D. Hamilton (Duane Hamilton) Hurd.

History of Plymouth County, Massachusetts : with biographical sketches of many of its pioneers and prominent men (Volume 1) online

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1* "ji









Pioneers and Prominent Men.





18 84.

Copyright, 1884, by J. W. Lewis & Co.








Grant of Briilj^cwutcr Plautution — Purchase of Indians— Copy |

ot' Imli:in Deed- — CuiitirmiLtory Deed fi'um Poiiipunulio — i

Deed tVoiti Go%'crnor Tlioiiuid Hinckley for the Governijient j
— Confiiiuatory Deed froiu Josiah Wauipatuck to Inhabitauta

of Brid;^ewater. '

To give a clear account of the early settlement of |
the ancient town of Brldgewatcr it will be intcrcstin<; I
to ^'ive some account of the origin of tlie town, its !
connection with and its idcutity with the parent town I
of Dusbury, and a brief account of its liuviui: been '
set off irom Duxbury, and the purchase from the '
IndiuDS. The ancient town of Brid^ewater — then !
cumprLsini; what was Xortli, East, Wcdt, and the ,
present town of Brid^^ewater — was formerly a planta- I
lion granted to Duxbury in 1645, as a compeusatiou ;
for tiie loss of territory they Iiad sustained in the I
settinii apart of iMai-shtield from tliem^iti the year I
1640. The grant was in tlie followini; lan<»uaj:c:

'*Tlie inhabitanta of the town of Duxbury uro granted a
competent proportion of hinddaboutSauj^htuchiiuclt (Sutucket),
townnU the west, lor a plantation for tbeiu, and tu havo It four
uiilc:* every way from the phicu where tliey bhnll set up their
centre; provided it intrench not upon Winnytuckquett, for-
merly j^r;iuted to Plymouth. And we have nominated Cupt.
Miles Stiindish, Mr. John Aldcn, George Suule, Coucitaat South-
worth, John Rogers, and Williiim Brett to be feofeea in trust
for the c^ual diviiling and lading forth the aaid lands to the

How these lands were divided, or what should en-
title any one to a share, no record appears to show.
Governor Hinckley, in his confirmatory deed, nays
that the *' inhabitants ai,'reed among themselves."
There were fifty-four proprietors, each of wl»om held
one share, the names of wliom arc a.-^ follows :

Nichohia Robbing,
Thomas Hayward.
Ralph Partridge.
Nathaniel Willie.
John Willis.
Thomas Bonney.
Mite^i Standidb.
Love Brewtiter.
John Paybody.
Willium Paybody.
Francis Sprague.
William Bassett.
John Washburn.
John Washburn, Jr.
John Ames.
Tboiuatt Gannett.
William Brett,

Philip Dclnno.
Arthur Harris.
John Aldcn.
John Forbes.
Samuel Nash.
Abraham Sauipson.
George Soule.
Experience Mitchell.
llenr}- Ilowhtud.
Henry Sampson.
John Brown.
John Howard.
Frnncia West.
William Tubbs.
James Lendull.
Samuel Eaton.
Suluuion Leonard.

William Bradford.
William Slerriek.
John Bradford.
Abraham Pierce.
John Rogers.
George Partridge.
John Starr.
William Collier.
Chiistupher Wadsworth.
Edward Hall.

Edmund Hunt.
William Clarke.
William Ford.
Constant SuuthwortU.
John Gary.
Edmund Weston.
Samuel Tompkins.
Edmund Chandler,
Moses Simmons.
John Irish.

To these shares were afterward added two more
shares, — one to Rev. James Keith, of Scotland, their
first minister, and the other to Deacon Samuel Ed.son,
of Salem, who erected the first mill iu the town, —
making fii'ty-six shares.

This <;rant was considered ilh little more than nn
autliority or right to purchase it of the natives. For
this purpose Capt. Miles Standish, Samuel N;ish, and
Constant Southworth were appointed a committee to
make the purchase, which they did, as appears by the
following instruments :

*' WiTNKSS THKSK PRESENTS, that I, Ousamequin, Sacliem of
the Country of Poconuokot, have given, granted, eufeufcd, and
sold unto Miles Standish, of Duxbury, Sumuul Na:>)i, and Cua-
stant Southworth, of Duxbury aforesaid, in behalf o( all tho
townsmen of Duxbury aforesaid, a tniet of land usually called
Satucket, extending in the length and breadth thereof as fol-
loweth : that is to say, from the wear at Satucket seven milci
due cast, and from the said wear seven miles due wc^t, and from
the siiid wear seven miles due north, and froui the said wear
seven miles due south ; the which tract the said Ou^ami-quin
huth given, granted, eufcofcd, and i^old unto the said .Milus
Standish, Samuel Nosh, and ConstuntSoutbworth, in the behalf
of all the townsmen of Duxbury, aa aforesaid, with all the im-
munities, privileges, and profits whatsoever belonging tu the said
tract of land, with ull and singular all woods, underwoods^
lands, meadows, rivers, brooks, rivulets, ttc, to huve and to
hold, to the said Miles Standish, Samuel Nash, and Constant
Southworth, in behalf of all the townsmen of the town of Dux-
bury, to them and their heirs forever. In witness \vhercuf, I,




the said Ousauiequin, have horeunto set uiy h.iiiil this 2'i'^ of

.Miircli, lliJU. ^

" \\*itntb3 the mark ol" p Oi'Samkquin.

" In cnDsiJerntinn of the aforesaid bargain and sale, wo, the
said Miles Standish. ?^amuel Nash, and Cuiistaut Soutiiworth, do
bind oiirsflves to pay unto the said Ou>aMK-<|uin. for aud iu con-
sideration of the said tract of laud, ;id foMowetb :
" 7 coats, a yard and a half in a coat.
" 'J hatchets.
** S liocs.
*' 2U knives.
" 4 luiioae-skins.
" 10 yards and a half of cotton.

" MiLts Sta.vtiisii.

".S.iMLi;i. Nash.

** Co.NsTANT South woiiTH."

This contract i.s said to have been uiado on wliat
was called " Sachenj'a Rock" (called by the luJians
" Woonnocooto" ), in East Biid^cwatcr, a little south
of Wbiiniaii's Mill.s( now known as ti)e Carver Cotton-
Gin Coinpaiiyj, aud near the house of the late Uavid

This Ousamef|uin, soiuctinies called Ossaiuequin,
was no other than Maasasoit himself, who, in the
latter part of his life, had adopted that name. The
deed written by Capt. Miles Staudisli, one of the
orijiiual planters of the colony, and signed with the
mark of the sachem, is still in existence. When the
old sachem was called upon to execute his deed, he
endeavored to make it as sure as possible. For that
purpose he alE.Ked a mtirk in the shape of a ^.

Thus we have seen that the original town of Bridf;e-
water, comprising the territory now known as Brock-
ton, East Bridj;cwater, West Bridgowater, and Bridge-
water, including- a portion of ' Titicut Parish," was
purcliased by Capt. Miles Standish and others for the
trifling sum of seven coats, nine hatchets, eight hoes,
twenty knives, four moose-skins, and ten and a half
yards of cotton, the whole tiot amounting to thirty
dollars in value.

The original town of Brldgiewater was the first in-
terior settlement in the Old Colony. The grant of the
plantation, as we have seen, was iu 1045, and the
settlement made in lUSO. The first settlers had a
house-lot of six acres each on the Town River, aud the
place was called Nuckatest, or Nuncketetest. The
first lots were taken up at West Brid^ewater, along
the Town River, first houses built and the first im-
provements made there. The settlement was com-
pact, — the house-lots being contiguous, — with a view
for mutual protection and aid against the Indians,
and, as a furtiier protection from the natives, they
erected a stockade or garrison on the south side of the
river and fortified many of their dwellings. It is said
that not more than one-third of the original fifty-six

proprietors ever became inhabitants of their new set-
tlement. From this original homo the settlers scat-
tered into other portions of the town, extetiding their
dwellings first into the southwest part of the town,
toward Nippenicket Pond, a locality known as Scut-
land, on the road to Taunton, and Titicut, oti the road
leading to Middlcboro', whither they were in the habit
of going either to mill or to trade, and we are tuM they
frequently went to that place on liiot, with the grists
on their backs, a distance of several miles.

The last settled part of the town was the North
Parish (now Brockton), which was not till after ITUU,
no pernianeDt settlement being made in what was
called the North Parish till after that time, and the
settlers were mostly from the West Parish (now West

The plantation remained to Duxbury until June,
IGaU, wheti it was incorporated into a distinct and
separate town in the following concise language:

" OKDt:ut:D, That henceforth Du.xhorrow New I'luntatiun bee
allowed to bee a tounshipoof yiselfe, destinct troui Duxborrow,
and to bee called by the name of Bridgetvatcr. PmvUltd that
all publicke rates bee borne by thotu with Duxburrow upon
ei^ually proportions."

The court settled the rates to be paid by the pro-
prietors as follows :

"The town of Bridgewater is to bear one part ot' three with
Duxbury, of their proportion of the country rates for the oth-
cers* wages and other public charges.

Previous to the incorporation of the town the plan-
tation had been called Bridgewater, but of the origin
of the name we have nothing authentic except a mat-

i ter of fancy for a town in England of tliLit name.
From the time of its first settlement the town has

[ maintained a strong position in the history ut the
country, and for a long time continued a united and
harmonious whole until 1715, when a petition was
sent to General Court to be set off into a separate
parish or precinct, the petitioners representing them-
selves as inhabitants of the easterly part of Bridge-
water. A committee of two in the Council and three
of the House was appointed to c^amiiie into the mat-
ter, who attended to their duties, and reported in favor
of granting their request, which was accepted, and au
act of incorporation passed June 1, 1710, with this
condition :

"That the whole town stand obliged to an honorable main-
tenance of the Itev. Jaincs Keith, their |>rescnt aged minister,
if ho should outlive his powers and capacities of diachargiog
the otlice and duty of their minister."

The new parish was called the South, and the old
one the North Precinct, which then included the West
and what was afterwards known as North Brid;:cwater



(now Brockton). In 1723 that part of the old North
Precinct now known as East Bridgewater (then known
as the West Parish) waa set off, and constituted a pre-
cinct called the East Parish, Dec. 14, 1723.

'Titicut Parisii was formed Crora the southwest part
of the South Parish, with a part of Middleboro', Feb.
4, 174a. This place consisted of forty-eight families,
forty-one houses, two hundred and sixty-two inhabit-
ants ill 1764, and in ISIO it iiad a population of
three hundred and eighteen.

As some disputes arose in regard to the original
purchase of Ousamequin, confirmatory deeds were
given by Pomponuho, an Indian, at Titicut, and Gov-
ernor Thomas Hinckley, in behalf of the government,
and another from Josiah Wampatuck, another Indian,
thus making a perfect title to all the land comprising
Ancient Bridgewater. Here follows copies of the
above-named deeds :


"This deed, made November 20th, A.D. 1672, witnesselh,
that I, Poinponoho, aliaa Peler, an iDdian, living at Titicut, in
the colony of New Plyuioulh, in New Eiig., have sold for the
Bum of sixteen ]>ound3, — ri'z., six pounds of current money of
New England, and ten pounds in good merchantable corn, as
by bill appeareth, — all the lands lying on the north side of Tit-
icut Kiver, within tho bounds of Bridgewater, what lands were
mine, or were either my father's or grandfather's or any other-
wise conferred un me, excepting those lands expressed as fol-
lows, viz. : oue hundred acres of lund lying up the river to the
eastward of a small brook, given to an Indian called Charles,
my brother-in-law, and a certain parcel of land lying against
the wear and bounded by the lunding-place, running to the
head of uiy tield, containing about ten acres at the utmost, I say
I, the above-said Pomponoho, alias Peter, have bargained, sold,
and by these presents do bargain and sell fur myself, my huirs,
end assigns forever, unto Nicholas Dyram, sen., Samuel Edsou,
sen., and William Brett, sen., in and for the use uf the towns-
men of Bridgewater, joint purchasers with them, which persons
above mentioned were ordered by the court to make purchase of
those lands, as by court record appears, I say I have sold all
these lands, with every part thereof, and all the immuuiiies
and privileges belonging thereunto, to them, their heirs, and
assigns forever, the same quietly and peaceably to possess, with-
out the lawful let, interruption, or molestation of me, the above-
said Pomponoho, alias Peter, or other persons whatjoovor, law-
fully claiming by, from, or under me, them, or any of them.
In witness whereof I have hereunto set to my hand and seal.

" Read, sealed, and delivered POMPONOHO (Pi :;

,■ uiurk.

in presence ol us.

"JoSKlMI Il.lVWillD.

"John Cauv, Sen.
"Acknowledged before JosiAii Win.slow, Gov., Feb. 20,

"Recorded by Nathaniel CLAitK, Secreliiri/, March, lOSi."

The two reserved lots in the above grant were
afterwards purchased by individuals in the town.
Thus all the lands within the most extensive limits of
the town appear to have been justly and I'airly pur-

chased of the Indians, and we have the above-named
Governor Winslow'a attestation on record that this
was the case in all the towns in the Old Colony of

In the year 1685 the Court of Assistants were em-
powered to examine, allow, and confirm from time to
time all claims and titles to land formerly granted
either to towns or individuals by the General Court,
and, when allowed, they were to " pass the seal of the
government for confirmation." In pursuance uf this
order, all the grants made to Bridgewater, as above
stated and described, were confirmed by the following
deed under the hand of Governor Hinckley and the
seal of the government :


"At his Majesty's Court of Assistants, held at Plymouth the
6"> of March, A.D. 16S5-86.

" To oft to whom these prenenlt ihatl come, Thomas Hinckley,
Esq., Governor of his Majesty's Colony of New Plymouth, in
New England, sendeth greeting.

" WHErtEAS, At his Majesty's general court, held at Plym-
outh the i"' of June, 1685, it was ordered and enacted that the
court of assistants be from time to lime a committee empowered
to examine, allow, and confirm all such claims and titles to
lands which were formerly granted or allowed by the general
court, either to townships or particular person.-, which, being
allowed by the said committee, shall pass the seal of the Govern-
ment for further confirmation thereof; and forosuiuch as it hath
been made to appear to the said court of aasL-iiants, now sitting
at Plymouth, the first Tuesday in March, lG85-b(). that a cer-
tain tract of land was granted by W"" Bradford, Esq., and his
associates, assembled in court, in the year of our Lord 1646,
unto the inhabitants of the town of Duxbury (a cuuipetcnt pro-
portion of lands), about a place called by the Indians M'tnixi-
•jHutucketf for a plantation for them, the inhal'itauts uf L)u.\bury,
and that they shall have it four miles every way from the
centre; tho inhabitants of Duxbury being lilty-six in number,
by agreement among themselves, every otic were tu have equal
shares, who, by the approbation and appointmeut of his
Majesty's honored court in New Plymouth, U>4o, did employ
Mr. Constant Soutbworth, with some others, to purchase the
above-mentioned tract of lund of Ossamequin, chief .Sachem of
tho Poconocket country, which being done, anil now inhabiteil
by many of the proprietors, is now called BfiUtjctnilti\ and all
such privileges allowed to them as the court alluws or gl■ant^
toother townships; and having set up their centre, his .Majcaiy's
court held at Plymouth, lUliS, did giant to Ji, nlijuLniti- six
miles from ibe centre on all four sides, where furiucr grants
made by the court bindereth not, as appears in court records,
and is bounded out by the agents of each re-^peciive town ad-
joining, as appears by their hands to their agreeiiiellt, and as-
sented to and acknowledged before the Governor and his asso-
ciates, sitting in his Majesty's cuuit held at Plyiiiuuth, the L'ud
of March, 1685/6, the bounds of the whole town>liip being set-
tled between them and other towns adjoining, are as tolluwctli :
The bounds betwixt Bridgewater and Tauntun being a heap of
stones lying four miles west from thu centre, and running north
from station to sUtion lUl it meet with tho line of the culniiies ;
and from said heap of stones south to a heap of stones lying to
thu west uf Unkete«t Pond, and from thence southeast into a



greiit wliile oak beinj; umrked witb a T for Taunton, and on the
Durtli side witb & li fur Itridgcwaier, iiud 60 fiuQi ?t:ition to
citation till it cunie to the gre;it river on the westward sidu uf a
spot uf ineuduw, according; to the a>;reeiucnt uf the u^entd of
botli towns. And the buunds between MIddlcliorough and
Brid-^uwater is the great river, until it come to tlie north sido
of Mr. StaDdi.-h's land, lying un the mouth uf Winnetuxit rivur,
and so from the norlh side of said Slundish's lund until it meet
with the easternmost line of BritJgewiLter, being a liciip of
stuuc^, t'uur miles from the centre, which is the bounds between
tbem and the Major's purchase, runutiig from ;^aid hca[> uf
stones «outh and by west half a jiuint wc.-lerly until it uicet with
said StiinJish's land, »te., and from the afi)resaid heap uf stones
running north-ni»rtliPU!-t from station to station tu fuur white-
oaks, the easternmost marked on all four sides, and sO fiom
station to station until it meet with the north line. The north
bounds being six miles Horn the centre to a cuuipany uf small
trees marked, being to the northwiird of a great roeli, and frum
the aforesaid marked trees running ea^^t until it meet with the
above said northeast line, and from the afuremeutiuncd marked
trees running west until it meet with ibe line of the colonies,
und with the line of the colonies till it meet with the westerly
line and Taunton (now Ea^ton) bounds. AM which lands, both
upland and meadow, swamps, cedar swamp:*, ponds, rivers,
brnoks, springs, wood, underwood, and all herbage, ieedings,
minerals, with all riglits, liherties, privileges, and appurtenances
tiicreto belonging, unto the appropriated inhaliilants and uilier
proprietors, though not iuhabitants uf the said town of Bridge-
water, according to each person's several and respective title or
interest therein, excepting two-tilth parts of the royal mine,
one-fifth part to his royal majesty, and the other one-hftb part
to the president and cuuneil. To have and tu hold unto the
said town and proprietors respectively, to their and every uf
tlieir heirs and assigns furever, according to the tenor of our
eharter or letters patent granted by tho honorablu council at
Plymouth, in the county of Devon, fur tho planting, ordering,
and governing of New England, derivatury frum his Majesty
King James the First, of happy memory; and in testimony
hcrcuf duth allow the public seal of the Government to beathxud
thereunto for the further cuntirmution thereut.

"TuuMAS lliNLKLtv, Uovenoi. :..
•'Attest, Nathaniel Clauk, S'ecrttatt/."

A confirmatiou uf the original purcliaso luaJti uf
Os^uiuequiu wus also obtuiuod about tl;e saiiiC time,
as follows :


*' Til all Chrialiitii people t>i idnnn (hem: prtaentu tlitill cuuie,

Juaiiih W'liuipttliivic ttuiirth ijrtethiif.

" Knuio i/e, that X, Josiah aforesaid, for and in con:*ideration
of ten pounds in monoy to uie in hand paid, and one hundred
acres of land lying on the upper und uf Poor Me;idow, on the
lower side of a foot-path thiit goeth to Scituate, lying on buth
sides of the river, doth cuufirm, establish, und ratify untu Sam-
uel Eiison, sen., Eosign Julin Ilaward, and John Willis, sen., in
behalf uf tho purchasers and town of Bridge water, in New Plyui-
outh Colony, in New England, and to their heirs, executors,
administrators, and assigns furever, all that whole tract of litnd
lying northward of the south four-mile line of Bridgewater,
which 0?samequin, Suchein of the Pueonocket country, by the
consent and approbation of his Majesty's General Court hehl at
Plyuiuuth, in New England, in the year 1G45, sold to the in-
habitants of Duxbury, as appears by deed, under Ossameq^uin's
bund, to Capt. Miles St:indish, Mr. Constant Southworth, and

Samuel Nuub. as agents for tho town of Duxbury. I, the above
said Josiah, do ratify and cuntlrm the above said sale of Ossa-
me<iuin's, and bargain of lands belonging tu liiidgewater, as
uplands, swamps, meadows, brooks, rivers, punils, timber, un-
derwood, herbage, mines, witb all cotnmuditien, buneliis, privi-
leges, immunities, and appurtenances whatever tlieruin con-

" I, the above said Josiah, also do ratify, establish, and cun-
firm, aud forever make over all my right, title, and interest in
the above-mentioned land from me, my heirs, exccuturs, and
assigns, unto the above said Samuel Edsun, John Haward, and
Juhn Willis, agents for the town of liridgewater, their iieiis,
executors, admini.-trators, and assigns forever, to have, and to
hold, occupy, and enjoy as their proper right forever, witliout
any claim, title, interest, or molestation to be made by me, my
heirf, executors, or as^signs, or any other person or persons, to
any part or parcel thereof, in, by, or under me any way apper-
taining; and do by these presents bind myself, and heirs, and

; executors, and assigns tu maintain and dcl'end the altuve-men-
tioned sale of lands against other Indian ur Indians tliat shall
make any claim or title to any part or parcel thereof."

I "Id witness whereof l have set to my haml and seal this

I twenty-third day of December, and in tho second year of the

; reign of our Sovereign Lord King James If. a.o. one thou.-;iiid

I six hundred and eighty-six.

[ " The mark of Josi \ ii \V \ m i-.\ i i'ck.

' " Signed, sealed, and delivered in presence of u.-s.

I " John SouLt.

1 "JoHi;pii Caiistow.

I "Samuel Tinslev.

j " December 2;^d, 1G86.

I •* Recorded, p. 425, in the Great Cook of Ptceords.

'* Pr. SA-MrKt. Si'ii.vfii'K.

"Acknowledged before

" AViI.M AM Lilt Ahl-Oltl),

" D'putij a.aurnov."

The o(ie hundred acre.s uieiitiiiucd in tiie abuve
confirniation were afterwards repurciiufted by indi-
viduals in the town. From this deed it appeals the
•greatest part of the town was twiec puiclia.-icd of the
Endiaos, — ouee of tlie Massasoit, and auaiii of Waui-
patuek, — and a valuable consideration paid each liiue.
By the boundaries of the town, a.s described in Gov-
ernor Hinckley's deed of cunlirniation, it is evidunt
a j;ore of land was still left un the ntirth between
Bridj^ewater (now Brockton) and tlie lint? of ihe
colonies, commencing at tlie point where the six-mile
line met the colony line towards the northwest corner
of the town, and thence extendinj^ easteily to the
northeast corner of the town, where the distance to
the county line is considerable. The westerly und
narrow end of this j^ore having been purchased of the
government after the union of the colonies by Daniel
Howard and Robert Howard, was, on the petition of
the selectmen of the town, annexed to Bridgewater,
Oct. 15, 1730. These several grunts aud additions
constituted all the territory ever belonging to Bridge-
water in its greatest extent. Tlie greatest part ol
Abingtou and what is now Hanson at that period



belonged to Bridgewater, which must then have con-
taioed abuut ninety-six square miles. In this situation,
and with these extensive territorial dimensions, the
town remained without change or diminution till
June 10, 1712, when Abington was incorporated.

When ihe Abington petitioners first applied for an
act of incorporation, July 4, 1706, they denominated
themselves " certain inhabitants of the east part of
the town of Bridgewater, and proprietors of a certain
tract of land between the towns of Weymouth, Hing-
ham, Scituate, and Bridgewater," and when the act

Online LibraryD. Hamilton (Duane Hamilton) HurdHistory of Plymouth County, Massachusetts : with biographical sketches of many of its pioneers and prominent men (Volume 1) → online text (page 1 of 146)