J. H. (Josiah Howard) Temple.

History of Framingham, Massachusetts, early known as Danforth's Farms, 1640-1880; with a genealogical register online

. (page 1 of 98)
Online LibraryJ. H. (Josiah Howard) TempleHistory of Framingham, Massachusetts, early known as Danforth's Farms, 1640-1880; with a genealogical register → online text (page 1 of 98)
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At a legal meeting of the town of Framingham, April 4, 1881, a committee
was appointed " to consider and report on the matter of the publication of a
History of the Town."

At a meeting of the town, held April 24, 1882, the committee reported: —

" The fact is known to most of our citizens, that Rev. J. H. Temple has
been at work for many years, gathering the materials for a full and faithful
history of the town. His advantages for this work are exceptionally good,
being a native of the place, and familiar with its localities and traditions. He
comes from an ancestry noted for long life, and the old men of his boyhood
were communicative, so that the information ready for him at Jirst hand, runs
back to the old French and Indian Wars ; and careful study of authentic
records of the State, the County, and the Town, has supplemented the verbal
narratives, and has supplied annals of the earlier times ; and his own knowl-
edge furnishes the facts and statistics of the last half century.

'• The ' History of Framingham' published by Rev. William liarry, thirty-
five years ago, is now out of print; a great number of valuable documents
relative to our early history — and particularly to the period which embraced
the Revolutionary War — which were not then accessible, have been found
by Mr. Temj^le, and are of special interest in our local annals. The Family
Registry, prepared by Mr. Barry, practically closed with the families who
settled here before 1800, while the largest part of our present population
became residents since that date.

The committee recommend that the Town appropriate a sum not exceeding
$4,000, to publish the History prepared by Mr. Temple ; and that a commit-
tee be appointed to make the necessary contracts, and advise with Mr. Temple
as to details of publication."

Signed, James W. Clark,


Adolphus Merriam,

,. „^' j, -■ " ■' ^ » CftAS. W. COOLIDGE,

y.''' '..'•' "'J I fi .C;./ Stearns,

J. R'. Entwistle,
' ' ' " Walter Adams.

The report was accepted; t-ne suni^^af |^,coo was appropriated; and the
above-named appointed a comiMitts^i; ^f; public?. fton,;


The volume herewith offered to the citizens of Framingham, and
the public, covers a period of 240 years. It is the result of ten years
of investigation among the papers preserved in the State Archives, in-
cluding the Journals of the General Court ; also of the writings of
John Eliot, Daniel Gookin, Gov. Thomas Danforth and their cotempo-
raries ; also of the records of the Probate and other county courts,
and the Registry of Deeds of Suffolk, Worcester, and Middlesex coun-
ties ; also of the town and church records of Sudbury, Sherborn, and
the Indian plantation at Natick, as well as the town and church rec-
ords of Framingham.

The writer has been allowed free access to the libraries of the
Massachusetts Historical Society, and the New England Historic-
Genealogical Society, where are gathered stores of manuscripts and
printed volumes illustrative of the local as well as general history of
our early settlements.

In the early part of his labors he was assisted by the well-stored
memories of Mrs. Nabby (Morse) Freeman, Dea. John Temple, Nathan
Stone, Mrs. Martha (Trowbridge) Gibbs, Adams Littlefield, Warren
Nixon, Esq., Col. Moses Edgell, and Mrs. Eliza (Buckminster) Eaton ;
and later by Miss Chloe Haven, Dea. Jonathan Greenwood, Luther
Kendall, Jonathan Eames, Joseph Brown, Charles B. Clark, Charles
Parker, George Haven, George Warren, Dexter Hemenway, Henry
Eames, and others.

The diaries kept by Dea. Ezra Hemenway, Mrs. Freeman, and Mrs.
Uriah Rice, have been of much assistance in fixing dates, and furnish-
ing items of family history.

Of course the writer has availed himself of the labors of Dr. Wil-
liam Ballard and Rev. William Barry, whose published histories are
still extant. And it is a pleasure as well as a duty to recognize the
fruitful work of Mr. Barry, who culled the field in advance, and found
a rich harvest of facts, which were given to the public in 1847. His
Family Register is a monument of patient and successful research.
W^henever statements are copied from Mr. Barry's History, due credit

vi Preface.

is given ; but in all cases where the originals are still in existence,
those originals have been examined and copied. And this, together
with the numerous documents which have come to light since the date
of Mr. Barry's publication, will account for the many corrected state-
ments found in the present volume. The war records of the American
Revolution and the war of 1812 were not accessible to Mr. Barry;
and as they constitute an essential part of our annals, they properly
occupy a large space in this book.

Our Town Records are in a good state of preservation, except for
the years 1782-87, which are missing.

The Church Records are imperfect. Rev. Mr. Swift left a journal
of ecclesiastical events [really a Church Record], covering the period
from Dec, 1716, to July, 1728. Then there is a hiatus of 18 years.
The regular book of Church Records begins with the settlement of
Rev. Matthew Bridge in 1746. Mr. Barry intimates that the early
Church Records were maliciously destroyed in modern times. But in
a letter written in 1771, Mr. Bridge says, "There are no records
belonging to the Framingham church so ancient as 1726," and the
records are complete since the date of his letter.

The writer has been fortunate in discovering the "remains " of many
Indian village-sites, forts, corn-fields, etc., on our territory, and in col-
lecting authentic information relating to the natives who dwelt here.
He also has been able, from natural marks and historical data, to
locate the principal Indian trails and early bridle-paths running through
the town. Indeed, traces, more or less distinct, of several of these
paths were in existence in his youth, and have been followed by him
for many a mile. Detailed accounts are given of the first visits hither
of white men ; of original land-grants ; of the gradual coming on of
settlers ; the incorporation of the town, and the founding and progress
of its social, civil, ecclesiastical, educational, and industrial institu-
tions. The honorable part taken by our citizens in the earlier and
later wars is fully set forth ; and thus long-deferred justice is done to
the memory of many who were patriots and heroes in their day, and
who contributed materially to the glory of our Commonwealth.

In the matter of Family History, pedigrees are traced, where prac-
ticable, to the emigrant ancestor. And the list contains the name of
every inhabitant, whether native or foreign-born, who has held taxable
estate, and reared children in town, down to the present generation.
In the preparation of these genealogies, besides the town records,
family registers, family Bibles, and inscriptions on grave-stones have
been consulted. And where irreconcilable contradictions occur in
these records, a solution has been sought by reference to the specifi-
cations on the enlistment rolls, wills, and guardianship papers, and
collateral facts. The result of exhaustive research has often led to

Preface. vii

conclusions at variance with family tradition and published records.
But no dates and lines of descent have been adopted, without what
appeared to be reliable evidence of accuracy. Cases of doubt are
marked with an interrogation point.

Some months were spent in the Registry of Deeds, and devoted to
the investigation of original land-titles, and early transfers of estates ;
and the descriptions herewith given, will enable present holders, in a
majority of cases, to trace their rights to possession.

Biographical sketches are given of several of our citizens who, by
common consent, are regarded as public benefactors, or have attained
marked distinction in life. The list might have been much extended.

This work is not the expression of the writer's opinions on the sub-
jects brought to view ; but is largely composed of Original Records
and Official Documejits, copied verbatim ; and the facts in the case are
left to tell their own story, and indicate the legitimate inferences.

The Military Records comprise the names and terms of service of
all officers and privates furnished by the town, for the Indian and
French Wars, the Revolution, the War of 1812, and the Civil War of
1861-65, so far as these are preserved in the State muster-rolls.

JosiAH H. Temple.
Framingham, May 2, 1887.


On p. 24, 14th line from bottom, for Coolett read Corlctt.

On p. TJ, 9th 1. from top, erase 6.

On p. 106, 2d 1. from bottom, for Henry read Hervey .

On p. 144, loth 1. from top, after Mendo/i, add /;/ the present town of

On p. 167, 4th 1. from top, for Sheiusbiiry read Shrewsbury .

On p. 216, sixth paragraph, after expedition, add and Joshua Train.

On p. 276, loth 1. from bottom, for Noah Eaton id, read Jr.

On p. 323, 7th 1. from top, for died of disease, read k. at Harlem Heights,
Sept. i6, 1776.

On p. 347, for Ashbuiy, read Asbury.

On p. 386. for Silas W. Ingrahain, read Ingram.

On p. 419, after Z. B. Adams, read Bowd. Coll. 1849; Har7'. Med. Sch.
1853, etc.

On p. 457, Hervey W. Allen's 2d w. should read Charlotte, not Henrietta.

Old and New Style. — All dates, prior to 1752, are understood to be in con-
formity with old style, then in use.

Double Dating. — The custom which prevailed in former times, of double-
dating events which transpired between January i, and March 25, has in most
instances been retained ; but sometimes the true date is given, /. e. the year
is considered as beginning January i ; and sometimes the author has met the
same perplexity which will confuse the reader.



Topography and Natural Features of the Territory — Mill-
seats — First Notices of the place — Name of the Town — with
BRIEF Notices of Sudbury, Marlborough, Natick and Sherborn.

f RAM INGHAM is situated in the southwestern part of Middle-
sex County, midway and on a direct line between Worcester
and Boston. The old turnpike between these cities ran through
the Centre village ; the Boston and Albany railroad runs through
the South village ; the Old Colony railroad. Northern division, from
New Bedford to Fitchburg, and to Lowell, runs through both the
South and Centre villages.

When the act of incorporation was granted in 1700, the town was
bounded easterly by Sudbury, Wachituate Pond and Natick lands ;
southerly by Sherborn and the Indian lands ; west by Marlborough,
and north by Sudbury. Its present boundaries are, northeasterly by
Wayland ; easterly by Natick ; southeasterly by Sherborn ; south-
westerly by Ashland ; west by Southborough and Marlborough, and
north by Sudbury.

As originally laid out, the Plantation contained about 20,500 acres.
Subsequently several tracts, of greater or lesser extent, were transferred
to other towns. Simpson's Farm of 500 acres was set to Hopkinton,
when that town was incorporated in 17 15. Holliston took off a point
of the southern extremity of the town in 1724. In 1727 South-
borough took in the long strip of land known as Fiddle Neck. The
Leg was annexed to Marlborough in 179 1. By these subtractions
the area of the township was reduced to 18,976 acres. In 1846 a
tract of about 3,000 acres was set off to form, with parts of Hop-
kinton and Holliston, the new town of Ashland. In 187 1 a triangular

2 History of Framingham.

piece of land was taken from the town of Natick and annexed to
Framingham. The present area of the town is 15,930 acres.

EngHsh adventurers explored these lands as early as 1633, and
became acquainted with the features of the country ; but the Colonial
government took no action intended to promote a settlement here
till 1640, when a considerable grant, within its limits, was made to
•the widow of Rev. Josse Glover. At this date, the nearest towns
were Sudbury, Watertown and Dedham. To the westward, the
nearest and only settlement in Massachusetts was Springfield. The
country adjacent on the south and west was inhabited only by

In the earliest notices of the territory now embraced in this town,
it is described as Wilderness Land lying north of the path from
Sudbury to Nipnox. Later (1662) it is called "The tract of waste
lands belonging to Thomas Danforth Esq. lying between Marlbury
and the Old Connecticut Path;''' and still later (1693), "A Plantation
situated between Sudbury, Marlbury, Sherborn, and the Indian Plan-
tation at Natick, and westerly is the wilderness." A considerable
part of these lands, viz : those which lay on the easterly side of
Sudbury River, was disposed of by the General Court to individuals
and to the Natick plantation, between the years 1640 and 1660. In
1660-62 the Court granted to Thomas Danforth, Esq., the larger
part of the lands on the westerly side of the river. To this granted
land Mr. Danforth added, by purchase, the tract situated west and
south of Farm Pond, extending as far as the old Sherborn line. The
combined gift and purchases covered about two.-thirds of what con-
stituted the township ; and the place was, for many years, officially
designated as "Mr. Danforth's Farms."*

No record has been discovered of any act of the General Court
by which these lands were created into a plantation. Settlers came
on slowly and were much scattered. Until 1675, all the adults were
members of the church in Sudbury ; and most of them had home-ties
there, and did not desire, and were not able to bear the burdens of
separate civil and ecclesiastical charges.

After a considerable number of families had located, and made
valuable improvements, and stocked their farms, the residents were
called upon by the Colonial authorities to pay " country rates," and
required to furnish their proper quota of soldiers for the army. This,
so far as appears, was the only public recognition of our existence as
a plantation, previous to our incorporation as a town. And up to
that date, the inhabitants exercised no plantation rights.

*The plural Farms was used, from the fact that he received three distinct grants, and purchased
two farms, viz: the Wayte farm, and the Russell farm.

Name of the Town. 3

Name. — On the Colonial records, the place is officially designated
as Mr. Danfo7-tli' s Farms., and Frainifigham. In a single instance, on
the Middlesex county records, where entry is made of the births of
two children of Thomas Eames, and one child of Joseph Bradish, the
name is written Fra?nnng/iam. And in a petition drawn up by Peter
Clayes in 1698, and presented to the legislature, this spelling is used.
Neither has anything more than a clerical authority; and both may
have been clerical inadvertencies. In the records of the Middlesex
County Court, under date Dec. 23, 1673, and elsewhere, the name
is written Framingham, and uniformly so in the General Court rec-
ords ; and in Mr. Danforth's numerous leases, of different dates, and in
his will, the name is written without the /. Mr. Danforth's own usage
is, of course, tinal authority in the matter. Oct. 27, 1675, a tax was
laid, " to meet the charges of the present war with the Indians," and
Framingham was assessed ^i. Dec. 28, 1675, Framingham is ordered
to raise one soldier, as its proportion of a levy of 300. Under the
same name, the inhabitants were assessed till 1699, when the amount
was 36 pounds, which they had declined to pay, assigning as the reason,
that " they were not a settled town, and consequently were incapable
to choose town officers, and levy a tax."

But, whether the word be spelled with or without an /, there is no
doubt that the Plantation received its name from the birthplace of
Thomas Danforth in England. "The interest which naturally at-
taches to the name of this town," says Mr. Barry, "may justify a brief
account of the original town in Great Britain. Framlingham is in the
hundred of Loes, county of Suffolk, England, and lies 88 miles north-
east from London. The river Ore runs by it, and upon the VV. side
of the town spreads into a sort of lake. By the bounty of King
Henry I. here was formerly a castle of the Bigods. It is described
by Camden [1695] as 'a very beautiful castle, fortified with a rampire,
a ditch, and a wall of great thickness, with thirteen towers; within it
has very convenient lodgings. From this place it was that, a. d. 1173,
when the rebellious son of King Henry II. took up arms against his
father, Robert, Earl of Leicester, with his stipendiaries from Flanders,
harassed the country all around; and here also it was that An. 1553,
Queen Mary entered upon the government, notwithstanding the vio-
lent opposition of Dudley, Earl of Northumberland, against King
Henry VIII's daughters.' This town contains a free school, and also
the chapel of Saxtead, valued in the King's books at ;^43.6.8, the pat-
ronage of which is in Pembroke Hall, Cambridge. The church is ded-
icated to St. Michael. The resident population of this parish, in 1801,
was 1854, and the amount raised by the parish rates, in 1803, was
;!^ii29.i2.o, at 5s. 4>^d. in the pound. Cotton Mather relates of

4 History of Fi'aviinghavt.

Nicholas Danforth (father of Thomas), that he was 'of such figure and
esteem in the church, that he procured that famous lecture at Fram-
lingham in Suffolk, where he had a fine manor, which lecture was
kept up by Mr. Burroughs and many other noted ministers in their
turn • to whom, and especially to Mr. Shepard, he proved a Gains,
and then especially, when the Laudian fury scorched them.' Fram-
lingham is a market town, its market being held on Saturday. The
Fairs are on Whit-Monday and the loth of October." •

As considerable parts of our territory were claimed by adjoining
towns, and the early settlers were taxed and had civil and religious
rights in said towns, it is proper, in this connection, to give the dates
of settlement and incorporation of these older neighbors. By an
early statute, it was provided that "Every inhabitant shall contribute
to all charges both in church and commonwealth, whereof he doth or
may receive benefit ; and the lands and estates of all men (wherein
they dwell ) shall be rated for all town charges, both civil and eccle-
siastical, where the lands and estates shall lie, and their persons where

they shall dwelt And for all peculiars, viz : such places

as are not yet laid within the bounds of any town, the same lands
with the persons and estates thereupon, shall be assessed by the rates
of the town next unto it, the measure or estimation shall be by the
distance of the meeting houses." Statutes, 1651, 1657.

As a consequence, the settlers who came on before 1699 were re-
garded as belonging to Sudbury, Marlborough or Sherborn, according
to their location ; and through the exercise of civil jurisdiction for a
longer or shorter period, one or other of these to^ns laid claims to
lands within our limits, and opposed the incorporation of the new town,
unless the bounds could be fixed to suit their several interests.

Sudbury. — The township of Sudbury — the elder of our neighbor
towns — was petitioned for by iniiabitants of Watertown Nov. 20,
1637;' was first settled in the spring of 1638; was incorporated as
a plantation Sept. 6, 1638 f and received the name of Sudbury
Sept. 4, 1639. ^^ The first planters located near where is now the
village of Wayland ; and here all the original home-lots were laid out.

The town plot was originally five miles square. The southwest cor-
ner was near the east foot of Nobscot. The south line of the town
corresponded with the present bounds from that point east, and con-
tinued a straight course to Weston. In 1640, the inhabitants pe-
titioned for an addition of a mile in length upon the southeast and
southwest sides of the town ; which petition was allowed, on condition
" it may not hinder Mrs. Glover's farm of 600 acres formerly granted."*

iMass. Co). Rec. I. 210. ^jbid. 1.238. Mbid. i. 271. ••Col. Rec. i. 289.

Sudbury. 5

The Glover farm lay on the east side of Sudbury river, its north bound
being the old south line of Sudbury, and its east bound a straight
course from Sudbury line to the northeasterly point of Dudley pond ;
so that the "mile addition " was laid out to the east and south of this
farm, and easterly of Cochituate pond. Later, i. e. in 1649, the town
was enlarged by the addition of two miles in width, on its westerly

Sudbury men were the earliest settlers within the territory now
comprised in Framingham, and pitched upon the lands contiguous to
the mother town. The families of Stone, Rice, Bent, Adams, Brown,
et ah., had grants or bought rights near the falls in Sudbury river (now
Saxonville), and at Rice's End ; built houses, and became permanent
residents between the years 1646 and 1683. But they were known as
"out-dwellers,'" and described in deeds as "living near unto Sudbury;"
and their lands were assessed as " Sudbury Farms." That the territory
in question was not included in Sudbury town bounds, is shown by the
following extract from the Sudbury Town Records : " Oct. 26, 1686.
Agreement between the town of Sudbury and certain out-dwellers, viz.
Corp. Henry Rice, Corp. John Bent, Matthew Rice, Benjamin Rice,
William Brown, Daniel Stone, John Loker, John Adams, Samuel
King, and David Rice, who are inhabitants bordering upon, but
dwelling without the line or bounds of this town — have engaged to
pay all rates for building the meeting house, and for the maintenance
of the ministry of the town, and for defraying town debts and the
support of the poor — provided the town do relieve the poor amongst
them and free them from repairing the highways within the town

Notwithstanding the explicit terms of the Records, it has been
claimed by Dr. Stearns and others, that Sudbury town bounds once
included Saxonville. Probably the claim is based on the following
" Order " passed by the General Court Mar. 8, 169 1-2 : " In answer to
the petition of the selectmen of Sudbury, ordered : That the out
dwellers adjoining unto the said Town, comprehended within the line
beginning at Matth. Rice's, from thence to Cornet Wm. Brown's, Corp.
Henry Rice's, Thomas Drury's, Tho. Walker, Jr., John How, and
Samuel Winch's (not belonging to any other towne), be annexed unto
the Town of Sudbury, and continue to bear their part of all duties
and partake of all priviledges there as formerly, until further order."
The terms of the order seem to limit its application to persons and
taxable estates, and carry no transfer of territory. And that it was so
understood by the parties in interest, is evident from the following
petition, bearing date July 4, 1700, signed by these same farmers, and
sent to the legislature: "The said town of Sudburv have for above

6 History of Frauiiughain.

a year denied your Petitioners the liberty of voting and other town
privileges, utterly disclaiming them as not belonging to the said town,
though your Petitioners have contributed to the building the Meeting
house and maintenance of the minister, and have paid several town
rates and done many town duties ; wherefore they pray to be annexed
to the town of Framingham." \\'hereupon, on the following day, July
5th — without serving any order of notice upon the adverse party, as
would have been necessary in case these lands were included in Sud-
bury bounds, — it was '■'■ordered, that the petitioners and other the
farms lying betwixt the Northerly end of Cochitawick Pond and the
line of Framingham, be laid and annexed to the town of Framingham ;
and enjoy all immunities, and privileges with other the inhabitants in
said town, and that they and their estates be liable to bear a propor-
tion of charge in the said town."

Gore's Survey [1699], and other official plans, place the Sudbury
south line on the north side of the Glover grant.

Natick Plantation. — This was originally settled and organized
as an Indian village, and so continued for nearly a century. It be-
came an English precinct or parish in 1745 ; and was incorporated as
a town Feb. 19, 1781.

The village was located at what is now South Natick. What is

Online LibraryJ. H. (Josiah Howard) TempleHistory of Framingham, Massachusetts, early known as Danforth's Farms, 1640-1880; with a genealogical register → online text (page 1 of 98)