Solomon Clark.

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the best of English people. Not to go into detail respect-
ing all the eminent ones of that company, it may be ob-
served, there were the two ministers, Warham and Maver-
ick, both at first with the Dorchester settlement; Warham,
who, six years afterwards, with a hundred of that colony,
encountering the perils of an untrodden wilderness, settled
163G at Windsor, Ct., the father of Esther Warham, the
first minister's wife of Northampton, already introduced to
the readers of this volume. There was the brave, notable
John Mason, not only the author of the Pequot war, but
the chief leader in the same, the Miles Standish, so to
speak, of the Connecticut forces, the ancestor of the dis-
tinguished jurist, Jeremiah Mason.

There was Capt. Roger Clap, an efficient member of the
Dorchester plantation, honored with civil and military trusts,
appointed captain of Castle William by the General Court,
father of Preserved Clap, early at Northampton, and ances-
tor of the Clap race. Preserved Clap was the second rul-
ing elder of Northampton Church. There was Thomas Ford,
past middle life, with an adult family, a man of projier-
ty, deputy to the General Court, a grand juror, an early
settler at Windsor, who came to Northampton in 1659,
whose four daughters, viz.: Joanna married Capt. Roger


Clap; Abigail became the wife of Elder John Strong;
Ilephzibah married Richard Lyman, the progenitor of many
of the Lymans. The fourth married Major Aaron Cook,
a man of great energy and daring, ancestor of the Cook
race at Northampton, afterward at Hadley and elsewhere.
Such were a few of the company on board the Mary and
the John, containing, as the sequel will shoAV, the materials
or the nucleus of three plantations.

Omitting details relating to the Dorchester plantation or
settlement, commencing the same year, 1G30, soon after
their arrival, leading, as soon as circumstances would per-
mit, to the settlement at Windsor, Ct., and these two,
still later, leading to the settlement at Northampton, Dor-
chester and Windsor colonists being largely among the
Northampton settlers in 1654. It may be said, thirdly,
that the two came near the same time, viz. : 1 659,
Wm. Clark from Dorchester and John Strong from Wind-
sor. Their coming marked an era in the history of the
settlement. Instead of planting himself at the center or
as near it as possible, as had hitherto been the practice,
consulting individual safety, William Clark built half a
mile or more west on what was long afterward the Judge
Dewey lot. He was the first, as is supposed, to locate on
Elm street, or the vicinity of it, there being no street
till long afterward. His example induced others to settle
in the same neighboored.

As the boundaries of civilization enlarged after the com-
ing of William Clark, so it may be said business greatly
improved after the coming of John Strong. He was a
tanner by trade, had as many as twelve children when he
came; the number afterward increased. A man of enter-
prise; he carried on a large stroke of business, was in


pros2:)erous circumstances, an owner of considerable real es-
tate. Business thus quickened, other things essential to
the growth of the colony followed, viz.: In IGGl, voted to
build a bridge over Mill river, same as South street bridge;
also to build a meeting house forty-two feet square. This
was the memorable second meeting house. The same year
organized a military company, also opened a new cemetery,
viz. : the present one. The County court held its first sitting
the same year at Northampton. These and other items still
to be mentioned, indicate that the coming of the two, with
others, marked an era in the history of the settlement.

Fourthly, both obtained their distinguishing titles near
the same time, at Northampton. In IGGl, at the or-
ganization of a train-band, or company of militia, of sixty
men, the number being incomplete, not entitling them
to a captain, AVilliam Clark was chosen the highest offi-
cer, viz. : Lieut., at that time considered a very impor-
tant position, securing to him ever after the distinguishing
title of Lieut. Clark. Why a younger man was not chosen
does not appear. The conjecture is thrown out, it may have
been as a recognition of his valor in being the first to settle
in the west part of the town. It was a marked compliment.
He held other positions. Commencing with IGGO for twenty
years, till more than seventy, he was often one of the se-
lectmen. For a series of years he was one of the judges of
the County court, which met semi-annually, at Springfield
and at Northampton. He is mentioned, moreover, as one of
the seven pillars on which with the first minister the church
there was originally constituted.

But passing to Mr. John Strong, a higher office awaited
him in the estimation of his contemporaries, viz. : that of
ruling elder in the churchy an office common in the earli-


est Congregational chnrclies in New England, as Elder
Brewster, for instance, who came with the church on
board the Mayflower. Whoever filled this office occupied a
position in the community second only to the minister in
dignity and importance. The church being gathered and or-
ganized in Northampton in 1661, in 1663, ^^ after solemn and
extraordinary seeking to God for his direction and blessing,"
John Strong was chosen ruling elder, and with much solemnity
set apart to the same by the imposition of hands and prayer.
A very high office as the following item indicates from the
Northampton church record. Sejit. 11th, 1672, Mr. Solomon
Stoddard was ordained j^astor of the church by Mr. John
Strong, ruling elder and Mr. John Whiting pastor of the
second church in Hartford. Such was Mr. John Strong,
ruling faithfully over the members, rendering special assis-
tance in cases of discipline, visiting and i^raying with the
sick, in the pastor's absence, leading the devotions of the
congregation, expounding the scriptures. Being the first rul-
ing elder in that church, his son Ebenezer, a farmer and a
tanner, was tlie third and last. The office gradually
died out of the Congregational churches, a standing com-
mittee being substituted for it in many churches. Pass
over the circumstance of their bereavement the same year,
1688, in the decease, each of his wife, it may be ob-
served fifthly, both having commenced life near the begin-
ning of the century, continued till near its close. William
Clark went first, not, however, till he had seen the colony
and the church at Northampton carried through many diffi-
culties, bearing precious fruit. The year of his death, 1690,
was seven years after the second harvest season, of Mr. Stod-
dard's ministry, when it is said, nearly all the young x^Jople
of the town were thoughtful about their eternal salvation.


Elder John's departure was delayed nine years later, 1699,
just as that century, with all its great events, was passing
away into the domain of history. Many of his associates,
Thomas Ford, Thomas Judd, William Clark, Dea. Jonathan
Hunt, Major Aaron Cook, Dea. Holton, fully prepared, had
been gathered to their fathers. It is a beautiful comparison
specially appropriate, '^Thou shalt come to thy grave in a
full age, like as a shock of corn cometh in his season."
Ninety-four, forty years having passed since his first coming
to N., the fruits of righteousness having ripened in his life,
like the venerable Simeon at that important crisis, he knows
where he is going, and is more than willing to go.

Finally, both were the ancestors of a multitude of de-
scendants. Elder John brought up to man's and woman's
estate a large family. At his decease, sixteen of his eigh-
teen children were living. These sixteen lived to establish
families of their own. Counting sons and daughters, he saw
before leaving the stage, one hundred and fifty of his direct
descendants, all of the second and third generations. So
well started by its illustrious founder and progenitor, the
Strong race has attained astonishing proportions. The pos-
terity of John Strong, the faithful ruling elder, has become
so numerous that two octavo volumes of fifteen hundred
pages, barely suffice to register the names of the various con-
nected families and individuals. To collect and arrange the
materials here found required years of thought and labor.
The headquarters of this race, centering at Northampton,
the Strong genealogy contains a store-house of family history
of this ancient town. In the two volumes the names of El-
der John's descendants amount to twenty-eight thousand
eight hundred and sixty-seven. Had all to whom letters
were addressed responded, the number would have reached
toward thirty thousand.


In like manner a great multitude have descended from
Lieut. William Clark. Of his five sons and four daughters,
several of whom had a numerous family, there will be space
to speak of only one, viz.: his sixth child, John, born 1651,
at Dorchester, usually called Dea. John, eight years old when
his father moved to Northampton. In 1679, he married as
his second wife, Mary Strong, the thirteenth child of Elder
John, thus uniting the two families, doubly united the next
year, 1680, by the marriage of another son, Capt. William to
Hannah the fifteenth child of Elder John. Of the eleven
children born to Dea. John, one died in early life. Of the
remaining ten, four lived to be above ninety, three above
eighty, and three above seventy. Six of these were sons, and
lived each with the wife of his youth more than fifty years.
Most of them lived on Elm street. Gov. Caleb Strong says
they were all living within his memory. The daughters
were long-lived and survived their husbands. All were re-
spectable and in good circumstances. One of the sons, Lieut.
Ebenezer, who lives near the spot where President Seelye
lives, attained the age of ninety-nine. At his death, 1781,
there had sprung from the original pair, as President Dwight
of Yale says, eleven hundred and forty-five persons, of whom
nine hundred and sixty were still living, viz.: in 1781. All
this relates simply to one of Lieut. Wm. Clark's children,
viz. : Dea. John and his posterity. Including the entire
race of Lieut. William down to the present, some faint idea
may be formed as to the multitude of his descendants. It
would not be strange if the whole number nearly equalled
that reported of Elder John Strong's descendants.

From the foregoing parallel between these puritan worthies
please accept two items. First, in the question of their re-
moval or non-removal in 1659 to Northampton, how much


mucli was involved temporally and religiously. Hoav much
pertaining to the town and the church of Northampton and
other communities. Secondly, from the numbers descended
from Elder John and Lieut. William, who have been mem-
bers of the Northampton church for over two hundred years,
also of other churches elsewhere, see illustrated the value of
a pious parentage. Who can emphasize it too strongly?
Surely there is a meaning in the passage, ^'I will be a
God to thee and to thy seed after thee."



Tlie first settlement commenced 1654.

The first name of the place, Nonotuck.

The first marriage occurred the same year, Nov. 18th;
names of the parties, David Burt and Mary Holton.

The first meeting house, twenty-six feet long by eighteen
wide, was finished about the 15th of April, 1655, with one
door and two windows. Eight years after, in 1663, this be-
came the first school building in the settlement.

The first birth occurred May 2d, 1655, viz. : Ebenezer, son
of Cornet Joseph and Mary Bliss Parsons.

The first selectmen were chosen the same year in the month
of December.

The first death occurred January 14th, 1656, viz. : James,
son of James and Sarah Bridgman, the ancestors of the
Northampton Bridgmans.

The next year, 1657, witnessed the first efforts toward
erecting a parsonage or minister's house. It stood imme-
diately in the center, south of meeting house hill on the
line of Shop Row.

The first court, to end small causes, was held the same year.

Also, June 25th, the first temperance measures were

About the same time, the first public action was taken to
procure a minister.


The first meeting to raise money for town expenses, includ-
ing ministerial support, was held 1658.

The same year, the first minister, Kev. Eleazer Mather,
born in Dorchester, came in the month of July.

The first ferry between Hadley and Northampton was
opened this year.

David Burt was the first person killed accidentally, viz. :
Aug. 30th, 1660.

The next year, 1661, witnessed the first church organization.

The same year the first militia company was organized.

The first bridge across Mill river was voted about the same

The first interment in the Bridge street cemetery occurred
Nov. 30tli, of this year, 1661; the person was probably Hen-
ry Curtis from Dorchester.

Hampshire County, embracing three towns, Springfield,
Northampton and Hadley, commenced its career May 7th,

The first school began 1663.

One of the first school teachers was James Cornish.

This year, 1663, the first ruling elder in the church and
the first deacon were chosen.

In 1664 were instituted the first measures to prevent the
young from rude, disorderly conduct on the Sabbath.

The first public highway was constructed this year, viz. : to

The first person killed by lightning in the settlement was
Matthew Cole, April 28th, 1665.

The first court house was built 1667.

In 1670, the first town a^^propriation of land for the sup-
port of schools was voted, viz. : of one hundred acres.

The first Indian attack on the settlement took place in


The first killed by tlie savages, March 14th, of the same
year, was Eobert Bartlett, on Pleasant street.

The first native of Northampton who graduated at college
was Warham Mather, at Harvard, in 1G85, in a class of

The first son of Northampton who entered the ministry
was Joseph Parsons, ordained in the year 1700 at Lebanon,

The first prison or jail built in toAvn was erected 1704,
twenty-four feet long by sixteen wide. Had a small dwelling
at one end for the keeper.

The foregoing are some of the First Things of Northamp-
ton during the first fifty years of its history.



The first to be mentioned, David Burt, an early settler,
came previous to 1659. He was killed, accidentally, in what
way, is not said, Aug. 30tli, 1660. His descendants, includ-
ing several David Burts, have lived in the vicinity down to
the present. The next two, it will be noticed, were struck
by lightning unusually early in the season. Matthew Cole,
the husband, probably, of Lydia C, who died the next year,
was killed by lightning, April 28th, 1665. Henry Wood-
ward, from England, 1638, originally one of the seven pillars
of the church in N., was killed by lightning, April 7tli,
1685, at the upper corn-mill, forty years ago known as Bur-
nell's mill. He was the earliest known ancestor of Samuel
B. Woodward, M. D., who deceased at N., 1850. Passing
over an interval of more than twenty years, Esther Alvord
and John Parsons were drowned the same day, Oct. 8th, 1707,
both descendants of the first settlers. The Alvord name,
and especially the Parsons, often appear in the annals of the
town. Jedediah Strong, son of Elder John, and his wife
Mary, set out early in the morning, Oct. 9th, 1710, to visit
their children at Coventry, Ct., but when against the falls at
South Hadley, among the broad, smooth stones, the horse's
foot slipped, and he fell on the off-side, and, by the fall.


killed the woman. She lived till the next day, yet spoke
not a word. He was a farmer and a constable. For three
years, 1677-8-9, he was paid eighteen shillings a year for
blowing the trumpet on the Sabbath, to summon the people
to church. He lived to be ninety-six, and had fourteen chil-
dren. Simeon Pomeroy, Thomas Alexander, and Noah Al-
len, were all drowned, April 24th, 1725. Abigail and Han-
nah, daughters of Capt. John Lyman, were burned to death,
Dec. 8th, 1742, one seventeen, the other nine. The house
stood on the plain, so called formerly, now Bridge street,
and was burned near midnight, the two daughters with it.
Tradition says he desired to leave the homestead where this
afflictive event occurred. Hence his removal across the river,
in 1744, to Hockanum , where he made large purchases of
land, he and his son being the first to settle in that 2)art of
Hadley. Being of Northampton origin, it is said the first
settlers of Hockanum for many years had more intercourse
with the people of their native town than with those of Had-
ley. Ebenezer Boltwood, grandson of Samuel, the first of
the Boltwoods who settled in Amherst about 1731, was
drowned in Northampton, July 9th, 1743, at the age of six-
teen. Abigail Alexander was drowned, Oct. 10, 1745, this
being the second recorded bereavement of the kind in that
family. Martha Southwell was accidentally killed, Oct. 13th,
1753. A numerous family of Southwells then and afterwards
lived in N. Sixteen years later, Jonathan Hunt and his sis-
ter Thankful, children of the second Dea. Jonathan, the for-
mer sixteen, the latter seven, were struck by lightning, July
5th, 1709. The late Abner Hunt was their brother. The
house stood on Prospect street, a short distance from Elm.
There have been as many as six Jonathan Hunts, re2)resenting
six generations. All, excepting the first, were born on Elm


and Prospect streets. The first and the fourth were deacons.
Asahel, a deaf mute, tenth child of Benajah Strong, son of
Waitstill, was drowned July 9th, 1770, nine years of age.
Ebenezer Edwards, a farmer, son of Nathaniel, was killed by
the fall of a tree, Aug. 22nd, 1771, aged 51. He had nine
children, one of them, Nathaniel, a farmer and an inn-keep-
er at Roberts Meadow. Lieut. Elihu Root, a descendant of
Thomas R., one of the first members, and one of the seven
pillars of the Northampton church, who deceased 1694, was
drowned, April 23, 1779. Only a few months later,
Major Jonathan Allen, a soldier of the Revolution, son
of Joseph, who died seven days previous, being at home
on a furlough, while hunting deer in mid-winter in
deep snow, Jan. 7th, 1780, was accidentally shot by
his companion, Seth Lyman, aged 42. An Indian was
drowned, July 13th, 1782. Samuel Marshall lost his life by
falling from a horse. May 5th, 1789. Three Samuel Mar-
shall deceased between 1758 and 1789. The Marshall house
stood where the Baptist meeting house now stands. Moses
Pomeroy was killed, probably accidentally, in Ohio, 1791. If
a settler in that state, he was one of the first from his na-
tive town to go west. Submit Lyman, a sister of Esquire
Levi, Register of Deeds, and daughter of Capt. William, was
killed Jan. 9th, 1797, by the falling of a tree, when riding
in a sleigh, at the age of 30. She was much beloved, be-
cause of the grace with which she was enabled to submit to
the personal deformity of a hair lip, which appears to have
given to her her name. She was the youngest of eight chil-
dren, unmarried. John Kneep, the only one probably of
the name then in town, was drowned. May 31, 1798. John
Wyer, whose child deceased the year previous, perished in a
hard storm, Nov. 17th, 1803. The same year, Dec. 9th, a


child of John King, Jr., was drowned. Two years hiter,
Dec. 1, 1805, Thomas Merrick Pomeroy's chikl was burnt.
He was the son of Simeon P., and a printer by trade, lived
on South street; his shop was in the old Tontine building,
which stood where the late Hon. John Clarke afterwards
built and lived. The Tontine, so called, was a long wooden
building, three stories high, resembling a bar-racks, contain-
ing a store, several shops, and a large public hall. The next
four, occurring the same year, 1807, and all within a few
months, mark it as peculiar in this respect. Widow Mar-
garet Bryant, whose husband deceased eighteen months pre-
vious, perished in the woods, April 6th, 1807. Four days
after, a daughter, only child of Arunah Strong, son of John,
grandson of Waitstill, who died 1822, was drowned. Martin
Ely, Jr., was killed by the fall of a clock-weight, Aug 20th.
Five days later, Aug. 25th, Daniel King's son was drowned.
Enos Kingsley, a child of three or four, brother of Dea.
Daniel, was scalded, Jan. 9th, 1808. The father, Enos
Kingsley, Jr., lived on South street, on the corner near Mill
lane, leading to the lower mill. The house, one of the most
ancient in that neighborhood still stands. A son of Widow
Allen was drowned, July 5th, 1808. David Spark's child
perished in the woods, April 4th, 1809. A child of Widow
Horton, whose husband from New Haven, Ct., deceased 1808,
was scalded April 17tli, 1810. The next year, Sept. 21st,
1811, Samuel Carrier's child was burnt. Hervey Humphrey
died from a fall, AjDril 27th, 1812. The same year, July 6th,
Asa Edwards, eight years of age, was drowned. Medad Ed-
wards, the father of Asa, lived on South street, south of Na-
thaniel Phelps' tavern. Over five years from the last, Nov.
9th, 1817, Daniel Sylvester's child was scalded. He came to
Northampton when a boy, from Chesterfield, worked here.


farming, till over thirty, tlien married; he and his wife, a
dressmaker, having accumulated a little property, bought a
farm in Chesterfield, on the old turnpike road to Albany,
two miles east of the meeting house, where they died.
Friend Smith was drowned, Dec. 2Gth, 1817. Elisha, about
eight years of age, son of Col. Elisha Strong, on South
street, was drowned, July 3d, 1818. A colored girl was
burnt, June 27th, 1819. James Pease of Pittsfield, was
drowned, June 22d, 1820. Isaac Lewis Parsons, brother of
the late Lyman P., son of Josiah, on Bridge street, was
drowned, July 29th, 1820 — six years old. Five years after,
Thomas Strong, a farmer, unmarried, son of Eleazar, died
suddenly from drinking cold water, July 12th, 1825, aged 41.
Thus ends the sad chapter from 1654-1825 — forty-six in all.
Indian assaults and assassinations were continued in North-
am2:)ton and the immediate vicinity from 1675 to 1747, a pe-
riod of 72 years. The whole number of white people, men,
women, and children, and one Indian servant, put to death
during this period by savages, was forty-six. Considering
the perils, the hairbreadth escapes of the first settlers, it is
remarkable the number was not larger. One neighborhood,
Pascommuc, now in Easthampton, was sorely smitten, in
1704; twenty-one at one time were killed, among them Dea.
Benjamin Janes and four children. The last one killed by
Indian cruelty, while threshing in his barn, was Elisha Clark,
in 1747, of the fourth generation from Lieut. William, son
of the second Dea. John, who lived on South Street, ances-
tor of the David Clark race. Excepting these Indian mas-
sacres, only one instance of murder has ever occurred in
town. In respect to that one, there is considerable uncer-
tainty. The record is as follows: March 11th, 1806, John
Allis, said to be hung by his wife and an Irishman.


As the parties were not proceeded against, the inference is
that sufficient evidence of their criminality could not be ob-
tained. This not being considered in the eye of the law an
instance of murder, no other has occurred in the town from
its settlement to the present time. A remarkable and a
highly creditable fact.

It may form a fitting conclusion to state that the number
of Northampton men killed at the battle of Lake George,
1756, was four. The number killed in the Revolutionary
war was eight, all the same year, 1776, four in September,
and four in October. Brigadier General Seth Pomeroy, a
brave officer, died while in the service, 1777, of pleurisy, at
Peeksville, N. Y. Northampton records show the loss of
thirty men of the town in the war of the Rebellion. Whole
number of deaths in the town, from 1655 to Aug. 18th,
1824, 3,082.



Slough Hill. At the north end of Kmg street, on a road
leading from the Connecticut river hridge to Florence, North

Online LibrarySolomon ClarkAntiquities, historicals and graduates of Northampton → online text (page 4 of 26)