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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Fall River, at a place still called " Indian Town."
Their daughter, Hope Quam, acquired some educa-
tion, so that she was enabled to teach a school, prob-
ably composed of colored children.

Mary, another daughter of Benjamin Tuspaquin
and wife, Weecum, married an Indian named Isaac

At the survey and division of the Indian reserva-
tion in South Freetown, now East Fall River, which

survey and division was made in or about the year
1707, Isaac Sissel received for his share what was de-
nominated the twentieth lot, then said to contain six
acres, one hundred and twenty-eight rods. A second
survey of that Indian reservation was made in 1764,
when this twentieth lot was reported to have been in
possession of Mercy and Mary, daughters of Isaac

At the date of the second survey the nineteenth
lot in this Indian reservation was reported to belong
to Esther Sampson and Sarah Squiu, who are therein
called the grandchildren of Benjamin Squamnaway,
who was doubtless identical with Benjamin Tuspaquin.

Benjamin Tuspaquin and wife, Weecum, had a
son, Benjamin, who married an Indian woman named
Mercy Felix. This Mercy Felix was a daughter of
an Indian named Felix, who fought for the Euglish
in King Philip's war, and born of his wife, Assowe-
tough, a daughter of John Sassamon aud grand-
daughter of Sassacus, chief of the Pequot tribe of
Indiaus, once living in what is now the State of Con-
necticut. This Assowetough received from the Eng-
lish the Christian name of Betty, from which circum-
stance the lands formerly owued by her are commonly
called and familiarly known as " Betty's Neck" to this

In consideration of the fact that John Sassamon
had lost his life as a result of attempting to befriend
the English, together with the circumstance that the
Indian, Felix, son-in-law to John Sassamou, had taken
up arms for the Euglish in King Philip's war, the
government of Plymouth Colony, in 1679, enacted
" that all such lands as were formerly John Sassa-
mon's, in our Collonie, shal be settled on Felix, his

Let it be observed that John Sassamon had, in the
year 1673, received from the sub-chief, Tuspaquin,
aud William, his son, the deed of twenty-seven acres
of land, which land Sassamon conveyed to his son-in-
law, Felix ; and under date of March 11, 1673, Tus-
paquin and son, William, conveyed to Felix by deed
fifty-eight and one-half acres of land ; and under date
of Dec. 23, 1673, Tuspaquin and his son, William,
with the consent of all the chief men of Assawonisett,
conveyed by deed of gift to Assowetough, the daugh-
ter of Johu Sassamon, and wife of Felix, a neck of
land called Nahteanamet ; and this neck of land in
1679 came to be possessed by the Indian, Felix, as
the husband of Assowetough ; and Felix's death oc-
curring in or before 1696, caused the same to fall to
Assowetough, who conveyed that neck of laud in a
writing that found a place upon the public records of
Plymouth County, and in words following :



" I, the above-named Assowetough, alitin Betty, do freely
will, give, und bequeath the above-said Tract of land unto mv
Daughter, Mercy, to lier heirs for ever. Witness my hand this
1-ltti day of May, 1696.

" The X mark of


Benjamin Tuspaquin and wife, Mercy Felix, had a
daughter, Lydia, born at what is still known as Betty's
Neck, then in Middleboro', now in Lakeville. Lydia
is represented as possessing great resolution and sin-
gular decision of character. Her mother dying while
she was yet a child, her care for a time devolved
upon her grandfather, Benjamin Tuspaquin, but she
ere long went to live with some friends who resided
at Petersham, Mass.

One night while living at Petersham tradition saith
that a bear came and seized upon a small pig, and
would probably have succeeded in carrying away the
pig had not the Indian girl, Lydia, resolutely rushed
out of the house into the outer darkness, musket in
hand, shot the bear, and thus saved the pig.

Lydia claimed great skill in the healing art, and it
was while she was in the act of gathering herbs for
medicinal purposes that she accidentally fell from a
high bank into the Assawomsett Pond, where she
was drowned.

Her death occurred in July, 1812. She was the
wife of an Indian named Wamsley, and gave birth to
five children, namely, Zerviah, Paul, Phebe, Jane,
and Benjamin. Zerviah married, Dec. 4, 1791, a
Gay Head Indian named James Johnson. Zerviah
died in July, 1816. Paul married an Indian woman
named Phebe Jeffries.

Phebe Wamsley was born Feb. 26, 1770, and mar-
ried twice. Her first husband was a Marshpee In-
dian named Silas Rosier, who served as a private soldier
in the patriot army of the Revolution. He died at
sea, and she married, March 4, 1797, Brister Gould,
who had served as a teamster in the patriot army of
the American Revolution. He was drowned in East
Weymouth, Mass., Aug. 28, 1823. She died Aug.
16, 1839. Jane Wamsley was born in or near the
year 1771, and died when about twenty-three years
of age. She was buried in the Indian cemetery on
the bank of Little Quiticus Pond, near the old stage-
road leading from Lakeville to Rochester. Benjamin
Wamsley was born in or about 1773, and died at sea,
April 22, 1799. A gravestone bearing an inscription
marks the resting-place of the ashes of Jane Wamsley,
although the person erecting the same seems to have
chosen to confer upon her the maiden instead of the
married name of her mother. That tombstone bears
the following inscription :

"To the Memory of Jean Squoen who died Apr 13th 1794 in
the 23d year of her age. Also of Benjamin who died at sea
Apr 22nd 1790 in hia 26th year, children of Lydia Squeen a

" When Earth was made and time began
Death was decreed the fate of man."

Another tombstone in this cemetery bears the fol-
lowing :

"To the Memory of Lidia Squeen who died in 1S11 age 72."
[This was doubtless Lydia Tuspaquin, who married a Wamsley,
and was accidentally drowned in Assawamaett Pund some time
in July, 1812; and if so, then the date upon the tombstone is a
mistake. This couplet also appears upon the tombstone of
Lydia Squeen :]

" In God the poor and heiplcss find
A Judge most just, a parent kiud."

Phebe Wamsley, by her first husband, Silas Rosier,
had a son, Martin, born in June, 1792, and died in
July, 1792. She also had a son, John, born Sept.
15, 1793. He married an Indian woman named
Jane Wamsley, who was his cousin. John served as
a sailor on board the United States frigate " Mace-
donia." He finally took up his residence at Betty's
Neck, then in Middleboro', now in Lakeville. He
was drowned in the Assawomsett Pond in the month
of February, 1851. Phebe Wamsley, by second
husband, Brister Gould, had a daughter, Betsey, born
Nov. 26, 1797 ; married Aug. 7, 1816, James Hill,
of Boston. Betsey died in Boston, April 16, 1824.
Phebe Wamsley and second husband, Brister Gould,
had a daughter, Lydia, born June 12, 1799 ; married
Nov. 12, 1819, a Portuguese, named Antonio D.
Julio. She died April 22, 1855.

The next child of Phebe Wamsley and second
husband, Brister Gould, was Jane S.,born March 12,
1801 ; married July 14, 1821, John Williams. She
died in New Orleaus, May 27, 1844.

Phebe Wamsley, by second husband, Bristol- Gould,
had a daughter, Ruby, born May 30, 1803; married
Dec. 22, 1824, Benjamin Hall, of Philadelphia.

The next child by Mr. Gould and wife Phebe
was Melinda, born April 23, 1805, and died June 16,

Zerviah was the next child of Brister Gould and
wife Phebe, and Zerviah was horn July 24, 1807 ;
married Oct. 17, 1824, Thomas C. Mitchell.

He died in East Fall River, at a place called
Indian Town, March 22, 1859.

Zerviah, the widow, is now living upon lands at
Betty's Neck, so called in Lakeville, which have, by
heirship, descended to her through the several suc-
ceeding generations from Tuspaquin, the sub-chief of
the Assawomsett and Nemasket Indians, and who in
early history is culled the Black Sachem.



The youngest child of Brister Gould and wife !
Phebe was Benjamin S., born Oct. 31, 1809; he I
never married, and was lost at sea.

Mrs. Zerviah G. Mitchell (now residing upon and '
possessing some of the lauds of that neck which, in j
the Indian language, was called Nahteawamet, but
for more than two centuries known as Betty's Neck), I
published in 187S, in book-form, au " Indian History,
Biography, and Genealogy Pertaining to the Good i
Sachem Massassoit, of the Wuinpanoag Tribe, and his



The ancient and time-honored township of Mid-
dleboro' was for many years in territory the largest
in the State of Massachusetts, and thus continued
until the detachment of quite a large tract of country
in the western part of that town in 1853, the tract
detached having constituted a part of Middleboro'
nearly two eutire centuries, but at the date named
was incorporated as a new and distinct town, and
called Lakeville. That part of original Middleboro'
now Lakeville appears to have embraced a large,
if not, indeed, much the larger, part of the pareut
town, last settled upon by persons of European ex-
traction or descent, and hence full forty years passed
after the date of the incorporation of Middleboro'
as a town before the Assawomset and Beech Woods
portions of said town (now constituting a large part
of Lakeville) came to be occupied or settled upon by
white people of sufficient mark or iufluence in the
world to cause their names or items of interest in
their lives to be preserved for the consideration of
the present generation.

Although Middleboro' had a sufficient number of
white inhabitants to obtain the act of incorporation
as a town in 1669, we may, in our mind's eye, go
forward full forty years, during which time nearly all
that portion of the town now Lakeville reuiaiucd a
dark, howling wilderness, only occupied by wild beasts,
ravenous birds, and savage men.

It is not until 1709 that we can locate a pioneer
settler of European descent in the Beech Woods por-
tion of what was Middleboro', now Lakeville, and
eight years later, viz., 1717, that the first white man
settled upon the Assawomset Neck ; Isaac Peirce,
with his sons, Isaac and Thomas Peirce, and Benja-
min Boothe, beiug the Dauiel Boones of the Beech i

Woods section, and Thomas Nelson iu that of Assa-
womset Neck.

Isaac Peirce, Sr., was the younger son of Abraham
Peirce, who emigrated to America and settled at Ply-
mouth in 1623. Abraham, the parent, died in or a
little before 1673, leaving a large landed estate, lying
principally in what is now Pembroke or Hanson.
Isaac, the son, was a soldier in King Philip's war,
and for his sufferings therein secured a land giant.
He died in Middleboro', now Lakeville, Feb. 28,
1732, being between seventy and eighty years of age.
Isaac Peirce, Jr., was a Quaker. He was united iu
marriage, in or about 1703, with Judeth, a daughter
of John Boothe, of Scituate, Mass. She was the
fourth daughter and eighth child of John Boothe,
and born March 13, 1680; died May 4, 1733.
Isaac Peirce, Jr., contracted a second marriage, with
the widow Abigail Chase, whose maiden name was
Sherman. Isaac Peirce, Jr., died Jan. 17, 1757.
The last will and testament of Isaac Peirce, Jr., was
made in 1756, and, among numerous other bequests,
provided that the wife, Abigail, should have one-
third of his homestead farm, one-third of his house-
hold goods, one riding horse, one side-saddle, six silver
spoous, and fifteen dollars in money. That will also
provided for the emancipation of the negro slave Jack.

Thomas Peirce was a Baptist, and his name ap-
peal's among those who, as early as 1737, applied for
the privileges that the law then extended to that per-
secuted sect. Thomas Peirce and Naomi Boothe, of
Middleboro', were united in marriage April 16, 1714.
Benjamin Boothe was the third son and fourth child
of John Boothe, of Scituate, Mass., and born July
4, 1667. On the 23d of January, 1709, Benjamin
Boothe and his brother-in-law, Isaac Peirce, Jr., pur-
chased quite an extensive tract of land then lying in
Taunton and Middleboro', but now in Berkeley and
Lakeville. Another of the early comers to the Beech
Woods part of Middleboro' (now Lakeville) was Re-
becca, a daughter of Isaac Peirce, Sr., aud sister to
Isaac, Jr., and Thomas Peirce. Rebecca became the
wife of Samuel Hoar, and mother of most, if uot all,
the family of that name in Lakeville. Samuel Hoar
died Feb. 13, 1746. Rebecca, the wife, died July
12, 1765.

Thomas Nelson, the pioneer white settler upon
Assawomset Neck, was a native of Middleboro', where
he was born June 6, 1675, and before the close of
that month every white inhabitant of the town was
forced to flee to Plymouth as a place of refuge from
the Indians, it being the commencement of that
mighty conflict between races called King Philip's
war. Thomas Nelson is said to have been the first



or earliest person at Middleboro' who openly embraced
the religious teuets of the Baptists, aud as there ex-
isted in Middleboro' no Baptist Church during his
lifetime he became a member of the Baptist Church
in Swansea, where he remained until near his death,
when dismissed to join a Baptist Church in Rehoboth,
where he continued in full fellowship until his death,
which occurred March 28, 1755.

Thomas Nelson purchased lands upon Assawomset
Neck in 1714, but he did not remove there with his
family and settle thereon until 1717, or three years
later. The farm of Thomas Nelson, upon Assawom-
set Neck, was bounded upon one end by the Long
Pond, and by the Assawomset Pond on the other, and
both sides by lands then owned and occupied by the
aboriginal inhabitants of the country. His house was
erected near where now (in 1884) is an apple-tree
growing in a meadow owned by the heirs of the late
Job P. Nelson, Esq., aud upon the opposite side of
the highway, adjacent to the Hersey Place, so called.
Hope, the wife of Thomas Nelson, who shared with
him the hardships aud privatious of a pioneer life in
this then unbroken wilderness, was also a Baptist,
and became a member of the Baptist Church at Swan-
sea Aug. 5, 1723, retaining her membership therein
until the formation of the Second Baptist Church in
Middleboro', with which she communed at the Lord's
table until after she was a hundred years old. Hope,
the wife of Thomas Nelson, was the fourth child of
John Huckins, or Hutchins, or Higgins, and born at
Barnstable, May 10, 1677, united in marriage with
Thomas Nelson, of Middleboro', March 24, 1698, and
died Dec. 7, 1782, aged one hundred and five years,
six months, and twenty days.

John Huckius, Hutchins, or Higgins, the father
of Hope, the wife of Thomas Nelson, was a son of
Thomas Huckius and wife, Mrs. Rose Hyllier, the
widow of Hugh Hyllier, of Yarmouth, and John
was born Aug. 2, 1649; united in marriage with
Hope Chipman, Aug. 10, 1670, and he died Nov.
10, 1678. Thomas Huckins, the father of John,
was for a time a resident of Bostou, where he, upon
the first Monday in June, 1639, was made ensign of
the Ancient aud Honorable Artillery Company, then
called the " Great Artillery of Bostou." He re-
moved to Barnstable, where he served as a selectman
eight years, aud as a representative to the General
Court eight years. He was commissioned commis-
sary-geueral in King Philip's war December, 1675;
cast away and drowned at sea Nov. 9, 1679. Among
the troubles aud trials of Hope, the wife of Thomas
Nelson, when " roughing it iu the bush" as the wife
of that pioneer settler on Assawomset Neck, together

with the evidences of uncommon resolution she pos-
sessed and put in successful practice, tradition has
preserved the following story :

She one night, when no man was within call, heard
a noise in the cellar that she suspected proceeded
from an Indian searching for something to steal, when
she went silently down in darkness, lest the carrying
of a candle should warn and thus aid die intruder to
escape, and, coming upon the prowler unawares, she
seized suddenly and determinedly upon him, who,
being greatly surprised and terribly frightened, made
frantic efforts to release himself from her unyielding
grasp, and only succeeded, as did the scriptural Jo-
seph in escaping from Potiphar's wife, by leaving a
part of his garment in the woman's hands. Mrs.
Hope Nelson, in 1774, or about eight years before
her death, said that her surviving descendants (some
having died in infancy) were two hundred and fifty-
seven persons, and these, at the date of her decease,
had increased to about three hundred and thirty seven,
thus showing that she and the several generations
succeeding her had obeyed the command, li Be fruit/ id
and multiply and replcuislt the earth ;" and as it was
of such women that our ancestors were favored in
the persons of their "helpmeets" in days of old and
times long since passed, that ultimate success would
crown their efforts was but a foregone conclusion.

" Oft did the harvest to their sickle yield,
Their furrow oft the stubborn glebe boa broke;
How jocund did they drive tlteir team afield,
How bowed the woods beneath their sturdy strukc."



The township of Middleboro', including the pres-
ent territorial limits of Lakeville, obtained an act
of incorporation at a session of the Colonial Court
holden at Plymouth iu June, 1669, and what is now
Lakeville continued thus to form a part of that time-
honored town until May 13, 1853, a period wanting
ouly a few days of one hundred and eighty-four

Middleboro', while embracing what is now Lake-
ville, is said to have been in territory the largest
town in the State of Massachusetts, and in fact too
large for the convenient transaction of public busi-
ness, which fact led those iuhabitauts residing in the
outskirts of Middleboro' on several occasions to seek
a legal division of that town, one of these efforts



occurring in 174'J, but none of which wore successful
until that of 1S53, which culminated in the detach-
ment and setting off of a large tract in the westerly
portion of the town, that was then by legislative
enactment incorporated as follows:

" Be it enacted by the Senate and Hoime of Representatives, in
Genera/ Cuurt aeiembfed, aud by the authority of the same,

as follou* :

"Sect. I. That portion of the town of Middleborough lying
within the following boundaries, to wit: Beginning ;it the
southwesterly corner of said town, at or in the line of the town
of Freetown, :it an angle ; thence running easterly in the line
between suid Middleborough and the towns of Freetown and
Rochester to a point equidistant between Haskell's Island and
Reed's Island, in Great Quittieus Pond; thence running north-
erly across said Quittieus Pond to a puint upon Long Point, so
called, five rods easterly from the bridge, at a stake ; thence run-
ning northerly through the Narrows, in Pockshire Pond, to the
junctiou of said poud with Assawamsett Pond ; thence running
northwesterly, in the said Assawarasett Pond, to Nouiasket
River, where it runs from said Assawamsett Pond; thence
running northerly down and following the channel of said river
to the bridge of the Cape Cod Branch Railroad, across the
same; thence running west five rods to an elin-tree standing in
the north line of said railroad; thence running north thirty-
five degrees, west fifty-four rods to the north line of John C.
Reed's land; thence running in the said Reed's lino north fifty-
three degrees, west seventy rods to the main road; thence run-
niug iu the same course seven hundred and fourteen rods to
Trout Brook, the line passing a white oak-tree near Trout
Brook, iu Thomas P. Tinkham's land, twenty links to the south
thereof; thence running down and following the channel of
said brook to the line of the town of Taunton; thence running
southerly and southwesterly, in the lino between Taunton and
Middleborough, to the line of Freetown ; and thence iu tho liue
and between Freetown and Middleborough to the place of be-
ginning, is hereby incorporated into a town by the name of
Lakeville, and the inhabitants of said town of Lakeville are
hereby invested with all the powers and privileges, and shall
be subjected to all the duties and requisitions of other incor-
porated towns, according to the constitution and laws of this

"Sect. 2. The inhabitants of said town of Lakeville shall be
holdeii to pay all arrears of taxes legally assessed upon them
before the passage of this act, and also their proportion of such
State ;tnd county taxes as may be legally assessed upon them
before the nest valuation, such proportion to be ascertained aud
determined by the last State valuation of property; aud all
moneys now in the treasury of said town of Middleborough, or
which may hereafter be received therein from taxes already
assessed, or directed to be assessed, shall be applied to the pur-
poses for which they were raised and assessed, in the same
manner as if this act had not been passed.

" Sect. ;J. The said towns of Middleborough and Lakeville
shall hereafter be respectively liable for the support of all such
persous who now arc relieved, or hereafter may be relieved, as
paupers whose settlement was gained by or derived from a
residence within their respective limits.

"Sect. 4. The inhabitants of the said town of Lakeville shall
be holdeu to pay their just proportion of all debts due from
the said town of Middleborough at tho time of the passage of
this act; and shall receive their just proportion of the value of
all property, real and personal, and all assets, funds, and stocks
now owned by and belonging to the said town of Middlebor-

ough; and if said towns shall not agree in respect to a division
of property, funds, stocks, debts, or state or county taxes, or
the settlement of any pauper or paupers now supported by
said town of Middleborough, the Court of Common Pleas for the
county of Plymouth shall, upon the petition of cither town,
appoint three competent and disinterested persona to hear the
parties and award between them, and their award, or the award
of any two of them, being accepted by said court, shall be final.

"Sect. 5. The alowive fisheries of tho Nemaakct River shall
be and remain the property of said towns of Middleborough and
Lakeville, and the manner of taking the fish and the whole
management of suid fisheries shall be regulated by the select-
men of said towns, and the proceeds thereof shall be divided
between the said towns in proportion to the number of ratable
polls in each respectively, and the respective parts of such pro-
ceeds shall be disposed of by said towns respectively iu such
manner and for such purposes as each town shall for itself de-
termine and direct.

"Sect. G, That portion of the fire-district heretofore estab-
lished by the inhabitants of tho village or di.-triet of ' Middle-
borough Four Corners' which is within the limit- of the said
town of Lakeville is hereby taken from said tire-district, and
the remaining portion of said fire-district shall be and remain
a tire-district, with all the powers and privileges of such dis-
tricts, aud all taxes heretofore assessed on any of the inhab-
itants of the original district shall be collected and applied to
the purposes for which they were assessed, in the same manner
as if this act hod not been passed.

"Sect. 7. Said town of Lakeville shall continue to be a part
of the town of Middleborough, for the purposo of electing State
officers, senators and representatives to the General Court, repre-
sentatives to Congress, and electors of President and Vice-Presi-
dent of the United States, until the next decennial census shall
be taken, in pursuance of the thirteenth article of the amend-
ment to the constitution ; and meetings for the choice of said
officers shall be called by the selectmen of Middleborough, and
shall be holden in the town of Middleborough, and the select-
men of Lakeville shall make a true list of all persons within
their town qualified to vote at every such election, aud shall
post up the same in said town of Lakeville, and shall correct the
same as required by law, and shall deliver a true copy of the
same to the selectmen of Middleborough, seven days at least
before the day of every such meeting or election, to be used

"Sect. 8. Any justice of the peace for the couuty of Plym-
outh may issue his warrant, directed to any principal inhabitant

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 68 of 118)