Samuel A. (Samuel Abbott) Green.

An historical sketch of Groton, Massachusetts. 1655-1890 online

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Giles and Eliza Sarah (Hidden) Moore, and born at
Wells, Maine, on June 20, 1832. He graduated at
the Dartmouth Medical School in the class of 1860,
and in May of that year came to Groton Junction,
where he remained until April, 1861. Dr. Moore
then removed to Concord, New Hampshire, his father's
home, where he died on February 3, 1870.


A List of Representatives to the General
Court, from the colonial period to the present time,
with the dates of their election and terms of service ;
including also the names of certain other officers —

The Assistants of Massachusetts, sometimes called
Magistrates, were the forerunners of the Provincial
Council and the State Senate. They were few in
number, and, in point of dignity and honor, next to
the Governor and the Deputy-Governor. Major Simon
Willard, the only citizen of the town who ever held
the office, became a resident in the year 1672, remov-
ing here from Lancaster at that time. He was first
chosen to the position in 1654, when living at Con-

Date of first Election. Term of Service.

May 3, 1654 Major Simon Willard 1672-1676

(Died in office on April 24, 1676 )


October 26, 1780 . . Honorable James Prescott . . . .1780-1784,1786

June 1, 1797 .... Honorable Timotby Bigelow 1797-1800

May 6, 1805 Honorable Samuel Dana 1805-1812,1817

(Mr. Dana was president of the body during the years 1807, 1811 and 1812.)

November 13, 1837 . Honorable Stuart James Park 1838, 1839

January 9, 1851 . . . Honorable John Boynton 1851

November 13, 1854 . Honorable Abijah Edwin Hildreth 1855

November 5, 1867 . . Honorable Daniel Needham 1868, 1869

November 8, 1887 . . Honorable Moses Poor Palmer .... 1888-1890
(Of these Senators the last two are the sole survivors.)

There is no reference in the Groton records to the
election of any representatives to the General Court
before the year 1693 ; and even then the names are
not given, and only by the receipts for their pay, and
bv some allusions to the subject, is it known that any


were chosen previously to that date. According to
the Colonial records, Captain James Parker served
as a deputy, or representative, during the session be-
ginning November 7, 1683, and it is probable that he
was the only one from the town under the first char-

The following entries comprise every allusion to
the subject found in the earliest volume of town
records, which is known as the " Indian Roll" :

" Fabruary the 6 1 693 the inhabitanc being met togather for to Con-
sider of sum waye for to preueiit futar unnessesary charges did by
uott declare that they would petishone unto the geuaraill Court that
ther representetiue might be relesed from atending the Seshone any

" the same daye the town did by uott declare that they would haue
dacon Lawranc for to manidge the portistione for them which the
Comithy hath draw up" (Page 107.)

"Groton Aprill 12 1693 Know all peple by thes presenc that Na-
thanaeill Lawranc senor hath Keseiued full satisfactione by the select
men and Constables for sarueing the town as a Kepresentiue at the two
first sestione

" I saye reseiued by me Nathannil laurance "

•' Groton April 12 1693 Know all peple by thes presenc that John Page
senor doth fully and [sic] Clearely acquite the town select men and
constables for sarfing the town as a representetiue at the first [session]
held at boston in ye year 1692

"as witness my hand Joh Page seneyer"

" Payed to Nathanail Lawranc se[nior] aight pounds in mony

" Payed to John Page se[nior] two pounds sixteen shlUins and nine
penc in mony " (Page 109.)

"maye 15 1693 the Town being met together ther unto orderlie
warned then the town did by uote declare that they would not send nor
Choose any parson nor parsons for to Kepresent them at the great and
genaraill Corte or asembley

"John page senor Jeams Kemp John Stone and William Longley
se[nior] desent from this uote John farnworth and Steuen holden

" The Town Resons is they do not iudg themself layable nether
acordind to Law nor Charter

"as atest William Longley Town Glarch"

(Page 109.)


"October 30 1693 at town meeting Legally warned Capt Jeams
Parker was chousen to Kepresent the town at ye great and genaraeell
assembly held at boston the eaight day of nouember Insuing the date
here of" (Page 110.)

It does nof appear from the records of the General
Court that Captain Parker was present at any meet-
ing of this session.

" Jenuary 1 169% the town this daj-e did ingage to sequer the seleck
men from any harm or dameidg that they shall meett with all in Re-
spect of Decou nathanaell Lawranc in that he doth demand thirty 6
shillins in money for to be his dew for sailing the said town as a repre-
sentiue and the town doo Eefuse to paye the said money the seleck men
being estemed as the rest of the inhabitanc in the mater also the town
did by the maier note chouse Liftenant Jonah Prescot & Jeams parker
Ju for to answer in the case if the said Lawranc should tnible ye seleck
men or town and they did exsept of the choiss and they are to haue
their paye for their pains when the said town is able to paye them

" as wittness William Longlet town dark "

"John page sefuior] desents from the aboue mentioned propersis-
tione" (Pages 111, 112.)

"at a town meting legelly warned May 9»i> 1699 : Capt: Prescot was
chosen for to atende the genrell Cort : for to sarue as a represintiue

"James Blanchaed Clark "

(Page 118.)

" May 17 1703 at a town melting legelly warned the town did by uot
declare that thay would pay deacon larrance the mony that the deacon
demande for saruing the : town as ane represintiue In the year 1693

" the town did uote and declare that thay would borrow the mony
of thomaa Williams for four mouth and pay for the use of it one

" James Blanchard ClarJ: "

(Page 124.)

"Groton May ye 8 1705 then oapt prascot was chosen to sarue as a
representetife for the yer Insuing

" Thomas Tarbell Clarch "
(Page 126.)

"Groton Maj- the aight 1706 At a town meting legally worned to
chuse a repreasantiue the fre hooldars and other inhabitants qualafied
acording to law did by the maior uote couse [choose] Simin Stone for
this year 1706 a represantetiue

"Joseph Lakin town dork "

(Page 129.)


The paging, as given after these several extracts,
refers to the printed edition of " The Early Kecords
of Groton, Massachusetts, 1662-1707," from which
they are taken. Since the year 1707, and even before
that date, in the town records, there are occasional
omissions of the names of representatives, and these
gaps I have filled from the Colonial and Provincial
records at the State-House. In such cases the names
are printed within brackets, and the dates given with
them refer to the beginning of each session ; and in
all other instances in the list, where dates of the ses-
sions have been obtained or inferences drawn from
these records, brackets are used.

In early times the representative to the General
Court was paid by the town that sent him ; and this
fact furnishes the reason why the town of Groton, on
May 15, 1693, voted not to send one. It was then
poor, and staggering under a heavy load in the shape
of debts and current expenses. Notwithstanding the
receipt of Deacon Lawrence given on April 12, 1693,
the town was threatened by him with a suit for thir-
ty-six shillings, for his services as a representative,
perhaps during a short period after the petition of
February 6, 1693, when it was voted that he should
be released from attendance. It is not now known
whether a suit was ever begun, but, ten years later,
as appears by the vote of May 17, 1703, the town
agreed to settle the matter by paying the demand,
though it was obliged to borrow the money for that
purpose,— an indication of its extreme poverty. Dur-
ing some of these ten years Deacon Lawrence was a
resident of that quarter of Cambridge which is now


Lexington ; and his absence from Groton may have
been, in part, the cause of the long delay in settling
the dispute. Neither Deacon Lawrence nor Mr. Page
was chosen to the Assembly that convened on May
81, 1693.

John Paris was a member of the Council for Safety
of the People, which met on May 9, 1689, just after
Governor Andros was deposed. It is probable that
the town was unrepresented during the following
years : 1693 (first session), 1694-1698, 1700-1704, and
1707, as the Provincial records of those dates do not
mention any member from Groton.

In the following list of representatives I have given
the church, civil and military titles found in the rec-
ords, inasmuch as they indicate, approximately, the
period when they were acquired. For nearly a cen-
tury and a half the term of service of each member
was during the year of his election. The name of
John Sheple, as spelled in the town records, is writ-
ten John Shepley in the Provincial records, but the
two names refer to the same man, and the Nathaniel
Sawtell of the town records is identical with the Na-
thaniel Sartle of the Provincial records.


Date of Election.
[November 7, 1683, Captain James Parker.] •

[May 9, 1689, John Paris.]

Under the Charter of William and Mary.
[June 8, 1692, Nathaniel Lawrence.]
[June 8, 1692, John Page.]

[May 31, 1693 (first session), probably none chosen.]
October 30, 1693 (second session), Captain James Parker.
[May 30, 1694, probably none chosen.]


[May 29, 1695, probably none chosen.]

[May 27, 1696, probably none chosen.]

[May 26, 1697, probably none chosen.J

[May 25, 1698, probably none chosen.]

May 9, 1G99, Jonas Prescott.

[May 29, 1700, probably none chosen.]

[May 28, 1701, probably none chosen.]

[May 27, 1702, probably none chosen.]

[May 26, 1703, probably none chosen.]

[May 31, 1704, probably none chosen.]

May 8, 1705, Jonas Prescott.

May 8, 1706, Simon Stone.

[May 28, 1707, probably none chosen.J

[May 26, 1708, John Farnsworth.]

May 25, 1709, Ensign John Farnsworth.

May 22, 1710, Ensign John Farnsworth.

[May 30, 1711, John Farnsworth.]

May 7, 1712, Ensign John Farnsworth.

May 11, 1713, Ensign John Farnsworth.

[May 26, 1714, John Farnsworth.]

[May 25, 1715, Thomas Tarbell.]

[May 30, 1716, John Shepley.]

May 21, 1717, John Sheple.

[May 28, 1718, John Shepley.]

[May 27, 1719, John Shepley.]

May 6, 1720, Captain Jonas Prescott, Jr.

May 22, 1721, Captain John Sheple.

August 8, 1721, Captain John Sheple.

[May 30, 1722, Captain John Sheple.]

May 1, 1723, Lieutenant Benjamin Prescott.

May 18, 1724, Lieutenant Benjamin Prescott.

May 14, 1725, Captain John Sheple.

May 19, 1726, Captain John Sheple.

May 17, 1727, Benjamin Prescott.

May 10, 1728, Captain John Sheple.

May 14, 1729, John Longley.

May 18, 17.30, Deacon John Longley.

May 17, 1731, Deacon John Longley.

[May 31, 1732, Nathaniel Sartle.]

May 21, 1733, Nathaniel Sawteli, Esq.

May 8, 1734, Benjamin Prescott, Esq.

May 19, 1735, Benjamin Prescott, Esq.


May 18, 1736, Benjamin Prescott, Esq.

May 17, 1737, Colonel Benjamin Prescott.
May 15, 1738, Benjamin Prescott, Esq. (died in ofiQce on August 3, 1738).
December 25, 1738, Justice Nathaniel Sawtell,in the place of Benjamin
Prescott, Esq., deceased.

May 23, 1739, Justice Nathaniel Sawtell.

[May 28, 1740, John Longley.]

May 25,1741, Justice Nathaniel Sawtell.

May 12, 1742, Nathaniel Sawtell.

[May 25, 1743, William Lawrence.]

May 14, 1744, Nathaniel Sawtell,

May 17, 1745, William Lawrence, Esq.

May 18, 1746, "William Lawrence, Esq.

May 18, 1747, William Lawrence, Esq.

May 17, 1748, William Lawrence, Esq.

May 22, 1749, William Lawrence, Esq.

May 28, 1750 (the town voted not to send).

May 27, 1751, William Lawrence, Esq.

May 14, 1752, William Lawrence, Esq.

The district of Shirley was set off from Groton on
January 5, 1753, and the district of Pepperell, three
months later, on April 12th, and after these dates, un-
til the period of the Revolution, the two districts
were represented in the General Court by the parent

Late of Election.
May 14, 1753, William Lawrence, Esq.
[May 29, 1754, William Lawrence.]
May 13, 1755, Colonel William Lawrence.
May 17, 1766, William Lawrence, Esq.
May 13, 1757, William Lawrence, Esq.
May 17, 1758, William Lawrence, Esq.
May 25, 1759, Williana Lawrence, Esq.
May 26, 1760, William Lawrence, Esq.
May 15, 1761, William Lawrence, Esq.
May 17, 1762, Captain Abel Lawrence.
May 16, 1763, Captain Abel Lawrence.
May 21, 1764, Captain Abel Lawrence.
May 14, 1765, Captain Abel Lawrence.


May 12, 1766, Colonel James Prescott.
May 18, 1767, Colonel James Prescott.
May 10, 1768, Colonel James Prescott.
May 23, 1769, Colonel James Prescott. ,
May 21, 1770, Colonel James Prescott.
May 20, 1771, Colonel James Prescott.
May 18, 1772, Colonel James Prescott.
May 17, 1773, Colonel James Prescott.
May 9, 1774, Colonel James Prescott.
May 22, 1775, Honorable James Prescott.

After this date Pepperell and Shirley were each
represented in the General Court separately, and not
by the parent town. Owing to the political disturb-
ances, a new Assembly was chosen by the Province
in the summer of 1775. The precept issued to the
town' of Groton, with the answer, is found among the
Archives (CXXXVIII. 214) at the State House, as

follows :

" Colony of the Massachusetts Bay,

" These are to will, and require you forthwith to cause the Freeholders,
& other Inhabitants of your town that have an Estate of Freehold in
land within this Colony or Territory of forty Shillings ^A annum at the
least, or other Estate to the value of forty Pounds sterling, to assemble
at such time, & Place as you shall appoint ; then & there to elect, and
depute one or more Persons (being freeholders, and resident in the same
town) according to a number set, & limited* by an Act of the General
Court or Assembly, which was conven'd at Watertown on the nineteenth
day of July current for the Service of this Colony, and is still in being ;
and to cause the Person or Persons so elect, and deputed by the major
part of the electors present at such election to be timely notified, & sum-
moned by one of the constables of your town forthwith to attend the
Service of this Province in the said general Court, or Assembly, & dur-
ing the Session or Sessions of the same. Hereof fail not, and make

a Return of this Precept with the name or names of the Person, or Per-
sons so elected, & deputed, with their being summoned into the General
Assembly, as soon as may be after such election, & summons shall be

"Dated at Watertown this 31st— day of July A.D. 1775.

" By order of the House of Representatives

" Jas : Warren Speaker


" To the Selectmen of the town of

Groton in the County

of MiddleKex Greeting.

" Pursuant to" the Precept within written the Freeholders and other
Inhabitants of the town of Groton qualify'd as is therein directed, upon
due Warning given, assembled and met together on the Twenty first day
of August and then did elect, & depute Capt. Josiah Sartell— to servo
for, and represent them in the Session, or Sessions of the great, and gen-
eral Court or Assembly which was conven'd at Watertown on the nine-
teenth day of July current for the Service of this Colony the said Per-
son being chosen by a major part of the electors present.

" Dated in Groton aforesaid the 21 ^t^ day of August — A.D. 1775.

" OliA'ER Prescott \ Selectmen
Isaac Faknsworth V of
Amos Lawrance ) Groton
" The Person chosen as abovesaid
notified thereof & summon' d
to attend accordingly

by me Constable of Groton
Oliver Fletcher
[Indorsed] " Return from Groton Cap« Josiah Sartell
" Mr Fowle Please to make out a Precept for the town of Hancock in
the County of Berkshire— according to this Form —

[Addressed] ' ' To The Selectmen of the Town of Groton."

Date of Election.
August 21, 1775, Captain Josiah Sartell.
May 20, 1776, Colonel Josiah Sartell.
May 26, 1777, Honorable James Prescott. Deacon Isaac Farnsworth,

declined, and Colonel Josiah Sartell chosen in his place.
May 18, 1778, Honorable James Prescott.
May 17, 1779, Honorable James Prescott.
May 15, 1780, Honorable James Prescott.

The first General Court of the Commonwealth of
Massachusetts met on Wednesday, October 25, 1780,
and the Honorable James Prescott was the represen-
tative from this town. He was chosen to the House
on September 4th, and a short time later, in order to
fill a vacancy in the Senate, he was elected to that


body by a convention of both branches on Thursday,
October 26, 1780 ; and subsequently by another simi-
lar convention on Friday, October 27th, to the Execu-
tive Council. At that time the Councilors and Sen-
ators were chosen on the same general ticket, without
any special designation of either office, and then the
Legislature selected from the upper body the mem-
bers of the Council.

The Continental Journal, etc., (Boston), November
2, 1780, gives a list of the members of the General
Court, where Mr. Prescott appears not only as a rep-
resentative, but also as a Senator and a Councilor ;
and in another column of the same newspaper it is
announced, as a resolution of the Legislature, that
owing to Mr. Prescott's acceptance of the Senatorship,
his office as sheriff of Middlesex County was render-
ed vacant, and owing, furthermore, to the lack of time
in filling it, agreeably to the new Constitution, the
session cf the Superior Court of Judicature, Court of
Assize and General Gaol Delivery would stand ad-
journed for one fortnight. He was also chosen, during
the years 1781, '82, '83, '84 and 'm, first to the Senate,
and shortly afterwards to the Council, where he ap-
pears to have served through the respective terms.
He had previously represented the town in the three
Provincial Congresses of 1774 and 1775, and his ex-
perience in legislative bodies was large.

Two of the representatives in the following list,
namely, the Hon. Timothy Bigelow and the Hon.
Luther Lawrence, have been Speakers of the House.
Mr. Bigelow was first chosen to that position on May
29, 1805, and for eleven years, at intervals, he con-


tinned to fill the office — the longest term of service in
that capacity ever held by one person — though during
a part of this period he was representing the town
of Medford. He was Speaker at the time of the
separation of Maine from Massachusetts. Mr.
Lawrence, a brother-in-law of Mr. Bigelow, was
elected to the same office on May 29, 1822, and
held it during one year. It is not a little singu-
lar that they both were occupants, at . difterent
times, of the same dwelling, formerly situated on
Main Street, but now moved away; and both had
their law-offices in a building near by, where, also,
Mr. Dana, the president of the Senate, had had his
law-office. This coincidence is by no means weak-
ened by the fact that Governor Boutwell, the present
owner of the place, was once the Democratic candi-
date for the Speakership, when the Legislature met
on January 6, 1847, and he also was a resident of the
town at that time. It may be worthy of note that
another Speaker, the Hon. Timothy Fuller, the father
of Margaret, who is known as the Countess d'Ossoli,
was a citizen of Groton for some years before his
death, which took place on October 1, 1835.

Under the Constitution originally the political year
began on the last Wednesday of May, but the Sena-
tors and Representatives were chosen at different
times. The members of the House were elected,
annually, in the month of May, ten days at least be-
fore the last Wednesday of that month, and their
term of service was during the year of their election.



Date of Election.
September 4, 1780, Hon. James Prescott..
May 14, 1781, Deacon Isaac Farnsworth.
May 13, 1782, Deacon Isaac Farnsworth, declined, and Israel Hobart

chosen in his place.
May 12, 1783, Israel Hobart.
May 10, 1784, Dr. Benjamin Morse.
May 9, 1785, Ebenezer Champney.
May 8, 1786, Cthe town voted by one majority not to send).

On March 7, 1787, the General Court passed an or-
der fining the town of Groton twenty-four pounds and
ten shillings for its neglect to send a representative
during the preceding year. Forty other towns were
fined various sums at the same time for a similar
neglect ; and among them were Pepperell, Dunstable,
Westford, Littleton, Harvard and Lunenburg.

Date of Election.
May 7, 1787, Dr. Benjamin Morse.
May 12, 1788, Dr. Benjamin Morse.
May 11, 1789, Dr. Benjamin Morse.
May 4, 1790, (the town voted not to send).
May 9, 1791, Major Aaron Brown.
May 7, 1792, Major Aaron Brown.

May 6, 1793, Major Aaron Brown, Mr. Timothy Bigelow.
May 12, 1794, Mr. Timothy Bigelow.
May 6, 1795, Mr. Timothy Bigelow.
May 2, 1796, Mr. Timothy Bigelow.
May 1, 1797, Mr. Timothy Bigelow. '

May 14, 1798, Hon. Timothy Bigelow.
May C, 1799, Hon. Timothy Bigelow.
May 5, 1800, Hon. Timothy Bigelow.
May 4, 1801, Hon. Timothy Bigelow.
May 3, 1802, Hon. Timothy Bigelow.
May 2, 1803, Samuel Dana.
May 7, 1804, Hon. Timothy Bigelow,

May 6, 1805, Hon. Timothy Bigelow, Speaker, ^iyi£Aij ^Mjrvy■
May 5, 1806, Hon. Timothy Bigelow, ST^eaker, %^aAt JiA^a^^j .
May 4, 1807, Joseph Moors. ^ '^


May 2, 1808, Joseph Moors.

May 1, 1809, Joseph Moors, Oliver Prescott.

May 7, 1810, Oliver Prescott, James Brazer.

May 6, 1811, Major Joseph Moors, Major Thomas Gardner.

May 4, 1812, Joseph Moors, Luther Lawrence.

May 3, 1813, Joseph Moors, Luther Lawrence.

May 2, 1814, Joseph Moors, Luther Lawrence.

May 1, 1815, Luther Lawrence.

May 6, 1816, Luther Lawrence.

May 5, 1817, Luther Lawrence.

May 4, 1818, Luther Lawrence.

May 3, 1819, Luther Lawrence.

May 1, 1820, Luther Lawrence.

May 7, 1821, Luther Lawrence.

May 6, 1822, Luther Lawrence, Speaher.

May 12, 1823, (the town voted not to send).

May 23, 1824, Captain Noah Shattuck.

May 2, 1825, Hon. Samuel Dana.

May 1, 1826, Hon. Samuel Dana.

May 7, 1827, Hon. Samuel Dana.

May 5, 1828, (the town voted not to send).

May 4, 1829, Caleb Butler, declined, and William Livermore chosen in

his place.
May 3, 1830, Luther Lawrence, William Livermore.
May 11, 1831, Captain John Boynton.

(The town voted not to choose a second representative.)

By the tenth Article of Amendment to the Consti-
tution of Massachusetts, adopted by the General
Court during two successive sessions, and ratified by
the people on May 11, 1831, the beginning of the
political year was changed from the last "Wednesday
in May to the first Wednesda}^ in January, and the
day of election changed to the second Monday in
November. In this list hereafter the term of service
is during the year following the date of election.

Date of Election.
November 12, 1832, Captain John Boynton, Captain John Kockwood.
November 11, 1833, Captain John Boynton, Captain John Rockwood. , j


November 10, 1834, Captain John Boynton, Timothy Blood.
November 9, 18.35, Captain John Boynton, Timothy Blood.
November 14, 1836, John Gray Park, Dr. Joshua Green.
November 13, 1837, Dr. Joshua Green.

(The town voted not to choof3e a second representative.)
November 12, 1838, John Gray Park, Captain Daniel Shattuck.
November 11, 1839, (the town voted not to send.)
November 9, 1840, John Boynton.
November 8, 1841, George Sewall Boutwell.
November 14, 1842, George Sewall Boutwell.
November 13, 1843, George Sewall Boutwell.
November 11, 1844, William Livermore, Jr.
November 10, 1845, William Livermore, Jr.
November 10, 1846, George Sewall Boutwell.

Mr. Boutwell was chosen on the third trial by five
majority. On the preceding day there had been a
tie vote twice between him and Edward Coburn, the
Whig candidate.

Date of Election.
November 8, 1847, George Sewall Boutwell.
November 13, 1818, George Sewall Boutwell.
November 12, 1849, George Sewall Boutwell.
November 11, 1850, Phinehas Gilman Prescott.
November 10, 1851, Phinehas Gilman Prescott.
November 8, 1852, William Shattuck.
November 14, 1853, William Shattuck.
November 13, 1854, John Warren Parker.
November 12, 1855, John Warren Parker.

By the fifteenth Article of Amendment to the State
Constitution, adopted by the General Court during
two successive sessions, and ratified by the people on
May 23, 1855, the day of election was changed to the
Tuesday next after the first Monday in November.

Date of Election.
November 4, 1856, Warren Fay Stone.

Under Chapter CCCVIII., Acts of 1857, a new

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Online LibrarySamuel A. (Samuel Abbott) GreenAn historical sketch of Groton, Massachusetts. 1655-1890 → online text (page 9 of 19)