Lee (Mass.).

Vital records of Lee, Massachusetts, 1777-1801, from the records of the town, Congregational church and inscriptions in the early burial grounds; all the family birth records continued beyond 1801 giv online

. (page 1 of 8)
Online LibraryLee (Mass.)Vital records of Lee, Massachusetts, 1777-1801, from the records of the town, Congregational church and inscriptions in the early burial grounds; all the family birth records continued beyond 1801 giv → online text (page 1 of 8)
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Introductory Notes - - - v-vii

Town- Clerks' Records

Publishments and Marriages 1-11

Records of Births 12-43

Deaths 43-48

•ngregational Church Records

Organization and Members 49-53

Admissions and Baptisms trom May 25, 1780 to May '1, 1792 - 49-57

; )rdinatioii of Mr. Parraele 58

Ordination of Mr. Hyde 59

Admissions from June (>, 1792 to Jan. 1, ISOI - - - 60-63

Baptisms " " " "".... 63-69

Marriages by Mr. Hyde 70-71

Deaths recorded by Mr. Hyde 72-75

Inscriptions fro:m the Cemeteries 76-91

Appendix 93-94


Baptisms 95-99

Uhm-ch Members 100-102

Pnbli.shments and Marriages 103-105

Deaths 106-108


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The town of Lee, Mass. , was formed from parts of Great Barrington
and Washington, the Glass Works Grant, and part of Williams's Grant.
It was incorporated Oct. 21, 1777, and the first town meeting was held
Dec. 26, 1777.

The number of inhabitants at the time of incorporation has been vari-
ou.sly estimated from 250 to 350. It is probable that the latter number is
more correct. In 1 791 the population was 1 , 1 70 ; in 1 800 it was 1 ,207.

The first settlers were mostly from neighboring towns, and from Con-
necticut. Several families, liowever, were from Plymouth and Barnstable
counties, and several Dutch families from New York, were located on the
Hoplands, and Glass Works Grant. Soon after the incorporation, a con-
siderable accession to the population was made by families from Barnstable,
Sandwich, Wareham, Falmouth and other Cape towns, where the sea-far-
ing occupations of the people had been partly suppressed by the British
during the War of the Revolution, forcing them to seek a subsistence else-

The publishments and marriages, births, and deaths among these pio-
neers, which are recorded on our town and church records, with also, the
few in.scriptions in our early burial grounds are gathered into this volume.

The vital records of the town clerks include all entries to the present
centuiy, but as the birth records in this town were arranged by fam-
ilies until 1S44, when tiie present uniform system of vital records went into
effect in this state, in order to make this department of the records satis-
factory, and of use to genealogists, each (jf these family records is given as
completely as recorded — several extending into tlie third decade of the
present century.

The town clerks for the period over which the birth records in the vol-
ume extend, were as below, witli tlie term of service of each: —

Prince West wa.s chosen at the first town meeting and served to March
IS, 17K2, but according to tlie first two publisliments recorded (seep. 1),
he acted as such before he was chosen Dec. 2(), 1777; Thomas Beecher
served from March IS, 17S2 to April 7, 17s:{; Natlian Dillingham from
April 7, 17S;} to March 4, to 17!):?. and also from March 7, 1N14 to Marcli 4,
1S1(5; Daniel Wilcox from March 4. 17i»:{ to March :{, lHO(i; Nathaniel

Tliayor Ironi March :;, ISUdto March !), ISUT; Cornelius T. Fessendeu from
March !), 1807 to March 7. 1814; Ransom Hinmaii from March 4, 1816 to
March 8, 1824.

The records prior to Jan. 24, 1791, were first entered in a make-shift
book, from whicli they were transcribed into a more jjermanent volume by
Mr. Jolni Powers, in accordance with a vote of the town Dec. 20, 1790.
The orijjrinal has not been preserved. The copy appears to be the work of
a man of slijrht education. It abounds in rare orthography and construc-
tion, but is in a fairly legible hand. Mainly the records for that period
pertain to town meeting transactions, elections for state and county
officers, cattle marks, and road surveys;— the vital records received little

The copied part of the records extend'^ over more than thirteen years
from the town's incorporation, and the vital records entered during that
time, were the publishments and marriaires on the first two and a half
pages of tills volume, and the following birth records:—

Jo.soph Freeman Austin, p. 12;

Sarah, Abitrail and Rebecca Dillingham, p. 21;

Children of Asahel Dodge, except Samuel p. 21;

Percival record to Hannah, p. HH;

Walker record, excepting deatii of Caleb, p. 88;

Mary. Prudence, and John Brewster West, p. :59;

Christian and Azuba NVood, p. 42.

The dates of most of the above mentioned births, prove that they were
originally recorded by Dillingham, and judging from the peculiar form of
entry, it is probable the others were recorded by West.

The only deatli noted is tliat of Huldah Walker, in the above
mentioned Walker record.

The list of marriages at the bottom of p. 3, was recorded by Nathan
Dillingham, and a f(>w birth records are in his writing, also the record of
Caleb Walker's deatli. Several of the publishments of the preceding clerk
were rc-orded by Daniel Wilcox. It is supposed that the record of pub-
lishmeiiTs and marriages by the latter is complete. Most of the birth
records herein iiriiitcni are wholly or in part in his writing.

Wilcox's records are not very plain. Evidently he drove a rapid, and
careless quill. In his manuscript small e and i are generally indistinguish-
able, and the .same character often stands for small a, o and u. Altogether
his writing is very peculiar. Numerous woi-ds are not fully written out,
— the most frequent fault in this respect being the omission of a letter or
syllable from the end of words. The last peculiarity is nor often seen in
his vital records, but cler for clerk api:;ears in the last intention on p. 5,
and sevei-al times also on p]). 7, 8, 9. Some date-errors aLso appear; as for
instance, he records that his brotlier Oziel was killed at Sheffield, March 27,
1 787. Oziel was an adherent of Daniel Shays, and was killed in the skirni-
isli wliicli rook i)laceb('r\veon tlie insurgents and state forces at Sheffield

Feb. 27, J 787. Other errors of date have been noticed, and where cou.sider-
able are noted. His record of tlie death of his brother Peter (p. 46), and of
hissister Electa (p. 48), are circumstantial to an extent seldom attempted
by town clerks.

The records in Dillingham's own hand, and those by the other clerks,
were more carefully written, and probably are more correct.

For further information regarding the birth records, consult note on p.
1 2. and regarding the record of deaths, consult note on p. 4^.

There are doubtless some gaps in the continuity of the church records be-
fore Dr. Hyde's pastorate, but the names of all members of the church
are mentioned therein, which appear for that period in the first published
list (supposed date 1818), except David Baker, and Stephen Tobey, received
in 1 792. Whether all the baptisms are mentioned, cannot be determined.

The records kept by Dr. Hyde contain a list of all baptisms, admissions to
the church, marriages solemnized by him, and deaths in town from June 6,
1 1\)2 to the time of his death in 1838. His records herein printed are limited
to the close of the year 18U0.

The matter from both the town and church records, has been carefully
[iriuted from tlie original manuscripts — the spelling, abbreviations, and
])unctuation being exactly given, and since it was i)rinted has been
compared with the original, and all typographical errors, which have been
discovered, have been corrected or are noted among the errata on p. 108.

All the inscriptions antedating 1801 in the early bm'ial grounds are care-
fully reproduced, and the nuirriages of some Lee people recorded in other
towns, are given in the appendix; also several family records inadvertently
omitted from the records of births, pp. 12-42.

The reason the volume is limited to so short a period of the town's ex-
istence is that it has been for the most part printed from forms for a larger
book which contains all the extant records of the town officers. Congre-
gational church, Hopland School District, etc., for the same period,— a few
necessary changes of type having been made.

It was thought a few coines containing only the matter herein given,
might be of value for local use, and for genealogical libraries, and so it was
proposed to print 150 coi)ies, but in ])rintiiig, several extra sheets were
struck off — the whole being 158.

(pu6ft0§men(0 an^ (\tl

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Online LibraryLee (Mass.)Vital records of Lee, Massachusetts, 1777-1801, from the records of the town, Congregational church and inscriptions in the early burial grounds; all the family birth records continued beyond 1801 giv → online text (page 1 of 8)