Copyright
Kuno Meyer.

Magazine of New England history (Volume 1) online

. (page 19 of 22)
Online LibraryKuno MeyerMagazine of New England history (Volume 1) → online text (page 19 of 22)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


Deeds, i. 26). A large tract of land still remained uncon-
veyed, a portion of which subsequently became the Brainti-ee
School lands ; while the portion sold to Tynge, known as the
Mt. Wollaston farm, was at his death (1661) left by him to
his daughter, Mrs. Shepard, and is still in the hands of her
descendants. — {Hist, of Norfolk Cou7iti/, 308-9).



MAGAZINE OF NEW ENGLAND HISTOIIY. 233

Recurring now to the other still unconveyed [)orti()n of the
Goddington grant, it would seem to have been the original
intention of Goddington to include this also in the sale to
Tynge, but, apparently, the so doing was prevented by legal
[)roceedings then pending based on a claim to a deed of the
land on the part of those living in the neighborhood,. in pur-
suance of some agreement or "promise" concerning it alleged
to have been made by Goddington. The negotiation for the
sale to Tynge was in 1G39 ; the town of Braintree was incor-
porated on the 16th of May, 1640 ; and on the 25th of August
1640, three months afterwards, Goddington writes to Win-
throp from Newport, as follows: — ''I was advised by letter
first out of the Bay that the Governor, and the Deputy' and
other of the magistrates had advised and encouraged the
town of Braintree to commence a suit against me. After, I
received a note from the Governor, that it was for a promise.
I know nothing of it, in regard whereof I desire that the
Plaintiffs may put in their complaint in answer, and that I
may have time given to put in my defence." — (IV. 31<iss.
Hist. Soc. Coll. vi. 317).

No trace of the suit here referred to can be found in the
court or other archives: but, on the first page of the Brain-
tree records, the school lands are spoken of as "recovered" of
Goddington, and the copy of a conveyance from Goddington's
attorney, Richard Wright, bears date July 10, 1640. The
land conveyed was, apparently, one hundred and lifty-three
acres, lying in three parcels, one of seventy-five, another of
forty, and a third of twenty-eight acres, and the considera-
tion paid was c£98 besides some "shillings and eight pence";
the mutihited first |)age of the book of records adds "being
^ * * g-iound allowed by the Court to * * * of Braintree
out of the goods of * * Goddington" * * *.

The legitimate inference from the above data is tliat God-
dington agreed in 1639 to sell his farm at Mt. WoUaston to
Tynge; but, owing to some legal proceedings based on an
alleged promise of his, was unable to convey title to the
whole. He did convey title to a portion of it on the 16th of



234 MAGAZINE OF NEW ENGLAND HISTORY

October, 1G39, and the litigation in regard to the baUinee
came to a close in June, 1640; so that at the very time in
August, 1640, that Coddington was writing from Newport to
Winthrop professing ignorance of the grounds on which suit
had been brought against him, liis agent in Massachusetts,
Richard Wriglit, had already, on June 5th, sold the land to
the town of Braintree, on some terms and at a price "allowed
by the Courte." The suit, whatever it was, seems, tlicrefore,
to have been decided against Coddington before he had time
to file any answer to the town's demand.

Through the action of the court, as appears from the frag-
ments of the conveyance still to be deciphered on the first
page of the town records, Braintree "recovered of Mr. Cod-
dington" a portion of the land then in Richard Wright's legal
possession, the Court at the same time protecting Wright by
ordering payment to be made to him of a specified sum, pre-
sumably the consideration on which the alleged "promise" of
Coddington was made. The land thus acquired was then
devoted to the support of the town's school. Another portion
of the grant seems under this action of the court to have been
released from litigation, and this portion was subsequently
(November 10, 1641) conveyed, in accordance with the New-
port deed of April 9, 1639, by Wright to Cheeseborough and
by him to Tjaige. (Suffolk Deeds, i, 26). The whole amount
finally getting to Tynge being some 400 acres while 153 were
conveyed to the town.

Now as to the adequacy of the consideration paid by the
town to Wright: Coddington's sale to Tynge covered his
brick dwelling-house in Boston, standing on what is now
Washington street, opposite Dock Square (ilfem. Hint, of
Boston ii. xxi) together with his garden, orchard, &c, with
sundiy lands, and five hundred acres at Mt. WoUaston all
for the price of £1300 sterling. The town paid Wright for
about one third of the Mt. Wollaston property. The day
after the sale to Tynge of 9th April, 1639, Tynge gave Cod-
dington a mortgage on tlie Mt. Wollaston land and buildings
to secure payment of X800. (Lcchford, iVwf(;-6c»t>/c, 64) and



MAGAZINE OF NEW ENGLAND IIISTOIIY. 235

the estate there was probably valued at not less than that
sum. The town-lands subsequently "i-ecovered" were in
acreage nearly one third of the whole, but did not include
house or out-buildings. Estimating this portion in value at
one quarter of the wliole, it represented in the sale to Tynge
X200. The amount paid for it under the order of the Court
was less than XIOO. Coddington's alleged "promise" may
have been to sell it to the town for this sum, being about
half its known value.

Subsequently, but not until 1667, the original deed of Cod-
dington to Tynge, of April 9, 1639, was placed on record in
Boston by Thomas Brattle, Tynge's son-in-law. (^Suffolk
Deeds, v. 173.) It also appears that, while Wright's deed to
the town bore date June 10th, 1640, he did not make formal
delivery and seisin until May, 1611. (Braintree Records, 1-
2) From which fact it would appear that Tynge, having
knowledge of the suit brought by the town did not rely for
his title on Coddington's deed of April, 1639, and that
Wrio-ht, though he gave a deed of the land at Mt. Wollaston
to the town in June, 1640, in accordance with the order of
the Court, deferred making any formal delivery of the
property until the following May. During the intervening
eleven montlis it is fair to presume he consulted with his
principal, Coddington, and may have secured his assent to
the linal arrangement and transfers both to Tynge and the
town.

Thus it would seem that the Coddington school lands
were not a voluntary gift from William Coddington to the
infant t>own of Braintree; but that, he, having contracted to
sell them to another party, was, to his extreme discontent,
prevented from so doing by legal proceedings, the character
of which cannot now be ascertained. The land then was
conveyed to the town by Coddington's agent, holding a legal
title to them, and he received in payment therefor a sum of
money, fixed by an order of the Court, and representing
about half of their market value.

But it still remains to account for the tradition of a free



236 MAGAZINE OF NEW ENGLAND HISTOllY.

gift; nor is this an easy tiling to do. That tradition cannot
be sununarily dismissed as wliolly without foundation, for
almost invariably there is some basis for every general and
long accepted popular belief as to occurrences in the past;
and, moreover, in this particular case, the belief is traced to
the Rev. John Hancock, who, in giving form to it, not only
stated what was current a century and a half ago, but, while
so doing, had before him the fii'st volume of Braintree i-ecords,
which had been filled and laid aside only eight years before,
and since Hancock's settlement in tlie town. It is not prob-
able that the earlier pages of that volume had then become
tattered with use, and in them the whole of Wright's deed of
the Coddington lands could have been, and probably had
been, read by the minister. Certainly the facts set forth in
those pages must have been known to many persons then
living; and yet Mr. Hancock referred to Coddington as the
'Mnunificent donor" of the lands in a matter of course way
and as if it were a thing of common acceptance. He was
speaking also of a comparatively recent transaction, for it
had occurred only eighty-seven years before he came to dwell
in the town.

Any explanation of these contradictory circumstances must
be based on pure surmise. My own surmise is that the claim
of the town to a deed of a portion of (^oddington's grant, was,
as he says, in his letter to Gov. Winthrop, based on an
alleged "promise" on Coddington's part. The Court, acting
with great promptness and without waiting for Coddington
to file an answer from his place of exile, ajiproved the claim
of the town and awarded the land to it. This much we now
know, for Wright gave a deed of the land to the town as
'"allowed by the Courte." on the 10th of June, 1640, and not
until the 25th of August did Coddington write to Winthrop
asking time in the matter. Thus the land was conveyed to
tlie town in accordance with Coddington's alleged "promise".
This much the town knew and remembered; it never knew
that Coddington wholly denied ever having made any such
promise, and fully intended to defend against the town's



MAGAZINE OF NEW ENGLAND HISTORY. 237

suit. This fact only came to light in 1863, wlicn Codchng-
toii's letter to Winthrop was published by the Massachusetts
Historical Society.

Thus the earlier generations of the town's people, including
the Rev. John Hancock, always supposed that the Court had
compelled Richard Wright to make good William Codding-
ton's "promise" as respects tliose lands, and that Coddiiigton
was the "donor" of them, while the consideration paid (£98)
must have been regarded as partial only. In lapse of years
the idea of a free -gift obtained general traditionary accep-
tance. None the less the letter to Winthrop of August 25,
1640, written three whole months after Wiight's conveyance
was executed, makes it clear that there was no free gift on
Coddington's part, but that the land was obtained by tlie
town either through a compulsory legal process or through
the act of an agent confessing a judgment not then author-
ized, though, possibly, afterwards approved by his principal.

One of tlie singular and more unaccountal)le features of
the whole transaction is tlie fact that no trace exists in the
records of this suit of the town, or action of "the Coarte."
In 1640-1 there were in Massacliusetts no distinct judicial
tribunals in the present sense of the term. The "Courte"
referred to in the deed from Wright to the representatives of
Braintree may have been the General Court, or Legislature,
or the Court of Assistants, composed of the Magistrates
chosen by vote at each annual election, or, possibly, the
County Court, whicli, created in 1639, was also composed of
certain of the same Magistrates. The case against Coddiiig-
ton must have been heard and decided before one of these
three tribunals ; but, althongh after 1639 a careful record of
the evidence given in every case tried in these courts, as well
as of the judgments rendered by them, was by law required
"to be kept to posterity," dilligent search has failed as yet to
discover any trace of such a record relating to the Braintree
school lands. This fact opens the way to a very unpleasant
inference.



238 MAGAZINE OF NEW ENGLAND TTTSTORY.

It will be noticed that in his letter to Winthrop of 25th of
Angiist, 1640, Coddington says that he had been advised
that "the Governor and the Depnty and otlier of the magis-
trates had advised and encouraged" the suit brought against
liim by Braintree. Dudley was then Governor, and he was
a bitter and even vindictive enemy of Coddington and all the
Antinomian exiles. A narrow minded, harsh man, he was by
no means scrupulous as to the methods he pursued in crush-
ing out heresies. He, also, together with "the deputy and
other of the magistrates," all enemies of Coddington, com-
posed tlie "Courte" which was to decide, and did decide, the
suit, the bringing of which they "had advised and encour-
aged." In those days furthermoi-e it was "the custom for
suitors to apply privately to the Magistrates who were to try
their causes, and by an exparte statement, forestall the favor-
able opinion of their Judges." (Washburn, Judicial His-
tory^ 51) ; a custom some years later prohibited by law.
While in the absence of any record or direct evidence, it
would therefore be improper to assert that Coddington was
judicially despoiled of a portion of his estate at Mt. WoUas-
ton for the benefit of the town of Braintree, all the indica-
tions point that way. Some corroboration for such an infer-
ence is also afforded by the fact that while the deed to the
town was executed by Coddington's attorney, Wright, on
the 10th of June, 1640, Wright did not make delivery of the
land until the following May, and his action was then appa-
rently part of another transaction through vi^hich a valuable
monopoly in milling was granted him by the town. (Brain-
tree Records^ I.)

Thus, thougli a highly respectable character and a ver}^
harshly used man, Coddington's name cannot, so far as ap-
pears, propei'ly be "inscribed on the hearts of the people as
that of their earliest benefactor; nor, as a "munificent donor,"
can he longer head the list of those who, first and last, have
given freely to the support of public education in Braintree
and its off-s[)ring towns. So far as any record yet discovei'cd
discloses the facts, he seems to have done what he did under
c()m])ulsion ; if, indeed, he was not judicially despoiled, with-
out haviufr been allowed time in which to defend himself.
— \_C1iarleii F. Adams in The Quincy Patriot.



The Adams Family of Groton, Connecticut.



4



+ ■*-, Y attention lias been called to an erroneous note in

lllli li Allyn's history of the battle of Groton Heights, as

to the relationship of Nathaniel Adams, one of tlie

victims of the massacre at Fort Griswold, Se})t. 61



1781.

The note will be found on page 260 of the history mentioned
as follows: ''Nathaniel Adams lived in tlie section of Groton
known as 'Gungawamp,' where in a thickly-wooded valle_y is
a rough uncut slab of granite, upon which are rudely en-
graved the initials N. A. Tradition says this stone was pre-
pared by Adams previous to his death and after that event,
in accordance with his desire, it was placed by his friends at
his grave. He is said by his descendants to have been at
one time wealthy, but reduced to straitened circumstances
by his patriotism, and to have been well known at the time
as a brother of John Adams, who afterwards became second
president of the United States."

On page 137 of the history referred to may be found a
further reference to Nathaniel Adams, as follows : — "Eliza-
beth Adams, widow of Nathaniel Adams, 'a cloathcr,' was
left witli five children under the age of eleven years, a small
house and a small piece of I'ocky land under no improvement
nor worth im{)roving, lived wholly by her trade."

Tlie error in the liistory which I desire to correct is this :

Deacon John Adams, father of the president, was born and
lived in what is now Qnincy. Mass; the date of his birth
was Feb. 8, 1691 ; he married Nov. 23, 1734, Susannah lioyls-
ton of Brookline, Mass., and died May 25, 1761. His only
children were three sons, viz. :



240 MAGAZINE OF NEW ENGLAND HISTORY.

1. John, Jr., born Oct. 19, 1735 ; second president, and
fatlier of Jolm Quincy Adams, born July 11, 1767, sixth
president. 2. Peter Boylston Adams, born Oct. 16, 1738,
resided in Quincy. 3. Elihu Adams, born May 29, 1741, re-
sided in Randolph, Mass.

It will therefore be seen that President John Adams had
no brother Nathaniel, and hence the histor}^ referred to is in
error.

The facts in regard to Nathaniel Adams of Groton are
these. He was born in Groton June 8, 1739. His father's
name was also Nathaniel and his mother's maiden name
Hannah Wheeler^ who were married in Groton Jan. 23, 1731.

Nathaniel Adams Jr., the Fort Griswold victim, was mar-
ried in Groton Jan. 4, 1670, to Elizabeth Comstock and had:
1, Abigail, born Mar. 1, 1771;— 2, Sarah, born Jan. 17, 1773;-
— 3, Elizabeth, born July 18, 1775; — 4, Prentice, born Feb.
26, 1777.

It will he observed by the latter note quoted from Allyn's
history that, as alleged, Nathaniel left five minor cliihh'en
and if such be tlie fact, my record of his children, having'
tlie names of but four, must be incomplete.

As to the more remote ancestry of the Groton Adams
family, I am of the opinion, after some considerable research,
that Nathaniel Sr., probably the first Adams to settle in
(iroton as originally bounded, was born about 1704 in Bris-
tol, R. I., and a son of Edward Adams of that town, born in
Medtield, Mass., in 1668, who was son of Edward Sr., of
Braintree and Medfield, Mass., born in England in 1630 and
the younger of the eight sons of Henry Adams the emigrant
of Braintree, 1634.

There were three of the sons of Edward Sr., who settled
in Bristol or Barrington, R. I., viz: James, born 1761,
Edward, Jr., born 1668, and William b'orn 1670, and the
records of the "Church of Christ" of Bristol, between 1695
and 1710, show the baptism of an aggregate of seventeen of
their children (see N. E. Hist, and Gen. Register, Vol.
XXXIV) many of whom I have been unable as yet. to
trace. 1 will be pleased to hear fiom all who ma)^ be inter-
ested in the matter. —Nelson D. Adams, in Norwich, Conn.,
Bulletin.



Centenarians in New Hampshire.



N 1848, Mr. Jacob B. Moore contributed an article for

Ithe New York Journal of Commerce, on the Centenari-
ans of New Hampshire. He estimated that from 1705
to 1840, there had died, in that State, 163 persons who
had either entered upon their 100th year, or had exceeded a
complete century. Of this number 101 were females. Few
sections of our country, of the same population, have afforded
so many instances of longevit}'- as New Hampshire. The fol-
lowing notes from Mr. Morris' record, are interesting :

The first who completed a century, of whom any account
is preserved, was Henry Langstaff of Bloody Point, who had
been 84 years in New England, and who died 18th of July,
1705, above one hundred years of age. His death was occa-
sioned by a fall. Rev. Mr. Pike, of Dover, says in his Jour-
nal, that he was a hale, strong, hearty man, and might have
lived many years longer, but for the accident which occa-
sioned his death.

William Perkins, of New Market, who died in 1732, at the
age of 116. He was a native of the West of England. Gov.
Burnett, when on his way to New Hampshire, visited him,
and examined him closely concerning events of the civil war
in England. His son died in 1757, aged 87 ; and a great
grandson died in 1824, at the age of 91.

William Scoby, of Londonderry, who died in 1754, aged
110. He was vigorous and active to the close of life. When
104, he walked from Londonderry to Portsmouth, 36 miles,
and back again by another route 25 miles further, in order to
see how many chihlren his grandchildren's grandchildren



242 MAGAZINE OF NEW ENGLAND HISTORY.

had, for they had been married several years. See Boston
Weekly Post-Boy, Gth March, 1749.

Robert Metlin, of Wakefield, who died 5th February, 1787,
aged 115. He was a native of Scothind, lived many years
at Portsmouth, where he carried on the business of a baker,
and was noted as a pedestrian. He used to go on foot to
Boston, then about 60 miles, performing the distance usually
in a single day, where, after purchasing his flour, and put-
ting it on board a coaster, he would walk home on the follow-
ing day. He was 80 years old when he last performed this
feat. The journey was thought in those days to be a good
day's work for a horse.

John Love well, of Dunstable. The time of his death is
not ascertained, nor his exact age, but he lived to be about
100 — not 120, as many accounts have it. I have seen a depo-
sition made hj him in 1745, which states his age then to be
93, and he was not living in 1755. He was a man of vener-
able appearance, so much so that the Indians regarded him
with reverence, and never offered to molest him. He was
father of John Lovewell, commander in the celebrated "Love-
well's Fight," at Pequawkit.

Samuel Welch, of Bow, who died 5th April, 1823, in the
ll3th year of his age. He was born at Kingston, Sept. 1st,
1710, and is supposed to have been the oldest native of New
Hampshire, of European descent, vvlio ever died in the State.
I visited this old man about a month before his decease, and
spent some hours in conversation with him. On asking him
if his life had seemed long to him, he answered, "O, no, —
shoi't — very short !" And yet he spoke of life as one weary
of its burdens and wishing "to be away."

The oldest female in New Hampshire, of whose age we
have any account, was Hannah Belknap, a widow of Ebene-
zer Belknap, of Atkinson. She died in 1784, at the age of
107 lacking one month. When 105, she rode from Atkinson
to Plaistow, on horseback, on a "pillion," behind her son
Obadiah Belknap. Her husband died at the age of 95.



Record of Marriages,

BY r.EV. GARDNER THURSTON, PASTOR OP THE SECOND RAP
TIST CHURCH, NEWPORT, R. I.

1759-1800.

(Continued from page 153.)



1771.




June


2.


(I


16.


((


20.


it


30.


July


11.


11


14.


u


18.


li


25.


11


29.


Aug.


1.


((


8.


<(


19.


((


9^?



John Chapman and Mary Walker.
William James and Frances Gardner.
Francis Anderson and Susana Vaughn.
William Hansford and Sarah Goodman.
Benjamin Barker and Nancy Franklin.
William Hoar and Elizabeth Lawton.
Jeremiah Fones Green and Rebecca Marshal.
William Weaver, Warwick, and Elizabeth Love-
land, of Newport.
John James and Martha Taylor.
Anthony Murry and Sarah Poole.

Francis ull and Pennance Cahoone.

Benjamin Hoxie and Elizabeth Fowler.
Charles Rickerson and Elizabeth Falmon, of
Portsmouth, R. I.
Sept. 8. Samuel Tompkins of Newport and Catharine
Belcher of Jamestown, R. I.
" 12. Thomas Tripp and Pennolopy Wilber.
" 26. Michael Logan aud Hannah Atkinson.
Oct. 1 3. William Willis and Abigail Seavens.
" 17. John Cook and Deborah Durphy.
" 23. William Brown and Lydia West.



244 MAGAZINE OF NEW ENGLAND HISTORY

1771.

Oct. 30. Thomas Lindsey of Providence and Rebecca
Allen of Portsmouth.
" 31. William Peckham and Bathiah Peckham, Mid-
dletown.
Nov. 11. Elisha Reynolds and Mary Spencer.

" 18. Hezekiah Starbuck of Nantucket and Mary

Thurston of Newport.
" 20. James Dawley, Exeter, and Margaret Langwor-
thy, Newport.
Stephen Fish and Joanna Paddock, Portsmouth.
Arthur Smith and Mary Burroughs.
Daniel Vernon and Lois Case.

Benjamin Burdick and Martha Hulling.
Thomas Crossing and Hannah Clarke.
John Cory and Mary Petyface.
Philip Bui-ges and Mary Clarke.
Josiah Hazard, Jamestown, and Mary Carr, New-
port.
William Anthony and Alice Coggeshall.
Thomas Hews and Mary Irish.
William Smith and Hannah Carr.
Richard Swan and Johannis Davis.
Andrew Willie, Newport, and Mary Chappell,
South Kingstown.
Sept. 8. Hugh Harris and Rebecca Holt.

" 14. Nicliolas Browning, Newport, and Lydia Clarke,

Portsmouth.
" 20. William Lyon and Hannah Langworthy.
" 23. Benjamin Dexter, East Greenwich, and Elizabeth

Pearce, Portsmouth.
" 24. William Cory and Darkis West.
" 27. Gregory Swaster and Mary Mott.
Oct. 1. Job Lawton and Patience Hall, Portsmouth.
" 1. David Barker, Middletown, and Eunice Sherman,
Portsmoutli.



Dec.


5.


((


5.


a


15.


1772.




Jan.


23.


Feb.


20.


Mch.


29.


April
May


11.
31.


July
Aug.


17.

5.

13.


((


22.


((


26.



1772.




Oct.


11,


(k


18.


ki


20.


i(


25.


Nov.


8.


((


24.


Nov.


29.


ki


29.


Dec.


4.


i(


6.


ki


7.


a


11.


i(


11.


it


1?.


(.(,


21.


n


31.


1773.




Jan.


7.


Feb.


2.


Feb.


29.


Mch.


8.


n


21.


u


25.


April


23.


ii.


25.


May


6.


May


16.


June


3.


((


17.


u


25.


((


27.


n


30.


July


1.


*'


1.


a


19.



MAGAZINE OF NEW ENGLAND HISTORY. 245

Stephen Lambert and Elizabeth James.
Peleg Remington and Amey Jones.
Webster James and Mary Dawson.
Peleg Peckham and Elizabeth Smith, Middletown.
James Sanford and Priscilla Lowdon.
John Northup, North Kingston, and Margery Sal-
ford, Newport.
John McKenzie and Katharine Cleveland.
Oliver Dewick and Penelopy Hardy.
John Richards and Sarah Cbilds.
Lewis BuUiod and Sarah Ryan.
Joseph Cahoone and Elizabeth Almy.
Caleb Foster and Ann Briggs.
Seth Chapin and Hannah Hamblin.
Ebenezer Cam]jbell and Mary Cahoone."
Daniel Vaughn and Elizabeth Potter.
John Remmington and Sarah Hopkins.


1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 19 21 22

Online LibraryKuno MeyerMagazine of New England history (Volume 1) → online text (page 19 of 22)