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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246, 247.) The steppiug-stones mentioned secondly,
were some distance down the river from the wading-
place, probably as far as the wharf by the fish-yard,
for if they had been much farther up the river, then
it would have been necessary to have crossed the
mouth of Stony Brook also, in order to have reached
Mr. Tracy's house ; but, as a bridge was afterwards
built near that place, it is reasonable to suppose that
the way for foot-travelers by the stepping-stones was
near the point we have located it. From information
received it appears that the first ferry was nearly at
the mouth of the river, and a direct path to the house
of Mr. Tracy would not vary very much in distance
from the other ways. Au extract from the records
relating to the ferry may be of interest :

"TUo vij" 1 of July, 163S. George Moore eouenanted w"> the
Gou A Assistants (tbat vpon condicon lieo may baue Lis xxv
acres of land confirmed vnto him) to kcepe a sufficient cannow
or ferry to carry passengers ouer at Joaucs Riuer for the space
of two yearcs, if need require 30 long, and to have a penny a
inau for transportacou, and to make causes 1 on both sides,
that passengers may be transported at all tyuies of the tyde."

1 Causeways.

The first bridge over the river was built in 163U,
and was probably at the place first mentioned, but in
a few years another one was erected just below the
wharf at the fish-yard. The records do not specify
the different bridges, yet the fact that there were two,
accounts for the frequency of repairs which seemed
necessary betweeu the years 1648 and 1667.

March 4, 163S/9. " Whereas, there is a bridg to be erected
ouer Jones Riuer, w ch should baue bcenc only for burse and
man to passe, vpon due consideracon, fynding tbat the charges
will not be much more to inako y' passable for a cart, it is re-
solued to make it passable for a cart to go ouer."

29th May, 1643. " It is agreed upon that Russell shall

have £4— 10«, to make the Causeway on the Marsh to Jones
River Bridge, and to have \ C. of Bread for the present, and
the said sum to be levyod upon the Town in Corn at harvest
next. Those tbat agreed to provide the said bread :
Mr. Prence, 14 lb. ]

Mr. Hanbury, 14 lb. I And for the otber 7 lb " mea " s muit
John Brown, 14 lb. \ be uaed t0 P rocurc II ' 1>roviucJ that II
Mr. Paddy, 7 lb. j be in part of payment."

1C47/8, March 7. "The bridge at Joanscs Riuer being dan-
gerus to pase over it, both for man and boast, the Court hauc
ordered y' Captaine Myella Standish, Treasurer, doe see the said
bridge repaired forthwith."

1652, June 29. " Tho Court baue appointed Captaine Standish
to take souio speedy course with som workmen to mend the bridge
att Joanes Riuer, and if workmen will not bee procured to uurke
at it willingly, hee hatb power heerby to presse men to work

1652, Oct. 5. By the grand jury, "We present the town-
shippsof Plymouth and Duxborrow for not repairing of Juanaes
River bridge."

1665, Oct. 3. "Coraett Studson and William Paybody are
appointed and requested by the Court to have tbe oueraight of
the worke in the rebuilding of the bridge att Joanes Riuer, in-
tended and ordered to bee done by tho countrey."

1683, June 17. "The town likewise engaged to allow three
pounds, silver money, for and towards the building of a bridge
over Jones River, for the use and conveniency of the neighbor-
hood, which bridge shall bo for horse and foot."

In 1684 the King's Highway was laid out, and its
course, after leaving the present bounds of Plymouth,
was as follows: Along the old road to Mr. Crowe's
land, passing by the land of John Gray; along the
old road (leaving William Shurtley's house on the
east) to Smelt Brook ; thence through Samuel Ful-
ler's, Isaac Cushman's, and Elder Cushmau's land to
the end of the causeway of Jones River bridge,
bounded with a rock on the west side ; " and the way
to Bridgcwater to run up from the old road betwixt
Elder Thomas Cushman's and Elkauah Cushman's
tree, marked at the old road that goes to Jones
River." As the King's Highway appears to be the
first road laid out to the lower bridge, it is to be sup-
posed that that bridge was only for foot-travelers pre-
vious to that time. In 1695 the questiou of turning
the road to its present location over the river was first
agitated, but no decisive action on the subject was



taken for twelve years, when, in 1707, it was voted
'• that it is a great burden and charge to maintain
two bridges over Jones' Itiver, when one might an-
swer ; that application be made to the County Court
and to the Court of Barnstable that a bridge might
be built higher up the river."

1703. This year the highway over the river was
changed to its present way, though it does not appear
upon the records that any bridge was immediately
built there ; and if any, it probably was only for trav-
elers on foot, as in 1715 " it was proposed to build a
cart-bridge over Jones's River, near Jacob Cook's.
Maj. John Bradford proposed to give towards the
building said bridge what stone were on his land, and
set his hand thereto. Jacob Cook likewise offered
that those that did the said work should have the
stones they could get off his land, in case they would
take as many loads of cobbling-stones as of binding-
stones for said work. Jacob Mitchell also made the
same offer. The town voted to build a cart-bridge
over the said river, and chose agents to have the
work executed." The sum appropriated, May 9,
1715, for this bridge was eighty pounds. In 1709
the lower bridge was burned, or partly burned, by an
incendiary, as it was supposed. While the officers of
the law were endeavoring to detect the person, a wag
reported to them that he saw a man going to the
bridge with a live coal in his hand ; but being pressed
for further information, at last revealed the secret by
telling them it was only a certain geutlcmau walking
hand in hand with a young lady whose name was
Cole. The new highway, laid out in 1708, followed
very nearly the Bridgewater road as it crossed the
river, alter it had crossed the lands of Eleazar and
Elkanah Cushman, " and so along B''" 8 Road to the
sd. Jones River, and over sd. river alongside sd. road
to 2 cedar posts marked in Jacob Cooke's fence, . . .
and along said Bridgewater road to a path which
crosses Maj. Bradford's land and leads to Stony
Brook." This point last mentioned was probably
near the place where li Mutton Lane" intersects the
main road, for the old Bridgewater road crossed the
burying-ground diagonally from a point near the front
of the town hall. From that path the road was laid
out as it now passes down the hill through the vil-
lage of Stony Brook, and was afterwards called the
Boston road. The court ordered at the same time
that the old bridge near by this new road should be
taken down, as it had become dangerous for travel.

The first bridge over Stony Brook was built at
this same time. " The town voted that there should
be a bridge over Stouey Brook, and y' way through
the brook cleared, and a bridge over sd. brook of

about three logs breadth." Seven years after, a more
substantial bridge was built there, as, Sept. 3, 1710,
"The Town voated to allow Maj. John Bradford sis
pounds towards the building a bridg over Stoney
Brook, provided he build it with stone, s J bridg to be
Twelve feet wide, three feet high in the middle, and
soe upon a strait to y e upland on each side, laid with
good stones, well laid to y" acceptance of the Select-
men. The Arch in y e middle to be Eight lot wide,
laid with oak peices Good and Strong, well graveled,
& left in Good repaire at 7 years' end after this

In the early times there was a road from Stony
Brook towards Bridgewater across the corner of Ever-
green Cemetery. The highway lately laid uut from
the railroad depot follows in nearly the same track
until it readies the cemetery. As it has already been
shown that the Massachusetts path went from some
point near the present railroad crossing to Stephen
Tracy's, it is very probable that the road to Bridge-
water just mentioned intersected the path at Stony
Brook, which would have made a most direct route
from Duxbury to Bridgewater. Several persous from
time to time had special ways to their premises grauted
them, and one case is here noticed: March ti, 1095.
"Leave was granted to Caleb Cook and John Gray to
fence their lands at Rockcnook down to low water-
mark upon condition that Joseph Ilowlaud may have
free passage through their lands out of Rockeuook up
to the Highway." This was probably the present
way to the wharf there.

Soon after the year 1700 a desire began to be mani-
fested by the people in the vicinity of Jones River
for a withdrawal from the old town and the forma-
tion of a separate township for themselves. Ninety-
six years had passed since the settlement at Plymouth
before their first request was made for a separation,
aud it was not until nine years after that time that
their wishes were fully granted, aud the town of
Kingston incorporated.

Formation of Jones River Parish and the sub-
sequent Incorporation of the Town of Kingston,
with, the Causes thereof. — In the year 1717, forty-
one inhabitants of the north part of Plymouth, with
others from Plympton and Pembroke, desired to be set
off as a township or precinct, aud they seut the fol-
lowing petition to the General Court at Boston :

" To Hi» Excellency, Samuel Shute, Emj., Cujil. General and
Governor in Chief in and over hi* Mujeaty'* l*rovittce of the
Mauaachunettn Buy, djc. The Council and Jlrjtreneututiven III
General Court anvetubled :

" The petition of the North Inhabitants of the town of Plym-
outh, nsar Jones' River, and of the Northeast part of l'lyuip-
ton, near the aforesaid river, & of some of the Inhabitants of



the Southeast end of Pembrook Humbly Sbeweth : That it is a
great Burthen your poor petitioners labor under by reason of
the great distance we live from the eenterof the towns to which
we respectively belong, the great difficulty of attending all
public worship, and especially the public worship of God, which
dillieuHy wc have for a long time cheerfully labored under till
we should increase to such nuutbers and capacities as to be able
to support the public worship of God amongst us, in some place
where it shall be most for our general accommodation which we
having considered, «fc upou computation hud that about forty
and eight families will be nearer meeting than now we are.
For now many of us live six or seveu miles from meeting and
the most of us above four miles, and then there will be very few
above two miles from the meeting-bouse. We have likewise
suitable accommodations for many more inhabitants, which we
believe would bo soon improved if we had tbo public worship
established amongst us, and we made into a township or pre-
cinct. Our petition, therefore, to the Great and General Assem-
bly is that all within the bounds hereafter mentioned may be
made into a township, viz. : [The bounds will not be given here,
as they will appear substantially the same in another place.]
Which this our reasonable petition tendeth ao much to promote
the public worship and the good of this place, we doubt not but
you will see cause to allow and grant.

Israel Bradford.
Hezekiah Bradford.
John Bryant.
Francis Cook.
Ebenezer Eaton.
John Washburn.
John Everson.
David Bradford.
Jacob Mitchell.
Robert Cook.
Jouathan Bryunt.
Wrestling Brewster.
Perez Bradford.
Epbraim Bradford.
Isaac Holmes.
William Bradford.
Elisba Stetson.
Jacob Cook.
Peter West.
Elisha Bradford.
Charles Little.

Samuel Fuller.
Elisha West.
Judah Hall.
Jacob Cook, Jr.
Caleb Stetson.
Elenzer Cushman.
Robert Cushman.
Benjamin Bryant.
Peter Hunt.
William Cook.
John Gray.
John Cushman.
Joseph Holmes.
Benjamin Eaton.
Richard Everson.
John Bradford.
John Bradford, Jr.
Joseph Sturtevant.
Elaatbau Fish.
Gcrshoin Bradford."

The first petition for a separation was to the town
itself, March 15, 1717, but it was not granted, and
November 4th, Nathaniel Thomas, Esq., and Maj.
Isaac Lothrop were selected as agents to make answer
to the petition that had been sent to the Geueral

In the General Court, May 29, 1717, it was or-
dered that " Capt. Henry Hodges, Col. William
Bassett, and Capt. William Southworth be a commit-
tee to go upon the place, view and consider the situ-
ation and circumstances of the petitioners aud the
tract of land which they desire should be made a
township or precinct, and report their opinion to this
Court whether it be reasonable the prayers of the
petitioners should be granted, the charges of the
committee to be borne by the petitioners." This

committee performed the duty assigned them, and
September 7th reported that they were " of opinion,
for divers weighty reasons given to us, that it may be
best for the petitioners that the said tract of laud be
made a township, if the Great and General Court
shall see cause to grant the same."

The General Court, after a full hearing upon the
question, passed an act, November, 1717, setting off
the north part of Plymouth, with portions of die
other towns before mentioned, as a precinct or parish.

"In Council, upon a full hearing before the whole Court
upon the petition of several of the inhabitants of Plymouth,
Plyiupton, and Pembroke, Ordered, tbat the petitioners be
set off a precinct according to the bounds mentiuned in the
committee's report, and upon their providing and maintaining
an Orthodox minister, a public reading- and a writing-school
within their precinct, that they may be free from any charge
to the ministry and schools in their respective towns.
" Sent down for concurrence.
" In the House of Representatives.
" Read and Concurred.
" Consented to. Saml. Siiute.

" A true copy Examined.

"J. WiLHItD, Sec'y."

As the act provided that they should maintain a
minister, the people of the new parish soon began to
make the necessary arrangements for the building of
a meeting-house and the settling of a minister. The
first business meeting on record was on Dec. 5, 1717,
when it was voted " y l our Meeting-House should
stand on the left hand of the way that leads to y'
landing-place near the corner of Jacob Mitchell's
field." Voted " that it be forty-three feet in length,
thirty-six in width, and twenty feet between joiuts."
Maj. John Bradford, Peter West, and Charles Little
were chosen agents to build the meeting-house.
March 14, 1718. The same gentlemen last named
were chosen agents to provide a minister as soon as
the meeting-house was ready. Nov. 21, 1718.
Voted to give Mr. Paine three pounds money for
two days' preaching. The same agents, chosen
March 14th, were requested to agree with Mr. Paine
to preach some longer time. Jan. 12, 1719. Voted
to raise eighty pounds to pay a minister. Charles
Little and Peter West were chosen a committee to
order who shall have pews in the precinct meeting-
house, aud where they shall be. Isaac Holmes was
to have " twenty shillings for sweeping, opeuiug and
shutting of the doors and casements of the nieetin" -
house for one year. Feb. 17, 1719. Voted " to
give Mr. Thomas Paine a call to the work of the
ministry in said Precinct, having had experience of
his qualities for said work." Why Mr. Paine was
not settled does not appear upon the records, but he
afterwards went to Weymouth, where he died in 1737.



Nothing more concerning the ministry appears until
the following year, when it is recorded that " Mr. Jo-
seph Stacie began to preach July 26, 1720." August
15th it was voted to give Mr. Stacy eighty pounds a
year, and also one hundred pounds settlement. The
committee on the pews in the meeting-house decided
that there shall be thirteen pews below the galleries
besides the pew already built for the minister's wife.
The location of all these pews is given in the records,
and a few will be described here: Maj. John Brad-
ford's was next to the pulpit stairs ; Charles Little's
was next to street door on the right, and Elisha Brad-
ford's on the left " as you go in." Benjamin Eaton's
was " between minister's stairs and west door," aud
Peter West's was in the gallery, " in the front, next
to the stairs, behind the women." Rev. Mr. Stacy
was ordained Nov. 2, 1720. Liberty was given Wil-
liam Cooke " to build a casement or window in his
pew in y" meeting-house, so as not to incommode the
meeting-house." Josiah Cooke, Bobert Cushman,
Jr., and Cornelius Drew were allowed to have a pew
in the side gallery March 22, 1725. Only a little
more than seven years passed after the formation of
the parish when the residents there began to agitate
the question of an entire separation from the old
town, and at a precinct meeting held at the time last
named, it was voted " to draw off and become a pre-
cinct school, and that a suitable mistress be engaged
to learn the children to read and write," and also to
draw off and become a township, and to effect the
same, chose Joseph Holmes, Eleazer Ring, aud Ben-
jamin Eaton to act in behalf of said preciuct in that
affair." There were probably several reasons why the
people desired an entire separation, yet it has been
the testimony of aged people that the chief cause of
dissatisfaction was the action of the town in regard to
the schools. If there were other serious reasons of
complaint the records are silent upon the subject, aud
show no other cause of trouble than that to which
reference has been made. We will now go back
thirty years previous to the time of which we are
writing, and bring to light what little there is recorded
concerning schools.

In 1696 the north part of Plymouth had the
schoolmaster the fourth quarter, as the record states
he shall " remove no farther southward in said towne
for settlement to keepe scool than John Gray's."
1714, June 7. " At a Towne Meeting it was voated
to allow 20 pounds to the North end of y e town to
build a school house soraewhare ueere Jacob Cook's."
Shortly after this Maj. Bradford gave a lot of land
for this first school-house, as will be seen by the fol-
lowing deed, which is copied iu full from the Registry

of Deeds, vol. xi. page 30. This lot was situated just
westerly from the grounds of the late Capt. James
Sever, and a school-house which stood on the same
land is now well remembered by many persons, as it
was not removed until 1826 :

" To all To whome These Prenants shall Coute : Major John
Bradford, of Plyui 1 ", In tho County of I'lyai" 1 , in Now England,
Sendcth Greeting: Knuw yoe, that Whereas There hath bine
something done by the Inhabitants of about Jones Uiver, In
Plyin^, aforesaid, Towards y c Erecting or Building a Seoul-
house for tho Incouiugement of Learning A; Convenianey of
Endicating Their children. Know yee, that for and yu further
promoting & Eneourageing y« same. Have Givcu, Granted,
aliened, made over, A Confirmed, &. by thcae presants for my-
self, my heirs, Excu™, & Adins, do fully and freely Give, Grant,
alienate, make over & Conlirm unto y 1 above sd. Inhabitants
or Neighbourhood, their heirs and assigns forever, a Certain
peice of Lund near Jones' River, aforesd, on y° Northwest side
of y e Land and way, which I lately sold to Charles Little by y a
Country Road, To erect and sett y e ad. scool-house upon ; To
Have aud To Hold y e sd. peice of Land for the use aforesd To
y e sd Inhabitants *fc Neighbourhood aforesd so long as they, y e sd
Inhabitants, shall keep and maintain a seool-huuse on sd. Land
A Pecibly To Enjoy y e same during y e Term Last Mentioned
without any Lett, Uinderance, or Molestation from myself or any
other, from, by, or under me, or any pson or psoos Whatsoever.
In witness whereof, I, y e sd John Bradford, have hereunto sett
my band Jt seal, this 28 th day July, one Thousand Seven Hun-
dred .t fourteen, 171 1.

"Joiix Braufoiid [si;al]
"Signed, Sealed, i. DD™
" In PrcsanU of

" Benjamin Southworth,

" Joseph Chandler."

For five years (from 1716 to 1721) the north part
of the town had a school for a certain portiou of each
year, but in the latter year it was voted to have but
one school in the town, and that "shold be a gram-
mar school." During the years 1722, 1723, 1724, a
school was agaiu allowed them. Ou the 15th of Feb-
ruary, 1725, there was a very exciting town-meeting
held, and a long debate about schools, " aud there
being a great assembly, it was something difficult to
distinguish the voate by holding up the hand, aud it
was therefore ordered by the moderator that the as-
sembly should withdraw out of ye house, & then to
come in & pass by the Clark, & declare whether they
were for one or three schools ; and it was voated by
a majority of voates that there should be one school ;
and there being a great tumult in the meeting, and
the people difficult to be stilled, the moderator there-
fore adjourned the present meeting to the first day of
March next." March 1,1725. " And then the Town
proceeded to manage the affair about the school."
After a plan had been adopted for the school iu the
centre of the town, it was voted " that each end of the
town, who for some years past had a woman's school
among them, be allowed to deduct out of the Town's



Treasury what they are annually rated or taxed for
the grammar school, and no more towards the main-
taining a school among themselves, provided they see
cause to keep one."

The result of this meeting seemed to determine the
future action of the parish, for on the 22d of same
month, as before stated, they voted to withdraw from
the town, and May 31st they voted to petition the
General Court to become a township, and for " our
part of y e money which the mile and half land was
sold for." For more than a year after this the matter
was urged and opposed by the different parties inter-
ested, and iu the mean time, Sept. t>, 1725, it was voted
at a precinct meeting "to raise tweuty pounds money
to defray the charge of the school iu said precinct."

Jan. 7, 1726. Johu Gray, Robert Cushman, and
William Cooke were chosen agents "to acquaint the
respective towns from wheuce we derived of our de-
sire to run the line betweene y m aud us, and to pre-
fix y e day and to as&ist in sd. business till it should be
accomplished. In addition to the committee or agents
of y c precinct is added Maj. John Bradford, Mr.
Jacob Mitchell, and Mr. Thomas Croad to assist in
y* busiuess of meeting y e committee which is to come
from Boston to view the state of y e precinct in order
to become a township." Thirty pounds were appro-
priated for defraying the expenses of the committee,
and Mr. Samuel Foster was to "provide for them aud
keep them."

March 25, 1726. At this the last precinct meet-
ing it was voted to give Rev. Mr. Stacy ninety pounds
salary, also " that there shall be a moving Readiug
and Writing school iu the precinct for y e year ensu-
ing, which shall be kept eight mouths on the North-
ward side of the meeting-house, viz.: three months at
the school-house on the North side of Jones River, and
two months at the house of Israel Bradford, and three
months Smelt Brook, and four months y* part
Westerly of the meeting-house, viz. : two mouths at
Joseph Holmes and two mouths at Robert Cooke's."
Mr. Gershom Bradford was chosen to go to Boston at
the May Sessions, " to do what may further be done
relating to y e precinct's petition to y e Honorable Gen'l
Court iu order to be a township."

" In Council June 2, 172G. — Ordered : That the bounds of the
North precinct of Plymouth, intended to be erected into a town-
ship by the name of Kingstone, shall be us followeth, that is to
say : beginning at a heap of stones above the highway, being
the bounds between the lands of Juhn Sturtcvant, and the land
wine I j did belong to Joseph Sturtevant, deceased, and thence
the line between the two precincts in Plymouth to ruu North
forty-five degrees and a half Easterly down to the Salt Bay ,
and from thence on the same course into Duxborough town line ;
and thence from the first-mentioned heap of stones South ubout
forty-five degrees and a half westerly up into the woods unto a

great remarkable rock, commonly called Nick's Rock, by the
southeast side of a cartway ; and from thence on the same
cuurso 1-14 rods to a stone set in the ground and other stones
laid about it by the Northwest side of the said cartway; und
from thence south fifty-seven degrees Westerly unto two red-

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 59 of 118)