Louis Augustus Woodbury.

An historical sketch of Bradford, Mass., in the revolution online

. (page 1 of 4)
Online LibraryLouis Augustus WoodburyAn historical sketch of Bradford, Mass., in the revolution → online text (page 1 of 4)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

f lass _.
Book ..



















Of Bradford, Ma^s., in the Revo-

(Including East Bradford, now Grovel3nd.)r)/! « w - . nng

. WOODBURY, M. D., ^ X O \L "^


Member Mass. Hist. Genealogical Society, Essex ^

Institute, &c., &c.




Copyright, i8g^, by Louis A. Woodbury.




The following sketch zvas origi-
nally hastily written for puHica-
tiofi in the Valley Visitor, a
monthly paper published in Grove-
land ; but the discontinuance of
that publication leaving the article
uncofnpleted^ it was thought ad-
visable^ notwithstanding its imper-
fections^ to publish it in its present
form^ in the hope that it might
add something to our knowledge of
our ancestors during the Revolu-
tionary period.


Thp: Garrison House, oh Cannon
Hill, was built by Samuel Stickney in
1704, and enlarged by his grandson,
Capt. Thomas Stickney in 1765, who
was born and died there. After the
death of Capt. Stickney's widow in
1815, the house was purchased by his
son, Deacon Daniel Stickney, who sold
it to Philip Tenney, and he, without
occup3ang it, sold it to Aaron Atwood
in 1820. Mr. Atwood lived there until
1830, when it came into the possession
of the late Richard Renton, Esq., who
tore it down in 1854. Tlu old house
was built of plank, with one end of
brick made on the place. The house
standing on the old site was built by Mr.
Renton, and is at present owned and
occupied by his daughter, Mrs. Jane C.
Nichols, and her son, N. Woodburn
Nichols, and family. See frontispiece.


Thk Orj) vSavorv HorsK was origi-
nall}' the northern half of the present
dwelling, and was built by Capt. John
Savor}' about 1755. After the Revolu-
tionary War his son, Major Thomas Sa-
vory, altered it to its present shape, and
it is still occupied by his descendants.
See page 16.

Thk Old Morse Housk, on the
corner of Washington and Main
streets, South Groveland, was built by
Benjamin Morse about 1805. It was
owned and occupied by his descendants
until a few 3'ears ago, when it was
bought by the late E.J. M. Hale, and
has been since used as a tenement house
for operatives. See page 24.

The S.A.MUEI. P.\i.MKR House, built
b}' Mr. Palmer before the Revolution-
ary War, on land granted to his ances-
tors in 1670, was occupied by him and
his descendants until about 181 2, when
its owner, Mr. William Palmer, sold it
to a INIr. Woodman, and moved to Hop-
kinton, N. H. It was afterward bought
by Capt. John Brown, and is now owned
by his heirs. See page 40.


The Samuel Tennev House was
built about 1786 b}- Capt. Samuel Ten-
ney, whose wife was the daughter of
Ivieut. Asa Merrill. After the Revolu-
tionary War Lieut. Merrill made this his
home until his death, which occurred
Nov. 3, 1815. The house, which is on a
part of the original Tenney grant, re-
mained in the possession of the Ten-
neys for three generations. It has
since been occupied by Aaron N. Pills-
bury. See page 64.

The Wilijam Savory House was
remodelled in 1765 by Sergt. William
Savory from the old Ezekiel Jewett
house, which stood on the same spot.
In 1823 Wm. S. Balch, grandson of Wm.
Savor}', took the north half. Silas
Hopkinson lived in the south half until
the same year, when it was taken by
Ira Hopkinson, who lived there until
1839, the whole house then coming into
the possession of Wm. S. Balch, whose
daughter, Miss Sarah H. Balch, is the
present owner. See page 89.

The Old Tenney House, built by
Philip Tenney in T732, on the original


Tenney grant, and within a short dis-
tance of the site of the first Tenney
honse, was occupied b}- Dea. William
Tenney during the Revolutionary War,
and remained in the possession of the
family until a few years ago, when it
was sold to Mr. Daniel Abbott, its pres-
ent owmer. The addition on the left of
the main house was made by Dea.
William's son, Philip, about the year
1830. See page 96.



Bradford had been incorporated
one hundred years when the Lexing-
ton alarm was sounded, and although
town meetings were at that time,
and even afterwards, called "In His
Majesty's name," two companies ot
infantry were soon on the way to

The inhabitants of Bradford were
conservative to a considerable de-
gree, but they were at the same
time ready to act for the common
weal when occasion required.

Among the first acts of the town
in what may be termed the revolu-
tionary period, was the calling of
a town meeting at the West Meet-
ing house on Monday the loth day
of October, 1774, at 7 o'clock in the
morning, to make choice of one or

more Deputies, to meet at Concord
on the eleaventh of this instant Octo-
ber, with Deputies which shall be
appointed by the other Towns in
this province, to Consider and Deter-
mine on such measures as the Con-
gress shall then think expedient and
necessary. Also to see if the Town
will Instruct the Selectmen Relnting
to Replenishing the Town Stock of
Ammunition." This call was made
through Daniel Kimball, one of the
Constables, and was signed by
Samuel Woodman, ^
JosiAH Bacon, ! Select

Peter Russell, [ men.
Benj. Muzzy, J

The "Freeholders and Other In-
habitants" met in answer to that call.
Dudley Carlton Esq., Moderator.
Capt. Daniel Thurston was chosen
to represent the town in the Provin-
cial Congress at Concord, which
convened the next day. The Town
Stock of Ammunition was to be re-
plenished to the extent of six half-
barrels of povv'der, and "Bullets and
flints proportionable."

Jan. 4th, 1775. A meeting was

held, and Capt. Daniel Thurston
was again chosen to sit in the Pro-
vincial Congress, and thirty pounds
voted to ''Supply the Town Stock
with Ammunition."

Jan. i8th, 1775. Voted, To give
encouragement to such men as in-
cline to enlist as minute-men ; and
Deacon Thomas Kimball, Capt.
Daniel Thurston, John Burbank,
Bradstreet Parker, Josiah Bacon,
Dudley Carlton, Esq., Benj. Gage,
Tun., William Greenough, Abel
Kimball, Benj. Walker, Nath'l
Gage, Jun., Phinehas Carlton, Dea.
Obadiah Kimball, Moses Harriman
and Peter Russell were chosen a
committee to formulate a plan for
that purpose.

At an adjourned meeting (Jan.
30th) it was voted to accept the
plan of the committee relating to
minute-men. The plan proposed is
embodied in the following votes :

Voted, That the Minute-Men
after the company is full, train half
a day in a week for ten weeks, three
hours accounted half a day, and have
one shilling each person for so

Voted, That the Selectmen pro-
vide bayonets and cartouch boxes
for the Minute-Men on the town
cost, to be returned to the town after
they are dismissed from the service.

Voted, To give each man a dollar
for billeting, when they are called to
march, and seven dollars per month
while in actual service.

Voted, That the Captain of the
Minute-Men return a muster roll to
the Selectmen to receive order for
their pay.

Voted, To pay Captain Thurston
for attendance at Congress ill. 2s.
6d. Mr. Russell for attendance,
ol. los. od.

Voted. To raise to defray Town
charge lool. os. od.

Samuel Woodman and Thomas
Morse were paid four shillings each
for perambulating the town line be-
tween Bradford and Rowley.

We give on page 8 a full list of the
officers of the town for the first year
of the war. It is believed that de-
scendants of all or nearly all the
men whose names are mentioned in
this sketch are eligible for member-

ship in the S. A. R., S. R., D. R.
and D. A. R., for the reason that
they were engaged either in the
military or civil service of the town,
State or United States at some time
during the Revolutionary War.


Annual Town Meeting March 14,
1775. Tl-ie Freeholders and other
Inhabitants of the Town of Bradford
qualified to vote were called, "In
His Majesty's Name," to meet at
the West Meeting House, on Mar.
14, 1775, Dea. Thomas Kimball,
Moderator. Made choice of the fol-
lowing persons for Town officers :

Benjamin Muzzy, Town Clerk.

Nathaniel Woodman,
Daniel Tennej,

Dea. Thomas Kimball,

Wm. Greenough,

Benj. Gage, Jr. J- Selectmen

Abraham Burbank,

Richard Kimball, j

Dea. Thomas Kimball, Treasurer.

Nathan Kimball,


Daniel Kimball,
Eliot Payson,
John Runnels,
Amos Carleton,
Samuel Tenney,
Samuel Wood,
Ebenezer Stickney,
Benj. Jaques,



John Savarj, Ixvthin

Abraham Day, Jr. / ^ J^"'"

Jonathan Bailey

Ebemezer Wood

Obadiah Kimball

Richard Woodman

Phineas Cole

Samuel Wood

Abner Hardy v^
Spencer Bailey
Daniel Buzwell
Samuel Trask, Jr

Thos. Morse
Thomas Kimball

g men

Fence Viewers

\ Sealers of Leath



\ To take care of the
/ Fish Courses

Joseph Haggett
Samuel Adams


formers of Deer



Cutters of Lumber

Reuben Carlton

Wm. Greenough

Joseph Atwood [-Timber Measurers

Nath'l Gage, Jr.

Joseph Kimball

Thomas Webster
Josiah Bacon

Ebenezer Kimball

Wm. Greenough J-Corders of Wood

Joseph Kimball

James Lindall, 1 ^,, ,

Ensign Sam'l Hopkinson [Wardens

Phineas Carlton, Sealer of Weights and

Voted, To indemnify the Select-
men, in neglecting to make a return
to Harrison Gray of their assessment


upon the inhabitants of Bradford for
the year seventeen hundred seventy-

Voted, That ye swine go at large
the year ensuing. It was put to vote
to see if the town would mend the
highways by a Rate, the year ensu-
ing, and it passed in the negative.

Voted, To Capt. Jonathan Bailey
for Damages done him by means of
the Courts Committee Laying out
part of a road on his Land to accom-
modate Cottle's Ferry, i61. os. od.

Voted, To John Savory for Dam-
ages done him by means of the above
said Road, i61. os. od.

May 23, 1775. Voted, To sup-
ply the Massachusetts army with

Voted, That John Head, Daniel
Kimball. Daniel Jaques, William
Greenough and Peter Russell, be a
committee for this purpose.

Voted, That Dea. Thomas Kim-
ball, William Greenough, Benjamin
Gage, Jr., Abraham Burbank and
Richard Kimball be a committee of

Voted, That the Committee of


Correspondence Return the names
of those persons belonging to this
Town which deserted the Province
Service, to the County Committee
if those Persons neglect to return to
their duty.

It was Voted, [June 28] That i f
the Minute-Men belonging to the
Town which Inlisted for the Defence
of this Province shall Re-enlist again
into the same company by Monday
next, said men shall be entitled to
Pay for their past services according
to a former vote of this town.

Sept. 21. Voted, To Phineas
Carlton, for 22 Bayonets fitted with
Scabbards and Belts, 81. 5s. od.

Voted, To Phineas Carlton, for
Scowering the old Bayonets, and fit-
ting with Belts, 4I. 4s. od. For 2
Scabbards and Belts, ol. 3s. od.

Wm. Greenough, for fitting one
Bayonet and one belt, ol. 2s. 8d.
The town made choice of Ebenezer
Wood to serve as Selectman in place
of Abraham Burbank, deceased. It
was put to vote to see if the town
would open a school, and it passed
in the negative.


The annual meeting vvas held at
the East Meeting-house on the 12
of March, 1776, and after electing
the officers, the meeting adjourned
to the isth. On that date it was
Voted, That Capt. Benjamin Gage
be paid il. los. od for building a
fire raft to go to Newbury port.

Voted, To Phineas Cole for
Leathering 50 Cartridge boxes,
61. 13s. 4d. Voted, To Daniel
Thurston for attendance at Congress
and at General Court, 24I. 4s. 6d.

Voted, To accept five shillings per
pound for the Powder that was de-
livered out of the Town stock, for
the use of the Province, and pav for
the Lead and flints. Voted, That
the Selectmen order the Town Treas-
iner to pay the Province money
wiiich is in his hands to the Colony

A meeting was called April 30,
1776, To see if the town will choose
a committee to meet ye committee
of Newbury, Newburyport and
Amesbury, at the Town house in
Newburyport, on May 2, to join the
above committee in Building a fort


on Plum Island, if they think proper.
The question was put and passed in

the negative.


A meeting was held on the 20th
of June, 1776, and the town pro-
ceeded to take into consideration a
Resolve of the Honorable House of
Representatives, passed June 10,
1776, relating to the Honorable
Congress declaring these United
Colonies Independent States, and
after mature Deliberation on this im-
portant affair, a motion was rhade to
choose a committee to formulate In-
structions for their Representatives,
and Report. Accordingly they made
choice of Thomas Webster, John
Burbank, Captain Nathaniel Gage,
Benjamin Muzzy and Captain John

Savory. The meeting adjourned
half an hour in order to give the
committee time to prepare a report,
which was just what might have
been expected from the composition
of the committee ; two of its mem-
bers, Savory and Gage, had each re-
cently led a company of minute-men
into service, and a third, Burbank,
was in the ranks. The report is as
follows : We, the subscribers, being
chosen a committee to form Instruc-
tions for the Representatives of this
town with Respect to the Honorable
Congress' forming these United
Colonies into Independent States,
beg leave to make the following re-
port :

To Dudley Carlton, Esq., Repre-
sentative for the town of Bradford,
in the General Assembly, Sir:
When we consider the despotic plan
of Government adopted by the King,
Ministry and Parliament of Great
Britain, to enslave these American
Colonies. When we consider that
Instead of redressing our Grievances,
they have turned a Deaf ear to the
Repeated Petitions and Remon-


strances of all the United Colonies,
and have also been, and still are
Endeavoring to Enforce their Arbi-
trary plan upon us, by Spilling our
Blood, by burning our towns, by
seizing our Property, and by instigat-
ing the Savages of the Wilderness,
and Negroes to take up the cause
against us ; when we consider these
things, it Raises our Indignation !
That we who have always been
loyal subjects to the King of Great
Britain, should be so unconstitution-
ally and Inhumanly Treated, Such
Tyrannical Imposition and abuses of
Power we cannot Submit to. There-
fore, Utterly Despairing of a happy
Reconciliation ever taking place be-
tween Great Britain and these Colo-
nies, } ou are hereby desired as our
Representative to use your utmost
endeavor, that our Delegates in Gen-
eral Congress be instructed to shake
off the Tyrannical Yoke of Great
Britain, and Declare these United
Colonies Independent ot that Venal,
Corrupt and Avaricious Court for-
ever ; [Provided no Proposals for
happy reconciliation be offered,


which the Honorable Congress think
proper to accept.] and we hereby
engage that we will, at the risk of
our lives and Fortunes, Endeavor to
support and defend them therin.

Thomas Webster, )

John Burbank, | Com.

Capt. Nath'l Gage, \ to

Benj. Muzzy, [ Report.

John Savory. J

Voted, That the above report be

Voted, [Sept. 19, 1776] To Peter
Russell for attendance at County
Congress held at Ipswich, ol. los.

Voted, 100 pounds for town

Voted, To Retire Parker for
making a table and seat for the East
School house, ol. 13s, od.

October 24, 1776. The Town
Proceeded to take in Consideration
a Resolve of the Honorable House
of Representatives passed Septem-
ber 17, 1776, Respecting the House
and Council joining in o"ne Body
and Equal Voice, to form a plan ol
Government for this State, and the





town, and the town consenting to
the same. After mature Delibera-
tion on the Important affair, a mo-
tion was made to choose a Commit-
tee to make a Draught and Report.
Accordingly, Col. Daniel Thurston,
Deacon Thomas Kimball, Benjamin
Muzzy, Major Benjamin Gage and
John Burbank were chosen.

Oct. 31, 1776. Voted, To re-
ceive the Report of the above Com-
mittee, which was a follows :

That we are not willing nor do
we consent, that the house of Rep-
resentatives and Council acting in
one Body as proposed in a Resolve
of the House on Sept, 17, 1776,
should agree on and enact a Consti-
tution and form of Government for
this State. But we are willing and
desire, that the Honorable Council,
and Honorable House of Represen-
tatives, [each acting in their respec-
tive Capacities] proceed to form a
Plan of Government for this State,
and exhibit attested Copies thereof
to its several towns for their Inspec-
tion and approbation, before it is
Ratified and Confirmed.


Passed in the affirmative.

The annual meeting March 12,

1776, was the last one called "In
his Majesty's name ; " and May 19,

1777, the warrant read :

Essex ss. "To Benjamin Walker,
one of the Constables for the Town
of Bradford, Greeting :

I St, "These are in the name of
the Government and People of Mas-
sachusetts Bay, to will and require
you forthwith to notify and warn the
freeholders and other inhabitants of
the Town of Bradford that have an
Estate of Freehold in Land within
this State or Territory, of Forty
shillings per annum, or other estate
to the value of fifty pounds Stirling,
to assemble and meet at the West
Meeting house in said Town, on
Monday the nineteenth of this in-
stant ^lay, at two of the clock after-
noon, then and there to elect and
depute a Representative or represen-
tatives, to serve for and represent
them in a Great and General Court
or Assembly, to be convened, held
and Kept for the Government Ser-
vice at the State House in Boston, in


the County of Suffolk, upon Wednes-
day the twenty-eighth day of this
Instant May.

2nd. Also to try a vote of the
Town to see if they will engage, as
faithful subjects of this State to
exert their utmost ability to procure
the Universal Observance of an act
of the Province to prevent monopoly

and oppression.

* ♦ *

5th. Also to see if the Town will
direct the Selectmen to hire a sum
of money to buy Gun Powder.
Daniel Thurston, Abel Kimball,
Nathan Kimball, Solomon Tenney,
Selectmen of Bradford.

It was voted [May 19, 1777]
unanimously that they would engage
as faithful subjects of this State to
exert their utmost ability to procure
the Universal Observance of an act
of this State to prevent monoply and
oppression. And that the Select-
men purchase gun powder for the


May 29, 1777, Jeremiah Hardy
died, according to the Church rec-
ord, "very sudden;" and tradition
says the cause of his death was not
definitelv determined at the time but
about two weeks later his son Abner
and daughter Elizabeth were taken
ill with what was unquestionably
small pox, and both of them died
June 22, these deaths being follow-
ed by several others. Those on rec-
ord as dying at that time are, Jere-
miah Hardy, May 29 ; the wife of
Deacon Timothy Hardy, June 21 ;
Abner and Elizabeth Hardy, son and
daughter of Jeremiah, June 22 ; Wm.
Greenough, June 23 ; Dr. John Ten-
nv, Ji^irie 24 ; Dea. Timothy Hardy,
June 27, and David Marden, June

The town meeting held June 26,


1777' recognizing the importance of
isolating the disease, voted to build
a '*Pest house in some convenient
place in this Tow^n to accommodate
the Inhabitants that shall hereafter
be taken sick with the small pox ;
and accordingly made choice of Lt.
Daniel Kimball, Ephraim Hardy and
Phineas Carleton, to see work effect-
ed." Said committee were ordered
to build the Pest house and hire sev-
enty Pounds to enable them to carry
on the work. They voted that the
Pest house be set on land belonging
to Nathaniel Parker, ''or in any place
that they shall think will best ac-
commodate the Town." Voted, To
raise one hundred pounds toward de-
fraying the the costs and charges that
shall arise in building the Pest house.
The house was built on the east
side of the Jaques road near Jewett's
Crossing, and the graves of those
who died of the disease, were to be
seen near the wall until within a few
years, when the fieFd was ploughed,
and since then a new growth of wood
has sprung up, and the graves are
obliterated : the house was burned
soon after it was vacated.

Essex ss. To Ephraim Hardy
one of the Constables for the Town
of Bradford, Greeting :

We will and require you to notify
and warn the Freeholders and other
Inhabitants of the Town of Bradford
qualified by lavv to vote in Town af-
fairs, that thev assemble and meet at
the West Meeting house in said
Town on Thursday the fifth dav of
June next, at three o'clock, after-
noon, to choose by ballot some per-
son which is firmly attached to the
American Cause to procure evidence
etc, agreeable to an act of the Great
and General Court of the State of
Massachusetts Bay, for securing this
and others of the United States
against the danger to which they are
exposed by the internal enemies
thereof; and make return of this
warrant with your doings thereon to
us, the Subscribers, on or before
said day.

Daniel Thurston,
Samuel Greenough,
Nathan Kimball, j'
Abel Kimball, J

At a leeal meeting held on March




1 8, 1777- the following persons were
elected a Committee of Inspection
and Safety. Thomas Morse, Lieut.
Nathaniel Plummer, Deacon Oba-
diah Kimball, John Burbank and
Thomas Webster.

Selectmen for the year ensuing,
Daniel Thurston Esqr., Samuel
Greenough, Lt. Abel Kimball, Sol-
omon Kimball and Nathan Kimball.

At a legal meeting of the Free-
holders and other Inhabitants of the
Town ot Bradford, held on adjourn-
ment Thursday the 26th of June,
1777; Mr. John Head, moderator of
said meeting ;

The Town made choice of Daniel
Parker, Joseph Marble, Joseph
Richardson, Benj. Muzzy and Eben-
ezer Kimball to prosecute all
Breaches of the acts to prevent mo-
nopoly and oppression.

Made choice of John Pickering
for Register.

The Town made choice of Abra-
ham Day, Jun. to procure evidence
against all such persons as are inter-
nal enemies to this or the United
States of America.


September 23d. Voted, To raise
Ibrty-one pounds, fifteen shillino^s
and two pence to pay for Gun
Locks, &c, and ordered the Town
Treasurer to pay the above said sum ;
and voted to abate Jonathan Chad-
wick what he was rated for his
Negro man in i^^6.

January 13, 1778. Voted, To
leave the aftair respecting the Dele-
gates being authorized to ratify the
Confederacy of the United Colonies,
to their Representatives in General
Assembly to act in that important
matter as he shall think best.

Voted, To sell the Gun Locks in
possession of the Town,

Voted, To Ebenezer Ordway for
damage on account of the small pox
being brought near him, il. i6s. od.
Daniel Tenney, ditto, 16I. 4s. od.
David Hardy, for damages sustained
by means of the small pox in his
house, 51I. OS. od. Ephraim
Hardy, ditto, 30I. os. od. Jonas
Hardy, ditto, 7I. os. od.







The following document explains
itself and shows that the arrival of a
new resident in town did not go un-
noticed in those times.

Gents : This is to inform you
that Aaron Cross of Methuen, came
to town May i, 1777. I know not
his circumstances. John Day. Jun.

Another form of notice is shown
in the following :

Bradford, Oct. 28, 1776, This
may inform the Selectmen of said
Town that the family of Stephen
and Susanna Adams of Topsfield,
moved into my house for a few
months, A list of the children :
Jacob Adams, David Adams, Israel
Adams, Henry Adams, Pamelia
Adams, Julia Adams,, given by the
subscriber. Peter Russell.

Peter Russell, Esq., at that time
kept a "Tavern" on Main street,
East Bradford, in the house after-
wards occupied by the late Captain


Benj. Parker, and recently by Mr.
Samuel Perley.

To the Selectmen of Bradford :
Gentlemen. These are to inform
you that John Tenney and Rose, his
wife ; William Tenney, his son and
Hannah Tenney his daughter came
to this town the 15th of April last,
from Rowley, and ye widow Hannah
Tenney from the town of Pelham in
the State of New Hampshire some
time afterward. Per Sarah Jaques.
Feb. 22, 1779.

To the Selectmen of the Town :
This is to inform you that I have
taken into my house Freeborn Balch

1 3 4

Online LibraryLouis Augustus WoodburyAn historical sketch of Bradford, Mass., in the revolution → online text (page 1 of 4)