William L. (William Ladd) Chaffin.

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dressed a pathetic appeal to the Governor and Council, reciting
his services in the war, speaking of his large losses by the de-
preciation of the currency, by the destruction of his furnace by
fire, and by other unfortunate circumstances, and pleading that
he might be brought to a speedy trial, or at least be removed to
the jail in Bristol County, where he would be nearer his friends.^
Already, however, relief was on the way. On the day before
this petition was written, being the second day of May, the
Council had voted to release him if sufficient bail were given.
Bail was imraedietely secured, and Captain Perry came home.

1 State Archives, vol. clxxxix. p. 294.

2 Ibid., p. 296. 3 Ibid., p. 293.


The case does not appear ever to have been brought to trial. No
report of any trial appears in the records of the Superior Court,
to which the case was referred, nor is there any further allusion to
it in the meetings of the Council. The conclusion is irresistible
that he was the victim of a false accusation, and was wrongfully
imprisoned ; but he never received any satisfaction for the losses
that he had thereby sustained. His honor was not even vindi-
cated by the trial that he asked for, and it is quite probable
that this may account for the fact that 'he never received a
pension on account of his military services. So powerful is
slander to work irreparable mischief ! Further particulars con-
cerning Captain Perry may be found in the Genealogical His-
tory of Easton.

Another Easton officer who spent considerable time in the
war was Capt. Matthew Randall. He was son of Deacon
Robert Randall. He first appears as a sergeant in Captain
Mitchell's company, which marched to Lexington on the 19th of
April, 1775. Returning soon afterward, he was made lieutenant
in Capt. Francis Luscomb's company, in May, and served through
the year in the siege of Boston. In March, 1776, he became
captain of the fifth company of the third regiment of Bristol
County Militia, — Abiel Mitchell having just been made the
colonel of the same. During a large part of this year he was on
duty in and about Boston, being in camp at Hull in June and
July, and on Castle Island afterwards. In December he took his
company into service, in the campaign in Rhode Island. He
was in a three months campaign there in 1778, and for a time
also in 1780. About the period of the close of the war he moved
to Freetown, of which place he became a resident, and where he
died about 1790.

Another captain who belonged in Easton was Capt. Josiah
Keith. He was the third of that name, and a direct descend-
ant of the Rev. James Keith, one of the early settlers of Bridge-
water. He began his Revolutionary experience as a lieutenant
in Capt. Macey Williams's company. Not long afterwards he
was made captain of the ninth company of the fourth regiment
of the Bristol County Militia, commanded by Col. John Daggett.



This company was enlisted mainly from the west part of the
town, and was known as the West Company, Capt. Matthew
Randall commanding the East Company. Captain Keith served
with his company, as has already been narrated in this chapter,
in several of the Rhode Island campaigns. He lived on the
spot where the house of Joel S. Drake now stands, and died by
suicide, April 9, 1803, aged 72 years.

Capt. Macey Williams was another officer whom Easton
gave to the Revolutionary service. He was a resident but not a
native of Easton. His father was Josiah Williams, of Taunton,
who settled in West Bridge water, where Macey was born in
1736. He was captain of one of the companies of minute men
that marched to Lexington on the evening of April 19, 1775.
In October of that year he commanded a company in Col. Timo-
thy Walker's regiment, and was in service for at least three
months from that time. After that his name disappears from
the muster-rolls, and for some reason not now ascertainable he
probably left the army. He died in Easton, August 7, 1786.

In 1780 Seth Pratt, who had served some time as lieuten-
ant, took the command towards the close of the war of the East
Company. He served as ensign in Captain Luscomb's company
in 1775. He subsequently became a lieutenant of the company
which he afterwards commanded. He was in service in several
of the Rhode Island expeditions. He was the father of Dr.
Seth Pratt and of Seaver Pratt. He was born November 21,
1738, and died August 27, 1802.

We will close this account of the Easton Revolutionary cap-
tains with a notice of Capt. Ephraim Burr. He was son of
John Burr, of West Bridgewater, where he was born in 1737,
but became a resident of Easton as early as 1765. At that
date he received the following license: —

" Ephraim Burr of Easton is licensed by the Court to sell Tea,
Coffy, and China ware, who became bound as principal in the sum of
Ten pounds with Daniel Williams, Esq., his suret}', to pay to the Farmer
on sd excise the duty as the law requires." ^

1 See Bristol County Court of Sessions, 1746-1777, p. 360.


He was a lieutenant in 1776. In 1777 he was made a cap-
tain, and in March of that year enlisted a company with which
he saw some of the hardest service of the war. He wintered
with this company at Valley Forge, losing some of his men by
death and some by desertion. He was captain in Col. John
Bailey's regiment from January i, 1777, to September 10, 1779,
and was very active in the enlistment of troops. His house
was on Short Street, near the burying-ground. He died by his
own hand, September i, 1786.

It thus appears that the town of Easton furnished nine
captains for the Revolutionary service. Of these, one, Abiel
Mitchell, became a major and soon after a colonel of militia ;
another, James Keith, became a major in the regular army.
Most of these captains had previously been lieutenants ; but
besides them the following also were lieutenants at some period
of the war: Jacob Leonard, Isaac Fuller, Edward Hayward,
David Keith, Abiel Williams, Jonathan Pratt, Zachariah Wat-
kins, Nathan Hack, John Godfrey, and Dominicus Record.
Silas Kinsley and Elijah Howard were ensigns. Capt. Zeph-
aniah Keith was made a major in 1778, but does not appear
to have seen active service.

In addition to the brief biographies already given, there are
two others that deserve to be added. The first is that of Brig.-
Gen. Benjamin Tupper ; and the second, of his son Major Anselm
Tupper, Neither was a resident of Easton when the war broke
out ; but the former had been a resident for about ten years, and
the latter was a native of the town.

Brig. -Gen. Benjamin Tupper ^ was a citizen of Easton for
about ten years, — for several years a schoolmaster here, and by
marriage closely connected with several Easton families. He
was born in Stoughton, in that part now Sharon, March 11,
1738. His father was Thomas Tupper, Jr., of Sandwich. His
mother was Remember (Perry) Tupper, also of Sandwich, and

^ This sketch of Brigadier-General Tupper is, with the exception of such items
as relate to Easton, extracted by permission from the excellent series of articles pub-
lished in 1S83 in the " Sharon Advocate," and written by Solomon Talbot, of Sharon,
Mass. These articles deserve to be republished in a more permanent form.


sister of Capt. Nathaniel Perry, of Easton. They had moved to
Stoughton before the birth of their son. For her second hus-
band she married, October 4, 1742, Jeremiah Willis, the ancestor
of the Philip Willis families. Benjamin lived with his parents
until he went to learn the tanner's trade with Mr. Withington,
of Dorchester. This was in his boyhood, for he was appren-
ticed very early. While at Dorchester he was much on the
water, shooting being his favorite pastime ; and he there gained
that familiarity with the islands of Boston Harbor which was
of such advantage in his efificient Revolutionary service in that
locality, which will presently be noticed. In the French and
Indian War we find him, when but sixteen years old, in the
company of his uncle, Capt. Nathaniel Perry. This was in 1754.
After this, for about ten years, Easton was his home. He was
employed upon the farm of Joshua Howard, though he owned
and may have cultivated a few acres of land which he bought in
1756. He served, however, in several campaigns in the war just
named, being a corporal in 1757, and a sergeant in 1759. In
Easton he was for a number of years a schoolmaster, serving in
this capacity during the winter. He taught as early as 1761.

November 18, 1762, Mr. Tupper married Huldah, daughter
of Edward and Kezia White, of Bridgewater. She was born in
1739. Her mother Kezia was a native of Easton, being the
daughter of George and Katherine (Dean) Hall, who were early
settlers. Mrs. White had married in 1748, for a second hus-
band, Edward PI ay ward, Esq., already so well known in this
history. The latter died May 21, 1760. She lived four years
of widowhood, and then in 1764 married Deacon Robert Ran-
dall. January 8, 1764, Benjamin Tupper joined the Congre-
gational Church of Easton. A few months after this he moved
to Cliestcrfield, where he was an active citizen, and became the
first deacon of the church. On the breaking out of the Revo-
lutionary War he was a lieutenant of militia. He proceeded at
once to Springfield, and dispersed the Supreme Court of the
Crown then in session there. He then marched to Roxbury,
and was at once made a major in Colonel Fellows's regiment.
About the middle of July, 1775, he made an expedition with
muffled oars to Castle Island, burned the lighthouse, and brought
off considerable property, though the British fleet was not far off.



The British endeavored to rebuild the lighthouse, but while
the work of restoration was in progress, Major Tupper embarked
some men in whale-boats, taking some field-pieces with them.
They arrived at the lighthouse about two o'clock in the morning
and attacked the guard, killed the officers and four privates, and
captured the rest of the troops. Having demolished the works
they were about to depart, but the tide left them, and the Major
himself was attacked by the enemy's boats. But sinking one
of the boats with his field-piece, he escaped with the loss of one
man killed and one wounded. He killed and captured fifty-three
of the enemy ; and among the captures were ten Tories, who
were immediately sent to Springfield jail. This brave and suc-
cessful attack won great praise. Washington thanked Major
Tupper the next day in general orders. Jefferson saw in it "the
adventurous genius and intrepidity of the New Englanders ; "
and the British Admiral said that " no one act of the siege
caused so much chagrin in London as the destruction of the
lighthouse, and it was the theme of the most biting sarcasm."

He was sent to Martha's Vineyard to capture two vessels in
August, 1775. In the following September he embarked with
his men on whale-boats from Dorchester, landed on Governor's
Island, and brought off eleven head of cattle and two fine horses.
While the enemy held Boston, Colonel Tupper was intrusted
with the command of several expeditions that cannot be de-
tailed here, but which showed the great confidence that General
Washington had in his good judgment and courage. The follow-
ing incident illustrates his intrepidity and presence of mind: —

"Three men were out in a boat, fishing in Boston Harbor. The
wind shifted, and the broken ice completely blocked up their way, so
that it was impossible for them to return. Their situation was one of
great peril. The wind blew severely cold, and the men must soon
have perished had not Colonel Tupper appeared, who, taking in the
situation at a glance, procured four pairs of snow-shoes, and putting
one pair upon his own feet, and taking the others under his arm, he
made his way to the boat over the floating ice. The shoes were
fastened to the feet of the men, and Colonel Tupper brought them
all away safely to the shore amidst the shouts and congratulations of
the people." ^

1 See articles by Solomon Talbot, already mentioned.



Benjamin Tupper was lieutenant-colonel in Colonel Bailey's
regiment, from January i, 1777, to July i, at which time he be-
came Colonel of the Eleventh Regiment of Continental troops,
which command he held to the end of the war. From Septem-
ber I, 1778, and for more than a year afterward, he was inspec-
tor in General Patterson's brigade.^

During the memorable winter of 1 777-1 778, his regiment was
with Washington at Valley Forge; and on January 28, 1778,
he addressed a pathetic appeal to the President of the Council
of Massachusetts, imploring help for the distressed soldiers.
He served with honor throughout the war, and towards its close
was appointed brigadier-general by brevet. He took charge of
the military organizations at Springfield at the time of Shays's
Rebellion, and repelled the attack made by the insurgents on
the Armory. He and General Putnam were chiefly instrumen-
tal in organizing the Ohio Company,^ — a company formed to
buy and encourage the settlement of the fertile lands of the
Ohio Valley. General Tupper was one of the most active in
surveying and laying out the lands and inviting their occupation
by settlers. We cannot follow in detail all his interesting West-
ern experience in the Ohio territory. He was appointed Judge of
the Court of Common Pleas in 1788 ; was a Freemason of high
rank, and a member of the Society of the Cincinnati.

Perhaps the most noteworthy thing in the life of General
Tupper is the fact, based on what seems sufficient evidence,
that he was the real inventor of the screzv-propeller. The au-
thority for this is the diary of the Rev. Dr. Manassah Cutler, a
clergyman of note, and afterwards a member of Congress. He
was with General Tupper in 1788, while on his journey to Ohio.
The following extract from his diary is quoted by Solomon Tal-
bot in his account of General Tupper : —

1 State Archives, Continental Officers, vol. for 1777 to 1779, p. 13S.

2 The evidence for the truth of this statement seems to the writer to be conclu-
sive, notwithstanding that Hon. George B. Loring gives the chief credit of the affair
to Dr. Manassah Cutler, of Essex County, Mass. Rufus Putnam and Benjamin
Tupper joined in the call for the meeting held in Boston which led to the formation
of this Company, — a meeting which Dr. Cutler says he had not thought of
attending until urged to do so by Winthrop Sargent, a friend of General Tupper.
For proof of these statements see Nos. 10 and 11 of the articles of Solomon Talbot
already alluded to.


"Friday, August 15, 1788. — This morning we went pretty early to
the boat. General Tupper had mentioned to me a mode of con-
structing a machine to work in the head or stern of a boat instead of
oars. It appeared to me highly probable that it might succeed. I
therefore proposed that we should make the experiment. Assisted
by a number of people, we went to work and constructed a machine
in the form of a screw, with short blades, and placed it in the stern
of the boat, and which we turned with a crank. It succeeded to ad-
miration, and I think it a very successful discovery."

It would thus appear that General Tupper, ninety-eight years
ago, anticipated the discovery of the screw-propeller, which was
nearly half a century in coming into favor, but which every
ocean steamship now employs.

Troubled times with the Indians soon followed, and a war of
several years duration was brought to an end by General Wayne,
who subdued the savages in 1795. But General Tupper passed
away earlier, dying June 7, 1792, at fifty-four years of age, and
was buried at Marietta. When General Lafayette visited
Marietta in 1825, and the names of the pioneers (many of
them Revolutionary soldiers) were read to him, he responded,
" I know them all. I saw them at Brandywine, at Yorktown,
at Monmouth, and at Rhode Island. TJiey zvere the bravest
of the brave!'

One curious thing deserves notice here. The reader may
recall the fact mentioned at the beginning of this sketch, that
Mrs. Kezia White, the mother of General Tupper's wife, married
for her second husband Edward Hayward, Esq. In the course
of time it turned out that Edward Hayward's grandson, Capt.
Rotheus Hayward (son of Deacon Joseph) married the grand-
daughter of General Tupper. Her name was Panthia Nye.

Major Anselm Tupper, eldest son of General Benjamin and
Huldah (White) Tupper, whose picture is here presented to the
reader, was born in Easton, October 11, 1763. When the
Revolutionary War began he was eleven years of age. His
father, of course, left him at home when he departed for the
scene of action ; but he inherited the military spirit from both
the Perrys and the Tuppers, and the brave lad could not re-
main at home. Accordingly, soon after the battle of Le.xing-



ton, he enlisted in Capt. Robert West's Chesterfield company,^
which was assigned to Colonel Fellows's regiment, in which his
father was already major. It is interesting to think of this
Revolutionary soldier, not yet twelve years old, engaging in all
the toil, hardship, and peril of war, and never flinching until his
country's independence was achieved.

Anselm Tapper remained in the service in the same regiment
with his father, participating with him in the engagement on the
North River in August, 1776, being in his regiment also at
West Point. He was an ensign in 1779. March 15, 1780, he be-
gan to serve as lieutenant, though not at that time commissioned
as such. September 15, 1780, Colonel Tupper recommended
Anselm Tupper and others in his regiment for promotion. The
document embodying this recommendation is very interesting,
because it is indorsed by General Washington, who, under his
own signature, earnestly approved and urged the promotions
suggested by Colonel Tupper.^

The appointment was made September 26, 1780. He then
began to be paid as lieutenant.*^ From January i, 1782, until
January i, 1783, he was lieutenant and adjutant in Colonel
Tupper's regiment in the Continental army (the eleventh).* His
appointment as adjutant began presumably on the former of
these two dates, although it is possible he may have been serv-
ing in that capacity a short time in 1781. After this time and
until the close of the war he served as adjutant in the Con-
tinental service in Col. Ebenezer Sprout's regiment (the second,
once Colonel Bailey's). His name appears as of that rank in a
list of officers of that regiment under date of July 11, 1783.^

After the close of the war'' he was engaged as surveyor with
his father, who had been appointed by the Government to lay
out the lands in the territory northwest of the Ohio. After

^ State Archives, Revolutionary Rolls, vol. Ivi. p. 43.

2 Ibid., Revolutionary Letters, vol. cciii. pp. 109, no.

s Ibid., Continental Officers, vol. for 17S0, p. 87.

* Ibid., Revolutionary Rolls, vol. Ix. p. 13.

6 Ibid., vol. 1. p. 13.

6 This remaining account of Major Anselm Tupper was mainly written by
Anselm Tupper Nye, the nephew of Major Tupper, for Solomon Talbot, who has
kindly furnished it to the writer of this History. The heliotype print here given
is from a photograph of a copy of a painting of Major Tupper, the original being
the work of Sully.

Major Anselm Tupper.


completing the survey of the seven ranges Major Tapper re-
turned to Massachusetts, and in November, 1787, was appointed
by the directors of the Ohio Company as surveyor for that com-
pany for the State of Massachusetts. He was one of the fa-
mous pioneer band that crossed the Alleghany Mountains in
the winter, and made the first settlement in the Northwest Ter-
ritory at Marietta, April 7, 1788. The survey was continued
until they were driven off by the attacks of the Indians, who
afterwards, in 1790, surprised a settlement up the Muskingum
River and barbarously butchered one woman, two children, and
eleven men. Major Tupper at the head of a company of sol-
diers went to this sickening scene of atrocity, and buried the
mutilated bodies side by side where they fell.

Anselm Tupper was the first school-teacher at Marietta.
When we consider that such regular schooling as he possessed
must all have been acquired previous to his entering the army
(which he did before he was twelve years old), it may seem
strange that he was fitted to fill the position of teacher. But
he had no doubt improved the opportunities afforded by associ-
ation with French officers of education and culture, probably
learning the French and Latin languages, as he is understood
to have been a classical scholar. He had great proficiency in
mathematics, and was also something of a poet.

Major Tupper is said to have possessed a polished address
and fine intellectual ability, and was a great favorite in society.
He never married. He was appointed major of the stockade
at Marietta during the war, and afterwards taught school in one
of the blockhouses. In a vessel built at Marietta he made a
voyage as second officer down the Ohio and Mississippi rivers,
across the Atlantic, up the Mediterranean and Black seas to
Trieste. He returned home, and died several years afterward.
He was buried in the Mound Cemetery at Marietta, near his
father, and his epitaph reads, —

Major Anselm Tupper, born at Easton, Mass,
Oct. II, 1763, DIED December 25TH, 1808.





The Dawn of Peackful Times for the Easton Church. — The Call
OF William Reed. — His Birth and Ancestry. — " Relation" of
HIS Religious Experience. — How he obtained his Wife. — The
Ordination Services. — Home Life. — Church Discipline. —
The Ministerial Land. — Incorporation of the Parish. —
The Church Bell. — Pecuniary Struggles. — Mr. Reed as
a Preacher.

AT last in the religious life of Easton we have come to peace-
ful times. The dreary succession of storms and tempests
is over. The clouds have rolled away, and though we continue
to hear the echoes of the retreating thunder, though all about
us are too evident signs of damage and desolation, still the sky
is blue above our heads, and the sun shines bright with promise
of better days. For half a century now we shall have a church
life of comparative peace.

At the date of Mr. Campbell's dismissal, 1782, the church
life was low. The church had suffered in the late dissension.
Hard feeling and alienations and consequent declining of reli-
gious interest had resulted. Moreover, the long war of the
Revolution had done much to unsettle the habits of the people.
Returning soldiers brought back rougher manners and looser
principles. The times, too, were hard. A rapidly depreciating
currency created distrust and discontent. Notwithstanding this
state of things in the church and parish, all were unanimous
in the desire to have the Rev. William Reed for their pastor.
The church called him, July 25, 1783, after the usual fasting
and prayer. The town unanimously concurred in this call
August 25. Deacon Phillips said to Mr. Reed that he must
not refuse the call, for if he did they would " be all broken up."
Esquire Hubbard, of Abington, told Mrs. Deacon Pratt that Mr.
Reed was too good a man for a town like Easton, With quick
wit, and with good sense too, Mrs. Pratt responded that if



Easton people were as wicked as he had intimated, then they
needed just such a man as Mr. Reed for their minister. Esquire
Hubbard's remark, however, shows the reputation Easton had
acquired in the vicinity.

The town voted Mr. Reed one hundred pounds for his yearly
salary for four years, and after that eighty pounds. This needs
explanation. Formerly a sum about equal to one year's salary
had been voted as an inducement for the minister to settle, and
was called his " encouragement," or " settlement." But it was
not found easy to raise this extra money in one or two years. It
was therefore thought better to distribute it through several
years ; so that we are, in fact, to understand that his salary for
each year was eighty pounds, and the addition of twenty pounds
a year for the first four years was his " encouragement." Subse-
quently they voted that he might get his firewood from the min-
isterial land ; and an increasing confidence in the clergy seems
indicated by the fact that they did not, as in Mr. Campbell's

Online LibraryWilliam L. (William Ladd) ChaffinHistory of the town of Easton, Massachusetts (Volume 3) → online text (page 24 of 78)