D. Hamilton (Duane Hamilton) Hurd.

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

. (page 92 of 118)
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 92 of 118)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


sigu's, left uo descendants. Edward Jenkins, though
oue of the Conihasset partners, did not live on that
territory, but on the north part of Edward Fos-
ter's lot on Kent Street. Those of his name aud
lineage have always lived in the town. John Hallett
was a large landholder, aud, it may be, spent much of
his life in this town ; but his descendants are in Barn-
stable Couuty and other places, to which they migrated
from that county. Ann or Anna Vinal must have
been a wonderful woman. She came to this wilder-
ness in 1636 with three children, the youngest only



six years old, and here established a home, built her
house on the brook north of Stockbridge's mill pond
in 1637, aud met with merited success. Her de-
scendants iu every generation have been worthy citi-
zens of the town, and the family is still numerous.

William Holmes was a short time iu Scituate, then
removing to Marshfield.

John Whitcomb was in Scituate in lG.'JG, and died
in 1660. He left one son, who removed.

Gowiu White may have lived a short time on the
Conihasset lands, but in 1650 he purchased a large
farm south of 'fill's Creek, aud probably lived there, a
neighbor of William Randall aud Robert Stetson.

John Damon, a boy at that time, came to Scituate
before 1633, with his uncle, William Gilson. He
was one of the Conihassett partners, but as he inher-
ited his uncle's estate on Keut Street, it is probable
that he always resided there. He was an influential
man, and seems to have been much employed iu pub-
lic affairs, and was repeatedly chosen a deputy to the
General Court. His sons, John and Lieut. Zachary,
were active in King Philip's war. His posterity is
a large one, and many of the name have always lived
in Scituate. The farm of Rhodolphus Ellms was
near Mann Hill, between that aud the farm of Gowin
White. His descendants have always lived upon, and
still occupy, their ancestral farm. They are a very
respectable race, and always exercised a favorable in-
fluence upon the prosperity of the town. Richard
Mann is the only member of the " Mayflower" com-
pany that settled in Scituate. His farm was north of
John Hoar's, of Mann's Hill, so named from him, and
ever known as such. His descendants have always
been preseut in all parts of the old town, a thriving,
respected race of men aud women. How much farther
north the settlement extended in the first half of that
century it is not easy to discover. The northern
boundary of this grant and of the towu was a matter
of long and bitter controversy between the two colo-
nies, resulting finally in making Bound Brook the
northern boundary at the shore, aud here, iu 1700,
came Mordecai Lincoln, and built a large house, the
most northerly in the town, and the mill known as
Liucolu Mills. He was the ancestor of Abraham
Lincoln, the martyred President. Among the other
earlier settlers was John Lowell. He was in Scituate
from 1658 to about 16G5. He was the ancestor of
Judge Lowell, of Boston, and other distinguished
men of the name. Scituate lost many of her early
settlers by their removal with Mr. Lothrop to Barn-
stable. But when Lawrence Litchfield came from
Barnstable to Scituate, a few years later, the loss was
largely compensated for. His descendants have prob-



HISTORY OF SCITUATE AND SOUTH SCITUATE.



411



ably been more numerous in the town than that of
any other family, and have always been houored, in-
fluential, and public-spirited citizens, impressing;
themselves strongly in the religious and educational
interests of the town.

John Stockbridge was in Seituate as early as 1G38.
His first house was near the harbor, but before 1G60
he built the Stockbridge mansion, near the pond bear-
ing his name. This house was garrisoned duriug the
Indian war, and was the original hive from which
swarmed the stalwart Stockbridge race, which so
strongly impressed itself upon the early history of
this region. In its ancient home the name is dying
out, but in distant parts of the land it still survives
in its old and strong characteristics. The names of
most of the early settlers who may be said to have
left their mark upon the old town have been given.
In compiling a town history no apology is needed
for calling attention to the men and the kind of men
who started that town into being and impressed its
character upon the plantations. These were largely
men of more than ordinary culture and education, and
many of them of extraordinary mental power and ca-
pacity for affairs, and these characteristics have de-
scended through some of the first generations at least
to their descendants. Settled by such men, it is not
strange that this town made rapid progress. The old
town of Plymouth early lost many of its strongest
men. Brewster, Standish, and Alden removed to
Duxbury, Bradford to Kingston, and Winslow to
Marshfield. Perhaps this hindered its progress. At
any rate, the record shows that less thau fifty years
after the landing of the Pilgrims, in 1GG7, the valua-
tion of Seituate for taxable purposes was nearly double
that of Plymouth.

The following table of amount of taxes levied on
the several towns in the colony at that time may be
interesting :

£ «. J.

Plymouth 25 IS 00

Duxburrow 23 11 00

Seituate. 42 07 00

Sandwich 23 11 04

Tuutiton 23 11 04

Yarmouth 21 13 01

liunivtablo 25 IS 00

Marshfield 21 13 04

Rehoboth 25 07 00

Eiisthaiu 18 IS 00

liowanus 10 10 00

Dartmouth 14 00 00

2S6 13 08

This rate lasted in the same proportion substan-
tially for about tweuty years.

Iu this levy of taxes in 1681 there was an appor-
tionment of two pounds upon " Accord Pond shares."



This must have been a part of Seituate. These shares
were taxed separately only from 1G81 to 1G8G.

In the contribution of soldiers to the defense of the
colony in the Indian wars, the relative importance and
superiority of Seituate also appears. In 1675, at the
outbreak of hostilities, Seituate was ordered to furnish
twenty-three men and Plymouth only fifteen, thus in-
dicating the relative population of the two towns a
half-century after settlement.

Military Matters. 1 — In military affairs, in that
early time, Seituate occupied a prominent position.
Before Seituate was settled Standish had iu some
personal encounters punished a few refractory savages,
and in the Pequot war of 1637 the Plymouth Colony
was not largely involved. Seituate sent three volunteers
into that fight, however. For thirty-eight years after
that war peace had prevailed with the Indians. But
for some years before Philip commenced open hostil-
ities it became evident that the colonies should put
themselves in a state of preparation for attack by en-
rollment and drilling in companies. In 1652, Seituate
had a " military discipline" established, with James
Cudworth as captain. In 1G53 a council of war be-
came a permanent institution for the colony. It con-
sisted of eleven men, and Seituate usually furnished
a large part. In 1GG5 five of the eleven were from
that town, — namely, Cornet Robert Stetson, Sergt.
John Damon, Isaac Chittenden, Edward Jenkins, and
Lieut. Isaac Buck. But there was sometimes con-
flict between this live town and the Colony Court. Iu
1GG6 the company elected James Cudworth captain,
and Michael Peirce lieutenant, sending their names
to the court for approval. These two men subse-
quently greatly distinguished themselves. They were
snubbed as follows : " As to Mr. Cudworth it is di-
rectly against the advice of the Court, and as to Mr.
Peirce he is a stranger to us; therefore Sergt. John
Damon is directed to take the command until further
orders." Yet a few years later they anxiously sought
to give Gen. James Cudworth the command of all the
colony forces. Just fifty years from the time when
Goodman Bird and Henry Merritt are supposed to
have first set foot in Seituate, and just one hundred
years before the opening of the Revolutionary struggle,
came perilous times, checking the prosperity of the
town. Philip had aroused the Indian tribes to war,
and it happened that Seituate felt the force of the
conflict more than any other town in the colony. It
proved to be specially exposed to danger. Garrisons
were established at Capt. John Williams' iu the
Conihassett grant, at the " block-house" on North
River, and what was regarded as the principal garri-
son at the Stockbridge mansion, and another garrison



412



HISTORY OF PLYMOUTH COUNTY.



of twelve men at Mr. Joseph Barstow's, near what is
now called Hanover " Four Corners."

To garrison these forts called many men to arms.
Scituate sent twenty men into the fight at the Narra-
gansett fort, Dec. 19, 1675. At the storming of this
fort Sergt. Theophilus Witherell was wounded and
crippled for life. Joseph Turner, John Vina!, and
William Perry also suffered in the same fight, their
wounds not proving quite so severe.

But a heavy calamity was impending. The Nar-
rngansetts began ravaging Rhode Island in the spriug
of 1U7G, and Capt. Michael Peirce, with a company
of fifty white men and twenty friendly Indians, was
ordered to march against them. Eighteen of the
fifty were from Scituate.

On the 25th of March, with a few of his men, he
had an encounter with the enemy, in which he thought
they suffered some, while no damage was done to his
force. The next day he marched out with his whole
company, and probably one or two Rehoboth men as
guides, to find and attack the enemy. Coming to the
river he discovered the enemy, and crossed to attack,
when he found himself in the presence of Canonchet,
who had massed there the whole fighting force of his
still powerful tribe. With such an overwhelming
force in front and the river in his rear the situation
was desperate indeed. The Indians also crossed over
a large party to cut off all possible retreat across the
river. Nothing was left for this brave band but to
sell their lives as dearly as possible. Forming his
company so as to meet the attack both in front and
rear, they fought till nearly every man had fallen. A
few of the friendly Indians escaped and one white
man, Thomas Mann, of Scituate, who was sorely
wounded. The former escaped only because of their
being better able to conceal their identity.

The fidelity, bravery, and cool ingenuity shown by
these friendly Indiana was wonderful, and should be
noted to redeem their race from the popular and too
easily received opinion that the Indian is iucapable of
elevation, and is necessarily cruel, ignoble, and to be
treated like a wild beast of prey. Of the Scituates
slain, the following fifteen names are known : Capt.
Michael Peirce, Samuel Russell, Beujaniin Chitten-
deu, John Lothrop, Gorshom Dodson, Samuel Pratt,
Thomas Savary, Joseph Wade, William Wilcom,
Jeremiah Barstow, Johu Ensign, Joseph Cowen, Jo-
seph Perry, John Perry, John Rose. Thomas Maun
escaped, wounded, thus leaving two of the eighteen
unaccounted for. They were no doubt killed, making
the loss of Scituate seventeen.

The others killed in this battle were from the fol-
lowing towns : Marshfield, nine ; Duxbury, four ;



Sandwich, five ; Barnstable, six ; Yarmouth, five ;
and Eastham, four.

This was a severe blow to the colony, and especially
to Scituate. More than half the slain were heads of
families. We can have no conception of the terror
and suffering of those times. Their fathers killed,
rumors of marauding bands of savages approaching,
the cunning and mystery of their movements, the
nameless horrors of Indian warfare, all tended to in-
tensify their uuintermitting anxiety and alarm. Every
movement from place to place, from neighbor to neigh-
bor, was fraught with danger, as any tree or shrub
might hide a lurking foe. These were not vain fears.
On the 21st of April the first attack was made upon
the town, but the vigilant and courageous people re-
pulsed and drove them off for that time. So far as
known, William Blackmore was the only man killed
in this raid.

On the 20th of May they made a more comprehen-
sive attack upon the town. A strong force, passing
through Hingham, killing Johu Jacob and burning
several houses, came into Scituate by the " Indiau
path," committing their first depredations at what is
now the Hanover line, on the Third Herring Brook,
there burning the " Cornet's mill." Passing rapidly
on, they burned the house of Joseph Sylvester, situ-
ated northerly from Church Hill and a mile north of
the Barstow house garrison. This garrisou they did
not care to delay themselves with. If their attack
had a plan, it was apparently to burn all the houses
on their way down, to attack the garrisons below, and,
having wiped them out of existence, they could easily
dispose of the twelve men at Barstow's on their re-
turn. That their force was strong and had no fears
of this little garrison is shown by the boldness of
their subsequent movements. They pressed rapidly
forward down the river and towards the stronger
fortresses below, " burning as they weut." The help-
less condition of the little garrison behind them can
be easily seen, with all the settlement between them
and the principal part of the town, in ashes. On their
way from the Third Herring Brook to the Stock-
bridge fortress and about there as many as thirteen
dwelling-houses were burned and quite as many barns.
From the location of their houses it is probable that
those of Nicholas Albeson (the Swede), William Par-
ker, Edward Wright, Thomas Woodworth, William
Wills, Daniel Standlake, Abraham Sutlifie, John
Buck, James Torrey, Widow Torrey, Henry Ewell,
John Northey, John Curtis, John Bompasse, Widow
Blackmore, George and Samuel Russell, and Thomas
King, Jr., were burned.

But these were not all. The house of John James,



HISTORY OF SCITUATE AND SOUTH SCITUATE.



413



near the block-house, was probably burned, though he
may have successfully defeuded it, as he was wounded,
and died of his wounds a few days after. It is note-
worthy that his farm, located on the river at a place
of romantic beauty and historic interest, should,
through his only son, have descended and still re-
mained in the family. Deacon Elisha James, of fra-
grant memory, died a few years since, and was the
last of the name to inherit, but his daughter, the wife
of Judge Parmenter, of Boston, still owns the old
place, cunsecrated by the blood shed of her first an-
cestor in its defense.

In this burning and ravaging of the towu it does
not appear that any of the women and children per-
ished. Such was the vigilance of the inhabitants
that probably all succeeded in takiug refuge in the
fortified places. The men in these places, with their
wives and little ones to defend, might well prove them-
selves to be heroes, as they did. The block-house
was attacked, but successfully defended. Its position
seemed to have been a strong one.

Having by this attack admonished this garrison to
stay where it was, the crafty foe swept ou his deso-
lating way towards the more strongly garrisoned but
less favorably located fortress below. If they could
carry this, the whole towu could be destroyed. As
the garrison in the block-house marked their progress
by the successive columns of smoke that rose above
the trees from their burning houses, it must have
been a torturing question as to what their duty was.
Should they abandon their families under slight
guard in the block-house, and march after them to
the help of their brethren below, with the chances
against their making successful attack, or remain
where they were ? The situation was a desperate oue,
and the imagination may attempt to paint, but can
little realize the anxious consultations in that little
fort. That they sent a message up the river to Cor-
net Stetson, then sixty-four years of age, or that he
got intelligence from above, is probable. At any
rate, this veteran, a tower of strength to the town,
descended the river with some men, augmenting their
number here no doubt, and took a part in the fight
about the Stockbridge mills before it closed, and the
savages were driven off. The preservation of these
mills was of much consequence to the town There-
fore the mansion was stockaded ou three sides, the
pond being considered a sufficient natural defense on
that side. Here oue of the hardest battles of the
war was fought. The Indians fought bravely and
suffered heavily. For several hours they made des-
perate efforts to fire the mills and capture the house.
Lieut. Isaac Buck was apparently in command at this



place, and gathered in all the available force below,
and later in the day, being reinforced by Cornet Stet-
son from above, near nightfall the euemy was de-
feated and driven off.

Courage and skill won the day against greatly su-
perior numbers, and saved not only Scituate, but per-
haps the whole colony south from further extended
ravages. And yet that same week Governor Wius-
low could complaiu of " the inactivity of the inhabi-
tants of Scituate about this lime." Strange ignorance
of facts, or stranger injustice in view of them ! At
the same time he praises forty men from the three
towns of Plymouth, Duxbury, and Marshtield, who
veutured as far as Bridgewater, and saw but did not
fight a small straggling party of the enemy. What
was Scituate doing at the same point of time, with a
large part of the town in flames, and the uiaiu part of
the enemy attacking its hard-pressed garrisons'? At
that very time Capt. Williams, with thirty Scituate
men, was ranging the woods beyond Plymouth
towards Middleboro', while those other three towns
combined only sent forty men into the woods.
Amazing injustice, to censure the " inactivity" of this
heroic town. It was in fact bearing nearly the whole
brunt of that cruel war.

Among the incidents attending the attack of the
mill was oue illustrating the narrow escapes and great
courage of the women of the period. The house of
Henry Ewell was situated about sixty rods from the
fortress. Mrs. Ewell, who was a daughter of Anthony
Annable, was at home alone with an infant grand-
child, John Northy. The first intimation she had
of any danger was seeing the savages rushing down
the hill to the house. With the first impulse for
safety or to alarm the garrison she fled there, forget-
ting the babe. After the battle was joined, and while
it was occupying all parties, by some path known better
to her than to the foe, she made her way back to the
house determined to learn the fate of the sleeping
babe. She found it slumbering as she had left it, and
carried it safely away. To this woman's wary courage
many of the excellent family of Northy owe their
existence. The injustice of the Governor's strictures,
and that he realized it, is indicated in the fact that
the men of Scituate were called to take the lead in
offensive operations agaiust the savages.

As before alluded to, James Cudworth, long slighted
and excluded from a rightful share in the government,
was now appealed to by the Colony Court to take com-
mand of their forces with the rank of general. As
Deaue says, " The long persecuted Cudworth, with a
magnanimity rarely equaled, though waxing old, ac-
cepted the chief command of the colony forces, aud



414



HISTORY OP PLYMOUTH COUNTY.



continued in that commaud until Philip was sub-
dued."

Lieut. Isaac Buck and Cornet John Buck were in
constant service with their men till the close of the
war. Comet Stetsou was seldom out of the saddle,
making excursions with the troops, encouraging the
home-guard, and attending the council of war. [lis
services were invaluable.

Capt. Johu Williams, with a Scituate company,
held an important command in the force which sur-
rounded and killed King Philip at Mount Hope, thus
virtually closing hostilities. Surely, it may be claimed
for Scituate that she did and suffered more for the
salvation of the colouy thau any, than perhaps all,
of the other towns therein. As a native of that
ancient town, as a descendant of those heroic Indian
fighters, the compiler of these pages can do no less
thau claim for them the credit due to them for their
great services in this dark and perilous period of
colonial history.

The progress and prosperity of the towu had re-
ceived a hard blow by the Indian war, 30 much of its
property had been destroyed and so many of its
most enterprising citizens slain. Still it continued
increasing in population and manifesting much enter-
prise. In the wars intervening between this and the
Revolutionary war, it did not suffer largely. To the
expedition under Col. Church, in 1C89, Scituate fur-
nished six men and two officers. A year later, in the
expedition against Canada, under Sir Wm. Pbipps, six-
teen men and three officers, — Capt. Joseph Sylvester,
Lieut. Isaac Chittenden, and Ensign John Stetson, —
went forth from Scituate, many of the nineteen never
to return. It is certain that John Stetson, Nathaniel
Parker, Matthew Stetson, Moses Simons, Lazarus
Turner, Samuel Bryant, Samuel Dwelley, aud Robert
Sproat perished in the expedition. A few years later,
it is stated that the Scituate militia company con-
tained about two hundred men.

In the French war the town must have done its
full duty in the way of furnishing men. Mr. Deane
gives the following list, saying, " It must be far from
a complete one :"



Capt. Johu Clap.
Capt. Benjamin Briggs.
Lieut. Elisha Turner.
Scrgt. Baruabas Barker.
William Carlu-lc.
Jauies Cushing.
Samuel Bowker.
Cunsidor Cole.
Stephen Lapham.
Llisha Palmer.
Samuel Ramsdell.
Pelcg Turner.



Edmund Bowker.
lleubcn Bates.
David Dunbur.
Benjamin Bowker.
John Foster.
Benjamin Palmer.
Elisha Burrol).
Colburn Burrell.
Samuel Brooks.
Nchemiah Palmer.
George Stetson.
Jedediah Dwelley.



Benjamin Lapham.
John Caswell.
Edward Corlew.
David Marvel.
Zaccheus Nash.
Thomas Peiree.
Gideon Rose.
Luther Wndo.
James Briggs.
Sauiuel Randall.
Isaae Torrey.
Stanton James.
Nehemiah Randall.
Lieut. Viney Turner.
Lieut. Job Tyrrel.
William liayden.
Ezckicl Hayden.
William Perry.
Nehemiah Sylvester.
Seth Sylvester.
Richard Silvester.
Elisha Stoddard.
Nathaniel Ellmes.
Josiah Litchlield.
James Tower.
John Gross.
Edmund Gross.
Isaae Lapham.



Henry Lambert.
Simeon Nash.
Reuben Damon.
Zachariah Lambert.
Daniel Lambert.
John Corlew.
Thomas Corlew.
Edward Corlew, Jr.
William Corlew.
Elisha Litchlield.
Wibom llolloway.
Benjamin Colluiuurc.
Dr. Ephraiui Otis.
Joseph Bowker.
Luke Lambert.
James Woodworth.
Oliver Winslow.
William Gould.
James Orian.
Thomas Pcirce.
Thomas Vicars.
Michael V r icars.
Joseph Randall.
Ezekiel Sprague.
William Westcott.
Dr. James Otis.
Eighty men.



The French war was a good training-school for the
war of the Revolution, which was approaching. Canada
had been added to the British possessions by the
prowess of the British colonies, and those colouies
began to feel that their services demanded recognition
aud reward to the extent, at least, of a decent regard
for their rights. Scituate was early aroused to pa-
triotic action.

In March, 1774, in town-meeting, a committee
was appointed to draft and present resolutions " touch-
ing the difficulties of the times." May 23, 1774, a
report was made recommending the creation of a per-
manent committee with larger powers. This recom-
mendation was adopted by the town, and a committee,
including most of the previous one, was appointed.
They were John Cushing, Jr., Nathan Gushing,
Charles Turner, Israel Vinal, Nathaniel Waterman,
James Otis, William Turner, Joseph Tollman, Joseph
Stetsou, Increase Clapp, Gideon Vinal, Eli Curtis,
Samuel Clapp, Abiel Turner, Barnabas Little, John
Palmer, Galen Clap, Anthony Waterman, Noah Otis,
Barnabas Barker, George Martin, Ignatius Otis,
Thomas Mann, Samuel Jenkins, Paul Bailey, Calvin
Perrin, Amasa Bailey, Joseph Bailey, Constant Clap,
John Jacob, and James Briggs. A committee of
correspondence was also chosen, consisting of John
Cushing, Jr., Nathan Cushing, Joseph Tolman,
Barnabas Little, Israel Vinal, Jr., Galen Clapp, Abiel
Turner, Noah Otis, Nathaniel Waterman, Joseph
Bailey, and Eli Curtis. This was Oct. 0, 1774. In



HISTORY OF SCITUATE AND SOUTH SCITUATE.



415



January, ] 775, this committee interviewed two Tories,
Charles Curtis aud Frederick Henderson, who plainly
declared their intention not to adhere to the Conti-
nental Congress. These two men were probably the
only declared royalists in Scituate. Many others were
suspected, but most of the twenty-five suspected re-
lieved themselves of this suspicion, and June 19,
1777, there remained for trial Elijah Curtis, Job
Otis, James Curtis, Benjamin Jacobs, Elishu Turner,



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 92 of 118)