Solomon Clark.

Antiquities, historicals and graduates of Northampton online

. (page 9 of 26)
Online LibrarySolomon ClarkAntiquities, historicals and graduates of Northampton → online text (page 9 of 26)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

in 1775, lived there till 1857, eighty-two years The fifth
Nathaniel is the present occupant. Born in 1803, married
in 1834, the father of three daughters, and uncle of Charles
Nathaniel Clark, Esq., the lawyer. This homestead, there-
fore, has been in the possession of the Nathaniel Clark line,
one hundred and seventy-six years into the sixth generation.
Homestead number thirteen. Samuel Edwards, Jr., cor-
responding with number eighty. South street, has been five
generations in the family. Samuel, Jr., grandson of Alex-
ander, from Wales, one of the early settlers, built, 1708, the
old house which stood on the same site with the the present
one. A part of the house was moved from Welsh End, so
called as persons of Welsh descent, of whom Alexander was
one, lived there. That part of the town is now called West
street. Samuel, Jr., born 1676, married 1708, had nine
children. Dea. Samuel, the oldest, lived in Southampton,
grandfather of Prof. Bela B. Edwards; also of Dr. Justin
Edwards, distinguished as an advocate of temperance, and
for his Notes or Commentary on the Bible. The youngest
of the nine, Nathaniel, born 1729, succeeded his father, who
deceased twenty years after, 1749, in his seventy-fourth year.
Given to learning, as many of his descendants have been,
Nathaniel taught one of the earliest si-hools on South street.
For a series of years, as many as twenty, this constituted,
for a part of the year, his principal employment. The
school house stood opposite his place of residence, on the
spot where the present school building stands. Another par-
ticular shows his appreciation of learning. He sent one of his
sons, Nathaniel Edwards, Jr., to college, 1782, who, however,
did not take a full course. It was said by one of his cotempo-
raries, and the saying has come down in the family to the


present time, that the first Nathaniel, during recess, used to
send the boys to take some care of his fat cattle. His wife,
Margaret Alvord, was daughter of Benjamin A., a weaver,
also an express rider, and somewhat actively engaged in the
French and Indian war. This worthy teacher deceased 1792,
aged sixty-three.

The second Nathaniel, the college student, next lived on
the homestead. Followed the same vocation, in the same
building opposite his residence, doing the work of a teacher
for ten years, during which, and later in life, he went by
the name of Master Edwards. The next item will interest
people generally in this man. Troubled exceedingly because
the girls in his neighborhood had not the same school privi-
leges as the boys, anxious and determined to do his best in
their behalf, he devoted his leisure during vacation in giving
them instruction. Thanks to Master Edwards for his en-
lightened views, his public spirit. Not long after this, in
the year 1802, sixteen years before his decease, the town
turned over a new leaf. All over the Commonwealth better
views and a wiser course prevailed. The wife of this excellent
man, Eachel Clapp, survived him nearly fifty years and lived
till 1868, aged one hundred years, four months, six days.
It may be proper to say, and it will be new to many, that this
venerable woman, in explaining why South street formerly went
by the name of Licking Water, used to relate the following:
A man once crossed Mill river on a board, shouting at the
top of his voice, '^ Licking water, here I go; Licking water,
here I go." Singularly enough, from this circumstance the
street went by that name for many years.

The fourth at this homestead, Charles Edwards, son of
the foregoing, deceased Jan. 1st, 1880, long a prominent
member of the choir of the First Church. In the same


school building where his father and grandfather figured as
teachers, he taught an old-fashioned writing school. Of his
nine children, but one survives, Miss Anna Cheney Edwards,
who also taught nearly three years in the same school house;
now assistant principal of Mt. Holyoke Seminary, South Had-
ley. Counting from Samuel, Jr., this homestead has con-
tinued in the same family, 1708-1881, one hundred and sev-
enty-three years.

Homestead number fourteen. Increase Clark, the fourth
of those long-lived brothers, born on Elm street, son of the
first Dea. John. This homestead still continues in the family,
occupied by those of the fourth generation. The initials, I.
C, in a prominent place in one of the rooms, before the
house underwent extensive improvements, point, so far as
now positively known, to the first ancestor who there lived.
Born 1684, he married at the age of twenty-six, 1710, Mary,
daughter of Isaac Sheldon, whose home-lot was the sixth
proceeding north on King street. They were the parents of
nine children. The sixth, Dea. Simeon Clark, moved from
Northampton to Amherst in 1750, on a farm at the center,
the father of twelve children, the homestead still being held
by the descendants. Twice at least, 1735 and 1739, Increase
Clark served on the board of selectmen. On his homestead
he lived sixty-five years, being at the time of his decease,
1775, in his ninety-second year. His youngest son, Dea.
Elijah, the father of eight children, succeeded and lived upon
the place, 1730-1791, in several ways honored by the town.
Eli, his second son, moved to Marcellus, now Skaneateles,
N. Y., in 1801, then almost a wilderness; his family, wife
and several small children, were conveyed there in an ox
team. One of those children, Foster Clark, still lives there
on the homestead. The orchard produces some of the same


kind of fruit which grew in Dea. Elijah's orchard in North-
ampton, the grafts being carried there eighty years ago.

Experience, the only daughter of Dea. Elijah, who mar-
ried, about 1798, Justin Smith, next, with her husband, be-
came connected with the place where their eleven children
were born. The three who survive, Alvah and wife, Justin,
who has always lived there, Mrs. Mary Tenney, still occupy
the ancient homestead, where so many have been born, and
from which have gone forth such numbers to different and
distant localities, having been in the family one hundred and
seventy-one years.

Homestead number fifteen. Capt. John Baker, the same
as the John Whittelsey place on Elm street. The Bakers,
one or more, came with the early settlers. Lieut. Timothy,
father of Capt. John, took a prominent part in military
affairs when the county embraced the whole of Western Mass-
achusetts. Born 1680, in 1710, at the age of thirty, Capt.
John married Rebekah, one of the long-lived daughters of
the first Dea. John Clark, sister of the foregoing Increase
Clark; the brother and sister were both married within a
few months of each other. There is a similarity in the
structure and size of the two dwellings, the Justin Smith
and the John Whittelsey, indicating they might have been
built near the same time. The Baker place continued in
that line through three generations into the fourth, a little
beyond one hundred years. Hollister Baker, of the third gen-
eration, deceased there in 1811, in his sixty-second year. It is
a complimentary record given of these Bakers, a credit to
the name, the street on which some of them lived, and to
the town, and deserves to be inserted: *^0f the children of
Capt. John Baker, they all stood forth through life as
marked christian men and women, and filled full their meas-


ure'^of usefulness. The sons were large and tall, from six
feet and upward in height, large-framed and powerful. The
six brothers, whose ages are known, averaged upwards of
eighty-two years each. They all wore big, curly wigs, and
were a jolly set of men, affectionate toward each other, and
very devoted to religion. They kept up the habit of fre-
quent mutual visits until death bore them all to the better
society above." It may be added, the Bakers and the Clarks
maintained a regular family prayer meeting, on Elm street,
for a great number of years. The Hon. Osmyn Baker was a
descendant of one of the early Northampton Bakers.

Homestead number sixteen. Noah Parsons, Sr. The
youngest of Esquire Joseph's large family of twelve, he was
born 1692; married earlier in life than either of his brothers
or sisters, viz.: at twenty, in 1712. His wife, Mindwell,
was the daughter of Benjamin Edwards. The homestead,
just beyond the bridge on the left, fronted on South street,
as far at least as the road or entrance to Mr. L. B. Williams'
house. At this entrance stood the original dwelling of Noah,
Sr., where his twelve children were born. His third child,
Elizabeth, who married Joseph Allen, on King street, was
mother of Eev. Solomon Allen, and Rev. Thomas, first min-
ister of Pittsfield, father of the late President Allen. Her
father, Noah, Sr., and her husband, deceased the same year,
1779, the former in. his eighty-eighth year. Noah, Jr., born
1730, married, 1755, Phebe Bartlett, converted, according to
President Edwards, at the age of four. In his Narrative of
Remarkable Conversions in Northampton, read extensively
one hundred and forty years ago, and often referred to at the
present time, he devotes several pages in giving a description
of her case. Her subsequent career of seventy years showed
the reality of her conversion. At the close of it, witnessing


her calm, peaceful, trusting frame, as the end approached,
Dr. Justin Edwards, then a youth and much impressed, ex-
claimed, "Here is a religion that I have not, and that I
must have!" Noah, Jr., himself the father of twelve chil-
dren, lived on a part of the original homestead, near the
bridge. The house he erected still stands, viz. : the Justus
Parsons house, the youngest child of Noah, Jr., married
1800, deceased 1834, and now occupied by the widow of the
late Lewis Parsons, son of Justus, and her children.

An item respecting the venerable elm in front of the Par-
sons' house should not be omitted. In the month of August,
1755, the year of Noah, Jr.'s marriage, he and his brother
Timothy, who lived with his father, brought from the meadow,
each on his shoulder, an elm tree. The one brought and
set out by Noah is the one now standing, stately, wide-spread-
ing, creditable to the ancestor who planted and watched its
growth for half a century. In his declining years, down to
the last, 1814, he was cheered and refreshed by its shade.
A word respecting Timothy's tree. Different the story asso-
ciated with it. Before his decease, 1822, it began to show
signs of decay. Says the writer, from whom the account
came, **It died many years ago."

Counting from Noah Parsons, Sr., 1712, through the inter-
vening generations to the present time, the homestead has
been in possession of that branch of Esquire Joseph's line,
one hundred and sixty-nine years.

Homestead number seventeen. Dea. Nathaniel Phelps,
born in England in 1627. Three, when his father, William,
with four sons, and one hundred and forty choice characters,
embarked at Plymouth in the great ship Mary and John,
and landed on an island in Boston harbor, May 30th, 1630.
Married in 1650, at Windsor, Ct., where three of his chil-


dren were born. William, the fourth, was born at North-
ampton, June 22d, 1657. His homestead, on which he set-
tled in 1659, comprised what, forty years ago, was Miss Mar-
garet D wight's school building for young ladies; at a later
date the Collegiate Institute of L. J. Dudley, Esq., what is
now Shady Lawn. The old house stood a few rods north-
easterly from that edifice. Dea. Nathaniel occupied this home-
stead forty-three years, until after the commencement of the
ensuing century, in 1702, being the first of some six or more of
the same name who have lived in Northampton. William,
already mentioned, next controlled the homestead, and lived
on the place until his eighty-ninth year, June 1st, 1745.
Little can be said of his son, the third owner, the first of a
series of Ebenezers, three in all, who followed each other,
representing so many successive generations. Ebenezer, the
first, son of William, lived on the premises seventy-two years,
1697-1769. Ebenezer, the second, continued longer than his
father, viz.: four-score years, 1741-1821, remembered by
some now living. The third Ebenezer died younger than
any of the preceding, viz. : at sixty-one, in 1826. Dea.
Nathaniel's descendants of the sixth generation lived on the
place until about 1835, one hundred and seventy-six years.

Homestead number eighteen. Nathaniel Phelps of South
street. Whether established by the son of Dea. Nathaniel
or his grandson, has been a question. The evidence, how-
ever, is strong in favor of the second Nathaniel. In his will
he gives his homestead to his son Nathaniel. To Timothy
he gives five acres inside the meadow fence toward the brick-
kiln. This second Nathaniel, one of the fathers of the town,
in 1707, doubtless lived at the time, on South street, on the
corner of Fort street. He died in 1719, in his sixty-seventh
year. The third Nathaniel, born in 1692, married about


1716, was chosen lieutenant of a military company, and went
by the name of Lieut. Nathaniel. Charles, his son, born in

1717, when twenty-six, established himself across the river,
on a farm two miles north of Hadley center, containing,
subsequently, some six hundred acres, beautifully described
by President Dwight, who pronounced it one of the most
desirable within his knowledge. Lieut. Nathaniel, twice mar-
ried, the father of eight children, four by the first marriage,
the same number by the second, deceased in 1747, was suc-
ceeded by the fourth of that name, being at the time twenty-
six. As has just been said of the father, so respecting the
son, he married twice, having four children by each of his
wives. The sixty-eight years of his life, 1721-1789, covered
an eventful period of Northampton church history, viz. : the
latter part of Mr. Stoddard's ministry, the whole of Mr.
Edwards' and Mr. Hooker's, and the first ten years of Rev.
Solomon Williams, a period of great religious growth, of
many changes in the community. The fifth Nathaniel, bap-
tized in 1757 by Mr. Hooker, married, in 1781, Lucy Strong,
a descendant of Elder Ebenezer. Whole number of his chil-
dren eleven. The late Dea. Ebenezer S. Phelps, who moved
to Princeton, 111., in 1831, was the fourth. He lived into
his seventy-seventh year, longer than either of his ancestors
of the same name. Remembered as an innkeeper, a black-
smith, and a farmer, and also for the trumpet which he used
to assist his hearing in his later years. The youngest of his
eleven children, Charles, born in 1802, married in 1824, was
the fifth on this homestead, where three of his oldest chil-
dren were born, and where he lived until 1831. That year,
having sold to the present occupant, Mr. Calvin Strong, he
with others, went west and settled in Princeton, 111., where
his remaining five children were born. Counting, therefore.


from the second Nathaniel, five generations, into the sixth,
have occupied this homestead, during a period, probably, of
over one hundred and twenty-five years.

Homestead number nineteen. Capt. John King, born in
England, in 1629, crossed the ocean at the age of sixteen,
viz. : in 1645. Married, Nov. 18th, 1656, Sarah, daughter
of Dea. William Holton, the first deacon at the organization
of the church in Northampton. This was the second mar-
riage in the settlement. Their children numbered twelve.
Capt. John's homestead, granted him by the town in 1660,
stood on King street, and continued in that family, then of
the Dwights, (Mrs. Col. Timothy Dwight was Experience
King, who, on the division of the estate, received that home-
stead of her ancestors as her portion) in all some five gener-
ations, covering a period little short of one hundred and fifty
years, 1660-1807. Capt. John originated in Northampton,
England. At his suggestion, or in honor of him, it is
thought the town took its name, Northampton, being the
first so called this side of the water. By occupation a tan-
ner, an estimable member of the community and of the
church, often serving as selectman, he lived forty-three years
on the homestead, 1660-1703, into his seventy-fifth year,
succeeded by his oldest child, born in 1657, Lieut. John,
whose wife, Mehitable, was a daughter of Dea. Medad
Pomeroy. He deceased in 1720. She survived him and
lived until her ninetieth year, in 1755. The third in
the line of descent, and the third John, youngest of
the foregoing, survived his father twenty-five years in 1745,
when he deceased, without children, and without a will.
A division of the estate ensued, and, as already stated,
the homestead passed into the possession of Col. Timothy
Dwight's family. Their son. Major Timothy, who married


Mary, daiigliter of the distinguished Kev. Jonathan Ed-
wards, next occupied the homestead, built the present res-
idence, where his thirteen children were born, and where
his widow lived after his decease, in 1777, thirty years,
until 1807. This ancient homestead of the Kings and the
Dwights possesses more than usual historic interest.

Homestead number twenty. Nathaniel Dwight, ancestor
of many of the Dwights, lived on Market street. Born in
1666, in Dedham; married in 1693, in Hatfield, a daughter
of Col. Partridge; settled about 1695, in Northampton, where
he lived for the last sixteen years of his life, a trader,
farmer, justice of the peace, a land surveyor on a large scale,
a decidedly religious man. His eleven children, of which
Col. Timothy was the oldest, were born on Market street.
He died suddenly in 1711, when at West Springfield on busi-
ness; his grave was the oldest in the ancient burying
ground of that town. His wife survived him forty-five
years, from her thirty-seventh to her eighty-second year>
1756, sixty-one years from the time the family settled
in Northampton. As their son. Col. Timothy's homestead,
corner of Market and Walnut streets, was separate from
his father Nathaniel's, having come to him through his
mother and grandfather. Col. Partridge of Hatfield, where
he lived many years, and died in 1771, the writer will
omit the subsequent history, of some twenty years, and
devote the space to the last occupant of the old place, viz. :
Erastus Dwight, of the fourth generation, third son of Ma-
jor Timothy, born in 1756. There is a melancholy story
associated with this name, dating in its origin back to the
commencement of the revolution, when he had attained the
age of manhood. He was strongly in sympathy with the
mother country, "got mad/' it is said, and never got over


it. Being in the liayfield at work, when the news of his
father's death reached Northampton, in the summer of 1777,
on hearing it, he threw up his pitchfork into the air and
exclaimed, " Then are we all dead," referring to his father's
numerous family. By a series of untoward events, the
strong impulses of his nature having been unfavorably wrought
upon, this young man, a member of Yale college, in the
second year, lost his mental balance, and never recovered it
afterward. For forty-four years, 1777-1821, he lived entirely
by himself in the house of his great-grandfather Nathaniel.
He came regularly each night to his mother's, on King street,
for his food after the family had retired to rest вАФ an outer
door being left purposely unlocked, and a careful provision
for his wants being always in readiness for him on the table.
After his mother's decease, says the account, he resorted with
like regularity to his brother Cecil's, and found there, 1807-
1821, a similar remembrance always of his necessities. He
died Feb. 14th, 1821, unexpectedly to his friends, and alone
by himself as he had lived, found dead in his bed. Such is
the sad story. The homestead of Nathaniel Dwight contin-
ued in the family at least one hundred and twenty-six years,
1695-1821. It may be added that the first one in Northamp-
ton to have a sleigh, not a pleasure sleigh, none such existed,
was Nathaniel Dwight, the trader and surveyor, having, it
is said, plank runners.

Homestead number twenty-one. Lt. Ebenezer Clark, the
third son of the first Dea. John, the home-lot being part of
the twelve acres the town gave Lt. William on his joining
the settlement in 1659. Ebenezer's house was the second one
built by Lt. William, the first, a log structure, set on fire
by his negro servant Jack, in 1681. He married, in 1712,
Abigail, the daughter of Esq. Joseph Parsons. Lived, after


his marriage, on the homestead, where his eight children
were born, a few months short of seventy years. In respect
to longevity, but few men born in Northampton surpassed
him. He lacked a year or so of attaining the full number
of one hundred. At the age of fifty, in 1731, served the
town as selectman. Of his six sons, Elihu, the youngest,
succeeded to the homestead. Married, at the age of thirty-
four, in 1765, Martha, daughter of Samuel Mather, probably
the same as the physician. Lived but twelve years after his
marriage, and deceased in 1777, four years previous to his
venerable father. Elihu, his son, next lived on the place,
until 1815, leaving several children, having reached about the
same age as his father. His widow occupied the homestead
until her son Elihu became twenty-one, when he purchased
the property. In 1826, Judge Dewey moved to Northamp-
ton, bought this place, erected his own house on or near the
site where the old one stood. From Lt. Ebenezer it had
descended to the fourth generation, and continued in that
line, 1712-1826, one hundred and fourteen years.

Homestead number twenty-two. Noah Clark, the ninth
child and fifth son of the first Dea. John. Born in 1694,
married at the age of twenty-four, in 1718, Eunice Dick-
inson of Hatfield. Lived a near neighbor of his brother,
the preceding Ebenezer, fifty-eight years. His homestead
was at the top of the hill above the Baptist meeting house.
He died at the age of eighty-two, younger than either of the
six brothers. Silas, his fourth son, born in 1729, next took
the place, in 1756, being the year of his marriage. Whole
number of his children, twelve. His wife, Elizabeth, daugh-
ter of Jonathan Strong, descended from Elder John. The
foregoing Jonathan Strong was the first tythingman chosen
in Northampton, viz.: in 1761. He occupied a conspicuous


place in the gallery of the meeting-hoiise, in order to dis-
cover and prevent disorder, playing, whispering, and the like.
Silas, his son-in-law, lived on the homestead all his life-time,
eighty-four years. His seventh child, Levi, succeeded him,
born in 1770. Within a few months of Levi's decease, in
1827, the place was sold, having been in the family one hun-
dred and nine years. Silas, of the fourth generation from
Noah, living on Clark avenue, born on the homestead, was
son of Levi. Thus within about twelve months, 1826-27,
the two ancient homesteads of Ebenezer and Noah Clark,
passed out of the hands of these respective families.

Homestead number twenty-three. Dea. Noah Cook, corres-
ponding substantially with that of the late Horace Cook.
Dea. Noah was of the third generation from the celebrated
Major Aaron, the settler, who, with Elder John Strong,
Richard Lyman, Capt. Roger Clapp of Dorchester, all mar-
ried sisters, daughters of Thomas Ford, a man of good estate,
whose last years were spent in Northampton. The Cooks,
Strongs, Lymans, Clapps, half brothers by marriage, all set-
tled in Northampton, and quite numerous. Dea. Noah lost
his father when only eleven, in 1699. The will of Noah,
Sr., dated the same year, gives to his son Noah his home-
stead, bought of John Woodward. Some conditions and
exceptions follow. One respects the payment of thirty pounds
towards his brother Eliakim's education, and ten pounds addi-
tional when he, probably Noah, becomes of age. Eliakim's
education here provided for, at least in part, seems to refer
to a collegiate course. Thus early provided with a home-
stead, ten years before he becomes of age, when twenty-
four, 1712, he married Abigail Clark, daughter of Dea.
John, with whom he lived fifty-four years. Whole num-
ber of their children, nine. In 1773 he was succeeded by


his eighth child, Aaron, to whom and to Elisha, perhaps

Online LibrarySolomon ClarkAntiquities, historicals and graduates of Northampton → online text (page 9 of 26)