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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upon for bis own propriety as muy be convenient, and such a
quantity thereof may be sold as may build him a house, and
finish our meeting-house already begun.

" And your petitioners shall remain as in duty, etc.
" Joseph Maloson. Josiah Holmes.

Joshua Cushen. Francis Barker.

Lambert Despurd. John Records.

Thomas Parria. Josiah Keen.

Isnao Stetson. Robert Stetson.

John Pierce. Joseph Forde.

Ebenezer Bishup. Joseph Stockbridge.

Francis Barker. John Keen.

Thomas Barker. Josiah Foster.

Ebenezer Barker. John Bonney.

Samuel Staples. Isaac Oldham.

Joseph Roes. llenry Perry.

Nehemiab Randel. James Bonney.

Elias Mugoun. John Bishop.

John Megfarlin. Joshua Turner.

Matthew Keen. Abraham Pierce.

Benjamin Keen. Joseph Tubbs.

Aaron Soul. Daniel Crocker.

Hutson Bishop. Timothy Rogers.

Joseph Trouunt. Josiuh Barker.

John Holmes. Thomas Ramsdell.

AVilliam Holmes. James Clark.

John Bonney, Jr. Ephraim Keen.

Thomas Dean, Jr. John Hcfard.

William Tubbs. John Simmons.

Timothy Stetson. Thomas Lambert.

Abraham Howland. James Bishop."

June 6, 1711, the court decided that before actiou
could be taken on the aforewritten petitiou the in-
habitants of Duxbury must have received a copy of
the same, in order that they may show reason, if they
wished to, why the prayer of the petitioners should not
be granted.

Oct. 9, 1711, the town of Duxbury met iu town-
meeting, and chose Capt. Seth Arnold to act as their
agent in the affair, and to prosecute their claims
before the Legislature. Having arrived at Boston
he addressed a note to the Legislature, saying that
the town of Duxbury was willing that the petitioners
of the court should draw with these bounds : Begin-
ning at the northeast corner of R. Stetson's land, the



line to run in a straight direction to the head of Mile
Brook, thence following the brook to its junction
with Pudding Brook, thence to Josiah Keen's land,
aud I'nim his northwest corner to Aaron Soule's land,
and along its bounds to its full extent on the west
side, and thence in a northeast direction to the Marsh-
field line ; provided they pay their proportion of the
town's debts in arrears, and that Duxbury be at no
charge for their church or minister. This note was
dated on the 26th of October.

On the next day Joseph Barker and Joseph Stock-
bridge presented a protest against this in behalf of
the inhabitants of Mattakeeset. They urged that it
took off from them the two families of Keen and
Aaron Soule's family, all of whom had been at con-
siderable expense in their proportion of the sum for
the building of their church. Their claim, they said,
differed ouly about five hundred acres from this last
presented by Capt. Arnold, which tract was of great
sterility, and could be of no benefit to the town.

Notwithstanding a great proportion of the town
were opposed to the measure, there were some who
were disposed to favor the petitioners iu their ends,
and the following even presented a paper bearing
their signatures in favor of the prayer of the inhabi-
tants of that precinct. Among the names will be
found those of several of the most influential and
respectable persons of the town : Nathaniel Thomas,
John Bradford, James Partridge, Bethiah Little,
Nathaniel Thomas, Jr., Gamaliel Bradford, Jacob
Tomson, Jonathan Barnes (his mark), Kenelm Baker,
Benony Delano, Jacob Cook, Joseph Stetson, Robert
Studson, Joshua Turner, Hannah Turner (widow), and
James Bishup.

A hearing to the petitioners and agent for the
town was given by the Council on the 3d of Novem-
ber, when that body passed the following order:
" That the prayer of the petition be granted, and that

the town be named ; provided that the

petitioners do procure, settle and allow an honorable
support to an orthodox, learned minister of good con-
versation among them, and that the present inhabi-
tants of Duxbury and Marshfield pay their arrears to
town charges in the said town unto this time." This,
however, coming before the other body on the 6th of
the month, was not concurred in, the representative
of the town having protested against it in a speech,
whose chief point of argument was that the value of
the land in question was higher than that placed upon
it by the petitioners.

The house then appointed James Warren, Samuel
Thaxter, and Capt. Jacob Thompson (who were joined
by Iaaac Lathrop and John Gushing, of the other

branch) a committee to examine affairs in the case
and make report at some future time.

That portiou of the town of Marshfield which was
interested to become a part of the new town addressed
on the 26th of February a letter to their fellow-towns-
men asking to be allowed to join with the inhabitants
of Mattakeeset in the formation of a new town, and
requesting of them that would to joiu iu their petition
to the General Court to that effect. This wish was
made on the part of the others by Joseph Ford,
Robert Stetson, and Josiah Foster. The town of
Marshfield on the same day granted their request.

On the other hand, the inhabitants of the precinct
of Mattakeeset addressed the following letter to the
inhabitants of Duxbury, which was laid before them,
assembled in town-meeting, on the 19th of March :

"Brethren and Neighbors: — You are not ignorant uf the
deplorable condition we have with our wires and children long
laid under, by beiug destitute of the appointed means of graco
by reason of our remoteness from the public worship uf God,
so that we can rarely attend the same, though we have fur a
long timo done our part towards the support and maintenance
thereof in town. Now, gentlemen, that which we earnestly
desire is this, that we may have your consent; that we, with
such of our neighbors in the town of Marsutield anil in the
precinct near to us, who are iu the same condition with our-
selves of remoteness from the public worship of God, that are
willing to join with us so that we may become a township, in
order to settle the worship of God amongst us, with some other
necessary conveniences as are requisite to a town.

" They requested the same bounds as are named in their
petition to the General Court, and hoped that upon due con-
sideration they would rescind the vote of rejection they had
passed some months before. Signed, in behalf of the inhabi-


"Josiah Barker."

The town again on the same day rejected it by a
negative decision.

The committee of the Legislature previously named
made a report (signed Duxbury, March 11, 1711/2)
establishing a line between the new town and Dux-
bury, which was mostly run by marked trees.

" An Act for erecting a new town within the county of Plymouth

named Pembraoke.

" Whereas, the inhabitants of the northwesterly part of the
town of Duxboro', commonly called Mattakeeset, the proprie-
tors of a certain tract of land commonly known by the name
of the Major's Purchase, and the proprietors of the lands com-
monly called Marshfield Upper Lands, at Mattakeeset, within
the county of Plymouth, adjoining to each other, have by their
several petitions to this court, humbly prayed that the said
three several tracts of land may be united and made a town-
ship; the inhabitants of Duxboro' having consented to allow
part of their land thereto, and a committee appointed by this
court having been upon tbe place, viewed and surveyed the
lands in the northwesterly side of Duxboro', and reported a
line for setting off the same.



" Be it enacted by hi* Excellency, the Governor, Council, and
Representative* in General Court a**embled, and by the au-
thority of the name,

"That tbe said northwesterly part of Duxboro', commonly
called Mattakeeset, and tbe tract of land known by tbe name
of the Major's Purchase, and tbe land commonly called Marsh-
field Upper Lands, at Mattakeeset, the whole circumscribed
and bounded as followetb : that is to say, from a stake set
down by tbe committee aforesaid, in the line between tbe town
of Duxboro' and tbe lands belonging to Marshfield, or com-
monly called Marsbfield Upper Lands, about one hundred and
four rods southeasterly from the easterly corner of Robert Stet-
son's land whereon he now dwelletb, and from the said stake
northeast and by north nearest to the easterly corner of Mat-
thew Kane's land whereon be now dwollcth, and from thence
on the same course to Marsbfield town line; tbe said three
tracts of land bounded towards tbe north and northeast partly
upon tbe town of Situate, and partly upon Marshfield, and
partly upon the town of Duxboro', on the east partly upon
Plymouth and partly on Plyuipton, south on the said town of
Plyinpton, and westerly on the town of Bridgewater, be and
are hereby united and erected into one township, and the town
named Pembroke; the inhabitants upon the said lauds to have,
use, exercise, and enjoy all immuDitics and privileges as other
towns of this Province have and do by law enjoy; provided
that they do a within tbe space of two years next coming, pro-
cure and settle an orthodox learned minister of good conversa-
tion, and set forth a good accommodation of lands for the use
of the ministry, and grant their minister an honorable annual
maintenance; and the present inhabitants on tbe said lands of
Duxboro' and Marshfield respectively, do pay their arrears to
town charges iu tbe several towns of Duxboro' and Marsbfield
to this time.

"Saving to the inhabitants of Duxboro', Marshfield, and
Pembroke respectively, their interest and propriety in the
common lands within tbe said several towns, anything in this
act to the contrary notwithstanding,"

Passed March 21, 1711/2.

The prayer of the petitioners was that the new
town should be called Brookfield. The town of
Brookfield was not then incorporated, but the locality
on the frontier was then known by that name.

The government of the province consisted of Gov-
ernor, Council, and House of Representatives. All
acts passed by the government here were sent to Great
Britaiu to receive the royal sanction. The act erect-
ing a town here left the name blank, and that was
filled in on the other side of the Atlantic. Thomas
Herbert, Earl of Pembroke, was then keeper of the
privy seal, and was a member of the royal household,
and it was probably in his honor that the town was

The. Pembrokes are represented as having been a
religious, puritanic people, sympathizing largely with
the colouies.

It is quite a study now for the antiquarian to learn
the bounds of the tract covered by the petition. The
Major's Purchase comprised a large tract of land
bounded on the northeast by a straight line running
from the northerly end of Jones River Pond, or

Silver Lake, to Indian Head Pond, on the northwest
by Indian Head Pond and River, on the southwest by
Bridgewater, then comprising the three towns of
Bridgewater, East Bridgewater, and West Bridge-
water, and the city of Brockton, on the south and
southeast by Plympton and Plymouth.

It was purchased by Maj. Josiah Winslow of the
Indian sachem, Josias Wampatuck. It was largely
in what is now Hanson.

Marshfield Upper Lands adjoined the Major's Pur-
chase on the southwest, and Mattakeeset on the
northeast, and were largely in what is now known as

Robert Stetson, spoken of in the act of incorpora-
tion, was a son of the old cornet Robert, of Scituate,
and probably lived near the Deacon Boylston place,
and Matthew Keen, probably on the Fauuce Place.

Pembroke at its incorporation was bounded on the
north by North River, and Indian Head River sep-
arating it from Scituate (Hanover was incorporated
in 1727), on the east by Scituate, Marshfield, and
Duxbury, on the south by Duxbury, Plymouth, and
Plympton (Kingston and Halifax not then incorpo-
rated), and on the west by Bridgewater. The part
below Robinson's Creek was annexed about 1730.
About 1756, a tract of land between Indian Head
River and Drinkwater River (a large part of North
Hanson now) was annexed to Pembroke, and soou
after movements were made for a division.

The West Parish was incorporated in 174G. Town-
meeting was held for the first time iu the West
meeting-house April 18, 1757, aud was held occa-
sionally in West meetiug-house till 17SiJ, it was
voted that every third meeting be held in the meeting-
house of the West Parish.

In 1819 it was voted almost unanimously that the
west precinct be set off from the other precinct, and
incorporated into a separate town.

The first meeting-house of the First Parish iu
Pembroke, then Duxbury, was built iu 1708. This
in a few years was found to be too small, and in 1726
the town voted that six men be a committee to pro-
pose or consider what bigness and form to build a
meeting-house, and made choice of Joseph Stock-
bridge, Joseph Ford, Francis Barker, Nehemiah
Cushing, Joseph Stetson, and Isaiah Thomas. They
reported that a nieetiog-house, fifty feet long and
forty feet wide and twenty-two feet studs, might be
a sufficient bigness ; that the timber for the same be
of the following dimensions, viz. : the sills uine by
ten inches, forty and fifty feet long, the four corner
posts ten inches square, the twelve other posts ten by
twelve inches square, and the plates seven inches



square, all white-oak. In 1764 this was enlarged
to furnish more seating capacity for the Indians. In
1837 it was taken down and the present church
erected on its site.

On the 12th day of August, 1711, the Rev. Daniel
Lewis preached for the first time here, and his text
for the afternoon was John is. 4 : " I must work the
works of him that sent me while it is day ; the night
cometh when no man can work." He was ordained
Due. 3, 1712, and died June 29, 1753, aged about
sixty-eight years. His wife died about a fortnight
before him, both of a fever in less than a fortnight's

The following is a list of those who were " heads
of families" when the township was first granted, viz. :

Josiab Holmes.

Joseph Stockbridge (first dea-

Joshua Cushing (first captain
and justice).

Joseph Ford (second deacon).

Aaron Soul.

Josiah Keen.

Matthew Keen.

John Holmes.

Nehemiah Randall.

Elias Magoun.

Francis Barker (second cap-

Cornelius Briggs.

James Clarke.

Joshua Turner.

John Macfarland.

John Keen.

Abraham Booth (a Quaker).

Isaac Barker (a Quaker).

Neheuiiah Cushing (third cap-

Abraham Pearse.

Abraham Pearse, Jr.

John Pearse.

Joseph Truant.

Daniel Crocker.

James Bishop.

Joseph Tubbs.

John Russel.
John Bishop.
John Bonney.
John Haylurd.
Edward Hayford.
Jamea Bonney.
Thomas Wilmotb.
Thomas Ramsden.
Natb. Chamberlain (Quaker).
John Saunders (Quaker).
Isaac Oldham,
lieury Perry.
Joseph Rogers (Quaker).
Timothy Rogers.
Ebenezer Bishop.
Isaac Stetson.
Lambert Despard.
Stephen Bryant.
Stephen Bryant, Jr.
Thomas Dean.
Benjamin Hanks.
Samuel Staples.
John Records.
Josiah Foster.

Thymus Parris (first school-
Robert Stetson.
Ephraiui Keen.
Solomon Beal.
Total, 54.

Mr. Lewis' ministry continued forty years, and was
peaceful and apparently successful.

Some of his writings, which have been preserved,
are very creditable. He is represented as having been
more Oulvinistic iu his sentiments than any of his suc-
cessors. His salary was several times changed without
difficulty. It was at first fifty-two pounds, aud before
the close of the ministry raised to one hundred and

Rev. Thomas Smith, the second pastor, was installed
Dec. 4, 1754, and died July, 1788. He preached all
through the trying times of the Revolution, and his

discourses are said to have been patriotic and out-

During bis ministry the custom of " deaconing"
the hymns was abolished, causing a good deal of bitter
strife and unpleasant feeling.

Josiah, his oldest son, was a Representative in Con-
gress about 1800, and died of smallpox contracted in
New York on his return from Washington.

His sons — Joseph, Thomas, and Nathaniel — were
prominent in town affairs. Some of his descendants
have risen to eminence in naval aud in civil life.

Rev. Kilborn Whitman was settled as colleague to
Mr. Smith in 1787, and contiuued to preach till 1796.
He then entered the legal profession, and was a noted
lawyer and judge. Rev. James Hawley was ordained
his successor May, 1798, and died greatly lamented
October, 1800. Rev. Morrill Allen was ordained
Dec. 9, 1801, and resigned Dec. 9, 1841. He was
prompt and punctual in all pulpit exercises, never
wearying his people with long prayers or sermons.
His remarks upon bridal or funeral occasions were
always apt and pertinent, and his services upon such
occasions were much sought for long after he had re-
tired from the ministry. He served in both branches
of the State Legislature and in different town offices.
He was noted for his love of agriculture, and was al-
luded to on one occasion by the Hon. Daniel Webster
as the model farmer of Plymouth County. He be-
longed to the Plymouth County Agricultural Society,
and was chosen president and supervisor. He preached
his last sermon when he was ninety years old. He
lived to the great age of ninety-four years, retaining
his mental faculties to a remarkable degree.

Rev. Joshua Chandler was installed in 1842. He
was a bachelor and very eccentric. He was dismissed
in 1845. Since that time ministers have been hired
by the year. Rev. Preserved Smith preached from
1846 to 1849. Rev. William L. Stearns from 1851
to 1856. Rev. William M. Bicknell from 1857 to
1861. Rev. Theophilus P. Doggett from 1861 to
1874. Rev. Jesse H. Temple from 1874 to 1877.
Rev. James H. Collins from 1877 to 1879. Rev.
John M. W. Pratt, the present incumbent, since 1880.

The Friends' meeting-house was built in 1706.
Michael Wanton was quite a prominent speaker in
their meetings till about 1740 ; then John Bailey, the
clock-maker, whose clocks are now so much sought
after; then Benjamin Percival, and later Calvin Shep-

A Methodist society was organized in 1S29 in
what is now Bryantville or West Pembroke.

The following is a list of those who served in the
French war :



Jeremiah Hull (surgeon).
Caleb BranJ.
Nathaniel Garnet.
Joshua Turner, Jr.
Daniel Baker.
Daniel Tubbs.
David Foster.
Isaac Crooker, Jr.
Joshua Keen.
Ebenezer Barker.
Ignatius Cushing.
Thomas Randall.
William Standith.
Nathaniel Baker.
Abner Ames.
Leonard Hill.
Asa Robinson.
Samuel Rautsdell, Jr.
Hezekiah Bearse.
John Pumpelly.
Couaidtr Cole.
Increase Robinson.
Nathaniel Cox.
Zephaniah Hatch.
Samuel Baker.
Nathaniel Cushing, Jr.
David Garnet.
Thomas Farr (Carr.)
Othnicl Ford.
Abel Keen.
Nehemiah Sylvester.
Luke Bishop.

Gideon Bisbee.
Edward Randall.
Autos Daoiuion.
Thomas Stetson.
Anthony Ames.
Jonathan Bishop.
Joshua Spraguo.
Thomas Athcrton.
Thomas Bryant.
John Leavitt.
Joshua Howeth.
John Record.
James Hanks.
William Pierce.
Abner Bisbee.
Hnbijah Leavitt.
Sylvester Prince.
Samuel Bennet.
Elijah Cushing.
Joseph Stetson.
Thomas G lover.
Nathaniel Stetson.
Jacob Bonney.
Simeon Tubbs.
Manuel Quimberry.
Johu Russell.
Isaac Jennings.
Bezaleel Palmer.
Jeremiah Dillingham.
Francis Keen, Jr.
Daniel Crooker, Jr.
Ebenezer Cain.

Revolutionary War. — It is a matter of history
that Pembroke was the first town in the colonies
that publicly rebelled against the British crown.

In 1740, the town protested against the efforts of
the prince to suppress the emission of bills of public
credit, which had become depreciated on account of
the large export of silver.

The following is a brief extract :

" Thence was the rise of his Majesty's strung and repeated
instructions to his governor here (our constitution notwith-
standing), to forbid his consenting to any more bills of credit
without a suspending clause even for the necessary charge of
the government, or the defence or protection thereof.

"To which is owing tho woful and dangerous condition we
now are in as to tho present situation of our public affair in
case of a French war notoriously obvious.

" Which instructions from the Crown are, we presume, a
manifest infraction on our charter rights and privileges, as well
as that of our invaluable uational constitution, so long enjoyed
as well as so dearly obtained, whereby the people have a right
of thinking and judging lor themselves as well as the Prince.

'• And tho representative shall bo directed at all times strictly
to adhere to the charter rights and privileges which we are
under, as also that of our English rights, liberties, and consti-
tution, any royal instruction from his Majesty to the contrary

This was a. gleam of that spirit of patriotism
which, in 1775, threw off the oppressive yoke of
tyranny, and declared all men born free and equal.

Instructions voted to their representative respect-
ing the Stamp Act, Oct. 21, 1765, were as follows :

" To Josiau Keen, Esq., at Peuukoke.

"The freeholders and other Inhabitants in town mectin"
assembled, considering the distress that will be brought upon
us by the Stamp Act if it should take place, we think said act
intolerable in its consequences, and impossible to be carried into
execution without ye utter ruin of the Province, and yet there
is greato danger that it may in time dissolve the commerce con-
nections and friendship now subsisting between Great Britain
and her Colonies. We also judge it best to withstand the evil
in the beginning, lest after ye chains are once fastened upon us
we should find no remedy till we be worn out entirely and ut-
terly consumed. We have therefore thought proper and do by
our unanimous vote give you the following inMructions, viz.:
that you give your careful and constant attendance at the next
assembly throughout their approaching session, and as occasion
may offer firmly oppose said act not to concur to any measures
that may have the least appearance of giving it any counte-
nance directly or indirectly; that you use your uttermost skill
and wisdom in concert with ye other worthy members of the
assembly to postpone tho introduction of said act until the
united cries of the whole Continent may have reached the ears
of our most gracious king and the Parliament of Great Britain,
and shall obtain from them who wish neither the death nor the
loss of their Colonies an auswer of peace. We further require
of you, not to give your assent or consent to the embezzling of
any of ye public moneys on any occasion whatsoever, or to ac-
cept of any internal tax laid on the Province without their own
consent, and that then our instructions be put into ye public

" At a meeting of the freeholders and other in-
habitants of the town of Pembroke, duly warned aud
assembled according to law, the 28th of December,
1772, after reading a pamphlet received from the
town clerk of Boston, directed to our selectmen by
order of said town, and by a vote approving the statu
of rights of the colonists and of this province iu
particular, the lists of the infringements aud viola-
tions of these rights, and the letter of correspondence
contained in said pamphlet, the following resolves
were agreed upon nemine contradicente :

" Resolved, That this Province and this town as part of it
hath a right whenever they think it necessary to give their
sense of public measures, and if judged to be unconstitutional
aud oppressive to declare it freely, and remonstrate or petition
as they may deem best.

" Resolved, That it is peculiarly necessary iu the present
alarming crisis of our affairs to givo our opinion, and cause it
to be known that not a few men only of factious spirit, as has
been falsely represented, but the whole body of the people
complain and are uneasy.

"Resolved, That although tho British Parliament is the
grand legislative of the nation, yet according to the original
compact solemnly eutcred into between the king of England
aud our ancestors at their first coming into this country and
the present royal charter, no legislative authority can bo exer-
cised in or over this Province but that of the Great and General
Court or Assembly, consisting of the king or his representative,
his Majesty's Council, and the House of Rcprcscutatives.

" Resolved, That acts of the British Parliament made for and



executed within the limits of this Province are, in our opinion,
against law and the most essential principles of our constitu-

" Revolted, That the attacks that have of late years in this

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 55 of 118)