Solomon Clark.

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of nineteen — seventeen children. The fourth, John Steb-
bins, had by his two wives, sixteen children. This is the
one apjiointed in 1661, with others, to build a meeting-
house forty-two feet square, at an expense not exceeding
£150. The fifth in order, viz. : Thomas Strong, son of
Elder John, who received a homestead from his father, on
Pleasant street, where he died in 1689; a family of eigh-
teen — sixteen children. The sixth, viz.: Isaac Sheldon, Sr.,
who lived about fifty years on King street, ancestor of the
Sheldons — fifteen children. The seventh, viz. : Jedediah
Strong, another son of Elder John, who lived east or north-
east of meeting-house hill, an important man in the com-
munity, paid eighteen shillings a year, for blowing the trum-
pet on Sunday, to summon the people to church, a constable
in 1683 — fourteen children. Joseph Allen, on King street,
ancestor of the Aliens, Brecks, and some of the Clarks, hus-
band of the celebrated Elizabeth Parsons — fourteen children.
Moses Clark, father of the late Dea. Israel, who, after 1751,
moved to Sunderland — fourteen children. The seven which
follow represent families of thirteen children, viz. : Ebenezer
Strong, Jr., Ebenezer Hunt, father of Dea. Ebenezer, Major
Timothy D wight, Nathaniel Edwards, 3d, Theodore Lyman,
Jonathan H. Lyman, William Stockwell number three, who
moved to Ohio. The families containing twelve children,
eleven and ten, are far too numerous to be particularized.
Estimating the number containing twelve children at thirty-
five or even thirty, those numbering eleven and ten each, if
added to the twelves, would fall but little, if any, below one


hundred. Time was when a family of eight oi> nine chil-
dren, now considered large, would have been regarded as of
medium size.

Entering into this review of the homesteads, and intimately
related to the preceding topic, comes another, demanding, at
least, a few words, viz, : the early emigration of some of
the children of the settlers to other localities, doing for
other places, starting into existence, what their parents had
done for the settlement of their own native place. So many
large families springing up of the second generation, each
member of Avhich needing in time a homestead, evidently on
the part of some, attention must be directed elsewhere. So
they reasoned and acted accordingly. Having freely received,
the settlers felt they must freely give. Give the best of their
sons and daughters. Inside of fifty years from the first com-
ing of the fathers and mothers, went forth the children to
establish homes for themselves, and their descendants else-
where. Memorable the name and the date of the first de-
parture, viz. : Richard Lyman, in 1696, son of the Richard
who lived on Pleasant street, whose homestead came down in
the family line through six generations for over one hundred
and seventy years. To Lebanon, Ct., went the Lymans, also
the first minister there. Rev. Joseph Parsons, also the Hunts
and the Clarks. To Coventry, Ct., went the influential fam-
ily of the Roots, and some of the Strongs. To Durham, in
the same State, went Thomas Lyman, Moses Parsons, some
of the Strongs, and the Chaunceys. To Woodbury, Ct.,
went the Stoddards, also Hon. Adino Strong. Cannot enu-
merate all. Numerous, intelligent, of the best material,
several of them became men of distinction, their descendants
embraced many of the best families in Connecticut. Special
mention may be made of one. Justice Joseph Strong was


born in Ncwthampton, 1672, one of the sixteen children of
Thomas Strong. At the age of forty-four, 1716, having a
family of nine children, he moved to Coventry, Ct., seven
years after the tirst settlement of that town, a farmer, a man
of property and of great worth. Immediately the town pro-
moted him to office, such as- town treasurer in 1716, select-
man for six years, justice of the peace for a long time. In
1721, the first year that Coventry was represented in the Co-
lonial Legislature, he was sent to it as the representative of
the town. The legislature met twice a year till 1819. For
fifty-two times he was chosen rei^resentative; including extra
sessions he was a member of that body during sixty-five
sessions. At the last one, May, 1762, he was in his
ninetieth year. In his ninety-first year, viz.: in 1763, he
officiated as moderator of the town meeting. His descendants
in Coventry and elsewhere amount to several hundreds.

Before closing the topic of early emigration, viz. : to Con-
necticut, to prevent mistake, it may be well to add that at
a date earlier than 1696, families left Northampton for places
in the vicinity. Thus, two or three went to Westfield about
1670. Three or four years later a number moved to Deer-
field. As many more went to Northfield in 1684-6. These
two latter communities took from the town names as follows:
Allen, Alexander, Bascom, Carter, French, Hulbert, Hunt,
Janes, Lyman, Miller, Merry, Nims, Parsons, Root, Sheldon,
Stebbins, and probably some others. Says an antiquarian of
Franklin county: I can count more than two score of men
and many women who left Northampton as settlers in Deer-
field and Northfield. About half went as early as 1674; the
rest went in 1684-6.

The three families, of the two hundred and fifty connected
with the sixty-one homesteads, having the largest number of


grandchildren, are as follows: Elder John Strong, one hun-
dred and fourteen, eighty-eight of whom are on record as
heads of families. Probably twelve more might be added,
making the full number of one hundred heads of families. A
good proportion of them were large families, numbering from
ten to seventeen children. The second of the three was the
first Dea. John Clark, who lived 023posite the Solomon Stod-
dard place, on Elm street. When his widow deceased in
1738, at the age of eighty-four, her grandchildren amounted
to eighty-three, many of them within a mile and a half of
her residence. The third family was that of Dea. John's
brother-in-law, Esq. Joseph Parsons. The exact number of
his grandchildren beyond sixty-six cannot be stated, probably
from seventy to seventy-five. If the writer were to add a
fourth it would be that of William Stockwell, who settled at
West Farms, whose grandchildren, as already reported, counted
as high as sixty. A fifth, that of Benjamin Tappan's, footed
up sixty-one grandchildren. Considering the number of very
large families in the early history of the town, it would not
be strange if other instances existed where the grandchildren
numbered from sixty to seventy.

Pass to the item of longevity. The family the most
marked in this respect, of the two hundred and fifty referred
to, is that of the foregoing, the first Dea. John Clark. The
ages of the six sons were as follows: The first lived to be
eighty-nine. The second eighty-six. The third ninety-eight,
four months and nine days. The fourth ninety-one, and
nearly five months. The fifth eighty-two, and two months.
The sixth, ninety-tw^o. Three of the six, octogenarians.
The other three nonagenarians. The average age of the six
almost ninety. The age of the first daughter not ascertained.
The second lived to be eighty-seven. The third eighty-four.


The fourth seventy-eight. The fifth not known. The average
age of the second, third and fourth daughters almost eighty-

The oldest woman of Northampton was probably Abigail
Phelps Alvord, who died in 1756, at the age of one hundred
and two. She was born in Springfield, 1654. When her
father, Dea. Nathaniel Phelps, joined the Northampton set-
tlement, about 1656, she was the youngest of three children,
and at the age of two. For particulars of Dea. Nathaniel
Phelps, see homestead number seventeen. When and to whom
married cannot state. She lived a full century in the town,
through the ministry of Kev. Mr. Mather, the long one of
Rev. Mr. Stoddard, the eventful one of the distinguished
Mr. Edwards, into the third year of Mr. Hooker. She at-
tended meeting in each of the first three meeting houses,
knew all the ancient worthies, survived all of the first, second,
many of the third generations; and witnessed as many as
eleven or twelve remarkable church harvests, so called, the
year of her departure, 1756, being honored as one of the

The next oldest woman was Rachael Edwards, wife of
Nathaniel, noted in his day as a teacher for ten years on
South street. The school house stood opposite his dwelling.
Noted, moreover, for his laudable efforts in behalf of the
girls of his neighborhood, that they might be taught the
same branches as the boys. Her maiden name was Rachael
Clapp; lived to be one hundred years, four months and
eleven days, surviving her husband nearly fifty years. For
an account given by this venerable woman explaining why
South street went by the name formerly of Licking Water,
see homestead number thirteen.

Widow Elizabeth Wright may be added to the foregoing.


She was daughter of Timothy Wright, who lived on King
street. At the age of twenty, in 1776, she married Dea.
Enos AVright, who lived on Bridge street, and is described as
one of the best women that ever lived, always bright and
cheerful. She lived to be ninety-eight years and six months,
and survived her husband twenty years. She retained her
connection with the church from her twenty-second to her
ninety-ninth year, during the long period of seventy-seven
years, probably a longer time than any other of the thirty-
five hundred, more or less, who have been members of the
First Church, since its organization, two hundred and twenty
years ago. The lifetime of the two, Abigail Phelps Alvord,
and widow Elizabeth Wright, embraced the first two hundred
years of Northampton history, 1654-1854. Down through
this long interval, what stores of information these two
women possessed respecting the families, the events, and
changes of the town. Dea. Enos and Elizabeth were grand-
parents of William K. Wright.

Come next to the most remarkable instance of longevity
the town affords. Philip Princely deceased Sept. 9th, 1855,
aged one hundred and ten. He was born in Ireland in 1745,
came to Northampton at the age of thirty-five, viz. : 1780,
where he lived seventy five years. Up to his one hundred
and seventh year, he regularly voted at town meetings. Left
a son who continued to reside in the community. The next
oldest man was Samuel Bakeman, whose early history cannot be
given. He was probably long an occupant of the pew, appro-
priated to colored people in the Old Church, and deceased in
1834, at the age of one hundred and one years.

Cautions as to giving undue confidence to the reputed age
of such instances as the last two, it must be admitted, are
not out of place. Says an antiquarian: **I invariably look


with distrust upon such statements; it is seldom that any
proof can be obtained of so great longevity."

Passing over other instances, reference may be made to the
item of health. Going back to the commencement, for the
first seven years, an interval of hardships and exposures, 1654
to 1661, only ten, so far as known, deceased; one of the
years, 1658, passed without an instance of mortality. For
the five years, 1655, 1660, 1661, 1677, 1695, five deceased,
one each year. For the three years, 1656, 1667, 1679, six
deaths are reported, two each year. For the five years, 1671,
1672, 1682, 1685, 1700, when the population was somewhat
rapidly increasing, fifteen died, three annually. One of the
number was killed by lightning. For the first seventy years,
probably 1712, was what might be termed the sickliest. At
one time over thirty lay dangerously ill. Population then in
the neighborhood of eight hundred. This sickly season is
put down as one of the years of religious ingathering. For
many years, from 1690, there had been no spiritual harvest.
Now at length, after a long night, having toiled and taken
nothing, what the ministrations of the sanctuary failed to
accomplish, was brought about by an alarming epidemic.

Going forward to the latter part of the century, less than
one hundred years ago, the population having reached sixteen
hundred, the town contained seventy-four upwards of seventy
years of age. Including them, there were over one hundred
and twenty above the age of sixty. At the commencement
of this century and previously, the proportion of deaths
annually varied from one in eighty, ninety, to one in a
hundred of the inhabitants. Says President Dwight, speak-
ing of the health of the town, ^' Epidemics visiting
other places have been rare here, and hardly ever exten-
sively fatal." Here, please to notice, that about seventy-


five years elapsed before the settlement had a regular practic.
ing phj^sician. Mr. Judd mentions somewhere in the history
of Hadley, that women, in the early days, acted as physi-
cians. Samuel Mather, as is understood, was the first man
who settled in town in regular practice as a physician. He
graduated at Yale in 1786, and came soon after. He was
born in 1706, lived in town about fifty years, a physician,
justice of the peace, selectman, ancestor of a number of
Mather families, and of at least three physicians, Dr. Elisha
who died in 1841, being the last. Ever since 1729, there
has always been a regular physician in the community.

Following the foregoing, a closely related topic respects the
employment of the people. A few words will suSice. The
first settlers and their sons for many years were tillers of the
soil. Even those who had trades, the six or eight mechanics,
were usually farmers. This, in the main, accounts for the
large families already noticed, and the early emigration of
many elsewhere. It is true that farming then, as it ever
has been in New England, was no holiday occupation. It
had its hardships and perils. Pursued in the vicinity of
home, danger was not so imminent. For over eighty years,
1675-1759, no field could be cleared, no labor performed with
safety, even in the nearest forested grounds. The attacks of
the savages and Canadians were made at times and places
least expected. Many an unfortunate farmer received his
death wound, where he imagined an Indian would never ven-
ture. Only a mile west of the town, while visiting his
farm, the distinguished Col. John Stoddard narrowly escaped
from an ambush of savages. One of the workmen was
killed. Farmers of those times had many a hair-breadth es-
cape from a savage foe.

Hastening forward, the next particular respects the names


common in former days. Our forefathers cherished a high
regard for the Bible, and manifested it by the names be-
stowed on their children. Of the more than three thousand
in the writer's possession, of those who lived in Northampton
between 1654, and 1825, it may be said that, probably, nine
out of every ten had a scriptural name. The following may
be cited, commencing with the Bible, and passing on from
the old into the new testament: Seth, Enos, Jared, Noah,
Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Israel, Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah,
Gad, Asher, Joseph, Benjamin, Ephraim, Job, Eliphaz, Bil-
dad, Elihu, Aaron, Moses, Gershom, Eleazar, Ithamar, Phin-
ehas, Eldad, Medad, Caleb, Joshua, Gideon, Elkanah, Eli,
Samuel, Ebenezer, David, Solomon, Saul, Jonathan, Elna-
than, Joab, Amasa, Nathan, Zadok, Elijah, Elisha, Ethan,
Heman, Azariah, Jeremiah, Hezekiah, Josiah, Ezekiel, Dan-
iel, Joel, Zcchariah, Mark, Luke, John, Peter, Nathaniel,
Paul, Silas, Gamaliel, Stephen, Timothy, Titus, and others.
The names of women often were Sarah, Rebecca, Rachel,
Asenath, Mehitabel, Miriam, Ruth, Deborah, Hannah, Merab,
Esther, Ilephzibah, Achsah, Huldah, Martha, Mary, Elisabeth,
Dorcas, Lydia, Lois, Eunice, Phebe, Priscilla. The follow-
ing names of men, not from the Bible, but looking that way,
may be cited: Praisever, Preserved, Hopestill, Waitstill,
Deliverance, Increase, Supply. Names of women: Expe-
rience, Thankful, Mercy, Hope, Faith, Charity, Temj^erance,
Patience, Prudence, Submit, Mindwell, Grace, Silence, Free-
dom, Joye. What about double names? They are com-
paratively of recent date. No instance of a double name is
remembered during the first century and a half in the his-
tory of the town. The fathers and mothers of those times
felt that a single Bible name for their child amply sufficed.
Pass to the last particular, viz. : the influence exerted in


other localities, by some of the sons of Northampton. The
writer will confine himself to a single neighborhood of the
last century, on King street. Within a fourth of a mile,
lived the following families, viz. : the Tappans, having as
many as six sons and two daughters; opposite lived the
D wights, nine sons and four daughters; north, on the same
side of the street, lived the celebrated Edwards family, three
sons and eight daughters; a few rods farther north, later in
the century, was the Breck family, three sons and at least
one daughter; next above, on the same side, lived Joseph
Allen, having fourteen children; farther on was the family
of Eoots; the next beyond stood the parsonage. Rev. John
Hooker's, five sons and four daughters; here, also, resided
Rev. Solomon Williams, having, at least, three sons and sev-
eral daughters. The question arises, what became of the
boys reared in these families? Cannot speak particularly of
each one, but will say in general, two of them became emi-
nent theologians and presidents of colleges, Yale and Union,
whose writings have been extensively read on both sides of
the Atlantic. Five of these boys became ministers; three of
the five were pioneer preachers and pastors in three different
states. Three entered the medical profession. Four, per-
haps more, were quite eminent as lawyers; at least two of
the four afterwards served as judges on the bench. Two
were members of the Continental Congress. One was a
United States Senator. Two were Representatives in Con-
gress. One founded a newspaper, first at Albany, and after-
wards at New York City. Two, perhaps more, were mer-
chants, who, by their judgment and enterprise, and a favoring
Providence, acquired large fortunes, and became benefactors
to various benevolent societies, and institutions of learning.

One served for a long series of years, as one of the Pruden-


tial Committee of the American Board. One was deacon of
the first church in Springfield, active in the religious and
benevolent movements of that city, county, and the Common-
wealth, an early and efficient member of the Corporation of
Amherst College, and one of the founders of the American
Board. One wrote a geography, which had an extensive cir-
culation. One was a highly esteemed bank president. At
least two attained the rank of major, and one adjutant gen-
eral in the army of the revolution, and three were chaplains
in the same. So much for a single neighborhood, on King
street, in the last century.



First. Abigail Strong, daughter of Elder John Strong.
Married in 1673, to Rev. Nathaniel Chauncey, of Hatfield,
with whom she lived till his decease, in 1685. She was the
mother of Rev. Nathaniel Chauncey, pastor for sixty years
in Durham, Ct., a profound divine, solid and judicious in
his preaching, the influence of whose life and ministry could
be traced at Hartland, Ct., Greenfield, Mass., Durham, N.
Y., where people settled who had been under his pastoral
care. He owned a large and valuable library. His mother,
Mrs. Abigail Strong Chauncey, married in 1686, Dea. Medad
Pomeroy, of Northampton.

Second. Esther Warham Mather. Already described as
a remarkable woman individually and relatively. Origi-
nally from Windsor, Ct. Married Rev. Eleazar Mather,
the first Northampton pastor, with whom she lived eleven
years, till 1669. Five years after, having resided in town
sixteen years, she married, 1674, the second pastor. Rev.
Solomon Stoddard. They lived together fifty-five years,
1674-1729. She survived him till 1736. For seventy-seven
years, she was the first and only minister's wife known in the
community. A woman of rare intellect and character, the
honored mother of fifteen children. Several of her daugh-
ters, who married clergymen, will come under distinct notice.


Third. Eunice Mather, only daughter of Eev. Eleazar
Mather, married in 1680, Rev. John Williams, of Deerfield.
She was killed by the Indians, when that town was destroyed,
in 1704; the mother of seven sons and two daughters.
Three of the sons, Eleazar, Stephen, Warham, stood high in
the ministry. Warham studied theology with his grandfather
Stoddard, and became the minister of Watertown, West Pre-
cinct, now Waltham. One of the daughters married Rev.
Joseph Meacham, Coventry, Ct.

Fourth. Katharine Chauncey, daughter of Rev. Nathan-
iel and Abigail Strong of Hatfield, afterwards of North-
ampton, married, in 1694, Rev. Daniel Brewer, who died
at Springfield in the fortieth year of his marriage and min-
istry. Chauncey Brewer, M. D., Avho died at Springfield
in 1830, aged eighty-seven, was probably a grandson of the

Fifth. Esther Stoddard, second daughter of Rev. Solo-
mon and Esther Mather, married, in 1694, to Rev. Timo-
thy Edwards, of East Windsor, Ct. He graduated at
at Harvard, July 4th, 1691, and received the same day
the degree of A. B. in the morning, and of A. M. in
the afternoon, an uncommon mark of respect paid to his
great proficiency in learning. She was distinguished by
superior mental powers, by intellectual acquirements of a
high order, and by deep piety. She received, it is said,
a superior education in Boston, was fond of books, famil-
iar with the best theological writers. They lived together
sixty-three years. Number of their children, eleven, all of
them daughters except one, the distinguished Jonathan.
With the assistance of his wife, he fitted them all for col-
lege, giving to each of the girls the same careful drill in
Latin and other preparatory studies which their son re-


ceived. Her influence in the town was extensive, and de-
scended to subsequent generations. She attained her ninety-
ninth year, and showed the same mental vigor to the last.
Sixth. Mary Stoddard, sister of the preceding, the old-
est daughter of Rev. Solomon Stoddard, married, in 1695,
Rev. Stephen Mix, for forty-four years pastor of Newing-
ton Parish in Wethersfield, Ct. Six children. Among the
grandchildren stands the name of Stephen Mix Mitchell, an
eminent lawyer in Wethersfield, who lived to be ninety-one,
judge of the Superior Court; also, from 1807-14, chief jus-
tice, elected member of Congress, and senator. Among the
great-grandchildren was Alfred Mitchell, minister of Norwich,
Ct., a man of intellectual power, yet modest and retiring,
some of whose last words were, ^^The will of the Lord be
done." The following, quite a curiosity of the kind, handed
down in the family, and not long ago given to the public,
relating to a matrimonial correspondence of those early times,
will interest many. Rev. Stephen Mix visited Rev. Solomon
Stoddard and proposed marriage to his eldest daughter, Mary.
Her answer, after several weeks' consideration, is in the fol-
lowing letter, remarkable for brevity:

Northampton, 1695.

Rev. Stephen Mix: Yes. Mary Stoddard.

Their marriage followed in a few weeks.

Seventh. Christina Stoddard, third daughter of Rev. Sol-
omon Stoddard, married, in 1699, Rev. William Williams,
minister of Hatfield, a cousin of Rev. John Williams of
Deerfield. Both graduated in 1683, in a class of three, at
Harvard. She was his second wife. They were the parents
of five children, one of them. Rev. Solomon, of Lebanon,
Ct., was grandfather of Rev. Solomon Williams of North-


ampton. Continued minister of Hatfield fifty-five years.
Exerted a wide influence by his ministry and life. She sur-
viyed him twenty-three years, and lived to be eighty-seven.
Edwards, who preached at his funeral, says of his sermons:
^^They were all wise and solid. His words were none of
them vain, but all were weighty. A man of more than
common abilities."

Eighth. Sarah Stoddard, the fourth daughter of the same
family, married, in 1707, Rev. Samuel Whitman of Farming-

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Online LibrarySolomon ClarkAntiquities, historicals and graduates of Northampton → online text (page 16 of 26)