregation, much beloved and respected, and
with good success, having added two hundred and
four members to his church, besides those who were
first incorporated, leaving one hundred and forty-five
members living at his death. His salary, after the
money matters of the country were settled, was finally
fixed at £53 6s. 8cl. lawful money.

In April, 1775, a committee was chosen to look
for and employ a minister. August 21st this com-
mittee gave the Rev. Josiah Cotton a call to become
their pastor, which he answered as follows :

" To the Church uf Christ and the Inhabitants of the town uf

" Brethren and Gentlemen, — I have received your invita-
tion to enter the relation of Pastor and receive the ministerial
charge over you, and in consequence thereof had a conference
with your committee relative to your oti'er, which, as repre-
sented to me, I think insufficient, — the salary part, I mean,
£66 13«. id., without the parsonage at the west end of the town,
— and therefore propose an alteration, which your committee
feel satisfied with, viz., that the improvement of the afore-
mentioned parsonage he granted over and above the £66 13s. 4</.,
which parsoDage is valued at £4, L. M., per auituui, and the
real sum to be made good if the valuo of money depreciates,
which being done, I would, on account of the ditliculty uf the
times, relinquish the sum of £6 13s. 4ci. for the year to come,
receiving from the time the salary begins, and alter that time
expires, if the day should still continue distressing by a stop-
page of trade, make a proportionable relinquishment, if con-
sistent with necessary support. Less than my proposal specifies
does not appear to me to be sutticient encouragement ; therefore,
if you shall see fit to comply with the proposals above mentioned,
freely, without difficulty, I hereby declare my acceptance to
settle with you in the gospel ministry.

"Josiah Cotton.

"Wareham, Oct. 4, 1775."

Oct. 4, 1775, the town voted to accept, of Mr.
Josiah Cotton's answer. The connection between the
town and Mr. Cotton was not happy, and continued



but a few years. There was nothing exceptionable in
his character, but he yearly called for an increase of
salary, which, on account of the depreciation of
money, they enlarged, until they voted him, May 3,
1779, ihe sum of £600 for the year, which he asked
to have increased, whereupon, May 31st, they voted
to dismiss him, and he was dismissed accordingly.

In January, 1780, the town employed a Mr. Mills
to preach to them, to whom they paid forty shillings
per Sabbath ; but he was not settled, on account of
some disagreement about his salary, which was settled
by the vote of Sept. 21, 1780, which gave him forty
shillings per Sabbath, hard money. He thinking it
was not enough, they dispensed with his further ser-

For two or three years the town was without a
settled minister, and for a part of the time the pulpit
was vacant. June 3, 1782, the Rev. Noble Everett
was called to the pastoral office, and several votes
passed at different meetings concerning the manner
in which he should receive his support, but finally
they eutered into the following contract :

" II ftertus, sevoral votes have been passed by the town at
diti'erent meetings concerning Mr. Everett's settlement and
salary, voted, tbut the whole of bis settlement and salary be
comprehended and established in the manner following: 1st.
That we give to Mr. Noble Everett, for settlement, the whole
of the land lying south of, and adjoining to John Winslow's
land, which was bought of Thomas Sampson for the purpose,
and build him a dwelling house on the same, 36 feet in length
and -S feet in width, two stories high, and linished in a decent
and handsome manner, with a convenient cellar under the same,
and completed by the last day of November, 1783.

•' 2.1. That we will give said Mr. Everett an annual salary
of £56 of lawful silver money during his continuance in this
town as our minister, the one-balf it to be paid annually in the
month of April, the other half in October, together with the use
of the ministry land and meadow lying in this town, including
the wood on said land for the maintenance of bis fires.

"3d. That Mr. Everett's salary begin at his ordination.

" 4th. That the town will fence the salt meadow at the east
end ul' the town with cedar rails before April next.
*' Accepted by me,

" Noule Everett.
" Warkuaii, Oct. 23, 17S2."

Iu 1791 the town increased Mr. Everett's salary to
sixty pounds, and in the year 1S00 to three hundred
and fifty dollars. Some time after his church added
fifty dollars as a gratuity, which was continued until
his death, in 1819.

In July, 1821, the Rev. Daniel Henimenway was
ordained, with a salary of five hundred dollars, with-
out the use of the miuistry property. There being
some difficulty in selecting the ordaining council,
which was unhappily extended to the exclusion of
some of the members iuvited by the town, a disaffec-

tion arose among his parishiouers, which grew to a
dissolution of the connection between him and the
parish, and he was dismissed in 182S by the advice
and with the consent of a council.

Feb. 27, 1828, the parish organized themselves in
a body separate, under the name of the First Parish
in the town of Wareham, elected their officers, and
commenced a record of their meetings, which had
hitherto been done upon the town's bouk by the town

Rev. Samuel Nott, Jr., was installed Aug. 5, 1829.
and dismissed Aug. 29, 1849.

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 46 of 118)