Solomon Clark.

Antiquities, historicals and graduates of Northampton online

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viz. : for merchandise and all heavy articles. Boatman, in
1769, on the Connecticut, Ithamar Strong, or Capt. Ithamar,
as the commander of such boats was called. He was father
of Capt. David, who followed the same business, a man of
large frame, great strength, whose boat is well remembered.
Shepherd & Hunt's first account book, in the writer's pos-
session at present, contains three or four points of interest,
worthy of notice. The first respects the extent of their busi-
ness. It was the great store for drugs and medicines, not
only in western Massachusetts, but in some parts of New
Hampshire and Vermont. A constant trade was here main-
tained by physicians and druggists in such localities as Keene,
Westmoreland, Charlestown, Winchester, Walpole, N. H.;
Bennington, Yt.; Pittsfield, Mass.; Springfield, Hardwick,
Montague, Northfield, besides numerous smaller j^laces near
and remote. If one wishes to ascertain the names of physi-
cians and druggists in this wide region, at the date contem-
plated, he may here obtain them. Such an establishment,
known and patronized over so wide an extent of country,
must have promoted, in other respects, the business of the
community. Pass to the second point of interest, viz.: the
book department, associated with this store. Beginning, as
appears at the same time, with the other business of the con-
cern, it started off with a respectable number of volumes.
Here were found school books, such as Art of Speaking,
Spelling books, some Dictionaries, Latin books, Cornelius,
Nepos, Latin Testaments, Biographies, Life of Gardiner, Ma-
homet, Medical Works on various subjects. Law books. Every
Man his own Lawyer, Complete Juryman, Theological Works,


Doddridge's Sermons, West on the Eesurrection, Watt's
Poems, Young's Satires. No doubt the book department
expanded to suit the wants of the community. Here, prob-
ably, we see the commencement of the book trade, not only
in the town, but in the valley of the Connecticut.

Centering in this account book, is a third item of interest,
showing the probable origin of what is known as the Livery
business. It was not a time of pleasure carriages. There
were none to let, none were wanted. People who traveled,
rode horseback, often two on the same horse. This had been
the practice, in Northampton, from the beginning. The fol-
lowing, in the year 1769, show the charges at this store
simply for horse hire, omitting names of individuals. Horse
to Hadley, to carry double, eight cents, viz. : for the whole
trip, going and returning. Horse to Hatfield, eleven cents.
Horse to Southampton, sixteen cents. Horse to Chesterfield,
twenty-two cents. Horse to Springfield, forty-three cents.
Horse to Hartford, one dollar and ten cents. Horse to Mid-
dletown, Ct., one dollar and seventy-seven cents. Horse to
Boston, two dollars and twenty-three cents. One week re-
quired in going to Boston, another to return. Two dollars
and twenty-three cents for the use of a horse for over two
weeks. Horse to go 230 miles, five dollars and eleven cents.
See the origin of this business, and the table of prices, one
hundred and twelve years ago.

In the line of the foregoing, and the fourth point, may be
instanced the professional charges of Dr. Ebenezer Hunt. He
was one of the firm, also physician of the town. His patients
had no reason to complain of exorbitant prices. Thus in 1769,
Benjamin Sheldon is charged eight pence, about eleven cents,
for a visit to his daughter. This appears, by other items, the
usual charge at that time. Hiram Marshall, for being bled.


charged the same. Elisha Alvord is charged eight cents for
extracting a tooth for his son. This, it may he observed, is
the Elisha Alvord, whose homestead, in the center of the
town, some fifty-six generous persons purchased, in 1767,
which they presented to Hampshire county, as a site for a
court house, the remainder to be used for a green or common,
and for no other purpose. But to pass on. Samuel Clarke
is charged four pence, for dressing Richard's foot. Elisha
Wright, two pence, for dressing his leg. Such are a few of
the items in the early days of Dr. Ebenezer's practice.
He was then 25, a student from the office of Dr. Pynchon,
of Springfield. Emphatically a period that of low prices,
land and labor, professional and otherwise, cheap. As to his
charges subsequently, under a change of circumstances, no
special information can be given. From the fact that he
practiced physic in the town, fifty-one years after this, during
which he never sued any one for debt, incurred for medical
attendance, it is inferred that his professional charges were
always moderate.




The first is that of Samuel Wright, senior and settler, who
deceased 1665, ten years from the date of his coming. There
has been no little inquiry as to its location. Recent and
careful examination of ancient documents, both at North-
ampton and Springfield, places it, beyond a doubt, not as
ordinarily supposed, on Bridge street, but near the center,
between King street and Market, containing four and a half
acres, the southern boundary being the highway from the
meeting house toward the great bridge. The First National
Bank, the Smith Charities, the Asahel Pomeroy house, and
other buildings, stand on that home-lot. Notice a few items
from the documents examined. Two years before his decease,
Samuel gives in his will, 1663, to his son James, (the others
being provided for) the homestead, who held and occupied it
nearly half a century. From James it passes, 1711, to his
two sons. Preserved and Jonathan. The first deceased 1740,
the second 1743. The next on the place was Ephraim, the
son of Preserved, and Seth, son of Jonathan. Papers show
that in 1748, Seth conveyed to Ephraim, his cousin, all his
interest in the homestead, in whose possession it continued
forty-five years. In 1793, two well-known names. Dr. Levi
Shepherd, and Robert Breck, Esq., bought a part of this


home-lot for stores, fronting on King Street. Hence, the
origin of those stores remembered by many at the present
time. Next year, 1794, Ephraim Wright deceased, giving
the residue of the homestead, three acres and a half, to his
son Seth, of the fifth generation. Near the close of the
century, 1799, one hundred and forty-four years after coming
into the family, Seth sold the homestead of his fathers to
Asahel Pomeroy, the son of Quartus.

Number two. The Lyman homestead. Richard Lyman,
a man of decided character, came with the earliest company,
or soon after, was one of the ^Hownsmen," or selectmen, in
1655. His homestead on Pleasant street, lay immediately
south of Kev. Eleazar Mather's. The estate of the late
Theodore Strong, and of Judge Hinckley, comprised origi-
nally a part of the Mather place. Richard Lyman died,
1662, within seven years of his coming. The infant settle-
ment must have felt his loss. During his brief sojourn, was
much engaged in public business.

His son, John, succeeded to the homestead, born in
Windsor, Ct., a few weeks before the family settled in North-
ampton. He was distinguished from others of the same name
by the addition of ^' Richard's son." Also had the title of
Ensign. AYas father of eight children, among them Capt.
James, prominent in his day. He deceased, 1727, aged

The third at the homestead was Lt. Benjamin, the fourth
son of Ensign John, born in Northampton, August 10th,
1674; married, in 1698, Thankful, daughter of Dea. Medad
Pomeroy. She lived to be ninety-five. They had twelve
children. At his decease, in his fiftieth year, 1723, ten sur-
vived him. He was an enterprising, forehanded man, traded
some, an extensive farmer, fatted cattle in the stall, owned


five hundred acres of land near Granville, Mass. Two of his
sons graduated at Yale; another kept a public house in New
Haven. Benjamin, his third child, settled, 1745, in what
afterward became part of Easthampton; one of the nineteen
who voted to sustain Mr. Edwards, the minister, in the time
of the opposition to him.

The fourth occupant in the line of descent, the first born
of Benjamin, was Joseph Lyman, born 1699; married in
Farmington, Ct., about 1727, the father of six children.
The second, Mercy, married Hon. Joseph Hawley, the patriot
of the revolution, who first uttered the sentiment, *^ We must
fight," afterwards quoted by Patrick Henry. Joseph Lyman
died, 1763, thirteen years previous to his wife, on whose
monument in the cemetery is the inscription:

The grave is that home of man
Where dwells the multitude.

The fifth at the homestead was Elisha, the third child of
Joseph, 1734-1798, the father of nine children. One of his
sons, Micah Jones L., studied medicine and practiced in
Bennington, Vt. Afterwards became a druggist in Montreal.
Another son, Dea. Elisha, was much esteemed by all who
knew him; lived in Conway, and elsewhere.

Yet another son, Theodore, was the sixth, and last in the
line who occupied the homestead. Here, 1784-1828, all his
thirteen children were born. In 1828, he sold this property
including the old family mansion, so sacred in its associa-
tions, occupied by so many of the descendants of Kichard.
That year he gave the first deed of it which had ever been
made. It had been in the possession of that family six gen-
erations into the seventh, for one hundred and seventy-two
years, 1656-1828.

Homestead No, 3. Samuel Allen came here unmarried in
1657. A public meeting of the settlers assigned him a home-


lot on King street. Tlie house, soon reared upon it, having
received at intervals many additions and imjorovements, stands
on the left hand corner, of what is now called Edwards street,
but formerly by a name less historic, viz. : Back Lane. In
1659, the house being in readiness, he married the daughter
of his next neighbor, on the south, Hannah Woodford. A
family of ten children resulted from this marriage. Samuel,
Jr., settled on the place where, having added to the Allen
stock, he lived sixty-four years. The last fourteen, 1725-39,
he was known as Dea. Samuel. His son, Joseph, born 1712,
married 1733, next occuj^ied the homestead, where he resided
sixty-seven years. During this period, the fourteen children
of Joseph must have made an enlargement of the dwelling
necessary. His son, Elisha, succeeded and died there, 1796.
His widow, Merab Allen, lived on the place until 1805,
when she married Oliver Eoot of Conway. Jonathan, son
of Elisha, the last of the Allen line associated with that
homestead, sold and moved to Pittsfield, after it had con-
tinued in the family about one hundred and fifty years.

Homestead No. 4. That of Gov. Caleb and Hon. Lewis
Strong, and of their ancestors, on the same j^lace, three and
four generations back. Probably, Ebenezer comes the first,
the seventh child in the family of the celebrated Elder John,
who, for almost forty years, officiated as ruling elder of the
Northampton church. Only two others held this title in the
town, viz. : Preserved Clapp, and the foregoing Ebenezer
Strong. An estimable man, who maintained the principles
of his honored father, walked in his steps, was honest, fru-
gal, industrious, prosperous. His wife, Hannah Clapp, was
daughter of Nicholas, deacon of the Dorchester church,
whose remarkable orchard, set out by his own hands,
reached the age of almost two hundred years. Her sister.


Esther, married Ebenezer's brother, Samuel, the ancestor of
Judge Simeon Strong. In early life, Ebenezer was called
sergeant and deacon, acted as constable in 1679; in his later
years was known by his ecclesiastical title. Elder Ebenezer.

Between him and his brother-in-law, Esq. Joseph Parsons,
notice the following resemblances. Both were born before
the founding of Northampton, were minors at the time of
their coming, the first sixteen, the other eight. Both mar-
ried near the same time. Elder Ebenezer in 1668, Esq. Joseph
in 1669. Their dwellings stood in the same neighborhood,
on the same side of the street. Whole number of Ebenezer's
children, ten; number of Esq. Joseph's, twelve. Several of
the children of each family transmitted their homesteads in
Northampton down through a number of generations. Both
for a long period served as selectmen, sometimes were in
office together. Both deceased in 1729, Elder Ebenezer in
February, Esq. Joseph in November. The former, at the
age of 86, had lived seventy years in the town. The latter,
82 at his decease, had lived there seventy-four years. The
wife of ea<^h outlived her husband.

At his death. Elder Ebenezer's estate inventoried at 950
pounds. Willed all his part in the tanyard to his son Eben-
ezer. In his will, gave the homestead to his wife, Hannah,
except that part on which the house and barn of his son
Ebenezer stands. After her decease, the homestead, with the
above exceptions, goes to his seventh child, Jonathan. Occu-
pied the place sixty-one years, 1668-1729.

Pass to the second occupant, viz. : the above named Jona-
than. His entire career, 1683-1766, passed on that location,
covered a period of eighty-three years, having lived not as
long as his father or his grandfather. He was the first
of as many as five or six of the same name in the town;


most of them, in the line of his descendants, lived on South
street. At the age of twenty one, viz.: in 1704, married
Mehitable Stebbins, of Springfield. For the number of their
children see below. Fifty-eight years after his first marriage,
viz.: in 1762, in his eightieth year, married for his second
wife, widow Mary Clapp, daughter of the celebrated Ensign
John Sheldon, of Deer field. For a remarkable incident
given in the earlier and later life of these two, see homestead
number thirty-one. In a double, or emphatic sense, the first
Jonathan Strong might be styled one of the fathers of the
town. Not only was he selectman several times, viz.: in
1731, '33, '37, '41, '46, but the number of his children
amounted to seventeen, wanting only one of the number in
his grandfather, Elder John's family. Thirteen of the sev-
enteen seem to have married and settled in life. Another,
Elias, who died unmarried, at the age of 52, a farmer, in
good circumstances, gave all his real estate to his father;
and divided his personal property between a number of his
brothers and sisters. One of the seventeen, a graduate at
Yale, 1740, Kev. Thomas, settled in the ministry in Berk-
shire county, at New Marlborough. Some of his descendants
lived in Pittsfield. It is related of the father of the seven-
teen, viz. : Jonathan, that while living he gave a large por-
tion of his estate to his children.

Pass to the succeeding generation and occupant, viz. : the
third son of this numerous family, Lt. Caleb, born 1710, as
to intelligence, breadth of intellect, accuracy of judgment,
in no way inferior to those before him on the homestead.
Married at 26, Phebe Lyman, described as a woman of abil-
ity, fitted by her talents to have the oversight and training,
in early life, of one destined to rank among the most eminent

men of the town. Her father's family, Capt. Moses Lyman,


who owned one-half of what was called the Mather farm, in
the very center of the settlement, embracing what is now
Shop Row, contained three or four names, who became an-
cestors of a numerous and influential line of descendants.
Two of Phebe Lyman's brothers were graduates. Lt. Caleb
Strong was the fourth and the last of the Strong race of tan-
ners, which, for nearly 120 years, 1659-1776, had pursued suc-
cessfully that employment, not far from the center of the
town. Some years since, in excavating ground for the foun-
dation of a warehouse, the workmen came upon the re-
mains of the old tan vats, about four feet below the pres-
ent surface, on a part of what has been long known as
the homestead of Gov. Caleb Strong. A son of the Hon.
Lewis thus writes : " Near the brook which ran through
our place, I have often seen the remains of the tan vats
of my ancestors." Of the twelve children of Lt. Caleb and
Phebe, four were sons. Only one of the four survived
early childhood. This one, Caleb, Jr., on whom the hopes
of the parents strongly centered, they resolved, should have
the earliest and best advantages. Cannot follow his career,
first under Eev. Samuel Moody of York, Maine, a noted
teacher of that period, by whom he was fitted for college;
next at Harvard college, 1760-64, where he received the
highest honors at his graduation. Cannot detail the diffi-
culties he afterward encountered with impaired eyesight,
pressing his way slowly forward, having the best assistance
at home and in the law office of Major Hawley until, in
1772, at the age of 28, his aspirations realized, he entered
the bar of his native county, having the confidence and
good will of the community, as shown by the significant
fact that the same year, he was chosen one of the select-
men of the town. Four years later, 1776, the year his son


received the appointment of county attorney, Lt. Caleb
deceased, having lived on the homestead into his sixty-sixth
year. His widow survived him, on the same, 26 years,
Jan. 5, 1802, being in her eighty-fifth year, having seen
her son rising higher and higher in public esteem, and
three times chosen Governor of the Commonwealth.

The fourth on the homestead, whose early career has
already been noticed, stands the honored name of Gov.
Caleb Strong, the fifth in descent, counting from Elder
John, of a distinguished line. Born Jan. 9, 1745, he de-
ceased suddenly, 1819, in his seventy-fifth year. At the
age of 32, 1777, married Sarah Hooker, daughter of Kev.
John, the fourth minister of the town. Number of their
children, nine. Three of the sons received a public edu-
cation. County attorney for twenty-four years, a member
of the convention for forming the State Constitution of
Massachusetts, a State Senator, elected delegate to the con-
vention which formed the present Constitution of the United
States, U. S. Senator in the First Congress, 1788-94, and
again, 1794-1800, but resigned his seat before the expiration
of the second term. In 1800, chosen Governor of Massa-
chusetts, not a single vote cast against him in seven or
eight towns, of which Northampton was the center. Ten
years Governor. Described as of a gentle spirit, simple in
his tastes and manners, frugal, modest prudent, discreet,
domestic in his habits. A pillar in the church in North-
ampton for forty-seven years, 1772-1819. For many years
president of the Hampshire County Missionary Society, and
the Hampshire Bible Society. In his later years, much
given to the study of the scriptures. Lived with his wife,
a woman of superior sense and piety, granddaughter of
of Col. Worthington of Springfield, forty years. Says one :


" their home was full of sunshine and of the peace and
presence of God."

The homestead next passed into the hands of Hon. Lewis
Strong, fourth child of Gov. Caleb, born 1785, graduated at
Harvard in the class of 1803 ; after studying law in the office
of his uncle, Judge Hooker, at Sj^ringfield, and being ad-
mitted to the bar, pursued the duties of his profession
some thirty years in his native town. Banked high as a
lawyer. Married in 1810, Maria Chester of Wethersfield,
Ct. Whole number of their children, ten; five sons and
five daughters. All the sons received a public education.
Two of the sons, Edward, M. D., and Eev. Stephen Ches-
ter, live in the vicinity of Boston, the former employed in
the office of Secretary of State. In 1850, the Strong man-
sion, gambrel roofed, which stood opposite the Asahel Pom-
eroy dwelling, was removed to its present locality, on Pleas-
ant street, the land at the time of the removal, and for
a number of years after, as is supposed, being a part of
the ancient homestead. Hon. Lewis Strong, a christian
gentleman, lawyer, citizen, trustee of Amherst college, 1825-
33, for many years deacon of the First Church, deceased,
universally esteemed, in 1863. The homestead was owned
one year, 1863-4, by his son-in-law, Wm. N. Matson, of
Hartford, Ct. Continued in the family, 1668-1864, one
hundred and ninety-six years, in connection with six gen-
erations. Number of children born on the place, in the
five families of Strongs, Ebenezer's, Jonathan's, the two
Caleb's, and the Hon. Lewis', fifty-eight. Ten of the fifty-
eight received a public education. Whole number of chil-
dren born on this homestead, including the thirteen of
Ebenezer, Jr., whose house and barn stood upon it, seventy-
one, almost an average of twelve for each of the six fam-



The Pomeroy liomestead, Dea. Medad's, and some of his
line, of the second, third, fourth, and fifth generations.
Number five. Earliest date, 1665, four years from the time of
his marriage. The original sketch located this homestead, by
mistake, between Pleasant and Hawley streets, not far from
the Nonotuck House. Some expressions in a deed Dea.
Medad gave to his son. Major Ebenezer, in 1709, seemed to
favor this location. Subsequent and particular research, how-
ever, fixes it elsewhere, viz. : between meeting house hill,
easterly, and the Justin Smith place, on Elm street, westerly.
This is understood to accord with the view entertained by
the late Sylvester Judd, a valuable antiquarian authority.

It may be here inserted that one year ago, before any
of the homestead historicals appeared in print, in sug-
gesting to another the idea of looking up and ascertaining
the whereabouts of Dea. Medad's place of residence, the
writer then added, as a sort of encouragement, **it will be a
great achievement." Meaning not simply difficult, laborious,
but valuable. Though mistaken in the first spot chosen,
happily the work has since been thoroughly accomplished.
See an interesting sketch in the Hampshire Gazette, May
18th, 1881, on Dea. Medad Pomeroy, by J. E. Trumbull.
Much as the writer regretted the occurrence of the mistake^
yet in all probability, it has been the means of developing
and diffusing a fuller acquaintance with some antiquities of
the town.

But passing these preliminaries, for a brief recital of Dea.
Medad's parentage, nativity, occupation, date of joining the
settlement, viz. : 1659, long career as a public man, his wealth
and eminent usefulness, see chapter sixteenth. Deacons in Early
Times of the Northampton Church. Married at the age of
twenty- three, 1661, Experience Woodward, daughter of Henry,


wlio came from England; one of the seven pillars of the
church, killed by lightning at the upper mill, 1683. They
lived together twenty-five years. At forty-eight, 1686, mar-
ried for his second wife, Abigail Chauncey, widow of Eev.
Nathaniel, of Hatfield, and daughter of Elder John Strong.
Lived together about eighteen years. Name of his third
wife, Hannah, widow of Thomas Noble, of Westfield. Whole
number of his children, twelve. Add the five children of
Mrs. Chauncey at the time of their marriage, three of them
quite young, the number amounts to seventeen. Two of
these seventeen, both ministers, were among the earliest grad-
uates of Yale College. One of them, Eev. Nathaniel Chaun-
cey, died in the sixtieth year of his pastorate at Durham,
Ct., ancestor of a long line of descendants, among them a
number of distinguished men.

Dea. Medad's home-lot, at first one acre in extent, after-
wards comprised between five and six acres. The house
erected by him, 1665, says Mr. Trumbull, "stood near the
spot formerly occupied by Colonnade Eow, known also as
Curtis' tavern, now a vacant lot near the Edwards church."
Not far from his dwelling stood his blacksmith's shop, some-
what celebrated for the names associated with it, and the
amount of business there carried on. On this homestead,
Dea. Medad lived fifty-one years, 1665-1716, serving the
town in various capacities, selectman, town clerk, and
treasurer, register of deeds, reiDresentative for a number
of sessions to the colonial legislature, besides officiating forty-
one years as deacon in the church. He survived nearly all
the original settlers, and saw several hundred members admit-

Online LibrarySolomon ClarkAntiquities, historicals and graduates of Northampton → online text (page 7 of 26)